This one’s about my guy!

I truly am a lucky woman! I know this. I am still so incredibly in love with my husband. He makes me laugh daily and is always a guaranteed smile. The other day I received and email on facebook from a gentleman who worded it similarly to this:

Hello Miss/Ms. Rhetoric, I have no idea if you know this person but I am looking for a great guy by the name of My Guy Rhetoric. I worked with him many years ago and man I liked him. He had such an awesome cynical humor about him that just made me laugh. So today I was sitting around at work thinking about him and wondering what he ever did with his life. I am not sure if you even know him. You were just someone I could find that lived in Indiana with the same last name.

And boy did I giggle. I giggled because that exact same cynical sense of humor is what drives me crazy about my guy. Don’t get me wrong. I, too, loved it when we met. He often says out loud the the real things people think. Whereas, I am too wimpy to do it (unless of course I am on here). There is no gray with my guy. It is all very black and white and I am so gray it makes him crazy. Over time and years sometimes I think he is so negative about things and get frustrated because he never sees a silver lining (he would tell me one never existed). But to see it put in this way by this stranger to me reminded me why I love my guy and made me smile.

My # 2 is just like him. She does not understand or get the pussyfooting around about people’s feelings or even care what they think. I absolutely adore that about both of them. Because as I have said before I am not that way. I want to be, I wish I was but I have to be pushed there. They just naturally go there and really do it with grace and purpose because they are worried less about what others think.

Now that might be misconstrued as cruelness or brutal honesty and I am not sure that is what it is. I am brutally honest to a fault. I can find fault in anything and everything. It is be true to yourself and following that lovely mantra: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

I have been with my guy for 15 years. I have loved him every single one of those fifteen years. He has faithfully always loved me back even when I didn’t make it easy because I didn’t understand the cynicism or couldn’t appreciate it. He is not afraid to work so I can take care of our children primarily. He is not afraid to go out and do what needs to be done to take care of us.

As we bring in another New Year together I am gonna stand back grateful for him and for what he has given me. So thank you unknown stranger for reminding me what a wonderful guy my guy is.

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365.51

A week ago we thought this might be the end. Our pup “Cece” might be 12 years old but she is not giving up without a fight. Last week she could not lift up her head at all. We had to prop it  up for her. She was in visible pain and refused all nourishment.  A trip to vet revealed tired old disks. She has dislocated or damaged a disk in her neck trying to be the puppy she no longer is. A cortisone shot, and a pain/cortisone pill and she has been good. She did have a repeat spell last night but surprisingly woke up feeling all frisky as above picture shows. The vet admitted she is on her last leg and should limit jumping, barking and running to nil. But can someone tell her that? She goes in tomorrow for teeth cleaning and to have some infected teeth pulled that he believes are making her feel bad. She cannot go under though because I guess it is common they don’t come back sometimes when they are this age so she will get laughing gas.

We are pretty certain we will get another once she is gone. But she will be so hard to replace. She is such a good and mild mannered dog to have. Our first baby, though we did have a dog before her. But it started out mine and my guy adopted her. Our first together. We just adore her and she is our little princess.

365.49-Just Write

Have you been watching the news recently? If  you have you have likely heard the story of little Aliahna. Or you saw the headline, “Cops: Babysitter bludgeoned girl, 9, then dismembered her” and just didn’t have the heart to read further. Who could blame you?

I have discussed many times here I have a very inquisitive brain. I am in the profession I am in because I wonder why people think and do the things they do. Writing is an awesome avenue to explore that. I find myself intrigued by why these things happen. I venture out into the world wide web researching them. Researching what led upto horrific events and researching the people involved. Some people call it websluething. But really for me it all ties back to me to an everlasting search for a truth, the truth or so on. When school is in that need is occupied so I don’t venture much out into the dark. But I am out and the fact that this girl was 25 minutes away from me and I am the mother to three girls. It had my attention from the beginning.

I truly never expected the outcome though. I covered myself in the naive belief that it won’t happen here. Not this close to home. Then each day passed and still nothing. Last night news broke late on our local stations that they had located the body and arrested someone. I sat with my oldest trying to explain why this world is scary. Then today as we sat down to lunch we have on regular old daytime TV and news breaks of the awful horrors that happened to this sweet girl. And the details were too much. I vomited in my mouth. Who could do such a thing? What monster created this and what situation allowed for this to happen.

I have seen criticism of parents home choice. I don’t buy that one. What if it was all they could afford? I have seen criticism of her mother and I think it well deserved but I sit in church and am told to not pass judgment. But it is so hard. The facts of this case make it so hard. The truth is so hard. Who could do this and why? What prompted such a horrible horrible death? And how in the heck is a mother/father able to walk free when they, even unknowingly, do not investigate where and who they’re children are with?

I am given a hard time on a regular basis because I won’t just leave my children with anybody. But this is why. This was a family friend. A family friend who had spent many nights with this child. If that can happen to her who is to say it couldn’t happen to me and my family?

It is so hard to find the right words that make it feel better. Because it is wrong. And I am sure as the details about this poor child and her situation emerge it will become even harder. All I can do to help now is hold my girls a little tighter and be grateful that I am vigilant. I pray extremely hard that the justice system takes care of the rest.

