Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pink Me Out

(The following post first appeared in my column “On the Outside Looking In” at Yes, I am walking in the Susan G. Komen 3 day for the Cure walk.  This post tells why and provides a link at the bottom for those of you who can find it in your heart to help sponsor me.) 

I spent a few weeks mulling it over. I spent a few days talking myself into it. I spent less than 10 minutes filling out all the requisite forms. Basic stuff like name, address and a promise to waive liability. In the second it took to click my mouse and hand over the $90 registration fee, I moved myself from the realm of an observer into the world of a hopeful participant.

There’s no backing out now. I am officially registered for the Susan G. Komen-3 day for the Cure, 60-mile walk. Of course, I still have to raise the $2,300 before I can participate in the November event. Right now I have nadda, zilch, zero sponsors. (Baby steps, my dears, baby steps.)

I picked the 3-day walk for the Cure as my first activity to launch “On the Outside Looking In.” Or, rather, I decided to launch “On the Outside Looking In” as a way to force me to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.

I suppose it was a combination of things that pushed me. One of my teacher hall monitoring buddies is walking the walk. (Gee, I thought, isn’t that great.) I read a rather poignant piece from Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts about the loss of his mom and why he was finally walking the walk. (Wow, I thought, what a great column.) I have colleagues who have stared this killer in the face and survived (What amazing women they are, I said.).

And then, I ran into a colleague at the state high school journalism convention. I hadn’t seen her in months. We stood in the empty hallway. She with her ball cap on, light sensitive eyes and hope for the future and me with only my guilt for not knowing she was in an all-out fight against breast cancer.

It nagged at me for weeks… how I had become so wrapped up in my life that I hadn’t heard about her battle for her life.

I am no stranger to cancer. In less than three years, I buried both parents. My mother lost her battle against lung cancer and my father lost his fight against prostate cancer. There have been others as well.

Still, my self-absorption with my life tugged at me. I hope to make up for that with the 3-Day for the Cure walk. My walk will be a different walk. I walk to apologize to Lori for not knowing, and I walk to celebrate her life. I walk with joy for all those sisters who survived their battle with breast cancer. And yes, as odd as it seems, I walk with joy for those sisters who fought the fight, but lost because I believe we honor them by remembering how much they enriched our lives.

And finally, I walk with joy simply and thankfully because I can.

(To help me on my way, please consider making a donation, so that I will qualify for the walk. Donations can be made by going to, click on "Donate," select “search for a team” and then input my team name, Pink Me Out or you can simply click here and it should take you right there.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturdays, Teens & Competition

Before 8 in the morning, I managed to misplace my phone (twice), my day’s schedule (once) and my sunglasses (once). As an added bonus, I also managed to annoy two of my coworkers (and yeah, that probably happened more than once).

My six weeks grades are due in less than 48 hours, and instead of grading the stack of papers stashed in my blue school bag, I am sitting on the floor of the fourth floor of the student union building at the University of North Texas in Denton pondering the verb “to be.” (I’ll get to that later.)

I am here with four of my DIs (Darling Inspirations) for regional journalism writing competition. Two of whom are sequestered in the newswriting competition while the other two are lying on the floor blocking the stairwell door as well as the pathway to the soda machines. I’m fairly certain all this violates some sort of fire code, and I’m absolutely certain it violates my directive not to block the passageway.

But it’s Saturday and I’m sure there’s some sort of mandatory suspension of the rules regarding teens, noon and Saturdays. If not, there probably should be.

So here we sit blocking an assortment of egresses before noon on a Saturday in various stages of relaxation on carpet that looks vintage 1995-ish and most certainly contains at least a decades worth of cooties.  Although I’m not too worried about a fire evacuation, I am a tad bit worried about the cootie thing and slightly more worried about what might happen should there be some sort of stampede to the soda machines.

It could get ugly.

