Revisiting 9/11

7/29/2020

Today marks, not a date of significance, but the re-watching of a Blue Bloods episode linked to 9/11. So, with that thought in mind I am going to post my thoughts on the day. Hopefully, not having the actual anniversary in play will allow it to have a softer tone for those of you who are still angry or hurt after all this time.

one point – even nearly two decades, the thoughts are scattered so forgive the execution.

9/11/2001

I was in my home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. I was married and he was off on a job in Pittsburgh working on a power plant that was working at a diminished level which goes with off season use. 

That morning I got up like any other day. As we all know, it was a Tuesday that was bright, crisp and easy to remember as one of the good ones. Or at least, it could have been. After washing up, I put on my uniform for work, and went downstairs. I was a clerk at a local hardware store, and often was on the ten to closing shift since I have experience working with banking. The first thing I did after grabbing a cup of coffee was sit down at the computer and to log into my email. I never got that far.

The photo of a plane in flight heading toward the tower with the headline of a crash was only post I saw. Jumping up, I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV just in time to miss the second collision. 

The sense of utter disbelief and possible explanations that we all felt at the time were flying through my mind as I took in what the news report was sharing. Had I been on the west coast, where I am now, I may have missed it all. Had I not taken my time getting ready and grabbed coffee first, I may have seen every moment. As it was, I spent the day looking for more information, seeking out every nugget I could find in an attempt to explain away the horror.

Even at work I listened to the radio as loud and long as they would allow me to. Of course, the morning anchor had to make mention that, had this truly been a terrorist attack, the power plants would have been a more destructive way to share their message. Fortunately, I was able to express my displeasure about that via email, and because of it, I spent the day stressed that it would become a possible threat. That is until a couple of my ex’s coworkers came into work and allayed my fears. After United 93 crashed within 30 miles of us, it was a significant moment that brought a little relief to the day.

That night we went out for dinner and, of course, we spent the night watching the news, filling in the blanks that the audio from the radio didn’t fill that morning. 

I learned of a small aircraft that was redirected after nearly being hit by Flight 93… to the airport 2 miles down the road that I lived on. I saw people who unified on the streets of New York, caring not who those near them were, but rather that they all were shocked and feeling the same helpless sensation I felt from a state away.

I began to track the emergency personnel lost in the towers, and followed every prediction and detail I could get my hands on. 

To this day, nearly 19 years later, I am still seeking information. I have read books from the family members, and solid news sources, placing them within easy reach to use in the classroom every year. In all this time, I still connect more to the 93 symbolism, than 911. My birthday is September 3rd. It was also Jeremy Glick’s, a man who helped fight back on Flight 93 and kept one more building from falling under attack.

My mission is to bring an awareness to my students and any around me, to the fact that hundreds… thousands… of people walked away from jobs to join the service. To help sift through the rubble of ground zero. To provide services to those individuals unable to leave The Pile without having found every person possible.

A favorite movie that I hunt for every year around this time is called “The Guys” with Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia. The two of them drive the narrative as he is trying to find the words to share with families so there is a proper memorial service for six of his coworkers, even if no remains can be found. Sigourney provides the words by interviewing him allowing the shock, anger, and sadness, even joy at the men’s personalities, to wash over them. Riding that wave takes me back, but it also supplied one thing that took a good four years for me to do. 

I always find a way to put emotions into poetry. It took me until March of 2005 to find those words. To know how to encapsulate the day into a few short stanzas expressing my appreciation for the men and women who leave home every day striving to do nothing more than keep their cities and towns as safe as possible.

For me, teaching of the day is a mission that I must do so no one is forgotten. The writing is a plus that helps me keep my mind focused. Weed out all of the details that overwhelm rather than support the cause. It also helps me create new lessons for my crew to do regarding the towers, but I still fall back to the same favored lesson. 

It came from a history buff who had a degree, but chose, instead to leave a drawing on my chalkboard, when he worked as one of our maintenance staff. He depicts the impact zones on the towers and asks, how could the buildings have been built allowing everyone a chance to escape? The favorite is to equip every desk with a parachute. Ingenious, and quite interesting that three different schools worth of students have chosen the same answer.

