Friday, September 30, 2011

old girls gone wild

In my young, party days, we visited many haunts.  One in particular always stood out in my mind.  The Copper Penny.  Oh-- it was hardly cool.  It sorta smelled funny.  We were amused going there because of the plethora of middle age singles that liked to get their groove on.  High quality people watching fodder.

Recently I went out for a beer with my friends.  My nearing middle age friends.  I started sizing up the bar and realized... I had wandered into another Copper Penny!  Perhaps it's because I am now an over the hill loser wiser and more compassionate, but something changed. 

I didn't see embarrassing clothes and dance moves.  I didn't see desperate singles looking for a second chance for love.  I saw us.  The parents.  The teachers.  Children of the eighties.  And right then I realized we deserved a break from reality.  Good for them, those scantly dressed, love handles women dancing with their silver fox, mullet sporting objects of desire.  Good for the wine cooler drinking women and their smooth moves, gold chain romeos.

Where were all those tight skin, pretentious youth that usually cause such an embarrassing ruckus?

I yawned.  It was 11.  Starting to get tired.  Then I noticed all the young people starting to accumulate in the parking lot.

Oh, that's right.  Young people don't start their night until now.  Not until after I've tucked myself into my back care mattress bed, wearing my eye wrinkle cream.  After I've paid the bills, kissed the children, and done a quick check on my 401k.

But until 11, it's Copper Penny, baby!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Remember your Greek mythology?  Do you remember the muses?  They were said to bring artistic inspiration.  So without getting all heavy into ancient storytelling, clearly writer's block can be assumed to happen with the absence of a muse.

Several people have asked why I've been writing so much lately.  Writing has always been a big part of my life, dating back to elementary school.  Like most writers, I experience a drought of writer's block from time to time.  It seems the more jaded and cynical older I get, these droughts last longer and longer.  Age brings with it many things.  Two things it does not seem to bring are idealism and a surrealistic view.

But every once in a while, something sparks that fire inside me to create.  It lights my soul and opens a floodgate of ideas begging to get out.  I feel alive and elated.  I never know when my muse will awaken.  I just desperately get everything down on paper, or canvas, or wherever I can as quickly as possible.  There is no telling how long the muse will stay.  

Thank you muse, for lighting the fire and guiding me to the warmth.  Please stay awhile.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roots to grow, wings to fly

The first thing people do when a baby is born is start breaking this little bundle into pieces... your ears, my eyes...

As a parent, I've noticed we don't stop.  We spend a lot of time analysing every aspect of our child, hoping to claim or blame every idiosyncrasy on someone.

Completely reasonable idea.  These children contain our very genetics and are reared in our constant influence.  Nature and nurture rolled in one perky little child.

But don't we share more than 90% of our dna with every mammal on earth?  It seems these few points allow for a very diverse result.  If my son is 1% not me, maybe scientifically speaking, the differences can be unimaginable.

My son is basically me.  The bff pointed this out within minutes of meeting him.  My daughter, all my husband.  Frequently, though, they cross over.  That's YOUR daughter!  That is so YOUR son!

I grew up being reminded I got my face from my dad, my, umm, chest from my grandma.  Heart disease from both sides, dry wit from my dad, childlike love of life from my mom.  Low blood sugar, mom's side, blood type was a combo contribution.  If I described myself from these traits, you wouldn't guess it's me.  I think I've added my own spice to the mix.

So here is a picture of my kids, dressed as their parents.  Funny kids.  They get that from me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FYI :)

I want to write a dissertation on emoticons.  I'm fascinated with them.  Our next generation is growing up with an entirely new way to communicate non-verbally.  Unfortunately, I am not part of that generation.

I've come to discover that when you text, email, or IM someone, you really should have this figured out.  *Apparently IM is now a verb, btw.

I can make a statement, with implications ranging from boredom to flirting, with the simplest choice of an emoticon.

