Posted in Uncategorized

Hi, 2018! We’re so happy you’re here!

2017 was not one, but a series of dumpster fires.

There. I’ve said it. We were all trying not to think it, but there it is.

And it’s that God’s-honest truth.

Please refrain from telling me to look on the bright side or find the silver lining or whatever else you want to say to me. Yes, I’m “being negative,” but I’m also being real.

2017. Was. A. Piece. Of. Shit.

#sorrynotsorry about the language here, folks, I’ve determined that it’s a valid usage.

You know I’m fucking right.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some great points there. I enjoyed myself on many days – particularly days when I just thought about my teensy, tiny little section of the world I live in with white privilege, a steady job, a more fun second job, some solid friends, and 3 of the cutest living beings on the planet.

There will always be good times even in the worst years. What was it that Dumbledore said?



We needed all the good times to help us make it through the rest of 2017.

Honestly, a year ago, I thought I was ready for the whatever 2017 brought us, even with the way the election went. I thought it couldn’t possibly throw me for loops that I was prepared to handle.

I know. So dumb.

Some of the worst things for me in 2017 were completely unanticipated. Others I was ready and waiting for, but they went SO MUCH WORSE than I thought they would because I overestimated either my influence over people or the idiocy of my fellow humans…even ones I like…or both.

Usually both.

I’m not wallowing, I promise. But after years of therapy, I know that one of the first steps to healing is acknowledging just how deep the wounds are – and 2017 definitely left us with a scar or two. Or, you know, 8.

I made sure to take care of them because the last thing we need is a dumpster fire that somehow makes its way into this fresh new year.


No thanks.

So in the first few days of 2018, I challenge you all to do what I did at midnight for New Year’s Eve, in three easy steps.

  1. Find your wounds.
  2. Recognize and acknowledge those hurts, maybe even name them if it’s appropriate. I wrote each one of mine on a piece of paper so that none of them were left lurking in the back corners or my mind.
  3. Let them go.

You’re welcome to do this as a meditative, peaceful, and completely internal process, I’m sure it will be successful. And I tend to do that more often than not with a cleansing blue light or a pink fluffy cloud…but for 2017, I felt the need to be a little more…tangible and dramatic about showing those hurts the door.


And let me just tell you, ladies and gents: it felt fucking fantastic.



Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings, Uncategorized

29 books that will change how you see the world.

29. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


28. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton


27. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein


26. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West


25. Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Finding Flow

24. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn


23. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield


22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


21. The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl


20. Graceling by Kristin Cashore


19. …And I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944


18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


17. Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger


16. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock  by Matthew Quick


15. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley


14. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


13. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski


12. A Monster Calls by Siohan Dowd


11. M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker


10. Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco Stork


9. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett


8. Hero by Perry Moore


7. The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde


6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


5. The Wump World by Bill Peet


4. The Tale of Two Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean


3. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs


2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling


1. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller


Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Uncategorized

29 videos that make me happy.

This is a day late…but yesterday would have been a day early…February is a little bit crazy, but it still deserves a #29for29 list.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns…and we all have our ways of dealing with them. One of my favorite methods of dealing with the less-than-pleasant world is to watch videos that bring me joy.

Here are my top 29, ordered from amusing to life-bringing. Watch at your leisure.

29. Obama’s like a real person


28. Weekend Update Joke-off (where my fave people on SNL were all together)


27. Pretty much any Scrubs episode prior to season 7. Here are some options for you (and I do the first one, btw).


26. Canadian Tire thingy aka…sappy teacher video


25. Jack Sparrow


24.  Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (the middle is my favorite part)


23. The adorable laughing penguin.


22. Movie Insults (for when you want to say things you shouldn’t)


21. The end of Crazy Stupid Love


20. Any of Jimmy’s Thank You notes


19. Dick in a Box (an oldie but a goodie)


18. The final Obama Anger Translator (because I can’t anymore)


17. If you’re not a Texas Tech fan, you won’t get this one – if you are, I don’t need to explain. Crappy video quality, sure, but my memory is sharp.