I wish I could say that I was one who had moved past the event, but I may be one that processes September 11 for the rest of their life.  I hope whatever trials you have faced, are facing, or will face, can be encapsulated into their own bubble of art or activity that will help you process faster and more effectively.

Thank you for listening to me ramble yet one more time.

Hope you are well and taking care.

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

Labels again… but character driven.


So… I’m still stuck on labels again today, but I wanna make it fun and interesting. Do you remember “The Breakfast Club?” The athlete… The Princess… The Criminal… The Basketcase… The Brain?” 

If you’re like me, you fell into all kinds of labels, but none of them were as unique as those you gained outside of high school. As a teen I was an athlete and a brain as were many of my teammates. The one you may already have guessed if you read the last post, and one that I think I am most proud of, is loner. At times it was a bummer, but I learned a lot about myself in those times. They have also lent amazing insight to what I needed now. A single divorced teacher in a very small town. I have found my tools that helped make it a well worthwhile choice. Soo… with that thought in mind, here are a few adult labels that I have heard through the years.

I have been tagged as…

1. The Rottweiler’s owner/mom

2. The hyper yellow dog’s mom

3. The photography lady

4. … this one is more a matter of interpretation more than what I have heard… ‘The lady who hollers long and loud’

…. love my cross country and basketball students. Lung power from singing has added a whole new level of volume and breath control that garners reactions when I get fully engaged and want my crew to feel the support.

5. The local cat lady 

… seriously I didn’t even try… nor intend to be… All I wanted to do was give a couple of cats a place to stay until I could find their forever home because they were in a building that was going to be torn down. Four years later… two became close to twenty because of them and the fact that the neighbor’s had a cat who left a litter here… and they stayed… and had litters too. Now ‘fix them’ you say… so do I, but feral is the name of the game right now… ugh…

As you can tell, critters are a passion and focal point for me. Sanity they do provide so I indulge them and living in a ranching community, pets are a big deal. Now you may be wondering why… why I must prattle on about labels and just ramble on and on. Well… Mostly it is because I am attempting to use this tool as a method to a character building madness. That and I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month, so I have a writing goal and since I am stuck on their cute, crazy or complicated quirks – you all have to suffa…ha! Hopefully you read this because you want to. 😀

Anyway… Here are my primary ideas for my now six, characters that lead the charge.

Phelan is an artist who works with charcoal. He is sixteen, a very supportive friend, and … psh… that is all it feels like I know. I have his appearance down. I have that he doesn’t ask for help easily, but I don’t have what inspires a need to ask for help. I don’t have a solid feel for what his weakness is.

Next is Cerri (Cerridwyn – k sound if needed), who is is self proclaimed best friend from elementary school. An athlete who loves to write in secret, is strong willed and always watching out for her friends whether they need it or not. She is the guardian and temper is a weakness for her. Owning that she loves to write is becoming a possible second. Still – only these basics and appearance are identified.

Next is Keegan. I want one to have a defined weakness and he is my go to character. One that deals with autism or ptsd. I chose those because I understand them, and I know the abilities linked to them. I have yet to fully wrap my mind around how to fully apply either, though the fact that he has troubles with gaining access to his power could be a confidence issue, or a trigger to help me build off of. 

Willow is a talented horticulturist and Cerri’s cousin, but lives with her and is more of a sister since her parents were in a wreck when they were little. She is a year younger than the others, but her no-nonsense attitude gives her an edge on them. Weakness…. she is short…. not gonna work. So am I. She is… stubborn… need I repeat myself? Smart, to the point of annoying others – maybe. That could be the asset which draws her into arguments that are not necessary simply because it is a processing tool… hmm.. interesting.. See? Talking it out, even on paper, works. I like the arguing simply to fine tune her thoughts idea.

