Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Impulsive!

Apparently, I'm not much of a planner. I do ALOT by impulse. There are things I am careful about. There are things I research before I do. But for the most part, I am extremely impulsive! On a whim, I bought a new car in July. I don't really regret it. It may not have been the best financial decision, but I do love my car.

Well, this weekend I went to inquire about a Master's program. It starts Thursday and will end in 18 months. Nothing like starting in five days to get me signed up. There are a few questions I considered before I agreed, and there are more questions I should have asked. But it's not necesarily bad, is it? I am ready to go. I am really excited to start!

I almost bought a computer on the spur of the moment. I guess I still might. I have been looking at laptops for about three weeks now. That's quite a wait. I guess I figure that since these decisions don't affect anyone else, it doesn't matter if I make a quick decision.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tips for People Who Know Nothing About Vampires

So, apparently I know nothing about vampires. Here is what I found interesting...

When a person becomes a vampire, I was under the impression that their life as they know it ceases to exist. But listen! THEY DO NOT HAVE TO QUIT THEIR JOBS. All they have to do is get a special ring so that they can appear in the daylight. They are irresistably drawn to biting people and can suck blood WITHOUT killing people. Instead they erase the memory of the person that they fed off of. GROSS! Who made up these rules? This is crazy.

Do they sleep in coffins? And why are zombies so disgusting? Why all of a sudden is everyone so excited about vampires but so judgemental against zombies? I thought they only lived in Transylvania. And what in the world are gnomes? Elves? What distinguishes an elf from a gnome? Why do some elves work for Santa and others apparently have wings and flit around the forest?

I hate stupid vampires.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy. Now for the hard part.

Adam's deploying. Real soon. And I've settled into it. It was really hard a few weeks ago. Every now and then I get sad. I've never had to deal with anything like this. But there are lots of great things to look forward to. We get this weekend together. We get our anniversary. We get Thanksgiving. Then nine months of e-mail and Skype and letters and packages. I don't even know how to do any of that. But we will be together. That's comforting. I can't imagine packing up and ending everything now.

Adam is wonderful. He is a thoughtful, conscientious, and wise leader. He is committed and responsible. I am so excited to be his girl. I am blessed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Now?

So, grad school. What is there to consider? How much money can I find? Where do I want to go? Should I go while I work, or take some time off? I want to start right away. And then there's this thing with Adam. He's deploying soon. Frankly, I want to consider him in this whole decision, too.

I feel like I live in this whole "well, if things change" world. I plan decisions two different ways in case something changes. What taught me to function like that? I guess I know. I only had one plan before Rob got sick. Things changed. Now I feel like I have to have a plan 'B'. Do I? If I plan both ways, I feel like I'm less likely to be disappointed.

Seriously, though. I would decide to stay in Colorado for Adam. For me, too. Staying in Colorado isn't bad. But what about something completely new? Washington state or Australia? It's only a year or two. But my priority isn't my career.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

He's Leaving

Our principal is leaving. We learned this just a few weeks ago. Three, maybe. I'm not sure I can articulate what this means to me or to our staff. If I talk about it honestly, you would only think I'm being dramatic.

Working at our school is not like having a corporate job. It's truly like going to be with a family. And he is the center of our school. So losing him is like losing the glue that holds our school together. It's like losing our father. I know that seems extreme. But Roy has always done what is best for our family. He's made our school what it is now - which is one of the best elementary schools in the state. Every one of us is proud to be a part of that school. It's hard to see the future from here. He has shaped my formative years as a teacher. He's provided an environment where I've had freedom to develop my philosophies, to push the limits of achievement with my kids, and to love being a teacher. He's a huge part of my professional accomplishments.

We all know that we will do fine. Everything will be okay. But it's not going to be the same. We want to hear his voice over the intercom each morning, greeting the kids with "Good morning Antelope Trails kids! I'm so glad you're here today! Please stand for the pledge." We want to know we have him to fall back on when things fall apart for us. We want to hear him sing "Blue Christmas" before we head out for Christmas break. No one knows us and cares about us like Roy does.

I think part of my security as a teacher was wrapped up in his leadership. Now, I don't know that I want to be back in my job next year. I'm sorting out opportunities now... International Baccalaureate, Kagan Cooperative Learning, a Master's in Administration. It's time. And it is exciting, but I don't want Roy to leave.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blabber Protocol

So. You're in a car. With four other people. One or two people are talking unceasingly. By this I mean that their chatter is plentiful as the waters of the ocean or as everlasting as a beam of light from a burning sphere of gases in a far away galaxy. It is not interesting or thought-provoking chatter. It is not entertaining, amusing, or otherwise brilliant. I feel like I am in a chamber filled with gaseous substance such as the substance that fills one's lower intestinal tract and everywhere I can turn offers neither fresh air nor respite from the pollution.

I am staring blankly ahead.

What is the proper protocol for saying, "Excuse me. You are talking too much. It would be really nice to allow others room for conversation. I am tired of hearing your voice. Although you may enjoy it very much, you are always around yourself, so please save it for later." It's social courtesy. Listen to yourself. Has your voice received rest in the last five minutes? If not, s-h-u-t u-p. Whose job is it to teach this? Parents? I don't know.

The problem is that this unending blabber didn't stop when we got out of the car. The continuous stream of fuppernuffence continued in the professional environment as we met with teachers from around the state.

I need air.

Interrupting is not considered polite. So I must wait for this jivnigglenubbant chatter to cease. What's polite about speaking in this way so that no one has a chance to contribute or to provide an interlude? You are giving the rest of the individuals in the group no choice but to be extremely rude and interrupt.

I need a solution.

I want to be blatant. Up-front. Right to the point. "You are talking too much. Shut yer yapper."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Conundrum Hot Springs

Adam and I spent this weekend in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. It was a gorgeous day in Aspen. The leaves had changed color and were still bright in the cooling fall air. It was so beautiful that people were out on motorcycles. This was a huge difference from the bitter icy weather in Colorado Springs. We barely made it out of the Springs. Roads were covered in sheets of invisible ice. So we stopped at the Donut Mill to grab breakfast and to let the roads warm up. We then made our way west and escaped the chill of the Front Range. We had planned this trip for a few weeks, so we were relieved to see the weather improve as we headed west.

As we got to the trailhead, we stripped off the thick fleece layers and winter jackets we had been wearing. The walk was gorgeous! Bright mountain sunshine and a rushing stream all along the way. We hiked 8.5 miles up Conundrum Creek to the very remote and beautiful Conundrum Hot Springs. We passed beaver ponds and huge mossy trees. The river had three main crossings with huge logs set six or eight feet above the water. I wore a terrible pair of boots, which Adam made sure I knew was a really bad idea. He was right. I ended up with a big nasty blister.

We walked through thick trees and through meadows. At one point, we made our way over gigantic trees that had been blown over in a recent storm. It was amazing to see these huge, strong trees brought down by wind. It was a little difficult to find the trail at some places because there were so many trees down.

We got up to the campsite around 5:30, just as the sun had set behind the gigantic peaks around us. From the Springs, you can see Conundrum Peak and Castle Peak, both 14ers. And there were another 7 or 8 13,000 foot peaks nearby. We hurried to set up our tent in the freezing air and went to meet other campers who were already in the steamy water of the hot springs. The water was perfect... two to three feet deep in places with pockets of hot water bubbling up from under the ground. Beautiful! The edge of the water touched the rock border and spilled over into the next pool. It was amazing to look out and see the brilliant stars coming out one by one as the light of the sun disappeared. There was a group of six from Denver/Boulder and then a guy from Aspen who had come up by himself. We stayed in as long as we could before we started to get hungry.

The exit was extremely frigid!!! We couldn't dry off fast enough. But we hopped back to the campsite to have a quick dinner and then back to the pool for one more hour before bedtime. All the campers were out. A mom and her grown son, a couple from Steamboat, and the seven we had met before.
There might have been two more, but it was pitch black. This place must be super crowded in the summer. I can't imagine the pool accomodating more than 15. Anyway, what a cool place. It's about a four and a half hour hike. Such a beautiful and authentically Colorado experience.

I think next time, we will be more prepared... It was suggested to us that we bring full-length towels - two, if they fit, a pair of Crocs to wear in the water, my down jacket, blister bandaids, a better pair of hiking boots, a box of delicious wine, and a hot water bottle to throw in the bottom of my sleeping bag.

Adam insisted on bringing only things that would contribute to our survival. I was a little more lenient, but still, the other campers had it made. They also had to carry heavier packs. But I think it's worth it. It was a completely wonderful trip!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flippers on Land

I've spent a portion of my life being unwise. This is pretty typical to humankind, right? I've made poor decisions in clothing, meals, finances, traffic, and relationships, to name a few. It's just what happens. We try to make the best choices we can, but for whatever reason, I failed.

It took me a while to realize that those poor choices didn't define me. But what they did do was allow me to grow. Some people get stuck in these choices and situations and it weighs them down for the rest of their days. God has taken that from me, I believe. The strength of character that I exhibit today is highly dependent on the idea that I shedded the negative and moved on ahead. Did I have to make those poor choices in order to be in this spot today? Well, I don't know. I think some people have to suit themselves up in wetsuits and flippers and to flop around on land for a little bit only to discover for themselves that it doesn't work so well that way. Stubborn? Yes. Necessary? Who can say?

All that aside, I have developed a strong foundation. It's who I am. None of that other stuff has carried over due to a very gracious God.

So imagine my surprise when I find that not everyone realizes this. Sometimes our past choices get picked up by others like burrs in a cotton sock. They work their way into the flesh of our loved ones so that they can't possibly see beyond it and suddenly we find ourselves judged again.

