Category Archives: Home

I’m a Lion

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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.

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Summer Obsessions

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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!

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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…

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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.

 

One Year From Now

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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

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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!

Easy Beginnings

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Some thing new has been happening the last 2 months. Something’s made me very happy, not sure I want to share all that much, but every time I think about it, I get all girly happy again. I cling to this idea, those thoughts & sweet memories when work gets a little crazy. I just close my door to my classroom when I have a free 5-10 minutes & reminisce about that something.

Work has been quite crazy this last month; with meetings, conferences, data, report cards, comments, etc stress seeps in where it can. Hence those stolen moments alone in a quiet class when the kids are at lunch or in Specials.

I love my job. I love my students this year. True, I missed my kiddos from last year, but I am growing more & more fond of my kids and their quirks. One of my current students moved this week, it was also her birthday, I miss her already & her sweet nature with her classmates, she was a doll.

One of my former students moved also, about 2 weeks ago 😦 His mom worked at our campus for the past 2-3 yrs. She’s one of those great parents, that just get it, because she was around the teachers & kids all day long. Their last few days at school were tough. The second to last day I saw my former student out at parent pick-up, which reminded me it was getting closer. I started to tear up but was able to hold it back.

The next day however, different story. They weren’t out at parent pick-up, she was finalizing last minute things in the front office. The minute my student (they’ll always be mine) hugged me goodbye I lost it. Lost it even more when she hugged me & said “Thank you for teaching my kid.” (So crying right now too) It’s those kids & moments like this that make the crazy day-in & day-out random BS endurable.

Those kiddos are having to start over at new schools, make new friends, learning the ropes in their new towns. I’m blessed to have been a part of their young lives & will use what I learned while they were mine with all my kids, because every day is a new beginning, easy or not 🙂

Til next time.

Nails

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I’ve been getting acrylic nails off & on since college. In Baton Rouge there’s was this one place next to Delchamp’s on Highland & College. Loved them, they got me hooked. Then I had them removed for a little bit. See I go through phases where I love the nails, love how they look & since I talk with my hands it’s definitely a fun look.

I lived in Marksville, LA for about 4 years before moving to Texas & let’s just say I was less than impressed with the nail salons there. My mom goes to the one I tried & I just don’t see how she does it. It’s like musical chairs, not just one person works on you, I no like that!

Enter 2005, Killeen, TX. I visited Perfection nails with my sister-in-law. I was talked into the solar nails, a new thing in nail trends. They go on just like the acrylics, but they are buffed & polished & there was no drying time, seriously!! These nails changed my life. I personally like the french white tips (ie solid white) like white out white tips & the palest pink for the nail beds. I’ve seen the “natural” tips & it just makes me think the nails are dirty.

Since then I’ve tried other salons here in town & I just don’t like the job they do. I’ve gone with friends who wanted to try new places, so I was a good friend & tagged along. Good heavens what these people did to my nails, was sooooo not happy. I always went back to Perfection. Now I’m a loyal customer. I adore Michelle who does awesome amazing pedicures & can pretty much do any toenail design you show her. I myself have been the recipient of the following designs: spider & it’s web, Frankenstein, vampires, mummies, 80’s pop color patchwork, a variety of flowers, abstract lines, etc. Michelle is da bomb.

As for the nails, I’ve had awesome nail techs & not so awesome. The ones who stay know my nails & that I’m sen-si-tive 😦 I hate it when my favorites leave or move, suuuuuuucks having to try out new ones. Or even worse when you find one you like & they are always busy when you do the walk-in. Well one guy who did my nails twice before I got my favorite one back was awful. He nagged me about getting a new set, but then would tell me I only needed one color cuz he wanted to save me money, really?!?! Gawd! So finally 2 weeks ago I went in & got my new favorite again & have succumbed to just making the appointments with him.

Today I had my first appointment, Yay! Fresh new nails & a pedicure that resulted in what’s below. How awesome are those toes, I mean really, totally ready for summer now!! On the downward slope at school, it’s time for it to be over & done, get my summer on. Til then I can rock these purty toes!!

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Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

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That was my dad’s campaign slogan when he ran for his Lions’ Club District back in the early ’90s. It was a direct chant from the 1993 movie Rudy.

