Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trying to be a Writer

I want to be able to take all these thoughts of mine and put them down in a way that makes other people want to read them. I want to write short stories and novels. So I am on a quest now trying to learn to put these words down for others to read. I have been told before that I have no imagination. I disagree. If you had ever been in one of my dreams, you would tell a different story. However, bringing those dreams to paper is not easy. I cannot write eloquently or cleverly. My words seem to run together and I have a difficult time using words with meat. Instead I find myself rewriting over and over again words and sentences that belong in the early "Dick and Jane" books. Why can't I remember all those vocabulary words that we had to write and write and write in school? Why can't my brain  unlock some of the things I learned in school. I know that I made A's in English and Grammar. I must have been in 2nd grade all 12 years. Or else, an Alien stole me from my home when I was 8 or 9 and induced me into a coma, while my alien look alike went to school, made all the great grades and then somewhere right before graduation, switched us back. Even now I am not using proper grammar or punctuation and I am running sentences together. I am blaming it on the late hour and the fact that I just read different authors advice to writers. Just write it and you can correct it later. I think I like that advice. However, don't look for me to correct this one, because it is still late.

 I stumbled on advice from one of the greats, John Steinbeck. He said that in school, he was told he should just move to England, because there being poor is a hardship, here in the US it is shameful. And that becoming a writer takes a long time. The great depression happened about that time, so everyone in America was poor ...He decided that he would never know if he was shameful, But the teacher was right about one thing....It does take a long time. His low scores on his College stories and the hundreds of rejection slips he got was not what he expected. He could read great stories but never really figured out why he couldn't.write them. Well his advice was just to write them and take his chances. We know how that worked for him. I think that I will keep writing, but I had better take some of those basic writing classes as well. I am getting started a little later in life than he did and I was abducted by aliens for at least 8 of my schooling years.

For many years I would read a book and think ...okay I am going to write a book now. Pick up my pencil and paper and sit there...And say Chapter One...She looked out the was raining, cloudy......hmmmmmmmmm hmmmmmmm. Well of course I can't write, because I have never been anywhere or done anything. How can I write about something I don't know. Excuse number 1....I don't have time for this...Excuse number 2....If I was a real writer, the words would just fall on the page...Excuse number 3...If if if if if if if if if if....I don't have a type writer (remember, I was born before computers, heck I had a manual typewriter in Typing Class) Then I don't have a word processor...If I had a computer...If I had a laptop....If if if if if if if if ...I did write some in journals, but thought I was too boring....Then I had a thought...Writing is a is WORK..oh suppose to be all fun if I was a real writer...then come those words falling on the paper before I even thought them again....
So now I am ready to be real. The last couple of years I have had a few real writing jobs. Blogging for a cell phone company, doing a little web content. I got paid..Now I am a real writer. I figure if I got a check for writing, I must be real.

I am serious now and I believe I can at least write for my own pleasure. One friend I met, Diane Chamberlain, she has told me personally that her advice to new writers, is to take a class in composition and grammar. She has read more than a few great stories that were just badly written. So I am researching and compiling advice from successful writers. My daughter in law has suggested that I go to college. I am 50+ years old and sure that I would have to go to remedial college. I did tell her that I would take a writing class, and see how it goes. Who knows, maybe I will be a college student after all. Although it didn't do that much for John Steinbeck or Mark Twain, I am sure it can only be a positive experience for me. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am a long lost cousin of Mr.Clemmens.  Surely this apple has not fallen really far from the trees...Just kidding.

Well this is a red letter day; 2 blog post in one day:) And also, I am going to have to remember to not use all this texting jargon stuff.. I remember in class one day, a student asked me to read her short story. She was using U for you and LOL and I told her the story was very good, but she wasn't sending a text message.

When I get like this, I can ramble for hours making absolutely no sense. So for now, I think I will go to bed, dream and try to put those dreams on paper tomorrow...Maybe the aliens will take me again and send the smart Cindy back down until I finish a book and get it published. Sweet dreams for everyone.

