Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sorry, super soapbox

I know I should not be writing this mere moments after leaving the point of frustration, but I have to get it out! Where was I? The post office. I can already hear some of you with the “agghhhhh” as your head tosses back a little. You are right. That place is seriously so freaking frustrating! I have never gone in thinking I would just “run in” and grab some stamps. I am always prepared to wait in line and every time it annoys me that there are only two (at the most) people working. Why is that? There are at least 4 little stall things to have employees working, but no…only two! And God forbid one has to “go in the back” to get something. Not only is there one worker for every 7 people in line, they have ABSOLUTELY no sense of urgency in how they do their work. Seriously, I have never seen people move so slowly! Teenagers schlep through the mall quicker than postal workers apply a certified mail receipt.

Unfortunately, this was not the high point of my frustration. The sweet, “mature” woman behind me shook her head and tisked at one point and I turned, smiled, and said it was frustrating. The woman behind her piped in and said she had complained multiple times to the postmaster about this particular branch. I made my point about never really seeming to be in a hurry or care about their job. Here is where it happened. The (maybe) 23-year-old girl between my “mature” friend and me says, “Well, it is because of their compensation. People perform based on their pay.” WHAT?! I could barely hold it in. I said, “ha! That is crap. I was a teacher. I never gave up on my kids because of my paycheck.” (To the teachers out there, SIT DOWN) She then continues by saying, “because you got 3 months off a year.” I had to stand there with my mouth open to keep from chirping back “FUCK YOU!” NO! They do not!

Thankfully the older woman took care of it in a much more tactful way, but on behalf of the teachers out there, could all of you just back off! Why is teaching the one profession that always has that thrown at them? Not pro-athletes who PLAY A GAME for a PORTION of the year for MILLIONS! Nobody ever has a problem that three, yes three, of my doctors take over 2 months off every year to “be with their families” while collecting $25 for applying a freaking Band-Aid. I am not saying teachers should be paid more, in fact, I do not believe they do need pay raises, but people really need to stop saying they get “3 months off” because it is simply not true.

Why is it that one of the few professions that shape our future is constantly scrutinized because they get too much “vacation?” Sure, there are teachers that are not worth a crap and should be kicked out of the classroom, but instead they end up in a random administrative position. A desk job; they are pushing paperwork, attending meetings, and collecting nauseating salaries. Sounds a little like an accountant or manager or banker or director or do I need to continue or do you get the point?

Teachers do not have a job that holds stresses like telling a family their loved one has passed or nervously knocking on the door of a call only to be met by a crazy person with a gun or race into a burning building to save a child’s hamster or spend a year away from their family on a beach with no water chasing after an ever changing enemy. Those people have stress! Those people are heroes.

But anyone that has been, has lived with, or is a teacher knows that they bring work home with them everyday. Their 9-5 job is truly 7-10 most days. The actual 8-4 (that was the “classroom day” when I taught) is spent teaching. They lecture, model, aid, guide, discipline, motivate, support, love, tolerate, and accept the kid’s in their room all day. (Minus the 25 minute lunch that has a duty attached to it on some days.) When the final bell rings at 4 they tutor, listen, and (honestly) babysit kids while trying to clean up a room and prepare for the next day. That is when they print lessons, make copies, return parent emails and phone calls, attend meetings with anyone from a superintendent to a special educator to a colleague in the weeds. Then they go home with a bag full of papers to grade or projects or materials to review because they know that the first question they hear in the morning will be “do you have our papers?” That is followed closely with “what are we doing today?” and, from the one that had an orthodontist appointment just during your class, “did we do anything yesterday?” I always wanted to answer, “no, we just stared longingly at your empty desk all period. Too distraught by your absence to even function.”

Again, I am VERY aware that not all teachers are good, but neither are all cops or doctors or CEOs. Every job has its stressors and everyone works hard, if only in their own head. When it comes to people that work with the future, please, praise the good ones. When you knock the profession as a whole it drives quality away. We have to keep the good ones! It is for our future and for our country.

All that being said, I ran away. I was not one of the strong ones.

Sorry for that tirade. I just had to get it out.

P.S. -- I know all of this goes for parenting as well, but the girl in line just mentioned teaching. Big hug to those of you that are parents and those crazy few that are both teachers and parents. And if I could give the world to Julie I would…she was a single parent and high school teacher when I first met her. I do not know how you remained sane and raised such a great young man. Kudos girlie!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fun summer giveaways

Fabulous K is having two giveaways a day all week!  She has the coolest sense of style.  She has that ability (that I am so jealous of) to find things you would never put together and they just look so darn cute when she is done with them.  I wish I could pay her to come in and redo my place while I am away on those HGTV shows.  But it would actually look great when it was done.  

Oh well, in the meantime I will live vicariously through her blog.  Go check it out!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How to transition

I have been struggling to find a way to transfer from updates on Keith to less serious or possibly entertaining posts.  It has been decided that I will try to put a button in the sidebar.  Until that is figured out, I will just put a line stating "Keith Update" on each post.  By clicking on the link you will go directly to the Caring Bridge website and be filled in daily.  Thanks for your patience while I searched for a way to transition tactfully.  

New posts coming this week!  PROMISE!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Keith update

Judy posted an incredibly raw and touching update on Facebook; so again, if you have an account, go to “pray for Keith Beasley.” In summation, the past few days have been trying for Judy, Keith, and their families. All of them have completely turned the situation over to God.

In her words, “…I completely surrendered to God's will. I told Keith how much I loved him. I then said the hardest sentence of my life. I told Keith that it might not be part of God's plan to have him here with me. And if that was the case, I would be okay. I cried and I cried, but I wanted Keith to know that I would be okay.” She continues to say... “I told him to keep fighting. But if he got tired, it was okay. If he needed to take a break, I wanted him to relax. I told him that I loved him so much and that if he needed to leave me, I would be okay.”

