12 in '12

I may be the last to the party but once again I am linking up with Hadar and Kristin.


 12. Favorite movie you watched:
I don't make it to the movies often, but being that time of year, my parents and I and make a thing of it, and we just saw both of these and liked them a lot in their own way: 


and I have to throw this in there because it totally brought back college memories and I took the kids I babysit to see it and we LOVED it! 

11. Favorite TV series:
again, with last year, I have to say I am a sucker for SVU marathons, other than that it is Revenge and General Hospital all the way!


10. Favorite restaurant:
this is hard. I don't eat out often on my own dime...I'm just going to say San Francisco. I didn't have a bad meal there. 
look at the counter displays, even the food court:

9. Favorite new thing you tried:
My dad and I took a cooking class and it was so much fun. Look at all the sushi I made!

8. Favorite gift you got:
turning 30 last February surrounded by longtime friends and family, and my niece!


7. Favorite thing you pinned:

6. Favorite blog post:
this post helped me get a lot out and got a comment back from Kimberly McCullough!
but I also loved this post: 

5. Best accomplishment:
biking across The Golden Gate Bridge on its 75th Anniversary Year


4. Favorite picture:

I took this picture all by myself and received compliments from my brothers (older brothers, which in the world of older brothers is like the highest of high compliments)

3. Favorite memory:
July 20th - the birth of a brand new niece and being hired for a teaching job within hours of each other. My dad's face says it all about his girls!

2. Goal for 2013:
debt free or at least LESS debt

1. One Little Word:
BREATHE
0

Teach Your Children Well



There's been so much since I wrote at the end of October. Hurricanes and holidays, festivities and sadness. First came Hurricane Sandy. I watched in as pictures were pasted on Facebook of streets I used to walk on a daily basis, friend's apartments I used to frequent for dinner, they were covered with water. I was sad. I wanted to help. I wanted my students to learn. Every moment became a teaching moment. At school we were writing how-to's. So we wrote a how-to help. Keep in mind, my school is extremely low-income. We talked about the hurricane and that now many people and schools were without power and food. This touched many of my students. We started thinking and talking. Could we bring in food and get it to New York and New Jersey/ After just one day we hadn't officially decided, but within the remainder of that week, before we let out for Thanksgiving break, I had over 10 canned goods sitting in my rooms, students cleaning out their desks of their own school supplies, and boxes of pasta too. I had to come through on my word to them. I started talking to another 2nd grade teacher who was from New York, she too wanted to do something. At first we thought canned food drive, but how would we get it there? It was going to cost more to ship it there. I called the American Red Cross here in Georgia and Atlanta and they told me that they didn't have the man power for something like that (we have over 1800 at our school). I should try United Way. I never could get through to anyone. However, as I sat at home watching The Food Network all Thanksgiving week, I did not give up. I came back to school and we decided on a bake sale, with our principal's permission.

My students astound me. They contributed. They brought in items to sell and snacks for us to use. Our staff did too. We sold in the mornings and at lunch. In fours days we raised over $1,000. 

$1,065 to be exact!!! Can you believe that?!

I am so proud of our school and students. All of that money is going directly to the American Red Cross in New York to help Hurricane Sandy Victims. 



Then just a few weeks later, as we celebrated at school with holiday parties, another school began their day in terror. I still can't comprehend. I can't imagine. I can't understand. We can sit and ask why, but it doesn't help the students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary sleep any better at night. It doesn't help the parents whose children who are not coming home cope any better. The fact it something terrible happened, something that was unnecessary and unneeded. It's not until something bad happens that people want answers, they wonder where was God. 

I personally couldn't watch much of the news. Friday afternoon I went out with some teachers after school. Saturday morning I met up with a teacher I work with. Saturday night, the last night of Chanukah, I was with my nieces and family. I went back to school Monday to a faculty Monday morning where my principal was teary-eyed. 

Fortunately none of my students really asked me about anything that had happened from Friday. I did have one parent send a note in with her child saying that they were running late that day and as she was about to bring him she heard about the what had happened and decided to keep him home and talked about it with him. That Monday as he left my classroom I looked at him and said, "you tell your mom it's my job to keep you safe." He looked at me, smiled, and said, "at school." 

