Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Ask Don't Tell...

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated.  I've been living in the world of "don't ask, don't tell."  I guess I should have realized when I was eating watermelon like I would never see another one again, that I was actually cultivating a future watermelon of my own.  I found out I was pregnant just a couple of weeks after I posted last time.  Then we decided to keep it a secret until we were out of the first trimester and I couldn't blog anything because the only thing on my mind that was surreal or funny or worthy of mention revolved around the only thing that I wasn't cleared to write about.

It was tough.  I suck at keeping secrets.  Which is why I took a few more weeks to really think about how I want to approach this subject on my blog because since I became pregnant I have realized something.  No one told me any of this stuff beforehand for a reason.  All the women you know who have experienced having a child are part of this world of "don't ask, don't tell."  It's like a crazy secret society where the all-knowing yoda-like mother people enigmatically nod and smile and talk about adorable babies and baby clothes, but they never really let on about the rest of it.  Unless you know the right questions to ask.

I could tell you the answers.  But then I'd have to kill you.

And actually, the few friends I've tried to confide in have (very maturely) stuck their fingers deep into their ears and yelled "lalalalala! I can't hear you!"  So I cruise message boards and resign myself to the fact that there's a limbo you must exist in when you're knocked up.  You want to relate to people who aren't ready to relate to you, and you resist relating totally to the only ones who can.

Don't get me wrong.  This is something I have always wanted; I am looking forward to it. And my friends who are resources in this stage of my life are dear to me.  But I hate hearing people tell me I won't be able to go to a movie for the next few years, so go now.  And to spend alone time with my husband while I can now.  And to enjoy doing the things I want when I want to now.  Because, evidently, I won't be able to do that stuff come late March (or ever again?!).  It's overwhelming.  Because I can't do all of that now.  I've been doing all that stuff and then some up until now.  Which has been 35 years.

Plus, all I can do now is sleep.  On my side (which no one ever told me about in advance). Because I'm growing a human.  So that's what has been going on.  Hopefully I will be able to bring some humor to this topic throughout the months to come, but sometimes it might get more serious than usual.  We can't wait to meet our addition to the nest!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The latest craze for the cuckoo

So I have an obsession lately, and I thought I would share.
A match made in heaven...

It's watermelon.  That's right.  Scrumptious, delicious watermelon.  I can eat this whole thing in one sitting.  The only thing that prevents me from doing so is a small modicum of shame.  I'm sure that by evening time I will get over that and I'll eat the other half.

Yep, that's right...I have already eaten half of this today.  After I made a special trip to HEB for it because I was out.  Which was, apparently, a watermelon travesty.  I didn't realize until I found myself behind the steering wheel and out on the rain-slicked mean streets of the Mahatma Ghandi District (yeah, that's where I live.  It's on the street signs even though half of them are written in Korean.  Or they might be Vietnamese--I really don't know.) that watermelon travesties were even a thing.  But I have a lot of time on my hands, so I can make a big long production out of almost anything.

And that magical substance next to it?  Trechas Chili Powder.  A friend introduced me to it.  We then introduced it to a slice of watermelon, and forged a relationship that only the end of watermelon season will be able to break up.  And what a sad day that will be.  Joe, of course, thinks I'm gross because it's salty stuff on fruit, and "that's wrong."  It doesn't compute for Joe.  He just can't appreciate the beautiful complexity of this pairing.  Just like blueberries and pear slices in salad with blue cheese and basalmic vinaigrette.  Which is utter and complete madness, in my opinion.

Instead of holding this unfounded prejudice against him, I just make sure that I consider that fact when it's watermelon time in the McDonald household.  That means when I slice up the watermelon I sprinkle the Trechas liberally all over it.  This ensures that all of my precious watermelon remains mine.


That's right....All mine.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The return of the disappearing woman...

