Friday, July 29, 2011

Freeky Friday: Embarrassment? Eh, Who Cares?

Freeky Friday


Today, Freekware wants to know:


Part of positivity is about not taking yourself too seriously. Tell us an embarrassing story about yourself!


Oh, boy. Well, anyone who knows me knows I'm probably the biggest klutz in the world. Okay, maybe not the biggest. But possibly the most consistent. My awkwardness most often involves me knocking something over (like the time I was at Friendly's with my boyfriend and my best friend Roger, and I knocked a glass of Sprite over, causing it to spill across the table and cascade down into Roger's lap), walking or knocking into things (like when I constantly stub my toe or hit my elbow on the closest piece of furniture or wall), or knocking into someone else (like when I knocked heads with my boyfriend just sitting on the couch). These things occur on a regular, daily basis. How he puts up with me, I don't know. Maybe it's because he once shut my ankle in the couch recliner, or he always steps on my feet. ;-)


So then, which of these times was I most embarrassed with myself? Well, none. My most embarrassing story doesn't involve any of this. It doesn't involve anything. Because I don't have one. No, I'm not lying, though you probably think I am, because everyone does. "Everyone has a most embarrassing moment!" they tell me. Well, I'm not everyone. Thank God, because the majority of the world is insane, anyway.


I don't have a most embarrassing moment, not because stupid or embarrassing things never happen to me, or I never do or say stupid things (for a person who has a Master's degree from an Ivy League school, I can have pretty moronic blonde moments), but because I just don't care when they do happen. I'm not one to be easily embarrassed or let the idiotic and klutzy things I do get to me. I laugh at myself. When I spilled the Sprite on Roger, I was laughing hysterically for a long time, so hard my stomach hurt and they could have made a new drink with my tears. Granted the Sprite wasn't in my lap, but still, I know people who would let that embarrass them and apologize profusely. I did apologize... between gasps for air. I let things go. When I stub my toe or hit my elbow on the wall, dresser, doorknob (yes, that's happened. A lot.), or whatever else, sure I may shout some expletives (especially for stubbing the toe -- that one sucks!), but I usually just ignore it and continue whatever I was doing or saying. It happens so often that I've just become accustomed to it on a daily basis. Just last night, after making ravioli for my boyfriend and myself, as I was scooping sauce onto my plate, I somehow managed to push one off my plate so hard that it slid off the counter, between the handle and the panel of the drawer below it, and onto the floor. That could only happen to me. But, at least it was off my plate and not his. And at least I have dogs who will gladly clean up the mess for me. So, oops. Oh well. 


So, moral of the story is... who cares? Laugh at yourself and let it go. Make a joke about it. Or just ignore it and move on. Life's too short to be embarrassed or regretful about the stupid and klutzy things we do. Enjoy it!


So, Freekware wants to know:


Part of positivity is about not taking yourself too seriously. Tell us an embarrassing story about yourself!


You can participate in three ways! Check out http://concretejane.blogspot.com to see how you can participate, win some yummy peanut butter s'mores, and have a donation made in your name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Miracle Boy

I have decided to include you all in a wonderful, amazing, joyous part of my life.  My life with my pets.  In this life, two dogs exist; one 15 (!) year-old Shepard mix named Floppy (because of his, what else? floppy ears!), and one 7 year-old Husky/Greyhound mix named Nikki (we tried to pick a name as close to "Misty," the one that the shelter had for her, as we could since we didn't like it, so she wouldn't get confused). 


Today is about Floppy, and his miracle. 


First, let me back up and explain where he came from.  My beautiful baby girl, Lulu, passed away March 12, 2004, and I still miss her all the time. When she died, I couldn't stop crying for days.  The following night, I slept for fourteen hours, and still didn't want to get up.  I had her since she was four months old, and I was four years old. She was, in my opinion, the best dog ever.  She was a Shepard mix, 12 years old, and the greatest companion and watchdog I've ever known.  She was smart, fun, playful, and strong.  She was all of our best friends, while still standing her ground and being the alpha female of her house and territory.  To this day, no other dog I've ever known compares to her or plays with us like she did.  I unfortunately can't find a picture of her on my computer at the moment, but I will get one and add it to this post.

