My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.


Sunrise, Sunset

July 21, 2014

Dear Readers,

It was back to school day for me and my new 7th graders, today. It went very well for me. However, having given my students the better part of my energy, I am quite spent. It feels good. I haven’t felt this blissfully exhausted in a very long time.

I must cut this short, dear Readers, so that I may get my rest. I leave you with some of Nature’s more beautiful moments. Enjoy!




Oh, the Places I Went!

December 31, 2013

Dear Readers,

2013 was a year of traveling for me.  It was the year that I called more than one place home.  In honor of such an accomplishment, I would like to end the year by showing you, dear Readers, the view from my front window at every place I called home.  Mixed in with my dialogue and pictures, is a poem by Dr. Seuss titled, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

 January 2013 Kingman, AZ
January 2013 Kingman, AZ
This was my front porch view in Kingman, Arizona at the beginning of 2013.  It had only been my view for 10 months.  By the end of January, I was off to new places.


Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi, UAE

This was my next view, high above the street in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  This was my home for approximately one month.  It was all so new and exciting.



You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!

You’ll join the high fliers

Who soar to great heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.

You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.

Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.”

Mirfa, Abu Dhabi
Mirfa, Abu Dhabi
Mirfa, Abu Dhabi
Mirfa, Abu Dhabi
Mirfa, Abu Dhabi
Mirfa, Abu Dhabi

My next home was in Mirfa, Abu Dhabi UAE.  The view from my balcony was serene and peaceful, the Persian Gulf outstretched before me.  I was able to see the sunrise over the water; one of my have to’s before I die.  Even now, as I write this, a calm feeling comes over me as I remember my days of solitude.

The Danat, Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi
The Danat, Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi

This was the view from my next place of residence.  Still, I have a view of the Persian Gulf, at a resort that is second to none.  It was sometime around late February, early March that I called this view home.

“I’m afraid that some times

you’ll play lonely games too.

Games you can’t win

’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!

Whether you like it or not,

Alone will be something

you’ll be quite a lot.”

Al Ruwais, The Western Region
Al Ruwais, The Western Region

Finally, by the end of March, I had my apartment in Al Ruwais.  This was the view from out of my front window.  This was my view as I cooked my meals and washed my dishes.

“On and on you will hike

and I know you’ll hike far

and face up to your problems

whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up of course,

as you already know.

You’ll get mixed up

with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step,

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life’s

a Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.

And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

Gayathi, The Western Region
Gayathi, The Western Region

By June, I was at one more apartment.  It was to be my final view of the United Arab Emirates.

“And will you succeed?

Yes!  You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


My now home.
My now home.

And now I’ve come full circle.  I am back in Arizona.  You may not notice, but it is not the exact same view as the one I left in January.  It is slightly different; I moved next door 😉


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

you’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So…get on your way!”

So how about that, dear Readers?  In the year 2013, I lived in no less than 7 different homes.  I had 7 different views from my front window.  I had 7 different opportunities to make a place my home.  And, I succeeded!  I look back at where I have been the past year and I am simply overwhelmed.  It was all so surreal.  Dear Readers, I am Blessed.  Happy New Year’s.  Peace, ~v.


Procrastinator, Thy Name is Victoria


December 23, 2013

Dear Readers,

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today,, and I to hang my head in shame.  Several months ago, the authors of this blog, John and Doug, nominated me for an award,  I did not respond.  I’m not going to make up any excuse as to why I never responded to the award, it was simply bad manners.  In the interim, I have been reading the blog, Doug Does Life, and trying not to feel guilty.  Well, the wait is over, I am officially feeling guilty and of course, ashamed and embarrassed.

Yes, I am a procrastinator.  I put things off and put things off and put things off until it is almost unbearable.  I do not know why.  I guess that’s one of the things I neglected to talk about during my hundreds of lifetime hours on my analyst’s couch.  I guess I’ll get around to it, someday.

What has prompted me to finally write about this award is the fact that the authors of Doug Does Life are moving on.  The authors will still blog, however, it will not be the same.  In their 70th blog post,, they discuss their new direction.  I will continue to follow these authors, as I rather enjoy reading their posts.

I do humbly apologize for not responding to this sooner, my fellow bloggers.  I hope it is better late than never.

Thank you Doug and John for the nomination! Although late, I do thank you for the nomination.  This is an honor for me.  Thank you.

Here are the rules as listed on the “The Versatile Blogger Award” blog:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award
  • Include a link to their blog
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself

My nominees:

Manchester Flick Chick, a blog with a mixture of style, cruelty-free beauty and lifestyle.  Anything without cruelty is my kind of blog!

The Wine Wankers, certainly with as many followers as they have, they probably have already received this award.  But, I enjoy reading this blog.

Father Says..., this is a very heartfelt blog.  It is touching, and full of, well, fatherly wisdom.

The Library and Rosie Bear, just a real life look at everyday things.  Enjoyable and refreshing.

Mostly True Ramblings, Conversations with the voices in my head.  Who wouldn’t love a blog by this name!

A Mom’s Blog, by a mom who has been around the world.  Interesting stories from a mom’s point of view, I can relate.

