My Wild and Crazy Spring Break – Part 2

My friends Ashley and Jem spent their spring break chaperoning students on a trip to France and England. Watching a group of teenagers in foreign lands must be like herding chihuahuas.


And that’s how we shared a spring break moment. My domestic spring break included actually herding my chihuahuas at the vet.

How the vet discovered us: dogs cowering on my lap as I calmly stroke them like an evil genius.

The boys were grossly overdue for their annual check-ups, and my mom only had one day off to watch the baby that week. So I took both hyper, anxious, shivering chihuahuas at once. Henry didn’t pee on anything, Ron only snapped at the vet tech once, and my vet didn’t scold me too harshly for letting Ron gain some weight, so it was a success.

While waiting for the doctor, I was reading an article in a dog magazine about dog expressions. This is the classic “clown face,” meaning, “I’m scared shitless.”

When Ashley and Jem completed their week-long trip in Europe, I’m sure they felt much as I did: worn out, frazzled, but proud of their ability to be the responsible adults among chihuahuas.



The Wild and Crazy Spring Break of a Tired Working Mom – Part 1

I know the Spring Break adventures you want to hear about: girls gone wild, bras optional, living free.


Well, how about settling for a wild toddler, putting on a thick enough sweatshirt to where you can go out in public without wearing a bra, and using a 40% off coupon at Michael’s so that washi tape is practically free?


Because that’s my spring break. Welcome to the life of a tired-af teacher mom. This week, I’ll be getting back in the groove of blogging with tales of the most boring, most domestic spring break of all time. For example, today’s Wal-Mart purchase consisted of Dos Equis, 2 limes, Paw Patrol chewable vitamins (for her), and a reasonably priced moisturizer (for me, because those late nights are making me look like my mama). Thrilling!


Join me as I write with my Dos Equis this week! It’s going to be wild!



Worse than Mansplaining

I am not an idiot. I have the educational record to prove it. I also accept that I don’t know everything. I don’t mind admitting ignorance. I’m not embarrassed of asking questions. But it irks me when my questions are met with the most basic of teacher strategies: explaining a concept using a child’s favorite topic.

When I question a concept or ask for clarity, my colleagues will jump to the insulting practice of Pottersplaining. Rather than explaining themselves better, they assume that I can only understand their convoluted ideas through Harry Potter analogies. And worse—they don’t even know the Potterverse well. They can’t pronounce “Hermione” and confuse professors’ names and classes, aggravating my initial confusion to Snape-ish fury.

Ok, not what he actually says, but I couldn’t resist. THIS MUCH FURY.

As they bumble their way through explanations, I try not to pull a Hermione in Divination…

…and, in the face of Lockhart-level idiocy, I remember to keep calm and McGonagall on:


Friend Crush

I’m crushing really bad. For a friend.

Most friendships have ordinary roots: a shared experience at a class, a party, or work. But some friendships have magic.

My longest friendship persisted even though I was forced to move schools.

My dearest friendship was love at first sight: I wanted to be her friend when I saw her in the Foreign Language hallway first semester. We met second semester.

My biggest regret was The One That Got Away: we had a spark, but I was too scared to make a move.

And now. A new one.

She’s quiet, artsy, and names her pets after Harry Potter characters. We follow and like each other on social media; we awkwardly stumble over our words when we try to talk in person.

But our stars are crossed:

She’s in a different department.

I’m too busy with the kid.

Alas. We could have been great.


Imagined Conversations

I was the queen of AOL Instant Messenger. My strongest friendships were forged in tiny dialog boxes that brrringed onto my screen after my long and noisy journey into the Internet. When my husband and I began “talking”—that exciting phase of adrenaline and smiles before becoming “official”—it was over AIM. Each of us hurried to our clunky student laptops after work or class, eager to flirt through witty quips or pine over the song lyrics in our away messages.

Texting was a different matter. At first, I refused this new fad, this extra mode of communicating for my rich friends with fancy data plans. Then it became a staple.

Then my parents started texting.

Then my mother-in-law.



Stores with BOGO coupons.


A flood of messages when I was driving or teaching or chasing the baby, with no away message to explain, I see you, but I’ll get back to you later, when I’m not busy being a grown up.

So I stopped replying.

Now it’s become a bad habit: they call and I don’t answer; they text and I forget to reply. But I imagine marvelous conversations—ones where I actually do reply. I’m witty and thoughtful, we get each other, our relationship fortified after a night of writing and laughing. I imagine us texting the night away—after work, after making dinner, after putting the baby to bed—wiping away years of distance. I feel the high of AIM, hear its scintillating bleeps and brrings. My fingers fly on my keyboard; my abdomen seizes in giggles. And when it’s time for us to retreat into our lives again, I imagine posting an away message: Out adulting, talk to you soon.

Because I do miss talking.

I just want to do it over AIM.

[296… I went over my usual word limit because I lost some depth when I tried to cut it down to 150. I kept it as short as I could.]

Cough Drops, Apologies, and Cursing Edward Liu

It was Edward Liu who did it. I know because he had a hacking cough, then he ran around the lunch room. And because he’s a weird kid who probably would like to see how many people he can infect in one day. And because he coughed on me. Unapologetically.

Two days later, I was doubling over in coughing fits.

In an ideal world, a teacher would take a painful, exhausting, persistent cough as a reason to stay home. As a presenter, she can’t speak; as a responsible adult acting in loco parentis, she knows passing out papers means spreading diseases to her 135 students.

But this is the real world, and I’m a parent. My sick days are reserved for staying home when my kid is sick, and I’ve already used four out of five. So it was cough drops and apologies all week long. And cursing Edward Liu.


A few disclaimers:

*Edward Liu is not my student’s name. Duh, I change names for privacy and so I don’t get fired.

**I know this flu season is bad. I did get checked out–it was just a cold.

My Evolving Attitudes Toward Makeup

Year: 1994 —— Age: 8


What happens if I put Mom’s lipstick on my cheek? And my nose? And my forehead? YAAASSS.

Year: 1999 —— Age: 13


Mom and Dad won’t let me wear makeup. Lol, time for a bathroom makeover before the tardy bell rings!

Year: 2007 —— Age: 21


I don’t care if I’m late. I don’t care if my foundation doesn’t match my skin tone. I’m not walking out that door without makeup on.

Year: 2014 —— Age: 28

I am a strong, independent woman and I don’t need no makeup. #nomakeup #nofilter  #fierce

Year: 2017 —— Age: 31

If I don’t look at the mirror while I wash my hands, I won’t see how tired I look from staying up with a crying baby all week.

Year: 2018 —— Age: 32


Fuck it. It’s time for makeup. #mommyneedsanewface