I want someone to be able to put aside the troubles of the past and to look forward with me in hope. I was ready to move into a wiser spot in my life, so here I am. I'm not looking back or wishing that things were different. I am who I am.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pet Peeve #1

Ok, people. I presently have 540 students. This is my sixth year of teaching, which means that I have taught over 1100 students. I am pretty good with names, I think. Well, Lisa will probably read this and completely disagree. It's true. Those little guys... 1st grade and under... they are tough. For the most part, though, I know my kids names.

Mya and Sarah teach kids named Sayuki and Yuki and Tayuka (I don't really know this as a fact - I am guessing) I can imagine it's probably pretty tough at first to match names with faces. Knowing their names, in itself, is a challenge.

Even harder is memorizing the exact spelling of every child's name... C-A-I-T-L-Y-N or K-A-T-E-L-Y-N or K-A-I-T-L-I-N. A-I-D-A-N or A-Y-D-E-N or A-Y-D-A-N. What about J-H-A-Y-D-E or when I've got a H-A-L-L-I-E pronounced Hayley or a H-A-L-E-Y pronounced Hallie or a Braden and Brendan in the same class? Michayla Mikahla MiKayla McKenna Kenna Kennedy. How about twins? And then there's the nearly identical siblings. GEEZ!!!! Considering this predicament, I'm pretty proud when I can name 95% of my students right off the bat.

So you can imagine my lack of compassion when a parent mentions how her daughter will be devastated that I spelled her name wrong on a sheet that was to be posted on my door for two days. Devastated? Really? She will have her feelings hurt. Oh, precious. How could that nasty music teacher have dared spell your name wrong? Now, I understand that I need to have correct spellings on printed items like programs - it's precious grade school memorabilia for Pete's sake. But I am not going to spend the ridiculous amounts of time to look every child's name up in each class to find the exact spelling on a piece of paper that is notifying a group of children of some minor detail. Really. That is a waste of taxpayer money. So if your daughter is so sensitive about her name being spelled wrong, you might want to tell her to tighten up her bootstraps and to grow a pair because she's frankly lucky that no one is calling her a doodyhead or divotface.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

People's History

I am reading A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. If I had more time, I would read stuff like this all the time. And by 'stuff like this', I mean 'books'. I read Letters to a Young Conservative by Dinesh D'Souza a number of years ago. It got me extremely charged up to understand the state of the union and the Constitution and everything social and political. I was encouraged to not remain ignorant of pertinent issues.

I'm really looking forward to this book. I read through most of the first chapter while waiting at the DMV. It discusses the discovery of the New World by Columbus and various other explorers and the resulting impact on the native cultures. One of the points he targets is the idea that terrible atrocities have essentially been justified by the perspective of historians through the ages. The mass genocide of many of the native cultures of the Americas was deemed necessary for advancement of European culture in the New World. History is a balance of perspectives. This book seeks to present history from many perspectives - not just the perspectives of explorers and politicians.

This book is going to spark questions. I love that. Isn't that what we want, as learners? To be sparked alive with questions in what we are learning? And what a fantastic implication for teachers.

My friend, Mya, was talking about how her experience living in Japan has taught her that who she is as a person is partially due to her American heritage. That American history, which once used to seem fairly abstract and detached from her life, has now come alive in the very American way she relates to the world. What does that mean, really? And how would I relate to the world differently if I was not this person I am now?

This is why I am reading this book.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pitter-Pat. What now?

Ok. I admit it. I am excited about Adam. It's taken me a while to completely admit it. But I am pitter-pattery over him. I never thought that he and I would actually work out. But we do. We are different. But we are also similar. I adore him. In my late twenties I have encountered gentlemen who are fairly non-committal. This one included. Sort of. This one is committal in a pseudo-non-committal way. So when you're in a relationship like that, it's fairly difficult to be up-front about the way you feel about somebody. So this is a big step for me.

"I like you. Alot. Like more than I like lightning storms. Like if I had to choose you or sushi, I would choose you. See. I like you alot alot."

I like him enough to take photographic evidence of our relationship. I even like him enough to print them out and start putting them places like my desk at work. Well, not really multiple. Just one. Let's not go overboard. I like him enough to plan surprises for when he goes out of town. Ha! I can't reveal this secret just yet. But I will take photographic evidence of it to post at a later date. I like him enough to be sad when he leaves for deployment. Real real sad. Sad enough to wait for him to come home.

Sounds like I'm in big trouble. Sounds like I got myself a crush. A bad one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liar

I've been lying for two years. Lying. To a (now) ten-year-old girl. She's a fan of John Mayer - as am I. I finally admitted to her today in class, that indeed, I am NOT the long-time girlfriend of John Mayer OR Jason Mraz as I so passionately attested to for the past two years.

It was funny, I thought. She did, too. I know it. But it's the end of an era. And I have a real live boyfriend now. So, goodbye John Mayer. Goodbye Jason Mraz. So long to what may have been.

Politician Twitter

As if politician banter isn't catty enough, they've decided to Twitter. Seriously? I just read that Arlen Specter and Senator Grassley were involved in some little slap-fight via Twitter regarding health care.

Didn't they get enough of that in seventh-grade fashion wars during passing periods? Please.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Conversing with a Six-Year-Old

Her - What's that stuff you're drinking?

Me - Potion.

What??!!

It's potion.

What does it do?

Turns my toes green.

Nooo!!!! DON'TDRINKIT!!!!!!

It tastes good. *sip* My toes are tingling. They itch too.

(with furrowed brow) ARE THEY GOING TO TURN GREEN?

Yes.

STOP IT RIGHT NOW! STOP DRINKING THAT!

Ok. ... Hey. Did you know that when people turn into monsters, the first thing that turns green is their toes?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twenty-Whatever

Today is my birthday. I told the kids at school that today I turned 100. They don't really know. Thirty is basically like 100 to them. When I was twenty-whatever, these are the things that I learned.

Change happens. For better. For worse. There's nothing we can do to stop it. We can't prevent it. But we can direct it.

Committment is worth it. I'll never give up on committment again.

My greatest treasures are friends and family. They are priceless.

Starting over is way harder than it seems.

My dog is the love of my life.

Retail therapy covers over a multitude of sins. Well... we pretend it does.

Being responsible is not one of my strong points.

I fail. Almost every day I fail at something. But in the end, it causes growth, so perhaps it's worth it.

Changing the life of a child is like nothing I've ever known. It's nothing anyone can ever take away from me. It's mine forever.

I know what I want and what I don't. And I'm not afraid to clean things out of my life that just aren't what I want.

To communicate.

Balance is essential.

I need God. Real bad.

Being a lady is not just about looking lovely. It's about confidence and tenderness and full-blown, bone-crushing torrential strength.

When you get down to the tough stuff you do what you gotta do to plug ahead. You laugh. You find all the happy you can find. You pull your friends real real close.

I am extremely skilled and I have raging passion that pulls me to love what I do for a living.

Being outside is not optional for me. I have to see the sky and feel the breeze. I have to notice the little details. I have to stop and explore.

When I love, I love big.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Learning to Love

Only two more days of being 29. And still I fail at lots. It's all part of being human. Regardless of how laid back I am about many things, I am extremely hard on myself. I am learning every day. I am so grateful to have a man in my life who encourages me to grow. To make positive changes. Today we had one of those discussions. Hard discussions that clean up areas in my brain and make it easier to become better. There was a pit in my stomach nearly the entire time but now I can breathe more clearly and maybe walk more lightly.

I am learning to love. Sometimes this means making decisions on what is worth changing in my own life. Sometimes it means discovering how to gently encourage positive growth in him. The big idea of this conversation was the idea that people change. Of course they do, right? The most frightening thing that I've encountered is the idea that I can link my life to someone 'till death do us part and have them or me drastically change. I had no guarantees. None of us do. But the idea of love is that we risk it. And we go forward knowing that we will be with the person we love through every change they endure and we have strength of hope that they will be with us through every change we endure. Time will hopefully bring wisdom which in turn brings change for the better.

Relationships are hard. Who knows if we or you or she or he are making the right decision? Is it worth it? Do I go with my instinct? Do I stop before everything gets too close? Nobody really knows. But I am of the firm conviction that whatever I choose to do, God will bless as I learn to trust Him and turn to Him in all things. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Financial Venting

I worked this summer to get free of debt. I got one credit card paid off and that's a huge deal. That's the best thing I've done for myself financially probably in my entire life. So, I thought I was doing well. Well, my renters are moving out of my house a month early. And I realized I don't have enough in savings to return their deposit to them. So not only will I have to likely pay my mortgage this month, plus my rent, but I will also owe my renters their deposit. I am freaking out.

After the divorce, I just was completely stupid. Now, I'm wishing that I had established myself so I had some sort of savings. Anything. I have nothing. When I think about monthly budgeting decisions, it seems too stressful to think about, and then it comes down to something big like this and I am screwed. The thing about this is it's not like a car repair where I can just put it on credit. I need some sort of cash to give back to them. What am I going to do?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stupid Money

Dear Mr. MoneyPants, the Financial Planner,

No. I do not want to save money for my children's education. I do not have children. This would entail finding someone to agree to marry me. That's a heavy feat. Do I care how much is in my whatever so-and-so account? No. Do I even know how much is in there? No. I just care about having a normal checking account and a normal savings account. That is all the financial stress I can manage. If I die and someone has to pay for my little self to be cremated, that is ok with me at this point. I do not have the mental capacity to make a decision to save $20 a month for funeral expenses. I do not think about saving for vacation. And I do not think about how much I need somebody to pay me in my retirement. TMI. This is what somebody else is for. Anybody else. Somebody make me a budget and tell me what to do.