Lulu had two separate litters of puppies, one litter of three, and one litter of nine. We kept two puppies from the second litter, and since then, one of those has also passed, one of her sons, Biscuit (because of his golden color), a few years ago, when he was also 12. He was dumb as a rock, and did the stupidest
, weirdest things (many stories for another day), but we still miss him every day as well. 


There's really nothing going on in that head.

His brother, Floppy, the other son of Lulu, is a smarty and still going strong now at 15. Which leads me to his miracle story.

He had always been healthy, with his only real problem being his arthritis and pain in his hips, making stairs sometimes difficult.  Even after countless fights with Biscuit (many, many stories for another day) which included surgery, he still came out of them stronger than ever.  Still, Biscuit always seemed a tad bit healthier, more agile, and his only real problem was his constant stupidity. Seriously, you could look into his eyes and know that nothing was going on in that hollow space of his -- just look at the picture above.  We thought he would out-live Floppy, and yet, three years ago, he became sick and couldn't recover.  Without him and his asinine, crazy, idiotic self and antics, sure, life was easier.  But we still love him, he was still a part of our lives every day, and our pets are a part of our family.  It was like losing a family member.

When my boyfriend and I went to Myrtle Beach at the beginning of June (see my post, Living Proof), Floppy suddenly became very, very sick.  My mom didn't want to tell me while I was there and ruin my trip, so I found out when we returned home.  He had been eating less and lost a bit of weight before this, but that was normal for his age.  But now, he was eating nothing.  He refused to move, let alone eat anything.  He lost six pounds.  When I arrived home that night, my mom had Floppy laying down in the living room on an air mattress and blankets, and she had dragged my full-sized mattress downstairs to sleep next to him.  Normally, when anyone arrives home, he jumps up and loves to greet us (his hearing has gone down since his old age, so at that point he wouldn't hear us until we walked in the door), twinkly eyes, big happy Floppy smile and his entire butt wagging from his excitement. But when I walked in, he didn't budge.  He just... laid there, lifelessly.  I sat down next to him and started petting him, which is, next to food, his favorite thing in the world.  He didn't respond.  He didn't even look at me.  He just stared at the wall in front of him, unresponsive.  No food, lost six pounds, apathetic to touch... he was seriously ill.  My mom unwillingly told me all the details of the weekend, inclusive of his downward spiral of weakness, incontinence, and finally vomited something black in which my mom could only describe as "smelling like death."  She thought then that it was over for him, and that the night before, she didn't think he was going to make it through the night at all. Even though he was alive, there was still no improvement.  

The next morning, he was still around.  We kept trying to feed him through a syringe and make him at least drink water, and though he clearly had no desire to, he took it at tiny amounts at a time, though barely.  The next day, he seemed to be doing better.  My mom took him to the vet after he improved a little more, where they ran blood work and a bunch of tests.  He started eating and drinking a small amount more each day, and even was standing up and walking around on his own.  Though we were happy, we were shocked. There was no explanation for his improvement.  When the results came back, we were informed that there was nothing medically wrong with him in his blood.  Um... what?!  How?!  We were speechless.  There was nothing in his blood that explained this illness.  Yet, he slowly improved on his own, and everything remained a mystery.

Then, we got the results of his sonogram back.  He had a tumor in his spleen. Oh, God.  A tumor?  Though it wasn't cancerous, it was still completely frightening.  The only way to get rid of it at this point was surgery, to go in and remove the entire spleen.  Surgery?  On a 15 year-old dog? Are you crazy?!  There were so many risks involved with doing surgery on a dog this old.  How could he handle anesthesia and a gaping hole in his stomach to remove an entire organ??  Even if he survived the surgery, would he survive the recovery? Could he survive it?  

The vet told us that he had improved so much on his own and his vitals were up to par, so she thought he could handle it.  She knew the risks, but informed us that if she didn't think he could survive it, she wouldn't do it.  But she was all for it, and really believed in him, so we approved and went for it. 

My mom took him in, and we waited.  And we waited.  And waited.  Finally, the vet called us back.  She informed us that the surgery was over, and he came through like a champion.  They removed the spleen, and he was resting and recovering. Oh, my God, he made it!  As I write this paragraph, there are tears in my eyes, as I recall how we felt and reacted to the good news.  They wanted to keep him overnight to keep an eye on him make sure everything continued to run smoothly.  I now can't remember if he stayed, because my mom didn't want him to stay at the animal hospital with people who didn't know him, but when he came home, whether it was that same day or the next, we were ecstatic.  He was groggy and still a little loopy, but he was standing, walking, he knew where he was, and he was clearly happy to be home. 