Now you see her...now you don't...no, wait, now you do!  I don't mean to play this game, but in case you didn't get the memo, writing can be hard.  Even for those of us who love to do it.  As clever as I believe I can be, when I'm not practicing, it seems to really get away from me.  And sometimes I wonder if anyone really cares except me?  I mean, I don't blog about stuff you might want to "pin."  I just blog about myself, and, to be honest, sometimes I'm even bored.  And I'm my biggest fan.

So now that school is out, and I am a woman of leisure for the next month (don't hate), I have decided to sharpen the saw by getting back into the swing of things and sharing (or as Joe undoubtedly believes oversharing) everything with you people.  All five of you who faithfully read my posts.  You know, my true friends (and let's be honest, mostly family members).

After working through Stages 1 through 3, I can sit pretty for a while before succumbing to Stage 4.  And trust me, I'll need to wallow in this part for a bit because I have big changes a-comin'!  Joan Didion wrote a beautiful memoir called The Year of Magical Thinking chronicling the year after her husband's death.  What a title.  And even though I cannot imagine that year for her, I can only imagine the kind of mental shift one needs to adapt after such change.  On a different level, I will also be embarking on my own year of magical thinking.

The following amazing feats of mental adjustment will be taking place within this next year:


  1.  After eight years of teaching high school, I am moving districts to teach eighth grade.  In essence, it will be a lot like starting over as a new teacher since I have no familiarity with the content nor the level of rigor I can actually push on eighth graders.  I have been told that eighth grade is "the smelliest grade."  I'm looking forward to the pungent smell of AXE cologne and puberty.  But seriously, I am looking forward to the age group.  High schoolers are a lot of fun, but they believe they are so grown up.  Sometimes they have been forced to grow up so early that I wonder if they ever got to be kids.  They can be so jaded.  
  2.  Did I mention I'll be teaching Social Studies as well?  Let's not even get into that part.  It will truly require a magic trick to work that one out.
  3. Oh, and did I mention I'll be working with one of my best friends?
  4. And that I'll be in her wedding this year?  
  5. And she's making me wear yellow?
  6. Joe and I will be attempting to expand our family.  I have no idea how hard or easy that will turn out to be, but I'll be keeping you appraised occasionally as long as it can still be heart-warming and endearing rather than frustrating and sad.  Though I will venture to say tracking and timing "the necessaries" has proved to be more frustrating than fun.  The question of the month is how many times will I pee on my own hand before I master the art of taking any of the tests for fertility/pregnancy?  
  7. However, if we do successfully get pregnant, it might require some magical tailoring to get me into a bridesmaid's dress.  And I will have to wrap my brain around the fact that Joe thinks I will look like a bumblebee in the aforementioned yellow dress.
  8. Oh, and we're still trying to sell the condo.  Which I don't want to get into because I'll just start spiraling into depression.
  9. Did I mention the dress will be yellow?
So I hope you join me on my journey through my year of magical thinking.  I promise I'll actually write about it. Abracadabra! 




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whistle While You Work...

Or if you live in our house, yell the f word...a lot.

When I was in the beginning phase of any relationship, the true test of whether it was going to work out was the first long road trip. Somewhere along the line I was told that if you make it through a really long trip together and were still hot for each other, the stars were aligned forever in your favor. You must be meant to be. Joe and I survived that hurdle without incident. Our biggest issue was that I didn't appreciate Ratt and Tesla.

Now that we are doing minor renovations to the condo before we have to put it up on the market, I'm starting to suspect that the road trip is nothing, and I am ever-thankful that the house repairs and touch ups we are doing are nothing more major. Between keeping the cats out of the wet paint, wrestling with twisted nails, and rescuing me from a persistent cockroach that has climbed out of our sink drain three times (apparently merely turning the faucet on did not do the trick), Joe has had his patience tested.

It involved yelling bad words. Repeatedly. I heard cats stampeding away from him. I made the mistake of turning and asking what was wrong. My bad. This part of prepping the house is perhaps his most frustrating, but you see, I know the worst is yet to come. Because the milestone in a relationship after the First Long Road Trip is Moving Day. And once it's time to stage the house, we'll have a mini-move as we pare down all our personals. And then a move to a temporary domicile once we have sold, and finally our ultimate move to our dream house. Which will be a nightmare until we actually get settled in because if you were counting, that's a minimum of three moving days.

