Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sleigh Riding

Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons

"Push harder and faster! I want to go as fast as a train."

"Well then push it yourself. This weighs a ton. Plus it's my turn to ride this sled."

"It's not a sled, it's a toboggan."

"It's not a toboggan. They don't have any legs on them. It's a sleigh."

"Well, whatever! Push faster. I can't even feel the wind on my face."

"You know what? I don't want to play with you anymore."

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry. How about you push for five more minutes?"

"No. How about you push and I go."

"Oh, alright. You big baby."

This drabble was from last year's Advent Calendar.  For this year's Advent Calendar, please visit The Burrow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

No Peeking!

Image attribution:  Wikimedia Commons

"Look. They're headed towards the basement."

"I know. I saw them looking for the key to the door in the kitchen cabinets."

"Let's stop them this minute. How dare they look for their gifts, steal keys and sneak around the house."

"They're kids. Didn't you ever look for a hidden gift or shake the box to find out what was in it?"

"Well, yes. But that's besides the point!"

"Anyway, it doesn't matter. I moved all of the gifts to the attic. The only thing they'll find are boxes with lumps of coal."

"I can't wait to see their faces!"

This drabble was from last year's Advent Calendar.  For this year's Advent Calendar, please visit The Burrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Palacio Avenida Nata: Christmas in Brazil

The mood is electrifying. Bodies are hugged tightly together in anticipation of the opening night. The cacophony of human voices permeate the air and rise to a crescendo. Music is heard faintly in the background. Singing begins and is beautifully fluid. A hush falls upon the crowd and an angel begins to sing. Countless cherubs join the angel and a heavenly choir sings "Carol of the Bells" in Portuguese. This melody resonates across the square and penetrates the very center of the crowd's soul. The lights appear in unison and the audience moves like a single wave across the ocean.

This was a drabble written for last year's Advent Calendar.  Here is a link to the 2010 December Feature.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Tree

Dear Santa,

Annually, on the day after Thanksgiving, my family and I put up the Christmas tree.  We drag out the storage bin from the recesses of my husband’s utility closet.  We lay out the tree in it’s various pieces all throughout the living room.  We untangle the lights, sort the decorations, untangle the garland, put together the tree, put everything on the tree and finally take everything down to reorganize them into some symmetrically, aesthetically pleasing arrangement.

Is it any wonder that it took a full two weeks after Thanksgiving to put up the tree and decorate?


This one is for Tara Smith, a fellow Burrower, who had a hectic time putting up her tree.  The image above is obviously not my tree since I have yet to put mine up.  

*hides from pitchforks*

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Yule Goat

"Mother, hurry. We’ll be late for the Yule Festival," Annika shouted.

"I’ll be down in a moment. I’m gathering the clove spiked apples and oranges. Have Anker collect some boughs from the pine trees in the yard and tell Anton to gather a bushel of wheat. And . . .," her breathless mother responded.

"Yes. All is taken care of. I have the holly and mistletoe throughout the house. We have to go. We’ll miss the Yule log and the Yule goat ceremony," whined a frustrated Annika.

"And wassail to you too," Mother toasts as she rushes past with her spiced cider.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Udo Schroter.

To see more of our drabbles from our December Feature, visit The Burrow.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Educational Issues

Hi Everyone!

Today, I'm discussing educational issues that may have a profound impact on students and teachers in the classroom.  So hop on over to The Burrow and check it out.

This topic was so interesting, especially from the many perspective of our followers at the Burrow.  It sparked a rebuttal from my good friend Rayna.  Here it is.

Take care,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Conversations With a Six Year Old- Zoo Flowers

"Oh Mommy, those are pretty flowers! What are they doing in a zoo?"

"Well, the zoo owners wanted to make everything really pretty so that people will want to visit the animals."

"That's silly. People will visit the zoo no matter what. Everybody loves animals."

"Well, I think these flowers are a way of making everyone feel welcome."

"Hhmm. Well, the animals make me feel welcome. I don't like the bugs in the flowers. Like bees. They can chase you and sting you and then you cry and cry."

Who can argue with the logic of a six year old?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


 From my home to yours- Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

T’was the night of Thanksgiving,
But I just couldn’t sleep.
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.

The leftovers beckoned,
The dark meat and white.
But I fought the temptation,
With all of my might.

Tossing and turning,
with anticipation.
The thought of a snack
became infatuation.

So I raced to the kitchen,
Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge,
Full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey,
And buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots,
Beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling,
So plump and so round.
‘til all of a sudden,
I rose off the ground.

I crashed through the ceiling,
Floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding,
And a handful of pie.

But I managed to yell
As I soared past the trees
Happy eating to all,
Pass the cranberries, please!!

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious,
May your pies take the prize
And May your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs!

by Lauren

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Orange Mushroom

"What's this Mommy?"

"Well, that's a mushroom. Not sure which kind but it looks beautiful."

"Can we eat it? It looks like really yummy candy."

"No, sweetie. We can't eat bright orange mushrooms. Matter of fact, most mushrooms are poisonous. Don't ever eat any mushrooms that are growing outside. Okay?"

