Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is a friend?

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Do you know the value in a close friend? One there through life’s ups and downs, heart aches and triumphs, and sets a side ones life and time to care for another. That’s my definition, I watched it define itself.

Over the last few years it has been honor to watch such an amazing friendship, one that someday I hope to find. My mom and my “Aunt” June had this incredible, inspiring friendship. I cannot recall the history of their friendship or even when I started calling her Aunt, in the end it does not matter. She was always a part of my growing up years, the title fit.

Aunt June fought multiple cancers in her life time, a Muhammad Ali of sorts. The last few years as age and health compacted with the cancer, my mom’s friendship evolved. Caretaker, nightly “life alert” caller”, chauffeur…most importantly true friend. Countless trips to doctors, treatments, chemotherapy. In any weather, distress, or time. Her calendar reflected two lives, hers and Aunt June’s. During these times, almost nightly phone calls. It didn’t matter that just a few short hours ago they were sitting at radiation or chemo together, mom called to check in and they talked. And talked. If I called in the evening and the line rang endlessly, I knew the two were catching up. Mere hours since their last conversation and still they shared.

What my mom did the last few years is amazing. Her friend needed her beyond trips to the mall or the latest movie. She needed time; precious, endless time. Perhaps and ideally, my mom did too. Their friendship is an inspirational mix of gratitude and unselfishness. Laughter and tears. Heartache and joy. And deep love.

This time, their time together, has come to an end.

Their testament of devotion carries on in each who watched these two giggle through the good days and support through the tough days. Someday, should life grant me such an honorable friend, I’ll never let go, never give up. I know how to, because I watched the true definition of friendship grow and write itself.

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3 years and still so much to say

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Received a text that today is small town jules’ 3 year anniversary! (insert silly string and party streamers here)

Wow.  Three years, 168 posts, 18,122 views, views from over 20 different countries…and still so much to say.

Slacker is a good place to start.  Prior to this school year. Monday was blogging night.  Kids all snug as bugs, hubby away for guy time, a cup of tea and words would flow.  Mondays are now filled with trying to bolster up support for a local twitter chat I created.  The fast flying half hour often leaves cramped hands and a dull brain.

So with my educational PLN knocking at the 8:30 door, I’ll sign off with a thank you for the support and a plea to not give up on small town jules.

Words haven’t left me.  And I hope you won’t either.

Those Doggone Days

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Those Doggone Days

Revelation.  That’s what I’m calling it.  It did not come easy.  Probably years in the making, but this week, it hit me like a fly on poop on a smoldering summer day.

I am meant to be a dog.

Realization #1 – A dog’s uncanny ability to soak up the warmth of a single sunbeam and nap for hours.  Not a care in the world.  The way life should be.

#2 – When it comes to doing “duty”, a dog knows how to pick the perfect spot.  Circling around the yard for what seems like hours until he finds the spot.  Not there.  Or there.  Or even way over there by his lucky tree.  But this spot right here, it’s perfect.  How many times is the stall, our favorite deposit location, taken?  Or the conditions are not “right”?  I think Goldilocks had it right.  Maybe she was a dog in another life.  Can we afford the luxury of roaming around, “sniffing” out a perfect spot?

#3 – Having a master, owner, parent (whatever you want to call it) to prepare the food, lead on long leisurely walks, brush out snarls, give a relaxing belly rub, and play fetch with once in a while.  If only each day I could curl up in a snuggly ball and snooze away the work day awaiting the return of my food, entertainment, and belly rub source.

#4 – A dog’s perfect ability to see snow as a source of food and fun.  Rain puddles as personal splash pads.  And falling leaves as time for frolic and play.  Back to the simpler times.

#5 – When life gets tough, the noise level too loud, or things are not going right, find a quiet, hidden “cave” to stow away until life eases up.  Yes there are days where I just want to curl up under a table, hide my eyes with long silky ears, and just sleep away the hustle.

#6 – When all else fails and bored as heck, chase the tail around until instant collapse happens.  If I could see my backside and chase it, I am pretty sure I would fall over from hysterical laughter or the result of an injury.  Probably both.  But the idea is that it looks so entertaining!

Clearly a dog’s life is the life for me.  Until then if you see me circling around, I’m either looking for a ray of sunshine to park my butt, chasing my tail for lack of other entertainment, or prepping to find the perfect unload station.  Forewarned.

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Blogging Disease

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It has spread.  Middle E has caught it.  If she had her own computer, almost daily posts would fly off her hunt and peck keyboard.  She scrawls letters, notes, stories on any writable surface.  If she paid me, I could retire and just be her secretary.  Yes there is enough content to sustain at least a month’s work.

She is also using her new writing skills to teach me.  A note from last weekend, “Mom we dont want too cleen any more.  It is a boor.  We do no more. Love E”  Translation from 6-year-old language, “Mom we don’t want to clean anymore.  It is a bore.  We will do no more. Love E”  Ugh, my first grader is a rhyming genius.  I KNOW cleaning is boring.  That’s why you kids were supposed to do it!  Of course I didn’t say that.  Instead I agreed.  Popcorn and a movie are better. Much better.

Sometimes she types, sometimes her secretary does.  We always sit together to proof before we hit publish.  Sometimes she does not “catch” all the errors, but those wrong word choices are what make each piece special.  The young spirit has specific plans for pictures and let’s me know how the post should look.  From the published pieces, I see growth.  This weekend we talked about post ideas and topics.  Her eyes lit up, she giggled and disappeared for an hour.  Later her notebook appeared, a few additional pieces and another series of ideas.

