Friday, December 30, 2011

A Few Good Lashes...Left

Let's face it. We all do dumb things in the name of beauty. But recently I was party to one of the dumbest. After much prompting and prodding from friends, I have decided that I am finally removed enough from The Event that I can finally attempt to share it with Everyone in the World. However, I do not feel up to the task of making it humorous, so I will channel my inner Kevin Bacon (who only played one of my favorite versions of a lawyer in one of my favorite movie adaptations of "A Few Good Men") and present the facts of the case to a jury of my peers. After all, I wouldn't want to unfairly represent the defendants in this case. Even though I truly believe them to be incompetent whores.

But, really, who am I to judge? After all, the proof is just AS CLEAR AS THE NOSE ON MY FACE!

The facts of the case are these:

At 1:00 p.m., I walked into a certain establishment off Voss Road (let's call it Less Than Amazing Lash Studio, or LTALS for the sake if brevity) for what I was certain would be Amazing Lashes. I was ushered into a dimly lit, deceptively tranquil room the size of my right shoe which was presided over by the defendant, a seemingly vacant woman named Allison. Little did I know she was the evil mastermind of my impending destruction.

These are the facts of the case and they are undisputed.

Fact: Did you know that eyelash extensions take about two hours to glue on, painstakingly, one by one. Seems like a long time to just lay there like a bat in what feels like a sensory deprivation tank with paper jammed in your tear ducts. Well, it took Allison three and a half hours. Let the waterboarding begin. But I overdramatize. Let's focus on more evidence, shall we?

Not only did this crime span nearly 4 tortuous hours, but the evil dictator of LTALS came in while I laid defenseless on the table, discussing the details of the crime in front of me, leaving me behind not entirely unscathed to tell the tale.

Please review the following conversations as exhibits a, b, and c:

EXHIBIT A:
Dictator: What are you doing here? Why don't you make glue clean? You need to do it like this (Tugs on my face). This doesn't look clean. See, do like this. (Leaves room, and me feeling less than certain about what is happening to my face.)
Allison: I hate it when she does this.
Me: I don't think I like it either.
Allison: This is looking so gorgeous.
Me: (sighing in relief)

EXHIBIT B:
Dictator: (returns) Why are you using so many?
Allison: This is a full set.
Dictator: you should only use one every 2 or three. You need to use 65, not 150. (Leaves)
Me: (quietly panicking)

EXHIBIT C: (on left eye--finally.)
Dictator: Hmmm...why are you doing this?
Allison: I am doing what you told me.
Dictator: Are you using a 13 or a 14?
Allison: a 14.
Dictator: 13?
Allison: a 14.
Dictator: which one?
Allison: you're confusing me.
Me: (silently) OH, SHIT.

These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

Furthermore, when I left the crime scene, my right eye looked like a tarantula was sitting on top of it, and looked thicker and longer than the left. Black glue was left stuck in my hair, and I was left crying the ugly cry without a refund.

Do you think I was unsatisfied?

Do you? DO YOU??

(channeling Jack Nicholson's angriest voice)

YOU'RE G*DDAMNED RIGHT I WAS!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Okay, It's Been a While...

I wish I had some great excuse, but it's pretty much everybody's excuse--life gets in the way sometimes. Of course, when you're truly a blogger, life getting in the way is exactly what you need and want--it's merely more fodder for the self-deprecating humor I know my readers will love. It's just the making time part.

I've stumbled across some hard truths since I last updated. Apparently I'm not all that and a bag of chips. Evidently, I have some acid-tongued lurkers out there on the net. Not all of my readers are using their powers for good. Oh noooo. Some of them are are pretty hard hitters.

About three weeks ago I received a comment on my meatloaf posting. You know the one--I took a pathetic photo of my meatloaf with my pitiful Canon Powershot (hint, hint, Joe), and touted myself as a domestic goddess. Which, by the way, I totally am. Craptastic camera notwithstanding. I received the terribly honest comment that follows:

"Thank God you described that dish because it looks like something I wouldn't feed the cat... Then you said 'bacon...' "

Ouch.

