That last book you read

Google “Creative Writing Topics”, choose the 2nd link, choose a topic with an odd number that is above 30 (or 20 or 10 depending on how many topics are given)…

Mine is…

Write a short summary of the last book you read.

First off, the last book I read was A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, and if you know anything about it, you know there is NOTHING about that book that is ‘short’, summary included.  So, consider this my disclaimer.

I am generally a fast reader, but the first book took me about a week and a half, and I’ve been going at the 2nd book, A Clash of Kings, for almost 2 weeks now, and I’m not even halfway done.  This is a SLOW SERIES, and not because there’s not action and intrigue- oh, there is PLENTY of that, but because everything and everyone has 50 names and the descriptions are thorough and can sometimes be pages long.  You are also flipping between multiple storylines, and there is so much happening that you find yourself forgetting things from earlier.  At the beginning of book 2, each chapter starts with a different person’s interpretation of the comet at the end of book 1, so after about 10 chapters, you start to wonder, how much time has actually passed?  I completely get why people read this multiple times and still find stuff that they missed before; I’m currently reading it, and I forgot who Gendry was, so I had to go back to book 1 and find it.  You will WORK to read this book, but, honestly, it is worth it… I am also told that the 1st season of the show is very similar to the book, but by the end of Book 3/Season 3, they go their separate ways…

Second disclaimer- My husband and I are huge fans of “The Office” so this summary will be sprinkled with everyone’s favorite Dunder Mifflin employees… you know… just to spruce it up a bit…
Third disclaimer- In the spirit of the brash nature of the book, my summary will also be brash.  Apologies if language offends you…
Alright, so here is as short a summary as I can get on George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones.


*Spoiler Alerts- This summary would make no sense without certain key details, so you’ve been warned, there are spoilers!  I’ll try and warn you before they happen. 

explain to me

Set in Westeros, A Game of Thrones begins in a number of places with a number of people:

  • First, you have the Starks of Winterfell- Lord Eddard and Lady Catelyn and their children: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon.  Plus, Eddard’s bastard son, Jon Snow, and who is right about Robb’s age, who lives with them despite this being some sort of taboo when it comes to the High Lords and Ladies of Westeros.  Robb is the heir to Winterfell as the oldest son.  Sansa and Arya Stark could not be more different; Arya, the youngest, is a likable tomboy, and Sansa, the oldest, is an uptight ‘High Lady’ whom you hate.  Bran is 2nd in line to Winterfell after Robb and kind of important to the story.  You don’t really hear much about Rickon- he’s 2.
  • The current King is Robert Baratheon who is related to the Targaryen (the rightful rulers) bloodline (he is Viserys and Daenerys’ 2nd cousin- I looked it up I swear!).  He is married to Cersei Lannister and is the supposed father of their 3 children: Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen.  He also has MANY bastard children; this is important.
  • For now, you have a couple of other important Lannisters of Casterly Rock, besides Cersei.  First up is Jaime Lannister- he is Cersei’s twin brother who killed the ‘Mad King’ (Viserys and Daenerys’ dad) which eventually led to Robert being able to take the throne.  He is referred to as the Kingslayer and is generally an ass.  Let it be known, he will do ‘anything for love’ (see first spoiler alert). Tyrion is their dwarf brother and probably the only character with a brain.  Tywin is their father and is not really seen or heard from much until the end of the book.
  • The last of the Targaryens- Viserys and Daenerys.  Technically, Viserys is the rightful heir to Westeros and the Iron Throne.  Their family ruled for like 300 years, and it was their father who Jaime Lannister killed.  They are currently in exile and being hunted by King Robert’s men.  Viserys has grand dreams of being King, and Daenerys really just wants to go home…


And then the story goes…

Upon coming back to their home/castle/lordship/whatever, the Starks come across a dead mother direwolf (just a really really large wolf) and enough baby direwolves for each of the Stark children to have one which they see as symbolic because the direwolf is the symbol of their house.  This is important- the wolves are your favorite characters… except maybe Shaggydog… and Lady, but that is more her owner than her.

Jon Snow decides to join the Night Watch (guard the wall against the savage things north of it) like his uncle Benjen Stark and proceeds to prepare to travel there and train to become a sworn Brother.

Eddard Stark is asked to be the new King’s Hand (basically his right-hand man) after Jon Arryn is murdered dies.  He, reluctantly, agrees and takes his daughters to King’s Landing to live with the King.  As part of him accepting his new position as Hand of the King, Sansa has been betrothed to the future King Joffrey.  Eddard would have taken his son, Bran, to King’s Landing but…

(Spoiler Alert)

Bran Stark is thrown from a tower window by someone after discovering Queen Cersei engaging in what I will now refer to as “twincest”.

its true

Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen are in exile across the sea in Pentos, living among the Dothraki people.  Daenerys is sold to Khal Drogo in marriage because Viserys really wants his crown.  Viserys is a psychopath and often bullies and threatens Daenerys so she will do what he wants.  You often hear him threatening Daenerys to not, “wake the dragon”.  Daenerys is 13 and confused at first, mainly at the fact that she is marrying someone other than her brother (it’s a Targaryen thing), but she plays along with it all because she definitely does not want to ‘wake the dragon’.

