Sunday, August 18, 2013

Love Is All You Need

"There's nothing you can do that can't be done."...."It's easy..." All you need is love... Some of the most famous words ever written by the Beatles. I had them as part of my wedding invitation. I've sang them repeatedly to all of my children from ages 22 to five. All you need is love, love...
Obviously, the Beatles were working at an inner city school when they wrote the lyrics of this song.

I am a teacher. Most of you already know this, and knowingly scratch their heads in confusion as to why. I know the consequences of teaching (i. e. low wages, long days, wasted nights, and shortened weekends, yada). And I bitch about them all. Yes, I whine, moan, complain, bitch, whine, moan, complain, bitch, wash, rinse, repeat. Yet, I cannot see myself doing anything else.

My last year of school, as some of you can attest to, was one of the hardest I've endured in my 14 years of teaching (and while some of you say 14 years isn't long...try teaching one...year that is). My sister had gone away over the summer, to heaven, rebirth, guardianship, wherever we may find her...and my heart was just not healing quick enough for school. I stepped on some toes (Yes, I voted Obama, I supported gay equality, and I accidentally said a bad word) which resulted in having the good ole boys ship the wicked witch of the bayou (after teaching there 14 years I might add =P) to the city without a taxi cab confession. And at 43 years of my life, I was terrified, scared, confused, and teaching math. Math, alone, was more than enough. I did it, though. I don't know how I survived...I don't know how my teaming partner survived...I don't know how the secretary survived...the principal...and yeah...even the custodian survived without snatching me bald-headed. They ate my lunch and then came back for dessert. And at the end of the year, I finished as an effective teacher, which allowed me the opportunity to interview at other schools. So, I pulled my "big girl panties on" and came back the next year, hoping I could become the teacher they needed me to be.

Keep filling yourself up with love, even if there is none around you. And that will make all the difference. It won't keep them from going at each other with fists, tooth, and nail when they've had enough. It would keep them from shoving their middle finger up your nose and telling you to shut the fuck up. But it will keep you walking out that door at the end of the day, and walking back in the same one the next day.

Love is all you need.

Friday, July 27, 2012

For Theresa, Whereever I May Find Her

Saturday, July 14, 2012, my baby sister died due to cardiac arrest. They were able to restart her heart, hook her up to a machine that breathed for her, and kept her going. My parents, sisters, brothers...her husband and daughter clung to the hope that she would pull through as she had done three years earlier. For five days we sat in the critical care waiting room. Visiting for 15 minutes at 8:30, 12:30, 6:00, and finally 9:00. We took turns.

Her friends came and went. Her family came and went. The doctors mostly stayed away in order to avoid awkward questions.
The social worker came once to ask my mom and my sister's husband about organ and tissue donation. They both agreed that if my sister did not pull out of this nightmare, she would give the gift of living to another.

I am so very proud of my mother, and my brother in law, James. They made the decision to donate my sister's organs so that others may continue to live. Easy decision to make, right? You would think so, especially since the neuro said she was 100 percent brain dead. We sat throughout the night w/my sister while waiting for the surgery that would remove her organs and save lives. At times we were in the waiting area, at other times we were with her. The illusion of life that the machines gave made it look like she was sleeping, healing, coming back. The idea that she was going into surgery deceived my mind into thinking that she would be with us today. She finished her journey at 5:00 am Friday, June 20th, ending her life giving the "shirt off of her back." It was the hardest thing...leaving the hospital at 1:00 am. Walking out the door knowing that they were sedating her, putting her under anesthisia (spelling), and removing that which helped her live. My mind kept screaming...No...she's still alive...don't. I kept wanting to turn around and run back in...stopping them from making this mistake. I just wanted to tell her goodbye. But I kept on walking.

Love you, sis. Love you big as the sky.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Are You Kidding Me.

.

All I can say is that it's good that the Lord has blessed me with a big chest, because I seem to have loads to get off of it now.

One of the opportunities that summer provides is time...time to sleep, time to play, time to clean, so on and so forth. I've been reading the newspaper, again. This time the article was about a young, 17 year-old high school student and her not so young, 27 year old teacher. You guessed it, they had "relations." They were discovered, he was arrested, admitted to having relations with the girl, and is now in jail or out on bond.

Now the 17 year old is a slut. She's white trash. She's a tramp whore who took advantage of a man that just couldn't help it when she threw her young, teenage body at him. Girl got pissed when he broke up with her so she accused him of statutory rape. She's the one who should be thrown in jail. She's just as guilty as he is. Let's get the pitchfork, tar, and feathers. I know where we can find a big ole oak tree!