"So, all mushrooms outside will kill me."

"Yup. Our bodies can't handle them. Promise not to eat any. I see that little glint in your eye. You cannot eat them, even when I'm not with you."

"Yes, Mommy. Can we get something to eat? The mushroom made me really hungry."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

To see more, visit the Burrow's Prismatic Feature.

Monday, November 22, 2010


"Adolpha, fetch me my amethyst jewelry and goblet. I have the Women's Circle this evening," commanded noble Lady Callista, wife of the notable politician Marcus Gallerius.

"At once my lady," Adolpha replies. It is customary for women of the patrician class to wear amethyst jewels and drink from same-stone goblets as it wards off any drunkenness or seduction. Unfortunately for the Callista, every social affair ends in an inebriated, lustful scandal.

"My lady, here are the items requested," Adolpha states with disgust.

"You are dismissed," replies Callista curtly.

Adolpha secretly smiles, looking forward to her evening with her lady's husband.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

To see more, visit the Burrow's Prismatic Feature.  I am also at The Burrow blog today.  Pop on over for some coffee, tea and recommended reading.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yellow Maple

Like a leaf on the wind, you came into my life unexpectedly. So brief was our encounter, that any outsider would think it almost inconsequential. Your spirit remains with me even now, when I look at the trees or a meandering, muddy running stream. You were always bright and happy, helping anyone who needed it; the embodiment of kindness.

But like the yellow autumn leaves turning brown during a sudden winter frost, you withered and died, leaving me empty. I never did tell you that like beautiful fall foliage, you brought light where there was an ever-present darkness. Thank you.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

To see more, visit the Burrow's Prismatic Feature.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Red Peppers

Your flesh is radiant in the mid-afternoon sun. Your lips are so vibrant, they remind me of a sweet red pepper ripened to perfection. I miss having you here beside me. I know that I messed up. Things have become so odd between us these last few years and I strayed. I’m sorry that I put you through so much. It was selfish but I needed something more.

If only I had tried to be around a little. If only I had not been lead astray. If only she had not reminded me of what we once had. If only . . .

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

To see more, visit the Burrow's Prismatic Feature.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ithaca Vineyard

As I walk through the vineyard, I can't help but be reminded of your green smoldering eyes caressing my body. Your touch is so exquisitely delicate and full of infinite passion. I daydream of the next time your arms are around me, crushing me in a warm embrace.

I hear voices in the distance; the moans increase to a crescendo.

"Marta . . ."

"John . . ."

Recognizing your voice, I quietly walk down the path and peer through the vines. Yours eyes meet mine; her eyes also.

I whisper . . . "How could you?"

I run through the green haze and collapse in despair.

To see more, visit the Burrow's Prismatic Feature.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm at The Burrow Today

 I am over at The Burrow.  The Who am I? Fridays gives the reader a little glimpse into The Burrower's lives.  The picture above and below give you an idea of my little story.  Happy reading!  Here is my Bronx Tale.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Blue Lagoon

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Blue Lagoon

Warm, invigorating waters caress me like a balmy autumn night. Rivulets of liquid beads glisten in the soft moonlight. Rocks loom in the distance like large silent soldiers. The horizontal crag is the only element separating blue Earth from blue sky.

Wading through the mist, I sense you just outside my consciousness. The remote roar of sea crashing against land in this eternal dance is captivating and deafening all at once.

In a frantic desperation, I quickly peruse the panoramic landscape, seeking your lovingly blue gaze. Land and sea may separate us, but for this one night, love is eternal.

To see more, visit for the Burrow's Prismatic Feature.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bronx Stories: Tio Jorge

Tio Jorge (Uncle George). What can I say? He is that uncle in everyone's family who is unmarried with no children. He is that uncle with the stinky feet and you don't want to sit next to at family functions. He is the one who ends up watching the kids when there is no one else to babysit. He is the one who always lives with a sibling because he can't hold down an apartment. He was also the one who I watched cartoons with in the morning. He was also the one who walked me to school when I was younger as my mother was still adapting to her new medications.

Unfortunately, he was the one who drank too much and dabbled in too many drugs. Tio Jorge became involved in shooting up heroine and smoking crack. His heart was weak from all of the substance abuse and it was decided that he would need open heart surgery. He died on the operating table. My mother cried as she buried her baby brother. I cried as I selfishly mourned the fact that I would not be having a sweet sixteen. All the money that should have gone to ballgowns, limos and catering halls, went instead to two funerals (one here in NYC and the burial in Puerto Rico) plus airfare for every adult in the family. I was angry for a long time as I had worked so hard to be the good daughter and earn that sweet sixteen. Now I see how selfish I was and am ashamed of how much I let it get to me. I should have mourned my uncle who was actually not such a bad guy with the exception of the drugs and alcohol. I regret so much but how else was I to feel. I was cheated by death.

