Saturday, September 30, 2006


I am usually good pretty responsible but EVERYONE who knows me knows two things: 1) No matter how hard I try, if I am by myself I am always late for church and 2) I have a hard time getting dvds turned in on time. This evening I wanted to rent a movie to watch while I finished grading the papers from this week. I headed over to Hastings and, shock of all shocks, I had a late fee. I told the guy that I wanted to go ahead and pay it. As I was avoiding eye contact, he told me not to worry because earlier today someone came in with a $435 late fee! What!? How does that happen!? Ends up the guy forgot to turn in something like 6 movies. But still...come on! That's more than my car payment!

People never cease to amaze me.

In the Parking Lot of Applebee's

Tonight we went to see Katie dance at a football game and then headed to Applebee's for dinner. We stood around for a while and visited until only me, Manny, and Brent were left. We see each other very rarely anymore so we were catching up. Late in the conversation, Brent stops mid-sentence and says, "Look - they're gonna sing a tag!" We turn to see a group of four older women turning to face each other in the parking lot. We chuckle and then realize that they really are about to sing a tag! We walked over and met a quartet that was in town have a rehearsal. They were the nicest ladies! We didn't get to sing together but barbershop was discussed. The guys got their quartet's card and we all said good night.

Not many people will understand why that was a fun moment and that is OK. There is something unique about being a part of this group. I've been associated with barbershop for three years now and have grown to love both the hobby and the people. An instant bond is formed and you have a connection. It's like being at church or running into someone and finding out they are a Christian too. How special it is!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Call

Everyday I think that I have something to blog about and then I either forget it or something bigger comes up. Tonight, it is the second of the two.

I got a call yesterday that my Erin was in a wreck. I didn't get too many details from Gregg other than she is OK. Tonight, I actually got to talk to her for half an hour. She told me exactly what happened and how bad it could have been. The car is pretty much totalled and she made the news (just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation). I held it together on the phone but it took everything in me not to lose it when I got off.

I am SO thankful that she is OK. Sore, shaken, overwhelmed - yes. But even better - she's still here. The thought of losing her is beyond what I could bear. I've lost people close to me but to lose my sister would shatter my world. She is my strength and comfort. There's no way I could manage without her. She is the best thing God has ever given me and I am grateful he is letting me keep her a little longer!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

For the Love of Books

The longer I teach, the more I fall in love with books. Despite the various distractions of our day, not one can take the place of the written world. I believe that the most beautiful and dangerous place to go is into your mind and heart. Books are our guides that take us to the darkest places and lead us out into the brightest day known to man. No escape can rival what a good story provides.

One of my favorite things to remember about my mom is that she was a reader when I was little. She would get a book and devour it so quickly. It set such an amazing example for me and Erin. We would go to the library and get as many books as we were allowed. Trips to the mall were always accompanied with a stop in Walden or Dalton books.

Now, I am falling in love with the written word all over again. My time is not as free to dive in but when I do, my soul stirs. To this day, I find comfort in Barnes and Nobel when I need to relax. I will drive the 45 minutes to spend a few hours surrounded by adventures, romance, comedy, and mystery. I find refuge in books the way that some find it in a quite church.

This is from one of my new favorite children's books Inkheart. It is about the love of books and the worlds inside of them. Read the quote and then read the book:

“Is there anything in the world better than words on a page? Magic signs, the voices of the dead, building blocks to make wonderful worlds better than this one, comforters, companions in loneliness. Keeper of secrets, speakers of the truth...all in those glorious words.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My new roommate

On Friday, I had training with my Balanced Literacy coach. She stopped at one point, clapped her hand against her forehead, and proceeded to tell us about how a cricket kept her awake all night long. I laughed at her for several reasons but mainly how silly it was to be upset over a cricket.

Tonight, the cricket that was in her hotel room has settled into my apartment. I don't know where he is but he must be happy because he is singing up a storm! The biggest difference between my coach and I is that I actually like the sound! (Much better than the car alarm that won't turn off!) It triggers memories of sleep outs at Blue Haven, the fields at the Royal's place, and laying in bed listening them outside my window. All peaceful and calming memories.