That's all I can ask isn't it? My students know that they are safe in my classroom, with me. They know that I will do my job. They know that my job is to teach and their job is to learn. And yes, my job is to protect them. Where was God that day? I don't know. I hope he was with those students as they said the Pledge of Allegiance that morning, and mine as well, and with ONE Nation under God. I hope He was with those parents as they grieved and mourned. I hope he was with every student, administrator and teacher and they stepped back into a school building the following Monday morning. 

As the week progressed some students began to mention 'Friday' and some still had no clue. I appreciated it from both aspects, those that were innocent and those that had knowledge, for those who knew, I simply said quietly to them, if someone doesn't know let;s leave it like that but if you want to talk to about it with me you can. They didn't really want to. They just acknowledged that it was sad and that we should think of those kids. Indeed we should. I commend that school and those teachers. 

and feed them on your dreams
the one they picked, the one you'll know by. 

don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry, 
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you


Lessons Learned:
Let children be children before it is lost too soon.
Give when you can, what you can.
We always have something to give.
Spread a little happiness.
Smile.
Hug the ones you love.
You may be the best part of someone's day.

0

Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

I interrupt this blog to bring you a more serious than usual post. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While I personally do not have breast cancer, this disease found its way into my life through loved ones all too early. As I count the number of people I do personally know who have been affected, I run out of fingers on each hand. 



13, 14? I don't remember my exact age, but that's about how old I was when I learned one of my dearest friend's mother had breast cancer. We never really spoke of it, it was just kind of there. I think our parents wanted to protect us. She was the mother of three boys, and her middle son and I were great friends. In fact, during my junior year of high school, he was my prom date. We all wanted to stay at my house for the night after prom and his mom wasn't so sure about a co-ed sleepover. Finally my parents convinced her. Since I was one of the only girls around when we would hang out, I would always stay upstairs and talk to Debbie before heading down to the basement to hang out with the guys. Every now and then Debbie would have little gifts for me, whether it was a cute keychain, or little pouch. 

She loved reading (she was a middle school English teacher) and we used to share books and book recommendations. In fact, I still have a list of book titles written down in her handwriting. As the years went on, at time you could visibly Debbie sick. She never complained though. I don't know if I ever truly believed something would happen to her. She was always there - with a smile and a hug. 

As I became an adult and went off to college, my schedule and her son's never seemed to match though we stayed in touch, I saw and talked to Debbie more - visiting her on almost every trip home. 

I remember the night I said to my mom, you have to tell me if she is really sick. I have to know and be prepared if something is going to happen. I don't want to wake up one day to a phone call. 

There I was my senior year of college and my mom kept her promise. It was a weeknight and she called to tell me Debbie really wasn't doing well. I dropped to the floor and cried. I didn't feel better until I got home and saw her. That was the fall of 2003. 

By the summer of 2004, Debbie passed away (July 16th to be exact). I was already going home from New York for the weekend. I was supposed to go and visit her. She knew I was coming. Two nights later when I was at her house, her husband asked me if she knew I was coming home for the weekend. I said yes and with a small smile on his face, he nodded his head. 

The suit I wore to Debbie's funeral was the same dress I wore two weeks later for my job interview. I got the job. Though I am sure the dress had nothing to do with it, I'd like to think Debbie was with me that day (the job was in book publishing after all, and wasn't that fitting?!).

Debbie's story is one of many. Our other friend's mom was diagnosed right before Debbie passed away. The two of them were best friends. Sometimes the way life works is strange. Sometimes life really hits us when we're down. The beauty is in how we get back up and fight - sometimes the best we can do is to hit it with our best shot. 

Some battles will be won and unfortunately there are more that will be lost. Tonight is a story of a fight still in progress. TLC will air a special: Say Yes to the Cure: Lori's Fight (10/26 @10p.m. est.) My sister-in-law, Jen, was the executive producer. As she herself was 9 months pregnant this summer she sat with Lori through her mastectomy. Jen has beautifully captured Lori's story. I am so proud of them both. While they have my greatest admiration, in my heart as I watch tonight will be Debbie, and Julie, and Jenn, and Jean, and Nanci, and Aunt Dot, and Anne, and Evelyn, and Helen, and Amy, and Lori, and all women. 




