peachyteachy

For realsies

Drinking the Kool Aid of the Cult of Inadequacy March 15, 2015

Filed under: family,humor,inspiration,life — peachyteachy @ 12:32 pm
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Everyone likes a good shortcut, I suppose.  In the era of multitasking and inadequacy, I fear that things are getting out of hand. When the hell did Hints from Heloise morph into life hacks? I know that it emerged from the geek world, but if you find  yourself bringing a Magic Eraser® into the shower to multitask/hack in there, you might very well be drinking that Kool Aid®, and chances are that you have been Pinterest-shamed out of ever purchasing that powdery pack of sugar and color again.  Cuz that is not clean food. That is hair dye.

And another thing: the word “hack” brings to my mind images of a saw, used to escape dark and dreary prisons (as opposed to the light and airy prisons where they keep the criminally adequate), 0r something I might find in the bottom of one of my second grade students’ backpacks.

Have you ever clicked on a link to a video of three hundred hacks for apple cider vinegar? No. No, neither have I. All of these opportunities to become better than ever before through the miracle of life hacking have made me feel less together than ever.

That damned eraser displayed no magic, by the way. Kool Aid man, take me away!

 

Cheap Anti-Depressant: Pay it Forward November 8, 2014

Filed under: inspiration,life,motivation,parenting — peachyteachy @ 6:18 pm
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This morning, I was in the checkout line at Aldi.  Aldi is a discount grocery store. I freaking love it.

Today, the shopper in front of me had filled her cart, and had overshot her budget. She asked me for a dollar, and I responded, truthfully, that I had no cash (I am a plastic person; not super proud of that). Things proceeded. I waited. I started to think judgmental thoughts. All of my  ugly cultural biases started to rear their ugly heads. I started to think that I had chosen the wrong lane, which is my shopping specialty.  She kept taking things out of her cart.

The checkout people at Aldi are super nice, as a rule.  The guy in this lane was clearly doing his level best to remain patient.  But there was still a chunk of order on the conveyer belt that remained to be sorted. . .

Then I said, “Ma’am, if you are still having trouble covering it, I would like to take care of it.”

She went from stress to joy instantly.  She high fived me, then my son, thanking me again and again, and telling my son that he has a really nice mother.

The fact is that I have faced financial panic at many points.  I remember my mom counting change.  I have applied for public assistance when I was working full time, to keep my family afloat.  It sucked.

This woman could have easily been one of my student’s parents.  But it doesn’t matter, and I will never know.

I covered twenty-one dollars of her groceries.  No huge virtue of mine at all. Instead of feeling pissy and annoyed (a real option, let’s face it) I got to feel, without a doubt, that I had made a right choice today.  The biggest and best choice of today.

 

The Groupon Cult October 18, 2014

Filed under: humor,life,writing — peachyteachy @ 3:16 pm
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The other night, I attended a book tour date of a well-known humorist who likes to pick up garbage in England.  The deal had been sweetened by the appearance in my inbox of a ticket discount from Groupon ™!

Upon my arrival at the event, it became clear that the gig was not a sellout—at least, not in the balcony.  Except, as you can see, for those of us who bought the Groupon. Behold, the Groupon Row:

groupon rowNote the expanse of empty rows behind and in front of us.  Cozy. I was alone, too, with elbows tucked close to my ribs.

We are the Groupon Nation. I’ll bet there was a disproportionately large number of people with smashing mani-pedis, too.

 

Slippery Slope June 7, 2014

Filed under: flowers,gardening,humor,life — peachyteachy @ 8:27 pm
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Today I planted a big hydrangea on a steep slope.

We both fell down.

I slid down. Twice.

Here’s the thing.

It wasn’t all,

GO SEXY MILLAH TIME CUTOFFFS GIRL TUMBLING DOWN THE HILL.

Nuh-uh.

My serious get ’em dirty clothes lack a certain “Pepsi Generation” vibe.

It was too hot to wear my Levi’s with the knee blown out. I still like to think that those are smoldering with sex appeal.

As long as no one breaks a hip.

 

 

High Five May 18, 2014

Filed under: humor,inspiration,life — peachyteachy @ 8:24 pm

 

I just noticed that, in my list of categories, humor, inspiration, and life live next door to each other. And I didn’t even plan it that way.  If I used the category “Horrible Shit,” that would closely precede them all, and wisely so.

There is this lovely handful of folks who may have noticed that I have not posted much lately. There’s no big story, really, or at least not one that you couldn’t have predicted.  Work overwhelms; the task of achieving enough-ness becomes more and more detailed and detached from where my heart dwells in the world of education.  It is a comedy of errors, with emphasis on the errors.

Sun has finally returned, and green in all its crazy variety, and soon Caprese salad will take its rightful place in my priorities. My gratitude for this is beyond overwhelming.

A certain reign of terror will also ride off into the sunset.  For this, I am also grateful.  It was worth it, only because of the people who joined me and walked it with me.  Horrible shit is like that, rife with blessings.

And sometimes, it is a song that becomes friend, and pulls you back from the edge.

 

Sometimes, a poem.

Thanks

by

Image of lake

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.

 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

 

 

 

I Love Hand-Me-Downs! March 12, 2014

Filed under: cooking,food,humor,life — peachyteachy @ 10:03 am
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This is my “newer” slow cooker! Okay, it’s my slow cooker’s identical twin.  You’ll notice that it lacks a touchscreen—that just means that it will last for another thirty years, all the while retaining its ability to tenderize a side of beef, given enough unattended hours.

The best thing about this baby is that it was free.  My older slow cooker was a yellow/greenish gingham number without a removable crock. We’re talking Flintstones era.

Yes, I am blessed to have a Kitchen Stuff Benefactor—it’s my friend Shazam, who lives in another state, and whom I visit on an annual basis.  When Shazam gets a new small appliance or kitchen item, I am pretty sure that she pops it into a box with my name on it.  If there are any other names on the box, Shazam, I don’t want to know.  This item, which is working on some corned beef as I write, was from several years ago.  Last year, I scored Shazam’s “extra” popover pan—her dinner parties’ loss was my gain! I am in love with popovers.

I do stroll down the slow cooker aisle at Target once in awhile.  Those snappy chevron stripe models are so seductive.  But if I bought a new one, I would probably end up with it hidden under a gingham crock cozy when I’m eighty.  And I wouldn’t think of my friend Shazam whenever I cook slowly.  Our arrangement is so much better.

Of course, I have to balance this generosity with a fair amount of Salvation Army donation on my part.  That’s what summer is for.

 

 

Normal is Overrated February 26, 2014

Filed under: family,life,music — peachyteachy @ 9:00 pm
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When emotions are high, or raw, or low—this is when music is most essential.

I sometimes fall into a feeling of normalcy over some things.  That my parents are no longer walking around in the world.  That my only sibling is mentally ill.  That they were, we were, once, a little family with little kids and dreams for the future.

The crashing of the dreams is the most haunting part.

Tonight I am reminded and it doesn’t feel normal (although that state may be a delusional one, at best).

So I landed on the song. I had to listen so hard to hear the story. But it was worth sticking around for.

 

 

 

 

A Human Being/A Human Doing January 12, 2014

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” Such a trite little New Ageism, probably coined by Stuart Smalley, back before Al Franken became a US Senator.

Actually, I did come across a blurb that encapsulates the sentiment:

 “I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

The To-Do List is, as we all know, never done. NEVER.  What a freaking recipe for disaster. Even if every item were ever crossed off, another five or so would stand up, front and center, to remind us of our basic, gnawing,  inadequacy.   Sweet.

I have a colleague who writes stuff down and shoves it in his pocket, a sort of deconstructed to-do list.  There is a certain genius in this, I think, not because it is foolproof and he will never forget something, but because he WILL.  There is space for a human being to accidentally wash away the reminder of the human doing when the jeans hit the wash with one pocket uncleared.  Disaster? Hardly.  I, for one, need to remember from time to time that the world is, in fact, NOT going to come crashing to a halt if something on the list slips through the cracks.

But what if it’s something important?

Really? Is it? Will it be in a year? Will it result in  someone being deeply hurt by me? Mostly, even seemingly crucial deadlines would, in fact, end up compromising my ego more than anything else. For me, some of my most egregious errors probably were in the following category: I am freaking out and sick to my stomach about the message I am getting that there is no way I can do enough or be good enough at work—and that pain and fear makes me edgy and impatient with my loved ones.  Oh, yeah, priorities straight as an arrow there.  Doing a couple more hours of data recording for my teaching job is going to take care of everything.

What will take care of everything? How the hell do I know? I suspect it has to do with shutting up and letting my son’s words wash over me when I am overwhelmed: “You’re the best Mom ever.”  When I forget, he tells me again.

I was reading something the other day that gently reminded me of the fact that we really are all just a mess and that’s okay and no one knows how the hell we’re going to traverse the next little bit.   So we try to make a little to-do roadmap and it never feels as neat as we think it should.  Because to-do keeps on collecting, tenacious, like dust.

“You’re the best mom ever.”  It is super shiny, every time! No to-do attached! What a relief.

 

 

 

Image: http://www.holisticwithhumor.com

 

 

Fa-La-La-La-Loss December 28, 2013

Filed under: humor,inspiration,life,parenting — peachyteachy @ 9:02 pm
Tags: ,

This year, the holidays giveth, and the holidays taketh away.

It is not as if I invented this phenomenon; so many forms of loss take no vacations during the holiday season.  People die, people leave, people fall short of expectations.  And then we are stuck with those loss memories during the holidays for the rest of time.

For the Peachy household, this was the year that the recent college graduate got a job in a big city, and left the day after Christmas.  Proud? Yes! Excited for him? Yes!

Heartbroken? That too.  This is it.  This is IT.  We had settled into the “I have a kid at college” routine, where we looked forward to those extended breaks, and had a period of sadness after the return to school.

Then, after graduation, we had an extended period of transition—a lovely time, in many ways—one that would, arguably, have festered after a time into something far less desirable.  But, as it was, not bad at all, especially for little brother.

I have this weird guilt about the fact that my chance to be the perfect parent has just expired.  The most foolish of aspirations, haunting me.  He brought a package of tempera paints over from cleaning his room at his dad’s house.  I bought those paints when he was little.  Clearly, we didn’t paint enough.   He’ll probably bring that to therapy.  Or, worse, to some future girlfriend.  She’ll breezily break out a whimsical art project, and he will confide in her the insecurities born of those early non-tempera painting projects. “Even though the paint was there all the time!”

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how proud and excited you are for your kid.  It’s your baby and, at some level,  your heart will never know how to let go.  You cry. You watch sit-coms. You research gourmet food stores near their new apartment.

Happy Holidays.

 

 

Taking One For the Team December 17, 2013

Filed under: humor,life,school,teaching — peachyteachy @ 7:18 pm
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Yes, well, sometimes, state departments of education decide to visit  low-performing  schools the week before Christmas break.  For three days.  A team swoops in and observes classrooms with the expectation that the teachers and students will be demonstrating best practice and best  behavior and best planning and best data whoring.

On a full moon.

Which is a naive myth to all of you superior people who have never been responsible for a pack of twenty-to-thirty younglings for six to seven hours a day.  Children teach one the ways of the moon, my friend.  I’m sorry for calling you superior. There’s too much superiority hovering around these days; I’m starting to see it where it doesn’t dwell.

Don’t imagine that any of these days before Christmas will include any moment of special holiday preparation, or story or, heaven forbid, crafts!  No.  The children will complete unit assessments in both reading and writing. Please bring me to litigation if I am off the mark when I say that I cherish the sweet treasures brought home from school  by my babies —and that I do not give a rat’s ass about the score they received on some unit test.

Never mind all of that.  Take a walk into my classroom today,  after lunch (translation: the witching hour).  Sitting comfortably in my desk chair (which is probably infested with bedbugs) is a representative of a state department of education.  Unfolding before him is a veritable three ring circus of children who have apparently been given cappuccino for lunch, if you go by the calling out, falling out of chairs, and approaching the teacher to complain of various medical maladies. It is a perfect storm of we-took-a-test-it’s-almost-Christmas-break-the-moon-is-full-phonics-is-only-good-if-you-yell-it.

The problem is that, in these situations, you can’t crack the whip the way you would normally. You are trying to use all the positive strategies to turn the craziness around, when in fact they need their fearless leader to yell the hell out of it for a minute. Instead, it was as if Ozzy Osbourne had inhabited my class.   You can bet that when that state dude left, it was not pretty.

My only comfort is the thought that I made the rest of my teammates look really good in comparison. As for me, this would be an optimum time for the Megamillions to smile on down on Peachyteachy.  Today, all I want to do is stay home and bake.

image: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/do-full-moons-make-people-crazy-12157.jpg

 

 
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