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Monday, September 23, 2013

Live It Your Way!!

Life is hard enough...without trying to live it on other people's terms.  All my life there have been people who thought they had the right to tell me how I should live my life.  "You should do this."  "You shouldn't do that."  "You should think this, but not that."

No one has the right to make you live their way...unless you're a child who is still learning right from wrong and left from right.

Once you've grown up, then you should be able to make decisions on how you want to live your life.  After all, you will have to live with the consequences. 

I know that sometimes I've been a disappointment to my parents.  I never followed their beat or their path or their dream. I was always content to create my own.

Since my philosphy includes living a life with no regrets, I've always tried to follow my heart and my head.  I haven't broken any rules, but I have bent quite a few. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Football Thoughts

It's finally football season!  Yippee!  Go Broncos! 

I've always liked football.  It's not just about hitting and scoring, but about strategy and timing and so much more.  It's about statistics and strengths and weaknesses. 

It's about rooting for a team and feeling like they're playing for you!  It's not always pretty and not always fair, but neither is life.

Football is real emotion, and certainly can bring it out in its fans!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer is Over!

Bummer!  The summer is over!  It's time to go back to least that's what the homebody part of me is saying.  The other part of me, the teacher me, is excited to begin a new year full of possibilities.  I've been back two days now and have learned about the changes this new year will bring.  It will be interesting to say the least. 

One of the most challenging one will be adding Edmodo (like Facebook for school communities) to my arsenal of tools.  I'm a bit apprehensive about how it will work in the classroom, but can definitely see the benefits, so here I go.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grandmother's Glasses

My grandmother, or Abuelita Tome (short for Tomasa) as we kids used to call her, died when I was 20.  She was my favorite person in the whole world, and the first death of someone close to me.

These were her glasses, one of the few things I have left that reminds me of her.  I think of her often and wonder what she would make of life today.

I wonder what she would think if she could see me today, would she be proud of the woman I've become?  I think so.  I hope so.  She's part of the reason that I am bi-lingual for she mostly spoke Spanish.  She raised a family and owned a bakery with her husband.  She was strong and endured a life I could never understand in a time I've never lived. 

My life, she would never understand, but I know she would have walked it with me if she could have.  It was a hard road with lots of lessons learned, but I finally got to a place in my life where it all makes sense now.  And I couldn't have done it without all those who came before me and the lessons that they taught me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


There is just not enough laughter in the world today.  People seem to be more serious these days, and while there is a time to be serious, there is also a time to laugh.  Not just a giggle, but a true deep down tears rolling down your face it's just too funny laugh that can't be stopped no matter how hard you try. 

I used to share a lot of these with my sister.  One time I remember it hit us at the dinner table one night.  Dinner time was sacred at our house.  Food on the table as soon as my father got home from work, and we all sat down together to discuss the day's events.  One particular evening something said (trying hard, but I can't remember what) really tickled our funny bone, and my sister and I erupted in laughter.  We tried to stop, but couldn't.  Finally my father got so mad that he sent us from the table to the bathroom with the words, "Don't come back until you stop laughing."

Now this really should have frightened us into compliance because my dad (Pop) could be a formidable force.  As we walked into the bathroom still giggling, we looked at each and again tried to stop.  We finally wiped our eyes and stopped (or so we thought.)  We were quiet as mice as we exited the bathroom and made our way to the kitchen.  We stood in the doorway and watched our parents still engaged in dinner stop to look at us.  We had just picked up our feet and crossed the threshold, when that laughter bubbled up inside us again.  We turned and ran into the bathroom again, and out of the corner of my eye caught the sight of my mother start to laugh.

My memory is a bit fuzzy on the rest of the details.  I assume that we eventually returned to finish dinner, and more than likely my father had retired to his bedroom to wash up after a long day at work which was the ritual, but I can't be sure.  It remains a happy memory so nothing significant must have occurred.  And we lived to laugh again.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Soooo...the other morning I was up early and was doing some weeding in the raised beds.  Working in the garden is always therapeutic, but getting it done early before the day gets too hot is always a plus.  My husband had meaning to pull out the carrots, but had forgotten so I did it after the weeding.  And imagine my surprise when I pulled up the odd man...literally.  I couldn't stop giggling.

