Wednesday, February 27, 2013

They Are So Done

     I have watched my seniors over the past few days become ornery, cranky, and sassy.  Their senoritis has reached a new higher level.  Most of them have been accepted to their colleges and they just want to go ahead and be college students RIGHT NOW. They have one last nine weeks to put in and they feel like they would rather stick forks in their eyes.  I wish I could make them stop.  Not just because it would make my life more pleasant, but because I was just like them in 1987.  Not savoring my last weeks of high school is one of my biggest regrets, and I wish that I could protect my students from that.  In class tomorrow, I am going to have them write about what they will miss about high school, and it made me think about what I did not realize I would miss when I left behind my childhood home for the masses at the University of Florida.

     I missed having a teacher care if I succeeded or not.  For my first two years of college I was a social security number on a scantron or a "young lady in the pink shirt." No professor cared whether I showed up to class to answer questions (if they were even asked) and no professor cared if I failed the course or not.  On some level I enjoyed anonymity, but back then I performed better if I was held accountable by someone who knew my first name and by someone who knew to "conviently" run into my mama at the grocery store.

     I missed seeing my very best friend every day.  Several times a day. The phone and a weekend visits were not the same as laughing together in English, laughing together in government, and getting yelled at for laughing together in band.  In college, you do not walk into a classroom and slide into the desk next to your best friend.  Instead, you scan the 600 person auditorium and curse yourself for not bringing a book to read like everyone else trying to avoid eye contact.

    I missed dancing four nights a week at the dance studio where I took lessons since I was four years old.  Almost every night, ballet, jazz, tap.  Goofing around the barre with girls who did not go to my school, but who I knew more intimately than most of my classmates.  Most of my nights  freshman year were spent studying or awkwardly getting to know my sorority sisters who would eventually become a family of sorts.

     I missed having drawers full of clean clothes and a refrigerator full of food, drinks, and snacks.  I usually found myself wearing ratty sweatpants up to the public laundry room to watch my one load tumble through the dryer because you learn very quickly to not leave your laundry unattended.  People are gross.  That is all you need to know about that.  And, I cannot tell you how many times I counted pennies out of my car ashtray to scrap together a $1.29 that would buy me a two liter of Diet Coke and five packages of Ramen Noodles from the Suwanee Swifty.  A feast for a two and half days!

     I missed going to the beach whenever I wanted.  Drive my car down the beach during lunch.  Pop down right after school for a quick swim.  Read for hours sitting in the waterline.  Smell the ocean from my house.  Hear the waves from the second story at school.  At UF I had to either drive an hour to Crescent City or two hours home to enjoy the beach.  When something is always there, you don't realize how much a part of you it becomes until it is no longer there.

     By far, college was the most fun I ever had.  I learned a lot about myself and my academics went far beyond the classroom.  And, of course, college is where I met the love of my life.  By no means do I really want to go back and do high school all over again, or make time stop when I was seventeen (kissed a lot of frogs that never became princes), but I do wish that I had appreciated all of those little things a little more.  Instead of being hell bent on getting out of Daytona and kicking all of the sand out of my shoes I would have enjoyed my last weeks just a bit more. I would have laughed a a little longer, listened to my first name more carefully, and hugged my parents more fiercely.

     The future is coming.  There is no stopping it.  Please don't wish away the present.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Rescue

The Rescue

     This is my in-laws' new dog.  They think she looks like a fox, so they gave her the very original name, Foxy.  She had been a stray hanging around my father-in-law's office the last couple of weeks.  He officially retired last week, and on his last day, he brought Foxy home. This is surprising because my father-in-law is not known for his sweet side.  He is a kind man, but he is not affectionate to people much less a dog.
     Here is the thing, she is such a sweet little creature, that she has brought out the sweetness in him.  She is a mutt, but she definitely has a lot of basenji in her.  She doesn't bark and she is house broken.  She lies on his chest when he reclines in his chair in front of the television, and she sleeps all night in their bed.  He spends his days puttering around the garage and she stays right next to him.  wherever he goes, she goes.  And, this is a man who would not let his wife eat french fries in the car, but now foxy sits next to him in the passenger's seat.  This just goes to show what a dog (particularly a rescue) will do to someone's heart.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Perfect Grilled Cheese

Perfect Grilled Cheese
     My husband makes the perfect grilled cheese.  It is always the perfect golden brown, a little salty, and the cheese to bread ratio is perfect.  He says the secret is Pepperidge Farms bread, salted butter, and two slices of cheese.  I am a decent cook, but my grilled cheeses are never as good as his.  One side is always too brown and if I use two slices of cheese, I end up with a gooey mess.
     I tell you, you just cannot beat the perfect grilled cheese and a ginger ale for the quick comfort dinner.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Where I Live

Where I Live

this is where I live
in the sun, on the sand, by the water
it is winter
a balmy February
the locals stay on the beach
in their shoes
on their bikes
by their cars
the snowbirds
frolic in the waves
turning blue
no wet suits
tiny swimsuits instead
I shudder
and ride my bike 
on the hard packed crystal sand
back to my house
leaving my home

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love Your Job

Love Your Job

I have been away for a few days due to illness, but I am back now!

     Friday night, we stopped for dinner at the Five Guys in Jacksonville.  I was very impressed how much everyone there seemed to love their job. Some of them were high school students, but the majority of employees were older and working at Five Guys.  They were all happy to work at Five Guys.  More than happy, they all genuinely seemed excited to serve me my burger and fries. 
     As well, they seemed to enjoy each other.  They were laughing and joking and dancing with each other.  Yes, dancing.  It made me happy.  Here are people working at seven o'clock at night at a fast food joint and they were happy.  Slinging burgers is not the most glamorous job in the world, and heaven knows it cannot pay a whole lot, but the employees were happy.  They were choosing to be happy.
     It made me think about a world where everyone chooses to be happy at their job.  Imagine the DMV, the car wash, and municipal offices filled with people choosing to be happy at the job.  What a delightful thought.  More importantly, I wondered if my students always know that I am happy at my job.  I love my job, but do I always choose to express my happiness?  I think I could work on this. Maybe I should dance in class every once in awhile.