What are you doing?  :(     *I'm disappointed in your choices

What are you doing?  :)     *I genuinely care to know

What are you doing?  :o    *Shock and questioning

What are you doing?  ;)      *Clearly I want you

And of course, let us not forget our ever important friend, the lol.

I love explaining this to you. lol    *I actually don't love it.  I have 1990's NOT'ed you.

I am so excited to see this generation become the future leaders and decision makers in our world.  lol

Monday, September 26, 2011

One is the lonliest number...

I'm a lone wolf.  I've never been one to support the team.  I don't have spirit.  I prefer solo to delegating.  I'm an only child.

Enter my husband.  Also a lone wolf.  Also an only child.  I played tennis and he excelled in wrestling.  We're two peas in the same let me be alone pod.

It should come to no surprise that our friends joke that our family motto is "doesn't play well with others." 

Coach Persinger is having a great season as an assistant coach for Dominic's football team.  Monday is film night.  Our house is the next in the rotation of hosting.

So now I'm out of my element.  I am having a slew of boys, parents, and coaches to my house for a review/giant playdate.  With food.

I'm not the team mom, and I won't go buy pom poms, but I might be starting to see the appeal of all this.  We may have to tweak our motto.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Can't 'weight'

The first time I held my best friend's baby, all I could think was... how heavy is this kid??  Seriously, my arm might fall off.  A small anxiety attack of  'I will never have children because I couldn't lift them' entered my mind.

Then in a calm, motherly way, the bff explained" get used to it as they grow."  Ahhh... breathe.  Like weight training, you don't start with the heaviest weight.  One of my first useful pieces of mommy advice.  And sure enough, holding my own 7 lb bundle was easier.

Probably wonder where I'm going with this...

Today is my first day back in the classroom as a substitute teacher.  Love my job.  Love the flexibility, love seeing my own kids in their school, love the array of faculty and students I get to work with.  I love trying to learn the name of every kid in school (never achieved, but you'd be surprised how close I can get).  I love variety, spontaneity, and change.  But...

The students have been back for a few weeks.  Classroom communities have been established.  Routines are in place.  For some, the honeymoon period is already over.

I am being handed a 20 lb baby.

I will need a nap.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's up doc?

I start realizing how different the world my children are growing up in is when I'm watching a bugs bunny cartoon with them.  Not the new ones released from cartoon network.  The classics.  The ones where people blow up, stereotypes are reinforced, and humor about chemical warfare is actually funny.  The mere sight of an anvil grips you with anticipation and laughter.

To be clear:  I do not want my children desensitized by violence in the name of entertainment.  I do not want my children to ridicule a speech impediment.  I do not want my children to glamorize a bully.

I just want them to relax once in a while.  I want them to feel safe to explore their true feelings and reactions.

We spend so much time reinforcing values and morals in our children, they forget to be children.  We spend so much time forcing them to be academically competitive in the global community, we forget that books are funny, recess is important, and "poo humor" is developmentally appropriate.

A child conflict arose between neighbors yesterday while playing outside (at least they still play outside!).  Time and again, when the kids go to other parents, they stage a mini intervention to work out the problem.  Hug and make up.  Tell them you're sorry.  Why?  Is this always a real life skill? 

Most times, this is the right route.  But sometimes... sometimes... I want my children to be honest and not feel sorry.  I want them to feel wronged and have the courage to speak this.  I want them to walk away mad and realize they don't owe anyone their friendship.  Friendship and trust are earned.  Do I want them to drop an anvil on another child, followed by the cartoon stars encircling their head?  Of course not.

Yesterday the bickering children came to me.  I listened.  I heard both sides of the story.  I nodded in understanding.  I ensured that each party have uninterrupted opportunities to speak their mind.  When it was over, I simply said "'re big boys, I'm sure you can work this out."  Then I closed the door.

Ahhh... real life.  You're welcome, kids.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Utility rope, and other fine jewelry

So apparently, once again, I am behind the times.  Newest trend I have discovered:  paracord bracelets.  A bracelet fashioned from nylon parachute cord that can be used as both an accessory and utility rope.