June 22, 1978 Happy Birthday Lyssa

On this day 33 years ago, I was in the delivery room with a new baby girl squirming on my belly while the nurses were rubbing her down and the doctor was cutting the cord. Mike and I sharing one of the 3 happiest days of our lives. She was my second born and I was sure she was going to be a boy. I remember telling Mike as we were celebrating, that I guess we didn't know how to have a boy. And he was telling me that was quite okay as he was beaming from ear to ear for his brand new daughter.  I didn't know then that she would become my very best friend.

I have 3 children and I love them all with every ounce of my soul. Each one a different individual with different degrees of me and their dad and themselves that add up to be a whole person. Why then is Lyssa my best friend? I think it is because we think alike. We are not alike in the way that we do things, but the reasons behind them, I think are more alike than my other two. She and I enjoy doing the same things.

Lately we haven't been on the same page. We are not connecting as we have in the past. I choose to believe this is just a glitch in time and we will find our way back. She has some broken things in her life right now. I cannot fix these as much as I wish I could. I can't put a band aid on it and kiss the boo boo and the tears. I have to let her find her own way. I choose to believe that she will make the right choices in the end. Her babies need her to be whole again and I pray that God will lead her to the answers she needs.

She is beautiful, young, determined. She loves her family and friends and she tries to make the best of all that life gives her. I could not be prouder of what she has accomplished. She has learned some hard life lessons, she has had to pay the consequences of some very bad choices. When she figures out how to forgive herself, she will be able to put her life back together again. Right now she is just moving through the motions.

Lyssa, my birthday wish for you is very simple. I want you to remember who you are. Forgive yourself as others have already done. Figure out what it is you want and need. And put you back together again. Don't settle for less and keep reaching for the Golden Ring...I love you baby girl and I need you to be happy again. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Week a Year

Granny and Amos lived in Joshua, TX. This was about 9 miles from my house in Cleburne. And after we moved to Oklahoma, it was a short 211 miles. Living on about 16 acres, a mini farm. And although they both had day jobs, they were able to raise a few "crops" to help with their finances. Granny worked as a cook at the hospital in Cleburne. She was very proud of her job and the fact she had perfect attendance. Amos was my step grandfather and he worked at a convenience store.

She had two weeks vacation a year.  One week of that vacation, my brother and I spent at Granny's house. For some reason, memories of my childhood are sort of sketchy, but these are some of my best ones. In the 60's and early 70's, life seemed simpler.

They didn't have an air conditioner and I can't remember them having even a "Water Cooler". Well I think they did get a water cooler, but they didn't always have one. How did they do that? It was hot in the summer in the middle of Texas. My Granny and Amos slept in separate beds  and rooms. Mostly because she snored like a freight train. I am a lot like my Granny. Her bed was on the back porch. This back porch was screened in and in the winter time, the windows were sealed up. However, in the summer, the covers came off and the room was open on 3 sides. I know now that this is how they were able to sleep. We would take a bath of an evening and go straight to bed. When complaining about the heat, they would call us "Softys,  Softys"... And we would go to bed very early. When we would say something about it, She would say "You are not at your Daddy's house right now, You are at your Granny's." There wasn't much time for TV, but they did have one.

They lived in a small house on 16 acres I think. The house set back from the road and between the house and the road was a  peach orchard. I can so remember the taste of those peaches picked from the tree. The peach fuzz sticking your chin while the sweet warm juice of the peach ran down your chin. Yummy. The smell of the hot dirt between your toes. Between the peach trees and the house, was the front yard. In the front yard were a line of mimosa trees. I loved those trees. Climbing the trees was out of the question, but we still did it. In the afternoon the front yard was shaded with the trees. Amos showed us how to use quilts and rope to make hammocks. So we each made our own hammock. The scents of the afternoon sun beating down on the trees and warming the hammocks. They had St.Augustine grass in the front. It was so nice to walk barefooted on that grass. Unlike at our house where we had stickers, and had to wear shoes outside or pay the consequences.

Now Granny had a blackberry patch. She raised and sold blackberries. Her berry money she used to buy something she wanted. I remember when she bought a new kitchen stove. It was yellow and had two ovens. One on the top and one on the bottom. Even when she moved to town later, she had that stove.Amos grew green beans and sold them in town.  Our time there also include helping with the chores. We had to help pick green beans. Even when he didn't have to plow the fields, he would give us rides. He would sit on his lap and steer. That was so much fun. When the peaches were ripe, we would help him pick those as well. Sometime in there, and I don't remember if it was the week we spent there, or later in the year, we would get together and make home made ice cream. My uncle had a new fangled electric ice cream maker, but Amos had one that we had to hand turn. How much fun that was to take turns turning the handle. And when it got too hard for us, Amos or Dad would take over. The fresh blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream was so delicious just not my favorite. My favorite was the fresh peach ice cream. No cobbler, just ice cream.

