December 9, 2010

Oh, Peanut Butter...

I love peanut butter. No, really. I loooooove it. It's seriously an addiction, one of my downfalls. I've been known to eat it straight from the container - heck, I've been known to eat a whole container, never once putting the contents on bread or any other delivery mechanism - save a spoon.

Today, though? Today may have set the tides of my love a'turning.

Earlier this week, my students wrote a procedural-text, explaining to the reader (ahem: me) how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Today, I tested their instructions. I had all the ingredients necessary, and had each student read his/her essay aloud as I followed the instructions written (and ONLY those instructions written).

Needless to say, it was a hilarious class time. We laughed a lot, and not many of my students received a complete sandwich.

But I'm finding peanut butter under my fingernails...and in my hair...and behind my ears. I'm not even sure HOW peanut butter got behind my ears; I'm actually afraid to think too much about it (I do promise you that all behavior was appropriate...well, save the sticking my hands into tubs of peanut butter and jelly).

Oh, peanut butter. I'll miss you. But for right now, I'm not sure I can handle this love affair...

November 26, 2010

My Life in Pictures - Be Afeared.

I was going through the pictures on my phone today, and I realized that...well...if someone were to base their judgment of my personality on those photos...I would be locked up for good.

I can explain:

I'm not picking my nose. I took this picture to send to a friend, back east, who didn't know that I had pierced my nose. REALLY.

Don't judge:

I live in a weird town. This is Halloween. They had a "Pet Parade" in our minuscule downtown area...why my neighbor has a pet goat, I do not know, but I had to take a picture of it. Let's not even begin to discuss the costumes, okay?

Also, I HAD to take a picture of...uh...THIS. (To be honest, I'm not quite sure which is more magnificent: the fairy on the horse, the zebra horse in the background, or all the goats that ended up in the parade.)

I have to document these things...REALLY:

My bestie is well...I laugh a LOT when I am with her, and there are times where that old adage, "A picture's worth a thousand words," really truly comes into play.

(We had just gone grocery shopping. I think she thought someone would reach in through the window and steal her food. Either that, or she was worried about losing her chicken strips in a car accident.)

We decided to carve Jack o' Lanterns. It's a miracle we didn't cut our hands off:

(This is part way though...)

(There might have been a Jack o' Lantern-tastrophe.)

(That required dry-wall nails to fix...)

(As well as 2-days' worth of calories in Candy Corn...)

She wins the MacGyver Award!!! (Mine are the polka-dotted ones. I think they're cute)

Then, as I continue scrolling, I find this:

I really need to apologize, again, to my neighbor, K. THIS was outside her door one night, and instead of killing it, I slunk along the opposite wall, praying it wouldn't see me and think of me as a tasty snack. See its eyes? Yep, they're sooo big that they reflected the light.
(I really, really, really don't like spiders. REALLY don't like them. I have the heebie-jeebies right now just thinking about this "encounter.")
Also, K, THANKS. You rock. Not only have you forgiven me for freaking out and not saving you from impending doom of the spider; but the next morning, you killed this thing. You are my hero.

Soooo, about that bestie...

I've learned that it's probably best NOT to leave her unchaperoned in the car. Even for the five minutes it takes to fill up the car with gasoline...

(I named him "Guido.")

Oh Dear. Oh My. I'm Sorry...

I really should've deleted this picture, but it still makes me laugh. Inappropriately, wickedly, unapologetically, in a completely juvenile way. This was purely an accident, but then, of course, I had to document it...

If you're going to send me to the Loony Bin, please remember that I'd love a bed with a window nearby and to make sure to bring the jacket that allows me to hug myself. I like hugs.

November 23, 2010

For Now...I'm Thankful for Hair...

I have a lot to be thankful for this year; my family is healthy, I'm surrounded by loved ones, and I have a job that I adore. Tonight, though, I'm with a gaggle of amazing, hilarious, strong, beautiful women, getting our hair done, eating lots of great food, drinking wine, and sharing life.

These nights are a balm for my soul; I love these women, and looking extra beautiful at the end of the night is just a bonus.

I'm grateful for hair. And hair parties. And my amazing Hair Whisperer of a hair stylist. If you want her number, let me know...

