Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Life Update February 22, 2014

The good news: mentally, I’m feeling better. The dark cloud didn’t send me too far down the slippery slope, and I am feeling normal again. (What is normal, by the way? I’m not sure, but it is somewhere between “Oh my God, I can’t bear to get out of bed and face the world” and “WOW! THIS-IS-THE-GREATEST-DAY-EVER-I-CAN-DO-ANYTHING!”)

The bad news: many bad things happening around me to people I know and love. I will not dwell on it (as that causes the slippery slope to loom over me) but one family member died yesterday and another got a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer (non-smoker). So much sadness around me that I actually feel physical pain.

Work right now is a bitch. No other way to say it. I still love my job, but I feel so stretched thin. I am needed by so many people to do so many things. Most schools have two people who do my job, but I am the only one at my school due to the budget. I usually don’t mind, but at times like this, when so much has to be completed in a short period, it is very hard on me. I will get through it, I just feel like I am not doing my best because I am doing too much.

It’s going to be a beautiful day here today, so I will sit outside in the sun and let it warm my soul. That makes everything more bearable.


We All Touch Lives October 16, 2013

Life is pretty incredible. I received this from a former student. It is a rough draft of an essay she is writing…about me. I’m not publishing this to toot my horn, but to encourage you all to see that each one of us touches the lives of others in some way. We may never know just what we mean to someone else.

My Hero

My hero is my 5th grade teacher, Mrs.R.  I consider her my hero because she is a hardworking, intelligent, loyal lady.  She has helped many people in her life, not just through school, but also through life.  I still stay in contact with her.  I go to see her, call her, and text her.  I look up to her not only as a role model, but also as a motherly figure.  She’s one of the people who inspired me to become a teacher.  I want to touch people like she’s done for me.  Mrs. R is someone who I could run away from home and go to without getting in trouble.  Some girls go to their best friends for everything, but I go to Mrs. R.

            Mrs. R is a hard-working woman.  I would go over her house on a school night, have her help me with my homework, while she’s grading papers.  When I was in 5th grade, she taught science, social studies, and coached the Science Olympiad team.  On top of that, she ran a tutoring business, did her school work, and had a family to take care of at home.    Mrs. R was an elementary school teacher for 15 years.  While she was a teacher, she earned two teacher of the year awards.  She is now a literacy coach at an elementary school.  In her free time, she loves to paint.  When she retires, she plans to stay home and paint.

            Mrs. R is one the most intelligent people I know.  She originally went to beauty school. She dropped out and went college to major in education.  She attended  University until she found out she was pregnant with her oldest daughter.  She then took a 6 year break and took night classes at University.  She has helped me throughout school since 5th grade.  When she was running the tutoring business, she helped kids that were taking college courses.  I had trouble all throughout my years of any science class I’ve had.  Mrs. R helped me through them.  It’s not what she teaches, but how she teaches it.

            I would consider Mrs. R a loyal person because she gives up her own time to stay at her school late and do extra work.  She gave up her time to tutor kids on her time.  She’s never left a child on anything, whether it’s a problem, homework, or if they don’t have ride.  She always goes above and beyond the call of duty.  She’s given up her free time to help me on assignments at her house.  She could be painting or anything otherwise than helping me, but she chooses to because she won’t leave a child that needs help behind.

            As of today, she still continues to inspire children and touch them.  She works to push children up to their ability.  Right now, she’s probably touching a child like she has done to me.  Mrs. R is working to make a change in a child’s life.  She once told me that if she changes at least one child’s life, she’s doing her job right.  In my opinion, she’s going way above doing her job right.


The Workweek September 16, 2013

Monday, Monday,
I’m glad you’re through
It’ll be seven days
’til I have to see you.

Tuesday, Tuesday,
You are often overlooked
You’re just day two
of a week that’s fully booked!

Wednesday, Wednesday,
Famous for your hump
We are halfway home
When we pass that bump.

Thursday, Thursday,
We call you Friday Eve,
The end is getting near
I can hardly believe!

You made it just in time
You are my favorite
so I’ll end this rhyme.


Ready to Shed Summer September 1, 2013

I’m ready to shed what is left of this lukewarm summer. It is time for cool autumn winds to blow this humid, heavy air away until next year.  This summer has not been a good one for me, and I am not sorry to see it go. I am back at work, with more responsibility than ever before. It is what I need.

