30 July 2012

Reenergizing semi-teaching moment

There have been a few times where I am touched by a former student who shares something in how I impacted their life while or after I was their teacher or coach.

Image source
It's rare that really great things are said to me on Facebook.  But this was an exception.

The other evening, I saw an FB email from an awesome former student who is already a great adult.  He says profound things and always knows how to make people laugh about some memory or about a song that he thought of that relates to something in life.

His email word-for-word (though I changed names):
I bumped into Tony last night and we got to catch up.  He's got a job and is a youth pastor for lack of a better term.  He wants to be a counselor eventually.  Anyway, this condo went down: 
He said -- I just wanna help out in the community and be a guide the way people were for me.  Harp was the dude that just held me down.  I wanna be there and guide somebody in the same way. 
Me -- Miss Awesome was my homie. 
Tony -- Yeah, she was our ace boon.  And Ms A.eye.  Maaaan Ms A.eye.  She was real as shit.  Her and Awesome were the best things that was goin in that district, real talk. 
Me -- I'll ride with them.  Straight regulators style.  MOUNT UP. 
Long story short, your influence is ongoing and you still have a strong rep in the streets.  Thought you might like to know.  I only wish you could've seen the conviction and emotion on Tony's face when he said that.  He MEANT it.  Big time.  Truer words haven't been spoken.
These guys are so great!

I knew they were great when I had them in school, but seeing them continue to do great things in adulthood is really awesome!!  I wish them both (and all my former students!) the best in all that they strive to do... hopefully it all ends positively for them.

Of course I saved that email and took a screen shot of it on my phone so I can look back on it during days of teaching when I may not feel like I'm making an impact on students.

29 July 2012

Reassurance after anticipation

I bought the ticket on Saturday and was in NYC on Sunday.  There wasn't even time for anticipation.  Just getting ready to see my sister and to see the city.

There was a peace that took over me as we flew the tiny plane over lower Manhattan and I saw landmarks I recognized from real life and from movies.

There were some jitters as I got off the plane and tried to remember which bus I had to take and where to get the Metro ticket.  Fortunately, my boo had given me really good directions before leaving and a quick call to him reassured me that I knew what I was doing.

I made it to her house.

I have wandered the city for a week, mostly on my own.  I have not gotten lost.  I went to Harlem, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and am now in DC.  When I go back to NYC, I even plan on visiting Chinatown with all of their non-English signs.

It has been fun and I anticipate that I will have fun while here in DC hanging with Big Bro and his girlfriend.

I don't really want to do the touristy things, but I feel that since I am a teacher of history, I should at least do a walk-by of some of the historical landmarks and buildings in the Mall area.

This was my Stream of Consciousness Sunday post hosted by Jana A at Jana's Thinking Place. Today's prompt was anticipation.

And my anticipation for this trip has settled and has turned to reassurance that I can do a lot of things.

You can join in by free-writing for five minutes on the prompt, or on whatever you have on your mind. This is a great brain-dump exercise.  You can link your post to Jana's page, or just go to her page to read what others wrote.

28 July 2012

Saturday Quote: The perfect time

So true as I start to try and make things happen in my life.

There really is no time where all of the events will fit perfectly into each circumstance happening in my life.

But, I must strive on anyway!

27 July 2012

Bumper buddy

The other day, while in StL, I saw a man in a parallel-parked car bump into the car behind him before pulling out of the parking space.

Yesterday, in Brooklyn, I saw a car with the Bumper Buddy.  I'm sure that this is an old invention, but I love the idea.

I also love that my car is so small that I can usually fit really easily into parking spaces (regular and parallel).  I just have to make sure that I don't pull all the way into perpendicular or angled spots otherwise a car might think the space is empty and then slam into the back of my non-Bumber Buddy Mini.

Now, if only we could get drivers and walkers to not text or otherwise mess with their phones while doing these activities.  I cannot count how many people I have seen bump into others or swerve in their cars due to their cell phone addictions. 

Once, not to far back in the past, there really were people who took part in life without having to constantly have a technological device in their hands or plugged into their ears.

It's true.  

If you're an adult, I hope you remember those days.

If you are a youth, I know it seems strange, but believe me, it is true.  Some people didn't even own cell phones or music players that could fit easily in the palm of their hands.

26 July 2012

I don't want to keep stepping

Even when I was in prime shape, I hated walking up lots of stairs.

When I was in college, I was reassured that it was normal when a superb, Olympic-caliber distance runner told me that she got winded walking up a lot of stairs, too.

Since then, I don't feel bad when I get tired from lots of stairs.

I do get angry at them though.

