Saturday, September 27, 2008

I thought You Were Wearing a Dress?

For starters, is it sad that most of the time my only two comments are from my Mom and my sister... in-law. ( Sorry, I had to add it, I felt like I was cheating.)
I have been to the city a lot lately. My former home. It's familiar, but yet scary, because it's not the same. Subtle changes make my backyard seem like someone else's. I feel like exactly what I am... just visiting.
Today I went to one of my "bestie's" wedding shower. Totally chic, totally cool- fantabulous. Rooftop party room with white chaise lounges. Waiter-served finger foods and waitress-served Mimosas and Bellingers. Beautiful day. Lovely party... lots of girls dressed in Chicago urban style.
I took a moment and went onto the private balcony to people watch the neighborhood. Fomerly known as the artist's mecca. Bucktown. Where Real World made Peace Pizza a common name. Where boutiques moved in and "locals" locked thier doors for the last time. Where I raked in loads of cash getting artists and yuppies alike trashed beyond reason while waitressing.
And while I was absorbing it all, wondering if I even missed this scene, my eyes happened upon a US Postal worker. I watched her zoom down the alley in her big white box van. Quickly. With intent. Purpose. Motivation. She hopped out and I noticed her afro. Her unbottoned pin-striped frock. Her "Muscle T" under. Her HUGE silver hoop earrings. Her thick black shoes. Her tube socks pulled up her legs to her knees with stripes. Her thick ropey necklace. And her cigarette hanging out of her mouth. And then, lastly, sunglasses so huge Nicole Richie would be jealous. She was the coolest dang postal worker I had seen in a long time.
It was then I recalled what it is I miss about the city. Not the traffic. Not the food. Not the parking or the parties or the bars. It's the simplicity of people being able to express themselves without a second thought. Without sneers or questions or contempt. Just everyday folks doing thier thing with thier own style. Which does not mean style-ish. Unless you are just visiting. And then you might have a sudden flash that you are not style-ish enough. And you are. You just don't realize that your eyes are resting on those folks you don't normally see by your house. And you think everyone dresses like that. And they don't. But the beautiful thing is that you can. And you will find respect regardless.
I loved that about the city.
I used to like to recreate my image once in while. I even got on a kick where I would change clothes in the middle of a party to see if anyone would notice. It got so out of control that during this "phase" I actually took a back pack out with me and would change outfits in the bathroom two or three times a night. To mix it up. ( I never said I wasn't wierd ). I loved watching the reaction on a person's face. Or the lack thereof. The city was my playground.
I can't imagine doing something like that in the suburbs. It would just be too wierd. People would... talk. They would think I had a lot of cats at home or hoarded newpaper or something.
That is what I miss about the city. Probably not a good enough reason to want to move back.
I don't have that kind of energy now. But sometimes it is nice to have a day where you are not you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What did ya SAY??

So, the counselor came down to my room to tell me about a new student. I thought he started off by telling me she had "bad skin". I thought it was an odd thing to mention. However, this particular counselor might just say something like that... if you can catch my drift here.
So I see the new student... and this student has perfect skin.
Let me just insert here that reputations precede us. Because he's kind of a wacky guy. Camp counselor, braided lanyard, rides his bike to school kind of guy. He will talk about canoeing, or his weight, or leprechauns at any given moment... and you wait on hinges wondering where he is going. Generally, however, he ends up making some sense.
So I thought he was being... considerate. So that I wouldn't be... shocked... by this skin I would have to teach.
When I finally laid eyes on the student, the skin was not alarming in the slightest. And here I was thinking of those "after" pictures that we see of heroin addicts. The skin was actually sorta pretty.
It was not until I laid in bed that night did I figure out that the counselor had spoken into my bad ear. Of which I damaged doing something incredibly stupid. And so deserve the deafness.
But by now, I had told my co-workers about the bad skin. And they e-mailed me as they met her, that no... her skin was not bad at all actually.
And so for several days I forgot about my lapse in hearing. And every night, as a I lay in bed remembering, I found it funnier still, that because the counselor is so wacky, they never questioned ME. The real culprit of the miscommunication.
And a field day was had by all when I finally DID remember to tell them today that perhaps he hadn't thought the skin so bad, as much as I didn't hear what the hell he actually said. And I surmised to my comrades what do you think he actually DID say:
Thier Answers:
Off task in?
Bad in?
Bad sin?
Rad kid?
Bath shin?
I suppose I could just ask. But this is too much fun.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vroom Vroom