I'll admit my confidence was shaken. I didn't quite know how to react except to rail against the injustice of not being loved by all. As always, though, I then found myself coming to the defense of my meatloaf. After all, just because someone wants to drink the Haterade, it doesn't have to ruin my dinner (in fact, nothing generally gets in the way of us enjoying dinner--we are people who like to eat). So I considered meatloaf's plight. It's not easy being unattractive on the outside, yet deliciously seasoned and substantial on in inside. I thought about it a good long while, and I came to the following conclusions:

1) Maybe my meatloaf isn't all that photogenic. I mean, it happens. Sometimes things just look better in person.
2) Maybe it was having a bad day....though, as I remember it, it was delicious!
3) Maybe you all just didn't get to see it's best side...I mean, I waxed poetic over the bacon and chili sauce, but sometimes you just have to be there to appreciate it.
4) Maybe beauty is just in the eye of the beholder. I'm a proud mama that way, sometimes. I made it. And I loved it. I'm sure you can understand my tendency to tout the wonders of my creation.

But as I muse over all of this, it really comes down to the camera (Are you pickin' up what I'm throwin' down, Joe? I mean, birthday and Christmas are right around the corner....). And even though someone (who is regrettably not my biggest fan) thought my meatloaf looked like cat food (and not even good cat food at that), I have to say that in this household we believe it is so scrumptious we can only wish the camera added ten pounds....because then there would be more of it to love!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Metaphor

For many years, I've had this metaphor swimming around in my head. As far back as college I can recall bouncing the idea off of friends, and even examining them as shining examples of said metaphor. However, the other day at work, as I was expounding upon it to one of my colleagues, I finally felt validated in it enough to put it down on paper. Er...in cyberspace?

So here it is: Women date/search for a mate like they shop. The minute I said this, my coworker said, "Oh, you are so right! I'm gonna steal that." Well, consider this my copyrighted idea. :)

So back to it. Women look for men in the same way they shop. I have met so many women who this can be accurately applied to, and I challenge my female friends to examine their own habits and see if they concur with my assertion.

When I was in college, I knew too many girls who loved shopping while I loathed it. They would drag me from store to store, modelling various outfits, trying on anything and everything indiscriminately. After all, how do you know something doesn't work for you if you don't even try it on? But the hunt for that perfect fit was such a varied venture.

I had one friend who would try on something at every store, stowing each item behind the counter with the clerk, promising to come back for it by the next day. She would then determine the best deal and get one item she wanted on her way out of the mall. She definitely kept her options open.

I knew another girl who was a complete impulse buyer--she'd drop a hundred bucks on a pair of shoes and cry "Buyer's Remorse" as she was wearing them out of the store.

Then there's the friend who wore the same old boring pair of khakis to every event, refusing to invest her time or money on anything else because they were "so comfortable." If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

And me. I tend to shop alone. I have never been the type of person who liked looking randomly through stores, searching high and low for the best deal. If I know I want a specific pair of jeans, I will find out the store they are in and I'll drive over and get them. Sale or no sale. I don't cruise by other stores, I don't window shop. I make a beeline for the pair of jeans I want. This most likely explains why I went on EHarmony to snag my husband. The downside to shopping at EHarmony? It took three years to find the perfect fit. Internet dating misled me.

You see, I went from shopping at my favorite store to shopping online. And that falls in line with my theory exactly. After all, who hasn't ordered something that looked super cute online, only to find that in reality it's too small, too large, or crawling up your butt in the worst way? And the sorriest part is, you've exposed all of your information to the net in one fell swoop. Double whammy.

Not to mislead anyone. I eventually ended up with the perfect fit. It just took three years of shopping around. Which was a huge departure from my usual methods, but nevertheless worked out. Joe is like that. Comfortable, fun, and he makes my ass look good. What more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Day in the Life...

Well, I'm back to school. No kids until next week, praise Bejeezuz, because I'm always a tad...um, I'll call it special as I get adjusted to the rigor of having a day job. I know, cue the violin, right? I have already managed to inadvertently flash my crack at coworkers, break a heel, and get caught by my principal doing a crossword puzzle when I should have been listening. But I could argue that odd things are bound to occur when you put over a hundred teachers in a petri dish, keeping them tied up for hours when all they can think about is how much they need that time to prepare. It's like a dangerous science experiment; eventually someone is gonna blow. Many of my friends are teachers themselves, but for those of you who are not, allow me to give you a glimpse into the life of a teacher before the children return.

