Hello, sweetlings! Yes, it has been forever and a day since I made an appearance, have no excuse other than life taking up WAY more hours as of late than anticipated, lol! =) This post is dedicated to my friends at Pine Ridge Reservation, may you all fight the good fight and find peace at long last.

I hate to start this beautiful new year off with a call to action… wait a second, no, I do not, I LOVE IT! This is our country, people, WE the people. Not the few electorates that are abusing their power, the power that we so willingly gave to them to avoid having to make the hard decisions ourselves…

Let’s face it, that is what our government is, a governing body of people who are impassioned, about what we really have no clue, but people who are willing to get up early every morning, be unpopular, make hard and sometimes, even the hardest decisions. For a salary, yes. For power, to be certain. But also to keep Joe Everyman from having to deal with the realities of life under the horrendous​ conditions that untold generations before us led us to today.

No blame, no particular country here… I am an equal opportunity offender today, peeps! Let me continue down this particular rabbit hole, the beauty of the anonymity​ of online discourse is that I will never know if you start to read a post and leave in a disgusted, or amused, huff. =)

A lie passed down by a culture becomes a tradition​. This is NOT to say EVERYTHING is a lie, or every tradition is bad. Breathe, and listen. So, this “lie,” that brown-skinned people are less capable than whites, perhaps, or that homelessness comes from laziness, or that a woman who dresses skimpily deserves to be assaulted, is repeated over and over until it becomes the “truth” for a particular culture. The story justifies the resultant behavior. This is the propaganda​ machine at work. Say anything often enough, loudly enough, and at some point, it changes from ridiculous to TRUTH.

I ask one thing of you, my long-suffering friends. Do NOT be so far removed from critical thinking that you accept the life our government needs us to participate in. Our morals are a LEARNED behavior set, really and for true. I know thinking about difficult matters is, well, difficult. I too would rather eat spicy pumpkin tempura and drink cold beer while playing cards with my friends. But this is MY life, YOUR life, and if we do not allow our voices heard, an elected official will speak​ for us. We still have power, my friends, in numbers. Add your voice to a conversation you support, and do NOT allow the machine to silence you! Change is hard won, but worth the struggle in the end. Are you with me, peeps? I know we are tired, hungry, over-worked, marginalized​, without appropriate​ housing​ or roads, or access to medical care. But we are here, we out-number the 1% by 99%, and if you think we cannot do anything to change the status quo, how about we ALL, every single working class person in the good old US of A, decide NOT to go to work tomorrow? Or the day after? A few days of literally NOTHING opening, working on schedule, or being available is a simple way of becoming visible. I know, sounds so easy, of COURSE there is sacrifice involved. I would be hard-pressed to lose a few days pay as well… but that is not the point. The point is that for all we feel powerless, we STILL have the ability to change things.

It is 2018, and I really hoped that by this time in our history, we would have our collective shite together. But it’s not too late. Please remember​ that you have fight left in you. It isn’t “fair” that we have to fight so long and hard, but we CAN change things if we band together and fight for common goals. I will be in the trenches right along with you, my friends, trying to create a sustainable world for our kid’s kids, and so on. I know I personally will not realize the full rewards of my hard work, but that’s what life is all about. Continuity and passing​ it forward. Much love and respect to you all, my fellow believers in something better to come!

reasons why my ex is not Satan…

It is sad-making as well as appalling the number of women who broil their ex-significant others online, be it in their own space or on any number of social media websites. The irony is that as adults, we all know that once we put things out there, there can be no guarantee or privacy, and while I do understand the therapeutic quality of letting go once and again, am curious to what end these rants accomplish. Is it to feel empowered, to feel safe, or simply one-upmanship?

I am not speaking of people who endured abuse, regardless of situation, but of those who are getting a fair sum of money, support for their children, and in some cases, even a birthday card or two. WHY do humans delight in mudslinging over acts of kindness? In shrieking with laughter at the discomfort of others, when we know how painful discomfort is? Why must the collective WE continue to disappoint, wallowing in the base reactions of humanity instead of finding ways to uplift us all?

I am writing today about my own Hubby-no-More. He will not see this post, so it is not self-serving in this way, but in another, one for just me, and those of you who decide to grab a coffee and read my meager words. I am here to say that despite our differences, discomforts, and even down-right fights, my ex is not the enemy. Sure, he stands for a life wrenched from me, but one I also willingly mentally vacated years before his courage brought us to a sad goodbye. Without further ado, here are a few reasons why he is not Public Enemy #1, Mr. Hyde, Dorian Gray, or any other manner of wretched human being that so many claim to have shared part of a life with.

