Thursday, February 25, 2010

Things you might not know about me...

1. I am completely addicted to mentos. If I open a package, I am literally compelled to eat every last one of them. Apparently that makes me fresh. (feel free to send them a as a gift - they work for any occasion)

2. Sometimes, when I'm really bored, I lie on my back and try to convince myself that I'm paralyzed from the waist down, just to see if I can still move.

3. I have fallen asleep with my contacts still in, only to awaken and cry, "I'm healed!!!" It's always devastating when I figure it out...

4. When I'm really quiet, it usually means I'm furious and you should probably head for the hills, especially if you're the cause. And if you are the cause, you've done something truly evil, because it takes a lot to make me lose my cool.

5. I constantly dream about cutting my hair. Until I actually do. And then I constantly dream about growing it out. It's an endless cycle. (I'm considering a swing bob as we speak)

6. I secretly hate most English majors, even though I was one in grad school.

7. I'm definitely not as nice as most people consider me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The circus

Well, the bell rang... Let the show begin!

Being a teacher requires the ultimate performance every day, and today is going to be a doozy. I'm starting off by pretending I'm glad that school wasn't delayed. After all, I really need and value the TAKS training I have to give up my conference period for, and the test my students are taking today is of dire importance. And yes, my hair looks like this on purpose, not because I stayed in bed waiting for the delay of school call. But good thing I didn't get that extra two hours of sleep, because I would have been just plumb ticked about it!

What do you think? Is it working? Do you believe me?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A haaaaayyyyy and a snap

It never fails. I can be having the worst day in the world, and then I hear...

"Ms J, heeeeeyyyyyy, giiiiiirl!" "You are looking faaaaabulous today!" Oh, my precious 5th period baby. He's sweet. He is flambuoyant. In fact, he's all kinds of things, all of which make me giggle. He pops into my room randomly throughout the day just to say "haaaaaayyyyy." I think God put this child in my classroom solely based on how much we would love each other, and he needs that. And you know what? So do I.

In other news, it is officially snowing in East Texas for the THIRD time this "winter." Thank goodness I'm actually here, because both other times I've been in Houston. I'm about to go frolic like a small child and enjoy life in general. Drive safely!

Monday, February 22, 2010

If I were queen of the world, Monday mornings would not exist. Nor would pimples that fall just inside the nostril, foul-breathed close talkers or Facebook. I've been dealing with all today, and I'm ready for a break. Right now I am up to... avoiding a lady who has decided to become the ultimate in rudeness every day, cringing at the idea of doing work of any kind, focusing on not throwing my phone against the wall. How about you?

Friday, February 19, 2010

"The Incident"

Here's an old story of mine that I can't get off my mind. Comments, suggestions, etc. are welcome.

The cold steel doors of the elevator close inches from my nose. Interestingly enough, they seem to be polished, and I can see my reflection, slightly distorted. Good, this will allow me to scrutinize the couple beside me, a psychiatrist and her patient. She is tiny and disgustingly adorable—everything I am not, all blonde hair, blue eyes, and perfect white teeth. He, on the other hand, chills me. With spidery limbs, pallid skin and greasy dark hair, he gives me the impression of some sort of overgrown vermin. His bloodshot eyes meet mine in the reflection, and I turn my head. This tiny elevator is starting to feel like a coffin, and thirty-four floors is a long way up.
The doors open and I step quickly from the elevator, trying to calm my tense nerves. The sea of lifeless bodies before me stops me in my tracks. A deep breath will be irrelevant at this point. Sucking in the pungent smell of death will only serve to terrify me more. This is the part of my job that I can’t get used to. And death is all over the city these days, painting the cityscape gray and sending countless hordes into hiding. The once constant drone of the city has evaporated into infinite stillness. The few cars that do venture out stalk through the dense fog in fear. Yes, life has changed since “the incident.”
I shake my head quickly to clear it and then glance at the lone coroner scurrying across the holding room. Large fluorescent bulbs blink on and off, illuminating faces frozen forever with terror, neatly arranged in rows.
“We’re here to identify a body,” I say, hopefully sounding more confident than I feel. “Maybe even a few.”
“Well you have 347 to choose from. The nameless are increasing every day…” He retreats quickly into his office, like a mouse diving into a hole.
I turn to Julie and her patient, who gazes on the scene with a twisted smile.
“Have a look, sir. Let me know if you find any of your family.”
He laughs somewhat maniacally. “Somehow I can’t imagine I will. But all the same, I’d love to have a look. Truly…”
I shrug him off and eye the psychiatrist. “Julie, keep a close eye on him,” I whisper.
“He’s harmless, Callie. Just as disturbed by the incident as the rest of us. Let’s give him a little space.”
My skin crawls as I watch the man weaving slowly amongst the bodies, his smile reminiscent of a wild animal baring its teeth. He takes his time, touching each as he passes, but not lingering long enough to identify any.
“So the incident…” he remarks. “Have you found the man responsible for all this death? Deteriorated lungs? Sounds serious, especially on such a large scale.” He meets my eyes arrogantly.
“That’s confidential,” I wave him off.
He ignores the gesture. “Obviously you haven’t, then, or it would be plastered all over the papers. Any leads?”
“Again, confidential. Appreciate the concern, though.” My voice drips sarcasm as I wheel around to question the coroner.
“If I were you, I’d be very cautious. You just never know when you’ll run into someone unsavory around here… This city saturates people with evil, even those you’d never suspect. Most ‘incidents’ are more than they appear.”
I pivot slowly to face him. “What did you just say?”
He smiles again, realizing he’s won this round. “Not a thing, my dear. Not a thing. But pretty little things like you should proceed carefully. Remember that.”
“We’re obviously finished here,” I snap. “Let’s go.”
I nod at Julie as the smile melts from his face. She turns toward the elevator and he follows, calmly sizing her up. I wait a few seconds, then step into the elevator after them. Thirty-four floors down and I’m nervous already.
Suddenly, he whips around to face me, screaming like an animal in a trap, meeting my eyes as he does so. I suck in my breath, and the scream fades into a grin. He steps back calmly, putting his arm around Julie. “Oh, excuse me,” he says in mock apology.
She shrugs, and mouths, “Sorry.” Dealing with mental patients every day has thickened her skin.
DING. The elevator reaches the ground floor and I’m out before the doors fully open. “Julie.” I pull her aside. “Something’s off with this one. Be careful.”
“Callie, I’m fine. I deal with these people all the time. We’re headed back to the hospital, and I’ll give him something to help him rest. Good luck with the investigation. I’m sorry we weren’t more help.”
She turns away, flipping her hair at the patient. “Ready?”
Wordlessly, they trudge down the street. He takes her hand, glancing over his shoulder at me with a wink. Something tells me our “incident” was no accident. And somehow I know this is the last time I’ll see Julie, whether I try to stop him or not.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The heat is on...

