Thursday, May 27, 2010


Ok so the school year is slowly winding down......annnnd there may be a small chance I get to keep my job as one of my co workers is actively seeking other employment. (that would be wonderful btw). I have applied to districts as far away as binghamton and buffalo, and although I dont want to move I am willing to. My alma mater is hiring, which might be a wonderful opportunity, as I love my home town. We'll see, Im being careful to take it one day at a time.

Spring wedding season is in full swing, our first engagement shoot went really well, and there are new pictures up over at the photography blog. I will post one or two here when I get done typing too.

I am so looking forward to summer and life again. School overwhelms me. Next year I am going to limit my after school activities to one or two things.

I am supposed to be writing something interesting for my teacher writers group and publish it on here, but I am having writers block. I think I will just leave you with a few more pictures and call it a day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Proud to present: Miss Lydia Grace Jilly-Floss

Miss Meg and her beautiful baby girl Lydia!

And Kimmy Proving to be much more maternal than she professes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some things that make me smile....

I just adore this picture of smily Miles the last time they were at the house. Such a happy lil bugger......well, this second anyway. :-)
I'm packing up my classroom, which is not a smily moment.... but I do love the stacks and stacks of books and an excuse to go through them all. Summer is creeping in fast and all the wonderful growing things are making me so happy.

I was cleaning off my computer because I have used up all the space, and wound up spending alot of time looking through pictures from my trip to Ireland with my mom and grandmother. Which made me all happy inside. I'm so glad we kept a journal while we were traveling, each taking turns writing in it through the whole time we were there. it really helps to keep the memories alive.

Abbi is getting so pretty as all her winter fur is falling out, she's sleek and beautiful and I just love her.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Teachable moments

My classroom is a not unpleasant mixture of chaos and order. My students sit in various degrees of studiousness as I circle their desks, prodding them into completing some of their work. I push their buttons, they push back. I force them to stretch their limits, they help me to stretch mine. I wiggle my way past the walls they put up, protecting themselves, to become someone that they feel will protect them if need be. They open up, we share, they confide, and with the trust that is built comes their ability to try, their desire to please and their ability to learn from me. They touch my heart, I reach out to them. I give hugs freely, despite the warning to "never, ever touch them". I high-five and fist bump my way through the day, offering condolence with a pat on the back and reassurance with a brush of their shoulder. What if no one else today hugs these kids? What if no one else believes in them? How will they then believe in themselves? What if I am the only smiling face they see today?

If they were to ask me their grades, or to locate a paper on the pig-sty which is my desk I would have to think of some excuse as to why I can’t find it. However, if they were to ask me about literature, life, the world, I would respond with enthusiasm and concern for their overall well-being. Some things I think are more important than others.

I want them to develop of love of reading, or at least not be apathetic to it, at least not hate it. I want them to enjoy the written word, I want them to find pleasure in writing their own words, power in writing. I want them to go out into the real world with some dignity, some assurance that they are prepared to be people. My concern is for the choices that they will make, the rules they will break, and the people whose lives they will have an impact on. I want them to realize that the world is a big, big place, much bigger than where they currently are. I want them to seize opportunities to spread their wings. My hope is they will also know that the world is so small, that what they do has an impact, that where they go matters, that who they leave behind matter too. I want to be remembered as that “teacher who cared”. Even if late in their lives they don’t remember my name, or what I looked like I want to be a part of the conversations that start like: “My high school English teacher…” I want to make a difference in the lives of my students.

Monday, May 17, 2010

We are never beneath private lust...

I am part of a teacher's writing group and as part of that group we are writing stories, memoirs, poems, whatever, each week. This weeks assignment was to take the sentence : We are Never Beneath Private Lust and turn it into a story or run with it in whatever way we see fit. The following is my creative writing piece.

We are never beneath private lust.

“I can’t tell you his name, or the last time I saw him. I certainly cannot tell you where he lives or how I know him. But sometimes when I am alone I think of him, I yearn for him. His eyes are green like a sour apple, intense and bitter too, with flecs of gold that sparkle when he’s angry. He holds contempt for me, and sometimes I think that is why I want him. The intensity of his hatred for me, and the power struggle of convincing him that he still wants me is so intense it’s hard to resist. My breath always catches when I watch him melt into me as I unbutton my shirt, let down his defenses just long enough for me to wiggle my way in again. It’s his inability to hold back when he sees the curve of my body that makes me crazy for him. His visable lust, and the way his breathing becomes uneven and desperate. I know I turn him on, I dress to impress and brush my body against him as he passes. He has strong, broad shoulders and a sexy, square jaw line that taunts me. The urge to run my fingers along his chin is almost impossible to ignore. I know that black, lacy things make him hard, and running my fingernails along his scalp make him close his eyes and force tiny murmurs of pleasure to escape his lips. Is it possible that we always want what we cannot have? Is it possible that humans can never be truly satisfied? Is there always something better out there? Am I always going to push away all the things that could be good in my life?”

