Saturday, January 15, 2011

Evil Stepmother?

It is that time of the year when I feel overwhelmed.  The cold weather seems like it will be here forever.  The school year is in full swing and the pressure of student performance hangs on my shoulders like an anvil. 

I've been trying to take all this in stride and not let it get to me.  Keep a happy face say, "yes," a lot.  Last night I said, "no," and selfishly shut the world and everyone else out. 

I think there are times women need to just be with themselves.  I am amazed how women with children do it.  How do they find that "alone time"?  Don't they crave it also?  Yesterday a friend of mine said, "It's hard when you have kids." 

My comment back, "That's why I don't have kids."  HARSH?  Maybe, but it is honest.  Probably  TOO honest.

The universe is constantly evolving and brings change when we least expect it.  The universe brought me a wonderful man who has become my partner in life.  I've never been engaged, now at age 46 I can actually say I am some one's fiancee, and that one day I will be called, "wife".  There's another label that I will be tagged my comment from the last paragraph.  Hey universe, I know you know best, but are you sure I can handle the STEPMOM thing?

My fiancee (I love saying that!) has a four year-old son.  He has fought a long, difficult, and costly battle to be a part of his son's life; and has been rewarded with the lovely gift of court-ordered time with his boy.  While I am truly happy for them both, last night I struggled with missing our weekends of "adult time".  After a very long week at school, all I wanted was to go out and be with ONLY my love, then wake up on Saturday to the luxury of slow, delicious love-making.    Hearing, "Daddy, it's daytime," at 6 am kind of puts the brakes on my little, yet delightful fantasy.

Yes, I know, an immature, selfish-bitch thing to write.  I'm the first to admit that I am, at times, solely focused on MYSELF...ugly truth.

How do married couples with children do it?  How do they keep that fiery romance, that spontaneity alive?  I cannot accept that it just...ENDS.

Ladies, any advise for a future STEPMOM?  Especially one who has never had children around after 3:00 pm?  I can hear the answer takes WORK, Gracie!  Quit complaining, man-up, and just may actually enjoy being some one's STEPMOM!


Two weeks after Christmas and as I watch the sun come up I'm feeling grateful for all the simple things that have brought me joy in the last year.

Yes, I'm feeling reflective, so if this isn't your bag, move on to the next blog I won't take it personally.

For the first time in my life I'm discovering happiness in people, places, and things that are...simply put, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  Even more interesting: for the first time I'm not endlessly searching for happiness; I've just begun to notice things that have always been there and find joy right there in the moment.

A great start to the year?  Yes...I think it is that simple...

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Time has just flown by.  It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  The first quarter of school is a blur, and my European trip is a distant but happy memory.

I cannot remember the last time I've been able to just breathe and enjoy the way my life is unfolding.  Who am I kidding?  This has never happened, and I don't take this time for granted.

The dues I've paid in teaching for the last five years have paid off and I am in a school where it is truly all about the students.  Teachers and administrators actually respect each other.  They speak kindly to each other.  The only focus is making children successful...I love going to work each morning and thank my lucky stars that I am fortunate enough to be a part of such a community.

Of course I am working harder than I ever have before, of course like most teachers starting the second quarter I am overwhelmed by assessments, the gigantic amount of curriculum that must be taught, and creating interventions for students who are at risk.  All this doesn't matter because I've finally landed at a school where I fit.

Fitting in at a school is a teacher's dream come true.  Do you hear my sigh of relief?  Can you feel my smile?

Five years of dues...Five years of lessons of focusing on OTHERS and not MYSELF...I'm doing it, and am happier at school...go figure.

Thanksgiving is very special time.  I take the THANKS part very seriously.  Contrary to what a some readers of this blog may think, I really do look beyond myself.  I really do learn from mistakes and try to give a bit of ME to others. 

Over the last year I've taken a personal journey in sharing myself with another.  Finding comfort in this has not always been a smooth ride, but the end result of those inevitable bumps in the road is truly the most joyful thing a human can experience.  I'm talking about LOVE...real LOVE that magically keeps coming when I keep my focus on the other person.

Some may think this is easy.  Not for me, folks.  This has been my lesson over the last year and something I keep top of mind each day.  Yes, my friends, life isn't always just about ME.

Breathe, Gracie.  Patience, Gracie...that life that you thought would never be a reality is right there in front of you...real LOVE...real SHARING...FAMILY...those words CAN be part of your vocabulary...just let it GROW like the African Violets blooming around the house.  Ask what HE needs...and just GIVE.

Is it really that simple?  Maybe it is...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Days of School school year and a new school!  Cannot even begin to tell you how amazing it is. I wonder if other teachers out there feel this way?

Love that students are actually INCLUDED in the general education classroom...such a different philosophy from last year's school.  Come learn better when they are with their peers.

Getting my groove on with this new group of students and I think they are going to like my unique approach to teaching.

The best part: Other teachers and administration treat each other with respect.  Something I have not experienced in quite a while...and it is about freaking time!

Just getting started and am REALLY looking forward to what comes next!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brief Encounters

I was SUPPOSED to be flying home from Madrid today.  Change of plans.  I've been home almost two weeks.

As Eat Pray Love hits theatres I pull the plug on a trip that I've been planning for the last year.

Know what?  I'm ecstatically happy waking up in my own bed.  I go into MY bathroom and do the happy dance because there are no monster sized roaches or other people's toe jam and pubic hair.

I think I've outgrown the youth hostel life style.  I have not gotten old, I've just evolved.

At lunch today I started thinking about all the people I met on the road.  Men and women that in a moment became my best friends, then poof, are gone forever.  Brief encounters, a gift from the universe.