For the next four days while my mom was at work, I took care of him.  I fed him slowly through the syringe with a mixture of proteins and other things that my stepdad created, made sure he went outside often, and gave him his medicine.  Each day he improved by leaps and bounds.  By the third day, he was eating small amounts of solid food again and drinking water, and all on his own. It was amazing.

He's now back to his old self, and while he has trouble with the stairs sometimes because of his hips, he's alert, happy, eating, and trotting around again like he used to.  It's truly a miracle that he survived, and I am so grateful to have him around even longer, and have those little bits of Lulu and Biscuit still around as well.  

My Miracle Boy will be 16 in November!  You go, Floppy!


My beautiful, old boy. =)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Freeky Friday: Feel-Good Movie

Freeky Friday


What is your favorite feel-good movie?

Instantly my answer to this question was, "Anything Disney!" I absolutely LOVE Disney and almost every movie they've ever made.  I can't possibly pick just one, so here's a list of just a few of my favorites! ;-)


Lilo & Stitch

UH-MAZ-ING! Absolutely adorable, and Stitch is so damn cute I wish he were real so I could take him home!

Oliver and Company
Also amazing! One of the best Disney movies ever created. And Dodger is awesome. And Oliver (the cat) is cute, and I don't even like cats very much.

The Sword in the Stone
I swear I must have watched this movie 500 times as a kid. It never gets old.

Wall-E
Anyone who says this movie isn't good is clearly off their rocker.  Adorable characters, a fun theme, and a robot romance. What's not to love?

Bolt
Quite possibly the most adorable animated dog ever put on screen. And his hamster friend, Rhino, is hilarious.


Before this goes on forever, I'll stop it here. So, Freekware wants to know...

What's your favorite feel-good movie?

Check out http://concretejane.blogspot.com to see how you can participate, win some peanut butter s'mores, and have a donation made in your name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Insanity Journey

For those of you who don't know, I started my Insanity Journey about a month ago.  Don't worry, I'm not going crazy or anything, it's a workout program. Then again, I may be crazy for doing it. ;-)

Insanity is insanely hard! It states it is "the hardest workout program ever put on DVD."  As of now, I haven't done P90X or other similar workout programs, but I believe it!  Six days a week, it involves a ton of jumping, squats, sports moves, push ups, crazy drills, and awesome stretching.  Shaun T is a great motivator, and pushes you to move faster, push harder, and dig deeper.  If you are determined, you can make it through.  I'm not trying to sell this product to your anything, just telling you my perspective on it.

Insanity is supposed to give you amazing results in just 60 days. 60 days?! That's it? How is that possible? Two months out of my life and I'll be in great shape? You know what, what's two months? Sign me up!

My first time trying it, I sprained my ankle in the second week.  Crap.  Now I can't workout until it's healed.  Three weeks later, healed, new and better supportive sneakers on and ready to go, I started over.   After every workout, I was exhausted, but felt a sense of accomplishment.  Now, I'm almost done with the first month, or week four, and I've gained four pounds.

Wait, what?! I've gained four pounds? Isn't this supposed to go the opposite way?  What's the deal?  Well, it could be all muscle, since these workouts are super intense and work every part of your body.  Which could very well be part of it.  Or, it could be that I still haven't exactly been eating right.  Ah, there's the culprit!

That's not entirely true.  I have been eating a lot healthier, especially compared to how I used to eat, which was basically whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I've cut down on the desserts and snacks (which was the hardest part, especially because ice cream is like crack to me!), I can't remember the last time I had fast food except for Subway, I only drink soda on special occasions, I eat soup or salad as an appetizer if I go out to eat, to cut out the greasy and fried foods, I've always loved fruit, and I drink much more water than I used to.  Sounds pretty darn good, right?  Then, why can't I lose weight?

Firstly, it's not all about numbers on the scale.  Weight is not exactly the best indicator of improvement in this type of program, especially in the beginning. Many other factors weigh in (see what I did there? Ha ha...), like inches lost, how your clothes fit, your strength, your cardio, and results on the Fit Test. While I haven't lost anything on the scale or in measurements just yet, my cardio has improved (I can now get through almost the entire warm-ups without a break, and even those are super hard!), and my Fit Test results get better every time (which are done about every two weeks).  So, there are improvements.

