Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just Shoot Me

Have you ever been put on hold, in a mind numbing meeting, stuck in traffic or waited in line at the the DMV?  Ever been so bored out your mind from so much meaningless talk, talk, talk?  So meaningless that you sympathize with Charlie Brown in his school days?  This was one of those days, weeks, and years?.  I was put on hold, listened to an automated system for hours, and had to wait in line for far too long this week.  Meetings?  My life is an interminable meeting.

I will divulge the whisperings of a poem that begged for release. I just stopped and let it come out.  It goes a little something like this:

Just Shoot Me

Shoot me,
Shoot me,
Shoot me,
Would you be so kind?
Just put me
out, out
 of my misery
How about--
Erase my mind?
I can't keep it in
volcanic eruption
Just too 
stinking much
Gotta get away
far, far away

Impale me
Flail me
You might as well
Just sell me 
Send me straight 
Just jail me
sprinkle salt 
in my wounds
with freshly squeezed
lemon and lime
Would you do me that favor?
No reason or rhyme
Don't have the time?

talking heads
this and that
 way too much
yada, yada, yada
blah, blah, blah
entrenched in

Unlock the door
Set me free
Can't ya see? 
Get me out
Pretty please!

Not again!
Can we get this over?
I'm begging YOU!
Take me away!
In your Benz
Hummer or Landrover

Gotta get away
but here
would be fine
How about now?
Do it quickly!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weird Al -Word Crimes

I don't know if you have seen this funny grammar video by Weird Al or not, but if you haven't it is worth watching!  Karen Justl shared that with me today.  I saw it back in July when Kelly Gallagher shared in one of his tweets.  Without further adieu, Weird Al:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where Did The Time Go? Almost There

Wow!  What a day it was today and it is not over.  It is 9:00ish at night and here I am reflecting on my day.  My daughter marched off to her last year in High School.  Now she is officially a senior.  She drove off without a hitch.  I guess I didn't take in that moment.  I didn't slow her down and ask to take a pic and post it on Face Book.  This was the first August in 17 years that I didn't cart her off to the babysitters or to school.  I guess I didn't get all emotional and think about it too much until tonight.  I thought back and reflected on the years gone by, as I drove my daughter and I through Chickfila.  I asked her, "Where has the time gone?  It seems like yesterday we were coming home from the YMCA volleyball practices."  I have the plaques on my wall.  They are too numerous to count, the plaques for volleyball and basketball.  Elizabeth placed them on my wall. She neatly displayed one side of the wall with volleyball and reserved the other wall for basketball.  Sometimes I stop and look at those photos on the plaques and wonder, "Where has the time gone?"  To the right of the plaques are the lined marks in different colors that measured her height through the years.  Red, black, green, blue and purple lines decorate the entrance to my bathroom.  Then I look at the hallway and there it is, the round circle made with black crayon.  Elizabeth's wall art of a three year old just stares me in the face. I ask, "How does time go by so stinkin' fast?"  It just isn't fair for any parent.  It wasn't fair for my mom and it is certainly not kind to me.  Yes, I know I must let her fly and I do, but not so stinkin' soon!  Where did the time go?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

High Hits

I watched the Texans and Broncos play last night.  I was enjoying the game.  I love me some Peyton Manning and JJ Watt.  I also enjoy seeing the passing.  I guess that is why I watch Peyton because you know he is going to let it fly to multiple receivers.  He did  not disappoint.  What did cause me to pause and take notice was shot to the head of Bronco's slot receiver Wes Welker.  He caught a pass across the middle of the field.  He had no problem hauling it in, but the problem occurred a slight second after he caught the pass.  DJ Swearinger laid him out.  Swearinger lead with his shoulder and hit him in the head. It looked vicious and I had to wonder if Welker would be able to get up from that hit. Swearinger was flagged for a hit to the head. Just flagged, while Welker walked off the field and into the locker room.  Welker could not play another snap that night. He was done and concussed.  Swearinger, on the other hand, pleaded his case all over the field for the next half hour.  He kept saying that he lead with the shoulder.  It doesn't matter if you lead with the shoulder or head in that case because he hit high in the neck and head area.

The NFL has put in some new rules, the last few years, to try to protect players from concussions. One of the rules is that a defensive player cannot hit a defenseless player high.  They must give the receiver a place to land.  Swearinger did not allow Welker, the defenseless player, a place to land and he hit him on the helmet.  Welker left the game concussed.