For several weeks we prayed saying the "Hail Mary" and "The Our Father" in Spanish in commemoration of my uncle's death and for safe passage of his soul to heaven. It was really difficult for me as I only speak conversational Spanish and not very well as it is entwined with street slang. We stood in a circle, with candles lit in the background, holding hands, chanting the prayer over and over and over again. It felt like we had been chanting this prayer for hours but in fact it was approximately thirty minutes. My father had stumbled over his words. My mother drew her arm back in a wide arc and slapped my father in the back of his head. It was so forceful that his glasses flew off of his face. My father simply picked up his glasses from the floor and began chanting again. Needless to say, whenever I was unsure of the correct words in Spanish, I remained silent and edged away from my grieving mother.

I wish I could tell Tio Jorge that I'm sorry and I miss watching cartoons with him in the afternoons. 

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Girls in black dresses with red satin sashes
Ghoul that scare senseless, body that thrashes.
Brown leaves that stick to their shoes and they cling
These are a few of the scariest things.

When the wind bites,
And the ghosts glare
When I'm feeling scared
I simply grab onto my mother's right hand
Then frightening feelings I can withstand.

Trick or treat bags are filled with sweet candy
Garlic and crosses, come in quite handy
Pumpkins that glow in the dark, shining bright
There are things that go bump in the night.

When the wind bites,
And the ghosts glare
When I'm feeling scared
I simply grab onto my mother's right hand
Then frightening feelings I can withstand.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Random Saturday: Kids n' Things

Today, I helped my youngest daughter with her homework and realized that although she is a great decoder (able to read words), she has great difficulty with reading comprehension.  I bought her a second grade reading comprehension skills book.  She seems to get half of the questions correct.  I went over the problems she got wrong and she has a better understanding of what the question is actually asking.

I also got on my son's butt about a math project he should have completed yesterday in school.  Let me start from the beginning.  I went to parent-teachers afternoon conferences yesterday.  Fortunately for me, my son attends the very high school in which I teach.  Unfortuantely for him, he did not get rave reviews.  He is very intelligent, very creative but a bit of a slacker.  He waits until the very last minute to do projects and homework assignments.  So when I met with his teachers, it was the same comment over and over, "Your son has such great potential.  However, he fails to submit work."  Do you want to know the crazy thing?  He actually does the work but doesn't hand it in to his teachers.  So now I am micromanaging, which I hate to do but it's necessary for now.  No electronic devices for him until next report card in December.

My middle daughter is also in trouble.  She has become the social butterfly.  Last year she was in ARISTA honors society.  This year, she is getting barely above an 82 average.  Like really!  No electronics for her either.  I helped her to organize not only her room but her bookbag also.  We set up folders for each subject for handouts and whatnot plus put her notes in chronological order for studying.  What happens?  She couldn't find the folder with her work.  Her teacher is looking at me and I am looking at my daughter.  So now on Sundays, I do bookbag checks for my kids at home just like I do on Fridays for my students in study hall.

But not all is bad.  I go on a retreat with my school on Monday and Tuesday to determine how to move the school forward and decide on what are our "next steps."  Hubby is great and our relationship after ten years together and eight years married is wonderful.  Yes, there are ups and downs but for the most part, we are well.

I've been thinking of going back to school.  I need thirty credits above my master's to receive top pay as a teacher.  Not sure if I should major in Neuroscience: Developmental Disabilities or go for Educational Administration licensing to become an Assistant Principal.  Decisions, decisions. . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Dan Reynolds, Chicken Hitting Eggs.
I saw this idea on Cruella Collett's blog, , and I loved it!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random Saturday: Protecting Yourself

This week, I had a serious discussion with my students concerning sex and protection. Don't ask me how the topic came up. One minute, we were doing global history and chemisty homework; the next minute, we are discussing sex and sexually transmitted diseases.

One student began talking about his sexual exploits. He mentioned that he engaged in sexual intercourse in a park. Yes, I said park. Now I don't know about anyone here, but I feel that if your going to engage in sexual intercourse in public, it should be with someone whom you trust and have plans of a serious commitment.  I may be old fashioned, shoot me.  However, I had  to ask the student several follow-up questions. He didn't know the girl very well and they were not seriously involved with one another. He also mentioned that he did not use a condom. This may be typical of teenagers today, I don't know, but I seriously have a problem with casual unprotected sex.  

For those who don't know, I lost my younger brother in 2007 to AIDS.  He was only 21 years of age.  He was diagnosed at the age of 16 but did not reveal his health condition to the family until 18 years of age.  He had also contracted Hepatitis C for which there is also no cure.  I watched him physically, mentally and emotionally deteriorate for three years.  Finally in November 2006 his was admitted to the hospital and never came home.  It tore my family apart.  I still have so many regrets but that is another post altogether.

Anywho, I don't know how many times I reiterated, "Use a condom every single time you have sex.  It only takes one time, one moment.  It's like playing Russian Roulette with your health.  USE A CONDOM!"    I don't think they heard me.  So, my assistant principal came out of his office and said something which I thought to be quite profound. He told all of my students, "Assume that everyone has it and act accordingly.  Protect yourself from every single person you engage sexual intercourse with because you just never know."  Wow!!!  Just assume everyone has something!  Go figure!