Case in point:

There is no reason that a company should ever leave the up escalator that is this long out of service like it was the other day when I was leaving a store in Manhattan.  I don't know if you can get the full effect of their length just by looking at them, so if you need to count the stairs and then count the stairs on a normal staircase in your house or in your building, feel free.  I estimated that this was about three, almost four, stories of straight stairs.

Walking up these stairs was so painful that I was out of breath and my legs were actually slightly burning for a while after finishing the climb.

On the bright side, I guess it was a good butt and thigh workout.

25 July 2012

July third week photos

Here is my third week of July set of photos.  I used the prompts from Fat Mama Slim's July Photo-a-Day Challenge.

18. Plate - This is an amazing table that I would love to have in my home, if I had space enough and cool enough furniture to go with it.  I would love to just sit back and have people over to chill and use the table to place some plates and drinks and later behinds and feet on.  It is huge.  I hope I was able to put it into proportion with my leg and the regular-sized magazine on the edge there.

19. Animal/Insect/Pet - This is my dog.  Really it is my parents' dog, but I also claim her as mine, even though I don't live there and haven't lived there during any part of the dog's life.  She is awesome.  This Australian Shepard was first in her class during doggie training, but you might not be able to tell the way she runs toward you and wants to jump on you if she knows you and missed you in any way (even if she just saw you 30 minutes ago).  She has calmed down in her older age, but still loves to run around and show me she loves me each time she sees me.  That is love.

20. Eyes - I have gotten to the point where my Lasik surgery is starting to expire (it's supposed to, possibly, start getting worse after 5 years).  I am still 20/20, but I can tell my vision is starting to lessen.  I also have noticed that my eyes are getting dryer than usual.  I have started to sleep with eyedrops on the bed post so that I can put them in my eyes before bed and when I inevitably wake up in the middle of the night and my eyes are super dry.

21. 9 o'clock - One of the beautiful parts of Forest Park (a park that is actually larger and cooler and contains more things to do - many free - than Central Park in NYC).  Behind the biker on the left side is a really awesome fountain that also has a waterfall on the back side of the pond.  I have started trying to run/walk each morning and this is one of the areas of the trail that I run/walk on.  On this day, it was fortunately not already in the upper 80s.  If I go any later than 8:30, it will be too hot in StL.   It was only in the mid 80s on this day.

22. Upside down - While sprawled out on the table getting electrical stim treatment on my tendonitis-troubled elbow, I looked up and saw this picture.  I had to sit up to make sure I was reading it correctly since I was initially looking at it upside down.  It is dated as 1979 and on the left, you can see that it says that part of the plan for playing tennis is to have "sweat sox (height optional) (snappy little stripes optional)".  It also says that you should have "rubber soled (tennis) shoes with another snappy set of emblems (optional)".  I'm not sure if this is really from the 70s, but I find it hilarious.  On another wall is one for skiing and on another wall is one for weight lifting.

23. Mirror - My reflection as I stood on the 2 Train riding to Manhattan from Brooklyn.  Excuse my pore posture and the shine of my face, I was slouching from the heat and being tired and trying to make the lining of my skirt not stick to seemingly every part of my legs and rear.  My face felt like it was doing more than showing a healthy glow.  It was so hot outside and the AC of the train felt really nice.

24. A stranger - I found this item for sale stranger than any of the other hipster items for sale in a little coffee shop in downtown St. Charles.  What exactly is one to do with a burlap sack?  Besides having a three-legged race.  And why is this type of bag better than any other type of bag that store could have sold in their establishment?

You can see images from weeks one and two, if you are interested.

24 July 2012

Sore feet and Final Jeopardy

Enjoying time in NYC.  I always forget how much walking is done here.  Last night my feet were really tired, a little sore, and just wanting a rest.

I went to a Thai and Japanese place for dinner and did something I have never done before.  I sat and ate dinner in a semi-fine dining establishment by myself and didn't take out my cell phone to make myself look busy.  I just enjoyed the food and Jeopardy on the television.

My new experience with the dining seemed to bring me good luck because I was able to answer over 75% of the questions on Jeopardy, including the Final Jeopardy question.  I was getting some correct that the contestants were missing.  I felt so smart that I slightly over ate and then decided to walk almost 40 total blocks back to my sister's place to work off some of the excess food I ate.

Wandering was nice.  I would had gone even farther, but I saw lightning and didn't want to risk walking outside in the dark with no umbrella in the rain.

More wandering and viewing the city today.  Unfortunately, it is still going to be super hot and it looks like there is not a cloud in the sky.

23 July 2012

Would you allow this to happen?

