Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Pin It Have you ever had the day when you feel like you made a difference in the life of somebody else? A moment when you know, know mind you that something you said finally got through to them? It’s a feeling that makes all of the drudgery and work that went behind it worth it.

Now, if only they will continue on in the direction they are going.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Not home yet

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As I sit here this evening I find myself thoughtful…reflecting on my life and all of those things which have made it what it is today. There are times I have made mistakes, traveled down roads which I wish I’d never taken. There are also moments I have made, what I consider, grand contributions to the lives of others. As I consider these individual parts of my life which contribute to the sum, I find myself realizing that there is something more, something beyond the scope of this life and the trials and successes it affords us.

It is when I remember that the events and situations in this life are temporary that I have hope. It is this which helps me to carry on day to day. I do have a song I particularly like right now by Steven Curtis Chapman. It is my reminder that we are all still but travelers along this road known as life and we are truly “not home yet.”

My dear, waving friend

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For the last few years I have driven on the same road to work; a familiar route which takes no thought on my part to drive after years of travel along it. This pathway has become so familiar that it is like an old friend, a dear friend, one who is always there and does not change.

It was about two or so years ago that I was traveling my familiar route, and I noticed a Hispanic woman walking along the same street, toward me. This was not unusual, as I regularly saw dozens of people and cars in the course of my morning travel. However, this woman stood out to me for some reason. Well, several reasons really. For starters, I usually pass this woman at about the same place each morning—usually just crossing the train tracks when I turn onto the intersecting street. It didn’t take long for both of us to notice that we passed each other quite often on this same stretch of road.

When we each first noticed the other we didn’t do much more than maybe take a second glance, that is, until one day one of us waved to the other. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure which of us started it, but somebody did, and from that point we would smile and wave to each other each day after that as we passed near the railroad tracks.

It’s amazing to me that the simple act of a wave caused something to change between us, no longer was she just the Hispanic woman walking down the street, but she became—in essence—my friend; A friend who greets me every day that I see her with a smile and an enthusiastic wave. It wasn’t very long before she stopped waving one arm, and started to wave them both when she saw me and I always wave back in return. This is now a bright spot in my day, and I can’t help but continue on to work with a smile. There is just something about this woman which is infectious.

There have been a few days I’ve needed to go to work a bit earlier than usual, or am running a little bit late. It is on these days that I do not see my dear, waving friend. In fact, there was a period for nearly a month where I did not see her at all, and I wondered where she was and how she was doing. It may sound strange to hear this, but I felt as though a part of my life were amiss. These mornings when I did not see her made me feel like I did when I’d left my lunch sitting on the kitchen counter or had forgotten my school keys…something was missing.

I recently began to see my friend again…in fact, about two weeks ago was the first time I had seen her in a long time. Like before, no words were exchanged, just a smile and a friendly wave.

It may seem strange that I have a friend, one whom I have never spoken to, I’ve never visited at her home, and I know nothing about her other than what she looks like, but none of those things are important to me. Maybe one day I’ll stop and talk to her, and maybe I won’t. But no matter what happens I know that whenever my dear friend and I pass each other in the morning, we’ll both greet each other with a friendly smile…and a wave.

20 Questions

Pin It This was something I chose to do rather than the you've-been-tagged-and-now-you-need-to-share-deep-and-dark-
secrets-about-yourself-for-the-whole-world-to-see thing. This is actually something that my sisters have done and it basically requires you to find an answer to the question on a photo search...Google Images, Dogpile, whatever you want. You pick an image off of the first screen of image hits and replace your answer with the photo. As you will see, some of these make absolutely no sense with the real answer.

My age on my next birthday:

A place I'd like to visit:

My favorite place:

My favorite object/thing:

My favorite food:

My favorite animal:

A color I particularly like:

The town were I was born:

The town where I currently live:

My favorite pet's name:

The name of a past girlfriend:

My nickname (or screen name):

My first name:

My middle name:

My last name:

A bad habit I have:

My first job (that I can remember):

My grandmother's name:

The degree I have right now:

My secret ambition/dream:

Well, that's it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The best Halloween costume

Pin It No, it isn't this one...