Funny how one person's annoyances can be another person's comforts.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Collected Entry

This year I teach a 4th grade self contained class. We focus pretty hard on writing since it is tested in February. One of the things that we are learning through professional development is that our kids need to learn to write about the everyday because this is where we live and love. Our hearts are in the here and now. In order to model this, we are highly "encouraged" to write more. I've written about seeing Wicked for the first time, collecting coins with Dad, my most embarrassing moment (working up the courage to share that one), Annie, arriving in NYC, Mom and the wheat noodles, flying kites, swinging in the back yard, visits in Huntsville, Erin and the corn on the cob dream, getting kicked out of the Marriott, clean sheets, and crickets. This is the latest. Enjoy!

"This morning as I hit the snooze button, I was taken back in time.

It is a Tuesday morning and the wake up routine has begun. It follows a simple pattern but, like most things simple, it is very effective. First, the door swings open and a voice that I love calls out "Dana-nana". I groan back and Dad announces that it is time to get up. He steps away and I snuggle my cheek into the pillow. Two minutes later, I hear, "One....two....three!" and the room is flooded by the blinding light of my ceiling fan. Thankfully, I am still under the covers so over the head they go. A couple of minutes later, I hear the urgent "Dana! It's time to get up!" followed by the ripping back of sheets. I am immediately in the fetal position in the middle of my double bed - quite possibly the fastest movement known to man. This is a very vain attempt to keep warm under a fan rotating at full blast. Despite my being cold, I have the will power of an 11 year old and stay right in bed until....the sound of the opening refrigerator door reaches my ears. Based on past experience, I am confident that I know what will happen if I am not out of bed in the time it takes him to cross the house. Dad is armed with a loaded spray bottle that he keeps stored in the fridge for mornings such as today. I now have a very short amount of time to make a very major decision - stay in bed and get wet or get up still tired? Not a difficult decision but, unlike most mornings, it isn't made fast enough. I am met face to nozzle with a mist of ice cold spray. All I can think is that a super soaker wouldn't be that different right now. I squeal and am instantaneously awake. Dad grouses about how long it is starting to take to get me out of bed and I just laugh on the inside. Sure I could get out of bed right away but when else are you going to have a water fight with your dad first thing in the morning? Why would you even consider starting your day any other way?

Now, 15 years later, the alarm clock just doesn't beat dear, ol' Dad!"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Momentary Want

There are not too many things that I want in live. Adventures, yes - things, no. Mom knowsthat I only want one thing for Christmas/birthday - an ipod. (There you go, Mom. It's in writing in case you forget). This morning I found another thing.

Jenn and Lin are still asleep and I am playing with Max. I take that back...I am being attacked by Max. Max is my Lin's cat and he is a unique one. He wears "pet-icures" to take the place of declawing so this time his claws are blue. He is a swatter but it doesn't hurt at all thanks to his "press on claws". He bites but will stop if you thump him. He also tears through the apartment at random times, tries to catch his tail while sitting on top of a book shelf, and has been known to swat at the mouse arrow on the computer. At the moment, my favorite thing about him is that he has a red dot on his back. Lin was dying her hair and he decided to see what she was doing. Hence, a red dot. Spastic is definitely a good word for him.

I want a cat. Something to love and play with at home. At the same time, I am NEVER at the apartment. It seems mean to get an animal and then never see it. I guess I'll settle for a nice plant. Yea, that will be fun...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Crossing of #13

Get your big black sharpie ready....Today, I parallel parked! Cross #13 off the life list! Not by choice but by necessity. Aren't you proud mom!? No bumps and the perfect distance from the curb. What can I doesn't take much to make me happy!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

He makes my heart smile...

I have a student whose mood defines how my day goes. If it is a good day for him, it is a good day for us. If it is a bad day, well, to say that our day is bad is the ultimate understatement. Today was a good day. He worked hard, was polite, focused, held my hand in the hallway, hugged, you name it – he did it right. Until the end of the day…

At 2:45, his good day ended. He entered the door and in the matter of 10 minutes, I was called dumb, stupid, retarded, and poor. He grunted at me and stuck his tongue out. A part of me was waiting to be hit. He refused to leave a nook in the room and then stormed out, knocking things off desks as he went. I let the behavioral specialist deal with him and turned my attention to the 15 other kids in my room waiting to work on the 5 foot puzzle they earned for the day.