All this talking about money makes me sick to my stomach. Thanks for trying to help, Mr. MoneyPants.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gaining Focus

School starts this week. To be completely honest, I have absolutely no focus. No drive. What happened? Is this actually me? I'm nervous. Because I know if I start the year like this, I will hate every moment. What is it going to take for me to get in the game? I've let other things take huge precedence in my life. Things which have no reason being there right now. I'm upset that I let this happen. I know what it will take, too. Being alone. Thinking and reading. Praying. Restructuring my priorities. Going for a run. I'm afraid that if I don't take the time to get focused, this year could turn out to be quite terrible. I am worried.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Juicy and Chewy Ever!


Japan is the number two country in the world in my opinion for this reason and this reason only... they manufacture the most delectable chewy bits of heaven I have ever tasted. The most amazing - HI CHEW. Yes, the Hi Chew. I love them for their soft texture and their delicious fruity flavor that fills every moment with pleasure.

My friend just returned from Japan and she brought me back two packages of this flavorful glory. I told myself I would savor only one piece a day. That quickly turned into two pieces a day and now I have gone and eaten six pieces and the rest of the bag lies next to me as I type.

Their website, http://www.morinaga.co.jp/hi-chew/, boasts that Hi Chews are "Juicy and Chewy Ever!" And that they can be eaten anytime, anywhere to be refreshed. YES!!!! I can eat them ANYWHERE I WANT! Glorious day. Oh. The mango... exotic tasting. It says so online.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our Date

Adam and I had a completely fantastic date last night. You know when you have a superbly amazing day and it colors everything the next day? You carry it around with you and as every moment comes, it tastes a little bit like that amazing day?

Today I feel like I have twinkletoes. Adam is wonderful.

My Friend, the Dead Television

So, I have a television. A television that has been useless ever since the switch to digital. Let's be honest. It's been useless all along. All I would ever get - even when it was working - was four or five fuzzy analog stations. I haven't seen more than 25 hours of television this entire year. That's just how it goes. This is a big change from five years ago, when the nightly ritual involved watching the news while cooking dinner and then vegging out every night for a couple hours.

The only drawback to my present situation is I miss out on significant world events. For example, I find out about Michael Jackson and other notable events on Facebook. Weird. But I like it that I'm not a TV watcher. I'm way more fit than I used to be. I read more. And I've got a fairly rockin' social life as well. It's definitely worth the trade.

I figured I would try to fix it, though. Plug in the digital adapter and give it a go. After 45 minutes of plugging and unplugging, auto searching and button pushing, I am the not-so-proud owner of a television that displays four stations. One - PBS. There was some sort of financial motivational speaker on tonight. Two - PBS Spanish. Hmmm. Well, let's think on the bright side. I could get in touch with my Latin side. Three - PBS Create. I don't know what this is about. I think it was cooking, but the lady was also holding up a curly stick, so who really knows? Four - an audio reading station. Oooh. Nothing like coming home and turning on the TV to listen to an audiobook.

I would rather live in Japan next to a big cow and be followed home by old ladies trying to find out where the white girl lives. Literally (That's for you, Addy). It sounds much more adventurous.

TV sucks. I'd rather ride a bike or cook or talk or listen or laugh or jazzercize or clip toenails or dust or teach my dog to sit instead of lay down or sort through my apparently appaling wardrobe. Sarah and Sarah said I looked like I was Aquafresh in one of my shirts.

I am not Aquafresh.

Monday, August 3, 2009

All Along The Way

Here's something I am really good at: moving ahead and making the best of a situation regardless of the drawbacks. When Rob was sick, I just learned that there are some things you can not change. And you've got to press ahead and tell jokes and laugh and make your situation as normal as possible. You accept what you have to accept and you change what you can change and you laugh and laugh and laugh all along the way.

There's no use grumbling about the little things. You do what you do and move along and enjoy every minute as much as you can. Right? This last week, I came upon a few situations where a friend of mine expected me to be upset and to grumble. It's hard when someone assumes that. If you can really make the best of it, then getting caught in a hailstorm and being alone in a new city become wonderful adventures. I love that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chocolate Wrapper Advice

I opened a Dove chocolate a few months ago and the wrapper said, "Don't think about it so much." I flattened out the wrapper and taped it up on my bookshelf at work. It's a good reminder. For anything, really. Anything that's taking up a giant amount of my thinking power needs to be set to the back burner and rotated through. You know? There's entirely not enough time in the world to be dwelling on one thought for too long.

I realized I should stop thinking about Adam so much. There's so much else I can be involved in thinking about. It will be good to get back to work. To think about getting my masters and working on my music. It struck me that he's leaving soon. "Leaving" as in "deploying". And "soon" as in "four months". Yesterday he said, "A year from today I will be coming back home." I got all choked up.

What does a girl do when the wonderful man she loves leaves? It's too much to think about right now. I think much of what I feel is related to having lost Rob. I felt cheated out of that. And now I feel cheated out of this. Nine months in a giant stall... unless he gives me the boot. Right? Then there is no stall. It's just over. But I don't want it to be over.

I want him to come back and sweep me up in his arms again. No promises, though. He said that soldiers change during deployment. I wonder what he's really thinking. That he doesn't say. He doesn't say alot. And usually, I think it's for my own good. Or he thinks it's for my own good.

He protects me.

Don't think about it so much, right? What am I supposed to think about... what's for dinner?

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Quiet Cannonade

I am sitting here listening to thunder rolling around in the clouds above me. It's different than usual. There is no sharp crack. Just a rumbling and rolling. Sometimes far off, if it is quiet enough, I can hear a quiet boom. It's getting closer. I can tell that much. The wind is swirling around in the leaves nearby and it's getting to a point that something has to happen. The clouds are going to have to release their rain soon.

I feel the same way today. I feel that rumbling and rolling. Maybe it will be a soft rain and maybe it will be a torrent. I think it's a pattern with me. Every now and then... I've written about it before... I just want to run away. Leave every single thing. I get taken over with a certain degree of hopelessness and want-to-give-up-ness. There is a steady rumble that for whatever reason isn't resolved.

I feel like it comes down to where I am at. This restlessness. I don't know why, really. Sometimes I just feel this way and I may or may not have any sort of reason for it.

There may have been some events that started this rumbling. Or maybe it would have started regardless. But I've been thinking about what it takes for a lady to be valued in a relationship. This unfortunately generalizes all ladies together. I don't mean to do that, but it makes me feel better about it as I write. It is really important for a lady to feel like she is valued. For some it's about being beautiful for their love. For some it's about intelligence. Maybe it's about her athleticism or her ability to be an excellent mother or wife. For me, I don't know what it really comes down to other than this: I want him to be proud that I am the girl on his arm.

I'm not particular about being claimed as a girlfriend or about marking him as off-limits. That can seem a little silly. All I want is to know that he recognizes my value and that he's not ill at ease to share that. For some reason, it seems that an arm around his lady or some other simple physical closeness demonstrates that to me. It's not about a public display of affection. It's about demonstrating that I am with you and you are with me, not grudingly, but that we are delighted to be together.

Without that, I am left feeling like dinner scraps... shuffled around on the plate until someone eventually decides to discard them.

This all makes me think about expectations. I have such a huge conciousness of logical expectations. I make a significant effort to take it easy and to not get tied up into developing a set of ridiculous hoops for someone to jump through. It's just not worth it. I wonder if this is an illogical expectation. I don't know.

Well, the rumbling above has moved along. The sun is coming out again and a rainbow sits across the sky. That's encouraging. A sign of hope perhaps.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thinking Heavy

I hung out with three super awesome chicks yesterday. Two are married, one is looking, and I am hanging gloriously in the middle. They told me any guy who doesn't claim you as his own - meaning 'girlfriend' - probably doesn't actually want you. That doesn't hurt my feelings. It's frankly just a shot of reality, right? But he's different. I believe that. There's lots of things playing into his decisions. One being that he is leaving in December. Boo for that. But that thought haunts me a bit and I'm sitting here questioning its validity. Maybe they are right. And then Mr. TrashMouth tells me that it's a strong signal and that things are great now, but if something better comes along, well... Hmmm. Better. That's a matter of perspective. I'm pretty great. I know that. Not perfect. But I am a catch, as Max puts it.

So what do I listen to? Him. My guy. That's who. Because I believe him and I trust him. He's unique. And generalizations don't fit him so well. All I can say is that it's real hard being in this and feeling like I do without it coming back. I'm not sure my tender heart can last very long in that kind of a space.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Neighbor The Complete Idiot

So, my dog barks when people walk by. Luckily, we live on a lazy street where not many people walk by. At most, I'd say he barks for three minutes and then he's done. Frankly, I like that. I'm a single girl. It's something that I feel protects me. The best thing is that if you tell him to stop barking, he does. Genius dog. I am in love with him. Can you tell?

My neighbor was annoyed by his barking one day and came over to tell the friend of my roommate that next time he hears him barking, he will call the Sheriff. He doesn't even have the maturity to come talk to me about it... to leave a note... nothing like that. Interesting. So, I got a note today from the Sheriff. I'd like to know exactly how that went. If they stood outside my fence talking, my dog would have kept barking. As soon as they went inside or went away from my house, he would have stopped.

I'm severely annoyed at the ridiculousness of this. Seeing as how my dog is outside by himself once every couple days. Other than that, he is inside or he is with me.

I feel like I have to vent here because as soon as he calls me about it, I'm going to explode and call him a lily-livered skunk and a no-good low-down coward and a skinny effeminate dog provoker. A stupid dumpster putz with a baboon for a mother. Doodie head.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting There

Well, a little over a month until I'm 30. I just paid off one of my credit cards. I've organized my life. I've got a clean car, an organized house, a clean garage. I've created Mailbox Mondays. The day I check the mailbox and write all the bills. I've been outside on my bike and climbing and running and yoga-ing. I'm getting better. Am I there yet? No. One more credit card to pay off and my procrastinating ways of never returning phone calls to deal with. I need to get to my Later List. These are all things I do when I feel like I have the time. Things on this list include learning new songs on the guitar and making doctor and dentist appointments. Starting to eat healthy again. Who puts THAT on a list? Great, huh? What kind of an adult AM I anyway? A quasi-responsible adult who really just has lots of fun all the time. That's not so bad, right?

