Friday, January 30, 2009


“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
-Thornton Wilder

I would not usually consider myself superstitious. Keen for traditions maybe, but not an irrational believer. However, there is one aspect of my life where I lean towards superstition—and an odd aspect at that. My jewelry. Having lost a good numbers of wonderful loved ones in my life, I feel especially connected to them in the jewelry that I have been blessed to have received from them. On days when I'm nervous about a presentation or a job interview, I wear a pair of silver and turquoise earrings that my dad gave me. He can ride shotgun on my earlobes to keep me from making a total fool of myself. On days when I'm missing my Momo, I wear her gold heart necklace that I remember hanging around her neck for so many years. From my own neck, she can comfort me and assure me it's all going to be okay.

For the last week and a half I have worn my pearls. They were a bridal gift from Poppy and Mary Lou. I wore them on my wedding day when Poppy walked me down the aisle. While they decorate my ears and neck, I believe that they also provide a link from my heart to his. Even when I manage to put his fragile condition out of mind for a moment, I can feel certain that he is never too far.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Our exchange

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family”
-Anthony Brandt

The past few days, all conversations with my family have started and ended with the same dialogue, “I love you,” “I love you, too.” Six hundred miles away my grandfather lies in ICU, while my family waits for the approved visiting hours.

I'm not good at waiting, and I'm really uncomfortable in hospitals, but I hate being 3.5 states away even more. I wish I could be there. I wish I could run errands for them. I wish I could sit at the hospital, so they can go home and sleep or take a shower. With a nine-hour drive, a job that pays by the day, and flights that cost upwards of $1000, I'm not sure that I can get there, unless it's a real emergency. Yesterday I sent some homemade cookies in my place.

I hope that my family really knows how much love, how many prayers, and how many hugs are sent each time we exchange those simple words: “I love you.” “ I love you, too.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Poppy

Thoughts and prayers for my Poppy, please.
He suffered a stroke early yesterday morning, and is still in very critical condition. We're hoping that the blockage will clear up on its own, so they can avoid the life-threatening surgery.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Proud to be an American

“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.”
-President Barack Obama

I’m sitting watching as the Inauguration begins, proud to be an American. I’m so thankful for today. I helped elect Barack Obama. He is the first major candidate who I’ve voted for who has actually won… I’m such a sap when it comes to national anthems and patriotic songs—have you ever listened to the words of these songs? I mean, really listened… “Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride… let freedom ring.” How lucky I am to have born in this great nation! Sure, we may not do everything right, we might make some mistakes…but it could be much worse….I’m struck by YoYo Ma’s smile as he plays. He, too, is proud to be an American today. How surreal it must be to serenade the President-Elect just moments before he loses the “Elect.”

Having dived down deep into my genealogy, I can’t help but think about my own forefathers today. There are no politicians, few soldiers, and hardly anyone who’s worthy of a Wikipedia article, but yet, in their own quiet lives, they’ve loved, supported, and carried the weight of this nation on their backs… as they sharecropped, as they established businesses, as they raised their families.

I’ve heard some comments about how ridiculous it is for ordinary people, like you and me, to say today they felt like they were a part of history, by just being a part of the inaugural crowd. Those comments have been boiling inside of me. Today I was watching the inauguration live on C-SPAN while sitting in a classroom in Georgia, and I was a part of history. Obama was talking to me, just as he was talking to every other American. I become a part of history when I take part in the challenge that he set forth. Because I have chosen hope, I am hope, and I have hope, and that’s where history begins. If you don’t feel like you witnessed history today, whether you were freezing your butt off in D.C., streaming the coverage over the internet, or reading the transcripts online, then that’s your choice, but you’re welcome to take on the challenge with me—whoever you voted for.