The above are the comments the newspaper allows to be posted at the bottom of the article. Would everyone in the room who has been a 17 year old girl please raise your hand? Now tell me, isn't one of the biggest compliments to your 17 year-old self is when an "older" cute guy pays you attention. I mean, what is he doing flirting with me when he can have any woman his age. I'm only 17, in school, what could he possibly want with me? That kind of attention is intoxicating. It's a drug that not only clouds your vision, but has you riding on cloud 9. So when your Prince Charming, who is 27 years old, pulls the chariot out from under you and leaves you in the gutter, you react just as you would had it been any guy who dumped you: you retaliate. This is the normal reaction of a 17 year old girl, SEVENTEEN year old TEENAGE girl. What did you expect?

And that's just basing it on the age difference. What in the world was he doing trolling for babies? He's a 27 year old man. With the female to male ratio, there are plenty enough women to go around. But I suppose he was trying to save money by staying out of the local bars and picking one out of his classroom.

Really?

I can't even being to speak about this. What a violation of trust and safety. School is rough enough as it is, especially high school. The one person you should be able to rely on keeping you safe, is your teacher. I teach, and I know first hand how vulnerable students can be, and how a teacher can be a person they look to find something normal.

I'm not proclaiming this girl pure as the driven snow, or innocent of wrong doing. However, I am saying that she reacted just as most 17 year old would have reacted. Mr. 27 year-old man, that is the price you pay when you play with children

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grow a Backbone?

This week there was an article in my local newspaper. A woman had been struck twice while running along inner state 10, just out of New Orleans. First thoughts: she must have been nuts. After reading further, eyewitnesses state that the car that the woman was in had been pulled over so that the woman's boyfriend could better beat her. Beating your girlfriend while driving can cause unsafe driving conditions, and we wouldn't want him distracted now, would we? Somehow she was able to get out of the car and escape the fists of her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she was hit by the cars she was trying to flag down.




What led her to this? How could someone be so pathetic as to find herself here? Why not just walk away? When he first started hitting, you should have walked out of that door? What could he possibly have that you needed? There are so many shelters dedicated to helping victims of abuse, why not go there?




Because there answer just isn't that simple.



Abusive boyfriends, husbands, wives, girlfriends don't start out beating the crap out of there significant other. In all truth, the beginning of many, not all, abusive relationships are heaven sent. You are their perfection, placed on a pedestal, floating on a dream of worship from this person, who in every way, shape, or form, is perfect. Life couldn't be any better.



Then there is something that happened at work, change in lifestyle, a big promotion. Still, the abuse doesnt' come in the shape of a fist. It's words. Small words like "You're lucky to have me, because no one would want your fat ass now." "I don't know why you want to hang out with those people, they are always talking about you." "God, you're so pathetic. Stop crying. Even your family can't stand having you around." "Who is going to love you like you are?" And the list goes on and on and on. It's subtle, the demoralization of your self confidence. It's like a wisp of smoke slipping through the crack of your bedroom door. Harmless...undetected while your living room blazes out of control. This stage is when you have become isolated. You have been slowly picked away at by a pirhanha nipping on this, tearing on that, until you honestly feel you have no one, no where, except the abuser.



THEN they start hitting you. Or not. Don't kid yourself into believing that emotional abuse isn't just as destructive.



I was lucky. Even though I honestly believed that my family thought I was nothing but a useless, pregnant, burden, my dad, my amazingly roaring bull of a dad, rescued me. I was lucky. Sometimes you can be pulled out of a burning building, sometimes you can run out, and sometimes you can be consumed.



Just leave him already.



Wish it could be that easy.



The woman was killed; struck by two cars she was desperately trying to flag down. The boyfriend was arrested: charged with domestic abuse and manslaughter.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ooo, Das Not Mah Baby's daddy

My daughter is beautiful, intelligent, wise beyond her knowing, or even my knowing, and, I'm sure, just like the daughters of everyone of you out there...perfect.

Honestly? She can be a poot stain at times.

Persephone was born nineteen years ago to a 22 year old single white female. That's me. Her mom stayed single for at least ten to twelve years of her life (time passes by and I have no way of knowing just what age she was when I finally married). During that time, her mom scrimped, saved, placed her pride in the closet for later use, and taught her to become the beautiful perfect daughter she is today. Single mom style, I like to call it.

Now, almost TWENTY years later...drum roll please...

Yes, you guessed it, enter the sperm donor.

UGH. Yes, her mom knows she was young...she knows she was foolish...she knows she should woulda coulda but didn't all those years ago. The choices we make when we are young wouldn't be the choices we'd make when we become old. I know, I know. Her mom knows she picked the sperm donor. She thought she was in LOVE with the sperm donor. Of COURSE she was in love with the sperm donor (it sure as hell wasn't for the sex).

Anyway, here he comes (via Facebook of all things). She added him, he added her, blah blah blah.

Her mom is having the HARDEST time remaining neutral.

But she is pledging to remain neutral.

yeah

right

neutral.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not Another Vampire Book?



Actually, I have to say, not really...even though it is.

Does that make any sense?

