This Year for Lent…

I am giving up Facebook. I don’t post much on Facebook, but I scroll and “like” things.

A lot.  Too much.

Why? Because I am nosy.  Yep. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.  While Facebook and other social media can be great outlets to bring awareness to causes and see friends and families on vacations and other positive things, it can also bring out the worst in people.

Or maybe it’s just me.

As I scroll along my feed,  I have noticed that seeing certain people’s pictures or reading “news” articles tend to bring out my judgmental side.  I don’t want to be judgmental and wonder if I have become more judgmental since I started on Facebook. I’m thinking yes. Also, I  get very angry reading articles on the awful things people do to each other and do not want to see pictures of abused animals or children on my feed.  I know evil exists and that God will take care of them, but when I see abuse, especially of a child or animal, I wish HORRIBLE things on the abusers, which is also not very Godly. Shame on me.

Finally, a lot of gossip stems from Facebook posts.  I do not want to be a part of gossip anymore.  I feel that while I have gotten better about it, I still have some work to do.  Every now and again, I still get sucked into “Did you see what she posted on Facebook?” “Wow. What was she wearing?” “Why would she post THAT?”  Who the heck am I to think these things? Shame on me again.

Since Facebook definitely causes me to be un-Godly at times and takes my time away from doing something productive, I am giving it up for Lent, along with my traditional pleasure food – chocolate.  I am also pledging to read and reflect on scripture every day.  That way, maybe I will have the strength and guidance to be a better person – on and off social media. Who knows? Maybe I will not be on Facebook at all anymore after this experience.  Time will tell…

What are you giving up for Lent this year?  What do you hope to get out of it?

Same Color, Different Dress

“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride” – was a phrase I heard and lived for many years.  After being in and attending over 20 weddings by the time I got married, I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted and what I did not want for my husband, myself, my girls, his guys and our guests.

I think our wedding was fabulous and I have never felt so much love from so many people in one room.  It was by far, the greatest day of my life, not only because I was marrying the man of my dreams who has exceeded every expectation I had for a spouse, but because all of the people I loved from my old friends and family to my new friends and family were all together.

I loved planning my wedding, but am certainly not a professional, but there are certain things that I think went extremely well.  Based on my many years as a wedding guest, bridesmaid, maid of honor and of course, bride, here are some thoughts:

1You and your husband should make the decisions.  While we greatly respected our parents’ opinions, what they wanted/suggested, was not always what we did. One of the issues we had early on when planning our wedding was deciding to invite children.  Many of our cousins and close friends had little ones and we had to decide whether or not we should invite them.  In the end, no kids under the age of 13 were in attendance other than our nieces and nephew who were in the wedding.  Our wedding, our choice. Done.

2. Choose a reception venue that lets you walk through their kitchen. I had never thought about this before, but the owner of Perona Farms, where we had our reception, invited us into the kitchen on a day when they were having a wedding.  In other words, it was cooking in action. It was not specially cleaned for our visit. The floors were not greasy, it was extremely clean and there were inspirational signs hanging above from the ceilings reminding the serves to smile and to treat their customers like they were family.   We were sold.

3. Let your bridesmaids choose the style of dress after you choose the color.   We’ve all been there as bridesmaids – feeling horrible uncomfortable in a dress that makes your butt look big or is totally not your style.  It makes for an uncomfortable day to say the least and it shows – in person and in all of the pictures you try and smile sweetly for.   I did not want that for my girls.  My girlfriends are incredible. They are from all different eras in my life and come from all different backgrounds.  My thought was – they are all different as people, so why couldn’t they be different as bridesmaids?  I chose a beautiful royal blue for my color and let the girls try on  different styles so they would be comfortable.  After all, I want them to have fun and feel good about themselves.  My only request was that their dresses were long and to the floor. The girls were very happy that they were able to choose the style and shape that fit their bodies. I also let them choose their shoes.  One of my girls does not ever wear heels and she was relieved when I told her that flats were fine, as long as they were silver.