Lessons Learned (in Debbie's words): 
Dying is not as scary as not living.

2

Won't Back Down

I've thought long and hard about how I want this post to come across. It's been so long since I've last posted. An entire 9 weeks. That's right, the entire first 9 weeks of school have come and gone and I haven't shared anything. I've merely stayed afloat. 

my desk from the beginning of the year


The truth is the past 9 weeks have not been bad. I've had fun with my 23 kids. 23. Yes, that was not a typo. My list originally had 24. I lost two, they never showed. I was down to 22, and by the end of the first-week of school I had gained a new student. We've remained at 23. 

I'm one of 13 second-grade teachers. We're all a little spread out among the building. Fortunately, I am with three others on my hall and I LOVE them. Thank goodness for our little quad. We eat together, we grade together, and at times we even plan together. In a school my size you really have to help one another out. 

A few weeks ago I developed a cold over the weekend. I tried to muster up and come in on Monday because I was going to be out for a religious holiday in the middle of the week. By 9 a.m. that morning I had thrown up at school. All the other teachers on my grade-level took some of my kids so I could go home, I wound up missing that day, the next day (Tuesday) and Wednesday (for my religious holiday), oh and did I mention that the coming Monday and Tuesday were early release days for parent/teach conferences?! Oh, and our DATA report was due that Friday of conferences and then grades were due by the following Tuesday. Oh and for giggles lets throw an observation by my principal in there as well. Want some more, okay, how about an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting that can last a minimum of two hours  in there, sure why not (Just to make sure you are with me, that meeting lasted a total of 3 hours AND it took place the same day as our STATE testing, so I was late in administering the test to my class)?! Collecting money for a field trip? You bet. Is it any wonder by the end noon on Thursday I was in tears crying and never even ate my lunch. 

This was my first lesson I had planned for my observation. Edible GA regions (Hershey Kisses in blue wrappers for Blue Ridge Mountains, Swedish Fish for the Coastal Plain, Kit-Kat for the Applachian Plateau, they stuck Dum-Dums in Tootsie Rolls to stand up like trees for the Piedmont, and the Ruffles for the Valley and Ridge - cause Ruffles have Ridges :) - That observation had to get rescheduled. But I had promised my kids food so I went with it. 

As a teacher, I am in this for all the right reasons. I am NOT in this for the money. I AM in this for the love of the job. I stay at school from 6:30/7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. (somewhere/somehow I know the 12 hour days have to stop). I AM IN this for my students. This IS and always will be about them. As I debated with another teacher this week about a spot on the bus for our field trip, I uttered the words, this is NOT about me, this IS about them. They do not get these opportunities. Despite the heartache, and the hours, and the lack of pay, and the burnout, we have to remember that. We are in this for our children. 

As I sat in a 3 hour meeting listening to the special education diagnosis of one of my students, I couldn't help but cry. While I have questions about our system and wonder why a meeting must take 3 hours, I comment the parents for being there. I commend the parents for listening for 3 hours. Quite frankly after 2 hours I had had enough. Then I listened to the mother state what she feels her child's greatest weaknesses are at this time. She said it in a calm voice, in Spanish and this was translated to me: "I understand my child cannot read, she does not know the words, she does not know the words she reads, she does not know what she writes. I ask her if she needs help and she says no, but she cannot do the homework. My daughter is not where she needs to be. But she is just a child and she is going to learn." With tears in my eyes, I stepped out of the room. This mother who had hugged me when the meeting started got it. This mother who had now sat there for over 2 hours with two other children on her lap did not need to endure any more. I stepped back in. Her strengths: "When I am cleaning my room, she cleans her room, she is kind, she is a good big sister, she helps her sisters, she is very tender." I began to cry again as I grabbed a tissue. 

I wanted to reach over to that mom and tell her that I was going to help her daughter no matter what. AND I AM! However at that moment her 2 year old had fallen asleep in her arms. At that moment though, it didn't matter that my grades were not complete, that my test had not been administered, that I was still undecided on what I wanted to teach in from of my principal the next day. What mattered and still does matter are my students. I am here for one reason and that is to teach. I am their teacher. I am there to make sure they are happy and cared for. I cannot be everything to everyone in my school building but I can be the most important person to my students and I will not back down from that job. 

