Tuesday, December 4, 2012

There's Shake in Your Hair

It has been a long time since my last post.  While I've thought many times in the last 2 and a half months about writing, I've never seemed to MAKE the time.  But, today I knew I HAD to make the time.  Why?  What's so amazing that I have to share it?  Did I get an award?  No. Did I win the lottery?  No (and I wish).  Did Adam Levine show up at my house and ask me out on a date?  Sadly, no.  But, this story is what my blog is all about.  Who do you want to tell when you really make a mess of things?  Your friends.  So, my friends, here is a little story about how your graceful and talented friend Jen ended up wearing her breakfast.  Enjoy!
I was up and ready in plenty of time to make it to work not just on time today, but early.  I would even have time to drop off Aidan on my way.  Today was to be my 3-month evaluation at work.  Call me crazy, but I was excited and looking forward to it.  I ironed nice pants.  I put on mascara.  I really HATE putting on mascara.  I complimented myself silently about making the effort to look a tad bit better than average today.  
My new morning routine (now that I have a job and have a routine) includes making myself a protein smoothie which I drink as my breakfast.  It makes me happy.  Why?  Because it fills me up, it's yummy and it's easy to take with me to work.   Yep, that's me- all together and makin' my protein smoothie in the morning.  La-dee-da!  Feeling this good about myself this morning, I should have known that disaster was looming around the corner.
Aidan and I made our way to the van and headed off to his school.  About half way there I picked up my QT cup (GOOD GAWD, people, I MISS QT!) to take a drink.  Picked it up, not by the handle, which would have made the morning turn out just fine, but by the lid.  At which point, the entire cup (It's a 34 oz. cup about 1/2 full) dropped straight back down into the cup holder.  The lid was apparently not on all the way (rookie mistake).  But, honestly, this is WHY I carry the drink in a grown up version of a sippy cup.  I am not the most graceful person on the planet (sorry if you had other ideas about me).  I know what I'm capable of and it is not pretty.
The force with which the cup fell was supersonic or something b/c it literally exploded all over me, between the seats and center console of my van, as well as all over the dash and driver's side window.  Aidan, sitting in the passenger seat, was spotless.  I pulled over immediately and tried not to speak.  As I looked for napkins, I glanced at Aidan who looked, well, petrified.  Pretty sure he thought my head was going to pop off.  
After patting at the mess with a few meager napkins (anyone for cleaning up an entire bucket of water with one Kleenex?), I decided to continue driving Aidan to school.  I dropped him off and he said, "Sorry about your shake.  Hope your day gets better" or something to that effect.  Good boy, well played.  He's learning how to handle irate women (a very necessary skill, in my opinion).
Back home I went and came crashing into the house as quickly as I possibly could.  Tanner, who hadn't yet left for school, just watched me with his mouth open.  I explained what had happened and he said, in classic Tanner fashion, "You'll probably need to change clothes."  Really?  Ya think?  
I raced upstairs and peeled off my fruity smelling sweater, shirt, slacks and even my bra.  I threw them in the tub and threw on new stuff as fast as I could.  When I got back downstairs it was time for Tanner to go and I was running late.  I grabbed a couple of kitchen towels and got them wet to wipe off my seat, steering wheel and seat belt (I have one word for you-STICKY).  I told Tanner to have a good day at school and headed for the van.  Tanner says, "Hey mom, there's shake in your hair."  And on my glasses and on my shoes.  
Yep, just another Tuesday.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

When Did September Happen?

