Saturday, January 4, 2014

Oh my darling

A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, while on a random late Sunday morning run, a dog bounded out of nowhere and tackled me.  At first it scared me and I screamed like a girl when she knocked me down.  But all she wanted to do was lick my face and play with me.

Poor pup.  She didn't have a collar.  Her ribs were showing.  Her skin looked like a mangy mess.  She had scabby sores on her shoulders from some type of injury.  She was just a mess.

I got up to begin running again not sure what to do about the dog.  Where were her owners?  Where had she come from?  Why was she following me?

We named her my most expensive run ever Clementine.

For the record, the Supreme Leader is displeased.  But Clementine is a smart girl and gives the little tyrant a fairly wide berth except when she periodically pounces on her just to drive her ape crap crazy.

Last night, during the middle of the night, Clementine used her nose to slide the latch from her kennel open then stealthily opened the door.  She quietly creeped across the floor and slowly approached the foot of the bed.  She put her nose under the comforter and calmly climbed up into the bed.

As she lay curled up near our feet, I reached down to pet her.  All the while my mind was wildly racing.  Do I let her stay in the bed?  Will Mr. Strong notice and if not can I just sleep on and ignore her presence?  Will I lose my status as alpha dog bitch trainer if I let her stay under the covers?

Suddenly, Mr. Strong rolled over and asked, "Are you ok?"

Not being able to contrive a story on the spot, I blurted out, "Clementine is in the bed with us."

Very calmly, he said, "Honey, that is my leg you are petting."

Instantly, I realized I had been dreaming.  The poor man probably thought I was trying to be amorous.  I laughed and then realizing I didn't have a dog to move, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Never let a good puddle go to waste

One of the advantages to living in the south during the winter is that you still get to wear your summer clothes never know what the weather will be like.  It is never very cold for very long.  After two days of rain, the puddles were beckoning us to notice them.

When the girl stated that she had never jumped in a puddle, I thought evil thoughts about her mean aunt we set out to change that.

She was giddy.  She was full of glee.  She was muddy!

I hope this will be a happy memory that she will always have.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Has it really been two years?

A lot has changed since the last time I wrote here two years ago.  A lot has changed and much has stayed the same.  

I'm still happily married to Mr. Strong.  In fact, we just celebrated our 9th anniversary.  I love that man and I love that he puts up with crazy me.  

I'm still running.  In fact, I've run two marathons.  And that is all the proof you need to know that I am completely unstable and should not be left alone for extended periods of time.  I have the sticker on my car but stick a fork in me I'm done.  After losing four FREAKING four toenails because of bruising, I can safely say that the half marathon is my upper limit now.  I'm comfortable with that.  Running 26.2 really is a bat crap crazy idea.

Miss Poopy is still peeing on the floor as adorable as ever.  She is getting a little grayer and a little fatter but that doesn't stop her from barking at birds and airplanes.

I still love photography and I am on my third year of posting a picture every day.  It helps with my memory and it keeps me in the process of learning.  Except when I get lazy and just post a picture of my dinner or of a random flower in the yard.

But what is different is that I am no longer a principal of an elementary school.  Yep.  That is right.  I met with the new superintendent and I asked to be moved back to assistant principal.  I had simply had enough of the crap from a few board members and some of the faculty.  I've been moved to a new school and I had a great year this past year.  The thought of moving all the way back to the classroom has been entertained.  I still get entertained by some crazy interesting parents but the stress is so much better.  I've even been carded whilst buying wine this past year.  Possibly that guy was slow but I will still chalk it up as looking younger and less haggard.

Three out of four kids have graduated from college.  And the six foot tall baby youngest one will be a senior in college.  We now/will soon have our kids living all over the place -- New York, NY; New Haven, CT, Atlanta, GA and LONDON.  We are extremely proud and we have had to work hard to not bring all their accomplishments into every conversation.  Plus, it makes me think that we didn't totally screw them up.  And because Mr. Strong and I are gluttons for punishment because who needs down time, we are soon going to be foster parents to an 8 year old girl from my school.  I always did say I wanted to bring some of them home.  She is adorable and says many funny things on her visits.  I think she'll be good for us.  We hope to not increase her need for therapy.

I've not been writing like I love.  I do keep a journal with embarrassing parts for my children to have to read upon my demise and I write a little with each picture I post but I've missed real writing ha! as if this is real writing... just humor me.  I'm setting a goal to increase the number of hours in each day get back to the writing I've missed.  I'm trying.

Monday, June 13, 2011


It was a hot June afternoon. The gnats dove in and around our faces promising to become a part of our very breath. The sun shone down while the small gathering of people closed in to congregate around us.