Somewhere between the end of my high school years and the end of my college years, which were extensive, my father bought me a red Honda Spree scooter. And I loved it. In front of the handle bars, he wired me up a green basket, in which I would place my little black Perry poodle. And we would ride around and we would do stuff. Like go for rides, get ice cream, and, well, I don't really remember.
Not long ago, when I saw Paris Hilton I remarked to my mother that I was doing that stuff with little dogs YEARS before Paris. And she retorted back, rather quickly, I might add, that Dorothy had been toting Toto YEARS before me.... Touche! I have a quick one for a Mom.
Fast forward several years. Okay, an entire decade. And I met my husband. Who was then my boyfriend. And we got a "wild hair up our ass"... and there is really no other way to explain it.
Desire, met with new love, met with two people who have difficulty making wise decisions, decided to get bikes. And I am not talking about the pedal kind.
We started off by signing up for motorcycle safetly lessons at the local Harley Davidson. Have you ever seen your boyfriend/husband in a classroom situation? It was really... informative!! He was such a good student. He took meticulous notes and paid attention the whole time. I was the rebel rouser and didn't really think he would respect me when it was over. He merely shook his head and wondered how I managed to earn myself a Master's degree. I mean, come ON!, who can sit for hours on end and NOT write notes about the instructor's pants??
Have I mentioned yet I was the only female in the class?
When it came time to hop on the bikes for the "hands-on" portion, I was anxious and excited. It was 70-something degrees and we were wearing full helmets, riding gloves, boots, jeans, and long-sleeves.
And I must admit, my first crank of the gas was exhilirating.
I also must admit that the guys, especially my husband, were cheering me on. They ALL wanted me to succeed. It was like nothing else I had ever felt before. One hundred percent support and hope, held in my precarious little hands. With every spill, cone knock out, and white over-ridden line, I was met with caution, advice, and encouragement.
On the last day, a DMV person came to the site and administered the actual state motorcycle test. I can't remember my place exactly, but I was somewhere in the middle of the group. My husband went before me. He aced it. Before my turn, I looked over at the guys I had spent the last three days with, especially my husband. I heard them cheering for me. I sped out too quickly and missed the first, and easiest obstacle. With no time to look for my fan club, I moved forward, knowing that with only two more misses allowed , and many challenging obstacles ahead, I was leaning towards the side of failure.
I focused. I tried. I prayed. I could NOT let my husband down... or any of the other hopefuls, who in retrospect, viewed me as the one chance they had to convince thier own wives/girlfriends/daughters that this WAS possible.
The next thing I remember is coming across the line with a smile that could compete with Tyra's! I PASSED the test.
In a convoy much like that in Swingers, we traveled to the DMV and waited in line for our new licenses. One by one, those of us who passed, upgraded our regular "D" status to that of "D' and "M". HA!
We were so excited that my husband and I went out and bought ourselves some motorocycles. I had a silver Honda Shadow VTX600. It was pretty. Billy's was cool. An Orange Honda Shadow 750. With white wall tires. Old school style.
We took them to the streets ( I mean parking lot) across the street from our house ( apartment building). We practiced turns and accelerating and stops and maneuvers. I was having a blast. I felt so great. I felt so cool. Eventually, my much more experienced rider husband and I took the bikes to the real streets. Three times. Total. Before we sold them back.
Because he couldn't take it. I would forget things. Like turning signals, and where the third gear was. And to look back before switching lanes. His hair was getting gray. And we were fighting more. About "bike-riding".
At the time it was a real bummer. But now, I know it was the best decision. The roads around us are two-to-three lanes and have speed limits at 45. I am not experienced. He felt responsible for my well-being. He didn't have confidence in my ability. And quite frankly, neither did I. I was no match for the semis and trucks that were honking at me. Nearly running me down. It was no place to learn to ride a motorcycle.
We talked about "learning options". Perhaps I could go riding with some "other people". Guys that knew bikes that wouldn't feel so responsible or emotionally attached to the subject. We tossed around the idea of a "trike"... and we still do. Or we talk about moving away to a less congested place that would allow us the liberty of going 25 and dodging mini-vans as opposed to 16-wheelers. I get it. It was a sound decision. At the time.
But it's not over. I still have the classification. I still have the desire. I still have faith I could learn and I still think it would be fun.
Either way, it was a fabulous way to fall in love, motorcycles rumbling in the garage or not.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pity Party/Rare Mood

I am in a foul mood. And I want to blog but have started writing ten times (exaggerator!) and each time it comes out so awful (I am NOT dramatic ) you would think I was destitute, alone, broken, and depressed. And I am none of those things. The bottom line is that I am feeling sorry for myself today. Which, in all actuality, I believe one should indulge in once in awhile... if you are actually, physically alone. So no one else has to see the pity party up close and personal. Because it is really pathetic.
One of my most favorite things to do when I find myself pulling the pity card out of my back pocket is to play the "I hate game". Which I am proudly the inventor of. ( And I don't care about ending sentences with a preposition, I am a teacher, I KNOW, but this is how I talk! )
It goes like this:
When depressingly angry, pitiful, annoyed, or just feeling like a total bitch.... you say OUT LOUD everything that you hate. You have to be honest. And don't do it in front of other people unless they are in the kind of mood I am and then you can offer it up. Because you WILL laugh. You will. Believe me. But please don't play unless you are near a trusted friend, otherwise you might find yourself in a straight jacket on the way to somewhere with white beds, electrodes, and bars on the windows.
I am playing by myself tonight. Because I do feel SO irritated and well, I felt like a laugh.
So... here are some of the things I heard myself say out loud... and be prepared, this is NOT nice, nor is it sane. It's a COPING mechanism. So don't call my husband and tell him I am nearing a breaking point. I just like to let it all out.
1. I hate my toe. ( easy one... we already KNOW that! )
2. I hate OnDemand. They don't have Bravo.
3. I hate the jets that fly overhead taking people to nice and fun places. They should be quiet.
4. I hate my garden. It's DUMB. NO cucumbers. I mean, come ON! I have been watering those sorry ass plants all summer religiously, I am so OVER the blooms. I want CUKES!
5. I hate Brody Jenner. He's wearing sunglasses again and it's like.. midnight. Okay. You want me to say it? You are cool. Cooler than me. Is that what you want to hear? I could wear sunglasses TOO if I ever was out at night and was doing cool stuff. Whateva!~
6. I hate my mascara! Like... DUH! I did not paint dark smudges under my eyes BEFORE work this morning, so like what is the DEAL on the dripping thing? It's like... making me look mean and nasty and since I feel mean and nasty it's contributing to my HATING!! Bad mascara bad!
7. I hate my "text" tone. Okay, so I will admit, I LOVE my RING tone, a lovely not-downloaded Carribean elevator thing, but the text noise? Yucky! It's like the lunch bell at a factory and I am not tech savvy and don't know how to switch it. A-NOY-ing.
8. I hate when I make typos. When I was trying to de-compress after a HORRIBLE day at work, I spotted a lovely and luxurious new season of Housewives. And it's in Atlanta. And I immediately thought about CarolynOnLine and all I wanted to do was call her and ask her if she has seen filming/knows the girls/have kids in her kid's classes ( she's tier ONE ) blah blah blah. So when I excitedly posted a comment I had no idea it was Typo City and was so MAD I wanted to find the retract button but couldn't and I was like... I hate THAT!
9. I hate stuff but I am so appalled at my pettiness that I am getting over the hate. And I DON'T hate THAT.
10. I like Miller Chill and the Hills. But don't tell anyone I am getting in a good mood because that would ruin the game.
11. I hate that, umm, I hate that the only news is about the election and that is SO not blog worthy because 99% of people already know who they are voting for. I just want to say that Obama came from a teenage mama so Palin's daughter could be raising the next President of the United States.
12. I hate being wrong. But THANK GOD I haven't been lately. JUST kidding. I have been, and that IS something I hate, however, luckily I surround myself with people that forgive me. I think.
13. I hate that I am a teacher and can't just SAY how I feel about my job and the kids and all of it, becuase then I would break the law. And it's annoying that I feel like sometimes my students, in all of their assininity, have more rights than I do about what I can express.
14. I hate that my world is so small I can get mad at these things. I wonder if I had kids if I would never feel like this or if I would feel like this more. Maybe it would be more like I wouldn't care as much about work because I would feel like I have bigger, and more important things to care about. But I don't. And maybe the bottom line is that I just hate that.
15. I don't actually hate. Heaven forbid my niece heard me... because hate is a dirty word in her world and she has absolutely NO qualms about correcting me. I really love her., I would not like to for her to see this. She would never, ever think this post was acceptable.