I haven't blogged since July?  Really?  My last blog was about Rue.  She is healed and doing great. She even has some fur on her bottom half now, helping her to look a lot less ridiculous.  It's still not as long as the rest of her fur, but one more haircut ought to even her out.
A lot of good has happened in the last month.  I was due for some good juju out here and so glad it finally found me.  The kids both started back to school.  Yea for schedules and routine!  I was able to land a J-O-B, finally!  Yea for a paycheck (which will happen only once per month, but yea all the same)!
I finally got my California Teaching Credential (applied for that in May, just got it this week).  So, now I can teach in California, well sort of.  I still have to take the CTEL (California Teachers of English Learners) exam to become a classroom teacher.  In related news, I DO NOT have to take the four classes I thought I was going to have to take!  Thanks to some investigating (thank you Carla) and meeting with the district's credential analyst, I was able to cross that off my list of things to do.  Never.Been.So.Fricking.Happy!!!!!!!!!!  I'll take a 7 hour exam over 4 college courses any day of the week.
In the mean time, I am working as an instructional assistant (also called a para educator) about 20 hours a week in a great school.  I am learning a lot about how the schools out here work.  It's very different in some respects, just the same in others.  The teacher I'm working with went through the same process I have been going through when she moved back here from Kansas.  She's an amazing teacher and we work extremely well together.
The first day I was there, I taught the 2nd grade group (13 students). It's a combo class, so the other 13 students are first graders.  This is something quite different from what I'm used to.  But, I just took her plans and dove right in.
One thing I will be sure about until the day I die-I was meant to be a teacher.  It was as if I'd found the part of myself that had been missing since coming here.  Me and myself were like peas and carrots again!
Good juju, indeed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dog Whisperer, I am NOT!

So, 8 days ago (8 days, 6 hours, and 26 minutes, but that's a rough estimate) my sweet little dog Rue had some major surgery.   She's been recovering from having both back legs operated on to repair 2 luxated patellas, aka-trick knees.  Yes, my dog does tricks.  She does the kind of tricks that empty our bank account.  She's REALLY good at it.  But, I love her and would do anything for her (evidenced by the fact that we are now back in some major debt).
She is quite possibly the cutest dog E-VER!  She also has "pitiful and pathetic" down pat.  Do you need a pathetic looking dog for a commercial?  Please, call me!  It's about time Rue started to earn her keep.  How about this:  
"Want to keep your dog from having to wear the cone of shame?  Click here to find out how we can help!"  You'd totally click, wouldn't you?  Since I can't seem to get a job out here, maybe it's Rue's turn to step up.  She puked in the cone of shame about 5 minutes after this photo was taken. Because we weren't already having enough fun that day.
Anyway, back to her recovery.  I have literally become the mother of a toddler all over again.  And I have to say it's not something I was really missing.  My life is how many times has Rue pooed and peed today, has she had enough water, is it time for her pills, is she trying to bite/lick her stitches?  I am exhausted!
Remember that phase when you couldn't be out of your baby's sight or they would immediately start whining or crying?  My boys both went through this stage more than once and at various ages, but I haven't had to worry about it for a LONG time!  This is Rue, right now.  If I am sitting at the computer, she has to be right next to me.   Like right now.  This is Rue sitting next to me as I type this.  Hi Rue Rue!!

 If I'm in the bathroom, she's whining until I come out.   I remember this.  She doesn't do it for the boys or Eric, just me.  The same way Aidan and Tanner did it.  What's my point here?  Well, besides just venting a bit, my point is that I'm too old for this shit!  I'm so glad to not have my baby parts anymore, because I just don't think I could survive that stage of Motherhood again.
She's also not being a very good patient anymore.  After 8 days being stuck in her bed, who can blame her?  I'm not supposed to let her walk until day 10.  But, that's easier said than done.  She's only 2 and she has a mind of her own.
This is SO the right dog for me, by the way. When people tell me I can't do something, I tend to nod and do it anyway.  Kinda like Rue just did while I was writing this.
She won't even look at me.  She knows she's not supposed to be out of her bed.  Sneaky little shit. God, I love this dog!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Last Friday I set out to drive from California to Missouri with my mother and my two kids.  2070 miles, 7 states, 3 days.  Throughout the journey I made random observations, mostly to myself.  I thought I would share twenty of them with you.