"Love is patient. Love is kind..." were the words being uttered by our friend, the plumber who was also a rabbi.

As I gazed into my soon-to-be husband's eyes, noticing the glistening of tears fringed on the edge of his lashes, I was caught up in the magnitude of the moment. Sure, we'd been together for nine and half years. It had become a joke to some of our friends and family who liked to predict just when we would get married.


That was the word in my head. And the description used in our invitation.

We quickly repeated our vows, my husband never looking away from me, never suspending his smile.

And it was that smile and the way he gazed at me that locked me into the moment. I don't remember the specific vows and I don't remember who was standing in particular places all around us.

I only remember who was standing before me.

And it was our moment. Finally.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


When I was 14 years old, my mother, sister and I went to spend a couple of weeks in Denver, Colorado with my aunt, uncle and two cousins. We absolutely loved the sights and sounds of the Great Rocky Mountains and enjoyed eating at many of the restaurants the locale had to offer. Eating out probably doesn't seem like a big deal but when you are being raised by a mother and step-father who prided themselves on the spices they used, salt AND pepper, getting to eat in places that served food that had FLAVOR was a huge deal.

The Yum Yum Tree had a name that appealed to mine and my sister's 14 and 13 year-old selves. Plus, we'd seen the commercials about how "every type of cuisine could be found under one roof for the low, low price of..." I don't remember the cost but according the adults, it was expensive. At least by 1980 standards. Still, we wanted to go.

Persistence is something both my sister and I pride ourselves on and we eventually wore down the adults. We were headed to the Yum Yum Tree! When we got there, it was like an amusement park of food. Italian food. Mexican food. Chinese food. Japanese food (which my mother quickly forbade us to go to once she saw the sushi). German food. British food. Basically, you think of the type of food and it was there. I was in gastrointestinal heaven!

As I perused each of the nationalities and their offerings I heard my mother warning me to not do to much. "All that funny stuff will hurt your stomach," she promised.

I ate and I ate and I ate - savoring each morsel of food with flavor. There were delicacies I had never dreamed of and it all went down filling me to the point of uncomfortable. My mother, being ever so cautious, stuck with tried and true offerings proclaiming some of them as not good. "Ew. This spaghetti sauce is so garlicky," she would say as she pushed her plate away.

After we'd eaten more than our fill, we all went into the connecting mall (yeah, it was one of those types of restaurants attracting mall rats) so that we could walk around with our extended guts. It was in the middle of one of those big department stores that my mother loves so much when she suddenly grabbed her stomach and grimaced. Truthfully, I didn't think much of it at the time as my sweet mother was and is rather delicate and was and is often complaining of some ache or pain.

All of a sudden, my mother's face went pale and she mummered with clenched teeth, "We need to find a bathroom now!"

We quickly dashed about the department store finally locating a bathroom in the back corner, near the men's department. But it was too late. She'd already shit her pants.

My mother had shit her pants!

My sister and I, being the good girls we were, fell apart laughing. I realize that a bit of sympathy might have gone a long way but really... my mother shit her pants! It was hilarious!

After we finally were able to calm down and wipe our tears away, my mother handed us her credit card from under the bathroom stall.

"Go buy me some new underwear! Right now!" It was obvious that mom was not amused.

My sister and I walked around the big department store finally locating the women's unmentionable section. After browsing through the choices, we found a pair of panties with meatballs on them. Seriously. Meatballs. And. We. Had. To. Get. Them.

We took the underwear to the clerk who gave us funny looks as we paid for the goods with our mother's credit card. We were falling all over ourselves laughing as we made our way back to the bathroom where my mother was still under lockdown with her shitty britches. When she saw the underwear we chose, she started to laugh.

Funny how playing it safe was the crappy way to go that night.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Teacher's Daughter

Currently, I am participating in a local group of the National Writing Project. We have intense classes that meet for the entire month of June. One of the class requirements was to write a "memoir" about something that happened to you in your life. For whatever reason, this was the story I pulled from my rear. I really would like some honest feedback on what needs to be edited, changed, deleted, etc.

I hope you are all having a great summer!

Being the child of an educator hasn’t always been easy. In fact, at times, it has downright stunk. The opportunity to tell my side of the story was rarely given and once my teacher contacted my mother to tell her of my shortcomings, I was in for some serious punishments. For instance, my mother was not humored when I made my first F in Science, though I had a fabulous plan to make that F so that I could get out of the gifted class and escape the teacher who had no patience with me and my energy level. My mother was not amused and shut me in my room as I desperately tried to get her to see my way of thinking.