I think the rules for hitting someone high and hitting a defenseless player should be changed.  I think it should cost the defensive player more.  It should be an eye for an eye type of thing, if not more.  Swearinger's actions cost his team a 15 yard personal foul penalty and then play continued.  To change that, the Texans should be assessed a 15 yard penalty and he should be ineligible to play the rest of the game.  Welker was taken out and so should the defensive player.  Sure Swearinger will be fined some time this week, but it doesn't take away the effect of not having Welker on the field.  If you do the crime you must pay the fine of a 15 yarder, be taken out of the game and be fined later.  That is how you would handle the concussion problems. Is it worth it for a defensive player to be taken out of the game?  Is it worth it to the team?  This may be another measure that needs to be looked into.  Defensive players can have an effect on games.  What if he would have taken out Peyton Manning with a concussion?  Then that would have given the Texans a total advantage.  If your player is taken out, then the defensive player should be taken out too.  That is far more consequential than a 15,000 dollar fine and fifteen. If you are the NFL and player safety is important to you, then give it some teeth and take the person responsible for a high hit out too.  That is my opinion on this subject and I am sticking to it!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Is anyone out there hyped and out-of-their-minds crazy about some football?  Are you ready for college football Saturdays and ESPN?  Not so fast, not so fast my friend! Are you ready for the mascots and the campus signs hoisted in the air as Chris Fowler, Desmond Howard, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit join the ESPN College Football mornings?  Are you ready for the doctor?  The doctor comes on late, as the day has to be reviewed and helmet stickers applied. Mark May and Lou banter and bicker back and forth to plead their cases for the best team in the nation.  It is fun to watch this back and forth.  Love me some football on Saturday mornings, Saturday afternoons and Saturday nights.  Football! Football!  Football!  Cannot wait to watch some college football!  It is just one week away!  Can't wait!

Get Your STAAR Released Tests of 2014 Here! Reading and Writing Grades 3-5

I haven't had time to really look at them yet, but plan to do so soon.  The 2014 STAAR Released Tests are here for you to download.  I uploaded them to my Box account.  You can download the PDFs or go to the TEA Website and download all the tests from there.  Here they are for your convenience.  Just go to the Link 2014 STAAR Released Tests and click.  Then download them to your computer.

2014 STAAR Released Tests

Digital Writing Matters

I just had a conversation with Karen Justl.  We were talking about a writing staff development that I conducted a few days ago with writer's notebooks.  I explained to her that as I have been writing on this new blog and as I have been transferring my post from 3 years, I have noticed that I have posted quite a bit. I have noticed that I have written a lot.  This is my digital writer's notebook.  I enjoy doing this everyday or most days.  I gets me off of my duff and gets me into writing and exploring topics that I might not be doing otherwise.  Digital Writing is impact and it does matter.  I know that some people think that it is not important.  I would beg to differ on that premise.  It is important and I am one person who is living proof.

I explore so much through my digital writing and I will explore more of my thoughts at a later time. I just wanted to get my ideas down today, so that I can do more with it later.  I didn't want to forget this as the day becomes more and more hectic.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

15 Years on the Erie Canal

15 years on the Erie Canal...that song rings in my ears and I see myself at Oak Street Elementary School sitting in the metal chairs and watching Ms. Gully play the piano.  I am in music class.  Music class had nothing to do with recorders or triangles but me, myself and my classmates sitting and singing old songs to the piano.  15 Years on the Erie Canal!
The Erie Canal indeed.  I guess, according to history, it took people fifteen years to dig this little canal between Southern Ohio all the way to Northern Ohio and quite possibly Cleveland.  My friend Scott Jenkins always, always, always, without fail, would ask Ms. Gully to play it for us.  From 4th to 6th grade we sang it over and over and over again.
Why bring up those fifteen years?  I dunno, but I have an inkling that change is about to happen to me in my life.  My daughter is going to be a senior this year and off to college she will be going.  Where? That is left to be determined.  That will be a big change in my life and so I am thinking about my future.  I guess that happens when you are old.  What do I want to discover?  What is coming up on the horizon?  I have an itch.  Yes, an itch to make a change.  A new car?  Do I want to study nursing?  Do I want to move to Ohio?  Do I want dunno, but what do know is that I do not want to be stuck in a rut. I feel stuck in a rut and I am learning, very quickly that this rut has got to go.  So in ten months from now, I will be free to choose new things for my life.  Will I change jobs?  Will I pursue my masters in creative writing?  Will I?  I don't know, but the countdown has started.  T-10 months!    Not 15 years on any canal, but 10 months, 10 months, 10 months and song! To be continued!

