Sunday, March 25, 2012

100 things you probably don't want to know about me for my 100th post

  1. I am an only child.
  2. I am married to an only child.
  3. I still call L.A. home.
  4. I am a terrible swimmer.
  5. I have considered becoming a vegetarian throughout my life. I usually just pick around the meat.
  6. I’ve had the same best friend for over 26 years.
  7. My bf and I have tiny matching tattoos. They are little daisy doodles. People have tried to rub it off thinking I drew it in pen.
  8. I still read the comics in the Sunday paper. My favorite? Get Fuzzy. Cat/dog, Republican/Democrat. How is that not funny??
  9. I got hit by a car when I was a kid. Driven by a teacher at our high school.
  10. I lost part of my pinkie toe in a bicycle accident. 
  11. I’ve been to Disneyland too many times to count.
  12. My first name is Carolyn, but I’ve had it changed to just the letter C. When I tell people my name is C. Samantha, they often write Camantha.
  13. I am scared of scorpions. Reason that Traci and I always meet somewhere… uh, Arizona? No thanks.
  14. I have a pen name ready to use if I ever need it. I cannot share it- that would defeat the purpose.
  15. I’ve never left North America.
  16. I don’t really care that I’ve never left North America.
  17. The most common mistaken name I get called is Amy.
  18. I like to dance in the kitchen.
  19. I started college as a geology major. Apparently I wasn’t good at it.
  20. My favorite color is green, and has been my whole life.
  21. I write children’s stories.
  22. My favorite pet was my golden lab, Babe.
  23. I remember every word of the preamble to the constitution.
  24. I like football.
  25. I hand out stickers to children. Mostly at school… I’m not some weirdo.
  26. I have to sleep on the left side of the bed.
  27. In a hotel, I can’t sleep near the window, and it even trumps the sleeping on the left side of the bed.
  28. I got stitches three times. Head, toe, chin.
  29. I think fashion is a waste of time and money.
  30. I drink tea every day. I prefer Darjeeling tea.
  31. I don’t correct people when the mispronounce my last name. They often say Persinger with a soft g, like Salinger.
  32. I really don’t care if people mispronounce my last name.
  33. I have never skied.
  34. I am fascinated with D.B. Cooper. It’s actually Dan Cooper. I’m that big a fan.
  35. My favorite childhood books were Lloyd Alexander’s Book of Three series.
  36. I love beans. Any kind. Any way.
  37. I play solitaire way too often.
  38. My children weren’t named after anyone. Dominic has the middle name William from my maiden last name, Williams. Ripley was going to be Ripley Jordyn… but turned out to just need her own name.
  39. I lived in San Fernando valley as a kid-- valley girl!
  40. I love the beach. When people ask country or city-- I’m beach!
  41. I love listening to Paul Simon. I gave birth to my daughter with Paul Simon in the background.
  42. I won a writing contest in the Columbian as a kid.
  43. I have taken naps with my guinea pigs.
  44. I know all the lines in It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. You owe me restitution!!
  45. I spray painted my name on rocks near my college town. (It was totally a graffiti rock, so it’s not super bad of me)
  46. My favorite food group is vegetables.
  47. I can’t own a car that isn’t black, silver, or gray.
  48. I talk to anyone, anywhere.
  49. I can be really lazy.
  50. I lived down the street from Fantasy Island’s Tattoo when I was a kid.
  51. I read poetry. I’ve been known to write it, too.
  52. In college, I was politely asked to leave sorority rush after one day. Long story. Chalk it up to my non-conformity.
  53. My family on my mom’s side are Masons.
  54. I can’t curl my tongue. (It’s a genetic thing!)
  55. I have attached ear lobes. (Also genetic-- look it up!)
  56. I’ve let my kids eat all the chocolate in their advent calendars on the first day of December.
  57. My favorite part of the newspaper is the community section titled “what’s up with that?”
  58. I have ridden in the back of a police car. (I was actually getting a ride to the hospital, but it makes me sound kinda bad ass, right?)
  59. I dislike writing stupid in texts. U no wht I mean?
  60. I love roller coasters. Favorite is Tatsu. Or X2. Or Alpengeist. Or Millennium Force.
  61. I mean I really love roller coasters!
  62. My favorite cartoon as a kid was the Smurfs. Every time there is a blue moon, I bring them up.
  63. I can’t roller skate. Simply horrible at it.
  64. I have a memory like an elephant.
  65. I green clean my house.
  66. I compost.
  67. I’m really good at math.
  68. I have a degree from Washington State University.
  69. I have a degree from Portland State University.
  70. I love knee socks.
  71. I collect crushed pennies. People bring them back from vacations for me. Especially kids.
  72. I like to stop at brown history markers on the side of the road, despite my families protest.
  73. I love dams.  My dad gave me a photo book of dams, and my kids call it my dam book.
  74. I love lighthouses.
  75. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t know the names of all the kids at the school where I sub.
  76. I do not go to church.
  77. I have tried out just about every religion.
  78. I love nachos. Or anything that resembles nachos.
  79. I think everything tastes better with chili. Especially nachos.
  80. I bake great cookies. Seriously. You wouldn’t believe how good they are.
  81. I try not to read novels too often… they distract me too much and I don’t get enough sleep.
  82. I remember all the states and capitols. Except Michigan. Don’t know why.
  83. I have regrets.
  84. I would not get in a time machine.  Not a mulligan issue, I'm claustrophobic.
  85. I had scoliosis as a child.
  86. I got in a fight that resulted in me splitting my chin open.
  87. That fight was with a guy. He was a football player at WSU. That totally makes me look bad ass! Or crazy.
  88. My favorite movie is Remember the Titans.
  89. I love to organize.
  90. Although I have a memory like an elephant and am great at math, I cannot remember phone numbers.
  91. I never go anywhere without lip gloss. Petroleum free, please.
  92. I have gnomes in my house. Statues… not real ones
  93. I am equally terrible at all sports.
  94. I am an extremely loyal friend.
  95. Confrontations kill me!
  96. My favorite band is Green Day.
  97. I love Mexican food. Even beyond nachos…
  98. I don’t fall asleep quickly.
  99. Safe to say I probably have not seen the t.v. show or movie you are talking about. I’m really bad at that.
  100. But I do love the History channel. (Inner geek coming out)