Okay… so now we are at Myles. He is someone who has a magical voice that always draws people in when he sings, but it drives his friends crazy because they see him enough to appreciate moments that do NOT require music. And yet he tries hard to make it work anyway. He also could be classified as the class or group clown. With him it is relatively easy. His love of music and performing are the same as Willow’s – strength and weakness all wrapped up in one.

Now my last is one I have been stewing on for three years. Yep. I knew I wanted another girl in the picture but this week is when I finally nailed down who it would be. Kaylin is brought into the tale in book 2 – Cerri’s adventure – through a misadventure of her own. She had been kidnapped and Cerri stumbles onto them when she gets separated from the others. This will go a long way toward filling some gaps that I have had, but I still need to flesh her out… Heck I need to flesh them all out.

I need to spend more time boring the heck out of you all to figure half of my idea out. Ideas out. The characters are in story order as of right now… but holy gee hosophat (or however you spell it). I have a ton to do before I can even feel like book one is ready to share and edit.

Soooo…. With this rambling mumbo jumbo fogging up your brain as much as mine, I am going to let you go.

I hope you have a fantastic day, night, week… month. 

Stay safe one and all!

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

A rambling post about labels..

Labels. Whether you be in high school, college, working, or what have you, there will always be labels that you own. 

As a kid I was the history teacher’s daughter… sometimes Mr. Hughes’ daughter. The meanest sub’s daughter… Mrs. Hughes’ daughter… you get the drift… even Eileen’s big sister. Kathleen? Yeah… not very often. That was for class when I needed to answer a question. When I had a classmate who needed help. Sometimes it was a friend who was talking to me. Mistakes were made as I often misconstrued what friendship really was, but not now. Now I see things in such a different way.

Now I feel like the friends that were true, were the ones that were my fringe pals. People I talked to but didn’t realize their value… as with all things worth the work or wait, but now I see them for who they were.

Those I trusted with my truest friendship were people with the time, but they made fun of me. Took my name and changed it because of my laugh, the occasional tendency to cackle in laughter… and made it Kacklebeans… Hated it. Every. Fucking. Time. And yet they were the ones I hung with most of the time.

They also were ones who would tell me the wrong lyrics to a song, and laugh when I went with it. The ones to come over for my birthday, but spend time thinking of a boyfriend just up the road. People who, when a new student came to town and befriended them, but not me, went with it and let me be shunned from them. I didn’t choose to take the hint. I DID abandon them because of the hate spewed my way, but not them for liking her. Even now, I feel like I have abandoned them when they don’t deserve it, but one I cannot find – the one who I was closest to, had her number but my phone died and I lost her information. The one who had my number but never called me after I lost hers. Nor the other who I can contact if needed, but because I live so far off the interstate, seemed angry that I wouldn’t drive 500 hundred miles to meet her for lunch. It just wasn’t reasonable and I feel that our connection is lost. 

They were there through the worst of it in second grade. A time that taught me much more than I ever thought possible and would stick with me for the rest of my life.

We were a part of a group of about seven friends. Each day we would trade off spending time with another girl in our class who was alone and we couldn’t stand to see her like that, so we would try to convince her to come play with us. Sometimes we succeeded, and other times we would just take turns enjoying our time with her. Well, I did until the day before Easter break. That day I had succeeded in asking her to join the group but along the way two classmates stepped up and told me that I couldn’t be their friend if I was hers. All I saw at the age of seven was two versus one. From the moment I told her sorry and that we couldn’t be friends, I ran away from them all. I tried to apologize that day and she accepted it, but it took thirty years for me to remember that. Why? 

Because she died that weekend. I never got to go to the funeral.

My folks thought it would be too traumatic. What was traumatic was not apologizing to her parents. Not being able to step forward and tell those other two girls what God awful bitches they were turning into. Sadly, I tried to fit in with them on occasion in junior high. Fortunately though, I mostly learned to be alone. I learned how to love me and my time away from stupid fools who would rather ruin your life, than accept you for who you are. This story will never be over, but on occasion it hits hard, and on occasion I can talk about it. So I try to continue to learn from it. To honor her memory by not letting it become some dusty event that has little meaning, but a major concept to share with future generations. Through it I show my imperfections, but also my willingness to continue to grow from something I cannot change.