We Talkin' 'Bout Practice! Not A Game...Practice!

I love the quote from Allen Iverson.  "We talkin' about practice.  Not a game, not a game.  We talkin' about practice."  I can definitely relate to the Answer or Allen Iverson.  It makes sense, right?  Well, that depends if you are Allen Iverson, the franchise player.  If you are a scrub and fighting for your spot on the team, you do everything to get noticed.  You might not like Iverson's comment.  To me, Iverson was saying to focus on what matters.  To AI the game mattered and the results of the game.  I see his point and I concur.  You got to find what matters and stick to it.  Practice?  Practice?  Get me to the game on time!

That was no more evident for me than yesterday.  I came home yesterday, after a very rewarding day.  I made three presentations that I felt went supremely well.  My sessions were packed.  People were sitting on the floor and there was standing room only in the back. I think if we could have torn down the the walls, there would have been maybe 80 something people attending or more.   I wish the classrooms were bigger.

My presentation to my bilingual folks went very, very well too along with my writer's notebook sessions.  I shared my heart and hope that people left the session proud and pumped to serve our all of our students.  I got nothing but great feedback from people.

Along the way, many, many people crossed my path from the past.  I really enjoyed seeing them.  It is about the game, not practice, the game!  It is about making the most out of our experiences and treasuring and have an impact on the people that we work with and for.  I felt that in a very tangible way yesterday.

To follow that with today was not really fair.  There is no comparison to my day yesterday to my day today.  I walked into a meeting in the morning. Yes, a meeting.  Not a meeting of the minds.  A meeting to talk afterwards and just whine! I was so tired from yesterday, but still feeling rather euphoric before I entered into that gloomy room. The smell of mold was palpable. Within minutes, my joy was supplanted by something from another galaxy. It felt like Kyptonite that had sucked the life right out of me.  I felt deflated and inconsolable. Wow, how can two days  be so juxtaposed...such polar opposites?  I dragged my feet from my meeting and met an awesome friend to talk about the previous day, catch up on some work.  I was okay now because I was with someone that I connect with, someone with life inside them.  Then I met with two older ladies. I very much enjoyed working with them. They make me laugh. It was so good to see them.  I hadn't seen them in quite a while.  It is nice to be appreciated and missed.

Those past two days has shown me something.   It is about belonging and making a difference. It's about the game, the game! The previous day I connected with so many people and had a sense of belonging. I felt a kinship.  They were my people.  Today was painful. Practice, practice? NOOOOOOO!!!! Mama said there would days like this.  Yesterday...mountaintop... today... lower than the valley.  I guess that is life and you have to do things you really do not like sometimes.  I have to keep in mind that my joy is working with people. I have to get back to that more and to the lower valley from time to time. I wish those meeting times would be less and less frequent.  We talkin' 'bout practice? Not a game...not a game.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Years, Friends and Family

I had such a great day today with my SBISD friends.  Even though the day was quiet exhilarating, I am tired out!  I guess the adrenaline has finally wore off.  Now I want to just crash.

I made reference to my blog several times today, so I must practice what I preached.  I preached a writing sermon today about becoming a better writer by writing!  I said, "I have to be a model for my students.  Whatever I expect them to do, I must do first."  I am showing instead of telling by my actions.
The discipline of writing daily allows me to find my voice, to find the significance.  Here I am in my tired state of mind and body laboring to find the significance of my experiences today.

My day started out with a McDonald's Sausage and Egg McMuffin and a coffee with six creams at 6:45 am.  I wonder how McDonald's measures those creams or is it a guesstimation?  Either way I drink some pretty decent coffee.  I parked my car behind Stratford High School.  My friend Sara pulled up and joined me in drinking our cups of Joe.  She had Starbuck's Mocha.  Mine wasn't quite so fancy.

Then it was off to the races.  I didn't slow down from 7:15am to 4:15 pm.  I felt as if I was in a time warp and that I was directly placed in the book When The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.  I smiled so much that my face received quite the workout.  I hugged so much that my ribs were crying out, "Hey lady, won't 'cha give it a rest?" Through it all, I was able to meet up with friends from my Hollibrook, Cedar Brook and District days.  Wow!  So many memories, wonderful memories.

