Author Archives: otter378

About otter378

A thirty-something gal making my way thru life as a teacher, "singleton," & mom to two small yappy dogs.

Musings on the Search


The search for what you may ask, well, finding one’s soulmate, a companion, husband, fiance, boyfriend, etc. So yes, it’s that time of year when I seem to have my annual break-up, wonder what this one will inspire me to do now. After major break-ups in the past I’ve gone to massage school, bought a house and enrolled in a graduate program 😉 Alas, the most recent jackass seemed so sweet, nice, and genuine.

Granted, just go with me okay, we only dated for 2 months, not a long stretch by any means, but a start none the less. Dates that included dinners, movies, a Rennaissance faire, and horror flicks. When I was sick the first week we started seeing each other he would text me and make sure I was doing okay. He was very affectionate and forthcoming with sweet, kind romantic words. How could this guy be a jerk?

We were both busy with our jobs, hello I’m a teacher. He’s in real estate and was always busy the last week & first week of each month of course. He worked long nights and we would see each other on the weekends. He even met my family.

So the last text I received from the guy was “Miss you more :-*” Yes, with a little kissy face! I sent the usual texts over the weekend, nothing more than I’d sent before. When I didn’t hear fro him all weekend I texted him to see if he was alright and he didn’t respond by text, phone, nothing! My girlfriend talked me into checking his profile again on the dating site where we met and low & behold, he’d been on it throughout the weekend and Monday afternoon. Sigh…..

We were by no means in a committed relationship, but dude had been texting me everyday for 2 months and then cuts out cold turkey :-O He should’ve manned up and grew a pair and told me he was dating other women or was no longer interested. The human race has evolved enough, hello all those relationships books, movies, etc, where men know that if they don’t communicate the minimum at least with women we will go nuts. You want to know why women get insecure while dating, it’s because of things like this, seriously!

So I’m back searching for my soulmate…again….sigh, wish me luck :-/


I’m a Lion


As I was growing up both of my parents were heavily involved with the Delta Lions Club in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. Every Friday night they worked Bingo, every Tuesday was either a meeting or Mom’s Po-Ke-No night (Bingo with playing cards ;). Let’s not forget the awesome Super Bowl/Federal holiday BBQs.

The social aspect wasn’t the only reason my parents were Lions. Whether it was through church, schools, my parents’ work (Army Nat’l Guard & various bank institutions) giving back to the community was a major part of our lives. I never realized it until I was an adult. I anticipated the time when I could finally join the LEO Club like my brothers and have all those great experiences. I joined as soon as I was 13 yrs old and loved every minute of it. Granted I lost touch with my fellow LEOs but the memories I have of our meetings, our activities, our state conventions & regional meetings with other clubs will stay with me forever.

I’ve always meant to join one of the local clubs, but when I was checking out their virtual presence, which is how we all remain connected these days, the Killeen Noon Lions Club had the most information available. I emailed and received a quick response from the outgoing President Lion Maureen. Being I was still in school I couldn’t attend a meeting until summer. Now you may wonder why I didn’t join an evening club, well I just contacted this club first and I relied on the warm fuzzies. I rely heavily on my warm fuzzies, they’ve never led me astray 🙂

I was inducted Tuesday, August 13, 2013. I gotta tell ya I was a total bumbling mess. As Lion Richard talked about the start of Lions by Melvin Jones and the mission of Lions around the world I sniffled & could feel the tears run down my cheeks and my neck (I missed a few when I swiped). Then they gave me & another new Lion, well new to this club, speak a few minutes. I tried to hold it together with the first few words, but lost it once I mentioned Dad, sigh….

The commitment to helping others was strong in both my parents, no doubt, and through their service was instilled in all of us kids. I’m proud to continue carrying on the tradition my dad and mom set for me and my future and community volunteer through the Killeen Noon Lions’ Club.

My Summer 2013 – Hasn’t Really Been a Vacay


My apologies I haven’t done any personal blogging lately, I’ve been getting my teaching blog up & running.

It seems that after each major break-up I decide to make a life change of some sort. The last time this happened I went to massage school & bought a house! This time I finally bit the bullet & began work on my master’s degree. Since I really want to focus on gifted education I found, well actually through an admail from Arkansas State University, found they have a specialization in Gifted & Talented Education.