Please pretend you are sitting in a room with a bunch of adults who do not want to be there. Now add a powerpoint. And a person droning on monotonously about things like "curriculum" and "bullying" and "assessments." The person next to you is snapping gum. The person in front of you is rolling her eyes in disgust. The person down the table is talking so loudly that you couldn't possibly ignore them even if you wanted to. Everyone is texting. You won't be told which handouts you will need to keep safe until you are randomly asked to produce them months later during some other inane (and seemingly unrelated) meeting. And you realize that could happen only after you doodle "This sucks" with little flowers all around it. You've asked your friends at your table "What do they want us to do?" only about twenty times because you don't listen to directions. You think your group might turn on you.

Wait a sec. You are the worst student ever.

Ever since I started working in this profession, I have heard that teachers are the worst students. And it's true. We defend our hypocrisy with the excuse that we are adults, but we can't seem to focus or act maturely, just like the kids we teach. And even though I know this to be true, I will still embark on the next week with the attitude that my students should pay attention and act respectfully. Sometimes I have to shake my head.

I don't mean to be this way, and I have to believe the kids might be a little more mature than we are. Ironic? Yes, I like to think so. While I firmly believe we are justified in our actions, I can't help but think rather ruefully that karma's a bitch. Let's just hope not too much of one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm up...Now what?

Okay. I'm up. I don't know what's up with my internal clock, but lately I've been waking up almost every night at some point between 1 and 4 a.m., and it's a) quite frustrating and b) still frustrating. Especially since last night I drank enough wine to put a horse down.


Don't judge me.

Every time I have one of these mid-night crisises (er...crises?), I inevitably attempt to sneak into our bathroom without bothering Joe. And without fail I always see the irridescent glow of the clock splashing across the room as he checks what time I'm getting up. It's as if he's saying, "Really, Reagan? I was sleeping, and then you got up."

Don't judge me, Joe.

I notice this unfolding because I always seem to believe I can sneak into our bathroom and furtively pee in the dark (without disturbing him, mind you) with the door open. Which some people seem to have problems with, but I clearly don't have boundaries when it comes to privacy so please don't judge me because it's really dark in there!

So, since I'm up, I figured I'd put what I made for dinner on display. As an old married lady (how long is a person technically a newlywed?), I pride myself on putting dinner on the table. Last night was meatloaf night. I love meatloaf night.


Forgive the picture quality. I'm lobbying for something more impressive than my Canon Powershot, but this is it for now.

I don't know if you can tell, but that's bacon carmelizing under a layer of brown-sugar and mustard-laced chili sauce, and it's mmm-mmm good! It was so pretty, I decided to take a picture, even though the loaf pan is pretty much a disaster. I am clearly becoming a domestic goddess. That is, if one can be a domestic goddess through cooking alone. Because I don't do the other stuff, like clean bathtubs or toilets. Or scrub floors. Or tend children (which technically isn't my fault because there are no little cuckoos in this nest yet).

Did I mention there's bacon on top? I'm clearly still in a sodium-induced stupor. I can sense a little judgement coming from the weight watchers out there...or is it envy?




















Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pssst! Hey...Follow me...

*cue seductive, irresistible whisper*

I think you should "Follow Me" if you are reading this. You know who you are...you lurkers, you silent supporters, you hangers-by. You, over there, waiting in the wings. Make your love known. Do it. You know you want to.

I need some love. And no, Joe, not that kind. The kind that reflects to the world that I actually have more than 24 people (12 of which are related to me in some manner) who read my blog. I long to be a "Blog of Note." I have grandiose dreams of becoming a blogger who gets noticed. I'm totally open to a movie deal, if anyone out there has any real power. Or (dare I dream?!) a book deal. I'll take one of those, too.

I'm just sayin'.

So, for those of you who need some help, here is my first act of teaching for this school year:

1) Go to the right side of the page.
2) Click on the button above my "Followers" that reads "Follow This Site".
3) Enter your email--no one will spam you, just do it!
4) Prove you are not a spam bot by re-entering the squiggly hard-to-read letters that make no discernible sense.
5) Thank you.

Did I mention I would love you to follow me?


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Today is my last official day I have off before I start various staff developments and then, inevitably, the school year. I'm not pleading for pity, people. I'm merely stating that I feel ready to pursue a life of leisure. You know, wake up around 9, read a novel until 11, bathe and start the day kind of leisure. I mean, what does a girl have to do?