Anyway, I am done now. I made myself laugh. It's over. Thanks for listening and sorry if I got you all cranky. Or if you are my mother and you were like... SO NOT surprised I held a pity party this afternoon in MY honor!
There will be cake and pizza in the kitchen in like... thirty minutes.

I Married Him, Not the Dress!

I cleaned out my closet. Threw out some clothes I wouldn't even give to a homeless person. Put others in a bag, because they might look charming on a homeless person. Some items I designated to the "spare" closet, because the jury is still out. Not sure if the black polyester wrap dress I bought for a funeral four years ago, which looks adorable on me, is ever going to rise out of it's reputation and make me feel "good".
I boxed up the capris- which I always swear I hate and are a "fashion don't", but sport six months out of the year anyway, along with the tank tops and brilliant white linen pants ( and yes you CAN see my grundies, which is why I only pair them with very, very long shirts! ).
I chose only the most crucial of summer shorts ( for those days when my husband is working and he's not home so the heat gets cranked to 95 degrees ) to keep out and put the rest "in the bin" for storage.
And in other words things got organized.
But there is a box. A BIG box, sitting in my bedroom. Clearly, there is no room for it. It's too big for UNDER the bed, too big for IN my closet, and much TOO delicate for the garage.
It's my wedding dress.
And I don't know what the heck to DO with it.
I do recall spending a hundred bucks for a "special cleaning" that would "preserve it"- which you can't check, because if you pull it out of it's special plastic casing, you jack it up. Therefore you are forced to take the dry cleaners word for it... which surprisingly blows because despite all good things suburban,I must say the dry cleaning around here SUCKS.
Anyway- I don't know what to do with my wedding dress. Personally, I would be okay with selling it. I like to think I commemorate the day with memories, pictures, a ring... and then of course, my husband! But the people around me tell me it's something I should keep. Because someone may want to wear it one day.
I guess the way I see it is that someone could wear it tomorrow and I could get some money back on it.
But I have never been known to be the world's best decision maker on such things so feel forced to keep it. Sitting in a big box in the middle of my bedroom. For now. And it's driving me nuts, because things belong places. Things need to go "home". In my world, everything, weather it is there or not, should have a "home". Scissors go in that drawer, staples in THAT cabinet and by all means that calculator goes in THAT basket next to the laptop.... Got it?
I don't lead the kind of lifestyle in which I share my bedroom with a big box.
And so I wonder if other women save their dresses...or if they sell them, or give them away, or lost them in a fire or gave them to a friend. Or if it would be horrible to "fake-blood" it up and use if for a Halloween costume??