Secondly, thanks to my awesome TeamBeachBody/Insanity coach Sherry, I've realized though I've improved on what I'm eating, I haven't improved on the amount I'm eating.  I'm actually not eating enough throughout the day!  As Sherry explained to me, the Insanity workouts burn around 600 calories each time, and if I don't eat enough throughout the day, my body goes into starvation mode and tries to hang on to every ounce of fat it has.  So for those of you trying to starve yourselves and eat less while working out crazy amounts, that's not the way to go.  It also helps your metabolism to stay higher.  Again, the less you eat, the more your body thinks it needs to hang on to it for nutrients and energy, so your metabolism also slows down, making it harder to lose fat.  I've also started using Shakeology, which helps me gain the nutrients I need, and replaces one meal a day, which definitely helps since I wasn't eating enough to begin with.  You can check out Shakeology on Sherry's coach page or on www.TeamBeachBody.com.

And thirdly, the most results of weight and inches lost comes from month two. I've realized that, at least for me, the first month was about getting myself back into better shape cardiovascularly (is that a word?) first, so that I can continue to handle the rest of the workouts, which get longer and more intense in the second month.  Now that I'm wiser and more informed, I feel better about my results, and am excited to get into month two.

Before Insanity, the most I could run for was about five minutes at a time, which for me is about half a mile.  Now that my cardio has improved, I wonder how much longer I can run for.  I've always wanted to be able to run a mile straight without stopping, and if I can do that, it will be a huge accomplishment for me.

Insanity, let's do this.  Bring it on, Shaun T!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Living Proof

As promised, here is the second post relating to my leave replacement teaching job, after the year was over. I wrote this one last month, as the end of Regents week was coming to a close. Again, I've tweaked it just a tad so it makes more sense for now, and added a few pictures. You can read the original, unedited version here. Sorry again for the length, but as always, it's worth it! ;-)
(Note: ALL pictures are mine.)

Teaching is fantastic. It’s the best job in the world, even though most of us don’t get paid what we truly deserve. Though there are most definitely trying and difficult times in the classroom to deal with and manage, one student can make all the difference, and one “thank you” makes it all worth it. It continues to remind me that I was meant for this career.
I recently finished reading a book given to me as a graduation gift from my friend, another fresh graduate into the teaching field; Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul. If any of you are teachers, or have already read this book anyway, you know how inspiring and touching these stories truly are (there is even one story involving a Deaf student and her use of sign language!). I swear I had tears in my eyes through half the book, if not more.
To fellow teachers, students who have had an amazing teacher in their lives who helped or inspired, or even anyone who believes common misconceptions about a teacher’s life, please, pick up this book and read it cover to cover. I didn’t want to put it down. Each and every story reinforces my belief that I was molded to fit and belong in this profession perfectly. As incredibly cliché as it sounds, I hope that I may be able to inspire even one student in the same way.
Now, on to sharing the happenings in my life and the job. Classes for the students officially finished the week of June 15 (that Tuesday was their last full day), and every day after had been Regents testing until Thursday, the 23rd. For those of you who don’t have Regents in your state/country, they are state exams that students must pass in core subjects to receive full credit for the course. 
The job was phenomenal. The first day I walked in, which was a Friday, and took over was basically and assessment day, to see how much of the curriculum they were actually taught and how much catching up I would need to do. When they knew that their original teacher was no longer returning -- as I wrote in the last post -- they literally cheered for joy. I asked them tons of questions about what they were taught, how much they knew, their testing procedures, and how much signing they actually did in class.
I also told them that I was here for them, and even though it was already almost the end of the school year, that it was a fresh start and we would put the past behind us and move forward from here. The kids were all really receptive to it, and were excited to once again begin learning about Deaf culture and American Sign Language, the natural language of the Deaf community.
It was a tough job, because they were so very far behind since the beginning of the year, but given the unique situation we were in, we all adjusted fairly quickly and easily, and everyone on the staff were very helpful and supportive. I even got to see a few of my old teachers as new colleagues! Especially the other ASL teacher (who taught at the other high school, where I graduated from), who had been my first ASL teacher at this school, my personal inspiration and reason for becoming so involved with ASL, the Deaf community, and teaching, and work with her as more than just her student teacher. It was wonderful.
Monday morning was a review session, to get them warmed up and refresh their memories of ASL (and honestly, to fix the mistakes the previous teacher had made in her teaching of the language, which proved to be continuous until the last day). Since there was so little time left, I continued with the unit of which they were already in the middle, taught them the correct material, and started the “review” for their finals (which was really a re-teaching of material from the beginning of the year). We had to work hard, and we had to work fast, but it was a great experience, and I had a blast doing it and working with them.
On the last two days of classes, with finals finished, I gave out blank paper and markers to the students and asked them to write their names on the top of the sheets. I then instructed them to pass their papers around, so each person can write them a message of something nice about them, or something they liked about each person, etc., so each student would have those messages and memories for however long they chose to keep them. I also signed as many papers as I could, and before they left, gave a short speech thanking them for their hard work and patience, for working with me and cooperating though it was the end of the year, apologizing for their bad experience with ASL and explaining that I now hoped they had a better vision and perception of the language and the culture, that ASL can truly be a ton of fun, and that Deaf people are some of the best people in the world with whom to make friends. They all responded really well, and actually clapped afterward and agreed that they now loved ASL! What a great feeling. I had also written my name on a paper and passed it around to students, for anyone who wanted to sign it (one paper for each class I taught -- one class of Level 1 students, and one class of Level 2 students). I told them if they chose to write anything, they could also choose to write their name or be anonymous, whichever they preferred.
After collecting their responses the last day, the amount of messages were overwhelming. I received four full pages worth of “thank you!”s, “thank you for saving us/our class!”, “you’re a great teacher!”, “I wish we had you from the start!”, “I actually learned real sign language,” “you’re a great person,” and one girl wrote “I was actually able to sign to the Deaf man who moved in across the street from me. Thank you!” I couldn’t believe it.
Here are pictures of the messages (in random order of different levels):





