Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happiest place on earth

Just returned from a family trip to Disneyland.  A week of crazy, excited, sometimes tired and crabby, living the life family fun. 

So here is the discovery I made that warms my heart.  Ripley really is my girl.

Ripley has been waiting with anticipation for this trip, finally tall enough to ride the coasters.  She has been measured over the past few weeks, looking for any indication of growth.  She has tried different shoes on.  She has practiced standing tall.  Last we measured, she was 47.5 inches with shoes.

Hmm.  You need to be 48 inches to ride California Screamin'.  We planned around this.  Maybe the height markers are not perfectly accurate.  Maybe, like the last trip, we will buy her bejeweled Minnie mouse shoes with a heal to push her over the edge.  She continued to practice inhaling, and pretending an invisible string was pulling her up by the top of her head.

We told her to be patient.  We would assess the situation, and figure out what to do.

Upon entering Disneyland, Ripley wanted to go on Space Mountain first.  She was plenty tall to go on this ride, but had never been.

Her anticipation while waiting in line was contagious.  She had a million questions.  She bounced through the line on her toes.

Then we reached the ride platform.  My girl- my chip off the old block, mini me, uttered a sentence that I will remember for the rest of my life.

"Can we ask for the front row?"

*big smile*

And she loved it.

The second official ride choice for our 2012 Disneyland trip... Space Mountain again.  Front row, please.

Eventually, the time came that we entered Disney California Adventure.  The moment of truth.  Was she tall enough to ride California Screamin'?

Whew.  It's all good.
So she really is my girl.  She has figured out that the happiest place on earth is actually the front seat of a roller coaster.

Friday, May 18, 2012

39 things I've learned in 39 years

*Ya, that's right.  I'm not actually 29.

1. Good friends are in your heart, even when they aren’t always in your life.

2. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

3. Setting goals is important. Being flexible is more important.

4. Regrets can only hinder you. If you can’t change it, move on.

5. Don’t leave things unsaid with people you care about.

6. Money is important, but it’s not everything.

7. Mistakes are not only okay, they are necessary.

8. Listen to your intuition. It is seldom wrong.

9. Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you’ll need one.

10. Learn to recognize when you just shouldn’t use that bridge again.

11. You are the only person that can make yourself happy. No one else can do that for you.

12. Have perseverance. In time, you can conquer anything.

13. Time changes everything.

14. Your own perspective is just your opinion.

15. With great joy, remember there will also be great pain. The balance is unavoidable.

16. Don’t hold grudges. They serve no one.

17. Invest in relationships, not things.

18. Hate never moves you in a positive direction. Let it go.

19. Give more than you take.

20. Work hard, play hard. Nuf’ said.

21. Don’t forget to daydream. It feeds your soul.

22. Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes, don’t judge them.

23. Model tolerance and humanity.

24. Don’t waste your time worrying what others think of you. At the end of the day, you are the only one that has to live with yourself.

25. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Just like shoes that are too small, you will eventually have to take them off just to be happy.

26. When working, any job, anywhere, be a professional.

27. There is no shortcut to hard work. Those that appear to have found it, will, in time, end up where they started.

28. You can’t beat a liar. Don’t even try. Just move on.

29. Never let go of the child in you.

30. Take responsibility for your missteps.

31. Don’t live in fear of what might happen or you will miss all that did happen.

32. You can’t change people. You can only change yourself.

33. You can’t make people do things. In return, no one can make you do anything.

34. It is never too late to start something new.

35. Choose jobs and careers that you like.

36. Remember, sometimes, to throw caution to the wind.

37. Embrace any serendipitous moments in your life.

38. Pain happens. Suffering is your choice.

39. Love with all your heart.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy 29th birthday to me- well, give or take a decade

So here is the short story to sum up this year's birthday.

