Tilly Sue…

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It has been a rough year.

A very, very rough year.

A pandemic. An abrupt ending to my last year as a classroom teacher. An expected, yet unexpected death. Limited time with family and friends. Missed memories with my nieces. A brand new nephew I have yet to meet in real life. Endless Zooms and suffocating face masks. Stress of the unknown.

It has been tough. And isolating. And emotional.

But it has been a year full of gratitude, too.

Gratitude for friends who show up and are always there- even when life is not being kind to them.

Friends who text to check in. Who knew the power a “How are you today?” text could have?

Friends who let me be an emotional mess- and don’t judge me for it.

Friends who share their most prized possessions without a second thought- books.

Friends who claim they’ve misplaced your address… “I’m sending out Christmas Cards this year!” That “Christmas Card” was really a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my Thanksgiving table.

And friends who claim they’ve misplaced your address yet again- “I’m sending you a Valentine in the mail!” That “Valentine” turned out to be a beautiful pink flower that arrived today.

A Tillandsia Summer.

Fondly named Tilly Sue.

While this year has been full of more downs than ups, I am so grateful for the friends who show up.

I’m so lucky to have them in my life. ❤

Simple Task, Difficult Follow Through…

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Why is it that the simplest tasks are the ones most dreaded and, lets face it, avoided?

Taking out the garbage. Folding your laundry (I actually don’t mind this task). Washing your dishes instead of letting them “soak” in the sink…We all KNOW they don’t need to soak!

Simple chores that may take mere minutes to complete.

But can we please talk for a moment about packing lunches? Yep, packing lunches. The literal WORST!

Every year I set a goal for myself. A simple goal really. Pack my lunch for school the night before. Not the morning of. Not five minutes after I had planned to leave. The night before.

And sure, I always start off strong. I usually get a good three or four days in! But see, that’s where things tend to fall apart…

After working all day- maybe a few meetings, or some lesson planning, a quick stop at the gym (ya know, when they’re open because COVID), maybe an errand or two- the last thing I want to do is pack my lunch.

So I don’t.

Instead, I relax. Or catch up with a friend. Or Facetime with my nieces. Maybe do some light cleaning or look over school work. Read a book.

I tell myself that I’ll do it after I eat dinner. Then, I tell myself that I’ll pack it after I clean up from dinner. Nope, after my shower I’ll definitely be ready to pack my lunch. Maybe when I’m done slicing. Yup- slicing first, then lunch packing. Definitely.

Definitely not.

Tidsoptimist…

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I’ve heard the first step to solving a problem is to admit that there is one. That by refusing to acknowledge a problem, you delay solving it.

So, I guess after all this time, it might be finally time for me to admit I do in fact have a problem…

I am a Tidsoptimist.

There. I said it. I’m a Tidsoptimist; a person who is chronically late due to thinking they have more time then they really do.

And I am the worst Tidsoptimist there ever was.

I set ten alarm clocks each morning to make sure I am up on time for work. TEN ALARM CLOCKS. And I’m still usually late (late by my standards, not my contract time of course)…

And if by some miracle I do leave my house on time in the morning, I’m still not going to be as early as I’d like. Like the one morning I left my purse inside my house not once, but twice. Who does that?! Or the time I couldn’t remember if I turned off my hair straightener and had to turn around and drive back to check (like this morning for instance)… It was in fact off in case you were wondering…

I promise I try hard.

But I’m also the Tidsoptimist who believes everything is just a mere twenty minutes away. Deep down I know everything is NOT twenty minutes away and I try to use this as a generalization, but I just keep setting myself up for failure. And tardiness.

Maybe I should use the navigation app on my phone more often…

And my poor friends. It never fails- I feel like a jerk making people wait for me. I’m glad they are forgiving…At least, most of the time.

Unlike Webster’s Dictionary… who refuses to acknowledge the term “Tidsoptimist” in their dictionary. Just flat out rejected it…

I’m guessing the paperwork wasn’t submitted on time.

Along Came A Boy…

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We are a family of girls. An older and a younger sister. Four sweet nieces.