4 Skip the bouquet and garter toss, especially if most of the crowd is older.  I will never forget my ex-sister-in-law telling me of a wedding she and my brother attended where a heavier, unattractive girl caught the bouquet and the DJ had to practically beg the single guys to come out and catch the garter.  I felt awful for her and I was not even there!  Once I heard that, it was out. No way someone was going to feel badly at my wedding.

5. Enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. My husband and I truly love and enjoy our family and friends and wanted to spend as much time as we could with them on our wedding day. We skipped the traditional cocktail hour with the bridal party and enjoyed it with our guests.  This also made it more comfortable for the dates of those in the bridal party who might not have known many other guests. We did get introduced before dinner which worked out great.

6.  Get the traditional dances out of the way first.   Right after you are announced, go right into the first dance and the dances with the father and mother.  It’s less painful for the guests and the dancing later on does not need to be interrupted.

7.  Play slow music when dinner is served.  There is nothing worse than when guests are asked to be seated for dinner and a great dance tune from the 80s gets played.  I am not going to lie, I have gotten right up from the table to go out and bust a move, much to the dismay of the waiters and waitresses who are trying to serve the food.  Make sure the DJ/band holds the best dance songs before or after the food is served.

8.  Dance! My husband and I enjoyed our wedding to the fullest. We were out dancing with everyone and did not go to the tables until towards the end of the night. Enjoy the party.  Dance to the songs you so meticulously chose! It’s your day!

9.  Step back a moment and take it all in.  This was a piece of advice given to me by several people before I got married and I am glad I took it! Take a minute and stop everything to look around at the people in the room. It is so amazing to see your guests smiling, laughing, dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves.  To know that they were all there for us made my heart swell.

10.  Know that something, inevitably, will not go as planned.  My florist forgot to put the three while calla lilies in my bouquet, there was a major screw up at my hairdresser and cocktail hour had to be held inside since the heat lamps were not working. Even the DJ played a song we specifically asked him not to play. Guess what?  Our day was still perfect for us and all of those little things were just that – little things.  They did not take away from or ruin our day by any means.  Do not let them ruin yours!

 

Should People Without Children Be Compensated For it at Work?

 

What? People who don’t have children should get something more?

Yes. And here’s why.

First, many jobs give paid days off to care for family members who are sick. I can only speak for education, but every district I have ever worked in gave at least five days for Family Illness.  The stipulation is that it had to be someone in your immediate family and/or in your household.  In my last district, we were allowed five Family Illness Days.  That is a full week’s worth of pay.  Many people with children end up taking these days because their children inevitably get sick.  I know numerous colleagues who would take at least three of these days for their children whether they were sick or not (i.e. – for doctor’s appointments or scheduling conflicts with snow days, spring break, to stay home and catch up on grading etc.)

In 20 years in education, I used two Family Illness Days.  I was single for the first 15 years of my career and lived alone.  I had/have no children. Now, I only live with my husband and dog.  Thank God our parents are relatively healthy and I have not had to use them.  But I certainly could have used a day or two off over the years and could not use a Family Illness Day to do so.   The way I figure it, I am owed about 19 weeks vacation or 19 weeks pay.

In addition, we can never use the reason of leaving work early or not staying late due to a child’s game, play, practice, etc.  Therefore, we end up working more and longer than those with children.  It’s just a fact. Here is an example.  A friend of mine  was working as a cashier in a grocery store and was always getting called to come in when others with children would call off or not be able to work a full shift due to illness, practice, lessons and whatnot. I remember her saying that it wasn’t fair that just because she didn’t have kids, it didn’t mean that she didn’t have a life.  I thought it was a bit harsh at first, but she was right.  Whether or not you are single or married, not having kids does not mean that all of your extra time should/could be devoted to work.

Listen, I have been saying for years that the Women’s Lib movement screwed us.  While it’s great we have more choices for careers and more rights, they unknowingly made it more difficult for us to not only raise the children and take care of the house, but also work a full day to survive in this world. Many women struggle with the balance of a  career and family and I truly feel for them.  I think it’s great that more and more companies allow parents to stay home with their children when they are sick. After all, who doesn’t want their mommy when they don’t feel well? But I also think it’s not fair that those of us who do not have children are kind of penalized for it.