365.48-The Migraine

Yesterday I was in bed most of the day with a migraine. A puking, head throbbing migraine. Finally about 8 at night I felt somewhat not miserable and the girls climbed into bed with me and we watched Supernanny.

Seriously I have been having over 10 migraines a month and about two to three are rendering me ineffective and sick a month. This is not good. My gyn was worried this would be a side effect of my meds I was on. We had an appt about 4 months after my initial appointment to check and at that point I had only had one. Since that appointment it has been miserable. I never usually have auras or anything and I have been. The migraine meds make me feel so woozy and pukey and I cannot eat. Not to mention they cost a ton of money and I am only allowed 6 a month per insurance rules. We have tried some others and of course the cheaper ones don’t work. At this point I am paying over 70 dollars a month to have mediocre care of my migraines. The good news is I see my doc again on Jan 6th. Where we can do another check up on things and I can let him know something has to give. I cannot live like this. I do but it is getting tiring.

The Semester that gave and gave and gave

Hi Folks, if you didn’t pick up on it I was pushed pedagogically, mentally and physically this past semester. I think the hardest part of struggles in life is that we often feel alone in our struggles. Plus who ever wants to admit…sometimes I might suck? My whole first year I will agree I was in the honeymoon phase where I believed I could and would save everyone and be the best teacher this side the world. I logically knew differently, but it never realistically clicked.

This semester I found my teaching methods pushed, challenged and questioned. Not by those around me but by myself. I tried to find ways to make my classroom more traditional and more of what one would expect walking into a freshman composition classroom. Well here in lies the problem. I am not that teacher. Sure there are aspects of me that are traditional but I know who I am and traditional is often not it.

I am not the cookie cutter teacher. And that isn’t to insult those that are. It just isn’t me. I had this idea in my head of what I should look like, act like and teach like. And well I set myself for a long, rough semester of work that I could not justify to myself and I hate that. To be bold, I will admit, I fell flat on my face.

One of the most important aspects of my teaching and a semi promise I always try and keep to myself (and to my students) is that I won’t waste their time or my own. I feel like I did a whole lot of that this semester. But I would not change it. I learned something very important about myself as a teacher and a person. Be true to who you are meant to be.

I lived life by this pretty little schedule, assign reading and busy work, turn it in. I grade it. You get it back. And that works for papers but for busy work it does not. In effort to not have them waste their time I wasted so much time grading nonsensical stuff that I found myself stretching beyond measure to have merit within my classroom. I upheld my promise to myself and even if non-verbally to them. But I made my life so much harder than it had to be. I swayed from who I am.

I am just not sure why I  had convinced myself that what I offered before that was less than what my students deserved. I guess I was afraid because being a graduate teacher is in all reality a student teacher. I thought if I looked the part and played the part I would successfully be the part. What I learned instead though is I am the part. I didn’t have to act or play.

I have been educated, taught and mentored to do this. I continue in that same path seeking out the knowledge to do this. That never changed. It doesn’t prove it more because I gave more homework and looked more like the movie version of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. I am more passionate about this job and composition and rhetoric than I ever was. I let my insecurities get the best of me and therefore I paid the consequences.

I knew by fall break it was too late to turn the ship around and I began to question if I was even meant to teach forever. And maybe I am not. My job became, as teacher, to be consistent and hold steady to what they knew and what I had established. If I know anything I know that my credibility lived and died by how I reacted to my failure.

But I am still where I always was. I love the written word and I want to share that love. I know not all of my students will be the next great writer. Instead my hope is that they can successfully pass my class and realize writing is not horrible because truthfully they often come to me hating it. They have had it drilled into their heads by teachers like the one I was portraying of what writing should be and should look like. In reality, it rarely does. Unfortunately, it was too late when I remembered that and even then I am not (or should say was not) mature enough as a teacher to identify it until I had fully stepped away.

So I can say it, I am not always “write”. Instead, when I think I know what is right I am often wrong. I doubted myself. I doubted my ability and it made my teaching experience so much harder than it needed to be. But I am right enough to see the mistakes I have made and hopefully fix them. I will never be perfect. But truly one of the most awesome parts of being human and a teacher is the chance to do it all over again at the start of every semester, day and so on. I may never be the best darn teacher to every single student that graces my class rooms. But I will continue to try and best the best I can be on that day and in the future.

The other day someone asked me what my master’s degree will be in and when I said, “Composition and Rhetoric” the question immediately was, “And that will get you a job where?” I am not sure if it was an insult to my chosen path or just true lack of knowledge of the meaning of a degree of that nature. Either way I know one thing. I will always work in the written word and the communication of it. It may be in a classroom or it may be in business, but I know what it means when I go to bed at the end of the night. I followed my dream and I still am despite the occasional bump. MommyRhetoric….till the end!