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays of all time. I can remember being a kid on Halloween and looking forward with anticipation to the night festivities…AKA: trick-or-treating. When I was little, my mom had me dress up as Andy, from Raggedy Ann and Andy because she’d made the costume. But, as a kid, I didn’t mind…after all, what is there that a kid won’t do for a great, big bag of candy?

When I turned 9 years old, I began to pick my own costumes and one of my favorites was dressing up as Zorro. There was something amazing about dressing up as a guy who defies a tyrannical government and who could single-handedly take on an entire army of villains and come out on top. Plus the fact that I’d get to wear a mask and carry a sword were always perks to being Zorro as well…not to mention that since my last name started with a Z, I could always leave that mark of his on my papers at school, claiming it as my own.

Costumes come and go, and as they do I would find myself choosing them much more carefully than I had when I was younger. Who would I want to be this year? Lately, a personal favorite costume of mine is Professor Severus Snape. Since I am elementary school teacher, dressing up as Snape makes school much more fun, considering the fact that I black out the windows, have thunder and rain sound effects playing, and very little lighting in the room…it’s amazing just how you can make a bright and cheery classroom feel so much like a dungeon. All of this plus the fact that I can be a ruthless character whom the kids absolutely love to have as a sub.

This year I decided to not only dress up as Snape, but in a few other costumes as well. It started off last year with the thought that it would be fun to be two different characters. So, I was Snape to start off the morning, and then after morning recess was a military commander whom I’d named, Sir Yessir. It was fun for the morning hours and as my class went to lunch I heard a few of them comment to each other with things like, “I can’t wait to see who’s going to be here after lunch!” Well, I hadn’t thought about being anybody else so the class had to content themselves with only two teachers that year.

Well, wanting to have a little more fun, I spent quite a few more hours preparing for Halloween this year. Not only did I have to get the classroom ready, but I had to get the costumes ready as well. It was at 12:30 on the eve before Halloween that I found myself driving home from the school and it was at about 1:30 that morning that I finally got to sleep.

When my alarm clock sounded a few hours later I thought that it was much too early…after all, it had just seemed that I had put my head to my pillow when it was time for me to go to school again. I rolled out of bed and quickly got ready…gathering up a large bunch of costume props which I needed for the day and headed out to school.

The beginning of the day was great. Playing Snape is always a lot of fun…especially considering the entrance I make when I have this ominous song for my entry and I turn off the lights so that only the dim lighting in the classroom I’d set up before is now noticeable. It’s strange too…for some reason, the kids absolutely love it when I would take points from their “houses” and mostly from any student dressed up as a character from the Harry Potter books (this year it was Lilly Evans).

After first recess my class was surprised when the next character arrived. A military commander who made them run obstacle courses on the playground, made them listen to patriotic music, and profess his love of America. I have to admit, last year I was much more brutal as this character (whom the kids still loved). This year, Sir Yessir had mellowed quite a bit from what he’d been in the past.

After lunch I was a character whom I decided to simply name, “Captain.” This was merely from the fact that I was supposed to be Jack Sparrow, however, my sister was unable to finish the costume so I was just a pirate captain instead. This was a fun character who gave the entire class pirate names like, Worm Gut and Ugly Pete.

A bit later I came in as “Earl.” Earl is an employee of Wal-Mart who is the host of multiple personalities whom would all surface at various times of his visit to our classroom. My favorite personality he housed was Blanche—a 50 year-old lounge singer whose voice had deteriorated into a gravely quality.

At the end of the day I had chosen to be a Jedi…a pretty cool costume which is a lot of fun to wear. In all, it was a fun Halloween.

A lot of work? Yes.
Fun? Yes.
Would I do it again? Not sure.