I have a goal to not let work and everyday life get in the way of enjoying….LIFE. The weekend before work started I went on a quick trip to the mountains, just hubs and I. It rekindled something for us. We are good together, but I’d forgotten that we could be GREAT together. I don’t want to lose that.

I also don’t want to lose my art. I have this habit of immersing myself so fully in my job that I leave time for nothing else. My art releases so much for me, and I want to continue to learn and grow. I cannot do that by only creating a month or two out of the year. I have a need for art in my life.

Autumn….I am so ready for pots of homemade soup; crisp brown leaves crunching underfoot; brilliantly colored leaves decorating the mountains; and the smell of wood smoke drifting from chimneys. Autumn is my favorite time of year.



The Anticipation of Fridays March 8, 2013

Ah, Friday! Do you know why I love Fridays? Fridays wrap up a (usually) long week, and they hold the promise of the weekend. Work is over, and, at least for a short while, I can forget about the workday problems.

Blue alarm clock

Blue alarm clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fridays are filled with the anticipation of sleeping in, lounging around in pajamas and leisurely sipping hot cups (yes, cups!) of coffee. No alarm clock blaring obnoxiously loud music will jolt me from my slumber. Reading, painting, going on a day trip to take photos…all are weekend possibilities that tease me on Fridays.


It doesn’t matter if none of these adventures come to fruition; it’s the anticipation that beacons me on a Friday afternoon. My  weekend could turn out to be crap, but on Friday, I dream of relaxation and spontaneous fun. The reality is I still must find time to scrub the toilets, wash a mountain of dirty clothes (Seriously! How do we dirty so many items in five little days?), and any number of mind-numbing household tasks. But on Friday, I see the hours of unstructured time stretched before me like a red carpet leading to the ball…I am Cinderella, just as soon as I wash my ball gown and find that damn missing slipper…

Glass slippers

Glass slippers (Photo credit: Glamhag)


Black and White Without the Gray February 10, 2013

Interesting reading I found this morning.




When I feel “Up”, I become very creative. By up I don’t mean a normal good mood; it’s so much more than that. This is the reason I suspect I have some form of bipolar disorder. It is NOTHING like what my daughter suffers, but it is there staring me in the face.

I really understand how so many creative people in the world are bipolar. When you have that edge of mania, just sharp enough to make you invincible, the creative juices flow. Even during depression I find inspiration. I could live and die by my art if there were not people in my world who keep me grounded. I often wonder what it would be like to totally give in; stop fighting the rhythm of my body and mind and let go. Forget trying to fit my square peg into the round hole. Sometimes it becomes so exhausting trying to be like everyone else; I’m just not like other people! I know this and have mostly accepted it. But still I continue to work the 9-5, and live the typical suburbanite life. I think that is where most of my unhappiness originates.

It’s not that I am miserable all the time. I’m not, really.  I have a great job that I love, and I am good at it. I have a husband who does love the me I allow him to see. Most people seem to like me and I like them most people. Of course you know I have my dogs whom I love more than most humans. I just know that I spend so much time suppressing “me” that I often forget who I am.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, who am I really? I am an artist who cannot decide on one art form. I love to paint with acrylics or watercolor. I enjoy making jewelry from metal, wire, rocks, glass, paint, and clay. Writing gets in my blood and I must get it out; poetry, quotes, stories, or simply blogging about life. I love pottery and feeling the slippery clay between my fingers. But I think my true art form is photography. I love photography and would spend most waking moments traveling around the world and taking photos.

new art april 2011 217So why do I work and live like I do? Because it’s what I’m supposed to do. You know: get married, have children and a career, buy a house in a good neighborhood. I did all of that. I’m not unhappy that I did, but I often wonder what life would be like if I lived by my creative juices like my heart desires. Ideally, I guess I could live this life and create in my spare time. The truth of the matter is this life consumes me and all of my time. Just taking time to blog is a challenge.