Fast forward to the reason I am here today. As I have learned to move forward. To be my own person, I will never be able to let go of my need to be alone. To not be part of the crowd. To sit back and watch the world and wonder what the holy hell.. okay I wanna say… holy ever loving fuck… they are thinking as they do stupid shit. Now I just want to be left to my devices to find a better way to teach kids to be who they really are. To accept who they are and realize they will overcome the obstacles handed to them. That is why I write.

So taking that and oh.. my… God…. finally getting to the point, here it is. I just watched a show that reminded me about the labels that I held in high school. That got better only after I changed schools, and yet still felt in .. of all places, youth group. The people I moved to in that shift, are the ones I talk to the most. Them, and those that I saw as fringe friends. 

How this very concept can help me develop the characters in my story with more uumph as I realize their value in personalities. Use them to remind kids that they only need to love themselves, and find their own personal value without relying on others to claim it. To show it. To find belief and hope in it.

One of these days, I will have my tales finalized and well drafted, and get them off to a prospective publisher who will love the ideas. Who will help me polish my delivery and make the sequel loved like few others. Someone who will be at my side helping me, or acting as my foundation so that my message is not only heard but also carried out and used in classrooms around the country, if not the world. 

All because I realized that my role is what it is. My role is to be the best me I can be. With that note in mind, cue Chesney Hawkes’ “I Am the One and Only!” That is all I can be after all. I am the one and only fantabulous me!

And…

You are the one and only you…!
If you have missed that moment, his video is linked below. 😀

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

I Didn’t Fall Off the Planet. Honest!

Hello World!

First a few housekeeping points. I am alive, kickin, and healthy thank goodness. I sincerely hope the same for you all. I have finally put graduation behind us, and as class advisor, I needed to be fully engaged this time around. I also am nearly done with the yearbook. Just in time for the new year!… Can anyone give me a ‘good grief.’ All I want is to give myself recovery time before we start up again… whatever that looks like. 

Oh yeah… and I’ve been giving my house a fair once over. Done with all the extras. Boxes, bags and random unused stuff took trips to the dump just so I could regain some clarity. I have also changed out carpet overlay… meaning I only took out what was over the original and added my own additional. More bookshelves and cabinetry have made it easier to deal with my stuff and space too. Now just to get finished…

On the creative front, my 51-going-on-15-year-old-teeny-bopper-self has been binge watching Flash and Teen Wolf again. I want to say I have gotten enough out of the experience, but every time I seem to come away with more ideas. More inspiration for my own characters. I have even begun drafting conversations to try and weed out their personality quirks. Maybe a good re-read of what I have drafted will help, especially since the oddball portions of their personalities are still eluding me. If I can pull that off, stay healthy, and sane in this insane world, I will be golden and spoiled rotten. I say take my sanity first. At least I can regain some as I continue to write.

So…. what’s up with you all? Have you found a rhythm to your lives yet? I am so willing to be housebound, that I don’t feel much has changed. I do definitely wish that you each enjoy the homebody life as well as I do. I can only imagine how much you must be chomping at the bit otherwise.

Ooohhh.. wise… how about that Neowise? Anyone else have a good view of it passing? I have a few pics that turned out okay. I just wish I had a better lens to pull it in closer. Other than that, I have had a few good photography experiences this week, because of it.

Well. Tis that time as I hope to try some diamond painting in place of cross stitch tonight. Gotta keep my creative arts going not to mention expanding if I hope to find ways to grow in my teaching.

I wish you all a very good day. 

Talk to you soon… oh how I hope, but you are beginning to know me.

Good morning, goodnight and be safe wherever you are!

Kath

4/9/2020

 

Oh. My. God. Not only am I looking at a post from Monday that did not finish processing, but now I am having troubles with ever itty-bitty or massive computerized, or non, typing tool. I have my computer at school blinking at me for no reason that I know of. It is almost as if people are messing with accounts outside of their own and it is tracking to every device involved. Which invariably means, I am toast.