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Danger Zone

I am in pain. Not surprising. But my "accidents" seem to come in waves. It all started yesterday morning.
Every single day when I walk into my period 4 classroom, the guy who has class in there before me seems to get a very big kick out of "surprising" me. Every. single. day. As in, I-drop-my-shit-and-scream. And I know it's coming, but I can't seem to "not get" surprised. And so late last week, I warned the six foot two fifty guy to "stop doing that", it's going to give me a heart attack. But yesterday... then beautiful yesterday... he did it again. And, much to his chagrin, and then to mine... I heard my mouth say in garbled slow motion, " I said STOP doing that" and my leg coaxing me to "do it"... KICK HIM. And so with every ounce of energy, muscle, fat and bone, I swung with all my might. And then we had a connection. Hard plastic Target shoe to shin. And the crack, as my teaching aide said, " sounded like a home run!". Moments after, not even a second, we were both bent over in pain. And I must admit, it was pure joy on my end. Despite the throbbing feeling in my shit kicking ankle. And as the story drifted through the school halls, it was always met with a "bethca he won't do that again".
But now my ankle hurts.
And then last night, my husband had a single co-worker over for dinner, because he's a nice guy and he's been craving a home-cooked meal. So... I had the glorious floor to work magics in the kitchen and to really be appreciated for my efforts. Game on. Baked pork chops, corn on the cobb, home fries, salad, and chocolate chip cookies. A meal meant to impress the everyman. But if you are a cook, you will soon know that there was quite a lot of "oven stuff" going on over here. So much, in fact, that I seemed to have forgotten myself! even as I reached in to pull out the lucious, crispy fries. And then the quick scorch quickly brought me back to my senses. I looked down at my arm and noticed a good sized sizzle had cooked the bacon right off my arm. It's disgusting... and painful.
Don't even start in on me with my toe. It's still.... gruesome. And no amount of polish is "corrective" enough for my tastes, because as I laid the 527th thick coat on there, my toe began to look like those polyeurathane paper weights with a scorpion stuck inside. Only it's not an insect, it's my freakin TOE nail.
And then there was the boxing. Which I admit was fun. And while boxing when I told my husband about the ankle injury, he suggested that next time we work on some "proper kicks". And as I punched that bag- hands coated in thick, hot, pink, plastic gloves, I felt good, mighty... strong! Until today. It sort of reminded me of the day Jen needed nude colored arthirtic arm supports to sip her beer properly. I felt as if picking up the chalk to write on the board was suddenly... difficult.
So... even though I got new shoes in the mail yesterday ( thanks Piperlime... for being as good as Zappos! ) I could not wear them as the heel height was taxing. I could not wear long sleeves due to the burn. I could not wear sandals because of the toe. I could not write because of the boxing arms. I was not agile due to the on-going back issues.
If ever there was a call for Zuma pants, moon boots, and a muscle tee... this, my friends, would be IT.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I am supposed to be sleeping in right now. School has been canceled due to the fact that most of my district has declared a state of emergency. Flooding. From the rain. The rain that has been disrupting my life since Friday night when we spent an hour and a half in the car to drive two miles, then turned around and came home, never making it even close to our destination.
Billy was called out to work at six in the morning on Saturday, and then my exciting plans for the day were henceforth canceled.
It started off okay. The warm and cozy "flooded in" feeling. An excuse to go nowhere and spend time at home doing those things that get neglected here and there.
I have baked cookies, taken a luxurous bath, done all the laundry, planned the meals for the week, cleaned the house, read three books ( yes, three ) watched two movies, including Legally Blonde 2 ( for about the tenth time), and I loved every second of it, caught up on some excruciating G's to Gents, but I can't resist, wedding present shopped via the internet, gone to the two stores in my area that I can safely get too, Dominick's and Target, and even completed the US Constitution Studyguide I plan on giving my students today. Well, as of now, tomorrow.
Since school was canceled.
Among the texts and phone calls I received from my co-workers, extolling their excitement, I must admit I was,... annoyed.
I am bored out of my mind. My husband has been gone all weekend, working away, so the most human contact I have had was via the check out girl and my elderly neighbor who bitched me out for not putting in a new sump pump earlier in the year- like he told me, too. He's so not getting any cookies.
And I know I should be grateful for the day off, but I am pretty much caught up on lounging and cleaning. I am feeling antsy. My eyes are darting around my house, just waiting for a speck of dest to land so I may attack it with my weapon, a paper towel. My feet are searching for an excuse to walk from one room to another- giving my overly-lounged butt a reason to move a little bit. My ears are listening for the phone to ring, or at least a neighbor outside I can pounce on and force to talk to me.
And even though it's not even Fall here, I might just tackle my closet. Figure out what goes and stays, put away the gladiator sandals and bust out the wool. So tomorrow when I go back to work I will be sweating my ass off in a turtleneck and and knee-highs.
Either that or start on the "picture project"... photos commemorating the last five years of my life that currently lay in boxes, bags, and piles... begging to be organized into: well, that's where the project falls flat. I get stumped on how to group them.
And what are you supposed to do with the little photos you get in Christmas cards and birth announcements and update letters? It's terrible to think of what a friend might say upon seeing their little Johnny's precious face a foot deep in coffee grounds and Dove Bar wrappers. Trashing the photo is not trashing them, is it?
I digress.
I just hope we have school tomorrow.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Me: There was a hand. It came up- from between the seat and the back of it. It was a man's hand. The man was in the trunk. I had my parent's pull over because of the hand that came up that was attached to the man in the trunk. But when my Dad looked he could't find anyone. It was a ghost or something.

( I was in second grade and I was sitting in the tires at the playground. Convincing all of my friends about my vast experience with ghosts. )

Me: So, yeah. We are going polar bear hunting in Alaska. The whole family. We didn't want my baby brother to come but we brought him anyway. We are going for the weekend.

Me ( Monday morning) : Yeah- we almost caught one but it got away.

( I was in Kindergarten, talking to Mrs. Lynne about our weekend. )

Me: Yeah- I fainted in the bathtub and almost died! I woke up sputtering water and my Mom came in and asked me if I was okay, but I was fine.

( I was at a slumber party in junior high, again, expounding on my vast life experience. )

LIES. ALL LIES. Why? I don't know. Bored? Creative? Just wanting to impress? I remember these lies vividly. Perhaps because of the slight discomfort I felt afterwards. Perhaps because in each of these moments I recall the listener doubting me.

So why does it bother me so much when one of my students... EVERY time I mention a movie tell me that he "saw that one yesterday on TV". EVERY TIME.

Breakfast Club? Saw it. Yesterday. Johnny Cash documentary? Saw that one too... yesterday, surprisingly. How about Groundhog Day? Wouldn't you know... saw that one, TOO! And only just... YESTERDAY!! Wow- life is just full of coincidence.

And each and every time I try, as horrible as it may sound, to solicit a tidbit of detail, like a station, or a time slot, so I may research the assertion and prove it wrong. And then, e-mail the evidence to my teaching assistant, who sits approximately fifteen feet away from me. And watch her smile broaden as she reads it. It brings me great joy.
And I confront this student each and every time. And I don't understand why he keeps doing it, and not learning that I will call him out. Because his response is not to defend himself... "Oh must have been a different station"... or "must have been last week... " He just giggles stupidly at me. He's SEVENTEEN.
And my excuse is that I was trying to inject excitement into my life, and in addition I was only 12. And I still remember the discomfort enough from those situations that I would never surmise to do so again.
And so, on Monday, I will prepare myself by searching for the most obscure movie known to man and find a way to insert it into class, just so I can watch it all play out again.
Sometimes I wonder if I am the weird one.