Which makes me want to swear. A lot.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Seven Stages

Well, friends, school starts tomorrow and I am sad, sad, sad. And before my non-teacher friends start falling all over themselves to point out the fact that teachers have awesome vacation time and shouldn't even complain let me just tell you that you just have no idea how badly we need that vacation by the time it comes. School vacation time is very carefully thought out and orchestrated by the powers that be for a reason. To keep us out of jail and off the news. To keep your children out of hospitals. We are all on edge by the time we are released. We are all ready to snap.

This is why winter break, spring break, and summer vacation are so eagerly anticipated by teachers and students alike. We plan our whole years around them. We make everyone who is integral to our lives plan around them. Want to go to Europe? Want to get married and honeymoon? Want a baby? Not until summer, baby! That's the time of year we live for around my house.

Something about this year had everyone I know on edge until winter break. We were like mental patients waiting for the doctor to release us back into society. We became wardens to the students, who stalked the halls like they were ready to lose their minds. It was a weird end to the year which only made me look forward to the break even more.

And now that I'm on the cusp of the close of this holiday, and have already started grieving it's loss, it has dawned on me that like the 7 stages of grief, we teachers run through the 7 stages of vacation. The difference is that our 7 stages are a direct reversal of the very well-known 7 stages of grieving.

Allow me to explain:

Stage 1: Acceptance and Hope- It is December 13, and you only have a few days left before the break. You have accepted that this week will be frustratingly crammed with last minute grading and that you might have a few rather late days and nights, but after that you will have two whole weeks to forget all of the bad, and focus on why you love your life and what you do. The titillating flower of hope unfurls its petals in front of you as you look forward to some quiet time to reflect, plan, and even get a little laundry done.

Stage 2: Reconstruction and Working Through- Vacation is here! You resolve to do a bit of work while you are at home to restructure your classroom and have everything ready when you return so you are stress free when you come back in January. You just know you will dedicate two days (two days is nothing!) to plan. You also know you will get so much accomplished during these two weeks, both personally and professionally.

Stage 3: The Upward Turn- You start to adjust to life without children who are not yours and to a life without bells. Days go by peacefully and almost languidly. No one is announcing anything from a P.A. system. Your name is no longer "Miss." You have an identity! You have hopes and dreams of your own, which you are able to pursue without guilt during any part of the day you would like to.

Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness-You realize a week and a half has gone by. Really, really quickly.

Stage 5: Anger and Bargaining- You start to feel "sick." Probably way too sick to return on time. You pray for mono or walking pneumonia. But not too bad a case as that would be inconvenient. Then it dawns on you: A broken limb wouldn't be too bad. Really, anything that will keep you comfortable and laying on a couch or in bed surrounded by magazines and trashy novels will do. And if you're sick, someone will probably bring you things and cook for you. You'd probably only miss a couple more days....

Stage 6: Pain and Guilt-You feel a little immature and guilty for "working through" stage 5. You really don't want to be in any pain for the sake of more days, and you feel a little greedy about wanting more time off. Everyone is already headed back to work and here you are. Alone. You should want to go back to your job. You love your job. In all honesty, if you have to work, this one is a decent gig. But if you could be a woman of leisure....

Stage 7: Shock and Denial- Tomorrow is your first day back. You did not do any work to prepare. You watch episodes of "Breaking Bad" late in to the night as if you have nothing to do tomorrow. You cannot believe it went by so quickly. You are afraid to close your eyes for fear of having the dreaded work dreams that have plagued you the last few days. Your husband tell you that in the middle of the night last night he heard you saying in your sleep, "No! It does not take six of you to run a t.v. to the library!" You won't believe it's really over until you hear the ringing of the alarm clock. This is not fair!

So now I'm here, wallowing in Stage 7. To all my work peeps, see you tomorrow!