Random Thought #1:  Plane tickets are expensive.
Random Thought #2:  They are worth every penny.
Random Thought #3:  I wish we had enough money to buy plane tickets.
Random Thought #4:  Built in DVD players are the bomb diggety!
Random Thought #5:  Hooking up the X Box to the DVD player was the best idea my son Aidan has ever had in his lifetime.  I mean that, E-VER!
Random Thought #6:  You can never have enough snacks.
Random Thought #7:  My mom comments on everything she sees while travelling.
Random Thought #8:  My kids could care less about any of the things my mom points out along the way.  Welcome to age 10 and 13, Grandma.  If it doesn't have a cord, they aren't interested.
Random Thought #9:  So, this is Nevada.
Random Thought #10:  So, this is Utah.
Random Thought #11:  So, this is Wyoming.
Random Thought #12:  So, this is Colorado.
Random Thought #13:  Uhg!  Kansas.
Random Thought #14:  More Kansas.
Random Thought #15:  Yeah, we made it to Missouri.
Random Thought #16:  I have really gotten used to low or NO humidity.  I rather enjoy it.
Random Thought #17:  Driving 80 legally is pretty cool.
Random Thought #18:  Driving 65 after driving 80 feels like we are in a covered wagon.
Random Thought #19: Plane tickets are expensive.
Random Thought #20:  They are worth every penny.
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer trips!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Lap Dance Says A Lot

Making new friends is relatively easy when you are all in the same situation.  Thrown into the college setting, everyone is new and away from home, so it's easy to bond over a shared new, scary, exciting experience.  Later in life, you bond with colleagues at work over the daily stresses of balancing work and home.  Not all of these friends will stay your friends as life moves on and in new directions.  But, the ones that do are all that matters.  I have clung to my friendships from these times in my life for the last 7 months as I tried to navigate a new life here in California.  I am so grateful for these women who have listened to me on the phone whine and vent about my strange new world, who have sent me cards that made me laugh and cry, who have just, well, been my friends even though we are 2000 (or more) miles apart!  I couldn't have gotten to the place I am now without that support.  I value and love each and every one of you (you know who you are)!

Throughout this experience, I've been reading a book called "MWF Seeks BFF:  My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend" by Rachel Bertsche. http://mwfseekingbff.com/about-the-book/   While I wasn't necessarily looking for a new best friend, I was looking for good girlfriends to hang out with and talk to about, well, all those things that girlfriends talk about.  The book helped me see how alike we women can be. It helped me brave new waters-making new friends at 41 totally OUT of my comfort zone.  I mean, WAY out of my comfort zone, people!  I didn't go as crazy as Rachel did in her search (she did a friend date every week for a year AND is much younger than AND has no children), but I think I did it in my own way.  And guess what?  I've made new friends.  They are as diverse and wonderful as this new place that I now call "home."
They are beautiful women of all ages and we have fun and talk about all of those things that girlfriends talk about.  At first, friendships are tentative.  It's a dance as you get to know these brand new people.  But, I listened and they listened.  You can't be a good friend and not be a good listener.  Believe me, I met some people who I thought may be friend material here that didn't make the cut!  I don't have room in my life for people who aren't straight forward, honest people!  No time for that crap!  But, the ones that did make the cut:  AWESOME ladies and I'm so glad I got the chance to meet them.  And so happy they took the time to get to know me and let me into their lives.
Don't get me wrong, it takes time to get to different levels of friendship.  My college roommates and PSE friends have dirt on me that will bond us for life (and give us many memorable things to laugh and talk about when we get the chance).  These experiences ARE what make the friendship become stronger and live on long after you are in different states and different phases of life.  I didn't break out the non filtered version of myself right off the bat.  Didn't want to scare anyone off.  It takes time to get to a place where you can truly be yourself with people.  (I've been married to my husband for 15 years and I STILL don't fart in front of him if I can help it.  Sometimes I can't, help it, that is)!  So I wasn't about to throw out a slur of 15 curse words in true Jen-style right away.  That shit takes time and trust.  But, I'm getting there.
Last night we went out for a "going away for awhile" send off for my friend Heather.  She's going into witness protection for a little while, just until the trial.  Really, she's just moving to Alameda to renovate a house and it's only a 35 minute drive from here.  But, she won't be here every day, so a send off was in order.  So, seven women, ranging in age from 30's to 50's went out for dinner and then to a dueling piano bar.  If you know me at all, you know I'm not much of a bar person.  But, you do things that are out of your comfort zone for friends, am I right?  It was truly a blast!  Yes, things got a little crazy and I got home WAY too late, but the crazy and the late-that's pure friendship bonding time!
At one point, Heather (pictured here on the piano) broke into spontaneous lap dances.  I was the lucky recipient of one said lap dance.  Yep, we both ended up falling off my bar stool and her beer got spilled-not pretty!  But, you don't just meet someone new and hop up on their lap (well, maybe Heather would with enough Corona in her).  That type of behavior is usually reserved for someone who knows you well enough to not run away screaming.  So happy to have gotten to that point here in Cali with my "newest" friends.  Yep, people, a lap dance really does say A LOT!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feels (A Little) More Like Home

