Tag Archives: Family

possibly out of character.

I am feeling a little sentimental now.
This usually does happen to me around this time of year… my life never seems to run years from January to January, but instead the beginning of each New Year happens in late August and the end happens sometime around the beginning of June.
(Never mind the month of July that one is just for fun… one whole month of recovery and preparation.)
This happening is naturally because of the fact that I have lived the “School Year Life” since I was 5 years old. I remember being in 5th grade and signing yearbooks on the last day of school. We took photos of our crushes, and our favorite teachers. That is the first time I remember this sentimental feeling beginning in the dreaded season of summer. This feeling became a little intensified each year… with the end of 7th grade being especially emotional. It is comical to think back on now. But, damn. At the time, that day was so terrible. I don”™t really know what the point of being so emotional was, I knew that things would change briefly but not indefinitely.
Fast forward to the end of my freshman year at Cornell… after my room had been packed, good byes had been said, and my parents were already on the road home with the majority of my stuff. I sat in the parking lot sobbing. Did I know that I would see most of these people again? Of course I did. But the change was so overwhelming for me.
A few years later Derek left college. A year later, graduation, and we all left Cornell.
Always happening at the end of my year…
But as it turns out, those celebrations of “out with the old year and in with the new” have not ended terribly. I have not completely lost anything. The important has stood the time and for the less important, there are good stories.
Again, fast forward to the end of my year now… a few things seem a little more permanent. I am leaving my first teaching job. My grandpa is leaving us.
The first of which, leaving my first teaching job, might seem less important… but actually has turned out to have a pretty significant emotional impact. Turns out, I am in love with my students, and I would love to find a way to keep them with me in each school setting that I was in from here on out.
The second of which, my grandpa dying, is not second by importance. It is second by my ability to process the event at this point in time.
Again, happening at the end of my year…
It is interesting to think that both of these things are happening around the same time. My grandpa would understand my sentimental approach to leaving my kids. A long time ago my dad told me that my grandpa knew I would be a good teacher because I reminded him of his mom who was also a school teacher. I hadn’t ever thought about what my grandpa’s thoughts of me being a teacher were, but I do remember thinking that was such a good thing for me to know.
I suppose there is some odd comfort for me in the timing of things at the end of this year.
Or maybe that is just easier to say…


awhile back I complied a list of “fun facts” about me… and apparently out of those 100 some facts, something about my father only got mentioned one time. although I am sure no one was counting… I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of 100 new things that I have learned from my dad…
So, here’s to a guy who always seems to teach a life lesson whether he comes right out and says it or not.

1. always be the bigger person
2. it is your civil duty to vote
3. no matter how bad the situation is, always be honest
4. it is okay to cry like a baby when your heart is broken
5. in fact, you are never too old to cry to your dad
6. lectures really are better than being spanked
7. although I apparently should have been spanked more as a kid
8. things may be rough with your spouse, but the vow of marriage is the most sacred of all
9. you don’t have to be “religious” to have thoughts about life after death
10. family traditions should always be held close to the heart
11. always keep a toothbrush in your car
12. good wine doesn’t have to cost a lot, it just has to taste good to you
13. family vacations should be taken as often as possible
14. sometimes you just have to do things you don’t like
15. to believe in myself unconditionally
16. be passionate about what I believe in
17. education is one of the most valued characteristics in society
18. it is okay to “make statements,” even though you might change your mind about that belief 5 years later
19. always keep a dictionary close, in case you need to “look it up.”
20. never stop believing in Santa
21. sometimes being too emotional can get in the way of logic
22. but, don’t lose touch of those emotions (see number 16)
23. fragranced candles, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, body spray, etc. is truly annoying to some people
24. food is an art
25. life should be enjoyed now
26. there is not a milestone that shouldn’t be acknowledged
27. black should not be worn to funerals, funerals should be a celebration instead
28. time spent with family should be a number one priority
29. chewing bubble gum on airplanes really does help
30. you are never too old to be a “daddy’s girl”
31. birthdays are a time to be truly spoiled
32. high school reunions are overrated
33. you can learn a plethora of new words if you read “Reader’s Digest”
34. people might not hire you because of the ring in your nose… that’s just the way the world works
35. while making homebrew, you should always be drinking a homebrew
36. being too skinny is not pretty
37. there can never be too many oatmeal pies in a cookie jar
38. you should always have a can of spinach in the cabinet
39. nice dress clothes should always be dry cleaned
40. when a good band is playing, the people are celebrating, and the drinks are flowing you should dance until your knees hurt
41. beautiful, expensive cars are not a high priority in life
42. good customer service is expected
43. always honk to say goodbye when you are leaving a visit with family or friends
44. its important to have a realistic outlook on life
45. money is only something we have here in this life… we can’t take it with us
46. passive aggressive is not the best way to handle things, but it can be very funny at times, and often “teaches a lesson”
47. you should buy a souvenir key chain from every city you visit
48. some things really are just better left unsaid
49. it is important to make time for a good book
50. knowing historical facts can be very powerful
51. most movies are worth watching at least once
52. thanksgiving dinner should be a huge production
53. you can get angry with someone and even yell at them, without ever loving them any less
54. starting the day with bacon, eggs, coffee, and the newspaper is very grown up
55. you might fail a few classes/tests along the way, but keep working and you will eventually walk across the stage
56. tequila should be shot… never sipped
57. it is okay to be a little bit conservative on some issues
58. keeping a plant for 35 years, naming it, and nursing it back from the pearly gates of heaven time after time is completely sane
59. if you have the recipe to a great homemade raspberry ice cream you should treasure it like gold
60. a dog really can be a great companion
61. if you truly love someone, engraving their initials in your parent’s basement is rational
62. your dad may love you, but if you end up in jail one nite, he will let you sleep there
63. too much make-up is not natural looking (“do you think anyone really believes that your eyes naturally have that thick black line around them?”)
64. corporate world is very different from the world in which teachers work
65. if the food is really that good, it is worth the price
66. it is not always a good idea to post every intimate detail of your life on the internet
67. going to the doctor should only be in limited instances, the world is filled with hypocandracts
68. Hillary Clinton should not be our next president
69. when faced with a dilemma, life is too short to be wasted deciding what to do… the answer is either, “shit or get off the pot”
70. there is always time for just one more drink
71. when leaving a visit with family, you should always determine when you are going to be visiting with them again
72. saving every boarding pass (even when you fly weekly) will provided for some great discussion one day
73. graciously accepting a compliment with a humble manner can be a very powerful statement of your character
74. celebrating life’s milestones (weddings, graduations, etc.) are only done once and should be done with that mentality
75. being truly open to your children’s lifestyle will create a meaningful relationship for a lifetime
76. Christmas shopping is done best on Christmas Eve
77. a hug is best when one person is lifted off the ground and squeezed so tight its possible breathing stops for a few seconds
78. speeding tickets are inevitable
79. your life story should be told… only after you die
80. a good family man works hard for the money that his wife and kids enjoy
81. everyone should ride a motorcycle at least once in their lifetime
82. money is meant to be earned and then spent
83. the “to-do” lists in life never really get completed… and that’s okay
84. discovering family history can be an overwhelming task, but is very important in keeping your roots
85. the fortunes found in fortune cookies are quite magical when a father reads them to his child
86. Iowa is the Hawkeye state
87. it does not matter what you are wearing when going to visit your baby brother in the hospital for the first time
88. driving with a flat tire, even if it is only for one block, should not be done
89. a good, dark beer can be drank all year long
90. sometimes you really do just have to learn things the hard way
91. although it isn’t a fun task, we all eventually need to take care of our parents someday
92. most things in life should be tried at least once
93. some of the best vacations can be taken in a beat up, “purple-people-eater” pick up truck, with just a tent and a cooler packed in the back
94. Minnesota really is a beautiful state
95. the saying “do as I say, not as I do/did” is very applicable
96. it is a good idea to indulge every now and then
97. the best cure when sick is to get lots of rest
98. a good story teller makes great conversation
99. there should always be peanuts at a baseball game
100. you do not have to have the career title of “teacher” to be a true educator in life.

a few of my favorite things..

alright.. i know that christmas is a time for family, being together, and something about a man named baby jesus..
(or teenage jesus, whatever you prefer..)
and really christmas presents, received or given, should not be the forefront of thought.. but honestly, i am pretty excited about some gifts this year. a few that i received, and a few pretty awesome ones that i gave. here is just a little highlight of the excitement.

favorite gift to give: a bright green teenage mutant ninja turtle hoodie to my brother, vic
favorite gift to buy: craftsman 10-inch portable table saw for derek
favorite gift to make: family picture coasters for mom
most sentimental gift to give: father-daughter dance wedding photo for dad

there were a few favorites of gifts that i received.. i apparently was a pretty good girl this year.

favorite gifts:
a beautiful necklace from derek (wrapped in my favorite blue box),
a laptop from santa (the lid even stays open on its own!),
a (guest) bedroom set from dad,
jeans that really fit from mom,
sushi sets from rhonda and mom (keep your fingers crossed that i can learn how to make it!),
gift cards! (nothing is better than ‘after-chirstmas’ sales).

i felt like a little kid again this year at christmas. what fun..
thank you all..