...on the street. (insert saxophone solo) I come to you LIVE from my classroom, where my fingers are actually warm enough to hit the correct keys the first time. That's right, the heat is on here for the first time this winter. Miracles do happen, just in time for spring!

Not much to say, other than today was a long day. A day full of questions with no answers, and even worse, people expecting me to have the answers to all of their questions. EEEK! The good news is that I am so looking forward to going home and sprawling out on my brand new couch with my amazing husband, whom I look forward to seeing every day with all of my heart (sorry, cheesy but true). He has promised to cook me dinner, and I fully intend to accept this offer.

So have a good night. It's 4:14 and I'm already ready for bed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ahhh, the joy of Love's

Nate and I stayed up late last night cleaning and rearranging our house (new couch comes today). So it goes to follow that I desperately needed caffeine this morning. After dragging my way through first period, I took a little trip to the Love's on my conference period. 9:45 tends to be a pretty slow time of day there, so imagine my surprise when I walked in on a Subway line, full of girls in warmups, that stretched all the way to the door. An adorable little man was calling over his shoulder, "Good luck, Coach!" as he left. Oh, cool, an all-girls team of some sort.

I noticed a softball logo on the back of one of the girl's jackets, and leaned to the side to try to figure out which school she played for. Weird, couldn't quite make out the words. Well, they were dressed in maroon and white warmups, and they looked like high school or college players... I stepped around them to the cappuccino machine and continued to look over my shoulder at each girl. Maybe a team from Hudson? But why would they be out of school so early? Seriously, where on earth were the logos to tell me where these girls went to school? I turned to get a lid and watched another player walk by, still searching for something, and then walked past the line again, looking at the fronts of the warmups...

And then I realized that I was literally the creepy person in a gas station, ogling a girls softball team. EW. Did it really have to be a group of softball girls? (Side note: I did play softball for a year in high school, but somehow it carried a different connotation in the North... no offense, softball players) And could I not have just pleasantly asked, "Hey, what school are you from?" instead of trying to figure it out myself? Oh my word, at that point I wouldn't have cared who they played for, I was simply mortified. I snatched my coffee up and marched straight for the door, hoping no one had noticed and praying that it was obvious that I was wearing a wedding ring and looking exceptionally prissy. First impressions aren't everything, friends.

It's okay. You can laugh. But how do I always get myself into these situations?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday... GROSS

This morning on the way to work, a crazy lady in a hurry cut me off at a four-way stop. I mean, she really cut me off, and then waved as she was doing it, as if to say, "I know what I'm doing, but you don't really mind, do you?" I did, especially on a grody Monday morning. And I hate to tell you, dear friend, that I got a good laugh when she and I arrived at the same place, and she had to take a little walk of shame right in front of my car to the front door. Yes, I stared her down. So?

