March 31

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I did it!!!

I wrote for 31 days!

I did it along side of some amazing storytellers and writers.

I did it with the encouragement from kind hearted readers.

I did it and it was fun!

I did it and looked forward to it when I thought I might dread it.

I did it and easily came up with topics to write about each and everyday.

I did it and found so many inspirational quotes along the way.

I did it and modeled for my students that it’s possible to write about anything.

I did it and I’m feeling proud.

I did it and I will miss not doing it.

I did it and perhaps I will set a new goal for myself to write at least once a week.

I did it, and I will be looking forward to doing it again next year!

 

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March 30

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I usually park on the street by my school each day.  On the occasions that I have parked in the parking lot, my car door has been hit or small scratches have appeared.  I don’t think anyone does it on purpose, but because I’m paying that large sum of money each month to own the car, I like for it to remain nice.

Today as I was walking out to my car after school, a friend from high school was picking his son up from school.  “Hey, how are you?” I asked.  He looked at me heading towards my car, and said,”Is that your car right there?”  I nodded.  “Oh no, some big white car side swiped it 15 minutes ago.  It just kept going, didn’t stop.  We couldn’t get the license plate number, but we saw that it was a Florida tag, and it was a big white Excursion or Expedition,” he explained.  “I bet it was a high school kid, they were flying up the street, good thing no kid was trying to cross the street, that would have been bad. We went to look for the car at the high school and the 7-Eleven to see if we could get the plate number, but they weren’t there. I left you my card on the windshield.  I’m happy to be a witness when you report to the police or your insurance company,” he said.

I walked around to the side of the car expecting to see white paint down the side.  Good news was it was just my mirror that was hit.  Bad news was it was dangling and there were parts of the casing all over the ground.  As I started to pick up the pieces of plastic, a neighbor walked over, “I might have camera footage of that.  I’ll look when I get back from my son’s practice.”  Well, that was thoughtful.  Way more thoughtful than the jerk who hit my car and kept on driving.  This could be a little awkward, “What if it was one of the parents from school?” I thought.

i called the non-emergency police and explained what had happened.  “This happened 30 minutes ago?  Well, you need to come to the station or go online and fill out a hit and run report. We can’t really do anything now, they are gone,” the operator explained. “But I have a description of the car and it had a Florida license plate. Couldn’t a policeman keep an eye out for this vehicle?  They could have hit children instead of my car,” I shared.  She must hear from people like me all the time because she responded,” Even if we found them, we couldn’t prove that they were driving at the time.”  I hung up very frustrated.  “Why did this happen to me?  I’m a kind person, I try really hard to be nice to all kinds of people.  I just survived a day where my patience was tested so hard, and I kept a smile on my face.  How rude and mean and selfish for a person to just hit a car and keep on driving!  Doesn’t anyone have a conscience anymore?” I shouted to the air inside of my car.

About 20 minutes later as I’m starting to fill out the hit an run report, I receive a text message, “I found them Tammy, they are parked…”  He also mentioned that he was waiting for the police and would give my contact info to them.

A kind officer called me a short time later.  But he didn’t have good news for me.  There is no way to prove who was driving.  Because it had an out of state license plate, it would be hard to find who the driver was.  His advice,” Just fill out the hit and run report and turn it into your insurance company.”

After a hanging up, I had another rant session.  This would be expensive, but not more than my deductible.  This was coming out of my pocket.  And that made me mad!  So I sent my friend a text and told him what the officer had said.  “Can you tell me where exactly the car was?  I’m going to put a note on the windshield to let them know that their were witnesses and ask them how they would like to deal with the cost of the damage,” I texted.  I was feeling brave, but also feeling like this person should be held accountable.  I am so frustrated by the unaccountable these days.  I drove to the address, found the car and slipped my note under the windshield, then drove back home thinking that I’d probably never hear from that person, but thinking, “At least I tried.”

I taped up the mirror, called my brother to see if he would help me fix it (he’s inherited my dad’s mechanic skills), and then made plans to have dinner with my family.  After dinner, I noticed that there was a message on my phone from a number I didn’t know.  I listened, “Hi, I got your note on my car, could you please call me.”

My first thoughts were that she would be rude to me and try to deny it.  I was worried that calling back was just going to cause me more frustration.  But, then I started thinking of how her voice sounded.  She didn’t sound angry, but concerned.  She sounded like a mother.  She sounded honest.

I called her.  She asked me where this had happened.  I asked had she been driving the car.  She said, “No, I think it may have been my daughter.”  I asked if she had seen her passenger side mirror. She replied,” Yes, I’m piecing this together, and I’m sure it was my daughter.  I’m so sorry that this happened to your car. I will pay for the replacement.”  I warned her,” I was just looking at it with my Dad, we were hoping it was just the back cover, but it looks like pieces of the mirror and mirror motor were cracked and damaged too.  I think it will have to be the whole mirror.”  “Get me an estimate, it will probably be the whole mirror, I’ve had to replace mine a few times.  I’ll get cash for you or I’ll pay the dealer, just text me the estimate and we will make arrangements.”