In all honesty, I am totally aware that during the summer I come about as close to that as some people will ever get. And I'm really not complaining. However, any educator worth his or her salt can tell you how physically and mentally depleting a school year can get, and this last one (for me) was definitely a doozy. By the end of last year, if I dared to squint across the hot, rippling horizon of summer to the bank of this new school year, I literally shuddered. Sometimes a school year can be likened to the Looping Starship at Astroworld--a veritable bastion of steel that is capable of bringing exquisite pleasure and great pain. In my case, every time I strapped on the safety belt and pulled down the shoulder guard, my stomach would flutter as my anticipation of awesomeness would begin to build. Until the second loop. Inevitably, I would end up hurling violently into a trash bin as soon as I exited the ride.

In regards to last year--amidst the Reduction in Force, the shuffling, the class loads of 36 (or higher in some cases), the lack of resources combined with the general expectation of perfection (placed on teachers, but never students!), and the general apathy that teenagers generate amongst themselves--well, let's just say I didn't feel that I'd escaped that rollercoaster ride completely unscathed. And that is why we need this time to recharge and recuperate. It keeps us sane. So even though this year was tough, I'm oddly looking forward to a new start--a luxury I have every year.

You see, even though I knew that there was a likely chance if I got back on the Looping Starship that I would puke again, I never wised up. I crossed the threshold without trepidation. I jumped on, and I prayed it wouldn't make me want to die. And that's what I'm going to do now, metaphorically speaking. Except I think my odds for a more positive experience are actually greater.

And to my colleagues who feel my pain: Enjoy the ride.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Testing...Testing...

I did a bad thing.

Okay, first let me back up a bit before I explain my transgression. I have been focussing on what I call "little irritants" lately. That is, things that people do that are irritating, but so little in the grand scheme of things that I won't typically mention them because it isn't worth the argument or, even worse, them deciding they don't like me for picking. But those things happen, and they happen to irritate me. Thanks to a wonderful thing called "marriage," poor Joe unwittingly bears the brunt of this silent habit of mine. Often something happens (something utterly miniscule), and I am forced to wonder if this is a diabolical plan on his part to see what I will do, or if he is inadvertently overlooking something minor. In other words, am I being tested, or is Joe just testing my patience?

Exhibit A: Sometimes the toilet paper will run out, and instead of a new roll magically appearing where it belongs, I will sit down to find it balancing on top of the empty one. Does Joe do this to see how long it will take before I decide to fix it? If that was his silent challenge, the answer is twice. I will, apparently, wait for a second new roll to present itself before I will break down and do it myself.

Exhibit B: I'm a wash as I go person when it comes to dishes. I hate dirty, murky-watered dishes sitting in the basin of our kitchen sink. How hard is it to rinse it, and place it in the dishwasher right after eating? And how, in the name of all things holy, can anyone stand a stack of dishes with milky-looking water stagnating in them?! In Joe's defense, he never leaves them overnight, but I just don't get it. Half the time I end up just doing it myself. Which, I guess, is payment for my coffee being made for me every night by my own barrista, Java Joe. He does make the best coffee...and, okay...I haven't exactly kept this particular complaint to myself.

Exhibit C: At our house, whomever finds the cat puke on the stairs cleans it up. Let's just say that sometimes I strongly suspect someone will find puke and purposely leave it for me to deal with. I know, I know. It's hard to believe, right? Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I threw up on the stairs...I mean, would Joe, Shakes, and Isabel all hop over it until it was so petrified they could just pick it up?

And really, I jest. These things are not deal breakers. Joe has overlooked my underwear on the floor, my hair rat that clogs up the sink, and the fact that I have taken over his recliner every night ever since I moved in (it's cooler than the couch!). And I love him. Did I mention that?

But this morning something bad happened. Worse than any of the aforementioned evidence presented, and I have to admit it was due to gross negligence on my part. As I was getting ready, I reached for my wedding ring, and my diamond earring kamikazee'd into my sink. It literally caught air, arced, and aimed itself straight at the drain. I immediately tried to take out the plug, but my previously mentioned hair rat was keeping it firmly in place. It was tragic. I immediately ran to Joe, who spent the next hour tearing the pipes apart, sweating his butt off, slaying the hair rat, missing his work out, and reassuring me that, no, there was no way I could help. In the end, we heard the satisfying plink of my earring as he retrieved it.

The point? Well, after mentally nit-picking poor Joe for the last few weeks, I'm the one who did the most negligent, dumbest thing of all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summah Summah Summah Time....

"So what do you do all summer long?"