These past five weeks have been filled with some pretty interesting people.

A 76 year-old backpacker stranded at a youth hostel in Nice because he crashed his motorcycle.  I hope he's back safe in Australia. 

Sally, the physical therapist from England just traveling around living a wild crazy moment before going back to her reality where she will worry if she's getting too old to have a child. 

Eliseau, my tapas partner in Madrid.  I think I hurt his feelings, but he should've listened when I told him I have a boyfriend.

Ryse, Sarah, Gregg, and Nate...ultimate backpackers.  All four so smart and so talented.  They will have great stories for their grandchildren.  I admire their life, but couldn't live it.  Sleeping in a tent in a road side campsite...LOL...I couldn't handle a hostel for six weeks.

Eric and Karen, married for over 30 years, telling me that it is completely normal for me to miss my guy here in the states.  Teaching me that true love means sharing a life not living separately.

Enrique, Michel, Amilio, and the others coming to life as they learned English.  A beautiful sight.

Wine touring in Bordeaux with Irina.  She warned me about Ryan Air's baggage weight limit.  I payed out the ass on my way to Majorca. I should've listened to Irina.

Just a few of many, many conversations I had on this journey.  This is what I enjoyed the most; these brief encounters.  Really nice people, plus a couple of ass wipes.

Oscar getting too touchy feely.  Pushing him away wanting to kick his head in.  Get a freakin' life, dude.  Do you think for a second I would even consider you?

The multitudes of SCNF workers in France.  Your helpfulness to an untraveled American marvels the mind.  I hope you come to America, get lost, and try to get directions from someone YOU don't understand.  Maybe you will receive the same unkind smirks you gave to me.

I was very fortunate on this journey.  These were not just chance meetings.  I think people come into our lives for a reason.  Even if it is just a moment. 

These people touched my life in those moments, and hopefully I touched theirs in some way.  Now that I'm home I can reflect on the significance of those meetings.  Believe me, there were times I would've lost my mind completely without the people I met. 

Brief encounters in my heart forever...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Note to Anonymous

I just read a comment on one of my postings from "Anonymous".  It wasn't a very flattering comment.  In fact, I think he or she is pretty pissed off at what I post on MY blog.

The tone of this comment sounded vaguely familiar.  Anonymous, do I know you?  If I do, and you didn't leave a name, shame on you!

A bit of clarification about MY blog.  This isn't a Travel Blog.  I never said it was.  Yes, Anonymous, I travel.  Yes, I do write about it, but the purpose of MY blog isn't a travel medium.

When I started writing this blog I admitted that it was self-indulgent.  Writing is self-indulgent.  It is a selfish endeavor.  I am the first person to say that MY blog is completely selfish, and totally ALL ABOUT ME

Anonymous, I understand and respect that you are entitled to your opinion,  However, I am ALLOWED to write as much "mellow-drama" as I want.  Why does that offend you so much?  Why do you even care?

Anonymous, you accused me of being are right.  Having an ego is healthy.  You also mentioned that I need to let go of someone from my past::  HIM.  Where did that come from? 

I haven't written about HIM in a very long time.  In fact, HE hasn't entered my train of thought for months.  HE is not a MAN who deserves any of my attention.  Anonymous, YOU must miss HIM.  Well, too bad, I'm with a REAL MAN now.  Maybe YOU are the one who needs to move on.

Anonymous, you also commented that I THINK people care about my thoughts, my ramblings, my process of growing up.  That makes me laugh.  I KNOW people don't give a flying rat's ass about my life. 

MY blog isn't for other people...let me be perfectly clear: I WRITE FOR ME!  If other people find interest, can relate, or are slightly entertained, that's great.  If not, and they choose NOT to read what is here, that's great too.

Self-involved?  Self-indulgent?  A bit egotistical?  Most definitely!  You know what, Anonymous?   I'm totally OK with that. 

Finally, Anonymous, I would like to THANK YOU for your comment.  I made you react to the point that you wrote something.  Writers want to get an emotional reaction from a reader.  I've done my job!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Playa de San Juan just outside of Alicante, Spain has to be one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen.  I've rented both an umbrella and a lounge chair, a bit of a splurge for my budget, but I don't care.  I need this little indulgence.

I see parents playing with their children in the white sand.  Families enjoying each other's company brings smiles to my heart.  Isn't this what summer is about? 

An elderly couple gets my attention.  He is walking with a cane through the sand.  Keeping his balance is difficult so he leans on his wife's shoulder for support.  She slows her pace so he can navigate the bumpy terrain without falling.  This simple act, a couple working to help each other, brings clarity.  This is what I want.

I come to this beach for three days in a row.   I watch the families, the elderly, the lovers and I see myself in all of them.  Or more specifically I see my present and my future.

Each night in Alicante I visit two places.  The first cafe I go to is Casa de Jamon.  I sit outside and watch the sun go down over the Castille Santa Barbara.  I love watching how the sun shades the side of the mountain.  Mixed with the car lights just coming on are like twinkling little stars. 

Around 9:00 I visit Taberna Segura.  I found this place my first night in Alicante.  This small little restaurant just opened and the owner/chef has treated me like family.  I chat with Lola a regular who comes in for a coffee before she goes to work at a private club.  I want to ask her if she is a madame, but think that would be impolite so I don't.

This is the first place during this journey where I can see myself living here.  Small city, near the sea, calm and peaceful. 

It is also the place where I've decided that I will go home after Majorca next week.  It is time.  That is where I want to be.  Home is where I belong. 

That is what this journey is about...finding where I belong.