Hmmmm… she’s had to replace hers twice, those driving skills might be hereditary.  I’m thankful that the mom seems to understand accountability better than the child.  Hopefully this will become an accountability lesson as well.

March 29

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Yesterday I took my car to the dealer because a check engine light had come on. Part of our warranty entitles us to a loaner car at no expense.  The car I left them with was a lovely, sleek, black, all wheel drive,  Ford Explorer.  The car they loaned me…  a very blue, small Ford Focus with the dealer’s name and a red number 72 displayed across the back window.

My first thoughts when they handed me the keys and directed me towards “Little Blue” was, “hmmm….. This was not a fair trade.”  But, then I thought, “Oh well, it’s a car, and I’m not paying for it, and it will get me from point A to point B.”  So, I hopped in and started home.

As I was driving home, I tried to call my family to prepare them for my temporary ride.  No one answered.  As I pulled up in front of my house, they walked outside and asked, “What are you driving?”

Did I mention that my family might be full of car snobs?  My dad is a retired mechanic.  I have had the privilege of driving some really awesome cars- 1967 convertible Camaro, a 1990’s Corvette, a red Chevy truck that was once owned by the Washington Caps player, Jay Beagle just to name a few.   So, this little blue Ford Focus was not quite up to the standard we have grown accustomed to.

This morning, I texted our carpool to let them know that we’d be in a different car and to look for a bright blue one.  The mom of one of my daughter’s friends laughed when she saw us, and exclaimed, “Wow!  You weren’t kidding, that is a bright blue car.”

Next it was time to deliver my older daughter to high school.  We joked about the car on the way to school.  I commented on the big letters across the back window that advertised the dealership, and then mentioned the number and laughed about how it made it look like a race car and me a race car driver.  As my daughter got out of the car, and I started to drive away, I heard her laugh really loudly.  And I thought to myself, “hmmm… it’s the little things…. like a little blue car that can start a day off well.”

This afternoon my older daughter rode with me to go and drop off “Little Blue” and to pick up our car. “Did you hear me laugh when you drove by this morning?  When I saw that red number 27, I busted out laughing thinking about you in your blue race car.”  Then she joked, “I know you’re gonna miss this car.  Let’s make sure we remember this moment with a photo.”

Thus the reason for the photo shoot with “Little Blue.”  You never know what will help you bond with a teenager, but today it was a little blue car.  Thanks “Little Blue!”

March 28

“Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” (Plato)

I am a very patient person.  I have worked with the children that have been described as the most difficult, and returned after the most difficult days to tackle them again.  I am willing to try anything  and everything, and continually go back to the drawing board to figure out ways to help my students grow and understand concepts.  I celebrate the tiny, small, medium, and large accomplishments of my students.

So, why am I so discouraged in myself when I don’t accomplish everything on my list?  Why do I think so poorly of myself when my student’s work to be graded travels home and back a few times and still are  ungraded?  Why do I have such different standards for myself than I have for those I’m teaching.

This quote stands as a reminder to me to be kind to myself, to celebrate the progress-big and small, and to be patient and notice how hard I’m trying.

March 27

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People speak so many words each day. There are people whose words are just filling space, giving lip service. And there are people whose words and actions are so genuine, with such meaning and promise behind them. Did those people learn this as children? Were they born  with a gene that makes them genuine and honest with integrity?

As a teacher and mother, I think it Is important to help children understand the importance of speaking honest, kind words and following them up with action that matches the words.

Today I helped two students work through a disagreement. One was being picked on by the other and had tried to be patient, kind, yet firm when letting his friend know it wasn’t okay. The other didn’t want to listen, failed to see the frustration in the other child’s face. He continued to poke the child’s frustration. When I intervened, his reaction was to be defensive, not apologetic. His words said, “I’m sorry.” But his actions said, “I’m mad that I got in trouble for bothering you.”

I know grown ups who have the same traits. They are the grown ups that I don’t really trust, the ones whose words have little value. Tonight as I get ready to fall asleep, I’m still trying to understand and ponder what motivates both sides?

Im not sure what the motivation is or where it comes from, but I’m going to keep teaching and modeling it because I am content when I can trust a persons words because their actions match. I’m holding out for the good in the world to win!

March 26

“Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.” -John F. Kennedy

I always want to accomplish great things, but sometimes having the motivation to begin is sometimes hard.  I been thinking about motivation lately.  What makes some people more motivated than others?  Why am I sometimes so motivated and other times not?

Motivation is what helps us accomplish easy and hard tasks.