And if it wasn’t already thick enough, the plot continues to thicken…

too much

If we’re being honest, it’s basically all Spoiler Alerts from here…

In King’s Landing, Eddard, or Ned as he is called, begins investigating Jon Arryn’s death murder and comes to discover the reason he was killed- he found out the truth of King Robert’s children (if you’re confused, see first spoiler alert).  Ned, tells Cersei he knows about her twincest and gives her a chance to flee before he reveals the secret to the King who is on a hunting trip, but Cersei is all like business as usual.

whatever dead loser

Sansa and Arya are adjusting to the royal life differently, and one day in the woods with Joffrey, Arya’s wolf, Nymeria, attacks him for being the general dickbag that he is (you go, Nymeria!).  Joffrey, being the spoiled little tyrant he is, convinces his mom and dad to have the wolves killed.  Arya, not being an idiot, knows this is going to happen and scares Nymeria off to save her life (I’m still waiting on her to come back, and I need that to happen NOW).  Sansa, thinking she’s untouchable, does nothing to save her wolf, Lady.  Ned is forced by the King, even though the King knows his son is a lying piece of shit, to kill Sansa’s wolf.

And while I HATE Sansa, RIP Lady…


Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Robb Stark is currently ruling of Winterfell while everyone is off doing other things.  Bran is recovering from his ‘accident’, an assassin is sent to kill him, so he doesn’t wake and spill secrets, but it is thwarted by his super protective and kickass direwolf, Summer, who serves to remind everyone that the Stark children have wolves, so tread carefully.  Catelyn Stark makes it her mission to find out who tried to kill her son, and takes off for answers in King’s Landing.  She eventually comes to discover it must have been Tyrion Lannister.  She ends up running into him on the King’s Road and takes him to the Vale to her sister, Lysa Arryn (dead Jon Arryn’s wife) because she is also now convinced that he killed Jon Arryn.  All of this part, with Lysa and Catelyn in the Vale, is kind of boring… I won’t lie… Lysa Arryn and her son are crazy, and Catelyn is blinded by her emotions, so, let’s skip forward…


Jon has gone to the Wall to learn to be a brother of the Night Watch.  He, of course, has taken his wolf, Ghost, with him also.  Upon completion of his training, he goes to the wyldwood north of the Wall to take his oath to the Night Watch, and Ghost discovers a hand which then leads them to the missing, and dead, Night Watch brothers.  Currently, his uncle is missing, and the dead found were his men, but his uncle still has not been located.  The men of the Night Watch take the bodies back to the Wall with them to give them a proper burial.  However, the bodies come to life at night and begin attacking people.  They only die after Jon lights one, and the tower, completely on fire.

giphy-downsized (2).gif


Viserys and Daenerys continue their journey with Khal Drogo and his army of people.  At first, Daenerys is scared of her husband but then comes to love him and embrace being his queen.  Although she is still hesitant about her future should Drogo perish, and she is sent to live in the sanctuary of all the Khaleesis (Queens) of the dead Khals (Kings).  She becomes pregnant and her baby is prophesized to rule the world.  Towards the end of her pregnancy, there is a large feast in her and Drogo’s honor, but Viserys is still enraged at being treated less than his sister and still not “getting his crown” as was promised when he sold her to the Dothraki.  In yet another “dragon waking” fit of rage, Viserys openly threatens Daenerys and her unborn son in front of Drogo and the entire Dothraki people, so Drogo proceeds to give Viserys the golden crown he’s been barking about the entire book.

happy dance

Up until this point in the book, you do have a sense of dread of what is to come, but you are generally pretty pleased with how things have gone… until…


Before Ned can tell his friend about Cersei’s betrayal and twincest, King Robert is mortally wounded in a boar hunting murder plot accident, but he is still able to name Ned Lord Regent until his oldest “son”, Joffrey, can take the throne.  But, Ned, knowing Joffrey isn’t his real son, begins a campaign to have Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s brother, and I guess rightful heir (don’t forget about Viserys and Daenerys!), take the throne.  Ned’s attempt to have Stannis take the throne backfires when the Council sides with Cersei and crazy Joffrey.  Part of the reason it backfires is that Ned’s stupid daughter, Sansa, just cannot give up the idea of marrying Joffrey, so she rats out his plans to leave King’s Landing giving Cersei the advantage over him.  The council and Joffrey accuse and arrest Ned for treason and Joffrey officially becomes King, at like age of 12, with his mom, Cersei, being his Regent.  Cersei and Joffrey agree that Sansa can remain betrothed to Joffrey if she convinces her dad to admit being a traitor and promise to “take the Black” (join the Night Watch).  She agrees, and then he agrees, and in a public display, he does exactly what he is supposed to and Joffrey ignores LITERALLY EVERYONES ADVICE and decides to have him beheaded.

giphy-downsized (1).gif

^^^ This is you right now.

It’s okay.  We’re all still feeling this one.

