30 November 2016

#cancersucks

It's the end of November and this is the time where we relearn about the Jimmy V. Foundation for Cancer Research from ESPN. It's his week. As it should be. ESPN has raised more than 150 million dollars for this project that is a continuous fight for more people than I can even think about.
Cancer is one of those things that it has affected someone you know. It's affected people I love. My grandfather at 99 got skin cancer on his forehead. Oh, and when he had his 100th birthday with all 5 of his children, that man was not pleased with the fact he had a scar on his head. My dad's best friend was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer in 2004. He only lived 2 months after his diagnosis.


"We need your help. 
I need your help. 
We need money for research. 
It may not save my life. 
It may save my children's life. 
It may save someone you love. 
And it's very important."

Cancer sucks and I want a cure for it. I will run as many races as I can that support cancer research. I will continue to run those races until I either, A- can't anymore or B- a cure is found.
If you feel so inclined, please donate to the Jimmy V. Foundation. One hundred percent of direct donations go to cancer research. www.jimmyv.org
At the website, you are able to choose to donate to the General Research fund or the Stuart Scott Fund.
Here are 2 speeches from two men who fought cancer until cancer took over. They didn't lose their fights against cancer, they fought until the last second. And now, we fight for them to find a cure for this wicked disease.







Don't give up. Don't ever give up.

10 August 2016

Boston- part 3, sans fiasco

After nearly 24 hours, I made my way to Boston and Laureen picked me up from the airport and I went and saw the crew on High Street. It didn't take long for me to decide it was time for bed. Laureen and I went back to her house and I got to meet her dog, Pitch and in the morning we decided we would go to the beach and let Pitch run around and I'd go for a run. In the morning, it didn't take much for me to be talked out of running. Instead of having toast and peanut butter and coffee for breakfast, Laureen's toaster stopped working, so again, it didn't take much for us to say, "Let's go to breakfast!" So, breakfast it was, then to the beach with Pitch. We then started to rush around and get balloons for Uncle Sonny's party and some snacks for the day. We helped set up and got all the people there without Uncle knowing. We got my uncle, his son and my uncle's girlfriend from Oregon in, my folks and me from Kansas, my auntie from Florida all in without my uncle knowing about his surprise party. On Monday, I went into Boston with Gina and cousin Michael and we had Regina's (!) and roamed around the town. We went to Fanuiel Hall and Quincy Market and shopped. We hung around on Monday night and Tuesday. On Tuesday night we went into Boston and went to a Red Sox game (!), and I hadn't been to a Red Sox game in 12 years, so it was so nice to be there.
We went to Vermont on Wednesday until Saturday. We hung around on Wednesday and then on Thursday we went to the beach and I hung out at a lake for a chunk of the day. Friday we went to Stowe and went zip lining. It was so awesome, and I'd do it again in a second. I'd also skydive, but that's a different game for a different date. We also went to the original Ben and Jerry's and it was truly amazing. It was hot out, but so much fun. We went home on Saturday and as we were just home and getting laundry in the washing machine, and getting dinner ready, there was a big wind storm. The wind knocked patio furniture over and blew the hot tub cover over the fence. After it ended...the power went out. Seriously?! I could have this in Kansas. So, we did what we could and hung out until midnight in the dark. 
On Sunday, we made our way to the Cape to spend the week with Julie and Lori. I got to see the beach on Sunday, and on Monday we went to Marie's house and had lunch and went and saw Auntie Mary's house too. Tuesday we went to the bay and sailed and I sat on the beach and watched the waves. I could sit and watch the waves all day and be happy. While at Julie and Lori's we ate, drank and laughed so hard Gina peed herself. Wednesday, my favorite day! We went to the real ocean and I just sat and watched the waves. 


video




Coming home was something I wasn't ready to do, even after 2 weeks. He made it easier to come home, but I wish I could have just had him in Boston and we could stay there. To have one of my favorite people with me in my favorite town, it couldn't get better than that. So, someday, I'm bringing him back. And then, I'll be the happiest I think I could ever be. 




