Monday, June 29, 2009


It's been a long time. A really long time. This goal that I basically gave up on after Round Three back in 2007. After that letdown, I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to happen. I rationalized it: there are certain kids who need me, my kiddos with whom I have forged relationships, the ones who I consistently float money for lunch, the ones who need the fist-bump and constant praise.

But this time, when the opportunity arose, it paid off. And as thrilled as I am, this will be one of the most difficult life changes for me. Leaving my new friends and longtime colleagues will be hard. I will miss most of them; some of them I will probably never see again. Leaving my room, 209, saddens me. I know it's just a room, but I molded it to represent me. It stood for comfort, safety, creativity, a place where risks can be taken without fear. It was "the newspaper room." Leaving after one of the best years there, with some of the neatest kiddos, causes me heartbreak. I confess that some kids knew that I had again applied. They told me not to, just as they do every year when I joke that I may not be back. I can't count the number of times someone has said to me: "I'm taking Journalism 3 next year." And I replied: "Well, maybe I"ll be here to teach it." The response was always: "Oh, you better be here. You can leave after I graduate."

This time, it's true. I have a slew of young adults that I will miss: Professor, CashMoney, Linds, JLibs, SZ, Neela, Sean, Henceforth, Steph, and too many others. I feel, in a way, that I am letting some of them down. I want to see them graduate. And I won't.

Even more so, I feel as though I'm leaving my girl, my Queen of Shit. My mentor. All too many times I've relied on her so greatly to pull me through my rough spots, to help me refocus, to remind me to hold the line and respect the standards, to emphasize the three Rs: rigor, rigor, rigor. She scared the living crap out of me during that first month on the job, particularly when she stared over the top of those reading glasses and gave "the look." I'm sure this happened the first time I invoked the word "clusterfluck," one of my newsroom phrases.

I remember how tough it was for me when Pam left. She was the younger sister that I never had. We shared so many personal similarities; we were kindred spirits. Then Cathy left. She was the eldest sister that I never had, my literary guide and cheerleader, the person who "got" me as I suffered through all of the mixed family drama. I needed Marcy to stay. She was my middle sister, my rock. The one who kept it all together with grace and style and poise. We could sit in a meeting, listen to some knucklehead squawking, and just smile, knowing what each other was thinking. She completes me. And every time she's mentioned the R word, I'd get anxiety. After all, she's way too young to retire.

But now I'm leaving. Maybe this will help me avoid the pain that I would be experiencing upon her leaving me. I think that would be worse.

And so this is where my persistence has left me. Ecstatically sad. But in the end, richer for what I'm taking with me. If only I could take these people with me in more than spirit.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

OK, here's some verification about Keni's choppers, to which I refer in the previous post. If you look closely as she does her Hannah Montana goes to Bear Swamp dance routine, you'll notice that those front teeth have already signed up for an appointment with the orthodontist. Money from the tooth fairy? Heck, no. It's all earmarked (toothmarked?) for some head gear.

18 months later.

Wow. Who would've thought that I'd wait 18 months to write again. I could tell a small fib and say that I was just waiting for some really good stuff to happen in my life. But that would certainly be a lie.

Perhaps the tragedies of the world have moved me to words. The Death Of.... Billy Mays. Inventor of Oxi-Clean. Seriously. I know MJ and Farrah were icons in their own right. But seriously. Did they make life easier for the mother of four? No. Yet take Billy Mays and the wonder of Oxi-Clean. With one swallow, that stuff could clean out all of the stomachs of a cow. Stains? Gone! No longer did we have to worry about the girls eating spaghetti. Cleaning products are the inventions of some understanding goddess.

Speaking of goddess, Kendall (who is currently in the midst of a nail-biting championship round of Dora Candyland with her father) started to swim today. Thank goodness she eats a lot of kibble because her very round stomach seems to help keep her above water. This pooch-belly acts as a buoy, allowing her to swim in small circles as if she was the star pupil studying at the Esther Williams School of Water Acrobatics. Of course, she will not yet put her face in the water. And as a result, she's squinting quite a bit, and I fear that she may swipe into the side of the wall with those rabbit teeth.

Tomorrow marks the official start of summer for me, despite having off for the past three weeks. Why is that? Well, summer school begins for Grace, and Kendall will be heading back to day care part-time, giving me time to catch up on all of the Judge Judy and other important daytime shows that managed to stay on the air during the school year. I do love daytime. Gimme a blue bag of Doritos, a case of Coke Zero and the remote control in the month of July and I'm as happy as a clam (even if I am allergic to shellfish).