I had no idea if what I was doing made any difference to them at all, and yet, every single response proved that I impacted them tremendously more than I ever thought I did or could. It was an unbelievably touching experience, and though it was only a short time I taught them, I will never forget them or my time with them, my first real class of students, as long as I live.
Again, they reinforced my belief that I am made for this profession, despite any difficulties I may face now or in the future. It is the most rewarding experience, and I absolutely love this job!
As for the interview I went on shortly after I started, I never received a call back, which is a little disappointing, but it’s okay. It was a long shot anyway, and the school is about a 45 minute or more drive away from my home every day.
However, I did have another interview for a part-time position as an ASL teacher at another school closer to me. And even if that doesn’t work out, I was invited back to be a substitute teacher next year at the same school in which I just finished teaching. As long as it sticks, I may be able to see some of my students who will now be seniors, and maybe even sub their classes.
Though I’d rather be teaching my own classroom, it’s a trade-off to be able to stay in the district and schools that I love, and see my first real students again before they move on to college. To celebrate our graduations, our anniversary (yay!), and our new jobs, my boyfriend and I went on a weekend vacation to Myrtle Beach and were finally able to relax, unwind, and have a great time after all the hard work we had put into graduating and our jobs. We went jet skiing, went on a dolphin watch tour where we saw about twenty dolphins out that day (I LOVE dolphins, so for me it was the best day!), walked through Ripley’s aquarium, saw a laser light show to the beat of Led Zeppelin, and took a helicopter tour on our last day. We got some great pictures out of it as well, and overall had an amazing time. We didn’t want to go home!
Here are a few pictures from our trip:
The dolphin watch day. AMAZING


 An awesome building design. This is a seafood restaurant made to look like a building was ripped out of the ground and thrown on top of the restaurant upside down. How cool is that??


At the aquarium. In one of the underground parts, you can look up and see a bit of the stingray tank.  Yes, I am taking this picture looking UP at the ceiling! 



Cool-looking Orange Bell Jellyfish (I think). 



A view from the helicopter ride, 1,000 feet up, going 120 mph. It did not feel like that fast AT ALL! 



Our view of the ocean from our hotel balcony.


Balcony view again.

So again, I apologize for the length of my posts (this seems to happen a lot, huh?). But I would also like to restate that I am living proof that dreams truly do come true.
I worked my ass off, and I was rewarded for it in the best way that I could imagine possible; from simple “thank you”s from my students. In only one month’s time, they felt I had “saved” them, and helped them learn to love not only the language and culture, but also love learning again.
My message is the same: Never give up. You never know for whom you are making a difference, and even though retail is and always will be a true Hell on Earth, accomplishing your goals and making your dreams come true is the Heaven that, in the end, makes it all worth it.
Thanks for reading. Keep your head up.
Much love.