We are the ones that get asked to stay late.

We are the ones that are asked to do extra work.

We are the ones they call to come in on the weekends.

We are the ones saving our companies money but not using these days offered to us.

We are the ones who end up complying and doing all of the things asked of us.

Yet we make the same amount as those who are allowed to leave early, stay home, work from home, etc because of their children.

Shouldn’t we somehow be compensated?

 

Go Past David Bowie and Make a Right

David-Bowie1-630x420

 

Like so many, I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of David Bowie.  He was an icon in music and his unique sound and look was unforgettable.

I always liked his music, but honestly, I was not a fanatic.  I loved his “Dancing in the Streets” duet with Mick Jagger and thought he was kind of cute in that video so I started reading more about him (there was no internet back then!) When I saw his looks from the 70s, I was slightly taken aback.  I didn’t realize he was quite so… colorful in his early career.  I decided to block those images out and focus on how he looked in the 80’s. Even now, when I think of David Bowie, I think of him with short blond hair and a long trench coat on his long and lanky body.  That was sort of what he looked like when I saw him in New York City about 15 years ago.

My girlfriends and I were dining at our favorite Italian restaurant in Little Italy happily munching on some crusty Italian bread dipped in olive oil waiting for our Gnocchi Sorrentino when suddenly, my friend Theresa whispered loudly, “Oh my God! It’s David Bowie!” Our eyes widened and suddenly, the food was the last thing on our minds.  We attempted to nonchalantly turn around to see this legend in the flesh without looking too obvious.  Sure enough, there he was. Dressed in white pants and a white flowy shirt that was unbuttoned almost to his naval. He was carrying some shopping bags and appeared to be dining alone.  He looked just like he did in the “Dancing in the Streets” video – tall and slim with short blond hair- with a just a few more wrinkles than he had in the video that was, by then, almost 20 years old.  But he was still totally COOL.

My friends and I did not want to bother him and appear to be tourists (even though we were), so we took another look at him and then went back to our endless conversations about dating, teaching, traveling and all of the other things that single girls talk about. We also talked about celebrities walking around in public and how they must feel comfortable in New York since so many of them live there. We had seen several celebrities before, as has anyone who has spent any amount of time in New York City, can likely attest to.   I remember thinking of Elvis Presley. He could not go anywhere in public without being mobbed by fans, which led to him being quite reclusive in his later years.  We could not imagine living like that. It was pretty nice to see a star as huge as David Bowie shopping and eating lunch in the city, just like a regular person.

My friend had to go to the bathroom and got up to leave the table.  When she returned, I decided to go, and asked her where it was.  Her reply was “Go past David Bowie and make a right down the stairs.” We all started cracking up rather loudly and I got up and started to walk towards him. I didn’t want to be obnoxious but felt like I HAD to say something to him.  But what do you say to DAVID BOWIE?????  I took a deep breath and just as I was about to pass him, I smiled and said, “I don’t mean to bother you, but want you to know I am a big fan.” He looked up, flashed that huge boyish smile and thanked me.  As I walked down the steps to the bathroom, I felt all giddy inside. I talked to David Bowie!

As my friends and I were leaving, we glanced at Bowie, who was now about to also exit the restaurant. People were on their way in and he held the door for them as they entered.  The people looked up and thanked him and then realized just WHO was holding the door for them.  Their eyes widened and they began saying, “Oh man!  David Bowie!  Thank you!” He nodded and slowly walked out the door back onto the street, blending in with the crowd.  He had no body guards, no security guards. It was just him.  Enjoying a day of shopping and lunch in a city he loved. I wonder if he knew how much that city, or rather the people in it, loved him.

Rest in peace, Mr. Bowie.  You gave the world music that will play forever and you gave a few single girls a memory that will always make us smile.

