Guys!!!! I know it has been For. Ever. (basic white girl ftw) since I have updated anything here. That is partially because I had no ideas, and partially because I GOT A MASTER'S DEGREE AND A REAL TEACHING JOB!!!
Look at me being all grown up and stuff.
If you are bored by real life stuff, you can go ahead and stop reading now. I'm just going to shamelessly use this platform as a diary of my 'success' for a few minutes. I promise I'll post something that I find funny after a little bit. I have great ideas- just no awful drawings for them yet.
So I spent most of the last year finishing my M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus of reading. That's super exciting to me because you all (all 2 of you) know how much I love to read. This degree has basically given me free reign to read all of the latest young adult fiction because it will "keep me current in my field." Haha. I love YA fiction. I finally earned that degree in August and then I started working as a substitute. That was fun.
Anyway, I got a hot job tip from a friend. In her words, "These kids are BAD, and it is HARD."
I was like, "Where do I sign up?"
I went through the interview process and was hired in November. There are some serious perks to teaching, like holidays, and getting to know and help at risk youth, and Christmas break, and forming positive adult relationships, and Spring Break, and finally getting to see students come out of their shell or overcome an obstacle, and summer break.... haha. sense a theme?
For real, though, I adore my students. They have their issues, and some of them are far deeper into psychology than I ever intended to delve, but they are kids. I get to go to work every day and feel like I am actually making some small difference in the world. Of course, life could come with fewer challenges, but I was bored by those 'easy' jobs that locked me into a tiny gray box 9 hours a day- where the only excitement was lunch and interactions often led to me citing Google as a worthy source of information.
In this teaching position, I have become a friend and mentor to students. I have used my intuition to sense what specific students need- turning at least one of them from a vicious monster who wanted to spit on me to a child again who sought my attention. I have taken hits from a female student and taught that same student how to use shimmer to highlight her cheekbones. I have learned so much from them, and I can only hope they've learned half as much from me. But I was assigned as the math teacher, so that's questionable.
For the first time- ever- I do feel like I've found my place in the world. I don't think I'll be there forever, but for now, I believe I can do some good. I've signed on for the next school year, and we'll see where it goes from there. I would absolutely LOVE to share some of my better stories with you all, but HIPAA is pretty specific on what I can and can't share. I will have to cloak any stories in a shroud of mystery and vaguery. (I made that word up... but I'm actually quite fond of it.)
Since I wrote this, I have survived an entire school year in a self-contained classroom where I taught not just math but every subject to the best group of guys ever. They are clever, hilarious, and so freaking sweet. And next year, the excitement and growth continues because I'll be running an experiential learning lab for every class. I'm terrified and excited.
It's been 21 days since I started working out (almost) every day and eating decent food in decent portions. I go through these spurts every so often in my life, and I often lose a bit of weight quickly then falter and go back to my soda and bread obsessed ways.
I refuse to continue living this unhealthy way. I have become anemic, bigger than ever, and simply tired all the damn time. So- I jumped on the Beachboy band wagon. I am drinking that super expensive Shakeology every day and working out 30 minutes every day with Beachboy on demand (which is like Netflix for workout videos.) I'm legit 21 days in as of yesterday and I am loving the way I feel. I look a little better, but- real talk- I have lost about 8 lbs overall. There's this endorphin thing that happens too though. I just get this energy surge that I love. It's when I get most things done.
I have also decided to become a beach body coach mostly for the discount on the shakes and such, but I want to help others too. More importantly, I know that if more people are watching me I'll be less likely to give up. It has worked so far.
Shameless self promotion plug time, this is my beach body coach site- www.beachbodycoach.com/redefinebaseline
feel free to visit it and take a look at everything Beachboy has to offer, and also let me know if you want support. My biggest support on this journey is my coach, who is a normal person like me who simply helps hold me accountable. We're not fitness gurus and this doesn't come easy for us.
The struggle is real, and we get it.
I am currently on the 21 day fix program, and I will be done with that just in time for my vacation this year. YAY Wine!
This is not a real post:
I am more and more frustrated every day by my inability to write anything I deem worthwhile. It's okay though. Remember that book, 3am Epiphany? It's full of writing prompts, and I am about to start using them. I recently posted the first exercise- The Reluctant. The challenge was to use 'I' and 'me' as few times as possible. It was pretty challenging, but it forced me to focus on what the other characters in the story were doing. The second exercise is going to be even more challenging because it requires the narrative to be completely inside the head in that dreaded imperative voice. I have an idea. We'll see how it goes.