I have a studio. It is tiny; it once was the bedroom of my daughter, S. Now it’s crammed with the remains of old projects and the tools of all the above mentioned art. I’ve tried spending my summers, when I am out of work from mid-June until mid-August, creating. IT’S NOT ENOUGH! When I create, I become consumed by it like a drug or a new love. I don’t want to talk to people, or cook dinner, or do any mundane things of life. Yet, time after time, I must stop and attend to life matters.new art april 2011 163

I feel like I am some weird schizophrenic blend of two people: the Domestic Me, who enjoys working and conversing with coworkers and children. This version of Me enjoys having everything in order: files put away, papers organized, and dinners planned. She lays out her slacks and dress shirt before bed,  goes to bed on time, and even remembers to put gas in the car! The other part, the Creative Me, only goes to bed when sleep overcomes creativity, puts her hair up in a sloppy ponytail, wears t-shirts, old jeans and bare feet, and listens to blaring music as creativity rules her every breathe.

new art april 2011 164The Domestic Me has ruled for many, many years. Only on occasion has Creative Me taken control and she sometimes wrecked havoc in my life. But SHE is the one that seems like the real me! She is me if I am being honest and really, totally ME. Why, then, do I keep her deep inside? Because that bitch is scary! She would get the tattoos and piercings someone of my age shouldn’t even think about. She would quit the 9-5 because it impedes the creative flow. She would probably then starve to death because, while I love my art in all its forms, I’m not nearly good enough to live on it. Even if I were good, Creative Me would not know how or where to begin to sell my craft. At least she would be much skinnier than Domestic Me! She would always wear jeans or flowing dresses, seldom cut her hair, smoke weed, and probably scare the piss out of small children! 😀 Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the truth is out: I am the original hippy. I am a hippy living a soccer mom life and it sometimes hurts.

So, how do you blend the unblendable? How do you mix black and white and not create gray?



What I Do February 3, 2013

I’m enjoying a quiet weekend. There is much work to be done, but, as usual here lately, I am content to do just enough to get by. I hope my energy and motivation returns again one day. Until then, I will do what I feel able to do.

Maybe it’s because I am such a go-getter at work that I have nothing left when I get home. My job is very demanding and the hours are usually long. The funny thing is, I have no problems keeping up with the demands I have at work. I have decided to share what I do. For years, I was a teacher. Then last year I took on a new role in the education system. let me explain what I do at work.

I work in an elementary school. I oversee and support 26 teachers. My job is hard to explain because I do so many things. I train teachers in any and all new teaching concepts. I oversee a huge testing program and make sure it is completed on time and correctly. I often test the students myself. When the county or state decides to drop by for a site visit,I must walk with them through each class and listen as they point out all that is right or (more often) wrong.  The principal and I must answer for anything that is not done correctly in the classrooms. I am the “go-to” person for any and all needed materials used for teaching. I am also the “go-to” when teachers need to vent or have difficulty of some sort. I run after school tutoring for selected students. I go into classrooms and teach demo-lessons or co-teach lessons with the classroom teacher. I evaluate teachers and give them feedback on how to improve. I also provide support by assisting with students who have discipline problems.

I work in a school that has major discipline problems. We have some kids in the upper grades in gangs. Lower grades often deal with students who throw chairs, scream, kick, and swear at the top of their lungs. The hell these kids live in would produce nightmares in you for years.

Here is a typical day for me:

7:00 I arrive at school, click on my laptop, and quickly gather needed books for 1st grade. I clip on my walkie-talkie and deliver the books.

7:10 Time to report for morning duty: meet and greet. It is important to greet students when they enter: for some, it is the first “nice” they hear in the mornings.

7:30 Go to my office and check email and text messages. This is how teachers let me know if they need supplies or help. While there, 3 different teachers stop by. One needs supplies. The other two need my advice.

7:40 Deliver needed materials to 4th grade. Stop in to see Bob, one of several students with which I seem to have a special bond. He is doing fine, so I move on. I check on Delia next, a first grader who is often thrown out of class for being disruptive. She is screaming and hitting the assistant, who is trying to remove her from the room. I squat beside Delia and talk in a soft but firm voice. She has to get quiet to hear me. Delia knows I will not put my hands on her; I repeatedly ask her to calm down, take my hand and go to my office with me. She puts on a show for another minute before she takes my hand and walks with me. We sit in my office and discuss whatever set her off, and how she needs to make better choices. Delia has anger issues; but so would I if my dad had been shot and killed 4 months ago and I was taken from my mom because she was too coked out to care for me. I walk Delia back to class just as I get called to a 3rd grade class.