Emersyn. Eisley. Sloane. Sawyer.

Girls are leotards and ballet slippers.
Giant bows and princess crowns…

Girls are books and blocks.
Painted nails and mud pies…

Girls are Fancy Nancy and Peppa Pig.
Giggles and baby dolls.
Living room dance parties and Uno card games…

Girls are sister fights and best friend hugs.
Auntie snuggles and movie nights.
Sweetness with a side of sass (courtesy of their mom)…

We are a family of girls.

Or, we used to be…

Because, finally, along came a boy.

A little boy to join his four big sisters.

Sweet little Corbin.

Excuses, Excuses…

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7:03 P.M.

My phone dinged- alerting me to a new text message. I tapped in my phone password, welcoming the distraction from the school work I was attempting to do. Key word: attempting.

“So, I just decided to attempt the Slice of Life.”

UGH.

I forgot. Or, more likely, I blocked today from my memory. Pushed it down and out of my mind.

I had been on the fence about doing the challenge for the last few weeks since the initial emailed reminders were sent out. “I’m much too busy,” I told myself.

I came up with excuses for weeks. I have nothing new to write about. We have been in a pandemic for a year now- everyday is the same. I don’t like making commitments I can’t (or won’t) keep. This year has been really HARD- no one wants to read about that. I don’t want to write… Or do I?

I committed to no in my mind. I said I wasn’t going to write this year. I was going to skip it; maybe try again next year…

But here I am yet again- deciding to attempt the Slice of Life.

My Emersyn…

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I became an auntie six and a half years ago when my sweet Emersyn entered the world.

Holding her for the first time in my arms absolutely took my breath away. Her precious little fingers wrapped around mine- and my heart.

I have gotten to watch her grow up. Learn to crawl and walk. Her first words. The first time she said “Auntie Sammy” and “I love you.”

Oh. My. Heart.

Emersyn is my cuddle bug. My birthday buddy (May 31st to my June 1st). The first to offer the biggest hugs and squeezes and battle me on who loves who more (I mean, its me for sure, but I let her think she wins)…

She is my book buddy. Oh, how we love our books. Curled up together on the couch reading together- She devours books; never quite getting enough.

Emersyn is the careful sister. The sister who follows the rules (to a fault). Who is quick to let me know when I’m taking care of her and her sisters that I am NOT doing something the way my sister (her mom) does…  (Insert eye roll here)

She can be emotional (she’s like her auntie in that way)- we feel things deeply. And can be a bit fearful of new things unlike her rambunctious sisters who run wild and love trying new things- the crazier the better.

So, when my sister called me today to let me know there had been an accident; a fall from the top of the play gym at my nieces’ school, she was the last one I expected to be hurt.

But she was. She was brave and climbed to the top of the play gym today. She was brave when she fell and hit her arm on the cold, hard ground outside, breaking AND dislocating it in two places.

And now she is bravely sporting her new, pink cast.

My sweet, brave Emersyn.

 

 

Not a Grown Up, Grown Up…

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I am a grown up.

Legally.

I am over eighteen. I can vote. I have a career. A car. A place to live. I pay bills and do my own laundry. I do my own grocery shopping (along with every other “adult” on Sunday mornings)…

But when I look in the mirror, I don’t see a grown up. I still see a frizzy hair girl hiding behind her glasses trying to fit in. Not an adult responsible for her own life.

I’m one of those “grown ups” who is forever looking around for a more grown up, grown up. You know… the REAL grown up:

The grown up who can keep a straight face and scold their junior highers when they make an inappropriate (but hilarious) comment in the middle of class…. My kids know me too well. They know when I’m holding back a laugh. And they egg me on. And I usually give in and laugh with them. I’m starting to think they plan this…

The grown up who has their life in order. One who budgets (and actually sticks to it), follows a schedule, and doesn’t run to Target ten times a week.  Ha. A schedule? I’m forever late…no matter what. I always have the best intentions, but it just doesn’t work out that way- at this point, if I’m actually on time, my friends are shocked. I know its rude and I try so hard. I’m thankful I have patient friends. And Target…that’s just a lost cause.

