Friday, November 14, 2014

For Tramp

For though your candle has now burned out, your flame will always glow
The love you poured into my heart will never stop to flow
In my darkest times you shared your light and let me feel your love
In my coldest times you warmed my soul, shielding me like a glove

Today is a pain I've never felt, the most heartbreaking of my years
For you consoled me in my darkness, keeping me from tears
But now tears fall without control, more than I knew I had
And I sit in mourning, cold and alone, asking why this hurts so bad

The emptiness I feel right now I know will one day pass
The memories we shared together I pray shall always last
Cause loneliness gets depressing and silence at times feels vacant
Remembering your spirit and positive energy I hope will heal the aching

We said our goodbyes and you left this world, but you'll never leave my heart
Cause friends we are, and always will be, even now that we're apart
You taught me a bond I never knew, one I never shared before
The greatest dog and greatest friend, the best I could ever ask for.

Goodnight, my boy. Love you always.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blog Resurrected

The dust was twelve inches thick when I returned to these ancient ruins. I'm not sure why I came back. I'm not sure if anyone cares.

Regardless, I did some summer cleaning; I tweaked, revised, and altered until this domain was restored to its original operating condition. I'm not sure how long I'll stick around, but I do know I missed this place.

It's extremely possible that nobody is reading this. It's also likely anyone who stumbles here will think to themselves I don't care about this while simultaneously clicking the x in the upper right-hand corner. And that's okay. Because unlike when I first joined the blogosphere - when I thought this site needed a distinct purpose and theme to remain popular, a target audience so to speak - my purpose for returning is singular. My purpose for returning is me.

My brain is much like a pile of magnetic poetry pieces dumped on the kitchen table; it requires thought, reflection, and evaluation in order to transform each isolated thought into something coherent and meaningful. I miss having a place to do that, a place to document what's in my head, frightening as it may be, and possibly hopefully engage in stimulating conversation with others about whatever is on my mind at that given moment. A place to learn, a place to plan, and a place grow. And that's what I want this place to be. Somewhere to share and question and strengthen all parts of me - the part that longs to teach, the part that writes, the part that cries, the part learns, the part that lives.

I finished my first manuscript shortly after I disappeared. I wasn't planning to disappear, but I knew it was taboo to share anything about querying and finding an agent. So I took a break. Then last June, I experienced my first sports-related injury when I sprained the acromioclavicular joint in my right shoulder. So my break was extended while suffering through doctors appointments, specialists, MRIs, X-rays, and physical therapy. It eventually would lead to surgery, and since the rehabilitation process is like an additional part-time job, there wasn't much time to write.

With no apocalypse or rapture occurring last summer, the new school year began and all went back to normal. I started the year working in the emotional support classroom, but in November, unexpectedly received an opportunity to step into a temporary teaching position when a coworker had a baby. For twelve weeks, I was back in my comfort zone, and even though it had been five years since I last taught, it felt like no time had passed. I was back in seventh grade social studies, a position where I previously thrived, determined to make the most of my opportunity. Mother Nature tried her damndest to ruin the experience; the cranky wench made it snow just about every week. When it wasn't snowing, she kept us entertained with frigid cold temperatures, ice storms, and power outages. Needless to say, consistency did not exist.

But I loved every second in that classroom. Even when the heater wasn't working.

My assignment ended in March and I was sent to be an assistant in an autistic support classroom. The days were long compared to teaching, and I quickly realized I needed to devote every second of my free time to becoming a contracted teacher again.

And that brings us up to speed.

It has been a long, daunting summer, one filled with unanswered applications, unsuccessful interviews, and limited opportunities to seek. Having to once again stare failure in the face, I found myself motivated to post. Though the words I type are not capable of changing my situation, I've always found it therapeutic to release them into the universe. It comforts, it heals, and it's a helluva lot cheaper than a shrink.

What else is new?

Not much. I turned thirty. I'm about to turn thirty-one. I joined pinterest. I gained ten pounds since my surgery. I started selling old junk on eBay. I discovered the brilliance of Modern Family. I ate fried alligator. I bought deodorant.

Anyone still with me?

I didn't think so. Still, it's good to be back.

See you soon, friends.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Blogfest

I returned to work this morning after an unexpected 3.5 day sabatical with my buddy influenza (fastest diet in the world, by the way). It's been a great morning; in the process of sanitizing my desk, I knocked a full Venti into my lap, and spent an hour cleaning up the mess. Now, I'm sitting in my office and waiting for my clothes to dry in the Home Ec. room.

While browsing my news feed, I discovered the Top Ten Movie Blogfest being hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. It's been a long time since I participated in one of these blogfests, but I do love movies, and I do love top ten lists. So at the eleventh hour, I'm whipping something up. Enjoy.