After school, I was erasing the board when I saw what the boy was doing while he was in the nook. On a white board, he had written “I like Ms. LaMore” and signed it “Love,…”. I grabbed the board and ran to the behavioral specialist. He smiled and told me that the boy cussed him out all the way to the bus. Then, as he boarded the bus, he told the specialist that he is scared. You see, I am going to be out tomorrow for training and a sub will be there. He is nervous and acting out. He likes me and trusts me. That will be gone tomorrow and he doesn’t know what to expect or how to express his feelings.

My heart melts…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Writing Therapy

Yes, this is the second blog for today. However, I must preface it by two things. First, please do not suddenly worry about me. As stated, this is writing therapy. Secondly, please do not comment or respond to this. I love you all but will delete them. This is truth at its rawest. I don’t need validation, justification, or negation for the way that I feel. It is what it is.

I just got back from church. Lately, it has been hard to go because it brings up memories of things I have lost. It is getting better but tonight again, it has surfaced the feelings I have been pushing down so I can look for the good. Yes, my laughter and smiles have been increasing and real, but I have also been feeling these underlying emotions all the while. They don’t go away. They hide until something triggers the surface key.

I feel like I have single handedly killed the one thing in life that made me the happiest. I have never regretted a thing that I have said or done until now. Each day that regret grows and I kick myself for it. If there were any way for me to take back, I would in a heartbeat. I would throw myself on the floor and sob from the core of my being to show how sorry I am, knowing that would be inadequate to how I truly feel. I would share how I am unable to read the Ladies’ Retreat book about healing from the storms of life because I don’t feel like I deserve it yet. I would tell about how I pray everyday that one day this will be forgiven and the hope I have that God will be faithful. Basically, I know what I've done, I am sorry, and I hurt.

So since I can’t do these things, I do this: Stay away and stay quiet. Just as I was asked. It is the least I can do. Until I hear other wise, I sit and wait – biding my time. Until then, I have made this decision. I won’t be going to church with the folks for a while. I’ll come visit the family and those who will want to see me but not at church. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.

Therapy done.

My kids

I have a really wonderful friend named Todd. He has this philosophy on life that says everything you do is driven by either love or fear. I think that, for the most part, he is right but I would like to tweak it just a bit. I think you do things out of love or selfishness.

This year, I have a group. I thought my classes last year were hard but the truth is, this one takes the cake. Yet, I already love these children more than any other group I have ever had. They are pushing me to be a more patient, considerate, well rounded teacher who multi-tasks and juggles more balls than I ever knew a teacher could ever be thrown. For example, my classroom has literally eight behavior plans going on at all times just to be able to function minute to minute. That is campus wide all the way down to individual. You would think that would drive me nuts but when I get to pull one of my low babies aside and reward him with the sticker that he earned, it is a highlight of my day. Racing another student in bike club makes giving up the 20 minutes of lunch worth it. All they want is to be known and to be loved completely. What an honor to have that relationship with someone. It fills the void in my heart.

We are reading a Hank Zipzer book as our read aloud and we are all enjoying it together. The subtitle is "The World's Greatest Underachiever". Hank is an ADHD, learning disabled, "open mouth, insert foot" kid that you just have to love because there is a bit of him in all of us. The truth is, there is a LOT of him in my students. For once, a book where they are the heroes and not the background character or the "bad guy".

The truth is, working with them helps me find purpose and love each day. Some days, that is hard to come by but knowing that I am going to spend my day switching between pulling my hair out and falling in love makes getting out of bed a little easier every day. They help me find love instead of fear. They help me learn love instead of selfishness.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A&M 28, Army 24 - Enough said!