Don't we look all pretty in pink as we had a PINK OUT for Breast cancer just this past Friday at the end of a very long week. I even got some of my boys wearing pink!



7

THIS Has Gotta Be The Good Life

Well, folks. It's true. It happened. It finally happened. 

If you wait for it, it will come. 

Or is it, if you give up, when you least expect it, something good will come your way?

Eh, either way, I have no clue. 

But I am FINALLY employed, BEFORE the school year begins. 

You heard me correctly. After 5 years of teaching, after waiting each summer and wondering whether I will begin in the fall with all of my other teacher friends or not, after watching all of them begin and me sitting on my bum, after going through interviews with nothing to show each summer, I finally have a contract before August 1st. 

After being a kindergarten teaching assistant for two years, student teaching and long-term subbing for a year, teaching 1st grade for a year (as a part year hire), and teaching EIP for a year (as a part year hire), I am entering my sixth year of teaching. Only this year is my FIRST time beginning on my own from the very beginning. Can you believe I am nervous? I am more used to six different teachers handing me kids and saying, 'here you go, we'll talk!' Only now, they are all mine. I have to figure it all out. It's kind of scary. But, I am also excited because it is 2nd grade and I worked with 1st and 2nd last year. When I saw my class list I have some of my kiddos I worked with last year. Yay! 



Oh, did I leave that part out in all of my joy? I am at my same school as last year (so this is actually my third year there), my principal was able to get me back! I love her to pieces. I nagged her all summer (just like last summer, but I told her I was going to). 

Ok and here is the best part. When I got the call - my whole family was together waiting in the hospital to meet my brand new niece. I got a new job and a new niece in the same day. All just one week ago. 



I don't know who was happier me or my dad! But I will say this, on the way home from the hospital that night (with my two and a half year old niece in the car with us) we did stop to buy a lottery ticket - just in case! ;) 

Lessons Learned:
This was one of the best summers I have had in a long time and until a week ago all I knew was that my last paycheck was coming on July 31st and on August 31st I would have no more insurance. Ironically, I wound up in the ER this summer with 6 stitches and also took my first vacation in 3 years on my own. 
I am as broke as ever. 
I did not go on a single interview. 
In a way, I had given up. I had resigned to the fact that perhaps I really was not meant to reside in the teaching profession. 
I suppose sometimes we have to let loose, live a little, a trust that in the end things will work out the way they are supposed to. 
I was surrounded by family when I got the news. Exactly how it should have been. 
Now to learn the art of saving. 



10

If You're Going to San Francisco

Be sure to wear a flower in your hair! 

My hair doesn't look super pretty because this was taken after 10 miles of bike riding (to the Golden Gate Bridge and across and down to Sausalito), a little walking around, and a very windy ferry ride back to the Bay. In fact, bless this man's heart who took this picture. The poor woman who tried first, had she told me to hold down my hair maybe there would not be "blooper pics for some future wedding video."



The ride across the Golden Gate was definitely a check off my ole' bucket list. It reminded me of when I biked 22 miles across Tuscany. However, from this bike ride, I learned that I am no longer 21 years of age. At the end of the day, my bum and legs were just as sore from 11 miles as they were from 22. 

My legs were sore. I walked all over the city the day before, at least 6 miles (as I mapped it on Google maps). 

Clearly I was preparing for a triathlon. 

Thank goodness I left my wetsuit back in the east so there would be no swimming. 

Oh wait, there is NO wetsuit, whatsoever. 

who knew I had photographic talent?


from the other side, riding down to Sausalito
  
along the bridge for the ride

Happy 75th Anniversary Golden Gate Bridge!

There's something to be said for having done this on my own. I went to the bike place, Bike and Roll. So appropriate right? Got my map and my helmet. I felt like the Indigo Girls, "Get out the map, get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down."

Maybe not. The lady in the bike place was awesome. She told me exactly how to go, though she could have just said, follow all the other fools out there who look like lost tourists like yourself. Yet, she kept telling me I could do it, no problem. 