15 July 2016

Boston part 2- fiasco

...continued

Saturday shows up, and with help from the boy, I get to the airport with enough time to get through security and get in line for my flight to St. Louis. Woo! All is good and I think I'm on my way to Boston. Then, while in St. Louis, Southwest has asked for people to bump. I thought, I could do that, so I went up to check on it and I would get $300 plus my one-way fare to Boston refunded. But, I would be flying out of St. Louis to KC and then to Boston and would not get there until 10:30 p.m. I couldn't do that. 
So, I thought about it some more and talked to my folks and realized there was nothing happening so I decided to go for it. I went back up and talked to another lady and this time I would fly out of St. Louis at 3:45 and get into Boston at 9 p.m. So, I went for it. 
As this was going on, the man next to me had his son in a stroller and turned to me and said thank you, now I can get my entire family home on one flight.  Then I felt better about my plan. The only thing I wish I had asked for was for a food voucher. It was 11 a.m. and I wasn't leaving until 3:45, I was going to need food. But, I didn't ask for food, but should have.
I texted Laureen and told her what was happening, where she went on and filled everyone else in at the funeral that I wasn't coming until later. 
After walking close to 3 miles in the St. Louis airport, taking a small nap and trying to watch Netflix, I finally boarded my plane. I found a window seat where the lady on the aisle and I wondered if there was something wrong with us that no one wanted to sit with us. As we waited for someone to join us, I just soaked up the Boston accents and the talking of Red Sox and Patriots. A lady sat between us on the flight and quickly after take off, I fell asleep and when I woke up, the lady next to me handed me some cheese its that were handed out because she didn't want me to be hungry. I was grateful and we all talked about what we did and what is happening in Kansas. 
I had checked a bag and wondered where it would be and if I would be able to find it or would I have to come back. But, luckily, I had my sticker and was able to get my bag from the lost and found baggage claim quickly. Laureen was on her way to get me and I finally, after nearly 24 hours, I made it to Boston. 

Boston part 1- fiasco

It all started on Tuesday. My dad called me and the first things out of his mouth were, "You're not going to like this, but you need to hear it." My first thought was my uncle died and we were days from having his 80th surprise birthday party.
Shit.
Nope, not my uncle, but my cousin's father in law. My cousin Gina, who I was going to see and stay with and we were going to go to Vermont and the Cape. This threw a bit of a wrench in the whole situation... but what can I do? I'm halfway across the country and I can do nothing. My tickets are booked and I'm packed. It is what it is and I'll play it by ear. In that neck of the woods, I'm not going to go homeless nor am I going to go hungry. Gina's cousin Laureen on Gina's mom's side called and said she'd pick me up Friday night (this moment currently) and we'd play it all by ear. Great. Sounds good to me. I am to get in at 11:25 pm and I'll just crash at Laureen's because let's be real, we aren't going to be figuring anything out at midnight.
Friday! Travel day! Woo! The boy said he'd take me to the airport (yay!) and take care of my house while I'm away. Flight is at 5:55 p.m. and so I'm there about 4:30. I have to check a bag and so I'm in line and I ask the lady in front of me what's up and she said our flight has been delayed until 6:45. Well, crap. I'll still make my connecting flight in St. Louis to Boston. Then, moments later I get another email saying it's been delayed to 7:20... now, I won't make my connecting flight as it leaves at 7:55. So, I go, talk to the dude at the desk and the easiest thing for me to do is to fly out Saturday morning at 9 am. I get a boarding pass and I call the boy and ask if he can come pick me back up. That was a fun 30 minutes. He said he would have gone to St. Louis to get out of here. I kinda agreed. I was kinda kicking myself for not sticking around and taking the flight to St. Louis. But, after the email I got about an hour later, I was glad I came home. The flight had been delayed until 9:30 tonight. Who knows when I would be getting to Boston.
So, tomorrow morning brings something new and exciting. So, we will see how this goes.

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27 May 2016

School and Rain

There are two big things happening in the ICT currently. The first, it has been raining for days. If it hadn't been for the Wichita/Valley Center Floodway or as it is affectionally called in Wichita, the Big Ditch, we would be flooded. It has been raining for at least 3 days and I'm not sure when it plans to actually stop. But, as irritating and inconvenient as rain is, there is a part of me that knows this rain is saving someone from something terrible. I don't know who needs it or why, but I believe we are getting all of this rain and these storms for a reason.
Maybe Wichita is getting all of this rain to help all of the teachers find a clean slate, although the slate is far from clean. Because in a few weeks the Kansas Supreme Court could quite easily shut down the public schools on July 1 because the governor of Kansas and his legislature have decided to take money from the public school system and the Courts have deemed the funding unconstitutional and if the Legislature can't get their shit together by June 30, July 1 the schools will close. The government will have to come up with about $38 million for this coming school year. Where is this money going to come from since the state didn't make it's budget this year? The governor has already taken money from KPERS, KDOT, and anything else he can get his grubby hands on. It scares the shit out of me of what can come. Teachers voted on Monday about whether we should extend the school day by 30 minutes and shorten the school year OR because there is still $5 million to be cut the next thing is librarians, custodial staff and paras. But, when we voted we were only voting on the calendar. If it passed then that would about take care of the $5 million needed. If it didn't pass, then the $5 million would fall onto the custodial staff, paras and librarians. How can we as teachers say that those people don't matter, because that is complete and utter bullshit. Those people make our schools run. If we don't have them we don't have a functioning school. We don't have classes that run smoothly. We don't have people to take small groups and help students learn away from their peers. We don't have people who can take those small groups and help them understand something they don't. We won't have students who know how to find a book in the library. We don't have students who learn to love to read or can find something they love and learn about it. We don't have people to clean up the vomit when a student is sent to school sick and can't make it to a trashcan. We don't have people to move desks, tables, take care of breakfast and lunch set up and clean up. But, according to the Board of Education, they don't matter. And if you ask any teacher, that is the biggest load of crock anyone has ever heard.
But, it's raining. And things change with the rain. Slates get clean, streets flood, minds clear. But I don't think anyone's mind or slates will clear with this downpour. Luckily, our staff will be with us for another year...but with the luck of our governor, it will get worse- much worse- before it will get better.