I'm not sure whether to laugh or pity clap or feel bad for this guy and the people who allowed him to do this race.

Imagine how horrible the race would have looked if the other participants had not false started and been disqualified.  You would have really been able to compare how slow Eric "The Eel" Moussambani was  compared to his counterparts.

I don't care how much an athlete of mine wanted to be in the Olympics, I would not put them through this sort of embarrassment.

22 July 2012

The joys of flying

I love how it feels to fly.  I love being in an airplane over the farms and cities of the United States.  I love trying to guess at which point a plane has reached the necessary velocity to achieve a good liftoff from the ground and I love trying to guess when the plane is flat enough and slow enough to achieve a good smooth landing.  I love when I get a seat on an airplane that is right behind first class so that I have a ton of leg room.

I also love seeing that I am in row 9 and knowing that I will again be in the front of the airplane.

Image source
I don't love delays that are over an hour long. 

I don't love being taken to a different part of the tarmac to be let out in front of a plane that is so small that it still has propellers and looks like some sort of Tonka toy.

I don't like that the plane is so small and dainty looking that I spend much of the flight making sure I can still see row 4 - location of the emergency exit.

I don't like that I also spend much of the flight determining which of the people in the 5 rows in front of me I can beat or take out in order to get to the exit row quickly.

I do not like getting on said small plane and realizing that it is so small that row 9 is actually the LAST ROW of the entire plane.

I don't like being seated in the middle of that last row (five seats straight across like a couch) with my body not protected by a seat in front of me.  I don't like that I fear that the plane is so small that I fear that my body will be hurled through the aisles upon some sort of inevitable malfunction and I will land in the lap of the flight attendant who sits facing me throughout the entire flight - no snacks, no drinks, just her strapped to a small chair facing me the whole flight.

I do not like when my normal sized backpack does not fit in the over head bins.

I do not like when the plane is so small that the tires come out of the wings and not the underside of the plane.

I do not like when the plane, due to the delays, is stuck on the runway for 17 minutes and the engine is so powerful on such a large plane that the plane continues to rock side to side for the entire 17 minutes until we start forward motion again.

I don't like when the plane starts its decent and each lowering motion brings that stomach-moving up in your innards feeling even when there is no cloud turbulence.

I do like that I made it alive to NYC and get to spend some time with Kid Sis #1, though.

20 July 2012


This happened a few nights ago close to where I live.  It is actually a complex I considered moving into before settling on my place.

So horrible.  I drove by there yesterday to get a more real view of it and it was just awful.

Makes me really want to get renters' insurance and really thankful that I have not had to deal with disasters that have really ruined parts of my life in such a way.

Last night a young person shot up a movie theatre during the opening night of the new Batman movie.

Makes me thankful that nothing like that has occurred to me or my people.

Also make me angry about the lengths people will go to to show their hate.

19 July 2012

18 July 2012

July second week photos

Second installation of my July photo-a-day-challenge images.  I'm using the prompts by the host, Fat Mum Slim on her blog.

11. Letter - I like the handmade signs in Vintage Vinyl with their block-lettering.  I would really like to write a letter to (and get a response from) the crazy person who buys the Richard Marx cassette tape that is on the right picture in brown.  I would really like to know if they are doing it to be ironic or for their true love for Richard Marx.  I would also want to know if they actually have a cassette tape player that really works.  I am assuming that some people do because my kid sisters saw someone with a cassette in their backpack a bit ago like he was going to drop it into his Walkman and listen to it on the DC train or something.

12. Texture - I am still trying to get used to the trend of wearing shoes that look like house-shoes out of the house.  It is something that I will never do myself, something that I will never understand, and something that I will never think is acceptable.  Sorry if this offends you house-shoe-outside-of-the-house-wearers.  This photo was at the chiropractor's waiting room (I have been so many times for my messed up elbow (that seems to be getting worse each week after it starts to feel better) that it is really messing up my summer budget; it is causing me to hemorrhage money!!)

13. Open - I finally opened my Google Reader after forever.  It was up to 1000+ (not even sure the exact number of unread posts from blogs I follow because after it hits 1000 it stops going any higher and just says "1000+").  I successfully got down to 136.  I like to comment as much as possible and read as many posts as I can.  But, for the sake of my sanity, there were some blogs that I didn't read all of the posts and there were SO many that I did not comment on.  I did read a lot, though.  Goal now, is to not let it get back so high.  Perhaps tomorrow I will go back and chop the number down some more... I'm sure it will be a lot higher again tomorrow.