Check that out over at my Imaginations and Stories page.
Things I will be writing about soon:
-My workout and eating plan
-2 separate Saturdays full of art
-My summer off work and being a real teacher
-Summer projects and my new classroom for next year
-my most recent (failed) surrogacy journey
I find that when I need to do something, I get hit by this unseen force that tells me “not now”
It is a very much ADD response that I have which just gets in the way of real work, constantly. When you work from home, like me, it is so easy to allow housework or random things get in the way, but I am not even that useful.
No. My procrastination is like a monkey that tells me I need to read just one more Cracked article or just one more Reddit page. You know by now that I love my bloggers, so I can waltz over to hyperboleandahalf and reread everything over again just to avoid having to dig in and do something useful.
Even better, I am writing this right now when I have a wall of post it notes telling me my next story: beginning, middle, and end, all just hanging there (quite literally) waiting for me to pull them together with one narrative thread.
So I think, maybe I will just write next week’s blog. That’s not nothing, right?
Or maybe I will procrastinate by updating my resume and applying for those teaching jobs I want.
I long for the job that pays me to read. I want to read other people’s work and enjoy it. I would make an amazing editor. Typos and misused words annoy the hell out of me, so I just can’t miss them- in other people's work. I am also good at content editing. If your protagonist changes eye colors half way through the series I WILL FIND YOU
But really what I want is enough money to let my girls do their things and let me be free to do my thing, which is pure procrastination.
Here is an actual five minutes inside my mind:
Want to do some make up? You love doing make up. How about a nap? You know you can’t start writing without a full glass of water. Do you really want to start with that line? Oh well just keep typing. I think the name James would go better here. (find-replace) Oh my look at you go! 500 words! Your water is empty. Plus you haven’t checked facebook in ten minutes. The world might have ended and you’ll never know. It’s a beautiful day out today, you should open a window. Okay now sit down. Is it time to pump again? You can bring the pump in here and do that now. Would you look at that, the water. You took a drink. Better refill it to be sure. K’s home! I wonder if she’d like a snack. Go be a good mommy and have snack with her. I know she’s twelve and can get her own snack and you’ve only written 500 words today. You’re doing great! You deserve a break!! (a break today? McDonalds!!!!- I love Robin Williams. I should watch that sitcom he did, was that last year? I should IMDB that to be sure. Oh look, Cracked has an article about bad parenting advice.
As an artist, my greatest fear is one that has recently been given a name on The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. If you have any time to waste today, spend it on that website, because I assure you, you will discover that you are, in fact, normal. My particular fear is called Vemödalen, and it is the fear that everything has already been done.
I think every person has this fear at some point. There might be those who find security in the fact that they don't have to come up with new things, but as a blogger who wants people to come see my stuff, I have to know that I will be accused of copying the ideas of others. I certainly have been influenced by those who came before me.
See if you can guess who inspired me to put drawings in the middle of my little ramblings. The answer is here. It is not that I am copying her ideas. I wish I could be as cool as her. It is that she did something that made me happy, so I wanted to make people happy too.
I must admit, I have a long way to go before I am really ready for the public to see my stuff. I put it here with the knowledge that the only people who see it will be my friends and family, and they have to say nice things to me or I'll put post-it notes of that little guy all over their homes. Can you imagine?
At the very least, I give credit where it is due. If it were not for Alli Brosh and The Bloggess, I might never have started my own blog. If you have never heard of either of them, please, take a gander. You will not be sorry. I have had the opportunity to meet Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) and I got some advice from her that said "Write for yourself and you can never go wrong." That is what I intend to do. I hope she was right.
She also said,"Don't say something in 15 words when you can say it in 3." So I think this post was too long about 75 words ago. :)
I am a starter. I start a million things and never finish them.
I have a papier mache dragon STILL sitting on my table from when This Guy became a bit of a viral hit.
I also have no fewer than five novels sitting in notebooks around the house, and at least a dozen short stories waiting to be typed and put on this very website. They are all just sitting there, twiddling their thumbs, trying not to awkwardly stare at each other while they wait to see what happens next for them.
My very own surrogacy blog- which practically writes itself with a beginning, middle, climax, and end- is just sitting there at month 7 like, Uh, hey, is she ever going to give birth? Is she an elephant?