October 27, 2010


I read an article in this morning's "Dear Abby" about a woman who lost her battle with cancer. During her illness, she faced it head-on, fought it; but she also had enough reality to grasp that she wasn't going to win. So, she loved her family deeply, and she made sure they had memories of the good times...they made sure to celebrate all the holidays to the fullest - even if they weren't on the actual date of the holiday. She wanted one last time to celebrate - for herself and for them - with her loved ones.

It made me tear up. It also made me remember D. D was a loved one; someone with whom I had planned to build many a memory throughout my life. That was before the "C" word struck, and before that same word tore our well-laid plans to shreds.

I spent many an hour with D while he fought valiantly against the horrific illness that took over his body. Crawled up in bed with him while he received Chemo, sat holding his hand and communicating without words when the radiation burned his throat so badly that it was excruciating to talk, and told him how much I loved him - as a friend, as a person, as a man - while he was in a coma a few days before he slipped into eternity.

The thing about D was that, although he knew he wouldn't win this war - the cancer was too insidious - he made sure to LIVE those last few months. He was confined to a wheelchair; the cancer had eaten away at his spinal column, but man! Did he live that life to the fullest. He would pop "wheelies" in parking lots, tell wild stories of his youth, dyed his hair (before the Chemo took it) a different outrageous shade each week, and made sure to tell us loved ones (over, and over, and over) how much he loved us.

His last words to me were how much he loved me. How much he believed in me. How much bigger God's dreams were for me, and how I needed to chase after those dreams with everything in me...never giving up, continuing to put one foot in front of another - even in my exhaustion.

I'm pretty tired right now. Spent. October is a draining month for those of us in education. No breaks, and it's just...LONG. I think God brought me that article this morning just to remind me that life is still GOOD, and that although I'm exhausted, I need to keep putting one foot in front of another. To climb the next hill and to look for the joy in the midst of the pain. Because, there is joy. I just need to remember to find it.

October 20, 2010

My Favorite...

I love this mug. A lot (as evidenced by the fact that I used it this morning - see the coffee? The lipstick on the side? Yep.)

Two years ago, I bought this mug, and my cousin G bought a matching one. G lives in New Zealand; I live...well, not anywhere near NZ, and there's a lot of distance, physically, between us.

We had this brilliant idea the last time she was here, that if we had matching mugs, then when we had coffee (for me) or tea (for her) in the mug, then it would ALMOST be as if the other person was there.

I use this mug almost daily. It makes me remember our hours of talking, laughing, crying, drinking cup after cup after cup of tea...just sharing life together.

And that makes it my favorite.

October 7, 2010

The Hardest Assignment I Ever Had...

Dr. K was my English professor my first quarter of college. He was a tall and gentle man, always helpful, and always willing to listen. I liked that about him. His was also my first class of my college career.

Imagine the situation. I’m two months into my 18th year, and I’ve just, three days before, moved over 2000 miles away from anything familiar. I know no one at this school, heck, I know no one in this state! Yet, there I sat, scared, shy, wondering if this whole "being on your own/forging your own way in the world" thing was worth it.

Dr. K opened class with these words. “Every day, I want you to journal 25 things that you’re thankful for.” Huh??? This is an English class, not a “Sentimental Journey through Your Psyche” seminar. What the heck? But, obediently I pulled out my notebook, turned to a clean page, dated it, and started the list.

I got as far as number one. Just the number. I didn’t have anything to write. I was homesick, I was scared; I didn’t feel grateful. I felt like all I ever wanted in life was to be home with my parents and siblings, to be in my bed, surrounded by my grandmother’s quilt, and hugging my dog. Instead, I was in the basement classroom of a performing arts building, in Minnesota, trying to figure out if I was old enough to be a grown up.

So, I stared at that number one. Stared and stared and stared. I heard one of my classmates ask, “Is this a weekly assignment?”

Dr. K answered, “No. Each day of class, you are to have 25 things on your list. And, not just the same thing repeated 25 times. You can do this, I know you can.” 25 things a day?! That’s 75 things per week (we had class 3 times a week). I didn’t think I could come up with 25 things for the year, let alone a day! “Oh, and I will be reading these,” Doc-the-crazy continued to say. Frustrated tears burned at the back of my eyes. “Can I have the same list, just repeat it each day?” I thought to myself. “I can even list the items in random order!” But, Dr. K had thought of that one, and cut me off at the pass.