I realized that I have been in this district for 17 years and counting.  Seventeen years full of blood, sweat and tears.  I forgot to add laughter to the list because there is much  laughter in the equation.  Laughter from my days at Hollibrook in the classroom, team meetings, Friday tamales, and the fun faculty meetings with Roger, Juan, Patti, Dina, Mary, Solana and Jim, to name a few.  Then there were the great memories of Cedar Brook with Cathy R, Tracey Tomaro, Perlita, Susan, Jim, Tiffany, Omaly, Ms. D, Aida, Dago, Carmen, Veleta and others.  We had a blast with Saturday camps including, Reading, Writing, and Science.  We were in the trenches together all for one goal...students.  I will never forget the crew!
I often think of the 7 years on my district job working with multiple schools and building relationships and memories with teachers and students like Michelle G, Noemi, Olga, Sara S, Omaly S, Martha M, Carol S, Vivian P, Cathy R, Pam B,  Richard, Kathy S, Elsa, Elyse, Walberto, Alfonso, Melissa, Alfredo, Maria C, Romie, Romina, Anita, Maria S, Maria G, Teresa B, Lisa D, Elvia, Donald, Kathy S, Linda A, Alana, Ro, Martha, the Donnas, Lynette, Marquita, Corina, and many, many more!

When I think back, way, way back, tears come to my eyes and my soul is at peace.  These are such great memories for me.  All these years and boy have I been greatly blessed.  Seeing everyone today brought me back and made me more appreciative of the time that I have had and the relationships that I have built with such wonderful people.  It puts things into proper perspective.  Two things hold true for me: I am loved and truly blessed.  Today I realized that I won the lottery.  No, it isn't a monetary lottery. It is a lottery of time and people.  Who would have thought that 17 years ago, that a single mother, with a 14 month old beautiful daughter, would make her way in such a humongous city and find family and friendships that will last forever? If I ever thought that I was alone, I do not believe this anymore, thanks to 17 years and generous people, in an enormous city.

What a wonderful day!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Get To 500!

Get to 500

Get to 500 
500 page views
New blog
New readers
Stuck on 479
Just need a few
hate to whine
need to get to 500

What will this new blog bring?
What posts might I dabble
and fling
onto the page
still waiting 
on a few
got to get to 500
make it all new
just 500
500 page
page views!

I wonder how this one will go
Have to set free my other
Just Write Baby!
Hate to do it
Need to be in my hands
You just never know
Just Write Baby 1, 2, 3... go!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

No Post Yesterday

I wasn't able to post yesterday.  My daughter and I went to her confirmation day of reflection.  We left at 8:30 am and arrived home after 3 pm.  I was so happy to spend the day with my daughter, as she prepares for her confirmation.

The day was going very smoothly at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church. When we left the church, I started seeing lights.  What do I mean seeing lights?  We were going to go to Michael's to buy some art supplies.  It was extremely bright and hot outside.  As I was driving to Michael's I started seeing these prismatic lights.  From the side of my peripheral vision, I started seeing lights as if I were looking through a prism.  I have some to understand that this is what happens when a migraine is starting to form.  I parked and allowed my daughter to drive me to Michael's and then to the house.  When I arrived home, I went straight to my bedroom.  I had a serious light sensitivity problem.  My stomach was upset and the only thing that would work, to minimize the effects of a migraine, is sleep and rest.  I put my thermostat on 72 and went to sleep.  The back of my neck was so tense.  This is typical of my migraines.  I later woke up and took two Tylenol and went back to sleep.

When I awoke it was mostly gone.  I hate that because I felt as if I was robbed of the rest of my evening.  I didn't get to do the things that I had planned.  Migraines are debilitating and there is no compromising with them.  When I see lights, it is not majestic or heavenly.  Lights equal pain, pain and more pain.  My eyes hurt and my head kills me.  I am glad that my migraine did decide to occur after  the day of reflection.  I didn't want to ruin my daughter's day.


What is on my mind today?  Cats!  Cats! Cats!   I have three of them and sometimes I ask, "Why do I have cats?"  I love them, but sometimes they drive me crazy.  My three cats Sammy, Sandy and Suzi have distinct personalities and quirks.  These quirks drive me bonkers!