But I'm getting to the point that my life is nearly as Simple As It Should Be. That's a breath of fresh air. I have almost achieved the title of my blog. That sounds like a really weird goal. All it takes is a little planning, a little sushi, and a little sunshine. Ha!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

For Something Wonderful

I've been seeing him since November now. How did that all transpire?

He's thoughtful. Tender-hearted and giving. It's so funny. That was NOT the first impression I got from him. More like calloused and abrasive. I suppose I didn't give a great first impression either. Whoops. Luckily for me, he hung in there to see what was really inside.

This whole thing makes me a little nervous. Falling in love... I have no idea how you tell. Is it when you want him around to share days with? Is it when you are excited to hear his voice? Is it more like you are willing to work through the tough issues without running for the hills? I don't know at what point that happens. But I do feel like it happens faster when you think he's doing it too. When he's around, I feel extra lovely. And safe.

He's leaving, though. And what of that? Across the ocean for 9 months. I couldn't backpedal now. And gracefully bow my way out. I don't want to. Is it better to love and lose? I think I can say from experience, 'yes'. But can't I just opt out of the 'losing' and just stick with the first part of it all?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finding the Summit

It's been a while. Since I wrote anything of substance. Right? It seems that there was a period of time that I was learning alot and processing through a ton and also being very up front about it. And I think I've recently moved into a stage where I've been a little more reserved about sharing what I'm learning and processing. Well, maybe I should revisit what all has been going on. It's not bad. Really, this blog started as a journal. This blog isn't really for anyone else but me. The fact that it's open to friends and family and the general population of the world sometimes slips by me. And then I'll come across someone who mentioned that they had read my writing. It shouldn't be a shock. But it is. Strangely enough. I like it though. Keeps me on my toes.

Well, I'm going to write a bit more. And I think I'll start with my recent journey to the top of Long's Peak. And the discovery of a CD that Robert made for my 28th birthday. I realized a month or so ago that I was having a very hard time processing through the loss of my dear friend and love who passed away January 25. I would get emotional when I thought of him. I'm upset that God threw such a curveball. Rob and I were good together and it was a nasty turn of events that sent us tumbling to our demise. I've talked about this before - grateful that we came to reconcile our friendship and that we got to spend his last summer together getting out to enjoy music in the park and to have dinner... to eat giant ice cream sundaes.

I think I needed to do something monumental to celebrate his life. I realized, quite sensibly, that there was no place on the entire earth that I could go that I would be able to find him. He was gone. And you would think, of course. That makes sense. But when you lose someone close to you, that is insane to even fathom. That even if you TRIED to find him, you simply couldn't. I remembered his crazy tales of getting to the top of Long's Peak with Steve. How they set up their tent but the wind tore it away from them into the night and they were forced to sleep under the stars in freezing weather at 12,000 feet. I loved that story. And I wanted to be there. To see the ridge they camped on and to summit the same beloved peak that gave Rob so much joy.

So I headed out with Eric and Erica this last Friday, July 10th. We were at the trailhead at 3:30am. We walked for a few hours in the dark and as we got up above treeline, the sun began to peek over the horizon. It cast red light all across The Diamond. And it shone off the water seeping through the tundra. We could see a herd of elk grazing below and the monumental 3,000 feet of elevation that we had yet to gain. So we pressed on past the boulder field and through the Keyhole. Across the traverse on the back side and up the Trough, another field of boulders at a nearly 35 degree slope. I counted down the remaining red and yellow targets as we crested this challenging portion of the trail. Sky! And yet, the climb was not yet over. We wrapped around the corner and again traversed, this time across the front side - a portion called the Narrows. It's a fitting name. It is essentially a sidewalk across the sheer face of Long's Peak. A misstep would cause you to tumble over 1,000 feet. Finally we arrive at the Home Stretch. 450 feet of rock at about 45 degrees. Difficult to say the least. But we finally arrived at the top.

On the way up, I thought of all the stories I remembered of Rob. His awesome secret ingredient chili, the joy he had filtering through his gear, standing naked in the snow to eat his breakfast in Moab, the Ghost Cow, eating sweet tangerines in the park in Crested Butte, learning to ride clipless pedals in Moab, Fran shattering our front window in the place we lived in Gunny, his proposal, our toilet paper break up... so many things to remember. And then shortly after we were married, making jokes with the nurses in the cancer clinic, living in the hospital for the first month after his surgery, the Rocky Mountain Cancer Clinic 5K, learning to be a nurse, watching him 'shave' with a washcloth, trying to get him to drink Boost and to eat those Angel Heart meals, waking up 20 minutes earlier so that we could get him up the stairs in time, him calling me 'sweetie' for a series of months because he couldn't remember my name. And then there was Castle Rock and the Colorado Springs apartment, getting Maddox, all these great memories.

Well, at the top of Long's, I pulled out a dried bouquet of our wedding flowers. I found a spot to leave them and tucked them under a rock. I told him that I missed him and that I hope he could see me. I wanted him to know that I came up there to see him. It was the only place on earth that I knew I could go to do that. I told him I loved him. After a quick re-energizing, we headed back down.

Every step down seemed three times as difficult as each step up. It soon became painful and we were all exhausted. We finally got to the base of the Boulder Field. The three miles at the top are some of the most difficult terrain I've ever encountered. Yet, there was still 4.5 miles of trail to conquer. It didn't seem like much after what we just came down. But that 4.5 miles stretched into what seemed like ten. Treeline seemed so far away and even after crossing the brook, the last 1.5 miles never ended. When I got to the sign that said .5 miles left, I was so exhausted I knew I could only do it if I ran the last portion. I couldn't be on that trail any longer than I had to be. When I got to the parking lot, I threw my bag down, stripped off my shirts and laid there for a few minutes.

I laid there thinking of everything that Rob had to endure in his sickness. I realized he had no road signs saying how much more there was left. No treeline and no brook crossing to let him know it was almost done. He endured day in and day out through terrible pain and discomfort. Through swelling and loss of movement in his extremities.

On the way home, I put in a CD that he had made me for my 28th birthday - shortly before our divorce was final. The car I had before wouldn't play this CD and neither would my computer. So I didn't expect it to play. But it did. Rob had told me that this was a collection of songs he liked. They didn't necessarily mean anything. But as I listened to the entire disk, I felt like he wanted to tell me that through it all, he still loved me and wanted me back. It was very difficult to listen to. It was the music that he loved that signified importance to him. It tore me up. I drove back with tears pouring from my eyes, limbs aching.

There is no going back and changing anything. I know that. So what is it to me now? What does all of it mean? It means to me that he loved me more than anything and that our relationship was worth it to him. Worth it to fight for. He left the world without disdain or hatred for anything that had transpired between us. That is comforting. I wish, of course, that I had been more aware and that I hadn't become someone different in the middle of all of it. I know that in the future if God ever brings me anyone to love again that I will have a strength of character that I didn't have before that will allow me to persevere and love in the midst of trouble. I know that it's worth it. Rob taught me so much.

Thank you, Rob. I love you and I miss you every day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Things in My Purse

* iPod Touch - gotta keep my life organized - yay me.
* capo
* spark plug for 79 Kawasaki motorcycle
* spoon just in case I want to eat yogurt
* kiddy chopsticks - for Adam - I would never be reduced to using them myself
* pick
* pen
* dollar bill
* keys

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How Awesome is Backstreet Boys?

So awesome that when I walked into an antique store, their 1997 poster was front and center.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

That's Unique...

I went into a store today. It is called Namaste Arvada. They not only sell handstitched bags, Indian-style slippers and incense, but you can also purchase Cheez-Its and pizza-flavored Combos pretzel snacks. They also have a nice selection of beef jerky in all flavors.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Biff

So waterskiing is all about precision and balance. Great. I learned that watching a video online. But all this stupid video watching and research is all for naught because it was done far too late to help me avoid a serious sphincter injury that nearly ruined my entire life.

Put lifejacket on. Dive in. Slide feet in rubbery boot thingies. Sit back in 'rocking chair position' with skis pointed towards the sky. Ready.

** NOTE - 'rocking chair position' returns again later in the story. Very important to note this.

After three wobbly attempts to get up onto my skis, I knew it was just within reach. If only I could stand up. I reviewed all the tips I'd heard all morning as the boat begins to pull ahead. I feel it this time. As smooth as butter, I pop out of the water. The exhiliration crackles through my body. And it's this moment that I realize I wasn't briefed on how to stop. Hindsight tells me, "Let go of the rope."

I tip forward a bit and then overcorrect... but I was determined not to fall. Yet. So, I reason, in my present state of unbalance, that rocking chair position is probably a really stable position to get myself up to standing again. So I settle butt back to get ready to stand again. I neglected to remember that I'm going at least 87 miles per hour at this point. This occurs to me as I feel the lake slice through my innards. I let go of the rope as I feel my entire digestive system explode out of my butt, leaving a long trail of stomach, pancreas, and intestines trailing behind me like the tail of a kite. Okay. That's a fabrication. An embellishment.

I climb back into the boat and I won't go into greater detail at this point. Let's just say they don't make bandaids for that kind of an injury. My poor sphincter was probably the size of a football for five excruciatingly long seconds. Youch.

To add to the story, this was within the first 12 hours of meeting Adam's parents. And I spent the next few hours helping the family move 20 tons of rock. Not an embellishment.