Let me start by stating that I don't love birthdays.  At least, not my own.  I'm not really sure why, but I have been like this most my life.  I'm beyond thrilled to decorate, celebrate, or jump out of a cake for YOUR birthday.  Something about my own birthday, however, seems to paralyze me.

I'm not concerned about growing older.  I don't look that old, and I've truly never acted my age.  Age is just a number.  Except for when I'm entering a bar, it never really comes up.  *Special shout out to the nice boys that still card me in bars, by the way*

So... apparently I'm so old that I couldn't renew my driver's license online.  I had to actually go into DMV to renew it.  DMV seems to question my ability to see with these ancient eyes.

I take my number and sit in the chair.  The same discolored, metal leg chair in every DMV in America.  No one is in a good mood.  A poster on the wall announces that the personnel at DMV strive to make every customer happy.  Ya, right.

When my number is finally called... almost an hour later... I look for counter #9.  I can see counters 1-8 lined up in a row.  I can see 11 and 12 on the other side of two unlabeled counters.  Is it just me?  Am I imagining the logic that the unlabeled ones would be, um, 9 and 10?

I wait, patiently, at the alleged #9 counter.  And... I was wrong.  #9 is actually the same counter, at the front of the room, where I got my original number.

I trek over to the correct counter to see that they have actually moved to the next customer.  Catching the eye of the power hungry nazi friendly assistant, I wave my number towards him.

"Ooooh.  I called you, but you never came."

I explain that I couldn't find the counter.  After some very deliberate searching through the computer system, he declares that he can still help me.  I'm still in the system.

Just to be clear-- if you couldn't find my arbitrary number in the computer system designed to call customers in order, I would have to what... start over?

I am instructed to read a line of letters.  Then I announce the four colors I see in the vision do-hickey.  Then I'm done.  Thank goodness they made me come in.  Clearly I'm not senile based on that forty five seconds of testing.

"Are you still on 17th street?"  Yes.
"Do you still want to be an organ and tissue donor?"  Yes.
"Do you still weigh 120 lbs?"
After a slight hesitation, I answer, "sure."

This is where my fabulous beginning to this birthday begins.  I will be able to tell this story for years to come.  The kindly man cocks his head to the side and asks me, "really?"

Ya.  Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Friday was finally the day!  Fifth graders from my son's school went to Junior Achievement BizTown.

Me rocking the volunteer smock

Dominic applied for CFO of Sports Northwest... hmmm... sensing a family lineage.  He was proud to get hired, almost like a real job.  He planned out his clothes, and fretted and worried about this day.  I haven't seen him this excited all year.

CFO boy

 Those of you that know me well know that I sit on the fence about Junior Achievement.  Among my peers, I often refer to it as capitalist training.  When you dissect the program, it kinda is.  In a complete function in society way.  Still, I have my reservations about students not having the option to participate if their class is signed up.  I totally support programs such as DECA, but they certainly shouldn't be mandatory.

There is another side to this program.  They do teach about philanthropy and community.  These are important in my book.  However, words like product, customer, net and gross come up a lot, too.

So here's my dilemma.  I absolutely want my children to be responsible in the work place.  I want them to know how to write a check and fill in a bank deposit.  I want them to understand the elaborate process involved in starting a business, the risks one must take, and the community involvement decisions.  So I should clearly want my student in Junior Achievement.

Ahh... but that bohemian side of me thinks about how we are all driven by money and success in the business eye.  I work in a service job.  I could never work in the business world. 

Watching fifth graders simulate a four hour real world experience was... well... like the real world.  These students broke down in exactly the demographics my adult self has become accustom to.  Some jumped in and took it seriously.  Some screwed around the whole time.  Some just stared at the clock until their break.
My group.  My sweet boys Sam and Kye

I hope my children find a balance.  Embrace your community and give selflessly.  But please don't bounce checks while you do this.