This is my most frequently asked question of late. One of the most touted perks of being a teacher is the vacation time. And I'm with ya, people! The time off is great. Even with the scary things happening in the field of education these days, it's one of the few bits of awesomeness related to my job that I'm still tenuously holding on to. That, and the molding young minds thing. I guess I'll file that under the "rewarding" category of my job as well.

After one of my most trying school years, this summer was long awaited (and needed) indeed. And embarrassingly enough, when people ask me what I'm doing with all my time, sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to tell them. Being on summer break is like Odysseus's foray into the Land of the Lotus Eaters. But instead of getting lost in an opiate-induced haze, I'm lost in the void of E! Television's top 50 countdowns, episodes of Hoarders, trashy novels, crossword puzzles, and the pool.

And (sniff) I'm sorry to say it's halfway over. Say it ain't so! I realize it's hard for non-teachers to feel at all badly for me, but it makes me feel a little sad. As usual, I haven't really accomplished as much as I wanted to, but I have learned some lessons this summer that I am willing to impart to people who have jobs to go to every day of the year (sounds depressing when I put it that way, doesn't it?).

#1 Even if you think you only need 7 hours of sleep, it is very easy to allow yourself to take 9. Usually I get irritated with myself that I've allowed myself to waste precious hours of awake time, but who am I kidding? I have nowhere to go most of the time. The recliner can wait.

#2 When you have this much time away from work, it is the optimum time to take a new hairdo out for a spin. I said goodbye to at least 9 inches of hair, and figuring out how to make it not look poodle-esque was a much calmer experience since I didn't have the added stress of 100's of smart-alecky teenagers telling me what a mess it looked like. You might think they don't care, but trust me, if they feel comfrtable enough to remark on my pedicure (or lack thereof), I know they could be capable of true evil.

#3 Facebook is not your friend. I have time on my hands, ergo I surf. And surf. And surf. I nose around in people's pictures, read statuses, check out links to crap I couldn't care less about, and "Like" everything. I miss my "in real life" friends, but really I just miss real entertainment. Real entertainment costs money, and I'm still on a budget despite all my spare time. It's a catch-22. And I do get to see my friends, but they're not really rolling on Reagan Time.

#4 Hoarders is the strangest, most disturbing show a person can ever watch. It's a train wreck, complete with people afraid to throw away dog hair, dolls, and 10-year-old bills. And it never fails to make me feel like the most organized, tidiest person out there.

#5 Venti coffees from Starbuck's are just too much damn coffee.

#6 Trashy novels are easier to read at the pool than classics. The sun seems to render my brain incapable of difficult reading. And I furrow my brow more, which we know ages a person. And I'm all about looking younger.

#7 Exercising doesn't have to feel like a chore. In the course of my directionless days, it's actually kind of an outing.

#8 With enough Googling, one can finish a crossword of any difficulty. And, no, I refuse to believe that's cheating. It's learning. It's looking up stuff (ahem, researching even). It's not like I'm plagiarizing a thesis. Sheesh!

#9 I can live without bread. Joe and I have gone "primal," and are eschewing all grains. I'm less bloated, don't eat between meals, and I'm actually never hungry. But you have dig meat! It's a meatstravaganza!

#10 I can wear the same outfit for three days in a row if I want to. Four if I don't go outside at all. Let's face it, no one sees me every day. I'm getting serious mileage out of my new pair of denim shorts. And don't judge. I'm lucky if I'm getting dressed at all most days.

So, people, that's what I'm doing with my summer. That's just how I roll.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tossin' and Turnin' All Night

Face. It's all I'm confronted with when I make my frustrated flip over. And over. And over. My nightie is twisted up around my legs, my underwear is bothering for whatever inexplicable reason, and my back is screaming at me that this isn't working! And now, as I straighten myself out and flip over toward the middle, I knock my nose into Joe's fist (why is it laying up there like that?) and realize my face is a hair away from his.

I feel crazed. I don't ever have a problem sleeping, which Joe usually begrudges me, but lately I've been up at 1 and 2 a.m. And, pardon the pun, but I'm getting so tired of it! At around 3:45 a.m., I gave in and went downstairs only to be confronted with our cat, Shakes, digging around under the table. I looked behind me and realized it was a huge wood roach that he was torturing to death. I have an irrational fear of wood roaches. It's the long attenae, the wings, the utter nastiness.

Could the night get any worse?! The answer is yes.

