Easier said than done, but try anyway.

I had quite a day today. From what I can tell, it was going around. Evidently Room 24 was on a roll too.

Mine began with two students chasing and hitting each other in another teacher’s classroom, where I was the lucky one who witnessed it and got to handle the fall out. It ended with a 12 year old emotionally disturbed girl screaming at every adult in her general vicinity, and a normally very controlled administator reaching her limit (after the child had to be escorted to her office every day for the past week due to extreme misbehavior) and screaming back.

In between there was lots of eye rolling and “I duh knowing” and but-he/she-did-it-firsting, and right in the middle was the phone conversation I had with a parent of one of the 1st period hitters who repeatedly interrupted my explanation of the situation demanding to know what the other kid had done to her child and what would happen to the other kid and “I teach my children to defend themselves and hit back.” I finally said, “Well, Mrs. _, I tell the students at the beginning of the year that if they are alone and there are no adults around, and they feel they are in imminent danger of being severely injured, they might have to defend themselves here at school. However, I do not feel your child was in imminent danger of being severely injured by having a slap fight with a 6th grade girl when four teachers were standing 5 feet away. So, feel free to tell him to hit back as long as you and he are ready to accept the consequences that come with that behavior.”

She said “Fine!”

Then, she hung up on me.

And all of that landed me leaving school well after 5:00 so that I couldn’t walk, and probably won’t end up in bed by 9:00.

So it was a blessing beyond all blessings that Antique Mommy wrote this post today. I am thankful for her willingness to share this list and her experience, ’cause although I completely agree with the list and try to live my life that way, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. Go read her post if you haven’t already.

What did I do before?

What did I do before I blogged?

I went to bed at 9:00 p.m.

I walked 2 miles very, very quickly.

I laid on the couch and watched PBS just to be near my honey.

Well, really only the last one is true. But the other two I’ve done the past three days, and I’m tired. Although walking very, very quickly leads me to think up all sorts of blog fodder. I walked 4-5 miles per day most of college. I used to think of my most recent crush when I walked, and if I had a partner, we would solve the mysteries of the universe.

Now I’m dreaming of things to write.

But I’m too tired. Be back later. 🙂

Those Were the Days

1987-sarah-and-roxanne-jrsr.jpg

Here is the photographic documentation of my head-banging-peroxide-drinking banquet night. Please note that the the unisex hair is pretty much the same height on all subjects of the photo. I’m the blond in white on your left. And after 20 years of looking at this picture, I just now noticed that my friend Sarah (chick in the middle) must have been wearing stilts to be nearly as tall as me.

And for a prom experience that rivals my own, go check out THIS story. I just could not contain the laughter. . .oh.my.goodness.

It was THAT kind of night. . .twice.

I stopped by over at 2nd Cup of Coffee today and read a lovely post called “The Princess and the Prom Store Dress.” Go check it out–some girl is going to be so excited that Linda listened to that inner voice–and who could RESIST for $1???? I couldn’t link directly to the post, but it’s right under her Ash Wednesday entry.

Anyway–it’s nowhere near prom season, and I never even attended an actual prom (we had banquets–don’t ask), but I still have a story or two.

Like, for instance, my Jr. year when I wore my sister’s hand-me-down bride’s maid dress. It was a lovely shade of mauve–one of my FAVORITE hues at the time–and it had a bodice embroidered in the SAME shade of mauve–and I had coveted it since she came home with it 5 years prior. She hated mauve–and she hated that dress–but I had PLANS for that dress–and five years later, I got to wear it.

My date, not by choice but because we were both desperate at that point and neither wanted to go alone, even had a matching mauve cumberband. Sweeeeeeeet.

So all was well until time for the presentation of gifts to the seniors. I was emcee for that particular part of the evening, and all night long, I’d noticed a funny sort of noise when I would move. . .kind of a popping noise. Who knew what it was. . .maybe the underwire in my strapless feminine garment?

Finally, about 10 minutes before the gift ceremony was to commence, I realized what that little annoying popping noise was. It was the stitching on my dress–and not the benign EMBROIDERY–oh no, no, no. It was the stitching holding together the SEAMS of said embroidered bodice.