He says this kind of deformity can happen when you plant your carrots too close together.  Well, it certainly brightened my morning that day.  I couldn't see myself butchering it up for a meal so it's been in the refrigerator awaiting its fate.  Last night I decided that it had served its purpose well by being a conversation piece, but today I would probably shred the carrots for a macaroni salad and to use in garden salads.  Then inspiration hit me, as it usually does late at night.

Inspiration is a must for a teacher.  That's what a teacher's summer is all about - inspiration and catching up on sleep, but mainly inspiration.  We look at the lessons we taught during the year and reflect on the positives and negatives and then look for possible improvements.  We also look around for inspiration on new ways to do things.  The world is constantly moving and changing and so must we as teachers.

My inspiration involved immortalizing this amazing, unique, and downright scary carrot.  Kind of reminds me of Elvis (well, the lower half of Elvis anyway.)  When I told my husband I was going to take a picture of it, he cringed.  "Are you sure you want to do that?" he asked.  I think my response was to just grin.  I don't like to over think things some times...just go with it.

That's what I do in my classroom.  I don't spend a lot of time over-thinking, it won't be productive.  I know some teachers who spend too much time over-thinking and sometimes wind up talking themselves out of good creative lessons.  "What is the kids don't like it? What if they can't do it?  What if?  What if?"  I hate the "What if 's."  I can't plan for all the contingencies.  But I have found that if you have passionate about a lesson, then it comes across to the students and can be contagious.  Besides, if I don't expect much from my students, then that's what I get - not much.

I hold them and myself to pretty high standards and expect the best.  It's just how I roll!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Don't you wish some times that you could read someone's mind?  I bet if I could read Champ's mind, he would be thinking that life is pretty good for him these days.  He's pretty hefty so you know he eats well and doesn't worry about where his next meal is coming from.  He likes to "torpedo" the porch in his, what I like to call, submarine look.  In fact, he pretty much lays wherever he wants.  And he seems to be very confident in his surroundings and doesn't mind taking a cat nap which wasn't always the case.  Yep, he has a pretty good life these days.

I read an article today written by someone wanting to go back in time to change the past and correct mistakes.  I thought to myself......Hmmm.....NOPE!  Living my life was hard enough the first time. Thank you very much!  Besides what would happen to the time continuum if I went back to change one little thing?  All hell would break loose, that's what!  It would start a spiral of unprecedented chaos.  It could erase all the good things that have happened to me along the way.

For example, so I don't marry my cheating first ex-husband, okay.  But then, I don't learn all the things that I learned from that relationship, pain, strength, and recovery.  Let's face it.  We are our experiences.  Our experiences and lessons learned shape us into the person we become.  Besides, if I hadn't had that experience, then I wouldn't have been in the right place to meet my second ex-husband.  He gave me one of my greatest blessings, my oldest son, and I wouldn't have missed that for the world.

Ask Champs, he'd tell you if he could.  All the bad things that happened in his earlier life help him to appreciate just how wonderful it can be.  Yes, life is good now, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Sooooo what happened to the Charlie Brown tree you ask?  All scraggly and anorexic looking?  Well, it has grown up very nicely.  We built a ring around the tree shaped like a bean.  I put potted plants within the ring, and then we ran a drip system to the tree to water it and the plants.  All it needed was a little love and care.

Don't we all just need a little love and care in order to thrive and grow?  I could have given up on the tree.  Actually, I was given the choice.  "We can ripe out the tree and plant a new one," he said.  I couldn't do it.  It had a right to survive.  It had a right to try.  I'm so glad I said no.  Almost immediately it started to do better as if to prove me right.

