Monday, January 21, 2013


I've been thinking about memories lately.  I've come to realize that some of my memories are not accurate or even true.  I've taken them out so many times to polish and shine them in the rearview window that they have come to mean something entirely different than what happened, which in itself is not always bad except when I confront them with the reality.  It was an anguishing moment to realize that my memories were really just something I longed for  and created as a backup for bad times.

So I then ask myself does the accuracy of my memories matter in all memories?  I don't think so.  Memories are deadly in an old boyfriend but are memories of happy childhood necessarily bad in their inaccuracy?

Today I had an opportunity to compare and contrast two memories.  It has left me a wee bit sad, achy, and bittersweet, kind of like the bitter after taste of a particularly hoppy beer.  The sip to the front of the mouth quenches and tingles on the tongue.  After swallowing it the hops bite the back of the throat and leave a bitter residue in the mouth.  With each swallow the alcohol kind of numbs the hop taste and gives a kind of a giddy feeling.  

I had one of those dreams last night.  I am always amazed that I can still dream of the first boyfriend for no rhyme or reason I can tell.  It is always a heady rush and I'm usually left with such longing that I am hungover for the day.  These are the memories I question for their accuracy.  These are the memories best left in the trunk and  in the scrapbooks.  I've found I don't trust the memories anymore.

Later while sitting in Starbucks reliving a childhood memory in verse I sent myself back to the time to taste and see the memory.

I could feel the sun and the sweat trickling over sunburn and freckles.  I could see the ribs of rock poking out of the dirt.  I could hear the low of cows, the clang of the windmill blades switching directions.  I could feel the ice flow of well water in the stock tank as I picked through the slimy algae to find the snails inhabiting the rusty sides.  

The wind in the cottonwoods make a certain rustling sounds that seem to be whispery voices.  I smell the grassy fresh manure with the blue bottle flies buzzing.  My feet make tracks in the powdery dust on the cattle trail.  I keep my eyes open  and feet on the path to avoid the field cactus and devil's thorn.  I can taste the dirt on the sweet wild onions from the pasture.  I wade through the dark chocolate mud at the pond's edge and strain my eyes to see the minnows darting and flashing silver in the murk.  

The pond in the pasture rimmed to the south by a grove of cottonwood trees was a magical oasis for me in my childhood.

As I relived that memory I asked myself,

"Do you suppose this memory is as inaccurate as the boyfriend memory?"

"Does it really matter if this one is inaccurate?"

No, I don't think so.

It's more of a conglomeration of memories, pressed, packed down with sediment to form a rock- a diamond or more appropriately a piece of limestone filled with dead sea creatures.  This one I won't pack away in a trunk.  It's seared in my brain like the Kansas sun on a 100 degree day.  It's in every freckle on my body.  

Memories,  a rock in a hard place?  Or a lie told to myself?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I could think about possibilities.  This morning I'm on line checking my Facebook and I get a text from the Lutheran MediaMinistry Ghana.  We chat for a bit and they suggest I check out doing a rural outreach ministry in Africa.  This is the second offer I have had for doing a Lutheran ministry this year.  The other is to be a school teacher in Papau New Guinea.

Coincidence?  God calling?  I don't know but I am intrigued.  I'd stay single to do that!  I can't think of a better way to use my vocation and have an adventure!

It was a nice distraction today and kept me from my depression.  If God opens that door I will go.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Sad Achy Kind of Day

You know you are in a battle when you are in tears before you even get to work at 7 AM.    Granted I stayed up too late on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night which made me overly tired and when I am tired I tend to be emotional  and crabby.  Today was no exception.  In the back of my head I knew this but it did not stop me from thinking about sad things in my life.

I also had some of those disturbing dreams with people in them that are toxic for me. Part of me still loves them while the other part knows it's toxicity.  Just having the dreams disturbs my equilibrium and kind of opens a doorway for feelings I don't want to be feeling now.

It all has to do with being single again.  I figure it is probably most likely in God's plan for me to be single for awhile and I hope and pray not forever.  Some days I do really well with living the single life.  Other times I just long to be a couple again.  I want to  laugh, to talk, and be connected with a man.

 I really believe that is how God made us.  I don't think we can be whole if we are not connected to a man.  Unfortunately sin does it's best to ruin this relationship.

I would just like that glow of attention from a man sometimes.  Today was one of those days.  There is no one and not even a glimmer of one on my horizon.  I resist the urge to make something happen just because of an ache.  I want so much more this next time if there is a next time.