Meanwhile, Joffrey, the Bastard Boy King, is walking around like…

cool douchebag

After Ned’s unnecessary death, literally everyone “calls their banners” (including myself) and an all-out shitstorm breaks out.  The Lannisters (Cersei and Joffrey’s family) are destroying everything and everyone on their way to King’s Landing.  Robb Stark and all their people move in towards the Lannister’s army to defend their lands and actually end up capturing Jaime Lannister (yes!) and winning… mainly due to Robb’s wolf, Grey Wind, tearing it up on the battlefield.  As a result of this battle, Robb is named King in the North.  Renly Baratheon, the youngest brother of dead King Robert, has declared himself king in the south and begins moving towards King’s Landing to overthrow Joffrey.  Stannis Baratheon has also laid claim to the throne from his place in Dragonstone, but he doesn’t exactly have the manpower or support to do anything about it right now.  Yes, by the end of the book, we are operating with 4 separate Kings on Westeros.


Jon, still at the Night Watch, tries to desert to join his brother Robb in the war and to avenge his father, but his Night Watch brothers convince him otherwise.  Instead, he agrees to go on a mission with his other Night Watch Brothers to find his missing uncle.

dream team

Tyrion escapes Catelyn, Lysa and her crazy son, and the whole ‘flying’ from the Vale nonsense (they literally just throw people out the windows), and rallies his own army of savages and whatnots to join his father on the battlefield.  His father sends him into battle despite being ill-equipped, and he almost dies.  At this point, Tyrion is beginning to think his family is using him as a pawn, and he starts to tread a little more carefully around them.  All he wants to do is drink, know things, and have his whores, but no one will just let him be, and since he’s arguably the smartest of all the characters, they probably should have just let him be.  Eventually, his father sends him to King’s Landing to be the Hand of the King in his stead which pisses Cersei off to no end.  However, her father and Tyrion both recognize that Joffrey’s stupid actions have caused them a lot of problems, and someone needs to get both him and Cersei under control before everything is destroyed, and Cersei, reluctantly, agrees to the situation… but not before slapping Tyrion around some- she enjoys doing this, and Tyrion and I are getting sick of it.



Meanwhile, across the sea, someone, sent by King Robert before his death, tries to kill Daenerys, so Drogo agrees to help his wife take over Westeros.  Before any of this can happen, Drogo is fatally injured and falls off his horse.  This signals the end of him leading his Khal and his and Daenerys’ dreams of taking over Westeros and the Iron Throne.  In a desperate attempt, Daenerys begs a healer to save his life, and in the whole convoluted process, her unborn son is sacrificed to bring Drogo back.  But, Drogo does not come back complete and the healer begins mocking Daenerys and saying she’s an idiot, and she never wanted to help her which sets her off.  But, you see, when Daenerys gets pissed off, she does not act irrationally; she is cold and calculating and far smarter than her 14ish years should allow her to be.  So, she ends up suffocating Drogo with a pillow to end his misery and builds him a funeral pyre.  She places Drogo in his pyre with their dead son and the healer who did all of this and the 3 dragon eggs she received as a wedding gift and sets it all on fire.  In a moment of clarity, she realizes that she is the Mother of Dragons and enters the fire as well.  When the fire dies down, she is untouched and the dragons are nursing on her (yes, nursing- this is different from the show and makes you feel slightly icky).  She names the 3 dragons after her family, her Khal swears their allegiance to her as Khaleesi, and a giant blood-red comet streaks across the sky.

And it’s at the moment that we’re all just like….


And that, my friends, is as short a summary as you can get with A Game of Thrones.

And, trust me, I am well aware that I have left TONS out…

After all, I have only read it once…


A Call to Action

I’m such a slacker. I know.

But, at some level, aren’t we all in some things?

In reality, I’d prefer not to slack on my writing, but given the current state of our educational system, my ass is being handed to me left and right, so I don’t have any choice but to slack on my hobby and not the thing that pays me to live. Sad day.

What’s also sad is my brain is soo occupied with education and how perverse my profession has become, that it is hard to think about anything else to write about.  Like, how did we get here? Really?

I remember LOVING school.  That’s the whole reason I wanted to be a teacher.  Now, I’m trying to convince children, including my own biological child, why school is amazing… but sometimes, I think I’m trying to convince myself… because the more I think about it…

School isn’t amazing anymore.

It sucks.

It sucks for the students. It sucks for the teachers.  It sucks for the principals.

It sucks for everyone.

It. Just. Sucks.

And I don’t see that changing anytime soon,

but since I dedicated thousands of dollars and many years of my life to become an educator, I’m stuck in this sucky system that is destroying our children’s love of learning.

Today, I saw a little bit of hope in one of my freshman as I explained to her that the current system will continue to be the current system until parents, students, teachers, and every educator stands up and says ENOUGH and takes back their classroom.  I explained the same thing is true about anything you want to change.  You have to stand up and fight for that change without sounding like a toddler in a grocery store throwing a fit.  You have to get everyone on board, and you have to stand firm until you are heard.

That’s what the surviving students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS and students in surrounding areas are doing; they’re marching; they’re demanding action; and while some might think it’s useless, some prominent NRA supporting politicians have changed their tune.


Because there is nothing scarier than the future generation rising up against a broken system.

And that’s what needs to happen.  Students, parents, teachers, etc… everywhere need to stand up for what is right for their education, and I’m not really talking about gun control- that’s a whole separate issue- I’m talking about with their education.  There are so many things we complain about, but no one does anything about it.