14. Building - You can see this building (Sheraton Hotel) from the highway heading downtown in StL.  Or you can get a better view of it going East on 14th Street from Chouteau.  I go back and forth with loving that all of the stuff is actually painted on the building and not really architecturally present and hating that it is all painted and not real.  Everything (except the windows) is painted onto the building.  Even the stuff below the windows.  The arched windows at the top are painted, too.

15. Finger - The first time I heard the song, "Peace Sign/Index Down" by Gym Class Heroes, I loved it.  Their offer to put up the peace sign and put the index [finger] down is awesome.  I await the day when I have balls (really ovaries) enough to give some one the peace sign with a smile and then slowly turn my smile upside down, lower the index, and flip my wrist around.

16. Sign - Questions that arise after seeing this poster sign:
  • Are people actually going to attend?
  • Do they have new songs, or will the bands be recapping their 80s "masterpieces"?
  • Will the bands still be rocking tight leather pants and cutoff shirts?
  • Will the bands don bandanas to cover their balding heads or will they go au naturale?
  • Will the audience be rocking acid/stone-washed denim?
  • Will anyone in the audience be under 30?
  • Will said older audience be able to catch the performers when they try to crowd surf?
  • Will I sneak in to the concert for a last listen to "Pour Some Sugar On Me"?

17. Your addiction - I am still a big fan of WWF.  I made this move against my sister and had to take a screen shot of it.  I have scored over 100 before, but didn't have a fancy phone to take a screen shot of the word.  I love that this one was such a simple word, too.

You can see photos from the first week of July, too.

17 July 2012


I have always been a candy lover.

It is one of my vices.  I know I'm not alone, because almost everyone loves candy.  My siblings and I even created a yearly holiday where we have to eat an entire bag of candy in an hour as part of the week long celebration we created.

When I was in elementary school, kids would always talk about this great candy.  They would share it with me and I would look at the color to make sure it was a flavor I enjoyed.  I never bought them myself, they were always given to me in their plain wax paper wrapping.  I enjoyed the yellow (banana) and the pinkish (watermelon).  I would ask the friends who had them to share their stash and they would give me a piece from the packs I liked.  It was great.

For the longest time, though, I did not realize that I was saying the name of the candy incorrectly.  I had heard people say it since my first wonderful taste of the hard, chewy candy and didn't think anything of the real name of it.

I knew them as "nahwlayduhs".

I wasn't sure how to spell the candy, but I recognized the name when I heard it and I loved the taste of some nahwlayduhs.  I had my favorites, but I enjoyed all the flavors.  How someone could make a candy where all the colors/flavors were the stuff is beyond me.  I loved when friends would go into the city and get flavors that were different from the typical flavors I usually had.

It wasn't until years later that I finally saw the actually package for nahwlayduhs rather than the unlabeled wax paper.  I finally realized that I was an idiot and that people just were speaking with their St. Louis accents when saying the candy's name.

Now and Laters.

How could I have been so dumb?  Was I the only one that didn't know they were actually called Now and Laters?

I don't know, but I do know that I have never been able to save some of those candies for later.  I am more about the now with them for sure.

Image source

16 July 2012

Social construct with power

So, there is this huge firestorm since Morgan Freeman said that the first black president of America has not arisen yet.  He said that President Obama is not that, that he is the first mixed president instead.

I understand why some are disturbed by this.

I understand that the history of the country has stood by the idea of the one-drop rule, by the thought that if you have some black in your ancestry, you are black by default.

I also know that many people do not consider Africans to be black - that they are a separate category.  Others put them all into the black category.

Race is a social construct, and yet it still has so much power in our society - even in 2012.

Check out this PBS site for more on Race - The Power of an Illusion.

15 July 2012

Summer is tasty plastic tubes

Summer always reminds me of freeze pops.  I have such strong memories of eating entire 100-pack boxes of them over the course of two to three days with my siblings and our childhood homies.

We would eat pop after pop.  So much so that we would start throwing the wrappers away in different containers or put them directly into the outside trashcan so that our mother would not realize we had eaten so many of them.  (Looking back, she must have known when Saturday came and she was buying another box or two of 100.)

Summer is still memories of eating those freeze pops and driving all around town laughing and having fun.

Every time I see those in a store or see a forgotten wrapper on the ground it makes me smile.

How flavored water in skinny, flimsy plastic tubes could be so delicious and addictive, I will never quite understand.  But, I still love them.

Stream of Consciousness Sunday hosted by Jana A at Jana's Thinking Place.  Today's prompt: What does summer smell or taste like to you?  And why?  You can take part - write for five minutes, link up to Jana's site, read others' posts, and share your own post.