My Top Ten Favorite Movies

10. Josh and S.A.M.


9. The Ernest Green Story

8. Freedom Writers

7. Memento

6. Changeling

5. Seven Pounds

4. The Fugitive

3. Forrest Gump

2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

1. Chicago

Honorable Mentions: Babel, Mystic River, The House of Sand and Fog, Social Network, Side Effects, The Number 23, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Shutter Island, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Blind Side, Minority Report, Derailed

What's Yours?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Win A Signed Hardcover of K.M. Walton's EMPTY

Happy New Year!

This weekend I attended the second launch party for YA Author K.M. Walton (her first launch was actually one year ago today). EMPTY hit bookstores on New Year's Day, one year after the release of her debut, CRACKED.

K.M. Walton addresses a packed audience at B&N.
Kate's launch parties are highly anticipated by the crew of Philly Lit Night:
  1. Hundreds of people show up.
  2. There is lots of food.
  3. Kate's a healthy person, so the food includes things in compliance with my "Don't Get Fat Again" diet (excluding the peanut butter cookies, which I may or may not have had five of).
  4. Her speeches are inspiring and motivate action. Kate writes about real issues affecting real people. She doesn't just promote her book; she promotes the cause. 
  5. She gives out free drink tickets.
  6. Kate's an awesome writer and person.
To see a photo recap of Kate's launch, jump over to the blog of Frankie Diane Mallis. While you're there, make fun of her for getting us lost on the way home. Because she gets us lost a lot.

To help celebrate Kate's book, I'm giving away one signed hardcover of EMPTY. To enter, all you need to do is comment on this post, then officially enter through the Rafflecopter widget.

Synopsis for EMPTY (from

Dell is used to disappointment. Ever since her dad left, it’s been one let down after another. But no one—not even her best friend—gets all the pain she’s going through. So Dell hides behind self-deprecating jokes and forced smiles.

Then the one person she trusts betrays her. Dell is beyond devastated. Without anyone to turn to for comfort, her depression and self-loathing spin out of control. But just how far will she go to make all of the heartbreak and name-calling stop?

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. It closes on January 14 at midnight. The winner will be notified and announced on Monday, January 14, and will need to provide his or her address so the prize can be shipped. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ms. Walton herself introduced me to this song. It's a current favorite.

Monday, December 31, 2012

My New Year's Pledge

Happy New Year, friends. In preparation for 2013, many of us spend time reflecting on the past 365 days - evaluating our lives and identifying room for growth. I've always believed this to be a healthy tradition.

I wrote a pledge the other night - it started as a Facebook status, typed during a spurt of insomnia, and has since marinated in my mind. Longtime readers know I struggle with anxiety, an unfortunate condition that surfaced when my life took an unexpected turn down a road littered with bumps, potholes, and hazardous conditions. Because I've always been a planner. And I don't deal well with plans falling apart.

The last four years have been a struggle. I encountered setbacks I never saw coming, and I wasn't prepared to deal with their arrival. Because I had a plan, remember? I was to secure a position I was passionate about, work towards tenure, and complete my advanced credits and professional development. Summers were for traveling; winters were for saving. By 28, my car would be paid off and I would be a homeowner. 

None of that happened.

Sometimes I think people think I want them to feel sorry for me, and that's not the case. I know it's tough out there for many, and I promise, I know I'm blessed in many other ways. But anxiety is an illness that lives a life of its own. It breathes inside of me, and I'm trying my damnedest to cut off its oxygen supply.

The truth is, I want to get better. I want to feel confident and successful and like I'm moving towards accomplishment. I want to feel like what I do makes a difference. I want to feel like I contribute to this world. And that's what I'm working on.

I share this with you for one reason: accountability. Posting my pledge means I can't take it back. I'm forced to work toward these goals and bounce back from setbacks - no matter how difficult it may be at the time. Our fears and insecurities are personal; they show our vulnerability and expose the deepest part of us. They're also difficult to talk about. This is the only way I know how, so I thank you for allowing me to do so. And I very much thank you for listening.

My New Year's Pledge

In 2013, I will not worry.
I will not worry about furloughs, for they are out of my control. Instead, I'll take precautionary measures to ensure myself some comfort.

In 2013, I will not stress.
I will not stress about writing the perfect manuscript; I'll continue working hard and following the path I'm on. My only obligation is doing my best work. The rest will work itself out.

In 2013, I will not entertain fear.
Fear is not tangible; it is a concoction of my own thoughts that prevents me from living. If I can create fear, I can also destroy it.