“Do not come up with your top-25 list and then reorder it. I will catch on.” He smiled at us, as if he knew; he just KNEW that was what we were thinking. The evil, evil man. He continued, “As I previously stated, 25 different things each day. If you are truly thankful for something, then it can be repeated on different days. But, see how many other things you can come up with.” Man! I was thinking college would be tough because I had to wade through things like “existentialism,” not what I was grateful for! How many times could I write down “friends who love me (although they’re back home),” and “a roof over my head,” and “parent’s health” before he catches on?

I trudged through that first list. I wish I could say that I caught on pretty quickly, but it took me almost the whole quarter to get Dr. K’s message. Being thankful is a daily thing. It’s a choice. And, it’s about the little things. The big things we’re always thankful for. It’s the things like an alarm clock that miraculously goes off in time for your first day of work, even though you forgot to set it, a hot cup of coffee, an anonymous note of encouragement, warm socks, the sunrise, the way the lights play on the snow during Christmas. It’s a shoulder to cry on; it’s a phone call from an old friend; it’s spaghetti with mizthra cheese; it’s warm brownies and cold milk. It’s the tickle of whiskers and a warm body when you want to cry; it’s the smell of home.

I haven’t kept up with “Doc’s 25 Things” in the years after college. But, I remember his message almost daily. It’s a choice thing.

October 5, 2010

The Sweetest Time...

I love lunch. Not just because it's a break in the day, and I can have a few moments where I'm not screaming over a whole bunch of wild banshees, but because of the relationships that can develop.

For some reason, my room has become the haven for my boys. Not the rambunctious, crazy, hilariously over-hyped boys; those I send outside (although, I do love them with the depth and breadth of who I am...). But, the quiet ones, the ones who are a bit...odd, and who need a place to belong. I get those kids.

Today, I ate lunch on my couch, feet tucked up under me, as the guys ate their lunches and read comic books. MY comic books. The good ones: Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Garfield...those kinds.

Every few seconds, one of the boys would burst out laughing; and then he'd have to turn to me. "Ms. Doe! Check this out!!!"

Call me crazy, but I love those moments. Where I don't need to talk, don't need to teach; all I have to do is eat my sandwich and laugh with a kid and give him a place to belong.

It makes my heart happy.

October 1, 2010


Being gluten free and refined-sugar/corn-syrup free means that I get creative. Adapt recipes and hope for the best. This one turned out yummy...

G/F Agave-Sweetened Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins:

I was a dork and made these on the hottest day of the year (Monday night), but now I’m grateful I did. They were seriously worth the sweat and over-heating of the house…

1 ¾ cup gluten free flour mix (I like Pamela’s)

¼ cup unsweetened coconut

¼ tsp. Xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup oil (I use Coconut oil)

¾ cup Agave nectar (I use the light kind)

1 egg

¾ cup milk

1 cup Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips

In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil (or, if you’re like me and making these on the hottest day of the year, you can skip this step – it’s already melted!). You can also use vegetable oil; just skip this step.

While it’s melting, sift together the g/f flour, salt, Xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the coconut & mix together with a whisk.

When the coconut oil is melted, add the agave, milk, vanilla, and egg (the milk should cool the oil enough that the egg doesn’t cook). Whisk together.

Add the wet mixture to the dry; mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin pans, bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until done.

Cool completely (if you can wait!!).

They freeze well, too.

September 21, 2010

Slightly Awkward... of the things I love about where I live is that I can walk to work. I backpack my cute work-outfit in, along with all the girly stuff (makeup, hair goo...even my hair dryer at times), and get ready on campus before the kids show up.

The thing is, sometimes kids are there early. That's usually not an issue; I'm not that vain. The other morning, though, it provided a bit of an awkward moment...

I'm a fan of Christian Kane's music. It's rockin' country, and he has some lyrics that are...well, they wouldn't be appropriate for my conservative religious school community at large. I have no problem listening to the songs (love them, actually), but letting my darling students in on the intricacies of his lyrics isn't something I'm keen to do.

This particular moment in time, our football coach brought some football guys out to a spot in the quad; a spot I'd have to walk right past. Right as I crossed their path, they all bowed their heads to start prayer. Mr. Kane, to whom I was listening on my ipod as I walked across campus, just at that moment dropped the f-bomb.

It struck me as rather funny. Hilarious, actually. I started giggling. Laughing, to tell the truth. Okay...I snorted.