In Kindergarten she earned the nickname Speedy Z.  I still do not have the full story on this, but whatever the story, the name fits.  She spent time pouring over the available backgrounds and fonts.  Upon making her final choice, it was title time.  Again she thought about it and did not appreciate any of my suggestions.  What’s wrong with Middle E?  Or A Kid with a Blog?  After a few minutes of doodling, she raced in and said “what about Speedy Z’s Blog?”  Nailed it!

She is a feisty little giggle monster who has a lot to say.  In writing and in life.  What is next?  No idea, I’m just on her bandwagon and cheering her along the way.

I hesitated sharing her blog for many reasons.  It came down to a little girl wondering why she did not have any comments or questioning why no one wrote her back.  She wants readers.  Will you follow?  http://speedyzblog.wordpress.com/

Can I keep up with her posts is my next worry.

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Parent Conferences

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It is six weeks into the school year.  Do you know what time it is?  For our school, it is finishing up fall sports and round one of parent – teacher conferences.

As a parent, conferences are stressful.  Is my kid performing up to grade level?  What is the reading level?  Does he have friends?  Is she getting her name on the board?  I am a parent and an educator, I worry and fret about my childrens’ future.  They may not be valedictorians or AP bound or honor roll candidates, but I do want them to perform their best.  As I tell our oldest, “I want you to be the best M you can be”.

When conferences roll around and the hubs and I are waiting on tiny hard plastic chairs, my skin begins to tingle, I get a little sweaty, and my leg begins a trembling bounce.  I feel like I’m about to walk into the principal’s office!  Do I have a reason to have a mild panic attack?  No, we have good kids, but my body automatically initiates mid range panic whether I press the button or not.  My hubby gets a little annoyed and uses his counselor ways to calm my nerves.  Well he tries.

This year I approached conferences from the educator side walking in my parent shoes. Perhaps parents walking through my doors are experiencing similar levels of panic, anxiety, and nervousness.  Maybe just before stepping into the school, they  also secretly wish for calming spirits to wash over them.

For day one of parent meetings, I aimed to walk in parent’s shoes.  What would I want to hear first?  How can I best accentuate the positives and calm the areas of needs?

I went to my daily Young Living Essential Oil regimen for inspiration.  Each morning I start my routine with a dab of Joy behind each ear and over my heart.  May my ears hear the joy in my children’s voices and the needs of my students. The drop over the heart to remind me that teaching and parenting is a joyful experience.  Well, most of the time.  Peace & Calming on my neck to calm the soul and bring peace to my active mind.  Finally Stress Away…parenting and education, ‘nuf said.  😉

Digging into my oil arsenal, I wanted parents, no matter the student educational or behavioral situation, to feel the vibe.  Joy.  Peace.  Calming.  And no stressful presence this conference go around.  Guess what? I believe it worked.  Parents left smiling.  Others said “thank you”.  A few cried, tears of joy.  One commented, “I never thought we would get to this point.  He’s come so far.”  Sure the talk was not all rosy with unicorns and rainbows, as a co-worker likes to say, but a difficult message can be expressed with care and concern.

As day two of conferences came to a close, I recalled a parent the previous day commenting as she walked out the door, “I have been waiting for a conference like this since he was little”.  She shouldn’t have to wait so long.  Look for the good.  Find the positive.  See and seize the moment.  I’m trying to walk the talk.

Tomorrow, it’s our turn to be in the hot seat.  I’ll get a dose of my daily trio, take a deep breathe, and relax.  “It’s all good” as my husband likes to say.  And you know what, he’s right.

Shh, just don’t tell him.

Mrs. Z, what’s new?

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This seems to be the question of the week, or now the year.  My hair, well it’s the same.  As evidenced by my ID photos from this year and last.  photoDo you see it?  Upon receiving my ID this year, I assumed the district was saving a few bucks by reusing photos from the previous year.  Much to my shagrin, a noisy co-worker lovingly pointed out that I had indeed worn the same outfit, earrings and all, two picture-day years in a row.  Lame!  But no, that wasn’t anything new. sigh I actually thought I had a new do.

So the hair, and apparently the clothes, were not new, what could it be?  The 1:1 technology our district is implementing? While the tech is really cool and I am bounding into the building each morning eager to present new tech tips, share ideas, and relish in the increase in student participation and collaboration, that isn’t it either.

One week a student commented that I looked “hip”. Well apparently I did have a new outfit or two up my sleeve. Another day a male student said I seemed happier, almost “crazy” about teaching.  Still another remarked that he didn’t know what was going on, but that he liked my classroom better than previous years.  Hmm, reflection time.

What’s changed is me. Deep down, I knew a change was in order.  A mental and physical overhaul.  The big girl panties that I relied on to pull me through were worn and lacking elasticity.  Tossing the fading grannies aside, I started anew.  New perspective, new life, whatever you want to call it is fine with me.  With the exception of a few spoonfuls of decadent ice cream this weekend, I cut my sugar intake to virtually nil. Gluten products down to 1-2 times a week.  Fruit and vegetable intake greatly increased. And most importantly, our family is now an Essential Oil loving group. My mornings are filled with dabbles of Joy, Peace and Calming, and Stress Away.  A sense of peace and belonging seem to engulf me as I ascend on this new path.  The next hurdle is to increase the exercise regimen, time and baby steps ahead.

But for now I know “what’s new”.  It’s my outlook.  It’s me. Happier in the classroom, a more relaxed mama at home, and so “what’s new”…I’m ready to see.