You hate Common Core?

You hate Standardized Testing?

You hate how schools are too afraid to stand up to parents in support of their teachers?

You hate that some students are treated better than others because of where they’re from or what sports they play?

You hate being micromanaged by your administrators?

You hate ridiculous dress codes that put you all in a box?

You hate going to a place where you feel like today might be your last because someone might kill you?

You hate having classes over-packed with students because no one will provide the money to adequately staff a school?

You hate districts only caring about how you perform on tests compared to other schools rather than if the students are truly learning?

You hate constantly dreading going to a place that seems to suck out your soul the moment you cross the threshold?




It’s easy to complain behind closed doors, we’ve been doing that for years.  What’s not easy is putting yourself out there for the good of our future, but that’s what we need, and we need it now.  We need students and their parents and their teachers and everyone to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and take back education from the politicians and agencies who have spent too long turning it into a test-driven system it is today.

It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen from one walk out.  You need to be persistent.

Your state giving a standardized test?  Stay home.  They won’t hold all million of you back a year; they can’t afford or have the staffing to do so.

You hate ridiculous school rules and policies? Collectively, as a student body, take it to the school board.  Yours and your parents’ voices are literally the most important and influential thing to them.

You hate people in power abusing that power and making you constantly feel bad?  Band together and speak out against them.  They can’t fire all of you, and it’d be very hard for them to make all of your lives difficult all at once without looking suspicious.

If you hate these things and more, stop being a coward.

Say something.

I’m sick of trying to rile up teachers and students only for them to chicken out at the last minute.  It’s irritating.

We are all victims of the current education system and those that make laws and policies about it, so I know we’re all made of tougher stuff than this.

1 person alone can’t do it.  An entire country of angry students, teachers, parents, etc… oh you best believe change would be a coming, and anything, at this point, would be for the better.


In Memoriam…

I remember Columbine- America’s first foray into school shootings- I was 12 and at the tail end of 6th grade.  My older brother was a sophomore in high school and loved his trench coat.  After Columbine, he was brought in for questioning because of how he was dressed and how anti-social he was- his trench coat was banned from school because it could hide weapons despite my brother being a good student whose only crime was keeping to himself.  This all happened to my brother within a week of the Columbine shooting, yet some 19 years later, we still can’t do anything real and tangible about this issue except ban and limit what people wear or how they enter a school…. we continue to ignore that people who should not have military grade weapons have them, but there’s no point in reminding you of that- we already know it, and we know nothing will be done about it.

When I read Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series, I was struck by a lot of things that COULD happen here especially with the rate this country is going, but that’s not what I’m here to do today.  At the end of the series, one character makes the decision to have all the names of teenagers lost to unwinding tattooed all over his body.  He ends up with 312 names tattooed on his body.  We haven’t yet reached 312 teachers and schoolchildren, but we’re getting there, and we’re getting there quickly.

No, I’m not going to tattoo names all over my body however great the temptation, but I think it’s important to remember that every single person who has died since Columbine has done so senselessly, and our lawmakers have done nothing to curb it.  We remember them for the 1-2 weeks it’s relevant and then we forget until we have something to compare it to.   I also find it amusing when I was looking for a complete list, not one existed.  They exist in their separate entities, but not together as one… As one, the shooter’s name is listed and how many people they killed… which is sad.  We can remember the shooter, but we can’t be bothered to remember every last person who laid down their lives to protect Americans’ rights to bear arms. We don’t hesitate to share that X amount of people have died from smoking, but we can’t list how many people died from school shootings?

So, now, here’s a chance for you to remember every last one them.

Maybe seeing their names together might change some people’s minds that something should be done about this problem.  Maybe we’ll stop looking at them for only 1-2 weeks and begin using their names every. single. day. until sensible legislation is passed.

Remember them.

 Columbine High School

  • Rachel Scott

  • Daniel Rohrbough

  • Dave Sanders

  • Kyle Velasquez

  • Steven Curnow

  • Cassie Bernall

  • Isaiah Shoels

  • Matthew Kechter

  • Lauren Townsend

  • John Tomlin

  • Kelly Fleming

  • Daniel Mauser

  • Corey Depooter

Victims of school-related shootings since:

  • Derrick Brian Brun

  • Neva Jane Wynkoop-Rogers

  • Alicia Alberta White

  • Thurlene Marie Stillday

  • Chanelle Star Roseber

  • Chase Albert Lussier

  • Dewayne Michael Lewis

  • Naomi Rose Ebersol

  • Marian Stoltzfus Fisher

  • Anna Mae Stoltzfus

  • Lena Zook Miller

  • Mary Liz Miller

  • Ross A. Alameddine

  • Christopher James Bishop

  • Brian R. Bluhm

  • Ryan Christopher Clark

  • Austin Michelle Cloyd

  • Jocelyne Couture-Nowak

  • Kevin P. Granata

  • Matthew Gregory Gwaltney

  • Caitlin Millar Hammaren

  • Jeremy Michael Herbstritt

  • Rachael Elizabeth Hill

  • Emily Jane Hilscher

  • Jarret Lee Lane

  • Matthew Joseph La Porte

  • Henry J. Lee

  • Liviu Librescu

  • G.V. Loganathan

  • Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan

  • Lauren Ashley McCain

  • Daniel Patrick O’Neil

  • Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz

  • Minal Hiralal Panchal

  • Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva

  • Erin Nicole Peterson

  • Michael Steven Pohle, Jr.