16. The Little Miss Sunshine dance scene


15. Bruce Willis as Rachel’s boyfriend


14. Glove and Boots Hero’s Journey (yes, it’s educational, but I still love it)


13. Drunk History vol. 5 Remember when drunk history was only online? I do. I’m so old.


12. Any Celebrity Jeopardy sketch with “Sean Connery” in it. That 40th anniversary edition is like a high school classroom.


11.Kyle’s Mom (no, I’m not better than this)


10. Beyonce’s dancers


9. Sassy Gay Friend – Giving Tree


8. The Mysterious Ticking Noise


7. Whine about it: Why mornings are the worst


6. America’s Sweethearts buffet monologue – I know this whole thing. Like, memorized.


5. Bonjour, Girl!


4. The convenience store scene. Sorry not sorry. At all.


3. 2015 Madden commercial (I still love it, shamelessly. I still don’t totally know why.)


2. Substitute teacher video pt. 1


1. Substitute teacher video pt. 3 (low quality, I know, sorry, but it’s worth it)

Posted in Uncategorized

Change your mantra, change your life

“Every day may not be good but there is good in every day.”

“You are enough.”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Lots of people have mantras. I’ve always kid of rolled my eyes at people who have mantras, particularly when those mantras are very popular in the retail industry.

Of course, many people would argue that I do live by a mantra. After all, my first tattoo was a single word that could be interpreted as a lifelong mantra.


There’s a different meaning for that tattoo, believe me.

But the truth is, people who say I live by mantras are right. It’s just…I don’t wear those mantras on my sleeve. Or my thigh. And often, I’m not even aware of them myself. Case in point: 2016.

Now look, a few weeks ago, I defended 2016. I told people it wasn’t so bad and that we were just letting the election and other political tensions overshadow everything else.

2016 heard me and made me regret defending it. In ways I never expected.

So, going into 2017, I’ve realized that I set myself up for my stressful end to the year, and not just with my mouth. This year, without ever truly thinking it, my mantra has been “prepare for the worst.

In 2016, I prepared for the worst when I…

  • took a giant bag of motion sickness medicine (that I didn’t end up needing) and other drugs on my spring break cruise.
  • kept emailing and emailing and emailing and calling and calling and calling my grad school advisor until he finally answered because I was afraid he’d set me up for failure (he did, but a quick call to the Dean took care of it).
  • wrote out an official last will and testament, had it notarized, and left it with an uninterested yet terribly reliable party before embarking on my solo trip to Ghana and Dubai (I’m obviously alive).
  • started not just looking but actually interviewing for jobs outside of education within a week of the new school year (necessity of this tbd).
  • stayed at home on election night instead of joining a watch party (although…I was preparing for the worst and the slightly not-so-awful there, so…).

I even reinforced it year-round with this photo as my lock screen:


At first, this may just look like a classic dog-mom pic, but there’s more to that story. Exactly a year ago, I woke up on December 27th and looked at the super-cute photo of my dogs I had taken the night before.

On December 26th, 2015, a tornado rushed through my locale, sucking all of the air out of my street as I checked on the neighbor kids a mere 30 minutes before it touched down a few miles West of me in Sunnyvale and Garland. We were lucky in Mesquite. We didn’t even have wind damage.

However, before I got the phone call from my neighbors stranded at work and worried about their kiddos, I’d already been sitting in my bathtub, hunkered down with my dogs. In fact, the moment the siren went off, I’d grabbed all three of them, dumped them in the bathtub, gone back for their leashes and then leashed them to the exposed bathtub pipe (thanks, Twister).

Finally, I grabbed a couple of quilts, my laptop, my phone, my folder of important documents, and Oatmeal. I was prepared to lose the entire house, except hopefully my newly remodeled bathroom with full-length concrete board behind that subway tile and Tiffany-blue paint.

