You never know what you'll find - humor, ramblings, rants, randomness- it's all me!
This description part is challenging. I never know what I will blog about until I start typing. I do know there will be typos. I don't reread or correct my blog. Otherwise it turns technical instead of my feelings and thoughts. Trust me, on stories and poems I'm a grammaraholic, but this is freedom. Sometimes to keep it from getting too personal, I even turn my head away while I type. Weird, right?. I hope you find this somewhat entertaining, thought-provoking, and humorous. |
A little about me. The most important things in my life are family, especially my son, Reese, and my husband, Bruce, my walk with God, and making a positive impact in some way. I am a teacher, currently teaching 6th grade Language Arts. While at times my job can be trying, overall, it is one of the most rewarding passions in my life.
This is my wonderful son, Reese. He is now 20 and and a junior at Oklahoma State University. I may be partial, but he is an exceptional kid with the best heart I've ever known. He makes me laugh, think, and want to be a better person. We are both huge Oklahoma State Cowboy fans - Gooooooo Pokes!
This is Reese's dog, Betty. She shares a name with my mother. Reese named her that because she was beautiful and kind just like his Nanny (my mom). I'm not sure my mom is quite convinced it is a compliment though. Betty is a huge part of our family. She even had her own blog for awhile.
Poke around at your leisure and shake your head at some of things that go through mine. I always return reviews/comments, though admittedly, sometimes it does take me awhile depending on what life is serving me at that point.
Keeping the faith,
|The Dilemma of Alone Time
This is truly a dilemma in my world. I don't get much time completely to myself, and the majority of the time I'm fine with it because I actually love being around my husband and son. To clarify, I enjoy being around whomever I'm around, because I'm way passed that point in my life of spending time with people I don't like being around.
But, there are times when I need alone time. I'm not sure exactly why. I think maybe because I spent so much of my life as a single mom of one child. So I did have quite a bit of time to myself. Or maybe, I'm just a bitch. Either one works.
The thing now though is when I get alone time, I'm torn between being super productive and being a sloth. Part of me wants to utilize the time organizing the cupboards and the other part wants under the comfy blanket watching any channel I want no matter how terrible the show.
I'm not facing this dilemma right now; I just found myself pondering what I would do. I think I would sleep today. For some reason I'm exhausted. Bruce said I talked all night and I was sad, so maybe this is night depression hang over.
I don't need near as much alone time as I do during the school year. I think it comes from constantly being talked to by several people at a time all day long and them expected an answer or decision from me. You know...life. I used to have my son give me 30 minutes down time after school so I could regroup and attempt sanity. He really was great about it. But then again, who would want to talk to their mom when she has psycho face on. He's a smart kid. He knew he'd have a much better chance of me agreeing to take him to Popeye's Chicken if I wasn't still hearing the echo of "Mrs. Branson....Mrs. Branson....Hey, Mrs. Branson.... Mrs. Branson, Could you.... Technically, at that time I was Ms. Ralls, but I like Mrs. Branson so much more.
Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I am having alone time right now or not. I don't hear Reese or Bruce, but I don't remember hearing them telling me they were going somewhere. Oh my gosh, is this alone time?! I could go upstairs and look but, well, I already told you I'm tired and sloth-like.
1. I'm grateful for our lovey cats, Matt and Indy.
2. I appreciate the ease of a touchscreen.
3. I'm thankful no bill collectors called today - or if they did, I didn't answer.
4. I'm appreciative of prayers.
There is not much teachers love more than free school supplies. . . except maybe a couple of snow days or an extra jean day at school!
I saw a Facebook post that Galleria Furniture in Oklahoma City was offering free binders for teachers to use in their classrooms. There is always that sort of skeptical side of you when the word 'free' is used - like - hmmm. . . What organ am I going to have to donate? or 'Maybe, they are free because they have the poop emoji on them or a swastika'. But, I decided since we had an appointment in the city anyway it was worth the risk. I asked for 30 (stating less would be fine - I had no idea how many was okay to ask for). I figured that would give me enough for my homeroom class. And being in a low income school and in Oklahoma where we are the lowest funded of all states, my kids need all the help they can get.