Letting go

My fifth grade son rode his bike to school.

I realize this doesn't seem newsworthy.  It seems like any day in Everywhere, USA.  As a mother, it means so much more.

You raise your children the best you can with what you have.  You hope they will become self sufficient, responsible decision makers in their own life.  Then you have to let go.  If you've done your job right, their autonomy grows and blooms.  I've said it before... why is it so hard to accept that if you've done your job, they leave.  So bittersweet.
Ryan and Dominic

Dominic came into this world smiling.  He is just a happy boy.  You should have seen the gleam in his eye when I finally relented, allowing him to ride his bike to school.  A little over a mile.  Half of it with park walking paths to ride on.

But half of it is 192nd avenue. Crazy walmart people. Vicious dogs being walked. Distracted school parking lot parents. People late to work, pretending not to notice the school zone speed limit.

He wore his helmet and we checked his tires for air. He had the path mapped out, and a responsible friend to ride with. His friend has a phone, and promised to text when they got to school. He used the front clip on his backpack, the one that goes around your torso, for weight stability. He knows how to cross the street, check for cars, and give bike hand signals.

I felt a mixture of pride and fear.

I tried to act like I could handle all this. I even left the house, with my cell phone of course, and joined a neighbor for coffee. Nonchalant. No worries. People can't see inside my head, right?

When the text came... made it to school... I let out a sigh of relief. My boy, future leader, world traveller, made it to school. On his bike. By himself.

The bus stop is actually my driveway. As the youngsters lined up, Dominic whipped past them and yelled out, "See ya, suckers."

My boy is growing up.

Ryan and Dominic's bikes at school.  Clearly they wouldn't pose for a picture

Friday, March 23, 2012

The road again

With all the life changes I've witnessed lately, I think it's time to bring up my favorite life message again.  The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

So what makes some marriages work, and others fail?

I wish I could wax poetic that it's true love and passion, and all those other things of fairy tales.  But it's not.

The day after I got engaged, I got one of those life lesson pieces of advice.  While showing off my ring, and receiving gleeful exclamations, one thing stands out in my mind.

I was student teaching at the time.  As luck, or fate, would have it, my master teacher I worked with ended up being the mother of our best man.  Totally by chance.  Seemed like an omen.

She gave me a piece of advice that has served me well for years.

"Just remember, you won't love him every day."

Amongst the giggling girls and prince charming stories, this stood out.  It was... real.

So back to the divorce question.  It turns out that the advice was true.  Of course I love my husband every day.  But actively love him?  Want to be around him every single day?  Hmmm...

I think all you need to make a marriage work is wanting to, and staying that way at least 51% of the time.  That's it.  Perhaps the failed marriages account for the people that only wanted it 49% of the time.

Makes you realize we aren't that different.  Just 2% different.

Ahh... but that 2% makes all the difference in the world.

One more thing that will help you along the way... come to peace with it. 

