Ew, Gross.

By Victor1558, flickr, Creative Commons.

Her post-its are blank. What a phony.

 Ew, gross.

I just looked at the clock and said, “What?!? It’s five o’fucking clock?!?!?”

No one heard me. It’s just me in my little home office with the cat sleeping under the couch.

Here’s one of those moments in which I become extremely frustrated that I still have 3-4 hours of work to do. I wanted to jog tonight and then drink a beer. Oh, and, somehow, cook dinner.

Annoyed!

And then I realize the following:

1. I should be thankful. These work hours are billable.

2. I should be grateful. I’ve been in comfy clothes and no make-up all day.

3. I should shut the hell up, get this blog done, and return to work.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do now.

Blog is done.

Unhealthy Things I Do

Dive thru? Don’t mind if I do!

1. I Postpone Urination

If I’m busy and I don’t want to be interrupted by my body’s need to expel waste, I’ll negotiate with my bladder. For instance, I have to finish this blog before I go.

2. I Eat Benadryl

Sometimes I chomp half a Benadryl to fall asleep. It happens so frequently that Lou and I call them “Bennies”.

3. I Don’t Take Vitamins

Lou insists that vegetarians should always take vitamins. I insist that my daily Luna bar is good enough. I’m pretty sure I’m wrong.

4. I Don’t Stretch

I hike. Lately, I’ve been jogging. But, I never, ever stretch. Even though it feels good to stretch, I get bored. All that counting!

5. I Do the Midnight Berto’s Run

Yeah, I admit it. After drinks and a night out, there’s nothing better than paying the cabbie an extra $5 in fare for a $2 quesadilla. Hey, I’m a Phoenician, through and through.

Five Tips for Blogging When You’re Not in the Mood

By Howdy, I'm H. Michael Karshis on flickr Creative Commons.

Precisely.

Five Tips for Blogging When You’re Not in the Mood

5. Think of other abandoned blogs.

Try to recall that feeling when you checked one of the blogs you follow only to find that the writer had not posted anything new in months. Kind of a bummer, right? Don’t do that to the readers you’ve worked so hard to gain.

4. Write a list.

People love to read lists. It’s very popular, sure, but it’s also an easy way to get in and out of the points you’d like to explore in your blog. Or, more accurately, the points you wouldn’t like to explore because you’re not in the mood. Whatever. It gets the job done.

3. Don’t dig too deep.

Write about the first thing that pops in your mind. Guess what that was for me today? If you guessed, “Man, I’m not in the mood to blog,” you are correct. Nice work.

2. Start a chat.

Start an online chat with a friend to get those fingers jamming on the keyboard. I usually start mine with, “I don’t know what to blog about.” Then my friend will give me some ideas. Then I reject those ideas and come up with something on my own. Knowing what you don’t want to write about is extremely helpful.

1. Look around.

One day, I was not in the mood to blog. So I walked into my kitchen, looked at the junk hanging on our refrigerator, and found some inspiration. That’s how this blog post was born.

Now, stop reading this post and get to it, you!

Special Announcement: Ms. Menconi has Retired!

Us kids with Mom on her graduation day.

I skipped a Teacher Appreciation Week blog. I wanted to save my mother’s story for today.

Because…

Roxana Menconi, after 25 years of service as an elementary school educator, has officially retired!

YEAH!

It’s no secret that I have endless admiration for my mother.

Among adults, she’s rather intimidating. She’s six feet tall, intensely private, and has a stoic disposition. She’s direct in her communications — a real straight shooter. And she rarely makes jokes or purposely tries to charm others.

So, of course, she’s naturally charming in an adorable way.

With children, however, her true personality is exposed.

She’s never gushy or belittling  and she doesn’t baby talk (even with actual babies). Instead, she speaks to children like a normal human being. She expertly explains complex concepts in concrete terms so they immediately understand.

She makes kids feel smart. And safe.

Recently, she was ill and I helped her make preparations for her substitute. She didn’t consult notes or a laptop but was able to explain to me, line by line, where to find files, how to edit documents, and where to send her lesson plans.

I was amazed.

“What do you expect? She’s a master educator,” my brother said when I described the scene.

He’s right. But she had to work like a dog to become one.

After ten years as a housewife, my parents divorced. So she returned to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Education.

Those first few years as a teacher were pretty rough.

She woke up early each day to prepare five sack lunches. Then she dragged her reluctant kids out of bed, fed us breakfast, got us dressed, and rushed us to school…sometimes barely making the bell. Her work day was spent motivating 30+ children to stay curious, to want to read, to enjoy math, and to keep thinking.

After the school day was over, she herded her own kids home, zoomed around to soccer practice and piano lessons, then cooked a home-made dinner, washed the dishes, and put us to bed.

Then, she’d stay up until 3 a.m. grading papers and writing her lesson plans.

Oh, did I mention she was 40 years old when she started this career?

That was my mother’s life. For years on end.

To this day, strangers approach me, excited, “Are you Roxana Menconi’s daughter?”

“Yes.”

“She was my teacher! How is she? Tell her I say hi!”

I always relay the message.

I want her to know that it was all worth it.

Her kids remember her.

Congratulations, Mom. I’m really, really proud to be one of your many kids.

Ms. Menconi on school picture day, 2012.

Oh, Yoko!

The girl’s got guts!

I will forever defend Yoko Ono.

To most artsy folks, this isn’t a big deal.

But, I’ve surprised a few people when, after someone slams her for the Beatles break-up or her music, I’ve openly praised her.

I love her art. And I think that her romance with John Lennon is an inspiring love story.

When I first learned about her performance art piece titled Cut Piece, I was blown away.

Ono sat in front of a crowd, provided them with a pair of scissors, and simply instructed them to “cut.” As a passive participant, she remained stoic until her clothes were entirely removed.

Imagine what it was like to invite that experience.

She made multiple performances in different countries. And, each time, she didn’t know what was going to happen. She completely resigned herself to a crowd of strangers and calmly accepted their actions as each person chose to pick up the scissors, cut, and expose her.

Man, that takes guts.

Of course, that’s just one example. She’s continued to make thoughtful art in the decades since.

And then there’s her partnership with John. Lou and I recently watched a documentary about them. Say what you want about the pair’s politics and public persona…I like them because they were so totally in love with each other. All they wanted to do was be next to one another all the time. And I think that’s a wonderful thing to see.

Oh, Yoko!

I love you.

Oops! I almost forgot to post a link to this sweet song, “Oh, Yoko!