I really can’t complain too much though about the DIs lack of following instructions to move aside. Like I said, I should be grading papers, but instead, I sit here pondering what year the carpet was installed, how long cooties can live in fibers and how to rewrite this post without using so many “to be” verbs. I’d ask the boys, but I don’t want for them to strain themselves too much before their contest. Their brains might implode.

That could get ugly, too.

The boys started talking to me, but I couldn’t hear a word they said. I could only see their mouths move blah blah blah blah blah since I was listening to my iPod.

Surely there’s some sort of mandatory suspension of the rules regarding teachers, noon and Saturdays. If not, there probably should be.  I was going to ignore them, but decided against it. What if there was a stampede? What if they knew the answer to the cootie question? What if my hair was on fire?

Now that definitely could get ugly as well.

And finally, about those “to be” verbs—Well, I think, perhaps, we should just let them be.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just A Reminder…the Chicken Needs Your Help

Just a reminder… If you haven't already become a No. 1 Fan on Facebook for Get Richie On Oprah & Save The Chicken… Well, what are you waiting for? The chicken needs your help. Spread the word…  

Oh, and, while you're at it, check out Richie's book.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Canned Spam… Just Spam Spam

Thanks to all my cyber buddies for letting me know my email account had been hijacked. I think I have fixed the problem. If you get any further, spam type messages, let me know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Training, Bug Out Bob & Chicken Chuckers

This past week was somewhat of a blur. That’s what happens when you don’t have a weekend because you’re running around Austin at the state journalism convention with a rubber chicken. Not having a weekend throws my entire work week off.

I guess that’s OK though since not much happened last week except for training to administer the upcoming state’s TAKS test. This will probably make my superduper nice principal and all those superduper nice counselors cringe, but I must say I did a silent, inner dance of joy when the power point presentation didn't work at our little morning training session.

No worries, though. I’ve  seen the power point thingy like a gajillion times and am fairly certain I can recite all the key parts backwards, forwards and even while doing the hokey pokey and turning myself around.

Early in the week, I did unveil all the new toys I purchased at Toy Joy in Austin–-the Fraggle Rock puppet, the new Chinese yo-yos and my new stress reliever, Bug Out Bob. 

When I was showing off Bug Out Bob, someone in class said I was immature. (Really?)

It’s a good thing I’m not overly sensitive. I almost got out my Chicken Chucker and fired off a round of rubber chickens, but I decided to save that idea for another day. (And if you don’t have your very own Chicken Chucker, might I suggest you run out speedy quick and get one.)

So now the weekend has crept up on me, but thankfully I am home with my three dogs, some green tea and some gingersnaps.

Oh and as an added bonus, no teenagers in sight to call me “immature.” 

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Need A Little Help From My Friends

Yep… I need all the help I can get. 

If you are a fan of this blog and my book, would you pah-leese get on your facebook page and become a fan of Get Richie On Oprah & Save the Chicken! More importantly, please get all your facebook friends to do so, too, and then ask them to ask their facebook friends to become fans and so forth and so on… 

I need  you to get this rockin!

Thanks so much! 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fake Tattoos, Conversations & Wet Willies

Traveling with teens to the state journalism convention can make you do a lot of things you wouldn’t normally do—things like buying matching fake tattoos, a Fraggle Rock puppet or a dozen Chinese yo-yos. 

It can also make you run around the University of Texas campus with a rubber chicken. (OK, OK, OK so maybe I would have done that one on my own.)

Traveling with teens can also make bizarre, random  conversations sound normal—conversations about dying everyone’s hair a shocking pink to match the mean girl standing in the hotel lobby, about whether handguns come in the color pink or if street people have to have backpacks or if the panhandler on Guadalupe in Austin would give you back your three cents in change after he requested 97 cents.

Yep, traveling with teens can force you to listen to conversations that seem to make perfect sense at the time in a warped, twilight zone kind of way.

I’m not exactly sure how this particular conversation started, but the end of it went something like this…

“I’m so great they named Carson City after me,” Carson said.