I love the lake house.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In Danger

So, Adam and I came upon an unusual scene today. We stopped to help someone and because of this found ourselves in possible danger. Our prime concern was to get this person to a safe place. But matters were complicated and for a few minutes, I wasn't sure that things were going to turn out well. A thousand scenarios played out in my mind. Adam's looking for a weapon and all of a sudden I didn't feel so tough. I wanted Adam and I out of there right away. Although, it showed me how aware and intelligent and mindfully cautious Adam can be. I trust his decisions and I know he would protect me. That's important.

Anyway, it broke my heart. This person apparently had only one place to go to be safe, and the place we took her seemed volatile. That place scared the crap out of me. I take the stability I have for granted for sure. If I was in the same situation, there are probably at least twenty numbers I could call right now to find a haven. I don't know anything about this girl, but I'm sure if she managed her relationships differently, perhaps she would be welcome. Literally, she had no friends. And the 'friend' she did have didn't seem too happy about the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Girl Worth Fighting For

You know, every girl wants to be deemed worthy enough to be fought for. Don't you think? And perhaps, every guy wants to find a girl that's worthy enough to be fought for. This week, I got to direct two shows of this year's musical, Mulan. It was amazing. So many wonderful things happened. The kids really pulled together and performed an incredible show.

The show had five ancestors who debated about things like what a girl is 'supposed' to be and how she should think and speak and act. The Emperor sang to the Captain about going out and getting that girl worth fighting for.

And I can't help but draw comparisons. I think this week, I was fought for. And it feels really wonderful. I had no expectations... well, I had wishes, I suppose, but no expectations. And he amazed me. I'm not saying he felt that he had to have me in his life because I'm something perfect. We all know that was far... very, very far from the truth. But he made an attempt to come after me... the entire 'me' package of scars and loveliness and faults and all... and I think I know why. Maybe it's because he knows me. And I think that is such an amazing, beautiful thought. That he knows me. I love that.

And I know him. I'm knowing him better every day. And I adore him... all his wonderful pieces and all his quirks... cracking knuckles and all.

So... about that dating fast... um. Let's save that for another day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dear Guy at the Back East Bar

First of all, let's be candid here. No room for second-guessing or supposition. I'm going to tell you exactly what's up so you don't make the same stupid mistakes next time. Ready?

Sending your married female friend to our table to ask if one of us would dance with you? Strike one. Big strike one. You know what that tells us? That you are a chicken. And neither me nor my friends want to dance with or pitterpat with a chicken.

Your married female friend comes back and shows us a picture of you with your shirt off. Now will we dance with you? No. You know why? It doesn't matter how hot you are if you are a big fat wimp. Wimpyness trumps hotness. Strike two.

"Listen, my friend has just gone through a terrible divorce. His self-esteem is low. Will you dance with him?" Do not make excuses for your wussiness. And especially, do not send your guy friend over to make excuses for your wussiness. We do not want to pitydance you. Nor do you want to be pitydanced. Am I right? Strike three.

Had you come over yourself, you might have had a chance after the first strike. But now, you are at strike three. My friends and I are signing our receipts. And you very quickly and pathetically have lost your chance. Not a big deal. Just an opportunity for learning. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Send a little testosterone through your veins and next time you are out, go ask that lovely girl to dance (all by yourself). You can do it. A little self-confidence goes a long, long way.

On a side note, today is day nine of my six months of no dating. I'm quite disinterested in anything else. It's a good place to be.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Driving into the Sun

So you know when you are walking a path or driving somewhere and the sun is at an angle where you really can't see anything? You know a little bit about what's ahead, but not alot. But you know that it's going to be really, really good...

I felt that way today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rescue

I used to be very self-righteous. It marked every moment of my life. I would be ever conscious of how I was perceived. I was stuck in that pattern of thinking. Locked. And at another time in my life I used to have terrible fears that sent me into a panic every day. I couldn't shake these no matter how hard I tried. I couldn't change my thoughts. They were there always. They defined every moment and demanded my attention. There was no escape.

But now I find myself free from all of that. I was literally a prisoner to my own way of thinking. It was terrible. Being finally out of it has been the most liberating experience. I credit the entire thing to God knowing me and taking it from me. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't free myself. I couldn't will myself to stop this pattern of thinking. But I was rescued. For no reason other than the fact that I am loved. That's beautiful.

Now, though, I find myself functioning in an unhealthy way - procrastinating when I should be pursuing. And sitting back on my haunches. I delay. And none of it makes any sense. I delay because the stress of having to take care of it is too much for me. But then because I delay, I cause more problems for myself. It's all a way of thinking.

Why do I constantly find myself here? It's a cycle of developing harmful thoughts and then having to be released from them.

My Official Goal: By my birthday in August, I will be debt-free and I will have developed a pattern of thought marked by self-discipline that allows me to function in a more healthy way, financially.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Missing Rob

I want to write. Have you ever felt like there was so much that you needed to process through? I feel that today and so I have sat down to write and I'm not quite sure what needs to be said.

I sat at breakfast this weekend with my lovely friend, Lisa. I have felt for a long time like we are two little peas in our pod. I'm not sure it's a perfect pod. No, it's not. Our little pod has been marked with big, big sadness and lots of joy, too. But we seem to have the same sort of something that is carrying us through. I feel like both she and I are able to take things as they come and to laugh them along. Whatever it is - good or bad.

She posted this video the other day that nearly wrecked me - Dave Matthews singing Grace is Gone. I know Rob and I were not married when he died. But for the life of me, I can't separate it all. He is still the only husband I ever knew. I really thought that I had patched my little self together and been okay knowing that he is gone. But it comes back in waves. I miss him so terribly much. I want to talk with him. Last summer we spent such wonderful time together... having dinners and listening to music in the park. I want him back. Here. On earth. And I'm so upset that God didn't fix it all. He could have.

So what was the point in all of that, really? To love and lose? Great. I'm not one to ask why... but for some reason, I can't get past the fact that I don't understand it. I never said I had to understand. But maybe one day years down the road when I have the family that I don't have now and when I've lived days and seen things I haven't lived or seen yet, maybe I'll understand. Right now I know it was a sad, sad loss for this world to endure.

So, his picture is up in my house. His bracelet is around my wrist. But how can you be near to someone who has left? I will never forget him.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stupid Pasta Salad

I am mad at pasta salad. Shouldn't pasta salad be easy? Not this one. This one has attitude. First, my dogs steal the vegetables off the counter and I come home to one demolished tomato, two remnants of bell pepper, and one mauled zucchini. Then I make this delicious sauce to go with it. I should have known my yummy vinegar sauce wasn't going to stay in that chintzy container from Walmart. Stupid. Of course... where does it end up? Ass over teacup in my carseat. That's where.

Now the Sarahs tell me my car smells like feet and makes them nauseous.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Official Day One

Well, I'm counting today day one. Today is the first day in a while that I have been totally without a love interest. Fasting... can you fast love interests? If you can fast television and criticism, then you can fast love interests. 40 days seems like a very Biblical number to fast. But it seems awfully easy to do. Six months.

It will be easier if I don't wash my hair or shave my legs. Look ugly and it will be easy, right?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Goodbye?

i really can't explain what happened with adam. i don't even really understand it. all i know is that we had a really fantastic time together. really, really fantastic. he is outrageously wonderful. and i am shocked that it's all over.

i really do hope that it isn't over. i feel like there is alot more for us. and i keep running the details through my head. most of the time, i've got so much going on that it doesn't cross my mind. but then i come home to my very lonely house or i see a blue subaru on the road or someone on a motorcycle or a bike or i drive past a restaurant we've been to and it all comes rolling back.

adam is one of those amazing people you never want to say goodbye to.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Minute of My Brain Today

stage left. stage right. how are we going to get the props there? that was a really great scene. awesome inflection! i guess we can do without the gong. i know she wasn't center stage but at this point, i don't have the patience to mess with it. seriously... you have had your lines for five months and you don't know them still? where is your prop? can i trust you not to miss your cue? pitches, guys. please listen to the music. watch me! get that bench out. whoa. totally lost. stage voices - louder! do you even know the words to this song? didn't i send that e-mail last week? when are we going to go over lights? what about the curtain? and the fog machine? how's that going to work? oh. they're hungry. they need food. be quiet! open up. do you see you are blocking the people behind you? stand in the window! watch it with the swords! you missed your cue because you were eating a snack. hmmm. wow... that was incredible. amazing! wait for that scene change music. you come on stage during a blackout. what are the motions for that? give me more energy, please. videographer. photographer. program. t-shirts. kudos board. headlamps. directions to the place. costumes. costume change. get me out of here. we need more rehearsal. my dogs. bills. adam. second grade assessments. plan garage band unit. i am hungry. go eat. go back to work. fix the car. cancel guitar lessons. i need a beer.

STOP!

breathe.

fizzle... sizzle... poof...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Living Praise

Imagine this... if daily life, the regular coming and going, tasks and rendezvous, instead of taking the form of monotony were opportunities to celebrate and to learn. If we weren't so consumed with the to-do's that we would take each situation as it came to fully live it and enjoy it. To gulp it down and to get sloppy in it. I wonder how many people have truly made this concept come alive in their own lives. We get so bogged down and busy.

And when we take the time to develop a routine to slow down - to take walks, to read, to write - it often becomes taken for granted. These habits we develop to enrich our lives become tedious and we dredge through them without the wonder and appreciation that we had when we first began them. Does this happen with everything we do? And how can we keep that joy for those little moments while being sucked into the daily monotony of our own lives?