When I arrived (still somewhat cautious), they gave me a 'form' to fill out. I thought, "Here it comes. Which organ shall I part with? Or how many pieces of furniture do I have to agree to purchase in the next 20 years?" BUT - it was a form asking me what else we could use in the classroom for future purchases and grants they apply for! I wasn't shy about that list: paper, pencils, one subject notebooks, colored pencils, erasers, glue sticks (I hate them), pencil bags (I'm an optimist - I'm pretending my students will keep up with pencils), etc. I did feel a little bold, but they asked. I figured they'd rather purchase things we really need rather than things we would never take out of the cabinet.
They then ask me to pull around to the back and they would load the binders for me. I thought to myself, "I think I can handle loading 30 binders, but okay. This pampering thing isn't too bad."
I was met by a young lady with a smile - I'm pretty sure I might be in Eden. She gets my boxes ready - and there were a lot of them! I told her I had only reserved 30 binders. She smiled and nodded and kept loading boxes in my car. When I peeked in an open box these were huge, nice binders! Some of them had 4 inch spines and the others had 5 inch spines with multiple slots to shove work your teacher has handed back that you probably won't look at much less show your parents. :)
After I had said thank you about 40 times and was getting ready to leave, she asked if I would also like some books for my students; they had some left over from their last give away! Books left over? What kind of crazy talk is this? These were FANTASTIC books! Hard back, never used, authors and subjects my kids love. She let me take 2 bags full! It felt like grown-up Christmas!
This act of kindness has inspired the heck out of me. For the moment, I am pumped about the start of school, not begging the calendar countdown to slow down (I'm sure that may resurface again the closer it gets). I really think the reason for my euphoria, besides my love of office supplies, is that someone thought of us (teachers) and our kids! Not just thought, but acted.
You see, no one becomes a teacher to get rich or at times be able to pay their bills. I chose this profession because I knew it was what I was supposed to do. I knew the score. I come from a long line of teachers (who told me not to be a teacher). And most times, I think the majority of teachers don't get down about their salaries or the work they put in, but it does happen.
You can only hear people say, "Wow, you teachers don't get paid near enough" and then nothing changes. Tax increases are voted down that would allow education to have more money, yet people still shake their heads in awe of the fact that we teach their kids.
I have to admit, Oklahoma is probably one of the worst. After teaching going on 14 years, I have yet to make as much as I did as a dance instructor. We haven't received a raise in 10 years. We could go 3 hours in any direction to cross state lines and have an immediate pay increase of about $10,000. Oh yeah, and have supplies bought for our rooms. Even our state teacher of the year for 2016 moved to Texas. I don't blame him, but my home is here. And these kids need teachers who care, too.
My point is the small gestures do matter. Not that I view these books and binders as small. Heck, I figure they are worth about $300.00. Money I would have spent if my class was lacking. But this made me feel valued. It made me excited for my students and I don't even know them yet! Above all, it was done with a smile!
Whether it is teachers, nurses, garbage men, your parents, etc., show them they are valued. Maybe it's not a binder, but a hand written note, an iced tea, a set of Sharpies. . .just take the time to do. It seriously does make a difference.
Thank you Galleria Furniture,
1. I appreciate pure kindness.
2. I am grateful that inspiration comes in many forms.
3. I am thankful for my new scales (someday, maybe I will be thankful for the # I see when I stand on them.) :)
4. I am thankful for orchids.
|First year at a new school in a new town going from 8th to 6th grade.
I've taught 13 years so I thought I had been exposed to about everything, which just goes to show you I'm a slow learner. What I should have learned is there is always going to be something unexpected.
Here is my top 4 of 2016/17:
1. I depants myself while teaching during the 3rd week of school. I had lost some weight, and made the poor decision to wear spanks with slick pants. So I'm walking around the room, teaching, engaging blah blah blah. I pause and actually say, "What do I keep stepping on?" Yep, it was my pants, all the way down to my ankles. No idea just how long they had been falling. So I verbalize it, because I rarely have an unexpressed thought. "Well, dang! My pants fell down." Of course, I'm trying desperately to pull them up, but you know how it is the more you need to do something the longer it takes you. It was not a pretty sight. No doubt the kids were scarred as much as I was.
2. Two boys put a paperclip in an outlet to see if it really would shock you. It does, as well as shoot a flame up the wall. Where was I? (No, not pulling up my pants again.) Talking with another student about why you are not allowed to sell Takis at school.
