Saturday, August 31, 2013

Closing Time

For a while now I've been avoiding the inevitable. I have had a guilty cloud looming over my head regarding my blog. I come back to this space resolved to write, to post, to interact. Then I fail miserably. I forget to post for a few days. Then weeks pass. Then I remember and I feel my cheeks flaming with the warmth of embarrassment. You see, I have moved on to other ventures but haven't really left this one behind yet.

I have to say, with regret, it is closing time here. I don't know if I will re-open this spot in the future, or if it will remain closed permanently. I began my blog during a time when I needed a creative outlet in my life. Now I'm firing on all cylinders professionally and personally. By the time I sit down to write I am so tired I can't even think let alone put words to paper. I feel terrible about closing this down, but I don't want (the meager few) readers I have to continue to stop by and check in only to find I'm not posting still.

To bring everyone up to speed so you know I've not fallen off the face of the planet before I button the place is awesome right now. The boy is in first grade and finally growing those front teeth he lost last year back in. Work is amazing. We have a strong team of counselors, have good plans for the year to come, and are doing good things for students. The three of us spent some awesome time in California this past summer. From San Francisco to Los Angeles and all that lies in between. We explored wine country, slept on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, walked San Francisco's neighborhoods, watched baseball games in AT&T and Dodger stadiums, drove the pacific highway, took in Disneyland, stayed in style in an Art Deco Hollywood hotel, and ate our way all through the state. It was a family trip for the ages. Somewhere along the way we forgot what day it was, what time it was, and thought about never coming back. Now that school is back in session here in the middle, the heat is starting to recede south and cooler air seep into our world, we are pulling sweaters out of storage and remembering the feeling of shoes with socks.

Honestly, life has gotten so hectic I have known for some time I'd have to give up blogging. I just couldn't keep up. I'll miss this more than I can say. Hopefully I'll come back here in the future. Until then, I bid you farewell from the middle.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Palm to Forehead

Sometimes I am a complete moron.

You know, the one who drops the ball right as the runner is sliding into home plate?

I'm that person. I am good at bungling things from time to time. I admit it. In fact, this space is kind of my therapy space. I can safely tell all of you (or no one, depending on how many readers I have) that I am not perfect. And I'm totally cool with it. I'm at a point in my life where I will own up to my own mistakes. Say I'm sorry. Ask how to fix things.

Which is why today, when something I was attempting to do for my job went completely inside-out, I owned up to screwing up. Sigh. Live and learn, right? Like I said, I can massively mess up. It is quite possible this is where my own empathy for others springs. I have been in that place of guilty feelings and embarrassment. I feel your pain.

So I will pick up the pieces and move on. One of my resolutions for the new year (my school year is ending-and I always think about new school year resolutions right about now) is to maintain a positive outlook. I'm pretty good at this in my personal life. I want to bring it into my professional life. It starts today. This moment. Tomorrow I'll rise and shine. I have to say, I am very excited about next school year already. Lots of new and exciting changes coming. So bring it on. I'm sure along the way I will fall flat on my face, but at least I can pick myself up, dust myself off and move on.

Because that is what catchers who drop the ball do. We move on to the next base runner.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What's in a Name?

I was born a Jennie.  Well, technically a Jennifer.  For my earliest of years that "ie" followed me around everywhere in a sea of "Jenny's."  I was a child of the 80's and it seemed as though I was one among hundreds with the same name.  Yet my mother used the more traditional shortened spelling over the modern one to help me stand out.  Then I turned ten.  And at all of ten years of age, I decided to change my name.  I wanted to be one of the cool kids.  One of those girls who wore NKOTB t shirts knotted at their hip over neon leggings with high tops in a rainbow of colors.  A girl who rocked the side pony and had a cool denim purse.  So I dropped the 'ie' and went with the hip 'y'.  All those yellow number 2 pencils my mother so carefully lettered with my name got scratched clean by me and re-labeled.  Through those awkward middle school years, stretching into high school and early into college I stuck with the jaunty 'y' like it was my talisman against the cliques that shunned me.

But at 20 I was an adult now.  I thought my name sounded entirely too childish.  Dropping the end and going with a simple "Jen" made it somehow grown-up cool.  My college friends all called me Jen.  It was a short and easy name to use.  Entering the world of work, my colleagues used it.  After I married, my name became one word "Jenclark" instead of the short Jen.  I felt like it embodied who I am. 

Yet lately I've noticed something.  My siblings still call me the old Jennie.  So do my parents.  And my uncles and aunts.  Childhood friends use it.  The strangest thing is though, my husband, stepdaughter, brothers-in-law, even my niece and nephews call me Jennie.  Maybe all those years ago my mom just knew that suited me best.  A sweet, old-fashioned, not formal at all name for a girl who is fun, nostalgic, not cool at all, kind of dorky, and embraces her lack of status.  So I'm sticking with it.  Not that I want to change anything, just keep things the way they are...because for those who know me best, I will be able to tell just by the way you answer when I pick up the phone. 

And yes, I can totally hear the "ie" just like Anne of Green Gables could hear the "e" at the end of her name.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm Baaaaaack!