My younger daughter has  a terribly messy room.  I have tackled it a few times in the last few years, but it always seems to get messy again.  For the past few weekends I have mentioned to her that she should work on her room, but things have come up, we’ve been busy doing other fun things, or she has just decided to pretend I haven’t mentioned it.  Today, I decided to motivate her.  I mentioned her room, and said,”Why don’t you just start small and tackle the top of your dresser today?” Her eyes got really big and she stated,”Have you seen that thing?  What am I going to do with all of that stuff?” I explained, “Well, you could take everything off of it and then put it in piles… trash, stuff I don’t want, but maybe others will, things I want but need to organize.” She huffed, and tried to wine her way out of it, but I stood strong and declared, “Well, it needs to get done today.  It has been a few weeks since I first asked, and it’s not going to clean itself.  If it doesn’t get done today, then your chores for the week will double.”

She found some other things to do in the morning, but towards the afternoon I reminded her and she set off to tackle the mess.  She stayed in there for about 1 hour.  She would walk out of her room with her small trash can full, and ask, “what should I do with this?” a few times.  She then declared that she had cleaned everything off, but didn’t know what to do with everything she wanted.

I walked in her room and was really impressed that she had narrowed down the stuff!  I gave a few pointers about how she might organize things, and then she was on her way.

At bedtime this evening, she said,”Thanks for helping me get started on that mess.  I think I’ll be able to keep it clean better now since I did all of the work cleaning it up.  I really like that there isn’t so much stuff.  Next weekend, I’m going to do the same to my bookshelf, then the next week maybe my lego shelf.  Maybe my whole room will be nice and clean in a month or so.”

Hmmm…  Sounds like she is motivated to try and accomplish a big chore!  And she plans to get there in small steps.  I think I’ve learned a thing or two about motivation today!

March 25

“They’re not gray hairs. They’re wisdom highlights.”~Author Unknown

All day Thursday I was looking forward to getting my haircut and colored, but my hairdresser called and asked to postpone until tomorrow.  I was disappointed, but excited for the next day.

On Friday, one of my students came in with a new haircut.  I shared that I was getting my haircut that evening too.  I mentioned it to one of my other students later in the day.  A very observant student (who listens to me much more than I ever realized) asked me, “Why are you so excited about getting a haircut?”  I explained, “It’s  nice to have all of the old yucky hair cut off, have great smelling hair, and they also put a little coloring in my hair to cover up any grey hair that is in my hair.”  Another little boy, who usually has lots of knowledge about sports spoke up and asked, “Oh, do you do the foils?  My mom, you know she has blonde hair, but really it’s brown under there, and she gets the foil in her hair and then it looks blonde. Are they going to put foils in your hair too?” I replied,”No, no foils for me this time, she will just paint the color onto my hair.” This sounded good to him.

The end of the day came, and as my last student walked out the door, my phone buzzed in my pocket.  My hairdresser needed to postpone until tomorrow.  Bummer!

Today I set out to my appointment, excited to get those grey hairs covered.  I always love the rich brown color with just the amount of blonde highlight she transforms my hair into.  As I was waiting for the color to do it’s work, I was looking for quotes that inspire me, and I found “They’re not gray hairs. They’re wisdom highlights.”   Hmmmm… maybe grey isn’t so bad after all.  I’m still full of wisdom, it’s just undercover for the next 6 weeks or so!

March 24

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As I was thinking about fun times I’ve had with my family to inspire me to make plans for our upcoming spring break, I stumbled upon these photos. They reminded me of this moment when my youngest was 6 years old.

She wanted to go in the ocean, but did not like that she could see the little fish swimming around her feet.

“They are going to bite me! What if they get into my bathing suit?  What if a bigger one comes along?”

We got in the water to show her they weren’t hurting us.  We caught one of the fish and let her hold it in her hand.  We reassured her that they would not bite her, but they might come close because they were curious to meet her.  We named the fish and called them cute.  Nothing worked.

She has always been anxious when it comes to new things or things that she can’t control.  She is the poster child for “what if.”  Sometimes our patience levels are tested.  We knew she could have fun if she stopped worrying and just let herself enjoy the warm, calm gulf waters.

On our second day, we were in the grocery store picking up something yummy for lunch the next day.  As soon as we walked in the door, my eyes darted towards the red lobster float with a finely woven net in the seat.  This lobster was put there for a reason!  It was the answer to my prayers!  A girl could enjoy floating in the water without being bothered by little fishes with the aid of this red lobster!

I put it in the cart feeling joyful.  I was going to enjoy a stress free, relaxing day at the beach tomorrow.  We started to pay for our items, and the clerk asked if we wanted the  red lobster to be blown up.  Oh yes we did!!!  The moment her eyes saw the lobster blown up with the net where she would sit, she ran over and gave me a big hug.  “Mommy, the fish won’t get me when I am projected by my lobster!” she said with obvious relief.