The moral of this story:
My son worked his butt off.  He was not one of the offending screw offs.  He sat at a computer and inputted numbers.  He printed paychecks, handled invoices, and billed other companies.  He managed his crew while the CEO was on break.  And Dominic, while on his break, walked by my business to say hi. *smile*  He also told me the 'real world' was not fun.  *bigger smile*

They could spend their paychecks at the various businesses to buy small trinkets.  Pencils, small toys, frisbees.  They could also spend their money on pop and snacks at the cafe.

Dominic came over with an orange pop and bag of popcorn.  He told me, "I'm not going to bother spending my money on these little crap things that will just end up in a land fill."  That's my boy.

At the end of the day, our BizTown mayor made a presentation for the two good citizen awards.  Strong, successful, dedicated workers in their simulated community.  Of course, Dominic won.  Hmm.  There's Chris' boy.

Acting oh so happy about the award

Friday, May 4, 2012

Poetic license

I recently subbed in a fifth grade excel class.  Fun class full of active learning and kids that actually want a challenge.  They had the perfect, quirky teacher for that.  On each of their desks was a small paper adhered to the corner.  Each had a photo of the child, and the words written beside it "poetic license."

I need one of these. 

Blogs are an interesting form of communication.  They are an edited diary, to almost be read aloud.  Herein lies the difficulty.  Do I follow the rules of speech or writing?

I am fully aware that it's frowned upon to start a sentence with a conjunction.  But, sometimes it's just needed.  Would I write a paper like this?  Of course not.  Would I include an incomplete sentence like 'of course not'?  Of course not.

Sentences shouldn't end with a preposition.  Really and very are truly not interchangeable.  Ginormous isn't a word.  

But then, misuse of grammar damages my credibility as a writer.  Well, for some of you.  Those of you that text me incoherent sentences that look like a license plate, you're probably safe.

So I need to use some forms of grammar correctly?  Capitals, subject predicate, parallel construction?  Me and I.  Well and good.

Then I notice the glazed over look you have when I start going all APA and MLA on ya.

I let my ear decide.  My blog, when read in my head, sounds like someone on open mic night.  It sounds like a storyteller reliving the experience before you.  It sounds like a sarcastic person revealing a punchline.

Sure, that's just in my head.  But, if a conjunction, fragment, and misused adjective make it sound like that to you, then I've done my job.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Musical chairs

Walked into Junior Achievement "Biztown" training today with a few school parent friends.  We were among the first there. They guided us to (enter clever name for meeting room B) the sign in table.  Lots of large, round tables dot the room.

Right there, the decision must be made.  Who do I plan to be?

Many times in college I was roasted by friends for being the front and center girl.  Let me clarify.  I sat in the very center of the front row.  First I got out the appropriate notebook and my reliable pen.  Water bottle.  Glasses case.  Highlighter.  Sticky notes.  All lined up.  I should have just sprung for the pocket protector.

Many times the professor would actually utter the words, "... anyone besides Sam that would like to chime in?"

Ya.  I'm that girl.

Then one summer, I was in graduate school, entering a classroom for the first day of class.  Oh, I had my arsenal of school supplies.  I spotted my friend Mary in the back of the class. 

Hmm.  This might be fun.

It is a social convention that generally the seat you take the first day will remain the approximate area you land from that point on.

So I sat in the back with Mary.  She was so funny, with a dry wit.  She didn't stack her supplies at a 45 degree angle like I did.  She didn't even have a highlighter with her.

I spent the rest of the term listening and learning, but quietly, with a sarcastic flare.  I did use those sticky notes-- to write amusing comments back and forth with Mary.  I didn't offer much to the dialogue.  I did the work.  I got an A.  But I did so in the back of the room.  I didn't get roasted because I was doing all the roasting.

Years later, with my big girl pants on, I stand, surveying the room.  I've relaxed a lot since my school days.  I've even realized that I don't have to get an A.

So...I sat in the back corner.  I didn't share any questions or answers.  In general group answering, I muttered.  I took pictures of my coffee cup and played words with friends on my phone.