The Rain

My husband and I were supposed to go out to Naperville last night to see Jen and the kids. Orignially we were going to babysit, but because my nephew isn't feeling good, Jen came home and we were just going to visit. They live a few suburbs away and it takes about 30 minutes to drive there on a good day and up to an hour in the height of traffic.
Yesterday while at work, it started to rain. Again. I began to ponder how two days before when it was raining it took me thirty minutes to make a ten minute drive and the roads were flooding. Then I thought about our drive and I allowed the teeniest bit of reservation to fall over me. I envisioned hours in the car... sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. With my husband, who does not take kindly to such things. And then me, not taking kindly to such things either. And I thought- we are going to get into a fight. For sure.
So I quickly e-mailed Jen and suggested we might have to call the whole thing off.
Fast forward to the last half hour of my school day.
I peered out the window of my basement classroom and saw the streaming rain. The ground was saturated with water. The drops were landing on puddles an inch deep. My reservation meter went sky high and spilled over into doubt and hovered near stupid.
I texted my husband and suggested we hold off and reschedule our visit. But with manly determination he wanted to go ahead with it. He said he'd pick us up some coffees and it will take an hour but it will be fine.
Reservations went away. I began to believe again and became enthusiastic. Determined! I was dying to see the kids and catch up with Jen.
After a quick change of clothes and a mail check, we made it out of our lot in record time. And then it was like time stood still. Because our car sure did.
We sat in bumper to bumper traffic going ZERO miles an hour with an ocassional mocking spurt of five for good measure. Within thirty minutes, we were not even close to getting out of our town. We were still within one mile of our house. I was halfway through my new US Weekly. I looked up and saw that we were still trying to get onto a main road. It was at this point when after a darling conversation between my husband and myself ( note: this is sarcasm, I SAID we don't take kindly to such things ) that this mission was aborting.
I would say we then turned the car around and went home. And one might say that based on our travel route- BUT it took us another twenty minutes to get to the corner and turn the car and then another 25 minutes to get 'er on home again. At which point we stopped at the Dominicks on the corner and picked up a six pack- throwing out our coffees on the way in.
We quickly settled into our normal kitchen posts. Popped open some beers and looked at the clock. With awe we calculated the last hour and a half of our lives. It was a relief to be out of the car. We suddenly had so much more to talk about. I would venture to say relaxation kicked in.
And now today I am in the same boat. I have a Weight Watchers meeting as well as some errands and ultimately a trip to the city to visit one of my best and favorite friends and her two little wee ones.
But my husband, being a Water Department employee, just got called out to work for some emergency flooding issues. He called on his way in to warn me that he was having trouble making it due to road closings. The normal route was not going to work and while on the phone he said he wasn't sure he was going to make it through this flooded road... Silence from his end of the line. "Okay, I made it, " he sighed.
Five years ago I would have tackled this with a warrior like attitude. Desire superceding caution every time. But I am getting old.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Forward Sucks

I like forwards when they are good. I like them when I am thoughtfully chosen as the recipient. I like the ones that make me laugh because it's your kid's picture of them holding a tennis racket and it looks like he's holding a gigantic penis. To his mouth.
But I don't like the ones that are stupid.
So I am writing a letter.
Dear forwarder,
Please send me forwards that follow the following criteria or I will black ball you from my " I might open your forwards list".
1. If it's about the knifer under my car in the mall parking lot? Please don't send it to me.
2. If it's about your political conviction to write a letter to senator dumbledorf? Dont' want it.
3. If you are asking me to change ONE letter in the word? DELETE.
4. If it's sketchy and you have to "preface it" with a "not-sure" please begin to use
5. If it's pets doing cute shit? NO INTEREST.
6. I don't like e-cards. They take too long to say Happy Birthday. An e-mail will suffice.
7. Jokes are usually not funny. Unless it's funny, I probably won't laugh. If YOU didn't laugh, I will for sure NOT laugh. Send it to your uncle you never speak to in person.
8. I would never sign my name on a list for a petition.
9. Appleby's is not free. You are wasting your time. I don't eat that crap anyway.
Now that that is clear, let's focus on what I will open with child-like claps!
1. Please send me groupings of pictures that are remiscent of my childhood. I was raised in the 70's but I like the 80's stuff, too.
2. I like things that make me cry from sentiment. ( shutup... )
3. Lists where you ask me what is under my bed and what the farthest place on the planet I have ever been to is. Because I love love LOVE to talk about myself. And I like to read your stuff too.
4. Christian stuff that reminds to be thankful and to not talk shit about my students.
5. Stuff that reminds you of me.. like maps, and current events that I care about, and stuff about where I am from... ( You know you are from Small Town because... )
6. Puns. Because I like to be impressed with someone else's creativity.
7. Big and small stuff. Like the largest man or the smallest house.
8.. GOOD jokes.

Now that we have that all cleared up! I feel much better. I look forward to getting only the best forwards from you from here on out.
Thanks and have a great day.