13 July 2012

The things I do for hair: part 2

I'm still recovering from my hairdo - which I am starting to really enjoy.

I woke up so early to get it done and was there for so long.  I couldn't sleep well since they were kind of tight the first night.

When my sleep is disturbed for even one night, I am messed up for a long time.

I'm hoping that I can sleep well tonight and get back on a good sleep schedule.

12 July 2012

Thick and full of body

During my 12-hour adventure in hairdressing, the lady repeatedly told me that I have more hair on my head than anyone she has ever seen.  I still don't fully understand this.  My head is not much larger than others.  I have discovered that I sometimes have three hairs seeming to come out of one follicle - I guess others just have one in all of theirs.  This is why my hair is so thick - I guess.

I remember in my youth, I was helping Kid Sis #2 with some sort of assignment she was doing for school.  She had to create a commercial and I still don't remember what the class was, but I helped.  The product was the A.H.C. - I don't remember what that stood for, but I was one of the voices of the commercial that used the product successfully.  I just remember using a strong Nigerian accent and saying something about how the A.H.C. would make your hair "teeek and full of bo-deeee!"  We all still laugh at that commercial.

I think I have been secretly using this product since my hair is so thick and full of body requiring me to use more of the extensions than other people for the twists.  Despite getting the amount she said that everyone needs, we ran out before my hair was 3/4 finished.

I had to go to the store with 3/4 of my hair completed in braids and a small afro puff.

I looked crazy.

Two good things did happen, though.

  1. There was no one else in the store when I went in there, so no one except the cashier saw me looking crazy.
  2. The hairdresser put my hair in an afropuff, so I now know I can rock a bunch of those when the twists eventually come out.
A third thing happened about 3 hours after the store run... she finished the twists and I was able to go home, clean up, and sleep.  Fourth good thing that happened is that I slammed down some diner pancakes, bacon, and eggs the next morning to make up for not eating much during the marathon twisting session.

11 July 2012

July first week photos

Photo-a-day challenge for July hosted by Fat Mum Slim.

Here are pictures from the first week+ of July.

I apologize in advance for failing on some days.

1. Self portrait - I like this image because I've always wanted to be taller.  I know 5'8" is tall for a woman, but if I could just be 5'10" I would be so happy.  I've seen documentaries where people have had their legs broken and rods put in the bones to stretch them.  The people were all really short and ended up growing 1-4 inches.  I'm not willing to go that far.  Perhaps I would have been taller if I had consumed milk in my younger years - I have always despised milk.  I guess even from a young age, I knew that we would not have a good relationship.

2. Busy - Here is (part of) the to-do list I put together for the next day.  I ended up not getting most of it finished on the 3rd - a lot of the items carried over until Friday.

3. Best part of your day - I love the peace I have when I do yoga in the mornings.  I also love that I feel like I am becoming more flexible and developing better posture in the year plus since I have been doing it regularly.  It is also easing my chronic back pain issues - when I do the yoga consistently and fully, I save money by not having to go to the chiropractic doctor.  It is nice to sit and just breathe and (try to) not think about anything.

4. Fun - I forgot to take a picture this day.  There were some cute kids doing fireworks outside for the first time (they were 2-3 years old).  It was fun to watch them.  We could see the downtown fireworks if we stood on the sidewalk, that was cool.  But I missed it all with the camera.

5. On the floor - I love my bathroom floor mats.  They are some kind of wood.  I can clean them easily and that they don't get germy and dingy and gross like a lot of cloth bath rugs.

6. Chair - On my run through a local college campus, I noticed that they have a bunch of statues on various benches throughout the campus.  Kind of neat, though each time I pass one, I do a double take because I always think it is a real person.  I really like this one since it shows a person reading to a child - reading is fundamental, right?

7. Garden - After photographing the benches, the next day, I noticed the landscaping of the campus.  I think that they literally do work on it everyday.  I have seen some kind of tractor on the baseball field every single day - I don't know what it is doing, but it is always there.  They also have some nice flowers at all of their entrances.

8. Lunch - I didn't even eat lunch this day.  Had a dinner at the Kobe Steakhouse which was fabulous, though.

9. Big - This guy was riding this huge bicycle on the road this night.  I had to pull over to a side, perpendicular street so I could get a good pic.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Not sure how easily he gets on or off, and it seemed a bit laborious going up some hills, but it still looked kind of fun and really impressive.

10. Your favourite colour - I'm really digging the neon green and gray combination on my new shoes!  The colours don't seem to pop as much in the photo as they do in real life, but it is a great combination of really bright neon green and charcoal gray.

10 July 2012

The things I do for hair

Long day.