Sara stood in the doorway of the dark, musty bar with her two best friends. They were on a mission tonight. Nikki and Kate called it “The Mended Heart Quest” and were giggling together plotting the MHQ festivities of the evening. Sara scanned the bar thoughtfully, Can I really do this tonight? she thought to herself. Kate grabbed her hand, they had already had giant margaritas at the house, and Katie was not great at holding her liquor. Her cheeks were already flushed, and she grinned.

“Buck up little soldier!” She ordered the gloomy Sara. “We are going to have fun tonight! Even if you don’t want to, and if you once mention that dick head Chad, you’re going to answer to me!” Her words slipped a little and Sara rolled her eyes. Katie never swore or said mean things about people unless she’d been drinking.

They were out tonight, for the first time in ages because Sara had finally gotten up the nerve to break up with her long time boyfriend Chad. Nikki was glad. She wasn’t sure why they had finally ended it, but she was glad to have her friend back. Chad was controlling, he had an uncanny ability to break Sara’s spirit and make her feel guilty for having friends. The three girls had dressed to impress and made pitchers of frozen margaritas. Their mission tonight: get Sara back to being Sara.

Sara had been spunky and opinionated, beautiful, passionate and outgoing. Then, late freshman year she mat Chad. Chad was handsome and manipulative, turning Sara into a diminutive version of her former self. He dictated what clothes she wore, when she could see her friends, and how she was allowed to behave. She had even caught him checking her bank statements and email. Nikki and Kate had secretly hated him, and they were not afraid to admit that they were excited for how this break up might positively affect their friend.

Nikki grabbed Sara’s hand. “Let’s get a drink.” She ordered. And try to get you to smile. She thought. Kate cozied up on the other side of Sara. “I’ll get the first round!” Nikki and Sara exchanged looks, Kate never, ever offered to spend her money. Nikki smiled. “Kate? Are you buying? You must be drunk!” Kate just laughed. “Maybe a little.”

The girls squeezed through the crowd and up to the bar. There were so many people there.
Finally, they caught the eye of one of the bar tenders. He was a big guy in a baseball cap. He slipped over to them.
“What can I do for you ladies?” He asked. Looking at Kate, as she had the money out.
“Our friend is having a baaaad day.” Kate announced. “We need something delicious…and PINK!” she smiled, proud of herself.
“Delicious huh?” He looked at the girls and grinned. “Which one of you is having the bad day?” He talked as he began mixing them a drink. It was clear that he was busy, but he was effective and a multitasker.
“Her.” Kate pointed directly at Sara; Sara felt her face flush.
“Here you go,” he handed her a drink and a shot. “Feel better. Cheers.” He held up a shot of his own, tapped his glass to hers and drank. Sara tipped her head back and obliged him with a smile of her own. Success. Thought Nikki, the first smile of the evening. “Shots are on me,” the bartender said. “The rest comes to eight dollars.” He took Kate’s money, shot them a smile and went back to work.
“Oooooh he’s adoreable!” Kate cooed. Nikki affirmed this by giving him a once over. He was tall, and thick, she thought. But, he had beautifully piercing green eyes and broad shoulders. Yeah, he was cute. Sara just smiled and sipped her drink which was both delicious and pink.

It was Kareoke night at the bar. The girls sat on stools watching the action. Nikki had a mischievous thought. “Let’s sing a song!”
Sara groaned. “Are you serious?” Nikki nodded, grabbed both of their hands and dragged them out to the dance floor where the DJ was set up. Sara used to be a performer. She was in the drama club in high school, a member of the college choir, and part of a private acapella group. This was of course before Chad.

“MHQ! MHQ! MHQ!” Chanted the drunk Katie. “We haveta siiiiing!” She cheered, “it’s fun! We’re supposed to have fun!”
Nikki grinned evilly, “See?” She reached for the book of songs. They settled on “Girls just wanna have fun” and went up to the bar for another drink.

“Did I see you ladies signing up to sing me a song?” the bar tender asked, winking, already concocting them something yummy to drink.
“Yup!” Kate answered for them. “It’s gonna be fun!” The bartender smiled at them, handing them their cocktails.
“On me this time girls.” His hand brushed Sara’s as he handed her the cup. “Are you feeling better yet? Hate to see a pretty girl sad.”
“I’m fine, really. My friends are just crazy, they can’t help it.” Her hand lingered next to his for a moment longer than it should have. Nikki cocked an eyebrow at her friend. Maybe this would be easier than she thought. Sara’s cheeks were pink, from drinking or from a cute boy Nikki couldn’t tell, but she was willing to bet the boy had a lot to do with it.

