So I happened upon this video the other day, and it prompted a writing idea…


Here’s my take: these babies are my sister and me. I posted the vid on Facebook the other day and asked her if she knew why these babies are us. She did the quick take, surfacy answer: “Because you’re always messing with me.” However that is not the reason.

Nope, these babies are us because I’m the one always trying to laugh and find the bright spots in life, while having to deal with her emo-ness. (Watch those babies again and tell me that you don’t think that dark headed baby is emo!). My little sister has always been so much more emotional than I am. I’m not saying that I’m the good-mood girl and she’s not — because she’s the “good time girl” — but the fact is, I’ve always felt like I had to help her stay happy. When she’s gotten mad at me, that madness lasts and lasts, and sometimes feels like it will never end. And, I have to laugh, pretending that the madness doesn’t hurt. I’ve become so good at it, that it’s second nature now; an unconscious act that I don’t even pay attention to.

Until this past week when she really hurt me, and I can’t find the “sunny,” bright side of the situation. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually, and I won’t hold it against her. But right now, I can’t. I love her more than life itself, and I’ve only ever wanted to take care of her. When we were little, I was her translator because no one could understand her speech. We got through our crazy-mama’s craziness together; we lost a brother together.

But through all this, I’ve always known that I had to be the “happy” one. If I was too sad about something, it made her sad, and I didn’t like it. (I still don’t). Back to the baby video, though….the dark-headed baby is fussing some, and the light-headed baby keeps laughing, totally ignoring the moaning his/her counterpart. The conversation probably goes something like:

Baby 1: Don’t leave me.

Baby 2: Haha…I love you. We are best friends forever.

Baby 1: I will always be afraid you don’t love me.

Baby 2: I will never stop loving you.

Baby 1: Even if I do stuff to make you mad or hurt your feelings? Or if I make you feel left out of my life most of the time?

Baby 2: Yes, even then. I will never stop loving you. I might get mad at you sometimes.

Baby 1: You will get mad at me?

Baby 2: Yes, look how you’re eating my arm? I will get mad at you. But I will always love you.

Baby 1: Forever?

Baby 2: And ever!

Baby 1: heehee….

So, for my baby sister….here is some musical advice from me to you:

Keep on the sunny side!!

I won’t be breaking your heart!

I wish for you to know this about yourself and how much you mean to me:

But this is probably what she wants to say to me:

All in all….sisters fight over silly things sometimes. Our feelings get hurt, and it’s always the “last straw.” This tiff will pass and I’m sure we’ll learn something about ourselves, but the hurt I’m feeling right now is pretty strong. Maybe the songs are really for me and not for her. Maybe I’m trying to say that I’m still laughing, but look in my eyes — I’m just too stupid to cry.


sols_6I’m not the same after a time change. Spring forward, fall back…it doesn’t matter because my internal clock just gets all confused. Either I can’t sleep, or I wake up too early. It reminds me that I need to look at where I am teaching-wise, and what I have left to do (Don’t ask why time change makes me think about teaching, but it does!).

Anyway, it’s also progress report time — AGAIN. I’m pretty sure I’ve written here many times that grading is my least favorite part of teaching. My students who never turn anything in always seem to want/need confirmation that they really haven’t done anything, and my students who complete everything get assurance that I see them!

So, as I try to get my body’s clock back into rhythm, and my students’ progress-report-temper-tantrums contained, The Foo Fighters sing me advice. My man, Dave Grohl (who is more than welcome to give me advice personally any day of the week!!), usually can make me remember what is important. His song-writing this time tells me that even though things change, that change can be good. It’s okay that the time changed; I’ll adjust. It’s okay that my students seem shocked with poor grades; maybe this time they will change. It’s okay that work is stressful at the moment; Spring Break is right around the corner.

Thanks, Dave!


sols_6I need some snow. Not a snow for weeks at a time or anything. But enough to make me happy. I tweeted a few weeks ago that I wished I could be a weather reporter. You don’t really have to be right to keep your job! Imagine the security! haha…

When I was little, I learned what the map looked like if snow was possible in NC: there had to be a High in the south and a Low in the north. When I saw this combination, little chills of expectation would crawl up my body –SNOW DAYS!!! I can still feel that excitement when the weather dudes pretend it’s going to snow now.

Waking up this morning, there was some snow falling. The slow kind where you think it’s going to be a REALLY good snow. Then it started raining. Then it snowed. Then the sun came out. Then it started snowing again. Then the rain again. Now, the sun’s out — well, setting, actually. But, no snow. Foiled again!

I think the snow thing makes me think that global warming isn’t really happening. I know this is totally untrue, but….well, the child in me can still dream. I’ve read a couple of books that make the global warming idea one of the scariest I’ve encountered –even more than zombies or contagions! There’s just like no way to stay safe from the sun’s heat in these YA dystopia’s. Freaks me out just thinking about it right now. (Links to the book trailers for Scorch Trials by James Dasher and Solstice by PJ Hoover).

But, as far as my lack of snow accumulation goes, I’m just sad. I tried to find a song to show how I felt about the lack of snow, and, low and behold, I’m not the only one who sees this as important! Check out the New Yorker playlist for Snowstorm Nemo!

It’s one of my favorite bands, The Barenaked Ladies, though that really help me out. This song, “Snowman”, is about how poor Frosty doesn’t fit in. The plight of us all!!

I read a couple of days ago on Twitter that Robert Sherman died this week. Who’s Robert Sherman, you may ask? Well, apparently, he was just the musical genius behind most of the Disney movies I love! (Here’s the link to the LA Times story: Robert Sherman obituary). One of the movies he worked on was Mary Poppins — a movie I could watch, restart, rinse & repeat a million times! — the story which brings me MUCH joy! He and his brother also wrote the music & songs for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang — another that I am absolutely obsessed with.

But the song I’m reminded of this morning is “It’s a Small World” — it’s used in a ride at Disney World. The lyrics sort of repeat “It’s a small world after all….there’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all” — sung in all sorts of different languages. Thank God for YouTube…here’s a video:

I think I was like 8 the first of two times I went to Disney World — and I remember loving this ride. All the little characters looked to happy and safe and harmonious. These adjectives weren’t really ever used to describe the family I grew up in, unfortunately. But, like all the other Disney products, goodness always came out on top — a theme that gave me hope.

Often over the years, it’s occurred to me that many of the kids I work with have these same issues — like a physical and/or emotional safety problem. I hope that, even though I’m just their teacher, I’ve shown them a little light. That maybe if they see that they have more things in common with others than not, that they can reach out and find some positiveness they long for. If I can lead by example and give them hope for a better future, then I think I’ve done my job –either that, or when I spaz out and sing these songs to them in class, they at least laughed a little and found some joy! ūüėČ


For my next installment of Proms &¬†Potties, I’ve been thinking about advice I want to give my kids (Jakester, 19 & LilyBelle, 5). My thoughts today really stem from two songs that are popular right now: Firework by Katy Perry and Perfect by Pink. Maybe it’s because I’m on medical leave and have nothing to¬†occupy my mind except for THINKING NONSTOP, and it’s driving me nuts. Or maybe it’s because the Jakester is at such a frustrating turning point in his life, trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up, and the endless search for a college major. Or maybe because the LilyBelle is writing and drawing and being so creative, and I know that school will “socialize” it out of her — I want her to remember all this creativity, so maybe she can keep it.

Whatever the reason, I have things to tell them. I don’t want them to think badly about themselves. I want them to believe in their smarts and abilities and¬†values that the Kevman and I have tried to instill in them. I mean, I know there will be times¬†when¬†they¬†question¬†if they made the right¬†decision¬†or if they can really get through tough times. But if they have something to fall back on– a mixtape that floats in¬†their¬†heads — then that helps. When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to listen to popular/rock music because of my parents’ religious beliefs at the time. I could only listen to Christian music — and while there is NOTHING wrong with that, I feel like if I hadn’t had that soundtrack, I would not have made it¬†through my childhood. While this may sound like hyperbole, it’s my belief, and I find myself “singing” those same songs when I’m going through something rough. Every time I give my students the assignment to create a soundtrack of their life, I try to make a new list, too, but I always put some of the same songs on mine. Here’s one of the songs that I’ve had playing in my head since I was little:

I adore soundtracks — they usually get to the heart and soul of whatever it is you’re thinking about. I always check out author’s book soundtracks and movie soundtracks just to get a sense of what the “text” is about (by the way, the soundtrack for The Hunger Games looks AMAZING!!!!). I know I’m totally weird — some people have Bible verses that they lean on during tough times. I use music! I know — too weird!