 When I was really young, Granny had an old fashion washer. The one where you washed in the washer, than used the wringer to wring them out into the rinse water. Then you would run them through the ringer one more time and we would hang them on the clothes line. Laundry had the most wonderful fragrance in the whole world. I loved sleeping on those sheets. She eventually got a new washing machine,  but we still hung out all the clothes. I did miss the old washer, I am sure she didn't.

We didn't eat cereal at Granny's house. Every morning we had eggs, bacon and either biscuits and gravy or toast. She always ate tomatoes with hers. And she let us drink coffee. Of course it was mostly milk, we would pour it from our cup into a saucer and drink it. This was something we learned from her mother, my great grandma. Dipping our biscuits in the coffee, we thought we were grown up. She had chickens also, therefore she had fresh eggs. Some of her hens would lay brown eggs and some were white. Amos complained about the chickens all the time. They were too noisy for him...We loved loved the chickens.

I am sure all the memories are faded and colored, but remembering them, makes me smile. I hope that when my grand kids remember our days together, they remember only the good times. Remembering happy times spent with your grandparents, should help you when you are spending time with your grand children.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Repost /Life with Cindy: Things To Do Before I am 18 or Before I Die

Life with Cindy: Things To Do Before I am 18 or Before I Die: "My 14 year old Granddaughter posted this statement or question on Facebook. Well of course I answered it. It went something like this.... I ..."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Classroom CJH 2010/2011

At the end of the day, I had finished my 3rd year working at CJH. I was blessed with the opportunity to work full time in a class room full of God's angels in this 3rd year. I fell in love with all the children at this school immediately when I began in the fall of 2008. I never could have guessed the blessings God would send me when I started this journey..

I needed to find a job that would help with some of our finances. I had to be able to work short hours and be able to work only when my health would let me. I knew a few people who had been substituting. I was torn as being a teacher had never crossed my mind. I had worked in a day care during high school. I also had 3 children of my own. I loved my kids, but others got on my last good nerve very easily. After giving it some thought, I decided to try it. After all, I could always quit. That last sentence makes me laugh now.

My first year I worked at several schools, and was trying to figure it all out. I got a call from CJH. And here is what I figured out. I love the babies; Pre School and Kindergarten and even 1 st and 2 nd grade, These children love you. And then you have the "Zombies", which translates to High School Students. Of course they aren't all bad, but you never know from one minute to the other what is going to happen. Hello...I am the teacher, you can't just get up and leave. Sorry...And then we have the JR High gang. The majority of these kids are good and they are transitioning now from that little boy or girl into young ladies and gentlemen...You know that Transition Juice that is made up of Hormones and surge through the body causing them to malfunction. So you have the little ones that love, love, love you and have an attention span of about 2 1/2 minutes. You have the High School kids that don't need you because they already know everything. I prefer the middle kids. These have to be my favorite age. Well, people have called me crazy before. They also worry that I have lost my mind. I don't want to burst the bubble, but I am not sure I have ever had one to lose.

My granddaughter Anna, was in the 7th grade at CJH when I started. It was nice to spend time with her and meet her friends. I became known as either Ms. Mathes or Grandma. These young kids are still trying to make up their minds on the things they've learned.. Still waiting on waking up and KNOWing everything. And lastly, Administration at CJH has made me feel Golden. They treat me like I am doing them a huge favor and I am trying to figure out if they would let me work even if they don't pay me.

In the first two years I worked here, I got to experience all classes and students. From the Extremely Handicapped and Autistic children to the Students with Top Honors and those slightly out of tuned ones that land in ISD on a regular basis. I love them all. This past year I spent all my days in the extremely handicapped classroom. This didn't stop me from loving all my students. Every chance I got, I was out mingling with my other kids. I know that the students think I am pretty crazy, but they are good natured about it. And while they still have trouble showing respect 100 percent of time, I think they do respect me.