Explaining to our football coach (and Bible teacher) and a bunch of football players about the irony of the situation...and why I was listening to a song that contained profanity...was just too much to do at the moment.

So I just walked away. As they stared.


September 13, 2010

I was THAT girl...

Last night, I was driving home from a VERY long weekend. Friday, I had driven the 3+ hours up to camp to be support staff for our school's beginning-of-the-school-year retreat for our 10th and 11th grade students. I had spent the weekend serving ice-cream sundaes, whirrlies (think McFlurries), dipped cones...pretty much, anything made out of soft-serve; and singing my heart out to "Taylor, the Latte Boy" during skit night.

Leaving camp yesterday, I turned left when everyone else turned right (not a metaphor, I promise...and not a mistake), and spent the afternoon bumming around one of my favorite small downtowns. I then dropped by some dear friends' home to chat and hang out for a while.

By the time I actually headed home, for my 3+ hours journey back, it was early evening. I pumped the ipod, sang my heart out to Glee soundtracks (yes, I'm a Gleek...), and let my introverted self enjoy the hours alone.

20 miles from home, traffic came to a standstill. Luckily, it was right at a cut-off through the hills; a relatively unknown highway that connects two freeways which run parallel to each other. The one I was on is in less of a metropolitan area, so it's easier to travel the majority of the way upon...I then cut over to freeway #2 only a few miles from home...well, that's usually. Due to the traffic, I jumped on the two-lane highway through the hills, figuring that moving in the general direction needed was better than sitting still.

It was just as I was going to head onto highway #2 that I realized it. Flat tire. It's a very distinctive sound, that whoop-whoop-whoop...not to mention the pull on the car. My heart sank, and as I began to search for a safe place to pull over, I silently gave thanks that I had just renewed my AAA-membership.

An hour later, I was back on the road with the "donut" in the place where my front-right-tire should've been. A "donut" being what it is, one cannot drive over 50mph with it on the car. The ONLY way home for me from where I was, was on the freeway.

As I began to merge, I realized that I was going to be THAT driver. The one who does 15mph under the speed limit. The one who everyone speeds up to, curses, and then zooms around. I found myself apologizing to every single vehicle in my vision, and actually trying to get them to understand that I had a spare on my car.

There I was, flashers on, doing 50mph, screaming apologizes (as if they could hear me), and explaining, even though no one could hear me...or read my lips because it was so dark...the whole way home.

I found myself laughing the whole time. The hilarity of the situation far overruled the tragicness.

Now, it's time to load myself up on antihistamines (stupid Latex allergy) and get that car to the mechanic...

September 3, 2010

The Kids Are Alright...

A rather large earthquake hit New Zealand today. 7.4 was the initial magnitude; its epicenter was 18-ish miles from where my loved ones reside.

That SCARED me. G is my cousin, but she's more like a sister; her boys call me "Auntie Jane." Her husband, M, was my first boss...well, my boss for my first "grown-up-after-college-actually-using-my-degree" job. I have spent many an hour sitting at their kitchen counter in NZ, drinking hot tea, and talking (and talking and talking) with G about everything - from first crushes to car accidents.

Their house is a haven for me; although it's thousands of miles away, when I think of a place that brings me peace, their kitchen counter is number one on my list.

For a few hours, I couldn't reach them. I had no idea if they were fine, picking up the pieces of their lives, or lying injured...or a pile of rubble.

That text message beep from G was the greatest sound I've ever heard. The house is a mess; earthquakes have a way of making sure nothing stays where it should, but it's structurally sound, and no one was injured.

I can now breathe again; I think I stopped for a while there...

August 25, 2010

Survival Gear

School started this week. After a long time in this profession, I have come to realize that I had, inadvertently, created my own cache of "First Week Survival Gear." (Truth be told, it really could be dubbed, "School Year Survival Gear," but I'm going with just the first week for now...)

1. Coffee
Seems like a no-brainer, but there is absolutely NO WAY that I would ever survive the crush of the first week without the "Bean Juice" (as a dear friend calls it). Smarter, more disciplined co-workers actually plan, and they begin revamping their sleep cycle a few weeks before school starts, so that when they have to go to bed early the night before...and then get up at the crack of dawn that first day, they can. With very little pain or agony. I'm not one of the smart ones. The Saturday night before school started? Yeah, my bedtime was 2:00AM (so, I guess Sunday morning)...the same it's been all summer. Hence, the extra-large cup of joe that has kept me company every day this week.