 

I Couldn’t Do It

Fourteen years ago today, I was teaching subjects and predicates to my 5th graders.  I was wearing navy capris and a peach colored short sleeve shirt. I don’t know why I remember that, but I remember certain things every single year on this date and that is one of them.

I was teaching in a trailer and shared it with another teacher named Adrienne. I remember walking around the room, looking over my students’ shoulders when Adrienne came into the trailer and called me over. “A plane hit one of the twin towers.”

I was shocked. “How?”

“They’re not sure. They think it was an accident. I’m going back into the teacher’s room to watch the news.”

I turned back to my class and remembered my father’s words from years ago saying that it was a miracle that no tall buildings in New York were ever hit being so close to Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.  Wow. I hope everyone is okay, I thought, mainly thinking of the people on the plane, not in the building.  Then I realized it was close to 9:00. People were in the buildings.  Questions started flooding my mind. Did the plane tip the building? Did it totally crash into  the building? What could have happened?  My logical mind was playing different scenarios in my head when suddenly, my colleague burst back into the room, her face white with terror.

“Another plane hit the other tower. It’s a terrorist attack.”

My stomach lurched. A feeling of panic engrossed my body. My mind raced. I gasped and again, turned back and looked at my 5th graders, their little heads down, pencils moving as they worked on the practice packet I had given them. I knew most of these kids would go home to an empty house.  What would they think? I assumed they would be very scared and not having an adult at home to comfort or explain things to them could be terrifying to a 10 year-old.  I slowly walked to the front of the room.

“Boys and girls. Put your pencils down.”

My new class looked at me and suddenly, I felt a rush of love for them and a need to protect them – these children I had known less  than two weeks were the future of America. What do I say to them? I did not know many details of what happened, but knew I had to address it.  I looked at their helpless faces, big eyes and told them that something bad had happened and that we were going to put the TV on and watch the news.

I turned on the TV and tried to quickly grasp what had happened.  Both towers had been hit at that point.  The news stations were not yet showing the second plane hitting, an image most of us now have burned in our minds. We saw the towers burning and black smoke coming out of the enormous buildings that were a fixture in New York City.  My students and I watched in silence until one of my boys asked, “What would someone do that?”

Just then, a news camera panned to people on the street who were covered in dust, some bloody, some crying and some with blank stares on their faces.  I thought that might be a little too tramatic for my students to see so I turned it off and attempted to answer the boy’s question.  I told the kids that some people hate Americans.  They hate our freedoms and our way of life. The kids could not understand why anyone would hate us.  We were Americans. We help everyone. Everyone wants to come to our country to live. I also told them about the terrorists’ attempts to knock down the towers. I drew a picture of the towers on the green chalkboard and we talked about how the terrorists were obviously trying to knock the buildings down. We talked about the word “terrorist” and one of the kids asked how many people died.  I honestly told them that I was not sure, but the number would be high. Then one of my girls asked, “Will they try and come to Philipsburg?” Other students seemed to have been wondering the same thing as they looked at me for my response. “No, they will not come here.  The town is way too small and the goal of a terrorist is to inflict fear in as many people as possible.  We are too small for that.” The kids and I seemed to breathe a little easier as that reality set in -we were safe in the school and in the town, but so many in New York and Washington D.C. were not.

The music teacher arrived pushing her cart into the trailer with a worried look on her face and as I gathered my things to go into the school, I told the students I would see them after their class. I remember almost running through the front door and going into the faculty room.  I had to see what was going on.  One of my colleagues looked up at me grimly. “They hit the Pentagon.”

That is when I felt a terror like nothing I have ever felt before or since. I did not know what to do. I ran into the ladies room  and burst into tears, sobbing.  I did not know anyone who worked at the WTC, but as an American, I felt for my people. For people in general. And for my country.  And damn it, I felt terror, exactly what those evil monsters wanted me to feel. I shook off that feeling, angry with myself, not wanting to let them win.