  • Julia Kathleen Pryde

  • Mary Karen Read

  • Waleed Mohamed Shaalan

  • Leslie Geraldine Sherman

  • Maxine Shelly Turner

  • Nicole Regina White

  • Catalina Garcia

  • Julianna Gehant

  • Ryanne Mace

  • Daniel Parmenter

  • Gayle Dubowski

  • Katleen Ping

  • Tshering Rinzing Bhutia

  • Doris Chibuko

  • Sonam Chodon

  • Grace Eunhae Kim

  • Judith Seymour

  • Lydia Sim

  • Allison Wyatt

  • Ana Marquez-Greene

  • Anne Marie Murphy

  • Avielle Richman

  • Benjamin Wheeler

  • Caroline Previdi

  • Catherine Hubbard

  • Charlotte Bacon

  • Daniel Barden

  • Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung

  • Dylan Hockley

  • Emilie Parker

  • Grace McDonnell

  • Jack Pinto

  • James Mattioli

  • Jesse Lewis

  • Jessica Rekos

  • Josephine Gray

  • Lauren Rousseau

  • Madeleine Hsu

  • Mary Scherlach

  • Noah Pozner

  • Olivia Engel

  • Rachel D’Avino

  • Victoria Soto

  • Carlos Franco

  • Marcela Franco

  • Margarita Gomez

  • Zoe Raine Galasso

  • Shaylee Adelle Chuckulnaskit

  • Gia Christine Soriano

  • Andrew Fryberg

  • Lucero Alcaraz

  • Treven Taylor Anspach

  • Rebecka Ann Carnes

  • Quinn Glen Cooper

  • Kim Saltmarsh Dietz

  • Lucas Eibel

  • Jason Dale Johnson

  • Lawrence Levine

  • Sarena Dawn Moore

  • Alyssa Alhadeff

  • Scott Biegel

  • Martin Duque Anguiano

  • Nicholas Dworet

  • Aaron Feis

  • Jaime Guttenberg

  • Christopher Hixon

  • Luke Hoyer

  • Cara Loughran

  • Gina Montalto

  • Joaquin Oliver

  • Alaina Petty

  • Meadow Pollack

  • Helena Ramsay

  • Alexander Schachter

  • Carmen Schentrup

  • Peter Wang


Columbine should have been the only lesson we needed to learn.  It should have been it.
It was so incredibly horrible and unthinkable that I would have thought something would have been done,
as you can tell,
nothing has been done.
And this list will continue to grow until we force our lawmakers to do something about it.

Stop looking for the “Quick-Fix”

So, today I pulled out my soapbox because I’m pissed off.  The original intent of this post was to just show you that schools and teachers think about this day in and day out, and it’s about time the rest of the country did as well, so we can all do what needs to be done to stop this mass shooting epidemic that is killing Americans every day.  But, as I started writing, I started feeling everything that bothers me about this mass shooting cycle we seem to have found ourselves in.


I’m part of a few online professional communities for educators, and since the events in Florida, there’s only one thing the teachers are talking about- how to keep your children safe.  So, I’d like to now include snippets of that conversation, so maybe you can see that teachers across the country are trying to save your kids and will GLADLY die and leave their families behind in order to make sure you get to keep your child.  That’s the most magical thing about teachers; they will lose their lives for kids they only get for a limited period of time.  If only the rest of society was as dedicated to their well-being and success as teachers, maybe we wouldn’t be here.

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I tried to keep them in order, but with soo many, I know I probably mixed them up.

Either way, the message is still the same- your child’s teachers are prepared to defend them and lose their lives in the process.  Your child’s teachers have prepared them how to handle this situation as best as possible.  Your child’s teachers will not run and duck for cover leaving your children at risk; they will hide them all and pretend the classroom is empty, so they are the only victim.  They will push them into classrooms and lock the doors, so the gunman is satisfied with just killing the teacher and moves on leaving your baby unscathed.  And, after every shooting, we teachers get back online to our communities and begin to have conversations again like the one above.  We study aspects of the previous school shooting to create new plans to deal with new unforeseen possibilities.  Day in and day out we are plagued with this possible situation, combing through every last thing that could go wrong.  We say our prayers and silently thank our loved ones for our time together because we never know if the day will come that it will be our school and our kids, and it doesn’t matter if it is because we’ve already decided that a gunman will kill our (your) kids over our dead bodies.


But, after every school shooting, we follow the same “wash, rinse, repeat” cycle


And it’s starting to get tiresome.


First, we are shocked and surprised (I literally don’t know why you are shocked or surprised- for me, this is normal American behavior, and that’s a problem).  Then, we are quick to find a reason behind it all (because people need a reason)- ‘oh he was severely mentally disturbed’; ‘he must have snapped because of ‘x-y-z reason”.

Then, everyone has a solution!

More guns.  Fewer guns.  Arm the teachers.  Employ veterans to carry arms on campus and defend students.  Do something about mental health.  Get rid of violent video games and movies.

Everyone always seems to find their voice after any mass shooting, but as quickly as it comes, it disappears just as fast.

This is because we only get ‘sort of’ angry at lawmakers for doing nothing to pass laws to protect Americans since the last massacre.  And it’s only ‘sort of’ mad because we wave our signs and talk to reporters about how angry we are, but then no one marches on Washington making demands for anything, and we all go back to our own lives and await the next time and location that we get to do this little dance again.  And we will do it again… that is an American guarantee.

And through all of it, people are quick to make suggestions like the ones above (among many others), and they always act like their suggestion is the one true answer that will save us all.

It’s not.

There is not 1 answer to save us all, and frankly, with the direction this country is headed, it’s going to take a complete overhaul of our thinking and beliefs before we ever find an answer that will minimize the number of deaths we have because of mass shootings.  We cannot eliminate mass shootings- we’re too far gone for that- but, we can start working on something now to hopefully lessen the number of incidences and casualties in the future.  Maybe by being fully committed and proactive, we could eliminate them, but I’m not entirely hopeful on that.

Anyways, the reason your little solutions don’t work is that they’re targeted at one reason or flaw or situation that caused the mass shooting in the first place.  For example, someone with a mental illness bought a gun and committed a massacre at whereever- now they can’t buy guns (well, I guess not anymore… sigh…).  Either way, that’s great and all, but that is one group of individuals, what about everyone else with undiagnosed mental illness?  What about those that wish to harm churchgoers simply because of the color of their skin?  What about angry employees who are borderline unstable and at any moment could snap?

What checks do you have for those people?


It’s not a gun problem.

It’s not a mental health problem.

It’s not a video game problem.

It’s an American social problem.


Until we decide to set aside all loyalties and have an honest to God conversation with one another about how to fix it, it will continue to happen… over and over again…


More or less guns are not going to solve the problem that people today have no compassion for others or human life, and it will not solve the problem that we do not have adequate services and specialists for troubled people or those with mental health issues.  Having more people with guns on a campus does not stop people from coming to a school and killing them anyways.  Arming more citizens does not stop them from holding and acting on racist beliefs.  More police officers do not equal schools having adequate resources to deal with troubled youth.

And, this will continue to happen until we, as a society, change how we raise and the services we provide our youth… because from what I see of America’s youth today, the mass shooting epidemic is only going to get worse if we don’t do something to stop it.

All kids demand instant gratification, and when they don’t get it, they get mad.  Now, it all comes down to what they do with that anger that is different because they were all raised different- my parents taught me how to cope with my anger and how to treat others with respect and humanity which is how I’m raising my own child.  I learned how to fail and what the consequences were when I did.

Other parents, however, stand behind their children when they act wretched and claim that it had to be someone else because there is NO WAY their precious snowflake could ever do anything wrong.  “You must be lying that he/she acted that way because my baby would NEVER do that.”  “You’re certainly out to get him/her because you don’t like him/her.”



If your child throws a fit to get something, and you cave and give it to him, guess what we teachers see at school- THE. SAME. BEHAVIOR.  If your child feels entitled to things at home, they feel entitled to them everywhere, and when they don’t get it, they lash out, and you come to their defense thus exacerbating the problem.  And, the teacher knows who these parents are within 2 weeks of school.  We know because your kid acts a certain way, and it’s not good.  You and your kid are the ones we warn the teachers about for next year.

We see your kid who constantly disrupts class because “this is boring”, and we see him/her when they cuss us out.   We see them when they demand you take work weeks after it is due because ‘they can’t fail’ because they’re on the football team, and when we say no, here you come emailing and calling wondering why we won’t accept the work.  We do see you, parents, when you call and email, and we see you when despite repeatedly telling you that the work is over 2 weeks late, you gave their child 2 days in class to do it, and they played on their phone the whole time despite being told to put it away, you still can’t seem to understand why we’re ‘being so unfair’.  And we see you when you go to the administrators who understand that we followed policy, but also are trying to keep you happy (because we don’t want you going to the Superintendent at all).  So, they compromise that an alternative assignment will be given, and we, the teachers who were trying to teach your child about responsibility and consequences all along, stare at everyone in disbelief that we are saddled with extra work, all because your kid couldn’t be bothered to do the original assignment in the first place and you, the parent, couldn’t be bothered to help teach him/her a valuable lesson.




I constantly stare in disbelief as I listen to parents claim their child never did this or said that.

If your baby is a star athlete or your a well-connected member of the community, you can best believe that kid will walk through school untouchable to discipline.  Look, if you’re one of those parents who entitles their children, I’ve just given you the keys to success in American public schools.

I have seen so many things that I often wonder if I am in The Twilight Zone.

And it won’t change until society changes.  Until we deem human life more important than money received, connections, or sports, and until we as parents and educators step up and teach our children the true meaning of respect, responsibility, and hard work, NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

Children need to fail, and we need to let them.

Failure is the best teacher, and we are robbing children of that opportunity.

Children need to be taught the value of human life, decency, respect, and responsibility.



It sucks to say, but I know we’ll have another mass shooting in less than a month (if that- probably 2ish weeks) because no one wants to do anything about it except blame everything but themselves.

