Top Ten? Top Five? Seven? Frankly, I don't really give a @)#* right about now...

Top SEVEN things you can do when not trying to commit harakiri cause you’ve been incapacitated for TOO DAMN LONG (aka eight weeks) and can only walk around once an hour for a split second or so.

7.  List ways you can off yourself.

6.  Google interesting ways you can off yourself.  (Forget the log.  It only wants to hurt you and inflict pain AND wants you to finish yourself off yourself.)

5.  Discover the list your children have made of ways THEY can off you,cause by now you’ve effectively driven them insane.  (And visa versa.)

4.  Stumble upon a great guy on match.com, and then see how many times you can whine, complain, moan and groan (get your mind out of the gutter, people) before he CUTS AND RUNS.  (The jury is still out, but not for lack of trying on MY part; apparently I’m a GREAT complainer.)

3.  Conduct an experiment to see how FAST you can put on that 35 pounds that it took you two years to lose.  I recommend eating ALL the Hershey Mini’s, Ferraro Rocher’s, Lindor Truffles and Ghirardelli chocolates that all your friends so thoughtfully provided you while in the hospital.  (Do NOT share; I repeat, do not share said candies.)   (This particular item might have a direct impact on #7, and will probably hasten said “cut and run”.)

2.  Have your daughters try to help you pull on your incredibly tight (and very sexy) white compression  stockings that are designed to stop blood clots while you lie on the floor in an incredibly unflattering position.  This will not only provide them with hysterical (but painful) entertainment, it will ensure that they do NOT come and “help” you again during your convalescence. (“This would be much easier if you were a baby…..and smaller….and NOT our mother…..”   Everyone’s a damn comedian.)

1. See how many Middleswarth Bar-b-que Potato chips you can eat in one whole day.  It helps when your friends (who know you too well) provide you with multiple (hundreds of)  bags of said chips in an effort to lift your sinking spirits.  I also highly recommend keeping crumbs of said chips on your increasingly large bosom.  (They sparkle….kind of like edible glitter….)

someone throw me a life preserver......I'm sinking fast......


Where was Shirley when I needed her? (I needed the @(#*#& meds.)

I was not looking my best as a few visitors made their way to my hospital room on Tuesday afternoon.  I hadn’t remembered that the doctor instructed me to ASK for painkillers after surgery, and I was simply waiting for the nurses to keep me comfortable. 

Not a good move.

When things were finally right with the world (and the patient was medicated properly) a slow stream of friends appeared to confirm that I was still among the living.

My small room was filled with fellow teachers, friends, my sister and an incredibly tall and handsome Mr. Darcy. (wink, wink.)   I smiled as I watched the various animated conversations, and felt incredibly loved. It was then I heard a faint knock at the door, and turned to see who were going to have to try to cram into the room.

My eyes widened in shock as I spotted a short, handsome boy holding his mother’s hand.

In a flash he ran to my bed to wrap me in a hug. 

It was Frank.

My adorable, smiling, gravelly voiced Frank.

It was the last thing I expected, but the very best medicine  I could have gotten; the best medicine, indeed.



This is why you can't buy a hip replacement kit at the store. (Leave it to the professionals, I guess.)

The most effective, brilliant and perhaps painful way to ensure that you do NOT have pre-surgery jitters the night before hip-replacement surgery?

Walk around for 8 (EIGHT) weeks on said fractured hip and CRUSHED hip joint.  But don’t just walk around on it, receive various forms of physical therapy, go to the gym, hike a bit MORE, unpack and redecorate a NEW CLASSROOM, and teach a pack of amazing first graders on your feet five days a week.   

I have never been more excited to be cut wide open than I am at this minute.  And frankly, if someone were to hand me a scalpel I would do it MYSELF RIGHT NOW.

Oh, and by the way, could you all send a shout-out up to God tomorrow morning at 7:45?  I’d appreciate it if the surgeon could have as many angels in his corner as possible.

It certainly can’t hurt.

(I’ll be RIGHT back. p.s.)


Some day, SOME day, a prince will come. You just have to be able to recognize him. (The eyes....they reveal everything.)

You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”

I declined his first offer for dinner.

I decided early on in the “match.com dating adventure” that I wasn’t going to respond to anyone whose profile did not show a picture.  It wasn’t necessarily because I wanted to be sure the person I was talking to didn’t have two heads, but mostly because I didn’t think it was fair.  I had posted not only pictures of myself, but also a few of me with my family.  If I had the nerve to, then I would hope that others would do the same.

And so I respectfully declined that particular invitation.

It was more than several weeks later when I received another email from this particular gentleman, along with a picture of him.  It said, in essence, “I’ve been thinking about you, and would really love to have dinner.  If nothing else we could have a great meal and make a new friend.  As I see it, we have nothing to lose.” 

I smiled, and in spite of the fact that he was 6’6” tall and towered over all the others in the picture, I replied with a yes.   If he had really been thinking of me for weeks and was brave enough to ask me to dinner again after having been denied, I felt he deserved a shot.  (There’s a lot to be said for persistence.)