Practically Riding the Brakes

I have had some recent ponderings. I can't really make any of them blog-worthy in and of themselves, but I can shine some light on my world.
1. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Never more clearly obvious than parent-teacher conferences in a self-contained emotionally disabled classroom. Just remember that Mom's.
2. It sucks when you think you have lost enough weight to wear some pants that you couldn't fit into last season and actually you didn't. And didn't realize until it was way too late in the day to notice.
3. I hate realizing I am getting old and when shopping for shoes hear my brain getting rattled by the fact that I am plopping down a hundred bucks for shoes I actually want. Instead of "found at TJ Maxx ( still sometimes over a hundred ) or at a reasonable price at Target and kill my big toe and the polyester upper creates blisters on parts of my feet I didn't know could ache. "
4. My husband's cleanse was fabulous for me.... a cooking vacay!
5. Why oh WHY does my former student work at my Dunkin Donuts I frequent every single morning? And since I care about the lining of my stomach there is no way I am switching to Starbucks.
6. I hate having to say sister-in-law. Like a domestic marriage- can't I just say sister after seven years already?
7. I wouldn't wear Palin's eye glasses.
8. Why do I always assume that my female PT's are lesbian? At first... (and for the record I could care- but there is a different.... approach. )
9. When are we going to start boxing?
10. Is it stupid that I wanted a Bear's shirt so bad, for no logical reason I can think of- I am so not a "fan", that I plopped down money for one and asked my husband if we could invite people over to watch it?
See, my life has been slow.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Boxing in MY House?

We decided, or rather the local economy decided, that we would be staying in our two bedroom condo, indefintely. Our dreams of a yard and a garage within 50 yards that is not TANDEM ( seriously, if you think that through, you can imagine the HUGE pain it is ) have come crashing down faster than you can say: we can barely pay our mortage.
In order to make do, we have decided that the mish-mosh of a second bedroom needed to be utilized as more than a freshly painted and carpeted storage closet. Because you very well know that when you give up and throw in the towel on the purpose of a room, disaster ensues. Paint easel, computer, files, clothes, camping gear, luggage, guitar ( that one lesson I took was really fun! ) vacuum, library, gift-wrap. You name it, it found it's home in the second bedroom. And because I "get" most of the rest of the house ( as in kitchen, large closet, MOST cabinets and dining room ) as MY space, I couldn't help but feel that maybe a stroke of man in the we-can-close-the-door-when-guests-come second bedroom might be the fair thing to do. That and I overhead him saying it.
So for the last couple of weeks, we have talked about what to do. My thoughts were second bedroom. Because it's a second bedroom. I figured a TV and a futon and we were money. But my husband had other ideas. Boxing arena. So in a moment of love I said sure... what do we need?
On Wednesday a hugungous box came from FedEx with a punching bag inside. And suddenly it all became very real. I was going to have a one bedroom two full bath condo with a boxing ring. And I have to admit, after the dust settled in my brain, I began to really like the idea. Embrace it in fact. And by Saturday morning I was slinging crap into the garbage bin with the best of 'em. And I found myself hopping in the truck for the ride when we realized that the water you dump into the base of the free-standing punching bag would not be heavy enough for my former boxer husband and we needed to go and get sand... which for those who care water weighs 10 pounds for a gallon and the sand would weigh 15. SO, as you can clearly see we needed the sand.
And then we went to Dick's and because I trust my husband completely when he says he will train me I excitedly picked up my own pair of pink boxing gloves. And I love them. And can't you see how great this will be for our marriage?
And while I don't think the second bedroom looks better,per se, it sits well with me that it finally has a purpose.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Little Piece of My Ass

Not every day deserves an "A". But when I heard my co-workers were throwing me the obligatory lunch since we-missed-your birthday-in-August-and-we-still-like-you kind of a deal, I played along.

And when I pranced out of the condo this morning I looked in the dining room's floor to ceiling mirrors ( perfect for 80's dance party) and gave a self-assured, " Uh... Adorable". And believe me when I say I RARELY compliment myself. Really. But it was a demin skirt and a complicated pink top and "nude" buckle-ey type shoes and I thought... okay... Fashion- "DO". Becuase I tried and it was like my birthday, only professionally... at work. And to me it worked. Oh yeah baby, it "worked" alright.

So who would be surpised when things when disasterously wrong?

As I walked across 25th Ave. to get from the parking lot to the school, rainy as it was, arms loaded as they were, coffee hot as I like it, I didn't expect the BUS to side swipe the CAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and to CARRY ON as in HIT AND RUN. So when I paused in horror in the middle of the busy road and was shockingly screaming, " The bus hit the car...The bus hit the car,.... did you SEE the bus hit the car?... and my co-worker said, "Uh, get out of the road!"and then a little later, "I hate to be "that person" but do you really want to stand out here in the rain and wait for the cops?" and I said, "But the bus HIT the car!!" and she said... "I'm going inside Rain Man. Let me know what happens." And I said, " You are SUCH a BITCH!" but eventually followed her in. But by now I was drenched.

And I called the po-po from the safe confines of my room.

And then, a few hours later when I was walking my special ed class out of the library, my adorable "skirt" got caught in the turnstyle. Yep. The turnstyle.. . Flash city. Whale tail. THERE WERE no less than FIVE 16-18 year old boys behind me- and if they didn't puke they masturbated and nomatter what they told thier friends. And if you read my blog regularly, you will know that my ass is ALL over You- tube by now( 38 new cameras ) . Did I TELL you about the new cameras? I got so paranoid about sexual harassement I "popped" by the dean's office to "let them know"....

So when I carefully sat my fat and over-exposed ass in the joint Special Education/English faculty "office" to get my birthday pizza ( my LUNCH is at 10:45- SERIOUSLY!! ), I was slightly jaded. Thankfully, I still, for SOME reason ( perhaps beucase I hadn't seen a mirror in HOURS), was able to walk tall.

And within minutes THREE people came in from the English department ( SO not my crowd) and took pizza without asking out of the boxes and one girl was particularly disturbing as she BENT OVER AND SNIFFED the BOXES....and I thought...WTF is the DOing to the pizza? And she asked ( after spotting the Happy Birthday Lori" sign)"Who is Lori?" Chomp chomp. And I hollered, "That would be ME!" Only normally I would have retorted, "And I never said you could have my pizza!" (and then fake laughed JUST KIDDING! ) but the ass-exposure just completely had me off my game.