I'm down off the high of a wonderful weekend and not quite ready to be back at work. Anybody share my sentiments? I'm rejoicing in my amazing marriage (please don't hate me for saying so) and a fantastic Valentine's Day outing in Houston, but I'm also suffering a slight case of the small-town blues. Will re-decorating my living room help at all? What about my new pair of shoes?

Happy Monday, everyone. Happy stinking Monday. HAHA!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


People looking at artwork done by Holocaust artists often notice something interesting. Artists who started out in one certain medium often switched to another by the end of their career. What could have been the explanation? Well, an artist who worked in oils could only do so as long as he had the supplies, which were not often available in the ghettos where Jewish people were placed. Often that artist would then take up charcoal until he was moved to a concentration camp, where even there many would continue on with only pencil and paper. The point? The persecutors could not suppress these artists, or their creative spirits. They would just change their medium.

What about you? Are you allowing what life throws at you to suppress who you are? Or have you learned to simply change your medium...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The giggles

Yep, I have them, and at completely inappropriate times. For example, our church class on Wednesday nights, or while my students are writing a class essay. But I can't seem to stop giggling, and honestly, that's okay with me.

I laughed through most of last night and have continued to laugh throughout this morning. I apparently have the permanent giggles, starting with a man whose last name is Nipples. Well, not really. But it's pretty darn close, and that's all that matters. On top of that, last night when Nate took off his hat, he managed to have a set of perfectly formed mall bangs. You know the type, where the front half is combed straight forward and the back half is curled straight backward. I swear to you, Nate's hat-head is masquerading as early 90s mall hair. It's truly amazing, and I wish I could share with you the pictures I took, but I swore a solemn oath not to. Just try to get him to take off his hat next time you see him...

And now let me go the completely opposite direction and show you what I read this morning. Put the thoughts of Nate and nips (in no way correlated) aside and get out your serious face for a second.

"Whenever you're trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats." (James 3:16 The Message)
EEEEEEEK!!! Could this be any more clear? Stop trying to get ahead! The person who is always concerned about himself and how he looks only ends up causing problems. The world is at war. Isn't that enough? I want to live in peace in my everyday life, starting by looking out for someone other than myself.

Okay, deep breath. Let it soak in and make a wrinkle on your brain...
And go ahead and laugh again. Think about this. As I walked through a crowd of small children last night at church, one girl pointed at me and said to her teacher, "Why does that lady have that thing on her nose?" (before you tell me to get that booger, know that she was referring to my nose ring), to which the teacher responded, "Oh sweetie, that's just some... adult jewelry." I've never felt so disgusting about my facial piercing in my life. But at least my last name isn't a body part.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


To any woman concerned about her weight, I offer this wisdom passed on to me by one of my girls today: "No man wants a bone but a dog." Put that in your pipe and smoke it, fashion industry.

Dear East Texas...

Dear East Texas,
I have a few questions for you; just some things that have both confused and troubled me for some time now, and I hope you can offer me some insight.

What is woppeyjawed? And how on earth is it spelled (since I apparently did it phonetically)? Can I become woppeyjawed? Can one become un-woppeyjawed, or is this a permanent condition?

Finish this statement: The bigger the cowboy hat... ??? Is this a status thing, or are we dealing with a severe case of insecurity?

A toboggan is a long sled that is especially good for riding double. Why must you refer to hats as such?

Is it appropriate (or necessary) to ride a horse on a major city street in the middle of downtown?

Am I really the one who talks funny?

And finally, is it your fault or mine that I decided to wear pleated pants today with a banded shirt and came out looking like a square on legs?

Ms. Kate (a.k.a. the Yankee)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010


Whenever I have a hard time with something, I tend to approach it rationally, or as rationally as an overly sensitive woman can. And here's my confession. I've been struggling with trust. Not even in one particular situation, but all the way around. So, for the sake of explanation, I looked it up in the dictionary to see what I'm dealing with. Interesting...

1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence
2. confident expectation of something; hope

Everywhere I looked, the word had something to do with confidence or belief. And no matter where I looked, it didn't tell me how to build trust in something or someone. How do you put into words something that you just do (or not)without thinking?

When I was a girl, I trusted my daddy implicitly. I never had to question whether he'd be there for me, whether he'd support me, whether or not he'd let me down (because he wouldn't). I could trust that every time I had a bad dream, he'd be awake and in his recliner, ready to scoop me up and soothe my troubles with giant hugs and White Sox baseball. He was the underlying strength behind everything I did, everything I believed in. I was confident in myself because I could be completely confident in him. So I know what it is to trust without question.