I guess at some point you just have a new normal.  I think I'm there.  We've been here for 6 months now and I think the adjustment has been (mostly) made.  I can actually list things I like about living in California now.  Don't get me wrong, I can still list things I don't like as well (PESSIMISTS UNITE!).  But the list isn't as long as it used to be.
Recently, Aidan, Tanner, and I went back to Missouri for Spring Break.  It was my second trip back and the boy's first.  For nine days, our social calendars were filled, to the brim people!!  I was the social taxi cab (in my mother's car).  There were friends to see, schools and teachers to visit, family to bond with, etc.  You know how it is when you visit home.  Less vacation and more run around and make sure you have adequate face time with ALL.
I thought it would be hard for the boys to come back.  They had a BLAST, but both were quite fine with returning.  It didn't hurt that Tony LaRussa was on our flight back to SF.  We all got to meet him.  Oh yea, random famous people on my flight!  I was READY to come back.  I loved seeing everyone, but I ran my ass off (actually it's still there, but you get my drift).  We drove to Illinois for a couple days (Eric's family-check).  We stayed with my mom and daddy-B, had Easter there, even saw my brother (my family, more of Eric's family-check).  I went to Kentucky with my Lover (that means my old roomie, Shayn, we're not actually lovers, I just call her that.  There's a whole story, but it's not relevant at this time to share).  We were on a mission to see our other roomie, Susannah.  The planets actually aligned this year and we all had Spring Break at the same time.  Hells to the yea on that!  (Serious friend bonding time, soul rejuvenated, my ass kicked at Nertz-check).

I actually think it was harder on some of the people we visited when we left, rather than on us.  I know people want us to be happy, but it's hard when people you liked having in your life on a daily basis have been gone and are now more OK with being gone. As my friend (and MIL) Elaine says, "Don't drink the Kool-Aid!"  Sorry, Elaine, I've had a few sips!  It doesn't mean I don't love and miss everyone, I DO!  It just means you can only live in "limbo" for so long before you go bonkers.  Also, plane tickets are *CRAZY* expensive.
So, onward and upward!  Aidan has picked out his electives for 8th grade (What the what-8th grade?) next year and seems excited.  Tanner will be in his last year of elementary (5th-again, Whaat?) at an awesome school.  Eric is among his people and working his tail off at Square!  I am taking the C-BEST test to get certified in California, so may actually have a job next year.  In the meantime, I am volunteering at Tanner's school with many things.  I've met some great ladies through that!
And, hey, the pool opens on May 10th!

Not to end on a complete cliche', but I will.  Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  Plan away, people, plan away!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dental Debacle