Recovery Ramblings Blog, because recovering from anything makes for excellent writing!

The Clock Tower Sunset, because it’s no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

The Word Zoo, there are no contests in the art of peace.

Oldest Daughter & Red Headed Sister

Finding Time to Write

Heron There & Everywhere, although this blog has won this award, I couldn’t help but nominate it!  I love this blog.

Suzie81’s Blog, and this blog I’m sure has won many awards, but this is one of my all-time favorites.  If I read nothing else all day, I read this blog.

Flying On Empty Thoughts, very creative.

Tex Arty Blogs, because we all need to see different sides of a subject.

And now, seven things about me that you may or may not have known:

1.  I can name every teacher I ever had from Kindergarten through 8th grade, and most of them from high school, as well.

2.  My favorite time of day is sunrise.

3.  My favorite age group to teach is 13 – 16.

4.  I never, ever wanted to travel.  Yet, I have been around the world and back.

5.  I have four children (living), and they all live in different parts of the world:  Florida, Arizona, Guam, and Kuwait.

6.  I easily forgive.

7.  I believe that mankind is essentially good.

Thank you for reading, dear Readers.  Here’s to many, many more hours writing!  Cheers!  Peace, ~v.

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View from my front porch.

View from my front porch.

December 18, 2013

Dear Readers,

Today is the day that I give thanks.  This is not a general, “Thank you.”  This is a very specific, very special, “Thank you.”  I write today’s post in honor of my sister and her husband, Mercedes and George Ripps.

Without too much backstory, Mercy and George picked me up when I was down.  They dusted me off, kicked me when I needed it, and set me off on the straight and narrow.  In the year and a half I have been under their care, I have become a new and improved me!  I am a more positive person; I see the glass as half full instead of half empty.  And let me tell you, dear Readers, that is quite a change.

George and Mercy at the Hoover Dam.

George and Mercy at the Hoover Dam.

Mercy and George have given me a place to call home, even if I can’t get it to fit just right, yet.  A place to call home is something I have needed for the past couple of years.  My last child left the nest in May of 2011 and I was floundering.  All it took was one phone call, and poof! I was enveloped into my sister’s family.  It is a safe place for me to be.  It is safe and comfortable and yes, home.  I know in time I will begin to feel like this is home and I’m less and less a visitor.  I know in my head this is home, it is just taking a bit longer for me to know it in my heart.  The cool thing is that Mercy and George already know in their hearts that I am home.

I am blessed to have the love of so many.  I am taking stock in my life and this is the one thing that keeps coming up:  I am loved.  I do not know what my future holds, dear Readers, who does?  But, if it is anything like my present, I am blessed beyond belief.  Peace, ~v.

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When It Rains, It Pours

December 16, 2013

Today’s post is going to be short but oh, so sweet!  It is with the utmost of humility that I can report that two more of my former students from the Middle East have contacted me.  What a blessing those few months in Ruwais were for me.  I am still reaping what I sowed there.  So, in honor of my time there, please enjoy the following pictures.  Peace, ~v.

My first day teaching.

My first day teaching.

My school, Amrah Bint.

My school, Amrah Bint.

Out on the town.

Out on the town.

On the beach in the Persian Gulf.

On the beach in the Persian Gulf.


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There’s No Place Like Home

Getting ready for Amrah Bint graduation, 2013  Taken at Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi

Getting ready for Amrah Bint graduation, 2013 Taken at Al Ruwais, Abu Dhabi

December 15, 2013

Dear Readers,

As soon as Dorothy clicked her heels, both her ruby slippers and what she exclaimed snuck up to the head of the line of what is pop culture (should I capitalize?).  Most people I know agree with Dorothy, there is no place like home.  But what happens if home is where the heart is?

Recently, I came back from teaching in the Middle East.  I know, most of you are bored and about over my stories.  However, the effect that I had on my students and that they had on me is still coming to fruition.  I loved my students, just as I have always loved all of my students.  However, this teaching job was more than just a job.   still haven’t quite figured out what it was.  However, I do know it was something special.  So, dear Readers, I write about it, a lot.

For those just joining us, a quick recap.  I taught at an all girls school in the Middle East from January of this year until June of this year.   Now, I’m home.  Yesterday, I was contacted by one of my former students.  Actually, I made first contact, and I do not know how it happened.

I belong to a great deal of the social media sites available on the internet.  I enjoy a steady stream of material to read and as a writer, I enjoy getting my “product” out there.  Two days ago, while scrolling through one of my sites, I ran across a name that looked familiar, but, for the life of me I couldn’t quite place it.  I knew it had to be one of my former Middle Eastern students.  The problem was (is?) that my students would never put pictures of their faces on the internet, so I wasn’t quite sure if I had the right face to the name in my mind.  That all changed yesterday afternoon.

As I was scrolling through my site, I came across some pictures that told a story, here is the story.  Faba (not her real name) was a native in the country I taught, and her pictures indicated that she was very proud of this.  During the summer  months, as she had graduated from high school in June, she had to take placement tests to go to a university.  I could tell she was currently at a university because I recognize the setting, the class schedule and the dorm rooms.  Some things are universal.  I then came across a comment from Faba that indicated that she had taken a test and needed a lot of help, and the memories came flooding back to me.