It is easy for me to see God in a lightning storm... to pause and to watch and to let gratefulness fill up my muscle and bone - in every nerve and every vein. But I've let that wonder slip out of the everyday. I am reading a book called Praise Habit by David Crowder. I love how the author talks about the first time you let that gratefulness and wonder pound back into your conscious... "It is the deep breath after having forgotten to breathe." He talks about how in the beginning, we knew that God was everywhere around us and in us... "He was in the breeze and under rocks and in our love and in our skin".

That just makes me feel alive.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ok, Fine...

I admit... marriage is a good thing.

It took me a while to find myself out of that bitter, hate-the-world stage I was in just after Rob and I split up. After everything ended, I couldn't care less about anything. There was almost nothing that mattered to me. I became pretty desensitized. I remember being at my best friend's wedding. The bouquet toss. All the lovely single ladies clustered together like a flock of geese... gaggling about catching the bouquet. And calloused, newly 'single' me, remained a hefty 20 yards away, just to be sure there was no danger in me catching anything. I even folded my arms. Yet, due to the gradually intensifying heckling I underwent from my friends and the single guys in the area, I reluctantly agreed to step 10 yards forward. I figured it would appease my best friend if I at least participated. Well, I'm sure you can guess what happened next... the bouquet sails through the air as though it were an arrow, and I, its magnificent target. Whap! It hits the ground right at my feet. Had I held my arms away from my body, as is tradition in an event of this sort, I would have caught it. I glared at it. Devil poison. Get thee back, you detestable beast. You love-rubbish.

Don't worry. I was peer-pressured into picking it up.

Anyway, that one event describes quite perfectly my feelings on marriage and love at the time. I was exactly the girl you did NOT want at your wedding. Well, I've found my way through the days since then and somehow have come out on the other side of this terrible stage. Singed, perhaps... but suffering no third-degree burns as I thought I had.

Marriage is worth it. I know that now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Love Languages a la Doggie

Ever read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? My dogs each have their own little love language.

Harley could not possibly survive without physical touch. He is in doggie heaven if only my fingertips would brush across him. When we go on walks, he checks in every now and then, touching his nose to my fingertips. He LIVES for touch.

Wyatt... quality time. He needs to be walked and to be played ball with. He wants to spend the first moments of the day nestling and snuggling with me. If he doesn't get his quality time, I can expect an over-hyper doggie zombie when I come home.

And Mocha, my roommate's dog, is all about receiving gifts... food, namely. He is a food hound. Whereever he can get it, he does. And if it comes from you, well, you are his new favorite person.

As you can see, I've got a lot of needs to fill.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

That Leather Jacket

I've had dresses hanging in my room for a few days. They are hanging across the front of my bookcase. There's silky slender blue ballgowns. There's a crazy patterned black and white knee-length go-go dress. There's strapless cocktail dresses and beautiful embroidered full ballgowns.

As I look across my room, I've got sultry red candles and reed diffusers. I have lotions and high heels. Yesterday's discarded clothes including underthings and tailored pants... fitted shirts and bits of jewelry. There's mascara and foundation and lip gloss.

One item doesn't go with this theme... a burly chocolate-colored retro-style motorcycle jacket.

It's awesome. It's not mine. But I really wouldn't mind if it hung there for days and days. The leather is thick. The zippers make a deep scratching zzzzzzz. It smells of metal and cologne and hide. And seeing it there among my dresses makes me smile. It's comforting in a way... like being wrapped up in a man's arms. Like feeling his scratchy face on yours and hearing his broad footsteps cross the floor.

I miss all that.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Going to the Ball

So, a typical Friday for me entails meeting my friends out somewhere... eating delicious food... and having a few beers. Super laid back. Lots of jokes. Maybe dancing. Maybe bowling. Maybe crazy costumes. And on occasion it involves roller skates and afro wigs.

Well, iron your wifebeaters and trim your mullets, cuz this Friday night will be something special. I've never used the word 'ball' to describe any place I have ever gone in my life. I have been to the grocery store. I have been to work. But I have never ever been to a ball. I've been to a prom. I've been to a homecoming. But never a ball. I'm not hick in any way. However, I am not accustomed to the prim and proper lifestyle that one adorns to attend a ball. I have a fairly quick tongue and tend to make off-color and completely hilarious jokes. I can't stick out my tongue or punch anyone. I've got to tone down my sassiness. I want my date to be proud that I am on his arm. I want to be classy and beautiful and lovely.

I am quite excited. Can you tell? I feel as though I was just asked to the prom. Except it's way cooler. I am wearing a lovely ball gown. A strapless black dress with mint-colored accents and beautiful beadwork and embroidery. It's stunning.

I am quite glad to not be a prissy girly-girl. I like my adventures and my scars and my gettin' dirty. But it's an entirely different feeling to be lovely. I was mentioning to Adam that it's a little tricky to be as outdoorsy as I want to be and still be feminine. You just don't tend to look as lovely with scabs and scrapes making your legs look like a roadmap.

I tried the dress on for Adam yesterday. And his eyes lit up. They really did! That's an awfully wonderful feeling. I certainly don't have any delusions of grandeur or perfection. I just am planning on having a wonderful time and on making Adam glad that I am with him. He is too wonderful for anything less.

I know.... I just posted that I wasn't dating. Well... that's going to have to wait until after the ball.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Brainless

Dear Brainless Exercise Fanatic:

At what point did you think jogging down Las Vegas Boulevard in the midst of oogling tourists on the block right where they've narrowed everything down to build CityCenter would be a good idea? I only saw you for about four seconds as I passed you, but it was enough. Your uptight little glare at all the hundreds of people ahead of you. They were impeding your progress. Their congestion was slowing your heart rate. Their pace FAR too slow for your athletic stride.

Hey. Guess what. The city is filled with treadmills. There's great trails all around the city. Heck... no one takes the stairs. Go run yourself up to the top of the Stratosphere. Use your brain, genius.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The No-Relationship Zone

Six months... a year... I don't know. Can I do it? Of course. Do I want to? At this moment - most definitely. But I can see myself regretting this plan down the road. I can see myself being tempted to high-tail it back into serial dating.

It's strange, I think, that I find myself repetitively in these semi-long-term quasi-relationships. I date one person for a series of months and poof. Gone for one reason or another (now, I realize 'gone for one reason or another' also indicates me breaking things off for stupid reasons). I know. That's what dating is all about. I fully admit that I may be in a severe state of confusion. So sometime down the road, I may look back on this and admit I was crazy. Whatever. It is what it is. This pattern is making me feel like that's all I should expect. But truly, there's much more to a really solid, beautiful relationship.

So, as far as RelationshipSteph goes... count me out.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Commitment

I have to say I've found that in beginning relationships, commitment is rare. For whatever reason, boys shy away from commiting themselves in a relationship because they aren't sure what's around the corner. They'd hate to pull you into their lives just to miss the great thing that they are sure is coming their way. Right? There's nothing like quasi-commitment to make a girl feel semi-wanted. Hey... wake up. I AM that great thing. Self-righteous? No. Self-promoting? No. Confident? Yes. Absolutely. I know girls. And I know I am a catch. So what's the hold up? Catch me.

I might as well swim my self out to sea. Find myself an adventure and in the meantime maybe find someone who is willing to risk the rough waters to find something worth catching. I'll leave the mackerel to you men who won't step off the shore.

Monday, March 2, 2009

No, Sir. I Actually Do NOT Need A Truck

I ran to Home Depot today. Very quick trip. I grabbed some wood, threw it in my car. Shut the back door and began to get into the drivers seat.

"You see?!? That right there is why you need a truck."

I look over to see an old man. It's okay to say he was old, right? I mean, he clearly was old enough to be a grandpa. Why is 'old' perceived as such a criticism? Sometimes, it's just plain true.

I didn't notice that I was struggling at all to fit the very long wood in my car. Actually, I just stuck it through the space between the two front seats and it fit just fine. No issue. So what encouraged him to yell out across the parking lot at me? Is he a truck lover? Has he had damaging relationships with small cars in the past? Does he have stock in Ford or Dodge? I don't know.

That was one of only two instances in the last year that I have needed to fit something large in my car. And in zero of those instances did I think, "Damn. I wish I had a truck." Whatever it was that I needed to cram in there fit like a glove. All I could think of as I closed the door was, "No. Old Man. I do NOT need a truck. Clearly, the wood fit in here just fine. Don't you know how much it would drive me crazy to drive a truck? To jump up in that thing and to haul around town like some big time Texan? To spend about twice what I do in gas? Old Man, I got 38 miles to the gallon on my last trip to Buena Vista. Didn't seem to need a truck then, did I? You don't even know me. You don't know my needs. You don't know what I haul around. I'm a single girl, for heaven's sake! What business does a single girl have owning a truck? Tell me that!"

And I wished upon wished that I had just said it all right there.

Really would have taught him a lesson, huh? Right? RIGHT?!?

Quiet.

I've been discovering my own need to be quiet and to be by myself. To turn off music. To turn off my phone and to bury myself in reading and thinking and journaling. This is the quiet, reflective side of me that I'm sure people don't recognize. All too often, I'm the brash and brutally honest, slightly in-your-face me. A friend of mine wrote a blog entitled, Breathe. It talks about intentionally placing yourself in a spot where you can fill your lungs and settle your mind and heart. It's all too necessary and all too overlooked. I recently have wrapped myself in social events - moving from one workout session to a dinner party... from one girls night out to another night in with my guy. And all I need sometimes is to be. Quiet. Settled. Alone.

Breathe.

Well, I spent some time reading today. I read slowly through a paragraph. I read it again. And then I read sentence by sentence. Words tangled through my thoughts. And I questioned the intent of what I had read. I journaled. And when I came out of this time, I thought about the following things... I realized how selfish I've become and how wrapped up in myself I get. And I realized how very, very little all of that matters. Sad, really. I have no significant issues in my life and yet I perseverate on running every little detail through my mind until I'm exhausted of it. Am I really that exciting? No. I'm really not.

