Two-Bit Musings.

Shh.

Just Another Day in Paradise, Yo.

. . .

Hi. How are you, Dear Reader? How do you feel today: body, mind, and soul?

Pause. Think. Answer honestly.

Me? I’m doing just fine, thanks.

I’m currently sitting on our RV love seat, clicking past the miles somewhere between Ohio and Indiana. Sweet Baby Snap is sleeping; Toddler Snap is hopefully about to do the same up in his car seat.

I’m sipping iced coffee, laughingly shrugging at the insane diesel prices, and singing songs from Father John Misty’s latest album in my head.

I feel good.

. . .

I just turned 35.

Seems kinda weird, like that’s much too old and much too young, all at the same time. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived a thousand lives; I also feel like I’ve just been born.

And when I close my eyes and quiet my mind, I think about this life. I think about how much I value the simple idea of respect.

I want to show respect in everything I do.

Toward other human beings, animals, and Mother Earth herself.

I want to respect other people’s time. I want to respect their turn to speak.

I want to respect the public goods we all need, like clean water and food. Health. Education. The arts and humanities.

I want it to be known that I respect you because not everything is about me.

. . .

(shrugs)

That’s it for now.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer and artist currently residing on Planet Earth.

Two-Bit Musings.

Wait Awhile.

A Weirdo, Cerebral Reflection from Yours Truly.

. . .

Wouldn’t it be something if our every thought could be documented? Like, our dreams could be stored away in The Vault of Complete Memories, which I visualize as a rather Soviet-looking building, filled with hundreds of books and videotapes. Every dream, pondering, or musing filed away, awaiting reflection.

Or you know. . . maybe not, because even entertaining that idea gives me significant heart palpitations.

What I’m getting at is that the mind is a funny thing; there are so many fleeting thoughts, many of which stay for just a blip on the screen, and are never heard from again.

And you know? I think that’s a real shame. How much have we lost? How many valuable seedlings never make it to the light of day?

. . .

I woke up this morning feeling like The Tin Man. My hands were a frustrating mix of fiery frozen fingers.

I’ve yet to see a doctor, but I’m confident I have carpal tunnel syndrome. It seems that even a few years of scooping ice cream and meticulously decorating cakes wreaks havoc on the wrists. (That, and my crazy handwriting practices also probably contributed.)

I felt so much older than my [almost] 35 years. The only cure was several small, steamy mugs of coffee, followed by a piping hot shower. I wet-brushed my hair. I cocoa-buttered my body. I put on my new polka dot house dress, and felt reborn.

. . .

Nothing is ever Most things are never really done. Never really over, never really. . . accomplished.

Our days are spent simply trying to keep up.

Again and again and again.

For these are the moments wrinkles are made of.

. . .

I don’t have many friends.

17 years ago I saw myself as The Girl Who Got Along With Everyone. And while I like to think I still have that mindset–I really do try to see the best in people–I find myself on the periphery of true friendship. Maybe it’s my simple lifestyle: maybe I seem boring to most people. Maybe my artistic nature is difficult for others to relate to.

Or maybe we’ve forgotten that friendship is a living, breathing thing. Starve it, and see what happens.

Meanwhile, I’ll prune the brilliant blossoms in the morning sun.

I love you.

. . .

It literally took the act of childbirth for me to learn the art of asking for what I need.

. . . I am worthy of help. I am worthy of comfort in this life.

And so, my friend, are you.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who just loves using mixed metaphors.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her Two-Bit Musings and more.

Two-Bit Musings.

Is This the Real Life?*

(Is this just fantasy?)*

. . .

This morning started in ordinary fashion: soft baby grunts, a bottle feeding, and our son happily kicking about in our bed, trying to snag Daddy’s iPad from the nightstand.

(I also snuck a bite of raw cookie dough from the fridge at about 4 AM.)

And later on, when I was washing a few dishes here and there–in between sips of coffee, text messages, and sweet toddler yelps–I surprisingly found myself in a place of peace.

It never stops.

This is the life we’ve dreamed of.

. . .

My Sweet Husband and I frequently talk about how fast time passes, and usually these discussions accompany feelings of slight panic, and almost disapproval for how much we’ve achieved.