I totally dig this.  Remember that I am the same person that gave emergency ration kits as Christmas presents.  Merry Christmas!  Hope you never need this!

I'm also the same person who wears magnetic jewelry (insert eye roll here) and believes accessories should have a purpose.  No fear-- this is not my next purchase.  Totally sexy on a guy, in a rugged way, but clearly the look would push my boundaries of looking like a dike tomboy.

You never know what life will bring.  Hang on to that paracord and see where it takes you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I don't like waiting in line for a roller coaster.  Love the coaster, hate the wait.  I don't like waiting for food to cook, clothes to dry, and water to boil.

I love the anticipation of a vacation, but making a paper chain to count down the days just sort of... bores me.

I've been known to obsessively prepare for things that may never come.  I like to be locked and loaded.

This makes waiting for things unbearable.

I am drumming my fingers with impatience.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Turning Points

I've always been that person that's a little uncomfortable with the prom moments in life.  You know, those built up occasions you plan.  Weddings, births, Christmas.  I don't like having all the stress for two reasons:
1.  Things might not go the way you dreamed.
2.  There's always the day after.

Ugh.  The day after Christmas.  Bringing the crying baby home to endure nights of sleeplessness.  After the honeymoon.

A sprinter at the Olympics spends years training for one moment.  One moment that will be over in 10 seconds.  The results: win or lose.  I don't do well with this type of pressure.

And then there's the longing... Christmas is over?  That's it?  I can't stay there?

So I've come to some crossroads.  Once again, I think back to Robert Frost and those two idyllic roads in the woods.  One is easy.  The other a challenge.  Somehow, though, life doesn't seem worth it if you don't take the challenges.

So watch out.  Win or lose, I'm jumping in.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Being a parent is hard.  You worry about your child.  You hover over your child.  All to keep them out of harms way, keep them from making stupid mistakes.  It will be curious to see this generation as adults.

We all repeat the same mantra... 'It was different when I was a kid.'  Was it really?  Sure, the texting idiots on the 12 lane roads add to the paranoia.  Sure, there are web sites that list the closest sex offenders in a 50 mile radius of our home, school, and library.  But was the world really that much safer for the children of the '80s?

When I was a kid (somewhere, my son just rolled his eyes) we didn't wear seat belts and sat in the bed of a truck.  We walked down roads that didn't even have *gasp* bike lanes and "pedestrian speed cushions."  We didn't check in with a cell phone.  No one ever thought to ask if your house had a loaded gun or killer dog.  All our sex offenders just ran willy nilly through the community without a tracking device, which may actually now be an app you can get on your phone.

My best memories from childhood almost always were doing something I shouldn't be doing.  Hiking down to the creek, wandering through the woods, walking to the grocery store, and, my favorite, going through all the treasures in the illegal dumping area about a mile from my house.  (Don't knock it... I once found a little people airport with about half the accessories)!

We organize safe, educational play dates for our kids.  We have settings of  grandeur like build-a-bear and omsi.  Children who don't go to Disneyland are considered "at risk."

I didn't let my daughter keep a stick she found in the woods by her grandparents house.  A stick, which she described as none other than 'perfect.'

Hmm...  I think we had more fun than our kids.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A friend of mine recently got a tattoo that simply said conquer.  It fits her and her spunky, powerful personality.  It started me thinking about words as tattoos... conquer, invincible, prevail, triumph.  The mere thought makes me stand taller, dream bigger.  Maybe I'll get a conquer tattoo.

Well, except that under the word would be a footnote that says *with tolerance and acceptance.  And kindness.  And don't forget to walk in others shoes before you judge them. 

Wait- Aren't our failures and mistakes what make us strong, confident people?  Without defeat how would I improve myself?  Isn't that an opportunity to truly look yourself in the mirror?

