Monday, December 29, 2014

What's Next....

I've decided to start my website and am struggling to determine what exactly I want to begin with.  What I want it to become is much clearer to me but I am not able to make that happen immediately.  If I begin SOMETHING, however, it can grow.  I have had the domain for over a year and done nothing with it.  I think the site will...

  • ...focus me
  • ...hold me accountable 
  • ...give me some sense of purpose when things get really tough.  One of the hardest things I face is that life loses meaning.  It is just a series of failures as I try to ration my energies and invest them in some kind of success.  
  • give me an opportunity to sharpen my writing skills
I pray the site will give someone hope and will to push for something more, something better.
I am full of ideas.  These ideas come to me and I write them down but haven't figured how to get off of the tredmill long enough to accomplish them.  I often feel that my job is only to power the machine and it saddens me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

C'mon Jo, Get it together....please....

I always will myself to be healed sooner than I am and then my cracks start running together....

I am there now.  I need to let go of every yesterday.  Success is not final and failure is not fatal.  

Again, I feared my world ending.  

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Winter has come and the children need - everything.  One by one we are getting coats and closed 
shoes and shirts that fit.  We are trying to figure out lunch money because all of the hard work I did last year to be enough just means that we don't qualify for free or reduced price lunch.  We finally have a roof over our heads that I can consider home.  The kids grow not only in need but in wants; they want it all.  

I'm doing some training for work online and was so upset that I wasn't able to finish it in the time I took off of work to work on it.  I just have to forgive myself and make each day the best I can.  I must now, however focus on me.  

Going through the housing situation is going to take some help to get over if I am to come through it a better person.  It left me with a lot of anger and killed some of the optimism that I'd always had.  I need to center.  I just have to do what I can do and do the best I can do.  I owe no one any explanations.  I don't do excuses.  I just have to find a way to do my best.

My mom used to always say that she was tired.  I understand that sentiment and I must fix it.  I feel that frustration every day.

There is no beauty or poetry in this only hope.  I need to change things.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Write until not writing makes you anxious.

Now I have to write.  I have to write to process and move beyond this moment.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014


... today I just keep going.  I could write some poetic rhyme & reason but really I am just surviving today.  

Let me give this year reason... This year is about purpose and health.  It is about siezing the day and living in the moment. It is about accepting thsoe things I cannot change and about dedicating myself to the fight for those things I can change.  It is about quiet reflection at the end of the day and a better tomorrow.  It is about chances and hope.  

It is about learning selflessness ... necessarily.  It is about finding a way to work for the miracles that we so need.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - William Shakespeare #quotes #writing

Monday, September 1, 2014


We accept so much wrong.  I think we accept it because we are told that if we work hard enough we too can become the have.  We work, and we plan and we wonder why our goals don't seem any closer, or there are just obstacles that we couldn't see from a distance. Hope thins, wanes.

We live in a place where law is conscience.  The law protects humanity from it's worst but cannot begin guide that evolution that must happen for humanity to be its best.  And some try to survive and seek meaning.

If I can't be all that I would be, or might have been, or dreamed of being, please don't condemn me to being only a stepping stone under the foot of another on the way to their dream.

I found this beautiful pin on Pinterest.  It is so true especially here where we can lose ourselves in our things.

On complacency and the danger of finding "good enough." |

I must find purpose

I think there are some things to be said about poverty and individual rights, about upward mobility and hope.  I have decided to write a book about some of my intimate truths that I would like not to know so well.  I have to believe that my struggle can serve a purpose, that to this problem there is indeed a solution 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Leaving my Salamanca

For days now friends have been looking ahead to the end of our studies for the year and expressing a creeping sense of sadness.  I felt none of it.  I miss my children and was glad that I would soon see them.