Sammy has his strange behavoirs. One being that he has to ruin the cats drinking water, whenever left alone.  I have never seen him do it, but I know he is the only one who likes to put things in the drinking water.  He has put his nasty dollar store green and yellow striped ball in the water, his shiny metallic type ball in the water, and the blue thing that wraps around the milk top in his water.  That is not so bad really. It doesn't cause murkiness.  Nope, what causes their water to go from the clear water into a murky pond, is his kibble. He transfers his kibble from the feeding bowl and puts it in his water bowl.  Why?  I have no idea.  By the end of the day, the cats come running to me with a thousand complaints about Sammy's antics.  They won't drink it or even look at it.  It has become completely ruined.  I change the water and in five minutes, Sammy drops his kibble bombs in their water.    Every morning at 5 am Sandy comes to my room and pats me on the face, to try to get me to clean up Sammy's toxic mess.  If she cannot get me up by tapping on my face, she takes matters in her paws by knocking things off of my dresser.  They crash and I wake up screaming!  "Stop it!"  She scampers out and then in ten minutes  I hear other things crashing to the floor.  "Sammy!"

Suzi is a sweet Tabby who is rather skiddish.  She is quiet and does her low rider moves when she  scampers from my bedroom to the living room and then to the kitchen.  She tries to be rather elusive, but I catch a glimpse her every time.  She then gets something to eat and scampers back to my room.  I keep my door closed, most of the time, due to Sammy's other bad behavoir. He cannot be in my room without my supervision.  Suzi tries to run back to see that I have closed the door to my room.  She then will scratch under the door a thousand times, until I get up from my computer, study, or television viewing until I open the door to her safe refuge.  I  let her in and about thirty minutes later she will scratch uncontrollably, until I let her out of my room.  That doesn't sound so bad, but when I am  into something and I have to stop  to let her out, it can be quite annoying. ANNOYING!

Did I mention the fact that Suzi is also skiddish?  She is afraid of any little noise and of strangers.  My sister and her sons come over to visit.  When she hears their voices, she runs for my room.  If she can get into my room, she hides under the bed and then climbs into my dresser drawers.  I do not understand how she climbs into them, but she does.  When my sister leaves, I go into my room to sleep.  At 2 am in the  morning, I find myself awaken from the sound of a beast climbing out of my dresser drawers.  I wake up with a start, and realize that my cat is just crashing out of my dresser. Not someone robbing the house, nope. My cat is crashing out of the one of my dresser drawers.  The drawer usually comes crashing down on the floor.  So much for uninterrupted sleep!

Sandy, Sandy, Sandy, Sandy!  What can I say about my sweet, innocent, little angelic cat? My daughter has a different take on Sandy, my orange Tabby. She rightly calls her the Orange Terror.  Sweet? Sometimes.  Innocent? Maybe...and that is pushing it.  Angelic...which type of angels are you referring Lucifer was a fallen angel. My sweet, angelic Sandy drives me absolutely crazy! She likes to knock everything to the floor.  If she can perch on a table, desk, dresser or coffee table, anything on the edge or close to the edge, is toast.  She cannot, cannot, cannot, cannot allow anything close to the edge to remain standing.  Nope.  Everything has to fall, fall, tumbling down, down, down!  When she first started doing her swipe thing, I though it was cute.  Cute turned to annoying really, really fast!  I cannot tolerate this behavior.  She knows that too.  If she wants me to awake from my slumber, she will knock things down from their pedestals.  The higher the crash value, the greater my reaction.  I think that is what she is trying to do to me!  Sandy!

Not only does her swiping drive me crazy, but she has a really nasty habit of eating anything that is plastic.  She eats plastic!  I kid you not!  She chews on the plastic casings of my Houston Chronicle.  She nibbles on the plastic bags from the produce section of Krogers.  She feasts on anything plastic. . . anything. I try to keep all things plastic away from her.  I place them in the trash can or try to place them on shelves.  Some way she seems to find them.  She swipes them out of the garbage can.  I am at wits end, trying to deter her from her plastic feasts.  It drives me absolutely crazy hearing her chew on plastic, underneath my bed at 4:00 am in the morning.  I scream, "STOP EATING PLASTIC!" I cannot do anything because she is out of my reach, underneath my bed.  I  have to suffer through the sounds of her chowing down on plastic bags.  Oh, the horror!  Five hours of so, after hearing this horrid action, she graces me with her puking sounds!  Yes, she barfs up her plastic delicacy. It takes about 10-15 seconds to hear her guttural groans and then she produces plastic puke. The walls vibrate from the sounds of this cats upchucking.  Most cats bring up the hair balls!  My cat barfs up plastic balls!