8:45 Go to the 3rd grade class. We have a long-term sub in this room because the teacher resigned at Christmas. When I arrive, she is in tears and yelling at the kids because they will not follow directions. I spend much time in this class because of the sub, and because these kids need me. I take over teaching and get the students back on track. The assistant comes in to help me and we get the kids rolling again. The kids in this room love me because I give them structure, I listen to them, and I don’t abandon them. They feel abandoned by the teacher who quit. Many have been abandoned by their own parents, so it is a big issue for them. I make sure to spend time with them daily.

10:30 The 3rd grade goes to art, so I go back to my office. I have two students I need to test; one in kindergarten and the other in second grade. I test each of them. While testing, Michael stops by to see me. He is a first grader who saw his dad stick his sister’s legs in boiling water because he was angry with her. Michael stops to see me 4-5 times a day, every day. I hug him and he is on his way back to class. Then Brandon is brought to me. Brandon is in kindergarten and has thrown a chair at his teacher. He sits with me to cool down. We talk. The teacher has called mom, and she says she is on the way. She never comes. I send Brandon back to class after he calms down and apologizes for his behavior.

11:30 I meet with the principal.  She is someone I truly respect and admire. She has her hands full at this school, so we often meet as a team to see what needs to be done to accomplish needed goals. We discuss problem areas and possible solutions. She has several items for me to take care of, so off I go. I see Angel, a girl who was suspended for swinging at her teacher, sitting in the office. Her parent sent her to school anyway because she had to go to work. As I am leaving, I get two text messages. One is from my daughter, J, letting me know she is having a good day. (Sigh of relief). The other is from a 5th grade teacher who needs to see me after school. I reply okay.

12:30 I stop in and co-teach a 4th grade math lesson. We have a first year teacher in this room who needs much support. The kids are often off task, so I give them plenty of chances to talk and move during the lesson on comparing fractions. Bob is in this room, so I make sure he is engaged. I have given him a small piece of putty to hold in his pocket. He has trouble focusing and needs to “fidget”, so playing with this in his pocket helps to keep him out of trouble. It seems to be working today.

1:30 As I leave that class, another 4th grade teacher stops me. They team is having trouble and need to meet with me after school. I make arrangements. Then my walkie-talkie calls my name. It is the office, letting me know a delivery of supplies is in. I tell them to send it to my office and I will deal with it later. I don’t even know what it is. Back in my office, I grab my lunch and eat while checking email. I have 10 emails, 5 of which require a response from me. I take care of these while eating.

1:40 Rashad comes in for a quick hug. He is in 1st grade and has much trouble with behavior. He informs me that he has been good today. We have an arrangement that he gets a treat if he can be good all day. I tell him to keep it up.

1:45 I have stacks of books and supplies that need to be organized, so I take time to work on that. While working, 5 staff members come by for various reasons.I talk and continue organizing.

2:15 Time for afternoon dismissal. Rashad earned his treat, so he stops by. Afterwards, I help load children into the appropriate bus or car, and chaos becomes quiet.

2:20 Time for the staff meeting. The principal opens the meeting. When she completes her part, I step in. My teachers are having trouble teaching math, so I show them some ways to do it correctly. Most are grateful for my advice. Some seem beaten down and unresponsive. We are still working on staff moral.

3:30 The meeting is over, but I am still talking with a core group of teachers who have questions and need more time with me.

3:50 I meet with the 5th grade teachers. They are having trouble with a lesson in reading. so I discuss it with them and we find a solution.

4:45 I walk back to my office. Many teachers are gone, but some are still in the building. A 4th grade teacher is waiting for me. She is upset with her team and needs my advice. Just as we are finishing up, a 3rd grade teacher comes by needing my help. Soon after, a 1st grade teacher comes in. Before long, my office is filled and we just have a much-needed gab session to relieve the tensions of the day. Sometimes we cry, but more often we laugh.

5:30 I pack my laptop and needed papers. I am usually worn out by this time.

So, you see, I often don’t have much left to give when I get home. So if I choose to let a few things go right now, I’m alright with that. There’s always tomorrow.