I quickly composed myself and went to the library.  Every teacher I passed knew. I could tell. No one was smiling. Everyone had a solemn look on his/her face. I called my parents who were on vacation in Maryland and also called my brother, who lived one town over from the school.  I had to hear their voices.  I knew they were safe. I knew they were not one of the persons trapped in the buildings or running for their lives, but I had to know they were okay. I teared up thinking many people would never hear the voices of their loved ones again after today. I thought of my three year old nephew and my three month old niece. What kind of world would they grow up in? I remember my father saying that the death toll would be in the thousands. He was right. I then went into the teacher’s room, eager to find out what was happening. I walked into a room full of teachers in dead silence and as I looked up, the first tower fell. We all shrieked and gasped. Some of us had tears in our eyes.  Some sat in silence. I, again, felt fear and then rage.  Pure rage. I watched the coverage until the bell rang and returned to my classroom. I remember  thinking, “What am I going to tell my students? How can I explain this? What the hell is happening?  Are they doing to hit Chicago? LA? Who is doing this? HOW could this have happened?”

I returned to the classroom the music teacher looked at me with sadness in her eyes. She asked me what was going on. I filled her in on what I knew – the Pentagon was hit and one of the towers had fallen. She looked at me as if I was lying.  She could not believe it. Connie slowly shook her head.  “God help us.”

I remember driving home in almost total silence that day.  The only sound was my own sobs and wails of sorrow. My heart hurt. My head hurt. I just wanted to get home.  But I was dog sitting at my parents’ house, so I made the 45 minute drive to Pennsylvania in silence. I could not listen to the radio. I looked up into the picturesque blue sky and could not imagine what the people on the planes went through. Or the people trapped in the towers. Or the people running for their lives.  Or the people jumping out the windows.

I could not listen to the radio for a week, even when the stations started playing music again. I remember all sporting events canceled.  I could not laugh. I could not smile. I could not imagine what the families were going through and felt I needed to do something to help. I had already donated water and food at my local grocery store, which was collecting donations and shipping them to Ground Zero for the workers trying to search for survivors and clean up the rubble left behind.

I felt the need to go to a Navy recruiting station. My father joined the Navy during Vietnam. I wanted to join during this war on terror. I went to the station and was signed up and had a physical scheduled. I then asked the recruiter (who ironically graduated high school with my brother) where she thought I would be placed. She told me that since I had a college degree, they would likely put me in intelligence to learn Arabic and possibly go to Afghanistan and immerse with the people. I couldn’t do it.  I wanted to get revenge for America. I wanted to kill those who wanted to kill Americans. But I wanted to do it from afar.  The thought of walking around in a middle eastern country with possible terrorists scared me.  I chickened out. I couldn’t do it.  I decided that the best thing for me to do was to educate my students, promote a sense of patriotism in my classroom and continue to do patriotic pride events in my school, which I had always done.

I regret my decision every day.  I wish I had the courage to fight for my country. But I didn’t. That is why I am in such awe of veterans and have the utmost respect for all of those who have fought and are still fighting for our great country. Our men and women are still fighting. We cannot and should not forget them while they are overseas or when they come home.  It takes a special person to risk his/her life so that each of us can live the way we do.

Now, 14 years later, my husband and I do what we can to support the military, police, firemen and first responders. But we can never do enough.  Never forget 9/11.  And don’t forget all of those who protect us each and every day. May God bless them all and may God bless America.

I Don’t Know What to Say…

CaringBridge.org

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Today’s post is a little depressing – just warning you. If you live in the Northeast, my mood right now is reflective of the gloomy weather we have been having. Almost a full week of rain is enough to make anyone a little sad. But the sun is coming out in two more days.  Or so the weathermen say…

Have you heard of Caring Bridge?

It’s an online journal for cancer patients so that their families can keep friends and family updated on their loved one’s progress. I have two friends who have Caring Bridge Journals set up for them. Both of them are younger than me. Both are in their 30’s. One was in her 20’s when she was diagnosed. Both now have cancer ravaging through their bodies despite years of chemo, radiation and other medications that are wearing their bodies down. However, these girls have a strength and determination that is unwavering. They are amazing and I admire their strength and courage.