2. An amazing alarm clock
See above.

3. A high-quality concealer
The reason for this is three-fold: 1) To cover the dark circles under my eyes which are the effects of above. 2) I always seem to start my period right at the beginning of school (I'm cursed, I tell you, CURSED). Although I'm at an age where I'm beginning to see my mother's wrinkles on my face, I still seem to have my students' acne, too. Concealer, it is! AND, 3) To try to help hide the nose-piercing. Working for a very conservative institution does have its drawbacks (granted, this nose-piercing is new this year, but the concealer was needed for the other two reasons in the past, so it has a valid position on this list).

4. Something pretty on my desk
I found that if I have something that makes me smile, makes me breathe a bit deeper, and makes my heart happy, then I tend not to resent the hours I end up spending at my desk or in my classroom. These have been keeping me company this week:

There's something about the yellow roses, sitting in a mason jar, reflecting the sun through my classroom window that makes me take a deep breath every time I see them. (Same with the picture of the girl, Zione, which is on my desk; the girl in the purple crown. She lives in my heart and in Africa...I promise to explain that at another time...)

And, last but not least, THESE:

Years ago (we won't discuss just how many), on my 21st birthday, I was given these earrings. They were the first pair of "grown up" jewelry I had ever received. What made, and still makes, them so special, is that my best friend and her then-fiance (now amazing husband) were the ones to give them to me. I know they couldn't have afforded these earrings, but they bought the pair anyway. I treasure them. Cherish them. I have worn them during every major event in my life: college graduation, job interviews, loved-ones' weddings, birthdays, milestones...and always, ALWAYS on the first day of school. They're a silent reminder of my friends' love and support...and just how stinkin' blessed I am to have these people in my life. So yeah, the earrings aren't just earrings...they're kind of like hugs for my ears.

August 22, 2010

Luna Park & Hip Swaggers...

I'm the woman who has always battled with body-image. I know that the very fact that we're female means that we are instantly enlisted into this battle, but for me, it's always seemed to be a bit more of a fight.

Thanks to some not-so-nice members of my "family," from a very young age, I've been told how fat and ugly I am. There's only so many times you can stand against those words before they sink into your soul...and it takes a long time for those words to go away...or, at least fade to a quiet whisper.

It also doesn't help that every single one of my friends is GORGEOUS. Smokin', in their very own, unique beauty. Some are a size two, others 22, but each one stands out from a crowd. One's laugh will draw the eye of every person in a crowded room; another's fragility that masks an inner-core of strength has been known to stop a man mid-sentence. I've seen it.

It's only in the past 12 months that I've come to accept, and even begin to love, the curves on my size-16 frame. To be a bit more daring in how I dress, to play up my hourglass figure a bit more, and also accept that I will never, ever be as tiny as the models in magazines. I had known it all along; learning to be okay with that fact, when I'm deluged on a second-by-second basis by America's standard of "beauty" has been, and I think, will forever be a challenge.

I still have my bad moments, though. The other night was one of them. I had gone out for the evening with two of my skinny, darling, amazing, beautiful (outside, but even more inside), stunning, hilarious friends. We had just finished a late dinner, and I had stepped into the bathroom. While in there, every single flaw stuck out in my mind. My hips were too large, my arms weren't toned enough, and Hello, Thunder Thighs! I remember shaking my head and whispering Debbie Reynolds's famous quote to myself (my mantra for those moments): "Chin up, boobs out; it's SHOWTIME!" as I walked out of the bathroom.

We left shortly thereafter, and directly outside the door of the restaurant, a car had stopped. We turned to walk down the street as the back window rolled down. I knew what was coming; it happens EVERY time I'm out with friends J & K.

"Hey Mama!"

And, so it begins. Which one will it be? Tall, willowy, dancer K? Or, shorter, toned, drop-dead-gorgeous J? Garner your strength, darling. You're not the Ugly Duckling. You really ARE NOT.

"You, in the red..."

Wait! K's in black; J's wearing green. I'M IN RED!!! Dude, now what? "How's it going, Land Yacht?" "Where do you park that thing with so much junk-in-the-trunk?" (Yes, cruel, but there's a reason I knew what might be coming; it wasn't MY imagination that came up with those...)