Cats!  Cats! Cats!  Why do I cats?  I love them, but I go bonkers with their obnoxious behaviors.  They say that there  is no rest for the weary.  I agree wholeheartedly, especially if you have three insane cats!  HELP!

Friday, August 15, 2014

December-After A Tough Time

This poem helped me get out of my funk, after my sister's serious bout with depression and being diagnosed with bipolar disease.  She was in and out of hospitals, after attempting suicide.  We almost lost her, but thank the Good Lord, she survived.  She really shouldn't have, based on what the emergency room doctors said.  I am thankful that I still have her around.  Depression is tough.  After three long years, she has made many breakthroughs.  At the time of her hospital stays, I was searching for ways to make sense of it all. I couldn't work. I couldn't sleep.  I felt that I wasn't doing enough for her.  Finally, after talking to someone who had experience with this, I felt better and was able to understand it through my writing.  After I was able to write this, I could finally concentrate and get back to normal.  Here is what has come from this experience.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

December by M. Ucles


Into this world
Seven on the day of infamy
Seven in the cold, cold rustling wind
Brushing up against my rosy red cheeks
Nose nastily running
Searching through
Once barren pockets
Housing the puffs of plenty
 Wadded into a ball

I stand
Peering into the dark and dreary
Dark and dreary monstrous tree branches
Flailing effortlessly into nothingness
The ultimate struggle captured
As a frozen Polaroid

I behold
Yet cannot contain
This moment
So surreal
Surrounding, engulfing
Everything I am

Reaching, grasping

Descending effortlessly
Numbing, piercing,
Placidly pervading my being
       Blanketing my soul
In a motionless dance

No sound
No words
Pure silence
Enters side door left
for a second
or two
maybe more

My way
Thank God Almighty
Peace At last
Peace At last
My heart
My Mind
My Soul

By Maureen Ucles

Into the Vault-Say My Name-Inspired by SHWP

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Say My Name, Say My Name...If You Can

“Maureen Ellen!” my mom screamed up the stairway. The sound reverberated from the walls and the house seemed to shake off its foundation. My eyes widened, as I immediately stood at attention. “What did I forget to do now?” I thought to myself. I was sure that I must have forgotten to take out the trash or wash the dirty pots and pans aching for a deep clean. “Maureen Ellen!” she persisted in a frustrated tone. “Com-ing!” I shouted back. My mother never mentioned my first and middle names together unless something went terribly wrong with the house. Besides being a name that bares bad news, Maureen Ellen is a name to behold, a name to cherish. I must admit that I quite like how it sounds. There is this one little problem, however. No one, I mean no one, can pronounce the Maureen in Maureen Ellen correctly.

Maureen, Sardine, Zarine, Marine, More-een, Murine, and Maoreen. Apparently, there are a zillion ways to pronounce, or should I say, mispronounce my name. I blame my mom for all the confusion it causes. I mean, she could have named me Nancy or Noreen. No, I was named Maureen. My dear old mom named me after the famous actress Maureen O’Hara. I guess she was popular back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. I can’t really say that I have seen her movies. Somehow I have this image of a tall woman with beautiful black, wavy hair and gorgeous blue eyes. Being such a starlet, I wonder if she had ever been victimized by this random act of mispronunciation. Probably not.

It was revealed to me that Maureen means “little Mary”. That sounds excellent to me because I know plenty of women proudly wear that name. For the most part, they are good people. Additionally, I read somewhere that Mary means bitter. I guess you can say I am a little bitter and rightly so. I just want to know, could someone please say my name correctly? Someone, anyone?

My mother uses the Southern Ohio way of pronouncing my name. It is as follows: Maur sounds like how you say Maher, as in Bill Maher. The ‘een is like the word seen. So now you have Mar-een…Maureen. Most people from the northern parts of the United States call me More-een. I guess since my name means little they think I need more. I am not, however, by any means, little and I certainly don’t need more. No more. Hey, I’ve been tall my whole life. In fact, I have been called Amazon to Lurch to Lady Liberty. In class pictures, I was easy to spot. I’m always the one in the middle, back row. That’s where you would find me!