Oy. Other than the last few minutes with the typing issues, I have actually had a very good day. I checked in with the meal group and next week we will find a more solid rhythm allowing us teachers a more solid schedule that we can focus on grading and planning more. I have begun some documentation with my kids and not only did I speak with, or attempt to speak with more than half of my troops today, but I also got a response from one who has been stressed about school. It is nice to know that a direct effort on my part to say hi and offer advice for schoolwork was accepted.

So very nice to be talked to … maybe nice is not the word. Maybe thinking as a very single human that would be vaguely insane if meals hadn’t taken up some time, and how I appreciate a response to a simple message. 😀

This is rather off the rails rambling but I thought I would at least say hi since Monday didn’t post and … and… I got some allergy drama figured out. Best I’ve felt in weeks. Now the lilacs will bloom and that will go kaplooey on me. That’s okay. It is my ‘I’m alive and I know it’ moment.

Breathe deep troops and smile. We are getting through it. Maybe not unscathed, but we are learning a lot about ourselves.

Take care one and all!

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

Battery Operated…

Uffda. Started the week out well, and voila! Keyboard quit working because I used up the juice. Used to have a great big pack of AAA’s and just when I needed them, they were all gone. Knowing me they were relocated instead.

So here I am. Two days later than planned, and robbing another device of its power to make sure I made an effort to write. This has been the one piece of the puzzle that has kept me going. Writing to you is my priority, as I just want to draft more pieces of my story via sketchnotes before I put words to paper. Too many plot holes are wearing me down because I know how bad they really are. Maybe they are better drafted than I think but I am too overwhelmed by the fact that I have had little writing rhythm for three months, that I don’t trust my own work.

Now there’s a surprise. Not!

In the spirit of being creative, here’s to making the most of our time in our safe spaces. I am slowly making headway in the crazy mess that is my house, as well as breathing deep for the first time in months. Now if I can find my rhythm of helping make meals for the kids, sending and grading homework, grabbing food without dilemma, and writing, I will be great!

Take care all. You are a blessing to those around you.

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

Week 2

Hi all! Hope you are finding tools to keep you busy and a routine that makes the days go well.

Those of you still plugging away keeping a semblance of continuity in our days – you are the best ever. Superhuman in all ways imaginable. When life gets you down or overwhelmed, remember that there are one or two of us for every three, I hope, that realize the steps you are taking to keep life going. The stress you may be feeling, I am sure is unimaginable, but it will work out.

I’ve been helping some with sending food home to our students, but it is a small part and all I can say is that it is nice to have a groove to follow. One week and I was losing my little mind and I love home time. As I may have stated a time or ten …

One of my favorite things to do while ‘working out’ (yoga ball and I treat it like a toy – but my back is happy), is to watch writing or reading vlogs on Youtube. Two of my favorites are Katytastic and Merphy Napier. Ms. Napier had a piece in the last two regarding “The Lord of the Flies.” Now no getting mad at me please….

I read it twice in high school, and I believe I have reached 4 times since I started teaching here. How I hate the story – but that is not the point. The cover… the newer one… the boy with all the leaves surrounding his face…. anyone else think of all the bare trees that would have happened had our current circumstance made it there?

Odd things and my brain. What can I say?

With that piece of ridiculous thought going on I am going to bid you adieu for now. Remember we are in this together. I need help remembering that from time to time but I hope you all have your routines that will help.

Take care one and all!

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

Howdy World!

How you doing? No, seriously! HOW! ARE! YOU?

If you don’t respond, that’s fine. I pretty much expect everyone wants to keep to themselves. Just remember someone cares and if you need to talk, here I am!

As for Me? Why thanks for asking! I am plugging away getting lessons ready to send home. I’m also planning for online activities that hopefully I can use to push the kids’ forward a bit with more fun rather than drudgery, but that is a small piece of my puzzle.