... but today, today was different.  There was a little weight around my heart and I began to look at things as though I wouldn't see them again - soon.  The view from the classroom window, the timber of the professors' voices...the music in the voice of our profesora de Historia... the kindness of our leader... the seeming malleability and absolute rigidness of the Spanish language in Marta's class (the feeling that she held the key to my mastery of this language)…the tiny chairs in the caballeriza, cafés con leche & bon bons, cleaning service, the walking, I will miss the walking.    I will miss most, what I have come to know of the Spanish people- BEST SENSE OF HUMOR IN MY KNOWN WORLD!!!  

I'm not easy but I'm afraid I've fallen in love with Spain.  I was determined that it wouldn't happen to me.  I love this place.  I want my children to see it.  When life gets difficult at home I will close my eyes and imagine that I'm ordering a café con leche  y que "no pasa nada" or replay one of the literature lectures that I've retired to my memory - it almost happened yesterday.

...and as if there is not a year between now and then, I begin to make plans for next time, another job, extra duties at work...  I am most grateful to have been able to spend this time here with these people.  When I raise my wine glass it will have in it Spanish wine and it will be 'to Salamanca'.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Doing something every day that scares me...

Today my professor asked me how I was and I said fine.  He said that´s all I would say every time he spoke to me.  I realized that it was all I had ever said to him so I told him what I found interesting about his class.  It was really making me think about teaching Spanish and helping me to understand the connections between languages.  It really has been fascinating, linguistically.  Funny, I just realized how much I doubt myself.  When I speak though I can´t think about grammar.  I just have to speak.  ... this was all in Spanish.   I didn´t doubt myself until I got here and looked at the grammar book.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My muse is fleeting but sitting in literature class she is with me and I have access to what lies beneath, the essense of things.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

These moments...

"Jamás desesperes, aún estando en las mas sombrías aflicciones, pues de las nubes negras cae agua limpia y fecundante." Miguel de Unamuno

It's been a rough week.  Yesterday and today I just felt down when I came back from the dentist.  I forced myself to get out of bed and go out. I burst into tears. I came back and slept - a lot. Since someone taught me how to use the cafetera I went in search of coffee.  Everything was closed where I went so I just kept walking.  I thought i'd look for coconut oil.  I found the store that is likely to sell it but it too was closed.  I don't have wifi in my room so I went to the common area to send pics to my children and two other students, from Georgia -I think,  pulled out their guitars and started a jam session/sing along.  It lifted my spirits so much.  At that moment I could only see what was right with the world and everything was okay.

Today I've had a constant headache but since the ibuprofen that they gave me was too much for me I was trying not to take it.  I drank some coffee and that didn't help so finally I took 200mgs.  Here they prescribed 600.  It gave me the worst pressure headache.  I didn't feel right for days.

It's raining and chilly outside.  Here it can go from 60 -90 in a day.  I don't feel guilty for being inside. I was feeling like such a party pooper before.  I have studying to do and now I have coffee, tea, milk, honey and work.  Life is good.

Friday, July 11, 2014

What if...

What if I stop being afraid.  What if I accept that money in my hand is only paper or metal and in my bank it is an idea.  What if I just pay what I can when I can and let the chips fall where they may?  What if I don't look at the debt that is always fighthing to get my direct attention?

What if the only thing that really matters is that my children are healthy and happy?  I worry so much about paying bills and buying food and putting a roof over their heads... about having heat and warm socks and food, food is a big deal.  What might poverty look like for us?   Could we make it sweet until we can do better?  I see always, way off in the distance something that might be, though I can't be sure because of the distance, it might be failure.  I feel deep, terrible fear.  I feel it physically.  I can't live like this.

I need to find a way to be enough.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

In a moment I will be going dancing.  There are some things that I have to learn to do-like dance.  The problem is that I overthink everything and apparently dancing is handled in some other part of the body or brain.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two hour lecture on the history of Spanish grammar....

Day 1 of Classes

Today after noon one of my classmates said Buenas tardes to the professor and she said that in Spain it's not afternoon until after you eat and since they eat late, sometimes as late as 2pm then that is when afternoon starts.

Later on refering to an even we were to attend at 5pm someone said esta noche and she said, "Noche? a las cinco?  No, la noche empieza cerca de la once."