I went to get my hair done.  She said to be there at 7am.  I rang the bell at 7:03.  We started at 7:15.

Finished the last twist at 9:10pm.

The hairdresser said that I have more hair and thicker hair than anyone she has ever seen.

I am not exaggerating with the time.  She did take a few short breaks to deal with her two-year old twin girls.  But it lasted that long.

Proof:  I watched six and a half movies.
The Wood
The Bachelorette
Brown Sugar
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
The Karate Kid (new one with the Smith kid)
the first half of A-Team

I'm too tired to do anything besides take the shower that I needed after sitting and having sticky toddlers crawl on me intermittently throughout the day.  I don't even want to eat - just figure out how to wrap my hair around my head so I can sleep adequately.

It will take a few days to get used to the extensions (I'm going from 2 1/2" hair to twists that now go down to my mid-back.

09 July 2012

Straight up, now tell me

For some reason, this morning, I was taken back in the shower.

I started singing, "Straight up, now tell me... tell me.  A-do-do you love me? Do you love me?  Bay-bee!"
Image source

That song always reminds me of my childhood and riding my bike to a classmates house after school so she could dub that tape onto a blank tape for me.

It was my first dubbed tape from an original tape - rather than off the radio.

It was always so annoying to tape off the radio since DJs must have been paid by the record companies to talk over parts of the song so that you couldn't get a good recording.

I loved that song and loved to dance to it in my room.

I loved feeling high tech when I finally got a radio with two tape decks so I could dub my own tapes and make mix tapes.

08 July 2012

Pleasing others vs living my life

I have always liked making people happy - having people like me.

My parents are not excluded from this desire of mine.  Unfortunately, the desire to please them has led me to suffer a bit.

Four years ago, they called me up and told me that they had a rehabbed house that they were trying to sell that they would like me to live in until it was sold.  I jumped at the idea to live in a brand new house.  I also assumed (wrongly) that there would be no rent involved - that I would live there for free until they could sell the house.

The house looked nice on the first floor.  The basement was another story that I would grow to hate.  It looked like they had used the old foundation and built a new house on it.  The foundation was so bad that at some places on the floor, you could see the ground - dirt.

A few months after living in the house, the basement started to flood with every rain.  I had to pay to get a new sump pump and to have drains put into the perimeter of the entire basement.  I had to replace the washing machine that I had purchased.

Then the mold started to form on the basement walls.  Water seemed to be seeping in from the walls.  I tried to get rid of that.

Then there were the issues of the R.O.U.Ss that I feared scrounging throughout the yard.  There was grass cutting, tending the thorny rose bushes that my father had planted in the front.  There were silverfish that were likely coming in through the (literally) unfinished basement.  There was me having to have a separate pair of shoes to wear into the basement so I wouldn't carry the dust and dirt throughout the rest of the house.

There were four years of hating where I lived all so I could help the parents out.

Then finally the market was getting better.  At the start of this year, I finally decided that I had to make myself happy.  I also had to look out for my safety.  That house was not on solid ground and there was what looked like a sink hole gradually growing in the front yard.

I decided to move.  I told my parents.  They were not upset.

They were not even a little upset.  Why had I thought they would be super disappointed?

I started looking for a place.

At the end of March, they found someone to buy the house.

By the end of April, I was in a new place.  A place where I can walk and not hear the weak floor creaking; where I can jump and not worry that the floor will collapse me into the basement; where I can breathe clean, non moldy air; where I don't have to prick my fingers with thorn bushes; where I won't have to shovel snow.

Where I am at peace and not feeling challenged by my desire to please the parents and my growing desire to live my own life.

Sunday Stream of Consciousness is now hosted by Jana A. over at Jana's Thinking Place.  Thanks to her for picking this up.  I love using this for a brain dump and to just write some different things.

Today's prompt: Write about a time that you were challenged.

You can join in, here are the rules...

  • Set a timer and write for five minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don't edit the post.  No proofreading or spellchecking.  This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere.  Anywhere.  The back door to your blog if you want.  But make it accessible. 
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post on the host site.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

06 July 2012

Word usage

I believe English may be one of the most difficult languages to learn since there are so many words that look or sound the same, but mean completely different things.

There are words with multiple definitions that are different as well.

Some examples:

  • Apparent 
    • This word can mean that something is 
      • easy to see or understand, or
      • a quality, feeling, or situation that seems to exist but is not real
    • Most people use the first definition and not the second one.
  • Incredible
    • This word means that something is impossible or difficult to understand
    • People use this word as something that is really great
  • Sensational
    • This word means
      • something that is exciting or surprising
      • a way of describing something that makes it seem more exciting than it really is
    • Most people use the first definition and not the second one.
I was just thinking of words today and was thinking about the uses of these three words.  There are many more out there.  I am going to try and use these words this weekend in the real/less used manners.