3. This one is terrible. I was being observed my the superintendent; this usually doesn't bother me. I don't put on a dog and pony show; I just teach. Well, I must have been a little nervous with being a new school and all, because while going over the emergency procedures instead of saying evacuate the building, I said ejaculate the building. I just kept going praying the kids weren't listening and the superintendent didn't catch it. He must not have because I still have a job.
4. A group of boys met in the bathroom before school and put koolaid packet mix in their mouths to see who could keep it in there the longest. Apparently, it came out in a great spray of blue all over the mirrors, sinks, and floors. They thought I was a genius when I figured out who had done it. Considering, their teeth and lips are probably still stained blue, I didn't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
But, overall it was a great year and provided me with some wonderfully entertaining stories.
Thank goodness for summer,
1. I appreciate the smells and sounds of rain.
2. I am thankful for long baths.
3. I value my quiet mornings.
4. I am thankful for books that pull you in from the beginning.
|Call Me A Creeper,
But I'm Obsessed with Rube & Rene
Who are Rube & Rene? I thought you'd never ask! It's not the latest reality show, but it is TRUE REALITY.
Several years ago, I purchased some old letters off ebay. I probably thought I would use them in class or something, but I'd never gotten around to reading them. Today I came across them while going through some boxes.
I laughed and told my husband that we should read them and see what juicy tidbits were happening in 1920 in North Carolina. I had no idea!
It is this amazing love story between Rube (aka H.F. Walthall) and Rene. It is so addictive. I found myself saying 'I'll just read one more letter'. It's like binge watching a Netflix series but I'm holding the actually letters in my hands.
Rene is a teacher in North Carolina during these letters, but she's put in her 3 weeks notice that she will stay until winter break because she can't bare to be away from Rube, who is in Virginia, any longer. She is a widow with two children, Mundy and Johnnie. Johnnie is old enough to be married (her husband is away), but young enough to need help with a math problem now and then.
Rene writes Rube at least twice a day. Her letters don't have the date just the day of the week, but the envelopes show the date and whether it was a.m. or p.m. when they were stamped.
Stamps were 2 cents and just needed a name and city and town. Her handwriting is such perfect old cursive that sometimes I stumble on the word. It's gorgeous!
She mostly writes of her undying love and devotion to Rene, but other things put me back in the time period. One example is she writes of a lot of gun fire and people partaking late into the night; she assumes that means Harding was elected but they won't know anything certain for a bit.
But so many things are just like it's not almost a century ago. She has a cold, and teaching makes her lose her voice. Missing a day of school creates a bit of stress for her. (I know that feeling! It's easier just to be there and feel like poop.)
Her friend, Rebekah, wants to know the scoop on her and Rube, but for now Rene doesn't want to share. She wants to enjoy it all herself. She worries Mother Walthall will think she is too eccentric or frivolous. As it turns out, she doesn't think that at all.
Because of some things she says, I think she and Rube got a little cozy on his last visit. Now I understand clearly the meaning of the term 'roll in the hay', because she talks of how the hay doesn't keep her warm on a cold North Carolina night so she must sleep in her bath robe.
I've done a little research, because I'm a creeper remember, and found that Brookneal, Virginia had about 1,200 people in the 2010 census. Imagine how small it would be in 1920! Sometime around 1918 a men's clothing store was opened there called Walthall & Son. Perhaps, it was Rube and his father's.
I am just in love with this couple and the language and the history. At one point, she says she is afraid people will just refer to her as a gay, grass widow. I had to look up that term. A grass widow is one that is separated from the man they love or he is gone for work often.
Rube kept these letters forever and they are in wonderful shape. At first, I was appalled that someone would then just sell them for next to nothing on ebay, but who am I to judge? Maybe, no one was left. Maybe he hid them in his house and they were recently found by people unrelated to the Walthall family.
I have four letters left, and I was going to try to save them to read tomorrow, but I just can't. Therefore, I must end this blog here.
Thank you, Rube & Rene,
1. I'm grateful for Rube and Rene and their inspiring love and history.
2. I appreciate my son bringing Bruce and me ice cream.
3. I am thankful for my label maker -- I just love it!
4. I am thankful for my dad helping us around our farm.
|We had a colt born today or possibly last night. He is incredibly adorable. He's a tan color. No name yet, but you can't help but smile when you see him.