Last night, I was telling my mom about one of my friends and she said, “It’s just not fair.” And it’s not. Cancer is terrible at any age, but when someone who is younger than you gets it, it really hits your heart. My heart is aching for my friends and their families.

Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another. I have lost several family members and friends’ mothers to cancer. My grandfather died of lung cancer at 53. My grandmother died of complications due to Hodgkin’s disease at 59. My dad’s cousin died of lung cancer that spread to her brain. She was 52. Three of my very close friends’ mothers are gone due to this rotten disease. Unfortunately, I could go on and on and on about how cancer has touched me personally.

My sister-in-law had thyroid cancer, but is now considered a “survivor” after almost 10 years of treatments, two surgeries and medication. I know there are more survivors and hope my friends will be added to that list one day.

When I hear that people have cancer, I am sometimes unsure what to say to them and their families. I usually tell them that they are in my thoughts and prayers (which is true) and that seems to be good thing to say, but sometimes I want to say more and am not sure how to do or say it. So I say nothing.  And then I feel guilty.

One of my uncle’s favorite sayings is, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” I keep that in mind when I read the updates on their conditions. And I pray the right words will come out of my mouth to show them my support, love and concern.  Words can mean a lot.  I just need to find the right ones.

 

A Recovering Catholic or an Enlightened One?

Today is the third Sunday of Lent.  Over the past three weeks, I have been to three different churches on a quest to find one that will teach me about the Bible, God’s word and most importantly, to help me to be a better person.

I was raised Catholic, but over the years, I have come to disagree with many of the church’s teachings. For example, I do not agree that the wafer and wine are actually the body and blood of Christ and turn into them because of the powers of the priest. I also do not believe that a priest can absolve me from my sins through confession. Yes, I confess my sins, but I go right to the big man.  He is the only one who can forgive me in my mind.  In addition, I have never felt comfortable with the elitism that is associated with Catholics – that only those who are Catholic can receive Communion. I stopped going to Catholic churches and tried a few other denominations of Christianity.  I did not find any that I really liked, so I just stopped going. And kind of strayed away from religion.

I began praying less often, even though I still felt incredibly blessed.  I was often so tired at night that I would start to pray and then fall asleep. Or, I would start saying the “Our Father” and a million other thoughts came into my mind distracting me.  I would try and clear those thoughts out of my head and start over again and again. Yet, those other thoughts or sleep would always prevail and I would go to bed without thanking God for all He did for me that day.

A few months ago,  I started watching “Duck Dynasty” and my interest in religion and God was reignited.  I liked how none of the family members are cruel to each other, there is no drinking and sexual talk and that every episode ended with a prayer. It got me thinking that I needed to focus more on God.

For Lent this year, I decided to give up something, but to also read more about God and go to church every Sunday. I bought the Duck Dynasty Devotional book which gives a verse from the Bible, an explanation and a prayer each day.  I have also gone to church every Sunday to try and find a religion and place to pray (even though I know God is everywhere).

The first Sunday, I went to a Born Again Christian church with my husband. The first 40 minutes was singing and greeting/talking to other people. The pastor finally read from the Bible and talked about Lent, but I honestly did not learn anything new.  The whole way they did the service was very different from a Catholic church and hearing a loud band singing songs was a little too much for me at this point. However, I am willing to try another Christian church.  My husband’s aunt and uncle are very active in their church and I love talking with them about their beliefs. Plus, they are wonderful people who are truly living their lives according to God’s word.

I went back to a Catholic church last Sunday(to give it one more chance) and listened to a priest saying that Jesus gave priests and bishops the power to forgive people for their sins.  I still feel that only God can forgive you and wonder how a priest making you say 10 “Our Fathers” and 10 “Hail  Mary’s” can absolve you over your sins. In fact, I am not even sure we are supposed to pray to Mary.  So, that experience solidified the fact that I no longer consider myself a Catholic.