1. He willingly gives me more, by a good percentage, than the court requires.
2. He pays for ALL of our foxling’s medical care, including insurance, co-pays, therapy, meds, and everything else, literally, leaving me with a 0% liability.
3. He does these things so I can stay in school without working, thereby allowing me to qualify for scholarships not otherwise available to me, as well as allowing me to keep the near-perfect GPA.
4. He encouraged me to re-sign my lease for another year, at an increased cost to himself, in order to give me weekly access to our child, even though said child is almost​ 17 and really couldn’t care less if I resided here or on Mars. =)
5. He responds to my texts usually within 24 hours, even when he pulls a 12-hour​ shift at the hospital. This is better than my school advisor, mother, and several friends. ​
6. His girlfriend invited me over to meet their new kittens, because I do not have any of my own, and we visited all morning without weirdness. Ok, this one really isn’t him per se, but it was his house, and his kittens​, so it counts in my book.

I could go on, but have classes this afternoon, a presentation, and working on an independent research proposal for next spring. My point? I realize many people, both men and women, have an ogre for an ex. BUT… not all of us do. Not every human in possession of a dick is a dick. And for us to air only our dirty laundry instead of our blessings is to perpetuate the stigma surrounding divorce and parenthood under less-than-ideal​ circumstances. I am tired of reading only about the negative, so thought I would​ share some positive vibes. Please chime in if you have something​ to share. Thanks as always for being there, peeps… Have a lovely!

in theory…

So we are aware that I am officially an ED major now, and as such am beginning to realize there are more questions than answers when thinking about education policy and procedure in our fine country… (snort).

Teachers and even professors are bound by myriad rules put in place not to harm but to ensure the leveling of a playing field as crooked as a politician during election season. Unfortunately, plans that often are sublime on paper fail miserably when one adds the imperfect human element to the mix.

SO… there are rules and regulations, and there are humans with many different levels of education and experience interpreting them. Add to the mix each instructor’s input, desires, quirks, and ulterior motives, and one sees it is damn near impossible to actually create any semblance​ of fairness or equitability in a single classroom, let alone when multiplying by each school district times county times state… gulp. A formidable​ task to say the least.

So how does a neophyte address these issues? I have been gleaning small tidbits of how and why to do things based on my own classroom experiences. Sadly, I report that I have more items listed in the “NEVER, EVER DO” column than in the “OOH, GREAT IDEA” one. But it is a start, and we must start somewhere…

One thing I am thinking of doing for “warm-up,” which we have as allocated time for our own resources, is 4 level sentence diagramming. One interesting sentence on the board, from classic literature, pertainings somehow to our daily work. We discuss, and if they write it in their comp book, which I supply, then the next day when we discuss another sentence, I walk around and put smiles or checks on the previous page. Simple way to motivate, and no actual grading. Can be added as points toward final grade, and has the added bonus​ of… wait for it… actually encouraging deeper reading and explication skills!!! In an ENGLISH class!! WOOT! =) =) I am learning it does not take moving mountains, but rather small insights, to create a better and more inclusive classroom. Thoughts by my more illustrious​ betters? Gotta go study not, peeps. Namaste, and thanks for being here. =)

personal responsibility…

Or lack thereof, as it were. I remember growing up and being instructed that for each right we claim, there is an attached responsibility that goes along with it. Yin/Yang, Sun and Moon, falling down and getting up. Opposite forces… get it? =) There was literally NO POINT in which the adults in my life stopped, looked around, and said “Ok, I’m here, now I can rest on my laurels.” Apparently, they were a dying breed and as I gaze at the confusion and pain around me, I realize how few people hold themselves to the standards that were imposed upon my childhood self, and that I happily impose upon myself today.

I will never be the rock resting in the sun, happy in mossy contemplation. Instead, I am a wave, constant motion and planning to get to the next shore. It is not good or bad, it simply IS.

I received an email today from a professor who is too sick over the election results to come to class. Of course, The Fates being the utter bitches that they are, this is after I spent 3 HOURS yesterday preparing for class today. Yes, 3 HOURS!! I did not leave material for the last minute, but you know how those Tues/Thurs lectures go… one can become swamped by a professor’s bright idea. SO… I prepared myself, took the requisite 2 pages annotations (both sides of course), read the book in its entirety,created study questions, entered the day’s work into my “grade book,” created the rubric… list goes on.

Get up this morning, PING… this professor will not be in attendance this morning. I still have to show up, check in with the TA, and then work on the group project. The one we were supposed to start NEXT WEEK. The one that concerns a book none of us has even OPENED, let alone READ. This will be a very productive two hours, I am thinking… sighs in frustration.