Sara turned away from the bar, and Nikki watched as the bartender’s eyes followed her away. She elbowed Kate, “I think we may be on to something here… check out hot guy watching our little Sara.” Katie looked, obviously staring. “Knock if off guys!” Sara grabbed their hands, “I have to pee, come on.”
In the bathroom they stood before the grimy mirror. Adjusting their outfits and reapplying their lip gloss. Sara was pretty, although it had been a while since anyone had told her so. She stood there with her friends. Arms linked together.
“We are beautiful!” Kate affirmed. She was wearing a low cut black tank top, tiny sparkling barrettes pulling her hair back from her face, she looked young and innocent, and she was. Nikki, several years older than Sara and Kate, had on a plain white T-shirt that made her skin look tan and healthy. Sara wore pink. She loved pink, and how it made her hazel eyes stand out, her dark hair contrasted by its brightness. Sara was just 21, slender but curvy in all the right places. She might have been considered sexy even, if she had more confidence in herself, but her confidence had been long ago smothered by Chad. Sara squared her shoulders and smoothed her hair. “Ready ladies? Lets go get our inner Cindy Lauper on.” Sara smiled, already feeling a little more like herself.

The bar smelled like stale beer and sweat. Bodies were pressed against each other on the dance floor, and Sara noticed that her flip flops stuck to the floor as they walked. It was kind of gross if she thought about it. So she didn’t. Sara snuck a look over to the bar, her eyes found the bar tender, she didn’t even know his name but her belly flipped a little as she watched him work. Nikki noticed her staring. “Come on, we’re up next, you can ogle the bar man later.”

The girls sang, and they danced, liquor making them unashamed and free. Sara caught herself laughing, and hugged her friends. They were truly wonderful and it made her feel warm and fuzzy inside to know that they cared so much about her.

They sat together on bar stools in the corner, sipping their drinks and laughing together. Sara realized that it had been a very long time since she had been out to a bar, or that she had had so much fun. Nikki looked at her friends. Good, she thought, they look happy. She had traveled two hours to make sure that Sara got out of the house. She was not happy with the fact that Sara refused to move out, that she was still living with Chad. They had their separate bedrooms, but still he was so close. It made Nikki nervous to think about how violently angry he got sometimes, and irritable that he would know when she was coming and going and who she was with.

Sara kept checking her cell phone, Nikki supposed it was to see if he had called. “Sara I swear to God if you are texting that creep I will throw your phone in the canal.” Sara smiled sweetly, “Of course Im not Nik, tonight is MHQ, I would never ruin that…” Nikki grabbed for the phone in Sara’s hand. “Gimme it.” She caught Sara’s arm, snatched the phone and dropped it into her own purse. “You can have it back later.” Sara pouted until Katie jumped up excitedly. “Look: the bouncers and the bartenders are going to sing karaoke!”

They assembled. Seven guys, sitting in a line of bar stools and crooning the words to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in low places.” Sara was a sucker for a man who can sing. Nikki and Katie were whispering to each other, watching their friend all but drool over the same hunky bartender that had been serving them all night.
“I will give you ten bucks if you kiss him.” Nikki whispered in Sara’s ear.
“Me too! That’s a twenty dollar bet Sara. Mended heart quest, remember?”

Sara blushed. “No way. Not a chance. I don’t even know his name.”

She looked up at them.
“…oh I’ve got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away, and I’ll be ok…” He caught her watching him and winked. She lowered her gaze. Why not? What would it hurt? She thought, trying to get up the nerve as the song ended. She would have to catch him before he went back behind the bar. He took a long swig of his Miller Lite.
“Ok, get out your money girls!” She took a deep breath and a few steps then looked back over her shoulder. What am I thinking? I can’t do this! But Kate gave her a thumbs up and a smile.
“Go get him Sara!” Nikki encouraged.
Sara walked up to the row of boys courageously, even though it felt like her legs were made of Jell-o and she couldn’t hear over the pounding of her heart. She walked right up to the bartender and positioned herself between his legs, inches from him. She could feel the heat of his breath and feared he could sense her heart beating rapidly.
“Hey,” he smiled. “What’s up?”
“Listen, this is going to sound crazy, but…. My friends bet me twenty bucks I wouldn’t kiss you… I, uh…”
“Well we can’t let you lose that bet.” He interrupted her, his green eyes sparkled with mischief as he reached for her waist, looped a finger through her beltloop, and pulled her closer to him. Sara angled her head and felt his soft lips reach for hers, the warmth of his kissed reached all the way to her core and left her toes tingling. Oh. My. God. She thought, her breath catching in her throat. He reached up and brushed her hair out of her face.