I had to go get some dental work done last week which continued into this week.  Old filling had to come out, porcelain overlay had to go on (kind of like a crown), two new fillings to be filled.  I don't know anyone who *likes* to go to the dentist.  I don't usually freak out or anything.  But, perhaps I should have been a bit more cautious.
First things first, they can apparently make your partial crown "while you wait."  It's like Lens Crafters "Glasses in About an Hour" thing only for teeth.  So I go in and they numb the entire right side of my face.  The dentist sets to work getting out the old filling and then takes pictures digitally and on the computer screen right in front of me they design my overlay.  While that is being made, he and his assistant fill another cavity that I have.  Side note:  I could NEVER be a dentist or a dental hygienist.  They need buttons for you to push so that you don't have to try and answer questions with your mouth numb and full of pointy drills and such.  My buttons today would have been:  "I'm OK.  That hurts.  and Quit asking me questions!"
Fast forward and my overlay is ready to be put in/on.  The assistant has gone to another room, but the dentist wants to see if the partial crown is going to fit.  I open wide and he puts it on what's left of my tooth.  It's on the upper right hand side.  Immediately this feels a bit precarious to me.  I mean what is holding that thing in place??  He goes to take it off, pleased that it is a prefect fit and BOOM, just like that this little piece of porcelain is not on my tooth anymore.  It's on my tongue.  At least I think it's on my tongue because why else would I immediately start gagging and trying to expel this foreign body from my mouth?  Remember I am NUMB people, so the whole right side of my face is sagging and here I am trying to spit up a *tooth.*
"Don't panic" the dentist says.  Too late.  The assistant rushes in and says (I swear like a mother scolding a five year old) "you shouldn't have started without me."  Ya think???
They get me up and I start shaking out my shirts hoping to see this little white thing drop onto the floor or show up somewhere.  But, nothing!!  I go to the bathroom and take off my shirts, look in the bra, everything.  Even though, I stinking know it's not there.  I am pretty sure I swallowed the little sucker.
I put myself back together and head back to my little torture chamber.  Two assistants and the dentist are down on the floor.  "I think I swallowed it."  I say.  The dentist concurs because (and I quote)  "I didn't see anything fly out of your mouth while you were gagging and coughing."  I'm sure that was a picture worthy of the cover of Cosmo.  Lovely.
So, guess what?  They make another one and while I wait (again) the dentist explains to me that "this too shall pass" so to speak.  MOR-TI-FIED, PEOPLE!!!  If I could've written this whole post in CAPS without completely annoying myself, I would've.
Just to wrap up and conclude this riveting little story, I now am the proud owner of not one, but 2 porcelain overlays.  One you can see and one you can see in a few days.
Next time you go to the dentist, I hope you think of me and at least giggle a little.  Only not when there's a little overlay in your mouth.  Don't do that, K?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Just call me Julie!

This has been a strange week.  After not raining much at all since I've lived here, it has been raining the entire week.  Had to have $900 worth of work done on my van...ouch!  Taxes are being figured out.  We're gonna owe...double ouch!  I went to the dentist and apparently have 2 cavities, an old cavity that needs to be removed and replaced with a crown AND...(this is the real bonus) I've apparently been grinding my teeth while I sleep since moving here and have done some pretty good damage.  I need a bite guard.  Sounds sexy, doesn't it??  It's not covered under our insurance.  Excellent.  Bite guard will have to wait.  Uncle Sam trumps bite guard.
In addition to all of that Tanner had half days...every...single ...day this week due to Spring conferences.  Aidan had half days W, T, F.  That has a dual meaning:   Wednesday, Thursday, Friday AND What The Fuck?!!  Spring conferences were different than what I'm used to but it was OK.  Tanner's teacher tells me that he is responsible, mature and self motivated, except when it involves draft writing or embellishing on any writing whatsoever.  Tanner's thinking is:  I wrote it.  Take it or leave it.  But, I'm not changing anything.  It is what it is.  Ok, we'll work on that.  Given the half days, there were LOTS of other things going on at school besides conferences.  Namely the Book Fair and the Science Fair.
In my attempt to have some sort of "normal" here, I volunteer up at Tanner's school quite a bit.  I feel more at home in an elementary school setting than almost anywhere else, so it makes sense.  I fell into a routine with the office staff and principal and assistant principal fairly quickly.  I think it takes a unique type of person to work in an elementary school setting.  So, I find these women have similar characteristics to the beloved office staff back at my wonderful Progress South Elementary.  I'm being wordy with this post, I don't know why.  I think I have too much swimming around in my head or something. But, I promise there is a point, so bear with me for a few more paragraphs.
Anywho, I have made some new "friends" through my volunteering.  I've done lunch with a few of them, chatted a bit here and there with others.  I feel an instant connection with many of them simply because they are more familiar to me (i.e. they are white).  I swear to god I am not a racist.  I have just never been the minority before and it's an odd feeling.  Where I have had trouble feeling comfortable (as in knowing what to say, how to interact) is with the PTA group here which made up of mostly Indian (but also some Asian) women.  They are great group and do a lot amazing work for the school.  So, in an effort to get to know some of them better, I volunteered to work at the book fair for 3 hours, even though I knew I wouldn't know many of the ladies.  I've seen a few of them at meetings of committees and such but have a hard time remembering their names.
I have a lot of personal guilt about not being able to remember their names.  I remember the Asian ladies way better than the Indian ones.  Why is that?  It frustrates me as a human being!  I'm petrified of calling Poojah... Chithkala.  I know there are these two very nice ladies with those names, but I CAN"T for the life of me remember which one goes with which name.  Again, the guilt and personal inadequacy is *killing* me here!  Please don't judge me too harshly.
Back to the book fair.  I put on my big girl pants and headed to the Library at school to work my 3 hours.  Immediately I was met by someone I knew, Cynthia, who is Asian.  I talked to her for a few minutes, feeling a tad more relaxed.  Then I was attacked my 3 Indian women trying to put Hawaiian leis and a grass skirt on me (the theme of the book fair was luau, apparently).  I said hi to all of them.  They seemed to all be speaking at once, and quickly.  But, I got the gist of what they were saying.  They were happy about someone named "Julie" who was such a great volunteer.  Not knowing who they were talking about, I said, "Oh, I haven't met Julie.  Is she here?"  To which Chithkala (I think) responded, " Well, of course, YOU are Julie!!"  They all laughed and looked down as if they couldn't believe how truly stupid I was.
O...M...G!!  In that moment I felt SO much better!  They couldn't remember my name either!!  Woo hoo!  I don't suck as much as I originally thought!  Score one for the white chick!
I thoroughly enjoyed informing them that my name wasn't actually Julie.  They apologized profusely.  I loved the one who said "Oh no, if she is not Julie, then what is she called?"   I told them that I had just as much trouble remembering everyone's names and not to give it a second thought.
So, I'm letting myself off the hook for not knowing the names.  After all, I'm apparently named Julie!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Milk in the Car and I Don't Care