The first time that I played little league baseball, I introduced myself to Coach Randy and the boys as Maureen . I may have even repeated it two or three times, possibly more. No problem, right? Hardly. Someway, somehow, the boys on my team had serious hearing problems or should have been referred to a speech pathologist because they butchered my name beyond recognition. Suddenly my name changed from Maureen to Marine! Really? Marine? I was forever tagged a U.S. Marine. I didn’t have a buzz cut or bellow, “Sir, yes sir!” Nope. Not me. When I took the mound, the boys would cheer me with the official little league chant. “Come on ____, come on bud, come on _____,” they would yell out the chant for any boy. When it was my turn, they didn’t know quite what to do, since I am not a bud. So they improvised, just as they had done with my name, “Come on Marine, come on now, come on Marine!” As I reflect back to those days, it sounded absolutely ridiculous. Any way you slice it, people have problems with my name.

When I was in the Peace Corps in Honduras, the people in my village pronounced my name in the most interesting way. This was to be expected since they would use their Spanish pronunciation. They would say, “Maaaauuuuureeeen.” They pronounced the first part of my name-Mau similar to Mao in Mao Tse-Tung. Then came the ‘reen with a twirl with the r. It just didn’t sit right with me. These people really tried their darndest to get it right, to no avail. It was, however, way better than hearing “Gringa! Gringa! Gringa!” ring in my ears to perpetuity. Each time that they would shout Gringa, I jumped out of my skin. The pitch and force with which they screamed GRINGA, caused my ear drums to serve me their walking papers. So I decided to make life easier on them and me. I changed my name to Marina. I was Marina and everyone was happy.

When my mom named me Maureen, I am sure she had no idea the confusion she would create. She probably thought everyone knew how to pronounce it. Maureen. Such a pleasant, yet chaotic name. Hey, I could have been like my sister. My mom named her Diane. I have never heard anyone having trouble pronouncing Diane. Diane. Diane. It’s just plain easy. No effort, no problem. I guess my name suits the tall bastion of light, for the huddled masses, that I am. Maureen definitely is more than a little. I cannot be bitter anymore, just patient. I have learned, the hard way, that Maureen is quite unique. Certainly, I should be appreciative of all fond memories and humorous stories that have come my way. Okay then, my name is Maureen. That’s Maur like Bill Maher with the ‘een sort of like sardine. Nice to meet you.

Lines-Inspired by SHSU Writing Project


By Maureen Ucles

A day without a written line is like
A life devoid of purpose
Ambling to and fro
Into narcissistic oblivion
Flat lining and submerged
Gasping for a final, labored breath
A moment,
A second,
In the nano

Without a written line-
Unfathomable, churning, grinding, crawling
Inching at a snail’s pace,
Yearning to be released,
From the heart and mind,
To the depths,
Depths of the soul

I so do make a conscious invitation,
To warmly embrace the Mead canvas
So softly, swiftly, sweetly, and effortlessly
Imbuing the inked feather with
Uncanny inspiration
Along the tranquil sea of aqua
Rays travel from point A to point B to infinity,
Horizontally bathed in the perpendicular hue of a vertical rose,
At the intersection of the twin parallel worlds

Congested scratches of mumbo jumbo
Fly on the autobahn
Bring life
Emerge without notice
Steps in rhythm
Reveal the unknown

The treasured pulped canvas
Demands more time than ever
To survey, reflect and mediate
Some semblance of meaning

Traversing the road less traveled
Purpose pleads its case
Peace encapsulates my being
Chaos reigns supreme
Embarking on pilgrimages . . . without destinations

Forces merge
Pathways unfold
Foraging their way
Thru the cobwebs
Prisms of grey
Into the light,
The light of day




Are piling
Up so high
From the bottom to the top

The dishes are climbing, climbing, climbing
Above my overwhelmed sink
Reaching, grasping
Arriving at a destination

The dishes are piling
Sky scraping
Wrapping Around
The counter to the Fridge
On top of the

Utter clutter
No place to go
Out the door
of the kitchen
On the floor

Oh my dishes!
What to do?
Stop the momentum
Calgon can't take it away
From this mess
Disaster laden in  the ceramic Corelle

Taking over my life
the dishes are
To the floor
Into pieces


By Maureen Ucles

Meet Mom

Meet My Mom-Notre Dame's Number One Fan!