These classes will not be a walk in the park.  Already on day one I have to synthesize all of the informtion of the day and we had 5 classes.  The grammar class is the most daunting but also the one that I need the most.  I have little reason for why I say what I say in Spanish but people seem to understand and compliment me so I keep saying it.  Today we discussed the subjuntivo.  I am doing two Master's programs at once and so I have to concentrate on the other right now to do a group assignment as others are depending on me.  

My room was changed today and I LOVE this room.  The light is perfect.  

I've been walking an average of more than 5 miles a day and I already feel that I'm losing weight.  I just hope to meet my goal.  There is a lot of walking and that is not a big deal but there are a lot of hills and stairs so this is cardio.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tinto de Verano

Me time...

Spain is lovely!  I have to learn not to be surrounded always by my children.  I miss them so much.  I miss our little moments.  I imagine they're having a great time.

This evening I have a meeting and then we're meeting for wine at the apartment of one of the people in her second year.  I am ecstatic to be here!

Going grocery shopping was incredibly fun.  I went to H&M and they have some really good sales going on right now but I cannot shop as I had to buy an additional plane ticket yesterday.  I am happy.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I'm staying at Hotel AC Coslada Madrid Aeropuerto.  If you are a traveler who likes to explore on foot you do not want to stay here but the nightly rate isn't bad.  I did just spend 4 Euros on a toothbrush and they were a bit stingy on the bristles.  I will get out today and see what I can find on foot.  Housekeeping is waiting to clean my room but I have unloaded my luggage and must find a way to get it back in my suitcase before stepping out.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Finding My Center

After a rough week at work I am again centered.  It was not a good week but the good thing about that is I always find myself in those times.  I remember what it is that I really want, what it is that I am working toward.

I need to make life more about finding myself and letting my true colours shine..

If I am ever to truly live it will be about seizing the success of each moment and letting go of the failures of the past.  It will be in deciding each day to make that day great.  It will be in finding laughter and opening up.  It will be about forgiving again if the anger creeps back in but I must be assertive and with a smile make it clear that I do not accept their negativity.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

No More!


What is it about me that makes women want to sharpen their nails on me?  I have been a coward and necessarily so, but no more.  I'm standing up and I am speaking back.  I will not share in the complaints of my peers but if one more person throws shit at me they better duck; it's coming back.  I've been trying to like people who are unkind and duplicitous.  I am not trying to do that anymore.  I need to repay some faux kindness and then embrace distance. If I am to be successful I cannot accept the negative energy.  I was fighting myself daily to be kind when it was based on falsehood.  I heard it in the voice of one of my peers when I said that I had decided to like her.  It was a sarcastic, "Aren't you the better person."  Yeah, let's just go for better off - without the toxic relationship. I reclaim the right to call bullshit.  But I will not seek a fight.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stressssss... Relief

I guess it's no wonder that I've been really stressed out.  I work with 7 graders, who are not the best listeners and don't obey overwell.  Add to that, I have two 7th graders of my very own  AND three who have not yet reach that lovely age, in other words, so, so much to look forward to.

And then...

And then I realized that if I am going to survive life as a parent and teacher then I am going to have to accept the things I cannot change.   I need to stop expecting my children to be perfect.  I need to accept that I am going to have to repeat myself and model the behaviors that I wish to see time and again and that they will stick when they stick and that I cannot determine when that will be.  I can just try to be my best self in each role in each moment.

★★★ more quotes here ★★★

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014


she who dares, wins | colab

Since I had my epiphany about being afraid and identifying my feelings I have felt much better.  I have clarity and know that I must press on.  I was paralyzed by what might happen if I should find my voice or my will.   I think perhaps I had reached my daring limit some years ago and now looking into the eyes of my children I fear chance... and yet I'm human and all is not within my control.  It makes for uncomfortable living to say the least.

