Sunday, July 29, 2012

What a Difference Four Years Makes

Four years.  1461 days.  Some things haven’t changed a bit.  Drew Brees is still the Saints quarterback.  Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are still swimming in the Olympics for the United States.  New Orleans summers are still hot.  But while some things remain the same, other things change a lot.  It was while watching the Olympics that I began to reflect on some of these changes.

Probably the biggest change for me in the last four years is where I’m currently teaching.  Four years ago I was part of a brand new school.  Our faculty excitedly moved things into a building that still didn’t have toilet seats.  I was now the veteran in a sea of fresh faces.  We came together to give kids the best education possible.  Unfortunately, things didn’t work out there for me.  I have no hard feelings or ill will towards anyone.  It just wasn’t meant to be.  Thankfully I had the courage to realize this and make a move.  I went to work at another brand new school.  At least this one had toilet seats.  It hasn’t always been easy, but my experiences at this school and my last one have made me stronger and a better person.  In two weeks I will begin my 15th year of teaching, my third at my current school.  I’m not really excited about it yet because I want my summer vacation to last a little longer, but I know I’ll be ready once I see those kids enter my classroom.  They make me want to be a better person and a better teacher.

The summer of 2008 was important in another way.  It was through a message board and a love of all things Twilight that I met some of my dearest friends.  We came from different backgrounds but shared a mutual love.  I spent many late nights on my computer during that summer, chatting and laughing with these amazing ladies.  Some friends have come and gone, but I have remained close to several of them.  It’s because of these ladies that I’ve visited Times Square in New York, auditioned for Wheel of Fortune, worn a tiara while grocery shopping, and posed in a bomb shelter in front of the World War II museum.  I can’t imagine my life without these friends.

Something else amazing that’s happened within the last four years?  The Saints won a Super Bowl.  Yep.  I never thought I’d live long enough to see that.  It was one of the greatest nights of my life.  Seriously. 

A lot has happened over the last four years, some good and some bad, but all of these things have helped me become the person I am today.  In 2016 we will have yet another leap year, another presidential election, and another summer Olympics.  I can’t wait to see what the world has in store for me between now and then.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bike Rides and a Mother's Love

Ummmm, wow, I haven't blogged in four years!  Where has the time gone?!  Well, I was thinking of this funny story today, and I decided to share it with the world.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.  OK, I don't always enjoy telling it, but it needs to be told.

Now, before I go any further, I need to give two disclaimers here.  One, my mom really is a caring, compassionate person.  She may not come across that way in this story, but trust me, she is.  Two, my mom will likely dispute every single detail in this story, but hey, she’s getting old and doesn’t remember stuff.  I was there.  I know what happened.  This is the true story.

Way back when, around 1984, my mom was a bike-riding fool.  She’d head out in the evenings on her bike, and we wouldn’t see her for a couple of hours.  She’d ride a minimum of six miles a day.  It was pretty impressive.  On one fateful day, Mom asked me to accompany her on her ride.  I think we both had a momentary lapse of sanity.  For Mom it was the fact that she asked me.  For me it was the fact that I agreed to go.

So we took off on that bike ride on a warm June afternoon.  Our local supermarket, Delchamps, was still under construction, and the shoulder of Judge Perez Dr. was slightly blocked.  (BTW, my mom still mourns the passing of Delchamps.  It was over 10 years ago, Mom.  It’ll be OK.)  Anyway, there were yellow barricades with flashing lights on the shoulder of the road, and they were connected with yellow caution tape.  I have no idea why Mom was riding her bike in flip flops, but she was.  As we rode, her flip flop caught on the caution tape and pulled down a barricade.  As I approached the downed barricade, I had to think fast.  Rush hour traffic was speeding down Judge Perez, and as anyone from da parish knows, that part of Judge Perez is like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Well, I didn’t think fast enough, and my bike hit the downed barricade.  I flew off of the bike.

Yes, I was lying on the side of Judge Perez Dr. during rush hour traffic on top of a fallen barricade as its yellow lights blinked underneath me.  No, it was not one of my shining moments.  OK, maybe it was considering there were flashing lights.  But I digress.

Mom realized what happened and came back to check on me.  In true My Mom Fashion, she expressed her concern as only she could.  She told me to get up and get back on the bike because I was embarrassing her. 

Luckily I wasn’t hurt too badly, just scraped up palms and knees.  I finished our bike ride, but after that I never rode with my mom again.  She loves telling this story. She tells it to everyone—new friends, co-workers, potential husbands.  Maybe this is why I’m still single.  Anyway, in her version, I’m the one who caused the whole thing.  She had nothing to do with it.  Sure, Mom.  You keep believing that.  It’s about time the true story is told.  And here it is.