19 March 2016

Friends in Kandiana

Spring Break is nearly over. Spring Break being nearly over isn't what is killing me; it's the fact I spent 3 days in Indiana with Lacey and Caroline that kills me. Lacey and I planned on going up on Monday and coming home today, Thursday. I made it on Monday, however, Lacey spent Sunday night barfing in my hall bathroom. So, I didn't sleep Sunday night, and I prepared to travel to Indiana alone. Lacey changed her flight plans and moved her flight to Tuesday morning at the same time. As much as I would have loved having a travel buddy, I relished in the thought I would get 24 hours with just Caroline and her babies and me. I was prepared to fight with the rental car people since the car was under Lacey's name and not mine. However, it wasn't as tough as I thought it would be and the guy was understanding about my situation and did charge me to be the driver, but considering I was the only one there, he used the "extra driver" charge and upgraded my car. He made a difficult situation better.
After not sleeping through the night, I slept through both flights, which was extremely handy. After my 2 hour nap from Dallas to Indy, I was ready to see Caroline and these babies. I was able to snuggle with Kenton and Ryden and Griffin before we went to get Adley from school. We missed Lacey, but I did love my extra 24 hours with just the Foxes. I went to get Lacey on Tuesday morning, after my father was oh-so-kind to pick her up at 5:30 a.m. a day later so she could get to the airport. I don't think I have ever felt so happy to have my two best friends in one place together; even if it was for only a few days. David was wonderful to take care of the boys while we took Griffin and went to get our toes done and then go to dinner. We just relished in the time we got to spend together and I know Lacey loved the time she got to just play with the boys and not have to chase after her own children.

Lacey and I had plans of sending Dave and Caroline out for just a break while we hung with the babies, we planned on helping with dinner and cooking, we planned on helping. We ended up sitting on her couch, staring at her and Griff and learning about Star Wars from the other boys. We felt a bit on the guilty side that we didn't do more to help make their life a little easier, but it was all we could do to just love on those boys and stare at our best friend who lives two airplane rides and a drive away.
We got to go see the new house they are buying and I was taken on a couple of tours by the boys. Because their car only holds six, I took the rental and sent Lacey with Caroline so she could have some one on one time. We had lunch at a pizza joint they regularly eat at. It wasn't home, but it was close. The guys that work there had New England accents, which sent me back east. After our pizza, Kenton and I went up for a cannoli and I split it between Kenton, Ryden and myself. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
It wasn't until about 11 p.m. on Wednesday night when Caroline put Griffin to bed when we knew it was time to go. The last time we left Caroline in Kansas City, it was Lacey who cried and got us all worked up. This time, it was my turn. We sat there, I knew we needed to go and I just couldn't keep it together. I just teared up and hugged Caroline for as long as I could. The next morning, we got them donuts, a card and some peanut M&M's. It was then Lacey broke down. We love them, we miss them, and we know it's not just a place they'll be for a bit, but for a good long time.
Saying goodbye never gets easier.
And even after I got home, it still is hard.

09 March 2016

Pimpin' Joy

I’ve never considered myself much of a lucky person. Some people just have that kind of luck. My father is one of those who has that kind of luck. He always has. My brother Jeff, also has that kind of luck. They just seem to have it in them. The things they do, the people they meet, all of that, just seems to work in their favor. I, on the other hand, seem to just scrape by and barely make it.
This week is Pimpin Joy week on the Bobby Bones Show on the radio. They use this week to do nice things for others they don’t know and to do nice things for people they do know. To tell people how important they are to them. As Bobby was talking on the radio he was explaining why this is important to him and what it means, I kept thinking of really, how lucky I am. I don’t have the kind of luck my father and brother have, but I have a different kind of luck.
I have a luck where I have a father who will do anything to help me. He helps me, he’s there for me and he loves me. I have a brother who stands up for me, knowing how difficult it can be for me to do to some of our family. He gives me advice and lets me know that I don’t have to ask for permission for things at this point and he’s proud of me.
On the outside of my blood relatives, I have 3 girlfriends whom, in their own way, have saved me. Caroline, started this whole things with us working together and our friendship grew and grew. She let me crazy up her world and her husband’s world when they had babies. They let me come visit and just be there. Lacey and her family just took me in and because of Lacey, I met Rachel and Rachel and her family have quickly become part of my family. They have kept me sane, kept me going and kept me alive. The things they do, has nothing to do with material things, but I can go over and we can chat, we can watch games, we can be ourselves makes me feel as though I’m the luckiest person in the world.
I've had my share of crying as I wrote this, thinking of how lucky I am about my father and my friends. I sent my girls a message just saying thank you. I brought my mama flowers tonight just because. I told her just because I wanted to, but in my head I was thinking because you are always there and not everyone gets to have parents who will do anything for their children. 
My little group of friends though, it's that way. Their parents are there and will do anything to help, and it's so grand to see. I hope all of their kids see how important it is to have grandparents and parents who will do whatever they can to help you, but also try to make you better people. 