I used definitions from onelook.com.

04 July 2012

June fifth photos

Final part of my June photos for Fat Mum Slim's Photo-A-Day Challenge

28. On the shelf - The shelf here is my balcony.  On this night, I heard a large truck slowly trod ding down the street and decided to look out the window and see what was going on.  Turned out it was a fire truck and one of the fire fighters was removing the hose and taking it to the back of my apartment.  I go to the balcony to get a better view and it turns out someone has set the dumpster on fire.  The top photo is of two fire fighters trying to douse the flame with the hose.  It took them about 8 minutes to finish putting out the fire.  I assume it was some hot coals or some type of cigarette butt or something.  Or maybe just the incessant heat that we have been having in St. Louis.

29. Soft - I am getting soft in my older age.  I have been having injuries like my back, my neck, my knees have started to ache... the list seems to go on.  Newest pain is in my elbow.  I know this photo is similar to one from last week's photos, but it is really irking me that I am getting so soft.  Now, not only am I dealing with this pain, I also am having to deal with the tape the doctor uses on me tearing off my skin when I remove the tape.  Perhaps you can see the peeling skin above and below the brace in the above photo.  After taking the tape off, the arm not only hurt from regular pains that I have almost become accustomed to, but also from the deep tissue stimulation the doctor says will dislodge any scar tissue, and from the tenderness from the layers of skin being missing from my arm.  I used to be able to tolerate more pain.  I used to believe that my possession of ovaries made me a stronger person - after all, we have babies and periods and cramps.  Perhaps, my ovaries just aren't enough anymore.

30. A friend - For my best bud/boo, I have been making lunch each day (or buying it) and meeting him for 30 minutes of us time.  It is always nice to see each other.  Here was what I used on this day: Ham sandwich with provolone, watermelon, honeydew melon, oatmeal cream pie, and swiss rolls.

You can see the rest of my June photos by clicking these links:  1st week, 2nd week, 3rd week, 4th week.

03 July 2012

You may rejoice, I (still) must mourn

For this holiday, I take you back to my thoughts from 2008.  Here is some content from the original blog post: The 4th of July is Yours, Not Mine.  Unfortunately, my sentiments still ring true today, four years later.   Only thing I can add is that you should be careful with the fireworks in all the places that have been super hot and dry of late.  Only change to my writing is the video at the end, the original is no longer available, so the one I added today has no commentary and no additional song - though, it is still the shiznit, though!

Since I was a kid and started reading about the history of this country (on my own of course, since the schools didn't teach the truth -- just the apple pies, George Washington, Lincoln BS) I have not really been down with celebrating July 4 as any sort of independence day.

There are too many groups in this nation that are not free, too many people who continue to struggle due to the incredible injustices perpetuated by the government (national, local, and state).

I love these words by Langston Hughes and Frederick Douglass.

Douglass' words can STILL apply to basically any minority group in this nation (not just ethnic minorities, either -- sexual, economic (though the poor are the majority), displaced, etc). This comes from a speech he gave 5 July 1852. It was an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
"This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." And he asked them, "Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?"
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Two pieces from Langston Hughes, the first from 1938:
Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed-- Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek-- And finding only the same old stupid plan Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope, Tangled in that ancient endless chain Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine. I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean-- Hungry yet today despite the dream. Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers! I am the man who never got ahead, The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream In the Old World while still a serf of kings, Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true, That even yet its mighty daring sings In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned That's made America the land it has become. O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas In search of what I meant to be my home-- For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore, And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea, And torn from Black Africa's strand I came To build a "homeland of the free."
The free?
Who said the free? Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today? The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay? For all the dreams we've dreamed And all the songs we've sung And all the hopes we've held And all the flags we've hung, The millions who have nothing for our pay-- Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again-- The land that never has been yet-- And yet must be--the land where every man is free. The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME-- Who made America, Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose-- The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!
O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath-- America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies, We, the people, must redeem The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers. The mountains and the endless plain-- All, all the stretch of these great green states-- And make America again!
This poem was written by Hughes in 1925:
I, Too, Sing America

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed --

I, too, am America.
Be careful with the fireworks and explosive devises -- don't blow your hands off. Have a sober driver. Don't eat so much that you have to undo the button on your pants.

Be safe.

Try to think about what this day really means for all the people in this nation.

Remember that everyone is not free.