The thought occurred to me to embed YouTube videos of my soundtrack so whoever read my blog could hear the song/read the lyrics; however, my list became 13 songs (pared down from 22!!), and I thought that was too cumbersome for a blog post. The songs are at the bottom if you want to play them.

13 Pieces of Advice for My Munchkins

1. Firework — by Katy Perry: Be confident in yourself ¬† ¬†(I’m adding a video for this song after I found it last year and used it in class)

2. Perfect — by Pink: Talk positively about yourself even if you mess up or make a bad decision. No one is perfect!

3. It’s My Life ¬†— by BonJovi: Trust yourself to make your own way.

4. I Don’t Wanna Be — by Gavin Degraw: You don’t have to change to please anyone except yourself (okay, well, and maybe your mom! haha)

5. Set Fire to the Rain — by Adele: Stand up for yourself, and be¬†brave¬†enough¬†to let stuff go.

6. Time of Your Life — by Greenday: Have fun in life, and hold on to those memories when you’re going through rough times.

7. Mean — by Taylor Swift & Loser Like Me — by the Glee Cast: ¬†You’re going to come out on top when you stay true to yourself.

8. Keep on the Sunny Side — by The Carter Family: Think positively!

9. Life is Beautiful — by Sixx A.M.: Appreciate what you have, and what you are giving back to those around you.

10. Footloose — by Kenny Loggins: You need to work hard, but also have fun!!

11. Down to the River to Pray — by Allison Krauss: Have faith in something bigger than yourself.

12. You Are a Tourist — by Death Cab for Cutie: Follow your passions!

13. Back to Avalon — by Kenny Loggins: You’ll get your heart broken, but you can find your way back (to love or a new career or hobby) <YouTube link>

**Bonus Track: Change of Habit — Elvis Presley: You are in charge of your life; if you don’t like what’s going on, you have the power to change it! <YouTube link>

**Bonus Track#2: Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen — by Baz Luhuman: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and be good to others! (The ultimate advice song!)


The long and short of my post today is that these are all the things I need to tell myself on a daily basis, too. So, what do you think? What did I miss? What would be on your advice mixtape?

(Oh, here are most of the songs)

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In anticipation of my third year of daily Slice of Life Story participation, I thought I’d practice. This makes me happy today…..



There are a few things I wanted to do before exams started this semester; however, I’m NOT a planner and barely ever pay attention to the calendar, so of course I didn’t realize the year was over until…well…it was over! I really should have taken the time to write my students a letter/note/message…something to let them know what I would remember about each of them and what I hope they took away from our time together. I know how elementary-school that sounds, but I haven’t given awards out since last Fall, and I’m feeling disconnected from “connections” if that makes any sense.

Yes, I know that I’ve talked poorly about my silly students, but, despite their laziness in turning in assignments, many of them were very sweet kids. And, I remember when a teacher did take the time to send me a postcard telling me how she enjoyed being my teacher, blah, blah, blah….it was just one of those things that made me smile every time I read it.

The other thing I wanted to do was create a soundtrack for our time together. I really thought I’d have time to do that, but I’m not sure what happened there…again, probably has something to do with me NOT looking at the calendar….oh, and they were making book trailers, too, so I didn’t have class time. Thanks goodness I cleared that up!!