This leads me back around to the theme​ of personal responsibility. While I can understand disgust for the electoral process, I do not think this is a reason for him to check out for the day. I pay a LOT of money for this​ “free” education I am getting, and if I need to be prepared, can’t​ we ask the same of someone making $125,000. per annum?

There are approximately a million things on my to-do list before Spring, 2020. That is when I graduate with the double MA and SEC Ed Cert. 3 years and a semester. Half-way there. Perhaps, as a very unmotivated person once whined to me, I should not hold others to my high standard. I argue that perhaps we could all put on our big girl panties and face the day, no matter how daunting the prospect. “Embrace the Suck” for all us ex-military types. “Just Do It” for all you runners out there. You get my drift…

Lest you think I am an unfeeling wench, I CAN sympathize with his plight. I simply cannot afford, mentally or realistically, to take time to grieve for what might have been. I decided to stay up late, work hard, maintain my GPA, contribute to the class in a meaningful way, and accomplish my goals. This, in turn, helps my entire group forge ahead, as we ALL decided to do what we were tasked with. Perhaps discounted college costs are my RIGHT for serving my country. But my RESPONSIBILITY is to show up, do my best, and make something of myself with all those tax dollars I (and you) have invested over the years. I owe it to myself (and my future students) to get the best possible education and be the best instructor I can be. Will​ I have a need for sick days in my future? Of course. I only hope that I choose to use them sparingly, and not on days when my students are counting on me to navigate them thru tricky​ waters of my own creation.

Go be your best today. That may not be your all-time best, but aim for the BEST you can manage​ today. If someone is counting on you, show up. If someone needs you, be present for them. I realize humans learn through trial and error, but we only have one life in our current form. Make today count. If not for yourself, for those around you. We do impact everything around us, like that proverbial butterfly. Go be excellent! The smile on your​ face at the end of the day will be reward enough. If not, treat yourself to some ice cream. “Just Do It” says Nike. I agree.

great things…

I awoke this morning, wrapped in Paul’s arms, a tepid ice pack wedged between us and under my thigh, and his pillow tenting my head… sleepily grinning, I wondered how on earth a confirmed loner such as myself managed to allow herself to be smooshed into 1 square foot of my generously queen-sized bed. And not just allow it, but sort of enjoy it… don’t tell anyone about my humanity and frailty, please. They are closely guarded secrets, as I do much better with getting respect when I act more the automaton, kwim? =)

So I did what I do, made coffee, luxuriated in the precious moments rubbing his back as he kissed my waist, made his sandwich while he got dressed, made the bed while he put the dirties in the hamper. I got him packed into his truck, sneakers and safety vests streaming across the seat, coffee and Gatorade and lunch perched next to him, and ruffled his hair as he grinned down at me. I wondered what small miracle brought this man to my life, and what good deed I had done to keep him here. I thought about how his smile lights up a room, and how I get to see it more days than not. How every time I look at him, my heart grows just a little bit more, and I am fairly certain that it won’t fit in my chest much longer, if he sticks around…

Contemplative, satiated, comfortable. There is no way any school work is getting done any time soon, and I can take this time off knowing this is a treasure, and that come August 29, I will not have the luxury of relaxing-instead-of-schoolwork again until Dec 20, so I am determined to grab these opportunities when they present themselves, she says with authority. =)

I made a coffee, wistfully hoping that my calm demeanor will allow me to drink and enjoy it again. I am thinking about great things today, and want to get my thoughts down before they escape me. Being in possession of girl bits, I am naturally thinking of contributions that other girls have made to our society, or lifestyle, or education. And while this may make some of you cringe, Michelle Obama popped into my head. No matter how one votes, or what one believes in, Michelle is a girl, scratch that, a woman, of a certain age who has done some meaningful things recently that I look at and think “man, I would like to contribute to society like that, in some small way.”

Her Let’s Move! campaign is amazing, crossing the boundaries of gender, economic status, and geographic location to reach ALL of our children, which is no small thing. It is refreshing that all children matter in her campaign, rather than some specific group. Her mentoring programs encourage girls to smash the glass ceiling and ways to overcome the things that hold one back, such as fear. Her support for military families, education, the arts, and her creation of an AmeriCorps program in Chicago are some notable contributions that she has made not only to our country, but to the wellbeing of our younger generations. When I think about her working full time while taking care of her children while her hubby was fulfilling his Senatorial duties, I realize that she has become a role model to me, someone who had opportunity, to be certain, but who has worked tirelessly for decades of her life to live up to the sacrifices her parents made so she could become more…

Greatness comes in all shapes and sizes. This may seem an oxymoron, but one small act of kindness, or purity, or morality can ripple out in untold ways. Just hold open a door for a struggling senior, or smile at a young mother with a crying toddler instead of grimacing, or generously tip the waitress who spilled coffee on your shoe if you doubt the veracity of that statement.