My dress was popping.

Popping. . .popping. . .POPPING.

Every move, every second, every twist and turn there was was more and more and more popping.

As I have mentioned before, I was a statuesque young lady, and the thought of the bodice of my dress POPPING assunder was NOT a happy thought at all. Evidently in the ensuing five years hanging in my sister’s closet, the thread had dry-rotted and just could not hold up under the strain of a very active and busy 16 year old running around in it.

I frantically grabbed the nearest friends I could–I remember Stephanie and MaryLinda distinctly– to try and come up with a plan. The only thing we could do to save the situation was to turn to theft. The latter half of our banquet was held on a sort of deck/courtyard area overlooking one of the bayous in the town. It was May and humid and warm, so the guys had taken their tux jackets off. I don’t think any of them ever knew why their boutonnieres were lying on their jackets rather than pinned to their lapels–but it was because my friends STOLE their floral hardware and PINNED me into that dress lest I be shamed forever.

And just in case you didn’t know, boutonniere pins are very, very long and very, very sharp–but I didn’t complain, ’cause it was better than the topless alternative. Oh, my.

Senior year was SOOOOO much better. There were no wardrobe malfunctions, but I feared having to drive myself in my 1976 Lincoln Continental (it was 1987 by the way), and everytime that thought came to me a new torrent of tears began. Going stag is small potatoes now–lots of kids even do it on PURPOSE– but at the time I was completely overwrought.

Yes, that night began with my MOTHER having to buy my corsage because my “date” had taken finals at college early so he could come home and save me from a fate worse than death by having to attend the function alone. He was a very dear friend, and drove in THAT DAY after his 10:00 a.m. test just to take me.

I am not so very graceful, and had managed to cut my finger that morning on something. I poured hydrogen peroxide over it to kill the germs. Right before my date showed up, I was in the bathroom and dropped my earring on the floor. I bent to pick it up, then, when I stood up, I cracked my skull on an open cabinet door causing my head to bleed.

Did I mention the part about not being graceful? Just checking.

My head hurt so much that I threw two Tylenol in my mouth and grabbed the cup of water on my desk, FORGETTING that I had poured the hydrogen peroxide over my finger and into the cup that morning. Grace-ful. Not.

Don’t ask me why I didn’t use the sink. I was 17. I made sure to tell the same friends that had pinned me into my dress the year before about my peroxide shot so if I passed out, they could tell the paramedics.

AND for all of his trouble, my date was rewarded with an unflattering photo of his MOTHER (who taught at my school) being flashed on the screen during the slide show. She wasn’t a very popular teacher, and someone had taken a profile shot of her through a classroom door. At the same time, she had raised her hand to do something making it appear as though her index finger was deeply ensconsed in her left nostril. Understandably, we skipped out on most of the other doings that night and went to play pool at a nearby student center.

Good time, folks. Good times.

If those are character building events, well, I should be a GIANT.

I’m hoping that girl who is blessed by Linda’s purchase has a fairytale evening–stays away from the peroxide–and her date’s mother is not in the education business.

I hear ya sistuh.

Several women were asked why they quilted. Most of them said that not only did it keep them warm, but it kept them sane. One elderly lady said the following.

“If I’da known how many dishes I was gonna have to wash for the rest of my life, I’da laid down and died right then.”

And she probably had to tote her own water from the crik and heat it over an open fire. Bless her. I cannot count the number of times I have called someone–my friends–to help me get through the newest batch of dishes or laundry or errands. It passes the time. I get my work done AND am happy when I hang up the phone having shared a little time with them while doing something that needed to be done.

There are many who disparage and poke fun at women’s past times–quilting bees, blogging, scrapbooking, even exercise, and most definitely our bathroom pack visitation ritual. But for generations, women have found ways to be together, to help shoulder the load of being all things to all people–especially the people under her very own roof. Women need companionship.