Giving up is just not in my nature.  It's not the way I was raised.  Sure there have been challenges.  Sure there were times when I just wanted to give up.  My first marriage should have ended sooner than it did, but I was brought up with the ethic that you don't just give up when the going gets rough.  You work at it and give it your all.  You stick with your committment.  Today I think people are too easily giving up when things don't work out the way they think they should.  Sure in the end, the marriage didn't work out, but at least I can say that I tried and gave it my all.  There is no shame in that.

I guess I'm just stubborn that way.  Giving up is actually too easy.  It's being a coward in my eyes.  I was a single parent for most of my life.  So it wasn't always just about me either.  If I had given up, how would that have affected them?  What would I have taught them?     Advice of the day:  sometimes things get hard in life, but don't give up.  You never know when life will turn out just right!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


When we first moved here in the summer of 2011, there was nothing but weeds, especially sticker weeds, on our lot.  Well, except for one little Charlie Brown tree as I liked to refer to it - our barely living Live Oak tree that stood in the front yard.  Two years and a lot of hard work later, we have a beautiful yard with several raised beds for vegetables and a separate pepper garden for my Apache, Serrano, Poblano, Banana, and Jalapeno peppers.  We've planted tomatoes, corn, zucchini, butternut squash, okra, carrots, tomatillos, green beans, cantaloupe, garlic, and onions.

While we had some success with all, some have flourished beyond imagination.  The weather and watering schedule have a lot to do with it.  Last year during the drought we watered more, and the zucchini loved it.  It seemed like I had zucchini growing out my ears.  I couldn't give it away fast enough before it was time to harvest more.  I do have to say that my neighbors love me though.  

This year it is tomatoes.  We planted Beefsteak and Roma tomatoes plus Cherry (pictured) and Grape tomatoes which are a little bigger and more oval than the cherry and sweeter.  They just won't stop producing.  I have started freezing them for the winter.  Yes, you can freeze whole tomatoes.  You won't be able to use them sliced on your hamburger, but you can use them in all cooking dishes.  I spread them out in the freezer on a shelf so that they are not touching.  Once they are frozen, I put them in a zip lock bag.  This way when I need some, I just take out as many as I need.  

Today I have really been a busy little bee.  I worked in the garden some this morning and discovered a whole new crop of peppers and tomatoes that needed to be dealt with.  So my little basket and I collected about two dozen tomatoes and a pound of peppers.  It was time for making my home-made green hot salsa.  Don't ask me for the recipe because there isn't one.  

I cook the old-fashioned way, by sight, smell, and intuition.  I've been doing it for so long that most things come out pretty edible.  I'm always reminding my husband that none of my family or original recipes ever come out the same, and he always answers, "But it's always good!"  

The main ingredients though are tomatoes and which ever peppers I have on hand at the moment, but mostly the Apache, Serrano, and JalapeƱo.  These are put into a pot and boiled quickly and left to stew for a bit.  Then into my blender with fresh garlic and salt.  It's a family thing, and we eat it on almost everything.  It will range from spicy to hot depending on the ratio of peppers I used, but then you just add a bit more on your food.  Gotta be careful though, at my house you want to taste sauce before adding too much.  As my son said recently after dinner one day after a new batch of sauce was made, "Note to self:  one spoon of sauce on each taco is too much!"  I'm still laughing about that one.

Gardening for me is fun.  It is therapeutic.  It is me time.  I put on my ear buds and the song of the day and do the happy dance through the vegetables. 
Advice of the day:  Find whatever it is that makes you want to do a happy dance and make sure that you do it whenever you can!

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Lazy Spell..

Anyone that knows me can tell you that I am not one to let the grass grow under my feet.  In fact, I'm one of those annoying people that eats standing up most of the time.  On my feet and ready to move at a moment's notice.  I'm the ideal multi-tasker and usually have several things going at one time.  Always busy and moving and doing and all within the deadline.

Then three weeks into my summer, I just stopped.  I spent three long days doing nothing really.  Just did not have the energy to do what I normally do as fast as I normally do it.  I found myself doing a task and being so tired that I had to rest which usually included a nap.  One day I napped for two hours.  At one point I thought to myself, I'm acting just like my cats.  Just plain lazy. 