There are always answers to our problems, we just need to keep our eyes open because you never know what they will look like and where or when they might show up.

March 23

I have seen quite a few 6 word memoirs lately, and I was wondering what this type of writing was all about.  I did a little research and was inspired by what I read.  The following stuck out to me as 6 word memoirs I could have used in the last few weeks.

Never give up the struggle.

Irving Jones

Change what you are complaining about.

Doug Beach

ask me again in a month

Jessica Lowenthal

What the hell is going on?

Daniel Melamed

Have yet to figure it out!

Cami Potter

I’ve tried to come up with a few of my own to sum up the day…

This momma don’t play like that.

Barking makes me feel so annoyed

who is responsible for this mess?

Hey, you are done, stop now!

Why are you yelling at me?

Why don’t they listen to me?

The winner is…

I am exhausted, need to sleep.

March 22

“There is no one I’d rather be than me.” Ralph, from Wreck it Ralph.

Lately, I’ve been a part of many conversations with children, adults, and family members where the topic of being like someone else or wishing that a different choice or career had been made at some point in a person’s life has been the topic of conversation.  Sometimes during those conversations I’m frustrated for those people.  Most days I’m pretty happy being me.  Sure, I’d like to lose weight, have a little more money, travel more, have more time to do as I please.  But, I’d like those things while still remaining me.  I like me.  I feel good when I am kind, helpful, friendly, trustworthy, and loving.

I have noticed the messages received from TV, social media, and peers are that you have to be the best, the prettiest, the richest the most talented, the most liked, or the happiest to matter in the world.  There is so much pressure and competitiveness in the world.  And I don’t really understand it.  Sometimes I am the recipient of the , “Mom, you are so in your own world” look from my oldest daughter, and my husband just plainly disagrees with me.  But, I keep being who I am proudly.

In my classroom, my job is to expend knowledge to children, but another job I take very seriously (and probably spend too much time on) is to build self-esteem and self-awareness.  I think it is just as important to help kids learn to be kind and thoughtful to others and themselves as it is to teach them academics.

Maybe I need to thank my parents once again for instilling in me the idea that I can be anything I want, if I want something, then I need to try hard until I get it, and it’s not important to be THE best, but to try my best. These are life lessons that have served me well, and I hope to pass them on to those who I am surrounded by.

 

March 21

“The first to apologize is the bravest.  The first to forgive is the strongest.  The first to forget is the happiest.”

There has been friend drama in my class in the last few days.  Not your normal friend drama, this was some downright, mean spirited, grudge holding kind of drama. It was the kind of drama that leaves a teacher exasperated when she thinks she has gotten through and taught an amazing life lesson, only to be told later that as soon as she was looking the other way the meanness continued.

I have read books about being friends, being assertive, being different, and today one about magic words.  You know the magic words I’m talking about:  please, thank you, bon voyage, be careful, I am sorry.  Why is “I am sorry” so hard to say with meaning?  When we got to the “I’m sorry” page in this book today, we had a lively discussion about the different ways someone could say sorry, or should I say the different tones of voice and attitude someone could have when saying sorry.  Students let me know about the truly, meaningful apologies they had from their siblings, they let me know about the apologies that weren’t sincere and then someone mentioned “the bribe” apology which is the one where someone tells you they are sorry so that you won’t tell on them, and they are just saying sorry so that they won’t get into trouble.  It was a great conversation, and possibly opened a few eyes and‎ consciences, giving some a different perspective to think about.

I love the sincerity that one student had when sharing his thoughts on why a real apology is a tough thing to do.  It renewed my hope!  We will keep working on forgiveness and the forgetting or letting things go because happiness matters!

 

March 20

Today started off okay, but the day took it’s toll on me and the evening brought some emails that were the icing on the cake.  So tonight I’m posting things that cheer me up!

That dog…  he really does let you know that you are loved, and on days like today, I’m very thankful to have a faithful friend like him!

The hammock on a nice day…  This hammock belonged to my husband when we was young.  It’s a high quality hammock and has been taken care of so well, so now our family gets to enjoy it.  It especially brought me joy on a warm February day when it was 70 degrees outside.  I had the flu, and was so sad that I couldn’t go outside and do something to enjoy the weather.  My husband suggested that I take a nap in the hammock so I could at least enjoy the weather a little.  And of course, my loyal friend joined me.  Definitely made a bad day a little better!

Being in Lake Champlain, Vt watching the sun set over the Adirondack Mountains…. Such a beautiful, peaceful sight.  Remembering the fun, relaxing time I spent there two summers ago is a great way to forget about the frustrations of this day!

Funny how a few photos from special times can improve a mood…

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