In tribute, Michael reminded me that Daddy’s favorite song was “Danny Boy”

Last night I turned on IFC and watched Shadow of the Vampire. The story of how Nosferatu was made & how the conspiracy theory that Max Shreck was really a vampire would’ve made my dad chuckle at the idea. My dad loved those old horror movies: Bela Lugosi & Lon Chaney were talked about as if they were his old friends. He also adored old westerns & oldies but goodies on AMC. He & mom would fight over the TV channels all the time 🙂

A couple of my siblings posted how dad taught them a love of reading & music. It’s true, left up to our mom, our love of music would’ve stopped at 50’s classics & country music. Dad always rolled out the classical, the scottish bagpipes, the soundtracks to the greatest films from the 40’s & 50’s, those old ballads & great songs of his childhood, cant’ forget the hyms, & gregorian chants cd’s he became fond of while I was in high school.

He passed away on January 6, 2012. As much as my dad loved historical dates & their significance, I’m sure he loves knowing the fact he left this world on the Epiphany. It seems only fitting I write this remembrance piece the weekend of Mardi Gras. A time when our family & friends used to come over to our house & celebrate & revel in the festivities. My dad loved the holidays, even more so as time went on & we all moved away to make our lives elsewhere, they became more important to him.

He converted to Catholicism to marry my mom in the church. He grew up Lutheran. I can see his curiosity for religion in my brothers Michael & John. Those two have studied like fiends about different religions & the inner workings of the Bible. I too dabbled a bit in searching for the perfect religious path. I find that Catholicism feels most like home, but I appreciate & and mix & match if you will things that make sense to me from other practices.

As any dad should mine left an indelible mark on each of his six children. He influenced us for better or worse & we grew up with a really great dad in the end. So felt by the outpouring of condolences & support we received from family & friends in Marksville & Lousisiana & everywhere else my dad wandered this world. I was humbled by the line of people paying their respects at Schoen’s that Wednesday morning in New Orleans, where my dad lived most his life. People from his high school, the National Guard, Lions Club, etc said the most wonderful things about him.

My best friend, Shannon, wasn’t able to come back to NOLA for the funeral, she had just come in for the Christmas Break, so her mother came for the both of them. Ms. Shelly told Shannon the night my father passed, which she didn’t know at the time, she woke up around 3 in the morning & felt the need to say a prayer for my dad & the family. She didn’t find out til later that that was right after he had passed away.

I was told once that when I was younger I led souls to the other side while dreamt. I know, just go with me here 🙂 A week after my dad passed one of my nieces said she dreamt of dad in a lake/pond up to his chest. He was just standing there smiling & waving to her. Kind of telling her that things were alright & everything was going to be okay. That day we spent the afternoon/day at one of my brother’s friends house watching the NO Saints lose to the 49er’s. Despite the outcome of the game it was one of the best times we’ve all had, just being there not thinking about my dad being gone but that he would’ve been right there fussing at the tv with the rest of us.

I’ll continue to remember my dad as time goes on & things I come across bring up a memory, I hope that never stops & I’ll never forget the legacy he left behind. He felt humbled & lucky to have married his best friend & have 6 wonderful children, if I do say so myself 🙂 I only wish to be able to be blessed with all the good things as he was.

Summer Reflection 2011

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Whew! That went by quick. I was anticipating summer like most of those in my profession, education. But unlike others who take nice long vacations or educational type journeys, I spent my lazy days of summer doing just that, being lazy. I did spend most of June in various workshops offered by my district, that’s just because I’m a nerd & I admit it.

I do look forward to seeing my family during the summer when I can stay longer than an extended weekend like during the school year. For 10 days I went home, well my last home before I moved to Texas anyways, I’ve had 4 homes so to speak. My poor mother was suffering with incredible back pain and I tried to help her pack a few things up since they are moving into a house my sister & bro-in-law are building.

I particularly enjoyed my time with my sister, niece & family friends. Not that I didn’t enjoy my mom, but packing isn’t one of my favorite past-times. My sister is starting a non-profit group to go after grants for educational & cultural programs for native american tribes. We spent a lot of time working together & getting some things started.

After I came home I started poking around & getting ready for the upcoming year. Needlesstosay I spent most of my summer “working.” I searched off and on everyday to find those little tricks and odds & ends that will make this year easier than last year. I put things away in the mental file to be accessed later as well as the paper files, lots of professional development files 🙂

School has now started. I have a great group of kids. I work with a wonderful group of teachers. So far this year is looking like it’s going to be pretty good, in comparison to some of the former years. Now being more familiar with what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

Here’s to a great year to come!