Blame the guns.  Blame the mental health.  Blame the parents.

Blame whoever and whatever you want.

But, whatever you do don’t blame yourself!



This is an American problem, and we are all Americans.

It is our job to fix it. Together.


So, while I know I don’t have all the answers, I do know there is one OVERWHELMING PROBLEM with America’s youth today that we can start to do something proactive about.

We, as adults charged with making sure we have future FUTURE generations, need to:

Have conversations with our kids about what it means to value human life- let them know that real-life is not Call of Duty, and if you pull that trigger the consequences are permanent.  Teach them to understand that you CANNOT have everything you want in life and how to COPE with that.

Be proactive about it.

Prepare your children to be functioning, successful, accepting members of society.  Prepare them to cope when life doesn’t go their way or they fail.  Prepare them for how to deal with the unexpected, so that when it happens they don’t go off the deep end (teach them a contingency plan and for Christ’s sake have one! especially if your child has a mental illness).

Teach them that taking human life is not the answer.  Teach them to be responsible, independently-functioning members of society.  Teach them that just because someone is from a different country or culture than you, does not make it wrong.  Teach them the meaning of coexisting with other humans and being respectful that views and beliefs are different, and THAT’S OKAY.  Teach them that if they forget their lunch or their homework, then they need to learn how to make that work, and DO NOT BRING IT TO THEM (the cafeteria will give your child food- make them buy their lunch and then pay you back for it).  Make them get a job and pay for things themselves.  Teach them that guns are not toys and taking it to school to show your friends is a BIG NO.

This is your duty as a parent, friend, educator, administrator, citizen, American.

It is not your job to be their friend or cater to their every need.  It is your job to make sure they understand that the rules apply to them.  It is your job to help them understand what it means to get consequences and fail and how to come back from that.  It is your job to make sure as absolute best you can that your sweet innocent babe does not grow up and decide to execute people.  It is your job to give them the tools necessary for them to understand NOT TO KILL PEOPLE WHEN THINGS AREN’T GOING YOUR WAY.  It is your job to provide them a safe and loving environment, so they don’t have the urge to lash out and destroy lives.

It. Is. Our. Job.

And, if your not up to that job; then sorry, but I think you should enlist someone else to do it for you.  Someone who is willing to put every last bit of energy into raising a human being that is not going to cause another statistic.  If you are not willing to have the tough conversations with your kids and raise them to understand that things in life aren’t just given to you, then you probably shouldn’t be having any.  Being a parent is not supposed to be easy; the kids are not the ones who are supposed to be in charge- you are, so act like it.

And, this isn’t the complete whole answer because there are people out there who are sociopaths and enable their children to do awful things, but this is a step in the right direction.  Instead of constantly trying to find ways to blame objects and brain functions, why not provide schools and parents with more resources and funding to deal with troubled youth and people with mental illness.  Why not shell out the extra dollars to create programs for these kids to find focus and drive in a positive way?  It seems like we’re willing to spend money on a lot of things, but not our kids and they’re who we’re leaving this world to.


My heart goes out to all those in Florida.

What happened in Parkland should have never happened.

My heart breaks for everyone involved.


And then my heart gets pissed off.

Pissed off at the senseless loss of innocent life.  Pissed off that children who had so much to live for and accomplish will never get to see their dreams fulfilled.  Pissed off that teachers who sacrificed their lives, so that a child wouldn’t have to die, had to do it in the first place.  Pissed off that we’ll hear about this for about a week, and then the people of  Parkland will be forgotten until another comparable school shooting occurs.

And you should be pissed off too.

Get mad.

Because then you might be finally willing to fight for something to change.

March on Washington.

Let those who make laws understand that they cannot continue to think with their pocketbooks if they want to continue to represent the American people.

Let them know that we need support in arming America’s youth with the tools needed to cope and manage in life rather than arming or disarming more Americans with weapons.


What happened there was yet another terrible tragedy, like Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and everywhere else (here’s a list), and it will continue to happen until we, as a society, make the decision to change, and have honest and open conversations about this epidemic.

We need people to stop suggesting ‘quick fixes’ to this (reactionary laws, misrepresentations of mental illness, banning violent media).

There is no quick-fix, and there won’t be, so stop looking for it.

The problem won’t be fixed overnight but over time.

It took us many years to create it, and it will take many more to fix it.

So I think it’s about time we get started.


Loose Lips Sink Ships

It’s important to note that I didn’t really edit this… I just kind of went with it.

Living in a small town can teach you so many things about life and human nature; if you ever get the opportunity, you should try out that rural small-town living.  It really is magical to just sit back and take in all the peace and quiet a small town has to offer.  I would definitely live in a small town again especially now that I am much wiser…

When I was in college, and for a short time after, I lived (and I mean LIVED- coexisted with the locals and everything…) in the ‘oldest town in Texas’, good ole’ Nacogdoches.  Weird name, indeed, but a place that will always be special to me.  I learned many things growing into adulthood in Nacogdoches, but, and almost most importantly, I learned something that I have taken with me long after I left my beautiful 2nd home.  That is, as the title tells you, that loose lips do, in fact, sink ships, and they do it exponentially faster in small towns like Nacogdoches.

