Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I was fussing the other day about something, and a friend of mine commented it was just because i was had "wanderlust." I know this word and have used it on occasion, but I looked up the specific definition. Google dictionry defines it as "a strong desire to travel." Dead on. So I started refelcting on all the different places I've live and different jobs I have had. Following is a brief and probably inaccurate timeline of my wandering.

I lived in a small trailer with my Mom and Dad on Parris Island, SC

I lived with my Mom in the same trailer across the street from my Grandmother in Mac's Chapel while my Dad was on deployment to Vietnam

I lived with Mom and Dad in a trailer park in Jacksonville, NC. I'm not sure if it was on base or not, but there was an interesting old man who lived next door who had a white beard and a cane. He gave us cookies and told stories.

We lived in a trailer park in Cherry Point NC. My sister was born while we lived here. I got my first stitches, learned to ride a bike and bought a plastic peace sign at a yard sale for 15 cents. I have a horrible memory of kindergarten, but I remember a very sweet 1st grade teacher.

We moved to a place called Daisy City outside of Graysville AL while my Dad delpoyed to Japan. My parents divorced for the first time during this period. I remember learning to suck the nectar from honeysuckle, playing red light green light in the field, Brookisde Elementary and phonics, and buying ice cream from the truck. I also checked ou Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from the library

My sister and I moved to Millingotn and lived in an apartment with my Dad until we moved the trailer up from AL. Or did we buy a new one? Can't remember. I have great memories of this time. We had races in the road, built forts in the woods and played out until the last minute always. I remember watching Elvis Presley's funeral on TV while I changed into play cltohes. I had sweet teachers, except 4th grade, and my librarian turned me on to Bridge to Terebethia and Judy Blume books. I kissed a boy behind the coat racks in 6th grade. No idea who.

My parents remarried, and we were transferred to Beaufort, SC, back to where I began. I lived in a house on base with my sister and parents until they divorced again in 1984. I have too many memories from this time, but I can still smell the marsh and wish I could still ride my bike to the river to get some crabs. I also had my first of many jobs here. Babysitting and working at a convenience store.

I lived with an older man in Beaufort Not going there.
Worked at convenience store, started and failed out of college.

I moved in with my Grandmother for the first time and started UAB. I worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield for a bit, then Sam's Wholesale Club on Lakeshore Drive.

Fluff Chick and I rented a house in Minor for a while. It was like all the movies you've seen about college. Wild! I worked mainly at Sam's during this time, but also part time as a convenience store clerk.

I lived in a great little apartment on Southside just up from UAB. I have the fondest and the worst memories of this time. This was the period that my addictions grabbed me, chewed me up and spit me out. I loved that little aprtment, though. It had a claw foot tub. I worked first at Sam's, then Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook, then Bruno's in Irondale and a short stint at Toys'r'us in Hoover. I moved from here to my Dad's house, to my Mom's house in SC, back to this apartment, thne finally back to my Grandmother's. Oh, I forgot all about Re-Print, the school supply place I worked at for 3 years. They took really good care of me. Thanks Ray Pate.

Moved back in with Gran, finished that degree! I wroked off and on at Re-Print during this time. I started teaching full time in August of 1999 at Minor High School as the FACS teacher. I had the best mentor teachers ever, and this was before we had "mentor teachers."

February 2000-July 2000
Lieved for a brief time with a friend in Cottondale. Bad move. Long story.

Worked at Erwin High School as a special ed teacher, learned to drive the bus during this time. I rented my Great-grandparents house from my uncle in Mac's Chapel.

Worked at Counseling Center as a teacher where I met Chris. During this time I finally moved back to Southside to a wonderful little apartment in the Highland Park area. It had a great tub, too. Then I married Chris and we moved to the most bizarre little rental house in Avondale. I finished my Master's and went to work at Fultondale Elementary as the EC teacher.

We moved back to Mac's Chapel and bought the house I had rented. I transferred to McAdory High School as the Work Instructor.

Spring/Summer 2006
We lived in an apartment in Downtown Birmingham where Metropolitan Gardens used to be while our house was rebuilt after a fire.

Fall 2006
We moved into our new house in Mac's Chapel, Grandmother died, David was born, we started trying to sell.

Fall 2007
I transferred to West Jefferson Elementary as the school librarian.

Fall 2011
Landed in Corner Alabama, but I'm still the librarian at West Jefferson.

My boots are dusty.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Take the Pill!!

I've written about the dieting failures of the last few weeks, but still have not been able to get re-motivated and re-committed. I feel like this week will be better. I want to talk a little bit today about the mental illness that runs through my family, and how just being lazy can affect me.

I always like to say that I'm the sane one in the family. I used to only take a 10mg dose of an anti-depressant, but over the years that has increased to 40mg. It actually does lots of good things for me I forget about until I forget about taking the medicine. No, I'm not suicidal or violent, in fact I could pass as reasonably functioning, but I'm not really myself. Here is the story.

I'm not exactly sure what problems my younger sister has, but she has been treated for bi-polar disorder. She occasionally goes off her medicine and ends up in some scary situations. My youngest sister began having panic attacks and depressive episodes in high school. She has been taking an anti-depressant of some kind since then. Her medicine has changed from time to time as she's gotten older and her insurance plans have changed. (Yes, the good ole insurance companies get to tell you what they think is best.) She has three children and had to stop taking her medicine each time. She was a basket case by the time she delivered.

My Mom finally started treating her mental illness about 20 years later than she needed to. I would guess for several reasons. The medicine used to be pretty nasty and have lots of side effects, talking about mental illness was taboo, and she drank. When she stopped drinking, she finally realized what a mess she was and got some treatment and medicine.

Meanwhile, as this is happening, I'm getting sober, finishing college, marrying, building a family and all around doing the things I think I'm supposed to. Then I faced several personal tragedies and stresses in a short period of time.I February of 2006 I had been married just two year when our house burned beyond repair and we lost essentially everything. Thankfully, we were fully covered and able to build back our house and acquire everything we needed and more. However, while we were recovery from that, my Grandmother, whom I was extremely close to, was diagnosed with cancer and died just weeks before we closed on the new house in July of 2006.  There were many changes in the way the family that I had always known reacted and some damage was done to those relationships that have taken time to heal. My Mom and sister moved to town into her house (next door to mine) after her death, and almost a year to the day, my Mom died of cancer in August of 2007. I also received my biggest blessing ever, my sweet, beautiful baby boy, two months earlier than expected in January 2007. Life was nuts. My emotions were shot. My OB/Gyn started me on a small dose of an anti-depressant somewhere in all this and said I could try to go off of it any time I wanted.

Well, let me tell you, quitting those drugs is a new experience. The first time I really stopped taking them was in the Spring of 2011. four years is long enough to be crazy, right? However, doctors don't remember to tell the kinds of things that happen when you stop. The biggest issue is blood sugar levels. I was out of town when the blood sugar dropped happened. I actually snatched fruit out of my nephews hands to eat because I thought I was going to die. I totally bottomed out and remained shaky until I got home. My sister told me that's what happens when you quit. So I got home,a and went back on them and decided to wean myself off slowly. I did, without ill effects except for the raving lunatic I became. I was raging and Chris took Sunshine downstairs to get away from me. I could not believe he would do that! I really couldn't see clear enough to realize how I was acting. All that serotonin was firing in my brain, and I couldn't handle it. I swore I would never stop again.

At the beginning of this school year, I started feeling a little weird. I wasn't handling things well and had no real drive to do anything. I though maybe my medicine was too strong, so I quit it and after an irrational crying fit I went to the doctor and he doubled my dose. Jeesh, now I guess I'll be nuts forever.