Shakes slayed the roach (which I decided to leave for Joe to pick up in the morning), and he decided to come join me on the recliner. I always get love from him when Joe isn't looking; he's really Joe's baby. He then proceeded to rub his wet little roachy lips all over me in his quest for comfort! I decided I needed to go back upstairs.

I settled in, tried to breathe and relax, flipped over, and there it was again. FACE.

What a craptastic night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clearing the Cobwebs

Well, friends, summer has begun. After weeks and weeks of "hanging in there," I am happy to report that summer has started. Actually, it started two and a half weeks ago, but I clearly couldn't be bothered to write about it as I basked in the relief of it. I'm already tanner, fitter, and happier.

Early on I dubbed this the "Summer of Reagan." Tired of going cuckoo, I decided I would make myself healthier, inside and out. I promised myself I would get my eating under control (By the the of the school year I had honed the uncanny skill of sniffing out sugar like a bloodhound. No cupcake, brownie, or pastry was safe in my presence.). I vowed to work out. I promised I would write. I promised I would open myself up to new opportunities.

Well, Opportunity hasn't exactly come knocking in the ways I had hoped, but I have utilized my time for good (working out and eating right) instead of evil (inhaling copious amounts of icing). I'm actually making progress, and that feels great even if I don't have that feeling of productivity I get during the school year. I love the languid feel of summer, but sometimes it makes me feel like I'm forgetting something I'm supposed to be doing.

And I have been forgetting something. To write it all down. My brain has been lazy, tricking me into believing I have nothing to blog or write about. Out of practice and out of work, my brain went for a sabbatical as well. It feasted on reality television and trashy novels (my brain's version of pizza and beer). And so, reluctantly, it is straining to make it through this first entry after so long away. Trust me, those wheels up there need some greasin'!

But my keyboard and yoga mat are not the only things I'm blowing the dust off of this summer. In an attempt to clean up our acts, Joe and I will be tackling our spare room's closet. Most people do not know about the dreaded closet. It is truly, literally, our dirtiest little secret. Joe rolls his eyes at me when I mention how gross it is, but there's just no denying it. It's not because we're messy people (our house is usually pretty organized); it's because when I moved in, that's where all the superfluous stuff was placed...err...tossed. You know your "junk drawer" in the kitchen that you have to rummage through to find the scissors that you use to cut the dingleberries off the cat? (What, you don't have that problem?!) Well, picture that drawer in closet form. That's what I'm talkin' about. And as grossed out as we get by the state of the closet, we haven't been able to bring ourselves to tackle it. (I have images of getting lost in an avalanche of precariously perched boxes of teaching crap, Joe just feels there are more pressing things to tackle, and honestly it's just really hot up there.)

However, Joe is on vacation (or as he calls it, "stay-cation") next week, and he informed me that we will be organizing the closet together. Can our relationship handle this Everest of closets? Most likely. Will it be an exercise in self control and patience? Definitely. Knowing how whiny I can get when confronted with unsavory tasks such as this, Joe could use all the luck you can wish him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bittersweet

Lent.

The word used to connote many an image of lost, barely beloved items that I had actually "lent" to people. Where are my earrings that went with that outfit? Oh, I lent it to someone. Where is my Veronica Mars dvd collection? Oh, I lent that to someone, too (ahem, Monica).

But since being married? Lent is a religious event. And we take it seriously around these parts. Well, I try to. You see, I vaguely remember attempting to give up things for Lent in my youth. The funny thing is, once I got married my husband had to remind me how long Lent actually lasts. My version of Lent usually wrapped up within a week. Did you guys know it actually last 40 days? 40 looooong days....

So last year I gave up Diet Coke. It wasn't easy, and my caffeine headache lasted almost as long as the entire event. Joe gave up booze. No easy feat for Mr. Thursday Night Scotch Man (like clockwork, I tell you). He called me from a friends' bachelor party sounding like someone had pooped on his parade. He was being bullied. The peer pressure was too much. And I, like the Devil on his shoulder, supported his decision to succumb to that pressure saying with a shrug, "Hey, you made it almost the whole way. Good job. Enjoy your night."

And he did. So much so, in fact, that he crawled in from his trip at 10:00 the next morning looking like roadkill and slept it off until 4:00 pm.

Let's just say we both learned from his mistake last year. We decided this year to give up chocolate. My feeling on this one was that it wouldn't hurt my weight loss efforts to cut chocolate out entirely for a while, and that if I get desperate there are many options out there for my sweet tooth without dipping into the chocolatey ones. I almost immediately started looking for loop holes in the plan.