I filled out the application and then became a sort of nuisance with the admissions office, so they relented and admitted me 😉 My classes started 2 weeks before they school year ended, yeah, you know the busiest time of the year for teachers. Thankfully I was able to Ace that class, yay! I’m on my way to acing this philosophy class, which just so happens to be one of the few classes I aced in my undergrad. Needlesstosay I’m enjoying my classes, even the self-induced stressing, keeps me on my toes.

I mentioned my teaching blog: Tales From Two 2nd Grade Classrooms. Hmmmm, 2 classrooms you ask? Well this past January I went to a conference with my awesome co-worker Amanda B. She’s all tech savvy too, meaning we can both figure our way around the interweb world 😉 She had mentioned that she had opened a blog account but never actually got around to making it public, so a little birdie got in my head as I was perusing other blogs of how a couple teachers collaborated on blogs in the same grade or not, but there was more than 1 teacher posting. She jumped at the chance, yay! Now it’s our blog 🙂 She’s getting ready to upload her first posting this upcoming week, so keep an eye out.

My brother got married earlier this month and the family migrated back to NOLA for the festivities. After that I headed up to Marksville to help Brenda, my big sis, with the tribe’s language camp. It was fun and we definitely learned a lot about what we want to do next year & what we don’t, lol.

I got back to Killeen this past week & have just been recovering from a summer cold, ugh! I had a great workshop on Monday for interactive math notebooks. We actually just cut & pasted all day long, made a reference notebook to be used throughout the year 🙂 it was great!

I’ve been wanting to get into my classroom, but the cleaners haven’t finished cleaning our school building so the principal told us to stay away, grrrrrr! I know right, what teacher wants to spend their last few free days of summer working in their classroom, well a lot of teachers I know. Teachers who go back the same time I do & even later are already in their classrooms unpacking, organizing & decorating, I’m soooooooo jealous!

Well, I’m off to work on my class assignments & get a head start on the final ones due at the end of this coming week. Yay for Philosophy of Education! Not!

Summer Obsessions


When I’m on break lately I’ve been watching tv shows I’ve heard about, but wasn’t able to watch because my dvr was otherwise occupied with at least 2 of my current obsessions on any given night. I’ve also had 2 particular movies on rotation right now as well 🙂

What have I been watching you ask that has me so obsessed:

1. Switched at Birth – If you’re a facebook friend you already know the reason I began watching this show, Blair Redford‘s character Ty. What a cutie! But then of course as many fans know he went away for a season and during that time I feel in lurve with Sean Berdy‘s character Emmett. Besides the adorable crushworthy cast, the storyline is a familiar one. Based on true events & an already made for tv movie ages ago, it’s about 2 girls who were born on the same day & switched at the hospital. After the discovery both girls deal with identity, relationships & how to cope with 2 sets of parents with different ideas of childrearing. Oh & did I add hunky Gilles Marini stars as one of the dads, sigh…..enough for continued viewing alone. Check out the link above to read more about Bey & Daphne & their “adventures” if you can call them that.

2. Dance Academy – As many who know me well know that I lurve my Australian tv show McLeod’s Daughters. As the years have gone on a lot of the actors have shown up either in bit parts in many movies & other tv shows here in the states. So a combination of Australia & another one of my longtime loves the movie Centerstage, enter teen drama Dance Academy. I’ve watched seasons 1 & 2 on netflix. Now I’m patiently waiting for the final season, 3, to make it to the US. I’ve only been able to preview 1 one of the teasers, the others are unfortunately now viewable outside of Australia 😦 Fortunately though many faces from Dance Academy will be making their debut in the new NBC summer series Camp.

3. Dark ShadowsJohnny Depp, Tim Burton & high camp dramedy soap opera remake, yes please! Anything Depp & Burton do in collaboration is an automatic yes in my book. As HBO replays Dark Shadows this past month, I’ve signed on for each viewing in addition to my own personal dvd copy. Don’t judge me.

4. Pitch Perfect – I saw this movie when it came out, because I’m such a fan of Anna Kendrick ever since I saw her in the indie film, Camp. I’m also a lover of all things Rebel Wilson, what a riot, love her as Fat Amy. When I first saw the movie I recognized one of the film’s locations as being the Greek Amphitheater on LSU’s campus. I thought “Nah,” couldn’t be, well then during the riff off in the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse & then the shot of the Music Building it was “OMG! That’s LSU!!!!!” So that movie has an even bigger place in my heart, Geaux Tigers!

I’m Overweight, So What!

I’m Overweight, So What!

This week a friend of mine posted an article from Shine Yahoo, click here to read it.