My four day trip home was a success!!  Not that I thought it would be anything but.  It had truly been four months since I felt like doing a happy dance.  I was so excited about this trip, in fact, that I seriously did NOT plan out anything for the husband and kids to do while I was away.  I didn't write down any instructions.  I didn't lecture about doing homework and practicing piano.  I just packed my bag and hugged them and got the heck outta there!  I'll tell you, that's not typical of me.  I'm a bit of a control freak.  I worry about little things like the counters having crumbs on them, the toilet seat being left up and the blankets not being folded up on the couch.  Don't judge.  I am what I am, no apologies.  But this time, I didn't worry about ANY of that stuff!  My husband even posted on Facebook about a "bacon bomb" going off in our kitchen.  Did I call home and tell him where the cleaning spray was located?  Nope, I just kept on having fun with all of my peeps.
I'm pretty stinking proud of myself.  I truly *let it all go*!!  Yeah, me!
So when I returned yesterday I expected things wouldn't be *perfection*.  I have to say, pleasantly surprised.  They survived.  Eric did laundry.  I saw NO evidence of said bacon bomb.  Now, don't go jumping to conclusions, they are men (boys) after all, and without my *gentle guidance* a few things did go by the wayside.  Aidan missed his Cooking club and his gym clothes never made it home to be washed.  Eric went to the grocery store (yeah him), but left the milk in the back of the car most of the day.  The dog rolled around in new mulch and became brown instead of white.  But ask me if I care????

I do NOT!  It was worth it.  They survived!  I had a terrific visit with everyone.  
I went and got milk today.  
The end

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Happens When you don't just say "It's fine."

I'm a talker.  If you know me at all, you know I can talk on just about any subject and most definitely have an opinion about said subject.  I went to the bank this week and the teller there ALWAYS asks me "How do you like California so far??"  I discovered on my first visit that apparently she can tell that our account originated in Missouri because our account number "is so strange."  So, over the course of these 4 months she has learned where I'm from, why we moved here, how many kids we have and how to correctly pronounce "O'Fallon" which is "such a strange name for a town."  Our bank is in the SafeWay where I shop and is very small so it's usually the same teller.
Usually I tell her "It's fine" or "The weather is certainly better" because my momma raised me right and I know how to have a polite conversation.  But, this week, she wasn't taking that for an answer.  Here's the gist of the conversation:
Teller:  How are you liking California so far?
Me:  It's good, thanks.
Teller:  Is it really that different from the midwest?
Me:  Ummm, YES!  (I think my facial expression gave away QUITE a bit on this one because she seemed genuinely shocked.)
Teller:  But, you like California better, right?
Me:  It's an adjustment.
Teller:  But, you like it better here, RIGHT?  I mean there's NO comparison, right?
Me:  It may be too soon to answer that.
Teller:  (shaking her head)  But, you love it.  You do.  (This was more a statement than a question).
Me:  Actually, I don't.  But, thanks.