Sometimes it helps me to organize things, by breaking my life into distinct chapters:

SnapDragon’s Life, in Cheap One-Liners:

-Elementary School: Using Bright Colors for Everything

-Middle School: Being Self-Conscious AF

-High School: Having Fun ‘Rebelling Against Society’, as My Brother Would Say

-College: Not Letting Fear Rule My Life

-Teaching: Trying to Inspire in a Broken System

-Post-Teaching: Anxiety, Depression, & Artistic Discovery

-Motherhood: (Musical Interlude)**

. . .

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that no matter how hard we are on ourselves–no matter how little it seems we’ve done–we have arrived.

In high school I wanted nothing more than to read, write, and become a teacher.

Done.

In college I wanted to travel, paint, and have the type of fun only 20-somethings can.

Done.

Throughout my life I’ve dreamed of art, passion, friendships, and family. I dreamed of a house of my own.

Done, done, and done.

I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home Mom, tending to the house in between caring for a couple of little humans.

And here it all is, and here I am, in perfect disarray.

. . .

So, despite how it sounds, this doesn’t mean I’m finished. Just because I’ve accomplished some major goals doesn’t mean there aren’t more on the horizon. My middle school self would be quite proud of my high school self. College SnapDragon evolved into Teacher SnapDragon.

We all keep moving the bar, because really, isn’t that what it means to be alive?

I want to relish each moment, yet continue to plan for a kick-ass future.

. . .

You have done amazing things in this life, Dear Reader. So have I.

So just because you’re in the same sweatpants for three days in a row and haven’t yet brushed your teeth today, it doesn’t mean you’re slacking.***

We’re simply doing the best with the day we’ve got.

Right?

. . .

SnapDragon is an artist who just loves traditionally-feminine things.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for irreverent musings and more.

. . .

*These are Queen lyrics, obviously. Please tell me this footnote is not necessary.

**It’s way too hard to put into words, yo.

***Oh wait. That’s me.

Like It or Love It.

Loving It.

What your girl Snap’s been loving as of late.

. . .

  1. The Toy Story Franchise. Toddler Snap has really taken to these movies, which we watch in succession nearly everyday. (Well, okay. Let’s be fair: We make it through the series about every other day.) Anyway, color me impressed, yo. Being a 90s kid, I sure as hell saw the original when it came out. But that was the only one I’d ever seen, until a few weeks ago. And let me tell you: they’re brilliant. So. Well. Done. They’ve also made me cry like a baby (or, more accurately, a postpartum mom). Toy Story 3? It’s perfect. How precious childhood–and life–truly is.
  2. All the Drinks. Okay, not all. But now that my body is back to being my own, I’m all about the iced coffees. And IPAs. It’s so nice to savor the simple things again: to sip artisanal drinks like only a hipster knows how.
  3. Our Stash. Two years of living in a pandemic will make just about anyone reevaluate their home. We’ve done our fair share of online shopping–our Amazon rewards are almost embarrassing at this point–but we’ve also utilized the things we have. In fact, I sort of unofficially proclaimed 2022 as The Year of The Used. Instead of buying more–more body products, more coffee mugs, more candles–I’m making myself dig inside forgotten drawers. There’s a surprising amount of goodies, from shopping trips long since past. It feels good to bring them back to life.

. . .

Wishing you some simple pleasures today, friends.

. . .

SnapDragon is an artist who enjoys driving her car with the windows down.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her Two-Bit Musings and more.

Two-Bit Musings.

October: A Month in Review.

So umm. . . yeah. I was going to do this for each month in 2021. This is the second time I remembered. Oh well. So it goes.

. . .

1. Trick or Treat, Yo. October is my favorite month, and pretty much always has been. It’s mysterious somehow, which comforts a literary old-soul like me. Toddler Snap and I have been out each and everyday, living it up. I try to capture the beauty of the leaves on my phone, but alas, the magic inevitably eludes the camera. We also carved our first Jack o’ Lantern as a family, and I literally tell my husband each day that it makes me happy in my young heart.