All she needed was my credit card to hold the bike should something happen to it. Well guess what folks. I'm as broke as a joke, and that's exactly I told her. What she wanted to hold on my credit card was a minimal amount in hindsight, but it wasn't going to be approved by my bank. (dear goodness please don't let my parents read this). She asked if I had cash or a debit card and I said of course, but neither had that much money. Yep, sunshine. I'm as broke as a joke, but I've got money to rent a bike for a day. I said it with a huge smile on my face. She looked at me, smiled, and said "please just bring the bike back!" Not only did I bring the bike back but the next morning, I took her a bag of cookies from the best bread company ever! 


Lessons Learned: 
Get up and go, because your feet may never cross these paths again.
Be kind to everyone you meet, and wear your smile. You never know where it may get you. In the end only kindness matters (and no, I am not quoting Jewel). 
Stop. Take it in. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, the smells. They are the little things. cherish them.
Please, wear sunscreen. I say this more for myself, because you'd think I would have learned this lesson by now.  
The world is definitely waiting for you when you return. 
Maybe from time, to time, wear a flower in your hair. 



3

Born to Run

 We gotta get out while we're young

`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run walk. 




made this shirt for my niece two years ago for the 4th!


Sorry Springsteen. I never could keep up. I tried. I hit it with my best shot. I went the distance. I really did. But this girl was not born to run. 

I woke up early when I lived in NYC. My roommate ran/walked with me a mile in the morning to help me. On the weekends I hit Central Park. I have 'Running Mix' and 'Run 2010' on my ipod, the latter of which tells you how long it has been (and also an indication of why 2009 and 2010 were truly my skinniest of days). 

When I lived in NYC, I ran several 5Ks, including the Race for the Cures and any other ones I could sign up for. I always wrote my time on the back of my rae bib, improving with each one. There even may have been one race where I actually did run the entire thing and not have to stop. 

When I moved back from NYC in 2006 it was also a year marker from my dad's triple bypass surgery. He wanted to celebrate. How? With tens of thousands of his nearest and dearest in the US's largest 10K. That's right folks. Here in the south we do it large, loud, and proud on the 4th! 

The Peachtree Road Race! 

My brother, myself, my mom, and my dad all signed up. My dad and brother ran it together and stayed together. I walked it with my mom. I got her to run just a tad in the beginning, and of course at the end to cross the finish line. It was a great day and a wonderful way to celebrate his health.

 all 4 of us in our race t-shirts at a pool party afterwards, 2006

That Peachtree would be my parents one and only. The whole we did it once, we can say we did it. We live in Atlanta. It's hot. It's July. You're young. You can go be crazy. The next tear we were in town again on the 4th was 2009 and my brother and I signed up. This time we had J with us and she was 6 months pregnant. I was pumped. Finally. They would walk with me. I mean yeah, yeah, she's fit, and in shape, and she's been running, but it's HOT! And did I mentionshe's pregnant with my niece or nephew?! 

Next thing I know, I'm saying "fine I'll meet y'all at the finish at line." I finally find them. She has a bottle of water in her hand for me when I find her and a "guess what? I ran the whole thing!" 

Ugh! That alone was enough to make me sick. 

Wouldn't ya know it the same think happened the following year. Except she wasn't pregnant, she just had a 8 month old baby! She still ran the whole thing. Me? I walked. Don't you just love them? They still wait for me at our meeting spot. They're the best. 

me, my brother, J, and my niece sleeping after The Peachtree Road Race in 2010

Last year, I left them on their own. Not because I had become some accomplished runner, but because I was truly that lazy that I had forgotten to sign up. Genius that I am, it's true. Them? They still ran the whole thing, those stinkers. 

This year? Well, I purposely didn't sign up. I'm out of shape. Or maybe it was one of those, everything happens for a reason things. 


The sight of this still gives me the heebeejeebees! (yes, Friday will be 5 weeks)

As for them - they sold their numbers this year - a baby is coming in 16 days and we are in the middle of a heatwave. 