When I began, many years ago, to realize organized religion was not for me, I switched from a religious mindset to a philosophical one. I read many works by the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Confucius, and everything I could find about the Sufi, Shinto, and Taoist traditions. Previously, I had been taught to repay kindnesses to those who had bestowed them upon me. While on my path for self-discovery, I realized that what worked best for me was the opposite, to take what others give me in love, and create something meaningful I can pass on to someone at a later date. I learned to take life’s lessons with grace, even when they were not what I hoped for. I learned to take what I could from my experiences, and create meaningful change in myself, or to simply enjoy the beauty that is given to me. In turn, I want to walk ahead, and do the same thing for others who have a need. I am pretty fantastic just as I am, but I want to be more. I want to be great. =)

What great things have you accomplished, or are working on? What are you most proud of? Conversely, what have you done that was meant to be spectacular, but ended as a spectacular mess? For me, in that category, it would be my relationship with Hubby No More. =) I do not crash and burn often, but when I do, damn, are there some flames! =) Go be your best, be spectacular, be great! Enjoy your day, peeps.. =)

i’m doing this to save me…

Sometimes, the universe listens… I mean, really takes listening to the next level, you know? I have been struggling this summer… well this year, to be precise. Struggling may be too mild a word… think plate tectonics meeting in Hulk fashion… like Pompeii, but more so. Got that hellish picture in your noggin? Yup, welcome to my life since xmas…

Since my divorce (read:since ex walked out on us while sleeping with the girl he made fun of for being gay), I have re-learned to listen to my body. Hell, she knows what she’s talking about, and if I listen to her, things generally go pretty well. But something happened before the holidays to throw me out of whack, and with finals, the next semester, my knee injury, and changing colleges with all the sheer insanity THAT entails, I did not take the time to pay attention to it much. I hesitate to admit… but I self medicated. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, caffeine, OTC sleeping pills… you name it, all the modern fix-it-quick crap one can buy at the grocers. I even stopped drinking my health shake and buying the best probiotic to afford all that crap. My face broke out, my knee got more and more swollen and immobile, and I gained weight. Just, yuck. A total shit-storm of a season, and yet I pushed thru, popping more pain relievers and maintaining that 3.94 GPA. I win, right? Not so much…

What was the catalyst for all this insanity? I thought it was my knee, but realize, belatedly, it was all a stress reaction to the direction my life was taking. To me giving in, if you will, and just doing what I thought was best. Of not living authentically, listening to my newly-grown-back muchness, of being afraid and of feeling like a failure. For some reason, I stopped listening to me, and started paying attention to my doubts, and to the feeling of shame that I am decidedly NOT where I want to be at this point in my life. Reading blogs by you all helped me realize that we ALL have regrets, we ALL struggle, and for the most part, adults are just faking it, doing their best, putting one foot forward in an attempt to reach their destination before they croak. Hmm…

What made me finally remove my head from my ass and take a good and hard look around me was the UTI I got a week ago. I am NOT one to suffer from those type maladies, and “women’s problems” for me have always been only heavy moon times and cramps. What your vajayjay starts acting up, either you have been letting too many people play in the sandbox, or something is out of whack, girlfriend. Taking the antibiotics and changing my diet this week have helped immeasurably. I also have cut WAY down on the coffee, as if I drink more that a cup now, I barf like Linda Blair at a frat party… wtf is THAT all about?! Just so damned out of sync…

My body, my soul, even my girl-bits were trying to tell me something, and I realized it was time to seriously listen. So I have been tidying up here and there, drinking water like its going out of style, reading books and just thinking about everything in general. Times are a-changin’, and I need to get with the program.

I have recently acquired a few more things than I am comfortable with, and am planning on giving the fish tank to my kiddo when they more into the house her dad and his MFEO BGF just bought together… save that discussion for another lifetime. I am sucking it up and getting a kayak rack for the back area, so I can not worry about salt residue, which covers everything no matter how much one scrubs! I am thinking of moving the telly into my bedroom and getting a larger couch and desk for the living room. In short, I am making plans, I am buckling down for the season, and that season is school and grad school. I have a very arduous 4 years ahead of me and want to make my little house in The Big Wood as comfortable and suitable as possible. We always tell our children they need the best tools to do the best job, but always skimp when it comes to our own needs. But since I am going to be working SO HARD to achieve my goals, and enter directly into the PhD/EdD program, I am going to be schooling for the long haul, folks. Time to batten down the hatches, get all the supplies, and set sail…