Robert Frost refers to that road not taken.  He accepts that the road he took led to a lifetime of adventures.  The other road would have, too.  He's okay with that.  I think we should all try to be.

Could have?  Should have?  Fate?  If you spend your life wondering, you will never enjoy the life you have.

Love the life you have, with all your heart.  Live all those adventures to the fullest. Just chose your road, the one you want at least 51% of the time.

And... if once in awhile, you look down that other road and wonder, it's okay. 

The way I see it, I'm the luckiest girl in the world.  Either road would have led to love and happiness.  I chose my road.  I love my road.  And I'm at peace with loving the other road, too.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Credit union security

I really do appreciate the vast effort companies are showing to help fight the battle of identity theft, and other assorted felonies that take away our money.

However, it's almost getting silly.

I called IQ credit union for the final payment amount on a car.  I always pay a little over, so I needed the balance.

Thrilled to actually be talking to a live person, I sacrifice my super secret account number.  I give my name and address.  Last four digits of my social security number.

The conversation actually, conversational.

No more rehearsed lines. 

"Umm.... let's see.... hang on a sec...
I need to ask you some questions to verify your account ownership."

*Long pause, faint tapping on keyboard.

"What is the make and model of the car connected with this loan."

I answer the car type.

"I need to know the model, too."

I don't know the model!  I search through the paperwork and provide a sufficient answer.

"What year did you take out this loan?"

Answer with guesstimation that must have pleased her.

"Which branch did you originally take this loan from?"

"Um... we bought it at Dick Hannah.  They arranged the loan,"  I answer.

"Great answer!  That was a trick question!"


"What other services do you have at IQ credit union?"

This was actually kind of a trick question, too.  We have savings there, but no checking.  Fourth hurdle passed!

"Can you give me a cell number associated with this account."

I answer the fifth and final question, and pass with flying colors. 
Now I proceed to give my address, AGAIN.
Then my loan account number, AGAIN.

Finally I get the balance for the car payment.  $167.

So just to be clear... I had to go through all of that so a crook didn't what?  Pay off my car??

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Origin of the smart girls

People misunderstand the smart girls club.  Friends get bent out of shape that they aren't "in" the club.  I regularly get comments like, "I guess I'm not smart enough to hang out with the smart girls."

All wrong, people.

A group of women become friends.  One endures a life change, and the others rise to the occasion to support.  This bond transcends time and distance.  We are a support group.

In humor, we originally referred to our pack with a rather raunchy, saucy name.  Realizing this name was not share worthy, we humorously changed it to smart girls club.

But what does that mean?

Smart choices. We know when to call a spade a spade, and we don't have time for game players, dishonesty, or general meanness.

We are the opposite of mean girls.  Doesn't mean we are necessarily nice, we're just not mean.  Or stupid.  Or fall for anyone or anything that doesn't treat us with the respect we deserve.

We don't tolerate meanness and we accept all.  We back each other up, but conquer with kindness.  We walk in others shoes, lend a hand, and supply a shoulder when needed.

It's been a blessing in my adult life to find women that I can relate to.  I'm happy being a geekilicious girl, and have my own people to rely on.

Between the five of us, we have four daughters and seven sons.  I'm happy to report that our mini-smart girls are making wise, happy choices in life.  We have the quirky, intelligent, self confident girls.  They choose friends wisely, and can tell someone to shove it.  You don't take advantage of our mini-smart girls.

It takes a village to raise a child, and I'm happy that the village raising my kids is made of solid people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What's your sign?

Everyone I know is divorced!  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it feels real.  I never wish this life changing hardship on any of my friends.  But...

I sort of found a selfish silver lining to this predicament.  I get to be the ultimate wingman.  I get to meet new people, go out and have fun.  I never have to give out my number, have my hopes crushed, or feel vulnerable.

My friends and their lonely hearts feel jaded, cautious, afraid, excited, and every emotion in between.  I just get to drink beer.  I introduce myself to everyone "I'm Sam.  I'm very old and very married."  Most still talk to me.  A few walk away-

While my friends are trying to sort through their real life loneliness, they encounter a lot of asses.  Seriously.  I'm beyond puzzled by this.

Guys in the bar scene are, generally, total tools! 

While there are some really good phrases I've witnessed, I can only repeat the pg ones:

-how married are you?
-nice boobs.
-that girl is young- you can tell 'cuz her ass hasn't dropped.
-do you want to smoke a bowl?
-you seem like a girl that hands out free samples.
-people wouldn't even notice if we left.
-so is that a solid no?

So what happened?  It's the chicken and the egg scenario.  Were guys asses, and that's how they ended up divorced?  Or were they ruined by a woman/marriage, and have now become skeptical, bitter asses?

I tend to believe that most guys were born kind.  I think there are a lot of broken men out there.  Sad, really.  Too bad we can't fix all of them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

4th quarter

The first NBA game I attended was with my doting boyfriend/future husband.  He took me to see the Suns play in Portland because he knew I was such a huge KJ fan.  Don't judge, I still stand behind this. 

Great game.  Went into overtime.  The electricity in the crowd was overwhelming.  Barely a person in their seat, club-type music thumping the arena, kiss cams in mass numbers.

Like so many anticipated occasions, overtime was over in a blink.  And we were left with the thrill of.... a second overtime?

Wow.  Sportscenter would be loving this.

We cheered and screamed and high fived...

Um.  Still a tie?  A third overtime?

Life is a lot like basketball.  In that first quarter, we are fresh, shiny, and new.  Ready to take on the world.  Motivation high.  Invincible.

Second quarter.  Reflection time and we still feel pretty good.  Sure, we've made some mistakes and learned from them.  This is a good time to size up our competition and make solid plans.

Third quarter.  After we rest a bit, we feel like our energy is dwindling, but the expectations are that we will play like the seasoned veterens that we are.

Fourth quarter.  I'm tired.  I just want to win this game and go home.  And, oh, the desperate realization that some of our beloved teammates have already fouled out puts incredible pressure and saddness around us.

Overtime?   Our fans are happy to see this, but we're losing our drive.  More team members are fouling out, and frankly the team is just not in good enough shape to pull it together.

When the game went into it's fourth overtime-- that's right, not a typo...  We kinda got, uh, bored.  At this point, I don't really care who wins.  My thoat hurts, my beer buzz is gone, and I just want to sit in a soft chair.  I dream of getting the heck out of this place and home in my bed to sleep.

News in the morning covered the amazing 4 overtimes.  Followed by Willard Scott announcing over 100 birthdays.  Aren't these the same thing?

Go out with a whimper, not a bang?  No thanks.  I don't want quadruple overtime.  I don't want to be on the morning show for living a century.

Funny thing, don't even remember who won the game.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The quest for happiness

Life is just a series of events that occur between the highlights. 

Y'know... the countdown chain until Christmas, marking days on the calendar until the next birthday, waiting for a vacation.

Maybe there is something wrong with how our brains are programmed.

We wait with anticipation for these highlights in our life, and breathe them in with pleasure.  Then it's over.  You're left with memories to relive, wanting more. 

We have a Disneyland trip on the horizon to look forward to.  I remember how this works.  We wait.  Dreamy and excited.  We spend four fabulous days at Disneyland, and are sad when it is over.

One year we went for five days.  Do you know what happens on the fifth day?  You find yourself eating popcorn on a bench, tossing some to birds.  You start going on the more boring rides.  A spin on Mark Twain, actually visiting the Hall of Presidents, riding the horse carriage.

Although you still enjoy the cemented memories, it just becomes... enough.

There is such thing as too much birthday, too much vacation, too much holiday.

So how do you find the balance where you aren't left wanting more and you haven't exhausted the fun factor?

The human brain grows bored, restless.  Could this be caused by an emotional malfunction of the mind?

I think the world is full of sad, lonely people trying to fill a void.  Few have truly found what makes them happy.  Maybe the brain is programmed incorrectly.  Maybe they are going about it all wrong.

We believe money buys happiness.  We think it's important to keep up with the Jones'.  We invest in materials, not human companionship.  I'm saddened to predict that, for most people, this will never change.  It's a shame.

I'm going to ride roller coasters with my children, and treasure those memories. 

I'm going to remember that life doesn't always have all the highlights we hope for.  Actually, life doesn't usually go the way we thought it should have, hoped for, or could have.

Then I'm going to remember to treasure the few people in my life that truly bring me happiness.  They are timeless and irreplaceable.
And hopefully, if I've done it right, they know who they are...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Death with dignity

So here's a new one:
What do you say to a friend when their parent has passed from a planned death with medication?  The death with dignity thing...

I saw her last week and gave her encouragement, offered support however she needs it, and hugged her lots.  Then today, the planned day, I sent her a message.  It took me a long time to write it.  I wrote, erased. Wrote, erased.  Wrote, thought about it, and erased.

I didn't really know what to say.

Death is a hard thing.  I've always contimplated which is better, which is worse.  When someone dies unexpectedly, it throws your whole world.  All the things you didn't get to say.  All the things you have to do.  All the changes that will come.

A long, drawn out death is heartbreaking.  Affairs are in order, and you've said all those things you need to say. have to wait and suffer slowly.  You may be watching someone you love suffer slowly.  You feel conflicting thoughts of just wanting it to end and praying for it to last.

