Posted in Random, Randomness

Our Life was Turned Upside Down

While I was at the dietician’s office on Monday, Oldest called me. He had been in an accident. Even though his car had been hit, he was okay just shaken up.

He was getting ready to turn when a truck going straight through the light sped up. The driver of the truck clipped Oldest before hitting a pole. Since Nick had gone in the intersection, he was cited for failure to yield. As a result of the accident, the front driver’s side was demolished.

We are waiting on word from the juvenile court for when he is supposed to go to court. His license is probably suspended. However that doesn’t matter; because he doesn’t want to drive right now.

Now Hubby and I are driving him around. Luckily he is now on summer vacation, so I don’t have to drive the 20 minute commute back and forth to his school. However, he is working, so I have to drop him off and then pick him up. His job is only a 5 minute drive from our house which helps. The problem is he closes which means he is done at the earliest at 10:45 and at the latest 11:30. For a person who shuts down beginning at 9 pm, that is tough for me.

I’m leaving in a few weeks for my annual EPIC trip with my best friend/ chosen sister. He needs to get those rides lined up because I won’t be around to pick him up.


I drove him to school 2 times this week and then home 1 time. The only good thing about driving him was our puppy went with us. After dropping him off, we went for a walk in the town where his school is located. Gaston, our puppy, loved meeting ducks for the first time. That was fun to see him try to get at the ducks as they were swimming around. He didn’t get far because of the leash.

So how’s your summer going?

Have a blessed day,
Traci

Posted in Random, Randomness

Be Present (How to Build Rapport Part 1)

I just ended my 21st year of teaching special education. One of my skill sets is the ability to build rapport with my students. Over the years I have realized that rapport cannot be forced or bought. Some students will be receptive towards creating a bond with their teacher while others are more reserved. I have many students who I have had rapport with while others I have taught and then they moved on without us truly developing any sort of rapport. Instead of seeing me as an ally who has their back, they saw me as a hindrance.

I’m going to begin a series where I’m going to talk about how to build rapport with students. I don’t know how many parts will be to this series because I keep coming up with more ways.

Be Present

Honestly I think this is one of the best ways to build rapport with students. Sometimes you need to put the computers, manipulatives, assignments, and even phones down and just show the students that you really care. If you are worrying about the next thing, the students won’t have your full attention. In this fast paced world of ours, we often don’t get the human connections that we crave. Being present and in moment with the students allows them to know you really care about them, their dreams, their worries, and/or their preferences. You learn who they are as a person and how they learn.

During virtual teaching, it was so hard to be present with students. Many times they were just black boxes with names on the screen. You could call their name a billion times with no response. Some of my best moments with students were the times we finished the work for the day and just talked to each other. I learned about their dog and their favorite dog who had died. During the year, I watched them blossom over the year. The young man went from wanting to get off the computer to play Fortnite to wanting to draw.

Join me next time for another strategy to help you develop rapport with students.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Random, Randomness

Song Lyric – Sunday – Aroma and Flavor

Ever since March when the the stay home orders began, my faith has been renewed. One of the churches I follow had worship afternoons several times during the week to help people with their faith and to keep them feeling connected. This is one of the songs they sang during that worship time.

The song is “Holy Water” by We The Kingdom. My favorite lyric from the song is “Your forgiveness Is like sweet, sweet honey on my lips.”

May you be blessed,
Traci

For more song lyrics about Aroma and Flavor, visit Jim.

Posted in Random

The night

Molly nervously looked at her watch. Almost midnight, Marc had never been out this late without contacting her. He always needed to be home by eight and in bed by 10 type of guy. Always in their twenty years of marriage.

She debated calling the police, his mom, or even the FBI as her mind raced through possible scenarios. Maybe he stopped at his mother’s and he forgot to call because he was eating her world famous cherry pie. Or maybe he got into an accident and was rushed to the hospital. She was so deep in her thoughts when the bright headlights of his truck broke her concentration.

Relief overwhelmed her. Her heart began to slow its rhythmic pace as she raced outside. Molly, a modest dresser, didn’t care she was in her nightgown. The cool fall air slapped her in the face as she hurried to his truck. Marc looked haggard, his clothes were wrinkled and stained, so unlike him, as he opened the truck’s door.

That is when she noticed the diamonds glinting in the streetlight. At least that is what they looked liked to her. Moving closer, she noticed that there were small jagged pieces of metal lining the bed of the truck. She was drawn to those pieces especially when she observed the rust on them.

Picking up one of them, she noticed it wasn’t rust but fresh dripping blood.