Click here for the chance to win a slot in The Bloggess sidebar for a month sponsored by freefringes.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

Keep On Keepin' On

After struggling for a long time on a topic for a new post, I decided to continue with the positivity atmosphere and re-share a story I wrote for an online blog (run by my friend Freeman Hall, who wrote Retail Hell: Confessions of a Tortured Sales Associate, which everyone needs to read!).  This post was written on Friday, May 6, after my first day starting a leave replacement job as an ASL Teacher at the high school where I graduated AND completed my first semester of student teaching (it was actually at the other high school in the same district). Because it was written over two months ago, I've tweaked it a bit to make it more relevant and understandable. If you'd like, you can see the full, unedited version at the link provided above.  After this post, I will add a second one I wrote when the job was finished -- complete with notes from my students, which is also at the same link.
Firstly I must apologize for the extremely lengthy post... but it's worth it, I promise!
First, on Friday, May 6, I started my brand new, wonderful teaching job. YES, that's right, I got a REAL job in the REAL world! With REAL PAY! And while at that point I was done with my classes, I hadn't even officially graduated, nor was I certified yet (I'm still not -- so close!) But, YAY! The reason I started so late into the school year is because the other teacher, who I replaced, well, let's be blunt, was fired. I can't disclose any details, but it was for a few different reasons. I walked in that day as the new teacher, and the students literally cheered for joy. That's not good – well, for her anyway... it was great for me!
Here's how it happened on my end...
Tuesday, May 3 (the day after my birthday, yay!), I received a call from the foreign language department chairperson at the school where I did my first semester of student teaching. She informed me that they needed a new teacher to replace the second ASL teacher, immediately. Long story short... I sent her my resume, she forwarded it to the principals of the two high schools and the district office, and about an hour later I had an interview for the next morning (Wednesday) at the district office with the Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and the principal of the high school at which I would be teaching. The interview went well, I was hired immediately, I filled out a ton of paperwork, got fingerprinted, ran around collecting the last documents I needed, and was told since I'm not certified (yet!), the Board of Education needed to give the final approval that night at the Board meeting, and I would be given a call the next morning to confirm. The next morning (Thursday) came, the principal called me, and told me I started the next morning (Friday), and BOOM, I was in! Happy Birthday to me!
Now, in this district, there are two high schools. Teachers of the same subject therefore try to generally be on the same page and pace when it comes to the curriculum, even when at different schools, as the students of the same levels have to take the same final exam (and/or the same Regents). This “teacher” had not kept up with the curriculum and the other ASL teacher at the other school necessary for students to take the final at the end of the year. The students were now entire units behind where they should have been. Additionally, they seemed to know bits and pieces of each unit, rather than everything they should have actually known by that point in the year. And the signs that they did know, half of them were wrong (and not because of region or dialect). So really, I had to play catch-up, review everything, AND teach them the rest of the curriculum for the end of the year final, or the final would have to be changed for these classes.
Don't get me wrong, now, I'm completely grateful for this opportunity to have had my own classroom and classes, and I was very excited to work with these kids. I just knew it would be challenging due to the unique situation we were in.
This post could go on forever about the former teacher, her teaching methods, and her “unorthodox” (and that's putting it nicely) behaviors. However, this story is not about her. It's about me, and all of you. Stay with me...
Secondly, the next reason why that day (Friday May 6) was as wonderful as it was... starting that teaching job means I finally had the ability to get the HELL out of retail. That's right, you read that correctly. I put in my two weeks notice THAT DAY. And damn, it was a GREAT feeling. This did mean, however, that as of then I had NO income over the summer, but at that moment in time I really did NOT care even one tiny ounce. Because after six long, exhausting, infuriatingly painful years in retail HELL, this slave is finally free. Although I still had two weeks left to finish, it no longer mattered, because I knew there was finally an end to this misery. And if you knew me at all, you knew I was the most miserable person on the planet every second I spent in that section of Hell on Earth. There IS a very bright light at the end of the dark and gloomy tunnel, and it was finally so close it made all my Spidey senses tingle.
Now, how is this about the rest of you? Well, my dears, because this story relates to you all who are working endlessly and diligently to finish school and get out in the real world where you are so destined, motivated, and determined to be. I worked my ass off, especially these past two years in graduate school, wrote countless papers, researched tons of articles, conducted my own study while student teaching, and wrote a seemingly endless Master's Thesis, all in the name of graduation and certification as a teacher, while continuing to work in the hell that is retail, and keeping my romantic and familial relationships in tact. I sacrificed countless nights of socializing, drinking, movies, parties, Deaf events, cousins' communions and school concerts, family birthday parties, sporting events (pick a sport – I missed them all), concerts, reading (I'm one of the few who enjoy it), summers (I took summer classes in BOTH sessions), date nights with my wonderful, amazingly supportive and loving boyfriend, and simply taking a day or night to myself to just relax. You name it, I sacrificed and missed it, due to either work, homework, papers, student teaching, lesson planning, or my thesis. And now, finally, after six incessant years, the end has come. I persevered, and I made it through, and you can too.
I've felt the stress, I've felt the anger, the anxiety, sadness, nervousness, and pain. I've felt the urge to procrastinate, to deal with things later, the stress of time management, money management, the apathy, the hunger, the fear, and the absolute exhaustion. I've felt it all. And I made it through.
Don't feel discouraged. Don't feel hopeless. The end of the stress is near. I know it's hard, believe me, I know how difficult it really is, but it's there, and it's worth it. I also had an interview the week after I started the leave replacement for a teaching position in the fall at another high school. I never got a call back, but, oh well, the opportunity was there. If I can make it through, and find jobs, especially in this economy where teachers are being cut left and right, you can too.
Hang in there, and keep your head up.
Best of luck to you all. You got this!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Freeky Friday: Positivity Playlist