2. Small Comforts. Each day is different, Dear Reader. Sometimes I wake up feeling like a kick-ass SnapDragon, and other days I wake up feeling like a termite-infested tree stump. So I savor every moment I can. I dip into the candy dish. I watch an episode of Frasier before bed. I remind myself that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. I remind myself that every feeling comes and goes.

3. Time for a Trim. It’s no surprise I’m a fan of the simple life: give me my SnapDragon Family, some quality food and cinema, and I’m good to go, yo. There are only so many hours in the day, and I vow to spend them on people and things that enrich my soul. Ain’t nobody got time for bullshit, am I right?

I am just one person in this infinite universe.

And so are you, love.

So are you.

Wishing a Happy November to everyone out there!

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer who frequently orders drinks with extra ice.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her chronicles of everyday life.

Two-Bit Musings.

Little Breaths.

October Gold, 2021.
Pennsylvania, USA.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved, yo.

Let us remember that we all require space.

Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot.

Those quiet times hold such delicious potential; the roots do strengthen, as the vine prepares to blossom.

Shh. Close your eyes. Listen.

And allow yourself just to be.

Wonderful things are on the horizon, are they not?

. . .

SnapDragon is a teacher, painter, writer, and mom.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

Two-Bit Musings.

Six One Way, Half a Dozen The Other.

Notes on my 12-year career as an educator.

. . .

Part 1: In The Classroom

Anyone who knows me—in real life, or via this blog—knows I’m a teacher.

I pretty much knew I wanted to teach high school English since I was about 17 or so. It was my favorite subject, and seemed like a natural fit for an aspiring writer like me. I also loved school: the fresh notebooks and gel pens; the family-like bond created within each classroom; the fresh starts; the chalkboard handwriting.

So off I went to college, declaring my Secondary English Education major, and beginning the truly transformational journey that is undergrad.

Dorm-room friendships. Buffet-style cafeteria meals. My Sony Discman. Study sessions. Computer mishaps. Movies. Discussions. Hair dye. Open-Mic Nights.

I really loved it all.

And four years later I accepted my diploma, literally danced a little jig on my way off the stage, and headed into Philly that night, to start my new life.

SnapDragon in The City, yo.

About halfway through undergrad I realized I wanted to teach in the city. I had learned about the inequities in funding, and the “emergency” certifications issued due to the lack of instructors. As a privileged kid from the suburbs—we had a planetarium in our high school—this angered me. Shouldn’t school be a safe, fully-functioning place?

So into the city I went, eager to help. I interviewed with the district before I even graduated from college, and was guaranteed placement in a high school for the 2009-2010 school year.

And what followed, Dear Reader, were six complete school years in the same building. Six school years which shaped me, possibly more so than any other experience of my life.

And it was hard.

22 years old. Every single student taller than me. Wanting to inspire. Wanting to reinvent the wheel. Bitter colleagues. Broken system. Zero follow-through. Entitled parents.

The foulest language you’ve ever heard. Stolen wallet. Angry stares. Administrative walk-throughs. Hopelessness.

But it was also incredible.

Hilarious stories. Smiling teenagers. Real talks. Creative writing.

The Book Closet. Twinkling lights. Dunkin’ Donuts. Talent Shows. Drama performances.

There’s so much that happened—too much that I could ever recount in a single blog post. But let it be known that I loved my kids—all of them—and when I chose to take a break in 2015, it was simply due to burnout. Any teacher who says they’ve never experienced it is either a goddamn robot or they’re lying to you.

It happens.

And this was a hard time for me, Dear Reader. I walked away from my classroom for a chance at a university job—just a chance—and when I realized I was “no longer a teacher” (which really wasn’t true, I was just on break) it felt like a punch in the gut.

Who the heck was I now?

. . .

Part 2: Behind The Scenes

As it turns out, I landed the job.

I was a Regional Manager for a grant-funded program, one that worked to get underserved high school kids prepared for college and careers. I was the university partner, who oversaw two district teams who implemented various programs at the schools.

Sounds great, right?

It was a friggin’ mess.

It’s not worth getting into the weeds of it, trust me. It was a well-intentioned program, with some truly remarkable people and a few shining moments, but at the end of the day it was a gigantic stack of worthless paperwork that gave me a headache for like a year straight.

I’ll check my paperwork so you can check my paperwork, and then it’ll go into a Huge Important File that no one will ever look at.