After all, aren’t I the one who always claims that you have to say yes to things, that you have to live life and jump at every opportunity?  Sure, it’s important to stay safe, but dinner in a public place seems relatively safe to me. 

I said yes.

We met at a nice restaurant near my home during a raging thunderstorm.  I met him at the hostess stand where he stood, a tad wet, with a smile and a package in his hand.  After we were seated he handed me the bag from Barnes and Nobles.

“I thought you might enjoy these,” he said with a smile.

I reached into the bag and pulled out not only a Time and Newsweek magazine, but also an anthology of New York Times Crossword puzzles!  He HAD read my profile…apparently with a fine-toothed comb.

We spent the next several hours sharing stories, laughing, and having a really, really good time.  He walked me to my car, opened my door and I thanked him for a lovely night.

That was that.

I went about my business, had a few other dates with several other gentlemen and then received another offer from the tall one. This one included a list of many choices, but I smiled and replied that dinner would be just lovely. After all, I’d had a great time with him, and he was a nice man.  (I was unknowingly suffering from a BLOWN HIP JOINT, and was uncomfortable doing anything that required a lot of walking.)

This time he picked my up.  I figured that I knew his NAME, he was well known in the neighboring community, and if he WERE to murder me it might be a blessing in disguise.

We had dinner in a lovely restaurant down the road from my house.  It had a great reputation, wonderful food and an outdoor dining area that was quite lovely.   

He seemed more confident and more at ease. He took charge by ordering an appetizer and drinks, and we settled into easy, comfortable conversation.  We shared our day, stories from work, and laughed and laughed about this and that.  There was never a lull in the conversation and it was as if we had known each other for a long, long time.

He was in the middle of a funny story when I looked into his clear blue eyes and felt a spark.  We laughed together when he finished, and his eyes continued to mesmerize me.  I felt something stirring, tugging inside my heart, and continued to stare at him as if seeing him for the first time.  I hadn’t realized how attractive he was.  He was only a few years older than me, and his short white hair was quite attractive.  Frankly, the hair and the crisp blue eyes were reeling me in.

We finished our date, and walked comfortably to the car.  He opened the door, helped me in and drove to my home. He dropped me off and we said our polite goodbyes.  I stood watching as he pulled away, shocked about what was stirring inside my soul. 

 “What was this?  What was happening?” I thought to myself. “This was not what I had planned.”

I received flowers several days later… and some lovely emails, as we continued to get to know each other.  I felt a bit worried, hoping that I wouldn’t rush into anything.  I wanted to be sure that I only gave my heart to someone who I thought would hold mine with the utmost care.

And then I felt the nudge.   That little voice inside my heart that said, “If you don’t give it your all, then you will never know. You have to let go, and let it happen.”

And I did.

And Mr. Darcy?  Well, he’s one of THEM. You know, one of those men that we’ve heard about in stories of old.  The ones that hold the door for you, open the car door and insist that you wait for it.  The man that thinks of your comfort, and your feelings, the one that will send you flowers, bring you chips, light candles for you and take you on weekend trips to see your daughter play field hockey without hesitation.

And when he finds out that your little hip problem requires a NEW HIP and a SIX-WEEK recuperation, does he go running for the hills? Does he say, “Don’t call me, I’ll call YOU?”


He takes off work so that he can escort you to the hospital, brings you ice packs, buys you a cool cane and plans your recuperation schedule with your best friend, sister and daughters.

That’s the kind of man I saw that night at dinner.  I looked into those beautiful blue eyes and I spotted a prince.

A real, honest to God prince. 

(And not a minute too soon.)


But she's six years old...and her pictures KICK @$$. (Trust the kids...)

"I'll take the pictures, Mrs. Smythe!! Give ME your phone!!"  shouted Poppy.

I handed her my phone, thinking only of the butterfly release we were about to embark on. 

There were 15 butterflies trying to find their way to Mexico, and I wanted to be sure that each child had a chance to have one perch upon their fingers.  I KNEW it was a matter of minutes until they were ready to fly, so I was busy moving from one student to another, making sure that each child had a chance to hold one on their finger. 

I knew Poppy had my phone, but did not think that ANY of her shots would work. 

I was so wrong. 

I will never doubt a six year-old's ability to photograph again. (They are incredible, aren't they???  Oh My GOD, they are amazing.) 


Sometimes the postman is just what the doctor ordered. (Angels among us....)

I'm hurting.

I'm not gonna lie, sugar coat it or pretend I'm Wonder Woman.  I am hurting.

I walked into school this morning after an incredibly painful and fitful night.   I've been living (unknowingly) with a broken hip and a crushed hip joint.  I knew I had done some serious damage to myself while climbing that mountain, but when others were telling me that it was just a sciatic issue or ligament damage it seemed a bit easier to bear.