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, "Coppia Di Amanti" by Arnold Bocklin, 1866.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Trio at the Luncheon Boating Party- Part 3

Gustave: Gentleman in the Yellow Boating Hat (Bottom Right)

The water is glistening like silver beads of sunlight dancing at the height of each crest. I love the way the waves quietly lap against the wooden hull of the boat. It creates a sound so unerringly calm. One only needs to listen attentively to Mother Earth and she will soothe the soul. There is nothing more satisfying than a boating excursion. The salty, sea air cleanses the soul like nothing else can. This landscape of sea, land and air are awe-inspiring. I believe I have found my muse.

"I believe I will take a stroll alone along the riverbank."

Note: This was a wonderful project we did using a Renoir painting and telling the stories of various individuals in Luncheon of the Boating Party. My trio are the woman with the baseball cap (over to the right), the gentleman leaning over her and the gentleman wearing the yellow boating hat with ribbon. To see more, click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Trio at the Luncheon Boating Party- Part 2

Adrien: Gentleman in the Cardigan Sweater (Far Mid- Right)

Angele is so undeniably beautiful. Does she even notice me? Let me move a little closer. Her skin glistens like alabaster marble. I can see her lovely mounds just waiting to be caressed. No. I must control myself. Why must she stare at Gustave? It is incomprehensible. He is not paying any attention to her flirtatiousness, yet there she is fawning over him. I could write serenades and immortalize her very name. Do you think she cares. Perhaps, I must divert her attention. Then, she cannot help but to reciprocate my feelings.

"Would you care to stroll along the riverbank?"

Note: This was a wonderful project we did using a Renoir painting and telling the stories of various individuals in Luncheon of the Boating Party. My trio are the woman with the baseball cap (over to the right), the gentleman leaning over her and the gentleman wearing the yellow boating hat with ribbon. To see more, click here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Trio at the Luncheon Boating Party- Part 1

Angele: Lady Wearing Baseball Cap (Far Mid-Right)

Honestly, does Adrien not see that I am trying to attract the attention of the most handsome and talented man on Earth. Gustave Caillebotte. He is just divine in ways that Adrien can never compare. For one, his breath does not smell like three day old garlic bread. Look at Gustave's angelic face gazing out into the distance. If only Adrien would not hover. Let him be utterly pathetic somewhere else. I wonder if Gustave will ever choose to paint me? I would love to see how I look through his eyes.

"Would you care to stroll along the riverbank?"

Note: This was a wonderful project we did using a Renoir painting and telling the stories of various individuals in Luncheon of the Boating Party. My trio are the woman with the baseball cap (over to the right), the gentleman leaning over her and the gentleman wearing the yellow boating hat with ribbon. To see more, click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Under a Brooklyn Moon

Under a Brooklyn Moon

All is blurred like the dreams of a child. The rain creates a mystical illusion of peace, happiness and harmony.
The ethereal structures in the backdrop are towers of wealth and abundance.
The graceful arches and cabled suspension, leave one in absolute awe.
This city of dreams is like a glass menagerie of infinite potential.
The lines between dreams and reality are obscured by enchanting lights and enticing romantic pleasures.
This exuberant place is like the little wisps of smoke with an ounce of hope. It impresses the notion that every romantic pleasure is here available under a Brooklyn moon.

Image courtesy of Castle Galleries: Jeff Rowland- artist, Under a Brooklyn Moon,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This was a great show at Sea World. It had singing, sea animals, acrobatics and visual effects. Really wonderful show that the kids will love!

This is a picture of one of the shows at Sea World. It wasn't great, jokes fell short, but quite entertaining.

Beautiful moonlight on our anniversary in Disney. We've been married eight years and it feels like it was just yesterday that Gerald asked me on our first date. :D


And although I really hate posting pictures of myself, here is a photo of me and my husband. We were at a staff bowling meet. We didn't play but we did have several glasses of wine! It was fun to be out together with just adults!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Juggling Family, Health and Work

Who ever said that managing family, work and everything in between is easy? Since August, I have had constant struggles with time management. These are some things I have tried to get a handle on the situation:

1. Planner- I write down all appointments, meetings for work, etc.

2. Calendar- I have one by the computer and write just little short notes as a second reminder.

3. Family- I check with hubby and kids to make sure they know we have an appointment.

4. Meals- I have planned meals ahead of time for lunch at work or dinner at home. Breakfast for everyone is up for grabs (cereal, oatmeal, quick stuff).

5. Budgeting- I create a budget for myself and husband. He is terrible at this but I try to stick to it. I also make a list of bills and how much to allot for each one.

6. Bank accounts- I check them regularly for checks to clear and ensure that funds are available for spending.

7. To Do Lists- I make a list every morning at work to make certain that I get things done. Then I number the list in the priority that it needs to be done.

8. Grocery shopping- since I usually shop at Pathmark (supermarket in the Northeastern US), I go to the website and search through the circular. I print up a shopping list of sale items and try my best to spend less that $300 every three weeks.

9. Clip coupons- I clip coupons only on the items I actually use and take them with me to supermarket for even more savings.

10. Homework- Every night, I check the kids' homework. I spend about an hour either reading, looking through notebooks and helping them with difficult problems. I also have my own homework from work where I am planning lessons, gathering materials, meeting agendas/ notes and making phone calls (both good and bad).