I also thought of the idea of home. And what it means to make my home. My physical home is not the idea here. But instead, I really mean how I create my life and where I place value. Where am I settled and comfortable? Where am I at peace and at rest?

I love the word, abide. It indicates so many things. On a surface level it indicates staying or residing. To wait for something and to remain faithful to something. I love that. It's up to me what I choose to stay with... to be faithful to... and whatever it is that I choose, ends up being my home. And it's there I can rest.

That idea is beautiful.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Devil's Advocate

My opinion:

I don't think guys fall in love. Yes... okay. EVERYONE disagrees with me. Fine. You don't have to agree. I'm just playing devil's advocate. Let's just suppose that guys don't fall in love. Why would we do that? Because it would just make me feel much better. That's why.

I'm just trying to think through all the gents I've had the pleasure to know in my lifetime. I think I've dated my fair share of boys. Starting with Jason S. freshman year of highschool. That one shouldn't even actually count. The first one never counts because all you do is tell people you are going out. And you talk on the phone like three times and then you break up.

Rob R. loved me. That's for sure. How do I know? Because I just know. It was nothing he did or didn't do. I just know he did. So, I guess that blows my theory out of the water. So let me rephrase it... Few guys fall in love.

Well, then there's all the boys that fell in love with my friend, Abby... and all the boys that are constantly in love with my friend, Sarah. And then there's my grandpa and my grandad. And my dad, who loves my mom. And all those stupid sappy boys who fall in love with women in the chick flicks. Well, Max really loved Angela. I know that for sure. And there's a teacher at work who is in love with his wife. Alot. And I'm sure all my friends husbands are in love with them. Damn it. So, let me again rephrase my theory... Few guys fall in love - with me.

I am okay with that. Not everybody in the known world has to be in love with me. My dogs are in love with me. My friends love me. My family... yes. I'm not complaining.

I'm just warning you. One day somebody will be in love with me. And he better watch out, because I might be in love with him too and then what will we do? We'll have to do all the stuff that people do when they're in love, like smile. And write notes to each other. And bake cookies as a special surprise. And plan birthday parties for each other and go on vacations together.

It's all too much to fathom.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Birds of a Feather

My friend is afraid of birds. So afraid that she waters her flowers and bushes while wearing a bike helmet.

I want to buy her a parrot.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Frowzy is a Word... aka: My Physical Disability

Now, I'm not one to complain. The fact that I have a less than ideal sense of smell has never created mass hysteria for me. It's been a fact that I graciously accept. To be honest, it's actually kind of nice. There are some perfectly nice boys I have dated that have emitted fumes of mass proportions... clearing a room in three seconds flat. Me? Doesn't even phase me. It might even be considered a bonus.

Well, I left my car closed up for about 24 hours this weekend as I was off on a mountain excursion. I returned to it sensing something odd. It was almost as though I caught a whiff of... rancid yogurt? It was some malodorus scent that existed almost as a shadow or a puff of smoke... barely discernible. Faintly perceived. Musty socks, perhaps? I filled my lungs with oxygen... drawing it through nostril and trachea to see if I was mistaken. Something was amiss.

I'm sure any able-nose-ed person could have practically tasted this odor. But I, taking my time driving home, sniffed and snoffed, pondered and predicted. I wondered... is it repulsive? Is it repugnant? Did my dog eat a loaf of banana bread and barf in the back seat? Did he hide it under a sweater? Was it on the seat? On the floor? What frowzy offense exists in my car?

Yes. Frowzy is a word.

Well, here I sit. Pressing finger to keyboard. Arranging letter and word. Manipulating sentence and phrase. And my car smells like a musty porcupine engorged of sauerkraut and frozen yogurt.

Don't just sit there. Go take care of it, You.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

25 Things I Have Done

1) Kicked a boy in the face for looking up my dress. Age 7.
2) Driven my car off of a large embankment and broken the axle. Age 19.
3) Skinny-dipped in a lake above 9,000 feet. Age 19.
4) Performed the role of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. Age 14.
5) Sung the role of Cherubino in the opera, The Marriage of Figaro. Age 19.
6) Developed a secret code which I used to obsess over the boys I had a crush on. Age 13.
7) Dressed in a hot dog costume and rode a motorcycle around town. Age 29.
8) Nursed a baby bird back to health... right before it died. Age 15.
9) Listened to live music in the cold, Colorado rain. Age 28.
10) Learned to drive a motorcycle. Age 28.
11) Learned to drive a stick shift. Age 28.
12) Went on an exciting beach vacation. Age 27.
13) Climbed two Colorado 14ers. Age 20 and Age 21.
14) Climbed my first multi-pitch route. Age 23.
15) Used inappropriate language with some old ladies in a needle-point chat room. Age 17.
16) Called the police on my friends who were stomping around on my roof. Age 21.
17) Got caught by the police making out with Rob in our car. Age 22.
18) Won $50 in a writing contest. Age 11.
19) Explored central Mexico. Age 23.
20) Ate whole baby octopus. Age 14.
21) Made a pie including peanut butter, syrup, barbeque sauce, hot chili sauce, and baking soda and fed it to my cousin's neighbor.
22) Rode my bike (with no brakes) down a very steep hill in Vail and crashed it into a giant boulder. Age 12.
23) Sung at an open mic night. Age 27.
24) Dated a long-haired, motorcycle-riding rocker. Age 19 and Age 28 (Same guy, although the hair was shorter when I was 28).
25) Dressed my little brother in my clothes... including dress, headband, and frilly socks. Age 11.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Harley... What You Sneaking?

Dear Harley-Dog....

You are chubby. And so I have been feeding you less than usual. So I feel like you are more inclined to do naughty things when I am around. I admit to being slightly suspicious of your 'alone at the house' activities.

So last night... or this morning, I guess... when I got home I was surprised to see the house was in perfect order. Trash cans in place. Nobody had found any miscellaneous item to chew up. Good dogs. So I went to bed. And so did you.

What exactly do you think you can sneak by me? I'm a pretty sharp cookie, Harley-Who. Have you sneakified things in the past? I am generally unobservant of important details. Well, this one didn't slide by me. A candy cane. Who knew dogs liked candy canes? Wasn't there a way you could eat it to avoid chunks of it getting stuck in the fur around your mouth? And you thought you fooled me. Negatory, Harley. I am a human. You are a dog. I am better than you.

Sincerely, Mama

Friday, February 6, 2009

Back to Normal??

Well, I never anticipated grief to show it's face like it did. And it disappeared quite strangely before I knew it was gone. Perhaps it will show up again but this last weekend, it was so heavy, I thought it would be my close companion for quite a while.

Strange.

In those moments of grief insanity, I think I blew a bit of a gasket and wrote a letter to break things off with this wonderful man I have been seeing. My friends all thought I was crazy. Why I would sabotage a good thing, I don't know. I guess I felt that I was too much of a mess to require him to spend time on me. However, he's one of the ones that held my hand and let me grieve. He's not perfect and neither am I. I am still not sure that we are right for each other. Is there some sort of timeline that dictates how long you wait around to feel like someone is right for you? Well, if I completely disregard all of that, I know that I love being around him. He is wonderful to me. He is thoughtful and caring. He gives in many ways. He smiles at my quirks.

I always think that if 'his' (whoever that 'his' may be) mother doesn't know about me, then I'm not really that important to him. Is that strange? I know it's somewhat silly. I mean, his mother might know about me even if I am not important to him. Seems like twisted logic, but it's my logic, nonetheless. I say all that to say this: his mother doesn't know about me. Seems like a chapter out of He's Just Not That Into You. Oh, yeah? Well... I... I refuse to leave my things at his house. And I don't leave my schedule empty just in case he asks. So there.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sarah's Glasses

This is truly a spectacle.

My friend, Sarah, just bought glasses yesterday. She pushed them up her nose. She squinted without them. She did all the things you do when you have glasses. She fogged them up and wiped them off. She said, "I can't see without my new glasses." And she became worried about misplacing them.

Where did she go to get them? Lenscrafters? No. Doctor's VisionWorks? No. Does she even know the name of a REAL place to get glasses? No. She bought them at Urban Outfitters and they are not even prescription.

She is a glasses poser.

Processing

The memorial service magnified my grief.

It has been so intense since then. I woke up Saturday morning and felt heavy, heavy, and sullen and so, so, terribly sad. The words grief and sorrow now mean something to me. And now tears come even when I'm not thinking of him. They used to come when I would think of him in heaven... or of our time together. But now they come when I don't expect them. Sunday morning was terrible, too. Trying to hold it all together while I'm around people. I couldn't do it. I cried and cried and cried. I can't imagine how his sweet mother feels.

When I'm not buried underneath all of that, I feel absolutely nothing at all. I can still smile. I can still laugh. But I truly feel incapable of any emotion. And that's why I feel I have to stop dating this wonderful man that I have been seeing. I couldn't ask him to stick around for this ridiculousness. I feel completely emotionally bankrupt. I know he is wonderful. But I can't give him 100%.

Here is what I need: I need my dear, dear friends to know Rob. No one I know now really knows him. And it makes me incredibly sad. I want to show them pictures and I want to play the music we played at our wedding. And I want to make his delicious chili. I want to tell stories about him and to try to remember what we did. I want to remember everything.

Here is what I want: I want to go with Rob's brother and his best friends when they take his ashes to the top of Long's Peak. I don't know if they will let me. But if they don't, then I will go there myself and sit and speak with him and tell him goodbye.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Words for Rob

I said goodbye to you yesterday. Or at least I think I did. Your friends were all around. Your family filled up the front rows. Last time that happened, we were getting married. Do you remember how it felt to have EVERYONE we loved there? Overwhelming. But you weren't there this time. And it was the most surreal feeling. Where were you? It couldn't be real, right? Any second now, you would be walking in the door. I think of all the times that we lived together that you would come through the front door. It was so normal.