My year in the classroom full of God's "Angels" ended on May 26. And I have learned so much. We forget sometimes when we care for them, that they are people. And they may not see, or hear as well and we really are not so sure what they understand. One of our girls is blind and so tiny and bent. It is easy just to walk up to her and start wiping her face or sticking the spoon in her mouth. I don't know when I realized that speaking to her before I touched her was so important. And touching her and kissing her forehead. Another of our angels, I learned to hold her hands when I would talk to her. Instead of talking at her or around her, when you hold her hand, she seems to listen. One young man walks around in another world most of the time bouncing his ball. And we would go for walks and you wonder how far away he really is when the look he has in his eyes looks to be about a 1,000 miles. And one day as I was caring for him, he leaned in for a very sloppy kiss. I could write and write about my kids, but then I would end up giving you names and that isn't allowed. I just know that these kids stole my heart. They accepted me into their world and gave me so much joy. On that last day of school, I realized that for two of my angels, I would not see them again. They have moved on. I hope that their new school and teachers will know them and see into their hearts and souls. Give them the respect and dignity they deserve. Maybe I will have to visit at WMHS and check in.

In August when I return to my journey, I will be joined at CJH by my grandson Billy Michael. He has some learning disabilities with a main diagnosis of Autism. I can't wait to be there with him. To help him feel comfortable and learn to love the school as much as I do. I will be returning to the general population so to speak, seeing all the students in different classes. Getting to know the 7th and 8th graders this year. With little contact or knowledge of the new 8th graders, it will feel like that first day 3 years ago.
I also will be thinking about that day 1969 when I first walked into CJH as a student in the 7th grade. This school is always like coming home for me. I feel like Peter Pan in the land where I never have to grow up.

I can't finish this blog with out thanking a few of the people I have been blessed to know. First of all, the administration. Mr.Peak you have gone out of your way to accommodate me this year. You could have filled my position at any time. I am sure it would have made it easier. Your understanding in all of this has been another testimony of the person you are. The students at CJH are so fortunate to have you in their lives.
Ms. Terry Sanders,You have been such a blessing to me. Your effort to give me the best and most positive experience every day has not gone unnoticed. You have been so good to me and given me so many opportunities. I can't thank you enough. Really, you should get a raise. The teachers at CJH are so welcoming to me. I am sure I am not the exception. You treat your subs with respect. Like I have said before. You make make me feel golden. I have heard some horror stories from other schools. Also, the librarians, are also available and help me anytime I need them.  Thank you CJH. Even our janitors go out of their way to make us welcome.

Our classroom consists of one lead teacher and 4 paras. In January we welcomed a new lead teacher into our classroom. Cindy worked very hard and long to get her degrees and pass her test to work in a classroom like ours.Thank you, Cindy for allowing me to continue to work the year out. Our kids need consistency with as little change as possible. We had been going through many changes with the leaving of our head teacher and other para. Then my 3 co workers. We had a great team and everyone was considerate of each other and all of you just dug in and we got things done. You always treated me as an equal even though...I was "Just a Sub".Miss Becca, Miss Coach Oliver and Miss Holly. I love you guys and will miss working with you. We became great friends I think.
Two other teachers came in every day to work with our kids. Coach D.Eddy and Ms. Beaty. 
 Coach Eddy was the PE teacher for our kids. We both were alumni from CJH. Best part of that, he will always be older than me. He also made me feel golden.
Ms. Beaty was our 5th hour teacher. She came in everyday and taught our students about science and geography. She loved our kids and entertained us. I could talk to her for hours, as I always learn something new when she is there. I can hardly wait for her to be a part of my grand children's education. She is in the lab classes and she will have probably 3 of them. I know she can't wait to retire and move to New Zealand, however I had to tell her NO, not yet. Ms. Beaty truly loves her job and the kids. I will miss working with you both everyday. I know I will see you, but it won't be quite the same. 

I know I am leaving out more thank yous and praises, but I have to end this soon. If I wrote around the clock about the Administration, Faculty, Support employees, and the students at CJH, I could not praise them enough, or let them know how much I love them. So I am finally shutting up and leave you with this; Goodbye for now. Enjoy your summer, I will see you at the beginning of the 2011/20012 school year if you let me.

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