Yesterday was such a good day. Got up and worked in the classroom from 9:00 to 3:45. The apartment was cleaned and then came the first televised Aggie game of the season. Last night is what its all about. I didn’t realize how much I missed my team. By the time kick off occurred, I was about to come undone with excitement. While I couldn’t be there in person, I was 150% there in spirit and focus. The flea-flicker was amazing. The interceptions drove me nuts. Above all, that was a TENSE last 10 seconds! All I can say is Wrecking Crew! One of the best games I have seen in a while. Several of my friends were there in person and hearing them talk about yelling, sawing, the band, and the energy made me incredibly jealous. However, my friends Jeff and Alisa made up for any envy I felt 100 fold. They have invited me to see A&M vs. Nebraska in Kyle Field on November 11! I haven’t been able to go to a game since I graduated four years ago. I am so excited that I think I will explode. We are going to take in Midnight Yell and do the whole realm of traditions. I cannot wait! Gotta love good friends and Aggie football!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Survey says....

I heard once that after a relationship ends, it takes half the length of the relationship to completely get over it. Does that sound right to anyone?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In my room...

So I think I might have a small clue as to what is "off" in my apartment. My bedroom is dull.

My whole life, my bedroom has been my sanctuary. It has been a place of comfort, relaxation, and escape. I used to hole myself up in there for hours on end. I would just be alone and dive into the writer's side of my imagination. I never wrote anything down but I always had a story going in my mind to just take a break from life. I'd dream of what I wanted out of life and it was safe in there. No one could burst my bubble or disappoint me. I could shut the door, turn on a cd, and everything outside those four walls would melt away. Even if things weren't always put in their place, it was my room - set just as I liked it.

Right now, my bedroom is a place to sleep. I never take work in there so that part of my life is the only thing not affected by the job. But a place for relaxation and escape? Not so much. All that is in there are the essentials. The walls are white and naked. I have a mirror and the word "dream" hanging on my walls. That's it. No pictures, color, or reflections of me. Just a place to close my eyes each night and throw my clothes at the end of the day. Maybe if I could get that place of solitude back, I could make all of the stress fade away (or at least pretend it does).

Those Beach Boys were pretty smart guys.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The first 34

A few months ago, a friend asked me a very important question: "What do you want?" At the time, I thought I knew but the more I thought about it, the less certain I was about what I truly desired out of life. I have been thinking about it for about a month now. I realize now there is so much to want out of the short time we have. Erin recently posted her life list not knowing I was about to do this. Here is the beginning of mine. The list grows each day and is in no particular order. I've already crossed some off of the list so this is what I have yet to do. They range from the predictable and serious to the fun and surprising. Enjoy!

  1. Visit all 7 continents
  2. Visit all 50 states
  3. Get married
  4. Be published
  5. Live in a loft
  6. Live by a river
  7. See Barenaked Ladies live
  8. Go hand gliding
  9. Go parasailing
  10. Act in a play
  11. Get a master's degree
  12. Own a house
  13. Learn to parallel park
  14. Learn to give a good massage
  15. Take part in a protest
  16. Go on an archeological dig
  17. Learn yoga
  18. Meet Michael Buble
  19. Learn to tap dance
  20. Camp in a tent
  21. Hug someone involved in 9/11
  22. Speak at a Ladies' Retreat
  23. Go to Disney World
  24. Kiss in the rain
  25. Work in children's ministry
  26. Work with an adult literacy program
  27. Live somewhere cold
  28. Skinny dip
  29. Be well read
  30. Go to the Smithsonian
  31. Go to a clean, beautiful beach
  32. Have the classic grace and elegance of Audrey Hepburn
  33. Learn to make chicken and dumpling and homemade apple pie
  34. Go to as many musicals and theaters as I can

Monday, September 04, 2006


On MySpace, people post bulletins with the same questions but in different orders (kinda like those survey emails to "learn new things about your friends"). You see a new one by a friend and as you glance over it, the questions give you a sense of deja vu. You've looked at them so many times that you know your own answers to the questions before you even read what the other person has written. My personal favorite is the one asking what you have done that you regret. Honestly, I used to be able to say that I regretted nothing. Recently, however, that is not the case. Maybe not what was done or what was said, but how I did/said it. Like I could have handled things better. As if my approach affected the outcome of things and if I had done something differently, maybe I wouldn't feel that nag that I messed things up. If I had asked instead of told, listened instead of talked, been open instead of building walls.

But that is the funny thing about the word "if". It doesn't change a thing. What is done is done and there is no going back. You accept it and move on praying that you didn't screw things up royally. You hope that one day, you look back and don't regret. After all, what good does it do? None. So here's to no regrets - May your hope be fulfilled and your doubts silenced. Time to have faith and learn to fly - without looking back.