Today, I went to a Presbyterian church and really enjoyed it. Plus, I actually learned something! I went at 8:00 and was among only 7 other attendees. It was held in the church’s chapel and was slightly informal.  They did have a later service which the reverend said always has more people.  I ended up speaking with the reverend after the service.  He asked what brought me to the church and I told him that I was raised Catholic, but had a lot of disagreements with the church.  He said that I was one of many “recovering Catholics” that have switched to a different denomination of Christianity. (I also heard that from the pastor at the Christian church I attended.) It makes me wonder – why are there so many “recovering Catholics” and what does that mean?  What is the church trying to do to keep people there?  One thing I do not want to be is a hypocrite, so I will not be going back to a Catholic church, but I do wonder – am I a recovering Catholic or just an enlightened one?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Are you a recovering Catholic?  A devoted Catholic? An enlightened one?

Teachers Get…

Teachers get summers, weekends, holidays and snow days off!

This is a common statement that I have heard for the past 19 years that I have worked in education.  While it is true that teachers get these days off, they also “get” a lot of other things…

Teachers get much smaller salaries than other professionals, even with Master’s Degrees.

Teachers get students who do not speak any English and are expected to bring them up to meet the Common Core State Standards.

Teachers get parents who also do not speak English and getting support from them or even trying to communicate how to reinforce learning at home is a challenge.

Teachers get students who come to school hungry because there is no food in their houses.

Teachers get students who cannot sit still, so they are allowed to stand up and walk around in the middle of class while the teacher is instructing.

Teachers get students who are being abused at home.  Many times, teachers are not even told about the abuse, as it is an issue of confidentiality.

Teachers get students who are on medication.  Some are getting used to their meds, some are overly medicated and then there are the days when a parent forgets to give a child his much-needed medication.  But the teacher is still responsible for dealing with those children no matter what.

Teachers get students of varying ability levels in their rooms.  They might have gifted students in the same class as special education students and they are expected to make three or more assessments for every quiz, test, etc to meet the needs of all students regardless of the range of abilities.

Teachers get students who are classified as special education students and do not always have a special education teacher with them or the teacher is only with them for part of the day.

Teachers get emails from parents questioning their teaching, lessons, and assessments.  Helicopter parents seem to think they know more about education than teachers do. If a child does not get an “A” it is blamed on the teacher.

Teachers get no extra pay for the numerous extra hours they work. There is never overtime and certainly not enough time in the day to teach, plan, grade and prepare in the contracted time.  There is no such thing as an 8 hour day for a teacher.  Nor is there overtime.

Teachers get students with severe behavior and anger issues and end up having to deal with constant disruptions because those students are placed in regular classrooms.

Teachers get no extra money for supplies and end up spending hundreds of dollars each year on things for the classroom.

Teachers get constantly slammed in the press for low test scores.  However, most people don’t get that if students do not come to kindergarten prepared, they are already at a disadvantage.  Schools no longer turn children away who might not be ready.

Finally, and most importantly,

Teachers get how important a child’s education is and despite all of these incredible challenges, they never give up.  One thing is certain – they will always get respect and admiration from me!

50 Years of Being Together!

50th Anniversary Picture

Last weekend, we threw a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party for my in-laws.  As I was planning for the centerpieces and decorations, I found that most craft and party stores had very little for a 50th anniversary party. There were a lot of things for a 25th, but not a 50th.

Fifty years is a long time to do anything, but especially to be with the same person every single day of your life.  Every marriage has ups and downs, but it seems that the key is going through life together.  Together, they endured hardships and pain.  Together, they shared the joys of raising two sons and working hard to make a good life for their family. Together, they created many happy memories with families and friends and together, they have remained.  For fifty years!

I got to thinking…how many people in my generation will get the chance to celebrate 50 years of marriage? Let’s face it. Once a couple marries, there are only two ways to not remain married – divorce or death.

As far as divorce goes, most people in our parents’ generation have stayed married (sometimes for the wrong reasons). The divorce rate is very high in our country and many of the people who are divorced are of my generation.  But I have hope.  I really believe that the fact that many people are getting married when they’re a little older may lead to more lasting marriages. People can get the partying and carousing out early and not want to do it once they are already married.