In 2013, I will not panic.
I will not allow myself to dwell on possibility. I will focus on the situation before me. If I can't fix it or call someone else to fix it, I have to let it go.

In 2013, I will not feel pity.
The past cannot be changed. I will keep my eyes on the direction I want to move in. The path to the future is ahead, not behind.

In 2013, I will not obsess.
Obsessions eat energy. Instead, I'll continue to take care of my mind, body, and spirit, and maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle. 

In 2013, I will not feel shame.
Instead of feeling embarrassed by my circumstances, I will allow myself to learn and grow from every experience - no matter how difficult it may be. I will no longer be ashamed of my professional struggles or view it as a reflection of my ability or intelligence. My life is my life. The right door will open when it's supposed to.

In 2013, I will stop blaming myself.
Blaming myself keeps me stationary. Accepting things for what they are is the only way to move forward. I did nothing wrong. 

And in 2013, I will not worry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ten Questions I Often Ponder

Curiosita: An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.

In his self-help book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael J. Gelb discusses seven principles drawn from an intensive study of man and his methods. Named after the Renaissance man himself, the Seven Da Vincian principles are most helpful when remembered, developed, and applied consistently throughout one's lifetime.

Curisoita, the first principle, means practicing a curious approach to life. As writers, the stories we tell are born from our own curiosities. We question the issues we explore, the journey of our characters, and what messages to share with readers. We question human behavior, the trends we witness, and how society functions. Our innate curiosity leads us to the page.

The following is an excerpt from Gelb's book:

All of us come into the world curious. Curiosita builds upon that natural impulse, the same impulse that let you to turn the last page - the desire to learn more. We've all got it; the challenge is using and developing it for our own benefit.

Great minds ask great questions. The questions that "engage our thought" on a daily basis reflect our life purpose and influence the quality of our lives. By cultivating a Da Vince-like open, questioning frame of mind, we broaden our universe and improve our ability to travel through it.

As a teacher, I strive to instill a value for life-long learning in my students. I want them to continuously acquire knowledge by seeking answers to their questions. This same belief fuels my writing - I want readers to learn from my stories; to gain perspective and look at situations from multiple perspectives. I want them to ask questions that are open-ended and thought-provoking. I want them to think, analyze, and evaluate. I want to keep them curious.

How does curiosity shape our lives? How does it shape our writing and our reading?

I leave you with ten questions I often ponder. Have a great day, folks.

Ten Questions I Often Ponder:

1. Where exactly do the socks go?
2. Would I like being part of a larger, closer family?
3. How long would I last in the Big Brother house?
4. If I were a student at Central High in 1957, how would I feel when my school was integrated?
5. Would my online writing friends like me in real life?
6. How would my life be different if I still lived in Kentucky (or New York)?
7. What would my life be like if I still taught seventh grade social studies?
8. Where is my student teaching portfolio?
9. Do certain people from my past ever think of me?
10. Does my former administration have any idea what I went (and continue to go) through?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Things I Dislike

Oh, Monday, will we ever get along? You are so far from Friday, and yet Friday is so close to Monday.

As a follow-up from Friday, here's a list of things I strongly dislike, in no particular order. Just for fun.

  1. Turnips
  2. Political banter
  3. Public speaking
  4. The common cold
  5. Flying
  6. The number thirteen
  7. Germs
  8. Seniority
  9. Spambots
  10. Traffic 
  11. Losing
  12. The Jersey Shore
  13. Celebrity "authors"
  14. Ironing
  15. Literature reviews
  16. Back to school night
  17. Early mornings
  18. Beans
  19. Uncomfortable shoes
  20. Not finding a parking space
  21. Tori Spelling
  22. Bullying
  23. Snakes
  24. Taking standardized tests
  25. Biting my cheek
  26. Zits
  27. Nepotism
  28. Ke$ha
  29. Salespeople/telemarketers/scams
  30. Wind chimes
  31. Nikki Minaj
  32. ATM fees
  33. Burning the roof of my mouth
  34. Mosquito bites
  35. Commercials
  36. Freezing
  37. When my coffee cup is empty
  38. Avocados
  39. Being judged
  40. Chipping a tooth
  41. Tequila
  42. Furloughs/layoffs/demotions
  43. Borders permanently closing
  44. Rainy days
  45. Water chestnuts
  46. Arrogance
  47. Roller coasters
  48. Theft
  49. When my ears ring
  50. Road rage
  51. Impatience
  52. Not being able to sleep
  53. Animal abuse
  54. Peas
  55. Having to go to bed before I'm ready
  56. Five-day workweeks
  57. Disrespect towards the elderly
  58. Incompetence
  59. The unknown
  60. When my beliefs or opinions are mocked by someone else
What's your number one dislike?