This article speaks to me on so many levels. One level that is left out, for me anyways, is that I don’t have boyfriend, but her attitude & outlook is to the point.

i was a chubby kid. You can even see when it happened, between kindergarten & 1st grade. I was able to reach the cereal in the cabinets and make myself bowls of cereal late at night. Since my room was right next to the kitchen, 2 rooms away from my parents, who were in the living room, it was my little secret. Not so secret when you see the difference between my kindergarten picture, potentially a skinny cutie in the making if I say so myself. The chubby girl emerged in the 1st grade picture. Hard to really notice the beginnings of the double chin because I was scrunching my lips to hide the fact I’d lost my front teeth :-/

Ever since then I was the chubby girl. I was never able to wear the types clothes my girlfriends wore, ever since I was 6-7 years old. So this body image thing has always been prevalent. The only difference is that my girlfriends never made it a big deal. The only ones who made it a big deal were family & even then it wasn’t a constant issue.

True in elementary school I was keenly aware that I was overweight, but in a small school I was part of the popular kids, in a class of 15, that’s not very hard. I was accepted & felt no ostracizing. Until that fateful day in 7th grade, my best friend and I were talking to one of the troublemaker guys who was being kind of nice at the time. He asked my friend to describe me, while I was standing right there. She proceeded to round arms out to make her torso like a bubble & puff out her cheeks. Yea, I was devastated. It was later discerned that she was under the influence of another girl in our class whom I had always had issues with, we both fought for my bestie’s attention throughout elementary school. It still hurt, however to have my best friend knock me down like that.

High school, I was so not part of the popular groups, especially those first 2 years. THEY SUCKED!! Communal changing rooms, PE first period, kids who were way smarter than I was. I can praise the deity of my choice when I say that thankfully I didn’t develop acne issues until later on in life. But to my friends, the weight didn’t matter at all.

College, yeah well we know how good that goes over with college dudes, being overweight. Plus, I had adopted the observe, then engage mode when meeting new people, which many took for bitchiness. What can I say….I was taking it all in as to how others behaved & interacted with each other. I lived vicariously through my friends & their boyfriends, because that’s when relationships become more important. But yeah, no boys for Darnee in college.

You’d think I’d be damaged by that. Well, while in college is when I truly became okay with how I looked. I began working at Lane Bryant and I joined this group: Advocates for a Better Body Image (ABBI). It was a group of girls that wanted to help girls develop better body images & self esteem. I was also reading books by Emme, first real plus sized super model; Fat?So!, among others. It all came together. I no longer let my body rule/control my self esteem. During & after college I bought a ton of books, some of which I never got around to reading, but just being in my house they gave off the energy needed to let me let any issues I had with my body go.

The thoughts rear their heads a bit, but overall I can say I’m over it. Yes, I try diets, when I let the thoughts win, it would be so much nicer to be able to wear this or look like her. I never win, my will & stamina suck to be able to stick those things out long term. It is a lifestyle choice after all.

The last person I dated, was attracted to me, even said he liked plus size girls. However when he broke up with me he used the weight thing as a point of opposition. Last time I checked I was fat when we met, so I don’t know what he was thinking when he rationalized that one, but oh well.

I’ll continue on, I’m happy with myself as I am, I would like to be thinner, but I know that’s not going to happen, so I can’t let it get me down, then I’d be a basketcase about it all.

So people just need to get used to my voluptuously plump awesomeness!

They Say That…


February, end of winter, is the most depressing time of year. I can totally get that. Life as a single teacher is hard. I know so many of my coworkers whose families help them grade papers, clean their rooms, set up/take down their rooms. So the tasks aren’t as daunting for those of us who have no extra hands. Work is hard, but it’s always hard, I’d like to quote Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own here: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Things just keep getting harder 😦 So that thing I spoke about back in October that was making me all girly giddy happy just fell through. I had suspected as much a while ago, didn’t want to see the writing on the wall, but yeah I got the closure needed to move on. Shame when you think you’ve communicated a lot, apparently it’s still not enough for some.




It seems January is the time to make me & my colleagues squirm in our seats.

Last year during an in service day an assistant principal read this book about these elephants in a Tokyo zoo: Faithful Elephants. During World War II the government was afraid that if their city was bombed the animals would escape from the zoo & reek havoc around town. They ordered the caretakers at the zoo to euthanize most of the animals they deemed dangerous. The caretakers tried to inject the elephants, but the needles kept breaking.