She explained that his condition remains essentially the same but that “his body is dying.” In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, she added… “Please know that I am still praying for a miracle. I believe that God can heal Keith from head to toe. I trust in His goodness and know that His love for Keith and me is much deeper than our love for each other.”

Again, I so appreciate all of you who have offered your kind words through email and more importantly through prayer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prayers please!

Calling everyone
I have hesitated to post because ASKING for prayers is not really in my Catholic nature. But here I go…thanks to the blogosphere, I began following a friend of a friend years ago and now she needs your help.

Judy and her husband Keith are Texans that live in San Diego where she is a teacher and they were eagerly expecting their first child. Keith came to Texas for a bachelor party in early April. Judy stayed in San Diego as her school year was beginning to wrap up and her pregnancy was approaching its 8th month. Long story short, Keith left the bachelor party and was waiting for his buddies on the roof of a parking garage. He lost his balance and fell 7 floors onto a small patch of grass. Luckily, some people happened to see a figure fall and called 911 immediately. He has been in the hospital ever since.

Judy quickly came from CA to be with her husband in Austin and after receiving initial treatment they were transferred to Dallas. All the while, Judy was expecting their first child. A boy. She has since given birth to a happy, healthy son named Brooks and has been staying with her family while Keith has undergone more than his share of ups and downs. He has had multiple shunt surgeries, physical therapy, bedsores, liver toxicity, muscle and bone issues from a lack of movement, various room/hospital moves, tests, test, and more tests. All the while, Judy visits her husband, takes care of their new son, updates everyone daily, meets with countless doctors, nurses, and therapists, and is now being forced to deal with insurance company issues.

I can say that Keith has had very good days. Days where he obviously brightens when Judy is near. He knows her and Judy says it is clear that he recognizes the fragility of Brooks being a baby when he holds him. (Or rather when Brooks lays with him.) All that being said, while they have needed prayers through these three months, I got this email at 9:45 tonight:

Immediate prayer request – Judy is at the hospital with her father. Keith’s heart is not pumping properly and his heart is enlarged which is a very serious condition at this point. They have started him on the heart medication in order to try and get the heart to start pumping more and will monitor it over the next few hours. The doctor does not think Keith could survive any kind of surgery so please pray for decisions Judy may need to make. The doctor also does not think Keith may make it through the night. Immediate prayer request – for the heart to start pumping properly and to respond to the heart medication. Pray for Judy – she has completely surrendered to the Lord’s will. Lord Jesus, both Keith and Judy are in your hands – protect them.

If you have a facebook, you can find more information on the page set up by the family by searching Pray for Keith Beasley. The information about Austin and needing rooms, meals, etc. is out of date, but everything else you would need to know is there.

I know that prayer is strong and I know that prayer is healing - both for the sick and those that care for them.  I also know that many of you share this sentiment, so I turn to you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Girl's night out
Lisa, Tiffany, me, and Jen

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just smile

I have to do it. While the media coverage is daunting to say the least and there are FAR more important things happening, I have to post about Michael Jackson. MJ. Wacko Jacko. The King of Pop. Whatever you want to call him.

Maybe it is my age, maybe my childhood packed with dance classes, maybe my love for all things eccentric, but let’s just say I LOVE HIM! Oh, he is a complete freak show, a bit shady, and had questionable relationships to put it nicely, but above all else, he was an immensely gifted AND talented man.

He really did write the soundtrack to my life. I was only three when he did the moonwalk for the first time, and I do not remember watching it, but I can guarantee you that my Detroit born parents tuned in to watch the Motown Anniversary. I vividly remember many nights practicing MJ moves with my brother, sister, and Heather (the babysitter) on the parquet floor in the living room. I can still moonwalk to this day. When I was 6, I hid one of my white Easter gloves under all my clothes in the bottom drawer so I could go to Mass with only one (in my mind) sparkly glove. I always wanted silver sequin socks. I went to a premier of the movie Free Willy not for the film but for the soundtrack. I own the Making of Thriller video and have watched it more times than I can count. I stayed in ballet so I could go on Pointe and do a toe-stand in any kind of shoes just like him. The album HIStory was the talk of my driver’s ed class when it was released in the summer of 1995. We all bought it at Sound Warehouse the day it was available. We would listen to Bad, Thriller, and Off the Wall for hours after work during “book rush” in college. I never wanted to dance like him because I always knew I was not that musical. His moves were just another instrument in his hits. It was incredible!
There were times that he was a complete train wreck. Do you remember the Lisa Marie kiss? Eww! Do you remember that weird belly shot in the "You Are Not Alone" video? Oh, and the fact that he and Lisa Marie were naked? Eww times two! And that just scratches the surface of oddities. But aside from all of that, today he was saluted. Stevie Wonder, a man who has won 22 Grammy awards, recognized him with song. Maya Angelou wrote a poem about him, remembering “normal” moments of side splitting belly laughter and “performance” moments like the toe-stand. Berry Gordy called him the “greatest entertainer to ever live” and Gordy knows a few great entertainers. Most who spoke today talked about perfectly normal times with a perfectly normal guy.  A guy who loved much and laughed often.  I did not know that guy, but the entertainer that I grew up with was an idol.
I remember that Elisabeth adored him and always wanted to meet him and see him in concert. Luckily, she was given the chance to do just that before she died. She went to his concert on September 10, 2001 in New York.

My dad has always told me “if you believe it, you become it.” I realized I should actually listen to him when I was 21 and heard an interview with MJ where he said, “…whatever you believe, you become.”