365.47-Take Your Pick

This is how we do it at la Maison Rhetoric for the holidays. I awake at 3:30am to giggles and shusshs to go back to sleep. Only to have them wake up two hours later giggling yet again and accusing me of snorting snores. Whatever! Silly me was so out of it, cause let’s be honest Santa had to stay up until 12AM to wait them out to finally come leave his loot, I forgot to take pictures at the original grand unwrapping. Take it from me the Rhetoric baby girls were spoiled rotten and then some. Most prized possessions this year for #1 was Kinect for Xbox, #2 Motion Sensed Littlest Pet Shop Tree House and #3 was the lighted cups her grammy picked her up. Well one was hers but she loved them so much she has proclaimed, “Mine!” about 300 times whenever someone tries to take them.

As I said, my girls got up too early and I tried to pacify them with stockings but that lasted 20 minutes so we jiggled #2 & my guy awake and dug in. In a matter of minutes we blew through all the presents and stockings. The girls were simply euphoric. They were in love. Pretend I snapped tons of pictures and you would see many gleeful smiles from my adorable little princesses. Then I made an incredibly unhealthy breakfast that we had too much of. Then my guy and I climbed back into bed and the girls took in all their loot. Then hi ho hi ho it was off to Grandma’s we go.

Cracking into Grandma and Grandpa’s Loot (#3 was so adorable this year and cared more about present opening that she happily opened Daddy’s and Mommy’s)

#2 getting the Sock Monkey she was after

Beautiful # 1 sporting her “Snow Nerdy” shirt and hugging on her angry bird (what the heck are these things anyway…yes I am that out of the loop)

Playing with Grandpa and all their new goodies

And then later in the day after a Christmas dinner of roast and taters and carrots

Aren’t we cute in our new jammies and slippers?

Or not? (They wanted a silly one..I obliged after the nice one)

And then there is #3 and her dancing. It is making quite the name for itself as she spent the better part of the Christmas Eve Service dancing in the aisles. I have to share the progression of pictures here for you to get the gist. Watch her hips.

There is actually a lot of dancing going on around these parts thanks to our new Xbox Kinect Dance Central 2

The whole Kinect thing I am not sure about at this point…this thing is freaking me out. It watches me and moves, talks back and listens to my conversations. Weird! The best dancer though by far is my guy. Or at least he thinks he is. (WINK)

Poor Puppy Rhetoric hiding under the table thinking, “I am getting the heck outta here. You people are weird!” And yes, I think the Kinect is weird but that it is not weird I can tell you what my dog is thinking.

#3 making slippers of her own out of box foam before she realizes I am again in her face with that darn camera and goes all shy

This here concludes the end of our fabulous Christmas day. The rest of my day will include some alcohol and then some cheesy Lifetime Christmas movies and then some much needed sleep. The rest will wait for me tomorrow.

Christmas Eve Memories

Most of my Christmas Eve’s were spent the same way growing up. My family would filter to my grandparents house after they attended and early even church service. Once there we would roll around and play and eat and open presents. It was filled with what holidays should have. Loud kids, good food, laughter and memories.

Once on our way home we would drive all over Indianapolis trying to find a store opened that sold grenadine and sprite. Back then I don’t remember many places being open. In fact, much of what I remember is dark stores and store fronts and one or two cars on the road. Maybe that is the nostalgia that creeps in when you are old and it clouds my memory but it seemed far more peaceful than it does now.

Every year without abandon until I moved away my mom would blare on the record player Elvis, Brady Bunch Christmas or Care Bear Christmas. My sisters and I would sing obnoxiously loud and run around from end of the house to the other probably driving my mom and step dad nuts. Then she would fix us virgin Shirley temples and my step dad would fry his Hickory Farms summer sausage in their sweet and sour sauce that he had just gotten as a gift. He would place toothpicks in them and we would eat and drink and be merry.

Very often my mom would buy us jammies or sew them (my mom is what I consider a master seamstress) and we would all put them on and of course they all matched. The memories we made were awesome and it has been a long time since I have had a Christmas like that but I still remember it with the fondest of memories.

For my girls we usually do the same thing every year. We dress up nice and we go to communion at our church and then come home and I make a fancy meal. Tonight it will steak, baked potatoes and asparagus with dinner rolls. Then we head back to church for the candle light service. Then we come home and watch A Christmas Story on TBS. Eventually we talk the littles into bed and we finish up last minute details. Stuff it all under the tree and call it a night.

I love Christmas Eve. I always have. All the anticipation and wonder is something I wish I could carry all year. It is beautiful and palpable. Since moving away from my family Christmas Eve is always the time I miss them the most because they too love it like I do. And just today my #1 says to me, “I wish Christmas Eve would last forever.” When I probed her why she says, “Because just waiting for it all feels so good.”

I wish my readers the happiest, merriest, most peaceful Christmas Eve ever. Tomorrow we will all get lost in the gifts, the food, and the people. Today it is about the moments building up. Enjoy!

365.46-O’ Holy Night

Picture made by my #1 in art and placed in our window-Below is my most favorite Christmas song ever. Since I was a child whenever I heard it, it made me cry. Such a beautiful song that has already made me cry in the pew twice this year.

__________

Oh Holy Night O holy night the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel’s voices, oh night divine.

Oh night when Christ was born. Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine.