Wednesday, August 12, 2015

After Months In Writing Remission… I'm Back

And so it begins again… another school year ready to kick off and a blog that's grown a bit dusty, sitting idle for months.

Who knew I'd have so little time to devote to writing, ranting and waxing poetic when I retired and launched my great (ad)venture in real estate?

Alright, alright, alright, I'll admit that I've ranted a lot. It just never transferred into actual writing. In fact, most of my ranting has been peppered all along the North Dallas toll road, Interstate 35 and thoroughfares throughout North Texas in general. And, the truth be told, those rants weren't exactly PG fare either.

Such is my life.

So finally after months in writing remission, I'm taking tiny baby blogging steps again, so I'll keep it short.

This was the first summer I spent without attending/working at a high school journalism workshop. Even after I retired from teaching, I still dutifully participated at a summer high school publications workshop.

But not this summer. No siree, Missy.

This summer I boldly declared my independence from all things counterproductive and resigned from the workshop (for reasons better left in the "if-you-can't-say-anything-nice-don't-say-it-at-all category). Instead, I flew off on my first European trip ever–to Italy.

And, sadly (or happily depending upon your perspective), I did not miss the workshop.

No siree, Missy, not one bit.

Such a revelation actually surprised me. In ways I had never realized before, the distance was quite liberating. There is something rather confining and restricting about not letting go, about not letting others step up, about not moving on. Talk about an epiphany.

And then there's something rather remarkable that occurs when distance brings clarity, especially from half a world away. I was sitting with friends at a little Italian cafe waving to school kids whizzing through the piazza on their bicycles as they journeyed home. That experience brought more joy than a summer full of workshops.

I guess you had to be there--or not there--to understand.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Day at the Movies

One of the perks of my (ad)venture in real estate is that I can arrange my own calendar.

Instead of waiting, I can actually go to a matinee and watch a movie when it first comes out and eat a buttery bucket of popcorn for lunch (don't judge me).

Such was the case a few days ago when my husband and I went to see American Sniper, the movie about former Navy Seal Chris Kyle, America's deadliest sniper. 
Chris Kyle visiting MHS in February of 2012

Almost a year prior to this death, Kyle came to Midlothian High School (where I was teaching at the time) to share his experiences and discuss his book at a teacher in-service. Kyle was invited as a guest speaker because he had a special connection to Midlothian. He had once attended MHS and lived in Midlothian with his wife and children. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to meet and thank Chris Kyle and his wife, Taya, that day.

I enjoyed the book and the movie–although the word "enjoyed" seems so ill-fitting and out of place. Both the book and the movie helped put into perspective the sacrifices our soldiers and their families make for us and the toll their tours make. 

Days after seeing American Sniper, the movie still haunts me and leaves me with a sadness that a true American hero is gone. (Kyle was killed Feb. 2, 2013 by a former Marine he was trying to help.) 

As we approach the anniversary of Chris Kyle's death, remember those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Resolutions for 2015

Well, 2015 is just around the corner-- a brand spanking new year filled with hope and new dreams, and, of course, New Year's Resolutions.

I really should give up on that, though. No, not the new year, but those pesky New Year's Resolutions. I went back and perused previous blogs about my resolutions, and I noticed a nasty little trend… None of them made it. None. Zilch. Zippo. Nadda. Zero. Not a blooming one.

Rather discouraging don't you think? Especially since I started a new Pinterest board entitled, "A Better Me."

Jeepers Creepers. It all seems sort of pointless, doesn't it?

But then I was surfing the ol' Internet for some inspirational quotes to include in my chapter newsletter for ADK, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear… Well, no, silly, not the miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, but this quote: "Resolutions are most often empty promises for those who have an abundance of dreams, but refuse to wake up and live them."

Hmmmmm… I don't know that I would call that an inspirational quote. Seems like a much needed kick in the behind by a reindeer or two. So I decided that perhaps that little quote should be my 2015 resolution–To actually wake up and live those promises I make to myself.

In the meantime, though, while I was looking around for inspirational stuff. I found these New Year's resolutions for teachers posted by the Pensive Sloth, another Texas blogger. Wish I could claim these as mine, but alas, they are not… here are two of my favorites…

To see them all, head on over there.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Jeopardy, Being Sentimental & Veterans Day

A few interesting things of note…

#1…A big Woo-Hoo to John Pearson aka Mr. Teacher. A number of you who follow this blog also have been fans of John.

As you may recall, he was the 2013 Teachers Tournament Champion on Jeopardy. He will battle it out on the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions on Monday, November 10. It's on Channel 21 at  6 p.m. in the D/FW area. 

So grab your remote and head on over to watch it and give John your support.

#2…I’ve never been much of a sentimental kind of gal. No siree, Missy, but this week I sold one of my former student's homes in Red Oak, and it was an interesting moment for me. You can read about it by going to my other blog that chronicles my latest (ad)venture.

#3…And finally, don't forget Tuesday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. Make sure you remember those who have served and sacrifice so that we may live free.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Twitter, Hootsuite & Counting Chickens

Twitter, Hootsuite, Analytics, Instagram, Linked In, Blah, Blah, Blah…Circles, Schmerkles… I admit I have no clue as to what and why I need to do whatever it is I'm suppose to do. I just trudge forth blindly. I feel like I'm the Helen Keller in a digital age–except this Helen Keller can't decipher the vocabulary or anything else for that matter.

So I know you will find it rather amusing that when I checked my FaceBook page after a several day absence, I was surprised to see in my notification bar that there were 76 page views of my Get Richie on Oprah and Save the Chicken page. (I bet you didn't even know I had one.)

Of course, I'm thrilled. But I'm also perplexed. I haven't done anything to that page in well over a year, if not two years.

I'm not even sure when the page got 184 likes. When I first created the page, I encouraged, bullied, cajoled everyone I knew to go and like that page. It was rather sad. Let's just say if I hadn't had a soft spot for The Chicken, he'd be running around exactly like a chicken with his… well, I'm sure you get the picture.

So we're back to my conundrum: I try to do something and follow all the instructions for promoting pages and gaining readership, and I got nothin'. Zilch. Zippo. Nadda.

I sit and do nothin', zilch, zippo, nadda… and my page views and likes double.

Hmmmm…  I'd ask you to go and like the Chicken page, but then I might spiral into some sort of negative numbers. Maybe I'll just keep sitting this one out and wait and see if Oprah calls me.

In the meantime, I'll give The Chicken a bit of a reprieve.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

General Observations about Things

Since I launched my ad(venture) in real estate, I have discovered a few unsettling things. Sadly, those things cross over into all professions wrecking all kinds of havoc like Thing 1 and Thing 2. (And you do remember how I feel about Things don't you?)

The following  pithy little comments were true when I was in the classroom and my name badge said "educator."  So raise your hand if you agree and here here we go… 

•Some people (bless their hearts) can make money even if they are dumber than a bag of cat hair.

•The phrase "bless their hearts" is a special code phrase that allows you to say just about anything. For more special sayings, you can go here.

•Some people can make money even if they don't communicate well. I'm not talking about being able to write a dissertation on Dante's Circles of Hell. (And don't you sometimes feel as if you're living there?) No, I'm not expecting a dissertation. No siree, Missy! I'm talking about not returning phone calls, emails, text messages. 

•People lie… a lot… OK, OK, OK so lie is such a harsh word… Let's just say people bend the truth a lot… Or say one thing and then do another thing… Perhaps they are living in a parallel universe where their reality is a little different than mine. Personally, I think the world would be such a better place if people would say what they mean and mean what they say…

I'm just saying…

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

13 years later remembering 9/11

There was a time when I walked through the day in a daze.

There was a time when I couldn't and wouldn't schedule anything on that day.

There was a time when I read vignettes from the 576-page Portraits of Grief book.

There was a time when I stared at the photographs of all the first responders who died that day.

There was a time when I tried to make sense of it all.

And so as we approach the 13th Anniversary of 9/11, I realize that life has crossed over into this day bringing bits and pieces of normalcy where none existed before. There are errands to run, appointments to keep, work to do.

And yet, 13 years later, I still have not forgotten you--each and every one who perished on that day.  I still hear you like ghosts whispering in the wind.

I will always remember you.

I will never forget.