I may have to go to a different bank branch next time.  This woman REALLY needs me to like it here and I'm not good at faking it.  I'm a midwest girl.  I like my seasons to really BE seasons.  I like neighbors who wave and say "hi."  Hopefully, I'll rub off on the people out here a little.  I think they could use a good dose of the  midwest.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things I've Learned from My Dog

If you hear about a crazy woman in the East bay area who walks (and I use that term loosely) her dog and talks (maybe yells sometimes) to said dog, you can rest easy knowing it's me.  We all talk about training our dogs.  I call bullshit on that!  My dog has trained me.  I took Rue to puppy school when we first got her.  We went for 8 weeks.  She takes my ass to school every day.  She would like to share with all of you the things she has taught me, her human.

Lesson number one:  You are not "going for a walk."  You are taking me to every single tree and plant I want to sniff between here and the dog park.  Never you mind that I've already peed 4 times and pooped twice.  That is irrelevant.  These trees smell VERY different from the way they smelled yesterday and I MUST investigate!

Lesson number two:  Yes, actually, I AM a princess, thank you very much!  And, yes, princesses sometimes CHOOSE to eat rabbit poo.  It is considered a delicacy in some countries.  Which countries?  I don't know, again, IRRELEVANT.  Stupid human.

Lesson number three:  I KNOW the way to the mailboxes.  I realize we go a different direction if you need to get the mail than if we are just going for a sniff, er, I mean walk.  And, to answer your question, I don't LIKE to do my business on the way TO the mailbox.  I prefer to do it on the way back, when you have lots of mail in your hands.  I think it's cute how you have to put the mail on the ground and get out the little poo bag and pick up my poo (we'll get to this little gem in lesson number four).  If the mail flies away due to wind, ALL the more fun!  I'm TRYING to make the trip a little more interesting.  You can thank me later.

Lesson number four:  What do you do with all that poo, anyway?  Are you collecting it to build a sculpture?  I bet my poo is considered a delicacy in some countries.

Lesson number five:  If you EVEN think you are going to sit there on the couch with that stupid machine and that I'm going to stay down here on the cold floor, you are seriously DERANGED!!  Scoot over woman.  Actually, that machine is really warm too.  What are you doing on there that's SO important?  What's "Words with Friends?"  Put that thing away and pet my belly.  There you go.  Good human!

Training humans is HARD work!  I'm pooped!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Perspective and a Project

Reading that one of my sorority sisters from college is having a double mastectomy today helped me gain a much needed perspective on my current situation.   As I sit here worrying about her, I've made a decision to stop my bitching about California and just make it work.  I've changed my altitude and now I must change my attitude.

OK, time for a funny story.  In the beginning that is what I proposed this blog would be, funny stories from my life.   BUT, it has turned into something else entirely lately and ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

