Tuesday, January 21, 2014


asterisk (noun): a small starlike symbol (*), used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.


Meager but mighty, this * indicates that something is not as it seems. 


A symbol of repudiation in on-going debates about how the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame should handle controversial greats like Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire.  


A symbol of contingency in the case of this year's annual family beer pong tournament during which my brother was unable to defend his 2012 title because the impending birth of his son.   


A symbol of retraction regarding my claims that Congressman Underwood, were he real, could speak for me politically.  


When I spoke in adoration of Congressman Underwood in a December post, I was barely three episodes into the Netflix Original Series "House of Cards."  As episode unfolded upon episode and political scandal flooded the plot line, I quickly amended my initial findings regarding Underwood.  (My arguments regarding Phil Robertson and FOX News and A&E remain strident.  I merely intend to adjust my allegiance to Spacey's Underwood.) 


Brilliantly scripted, Kevin Spacey establishes Underwood as the Keyser Soze of Washington, his hands and nose felicitously unblemished, his soul ominously polluted.  Vying for power as Vice President, after being snubbed for Secretary of State, Underwood swindles and slanders his way through the ranks. *Slight spoiler ahead.*  Because of his deceitfulness, a young politician gets caught in a maelstrom of a scandal and, when he turns to Underwood for help, he dies in an apparent suicide.  Even Underwood's wife, though not an entirely innocent player in Washington, falls prey to her husband's trickery and loses the support of a powerful business ally in the wake.


As fiction,  it's captivating; as a commentary on reality, it's numbing. 


I am not so naive to believe that politicians are without human failings or that the weight of public service is easily borne, but I struggle to accept that Washington begets corruption in the manner presented by dramas like "House of Cards" and "Scandal." But if art imitates life, it is pressingly important for the American people to place in Washington those who will forgo the power of political agenda for the power of American progress.  Employment and taxation and relief funding and marriage rights and gun control and education reform and social security and health care are not issues to be bandied between the ruthless and the greedy; they are affairs of humanity and must be undertaken with caution and care.   


After all, our elected officials represent the Voice of the People, not the Voice of the Person, and should remain more steadfast to our Nation's progress than Underwood did to his.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Little Like Sally Fields

I'm a word girl.  Always have been.  In fact, this morning I took wordnerdiness to its pinnacle and retweeted this:

So yeah, I have a thing for words.

But when it comes to this blog and its views and its comments, I'm a little obsessed with numbers.

10481 lifetime views.
61 page views on January 4.
12 views today.
9 comments on Few Words, Many Intentions (Thanks for the love, Trifecta community.)
0 comments on The Voice of the People* (Which raised heated debate with my brother via text, but no other fodder for this desperate blogger.)

As an English teacher, I don't often give credence to numbers.  Who needs equations to solve when there are words to weave?

But these numbers--my blogger stats--these numbers keep speaking to me. And while they may pale when compared to those of other more consistent, more interesting writers, they are MY stats, a measure of my writing.

I'd like to be mellow, unflappable, whatever about it.  But I'm not a whatever kind of girl. I'm this kind of girl:

So thanks for viewing my blog and commenting.  While I write mostly for myself, it's humbling to have an audience (other than my mother).

Written for Trifectra: Week 109WHATEVER 1.  (pronoun) a: anything or everything that       b: no matter what : regardless of what   Used in questions that express surprise or confusion 2.  (adjective) a: all the       b: any ; any … that       Used to refer to something that is not known 3.   (adverb) Used to show that something is not important

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Four Hundred Forty

To say I struggle with my weight is to lie.  I am not happy with my weight, but with it I do not struggle.

To struggle suggests a battle of two opposing elements.  These elements--sometimes equally matched--are adversaries pitted against each other physically or mentally or emotionally (or a molotov cocktail of all three). Neither adversary willing to concede to defeat; both exerting extensive energy to victory.  

In my life I have experienced struggle against stress, against procrastination, against depression, against financial instability, against ennui, against single-motherhood (and the stereotypes associated with it)--against the multitude of daily labors faced by people of all races and genders working to live the they imagine.  I have not always welcomed these struggles--who wouldn't prefer, at times, a struggle-free existence--but I have met the struggles with the best of my resolve and might, and whether defeated or victorious, I have come away stronger and wiser.  After all, isn't that the objective of struggle--personal betterment?

However, among all of the struggles I have confronted in my life, I cannot honestly list my weight as one.  I am familiar with my weight.  We share the same space (and the same pants) but we have, up to this point, done so in relative silence.  It mocks me occasionally, scoffs me sporadically, needles me frequently.  In response, I imbibe in sweet or salty delights.  No confrontation.  No battle.  No struggle of note. Just me and my weight, living in coefficient delusions of harmony.

As I ended 2013, measuring my accomplishments and losses, and looked forward to 2014, anticipating its accomplishments and losses, my sights moved beyond the standard 365 days of the year ahead.  Instead, I tallied the days laying between me and my next life milestone--my 40th birthday.

And without hesitation I resolved that during the 400 days between now and that milestone, I will struggle against my weight.  It may mock and scoff and needle me as it wills.  I will sweat and stretch and stonewall it into submission.

I will struggle.  And it will be worth it.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Few Words, Many Intentions

January 2013--the month I was quite dedicated to the weekly writing challenges issued by the folks over at Trifecta.  And then January melted into February and into March and into April which spiralled, almost instantaneously into December, catching most people somehow off-guard, and leading them to the quizzically rhetorical and absurd pondering: where did the year go?

