Thursday, September 29, 2011

Words To Live By

For the past few days, we've been working on storyboards at school, making sure that the kiddos have something to work with before we begin a large project involving photos and diagrams and narration and movies. I'm trying to model the process by demonstrating how to fill out a storyboard and coming clean about my strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: organization, multitasking, words. Weaknesses: procrastination, too many things at once, words.

So tonight, while I should have been grading warm-ups, I was putting together a photo book because the Living Social deal that I bought was going to expire tonight. Initially, I thought I would do a book all about the Girls, but that would require thought and time and care and love. Instead, I figured I would make something that I could use in school . . . a book of my favorite quotes accompanied by my favorite photographs. Here are a few that I particularly liked with the photos that I used:


Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else. Judy Garland


Never ruin an apology with an excuse. Benjamin Franklin


I have measured out my life in coffee spoons. T. S. Eliot

We Changed Plans

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A. A. Milne


Nature gave you the face you have at 20, but it is up to you to merit the face you have at 50. Coco Chanel

If Only

Do or do not. There is no try. Yoda

Tonight I should have graded some warm-ups. Instead, I made a book. I answered a dozen or so emails from students who are slightly panicked about their storyboards. I had dinner with my husband. I realized that maybe Buckaroo Banzai had it right after all when he said, "No matter where you go, there you are."
It's almost Friday . . . thankfully, 

*Blerg . . . I couldn't find the photo for the Yoda quote on Flickr. But I love it based on how passionately one of my students lobbied for its inclusion in our class quotationary.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

'Tis His Birthday Tomorrow

And I have no clue what to buy him. Seriously, I don't know what to buy my husband for his 42nd birthday. Thought about buying him the latest Pearl Jam album, but he bought it on the road. I could pick up the latest action figure he's looking for, but it's hit or miss so that could be either tomorrow or next week or next year. Then again, I could buy him a book or a DVD, but he pretty much does that himself. So I have no clue.

Instead, I thought I would tell some secrets about him:
  • Every time there's a Prince song on, he does this little dance that makes me grin from ear to ear. He likes Prince more than any white man with no rhythm should. 
  • He graciously spells words for me because he knows I am a poor speller. In fact, he just spelled "rhythm" for me. 
  • For our first married birthday together, he bravely ate the grapefruit meringue pie I made even though I used whole wheat flour, and it looked like it had bugs in it. 
  • He doesn't really say too much if I spend a day (or two) on the weekend in my pj's grading papers. If we do choose to go someplace, it's with an understanding that I will brush my teeth and hair, but there will be no makeup. 
  • If I need to, he lets me cry on his shoulder and doesn't say anything. It's kind of nice because people really shouldn't say anything when you are crying on their shoulder. 
  • He'll check on the dog just to make sure she's still breathing. 
  • When I get overly invested in a football game, he doesn't shush me or tell me to stop like some people I know (hint: our daughters).
  • If we are on a trip to Philly or New York City and we're walking, he walks with me no matter how far we choose to hoof. I just have to remember to get us to a food cart earlier. 
  • He doesn't tease me about my grey hair and tells me that he likes it. 
  • He's one of the most compassionate people that I know. And he's never forgotten where he comes from or how far we've come. 
  • After 21 years, he still makes me laugh on a daily basis. Sometimes over something that he does like the whole "Cat in a box" idea. Sometimes over nothing at all.
  • On weekend mornings, he lets me put my head on his shoulder and fall asleep there even though he knows I'll leave an ear print or press down on his chest. 
  • He owns everything that Pearl Jam and the Wu Tang Clan have ever released. I'd be hard pressed to tell you what they sing . . . fine, I could tell you some Pearl Jam songs, but the Wu Tang Clan is a mystery. 
  • He's cleaned the bathroom more than I ever have in my entire life. Add to that the laundry. 
  • He reads voraciously and shares what he reads with me. It doesn't matter what he's reading; it all gets shared. 
  • When we are together, he holds my hand in public. 
  • He still calls me "Sweetie" when he leaves me voicemail messages . . . and I save at least one of them when he's on the road in case I don't hear his voice again. 
  • He's provided an excellent example for our Girls for what a husband and a father should be like.
  • He never ends a phone call without saying "I love you" . . . unless there are people in his office, but then he calls right back to tell me when they are gone. 
The Looks I Get
Dave . . . almost at 42
As of tomorrow, he will have celebrated at least one half of all his birthdays with me.  I still don't have a clue what to buy (other than the one small thing I have) for his birthday. In the past, I've given him silly toys or a tickets to a Steelers' game or DVDs or god knows what else. I guess I have 24 hours (ish) to figure it out for this year.