What about tootsie rolls? Are they considered chocolate? I love those little midges. Joe said they were indeed chocolate. What about white chocolate? Joe raised an eyebrow at me. Okay, it's chocolate. What about...? My head began to hang lower and lower as Joe became more and more amused.

Perhaps it's in my nature to try to wiggle around the rules. All I know is that I've been fantasizing about pulling my car through the drive thru for a Frosty almost every day on the way home from work since this all began. We've exhausted our non-chocolatey Girl Scout cookies, and I'm beginning to have withdrawals. Yesterday, I went to a meeting after school, saw that there were cookies, and focused so hard on not eating the chocolate chip ones that I actually grabbed two macadamia nut cookies and wolfed them down before I even realized that white chocolate was the heavenly thing I was tasting.

"I sinned. God help me, I sinned!" (Name that play.)

So I cheated at Lent. And it was bittersweet, because let's face it. If I had purposefully cheated, I would have had a real chocolate chip cookie. Or a Frosty. Or some Dove Promises.

Not that I've been thinking about it much at all. Really.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Cuckoo's Nest: Getting Older...but when do I get wiser?

The Cuckoo's Nest: Getting Older...but when do I get wiser?: "The clock is ticking.... Picture it. It's Friday night. Joe and I have been cozying in, cooking dinner with my dad and watching hours up..."

Getting Older...but when do I get wiser?

The clock is ticking....

Picture it. It's Friday night. Joe and I have been cozying in, cooking dinner with my dad and watching hours upon hours of "Dexter" with countless glasses of Scotch and wine in our hands, respectively. Not a bad evening, eh? Dad starts nodding off in the recliner, the fire has died down to glowing embers, and the evening is wrapping up.

Thankfully Joe has not overimbibed, because I can feel the beast within, roaring for Whataburger breakfast tacos. It is very rarely--precisely two times a year--that Joe and I indulge in late-night, drunken fast food gluttony, and I can feel the urge coming on. I have consumed nearly a bottle of wine, and as soon as my father leaves our home, I turn towards my husband.

"You know what time it is," I slur through wine-purpled lips, swaying in what I perceive to be a sexy manner.

"Um, bed time?" Joe says with raised eyebrows.

"No, stooooopid, Taco time!" I chortle sloppily, expecting a round of applause for coming up with such an amazing plan.

"Uh, really?" Joe does not look excited, but because this is a biannual event, we put on our shoes and coats over our pjs and drive around the corner to Whataburger. I was so excited.

We pull up to the drive-through and yell to the speaker box that we want four sausage egg and cheese tacos, pronto! Only to hear the lady on the other end laugh, "Aw now, y'all know it's too early for late night breakfast! We don't even serve until 11 p.m."

Hold the phone. It's not 2 a.m.? I squint through my wine goggles at the clock. 10:15. Damn. We have surely gotten old if I was feeling two-o'clock-drunk at 10 p.m.

I mean, the signs have been here. Between my gimpy arthritis-riddled finger, the general aches and pains of moving in the morning, and the fact that I've pulled three snow-white hairs out just this week are telling enough signs. Poor Joe ended up at a doctor's office last week, convinced his ankle was fractured in some sneaky way only to find out he has chronic tendonitis.

Don't "chronic" problems only happen to old people and hypochondriacs? Apparently not. Now it's us. Those commercials featuring older people walking pain-free up hills with their dogs, and woman clutching their chests and wincing with heartburn are apparently targeted towards us.

It feels surreal.

And, yet, the time had to come sooner or later. I just thought we'd be grandparents by the time these things happened. Or at least parents.

And then I had to think about it. We've been running on a slower schedule than many--we married at a later age than some, we've held off on having children in favor of gaining more financial security. Maybe it's not just about getting older--maybe for us, it's just been about growing up. Along with our aches and pains, our waiting and longing for life's joys and mysteries, we've gained some solid footing we wouldn't have had at 25. At least, I know I wasn't ready for a lot of things ten years ago that I truly thought I was.

I waited a long time to find someone to grow old with, and I really lucked out with Joe. Trust me, I could write a book about what's out there in the dating world--and it ain't pretty.

A close friend of mine who is swimming out there in that pool told me very recently, "I want someone who is already fully formed. I don't want to have to wait for them to grow up--I want him to know who he is before I meet him." The cool thing about finding someone after 30 is that that is exactly what you get. Waiting for someone to grow up enough to be in a relationship is such a pain in the neck. The flipside? We now literally deal with each other's pains in the necks. And backs. Oh, and ankles. And fingers.