She turned, embarrassed.
“Wait,” he caught her by the hand and tugged her back. “We have to do that again, they weren’t watching.” Had she not been drunk she might have seen this as a line, but she was adamant that she would win the bet and let herself be drawn back into his embrace. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the bouncers look quizzically at them, and high-five each other, but she didn’t care. His lips brushed softly against hers, his tongue moving her lips apart gently and making her heart explode with tiny fireworks. Finally she forced herself to pull away. “Well, that’s the best bet you’ve ever won.” He smiled, squeezed her hand and ducked away amidst the taunting and cat calls of his coworkers. Sara floated back to her seat.

“That was amesome!” Katie beamed. “I cannot believe you did that, and twice!”
Sara started. “What? He said you weren’t watching!” Nikki and Katie laughed. “Oh he’s smooth.” Nikki remarked. “He wanted to kiss you babe. What a perfect ending to the night.”

The girls began to gather their pocket books for the walk home. Sara searched the crowd for a final glimpse of the mysteriously handsome bartender. What would become of this? She thought to herself. Just as she was walking out the door, she caught his eye, held it for a moment and left. Maybe, just maybe MHQ was working, and maybe that boy with his sparkling, green eyes would sweep her off her feet. If not, she mused, no one would know what she would think about in her private dreams.

“I know that all people make mistakes. Its not the mistake part that worries me the most. It’s the moving on part. Its knowing that I can never go back to the way things were, its knowing that there is no such thing as “might have been”. The problem is that sometimes, when I lie in bed with another man, I still want those green eyes to be looking back at me. “

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Everyday is a new day...

Some random things that make me smile today:

  • One of the things that I love most about my job is that each and every time I walk through the door it is a new beginning. Whatever happened yesterday can be erased and we can start over fresh. I can scrap the crummy lesson that didn't quite work and start over, I can change my mind and teach a different short story, or pick a new poem, I can sing sill songs, create and play and engage my students in ways that are unique to my skills and my talents. I have a wonderful career.
  • Yesterday a boy came into my classroom after school and told me that he not only finished reading a book but that he couldn't wait to start reading another one by the same author. (I love moments like these).
  • My baby brother turns 15 today. He's handsome and charming, athletic and smart! (he obviously gets all of those things from me) I am so proud of him and the young man that he is. I cannot believe that the little boy I see in my mind when I think of him has turned into such a cool person.

Monday, May 10, 2010

You gotta bend when the wind blows...

Despite the rather promising interview that I had last Tuesday.... I received a phone call today telling me that I will not be called back for a second interview, and offering zero reasons why I was not in the further consideration for even ONE of their THREE open positions.

This blows.

One of my students handed me a recommendation letter today. It's really sweet.

To whom it may concern,
I regret to be writing this letter for my English teacher Miss W. We will be sad to see her go because she is such a great lady. She goes out of her way to make things not boring, and even stays after school to help us with homework or to explain things I just don't get. She would be a really great employee for your school because she is an energetic teacher who is always in a good mood. She shows us everyday how English can be fun and also useful. Sometimes she takes a whole day to let us read books that are interesting. This helps me to realize that English doesn't have to be all about books that are hard or boring, but that there are authors out there that write things I like. Reading is not horrible, its fun. This is one of the many things that I learned from Miss W. I know that Miss W. cares about me and my accomplishments in her class because she tells me and shows me everyday. Please consider bringing her into your school for an interview, she will be inspiring to your students too!
Thank you,
This at least makes me feel like I am not a total failure at what I do. Now, if only I could make future employers see that.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I heart Teacher Blogs

I love reading other teacher's blogs. Today I stumbled upon this one: The View From Room 309. Here's one of his more recent posts and a poem I'm quickly loving!

Swimming with Sharks 04/30/10
a darkened classroomafter school
on a Friday afternoon
the echoes ofthe students’ voices
silently resound in my head as i sit here
papers are getting graded
grades are being entered
and yet...i feel (as i so often do) that i am swimming
against the tide
being pulled away
from what i find important
being pulled under
by this rip tide current
of red tape and record keeping
when all i want to do
is swim free and play in the waves
of words
and books
and poems
and the creativityof my students
©2010-Art Belliveau

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

When I grow up...

...I want to be a little bit more like my mom. As mother's day approaches I can't help but realize what a fabulous woman my mother is. My mom is my biggest inspiration, my loudest cheerleader, my best friend. When other people tell me that they fear they are turning into their mothers, I can't help but think that should that happen to me, it certainly wouldn't be so bad. (Of course I would have better fashion sense.) My mom gives the absolute, best hugs ever and knows when I really need one. My mother still sends me valentines, and makes sure that I get a visit from the Easter Bunny. I aspire to be more like her. I want to be strong, and stable and able to fix everything like she does...