11. Housecleaning- every Saturday is dedicated to cleaning the house thoroughly. The kids have certain chores to complete and I/ husband do laundry, organize/ shred papers, put away anything that's out of place, etc.

12. Family visits- I usually see my mom and grandmother every two weeks. I try to make it a point to cook for them and take care of things they can't do themselves (they both had strokes and are partially paralyzed).

Now, even with all these strategies, I am finding it difficult to juggle things.  However, it seems like there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to get done. Any suggestions?

Monday, October 11, 2010


Just because I am in the mood for dressing up:

Zombies, and ghosts and ghouls! Oh my!

Zombies, and ghosts and ghouls! Oh my!

Dark shadows and eery street lights cast elongated, shapes on the sidewalk.

Frightening pumpkins encase glowing candles that set an ominous mood to any dwelling.

Zombies, and ghosts and ghouls! Oh my!

Zombies, and ghosts and ghouls! Oh my!

Trick-or-treat bags are swollen with mounds of candy. Parents scour through the candy ensuring the safety of their children.

Children gorge on this delectable feast of sweets resulting in belly-aches and relentless moans.

Zombies, and ghosts and ghouls! Oh my!

Zombies, and ghosts and ghouls! Oh my!

*dusts off blog and resumes typing*

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

  1. Don't you hate it when you are shopping and standing near a sales rack, no one else is around, and then all of a sudden a mob of people come and invade your personal space.
  2. I love when students have a free period and they take out their homework. They begin reading and writing without my having to tell them.
  3. I need a plant for my office but I don't get enough light. I am not experienced with plants so I really don't know what to purchase.
  4. You ever wonder why people dig their nose in their cars and act like no one can see them. Guess what? I see you . . .
  5. I really wish I could see the night sky with my naked eye. There is too much light pollution so I don't really know what it looks like. Sad.
  6. I wish every person who uses the bathroom would wash their hands right afterward. Grosses me out when they don't.
  7. I think my daughter is getting involved in too many extracurricular activities. I think it's great that she has joined a team and has after-school clubs. However, she needs some time management skills. Too scattered. I'll have to get her a planner or PDA.

What is your random thought of the day? I want to know.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reading Mondays at The Burrow

Today I am writing about my favorite authors.  You can find it here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First days of classes. . .

It is that time again. . . first day of classes. I felt like today was equivalent to one long workout. My students are wonderful but the classes are so large.  Because of budget cuts throughout New York City, schools have suffered greatly when it comes to resources for books, hiring enough teachers for the number of students and in classroom supplies.  Textbooks were not a problem for us as the principal was able to include the cost of books when he was appointed two years ago.  However, the number of students allowed in a general education high school class is 34 maximum.  One of my classes had 39 and another class had 36.  It was such a tight fit that we had to acquire chairs from other classrooms!

Another issue that has arisen this year is the whole school bus thing.  Our high school has a later end time, therefore the students on school buses should not be picked up before 4:00 pm.  It is appalling that the bus arrived at 2:50 pm to pick up the students to take them home.  They miss an entire hour of instruction.  Bussing has also been affected by the budget cuts, so that you have elementary age students on a bus with high school students.  This is ludicrous.  The conversations and behaviors exhibited by teenagers may negatively affected the grade school students who are less experienced.  In addition, they can be exposed to "things" that are inappropriate for their age level.

Despite all these negative aspects, I plan to have a wonderful year.  I am the coordinator of an inclusion program, special education students who are fully participating in a general education curriculum.  I want to move my students at least one grade level in their reading and math skills by January.  I plan to have two seniors graduate with an advanced Regents diploma.  I have one junior and one sophomore who are also bound for a Regents diploma.  My freshman I do not know well yet, but I see promise in them.  All in all, I plan for a good year!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Moonlight Shadows

I love the shadows your body casts in the soft moonlight. You remind me of an obsidian version of Michaelangelo's David. Your form is so perfect. My fingers caress every mound, every surface and every inch of your delectable shape. I am tempted to wake you and satiate the hunger that grows in my core. I reach out my hand and it hovers over your sex. Should I indulge? I then begin to wonder; when we wake up and all the shadows have gone and the moonlight is replaced by sunlight, will I still look at you this way?

Image courtesy of Castle Galleries- Moonlight Shadows - Rob Ford

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blue Haze

Image courtesy of Michael Gabler, Wikimedia Commons

Lost.  Alone. Ensconced in a hazy blue veil. I have experienced many hardships.
Dismissed. Baffled. Spurned loves who exploit my kindness.  Painful memories and aching longings.
Death. Loss.  Loved ones gone in a moment.  Distant, bittersweet remembrances of yesterday.

Radiance. Happiness. The road is less rutted and
Ultimately, I find my way.

Friday, August 13, 2010


So, it has been a really long time since I've been here. Well, the truth is that I've been ill. I was focusing on finishing summer school with my students and trying to hold out until my surgery next week.

You may have noticed a weird post earlier. Sorry about that. I had planned on writing a post about my family. However, life just keeps happening and the blog got neglected. :(

I did write a blog for today but it is over at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash, Topic: What's My Motivation? Check it out and leave a comment.