Screaming as she dropped it! She fell to her knees. In her mind, she knew she needed to call the police.

The man standing in front of her wasn’t the Marc she loved.


What do you think had happened to Marc?

Why do you think there were small pieces of metal with fresh blood on them in his truck bed?

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Random

What do you see? – September 28, 2020

I was hiking a cool serene lake in the middle of nowhere. All I can hear for miles around me is an unreal silence with an occasional chirp, leaves crunching, and a frog croaking. I was in nirvana.

Suddenly the most magical experience happened when this beautiful brave bird flew around my head. As I sat there drinking in the pure beauty of the landscape, he flew closer to me.

During one his flights around me, I reached out my hand slowly. At first, he continued flying around me becoming braver with each lap. Deciding I was not a threat, he hopped in my hand.

Without alarming him, I grabbed my camera and captured this moment in time with him. As soon as the shutter clicked and the photo captured, he was off. He was on his way back home.

I continued my hike in awe of that moment in time. No one was going to believe me when I told them the story of how I became friends with a bird. Luckily I have a photo to show them.

#whatdoyousee

Posted in Beliefs, ramblings, Random, Randomness

I am Dayton Strong

The morning after Memorial Day, I’m outside chasing my dog at 4 o’clock in the morning. The sky is full of stars and the air is perfectly still. I breathed a sigh of relief because I made it through the holiday without any major incidents.

Then the news comes in that morning about George Floyd and his murder by the police officers. Protests begin to erupt throughout the United States and the world.

The year before, our communities of all races, nationalities, genders, and sexualities came together to lift each other up. Now a year later, the city that had celebrated unity now could have been torn apart.

         As I heard the news that weekend, I heard that one of my favorite historical buildings had been vandalized during the peaceful protest that ended with rioting.

         I cried out, “No, not the Victoria Theater”

         There had been another protest of sorts in my town the year prior. The KKK had been allowed to hold a gathering in the downtown area just down from that Victoria Theater. People came to protest them being allowed to hold an annual meeting in our town. Fortunately, nothing had been destroyed during that protest. The city had come together united.

         Two days later, our city was hit by a tragedy that could have broken us apart just like the KKK meeting.

         On the night of Memorial Day 2019, the dark sky full of stars was expansive. There was a stillness in the air which was sort of like a foreshadowing. I was outside with my oldest, Nick. We walked around the yard letting the soft freshly rained grass tickle our toes with our words floating in the air because he was trusting me with his teenage secrets.

         We were laughing because we in the middle of a tornado watch. In our part of Ohio, it was common for us not to take those tornado watches seriously.

         After some time outside, we went in to get ready for bed before our last days of school. Anticipation of summer lingered in our good nights.

         Even though I had gone to bed, the thought of the tornado watch hung over my head like a bee trying to find a flower to land on. I kept scrolling Facebook to see status updates from my local friends and meteorologists. Suddenly the words, “I think a tornado just went over my house. The are police surrounding it looking for damage,” jolted me out of bed. No longer tired, my adrenaline was heightened. I began to pray. Worry filled my thoughts.

         Then I saw the words “Tornado hit Trotwood!”

         I bolted out of bed like I was suddenly shocked by an electrical shock screaming, “The sh- – just got real.” Tears flowing down my face. Breathing was hard at that moment.

         As I gathered everyone for us to head to the bathroom, there was a sense of urgency in both my voice and actions. “NOW! Move it! Let’s GO!” could be heard throughout our tiny ranch house.

         My husband, Todd, refused to budge from the living room. His stubborn self was skeptical about there being an actual tornado even after me yelling about a tornado hitting Trotwood. He wanted to see it on the Weather Channel before he believed it. Finally, after getting confirmation, he reluctantly headed to the bathroom

         Our walk-in closet sized bathroom barely fit all four of us plus our almost 15-year-old dog. Will, my youngest, took one wall while holding the dog. Nick sat in the bathtub with his swim trunks on. Todd sat on the toilet. My back was to the bathroom door. There was no room for anyone to move around as we played the waiting game.

         We heard the wind beginning to pick up outside. It was a ghost howling in the darkness. After a few moments, the hail began to hit our house. The pinging of tennis balls being hit at a gym wall unsettled us. While the rest of the family relied on sound to know what was going on outside, I felt the force of the wind and the hail since I was against the bathroom door.

         As quickly as it had started, it soon was silent outside.

         In the silence, my phone began to beep. People were texting me letting me know they were either okay or were praying for me. We were not alone in that bathroom. God was with us.