Tanner has a school project due on Friday.  He has to build a model of Mission Santa Cruz (there were other choices but that boy loves to build).  We are learning all kinds of California history in the process.  He and Eric started building it over Xmas break using cardboard (something we have plenty of around here).  Once the structure was complete, Tanner and I started working on the details.  I am no stranger to crafts, people.  I was a first grade teacher for 16 years and have dealt with glitter (god help me) and plenty of children who get carried away with a bottle of Elmer's in their hands.  But I guess it's been awhile since I've battled the glue gun.
I think all glue guns should have that warning printed on them like the coffee cups from McDonald's.  "This shit gets REALLY fricking hot.  You WILL get burned."  That's my idea for the warning.  I know, not exactly the same as the coffee cup thing.  Anywho, I was doing great until we had to put grass all over the base.  Gluing the roof tiles was easy, they are solid squares of cardboard.  I put a squeeze of glue and Tanner stuck it on.  "Oooh, that feels hot through the cardboard,"  Tanner says.  "You have that right," I respond.
Let's discuss this grass, by the way.  I could have just had him color or paint the base green or covered it in green felt.  But then I spotted this spanish moss at JoAnn's and thought how realistic it would look.  (Dumbass)  I realize right away this is gonna get messy.  You have to pull the grass apart and it's not so easy. Plus it's falling all over the place and my dog is chewing on it as it hits the floor.  There's a comedian who says that glitter is the herpes of craft products (b/c once who have it, it never really goes away).  As I'm ripping the moss into sections, I can't get this out of my head.  (Squirrel!)
The true fun starts once the glue gun (implement of torture) is heated up.  Mine has 2 settings and I went with the lower one.  I know I'm going to be cursing, so I send Tanner to do something else, telling him I don't think he can help with this part b/c I don't want him to get burned.  So I put the glue on in small sections and wait a few seconds hoping it will cool a little, but not harden completely.  I stick the grass over the glue and instantly feel the heat.  So I yank my hand away but the pain doesn't stop.  That glue that is burning me is instantly hardening on my finger.  Awesome.  As an added bonus, I now have a spider web type string between me and the mission.  This process continues for about 15 minutes or so:  glue, grass, curse, tangle, glue, grass, curse, tangle.  As I'm trying to get the grass to stay on the base and not pull away with my hand, I have a surge of empathy for bikini waxers everywhere!
Ah, well, by the time I finish, I am tangled into a mess of dried glue strings and have little pieces of green moss grass hanging off of most of my fingers.  But, it LOOKS so realistic!  I can't wait to show Tanner.  (It is HIS project after all).  He comes down as I'm peeling the glue and grass off of my fingers and comments, "You were right, Mom, the grass is WAY better than just coloring it."  And I get a hug.  Totally worth it!  Get ready, Mrs. Chung, here comes Mission Santa Cruz ala Burke!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

New year, new look!

Happy 2012 everyone!  I decided to update my blog with a new look!  So since it's "Stories I Only Tell My Closest Friends" I decided to put some of my closest friends on my blog.  If you're not on here it doesn't mean I don't consider you a close friend.  It just means I have SO many friends that I couldn't possibly fit them all on my blog (yeah, right).  Really I picked the ones who have the most dirt on me and put them on so that they know how much I love them and hopefully they will never reveal my deepest and darkest. (I have information on you as well, bitches, so keep it quiet!!).
I am not making resolutions.  I don't do that.  I think it is just another way for me to publicly FAIL at something and I don't really need that help.  My big news is I still don't dig living in Cali.  My kids also do not care for it too much.  My husband, on the other hand, is in his element.  No, not the "California Surfer Dude" kind of element.  The Silicon Valley "Tech Geek" kind of element.  We did this for his job, it's a huge opportunity for him, blah, blah, blah.  Doesn't make it any easier and believe me I keep WAITING for it to get easier.
ONE thing that is easier is getting around.  I finally feel like I know which streets are connected to which places and how to get where I'm trying to get to (wow-terrible sentence).  So, just in time for that, Eric bought me a GARMIN for Christmas.  Whatevs, it's good to have it in case I get distracted.  What I REALLY need is an ear thingy so I can (legally) talk on my phone while I drive.  That's next on my list of must haves.  (What I really need is a bank drive up shute that will pop me back over to O'Fallon when I need to hang out with someone other than my dog or my kids).
My birthday present to myself (using Xmas funds from my wonderful MIL and birthday money-cough, cough, MOM, that's you-no presents, just money toward my already purchased plane ticket that is too expensive-) is to fly home for 5 glorious days in the usually very beautiful month of February.  I will see all my local friends, I will scrapbook at a crop, I will see family and I will eat Chick fil-a and toasted ravioli.  I CAN'T frickin' wait!!!  It's technically after my birthday, but no one really cares, right?  I need some "friend time" and I need it yesterday.
Okay, peeps, that's all of my moaning and complaining for the moment.  I really want something cool to happen like Aidan makes a friend or I make a friend so that I can write about that.  But, for now the cool news is that Tanner had a sleep over with 2 friends from his class and enjoyed it.  The COOLER news is that I met MC Hammer at the Square Xmas party.  The COOLEST news is that my mom and Bill were here for a week over Xmas.   See that?  That is me trying to put a positive spin on things.  You should have seen me trying to fit myself into their suitcase at the airport.  HILARIOUS!