I’m not saying that men and children don’t–please, don’t get me wrong. I have known many widowers who could barely keep themselves fed, but came back to life after marrying again. I have read horrifying articles about the irreparable damage done to children who have never had human touch. I’m just saying that, though I’m sure there have been some,
I have not EVER heard of a female hermit. Even Emily Dickinson lived with her sister as her companion and would lower baskets of treats and drawings to the children who visited her window. I also know that there are times when women’s cliques cause damage that is far reaching, but that is not the norm of every day friendships.

Tony and I went to Gothenburg, Nebraska several years ago. There is a very small museum there–only open certain hours of certain days of the week. But it chronicled the lives of pioneers who settled the land in and around Gothenburg. There were farm implements, and articles of clothing, household items and souveniers for sale. But the thing I found the most interesting was a photo that was on the wall.

It was a picture of a pioneer family outside their soddy. The father was in a chair. There were several children of varying ages gathered around. There was a cow on the roof of their “house.” And over to the right stood the mother. And next to the mother was a bird cage. The caption below said that during pioneer days, the women would be left alone for days on end while husbands ventured to town for supplies or out to take care of livestock and the like. The constant wailing of the wind, keeping house under ground, watching after children who could and did die for several reasons, worrying about whether and when her husband would come home, and the constant threat of Indian attack drove many women insane. The midwest was dotted with asylums for women who had literally lost their minds. Until someone discovered that what women needed was a companion, and a parakeet was just the right size. It didn’t eat much. It sang a pretty tune. It was a touch of beauty in an otherwise dismal world. The parakeet was a prized possession of many pioneer women.

As much as we like to hole ourselves away in our houses, under our covers with our books and babies about us, there are times when we just need another female. A companion with two X chromosomes to whom we may voice our opinions, uncertainties, insecurities, great bargain finds, new recipes, successes, or just the minute details of our day good or bad. Someone who will tell us that our new outfit is just the right color. Someone who will tell us that our husband IS acting immature. Someone who will tell us that WE are acting immature. We need friends in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and we need one or two that know pretty much everything there is to know about us.

There are songs and poems and books about the God shaped hole in all of us–the hole that only God can fill. There are also lots of songs and poems and books about spousal relationships and how to raise our children. They are all wonderful and good.

But there are friend shaped holes in all of us too. There is a place in us, that can only be touched and appreciated by a friend who is female. I have friends that are older than me–old enough, in fact, to be my mother. One of them IS my mother. I have friends who are younger than me–girls I’ve taught who now seek my opinion on things, and flatter me with their company. One day I hope that Victoria and I can grow into friendship like my mother and I have. I wish for her a dear friend who is old enough to be her mother without actually BEING her mother. I wish for her younger friends that she might bless with her life experiences.

God knew what he was doing when he made us creatures who need companionship. And he blesses us by giving us all different types of relationships we need.

And, above all, I can say without reservation that I am a woman who has been blessed beyond measure by all of the women who mean so much to me.

Valentine’s Day

The teeny-weeny Cars and Care Bear cards have all been passed out–along with Fun Sized packs of mini M&M’s at Thad’s school. His school is ACCREDITED, but not bound by the STATE OF TEXAS to adhere to ridiculous party day guidelines just yet. I gave MY kids chocolate hearts. . .which is COMPLETELY legal seeing as how chocolate has milk in it–though whether I did or did not give any out BEFORE lunch at. . .say. . .7:35 a.m. after the pledges, moment of silence, and announcements, when 1st period began, I will NEVER say.

I arrived home to my precious children standing in the walkway of a clean house (Alma came today–we should have left her a card and some chocolate hearts) holding a pink rose bud and exclaiming, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mommy!” at the tops of their respective lungs.

They were visited by the “Valentine’s Angel” during the night. . .which is what Victoria began calling me about 3 years ago–they know it’s me. But last night, when I went to put their little gifts and chocolate outside their bedroom doors, they had left letters for me. That was a first, and whether I did or did not say. . .shed a few tears. . .well, I’ll totally admit to that.

I wore my red pants to school. . .and even though I DID have to make 6 behavioral calls after school, most of my kiddos behaved. It was a good day.

Happy Heart Day to you.