I am an Aries, so by definition, I am creative, ambitious, and just a tad bit naive. (Okay, a large bit) It also means I have a decidedly short attention span. This is wonderful news for those of you out there who want to try new things because I will try anything for a short while. Anything not involving spiders.
I have decided that I am going to start documenting the new things I try, from work outs, to crafts, to –well- anything else that I decide to try. I will put up a review of that thing, and maybe someone out there will read it and decided whether or not said thing is a good idea for them.
I am hoping that some accountability will help me finish it, but honestly I am accountable for my dishes, too, and those still aren’t done.
We will see what happens.
This time last week I was preparing for and dreading going to the layout and funeral of one of the greatest friends I have ever had. I try not to be over emotional. I have kept myself together very well. Every day, though, something new reminds me of Stacy and the fact that I will never be able to talk to her again. She'll never be there for me to vent to when I am stressed or feeling less than great. She'll never be there to bounce creative ideas off of and bring them to life through her camera.
It will hit me at the weirdest of moments. I'll be typing something in an excel document and just be overwhelmed with loss. I will have to go to the news story with the picture of the car that I rode in with her for my first photo shoot, when we went dress shopping for our bridesmaid dresses for her wedding, that constantly had some sort of prop or fake blood in the back seat to be moved before people could ride with her. The picture of that car folded in half at the driver's side door where the tree hit is the only thing that can convince me she's gone- That and the memory of her husband's voice on the phone when he called to tell me. I have replayed those words in my head so many times since then, and I know my pain is nothing compared to his. I can't even begin to imagine what he is going through if I am feeling like this, and I didn't wait for her to come home every day. I didn't share my whole life with her. Where do you go from there and how do you come out of it?
I hope that this group of models, artists, friends, that Stacy has accumulated over the course of her short life will be able to be there for him if he needs it. I will try my hardest. I hope we can all stay in touch without Stacy as the glue, in her honor. We have made plans to do so and I really hope it happens. I think that is the only solace to be found in the loss of such a bright soul. Stacy will always remain in my heart as someone who changed my life and gave me confidence where I had none. My friend Lexi and I plan on getting tattoos in her honor. Because of my impending surrogacy, I will have to put that on hold until next year. I have time to think of a way to truly capture her spirit in a way that she would be proud of. With the help of her husband, Cory, and Lexi, I am sure we will be able to come up with a great idea.
Most of the images I will post on this page were taken by a great friend of mine, Stacy. Stacy operates under the name Candy Drop Photography- or she did. This morning, Stacy was killed in a car accident. I believe it was a quick death, and I hope she wasn't too scared. I spent most of the day on a roller coaster between silent shock and reflection, and uncontrollable sobbing. In the interim, I thought of all the ways Stacy has changed my life, and probably the lives of those around her. I guess this is how I deal with the loss of such a beautiful person.
Things I learned from Candy Drop/Stacy Florence:
1. Burritos are best when you put butter on them and cook them in a toaster oven. Seriously. Try it.
2. Natural light is best if possible. The best images have the least interference from lights and special effects and were outside in the sunlight. This made special effects make up more of a challenge, and more fun.
3. There is beauty in the ugly. I don’t know how many times we have collaborated on a shoot meant to be dark and gory and it turned out being beautiful and poetic.
4. My Kids are ok. True friends will deal with the fact that I have kids. And also, they will stick up for you if someone else questions your kids’ place in your life. That is just what Stacy did when someone suggested my kids weren’t my top priority. She and another friend jumped to my defense within moments. Stacy and Lexi have both been okay with my kids being around if we were hanging out. My kids can get to be a bit much, but she never let on if she was annoyed, and she still invited me to hang out.
5. Friends are still friends even if life gets in the way. There have been times where it would be months before we’d see each other again. We always kept up on facebook, but between our hobbies, jobs, and my kids, there wasn’t always time to get together. Stacy was okay with that, and every time I saw her it was like we had just hung out the day before. Stacy also included me by inviting me to hang out with her awesome group of friends.
6. All women are beautiful and deserve to feel that way. Stacy was known for photographing non- traditional models, such as myself. Those who are older, bigger, shorter, or whatever. Stacy could photograph anyone and return beautifully crafted images to them. In my first shoot with her, I was just coming off of a very rough time in my life. My self-esteem was slim to none. We scheduled to do a black and white shoot in my wedding gown. We ended up in melting snow- and using color. That was the beginning of the return of my confidence. I can’t thank her enough for that.