But like I said, we were lucky. I was thankful.

I also didn’t trust it. I left my dogs’ leashes attached to the pipe all night. I left my bag of necessities there. I even left the laptop, though I slept with my phone.

When I finally work up, I made this adorable yet pseudo-neurotic photo my lock screen and read about all of the people who didn’t manage to dodge the tornado. I called around, donated supplies, volunteered to walk displaced pups, and made sure to stay out of relief workers’ way. But in the back of my mind that day, my wheels were turning, reminding myself that if that tornado had touched down just a few miles east, all my precautions would have been necessary.

That’s how I lived 2016. Constantly on my toes, waiting for something to go wrong, and expecting the worst.

But here’s the thing: when you prepare for the worst, sometimes it turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In 2016, my self-fulfilling prophecy became a GIANT snowball that picked me up in late August and has been slowly crushing me into it as it continued its descent.

Not anymore. Starting today, I’ve changed my lock screen to something new. Something better. Something like a…uh…positive force to remind me that even when it feels as if all the good in the world has been sucked out, there is still “hope, happiness, and the desire to survive.”



Posted in Uncategorized

12 Books of Christmas Break: Say What You Will

“You were very brave to walk up to the crippled girl and say, essentially, wipe that sunny look off your face and look at reality. That’s what I want you to do next year. Tell me the truth. That’s all.” – Say What You Will, pg. 27


Title: Say What You Willa
Author: Cammie McGovern
Genre: Young Adult fiction
Erin’s teaser synopsis: While There are different types and levels of disabilities, but no matter what the classification of Amy’s and Matthew’s very different handicaps, they’re both social outcasts. The two become best friends when Matthew takes on the job of essentially just being Amy’s friend for money, but their relationship grows, despite her mother’s disapproval.
Why I relate to it: Everyone feels like an outcast sometimes, and I’m a sucker for a good “finding real friends” story. Plus, independence and sticking up for the underdog and whatnot. I related closely to Amy’s character throughout most of the book – how absorbed she is in her own thoughts and perceptions even though her reality is sometimes the exact opposite.
Judgement call: I really wish that this book had been 10 chapters shorter with a very different resolution. I mean, yes, I guessed it ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean that I’m any happier about the outcome. I felt that it didn’t work for the direction the characters were heading, and that it undid a lot of the development…but then, I’m not published and McGovern is, many times over. Perhaps her next one (that I already checked out from the school library) will turn out better.

You can purchase this book, as well as McGovern’s written-for-adults tomes at Amazon.

Posted in Uncategorized

Saturday Snapshot 48

This has been a crazy-busy week, especially the end part of it. As one of the students I spent the last day and a half with pointed out, “We’ve spent almost two days together, Miss! You have to know me!”

Yep. I’m too tired to be clever after my 15-hour field trip today (right on the heels of my after-work 5 hour field trip on Friday), so feel free to make up your own captions for this week’s summary in images.

Photo Apr 11, 6 11 07 PM
Photo Apr 11, 7 06 41 AM Photo Apr 09, 9 22 19 PM Photo Apr 09, 7 45 20 PM Photo Apr 09, 4 33 21 PM Photo Apr 07, 4 31 25 PM Photo Apr 04, 11 54 12 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Serenade #130: Single Ladies

I have this theory about how you know that a song is truly ingenious. If it’s one for the books, then it will prove to have these three things:

1. Plenty of humorous copycats
2. Staying power
3. A recognizable hook

Many of Beyonce’s songs have all three of these. But as far as I can tell, “Single Ladies” is the queen for her.

I mean, I can flash my hand when kids ask if I’m married, and they burst into song, it’s still played in clubs and on the radio, and just last week, FSU did this little number:

I’m also not even going to pretend that I don’t watch this version, too, whenever I need a pick-me-up:

…but the original is pretty grand as well.