M6J/MJ6????…I’m Definitely Not Detective Material


M6J, remember M6J.  Ahh!  Was it M6J or MJ6? Crap.  What was it?  Ugh, he’s gone!

These letters were mixing themselves quickly in my head as I tried frantically to make sense of what just happened.

Yesterday, I was driving home when a force from behind shot me forward toward my dashboard.  The loud popping sound confused me.  I looked ahead unclear of what just happened.  The other cars were several feet ahead, so I didn’t think I hit anyone?

I sat for a moment dazed until  I slowly turned around to see a car smashed into my rear, right side.

“Oh my gosh!” I yelled.  (I’m betting I yelled something a little less ladylike, but you get the idea.)

I looked at the gentleman, and I noticed he appeared to be moving over to the right.

How smart, I thought.  This way we won’t block traffic.  I started to try to drive my car and follow him to safety.  It scraped and struggled to make it over just two lanes to the shoulder.  This slow speed and slight movement seemed to take every bit of effort, and it felt like my wheels were both popped and about to fly off.

As I edged to the shoulder, I guess my driver saw this as the perfect getaway.  He veered his car back toward the center lane and sped away.

He fled the scene!!!!!!!

I couldn’t even believe my eyes.  I honked hysterically and pointed and screamed as he got away.  “NOOOOO!”

I scrambled to make out the letters of his plate, MJ6, M6J??? But, just like that, he picked up speed and was gone.

If I thought my car would have made it, I honestly think I would have chased after him.

When help arrived, they of course asked me details of the missing driver.  I tried to rattle off what I remembered.  The more I told the story, the less confident I was with any of the information.  I laughed thinking they’ll somehow find the driver, and he’ll end up being in a red SUV that I swore was a tan sedan.

Luckily it looks like he hit me so hard that his license is partially imprinted in my bumper.  The police are hopeful with some finger print dust or some type of light that they might be able to make out the plate information.

I’m optimistic they’ll find the guy.  However, I’m not sure my vague details will be what helps them find him.

Memories – Running Minds


I spent some time with my grandma this weekend and have been haunted ever since by her fading memory.  She confused everything from mundane details about the day, our lives, and she even mistook my 14 year-old sister for me.  She kept asking her about her new job.  My sister had to remind her gently that she is only a freshman in high school and doesn’t work.

It’s weird how the mind works.  I’m not nearly as forgetful as my grandma, but I wish I could control my mind too.  I wouldn’t mind “forgetting” some unhealthy thinking.

I’ve been reminded of how unhealthy my thoughts are after my high wore off from my new job.  After a short stint on cloud nine, I immediately started thinking negative things like- what if I’m not good enough?  Maybe 7th graders will hate me, or maybe I won’t like them.  I can’t do this job.

My rational self knows this is all ridiculous, but I can’t seem to separate thoughts flying by from what I really believe.  And, I can’t seem to stop the thoughts from running rampant.

Then came Easter and all the negative- you’ll never have kids thoughts rushed through my head.  I even glamorized past relationships and convinced myself had I stayed I’d already have the kids I’m longing for.  The inner struggle ensued, and the holiday became a battlefield inside my head.  I caught myself staring at my parents and fantasizing about what great grandparents they’ll be and felt guilty I haven’t made this a reality for them.

I wondered what traditions we would do.  Would we hide eggs?  A basket?  Gifts?  How would I dress my fictional children?  Would we splurge for something new, or would I make something we had work?

Ugh- maybe it would be nice to forget.  I wish I could get a little situational Alzheimer’s.  If only we could all choose to have dementia over certain parts/moments of our lives, then maybe being forgetful wouldn’t be all that bad.

There are some memories I pray I always hold dear: the sound of my relatives voices; the way my grandpa hugged me; yard sale shopping with my Grandma Ginny; the taste of the meal I had at Eataly in New York; standing at the 9/11 Memorial; witnessing my best friend give birth; attending a World Series victory game; having a student tell me she loves reading because of me; and many more.

What would I want to forget?  I started to make this list, but I’m not sure I’d want to forget any of it- even the painful stuff.  My parents divorce, the constant long drives back and forth for weekend visits with my dad, my mom and Mike separating,  past relationships the loving and losing have all made me who I am.  By losing these memories, I might lose myself.  I’d lose who I’m becoming and who I want to be.  It’s in the remembering that we grow and keep moving forward.

I hate seeing my grandma lose herself and the grandma I know.  I wish I could offer us both a little relief.  I would quiet my running thoughts and help her mind from running away any further.


I’m Moving Up


I’ve been quietly exploring new options for next year.  Those of you who know me or who have read my blog before can probably easily tell I haven’t been happy this year and that my current school/situation isn’t the best fit.

For the past couple of years I have heard, “You should really teach middle school.  Are you sure you want to teach 5th grade?  You treat your 5th graders like middle schoolers.  I know eventually you’ll move up.”

