Going Rogue

I so appreciate this post.  We have many teachers in our family and I watch them struggle with curriculum and regulations, testing and retesting.  Teachers are worn out.  They teach our kids all day then grade papers and write tests in the evenings.  They’re suffering.

Attend your local school board meetings, especially if you have children in school.  Meet with their teachers, ask questions, get involved and offer support.  Your kids will learn that you really care about their education.  Teach them to get involved.

undercoverBAT's Blog


They’re not my kids anymore, but they’ll always be mine.

True, I don’t see them day in, day out like I did the year that they were in my classroom. But there are still snatches of time during the day where we can reconnect–a quick conversation as we pass each other in the hall, first thing in the morning when my classroom has more former students than current students.

In my mind, they’re just slightly taller versions of the child I saw every day for ten months, maybe with a few more teeth and a different hairstyle. But then I’m reminded that they’ve been thrown into a whole new existence.

The testing world.

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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Tomb of the unknown
Tomb of the unknown
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery


This isn’t really a post.  It feels more like a dirge.  I’ve been organizing photographs recently – got ’em all in the cloud, ya know – and I came across some that my spouse had taken on the last trip he made to DC with Rolling Thunder.   The photo of Arlington (see the header pic) pulls my feet out from under me.  Note how the stones line up so smartly, the grass is as trim as a boot camp haircut and the quiet is deafening.

A few years prior our son made a trip to Afghanistan and then another to Iraq, courtesy of the U. S. Army.  It’s been ten years since he came back to us and I still find myself looking at his face wondering who is this man wearing my son’s dog tags, carrying his wallet, thinking he can fool this old woman.  Sure, he looks familiar, but I don’t know him.  The joy is gone from his voice, his smile is strained, dark circles always under his eyes.

His eyes – I look into those green eyes, within them the most amazing color of orange around his pupils, and I can’t describe the pain that cuts through me, takes my breath away.  It’s his pain I see in those beautiful eyes as they gaze back into mine.  Pain because he left others behind to continue the battle while he came home.  Pain because he saw body bags take friends away after IEDs ripped through their bodies.  Pain because of guilt he suffers from taking the lives of the sons of other women. But wait! There’s more!

“Thank You For Your Service.” What Do You Really Mean By That?

This is such a splendid post, it bears repeating here on my blog.  Many thanks to Forming The Thread! 

Forming The Thread

Instead of a thank-you, I’d like something different:  I want you to pay attention, stay informed, and get politically involved.

In recent years, more veterans are letting us know that they find it a little off-putting to be thanked for their service. The exact reasons vary, but I have my own, so count me among those who find it awkward at best.

I wonder just what people really mean when they say “Thank you for your service.” Maybe I should start asking. Why are you thanking me for my service? What did it do for you? What does it mean to you? I wonder how many of these well-wishers could even really articulate a solid answer to that question.

Here is what this veteran thinks: “Thank you for your service” is a pretty lame substitute for the public’s failure to be at all engaged, or even a little bit interested…

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Yes, sometimes it’s a real drag, reality, I mean.  I started this blog with a few goals in mind.  First I’m going to be me – you know how you read some blogs and the authors are so perky and happy about everything you just want to puke!  Well, I have good days and bad days, highs and lows, and the blog is a form of therapy.  I write about politicians, my family, my hobbies, things I’d like to do or places I’d like to go…but no matter what, I won’t lie to you, I won’t try to convince you that I’m laughing and smiling, cheery and fun, 24/7.  That’s just not real, at least it’s certainly not me.

Next, I want to be helpful or at least entertaining, enlightening, educational…when you close my blog, I want you to take away something that enriches your life in some way, no matter how small.  That may seem presumptuous and you can laugh at me, disagree with me, revile me – I don’t care.  If I can just make a few of you think about how we’re all connected, how the ripples you make impact your neighbors, how we can work together to make life better for others – my life will certainly have been enriched.

Imagine waking one morning in a fabulous mood, feeling like sunshine on the inside.  You get dressed, grab a piece of toast, dash out the front door and you’re anticipating a splendid day.  You get to the curb, stand there, wait for the light to change, hum a little off-key tune.  It’s a beautiful morning, and a car goes by, hits the only puddle in sight, splashes you head to toe with oily, muddy slime.  You glance up just in time to see the driver’s face and she doesn’t appear remorseful or even surprised.  No, her face looks like a storm cloud, and the look she gives you is one of fury, daring you to suggest she’s at fault.  What do you think would happen to your sunny disposition?  Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be the least bit disgruntled.  You have a dress that’s ruined and you’re now delayed because you’ll have to go home and start the day over.  There’s no way to reclaim what she’s taken from you.

Ripples, my friend.  Her ripples just tossed your happy mood overboard.  And you didn’t even know her, didn’t even speak to her.  Think of the impact we can (and do) make on those who know us, those who are a part of our daily lives.  Think how many times we’re not even aware of the filth we’re splashing on them.  It’s a dangerous world.

As I get older I’m working so hard to have a more positive approach.  I want to create ripples that make people smile.  Imagine it.