Death with dignity.  It's actually the ideal situation.  Affairs are in order and you are prepared.  You've said all the things you need to say.  There is no lengthy suffering.

So why is this so hard to digest?

How do you have the strength to hold someone close and let them go?  By their choice.
How do you have the courage not to yell "stop!" in the middle of it?

Death sucks.  Death is inevitable.

Might be time to remind everyone I love them.  Just in case.

Monday, March 12, 2012

We all make mistakes

While discussing general "how to live in this world" topics with my kids, I touched on some of my most remembered life lessons.  Not necessarily the biggest, just the ones I remember most.  There are several, and they have helped shape my life.

May 15, 1981, Sacajawea elementary, Mrs. Williams' second grade class.

Ok- wish I could act like I have a photographic, brilliant memory, but actually I only remember the date because it was my birthday.

I remember my 8th birthday was either a Monday or Wednesday, because I distinctly recall it being either Monday marriage day or Wednesday wedding day.  I entered my second grade classroom to pure chaos.  Boys and girls were playing chase all over the room, hoping to catch that special someone for a marriage or wedding.  (You tag them, they have to marry you... if only life was that easy).

Mrs. Williams sat at her desk, silent, with her face propped in both hands.  I know that look now.  I actually knew that look then.  The calm before the storm.  That teacher was about to blow! 

Knowing this, I sidestepped a few potential grooms, and made my way to my desk.

Within minutes, the yelling began.  Boy was she mad.

She lectured and scolded, and then sent four particularly bad offenders outside the classroom to put their heads down.  One was my neighbor Dean.  By the way, totally would have let him catch me on a Monday or Wednesday.  Two others were called... and then me.

It wasn't me!  It was Heather, a first grader in this split class, with the same long honey blonde hair.  I didn't do it!  It was my birthday.

These are all things I should have said, but I didn't.

I spent the morning with my head down, and my mom brought a cake to the classroom in the afternoon.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this.  Keep reading.

January 2001, Minnehaha elementary, my own first grade class

In January that year, I was very pregnant, teaching first grade at Minnehaha elementary.  One day at lunch, I sat next to a substitute teacher in the staff room.  It was Mrs. Williams.  This next part will show the dedication and love of my second grade teacher.  She turned to me, all grown up and puffed out from third trimester pregnancy, and said, "well, little Sammy Williams."

It was a wonderful lunch, sitting next to my beloved teacher, listening to her happiness that I, too, had gone into the profession.

I told her my second grade birthday story.  She was horrified, and astonished that I remembered it.

I explained to her that it was an important life lesson to me.

What had I learned?

Adults aren't perfect.

When you work with kids, you try to make each feel special and important.  You try to connect with each and every one, as impossible as it may seem.  I learned that day that teachers make mistakes.  Parents make mistakes.

Working with children is a marathon, not a sprint.  She made a mistake and the world didn't end.  She made a mistake, and it was okay.  The first year I taught, I made mistakes.  I also knew that the world wouldn't end, and the students wouldn't hold a grudge, and we'd all be okay.

Only thing better than having someone influence and touch your life is being able to tell them.

It was the best school lunch period ever.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The final straw

There are all these emotions out there to be afraid of- loneliness, worry, pain, heartache...
I realized which one is the worse:  indecision.

When you are undecided on something, you are plagued with worry, pain, heartache, loneliness.  When you finally make the difficult decision, a weight lifts off your shoulders.  All your fears become plans of action, and in that control, healing begins.

Close friends of mine have been struggling with indecision during a separation.  A heart wrenching, ever changing separation.  One of them finally pulled the plug.  In five days time, they have gone from painfully trying to signing papers.

The strange thing is watching the band aid effect happen.  When the band aid was finally ripped off in one fluid motion, everyone could breathe.  Sure, there are tears and sorrow.  Sure there is still a question over where to go from here.  But... healing is finally starting to happen.

This made me reflect about all those avoided, procrastinated moments in life.  Perhaps the hardest part was the worry, making a choice.

Some of the choices lead to hard struggles, vivid realizations, and perhaps an emotional depth you weren't ready to face.  But in making decisions, you empower yourself to do what needs to be done. 

My friends are no longer stuck in a drowning limbo.  Sad, yes.  At least now they can move forward.

I'm taking my friend out this weekend to eat some unhealthy, savory food and cry in our beers.  Then when it's all over, we'll dust her off and start putting her back together.

I don't truly believe this couple is over...yet.  Let's just call this a hiatus. 
Maybe that's just what they need.