And when I came home and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I could not believe I had ever thought I looked adorable. It was nowhere near that. And when I did a reenactment of the ass flash I did NOT like what I saw. I am so not taking my students to the library anymore.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Depression

I have had some dark days in the past year. Literally dark. Not that I didn't pay my Com Ed bill, but more like I was hiding in my bedroom with the lights off kind of dark. Deep under the covers. It's called depression.
Last winter, after my lifeless baby was sucked from my body, and my husband began to work no less than sixty hours a week, and the days were cold and dreary, things took a turn for the worse. My solace became my bedroom. Where I would flee to, like a Jamaican runner, every single day after work. I cannot tell you what I might have been doing. Nothing inappropriate, but certainly not anything to brag about. It's not like I knitted scarves or took up needlepoint. I just sort of layed there. Wondering when and if this horrible weight would ever go away. As a matter of fact, lack of activity perpetuated the weight and I packed on an additional twelve. Hence the current need for Weight Watchers.
Anyway, it became so out of control ridiculous that I actually referred to the place UNDER the covers as my "house". Like if my husband came home and resumed any sort of normal life, for instance watching TV in the living room or eating in the kitchen, I would text him from my "house" and ask him if he wanted to come over. And clearly, the space ABOVE the covers was not my house, it was our "bedroom". Because when you become so desperate, you lose sight of reality and cling onto these details because you actually have control over them.
The days after "the procedure" were dark indeed. Within two weeks I was blessed with the fact that EIGHT people close to me were pregnant, which at any other time of my life would have been cause to celebrate. And my sister-in-laws baby shower was two days away. And I felt like a monster. Because I skipped the baby shower and layed in my "house". To this day I have no recall of weather or not I even managed to send a gift. And when I said congratulations to the others I was faking. And the girls were all sensitive and would look at me with puppy eyes and would say, no, really, it's okay if you are not happy for me. And to salvage the friendship and do what I knew was most right I would deny them my truth. Which was that I would go running home and cry and hide in my house. And feel mad and angry and pissed that I didn't get to do what they are were so happy about.
And I remember being a little girl and being pissed that my older brother got to go and see Sixteen Candles at the theater and I could not. And even though I was SO mad and jealous I just had to hear about it first hand and pretended to him like it wasn't to save face and to also get to hear ALL about what I missed. So I could feel a little bit like I was a part of the moment, and not waiting anxiously for months for it to come out on HBO or VHS.
The worst part of all was the isolation I felt when thinking about how I would feel if someone told me when I was newly pregnant that THEY had managed to lose thier own baby; It's contagious. Like an STD or something. That's how I would feel. Like the miscarriag-er would somehow rub off on me and get me all miscarriag-ee or something. Like... OMGOSH, what did she DO? I want to know what she did so I don't do that. You know, as if I sat around and smoked crack and ran 40 miles a day or something. It was another reason I hid. So know one would have the opporunity to act bithcy like I might have. Feigning conern for ME when really they just didn't want to emulate me. The WORST form of flattery.
So I am not depressed any more, but again, there is more. Much more. But for today that is enough.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Are You Old Enough to Quit?

I just climbed out of bed to... smoke. I am completely disgusted with myself. And while I have been seriously thinking lately about calling it a day with the Marlboros, I have been seriously thinking about it for years. So if you are my mother or my close relative, don't get all excited.
I did quit when I was pregnant. And then on my way home from "the procudure" and before we picked up the McDonalds, I asked my husband to pull over so I could buy a pack. I considered it a "consolation prize". I mean- in retrospect, trading in a child for an addiction that will lead to my untimely death is not exactly a prize. However in the moment it is what I told myself.
I tried quitting again at the beginning of the summer. But starting Weight Watchers and quitting smoking seemed to be putting me over the "addictions to stop" edge. And plus my strategy this time was some very horrible cigarettes called Quest and each and every one tasted like bleach. And I wanted to be weaned not pukey. So I gave them away to the only person who would take them, the garbage man.
I was reminded while in bed tonight- contemplating my need for nicotine, and wrestling with desire, about a scene I witnessed at a Jewel in Chicago. There was a young guy, maybe 20. He stood in the long line at the very separate cigarette and customer service counter ( and you don't want to find yourself in that line in Chicago- it's LONG ). I was behind him. He jumped back and forth on his feet, creating mounting anxiety for everyone around him. Finally, his turn came and he asked for Nicorette, the quitting smoking gum. The cashier - a very pompous little guy- asked for ID. They guy said loudly, " I don't HAVE ID, I don't want cigarettes, I want the GUM." Little guy, " Well, sorry, I need ID". Anxiety guy, " Seriously? You are not going to sell me gum to QUIT? I have been waiting here for like thirty minutes, and I am dying, and you are not going to let me buy the GUM?"
I have to admit, the guy had a point. One would have to presume that to be stupid enough to start and then smart enough to quit could not all possibly happen in the time frame of your teens. You don't try that hard to quit unless you are like... OLDER.
Just when the anxious guy was about to go ape, I stopped him and told him if he gave me the cash, I would be happy to buy the gum on his behalf. So that is what I did. Not only was it completely FUN to watch the little guy try to think of a way to NOT let me do this and outsmart his basic need for control, but I ordered my own cigarettes along with a fifty dollar pack of Nicorette.
The flustered look on the cashiers face was priceless.
I think he mumbled something about calling the cops, but I had a sneaking suspicion that the CPD would not find it a priority.
At any rate. Time to focus on the quitting again. I heard the patch was good.

RE: The Republican National Convention

Where do the ladies buy those suits?
And please, oh PLEASE stop showing those old guys dancing to "rock" music.
And while I am on the subject of politics, I might as well say...
The amount I care about the Vice-presidential candidates daughter's pregnancy could be measured on a speck of dirt. Because that is what it is... dirt.
And I know some AWESOME ladies who have had kids in thier teens and they are GREAT moms and so are the kids. Because they have great moms.
And I think if you know people in Iraq then you have every right to brag about it.
End of story.