Did you hear the story I told? I sat there, debating whether or not to go up. All I could think of was how much everybody hated me. And how with every word I spoke, they would be seething. But I knew that wasn't true. Richy, Steve, Matt, Erin, and Laurie... they all showed me love... unexpected. And I knew that maybe someone in that room would want to hear that silly story about you eating breakfast naked in the snow in Moab.

It was so good to hear Richy talk about you. And Erin. And Matt and Steve. You and I only had 8 married months together without cancer. It was so long ago, that sometimes I wasn't sure if I would remember our good times. But they reminded me.

You were so faithful. So funny. So authentic and genuine. You loved me.

You know what I thought today? That we never should have gotten a divorce. And that is why I woke up this morning at 4am. My heart weighed 100 pounds. And today at the mall, I wanted to buy something that would always remind me of you. A necklace. But I couldn't find anything. I don't want to date anyone. I just want to be alone and practice music and make you proud.

It makes me think about the purpose of my life. Really, I'm here to give to my friends and my students. And that's it. Everything else can leave me alone.

I haven't said goodbye to you yet, have I?

Monday, January 26, 2009

It Was So Bright and You Just Disappeared

Here is what Erin wrote you on your Facebook:



"Hi Robbie Roo. Oh I'll miss you. Do they have Facebook up in Heaven? I'm sure God will tell you I called. I'm so excited for you! No more hardship and pain! I read your testimony again, all about how Jesus saved you, and it made me so happy. I know where you are. I was worshipping God with a bunch of crazy teens right when you died, and I thought, wow, this is what Robbie would want me to be doing right now. Just like we used to do. During worship I imagined God consuming you with His glory. It was so bright, and you just disappeared. Wow. Well, I love ya Rob Renfroe. I'm gonna race into your arms when I see you again, so get ready! Bye Bye for now, but just for now. yer pal Fostage"



And after I read this, I could barely breathe.

Love you, Erin.

I Can't Stop Thinking


We last had dinner at La Creperie.

The last thing he said to me: "It's ok."

The last thing we ate together was rootbeer shakes from that ice cream place off of south Union.

The last time I heard him laugh... this summer. Our last conversation... in the park listening to music. We've had many silent moments since then. And now he is gone from the world.

But now he's back to who he was in full health... right? I wonder if he can look down and see us. I wonder if he remembers that I love him. I wonder what he is doing.

I looked at his picture today. I've had his pictures up in my house for months. He meant so much to me and he taught me everything of value. I look at pictures of him sick and swollen. And his death makes sense. But I see pictures of him joking, healthy, strong. And it doesn't make any sense. He's 30 years old.
The whole situation is ridiculously shitty. Ridiculously shitty that we had to deal with all that. Ridiculously shitty that we couldn't work things out. Ridiculously shitty that he had to suffer for so long. You know, it is what it is. Max always says that. And it's true. We have to take everything in stride. I don't get to have an opinion of what should have been. Because I can't change any of that. And it brings me back to thoughts on being present and living fully in this moment. Because this moment is the only moment that I have to DO. I don't have the next moment or the past moment. But I do have this moment. And at this moment I can DO anything I want to DO. I suppose this whole situation - shitty as it was, taught me what I couldn't learn otherwise. And if I look past all the terrible, there was so much beautiful. There really was. Otherwise this wouldn't be so hard.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goodbye, Rob

Rob is in heaven today.

I said goodbye to him two and a half years ago. He moved out. And we started our lives apart from each other. Today is sad. I think of him, now in heaven. Finally free from that crippled body. Can you imagine how he sounds? I can hear his laughter still. I'm sure it's ringing through heaven as the angels celebrate along with him. And for that, I celebrate with him.

But he is gone. How can this be real?

If we had said our final goodbyes two years ago, today would find me empty. Destitute and lost. But the one solace I find rests in our reconciliation. The sweet and simple forgiveness that defined the last year of our relationship. I can't tell you how much it comforts my heart to know that he loved me until his last breath. And I love him. Today and always. Our last moments together, I fed him breakfast. And if his family hadn't been in the room, I would have laid up next to him. And touched his skin. And kissed his shoulders. I wonder now why I didn't do it when I had the chance. But I think it may have outraged his family. I don't know if they understand the love that, even after our divorce, drew us together.

So, there is a measure of hope in all this dispair. And tomorrow, the sun will rise and I will go to work and teach just like I do every Monday. Lacking serenade and pomp. The day will go on for everyone just like every day goes. But for me, my thoughts will be on him and how happy he must be, now free from his suffering.

His vest hangs in my closet. It's all I kept.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Men Love Food

How To Make a Man Happy...

Smile.
Laugh.
Wear skirts.
Be trustworthy.
Make eye contact.
Be emotionally stable.

And above all... make delicious food.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Befuddled

I am confused. I am in the middle of a situation that I feel totally unprepared to handle. I have been hanging out with this great crew of people for a while. It's been lots of fun. We do super fun things together. The guys are all wonderful to hang out with and so are many of the girls. But there are a few in that crew who just DO NOT like me. For whatever reason... I have no idea. I'm fairly easy to get along with. I've just never been in this situation. And I dealt with it for the last few months by ignoring it. I thought that if they didn't like me, I was sure there was something we would have in common and it would only be a matter of time before we hit it off.

It never was that big of a deal. But it has come to the point that I feel like I need to do something about it... either address it directly or slink my way out of the group. I feel like these chicas would be stoked that I left. I just don't understand. What is it about me that is so terrible?

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Adamantly Refuse

I will NOT wear skinny jeans. Nor will I wear tights underneath a long sweater. Are we clear?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eating Miso

"I really don't know what eating miso has to do with marrying a Japanese guy."

I love my friend, Mya. I miss her so much. But I have to say, I love her stories. She's gone to Japan to teach English. And her daily life is an adventure. Traveling to the grocery store, folding up her recyclables, getting asked out on dates. I love it. This experience has got to be growing her in so many areas. I am envious of it. Perhaps envious enough to leave this place and head off into a different place to throw myself into the current of living.

She has a date this week with a handsome Japanese man. I am so curious about this. I wonder where they will go and what their conversation will be like. The language barrier (should I really call it that?... maybe the language challenge) is so thrilling. I am in love with places in which multiple languages are heard. I'm not sure why it is so amazing to me. To sit in a conversation where patches and pieces of Japanese and English are being used is riveting! I feel even more excited about this same situation with Spanish and English. I love it.

I want to be there when Mya talks about life in the States or when she tries to explain American culture. She's so good at making things understandable. She is going to have a great time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Third Grade Breakup

So here is how it goes. A conversation between me and my sweet student...

"My mom said I'm too young to have a boyfriend. So I have to dump him."

"Yeah. Third grade is pretty young for a serious relationship."

"Yeah. He rubs my back."

"That's bad news."

"I'm gonna dump him. COLE!!!!!! I GOTTA TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!!! It's over. We were never really together to begin with." And she runs away laughing. With her two friends.

He stands there stunned for a moment. Eyes getting a little cloudy. Chance of precipitation increasing. And I step in. "Hey, Cole. What's up? I heard you beat Ben in a race yesterday."

"... Yeah. I did."

"You ok? What'd she say?"

"Nothing."

In runs the chick crew again. "COLE! Aren't you going to chase us?" Pause. Big smiles. And he takes off running after her and her friends just slow enough to give them a head start.

Hmmm... so that's how it's done.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Somebody's Watching...

So, I have a student teacher.

And it makes me painfully aware of every good teaching practice that I used to do that I now slack on. I have all these structures and strategies that I used to practice. Things that used to keep me organized. Ideas I used to want to develop. And now everything is in a crumpled pile at the recesses of my mind. Why did I stop these things? Time? Because I am lazy?

One year, I sewed a huge six by four foot fabric pocket chart with eight rows of nine colors in each row. For my recorder unit. Sewed it. No pattern. Do I even sew? I cut each pocket. Hemmed it. Lined it up. And sewed it onto a big black sheet. Do you know how many pockets that is? Seventy-two. And as I proudly made the finishing touches on my big project... I absentmindedly burned through it with a hot iron. Good. Fantastic.

My plan book. I have a beautiful way to keep track of what my kiddos are learning in six-week chunks. And when I use it, I am on top of the world. I line up all the activities with standards, benchmarks, and expectations to ensure that my kids are getting it all. It sits on my desk. And sits. I look at it. And it sits.

All my transition songs. I have songs for getting into a circle. Songs for lining up. Songs for getting things out. Songs for putting things away. Songs for keeping hands still. Songs for zipping your lips. These are songs that good music teachers use to make classroom management simple. Do I use them? Nah. Do I even teach songs, I wonder? I hate teaching songs. "Here, copy after me." How many times must I do that? That's not the only way to teach songs, of course. But it certainly is the default. I hate the default.

I am a good teacher. I know it. I am a really, really good teacher. And I could certainly be a better teacher if I could get myself together. Here's why I am a good music teacher... I try to be intentional about not shutting kids down. I try to make sure that they are encouraged enough to keep trying music even though they aren't perfect at it. I don't want them to give up before they even have given themselves a chance. My kids can sightread. My kids are thoughtful musicians. And excellent singers. I give my kids a chance to do things that most music teachers are scared to even think about. And those are things that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

But I don't teach enough songs. I do a crappy job teaching instrument families. And music history. I haven't taken my kids on a field trip. Integrating literature and music... not enough. International folk songs. Hmm. I don't make the older kids use their journals as much as I should. I haven't used my cool grouping technique in months. They love it. I suck at Orff technique.

Thanks, student teacher. I have a lot of work ahead of me.