They decided to starve them, well it goes on to say the elephants began doing tricks for their treats, because when they performed they usually got treats. I KNOW RIGHT!!!!!!! I was already going thru DTs & tearing up by the time she read the part about them having to euthanize, sigh…….. My father had just passed away two weeks prior. This was not a good time for this story. I gotta tell ya I don’t even remember what the workshop was about that day only the devastating story she read, ugh!!!

Then the very next session my curriculum person read a story about a puppy who felt ugly, he was a pug, and other dogs made fun of his pushed in nose. I KNOW RIGHT!!!!!! Yeah, then the principal read a bloody western scene in one of his favorite books, sigh……

It was not a good day that day.

Today, I was sitting in a professional development session with a very engaging presenter & she told us this story about learned helplessness. This scientist did an experiment where they brought 2 groups of dogs in. One group they shocked over & over again until they did a little trick that made the shocking stop, yeah, again, not a pleasant story. My muscles, before she even continued the story, clenched/tensed up & I couldn’t type anymore.

As we headed out this afternoon, I vowed to not do any work related stuff this evening, but to snuggle with my pups. If I do any work stuff it’ll only be on pinterest 🙂

One Year From Now


One Year From Now. by Outside Air

Kind of sums up certain things I’ve been thinking about this year & how I want things in my life to change the next year.

Some resolutions Kari mentions in her post I’m adopting:

1. Bring my camera, not just the phone with me whenever I go anywhere.

2. Discipline over my body thing, I’m still the girl who worked her ass off to be okay with how I am physically. I’m still the girl who tried the Medifast diet early last summer & gave up 3 weeks into it, sigh….. I’m going to try & figure out some sort of balance between my love of food & being better at getting more physically active in the New Year.

3. I love the idea of going on small adventures. Doesn’t have to cost anything, but I want to take advantage of the area I live in & explore it.

4. Making time for people. I’d like to think I got better at this during 2012. Especially after my dad passed I made it a point to call my mom at least once a week. I made contact with my childhood friend again when she finally joined facebook. I’m going to be better at keeping communication up with all my family, friends (close & acquaintances).

5. Read more, I have a kindle, I need to read the books I already have on it & make room for new ones that I’ve made note of & haven’t made time for.

6. Improve my blogs. I’ve always had my personal one, but this year I began my professional one. I need to make more time in creating substantial blog posts, not just fleeting, fly by the seat of my pants entries on either blog.

7. Ooooohhhhh, financial discipline: this is a biggie. I need to do it, it’s not an option, I just need to bite the bullet & do it. I’ve seen a couple apps, online & mobile that could help in this arena, I just need to do it.

Here are the ones I’m adding:

8. Organized home. I’m going to try the 52 Week Challenge. Fingers crossed, it focuses on just one small area of the house each week to organize.

9. Build My Personal Relationship, this is still new for me, which I like, still getting to know this person better & how we work together. So that’s all I’m going to put out there for now.

10. Invest more time in becoming a better teacher. I got lucky last year. This year I’m still finding my way with my class with what works for one half & what doesn’t work. I’m committed to devoting my time to making sure these children leave me knowing that I gave them everything in my power to give them to be successful.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year

The First Thanksgiving


It’s a little bit different today. All my siblings are here in town for the holiday. That hasn’t happened for a long time. Thanksgiving was always the short holiday we couldn’t really make it home for, so most everyone just stayed home or took short trips. Fitting since it’s not notabout what you can have but what you already have & should be thankful for.

Thanksgiving was my dad’s favorite holiday. Before I was born my family did Thanksgiving with my father’s side of the family. Things fell by the wayside and individual family units went their own separate ways. My dad always liked when we were all able to be together. If he had the choice he would’ve wanted us to be together on Thanksgiving rather than Christmas.

Time dictates everything so time only allowed us together most times at Christmas, but even then it was rare ALL 6 kids were able to be home for any holiday.

It was only recently that we all began showing up for holidays/family functions together. My brother John’s wedding, my parent’s 50th Anniversary, and most recent my father’s passing. In between we were able to get together in spurts for functions, niece’s shower & wedding.

Lemme clarify a bit, 3 of my brothers were in the military, so getting together always proved a bit challenging.

I just want to say that I’m thankful for my siblings & mother, and will always cherish our times together. Each and every day, minute & second I’m able to be around my family is precious & special. I look forward to these rare occasions more than anything else in life.

Happy Thanksgiving!