Random Thoughts by Dana

OK everyone, hold on tight! This is going to be shooting left and right because I have just a little so say about several different things. I'll try to keep to one paragraph per subject. Enjoy and comment if you agree or disagree.

College football began to a great start! My Aggies won! WHOOP!!! Overall, the Big 12 looks good (minus Baylor and Colorado). It was a beautiful day. However...I have to admit something terrible. I'm beginning in to enjoy Texas football. I KNOW - I think that hell just froze over! I think that living so close to Austin is having its effects. Yet, what's the harm in enjoying raw athletic talent? Well, at least I know one thing for sure - I'm bleeding maroon every Thanksgiving!

Ok Ladies, this one is for you. (I specify ladies because I don't think that men have this problem. If y'all do, let me know!) I own two pair of jeans. One hangs on by the belt so they don't fall off and the other is so faded that they look discolored (and they are turning into high-waters). So I looked at my budget and decided to go get new jeans yesterday. Talk about a nightmare! Outlet malls on Labor Day weekend - shoot me now! But anyway...Does anyone remember the days when jeans did NOT have stretch material in them? I detest the stuff but they were in EVERY pair that I tried on! (If you have seen the outlet malls here in San Marcos, you would understand just how many places there are to try on jeans! The only place I didn't go was to Cavendars but let's look at this thought - me in western clothes - ha ha ha! Sorry, that created a funny mental image.) I usually don't buy something that I don't like but I did yesterday out of sheer neccessity. Maybe some company somewhere will realize that not all women want their jeans to stretch! GRRRRRR!!!!!! Why can't people just get it right?

Anyone who knows me knows that I have this thing with smells. In the car, in my apartment, at random places...I am aware of the way things smell (so if you are curious about a smell - let me know). I think one of my favorite smell memories was about a year ago. Jamie and Todd took my car to get the oil changed for me and Jamie picked me up from work. I opened the door and the very first words out of my mouth were, "What's that smell?" Not "Hello", not "How are you", not "Thanks for taking car of my car today". It was about the smell that Todd's left overs left in my car. It's a sickness - I know! So this doesn't just work with food smells. It's everything. My neighbors smoke so I can't open my windows in the apartment. I like candles but don't use them often. I don't have a car freshener because they are so strong. I love my perfume but I forget to put it on. I said all of that to say this. I made brownies for a pot luck yesterday and the smell hit me as soon as I got home (OK that one wasn't so bad!). What is wrong with me that even the sweet smell of baking is unwanted!? Usually I like that greeting when I get home but not yesterday. I know...I'm a weirdo.

OK...enough revealing my quirks for one day. Have a good Labor Day!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


This is the weekend that I have been waiting for in baited anticipation but not for the same reasons as most of the world. Sure, the three days away from work is much needed. Sure, getting some things done around the house will be great. Hopefully some painting might be thrown in along the way. But the beauty of the weekend is today: College Football Season Begins! More specifically – Aggie Football! The game, traditions, pride, excitement. Who would pick anything else to do? I can’t watch my boys today but I can listen online. There are other games to watch and you can bet that I will! I can’t wait to see if Coach Fran can actually do his job! You see, here is the sickness that is the love of Aggie Football. While we were waiting to catch our flight out of Indy this summer, a guy was sitting across from us and I noticed his Aggie Ring. I nudged Jamie and “scratched my nose”. The guys immediately noticed my ring (YES!) and we were instantly involved in a conversation like old friends. The topic: Aggie Football. Let’s just say that we took longer to board than we should have. Jamie was packed up and ready to board and we are sitting there in mid conversation. (Our seats were reserved so no one was going to take them!) We discussed our irritation with Coach Fran and our anticipation for this season. We decided there would either be big wins or a new coach. He told me that he has had this conversation with several Old Ags and all are in agreement. We will watch and wait to see what our boys can do! Win or lose, you will find me doing the same thing each Saturday from now until bowl time.

So I am excited!!! Now you will have to excuse me, I have a game to watch. And if anyone is interested in watching, give me a call. I’ll be there!