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Showing posts from 2014

Breakfast of champions: Gluten-free on the go

Sugar-free skinny vanilla latte and a bagel with cream cheese. It's quick and delicious. Unfortunately, it's also expensive. And full of gluten, lactose, and sugar. And devoid of almost any nutritional value. So I guess I should be grateful that discovering my allergy forced me to overhaul my morning routine. 
When I first went gluten-free, I relied almost entirely on packaged breakfast bars with "gluten-free" on their labels. There are several decent brands, and I'd be happy to give some suggestions if anyone wants that, but eventually I grew tired of them, and I began to wonder if there was a more nutritional and cost-effective way to begin my morning. Since I also need to avoid dairy, and since I usually wake up around 5AM, I originally struggled to find something quick and easy to start my day. But I finally have a method that works for me and I wanted to share in case it helps anyone else. 
Every few weeks, I buy several of these foods, and prepare them on the…

It's a dance thing...You wouldn't understand ;)

Last spring, a fellow coach asked me to help her with a special goal. After several decades of seeing the growth and success of the Moses Lake Dance/Drill program, she wanted to hear it named to the WSDDCA hall of fame. I eagerly wrote the following letter, and last week, the announcement finally came! Now I can officially offer my congratulations and my gratitude to Molahiettes, coaches, and supporters from throughout the years!
     At the banquet following my first year on the Molahiettes, Coach Skinner applauded our captain’s dedication by saying, “Drill team is her life.” A nearby mom scoffed.  How could a person be so consumed by drill team that they allowed it to define them?  But after three years as a Moses Lake dancer, I learned that it’s not about being defined by drill or dance; it’s about being so passionate and dedicated that you exude the ideals of your team and you inspire others to do the same.        Long before the state…

Untitled (so far)

I recently attended a workshop where we were asked to write a poem focusing on our choice of imagery and poetic structure. I decided to include only sensory words: no articles, prepositions, conjunctions, or even emotional or intellectual descriptors. Just what can be imagined through a few of the five senses. 
I'm not 100% settled on everything in this piece yet, but it was interesting to try writing a poem under a time constraint and with such specific expectations. And I'm curious to see if my image is understandable to anyone other than me. 

Skies, horizons, distance downward.              Jumping. Pushing. Rushing.  Empty, open, spacious, vacant.                Winds. Gusts. Gravity.  Jagged, hard, hot, sharp.                Rocks. Edges. Ledges.  Rope, restraint, harness, anchor?               Whip. Rip. Reverse.  Forceful fleeing, flailing, falling.                Bounce. Shrink. Stop. 

Once upon a time

You said to ask. If I needed anything in my future, all I'd have to do is ask. But what I need is for this to be gone, or to have never existed...So the memories can be gone, disappear like they never even were. 
The memories of where we sat. And where we talked. And how you looked. And what I wore. And what you said. And what we swore. And what I feared. And what you hid. Or what I feared you hid. 
All those memories make the feelings too strong. Too current. Too real. But you can't "fix" that while those memories are still here. And neither can I. So I just get angry. Or sad. Or confused. And it intensifies how much I hate you. And how much I hate everything we lost. Because I'm sure that you already forgot the memories, or never had them in the first place. And it was really just me, by myself, all along. 
But what can either of us do to fix that now? Nothing...And what's left to work for or hope for...Nothing...And what could I possibly ask you to help with.…

What my students taught me

The trouble with calling us "teachers" is that it implies our purpose is to teach.  Not necessarily to inspire learning. 
The trouble with calling them "students" is that it implies their purpose is to study.  Not necessarily to be inspired with learning. 
But teachers can't teach what we don't know.  And in this life, no one can know everything. Or anything really.  At least, not anything worth knowing.  We can preach and we can assess but that's not truly teaching. 
And students won't study what they don't care about.  And in this society, no one cares about everything.  Or anything really.  At least, not anything we "teach" in school.  They can memorize and they can test but that's not the same as learning. 
So what if the teachers stopped trying to teach?  Because there's more to life than what any one person can learn, so there's more to knowing than what any one person teach.  And that's the scary thing about teaching. 
And what i…

The Problem with being a People Pleaser

What's the problem with being a people pleaser? Actually, it seems there are plenty of problems--plural--with trying to please everyone, but for some reason this is one habit I just can't let go of. The logical part of me knows that I don't have to hang so much of my own happiness on the satisfaction of others, so why can't I just convince myself that it's ok to stop trying for some people?
I feel like I've made a bit of a break through this week, but truth be told, I'm trying to talk myself into this theory even as I write. So if you would like to share any words of wisdom on the topic, I would really appreciate it. 
The cruelest irony that I've discovered recently is that the people who are the least likely to ever be pleased by anyone seem to be the very same people that I most want to appease. Set in their ways and eternally pessimistic, they just drain the life right out of those around them. Why in the world do I keep trying to please that type of p…