Freeky Friday



As my first official post to my new blog, I want to introduce you who do not know to Freeky Friday.  Although this should have been done yesterday, I didn't get the chance to write the blog about it.  As my friend Amanda is much more eloquent than I in explaining it, and she also runs it, check out her blog at http://concretejane.blogspot.com to see what it's all about, and how you can participate. This week, Freekware asked for another positivity playlist, meaning... what three songs pick you up when you are down? Here are some of mine:


Pretty much anything with an awesome, cool, and different fast beat will put me in a better mood. For that reason, it's difficult to choose just three songs that are on my list. However, these are three of my favorites, and ironically, only one has a quick pace!

Lee Brice - "Love Like Crazy"

Though a bit corny and not exactly fast-paced, it's a great pick-me-up for me. When the people are cruel to each other, especially in relationships, this song reminds me and gives me hope that there are still good people in the world who truly love each other and will do the best thing for their relationship and family. And although this song probably isn't based on real people, it reminds me of my relationship with my boyfriend and how much we love each other, and makes me feel that he would be the same as the guy in this song.



Awesome Lyrics: 
Be a best friend, tell the truth
And overuse "I love you"
Go to work, do your best
Don't outsmart your common sense

The Vincent Black Shadow - "The House of Tasteful Men"


This song doesn't particularly have strong or positive lyrics, but I LOVE the beat, and I can't help but sing along and dance anyway whenever it pops up on my iPod. The video is also not the best, but they do not have an official video for this song.

P!nk - "F**ckin' Perfect"


I am absolutely in LOVE with P!nk and anything she does, especially this song. The lyrics are powerful and it has a great melody and message. It reminds me that we are all human, we are not supposed to be perfect, and we were not made that way, especially because everyone's definition of perfect is different. No matter how down you feel, someone out there cares about you. No matter how crazy and difficult life gets, you can always pick yourself back up. Don't change yourself for someone else. And above all, always treat yourself with respect, because if you don't, no one else will.



Awesome Lyrics (though the whole song is awesome!):
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss 'No way, it's all good'
It didn't slow me down.
Mistaken, always second guessing
Underestimated, look I'm still around



I also have to add "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri. 

While the song is again slow and actually a bit sad, I love the message about being strong and respecting and standing up for yourself. It reminds me that leaving all the bad relationships in the past was the best thing I have done for myself, and will never allow myself to be in a destructive relationship again.


Awesome Lyrics (which were very difficult to decide which ones to post):
I hear you're asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms



These are a few songs that can cheer me up when I feel down. What are yours? Check out http://concretejane.blogspot.com to see how you can participate!
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