7. All art is worthwhile. Stacy was constantly respectful of all of the artists we worked with. She inspired me to expand my makeup skills and use them for art purposes, rather than just goring someone up to be scary at a haunted house. She encouraged me. I was not so great when we started, but she inspired me with images she selected, and encouraged me to try some of my own ideas. She also recognized that models were bringing more to the table than just being props. That was art to her as well. Stacy was constantly respectful of the time and commitment of others.
8. There is always good to be found- Emphasize the good. When we were working together, Stacy would always comment on something that was ‘working’. Even if I created a makeup look that I knew was going south, she would find one good thing about it. When the image would come out, it always looked incredible.
9. I should write. I once told Stacy I wanted to be a writer, but I never had time, or I didn’t have enough good ideas. I also mentioned that I wrote best at night, when everyone was asleep. For Christmas that year, she gave me a book called the 3am epiphany. The book has a ton of prompts for short stories to get a writer writing. She encouraged me even before I ever took my own writing seriously. Then she published me in her first magazine. I will never forget how awesome it felt to see my story in print.
10. Working for your passion is always worth the time and effort. I may not have always put all of myself into my art, but Stacy lived and breathed hers. She would use every free moment to take pictures, edit pictures, put together a magazine, create new concepts… She was truly passionate, and that shows in her work. It shows in the number of my friends who have gotten in touch with me today to tell me how much they loved her work and would miss seeing it.
She is gone way too soon. I remember her telling me once that she thought she would die young. I don't think either of us took it too seriously, but she based it on the loss of her friend Paul, who I never met, and another death in the family. I don't know how she came to that conclusion, but she did have a gift, and perhaps she really did sense that she would go young. I can't begin to say how much I wish she had been wrong. I am not sure of her exact age, but I know she was a few years younger than me (30).
To Stacy, I feel like you are still here. I don't feel like you are gone at all, but that you've become part of the universe. I hope you find peace there. If I know you, you'll be getting some pretty cool pictures on the other side as well.
You will always be in my thoughts as a very important catalyst in my life. You have changed me for the better. You have changed many people for the better. Your mark on the world has definitely been a good one, and it will definitely resonate for years.
I sat down to write a nice, scary, fall type story. I ended up writing something that certainly does not take itself seriously. I must need more pumpkin spice latte in my life. Seriously.
The story "Under the Bed" (over on my Imaginations and stories page) was in part based on how I actually woke my four year old up the other day. She really was sleeping with her lower half under the bed. I was also really using a flashlight, but that was more to not wake the others.
I meant to take it in a scarier direction. You know, big scary monster steals little girl? I guess I really have no control over what comes out of my head. I am working on that, though.
If you have a moment, I would love to know what you think. I have many short stories rolling around and I would like to improve as a writer. So what can I work on improving? What do you like or want to see more of?
Talk to me!!
Edit: If you were unfortunate enough to check out this story when it was first posted, you will have noted that there were many errors in it. Many, many errors. To be honest, I didn't love the story. I didn't want to read it again, I just wanted it gone. So what better action to take than to hastily post it for the world to see?
Anyway, I almost deleted the whole thing, until I got some great advice from one of my favorite people (my mom) and I have decided that what I really hated was the ending. I rushed it because I didn't know what else to do. So the currently posted version has now been spliced, and left with a bit of a cliff hanger. I have big plans for what lies under that bed. I only think I know what will become of little Rosa, and the plot at this point. I will be allowing that to go where it will. If you read the first ending, you may think you know exactly what is happening. You may even be right. We'll see.
Stay tuned, I plan on finishing this one within the next couple of days.
What, it's only September?
I can feel the chill in the air and smell the dying leaves
I love Halloween because it allows us all to wear a mask. We can let our darker side out for a whole month (or more) or we can choose to be fairy princesses and eat lots of candy.
I used to work in a haunted house, until my kids took up all of my time. I have to say that nothing- I mean it- NOTHING can relieve stress like screaming into a stranger's face and watching them jump or run in terror.
This post isn't a real post, except for to gloat that I have my whole boxes of FrankenBerry and Count Chocula cereals ready to go. I have a long list of scary movies to watch, and I have my haunted house plans set.
Also, more scary stories will be coming soon.
Picture Courtesy of Candy Drop Photography. Model and MUA, ShellBella