I leave you with possibly the most awesome version of this country's anthem EVER! Along with another great little song after the anthem. I love the commentary in the beginning and the end.

02 July 2012

Six months down, what next?

As I finished up six full months of writing every day, I am reflecting on this process.

It amazes me that I have been able to do this for this long.  It amazes me that I have not gotten tired of doing it.

It amazes me that it has become a regular part of my day.  My day does not seem finished unless I have posted on this blog.  Perhaps that is good, or perhaps it is pathetic - I'm not quite sure which one.

I am not sure if I have become better at writing.  I think I have become better at creating a topic to write about for the day.

I would like to find more regular topics for days.  I was doing the photo-a-day each Wednesday in June and I have been doing Stream of Conscious posts each Sunday.  Not sure if I will continue either in July - SOC is no longer going to be hosted by Fadra, but I may still do it as a release on Sundays.

Here are the top ten most popular posts on my blog since January:

10. Short List of Things That Make Me Happy - Just a list.
9. Why Do We Trust & Distrust So Easily? - Why do we live in a society where we are overcautious about things that we don't need to be and distrustful in areas of our lives where we don't necessarily need to be?  Do we really need to have playgrounds with rubber floors?
8. I Teach. What's Your Superpower - It's as simple as the title.
7. Aftermath of a Young Wedding - This story still makes me laugh just thinking about it.  My family and like-family kill me!  And the picture is just adorable.
6. I Tried Excessive Complaining Again - I am still on a mission to not complain a lot.  It is working, though I do have occasional slips where I complain without having a way to fix the thing I am complaining about.  But,  I have come to dislike being around people who complain a lot.
5. Wordless Wednesday: Bras - People always find this post by searching for breasts, or bras, or boobs, or for the image I included.
4. Even Niecy Has Never Seen Such Foolishness - All of the hoarders shows basically came after "Clean House" with Niecy Nash.  This post is about one of the most disgusting homes I have seen.
3. LyzaDora the Artist is Amazing in So Many Ways - Sometimes we wish we could tell our younger selves what we will become in the future.  LyzaDora is an amazing person for many reasons and it touched me to hear that she wasn't always as confident as she seems to be now.  While in Houston last week we reminded ourselves that we have known each other for around 24 years - WOW!!
2. After All My Logic And My Theory, I Add A... - Some writer said that St. Louis, Missouri was on par with cities like Mogadishu, and Caracas, and Pakistani cities when it comes to the dangerousness of an area.  I tried to eloquently dispute the author's claim.
1. Possibly the Worst Invention Ever - Wrote about the uselessness of toilet rolls that do not rotate in a full circle.  It seems people are always searching for the image I added to this post or else looking for the worst invention.

Perhaps you have already read these, or perhaps you can read them now.

Will I be able to do this for another six months?

Each day I'm not sure if I will follow through with the urge to post, but I have so far for six months.  Somehow, I keep going.

So, who knows?!?

01 July 2012

Life's jolts

I've done it a few times.  Not completely, but a little bit.

When I went off to college, I got to be different - an individual separated from my siblings and from the impressions I left in hs.  When I moved into an apartment outside of the dorms it was a new reinvention.  When I started teaching in Columbia I was a totally different person than I had been before.  I had friends like I had never had before and did things (in my after school life) that I had never imagined doing and it was all a blast.  When I started teaching in Saint Louis it was a small change.  I had new colleagues that were great.  I had a boyfriend that helped me grow and see and do things differently.  Eventually, I cut off all of my long, straight hair and went natural and short.  When I moved to another district I made more changes.  I started using my first name on official papers.  I dressed more professionally everyday to work.  People had never known me with long hair and I went even shorter - completely shaven.  I moved to a different division of the school and it was even more of a chance for me to be seen differently.  I have reinvented myself in small ways with my family and friends.

These are just a few of the times I have reinvented myself.

I think that reinvention comes in different forms.  The obvious are related to appearance.  Some others are related to a change in mindset.  For me a change in mindset comes from a change of scenery, from a change in perspective, from a change in life associates, from the different jolts life gives me.

Honestly, I feel like I am overdo for a major jolt in my life - a new reinvention.

This was the last Stream of Consciousness Sunday that Fadra is hosting.  I thank her for this and am glad I found it during my quest to find topics to write each day.  I think that the freedom to just write on Sunday has been a great release and has really made me think about different things in my life.  Most of the time, I have written based on her prompts which are often thought provoking.

I think I will continue to do this sort of writing to help me just do brain dumps on Sundays.

You can see the link up on Fadra's site to read more of people's five minute stream of consciousness musings.  Today's writing prompt: What does it mean to reinvent yourself?