No horsing around,
1. I am grateful for a healthy baby horse.
2. I am grateful for good conversations.
3. I am thankful for navigation on the phone.
4. I am thankful we didn't get stuck in the lift today.
|I Love the Sound of Laughter - Unless. .
The best sound ever is my son's and husband's laughter - even when I don't think what they are laughing at is funny. It sounds cliche, but it warms my heart.
Basically, most laughter is great, even when it is at my expense. I always tell my students that if I trip and fall, don't hold back the laughter, just help me up while you're doing it. Let's be honest, falling is funny. I can't help it, when they fall - I laugh. Sometimes, I try really hard not to, but, come on!
One of the only times hearing laughter doesn't make me smile is when it is fake. Oh, and also, when it is an annoying cackle; though, I suppose that can't be helped. But, neither is the fact that I can't help not loving a loud cackle.
Oh gosh, now they are laughing at fart humor. Though, I don't find it funny (much anyway), I still love to hear them cracking up. And now, American Ninja Warrior has them cracking up. See, falling is funny even when people's dreams are being crushed.
Life is a laughing matter,
1. I am thankful for laughing until you cry and your stomach muscles hurt (beats doing crunches)
2. Great friendships are something I appreciate and value.
3. I am grateful for chicken and dumplings.
4. I'm appreciative of times when I'm able to suck it up and do things I don't want to face.
|blog for June 25 - caught up!
If I Believed In A Good Kind of Sore, This Would Be It
I don't, however, believe in a good kind of sore. In my world, sore equals pain, and pain is rarely seen as an asset. It's like someone saying, "Wow, I just had a huge projectile vomit, but it was the good kind of puke." It doesn't exist. Puke is your digestive food causing a riotous strike and refusing to travel out the correct orifice. Therefore, pain is pain - not good.
I am sore from turning our basement into a place I will enjoy going in without panic induced seizures from fear of: rats, mice, ticks, spiders, scorpions, unidentifiable critters, snakes, and squatters. Even if they are friendly squatters, I would no doubt scream from the shock of them huddled in a corner of the basement. I blame too many viewings of Criminal Minds.
We did find a petrified mouse today, but my son must have been tired today because he disposed of it without trying to scare me with it. Or either he could tell I was getting sore from lifting and scrubbing and had a heart. I think sweeping actually hurts my back the most. Again, do you ever hear someone say, "Wow, this is the great kind of back pain"?
The thing about pain from activity is you know it is going to suck worse tomorrow and maybe even the next day. Basically, I now realize I get to experience the good kind of sore for at least 3 days. Go, me!
But, wow, you should see the basement (or at least the before and after pics),
1. I'm caught up on my blog for the month of June.
2. I am at the point that I am certain the basement will get finished.
3. I am thankful that I didn't have to go into town for errands today.
4. I appreciate people that are appreciative. (Wow, that sounds redundant - but I mean when they don't take kindnesses for granted)
|blog for June 24 - one more entry and I'm caught up!
Thank You, Zola! You Made My Day!
How can you not love a dancing gorilla in water reminiscent of Flash Dance - unarguably one of the greatest movies of our time. (Don't contest this; your words will fall on deaf ears as I will have my Walkman playing 'She's a Maniac' at full blast.
I don't think I even need coffee or Spark this morning. Zola, you have me charged up ready to battle the basement.
I've never had any strong feelings towards gorillas (which is good since there are probably laws against that in Oklahoma). By that, I mean they've just kind of been there. I didn't love them or abhor them. Granted, I wasn't thrilled at watching them eat their own puke or throw feces at almost every visit I've ever had to the zoo. Not that I have gone to the zoo in the last 20 years. I hate it. It's hot, crowded, doesn't smell pleasant, and all the animals you really want to see hide. I don't blame them. I'd hide too if it was hot and people were yelling at me and snapping pictures of my every awkward move.
Zola the Dancing Gorilla has won me over though. How can you not love life watching this video?
I'm still not going to the zoo, but I will watch this video over and over in the cool comfort and solitude of my home.