What happens when we grow up? Why do we stop being so good at trusting, especially in our Daddy God? Where does that confidence, that expectation of good, go? And I'm not getting on to you. I've been asking myself the same questions, because the last time I checked, the Bible tells me that "those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:10) Am I being too logical if I ask, if God has never forsaken anyone in all of history, why would he start with me? Or you, for that matter?

I am commanded to trust God - it's not an option. Something in which I take confidence is that when God gives a command, it's never just to give a command. It's always for my protection. When I give everything over to God, I admit that I can't fix things on my own, that there are, in fact, situations that are too big for me (Superwoman that I think I am). I'm working hard on talking myself into trusting, and filling my mind with what God has said is working on my soul and spirit as well. Given the choice between peace and panic attacks, I'm finding it a little easier to understand the importance of trust.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. (Proverbs 3:5-6, The Message)

Friday, February 5, 2010

When God closes a door...

...He opens a window, right? Well, I'm experiencing a lot of change in my life, some good, some very very uncomfortable.

Let's just say if you asked me last year if I would have believed what would happen in 2009, I never would have guessed. It's probably a good thing I didn't know what was ahead, or I would have sat down and given up. But I made it, and here I am a year later, scrappier and stronger and ready for whatever lies ahead. In the end, I kicked 2009's you-know-what and embraced 2010 with open arms. Things are changing, and it's time I got on board with all of it, no matter what.

So the word of the day is CHANGE. I'm open to it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Okay, I had to add this one...

It's not that he can't juggle. He just doesn't have the balls to do it.


What a punny morning

As previously discussed, I am a school nerd extraordinaire, which means I love school things... This week one of our literary vocabulary words is "pun" (play on words), which could basically be considered a corny joke. That said, I gave them the opportunity to earn bonus points by bringing in examples of puns, which we're hanging up in the classroom and I'm laughing at daily. So here are a few of my favorites:

The only similarity between Bible days and the 70's is that both were filled with people getting stoned.

I used to be a velcro salesman... but couldn't stick with it.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

My favorite rapper is the Easter Bunny. He's really into hip-hop.

Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

What did the grape say when it got stepped on? Nothing. It just let out a little wine.

And my personal favorite...
What did the fish say when it ran into the cement wall? DAM.

And this is why I'm a high school teacher - I'm as corny as they come! Seriously, though, on a rainy Thursday, every little bit of laughter counts.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hump Day

Hump Day, Hump Day, la la la la la.
I, in fact, have been positive that it was Wednesday for several days now, so it's about time! Guess I'm in a hurry for the weekend? Nate and I used to trade Hump Day lists, so here's what I have, and it's only 12:30.

So far today I have:
1. Sprinted 2 miles like I was running for my life (I wasn't),
2. Laughed at the genius of my nephew Alex, who for several years of his childhood thought our pastor's name was Pastor Andy Salligator,
3. Ironed Nate's clothes AND set something to crock for dinner (I feel like I earned several good wife points for that, which will immediately be subtracted when I tell you that I...)
4. ...worked it just a bit so that my friends at Toyota would change the oil in my car faster, for which I felt only slightly bad,
5. Confessed my crime to Nate after drinking my 3rd waiting room cappuccino,
6. Answered a plethora of questions regarding a topic on which I am completely in the dark, while still maintaining an air of expertise, and...
7. Planned out the next four weeks of my school life, which not only gave me an intense sense of accomplishment but also caused a slight panic attack when I started thinking about the TAKS test. But that's for another day.

So here's hoping your hump day is merry. The best part is that when this day is over, we'll be more than halfway through the work week. To quote my fabulous friend April, "WOOT WOOT!"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thoughts on loss

My heart is sad today. In fact, it has been all weekend, and I'm not talking about my short bus ACADEC trip. Someone incredible passed away on Friday night, and I'm struggling with the unfairness of it all. Because when it comes right down to it, it's not right that someone kind and caring, with a beautiful family, leaves this world, while the unsavory and cruel are left. The trade-off astonishes me and I regret to admit that I wish there were someone who could have taken his place.

I'm struggling to put into words the intense loss that I feel and the depth of sadness I possess for the family of one of my dearest friends. When I think about Donald White, I remember an incredible husband and father, someone who showed love and compassion to every person he came across. He always had caring words for me when I saw him, and he encouraged me during one of the lowest times of my life. Not only that, but he drove a paper route in Brook Hollow, and kept a lookout for me and my running friends in the mornings, often praying for us while he worked. I felt safer knowing that he was there, and honored that he would take the time and energy to watch out for me. I think I looked at Donald a bit like a replacement Dad, and my heart is breaking for his kids right now because I KNOW the hole that exists from that piece of them ripped away when he passed.

So I'm upset today. A little weepy, to be honest. Trusting God and asking him to fill the empty places in the lives Donald touched. Asking God to help me show the same compassion, forgiveness, and love to others that I learned by watching him. And I'm grateful that I was so privileged as to know him and be changed by the life that he lived.