Sure, looking back there were signs, but I missed them - made excuses for them.  Besides, I am woman, hear me roar, and so I'm supposed to keep going and keep everyone around me going.  So I made excuses for the way I was feeling, but the truth of the matter was that I was suffering from Iron-Deficiency Anemia. 

These days I am busy writing every minute I can and trying to take it easy.  And very glad my lazy spell is over.... 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Expect the Unexpected!

So some time around the end of January I got this text from my son:  "Soooo....I kinda have something to tell you.  you're kinda sorta gonna have another grandson..  :)" 

Hmmmmm.....okay...when?  I think this was my reaction. 

What else was I gonna say?  NO?  Too late.  Cry?  Maybe.  Continue to love and support my son?  Definitely.

I've stopped being shocked by life and all the things it throws at me.  At my age, I just go with the flow.  I've also come to expect the unexpected which saves me a lot of heartache.  How does this work?  Just think...if it can go wrong, then it will.  Expect and anticipate and plan for the worse case scenario.  Then if it happens, you're prepared to deal with it.  If it doesn't, well, then you'll be tickled pink!

Well, he was born, and he's beautiful.  So did I expect another grandchild so soon?  Would I have wished my son to have two children at such a young age.  No, but the world didn't explode, and I'm still standing and stronger than ever.  My son has two beautiful boys, and he is a great father.  What else could I ask for?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Reluctant Cat Lady

When my son called the other day from Colorado, his greeting was in the form of "Hey Cat Lady."  I remember denying this, but then I got to thinking.  Just how many cats do you have to own in order to be referred to as a "Cat Lady."

I only have six.  Is that too many?  I've heard the horror stories of fifty or more unhealthy and uncared for cats being found in a home, but I only have six spoiled rotten felines.  Besides, I am too young to be a "Cat Lady."  When I said this to my son, his response was, "Well, you thought you were too young to be a grandmother too."

That's true.  Then I guess age doesn't matter, but in my defense, I will say that three of my cats were kind of rescue situations.  So I should be applauded as a hero!

There are times, I will reluctantly admit, when life gets hectic with six kitties, but they make life so interesting.  My second article which just happens to be about cats has been published.  I have attached the link.

Go read it and have a laugh.  Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yippee! My First Published Article!

A teacher's summer:  attend workshop, reflect on old stuff from last year, plan for the year using scope and sequence using new curriculum, shop for bargain deals to replenish supplies, attend another workshop, shop for new supplies needed for new curriculum, start planning lesson plans for new year overview for new curriculum, etc.....

Yes, this is my summer so far.  Then throw in two step kids and discovering you have iron-deficiency anemia....yes, it's been a busy summer!  Also add in the fact that a requirement of my first workshop was for me to solicit a piece of my writing for publication, and so now I barely have time to breathe.  The piece originally submitted was actually rejected because it was too expository a piece for the web.

However, the bug had bit.  I decided to write a second piece, and it was accepted, and hence the title to this blog entry. 

Now, I'm hooked.  Check out the piece! I'm pretty pleased with it, but I could be a bit biased. 

Let me know what you think.  Thanks! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Better Time

It's been over a year since my last posting, but what a year it has been.  I got married and started a new job.  My son's girlfriend moved in.  Another grandchild has been born.  Our cat family grew two new members, and Sassy Cat is now an indoor cat and loving it as you can tell in the picture.

My life has really changed.  It's what I had wanted - needed, but was afraid of.

Life is always changing.  It's always moving, and you have to move with it or get run over.  Life is funny like that sometimes.  I've heard people say "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."  Well, I think God has a wicked sense of humor.  I'm the clown juggler at the circus with all these balls in the air, and the fates decide to throw me another and another and another.  "Ha!  Let's see how she handles that!"

Yes, life is funny.  Just when you think that you've got it all figured out, a knuckle ball comes out of nowhere to bowl you over.  But it's how you handle these problems that make you who you are.  Well, I am still standing, and I am still here.