"I love your figure."

Those four words lodged deep in my psyche and soul. Not "You're beautiful," or "Heya, Gorgeous," but the four words that breathed life into this woman who's battled with her body shape for so long.


Yes, he probably was (pardon the crassness here) trying to get into my pants...but, this stranger said the words that I so desperately, at that moment, needed to hear.

He didn't say it to my skinny friends, the ones who usually get the shout-outs from guys in cars. He said it to the lady who was just in the midst of an inner-battle about the very thing he complimented...and boy, did that suddenly make me feel like a WOMAN. Not the fun, sweet friend of the hot chicks; but a woman who can hold her own. Someone who is, dare I even think

No, I didn't stop and hook up with the guy; one compliment like that isn't going to make me drop all my standards. I did shout, "Thank you!" to him, though. And, as we continued down Mission to our train, it's possible that I walked a little taller...and that there might've been some hip swagger thrown in.

To the man outside of Luna Park...I'm pretty damn sure you didn't get the response for which you were hoping...but, you definitely gave me more than just a compliment. Thank you.

August 17, 2010

Entertaining Angels #2

It was one of those Saturdays. The ones where you're exhausted and tired and weary-to-the-bone and you don't want to see anyone you know nor do anything nice for anyone. One of those days. But, I have a Saturday-morning tradition: a big cup of coffee, a jaunt at the Farmers' Market, and an organic butternut-squash tamale from one of the stands at the market for breakfast.

So, I pulled my cranky-butt out of the house and walked the two blocks to the parking lot which housed the market. I purchased my coffee and was walking through the throngs of people when I saw him.

He wasn't our normal "transient;" after living in this town for the last few years, I've gotten to know who they are. At least, be able to recognize them.

He was tall; long, greasy, scraggly hair hung down from under a grungy baseball cap, baggy t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, ripped jeans, and socks. No shoes.

I know it sounds strange to say he was gentle, but gentleness emanated from him. People moved out of his way and gave him a wide berth, and he would just smile at them as if to say, "I know. It's okay."

He never asked for anything. He just kind of stood off, away from the crowd, watching.

I stood in the line to get the tamale when it hit. That still, small voice that whispers to my soul, and I know that I'm going to be doing something crazy. It happens every time this voice speaks.

"Look back."

Really? At whom?

"I'll show you. Look back."

Alright. I looked back.

"See him?"

Yeah, I see him.

"He's hungry."

There are hundreds of people here. One of them can feed him.

"You're 'ONE.'"

(siiiiiiiiiiiiigh) Okay. I began scanning the menu. So, what do I feed this guy?

"That." My eyes were drawn to the most expensive menu item.

Why am I NOT surprised about this? I grin, knowing that I'm going to buy this man the meal; the voice wouldn't let me get out of it. If I balked or backed out, it would not shut-up. Have you ever tried to silence the still, small voice in your soul? Sounds simple, but the truth is, there is no cacophony loud enough to block it out. Trust me.

Food in hand, I looked back to bring him his meal, but he wasn't there. I felt idiotic; here I was, listening to a voice that had told me to buy a stranger food - like some benevolent schizophrenia.

Nice. Impressive, voice. Thanks so much...

"Acts of kindness aren't always easy, Child. Look better."

I found him behind some booths, in an open area. Determined to make sure he didn't disappear again (and, to make sure he got the food whether he wanted it or not...I was getting stubborn), I made a beeline for him.

"Hi," I nervously called out as I got close, "it's not much, but I thought you might be hungry." I held the plate out to him.

His tired, weary eyes lit up, and his wrinkled, dirty face broke into a wide grin.

"Thank you, Sweetheart," his voice was rusty and slow - like molasses poured over a creaky gear. He reached out to hug me, and I braced myself for the smell. His appearance did not convey an opportunity for regular showers.

To my utter amazement, he smelled like fresh, clean air after a storm.

After his hug, I handed him the food and walked off. Not three steps later, I turned to wish him a good day.

He had completely disappeared.


For some people, their encounters with angels give THEM help...a broken down car in the middle of the night, someone giving them money when they need it.

I feed angels tamales.

August 16, 2010

What Do I Keep You Around For, Then??