So, in light of my problems, here it is:

13 Songs for the 2010-2011 Sophomores…..

1)¬† For Your Entertainment — Adam Lambert….This class was almost totally out of control when school started. They laughed at EVERYTHING, even when they knew they were failing. I’m not even sure if we had the “honeymoon” period that most school years start with…so I had to turn up the heat of my teacheryness!! Adam’s lyrics say: “it’s about to get rough for you ……I’m here for you entertainment,,,,,Oh, I bet you thought that I was soft and sweet
‘Ya thought an angel swept you off ya feet…..But I’m about to turn up the heat…I’m here for your entertainment”

It wasn’t long before I realized where I was headed….

2) Highway to Hell — AC/DC ….Umm….self explanatory! haha….

3) Don’t Matter — Akon…..This is a total love song, but I love it to describe some of my harder-to-wrangle-in students. Sometimes you’re just in a love-hate relationship….They want you to love them and see through the fight they’re putting up…find that goodness that’s lurking beneath. Akon sings: “Nobody wants to see us together…We gonna fight…It don’t matter, ’cause I got you.” And we fought. A lot! But then they’d get hooked on a book or write a poem or tell a funny story, and our differences really didn’t matter. It was my job to create as many relationships as I could to try to help them become more literate.

4) If I Had a Million Dollars — Bare Naked Ladies…..Umm….because I’d have soooooo retired this year!! hahahahahaaha…..

5) Saturday Night — Bay City Rollers….Because nobody in this sophomore class can spell!! I think they’re all out partying instead of studying, and NOT just on Saturday night! And, seriously, who DIDN’T learn to spell “Saturday” by singing this song? Heck, I still sing it every time I have to spell it!

6) Trouble — Elvis…..My man has a song for every situation, and this on is not different. His song is actually what we call in the business, a “theme” song….haha…”if you’re looking for trouble…you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for trouble, just look at my face…” LOVE IT!!

7) I Gotta Feeling — Black-Eyed Peas….I think I sang this song every single time I gave an assignment….I’d say, “Your paper should be finished, so go ahead and take it out…we need to revise…but “I gotta feeling….” and all the little children would laugh because they knew my feeling was right, and they had NOT completed their assignment!!! My feelings were rarely about “good nights” OR good children…how sad!

8 ) Three Little Birds — Bob Marley….These students had absolutely no worries. About anything! Seriously, they knew that the teachers couldn’t “give” them lower than a 60 for a grading period, their parents wouldn’t really do anything to punish them for poor school performance, and if they did get in trouble, they could just hang out or sleep in ISS. No worries.

9) Keep On the Sunny Side — The Carter Family….In November and March, we started blogging. In April, we started writing poetry–LOTS of poetry. You never know what you’re going to learn about a student when you ask him/her to write about personal interests; however, because this group really has no filters, they were pretty free about the tragedies and losses that pervaded their lives. I liked to play this song sometimes just so they could hear some goodness.

10) Gypsies, Tramps, and Theives –Cher….One student, Chris, had an obsession with gypsies. Everything he wrote, silly stories he told, books he read all had something to do with gypsies or that weird Borat character….One of my favorite kids EVER!!! But, I played this song a lot when I tried to teach them to use commas….it helped some. Or maybe they just liked to hear the song!

11) Will You Still Love Me? — Chicago…..My poor little students just want somebody to listen to them and love them. It was very hard this year to love many of them. There were too may hooligans….but the ones who wanted to learn and showed up most every day and made me laugh and tried in class–those are the ones who you wish you could have just a little more time with. But there were always those students who’d leave class with a “Love ya, Mrs. McCabe.” Of course they were usually the ones I wanted to smack! haha…

12) Hard to Say I’m Sorry — Chicago…I received several “I’m sorry” letters this year….from a student who was using dip in class to two students who were begging for a passing grade when they didn’t deserve it (They both wrote a 5 page apology letter!!). But I’m also sorry for that one student who failed. I feel so bad that I couldn’t get through to him. He never returned any of the make-up assignments I gave him and slept after he took my exam, refusing to do any other work. Somehow, though, I feel like it’s my fault if he drops out of school like I heard his brother did. Then I might cry.

13) Should’ve Known Better — The Beatles….Most of my students decided that it was easier to love me and do what I say rather than keep up that crappy fighting. There are many students who I’ll miss….and who will definitely live in INFAMY in my memory! hahaa….

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