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Happy early birthday to us

Dear Ellen,

Happy early birthday to us! I turn 26 on the 26th tomorrow; you turn 58. (Normally I wouldn’t put a lady’s age on blast like that, but, let’s be real– a quick Google search tells the world your age.) My students have excitedly been telling me my birthday this year is my “golden birthday.” Do you remember turning 26 on the 26th?

You live out in California so your birthday celebration is probably a little different than mine. You had sun shine the weekend prior to your birthday; I had a blizzard, a cancelled Broadway show, and digging out of our building to walk our dog.

photo courtesy of Popography http://popography.org/

photo courtesy of Popography http://popography.org/

Oh! This reminds me. A lot has changed since I last wrote to you. I started teaching a college writing class at work. In April, V & I moved in together. Her dog, a rescue pit bull named Charity, became mine. (Congrats on “Kid” by the way!) The summer was a weird one; I went through some schtuff, taught summer school, and ended up at BlogHer15. On November 1st, V became my wife. We enjoyed a beautiful wedding, surrounded by family and friends, and then jetted off to Orlando, where we had a relaxing few days at Disney and Universal (the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!) . In a nutshell, a lot has changed, but a lot remains the same.

Last year, for my 25th birthday, I had a book drive to build my classroom library. I wasn’t that into the idea of going out and getting crazy, and I still don’t feel like going out to celebrate. I really enjoyed spending this past weekend being snowed in with my wife, playing Scrabble, baking, and just spending quality time together with my little family.

I’m always trying to grow my classroom library (I have an actual classroom this year so I no longer have to limit myself to a rolling library!!) so, if by some miracle you actually see this, please feel free to donate a book or two.

Happy birthday, Ellen. I hope 58 is everything you dream it to be. Send your love to Portia from V & I, and wish her a happy Australia Day.

Love,
Kailynn
Your birthday buddy who has written you a letter every year since turning 18

One art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

-Elizabeth Bishop, "One Art"

It’s been almost 4 months since I’ve blogged.

This is the longest I’ve ever lost my writing voice.

Ironically, I’m currently sick, and my voice has been going in and out all day.

This school year has been a whirlwind of change and excitement– co-teaching for the first time, finding my roots at school after 3 years, last minute wedding planning, remembering to do last minute honeymoon planning, getting married, going on a wonderful honeymoon, celebrating our first married holiday season, enjoying a week off of work together, adjusting to being back after the new year, and that brings us to tonight.

Today, my students took part in a poetry recitation contest. Seeing their smiles and nerves as they recited beautiful works of art on a stage in the auditorium reminded me– I love and miss my art of writing. It’s time to be back. It’s time to write. Otherwise, the art of losing (it) isn’t hard to master.

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Suicide is rough.

I hadn’t posted about the deathaversary of Lauren this year because, honestly, I didn’t have it in me. Four years have passed since I received the early morning text message that she had killed her self, and that number was stinging all last week.

Four has always been my favorite number.

I was assigned to be “#4” in 4th grade and I loved the consistency of it. I loved that it was 2×2, the number of sides in a square, and a number frequently used. If you wanted to divide something evenly, you could cut it into fours. Clocks were divided into quarters, and quarters also made up school marking periods, percentages, sports games, and dollars.

Four has always made sense to me.

So why is it, four years later, I’m still left asking the same question about suicide: Why?

It’s also mind blowing to me that 4 years, the suggested length of a college education, have passed. She was my pseudo-mentor in my grad school program for education. This length of time, and its significance, to me, is surreal.

A lot of my blogger friends are grieving, as a well-known blogger from our community took her life last week. News of her death came a few days after the anniversary of Lauren’s, and, even though I didn’t know her, it stung like crazy. So many found themselves grieving as her face was plastered across the internet. God, how I feel for everyone that knew her.

Depression was a big part of my summer, with various people I love coping with depression in various ways. Some wrote about it. Some sought professional help. Some made decisions that led to having to seek help.

Luckily for me, they’re all still here.

Some people aren’t so lucky.

So, in honor of Lauren, in honor of those you love, please reach out and let people you know are suffering know that you love and care about them, and that their lives are worth it.

They might need to hear you say those words.

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This popped up on my time hop last week. Lauren’s words have never felt as relevant. I wonder if she purposefully took her life a few days after Suicide Awareness Week.