Dear Four-Legged, Furry Bug Catchers,

I thought we had an agreement. I will provide you with a warm place to live, enough kibble (and that stinky, gross, slimy, wet stuff that makes your poop stink), always give you fresh water, not to mention a fluffy pillow on the window seat, and will pet you whenever the whim hits you (especially at 4:00AM), and you will make sure the house is bug free.

You have not lived up to your end of the agreement. I know you THINK you have, but the fuzzy, ginormous, eight-legged THING on top of the refrigerator proves you wrong. Oh, you can start in on the whole, "I can't jump up on the counter" argument, but we all know you can. You can also begin the, "I'm not ALLOWED to jump up on the counter" argument, but if you refer back to the conversation we had when we moved into this apartment in June of 2005, you will be reminded of the fact that all rules in regards to felines-on-counters are null and void when it comes to spiders.

It's big, and it's fuzzy, and I can see its eyes. ALL OF THEM.

We really, really must review who is in charge around here...

(Exerting my dominance is a bit tough when they're so, they have claws...)

August 13, 2010

One Last Hurrah...

I woke up in one of my favorite places this morning. Right now, I'm camped out back, and all I can hear are the sprinklers and the birds chirping. Here's my view:

Yesterday morning, at exactly this time, my view was this:

I was heading up to my dear friend's parents' house for one last "hurrah" before summer came to a close. It was early, and since she was driving, what else am I going to do? (Please note that I'm not wearing aversion to them is still quite strong, as mentioned in an earlier post.)

Here's my driver:

Here's me:

(the sunglasses are rather large for a reason; they're hiding the results of not being able to sleep the night before and getting up early to be on the road...)

We were giddy with excitement, and maybe a lot of coffee. See, not only were we coming up here for rest, relaxation, laughter with loved ones, and peace and quiet...but the County Fair was going on. The Fair means Fair Food (heretofore to be known as "FF")!!! While I am a Glutard, there are times in this life that you realize life is short, it is meant to be lived...and the fullest. That means that I might...MIGHT...have had a deep-fried corn dog, "tempura" (not really) mushrooms and zucchini, an Orange Julius (though, they call them "Juliettes" here), and maybe my own holy-cow-is-it-allowed-to-be-this-good cinnamon roll last night (and, a chaser of Alka Seltzer). We joked, on our way home, that my taste buds and my GI track were having very strong words with one be honest, I'm not quite sure who won. One thing is for sure, FF is mighty tasty vittles...

Today, we have no plans, other than to soak up as much love and laughter that this house has to offer. To BE with each other, sharing this life that we have been given, to love deeply, to laugh fully, to store up in our souls these memories for when we're far away.

(and, to maybe find a way to doggie-nap Doodlebug here...she is SO going to live with me...)

August 10, 2010

It's know what that means...

School's starting soon; I just spent too many hours shoving furniture around my classroom and planning, plotting, dusting, disinfecting (those desks were used by 11-year-old carrier monkeys), and talking my inner-five-year-old out of crying her heart out. I LOVE teaching; I also LOVEEEE summer. I'll get to what I'm looking forward to for this school year in a bit; today it's all about what I'm going to miss...

Waking up to this, begging for her breakfast:

instead of my alarm clock (which goes off at o-dark-thirty, by the way).

Climbing back into bed with my coffee and this curling up with me as I "woke" up:

Lazy summer mornings snuggling a kitty are GLORIOUS.

Unexpected drives north to get me a cuppa this:

(best cup of joe EVER)

Reading things like this:

instead of essays written by sixth graders. It's nice to read an author who understands the correct usage of "it's" and "its," not to mention "your" and "you're," oh...and "there," "they're," and "their." (The book is really good, though, in case you're wondering. A bit graphic, but a great story.)

Most of all though, I'm going to miss this:

Please note:

1. Bare feet. Shoes are required as a teacher, but I firmly have an aversion to them. I'm much happier bare foot...but, rules are, bye-bye bare toes...

2. Blue jeans. Those are not-permitted; something about them being too "casual" for a classroom. Whatever. I'm gonna wear these until the very...last...second...

3. Also, please note that this picture was taken in my classroom (note the industrial-strength, stinkin' ugly carpet). There might, just might be a tiny piece of me that feels like thumbing her nose at the "man" until school starts...

(If you happen to be one of my superiors and reading this, I promise to wear the requisite footwear and adhere to the dress code...really...please let me keep my job!)

I think I'm going to go find my inner-five-year-old some ice cream to make her feel better now.