And we love each other all the more for it. Every day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Warrior Within

So my resolve to write at least three times a week has been...ahem...a little on the anemic side. That is, unless you count writing notes on peoples' papers that read along the general lines of "once more, with feeling...." Sadly, I am suffering from the same writing issues as the kids I teach; I am woefully tired of working on anything. And yet I shall muster up the strength to go on....

*cue the Rocky theme song*

But I am not here to write about the grammatical horrors I face on a daily basis. Oh no! I'm not here to tell you about the time I fended off over fifty comma splices and various misuses of the word "their", "there", and "they're" armed with just a purple-inked pen (I say "purple-inked" because in today's society, apparently grading with the red pen and proverbially "bleeding" all over papers is said to give our dear children anxiety--*eye roll*)!

I am here to tell you about the Warrior Dash. Yes, friends, I have been conned into participating in a Warrior Dash up in Conroe, Texas in March, and after allowing myself to get pep-talked into it by my friends and husband, I will be suiting up in my nastiest clothes I can possibly dredge out of the closet and ruining a pair of Nikes all in an insane attempt to be deemed fit to be called a "warrior."

Allow me to explain how stupid I am.

I have agreed to run a 3 mile obstacle course which is so challenging that almost every part is named after the devil, hell, or some cutesy reference to Texas. First, I will run through the "Texas Tornado". Sounds adorable, doesn't it? Next up? "Knee High Hell". Oh fabulous.

Get a load of these names: Hay Fever, Rio Run, Sand Trap, Hell's Hill, Satan's Slope, Cargo Climb, Muddy Mayhem, Deadweight Drifter, and my personal favorite--the "Warrior Roast", where we run (do NOT walk!) through fire. I'm particularly nervous about the fire part, having lived through a traumatic dormitory experience involving a candle and a hunk of my hair. I will forever remember the smell of my own singed eyebrows.

Nevertheless, I have agreed to try to prove myself worthy. The lure? Not the approval of my friends, as one might think. Though I am a prime candidate for peer pressure based on an inherent need to be included in almost everything. Not even for bragging rights--even though I will most definitely brag a bit if I can finish this thing. No no no.

I'm in for the fuzzy warrior helmet.

So come March, be looking for the picture of me in this little beauty.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Newest Addition to the Nest



My brother, Ryan, and his wife Ashley officially embarked upon parenthood January 4, at 2:31 p.m. He was 5 lbs 11 oz, and all of them are doing well.

Welcome to the Cuckoo's Nest, Baby Blaise! I hope they are prepared for the lumpy, poorly crocheted creations I intend to lovingly send them thorughout the coming years.

Oh yeah, and the doody diapers, and the crying. I hope they are prepared for those things, too.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This New Year...

I have a student name by the name of "Nguyen" who is, quite frankly, pretty awesome. One of those kids who is focused, well-rounded, and is respected and well-liked by all of her teachers as well as peers. At the beginning of the year, each student had to do a project in which they identified their personal theme, or motto. Hers was "In it to Nguyen it." How awesome is that?

I was relating this to some friends at a New Year's get together last night, when the hostess said, "I love that. I love mottos. Like mine, 'Go big or go home.' What would yours be?"

And that's when I realized (yet another) one of my flaws. I have never identified my own personal motto. I still can't. When confronted with the question I realized how quickly I had passed this assignment on to others, but had never deemed it worthy of my own personal consideration. And not because I don't think it worthy, but really because it is just too hard to commit myself to one motto. I just haven't figured it out.

So that's one of my resolutions this year. By the end of 2011 I will determine what my motto for life is. I'm not in a hurry, but I do want to give it some serious consideration.

As for the rest of my new year, I have reflected on what I need to accomplish for myself. I will resolve to do the following in order to be a better person, wife, a friend:

1) I will work out three times a week.
2) I will pick myself up and dust myself off EVERY TIME I NEED TO with as much humor and grace that I can possibly muster.
3) I will make time to write at least three times a week.
4) I will show Joe how much I love him on a daily basis (besides just telling him).
5) I will be more positive, and complain less. Let's face it, it's time to make the best of whatever bad circumstances I perceive, and make all efforts to move forward from them.

And ULTIMATELY I will figure out my personal motto.