(When someone shows you an x-ray of a blown apart joint and tells you that you SHOULD be in excruciating pain, all of the sudden it feels okay to take down the armor and succumb to what ails.
And now, at twelve days and counting until my hip is replaced I find myself listening to my body.  And it's telling me it HURTS. )

My incredible new teammates rushed into my classroom this morning and insisted that "enough is enough."  They called the office, helped me tremendously in preparing for a sub, and sent me on my way.  They reminded me that a healthy Mrs. Smythe is what I need to think about, and to let go and follow doctor's orders.

Therefore, I am.

I will prepare my home and my heart for the next six weeks of rehabilitation, and remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

And when I opened my door today to see this package from one of you, I cried for the fifth time today.

Comfort comes to you in all forms- from near AND far.  It's something the doctor might not have ordered, but that the angels knew I needed.

Thank you, my friend.  Thank you, indeed.


It's a swing...and ANOTHER hit. (His batting average is over the TOP.)

Oh Mr. Darcy....

the coach purse was an unexpected and fantastic gift last weekend.

But this?  THIS ONE???  That's the one that stole the rest of my heart....

(Cause that means you know me.  You really, really know me.)



The Five Million Dollar First Grade Teacher. (aka....ouch)

It’s been six weeks since this particular log thrust me into the land of excruciating pain. 

I had been hiking early that morning, as was my usual routine.  I love the sounds and smells of the forest early in the morning, and felt great when I started my day with a hike.

It was damp that morning, and I was wearing shoes whose tread was a bit worn.  I began to walk across the log, remembering the words that Sassy had lectured me with the week before.  “Mom, you should NOT be walking on that LOG! You are going to get hurt!” I smiled at her, reassuring her that I could certainly handle this silly old log.

Yep, I remembered that conversation as my foot slipped and I fell hard, straddling the log.  I screamed as I felt an explosion rip through me, and slipped slowly to the ground. 

I lay there for some time, screaming a bit until the pain subsided.  My dog sat beside me, chastising me with his eyes and reminding me how stupid I was to not have brought my phone.

I managed to pull myself up and walk off the mountain, surprised that I could even walk at all.   I was very sore in the weeks that followed, but was busy with unpacking and re-arranging my new classroom and it distracted me from the discomfort I was feeling.  I was visiting my physical therapist weekly, and he tried to ease my pain.  I was finding it increasingly difficult to walk, and even more difficult to sleep.

I made several trips to my family physician, who was convinced that I had injured my sciatic and some ligaments.   I returned after several weeks of excruciating pain to see if perhaps they had missed something.

 I had x-rays, and again was told that I simply needed some PT.

Mr. Darcy and my best friend were convinced I needed a second opinion, and this time I listened.

Dr. Wonderful agreed to see me the day after I called his office.  He was the orthopedic surgeon who had performed my carpal tunnel surgeries and repaired a torn meniscus. He looked at the x-ray, did a few more of his own, and sat me in his office.

“HOW long ago did this happen?” he asked me again.  “SIX WEEKS? I can’t believe it, “ he said as he shook his head.  "Not only do you have a broken hip…but your hip socket is completely crushed. I can't believe that you've been walking around like THIS for THAT long. Are you Wonder Woman?  And you're TEACHING?”

I looked him and nodded, incredibly relieved and thankful to learn that I was not crazy after all. 

My plan for the coming week?  Well, call me The Bionic Woman- cause I’m getting a brand, spanking new hip.    


Am I going to have to make a chart? Cause I don't think the principal will support that.....

In kindergarten, the children have a habit of gently (screaming)  informing the teacher of any infractions committed in the classroom- especially if they involve bad words and/or your very, very best friend in the world. 

Typically, when the teacher asks what the bad word was that Tommy said, the response is either Dummy, Shut-up, Baby or Fat. 

(Sigh.  Those were the days.) 

We were working on our shape pictures today in first grade, when Max yelled over to me, “HEY!  Mrs. Smythe, George just said the D word!”

I was busy working with several easily distracted clients at my table, and turned towards his set.

“I’m sure it’s okay, Max," I said in a loud voice,"Use an I-message and tell him how you feel about that,” I said, in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

“But he said the D WORD!  You know, the really BAD D-word!”  he insisted, his voice booming over all the other sounds in the classroom.

I was about to tell him to come to my table so that we could talk about it, when he shouted, “DAMMIT!  He said DAMMIT!!” 


Not the Dummy, Dum Dum, or Dopey that I had hoped.

My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open.  I was a bit speechless when Pierce, seated at my table, looked at me.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Smythe, that’s not that bad.  You know when you went to the doctor’s yesterday?  Well, Billy said the F word really loud.  The F word that sounds like duck.”

Oh good, that makes me feel a WHOLE lot better.

Tomorrow's "word work" lesson?  Words we DON'T say in school.

 Kind of.


Ain't it the truth.

.....and I'm here to tell you it's true..........(But thank you, Pinterest, for the reminder....)