Small Town

So I still get the weekly newspaper from my hometown. And I love perusing it. Because I might see someone I know had a baby, and also because it makes me feel peaceful. And the news we watch around Chicago makes you think that most people are felons and walk around bus stops with knives and loaded guns ready to shoot you because you are wearing black, or red, or black AND red. But it's not true. Because sometimes, headline news CAN be: Hazzard Car Comes to Town. And then makes sure that just because you were not around for the "Dukes" you are not lowly and out of the loop , and they even clarify that the Hazzard County car was from a TV show in the 70's. And it's perfectly normal if you missed that era of culture and need to know who the Duke boys were. I always thought Luke was better.
I love taking people to the town I grew up in. Because you can leave your keys in the ignition of your car at night and you can ask your neighbor to come over for a beer. You can strike up a conversation with basically anyone and come away knowing that the cashier at Hy-vee is actually a friend of your uncle's brother once removed who you went to high school with. And the people are friendly.
And for every mudflap you see there is also some bona fide quaintness. Plus, massages are only forty-five dollars an hour. Tempts you to ask for TWO... in a row. But it's gluttony so you just don't.
My husband and I just spent a week there over the summer and he was mesmerized. And I was also mesmerized by looking at life through his view.
When we went to get an oil change, the "oil changer guy" was at the gas station next door and came running back saying..." I am coming!" and he had drink in his hand because what you would get fired for around here is deemed as contented there. And of course, when we left the oil change place and went to fuel up at the gas station next door, the cashier revealed that yesterday was such a bad day that she just ended up getting drunk and today was hungover. And wouldn't you know, she was also the OWNER. Of the gas station. But not to worry, it really was just a bad day and really she didn't normally drink on the weekdays but it was a terribly bad day. And she was so real I wanted to reach over the counter and hug her. For being real... not hungover. ( But I am not big on touching so of course, I didn't! )
And then there was our friend Stan. A friend of my parents' who was willing and able at the stroke of a quick phone call to literally invited us over to "show us the farm", because my husband didn't grow up around here and this would be a real slice.
So Stan showed us everything from the tractors to the corn bin and even chewed up kernels of corn right off the stalk to show us how he tests it's readiness. He explained the Japanese beatles were chewing up his end rows of soy beans but that was okay, because he figures that might happen and well, he prepared for them. And when it was over we sat on his porch drinking his Pennysylvania beer ( imported especially because he really liked it) and he didn't mind sharing the last of his special beer with us at all.
And now, back in the 'burbs, I sit here in our condo. Thinking it would be really nice to sit outside on a porch swing and strike up some chit chat with our neighbors. The twilight conversation you get when you live in a small town and have yards without fences. And nieghbors whose pasts you know as well as the back or your hand. And the peace of mind to know that even without your make-up and Mark Jacobs' gear that you are appreciated for exactly who you are. Even in your pajama pants.
It's a really nice life.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Dis-Enchanted Forest

My husband and I just rolled in from our big Labor Day trip to Grand Bear Lodge in Utica. And I am exhausted. Good exhausted and even though I am not used to living in the same "cabin" as six other adults and five other kids I had a really great time.

We planned ahead and brought a lot of food. And surely I gained about 8-12 pounds because as much as I wish I had the matabolism of a 16 year old boy, I don't and the one five minutes of activity I did surely didn't counteract the enormous amounts of food I ingested. Or drank. Especially drank, actually.

The first night my husband, two brothers and sister-in-laws decided to get a little nutty and head on over to Bear Isand. Which is a one minute walk away and is literally a fake log deck with a wooden cabana type open air bar. There were scattered green plastic tables that were, well, crap. Beer was spilled. If you laughed hard or jerked your knee or leaned over the precarious cups and bottles tumbled to thier death. You got used to it.

The bartender was interesting. There must have been something really darn cool in his mini-van because every twenty minutes he would ask us if we minded if he took this "much needed break"... and the more we all thought about it the more we thought it was weird. Because there was basically nothing he could not do from inside his cabana bar. Like eat, smoke, use the phone, watch TV, or drink. Except drugs. We were convinved he was running out to the mini-van to do drugs. And in addition he kept fogetting to charge us.

Vacationers are funny people. I think it was the first time in 17 years that I went to a bar with out a bra or makeup on. Because I was on vacation. And I was caught up in the anything goes of vacation mindset. Others were dressed to the nines. Most were in casual wear. Some parents kept sending thier children off to play while bellied up at the bar. There was a gaggle of girls for a 30th birthday party and the "birthday" girl adorned herself in a felt Dr. Seuss top hat that said, "Birthday girl". One couple came in dressed like a cross between Lex Luthor and European body builders. We looked around the parking lot for thier spaceship, but we couldn't find it.

It was fun to watch. And the next night we wanted to recreate history and after the little ones were tucked away off we scampered again. To Bear Island. Only it looked like they were preparing for the hurricane. Boarded up and not a soul around. So we went to Grizzly Jacks- inside the "lodge". And the bartender ( surprisingly the same guy from the night before?? ) told us to get drinks at the Enchanted Forest - another one minutes walk away, INSIDE the indoor amusement park. Perfect place to relax and have a cold one, right? I mean, it's relaxing to sit next to skee ball machines and a tilt-a-whirl with kids screaming. The Lex Luthor couple would have for sure felt more at home there.

But it managed to do the trick. And we were ushered out at the strike of eleven because that is what time the "late" bar stays open at Grand Bear's Family Fun Park. And even though it's a lame night life it was more night life than I have had in the last year combined, so I rocked it. In Utica. In the Enchanted Forest.
For Christmas I know a few people who are getting some " I rocked the Enchanted Forest" t-shirts this year.