- Chary

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reveal Seven Things About Yourself

Last Friday, I got this wonderful Versatile Blogger award from Cruella Collette over at The Giraffibility of Digressions.  She absolutely made me blush.  Receiving this award two times in one month is awesome!  As tradition dictates, I must reveal seven things about myself.  So here we go:

  1. This month, I will have been happily married for eight years. We have actually been together for ten years and it feels like just yesterday we met.  I wrote a drabble about it in last Sunday's post.   
  2. I have 5,452 songs on my iPod.  Yes, I love music.  I have a very eclectic selection.  I enjoy Salsa, Merengue, Hip Hop, Pop, R&B, Alternative, Reggae, Hard Rock, etc.  The only music I really don't enjoy is  Heavy Metal.  Although, I do have some Ozzy and Coheed & Cambria.  
  3. Besides music, my ipod also contains all six seasons of The Office.  I love the shenanigans that go on in this witty workplace.  I have seen The British Office and love it as well.  Ricky Gervais, Steve Carrell and Rainn Wilson are hilarious.
  4. I am a Sci-Fi and Fantasy fanatic.  Yes, I love Star Trek, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, most TV shows on the Sci-Fi channel and classic authors like Robert Heinlein.  Some contemporary authors I like are Octavia Butler, who recently passed, and Robin Hobb.
  5. I teach special education at the high school level.  I have experience with students who have learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, mental retardation (I hate the name of that classification since it has such negative connotations- developmental/ cognitive disorder would be better) and students with autism. 
  6. I love swimming but have not gone all summer!  Between work, home, family and sudden illness, the pool and beach are but a distant dream.  That will change when I go on vacation.  :D
  7. My favorite movie of all time is The Long Kiss Goodnight.  Gina Davis makes a great PTA mom who suffers from amnesia.  She later finds that she is actually an assassin.  Supporting actor Samuel Jackson is a hilarious, private eye sidekick in this film who helps Gina find her true identity.  It is well worth renting from Blockbuster, Netflix or whatever video store in your area.
Okay, so now as the second part of receiving this glorious award, I must nominate some individuals who also have wonderfully versatile blogs.  And the award goes to . . .

  1. Yvonne over at Welcome To My World of Poetry.  She writes such endearing poems on everything from winning a prize at a self-check out to loving memories of her departed husband.  
  2. Cold as Heaven at Cold as Heaven.  How's that for symmetry.  This blog is an array of thoughts from food and wine to sociopolitical issues.  
  3. Amy at Artistically Amy.  This blog has some really gorgeous photography, some great tips on altering images and great stories behind the pictures.
I hope everyone checks out the wonderful blogs mentioned above and Cruella, thanks again for the award .


I would also like to wish my sister a Happy Birthday!  Love you.  :D

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Random Thoughts of the Day

    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    Today, my featured post is a link and some loosely structured thought processes.  You are probably wondering why?  Well, I've been feeling kind of glum lately.  Between work, family and illness, I have not had time to really enjoy myself this summer.  My summer mood is most evident in this post- Random Wednesday: Swimming.

    Sometimes people can be a little bit clueless.  They may invade your personal space, or scream at you when you are trying to help them or never say "Please. Thank you. Excuse Me," or realize that they are not the only person on this Earth.  We have to be conscious of our fellow man or woman or child.

    I seem to be including the word "or" a lot.

    I like the monster drawing/ character Alot.  He's awesome.

    My favorite quote is " You must be the change you wish to see in the world."  - Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi.

    My husband bought me a mini-fridge for my office.  Yay!  He rocks my socks.  *does a happy dance*  No more putting my lunch in the yucky staff lounge with the ever present black mold.  Bleh!

    I did not really have a reason for posting the pretty image above except that I thought it was beautiful and interesting.  It doesn't really have anything to do with randomness.

    Uhm . . . I think that is enough randomness today.  Most people will think I'm loopy after this but that is okay.

    What is your random thought of the day?  Leave a comment or a link to your blog post.  I really want to know.  :D

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    The Library

    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    There is nothing like the smell of the library.  I remember as a child, the excitement when returning a book.  Everything looked and felt larger than life.  My shoes would click clack against the marble floors.  I would caress the spines of the books on the shelves.  The best part of the library was the stacks.  I could spend all day, in a little nook, reading a book.

    It is so sad that as an adult, I never have time to visit the library.  Now, I have to settle for electronic readers.  I long for those days in the library.

    drabble- n. a story written in exactly 100 words.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    A Random Act of Kindness

    Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons.

    The house is so untidy,
    and I have not the energy to clean. 
    My back is aching, my head is pounding,
    and all I want to do is scream.

    The kids are causing a ruckus
    and they're trying to drive me insane,
    My sister said to me "Let me take the girls,"
    relief spreads across my face quite plain.

    I called her up the following day
    asking when to pick up the girls
    She told me "I'll drop them off tomorrow,"
    In a voice as soft as pearls.

    this poem is a sweet, loving kiss,
    To my thoughtful little sis.