         Minutes that felt like hours in that tiny bathroom. Every time we thought it would be safe, another ding would go off on all our phones. Tornado watch extended for another half hour. More waiting and worrying.

         Then we were given all clear. Our adrenaline was sky high at that point, but it was after midnight and we needed our sleep because we didn’t know what was waiting for us the next day.

         Sleep evaded me that night. I would cat nap for a little while and then would wake up remembering what had happened earlier that night. At 3 o’clock in the morning, I decided to take a walk around the yard.  There was a calm in the air. No indication of the damage Mother Nature had caused a few hours prior. As I breathed in the sweet summer air, a sense of peace filled my heart because I was alive and safe.

         Our communities came together during the days and weeks that followed the tornado. People from all over came to help remove all the debris and tree limbs, feed the volunteers and victims, and to provide food and clothing to those who lost a little or all. All races, nationalities, sexualities, and genders came together to help each other.

         Now 52 weeks later, our Memorial Day is marred by another tragedy. I’m left to wonder again is Dayton going to come together like we did the year prior or are we going to be fractured?       

         Then I remember that I’m Dayton Strong. In the last 52 weeks, we’ve had a KKK meeting, the 15 tornadoes ripping through our area, a mass shooting, Covid-19 and now the Black Lives Matter protests. We will come out of this stronger and a more united community. I am Dayton Strong. My city has taught me to be resilient.

Posted in Random, Randomness, Writing Workshop

Refreshing my Kitchen

In March, right before the self imposed quarantine, we made a decision to use some of my inheritance money from my mom to refresh our kitchen. Then the quarantine occurred and the idea was stalled.

Early May, everything started to open up, so we went through our original plan of getting new appliances. I talked about the reasons for these appliances in my blog post with a recipe for a simple Philly Cheese Steak.

I’m going to walk through those reasons again.

  1. New Oven – Last summer, the glass piece fell off the front. We debated whether we should get a new oven right then or if we could wait. Last summer was a time of transition for us. Hubby was getting ready to start college, so us getting a new oven at that time was not a priority. The oven was visually unappealing and slowly became a safety issue because of the exposed metal pieces. Now we have an updated Samsung oven that I feel more comfortable cooking on. Oh, and it has a bread proofing setting. Sweet!
  2. New microwave – The plastic was beginning to melt inside, so it was a safety issue. It was over a decade old and had been used many times. Our new Samsung microwave is like a space ship. There is an actual menu with ways to configure pieces to the microwave for ultimate cooking. I actually roasted perfect potatoes in it last night. A real game changer because we eat those a lot.
  3. New Dishwasher – The dishwasher worked most of the time. However, it became a problem when the top rack wouldn’t always stay in. I was constantly having to reposition it in the dishwasher. We like the new Samsung dishwasher because there is a top shelf for our silverware and smaller dishes like my Mason jar lids.
  4. New fridge – Don’t even get me started with the fridge. Let’s just say we needed a new one. The old one still works but wasn’t functional for daily use. We moved it to the garage to hold our pop, cheese, and butter. The new fridge is a LG fridge with one of those door in door features. With 2 teenagers, it’s a good idea to have that feature even though Youngest seems to think he needs to keep opening the door in the door. I had to put a stop to that.

I provided links to the new appliances.

Now that we have these new appliances, Oldest has decided to help us do a late spring clean up of the kitchen. He’s rearranged some of the items in our kitchen and has helped clean up the counters in order for them to be more functional.

The next refreshing task in the kitchen is to clean the cabinets and repaint them. We also have a dry sink I’m going to do the same thing with and we are going to place it in either the kitchen by the back wall or in the living room around the corner from the kitchen. It was my grandma’s and then mom took it over. I can’t get rid of it. It needs to be refreshed before it can come into the house.

Two years ago, my aunt and mom helped me with some of the refreshing in my kitchen. It is now time to continue with their efforts.

That is one of my most recent purchases.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in music, P!nk

My Sacred Musical Artist / Happy

During the summer, I was introduced to a podcast called Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. They take the Harry Potter books and chapter by chapter they discuss it through different themes like empathy and white privilege. The podcast really makes you think.

They also discuss the fact there is often a sacred text, songs, or even musical artists in our lives that we often rely on to get us through difficult times.

Throughout the years, my sacred song has changed depending on the season I am in my life. However, for the last 10 or so years, one artist keeps popping us as having songs that I have believe to be sacred to me. Mind you, I’ve loved her music since the early 2000’s when I first heard Just like a Pill. So who is this artist. She is P!nk, the badass I wish I was myself.