Don't you just like snapping some photos?  I have found it to be so much fun, especially when it's connected to writing.  I could go any where I want with  writing.  I could cross genres!  Shhhh!!! Don't tell anyone!  It will be our little secret, right?  Nahhh!  Genres cross all the's called the blending son, blending!  So any how, I am going to posts these pics and then write about them.  I was thinking of  kernel I was exploring at an inservice the other day.  I was writing about a favorite activity.  That day I wrote about watching Notre Dame play football.  My four brothers all played high school football for Notre Dame High School. Onward to victory!   It is only fitting that I became a Notre Dame football fan right in my mother's womb!  I love my dear mother and she at 80 years and pico was able to go see the University of Notre Dame play against the Purdue Boilermakers. She traveled all the way from Cincinnati with my three brothers Greg, Tim and Joe to South Bend, Indiana.  This was her first time to be at Fighting Irish game, besides the many years she took up residence at Spartan Stadium, in Portsmouth, Ohio.  She faithfully cheered on her 4 boys, as they played on hot fall evenings, to rain drenched games, all under the lights of   historic Spartan Stadium.  Now she took up residence in South Bend, watching her beloved Irish win a close one against Purdue.  There's much to write about and much to consider!  I love my mom!  She's the best mom any one could have!  Anyone!  No, she won't cheer for anyone else but the Notre Dame! She won't even consider cheering for the Ohio State Buckeyes.  I have a hard time even writing about that fact. Everyone from Ohio is a Buckeye Fan.  Everyone,  except for my mom.  I consider this complete and utter blasphemy. She's totally loyal to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. She bleeds blue and gold(or green).  Since she's my mom, I'll forgive her Ohio State slight!  Even against Michigan?  I am not sure about that one. I think she might cheer for the Bucks!  Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on!  Here's some pics I'd like to share!  Meet my dear mother Betty!  No better fan, no better mother! No way, no how!  Gotta love her!  Trust me, I do!  Love you mom!  Go Irish!

The University of Notre Dame's Number One Fan!  Go Irish!  September, 2012

View from the seats in Notre Dame Stadium-Onward to Victory!

To and Fro

To And Fro'

By Maureen Ucles

I am from 
Go Dog Go!
To and Fro'
Driving up a tree
Pics for all to see
Go Dog Go!

I am from
Pull out groups
Headaches, Headaches, Headaches
Vocabulary tests
First one out
Spelling bee
The heck out of me
Don't want
I am out 
the door
I totally
Open a book?
You crazy?
No, I am not lazy
Hate to read

I am from
Apartment 2B
Second floor
Mammaw's door
Always open
Picture Books
Drawing Paper
Charlie Brown
Doodles, Sketches
Comic strips
Found my niche
Can't trip 
Over words
Fridge Door
Museum of Drawing
Woodstock, Linus and Lucy

From I am 
Play with  rhythm
No rules
No rhyme
Free verse
Lift the curse
Bob D, Billy Joel
Michael J 
List too long
Trippin' over
The Light Fantastic
Breath of life

Essays galore
Almost thawing
Out my brain
Just let it fly!
Don't know why!
My refuge

Gotta be real
to the core

Memoirs, Memoirs, Memories
Robert Kennedy
Life stories
Up the wazoo

I am
Professional books
Insatiable appetite
Never good enough
Better, better 
My best

From am I 
Sports, Sports, Sports
Boston Celtics Blog
ESPN The Magazine
Rick Reilly
First Take
Stephen A
Skip Bay-less

Google Sites
Xtranormal blitzing
The Digital Reality
To be explored
Go Dog Go!
From here
Ya know?
Here and Fro'
C'mon y'all
Get some
That's where
I'm from



By Maureen Ucles

My Spalding basketball
against the battered,
 poor-excuse-for- a- walkway
too numerous to count
 like wrinkles on a pitiful, putrid prune
Avoiding those pitfalls
so as
not to 
my mama's back
causes me to move,
swivel, groove
some left over swag
 like LBJ
on the 

I jab step,
spin around
ankle breaking
I am
The Answer
back in the day
Can't wait to
meet my peeps
same place
same sound
shoot and play
serious, nasty, stupid

The ball spins 
from my fleshy finger-tips
Soaring high over my noggin'
Sounds so sick to behold
Swish, swish, swish!
That sound!
Never gets old!
Like poetry in motion

My mid range J
In all its glory
What can I say?
Sweet spot
Just right
Glides clear through the
  musty, dusty,and always rusty,
orange chipped
sorry rim
Landing ever so softly
caught then released
in the chain- linked paradise
Basket baby!

I call for it!
Music to my enormous ears
Satellites full of delight
A smile for my sweaty face
Rhythms realized
This is definitely 
My day
My time

 all that  it beholds
No other game
Can compare
No other place
I'd rather be
in this blackened
asphalt jungle
 in the zone
scorching, torching
for all to see
You can't guard me!
That's me
Straight up