Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday was my BIRTHDAY. I love my birthday. I don't care if I am feeling older and more blind and deaf. I have taken a page from my father's book. He is always happy about his birthday. He says it is because he'd seen his life flash before his eyes so many times by the time he was 22, that each birthday after that is pretty much a miracle.

Anyone who has been in a car with me knows I could say the same thing. Let's face it, there's a lot going on out there and it is all interesting. Staying focused on just one thing is tricky.

So, I am happy about my birthday. In addition, my students rock because they always get together to get me a pair of shoes. This year's? Beautiful...

Oh, and those amazing flowers in the background? From my BFF.

It was a good day. Yes, it helps that I wear a tiara on my head all day. I think it reminds people to not mess with me, and quite frankly, it is difficult to not smile while wearing a tiara.

I guess I am teaching something

During the snow storm, I discovered that I had trolls. Sounds like some sort of disease, I know. I was talking with my big sister about her blogs (actually she has two blogs, but only one was under attack so to speak.) She had trolls. Someone had come to her site and started going back through the posts writing basically mean stuff. My sister is a researcher at heart. So, she began trying to figure out from where the trolls came. Lo and behold, they came from the last blog post on my old blog that said "Gone."

Four women (I swear they might have made up names) posted. ALL posted mean stuff about me. In fact, one had started her own blog and the only post was a picture of me saying how I tried to steal her husband away...Yeah, cause in addition to every OTHER reason that would never happen, some time during the crapfest 2010 of Sabrina's life, I was out looking for a MAN. sigh.

At any rate, I deleted my one post. My sister then did a post on "Trolls." It was awesome. Part of the awesomeness was due to the fact that the troll is really an idiot. Sis's blog is clearly about developing self awareness and thinking about how she has messed up parenting in the past, and she's learning from it. Perhaps she uses too many big words cause it is obvious the troll, she didn't understand a bit.

Under comments, my sister had given me a shout out because some newspaper had done a poll, and I was runner-up for best teacher in the district. Sure it is a really small district, and sure, I was runner-up to a 1st year 4th grade teacher at one of 5 elementary schools in the district, and yes, it is very likely only 5 people voted. But it was sweet of my sister. The troll wrote a mean comment to the effect, I shouldn't be allowed to teach. That is A LOT of venom to have inside.

A week ago, one of the women sent me a facebook message "Hi." That's it. Nothing else. I ignored it, but it seems like a lot of energy to put into someone when I don't recognize ANY of their names or anything. Who are they???? I was starting to feel a little down. But THEN, one of my editors-in-chief let me see her college essay. It made me cry. She let me attach it. (Mostly because she knows only 5 people read the blog. Hooray for censorship and fear of the machine.) Any way - here you go.

An Unforgettable Character

Perkins: Like you’re mom but worse. She stands 5’4” in her pink sparkly designer Christian Louboutin stiletto heels—a gift from our journalism class last year as a token of our appreciation. Everything about her is asymmetrical; it is no surprise when she stands with her left hand extended, her right hip cocked, with a semi-fisted hand saying, “This is Perkins,” circling that fist with her right hand through at least three revolutions, she continues, “and this is the world…!” All the things my mom tried to teach me are acted out on the journalism stage every day of high school. The starring role is played by Ms. Elizabeth Perkins, my journalism advisor.

Lesson #1: Dress to impress. “Don’t dress like you are going to work on a street corner.” When dealing with inappropriate dress choices, most teachers avoid confrontation by passing the student on to the administration. Not Perkins. She deals directly with each of us, and we are quick to learn what is and is not appropriate attire for school. Because of Perkins, I am increasingly aware of the small range of appropriate clothing in dress—especially when I am relating to teachers or students as yearbook editor-in-chief. She takes her position seriously and demonstrates her self-respect with a flair for fashion by playing the “Diva” role with confidence and aplomb.

Lesson #2: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Perkins never sets herself up as a perfect example—quite the opposite. She always admits when she is at fault and actually wants us to do a better job in respecting authority. Last week, during the school mandatory lockdown drill, Perkins opted to send students out to take pictures of the event. Once again yearbook “is more important than pseudo student safety.” Unfortunately our school resource officer did not agree. He captured Perkins and Company and officiated at our in-class criminal lockdown lasting three days. By letting us in on her escapades, we become comrades in crime with a worthy cause of surviving the school day and publishing our annual yearbook, The Highlander.