Last I heard, no cases were identified in my area… and yes, how lucky I am I know. I also am realizing my little moments of humanity are gonna cause me solid heart failure (thought a payment was on auto but nooo…)… it is in resolution so moving forward is the only way to go. I prefer to be perfect though, so this is highly unacceptable behavior… (sigh)… Anyway… thanks for lending an ear.

I have made minor additions to my story in the last two days, but the ideas I have jotted down in the last 3 weeks? Wow. Can’t wait to put them to good use. Once I get past my humanity adrenaline kick, I intend to read some of a friend’s work from classes, and draw a bit to add to my latest round of ideas. Yes… stir crazy can happen to the homebody introvert as well, apparently. So… I am having a creative round and now I just need some photography jobs or missions of some sort that can add to my non-teaching hours.

Thoughts? … Hey, maybe I will actually write HERE more… What a novel plan!

As for the rest of it. We are doing what we can. Care for those around us, and that may mean staying home for our own peace of mind. For once, being a homebody can pay off.

Find some joy in your life and if you need teaching ideas let me know. I have a few, plus a bunch of online sources that have opened up for free so school can go on (Some are listed below).

(Kinda feel like you poor readers need headers with the way my mind skipped around up there… So 1 – How ya doin, 2 – How’m I doin, 3 – What’m I doin, 4 – Humanity is me, 5 – Writing, 6 – Back to How ya doin sorta….) (shakes head in resignation, but refuses to erase and start over for fear of just not posting)

I will call this good and hope I can put my scattered brain back in order before next time.

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

Favorite Sources: worksheets: Math-drills.com, Readworks.com. Online: Scholastic, Brainpop, abcya… those I use and have opened up to everyone but maybe this link would be better. Take care one and all!

130+ Amazing Online Learning Resources

Holy Gehasophat!

Life sure got in the way, with my permission, and I dropped the ball in a bad way.

Sorry for my absence but shifting gears from writing on a constant basis, getting through to the holidays, then hiding in my house (see, no excuse) for the entire break speaks highly of the time I needed for me. It however, does nothing for my mission to keep contact and add to my tale.

Now that break has passed, and we are 3 weeks into the new teaching year, I am just finding my way back to writing. I found a new, or rather, updated, version of note taking that is pushing my ideas back into addressing the past in my story. Building blocks are finally surfacing that make sense and tie to my life as an educator in a way that stick with me throughout the day.

Now if I could keep my focus on art at home…

The note taking took I am referring to is Sketchnoting. It is well worth your time if you need ways to keep ideas in mind without losing focus as you take notes. A mix of text and art, it helps add creative ways to remember what is needed.

Now that you know I am still alive and kicking, what is new in your world? Have you kept better focus than me? I hope so…

Take care one and all – til the next time I surface.. or tomorrow.. whichever comes together. 😀

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath

I made it…

Okay, so that is a bit redundant after last post, but I made it through November  writing at least a little every day and achieved a total of 55,141 words. Today… just the last few minutes in fact, I have begun editing my very pathetic spelling that I let go of in favor of getting the ideas into text.

It sucks. not the idea of putting things right, but the fact that the darned program shifts corrections every which way, combining words and whatever else the stupid program wants to do and it is driving me nuts! Why can’t it just work like other programs I am used to. It seems I will have to copy to word, then fix and re-paste… what a waste of technology….

At least that is my view. Anyway. Enough whining and lets just say – December has arrived! I have 13 teaching days til Christmas break and may I just say, I am as ready for it as the kids?

I am as ready for break as the kids and I am still on the edge of Thanksgiving… good grief.

My goal is to edit all month long and start to expand in the next three months… lets see how things go… wait… amending that… as I edit, lets see if I find all the little tips I left myself for plot line growth that I created during NaNoWriMo… Whew! I actually had some great ideas that tied in as I wanted, but knowing me I will zip right past them or have them so misspelled that I will miss the boat entirely…

Ahhh… the joys of being NOT patient with myself.

Hope you all are better in treating yourself with care.

Til next time!

Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!

Kath