This was several months ago, and except for a little PMS I've been fine. My medicine ran out last week and  kept meaning to get it filled, and just never got around to it. The funny thing is though, this time as I detoxed, I was in a marvelous mood. We watched a play on Thursday that I thought was hysterical! I had dinner with some friends and was live and animated, maybe too much. I fixed up my library saw kids all week and just enjoyed being with them. I just felt great. So this time, I hit manic instead of depressive. Lord help a crazy person. I enjoyed it.l Okay, now the connection with weight loss. I had no resentment or reason I didn't feel like sticking to my diet this week. I ate pretty healthy, but then would be starving and craving sugar.Also, I had a hard time with my daily constitution and had stomach bloating and pain all week. I had headaches, and by yesterday my blood sugar was totally bottoming out. Then it hit me, "you haven't taken your medicine in a week, dope! In Wal-Mart I had to eat a Reese cup and drink a bottle of water before I could even finish shopping. Because now, remember I'm on twice the medicine so the blood sugar things is worse. I squealed into the pharmacy 6 minutes before they closed and got my refill. I feel better today, well, my mood is more even keel, I do kind of miss that high. I haven't craved sugar as much and the bathroom hasn't been an issue.

All that to say, I think I'll do better this week on my diet, and Take the Pill!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reflection of my teaching practice

Over the weekend, I read one of those sweet lists about how to treat kids. I like to think I know how, but this thing affected me. I couldn't find it to share it, but one of the pieces of advice it offered was to remember how small they really are.

I have failed at this. Lately, I have been doing several research projects with my students. I have been astounded at what I perceived as a lack of background knowledge to complete certain tasks. These are 8, 9 and 10 year olds I have been putting this pressure on. I forgot how small they really were. I'm the teacher, if they lack background knowledge, it's my fault. These kids have never had another librarian or lab teacher, so if its something they can't do, obviously I haven't taught them how to do it. These guys have barely even began their study of social studies and history, yet I've been expecting them to digest and process complex information while they perform complex operations using a computer. Well, hell yes I can do it, I've got a masters degree. They're 4th graders. Little guys. That trust me. I know my expectations should be high, but then they must be realistic, too. It's the process, not the product. I can think of time and again that I have made this mistake. I plan to resolve this and improve my practice. I wish I could write this into my EducateAlabama plan.

Dieting: I ate with defiance and disregard today. I made a decision to,count my points this morning, but that oppositional defiance I inherited from my Mom reared its ugly head, and being a Gemini my self defied myself. Hahahahahahaha. One day at a time. Glad this one is almost over.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Drivel of a serial eater.

It's been 9 days since I posted, and I bet I haven't stuck to my plan a single one of those days. I think it was the oatmeal that finally got me. I'm just not planning well. When I didn't have my family, I could rock weight watchers. Now, by no means would I rather not have my family, it's just such hard work. Seriously.

 Okay, I'm going to bitch for a minute. I work all day, and I have my sensible breakfast in the morning, pack my highly processed lean cuisine and two very healthy snacks such as a piece of fruit and a Greek yogurt for  school(However I do sneak 3-5 pieces of chocolate from various stashes in other teachers' rooms throughout the day) and then I come home starving. And tired. So if  I haven't already, I have to figure out what we are going to eat, if Sunshine will even taste it, prepare it, then clean up the kitchen. And another thing, healthy low point meals take way more prep time than spaghetti or hamburger or chicken fingers and fries...After about a month  I'm just tired of it. So here I am. Again.

Another thing, my dear friend posted on her blog that they took Valentine's Day off because, well, it's Valentine's soaked in high calorie sweets Day. We did too. However, she reported how guilty and sick she felt. Well, not this sister. I enjoyed every sweet thing I put in my mouth. I cooked a wonderful supper that included butter, rolls and cheesecake, and today we are officially going out for V-Day. I plan to have my favorite thing of all time, a juicy cheeseburger.

I'm not even going to attempt to post what my plans for next week are. I will try though.

Before I close, however, I did want to make a comparison with falling off the wagon and falling off the diet train. In AA, we always say things like "Keep Coming Back" and "it's the first drink that gets you drunk " We also talk about something called the phenomenon of craving. It seems that as long as we can keep from taking that first drink, well, we will be successful. I have heard many stories, too, about alcoholics that drink again without problems, for a period of time. But the disease always catches up with them again. I am simply too afraid to find out what would happen if I had another drink. I just don't go there. Plus, I'm prideful and like saying I've been sober for 17 years.

My point, once I fall off the diet train, I always have a tremendously hard time getting back on. Food makes me feel so good. Guess Ill "keep coming back."