A week ago I purchased Justin Cronin's "The Passage" on a blind faith given whim. I absolutely knew nothing of the book aside from Housewife Savant's adamant appeal to buy the book and read it (eat popcorn, drink coke, spend money). Yes, she put "post apocalyptic" on the hook, and I bit.

And now, 700 some odd pages past, I find myself praying for dawn, jumping at shadows, and listening for swift movement in the trees.

Mr. Justin Cronin gives you a taste of it all. Pre-apocalyptic government testing, the man-God-complex, a big screw-up that causes the end of the world as we know it, and a pint sized savior. Toss in a vampire or 12 million, and you have "The Passage." Yes, he follows the recipe for a home cooked PA, and yes, he throws in a young savior of the world...destructively indestructible...and yes, they seem to be able to get out of pinches that others fall prey too...and the bad guys, don't forget the bad guys (which are blood devouring man gone wrong things that have become infected with a virus that makes them starved for blood and hang upside down when they sleep, but hey, it's all good)...but all books follow that recipe. It's the little things you add to it like salt, an extra heap of fresh garlic, or a couple of shrimp here and there that changes the flavor.

As I began the book, there were times that I wanted to put it down. Too many man things...you know...the army, scientific experiments, criminals, you know, man things, but Justin (we're on a first name basis now), threw in Amy. I'm not going to tell you about Amy. Just suffice it to say that Amy kept me coming back, and even though at times she's a bit annoying, okay, lots of annoying, she became the reason for that viral season. And while I enjoyed the meat of the book, it was the ending that had me applauding. I won't give you much into it but to say, the author gave himself an easy way to solve the big problem on the horizon, and then took the path less traveled by. If you don't understand what I mean by that, give the book a read.

To sum it up, Government eff's up the world,monsters on the loose, survivors struggle to survive, hope is hanging by a thread, a group lead by one courageous youth goes on mission to save their world.

A book that reads like a man, but smells like a woman (click the post title, buy the book, drink coke).

Friday, June 18, 2010

We Represent the Lollipop Gang

I have to spill.

I have to spew.

I have to get it off of my chest.

My home is in Louisiana. My home. Everything I grew up with, my family, my new family, my job, my friends, the roads I travel. Everything I know.

My father was a trawler. He caught shrimp for a living, and a hard living it was. And although we lived right on the poverty line, he did his best and raised us as right as he could. His line of work rarely allowed him to be home. He'd take his boat out for a week (longer in the winter because the ice in his hold didn't melt as quickly), come home for a day or two, ice up, grocer up, and go out into the wild once more. He did this for ever until the day he retired.

I remember when his boat burned down, when it sunk, when the engine broke, when the wench went kaput, when the hold had a leak, when crab traps were caught in the wheel, and a multitude of other things that threatened his livelihood occurred.

Those were scary times for our family, but there was always hope because the boat could be fixed.

I'm not so sure this can be fixed. The BP oil catastrophe had shut down Louisiana's shrimping industry. It has shut down it's offshore fishing. It has contaminated a way of life for many of its people. While I am fortunate enough to have a career in a different field, many of the students I teach cannot say the same. Everything they know is perilously hanging by an extremely then thread.

However, many of our local fishers are seasonal trawlers. They have a shrimp season in the fall, and one in the spring. This is the time of year where the wild life and fisheries allow them to trawl the "inside" fresh waters for shrimp. It lasts a few months, and when the shrimp become small, the season is closed. Unless you have a large trawl boat, you usually find something else to do for the winter season. Some people crab, some people fish oysters, some people find a temporary job at Wal Mart, but most people find a job working offshore, on an oil rig.

Louisiana has been hit hard. It's coastline is drenched in crude. The offshore fishing industry is all but shut down. And now they want to put a ban on deep water drilling.

I know the argument. It's better for the environment, it's better for our way of life, it's better for you, and it's better for me.

So tell me, what alternate energy source are they going to use in place? Where are they going to find the thousands of dollars for unemployed shrimpers that go on unemployment, where are they going to find the thousands of dollars for the thousands of soon to be unemployed oil field workers that go on unemployment...

Wait a few months for the trickle effect...when the big companies that came to our area pack up and leave. They will no longer be using our banks, our stores, our hotels, our real estate, our rental properties, our cars, our air ports, and this list goes on and on.

Wait a few years when our thriving city becomes a ghost town.

When families that have lived here all of our lives have to move in order to find work.

When our stressed economy loses all elasticity.

Guys, I'm all for a cleaner world. I'm seeing first hand the devastation this disaster has caused. But instead of working to fix it, people are pointing the blame finger, telling them it's your responsibility...clean it up. Shouting, now see what you've done? It's your fault, now I"m going to punish everyone.

Get. It. Done.

Stop fighting each other, and work together.

BP can't do it alone.

The coast cant do it alone.

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.

Stop turning this into a "they f'ed up, now lets stick it to them" kind of thing. Fix it, then whack them with the ugly stick.

Just fix it.