Lessons Learned: 
It doesn't matter if you walk or run, just get out there. 
Stay in shape. (clearly do as I say, not as I do).
Have a meeting spot. 
If you're waiting for someone, it's a nice touch to have a bottle of water also waiting for them. 
If you're 9 months pregnant, don't run in a heatwave. 
Likewise, if you're out of shape, don't run in a heatwave. 
If it's been a year since major surgery - celebrate that in a big way. 
There's always next year - but don't wait too long. Remember to live in the moment, cause baby you're a firework (sorry, I had to, mainly for my niece) ;) 
2

I've Gotta Feeling

 that it's gettin' a little hot it in here:

yesterday's temp at approx. 5 p.m. 

that we're gonna cool off today: 

hello, pool in the backyard

that the sun will come out today and tomorrow, more 103 degree days, at least. 

so we'll watch this also to stay cool. My 2 and 1/2 year old niece is learning the songs. I couldn't be more proud. We both have curly red hair. 

Yep. It's July 1st. 9:00 a.m. and already 85 degrees. I better get crackin so can I get the Little Miss and head over to NanaPopi's (my parent's, but when my niece is involved, it becomes on giant, excited, jointed word.) We're giving her parents a break. Why? Well, because they're moving in two days and need to pack, they're having a baby in 19 days, and basically we'll take any excuse we can to have her. I've gotta feeling it's gonna be a good day. It may even include a fabulous summer beverage inappropriate for my niece. ;) 

1

I'm Every Woman

 and every woman should, by the time she is 30...

1. experience having lived paycheck to paycheck.  It makes you wiser. It makes you appreciate more. Learn how to coupon and budget. Then make sure you never have to live that way again, even if you budget and coupon for the rest of your life so that can be the case. It may take a while but you will be better for it.

2. have a scar with a great story behind it, physical or emotional, that she isn't afraid to share.

3. know how to get lost in her own city, literally. Take some back roads and trust that eventually you will get where you need to be. In the end, you will have learned a new way to get somewhere, finding some hidden treasures along the way. There is more than one way to every destination.

4. know how to eat alone. There is nothing wrong with going to eat and having a drink by yourself. Take a book or a magazine. Play a game on your phone. Times have changed and being by yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.

5. have a cute pair of running shoes, even if she doesn't run - it's the facade.

6. have an excellent black skirt, likewise a great pair of black pants, and of course a good bra.

7. own a movie she can watch repeatedly just to feel good and laugh.

8. know a go-to recipe for when company is coming or if she needs to take a meal to someone.

9. have a few recipes she can make in 20 minutes in a pinch, when there is not much in her pantry.

10. have black and white family photos. If you don't, you'll wish you did one day. Nothing lasts forever.

11. know how to cherish and nurture a friendship, but also know when to walk away. Some friendships only serve a purpose for a period of time, it doesn't mean they were any less important than the ones that remain. Hold on to the remaining friends you have. Everyone needs a couple of people who knew them when they were young.

12. not allow herself to be taken advantage of - by anyone, be it a co-worker, friend, spouse, boyfriend, etc.

13. give of herself without letting go of herself.

14. never forget where she came from.

15. love with her heart without losing her head.

16. use her head without losing her heart.

17. stand strong and stand up for what she believes in and knows is right. Less and less people do this now. It's easier to go with the majority. Don't. Don't lose yourself.

18. remain creative and young at heart. Remember what it was like to be a child and if you are fortunate enough to have children, let them be children.

19. have some good lipgloss and mascara on hand.

20. have a pair of jumper cables in her trunk.

21. have driven her car until there was absolutely 0 miles of gas left and still made it to the pump at least once.

22. know how to change a flat tire, or at least know who to call when it happens (trust me on this one).

23. own a great hairdryer and flatiron.

24. have an overnight bag or light suitcase that can be ready in a moments notice.

25. use sunscreen. Your dermatologist, children, and even yourself will thank you.

26. not take a single moment for granted, whether it's getting ice cream with friends or dinner with family, or even just hanging out and spending time together. Life is short. We never know how old we will be when we learn that lesson. Cherish it.

27. have a bottle of wine in the fridge, because ya never know!

28. know the number to a great chinese delivery place (for the Friday nights when she's had enough).

29. have at least one stamp in her passport, or at least have her passport ready to go.

30. have mistakes that she can leave behind but that have made her better in the long run. We flounder and fail. The key is not only in knowing where we we want to go in our next thirty years, but also in remembering that it is only a plan. Things change. People change. All any of us can hope for is to live in the moment, learn from the past, make the future fun, and appreciate everything along the way. Get busy!