I may be 33, single, no kids, living by myself, but I’m never alone.
So, choose joy, keep choosing joy and pimp some joy everyday. 
#pimpinjoy

29 December 2015

The end of 2015

It's Christmas break and I have lost track what day it is and for that I'm grateful. I have yet to start my calendar for 2016, let alone January and my inservice that will come on Monday. As every year in the midst of the wicked cold and ice and "snow" we are supposed to get, my mind starts to wander to my kids at school. Are they warm enough, are they eating enough, are they ok? And as I sit in my heated home with multiple blankets on my bed and a fire in my fireplace, I think how lucky I really am. I don't really worry about putting food on my table for myself or my cat, I don't really worry about paying my electric or gas bill each month, I don't worry if I can put gas in my car to get to work or Lacey or Rachel's house. I wonder if I can buy a bigger television and are there any sales, I dream of a new car with heated seats that I don't have to put a warmer on the seat itself. I feel pretty damn lucky.
I struggle through the holidays. I always have. Maybe, it's because I'm single and alone and I feel it when I'm with family for the holidays. I put on a happy face and move on for the day or multiple days I am with them while my brother is in town.
But, luckily, my saving graces are my brother, and then my non-blood family of Lacey and Rachel. They have let me come into their home and disrupt their lives and their families lives, all so I can keep my sanity.
My grandma always had this picture on her bathroom wall while I was growing up and it said either, When your door closes, open a window or when one door closes another opens... I don't remember which; it's been a while... but anyway... I didn't realize I was going to really need someone to fill the gap of Caroline when she and her boys moved to Indy. But, I did. Poor Lacey couldn't and shouldn't take all the brunt of me... she shared me with her sister. Rachel and her crew had the same passions I did and it made it easy for me to just fall into their lives, and them into mine. It made sense.
And this has stayed true for the last year or so. There are times I'm not sure I would have made it through different parts of my life if I wasn't able to just show up at their houses when I felt I was failing. 

As 2015 is coming to a close, I look back on what has happened this year... 
Wichita State men's basketball made it to the NCAA tournament again and was placed in the same bracket as Kansas. A Sunflower Showdown was bound to happen and it went in our favor, Wichita State beating Kansas 78-65. 
I went to Colorado with my mom and I drug my mom, aunt, and their cousin to Coors Field where the Colorado Rockies play. We took a tour and the tour guide let me call the bullpen... which was awesome! Because it was a small group and there was not much happening- the Rockies were playing away at that point- and I could actually hear the phone ring IN the bullpen. 
On the tour, they had to keep track of me so I didn't wander into the weight room, where there was a chance the players who were hurt or didn't go on the road were there working out...

                              
Then I met cousin Gina in Chicago, where we went to see the Bean at Millennium Park... and I photobombed her shot of her selfie with the Bean. 

                                           
But, I did drag her to Wrigley Field while we also went to Sears Tower, the Art Institute Museum and Navy Pier. It was one of the best 5 days of the year. 

                                     
The last day we were in Chicago, I had a Wichita State shirt on and had 3 different people talk to me about the Shockers. Had one guy talk to me about Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, the street performer yelled "Go Shocks!" and someone else mentioned that he liked the Shockers. Day. Made.

The school year started and the Prairie Fire marathon was in full effect and my school had 51 kids and adults run the 1 mile fun run. Not only is that our highest number ever, we got a trophy, $250 and a billboard. Oh yea, Kensler had the most amount of kids run and we had the highest percentage. Whatever, we won too.

Those are my babies on this billboard... I couldn't be prouder.

October rolls around and the Royals are in the playoffs...again! And this year, they seal the deal and win their first championship in 30 years! I was able to watch it with Rachel and Dave and kids as they won. It made me so happy I got to be with them!
                                           
It was amazing.
This year wasn't too shabby, considering.
I'm pretty lucky.