The Breakup

Years ago I gave up watching local TV news in the morning before school. Often times there would be a story that would embed itself in me so deeply that I couldn’t shake it. This wasn’t the mindset with which I wanted to greet my students, so it had to go.

Next to go was the 11:00 news. When I got to a certain age I couldn’t stay up that late but no worries – they began broadcasting at 10:00 for those who wanted to get to sleep earlier. The problem was that after I watched the 10:00 broadcast I had trouble falling asleep.

That leaves the evening news that begins at 4:00 and ends at 7:30 depending on what channel you watch. Tonight, my daughter suggested it was time for me to break up with the news for good. My husband and I have gotten into the habit of watching together – usually from 5:00 – 6:30. I have no idea why because we just watch the same stories over and over.

The local news in Philadelphia has been filled with gun violence for the past several years. While I don’t live in the city anymore, it is my hometown. It makes me so sad to think that the place that gave me so many great memories growing up is now a place I am not so eager to visit anymore. It is also upsetting that I watch the news and am not surprised. I am afraid I am becoming hardened to it.

Then there was this past Saturday. A Temple University police officer was killed in the line of duty.

Police Officer Chris Fitzgerald was shot and killed while struggling with a suspect near 1700 W Montgomery Street in Philadelphia at about 7:30 pm.

Officer Fitzgerald was patrolling the area when he saw three masked individuals in dark clothing standing in an area where several robberies had recently occurred. As he exited his patrol car to speak to them all three fled on foot. He pursued one of the subjects and began to struggle with him in the 1700 block of W Montgomery Street. The man produced a handgun and shot Officer Fitzgerald multiple times.

Officer Down Memorial Page –

This man was 31 years old, a husband, and a father of four. He was active in the community in which he lived and worked. He was trying to make his corner of the world a better place, and now he is gone.

Tonight we watched as his distraught wife spoke through tears of how her worst nightmare came true. It was too much. It was too sad. It was too real.

While I may not be able to break up with the news forever, I think the news and I need to be on a break. I need to find a way to bring hope back into my view of the world – into my heart – into my soul.

Rest easy Officer Fitzgerald.

Do, Did, Done

Are you a list maker? I am. My “To-Do” list is constantly going through revision after revision and never seems to end. When things remain on the list for too long, feelings of inadequacy and disappointment start to seep in, and that is not how I want to end my day or week.

So in an effort to turn my days and evenings into something more positive, I am creating a “Have Done” list. I chose “done” instead of “finished” or “completed” because that would put too much pressure on me. I can feel satisfied and accomplished by validating the things I managed to “get done” in a day.

Here’s what was on my “Have Done” list for the past couple of days. No judgment, please!


  • balanced my checkbook
  • three loads of laundry
  • vacuumed
  • Watched my grandsons – had dinner together and played a variety of games


  • finished my lesson plans
  • returned a couple of emails
  • deleted over 2000 emails from my inbox (You won’t believe how many are still in there!)
  • ordered my granddaughter’s birthday present
  • packed my lunch for Monday
  • folded laundry


  • turned in my lesson plans
  • finished grading Opinion Writing introductory paragraphs
  • put away NJHS supplies

As you can see, some days were more productive than others, but that’s okay. Instead of having a negative feeling of not getting everything on my “To-Do” list crossed off, I can put my head on my pillow knowing that I couldn’t do everything, but I did do something, and that’s enough.