This is when I know I need to use my mental health strategies.  I went to work out because exercise helps plus I have the camaraderie of the ladies I exercise with at the New Well.  I also started thinking about writing it down so I could examine  and clarify my emotions.    I shall also go to bed by 9 so I can rest and be stronger mentally and physically.  Through all this I talked to God.

I feel better and not so weepy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

From my Awesome Math Coach!

Aw my math coach just gave me status!  Love it!

Re: Making Conjectures--Post what you are hearing from students
by Jill Board - Saturday, 5 January 2013, 10:17 AM
 Barb, (and I hope others will read this too!!)

Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your students conjecturing! The more we share our stories the more likely we are to hear student conjectures (or "almost conjectures") every day. (If you can't remember what Barb posted, please go to the forum and read the thread there.)

One part that you wrote was particularly interesting to me. You said:
That's when T. said the number has to end in 4 to be even. I walked the class through breaking 54 into the ten sticks, reminding them that we had already decided that 10's were always even so we didn't have to look at the 5. I asked Z then if he agreed with what T said and he did.
I could just picture how previously your class may have justified the conjecture "If the ones digit is even in a double digit number, then the number is even."

To justify that conjecture, I can imagine that students explored lots of double digit numbers and recognized that tens always can be broken into 5 partnerships of 2. They would have justified that all tens have to be even no matter how many tens are in a double digit number. Then the students could check to be sure that the ones digit was even (or odd) by giving it the partnership test.

When students give a first grade justification (as above) then we can call that conjecture that they made a generalization. It doesn't mean that every child has made sense of the generalization yet, so that is one reason to keep revisiting these big math ideas.

I'm curious: I wonder what T would do with a number that doesn't have 4 in the ones 0 or 8. Does T think that numbers are only even if they have a 4 in the ones place? More to find out and explore!

So Oak Grove, Lone Pine and ALE are students justifying conjectures in your classrooms? We can be thrilled when we get student conjectures, but we also want to make sure we don't stop there......And sometimes they will show that a conjecture they posed wasn't actually true.........another important idea.

Thanks Barb....Keep on, keep on everyone! See you soon.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Barn Roof

We could touch the sky on top of Kansas peaks.
The slope of silvery, slivery
peaks, gave feet and hands that seek
grips to scale the heights, quivering
muscles, weak, like a sparrow in grip
of barn owl, hiding in the loft
of barn rafters, tied in rope, a noose,
a swing to span bales of hay, we were Tarzan
in the dust motes, drifting in the light slices,
pouring from the maw of the barn.  Mountain
climbers, birds perched, at the apex, set to fly
only in our dreams we could launch our bird
bodies skyward. Drifting in and out of hazy banks
of clouds.  Freedom from words of ripped pants, frayed
shirts, and shingle pieces embedded in a child's skin.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 2nd Christmas

For some reason I thought this Christmas would be easier than the the first Christmas of being single.  I was even prepared to stay in Medford this year.  Last year I ran to Nebraska to get away from the possibility of not seeing my sons or any family.  This year Jan was going to come out and spend Christmas with me.  At least that was the plan.

Jan and I decided though that we needed to spend Christmas with Mom in Nebraska because no one would be visiting her this year.  Jan finagled the ticket and got me a flight to Denver instead and we drove out to Campbell, NE together.  My other sister , Susan and her husband Joe, drove up from San Antonio, TX to join us for Christmas.  Terri and her husband Al and son Ben and girlfriend would come on the day after Christmas.  All of a sudden we were having a family Christmas.  It has been over 30 years for me since I have had a Christmas with Mom and sisters.

I had no inkling I was headed for an emotional dive.

Jan and I got to Campbell with temperature in the teens and snow and ice.  Mom had "signed" us up for the community choir for Christmas.  We came with a food list of Christmas goodies we wanted to eat.  The next day we went shopping for groceries and had choir practise.  We made Chex mix, carmel corn, and that spiced tea mix from the 70's.  I was feeling pretty good.

I started though having some flashbacks to last year..  I also fell right back into the pattern of envy, feelings of inadequacies, and being the "poor relation" amidst what appeared to be successful careers, marriages, and sons and daughters.  It was inevitable- I compared my life to the lives of my mom and sisters.  I knew I was doing it.  I also suspected I was over reacting and my perceptions were probably self made and not an accurate portrayal of my sisters.