3

Even the Best Fall Down Sometimes

Literally. 

I bit it and hit it hard. 

I had been out of school for a week. I think I had been in denial. The last days of school I really held in my emotions. I had been sick and was on round two of antibiotics. 

Down for the count. The win goes to Sydney. Z-pack, you're worthless. 

14 days later, I was back in the ring. My eyes were as red as could be. No, not allergies. I was balling, but it was not even as I said goodbye to my students from this current year. I made the rounds to my students from last year and said goodbye. I took a picture with each of them. Pictures don't lie. Maybe Photoshop does, but I wanted the real, raw memories. I wanted to see my love for these kids and the sadness I had when I had to say goodbye yet again, because of no contract for the fall. Same story, different summer. But this summer would be different. I was determined to enjoy it.  

What is Calling You?

Finally, my "Summertime Friend," Tara, was done with school as well. We decided to have some fun. That night was truly the most fun I had had in a very long time. I was relaxed and laughing my entire way through the night. 

Until I realized I was tired. So we began to walk back to her place. It was cool out. She began to run. I began to mock her. 

Ka-BOOM. It hurt like crap. Right in the middle of an Atlanta sidewalk all jagged and messed up. I had a feeling it would hurt even worse the next day. But me? I was laughing hysterically, like one of those hyenas from The Lion King or the way my niece used to laugh when she was first learning how (ironically, I was running like my niece did when she first learned how when I fell, no wonder it's cuter when you're 13 months old). 

Then I stood up. 

There was blood, and a lot of it. 

I looked around. 

My arm. There was literally a hole in my arm. 

HOLY. 

I was sober. No more laughing, no more running, and no more numbed pain (maybe a tad). "We have got to get to an ER." 

We walked even faster to the car all the while holding my arm up in the air and holding it together with my other hand. "I NEED a towel!" Tara handed me a stack of napkins. Gree-eeat. Thank goodness Anthony ran to get a towel, unfortunately he chose red. 

Red + Blood = NO. 

We walked into the ER. Holding my arm. Blood dripping. The lady said, just as calmly as someone who works at McDonald's, "May I take your order?", only the words were just as calmly and routinely spoken, "sign in and have a seat." My face said, "Are you for real? I don't see anyone else out here bleeding and I have a hole in my apendage." But I sat. 

*note, the towel is just red in nature, but you can see blood

I tried to smile through it. I even sang, "Ya got blood on your face, ya been disgraced..."
But I knew it was bad. 

The nurse called me back. Alone. Just some triage to get cleaned up a tad so the doctor could see me. "Have you been drinking a little bit tonight?" Well, I'm very sober now. "Cause you're a little emotional" Oh really, that's nice of you to notice that the first time I have shed three tears the entire night is while I am alone and you are the first deemed medical professional looking at my arm as I ask, "Do you see bone?" I'm emotional am I? How nice of you to point out. 

still haven't been seen by a doctor

Back in the waiting area and clearly, a complete basket case - I got called back to a room, my parents arrived, my mom watched intently, and she let me squeeze her hand like crazy as they injected pain meds with a 5 inch needle (that didn't completely work at first and I "felt" I needed more - as I said "I FEEL that!") and stitched me up. One stitch internally, and 5 externally, then taken for an X-ray (thank goodness nothing was broken). I continued to bleed. We waited to be certain it would clot. At 4 a.m. we finally left. That was only the beginning of a long recovery.

the palm of my hand finally beginning to heal after over 2 weeks

5 days after the sutures were removed (2 weeks out); the beginning of an infection

3 weeks out; after a round of antibiotics for infection

My mom reminds me there is always plastic surgery. <3 her. 


Lessons Learned: 
Most falls, be it children or adults, happen when wearing flip-flops. 
Flip Flop are dangerous. 
Do not pick any scabs.
Mederma, Bactroban, antibiotics, and pain medications are wonderful.
Cetaphil makes an antibacterial soap. 
BE your OWN advocate.
We all stumble.
We all fall - be it literally or figuratively.
It hurts, whether it leaves a scar physically or emotionally.
Sometimes with a great story.
In the end, it's not whether we get knocked down, but rather in whether we get back up  again.

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