You see, when you’re a local, or immersed with the locals, in a small town, everyone knows everything about everyone’s business even if they don’t know them.  The shows are not exaggerating this fact- this is 100% legit and something I never really experienced growing up.  I lived IN Dallas (yes, actual Dallas- Plano, Garland, Frisco, etc… are NOT Dallas), and while sometimes things got out, the chances of you going to Kroger and someone looking at you because they know your secrets are incredibly slim, like almost impossible.  When you live in a big city, running into someone who knows all your business, and may or may not have beef with you and that business, is a true surprise because you honestly didn’t expect to see them there because the city is just so dang big.  But, in a small town, oh you better believe you won’t just see one person who knows everything about all of your comings and goings, you will see every. last. one of them.  They literally appear out of nowhere as if a homing beacon was sent out the moment you left the house.  And this was something I was ignorant to until my comings and goings soon became topic among the locals as well (it’s what happens when you have a volatile relationship with one of them).  Everywhere I went, there was someone who knew something, and they just glared or sneered or whatever it was that made them feel good, and it started to make me uncomfortable because it was unfamiliar.  Don’t get me wrong, I was and still am used to getting dirty looks- I have a nasty of habit of ruffling feathers- but, in a city of over a million, you at least get a reprieve.  There is no reprieve in a small town.  You are at the mercy of town gossip; it spreads like wildfire, and once it has started, you best believe you won’t be looked at the same again which it sucks.


So, what brought all this up…  I am an educator, and every school is just like its own small town.  We have our Mayor (Principal), our City Council (Assistant Principals), the other city employees (teachers, et al), and the citizens (students, duh), and they all make up a little community that functions day in and day out for about 9-ish months out of the year.  And if you ever wanted a phrase to live by when working at a school, it should be this one.  Loose. Lips. Sink. Ships.  Many people especially those in a position of power and/or advisement/support would benefit from letting that sink in (no pun intended) because nothing will sink your ship faster than finding out that a person who was supposed to be a member of your team has turned outside the team to complain about them.  Like a small town, the complaining session was doused in gasoline and set on fire to spread magnificently throughout the school.  And it happens. every. time.  I know more things about people I don’t even really know than I do some of my own friends, and I work with like 150 people.  Is it all true?  Probably not.  But, the point is, it’s out there, and people know, or have heard, and they know have opinions of you which affects your ability to do your job.

A lot of times, I find myself on the receiving end of the complaining and gossip because I don’t say much or really talk about my comings and goings in general (Nacogdoches taught me well)- but, I am a REALLY GOOD listener.  I have co-worker friends, and I love them to death, but even they don’t know much about my life outside of school; I keep myself guarded which some might argue is not healthy, but I’m pretty okay with my introverted self (which I’m more of an introverted extrovert, but more on that later).  Moving right along…. If it’s someone new to sharing with me, they’ll always ask me, “How do you feel about _____?”, and I tell them my honest opinion, and let them decide whether they want to tell me whatever it is they have to say or not.  Most of the time, they WILL tell me because humans are just DYING to know and dish the latest ‘hot story’… they seriously can’t help it.  I’m no sociologist, but I do engage in some pretty intense people-watching, and after about 2 decades of study, it’s pretty easy to pick up on human cues, and I can certainly say that they LOVE interacting and sharing and having connections. They crave it.  I do too, but I keep that for my friends outside of work and the select few at work who I’ve known for quite a long time.  Even then, that’s playing with fire because at any moment, someone can get gossipy and BOOM, suddenly everyone knows that you don’t like a certain person because of x-y-and-z reason who happens to be friends with a higher up and then you’re wondering if they know, then does your boss know, and is life going to start to get difficult for you because now they don’t want you here (and they most definitely can find a way to get you to leave), and how do you sit in a meeting with them knowing that they are the ones who might cost you your job when they don’t even do theirs.  And this is the nature of behind the scenes at a school.  You tread so dang carefully that the ‘city employees’ are afraid to take a stand for themselves to be respected because they constantly fear being pushed out of the classroom and away from kids that need them. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve told to file a complaint (myself included), and we all don’t because of fear of losing our jobs.  And sure, the employee handbook says you can’t face retribution or retaliation for filing a complaint, but we all know that there are other ways to get you to leave- constant walkthroughs, nitpicking, focus on test scores and not student growth, etc…  I’ll never forget what a principal I interviewed when I got my Master’s said when I asked him, “How do you handle employees who refuse to get on board with your mission for the school?”  He said, “You find creative ways to push them out- more preps (classes), more duties, extra meetings.  They get tired and start looking for somewhere else to go.”  And that, my friends, is why I come to work, keep my head down, do my job, go home, and continue to not complain against the people who definitely don’t deserve the jobs they have.  Because I can’t afford to not have my job, just like every other teacher out there.  So we take the disrespect and belittling from our superiors and people who claim to ‘support’ us in whatever we need even though we’re ‘ungrateful’ and ‘ask for too much’.  I learned my lesson long before I started my real big-girl job, but it’s a pity that some people have to learn their lesson at the expense of their job…

so, I’m helping everyone out right now-

always, always, always remember:

Loose lips sink ships.