One of the assignments I gave my students this week was to brainstorm some things they were thankful for, and why. (Naturally this is what an elementary teacher assigns that short week of Thanksgiving!) As they came up with some pretty creative ideas, including “Aunt Julie’s apple pie and the sweater that grandma made,” I was working on my own little list of things I am thankful for and I was reminded not forget the little things.
I am thankful for my health. Working with kids for so long has created this super immunity system in my body and allows me to never have to take a sick day.
I am thankful for Derek. The friendship I have known with him is unlike anything I have every experienced. I am grateful that I have his love, support, laughter, and awesome underwear-flicking abilities.
I am thankful for my family. I am so very lucky to have such a good relationship with both of my parents and my little brother. Although there are times when I wonder if I am not truly obsessed with them, beings how I talk to one of them at least once a day, I have come to realize it is a mutual obsession — and we are all okay with it.
I am thankful for my baby, Ninja. With his warm, 93 pound, body sleeping on my legs at nite, my feet are never cold. Also, the loyalty my dog shows me makes me feel like royalty. How can you not be thankful for a companion that loves you more than his own b-hole?
I am thankful for my wonderful friends. Because of them, I have many great memories (that often turn into ridiculous stories.) With these friends I am reminded that while time does continue to move forward — good friendships always last the distance and change.
I am thankful for food. Lord (and the poor waitress at Chilis) knows that I would be a sobbing wreck without it.
I am thankful for Derek’s family. Although I know they don’t always agree with me, (something about using the “F word” too much!) I am grateful that they have always accepted me and appreciated the love I have for their son/brother.
I am thankful for my education. (And so is Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation — I am providing their Christmas bonus checks this year!) As the psychology of a teacher continues to unfold, I realize more and more how much I love to learn, and I am very grateful that I have the time and ambition to continue.
I am thankful for my students. They continue to enlighten my life every day. I learn so much from each of them, I can’t imagine not doing my job. I mean honestly, who knew that you clean a desk with just a little pee on your shirt?

‘Tis the season for reflection.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Welcome Back.

Summer is officially over… the certified welcome back letter came weeks ago, but I just don’t think I was ready to take it all in. These past few months I have found just how much I really enjoy having the summer season.
Don’t get me wrong…
“Oh being a teacher must be nice… you only work 9 months a year and you get the summer off…”
I don’t have the energy to rebut that statement right now… and honestly I just want to relive a few good memories of the summer “break.”

– I worked all summer with one of my autistic students, and the progress that I saw was incredible. “A” is a student working against incredible odds and I honestly was a little apprehensive at the thought of such an intense one on one schedule with her… but at the end of the 8 week program I found myself a little sad, wanting more one on one time. I will still be working with “A” during the school year, but the bond of working together this summer was unforgettable.

– I was in school… I love school. Call me a nerd. I love learning.

– Auntie Kari arrived. Morgan had her baby! Now, as it was mentioned in a blog before (and clearly everyone knows…) I am a little apprehensive about the idea of pregnancies, babies, etc. But Morgan pulled the whole thing off wonderfully… We laid in the pool every Friday afternoon before Hopelyn was born. (That’s right. Sun Prairie owes me some pool time!) What a good time to be with such a wonderful friend… reminiscing about sleepovers in 5th grade and debating about raising her child.

– Family, family, family. I know it is no surprise… my family loves to be together. And I don’t think I hide the excitement too much either. (Except when State Fair plans are interrupted of course.) We all got together a lot this summer and as always, it was good.

– Derek’s birthday… again, no surprise… I love birthdays! For Derek’s birthday this year I bought tickets to Lollapalooza in Chicago. It would take hours to write about all the fun we had there… and it’s better written on Derek’s site anyway, but the weekend was incredible. Not only did we see great shows and spend time with great friends, but it was all done in my favorite place. I swear someday my husband is going to want us to move to the city…
OASN: If I hear another Gnarls Barkley song again in the next 10 years it will be too soon.

– Beyond music at Lollapalooza is the summer music in general. I am not sure how much information is being disclosed here… but I love Christina Agularia. Love her. And today when I heard her new song followed by “Sexy Back” I knew my summer wasn’t completely over. That’s right angsty teen pop music… you have a spot in my heart.

– Not to ever be forgotten… the Iowa State Fair. This is when I know that summer is really coming to a close. I’m not going to lie… I fucking love the Iowa State Fair. I love all the people I see. I love that there are just some things that have not changed about that fair since I started going 20 years ago. I love the roasted corn, fresh lemonade, and salt water taffy that I get there every year. I love that I pet a kangaroo, goat, cow, donkey, llama, and pony all in one day. And, as lame as it sounds… I love, love, love the butter cow! In my opinion, Newsweek had it all wrong… Vegas comes second to the Iowa State Fair. I mean seriously, Dennis Miller is hilarious… but he is no Duffy working her magic with the butter.

And now back to the fall… school has started again and Mrs. Brooks was back on stage. The year is going to be a good one, and I am very excited for what it will bring. But I can’t help but want to go back to my beloved summer every now and then.