Okay, Get the Party started was a sacred song for me while I was pregnant with Oldest. That child was planning to stay in my uterus forever. I wanted my body to get the party started. It never worked. I was induced 4 days after his due date.

Then there was Perfect. I went through a period of time where I had students who were not the best. It was a really rough period. Lots of anxiety and depression during that time during that time in my life. I had lost family members, a former student of mine, and a high school friend. I tried to keep it together. As a self-help for myself, I discovered photography.

Hurts 2B Human

This past April, she came out with the newest album Hurts 2B Human. I can relate to so many of the songs. Whether in this time in my life or in my past. I want to discuss some of the songs and how it relates to my life.

Now mind you, it won’t be all in one post. I wouldn’t do that to you.

The first song I would like to discuss is Happy. This song was written about how I felt about myself in my teens until mid thirties.

The lyrics I can really relate to are
” Since I was 17
I’ve always hated my body
And it feels like my body’s hated me
Can somebody find me a pill to make me un-afraid of me? “

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body. I’m short waisted with long legs. Can you believe how awkward that combination is especially for a teen?

I always thought I was not attractive. Maybe it’s because of my awkwardness. It was not until I lost my grandma and I began to be in more photos that I realized that I was not as unattractive as I realized. Hubby would tell me that I was beautiful but it was not always enough for me to believe. What an awful way to live my life.

Another lyric I can relate to is
” Since I was 22
I’ve been with somebody who loves me
And I’ve been trying to believe it’s true.”

I have actually been with Hubby since I was 22. On October 17th, we’ve been together for 22 years which is going to be half of my life. For details of the time we got together, click on this link. That year was a hard year for me mentally, emotionally, and even physically.

How did I end up with someone who truly loved me? I don’t know. I was in a series of messed up relationships up until that moment. I could write a book on those relationships.

Am I scared to be happy? I don’t think so. I like being happy but there were times in my time that it was hard to be happy.

” (Don’t like to talk about my feelings) “

This is true. I don’t always like to talk about my feelings. I’m scared people will judge me.

I hope you’ll be kind and understand how this post made me vulnerable.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in back to school, Random, Randomness, Writing Workshop

When August 1st comes . . .

The last few days of summer

During my first few years of teaching, school didn’t begin until around Labor Day. In fact, when Youngest was born, I left the previous school year pregnant and came back to work with everyone else. (He was born less than 2 weeks after the end of the school year.)

Now August 1st means that summer is basically over for me. I know that school is going to begin within a week or so. Usually I’m at the school getting my room ready by August 1st. This year I decided to treat myself to not coming in until the first day I had to be back at work.

I can’t show one photo to describe my August

When I walked into my room on August 7th, I walked into tablehedge, not Stonehedge.

Tablehedge

One of my co-workers came to my rescue and got the tables down.

I quickly rearranged my furniture so that the room is functional.

This room is a resource room. Students come out of the rooms for pull out services. I need to only have a minimal amount of furniture. As the school year continues, I will be decorating more of the classroom.

Case in point, this bulletin board has the two basic rules expected in all classrooms. I asked the students to write down ideas on ways they can demonstrate those rules. I love this because students feel as though they have a role in creating the rules in my room.

Now that we are testing for baseline data, my room has been torn apart to be put back together after testing.

The current state of my room. Each student has been given a shelf in the cubbies in the back of my room. It’s going to help with organization.

One of those bulletin boards in the back of the room is going to be the cool down / calm down corner. I have some brown paper board paper that is going to be hung up on the bulletin board with some suggestions on how they can calm down. Our community has been through so much trauma in the last few months. A tornado and then the shooting in downtown Dayton have rocked the area since May.

So many have rallied around our community. However, even with the rallying around us, these are 9, 10, and 11-year-old children. Some of them do not know how to deal with the trauma so it’s imperative they have a place that will help them cool down.

The word wall is basic sight words. When they don’t know how to spell a word, a way for them to get some movement is to walk to the back the room to look at the word wall. I have clipboards so it is easy for them to write.

Now You Know What a Teacher’s August looks like

My room would never be Pinterest worthy. However it is functional. Students get what they need to help them become better fourth and fifth grade students.

When a student tells you, they can’t wait until you begin to teach them math because you made them think last year. You know the look of your room does not matter. What matters is how you make the students feel while they are in your room. Are they feeling welcome? Are they feeling like they are learning? Are they feeling as though they are loved?

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci