Saturday, August 27, 2011

Recycle. Repurpose. Reuse.

Some of my friends have given me the nickname "recycling enthusiast".
I fully try to embrace the three R's.
Recycle. Repurpose. Reuse.
School has only been in session for one full week and two of my paper recycling bins are almost full.

One of the many things I reuse is manilla folders.
Just flip them inside out and they are as good as new.
And like other teachers, I have used some of my own things from home to stock my classroom.
One such manilla folder is on my desk.
At the back of my standing file holder.

Thursday evening as I was working after the children had left.
I walked from the back of the classroom toward my desk.
Probably after dropping paper in the recycling bin.
There I saw it.
My heart skipped a beat.
I paused.

The back of the manilla folder stared at me.
Two simple words.
Capital One.
It was not the words that stopped me.
It was the handwriting.
Not my handwriting.
Not Mr. X's.
But Roger's.

Handwriting is a funny thing.
It is evidence you did exist.
You are not part of my imagination.
You are not part of some dream that never happened.
Such a simple reminder.

And the cool thing.
You are there.
In my classroom.
With me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Most people think that New Yorkers are cold, rude, and there is no sense of community there.
I would disagree completely.
While I lived there, I had community.
A very nice one.
The Greek diner for Sunday morning breakfast.
The dinner across the street from my office who knew my order by my face.
Butter roll with sweet-n-light coffee.
My neighbors who always said hello.
Even letting me hang out in their home when I locked myself out.

When I moved in with Roger in the other house, his neighbors barely waved at us.
I craved community.
I wanted people to say hi to me.
Borrow sugar.
And then I discovered the neighborhood I live in now.
I was excited when I first found it.
The grocery store is in walking distance.
There is a bakery locally owned.
Loads of small businesses.
My neighborhood has outdoor movie nights once a month.
Festivals for every sort of event.
Yet, my neighbors ignored me.
Most people on the street or in the grocery store will not even make eye contact.
Even the few people I have met who do live near me, do not really try to be friends.
Especially since I do not have kids.
I was disappointed once more.

Today I realized something.
The school I will be working in is in my neighborhood.
Some of my fellow teachers live in my neighborhood.
They are friendly.
And as much as I hesitated to take a job within my neighborhood.
I will get my craving.
I will have my sense of community.
I will be part of something big.
Part of a "village".

All because three years ago.
Three years ago and I am here.
Living in a community.
Working in a community.
I love it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Never Nervous

Last night Kevin and I were watching Next Food Network Star finale.  
It is one of my guilty pleasures and one of the only reality TV shows I watch.
Mr. X and I watch it together as I got him into it as well.  
One of the finalist talked about her father.
Tears came to her eyes.
She talked about how he was always so calm.
He never got nervous but just with through life with a positive attitude.
He has passed away in the last few years.

Tears immediately starting flowing.
Mr. X was like "Why are you crying?"
For my dad, no.
For missing Roger.  
He was always calm no matter what the situation.
And I loved that about him.
When buying our house, calm as a cucumber.
The day before the wedding, cool and collected.
Nothing seemed to rock him.
I asked once if he ever got nervous or anxious.
"Nope, not really.  I have already ran through all the possibilities and the worse case scenario."

Last night as I prepared for my first day of pre-planning, my nerves were become more and more apparent.
My attention span became shorter.
I could not sit still.
My anxiety was elevating.
My heart was starting to race.
Would my coworkers like me?
Would they be helpful?
Can I really do this job?

Why could I not be like Roger?
Even though I have looked at all the possibilities.
That does not reassure me.
That actually makes my brain go into overdrive trying to solve all of the scenarios.

But thankfully today went well.
I am happy with the decision to work at this school.  
And I am loving my coworkers.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yesterday, August 7th

Yesterday was horrid.
It has been a long time since I felt so crappy on an important day.
This one snuck up on me.
I did not know it would be such a big deal to me but it was.
And sadly, I felt so alone.
So friendless.

It felt like everyone, except for Roger's family and me, forgot.
My phone did not ring.
No text messages.
No offers to come by.
Not even emails until I expressed how sad I was.

I cannot predict my grief.
But yesterday was horrid.
And disappointing.

Mr. X tried to deal with the ball of emotion that was me.
He tried to hug me.
Tears just sat on the verge of falling all day.
Maybe they think Mr. X can handle it.
Maybe they think it has been three years and I should get over it.
Some may say it is not even a big deal.

Everyone else went on with their life yesterday.
I stayed inside most of the day except for the brief stent to the grocery store to buy cake making supplies.
My body felt so heavy.
Napped when I could not handle it anymore.

As promised, I made Roger a cake.
With layers.
It was not very pretty but it was done.
And it is yummy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Always With You"

Like most people, Mr. X likes Harry Potter.
Both the books and the movie.
I, unlike most people, have never read the books.
Years ago, I watched the first and second movies but fell asleep during the second movie.
I have gone to Harry Potter land here in Orlando but mostly for Mr. X.

A friend of ours was hosting a Harry Potter night last weekend.
He was showing part I of the last movie at his home and then we were going to go see part II at a theatre.  
Now, I was mostly doing this for Mr. X.
And to have social time since I do not see this friend too often.

I was a bit nervous.
Would I be completely lost seeing the end of the series and not the middle?
However, the movie was done well enough that I could keep up relatively well.
Not to mention, I have heard many people talk about it enough times that I know a general idea of what has happened.

I did not expect for grief to come into play.
Yes, I had an idea that Harry died or something.
Yes, lots of other people had died too.
But lots people die in lots of movies.
That is not what got me.
What got me was his mother.

I used to tease Roger when we were not together for whatever reason.
As we were talking online or on the phone, I would say something like: 
"How do you know? You aren't here."
He had the same reply every time.
"I am always with you."
Sometimes he would follow up, "I just have to close my eyes and there you are."

Harry Potter's mother said something similar to him near the end after he died.
Something like:
"I will always be with you.  I have always been."
I started to cry.
Thank God for dark theatres.
It makes me tear up even now.

I am not sure if I truly believe Roger is always with me now.
It is hard for me to digest since I cannot always feel him.
And sometimes I wonder if I am making it up in my head when I do.  
But sometimes it does make me feel better.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Well, despite my best efforts and crankiness.
Despite all my wishing it would not happen.
August is here.

This August is even a bigger deal for me.
On Sunday, Roger would be thirty-seven.
Thirty-seven years old!
It is so hard to fathom him so old.
Ironically, since he will never be actually.
I could not believe he was thirty-four when he died.
I wonder what he would look like now.
My plan for Sunday is to bake a cake for him.
With layers.
And probably chocolate.

Although I have been working like mad in my own classroom,
I am not officially employed until August 15th.
And I have been mostly unemployed since August of 2008.
Three years of not really having a boss, except for me.
Being only responsible to myself to go to school and do my best [4.0 GPA with three certifications might I add].
To create my own photography business.
But now I will have many bosses, responsibilities, and obligations.
I am nervous.
Mr. X says I am stressed.
He is probably right.
I like being good at a job.
I like being perfect at a job.

Then, the 28th...
Three years since he left.
Since he fucking died and left me.
It is still hard for me to believe.
Still moments where I have to pinch myself.
And pinch Mr. X.
Moments where I cannot believe he actually died and did not just leave me.
Moments where I cannot believe I can feel happiness again.

Gladly, August is only thirty-one days.
Thirty-one long days.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Saturday night my heart almost stopped.
Mr. X and I were on our way to a friend's house to watch one of the Harry Potter movies.
We were on "the" road in a loaner car.
We had just passed the accident scene about five minutes before.
As we approached an on-ramp I saw quite a few cars needing to get onto the highway.
So I did what drivers are supposed to do.
I signaled.
I got into the left lane.

The SUV in the right lane just ahead of me decided to get into my lane.
No signal.
No looking.
Just over.
He was about a foot away from the passenger side door.
The side Mr. X was sitting.
I started honking my horn.
The driver started swerving all over the road.
I was torn between hitting my brakes even though there was a mini-van behind me.
Or driving off the side of the road.
Would I go across the median if I went off the road?
I had to slow down though or we were going to hit the SUV.
The van behind me thankfully saw the situation.
The driver went almost off the road as he saw my brake lights.
The SUV got back into the right lane.
And I tried to make sure not to lose control of the wheel.

It was all over in a matter of seconds.
No car hit another.
No one got hurt.
No one died.
But my heart was seriously racing.
In my mind, I could hear the crashing noise.
That unmistakable sound of metal bending and clashing.
And I was scared of losing Mr. X.

Mr. X offered to drive since I was shaken up.
He told me how well I did making quick decisions and handling the car.
Of course I did not take him up on the offer to drive.
No, I am strong.
I can do this.
But I used the excuse the car is a loaner.

I got away from the SUV as quickly as I could.
Unsafe drivers annoy me so much.
There is no way he looked before coming into my lane.
And no signal for a lane change on a major highway?!?

Please be aware when driving.
Please do not text and drive.
Be ten times more careful when you have other passengers in the car.
And obviously, do not drink and drive.
A car is such a heavy piece of equipment and can easily injure/kill others.