So, I was having a little case of writer's block and decided to step away from blogging for a while. Because everything I was writing was boring me as I wrote it. And if I was bored with my words, I can't imagine what reader would even want to look at them.  So I stepped away. 

I also was feeling overwhelmed.  Professionally things were crazy for me.  Somehow I knew I needed to put more focus on the actual job I have, and less on this space I fill with my musings.  I needed to get a handle on my health-physical and mental.  And when we humans have those times where everything and everyone is pulling at us, we have to reevaluate how we spend our energy and reallocate.  That is exactly what I did.  I began to pour my energies into my family, my work as a school counselor, my health and home.  Things have begun to right themselves.  The most hectic time of year for our family is running much more smoothly than it has in past springs.  I am excited to move into a new position at work next fall.  My husband and I have changed our diets and our new and healthier eating plan has been in place for about 5 weeks now, with much success.  I feel as though my normal positive outlook on the world has returned, filling me with more energy and drive to tackle things I've been setting aside.

I have also had tons of new ideas to write about lately.  So, I made the decision this week to fire the blog back up.  I hope my readers (all 2 of you) are still out there.  I was noticing a wee bit of spam, so there will be a few changes in the commenting area.  But other than that, be ready for my particular brand of wit, humor, and general tomfoolery!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


If you hadn't noticed, I have not been posting much in the past few months.

(Insert laugh track here)

It isn't for lack of trying. I sit down at a screen and start typing several times each week. Then I get halfway though a post and read it over and am all ugh about it. (Pretty sure that Ms. Styslinger is going to come back and green ink that sentence for me) I can't seem to write anything I am even interested in reading myself, let alone publishing. And I refuse to post anything that I think is garbage.

Where does that leave me, and my happy little blog? Well, I am going to take my massive case of guilt and writers block and vacation from writing for a bit. Not sure how long. I don't want to walk away from MMM forever. I love this space so much. No matter how tiny it is. It is my dusty corner of the interwebs. I hope by taking the pressure off, I will feel better and the cobwebs will clear. I promise I will return. Hopefully sooner rather than later. For now, I am still happily tweeting away. You can always find me there!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

And it is snowing...

I remember gazing out the front doors of my one of my schools (I have a few I work in) and seeing little flakes fluttering down and promptly dashing into the office with glee.  It was snowing! Come and see! Everyone get excited! Snow!

This was in December.

Today I gaze out of my office window and see little flakes fluttering down and slump down lower into my chair.  It is snowing. Close the blinds.  Wrap me up in a blanket (straitjacket style).  Make giant mugs of coffee.  Make a blazing fire.  Go into denial. 

Needless to say, I am struggling with winter this year.  Last year we had nary a flake of snow.  It was warm(er) than your average Midwestern winter.  The sun shone down more than we saw clouds.  Our vehicles did not become encrusted with their normal salt layers.  I determined from my joy that yes, I could actually make a move to warmer climes and not miss the snow.  I think last winter is why I am struggling this year.  I am feeling desperate for some sunshine and warmth.  The snow is no longer looking pretty to me.  The wind is just cutting into my core and making me shiver.  I want to pull out my sandals and sundresses.

I know, I know.  I am whining.  I have to endure all of March yet.  I have to make it through four more tough weeks of darkness before we even start to see peeks of springtime around here.  Based on my 34 years of experience, I can do this.  But today, as it continues to flurry outside my window, I am feeling unable to face it.

At least Mel-O-Creme opens tomorrow.  And I can get a chocolate marshmallow malt, turn the heat in my car to full-blast and pretend it is July.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It is that time of year.  When everyone gets the grumpies.  When we all tend to answer questions about our days with a heaving sigh and sharp response along the lines of one of the following:

"Don't have time"
"Worn out"
"Over worked"

And my favorite of them all...

"I'm just so busy."

I know, I know.  I'm just as guilty as the next person of tossing out one of those easy responses when the skies have been dingy-gray flannel for days on end, the wind has been biting into every pore, the static electricity won't stop crackling, it seems as though spring will never come, and the salt dinge just won't quit getting on everything.  December may be the darkest month of the year, but February and March have to be the most depressing. 

So I am challenging myself to a few things.  First, to keep up with my new (aka: return to) fitness routine.  I've been running and hitting up the elliptical at least 3-4 times each week for a few weeks now.  Outside when the weather permits, and on the elliptical when it doesn't.  I loathe the indoor workouts, but I still feel better.  Second, keep on with better eating habits.  Every time I slip back into the junky foods I feel worse.  So these apples next to my keyboard are replacing the kettle corn I know is in the break room.  They will make my body and spirits happier. 

And the big challenge-to recognize that we are all busy.  But that does not mean my busy is more important than your busy.  And that I should focus on the positive.  Spread a little good energy around.  Maybe instead of the party-line answer to "How are you doing," I could shout out a better answer of "great!" or "happy to be here!"

We won't make it through to the sunnier spring days in one piece if we continuously snipe and bicker.  So let's ban together.  Let's focus on the good in our days.  Treat each other with grace and kindness.  Recognize we are all leading full and busy lives that are equally important.  Take deep breaths.  Lead with love.  We all have value-equally.