Cheers . . . and I love you, Dave

*Edited: Went with a Steelers sweatshirt that he said he liked a few weeks ago . . . but I cleared it with him first. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Would You Like Fries With That?" - Harder Than You Think

Conversation today at the end of 7th period:
RG: So, ummm, Mrs. G . . . do you work at Wendy's, too?
Me: (completely serious) Yes . . . it's my second job.
RG: Oh. I wasn't sure when I saw you there.
Me: No, sweetie. I was helping out a friend who had a fundraiser. I was kind of surprised to see you there, too.

On Wednesday night, the last thing I wanted to do was be in Wendy's for two hours, asking people what they wanted to drink with their  value meals. My fall allergies were hitting with the force of a Mack truck. My feet hurt from Zumba. I was dead tired from crap sleep for the past three days. But I promised my friend, Jen, that I would help her during a fundraiser she's holding for her annual multiple sclerosis walk . She's been participating in Walk MS for years now and raises the $2,000 over several fundraisers. In the past it's been easier for her to do, but since the economy has taken a nose-dive, charities have been hard hit.

The Wendy's fundraiser meant that a lot of teachers in our district (all of them from one of our high schools) come to Wendy's, put on an apron and name tag, and shadow someone who is working. I figured I would get to see some former students, help out a friend, and have a good time. Seriously, how hard could it be.

They're chili isn't as good as mine . . . but it's pretty darn good

Famous last words. I shadowed Nikki, a woman a year younger that the Girls, for the evening. She was gracious, kind, and patient with me. She didn't get upset when I repeatedly had to ask which was the medium cup and which was the value cup or where the lids for the chili was located. She laughed when I was flustered. She answered all my questions. She was patient with customers who couldn't make up their minds. She was kind when customers weren't. She smiled nonstop. She worked nonstop. She was awesome.

At the end of my two-hour shift, my feet were killing me. There was a Frosty with my name on it, and I was ready to head out. But Nikki still had another five hours to go for her shift. During one of our conversations, she said she thought about being a teacher, but she's pretty sure that she doesn't have the patience for it. So she was thinking that nursing might be for her . . . but most of her friends were doing that, and most people might be expecting her to as well. For now, Nikki is saving money to buy a car because it's a 25 minute walk for her to get to work. College will come after she has the car, and by then she thinks she'll know what she wants to study. Considering I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was 30, I am pretty sure that Nikki will be fine.

Besides, if she can handle the rush at Wendy's with a smile on her face the way she did on Wednesday evening, college will not be a problem for her.

Enjoy the weekend,

PS - I'm loving Kellie Hatcher's color presets . . . check 'em out!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Note To Self . . .

  • you're not 21 any more
  • you never were that coordinated
  • the term "step-ball-chain" still doesn't make sense
  • Shakira has hips that don't lie . . . yours probably do
  • but you can still shake it
First Zumba class after work this afternoon. If you want to see some fun, try Zumbaing with people you work with . . . I'll be sore tomorrow.

A little breathless,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'll Buy More Spoons

Dave has been traveling a lot since shortly after we got back from the Bahamas. The trips usually start on a Monday and end Wednesday or Thursday. Couple that with the beginning of the school year, and the first thing that suffers (besides sleep) is the dishes. I simply don't cook when he isn't here, or if I do, they involve the microwave and something from the frozen food aisle. Seriously . . . why cook for one person when there are so many other alternatives? Don't preach to me about the preservatives or the ingredients or the cost. It doesn't really bother me.

But not having enough silverware does kind of get to me. I might wash the same spoon over and over again when truly it would take about four minutes longer to wash all of them. And yet I persist in my rewashing of the same spoon.

This morning it bit me in the ass. Dave went to pour himself a bowl of cereal. "Is there any milk in either of these two jugs?" he asks. Shit . . . left the empty jugs in the frig again. "Umm. Maybe? Sorry about that." Then a clatter of silverware hitting the sink. "I guess I should have bought milk yesterday," I say to Dave as he sits down. "It's okay. There weren't any clean spoons," he says.


"Lucky I took a photo of that three days ago," was the best I could muster as a response. Guess I need to fix that.