Lesson #3: Be good humans. “If there is one thing I want to teach you in this class, it’s how to be good humans.” Last month we had an incident with stolen money from the yearbook fund. Perkins appealed to our sense of humanity and justice by asking for our help. Because she believed and trusted in us, we were successful to use our student web of contacts to find the thief. As she teaches us to be good humans, she models it by standing up for the staff. Recently, an anonymous group of girls created a Twitter account to slander several of us on the staff. Not only was she determined to find these “mean girls”, she was “out for blood.” Her lasting advice about our emerging humanity always mentions the necessity to, “bring each other up with your words, not tear each other down.”

Whether Perkins is delivering a light message on fashion, or a serious message on what it means to be human, the thing that I’m going to remember forever is the delivery itself. She preaches her message with the humorous characterization of a Diva mixed with the high drama of a philosopher. Her obvious lessons are represented by the quotations above, but it is the subliminal undercurrents that I will take with me to college. I want to define my own character by taking risks for the people I lead; laugh not only at others but myself; and most importantly, create a character for my life story who makes people want to be better. Underneath all the bravado, Perkins lets herself be vulnerable so that her students rise up and help her. Her leadership style allows us to feel valuable and needed as we develop mutual empathy. Whether it’s dealing with my college roommate, my professors, or future boyfriends, I know on some level, I will be modeling Perkins, or as she is otherwise known, “The Dallas Diva.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 4: Snow day

Totally edgy. I mean 4 snow days later of not leaving the house, I am ready to get out. Instead I've been watching HGTV, "Flip This House" and the "Nate Burkus Show." I am so itchy to buy a new place, fix it up and sell it, I can hardly stand it. I don't know if I can stand it. I've got a little less than two years before I need to buy a house again to prevent a tax nightmare, and I'm going to need every minute of it to pay down the old credit cards. I guess I can at least say I refigured out my finances this week. I can really bust out the bills if I can keep my spending under control. I think we all know that is a really big IF.

However, if I can stay focused, I'll be able to rock it. And then I can return to the flipping business. Remind me of this the next time I have my eye on a cute pair of shoes...I need to remember this is going to be a marathon not a sprint. Long term low spending people. LONG TERM.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day #3

It's hard to remember back to Monday at this point and know I was practically on bended knee PRAYING for a snow day. Just one Lord, just give me one day. And, I say again, things like this are how I know that God has a sense of humor. Because he didn't give me ONE snow day, but three. I'll admit, Tuesday was delightful. My car was snug in the garage, which was fine except that the gate out of the property was broken, so in the event of an emergency, I would have been walking. Buddy and I snuggled all day. I had food, hot chocolate and Baileys. I knew my original plan involved getting stuff done, but what the heck, it was a snow day.

Wednesday I went ahead and got a couple of things done, but mostly hung out. Towards the end of the day, I was starting to get a little bored. Feeling a little trapped. I knew by 5pm that school was cancelled for the next day, and I admit I was a little worried. No food. No Baileys. No exit. No good could come from this.

Thursday. Called the landlord immediately about the gate. Love them. They called back immediately they were sending someone. So bored, I decided to do laundry. That was a mistake as it turns out because I went out to the garage aaaannnndddd it was totally flooded. Oopsy. So, I got to spend a good portion of the morning moving stuff around in the garage and trying to sweep up the water. I now have blankets and towels all over the kitchen, none of which can be washed just yet, the garage is a total mess, so my car won't be going back in any time soon.

I realized as I was cleaning that I was feeling mighty crampy because nothing goes with a bad day like having cramps.

Good news: the gate did get fixed and Buddy and I took a little trip. I got crawfish etouffe for lunch and stuff to make "special hot chocolate for mommy" ...for the rest of the day.

By 2pm I had bathed to warm up my body, eaten lunch, and re-situated my happy butt on the big comfy chair with Buddy.

Dare I confess that I am ready to go back to school. It will be INSANE tomorrow, but one more day here, and I'll be insane.
P.S. saw Reds last night (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malcovich, Mary Louise Parker) very cute. Glad I saw it. You should see it.