I do not know why that simple post brought on a flood of memories, however, it was incredible.  I could so picture who this was.  I remember my time teaching to her and her classmates.  I could picture just exactly where she sat in class (front row, last row to my left).  I remember how quiet she was in my class.  Now, she was making her way in the world as a first year university student.  I am so very proud of her.  And I have faith in her, so that is what I wrote to her, “I have faith in you.”

The next part of my post is directed at Faba, but you, dear Readers, may take a peek.


I remember both you and your classmates.  You all had such a profound effect on me.  I wish I could express to you just how much you all meant to me.  I don’t even understand it myself, but you are part of my life.  I have your class picture on my laptop and look at it frequently.  You are in the front row, right, and you have your hand up in what looks to me like you are trying to make a peace sign but someone snapped the picture too soon.

I wish you and your classmates all of the best that life has to offer.  I am most proud to have been your teacher, if even for a short time.  I love you all and I still have faith in you, and I always will.


Miss Victoria

Well, dear Readers, that’s the end of the story.  I hope to keep up with Faba’s life and I hope she will allow me to.  There is no place like home and home is where the heart is.  I’m just not sure where either one is for me anymore.  Peace, ~v.


It’s an Honor Just to Be Nominated

October 31, 2013

Dear Readers,

I was nominated for a blog award back on September 16. However, I have yet to post it. I could go into explanations as to why, but I think I will just publicly thank and humbly apologize to Amy at My Top Fives…  , a way cool chick who nominated me for my very first blog award.  Thank you, Amy.  Check out her blog, My Top Fives… and you can check out other bloggers she nominated, here:

Thank you.

Thank you.


One reason I began following Amy’s blog is because she’s never met an ellipsis she didn’t like…I like a girl who knows her way around a punctuation mark.  I also like the way she looks at everyday and not so everyday things.

Now, for this award, I need to follow these rules…

-Nominees must link back the person who nominated them.

-Answer the 10 questions which are given to them by the nominator.

-Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.

-Create 10 questions for their nominees to answer.

-Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Here are the answers to my questions from Amy:

  1. How did you come up with the name for your blog?  I wrote a blog while teaching in the Middle East entitled, My Journey, Thoughts From A Broad.  Unfortunately, I had to shut down all traces of my blog when I came back to the States.  Once back on  American soil, I began writing another blog.  I was a little upset at having to create a whole new blog, and I blurted out, “I should call this one My Fucking Journey.  It dawned on me that had I submitted that title to an editor, s/he would have redacted the ‘F’ word.  Thus, My [redacted] Journey.   
  2. What prompted you to start a blog?  Going to teach in the Middle East was the impetus for my blog.  I wanted to keep in touch with family and friends.  Additionally, I knew I would have some hella stories to tell…and I did/do.
  3. What are five of your favourite things?  Easy.  Jessica, Joseph, Stephan, Ana, Emily.
  4. Who do you most admire?  Certified Public School Teachers Grades K-12.  With a special shout out to BATs.
  5. What’s your favourite comfort food?  Anything carby, starchy,
  6. Are you superstitious?  In a , ‘Step on a crack, break your mother’s back,’ kind of way?  Nope.  Or, in a ‘belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck,’ kind of way?  Nope to that one as well.  lol
  7. What was your dream job when you were little?  Teacher, baby!  All day everyday.
  8. When’s your birthday and what’s your favourite way to celebrate it?  My birthday is September 27.  No favorite way to celebrate it.
  9. Where is the best place you’ve travelled to?  Guam, definitely Guam.
  10. What have you done today?  Today, I taught my 8th grade students persuasive writing techniques and loved almost every minute of it.

One last thing, dear Readers, the Liebster award was created, in part, to help the blogging community discover new blogs.  So please, enjoy; here are my nominations:

~ barrywax  Short Stories by Barry Wax

~ Doug Does Life  A Creative Monkey teaches how to find your Path In Life.

~ 30 Dream Days  Transform your life in 30 days by giving yourself permission to dream…vividly.

~ The Library Lady and Rosie Bear

~ Hannah Baker  Enjoy my journey through my English class with me!

~ Discourse Disruption  Intersectional & Decolonial Analysis Dedicated to Disrupting Discourses of Domination

~ *Recovery Ramblings Blog of – Author Catherine Lyon* *We Can Recover One Book, One Page, & One Day At A Time*

~ Confessions of a Womanist

Yes, there are only eight, sorry.

Ok new nominees, here are your questions from me:

1.  Why do you blog?

2.  What inspires you to write?

3.  What is your favorite day of the week and why?

4.  What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

5.  What kind of music do you like to listen to?

6.  Are you funny?  If yes, please give examples 🙂

7.  Boxers or briefs?

8.  How would you like to be remembered?

9.  Wisdom or youth?

10.  If you could have a conversation with a teacher from your past, who would it be and what would you say?

Well, dear Readers, that’s it.  I hope you have enjoyed my [redacted] journey.  I look forward to many more posts to come.