I have decided though that I have beliefs and hopes and values and plans and I cannot hold them to my chest and sit back and silently judge as others dare to live theirs.  I have a philosophy.  Right now I am learning perseverance... through exercise because fat is not the thing for me.  This is, physically, the most difficult thing I have ever done.  I have, in my (earlier) youth, pitied those crazy people walking in the street and mall with all of their limbs moving.  I now understand this.

At the end of week one of my Jillian Michael's workout she says, "Most people don't show up in their own lives."  She talks about them never bringing their A-game.  I realize that if life is a game that I have been in the outfield picking flowers, seeking beauty.  I have spent years in my head watching, waiting, wondering and seldom, if ever, reaching.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Woman Sitting on a Basket with Head in Hands - Vincent van Gogh

Usually I'm productive in the morning but today I'm sipping coffee and trying to wrap my mind quietly around the day.  Yesterday by this time I had done two loads of laundry and the dishes.  I was up at three and didn't get to go to bed the way one is supposed to.  I collapsed fully dressed with my phone still in my hoodie pocket (which I was still wearing) and woke up without an alarm this morning at 4:40.  

Putting one foot in front of the other...  I have to get to work to get work done this morning.

Monday, January 13, 2014


I Have Decided to Be Happy
God grant me the focus and strength to push through all that I have to do today... and to be successful.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

... trying to focus

So little time, so much to do!This is my life.

I'm hoping that catching up on my list of things to do will take my anxiety levels down.  I guess it's anxity.  I'm just kind of constanly on overload and though I seldom panic on the outside, I feel it and it's not good. It is really motivating me to exercise.  ... well off to my todo list...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm Afraid.

Stand up.
I used to have a reoccurring dream that I would go to fight my then husband and my arms would be too heavy to lift.  He hurt me again and again and I could do nothing.  He never raised a finger to hurt me it was so much more.  I've healed a lot since then but sometimes I get that feeling of paralysis again.

I just realized that I'm afraid.  I am always afraid and then analyzing my fear I feel unappreciated, and mistreated and exploited and then I feel anger too.  I am presented with fights all around me and I don't want to fight.  I just want to be okay.  I want to have picnics with my children and laugh and I want for them to go to good schools and to be kind and not to suffer poverty.  I want to plant a garden and not panic when there is a spot on the floor.  I want to live without thinking at every second that something costs money that I don't have.  I'm terrified of giving my opinion at work because my work allows me to feed my children and pay rent.  I'm afraid of requesting more child support because.. What if he refuses to be a father to them?  What if he dedicates his energy to hating me and never devotes it supporting them?  I'm afraid to fight for tenants rights in even the tiny way that I can because it is the only roof I can provide for my children right now.  Being poor is the most expensive thing I've ever done and I have nothing to show for it.  Someone else, however, is basking in my poverty.

I am a ballerina.... in a circus.  I stand on one toe supporting ... a home and a car ...and the music plays.... I'm tired, and inside that home and inside that car are the only reasons I keep dancing.... and I dance and spin and the music plays... and they are growing  and the house is getting heavier... the car too... but the music keeps playing  and so I dance.  This ballerina is not getting any younger.  On top of the house is more.  I cannot properly support mine because I am supporting someone else's I can't see them up there.  My job is just to dance.  Above the car too the weight grows  .... I don't dance alone... there are others who's lives threaten to crush them.  What happens when the music stops?


I have wondered at these words.  It would be one thing to surrender if one could do so without undo struggle but to surrender for me means to turn over my dreams and hopes and desires and all that I work for.... but I am tired I don't want to live a fight.  For a few days I thought that it was surrender that I must do and then today I realized that I am afraid and that what I must do is embrace my fear and accept the struggle for something better or in the end I will only have fear.  What if it's not about me.  If it's not about me I can't lose.

Today's Message of Hope
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. #quote

Monday, January 6, 2014

Too Much

Saddness can lower your resistance and take away appetite, bring on sleep problems and make you have little interest in doing things.

