a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils

There is something magical about Back to School. I know the world at large views New Year’s Eve as a time for reflection, resolution making, and a plan for starting over, but ever since that first taste of back-to-school shopping at the start of first grade, I’ve been hooked. I had my hunter green, smocked bodice dress with the inexplicable Strawberry Shortcake brooch fastened tight, blue plastic Peanut Gang lunchbox safely tucked inside my no-nonsense purple backpack, and I was ready for all the year would bring. I held my head up high, rounded the corner, and marched right through the brick red double-doors toward inevitable success.

“Look out, Mrs. Thompson, Jenny is here!”

Every year. I lived for it. While my siblings would be dragging their feet towards People’s Drug like it was a death row march, I was that kid who LIVED for brand new pencils. Notebooks. FOLDERS WITH KITTENS YES PLEASE. Scented markers? Oh heck yes. I even liked that weird turquoise one. I got high — probably figuratively as well as literally — from the black licorice and watermelon. (And the cherry….the cinnamon….I’m getting the shakes just thinking about all that fumey goodness)

 Mango? Seriously?
Mango? Seriously?

Coupled with my word nerdery, it’s no wonder I became a teacher. I adored setting up my classroom, organizing the folders, binders, reading stations, art supplies, you name it. I maxed out every supply budget allowed. I ordered posters from the Library of Congress with reckless abandon. Every year, it was a fresh start. A new beginning. New kids, new classes, new parents, new books, new, new, new. The possibilities were ENDLESS.

Should’ve stuck with Harrison Ford. Whatcha gonna do.

A new year is beginning, and while I am home with my babies instead of outfitting my trapper keeper or designing seating charts, I am feeling this fresh start.

I’m ready to accomplish all the things.

I can feel my heart racing in anticipation of the endless possibilities.

And maybe I should ease up on the coffee.

that was a bit of a downer.

I just finished writing a piece for xoJane. Which is super exciting for me, to have pitched them and gotten the “please tell me more!” email reply. It’s exhilarating. I spent the entire day just high on my own enthusiasm.

Until I started writing. And I thought, DAMN. This is some depressing shit.

I didn’t mean to be depressing. I really didn’t! Honest! But this seems to happen to me more often than not. I’m going for unique, fresh take, personal, and I end up with a piece that can only be described as, “That is seriously effed up.”

Sometimes, I’ll start to tell my husband something and realize about halfway through that what I thought was a quirky little anecdote is actually not normal or even in the same time zone as normal. I see it on his face. I get the “blink blink” look from him, and in that moment I know that I’ve yet again managed to take a sharp left turn from the relatively normal adult he has always known me to be and back to “before hubs” land, where some pretty crazy ish went down. Let’s just say I locked that down in the nick of time. (Love you, babe!)

And it’s not just the hubs. Although I have gotten better about recognizing the difference between Jenn normal and typical normal, I have been known to divulge some record-scratching tales in social situations.

So I am posting this as a warning. In a few days or so when I link up to my published piece, just know that I am okay. And that I am aware it is depressing as hell. And that I didn’t mean for it to be. But I’ll be damned if I don’t feel a bit like this:


I’m going to have to get okay with that.

it seemed like a good idea at the time

Confession: Like most people I know, I haven’t the foggiest idea what I am doing. I particularly have no idea what I am doing when it comes to blogging, alas, I am told this is what writers do these days. Me? I’m over here longing for the olden days of longhand notebooks or typewriters or something. Not really, but maybe just word processors? Can I get a witness?


I’m just a little overwhelmed at the idea of “putting it all out there” on the interwebs, but I suppose I’ll give it a whirl. If you found me, you’re a wizard. Or you saw my piece on xoJane and want to see what kind of lunatic I turned out to be. Either way, you’re cool and we should hang.