“I’m so great they named Travis County after me,” Travis said.

“Well, they named Hannah Montana after me,” Hannah said.

“Oh, yeah, they were like ‘Super Star’ and I was like, ‘nuh uh,” Travis said.
For just a nano second, it sort of all made sense. Sort of. I started to tell them that both North and South Carolina were named after me, but after the Super Star and nuh uh thing, I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Other conversations this weekend were rather enlightening. The next time someone tries to get you to donate money for a cause, you can always offer Travis’ response: “No thanks,” Travis told the Greenpeace guy, “I’m not feeling like a hero today.”

Another conversation brighten the day for the guys at Amy’s Ice Cream in Austin. After one staffer tried a sample of the Mexican vanilla ice cream, another staffer asked her, “Is it spicy?” 

Of course, some bantering just doesn’t bode well for the drive back home. While driving down Interstate 35 in the white school suburban, the two boys in the back started making car acceleration noises.

“Are you 5, Travis?” Hannah asked.

“What?” Travis responded in disbelief. 

“You’re acting like a little kid,” she said.

“Hey Hannah, weren’t you the one that put a wet willy in my ear a few hours ago?” he asked.

Traveling with teens: definitely not for the faint of heart.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Good Friday, Yearbook Deadlines & Ring Tones

At 5 p.m. on Good Friday, I rolled out of the school parking lot on my way to the UPS store to mail back some yearbook page proofs. I tried very, very, very hard not to curse my yearbook rep since one probably should not do that sort of thing on a Holy Day. 

My yearbook rep and I played phone tag for most of the day which was particularly unnerving since I discovered a disaster of some sort almost every 1.5 hours that required emergency speedy quick attention and about a kilo of emergency chocolate.

The phone would ring, I would answer, the signal would fade, and then I would yell into the deep dark abyss others refer to as “yearbook.” Repeat those steps a gajillion times and you pretty much have my not-so-Good Friday day.

After about the fifth time, I decided I really needed to set aside a special ring tone for all calls that were yearbook related. My current default ringer—Jumping Jack Flash—doesn’t cut it. In fact, I’ve started yelling back at Mick, “NO-O-O-O-O, MISTER JAGGER, IT’S NOT ALL RIGHT NOW” and “NO-O-O-O-O, IN FACT, IT’S NOT A GAS.”

No siree, Missy.

So, I have my top list of ring tones for All Things related to yearbook. A few are carry-overs from my semester exams ring tone list.

Richie’s Top 5 Yearbook Ring Tones
#5…AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”… I really don’t think that one needs an explanation.

#4… Marilyn Mason’s “The D Show”… It goes: “We’re all stars in the dope show…” Now, for this yearbook bit, we’re talking about dope as in stupid, not drugs. I’m fairly certain aliens are blowing stupid into the air vents of all yearbook rooms across the country. If you’ve ever, ever, ever been a yearbook adviser or a newspaper adviser, you know what I’m talkin’ about. Hails Bails, if you’ve ever, ever, ever sat through one teacher “professional” development session, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

#3… Modest Mouse’s “Dashboard” with the words, “It could have been, would have been worse than you would ever know…” (Trust me, I’ve got the “Things That Will Get You Fired Folder” with ample documentation for that one.)

#2… Muse’s “Time Is Running Out…” The name is all you need to know on that little ditty.

Now before, we get to the No. 1 Yearbook Ring Tone, I did a bit of surfing in order to find just the right hater song. A group called Field Mob kept popping up. This ring tone wins for its simplicity and anger. It’s simply entitled, “I Hate You” and the chorus repeats “I hate you so much right now…” over and over and over again.

For less than the cost of a latte, I can buy that hater song.

Sorry, Mr. Jagger,  “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” may be a gas on every other day of the year, but right now I can’t get no satisfaction until these yearbook deadline days are done.

Happy Easter!

Be Not Afraid...

He is Risen!