"Date A Girl Who Dances"

There's something magical about knowing that other dancers, other artists, truly understand you. Especially when it seems like most of this world just can't, or won't, see what makes you tick. 
I found that elusive empathy in an article called "Date a Girl Who Dances." But it's about much more than dating dancers; it's about learning to see people for who they really are, and understanding how to be a meaningful part of their meaning-filled life. In my life, I've found that people are often intrigued by that intangible inspiration that seems to follow, or maybe lead, artistic people. But few people really dive deeply enough to become a permanent part of it.  
If you know someone who shows every feeling through their movements, or who draws every idea in the air or on paper as they speak, or who thinks and asks and responds to the little details that you'd never noticed before, then this article will help you understand why they think and feel so muc…

Case in point

At 3 AM, a poem came to me and I posted it here with a comment about the unpredictability of writing. In the next 15 minutes, another came to me, but when I went to transfer it from my phone's notebook to this post, I hit a wrong button and lost five lines.
As if to illustrate the point of my 3 AM poem, my 4AM brain decided to forget those five lines entirely. I stayed awake until about 4:15 trying to re-create them, then I finally fell back to sleep. I've worked on it again for about a half-hour now and still can't figure out anything that felt as good as the original. I decided I should post it before I lose anything else! But maybe I'll come back and change it later. It's kind of funny to see that a single poem ended up showing how effortless and laborious the writing process can be. -------------------------------------------------------------- I was strong enough to build you up, To save you from what you might become.  But when I fell and needed you, You weren'…


A different poem started creeping up in me a few days ago but it can't seem to get out yet. I was lying in bed just now, thinking about it, when my mind started thinking about my somewhat unpredictable writing process. This new metacognitive poem was the result of that tangent. At 3AM. My brain has a mind of its own. This is what it had to say.  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sometimes they just flow out of me, like they've been ready all along. 
Other times they wander and rush through my head for days, Like they're trying to find each other  In the chaos of emotions  They've beat down, befriended, or become along the way. 

But first, let me take a #selfie

You might have a selfie addiction if:

1) Your solo pics outnumber the pics of all your friends, family, and the rest of the natural world...combined.  2) You can snap a self portrait in a single shot but you need twelve tries to take a picture of a person or object in front of you.  3) You've crafted such an exquisite collection of online self-images that people don't recognize you when you meet again in person.  4) You choose your clothes or jewelry based on how they'll make your cleavage look in your pictures that night.  5) You've run out of reasons to take "legitimate" selfies (I.e. Just chopped off three inches of hair, just got a massive sunburn, just wanted a creeper pic with the celebrity you're stalking), and you've resorted to posting each selfie with a favorite song lyric or motivational quote just to give the illusion of purpose. 
Now, about this #Selfie song. Any chance it will help these addicts take a more realistic look in the mirror? Will t…

A picture with a thousand (or more) words

Education reform is not a current trend. It is a never-ending cycle. Once one type of reform takes hold, a new one comes creeping up behind it. So when I ran across this article from 1990-something, I wasn't surprised by what it said. I was, however, surprised by what *I* said. Apparently, I had already begun developing my educational philosophy by the age of 13 or 14. Looking back at it, I kind of feel bad for the teacher who had to read these pretentious middle school musings. Then again, maybe she was reading it and laughing during her spring break--just like I am today.

Voice memos and pic mute videos

Full disclosure: most of the letters, emails, lesson plans, and blog posts I've written recently have not actually been "written" in the traditional sense. Since working on electronic devices has been causing more eye pain and headaches lately, I've put down the keypad and picked up the microphone. I have been using talk/text, voice memos, and my new best frienemy, Siri, for almost everything.

Likewise, I've taken to listening to most of my entertainment. Sometimes I listen to the usual audio entertainment (Pandora, iTunes, radio, etc.), but other times, I want something more engaging. Two of my new favorite activities include listening to books on YouTube and listening to my favorite Netflix TV shows. Since my laptop might otherwise lure me into TV viewing temptation, I've started using the "pic mute" function. (I.e., I turn my screen to black so that I don't accidentally start watching.)
Ironically, that means I really have no idea what the vid…

104. 106. 110. 114. 114. 129. 144.

Recently, a challenging situation with a student reminded me of a piece that I wrote two years ago but never posted. 
 Just as students are often surprised to discover that teachers have real lives and real emotions outside of their classroom, adults should remember that students also have real lives and real challenges outside of the classroom. During a recent altercation, this understanding allowed me to remain calm and focused.  
I often find myself wondering what challenges outside of class are making these students so angry by 8AM. I wish students like this could understand that many teachers are actually attempting to help them and teach them, not just to punish them. I also wish that our society as a whole could understand how the obstacles these children face on a daily basis also impact our effectiveness in the classroom. And that thought brings me back to the piece I wrote two years ago.
------------ From January 2012------------
104. 106. 110. 114. 114. 129. 144. Is this m…