I have not fully embraced my path until recently, for personal reasons, but suffice it to say that a goodly part of my angst came from the judgement of others. “Uconn is just BETTER than Eastern, you know… Why don’t you leave your kid and partner and just enroll at UH Manoa… Just get a job, already… Wait, you don’t even LIKE kids…” and the list goes on. The derision I have met with as of late is disgusting, plain and simple. BUT… there’s always tomorrow, always a silver lining, always a rainbow. =)

BUT… then I went to the mandated transfer orientation, met my advisor, met a few professors, all of whom have multiple PhD’s as well as teach their classes without the help from TA’s (woot-woot, a rarity in a good school!) I was welcomed, asked to explain further, given a few numbers. I have a mentor, I have my Master’s advisor already, and I am officially networking. Even though we are all different colors, ages, and backgrounds, it seems I may have finally stumbled upon my tribe, thank ALL in the universe that is light and holy. The form is no matter, I have been given that life-force we all need but are afraid to admit to… acceptance. And sweet baby jesus in the manger, does it feel FANTASTIC!

I also am able to verbalize, for the first time ever and in Technicolor, peeps, exactly WHY I am doing the MA and 7-12 Teaching Certification when I eventually want to be a college professor. This is not just a whimsical pitstop in order to secure employment, but I have been struggling with the reason to add another year of school to go down a related but not same career path. It’s because I need to save myself.

Yeah, I know it is a little obvious, maybe a little trite, but I want to step into a severely under-represented and failing system and make meaningful changes so the kids at least have a fighting chance. I have decided to focus my energies on the Board of Indian Education, as well as schools in rural Appalachia. If even one child can escape poverty, teen parenting, or abuse, it will all be worth it. Come on, this cannot shock you, everyone knows how much I love the underdog. =) Idealism appears to be my middle name. Sigh. So I am happily embracing the who and what and why of it, telling any naysayers to fuck themselves (except for ex who pays my rent), and when I can no longer deal with the reality of such a social experiment, will retire exhaustedly to a position at a small college to publish and lick my wounds. Gender and income disparity have always been my sociological interests, so this goes hand in hand with my experience and drive.

And there you have it, peeps. Tish in a nutshell, and tmi, so ops norm. =) Slowly weaning myself off the anti-inflammatories, slowly adding in more raw veggies and long, slow walks to get the knee back up to par. Slowly but surely, I am taking myself back, yet again. I am healing from within, and changes are afoot, big and small, and for the first time in a long time, that is exciting rather than exhausting. Much love to you all, and may whatever you are going through be happy, or at the very least, temporary. Again, many thanks to all of you all who keep it real and allow me to do the same. Namaste!

flannery will get you everywhere, my dear…

Seriously. Flan-cakes has got her shit together in an epic way, and the more I think of her (and Sylvia Plath and Zora Neal and Sandra Cisneros and…), the more I realize how epic these women were. I mean, earth-shatteringly human and flawed, yet in possession of a sense of self that I am only now coming into. To get back to my girl Flan, today one quote of hers is especially buzzing in my ear, in the lilt I imagine her to speak in, being a southern lady of a certain time. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Sigh, irk??!! =) =) The heart of a writer and the deep seated need to converse thru words not uttered but typed is something we can fight against, ignore for a time, but when we are frazzled and unsure of what to do, we have no option but to go back to what our soul knows… that damnably elusive written word.

I also have another of her profound utterances whispering at me, have for days now, and facing it is giving me a bit of stress… “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” As I sit here with my voter registration confirmation letter staring up at me from next to my coffee cup, I am realizing the veracity of that statement, and that as elections creep up, perhaps we need to think about this more than ever before.

As a Veteran, I have complex emotions concerning liberty, faith, duty, honor, and our government in general. But as I watch the fiasco surrounding the candidates swell to ridiculous proportions, I wonder if we can face the truth here, that our country is in serious trouble, our particular brand of democracy is no longer working, and that we are at the brink of damage and division so great that I honestly do not know if we, the general public,   will, or even CAN, get past it and create something worth fighting for. I do not know if we can agree on what is worth fighting for, and even if we can agree, can weight hard enough to win? And who the bloody hell are we fighting anyway? Not people, but ideas and feelings. Pain, hatred, fear, hunger, guilt, jealousy… all the worst of humanity rolled up into one ticking package… and I fear for us all.

So anyway… what wordsmith is your muse, who gets the words flowing in you, who inspires you to become the best version of you there is? Happily awaiting your responses, peeps… talk soon. =)

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