The grown up who can make their own choices. Seriously though. THIS! Sheesh….I still call my mom to help me make decisions. And when I don’t, I feel slightly guilty. Is this “new grown up” guilt?!

The grown up who has all the answers and knows how to handle problems. I like to hide from my problems… If I can’t see them, then they can’t hurt me, right? Right? RIGHT?

I suppose one day I”ll have to become a real grown up. But until then, I’ll just have to make sure there is a more grown up, grown up close by…

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What’s Up, Push Up!

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My whole life, I have never been able to do a “real” push up. A “man” push up. Ya know the one…

Hands directly placed underneath your shoulders, up on your toes in plank position. Moving down. Then up.

One.

Down again. Then up again.

Two.

Gross. Who really cares about being able to do a “real” push up? I have been perfectly content doing them them “girl” way. The “easy” way. Which never really felt easy.

But for the last few months, I had been working out at a new gym that had opened up not too far from school- a direct stop on the way home.

This gym is small. HIIT workouts are done mixing up running, sprinting, and strength training. Classes are no bigger than fifteen people of all ages and sizes. Most who do push ups the “girl” way, too.

I was in good company. I felt no shame in my push up game.

Until today. This morning I signed up for an early class, because YAY no school today, and headed in.

We started off as usual, on the treadmill warming up and doing endurance runs. Twelve minutes later we moved to the floor- already out of breath with sweat dripping from our faces.

First up, push ups. Like normal, I realllllly stretched out the time it took to wipe away the sweat from my brow, grab my mat, and get into position. Ya know, anything to kill some of the time I was expected to be tortured. Finally, I was ready to go and in position and the teacher, Mary Kate, decides to be all inspirational and crap (ha!) and challenge us to try push ups on our toes today.

Our toes! 

The HARD way!

Ugh. Feeling obligated, I got into position. Hands directly placed beneath my shoulders, up on my toes in plank position.

I moved down. Then up.

One.

Down again. Then up.

Two.

I lasted the whole first set. And the second. And then the third.

Today, I did a “real” push up. The “man” push up.

Ya know the one….

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Teaching and Writing Dreams…

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Growing up, I knew I was going to become a teacher. But that was not the only dream I chased… I also wanted to be a writer. A novelist to be exact.

My younger self would greedily sit at our family computer for hours, fingers flying across the keyboard. Stories just poured from my fingertips; ideas gathered from years  of burying myself in books would come to life, click clacking their way on to my computer screen.

Cozied up in my grandma’s over-loved rocking recliner chair, the world around me just seemed to fade away and I would just type, and type, and type…

Time passed, like it does. And I grew up and got busy. My love for writing slowed down…Shifting from writing stories about adventures and escaping to foreign countries I could only ever dream about, to writing essays about color symbolism in “The Scarlet Letter” and thesis papers about my educational philosophy.

And before long, I was teaching writing. Teaching my kiddos how to write about what they loved, about themselves and their experiences, to be creative and try out their hand with short stories. To choose words thoughtfully and lovingly. To learn how to use language to craftily send a message.

And while I may not be a professional novelist making millions while sitting on New York Time’s Best Seller list, I guess you say I accomplished my dreams- of being both a teacher and a writer.

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My Saturday…

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Most people spend their Saturdays sleeping in…
My Saturday morning began at 4:30 with the shrill alarm of my cell phone going off.

Most people spend their Saturdays taking it slow; after all, there is no work today…
My Saturday was spent at job number two; a shift that began at 6 am.

Most people spend their Saturdays running errands and going to lunch with friends…
My Saturday was spent ringing customers up, placing special orders, and getting yelled at.

Most people spend their Saturday afternoons planning a fun night out…
My Saturday afternoon was spent trying to sneak in a quick cat nap.

Most people spend their Saturday night out with friends and spouses…
My Saturday evening was spent snuggled up on the couch with my cat.

Most people spend will spend their Saturday nights out late…
My Saturday night will end with today’s slice.