    I want to thank my sister for caring for my girls while I've been ill.  She really did me an unselfish act of kindness.  *hugs*

    "A Random Act of Kindness always sets off a chain, which may or may not circle back to you, but which makes the world a better place to be in. See it play out in our Pay it Forward feature, exclusively at the Burrow."

    -excerpt from Rayna M. Iyer's blog Coffee Rings Everywhere.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    You Had Me at Hello

    My hands were shaking as I walked into the Assistant Principal’s office for the second part of my interview.  The A. P. asked if I would sit at the table outside her office as she was talking to a staff member. 

    There you were, eating Chinese food with wooden chopsticks.  You greeted me with the most dazzling smile.  We exchanged pleasantries.  You asked if I was interested in any of the new positions.  We talked for all of ten minutes before I was called into the office.  I got the job.  I got you too.  You had me at “Hello.”

    Image courtesy of Scott J. Waldron

    drabble- n.  a story written in exactly 100 words.

    This drabble was featured in The Burrow's Valentine Project.

    Please check out the new Drabble Dare Challenge image of the week at Burrow, Books & Balderdash.   Join in the fun of writing a short story (exactly 100 words) to the image.  Looking forward to reading all of the wonderful entries!

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    Big Yellow Taxi

    The snow on the ground crunched loudly under my big leather boots.  The street was strangely deserted at three in the morning.  I walked to the corner of 96th Street and Central Park West.  I raised my arm in the air hoping to catch a taxi.  I yell, “Taxi!” and the sound of my voice is almost deafening.  All the cabs whizzed by.  They disregard poor little me standing in twenty degree weather.  One cab actually stopped and after ten seconds, quickly sped off.  But what do you expect, when they see my face and the color of my skin?

    Image courtesy of Jeff Rowland, "Big Yellow Taxi," Castle Galleries.

    To see The Burrow's drabble dare winner of the week, check out Burrow, Books & Balderdash.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    In the Black!

    Image courtesy of: A. J. Callan, Castle Galleries.

    This is where the action is at, people. You got the high rollers betting the limit. That schmuck over there, yeah, he's a shrewd pit boss. Don't cross'm or you'll have them suits on you like these star struck floosies. That loser looking like Elvis, he's placing an inside bet. I've been watchin' him. He ain't gonna win. They give ya comps instead. Watch the dealer cuz you betta believe that the eyes in the sky are watchin' you. With one sweep BAM! You're broke. But I got my eyes on black 26. Come on Lady Luck. Oh shit, I hit!

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Bronx Stories: An Unexpected Dinner

    One weekend, I went to visit my grandmother. I walked with my sister to the train station on 167th Street and the Grand Concourse. We passed a cuchifrito (Spanish restaurant that sells fried specialties), two bodegas (Spanish grocery store) and the old Kent Theater, where you could see two movies for $5. I paid 75 cents for a token and went through the turnstile. My sister was small so I told her to go under the turnstile. Surprisingly, she did what I said and didn’t complain. We took the “D” train to 125th Street and transferred for the “C” train. We got off at 96th Street and Central Park West. We walked three blocks to Mamita’s house. It was early morning, so she still had rollers in her hair. They were the huge purple rollers that only your grandma would wear. The funny thing was that when she took off the rollers and combed her hair, it still looked frizzy just as if she never bothered with it.

    Mamita had some errand to run so my sister and I were lucky we had our navy blue and white ProKed sneakers on. They kind of look like Converse sneakers but low tops instead of high tops. First we stopped at apartments near her home. These people gave her money. When I questioned her as to why people always gave her money, Mamita simply stated that she lends it to them. I asked her why? Mamita said that for every $100 she lends someone, they have to pay back $125, so she makes a profit of $25.  I asked her what would happen if someone didn’t pay her back and her response was that she would send someone of the male persuasion to collect it. It did not dawn on me that my grandmother was a loan shark.

    Finally we stopped at a Live Fowl Market and she purchased a gallina, hen. She brought the chicken home and we played with it. It kept trying to fly but didn’t really get very high. My sister kept creeping from the doorway and yelling, “Boo!” whenever the poor hen came near. My grandmother yelled at us in Spanish. As I was not proficient in the vulgarities of the Spanish language, I had no idea what she said. What was clear, was her tone. We immediately stopped bothering the chicken.

    Mamita told us to follow her to the kitchen, cocina. The kitchen consisted of the typical amenities: sink, stove/ oven, refrigerator, table and chairs. However, this kitchen was the size of a small bathroom. It’s dimensions were 7 feet wide by 4 feet long and 10 feet high. We crowded into the cocina as best we could. To my horror, Mamita grabbed the chicken, snapped it’s neck and plunged its body into a large pot of boiling water. With tongs, she then placed the dead hen into the sink and began plucking its feathers. My sister stood fascinated. I looked on in shock. She chopped off its head and let the blood drain from its body. I retched all over the tiny kitchen floor. Mamita told me to get the mop and clean up my mess.

    One hour later, Mamita served dinner. It was homemade chicken soup. I was lucky enough to get the chickens leg with foot attached. Needless to say, I went hungry that night.