My sisters spend time in Europe, travel the country, attend concerts and theatre, and have great retirement packages.  All their children have their Masters in their chosen careers.  Even my mom is happily married to a LCMS man who cherishes her and treats her like she is the most precious thing in the world.  My younger sister who has never married, has a successful nursing career with national recognition, a house full of antiques and collectibles, plenty of income to travel and gamble.

I compared all that to myself- no home, no nice possessions, not much of a retirement plan, no husband to cherish and love me, and sons who won't call me, text me, email me or visit me.  I have a good job but don't have much spare income to travel or buy nice things.  The green eyed monster was in full attack mode.  I knew it.  I knew was overreacting.  What I did not have was my support groups-church family and friends around me to lift me up.  I did not have my mental health strategies around me.  I really did not want to exercise in 11 degree weather by taking a walk.  I had no signal from A T and T to keep in touch with my support group.

So I cried off and on about everyday I was in Nebraska. I knew what I was doing to myself was unfair and wrong.  I could not seem to stop myself from making those unfair comparisons.

So when mom asked me to give up my bedroom to sleep on the couch so 2 of my sisters and their husbands had bedroom and the unmarried grandson and girlfriend would have the other bedroom.  I lost it.  I was angry, hurt and upset.  I spoke it and ran away to my room to cry.

In the end I did not have to give up my bed and my mom apologized.

Little did I know the worst was to come.

On December 24, in the Kmart parking lot in Kearney, NE I decided to call Johan in Alaska to compare temperatures.  (He had me beat- my 14 to his 0)  He answered his phone and I was able to talk to him and pass the phone to my mom and Jan.  Not only do my boys usually not answer their phones when I call they also don't talk to their Grandma either.  This gives me great pain.  (On her 80th birthday my three sons were the only grand kids to not call or talk to their Grandma.)

When I had sent the boys their Christmas packages I had told them the best Christmas package they could give me would be for them to call me on Christmas.  I knew my youngest would probably not call me because he had told me he wanted nothing to do with me or my family, though I have no idea what my family has done to him.  But I did expect to hear from my oldest.

I know I am bleeding all over this page but the act of writing helps me to clarify my feelings and analyze what is going on.  So hold the bandages the bleeding's almost done.

The next day I was checking my emails and decided to check in on Facebook.  Mom has wi fi so I could talk with my friends through FB.  About 4 months ago I decided to unfriend my sons on FB.  It was just too painful for me to see how they were doing through FB.  If they could not talk to me then I did not want to know what was going on in their lives.  It hurt too much.

Unbeknownst to me when I went into FB I was on my mom's page. The first thing I saw was my oldest had flown home to Medford and had not told me he was coming home.  I was destroyed.  He was at his mother-in-laws house for Christmas.  He did not tell me he was coming home.  He made no effort to call me, text me, or email me that he was coming home.  He also did not call me on Christmas day either.  I got nothing from my sons on Christmas.  I could not stop crying.

It had to be a deliberate thing - him not telling me or calling me.  What made it even worse was when people would ask me how my sons were doing and I would have to say,

"I don't know.  They don't talk to me."

Pride.  Jealousy.  Envy.  Anger.

I felt like Job.  Like God has striped me of everything I had pride in- my marriage, my children.

I did take comfort in that comparison because it reminds me of God's love for me like the love He also had for Job.  My head knows the Grace of God and His love for me.  I know He has a plan for me and that this too will pass.  My heart- my sinful nature- my old Eve- though cries in hurt, envy, jealousy, anger and pain.

I wanted it to be all about me but it was really all about the people around me.  I had nothing to talk with them about.  I had no point of reference with them.  I couldn't talk about marriage, kids, retirement, travel or my job.  I was alone  in the midst of my family and I wanted my Medford people around me to love and comfort me.

I wish I could say that the celebration of the babe in the manger gave me all the comfort I needed during this painful time.  But part of my Old Eve is the pure selfishness of feelings.  I wallowed in my tears.

I'm home in Medford now.  I have the love of my dog Queenie, my adopted family here, my teacher friends, my church, my pastor and I can't wait to talk this over with my counselor. Tomorrow I will work out and get the exercise my body and brain need to counter the depression.  I will cleanse my body of all the awful food I ate.  I am writing now and plan to work on some poems.  I will finished Jonathan Fisk's book Broken.  I will attend church on Sunday and feel the love of God through the people he has provided me with in my life.  I will partake in confession and absolution, and the Body and Blood of my Savior.  I will surround myself with my mental health strategies.