And you know what?  It really didn't matter.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Warning:  If you think I'm an attractive, smart woman- don't read this.  For the rest of you, continue...

My first few years teaching, I got sick.  A lot.  This happens with most teachers.  Over the years, your immune system builds up and it happens less frequently.  Between teaching and staying home with the kids, I've pretty much reached this status.

Being a substitute teacher is kinda like being a storm chaser.  When a string of snotty nose, barfing-in-the-classroom bugs make there way through a class, I'm sent in as the reinforcement.  I follow the bugs people!

This isn't usually a problem.  Then Thursday came.

I was subbing in a wonderful 2nd grade class.  One of my favorites.  Two teachers co-teach their classes together.  My daughters best friend is in one of these classes.  So many sweet, familiar faces.

Morning went well.  I brought in more Mo Willems books for the kids to read.  We designed our own super hero power bugs.  Wrote in our journals. 

After lunch, I had a stomach pain.  In real time of only about a half hour, I was lightheaded and sweating.  Instead of roaming the class, I positioned myself in a chair.  One of the really annoying inquiring students with a math question came up for help.

My stomach was churning.  Sweat dripped down my back.  This girl had a handful of pretend money, trying to complete the oh-so-hard task of making 52 cents in change.

She held up a quarter.  "Is this 52 cents?"

Gut wrenching discomfort moved down my torso.  "No.  That's a quarter.  It equals 25 cents.  What would two quarters equal?"

Sticks her tongue out in thought... "52 cents?"

My face was sweaty, on fire.  "No.  If you double 25 cents, you get 50 cents."

A light bulb went on for this child.  She decided to share it with me by poking me in the shoulder.  "Hey.  Hey.  Hey, Mrs. Persinger.  That's only two cents less than 52 cents."

I think I'm going to pass out if she pokes me again.

"Hey teacher, why do some of these plastic coins look different?"

Thank goodness for recess.

I run down the hall to the closest adult bathroom, ready to hurl.  A table full of kids working on a project are right outside this single unit bathroom.  Seriously-- who thinks this isn't awkward?

"Hi Mrs. Persinger!"

I answer with what can only be described as a gulp.

Five minutes later, I emerge from the bathroom, spent and pale.  The bathroom I'm sure is not soundproof.  These same students still sit outside the bathroom.

"Mrs. Persinger???"  Their voices were as shaky as I felt.  Ya.  Sure that one is going to be shared at the dinner table for several families that night.

Lumbering back to the classroom, I run into... my son.

"God, mom.  What's wrong with you!?"

So, a half hour before the end of the day, they sent me home.

They actually offered to walk with me.  They actually offered to drive me.

But at least I have my dignity.  Oh, wait... no I don't!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Times... they are a changin'

Things that make me realize just how old I am.
(and believe me, it crept right up on me!)

10.  My children are better than me at all technology things.
9.  I don't get carded anymore.  Once in awhile a nice young man may ask for my ID, but you can tell he thinks he's doing a good deed.
8.  People have started referring to me as ma'm.  Not honey, not sugar, ma'm.  I can't win on this one.  I'm either a sex object or old.
7.  I get excited when I receive a gift that is an appliance.
6.  I find it interesting to watch birds.  Also, any type of small mammal... rabbits, squirrels, any cute little Snow White sort of thing that comes to my yard.  sigh.
5.  I no longer know the names of the cool drinks or trendy food.  I remember when getting a sex on the beach well drink was scadalous.  Believe me... they've gotten way dirtier.  And why does everyone young eat sushi?
4.  Some of the current music actually does sound like noise to me.  When  I tell my kids one of their songs is a remake, they look rather horrified.
3.  I am no longer appealing in a bar, unless it's a 40+ crowd.  Or if I'm standing near a young person, and I overhear someone say "your mom is pretty."  Grrrr.
2.  I start sentences with 'when I was a kid...'.  All.  The.  Time.

1.  I still use the word awesome.