Last year after hearing I seem like I’d be a perfect 7th grade middle school teacher from yet another person, I finally decided to take the Praxis for Middle School Language Arts.  I passed the test, but I still kept the idea on the backburner and took a position as a 5th grade classroom teacher (teaching all the subjects).

After a rough year this year, I decided I might want to explore a middle school position further.  I always feel like I’m pushing my students, but they aren’t developmentally ready to do what I want to try with them.  I also miss just teaching reading and writing (my last school was departmentalized and that was my focus).  I’m constantly spreading myself thin trying to do 5 preps a day.

Before, I thought I could connect better with my students if I had them all day, so I went for a position teaching all the subjects.  I’m realizing though I connected more with my students over books and their writing in the shorter periods that I was with them than I feel like I have with my current students that I’m with all day.  I also feel like my teaching was better when I could pour my heart into reading and writing lessons.

So, I applied for a couple middle school positions.

Last week I got the call from one of the schools inviting me to interview.  As I continued through the process, I wanted the job more and more.  It’s so weird how you start to learn what you want and you wonder if it exists after such a challenging year.  Then, out of nowhere it shows up with a position and at a school you would have never expected.

My mom kept saying, “If it’s meant to be, you’ll end up there.”

Ugh- that statement is so annoying.  I say it all the time to others, but hearing it lately seemed like a statement you tell people so they don’t cry.  It’s like telling a bride it’s good luck to rain on their wedding day (someone clearly made that up to calm down a hysterical bride).

Well, I got the call tonight.  I guess it’s meant to be.  I’m moving up to middle school and am going to be a 7th grade communication arts teacher!   Suddenly this year doesn’t seem so pointless, but it seems like it guided me to finding what will hopefully be a better fit.

I’m excited and nervous about this new journey. I’m definitely going to need to pick the brains of some of my middle school friends.

I’m Still Here

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us to share our celebrations from the week each Saturday.  Thank you, Ruth, for reminding me to celebrate. Share yours at Ruth Ayres Writes.

1. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, so I’m celebrating making time to write.  I’ve missed writing and sharing with my new, little community.

2. I sent in my payment and paperwork for All Write, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year was such a wonderful learning experience.  I met many new friends/mentors, and I’m counting down until I can learn alongside them again.  This blog was inspired by the people I met there, and I’m delighted this year I will be able to say on Wednesday night that I have a blog too!

3.  It finally feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel at school.  Each flip of the calendar reminds me I will prevail.  I know when I’m in the mix of it I can’t see clearly, but as I get closer to the end- I’m starting to appreciate my learning/growth that has occurred.  More than anything the year has taught me what I want/need to be a successful teacher for my students.  I also have a new appreciation for my upbringing and the love my family gave me.  It seems like such a small thing, but I have been able to witness the impact neglect can have on a student.  It has been heartbreaking.

4. My China trip is starting to become really real.  My friend and I attended orientation for our trip a few weeks ago, and I learned more details about my teaching experience there.  I will be teaching Chinese educators ways to teach English to their students.  I will have my own translator/assistant- which is kind of fun/funny.  Most of the details have me pumped about the experience with the exception of all the rules and customs I need to try to remember while I’m there.  For example, in the Chinese culture saving face is very important, and they will want me to be very happy while I’m there. So, I need to try to always appear happy.  Since Chinese people typically have trouble reading facial expressions, I was advised to try to smile even when confused to avoid offending them.  Ha- I’m not sure how I will smile when I have no idea what people are saying :).

5. My spare bedroom got a makeover that makes me smile each day.  I forgot to take a before picture, but the paint was not my taste from an old roommate that I had never changed.  The room became a catch all for everything.  More importantly it is where I get ready everyday, and it wasn’t really functional (I sat on the floor to do my makeup).  We changed the paint to this beautiful light gray color (it was a recommendation from a friend who said gray is the new tan), rearranged the room placement, and added a vanity for me to sit and do my makeup.  The room has much more function, and I love getting ready there now.  Plus, I cleared all the clutter out, and I got rid of a ton of things.  It almost looks bare, but I’m being careful not to fill it with junk.  I also inherited some mirrors from my grandpa’s house that I’m planning to spray paint (I spray paint everything) and add to the walls soon.  I love having a piece of him that I will see every morning in there.  I’ll take some pictures once I add a few more things.

6. This weather makes me so happy.  I love driving with my sunroof open, and there’s something about nice weather that makes me turn up my stereo a little louder.  Thursday I drove to work blaring my favorite song, dancing like a crazy person.  I looked like the person you see at a stoplight dancing like they are at a techno club, and you wonder if they are on drugs.  I didn’t even care that I was getting stared at.

Happy Saturday.  I hope you have a beautiful day of celebrations and driving and dancing :).