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!


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)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

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



I follow the blog, Poetic Asides that Robert Lee Brewer writes at Writer’s Digest (here’s the address if you’re interested: He’s gearing up for an April Poem-A-Day Challenge — something I’ve wanted to try, but I don’t think I’ve too fluent in poetry writin’!! Anyway, I’m just catching up on some past posts, and on Wednesday, Brewer’s poetry prompt was Better Off (Blank) haha…I love that. So, here’s my attempt for my Slice today.

Better Off With Elvis

Because you wore jumpsuits and black leather

Because your sweat turned women into Tutti Fruiti(s)

Because your songs never get old, and all the rockers want to be you

Because you show me I can live in Heartbreak Hotel as long as I have my Blue Suede Shoes

Because there’s a child In the Ghetto who cries in pain — and you gave her voice

Because, with A Little Less Conversation, even a Hard-Headed Woman can be your Good-Luck Charm

Because I Can Dream of a better place even when it feels like It’s Now or Never

Because your Burnin’ Love’s still The Latest Flame, I’m All Shook Up

Because You’re So Square (and Baby, I Don’t Care), I’m Stuck On You and Can’t Help Falling in Love

Because you were generous and kind and forgiving to strangers

Because you make my heart and body have to move

Because of the Wonder of You,

My life is better off.

Blah!! That needs some revision….enjoy The King:


because i’m NOT going to write ugly things about my students (or even tell that i cried last night and this morning during my planning period) since i apparently have taught them absolutely nothing  about writing since september, i decided to write a list of tips for myself if i was 16 again. maybe the tips will help me remember that schoolwork probably wasn’t on my list of “important” things to do when i was in high school either! 😉

13 Pieces of Advice for 16 y/o Me….

1. Shut up and listen

2. Your friends don’t know everything

3. Don’t let that stupid boy ruin your life

4. Yes, your sister can do your Latin homework, but that won’t help you make better on your SAT!

5. It’s okay to think stuff out–quit getting so mad so easily

6. In 4 years, high school’s over: take it one day at a time (you really don’t EVER have to see these people again)

7. Read some more…being able to suggest books will come in very handy later on

8. Your teachers don’t know everything, but they are good resources when you have a question

9. Do you really have to kick that girl’s butt in the ladies’ room? It really won’t make you feel better (okay, that’s a lie….it felt VERY good! haha)

10. That weird kid in band might grow up to be famous–tag along! haha…

11. It’s really okay if you like to write; learn to be quiet and listen to that voice

12. Be a runner; it’s good exercise, and all the best writers do it

13. No matter how hard you think life is right now, it’s NOTHING compared to teaching essay-writing to silly teens like yourself!


last, but not least, i’m dedicating this song to my beautiful sophomores this year…if you aren’t a Nickelodeon viewer, you won’t know this “singer.” i’m sure the song is all about love, but, like the “good” teacher i am, where there’s love, i see “make it relevant” to teaching….but i love the words because they TOTALLY describe what it’s like to teach in this century–or at least at my little high school in NC… (man, i can’t WAIT to show this in the morning!!!!!) — lyrics are below the video…..

Are you listening?
Hear me talk, Hear me sing.
Open up the door,
Is it less, is it more?
When you tell me to beware,
Are you here? Are you there?
Is it something I should know?
Easy come, Easy go.
Nodding your head,
Don’t hear a word I said
Can’t communicate, when you wait
Don’t relate.
I try to talk to you
But you never even knew, so,
What’s it gonna be,
Tell me can you hear me?

(Hear me, can you hear me?)
I’m so sick of it,
Your attention deficit
Never listen, You never listen.
I’m so sick of it,
So I’m throwing on a fit
Never listen, You never listen.

I scream your name,
It always stays the same.
I scream and shout,
So what I’m gonna do now
Is freak the freak out, hey!
Woah oh oh, Woah oh oh,
Woah oh oh, Woah oh oh oh.

Patience running thin
Running thin, come again
Tell me what I get
Opposite, opposite
Show me what is real
If it breaks does it heal
Open up your ear
Why you think that I’m here?
Keep me in the dark
Are you even thinking of me?
And someone else above me
Gotta know, gotta know
What am I gonna do?
Cause I can’t get through to you
So what’s it gonna be
Tell me can you hear me?


i haven’t done one of these in a while. Enjoy and laugh at my expense–please!! haha…

(1) if i had a million dollars (bare naked ladies): i love this song because who doesn’t want a million dollars?? and, a few weeks ago, i heard on NPR a rich chick saying that a million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to. hmmm…seriously??? anyway, i’m choosing this song today because i got an email from the student loan people that my deferment is ending! right before christmas–YAY!!! haha…so, IF i had a million dollars, i’d pay them back…but not in real money; maybe i’d use love–haha.

(2) hot in the city (billy idol): okay i know this probably tells some horrible story of steamy romance, but they turned the heat on at school yesterday, and, well, IT’S FLIPPING SCORCHING NOW!!!

(3) i’m in a hurry (alabama): i seem to always be hurrying: to work because i’m always late; to get lesson plans done; to have my students finish assignments; to get to friday so i can read or relax or whatever i do when i’m not working. today i had several students stop by during my planning and during class changes, and i just didn’t feel like i had time to talk to them. looking back at the day now, i feel horrible. i need to remember that it’s these little times with my students, with my family, that make the difference–NOT if we got to that immaculate lesson on active verbs or cleaned up the barbies!!(Yea! another excuse NOT to clean up!! haha…)

(4) superman–it’s not easy to be me (five for fighting): my english honors students chose to learn about heroes and the hero’s journey. yesterday and today, they’ve had to draw their own super hero and write about their own super powers. while we took notes on the elements of the hero’s journey, i kept trying to get them to see they are on their own journey–it’s always a fun unit to teach because the students always seem to be surprised that they could be a “hero”–but they are. sometimes just getting out of bed and making it through the day makes them a hero!

(5) where is the love? (the black-eyed peas): my composition students are writing essays on injustices. i used this as a quickwrite today and asked them to personalize injustices they see. many of them wrote about kids that are hungry and homeless, and all the poverty in the world when we (americans) have so much. i was very impressed with one of the groups–they were all about “teen” issues: abusive parents, teen suicide, bullying, and no medical insurance. i hope they take this passion into their essay writing!!

(6) ain’t no rest for the wicked (cage the elephant): i had to leave early yesterday because lily-bell got sick. i wrote my plans on the board, and the lady who substituted for me had been working since 7:45–the principal made her work during the planning period. my last period students were SOOOOO bad to her, i could not even comprehend it! they haven’t been this bad since the beginning of the semester! their punishment is time-out until thanksgiving (no one leaves, daily homework, me being generally mean and grumpy, etc.). i told them how embarrassed i was when i read the sub’s note, and that now i know they are just a bunch of liars. is it wrong for me to have called them a gaggle of inbred monkeys? well, if you think it was, don’t tell me today–i’m still too mad!! haha…but, they have shown me that there is DEFINITELY no rest from their wickedness.

(7) dancing queen (abba): lily’s favorite movie lately is mama mia, and she goes crazy when she listens to my iPod and hears “dancing quee”n or “honey, honey”. right now, she’s dancing around the room, singing to herself and her barbies. it’s times like this that all the mean meanies from the day just fade–and i can just watch her and laugh and be filled with wonder again. when i think about jake and lily, those are the times that are most important. all this other stuff becomes gravel on my path. sometimes the gravel is smooth, and i can get home quickly; other days, like today, there are too many rocks, and i’m slowed down. but then lily starts dancing or jake calls (okay, he texts!) and all is right with the world!!