Yesterday I thought I would break.  I don't remember ever feeling that level of saddness.  I just felt beaten.  I wanted to pull the covers up over my head and stay there.  I went to bed early because I had to get past that feeling.  I have to get to work on my projects.  This cannot be allowed.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Renting through a Third Party

Anger is easier than sadness.  But it doesn't just go away. It sits until we eventually explode and anyone that happens to be in our way becomes a punching bag...

I am trying to just accept things and stay calm but I can't seem to do that.  I am so angry right now.  I went to pay my rent and they applied my late fee to a bill that I think the owners should pay.  It is my fault I allowed myself to be exploited when I signed this lease I just couldn't live where I was living anymore.  The leaks, the slugs getting in, the reappearing moldspot that they would "repair" time and time again.  I had to get out of there.  I need to channel my anger to finding a way that doesn't allow others to be exploited but who am I and what can I do? I am not a lawyer.  I don't have the extra money to pay them.  I go to work and bleed to pass the money on to other people and continue to wonder how to provide for my children.  I try to keep hope alive but just when I do every time I feel victimized and trapped.  I hate this company and I know they don't feel like bad people because they are not breaking any laws, well, some moral laws but who even pays attention to those anymore.  They are a middle man (woman) rental company and the lease is written in a way that holds the homeowner liable for nothing and the leasing company liable for nothing.  My advice to anyone is to avoid these companies as this one at least offers nothing to you only to the owner because they stand to really benefit and in this economy we are brought to our knees by need itself.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

All Good Things... 2014

My Destiny is Joy

It feels a lot like a second chance.  I've taken days to reflect and be grateful for past successes and chances and now I square my shoulders and raise my eyes and embrace what lies ahead.  I look forward to some goal whose outline I am only now beginning to see.  In the midst of all that is wrong one feels trapped by poverty and the realization that both time and energy are finite and the consequences of removing sleeping and time to eat from the day may be permanent.

I hereby resolve to be kinder.  I have walked around this past year fragile and detached just pushing through one more paper or another day with the students.  Trying to eek out a bit more hope for all of us.  I have been driven by the need to move beyond this part of the struggle and almost crushed with every set back.  

I resolve to curse less.  I just see that it isn't fun anymore.  It is angry and rather than embrace it I think I should try to focus on ridding myself of the anger.  When I find myself angry I will use this resolution to find other ways to express what is upsetting me... probably blogging :-)  

I resolve NOT to put off 'til tomorrow what can be done today.  It will mean changing the focus of my push and leaving more time for my children.  It will mean less creativity in the classroom but more consistency.  I cannot afford to continue experimenting with every new idea that comes down the line.  I will fix my seating charts once and for all.    At home it will mean starting to form good habits so that I don't fall into bed guilty at having been more of a teacher than a mother... I haven't had time to be a friend in years.  It also means dedicating some portion of each day of each "today" to me and to living a life with purpose, to healing.

I resolve to read daily.  I have a collection of awesome books that I haven't read.  The wisdom of the ages sits idle in my kindle.  I have allowed overwhelm to guide me and I've spent so much time just trying to be okay.  I have been almost entirely in survival mode.

I resolve to write daily... even if it is a note and doodle in my calendar during a  staff meeting.  My artistic side really comes out during those staff meetings.  

I resolve to walk daily.  I didn't realize how much weight I'd gained.  It creeps up on you.  I think if one just woke up 20lbs heavier they would immediately go out running or give up fats or anything drastic but when the weight creeps up you quietly explain it away until you go to buy a dress and realize that yours is a physique that nothing will flatter. (true story) 

I resolve to be a mother FIRST.  I have been in this kind of mad panic as provider.  I am afraid always of what might happen if... I was frustrated and sad and overwhelmed.  I'm not doing that anymore!   

I resolve to be enough.  I have felt like my life was bigger than I am for 12 years now.  I have been brought to my knees and I didn't know how to stand again with the weight of so much responsibility. For the sake of all who I hold dear, I must now stand and walk and run and soar...
 No excuses. No complaints.

Kim Possible Quote found on Polyvore-Kim Possible