My favorite line of the inaugural speech: “The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.” Must remember this for the next time I find myself defending my political position. I’m rarely so eloquent.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Time for a Trim

“Why don't you get a haircut? You look like a chrysanthemum.”
-P.G. Wodehouse


  • Extra long bangs that still weren't long enough to put behind my ears
  • Split ends—haven't had my hair cut since July, should have had a hair cut months ago
  • Hair down past my shoulders—longer than it's been in a long while

  • Trimmed bangs—just to cut the nasty ends off
  • Extra bounce—now that the length isn't weighing it down
  • Hair just past my chin—but there's still enough for a teeny tiny ponytail

Biking Babes

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” -H.G. Wells

Flying down the road, our adrenaline flowing. After a quick bike ride on the Withlacoochee bike trail while we were down in Florida for Christmas, we were hooked. Last weekend we spent all day looking at bike shops here in Buford and down in Atlanta. Rob had been doing some research, and we were ready to try them out.
It was quite a breezy day, meaning extra chilly test rides. I was getting very frustrated because very few shops stock extra-small bikes. I'm usually very comfortable with how I look and who I am, but that day I sure was wishing that I could grow a couple of more inches.
But when I got to the local bike shop in Buford, they had a used women's comfort bike which fit just perfectly. Even though I was apprehensive about spending so much on a new hobby, once I found a bike that fit, I was ready to pay whatever was necessary.
Through a college friend, Rob heard of a racing bike for sale in Athens, so he rode up on Sunday to give it a try. He was thrilled because it seemed to be a great deal for a bike for him. He was ready to come home and go for a ride. However, he accidentally let the all of the air out of front tire and couldn't get it pumped up again.
The next day, in 30 degree weather, Rob suited up for a twenty minute ride around the neighborhood before dinner. He was frozen when he came back in. This weekend I decided to join him. It was a little bit warmer, but not much. I had on three shirts, two pairs of paints, three pairs of socks, gloves, a scarf, and a fleece hat. And, little did I know, I had the tag hanging off the top of my helmet. Quite a sight I was. Rob doesn't look quite as ridiculous as me, but I'll bet he was colder than me, too!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recap of the first two weeks

"Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities - that's training or instruction - but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed."
Thomas Moore

“Good morning,” I smile and say to each student as they enter the school building each day. I have morning duty at the top of the stairs at the end of the Green hallway, where carpoolers are dropped off. It’s got to be the easiest duty assignment I could have been given.
Sometimes the kids say “morning” back to me; sometimes they mutter something incomprehensible, surprised by the greeting; and sometimes they just scowl at me—too cool to reply. After those kids pass, I just giggle to myself—if only they knew how “cool” they really were!
By the end of the first week, I began to see faces in the hall that I recognized, as I walked between classes. Sometimes they would smile at me or wave, and occasionally one would say, “Hi, Mrs. B!” and I was able to find their name in my brain that’s teeming with names and faces right now to reply “Hi, Sydnie!” or “Hi, Greg.”
By the end of the second week, I have been amazed because I have whole classes where I know everybody’s name. I can’t promise that I’ll recognize everybody out of the computer lab, but at least when they are in my possession, I can call them by name.
On the other side of the coin—I have called the administration to my class to remove two students, phoned a parent about disruptive behavior, and given one “conduct cut”/discipline slip in my first two weeks as a teacher. I find that the most difficult time to keep everyone focused is during transitions from one activity to another. And in an hour and fifteen minute class, there's bound to be several transitions throughout a class period. Everyone thinks that this is their freetime to chat. And, while I don't mind a little bit of noise here and there, I get really frustrated when the students don't keep with me as we begin the next activity.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

First Day of School

"One mark of a great educator is the ability to lead students out to new places where even the educator has never been."
-Thomas Groome

Students come tomorrow. I’ve been buried since Friday in lesson plans and PowerPoint slides. I’ve printed my class rosters and have created seating charts for all six of my classes. Those lists of names were eerily reminiscent of the hours Callie and I spent organizing class lists for our make-believe classes when we were younger. Except now there are really 150 bodies that belong to those names; they are no longer just imaginary kids—they’re real students, and I will be in charge of them tomorrow. I will be setting the rules, teaching lessons, and handing out the discipline. Wish me luck.

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