Getting married in my 30’s was right for me.  No way I was ready to settle down in my 20’s, and I don’t think my husband would have been either. I think you know yourself better as you get older and have a deeper sense of commitment and loyalty.  Many of my friends also got married in their 30’s and their marriages are also going strong.  That is not to say that if you marry young, it will not last, but with everything going on in today’s world, I think people really need to know themselves first and know what they truly want out of life before making a lifetime commitment to another person.

As for the “death” part – luckily, we are living longer and longer which also makes me think that celebrating 50 years is more feasible. With new medical technology and early detection, illnesses are being identified early and cures are more possible.

So, to all the craft and party stores that currently do not have supplies for 50th anniversaries – better get those shelves stocked!  A new generation of golden anniversaries will be coming in the next few decades!!  Get ready!

A Real Adult?

I think I have actually turned into a real adult. It’s true.

On Saturday night, my husband’s friend invited us to go hear him play in his newly formed punk band.  We always try to support our friends, so we decided to go.  Plus, we were curious as to what a 40+ punk band would sound like. As the day went on, I began to feel a sense of dread.  The band was going on at 9:30 and I realized that 9:30 is normally about a half hour before I go to bed.  How the heck was I going to go out to a bar at that time?  Then, I wanted to slap myself. What was I? Old?  How could that thought even enter my head???

As the time grew nearer, I tried to talk myself into how great it would be to go out and hear a band, maybe do a little dancing and have a few drinks.  Yeah! Just like old times! I then went into our room to get dressed and there, at the foot of the bed, were my very comfortable, soft, and warm pajamas.  It was almost as if they were calling to pick them up and put them on and forgo the bar and head straight for the bed.  I  fought the urge to put them on and quickly threw them into the drawer so they were out of my site. They would not win!!

After that little temptation, I went to apply my make up in the bathroom.  As I looked in the mirror (trying to  ignore the ever increasingly deep lines forming between my eyebrows), I felt a yawn coming on.  And then, with one eye adorned with my Ivy Green eyeliner, I yawned.  And my eyes got teary, as they do when you yawn.  I quickly blinked as fast as I could to prevent the eyeliner from running. What was going on? A few years ago, 9:30 would have been EARLY to go out and here I am wanting to put my pajamas on and yawning while I am putting my make up on! This is a disgrace!

And then I realized that I just might be a real adult.  Yes, I’m 40, but never really considered myself to be an actual grown up.  It’s true. After all, I still dance around the house, sing off-key (the only way I know how) and do silly things with or without kids around. Suddenly, my mind began racing at things I have heard myself say over the past few hours/weeks/months which have me learning towards this “real adult” theory brewing. They are as follows:

1.  ” The band goes on at 9:30? That’s almost my bedtime!”

2.   “No, I am wearing a sweater to the bar.  It’s cold out!”

3.   “How can that kid only be wearing a sweatshirt when it’s this cold out!”

4.   “The music today stinks.”

5.  “When I was a kid…(add whatever you used to hear your parents say here)”

6.  “How will that eyebrow piercing look when she’s 55?”

7.   “What time is The Late Show on?  That’s way too late for me.”

8.  “Wow, I remember that song like it was yesterday.” – (listening to a song from my high school years on the “classic rock” station)

9.  “Tell that kid to turn his music down!”

10.  “No, I can’t eat that. It will give me indigestion.”

It’s pretty scary, I will admit, but I am not totally convinced that I am a real adult.   I am still holding onto the fact that I did go out, I did have a drink, I sort of danced (it’s kind of tough to dance to punk unless you are moshing) and we stayed out all night.  Til the next day in fact. Well, technically it was the next day.   Okay, who am I kidding? We were home and in bed by 12:30, but when you think about it,  we were out all night.

Therefore, I must conclude that I am not totally a real adult.  But I’m getting there.  Slowly but surely…MAKE IT STOP!!