But it’s important, because we’re helping kids.

(pats self on back)

Sign-in sheets. Databases. Conference calls. Business trips. Matching Dollars. Unallowable Expenses. A handful of actual interactions with students.

I survived two years of it, and perhaps by an act of grace was laid off, along with the two other Regional Managers.

And just like that, it was over.

So the remaining four years of my career—Jesus, can that be right?—was a déjà vu of sorts. My supervisor thought we should take the good parts of the grant program and make our own version. Would I be interested in applying?

Sure!

A year and a half later, when the position was officially created, I interviewed. I wore a pinstriped blazer and put my best SnapDragon foot forward. I gave a pretty kick-ass presentation. I felt like my old teacher-self again. I got this, yo.

And I did. I got the job.

So I took all of my experience, both in Philly and in the suburbs, and put pen to paper.

This would be a program of quality over quantity. It would be free. It would be simple yet powerful, even if I was starting out as a team of one.

I’m a teacher. We make something out of nothing everyday.

And my Dear Reader, the stars seemed aligned against me during the two-plus years in this role.

Change in leadership. Then another change. Differing views as to what my job description really entailed. Maternity leave ten weeks earlier than expected. A fucking pandemic.

So I got my notice of another lay off.

(shrugs)

O-kay. There goes that.

. . .

Part 3: Happy at Home

So there we have it: Twelve years (with a little unemployment thrown in there) in the life of an educator.

And I’m thankful for them, truly. All of them.

My behind-the-scenes work gave me autonomy. I slept in. I traveled to New Orleans, DC, and San Francisco. I ate Wawa breakfast burritos and listened to Paul Simon as I drove to meetings. I tried, in my SnapDragon way, to find meaning in a seemingly futile program.

And of course my days in the classroom. . . well, I still have dreams about them. I do.

I was the best version of myself then. When I think of my greatest professional moments, I think of my kids. I think of my colored chalk; I think of the conch shell. I remember when students would say, “You’re the only teacher I have who seems to care.”

And I did care, love.

And I’ve never stopped.

I tried and I failed and I tried again. I learned. I gained humility. I gained friends who were in my life for only a brief time, but who will be remembered forever.

So on this next leg of the journey—who knows, will it be another six years?—I’ll still identify as a teacher.

Toddler Snap is on the move, learning and exploring each day. I aim to help and guide him. I aim to teach him.

I will keep my creative-educator spirit alive, by writing. By making art. Reading. Talking and sharing. Researching and reflecting on the opportunities I’ve been given.

Because the learning never stops.

So neither will I, Dear Reader.

Neither will I.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and occasional light blue Gatorade-drinker.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for Two-Bit Musings and more.

Two-Bit Musings.

This is Where We Live.

May we thrive.

. . .

Jumanji Kinda Life, 2021.
Pennsylvania, USA.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved, yo.

Why hello there, Dear Reader.

And greetings from our insanely green back deck! We’ve got colorful lilies, tomato vines galore, and bushels and blossoms out the yin yang, yo! It’s like Mother Nature knew that life’s been pretty sucky for the entire world as of late, and decided to throw in an extra dash of growth this spring.

She’s here, and she’s proud.

I’m sitting here on our wicker furniture, crossed legged and snacking on those incredible Lego-shaped candies. I love the way the blocks clack against my teeth; I love how they slowly dissolve into the sugary wonderment only candy-makers can dream up.

And as I think about what to post, I’m reminded that a lot of my entries have recurring themes.

Like:

-Treasure the little things.

-Be your authentic self.

Time is out of our control.

Empathy is everything.

-Music and art and novels make life worth living.

-Paul McCartney might actually be God.

. . . You know. That kind of thing.

So as I write–and as you read–it’s probably no surprise that I’m reveling in our house, our home.

And I’m happy to say that this is where we live.

We’re nestled in a lovely townhouse, which was built roughly two years after I was born.

Our neighborhood has leisurely walking trails; a little playground and basketball court; trees hosting birds whose songs ring out like music boxes.