I remind my kids to fight for what is right and be the best they can be, but to remember that sometimes it's just not worth it.  So what word would I tattoo on my back that describes that?  Understanding when to fight and when to back down.  Understanding that sometimes the gain isn't worth the loss.  Sometimes just let the other guy win.


I can't capture myself in a single word, a single thought.  I'm glad that I can describe myself in so many words, so many paradoxes.  Perhaps I will simply leave the word tattoos to those that have it all figured out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

When I grow up...

When I was little, I wanted to be a geologist, artist, writer, illustrator, mission specialist astronaut, archaeologist, and even a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.  My choices were limited when my lack of height knocked out astronaut and cheerleader.  Teacher never entered that list.  It just... happened.

For the past 10 years, I have been home raising my children.  I tried to stay involved in their lives as much as possible.  I was warned before my transition to stay busy, or I would lose myself.  I followed that advice.  I was on every board and committee I could find.  I joined playgroups, volunteered at preschool, joined the PTA.  I ran the art discovery program, headed picture day at the school, and made the school yearbook.

With both children finally in school full time, I began substitute teaching last year.  It's a nice gig, if you don't have to worry about money.  I only teach at my kids school.  I feel just as involved as before, but now they pay me!
This past year, I watched the struggles of proposed district cuts threaten the very existence of the under appreciated and underpaid teachers I've come to know and love.  RIF forms issued in mass.  Field trips cut.  Technology taking a back seat to having enough desks.  Sports and music becoming a luxury item.
And yet... with all this, there are still hundreds and hundreds of people applying to each and every teaching job posted in the district.  The competition is fierce and completely unbelievable.  Why do so many people want these few crummy jobs?  Jobs that aren't even secure?  Jobs with pay cuts, class size increase, and a never ending line of people claiming that teachers are still just babysitters with the summer off?  A job where your job is to essentially raise other peoples children? 

Then I step into the classroom.  It fits me.  The smell of school supplies, the excitement of trying to control so many people in such a small space, the rag-tag children that either hate you or love you.  The feeling when you connect with a child.  That brilliant, heart warming moment when you think you may have made a difference.  The idea that in some non-heroic way, you may have saved someone just by loving them.  People don't become teachers... they are teachers.                         
I might not know what I'm going to do when I grow up, but at least I know what I am.

chocolicious torte

Picture this... it's 5 in the morning, and I can't fall back asleep because I keep thinking about... the chocolate cake in the kitchen.  I picked up the said cake at the store a few days ago to take to my dad.  He loves chocolate cake.  He loves pecans.  *Note:  he is from Texas, so make sure, as you read this, you pronounce pecan the correct Texan way.  Enter the chocolate caramel pecan torte.  I had it home only 2 hours before I started thinking about it.  Convinced it was reasonable, I took a bite directly out of the edge of it.  The hole kept getting bigger.  I rationalized I would explain to my dear ol' dad that I simply cut a piece out for my husband.  Well, two pieces.  I put it in the freezer.  This would stop me from eating any more... Or cause me to start chiseling instead of just sampling. 

Life is full of chocolate cake.   You know you shouldn't, but you just can't help yourself.  I try to take the high road in life.  Pay your taxes.  Vote.  Love thy neighbor.  Eat your vegetables.  Kiss your children.  Clearly humans are not programmed to have perfect discipline.  Otherwise there wouldn't be so much chocolate cake in the world.

Then there's the school of thought that begins with "you only live once."  My dad lives by this.  He wants to enjoy life.  He makes me promise that if he ever embarks on a fatal illness, to just put a gun to his head.  (I did mention he's a Texan, right?)  So clearly he would have loved this chocolate cake.  Oops.

So do you do all the right things, take care of yourself, and live a lengthy safe life?  Or do you throw caution to the wind and live every day like it's your last, giving no thought to the future.  Should I just banish the notion that '...a moment on the lips, forever on the hips...'

Maybe I'll take a jog later.  For now, I need to find a fork.