Basically, my version of the events never mattered when I got into trouble with a teacher. Except for one time.

When I started the eighth grade at the Junior High as an unconfident and awkward thirteen year old dealing with braces and random acne outbreaks who had recently lost her father to cancer, I didn’t have the skills or emotional maturity yet under my belt to deal with the likes of Mrs. B. Mrs. B was a mammoth of a lady who was quick with a frown and slow to move across the room to help a floundering student. From the moment I walked in the door of her math class, I was suddenly aware of being on her radar, much like a duck in a hunter’s sight. I had heard the stories of poor souls who would wither under her tutelage in that last class on the left at the end of the hall.

Within days, I would learn that I could do nothing right. When called upon, she would interrupt me and tell me that I “had better start paying attention” because she was sick of students like me who didn’t take school seriously. The more these comments were made, the more I retreated and the less my mind focused on what she was teaching. Suddenly, I found myself feeling lost and helpless as to what to do to make the situation better. At the same time, I was falling hopelessly behind in the math material being shoved our way.

Talking to my mother was out of the question. The loss of my father combined with her old-school support of ALL teachers made it a rough emotional time. Add in my teenage angst and it was a recipe for disaster. It probably didn’t help that I had a history of being a bit of a challenge in the classroom.

Then came that fateful Wednesday afternoon. Math was the last class of the day and I dreaded it from the moment I awoke each day. On that particular day, Mrs. B called me to the board to work out a problem that seemed particularly vexing. When I couldn’t do it, she chastised me and had me continue to stand there for the remainder of the period. Fighting tears, I resolved to not cry. I simply faced the board with my hands in fists blinking back the tears that promised to betray me.

As the bell rang, I was told to stay there at the board because she was keeping me after school for detention. She muttered something about talking with my mother about my attitude, work ethic and how I “didn’t need to be smoking ‘mary-jew-anna’.” The panic of the impending consequences from my mother made me feel nauseous as I felt my face turning red. Wanting to say something... anything... but feeling frozen in time, I stood there waiting for something to happen.

Time passed slowly as Mrs. B sat at her table grading papers. Her flabby flesh spilled over the sides of her chair, as I listened to the scratch of pen on the paper as she vehemently attacked student work with a red pen in her paw. I worried what my mother would think when I wasn’t standing in front of the school with my sister for her to pick us up. After what felt like a life time of standing at the board, I heard my mother’s voice and I shrank even further into myself ashamed of the situation I was in. The teacher sent me to the hall so that she could talk to my mother about my issues.

While I couldn’t hear what the teacher had to say to my mother, I could hear my mother. And she was on my team! I don’t know how she knew that I was so beaten down. Maybe it was a mother’s intuition or maybe she’d heard some of the same rumors I’d heard before gracing the doors of Mrs. B’s classroom. She was furious and the mama bear in her came out with a vengeance. “As a teacher, you should know better than to falsely accuse a child” along with “you have no business teaching not only my child but any children” were harshly spat at Mrs. B. My heart raced as this verbal exchange escalated to a stormy frenzy.

Suddenly, the door slung open as my mother grabbed my arm and began marching to the office, feet clomping loudly on the tile floor. Her eyes were blazing as she demanded that I be removed from Mrs. B’s class. The relief that overcame me caused those tears to come flowing out. As I stood there hiccuping back my sobs and listening to my mother tell the principal that he could just un-enroll me from school because I wouldn’t be back, I never loved my mother more than I did at that moment. It would be the instant when I knew my mother would stand up for me when it mattered most. I was, after all, her daughter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

He might need to worry about his gene pool

This past school year, the husband and I've learned to live with an empty nest. Having four kids in college is crazy exciting as we have no money get to live vicariously through their stories.

Somehow, I thought I'd worry less, sleep more, and regain some of the brain cells I fried in the whole mothering experiment. I couldn't have been further from the truth.

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to gain a nomination for mother of the year I randomly decided to order some surprises for my son who is living in a snow bound hell Connecticut.

Here is a reenactment of the conversation I had with myself whilst trying to determine what to order:

"Let's see.... What would be a good surprise for a strapping young man relegated to indoor activities such as reading? Hmmmm... Some Five Hour Energy might be good. I'll order a case... Oh, and some more long underwear since he is probably wearing dirty duds.... You know, over the holidays, he really seemed to like sweets... Maybe I'll get him some animal crackers..."

In hindsight, the fact that the animal crackers were called Barking Dog Animal Crackers should have been a clue to me. Yep. I sent my son dog treats as a surprise.

And, boy oh boy, was he surprised!

No wonder I never get nominated for mother of the year.