The reason I would not want to repeat my Halloween costume fest is mostly from the fact that it was an amazing amount of work which took far too much time in the end.

On a different note, however, I did get a little pleasant surprise before the day was through…do you remember what I said before about imitation being the most sincere form of flattery? Well, imagine my surprise when I found the 8 year-old boy across the hall dressed up in HIS Halloween costume.

Now, I can only wonder…did his mom make him dress up that way? After all, he’s only 8.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Okay, I'm a geek

Pin It I was on Youtube the other day and I found something which I thought was amazingly cool and I just had to post it...okay, I'm a geek. I have to admit it...

What kid isn't there in the world that at one time wanted to have a lightsaber? I just think of just how much more amazing "Pirates" would have been with lightsabers as well...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's about time

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Well, I finally broke down and finally bought an iPod. I kept putting it off after my little "adventure" in losing my old Mp3 player...I guess I was hoping that I could find an inexpensive Mp3 player, however, nothing seemed to be quite as good of a deal as just breaking down and buying this little baby. Also, I have to admit, there's nothing quite like the feeling you get when you know you're carrying 26,000 songs in your arsenal wherever you go.

I did christen my new iPod with one of my favorite Nickel Creek songs, after all, you can never have too much Nickel Creek.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Living Years

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When I turned five years old I got a really cool little puppy for my birthday. He was a half St. Bernard/half Golden Retriever mix (If you’ve ever seen the movie, ‘Beethoven’ you have a basic idea of just how big he really was). We decided to name him Grizzly Bear but we just called him Grizzly or Griz for short. He was a fantastic dog that I played with as a young boy and loved very much.

As the years trudged on and I became older, I began to play less and less with Grizzly. Though I didn’t seem to notice, as I got older, Grizzly did too. But no matter what, he was always there for me, even during a period of time where I pretty much ignored him because I had other things going on in my life. Unfortunately, as he got older he became and sick, and eventually couldn’t walk anymore, his fur was falling out, and he was in pain. We called the Vet who gave us the devastating news that Grizzly had simply grown too old and would need to be put to sleep.

I will never forget the day that the vet came out and gave Grizzly a shot that made him fall asleep. I remember knowing that once he fell asleep that he wouldn’t ever wake up again. As I watched from my bedroom window I thought of all the times I didn’t play with him. I was angry at myself for letting all that time go on and ignoring him until it was too late. We wrapped him in my favorite blanket, one that I’d had since I was four or five and buried him. I felt horrible inside, like I wanted to run and scream and hit something until the pain would go away. I had lost my best friend.

Isn’t it strange that so often we get caught up in life and don’t seem to truly notice our pets, friends, and sometimes even our family? One of the most terrible things that can happen is when we do not truly appreciate someone or something until they are gone. A group called “Mike and the Mechanics” came out with a song nearly twenty years ago entitled “The Living Years”; this song tells the story of a man who never really took the opportunity to tell his dad that he loved him. His dad dies and the man feels a hollow emptiness inside, wishing that he’d told his father how he’d always felt. In the end he basically expresses just how important it is for us to tell the people we love that we love them, while they are still here and so are we.

I guess my point is that it’s easy for us to create memories with others but so often we don’t. The TV set usually wins out over family conversation and long hours at work can consume a lifetime. When we, or a loved one are about to pass on from this life, will we have the right memories to take with us, or will it be reruns of our favorite television programs? I just hope that we can all think of experiences such as these in our lives and remember that the people around us won’t be around forever. In any moment of time they could suddenly be gone...would you have told them everything you’d have wanted to? Would you have spent the time with them, showing them how much you loved them? I think of this too and I realize in writing this that there are several people in my life that I really need to let know that I love them, to tell them that they are important to me, and that I haven’t forgotten them. Sometimes this can be hard when it feels that there is so much demanding our time in regards to school, work, and everyday life around us. It is my hope that we will all take the time to reach out while we are still in our “living years.”

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