Enjoy the weekend,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sea Change

One of my favorite Beck album's is the under appreciated Sea Change. It's different than his other works with a moody, more introspective sound than his previous endeavors. There's a lack of sampling that you might have come to expect from Odelay or Mellow Gold; even the lyrics are different. I guess I took to this album because when it was released in 2002, I was going through a sea change myself: transitioning from a learner to a teacher*.

If you've noticed that the blog header is different, then I would say that your eye sight is fairly good. Erika has been blogging fairly regularly on her site, so I think it's safe to say that this is a one woman gig over here. That being said, I decided that something new was in order. I toyed with a new blog. Or a Tumblr site. Or just giving it up altogether. But I just decided that a name change was all it would take.

Feeling the Need For Something New
It was supposed to be a hat . . . now it's waiting to figure out its true destiny

So, this is Unraveling This Life . . . a little knitting, a little life, a little photography. Basically anything that strikes my damn fancy. So if you get a whole post that extols the virtues of spending a whole week having only to wash forks and coffee cups, it's pretty much because I wanted to.


* It probably helped that I first heard its amazing single, "Lost Cause," sitting in the student center at ESU studying for my first final in about 11 years. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Family Ink

When I was a kid, the only person I knew who had tattoos was my uncle and godfather. He had the kind that were typical of the mid-60s, the ones that looked like they were done during his stint in the Army or ones that had to do with riding motorcycles. I'm still not sure what most of them were, but you could only see them during the summer when short sleeves were common. Nobody ever really talked about Uncle Gene having tattoos, but you knew that they were there just under the shirt sleeves.

The occasional person had them in college. Usually the story would go something like this. So-and-so was at a party/spring break/visiting a friend at Ohio University. So-and-so had too much to drink, and they got a tattoo of Taz/the Nike symbol/barbed wire. So-and-so claimed to love it, but you never saw the tattoo unless so-and-so had too much to drink and then you had to listen to all the stories about this one time when they were at a party/spring break/visiting a friend at Ohio University they got a tattoo.

But about ten years ago, men started sporting tribal bands on their arms, and women began to flaunt the ubiquitous "tramp stamp" everywhere from New York City to Springfield. During my first year working as an instructional aide, a student teacher had one. She didn't think anyone could see it, but trust me, everyone did. Occasionally, you would see a male teacher with a tattoo on his calf or a female teacher with a heart on her shoulder blade. Most people got them for very personal reasons. "I was turning 40, so I got a tattoo," was one reason. Another, "Divorce kind of sucked."

The Family Ink
They are kind of in order

Getting a tattoo took some amount of deliberation. Personally, I've always liked tattoos. I like the way that the artists can blend the colors on a very unforgiving canvas. They truly are artists,  using a tool that is operating up to 190 hits per second and one that doesn't have an eraser. So what prompted me to get that first tattoo? I was irritated that my brother chose a wedding date the summer after he got engaged  and not the next summer . . . so I got a tattoo. And I didn't tell my mom. And I did it when she was out of the country. In China. The rest have pretty much just flowed from there.

  • The Girls' birth flower (sweet peas) when they left for college. I changed my opinion on having a visible tattoo as a teacher because I wanted the Girls close to me even if other people could see it. 
  • The Frost quote that I've loved since college. I call it my "cheat sheet" . . . as in, "Hey, shitty day, I learned something about life: it goes on."
  • The C in the crook of my arm. My brother died when I was three and he was nine-months old. I despise the day in January. But I got this tattoo to remind me of him, and it's connected to the Girls through the quote. It has made January 28s bearable to say the least. 
  • The joke on my upper arm. My friend Mary and I went to a Kings of Leon concert and got really, really drunk. I sent a few drunk texts to the Girls that involved the words "getting a tattoo," "the Greatest," and "what are you? my mother." Needless to say, I didn't get the tattoo (I was beyond wasted), but I did get it last October in Columbus during a Flickr meet up. 
  • The ball of yarn. Because I could . . . and because the artist I go to in Stroudsburg does amazing detail work . . . and because he could. 
  • The lyrics. Every night, we had the same routine. Read a book in the rocking chair. Sing "You Are My Sunshine." Kiss goodnight. Go to bed. We had this routine for years. And then they started to get too big for the routine. But they make me happy when skies are grey. 
I don't really know why the Girls have the tattoos that they do. All I know is they were at least 18 years of age when they got their tattoos. After their nose piercings, I refused to sign any more body modification forms for them. I didn't want them sitting around with their friends at school, talking about the time that they were bored/tired/depressed, and their mom signed a form for a tattoo. Those stories needed to be all their own.