Dance like no one is watching even if the world is,
1. Well, of course, I'm thankful for the joy Zola brought me this morning.
2. I appreciate nice, cold bottled water.
3. I am grateful that writing provides me a creative and therapeutic outlet.
4. I'm thankful for God's forgiveness and grace.
|almost caught up - blog for June 23
It Was A Day - A Pretty Damn Good One
Up early, and I blogged. Now I'm blogging twice in one day!! Crazy.
Then hubby and I went to get errands done before meeting my nephews and son back at the house for a 'job'. I finally got my car back from the repair shop. 10 days without it. I felt like a princess driving in air conditioning again.
I have wanted and needed a she shed (like a man cave except for women). And yes, needed! When you combine two lives after 46 years of life and my son (20 years) into a wonderful home - somehow storage room is scarce especially when the house was started around 1900. They obviously didn't have as much 'stuff' as we do nowadays. It is a lovely house! It's just that my husband and I both have a small problem of getting rid of things (he more than me - I have very few t-shirts older than 20 years).
So I wanted/needed a she shed to put some of my things in without worry of getting ruined. However, that isn't in the cards, so I proposed cleaning out my husband's shop (it is kind of a basement, but better than a lot of basements I've seen) and making organized space. That way I could have a place to sew or grade papers and store things neatly.
We hired my nephews and son to empty everything out so I could clean and organize and then put everything back in. They took two pickup loads of trash to the dumpster so we did do some downsizing! And we aren't finished yet! In fact, after 5 hours we are not even close to being finished, but I feel accomplished and burnt and sore but motivated.
They are coming back tomorrow . . . hopefully. I will have to schedule an extra trash pick up and I killed a scorpion, tick, more spiders and roly polys than I ever imagined but I can visualize it as a working, comfortable place (after being sprayed for such creatures of course).
My nephew had a good time teasing me about my eclectic cd collection. Music is sort of like a road map of stages of your life. Some of it made me laugh; some had me shaking my head.
she shed, he shed,
1. My parents had a safe trip visiting my sister and on the return home.
2. I got my car back.
3. My husband and I are always able to talk through life's decisions openly and honestly.
4. I had a lot of energy today.
|still catching up - for blog June 22
Time to Appreciate Life Again (And Catch Up on Blogging)
I missed two days of blogging this week - such a slacker, I know. :) I blame my son. He came home from a month long trip to Minnesota and I was distracted by wanting to spend time with him and such. But I will catch up.
Now, to the main topic at hand - Appreciating Life Again. Yesterday, I completely allowed negativity in the world and obviously within me too, to bring me totally down. At one point, I realized how unappreciative I was being for all my blessings but yet I couldn't or wouldn't pull myself out of my pity party. I prayed, but apparently not with an open heart. I let 4 hours at the social security office followed with less than pleasing news define how I felt about life.
Now, I still stand by the fact that the Social Security place is a non-positive experience - let's face it:
1. It (or rather many of the people) don't smell so nice
2. I had to pee and didn't dare go, because of course that's when my number would be called.
3. They don't allow you to bring in water - shockingly I guess people smuggle in 'other beverages'. I do have to agree with their no fire arms policy. I'm sure 3/4 of the people feel 'postal' after a couple of hours.
4. I'm pretty sure the air conditioner was set on 'humid' to encourage people to leave so that they might breath again.
5. At least in my case, good news was not received or explained. Empathy. . . where have you gone?
6. There were A LOT of screaming babies with parents who must have mastered the ability to tune out blood curling screams and wails.
But fair is not always fair. Usually, that saying goes fair is not always equal, but sometimes fair is simply not fair, but I refuse to allow it steal my joy.
So, I'm going to try to start or end my blogs with a list of 4 (yes, my love of the #4 again) things I'm grateful for trying not to do repeats. If you happen to follow my blog (ha ha ha ha) don't feel like you need to read them. .. I mean you can but more than likely it won't have to do with whatever I write about, but then again who knows.
1. I'm grateful my nephews and son are coming over today to help us organize and clean out the 'shop' aka the sort of basement where things go that we don't know where else to put.
2. I'm grateful that I love my husband's family and they love me.
3. I'm so thankful it is summer break.
4. I'm grateful that my hair is long again.
It's up to me,