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    Bronx Stories: Love Child

    It was hazy, hot and humid. The three H's. Nothing could be worst. Well almost nothing. The smell of hot garbage was intense. The date was July 24, 1994 and I was nine months pregnant. I woke up early and went to the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. This is near 167th Street, about seven blocks from Yankee Stadium. All day my family had been cheering and waving their flags on the sidewalk.

    As the flags waved from side to side, we shouted, " Que viva Puerto Rico! (long live Puerto Rico)." We ate piraguas which are a mixture of juice and snow cones, coquitos which are coconut icies and pasteles, an ethnic food that is hard to describe but trust me delicious. I stuffed myself with every single Latin delicacy available.

    Later, around 6:00 PM, I went home exhausted feeling pressure and pain in the center of my back. I walked around somewhat and performed the same menial chores I did every evening; cooking, cleaning and tending to my mother's needs as she is wheelchair bound. I waddled around for two hours. Finally, at 8:00 PM, I grew hungry. I was absolutely ravenous and wolfed down three pe
    anut butter and jelly sandwiches. At 8:07 PM, I got up to put the plate in the sink and I felt warm fluid coursing down my leg.

    My water broke! Immediately, I experienced the most excruciating ring of pain around my waist. My child's father assisted me into the car. I felt every bump, pothole and sharp curve on the way to the hospital. It was an interminably excruciating journey.

    He drove me to North Bronx Central Hospital. There were several complications. I had toxemia or preeclampsia, a condition in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develops after the twentieth week of pregnancy. It is an autoimmune disorder that can have serious repercussions on the fetus, if not controlled.

    Unfortunately, I then spiked a fever of 104 degrees Farenheit due to a placental infection. I suddenly stopped dilating at nine centimeters. I screamed in anguish because I only had one more centimeter to go! As if that wasn't enough, I threw up peanut butter and jelly all night long. To this day, I refuse to eat a PB & J sandwiches.

    Several excruciating hours later, I whispered to my aunt, as my voice was hoarse from vomiting, "I feel like I'm going to die." She runs out of the room and finds a midwife. All of a sudden there were people screaming orders to one another, mass confusion and I was unceremoniously thrown on to a g
    urney. I heard "Fetal distress, pressure low. Take her to the O.R. stat!" A nurse jumps on the gurney with her hand placed unceremoniously between my legs.  I am not sure if she was holding the crown of the baby's head or just wanted a free ride.

    At last I was rushed into the operating room. I was told to count backwards from ten. I made it to nine and knew no more.

    Justin Eric Rodriguez was born at 11:31 PM on July 25, 1994. When I finally awoke, sixteen hours later, to my dismay I found myself in the recovery room. I had an emergency Caesarian section. I cried for several minutes as the realization set in that I had missed the first few hours of my son's life. I was in physical, emotional and mental anguish that would not be assuaged until I held my darling in my arms.

    I had the pleasure of gazing into his eyes on the 26th, as both our fevers would not abate. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.



    LOVE YA,

    This was written when teaching my students to write memoirs. They were suppose to write one of the happiest moments of their lives. This was mine.

    Join the drabble dare challenge at The Burrow.

    Friday, July 23, 2010


    There they go again. Two nosey women with nothing better to do than talk about the girl who was caught in an empty apartment with a boy. What does it matter? The girl is not their relative nor a friend. The girl was merely indulging in a clandestine rendezvous with her boyfriend. It was only for an hour. Do these old women understand love? Betcha' they've forgotten what it feels like to have the person you love look at you with stars in their eyes. Damn gossips. It wouldn't be so bad if that girl wasn't . . . me.

    Image courtesy of:  Alexander Millar, "Gossips," Washington Green/ Castle Galleries-

    drabble- n. a story written in exactly 100 words.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    You Said You Loved Me. . .

    You said you loved me but I always knew,
    that when the time came, you would leave on a cue.

    I found the note left on my pillowcase,
    it left me in tears, with images I cannot erase.

    It broke my heart like shattered glass,
    There’s nothing left, our love did not last.

    You said you loved me but I always knew,
    that when the time came, you would leave on a cue.

    Like a leaf on the wind, you came and went
    I cannot stop myself from this abysmal descent.

    You whispered harshly, an abrupt good-bye.
    It was inevitable that you had to die.

    You said you loved me but I always knew,
    that when the time came, you would leave on a cue.

    Image courtesy of:

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Caught in the Act

    “Did you hear something?”

    “No, you’re just being paranoid.”

    “Seriously, I hear footsteps.”

    “No one’s here. Hurry up. Get the money cart.”

    “Wait, I hear them too. What do we do?”

    “Quick, behind the door.”

    “No, no.  Let’s get in the closet.”

    “They always look in the closet.”

    “Okay, behind the desk.”

    “Don’t be stupid.  They’ll see our feet.”

    “Come on.  Behind the door.  No one looks there.”

    “I knew this was a bad idea.  All of you always get me in trouble.”

    “You wanted the money just as bad.  Get behind the door.”

    Footsteps.  Door opens.  Flashlight.

    “Anybody here?”

    drabble- n. story written in exactly 100 words.

    Image courtesy of:

    David Foster Wallace
    Kurt Vonnegut