I'm not judging.  I'm commiserating.

The beauty of a year-gone-by: the opportunity it affords to do the next year better.

Inspired by Trifecta's Week Ninety-Nine Writing Challenge (and Michael Hess's Three Word New Year's Resolution), I resolve this for 2014:

Live with Might

Because no matter what I undertake in the year ahead, if I do it with might--vigor, strength, power--I will have no regrets.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Voice of the People*

Today while Braden attended swim practice, I laced up my Nike tennis shoes and took an hour and a half stroll on the elliptical.  I passed the time with my best friend, Netflix, and two more episodes of "House of Cards," a Netflix original series starring Kevin Spacey, one of my all-time favorite actors, as Congressman Underwood, a cut-throat politico who orchestrates his success in Washington like a manipulator maneuvers a marionette.

While I never need an excuse for a Netflix marathon, today's Spacey date was a welcomed diversion from the wall of flat screen televisions broadcasting only ESPN and both national and local FOX News networks. As a literature nerd, I find sports banter banal in its first-run; I do not care to know the projections for the next big gridiron battle, but even the Sports Center loop was preferred over the FOX News continuous attention to Obama Care and Phil Robertson.

My attention shifted from Spacey's fictitious political melodrama to FOX News's delusory reportings of current political horrors brought upon the United States by Obama Care and upon Phil Robertson by the self-serving liberal political machine running wild in the United States.  And I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Phil Robertson is a bigoted, back-woods Conservative Christian who said some horrendously hateful things, in my opinion, but it is farcical for FOX News to turn A&E's response to his ignorant statements into a political dialogue.

Phil Robertson's opinions about sexual orientation and race are driven by his religious and moral values, not political ideologies.  While religion can correspond with political leanings, they are not synonymous, and to presume them otherwise is erroneous. His sentiments speak for a radical minority these days as evidenced by the 18 states that now support same-sex marriage--Utah approved its legislation on Friday, but the Attorney General has requested an appeal.  As Robertson is neither a Senator nor a Congressman and cannot drive legislation at the state or national level regarding marriage or race or gender equality, we should allow the loon--as I see him--to speak his piece in peace.  Let him speak for his views, but do not let him speak for either political party's ideologies.

Phil Robertson does not speak for me.

A&E, who has suspended Robertson indefinitely for his remarks, does not speak for me.

FOX News most certainly does not speak for me.

(Congressman Underwood could speak for me were he real.)*

As a Nation, our energies should be harnessed to choosing for office those who truly speak for us; to choosing real people, not reality people, to reflect our desires for humanity; to choosing honest discourse over scripted confabulation to change the rhetoric of America.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Creation Story

Braden's Dad, Kevin, is a chatterbox.  Bold accusation coming from me, the queen of the 3:00 minute voice mail, I know.  But if the two of us were to go word-for-word, Kevin's loquaciousness would win by a Dickensian sentence. Thus, I have mechanisms in place for surviving chats with Kevin.  If my brain is fried from a long day at work, and Kevin calls, I silence the call because I prefer to go in warm after listening to a voice mail instead of entering cold into his circuitous dialogue. 

Notwithstanding the occasional avoidance, I value Kevin's gift of gab.  His amiable, social personality have warmed him to Braden's swim coach, opening an avenue of communication, something I have failed at accomplishing for over six months.  His even-keeled, zen philosophies, though typically ignored by himself, have oftentimes kept me from spewing words in anger toward him, the swim coach, Braden's teachers, and over-zealous grandparents alike.

While holding vigil over swim practice recently, Kevin and I were espousing recent life-changes we had experienced which, for me, includes yet another new job in yet another new town.  At a loss for the precision necessary for explaining why my job at Wright City High School, despite six preps--two of which are publications, with two more being freshmen-level courses I have had no experience teaching since I, myself, was a freshman educator--feels less overwhelming than my previous new job in the previous new town, Kevin simply clarified, "it's because you are creating something here instead of merely adhering to it."

That is it.  That's what I've been missing since moving to Missouri nearly three years ago.  The power to create. 

In my first teaching assignment upon my return to the state of my youth, I continually found myself thwarted by rules and archaic principles enforced by closed-minded Mid-Westerners.  Play-it-safe and by-the-book were mantras in the place that stood--as I was reminded frequently--in the shadow of the Capitol.  Knowing that Braden had no educational or athletic future in the heart of Missouri, I set my sights on how to move us forward and adhered to the established norm of this place instead of creating positive friction through loyalty to my educational philosophies.

In adhering, I lost my power.

I found my power again in a tiny little blip on the map, approximately thirty miles west of St. Louis.  Here, I set my sights on how to create positive friction through loyalty to my educational philosophies instead of adhering to the established norm and hiding in the shadows.  I owe much of my rediscovery to my administration; they trust my instincts and challenge me to push my students and myself.  Play-it-safe and by-the-book are scoffed and replaced by leave-it-all-on-the-court.

In this place, the World is mine to create.

After all, isn't living about creating?  Creating life.  Creating memories.  Creating a name.  Creating a legacy.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Life Line

Hide your jealousy behind your cold, ceramic shell.  Accept I'm her favorite, her go-to, her vessel of choice for her daily dose of warm, caffeinated life. I'm the mug you desire to be.

Trifextra 33 Word Challenge

We want you to give us a 33-word example of personification.  Wait.  What?  You forget what that is?  It's the practice of attaching human traits and characteristics with inanimate objects, phenomena and animals (http://literary-devices.com).