Sep 22 2016

A Love Letter to Michigan

A Love Letter to Michigan

My beloved Mitten,

When I left last year, I knew, absolutely, I would miss you. Somehow I always understood that you are special — even as a child, even when my then-boyfriend-now-husband-who-is-from-Virginia called you “kinda flat,” even when I was nineteen years old and it was winter in Ann Arbor and I had to lean into a blizzard on the blustery walk to class. Even then.

There’s just something about you.

After so much time away, I got to spend the whole month of August as a guest on your soil — and I remembered all those somethings. I also noticed brand new somethings, because we’d been apart for so long that I was able to look at you with fresh eyes.

Of course, people say we sometimes don’t recognize the beauty of a thing until it’s gone, and usually when I hear clichés like that, I’m all Continue reading

Aug 25 2016

Well, That Escalated Quickly: Behind the Scenes of a Perplexingly Polarizing Post

Well, That Escalated Quickly: Behind the Scenes of a Perplexingly Polarizing Post

This is a post about irony.

Well, mostly. The last couple weeks have demonstrated that an alarming number of people are super confused when it comes to identifying the underlying theme of something (which makes the English teacher in me curl up in a ball and sob a little bit). So this time, I feel like maybe it’s important to be literal up front, to just come out and SAY what this post is about.

And since this is a post about irony, here’s your first ironic snacklet: my husband begged me not to write this follow-up. BEGGED. Continue reading

Aug 1 2016

I Cannot in Good Conscience Participate in the Love Your Spouse Challenge ...Well, not the way I'm supposed to, exactly.

<span class="entry-title-primary">I Cannot in Good Conscience Participate in the Love Your Spouse Challenge</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">...Well, not the way I'm supposed to, exactly.</span>

My marriage is not as perfect as yours.

Seven years and two kids later, Facebook has absolutely convinced me of this. Written declarations of true love are forever cascading down my feed: You are my soul mate, baby boo-boo sugar lips. My one true love. I would never want to spend this life with anyone else by my side. Our marriage gets better and better and better AND BETTER every single day. Love you. Love you SO MUCH. You are THE BEST. Smooches.

Sometimes I wistfully “Like” these statuses. Sometimes I cock my head and think, “Hold up. Didn’t she just tell people she’s secretly researching divorce lawyers?” And sometimes I cringe a little to myself, because yikes, there are several days when I’m not sure I could shout such things from the rooftops…and many when my husband might not shout such things about me. Continue reading

Apr 25 2016

So You Don’t Want to Teach Anymore? Here Are 7 Guesses Why

So You Don’t Want to Teach Anymore? Here Are 7 Guesses Why

Today marks exactly one year without teaching. To acknowledge the occasion, let me take you behind the scenes of my blog and share the number one phrase — BY FAR — that brings people to my site:

I don’t want to teach anymore.

i don't want to teach anymore top searches

The proof. These phrases crop up every single time my “Top Searches” are refreshed.

A plethora of versions abound. Done being a teacher. Don’t want to teach. I can’t teach anymore. People punch these things into Google, and Google sends them here, because algorithms are strange, enigmatic beasts that I will never fully understand. These stressed-to-the-max, ready-to-quit educators keep finding their way to my blog, and it’s sort of weird because I’ve never written a post about that.

It’s time. It’s time to write a post about that. Continue reading

Jan 19 2016

The Beauty of Being Lost

The Beauty of Being Lost

This morning there were errands.

Millions and millions of tiny to-dos, buzzing around my head like gnats. Get the dog washed. Pick up diapers. Go to the post office. Stop at the bank. And the baby was with me and he was starting to fuss in the backseat and I knew he would need to eat in the next ten minutes, which reminded me: this nursing mama still hadn’t had breakfast. I was famished. I pulled over to Google Map a McDonald’s.

And I thought, This is my life now, I guess. Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself, and it is so discouraging. One year ago, in this precise week of January, I was wearing a dress (and boots, of course, because Michigan) and preparing midterms for my students. I was surrounded by dozens of wonderful colleagues and hundreds of hilarious kids, and I had a bell-to-bell job to do.

This morning, I was in leggings and a spit-up-encrusted nursing tank, ticking mundane tasks from a checklist, totally alone in the world car save for my hungry baby behind me. This is my life now. Where was I? Not quite a writer. Definitely not a teacher. For the ninety-seventh time since we moved to California, I felt lost. Continue reading