We’re close to pretty much everything a SnapDragon like me could ever want: a quaint(ish) downtown; multiple pharmacies; the deliciousness that is Wawa; numerous parks and historical sites from The Battle of Brandywine; farmers markets; art centers; real-deal Mexican restaurants.

And that’s just the beginning! Oh, the surprises that await you!

So even though we may not live in this town forever–‘cuz things can change in a heart beat, I know–I’m aiming to settle in: to really dig my heels into this luscious piece of earth.

Because as the planet spins for yet another day, this is our spot.

I will smile. I will recycle.

I will drink beers at Levante.

I will tip generously.

I will sincerely thank my Amazon driver and postman.

I will explore the used book shoppes, the new boutiques, the first Fridays.

I will take pride in all we’ve accomplished.

And I will, Dear Reader, dare to dream of all that can be.

. . .

Bloom where you’re planted, right?

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and pretty simple human being.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for Two-Bit Musings and more.

The Treasure Chest.

I Just Arted.

Because sometimes it just feels good, you know?

. . .

Say Yes to Mess, 2021. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved, yo.

Ahh.

To feel the swish of the brush in my hand.

The tiny gurgle of water in the jar.

Fairy tale colors brought to life.

. . .

Hello, friends.

It’s a friggin’ gorgeous spring day here in southeast Pennsylvania. One baby is snoozing inside, and the other two have joined Mama on our newly-spruced-up deck.

Raja is in paradise. #sphynxlife

And Big Boy Henry is behaving himself, so rather than rearranging things to get a better photo of him, I think I’ll leave well enough alone.

We’re sharing a moment, we three.

Share a Moment, 2021. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved, yo.

And as I like to say quite often, I feel happy in my young heart.

I’m taking time for the things I love, and today, that’s art. Whether it’s filling in my anti-fascist coloring book, or painting little cheapy ceramic pots, I’m scratching that creative itch, yo. One little moment at a time.

Because with each passing day, I’m reminded more and more:

Now is all we have.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, thinker, and frivolous singer of harmonies.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for artistic what-nots and more.

Two-Bit Musings.

Chip Lips.

I’ve been eating barbecue chips like they’re goin’ outta style, yo. (But that’s not what this post is about. Better read on. . .)

. . .

Hi.

I’m perched here in our RV, cozied up in fruit-punch-colored sweatpants, the dim hum of the heater droning on in an inexplicably comforting way.

It’s unseasonably cold here in PA, so The SnapDragon Family is playing inside today.

Oh well.

Time for thinking.

Time for dreaming.

Time for resting these weary bones.

. . .

After reading a post by a friend of mine, I’m thinking a lot about control.

And, how very little of it we have in our lives.

Infancy. Toddlerhood. Childhood. Adolescence.

Family. Society. School. Economics.

Then, at last: Adulthood.

Adulthood. Which, generally speaking, is the bulk of our time spent on this planet.

(pause)

(Cue another cycle of circumstances beyond our control.)

. . .

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Dear Reader:

All I can control are my own actions.

All I can control are my own actions.

All I can control are my own actions.

. . .

I want to be:

-Patient. Because wouldn’t I want someone to be patient with me? I’m a flawed human being, just like the rest of ‘em. Sometimes it takes awhile to learn, to get it right. And that’s okay. It’s okay.

-Kind. Again: Golden Rule. Life’s much better when you’re kind. We’re so much prettier when we smile. Plus, people always remember how we made them feel. And I want people to feel valued. I want people to feel loved: friends and strangers both.

-Curious. There is a ridiculous amount to learn in this world, in this universe! Why would I not ask questions? Because I’m afraid of looking stupid? Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue. I’m going to spend my days learning, and growing. The journey never ends.

-Authentic. I spent far too many years hiding pieces of me. People-pleasing. Dogma-abiding. Apologizing for being human. I. Am. Human. This body is finite. It’s amazing. It’s dirty, and requires a rather unfair amount of upkeep. But it’s mine. And, I hope to use it in ways to spread joy: both to myself, and others.

. . .

And there we have it.

Another snippet from your girl SnapDragon.

(smiles and waves, and grabs another handful of kettle-cooked goodness)

‘Til next time.

. . .

SnapDragon is a homebody who enjoys putting stamps on envelopes.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for all things whimsically-authentic.