Thursday, March 3, 2016

...i smell the smelly smell of something that smells smelly...

I wouldn't necessarily call my eight-year old cousin Daniel picky.
He is, however, someone who knows what he does and does not like.

When it comes to food, he is a young man with simple tastes -- cheese pizza, plain pasta (and I mean plain, like, cooked in boiling water, drained, and on his plate) with grated Parmesan, Cheez-its, pretzels, Oreos.
If I had to pick Daniel's number one favorite snack, though, I would have to go with Club crackers and creamy Italian dressing.

This might seem like a very strange combination, but it is a complimentary appetizer, of sorts, at one of our most popular local restaurants - The Mall Deli.
Crackers and dressing, who knew?

Personally, this would be my least favorite snack. Don't get me wrong, I love the buttery richness of a Club cracker. It's the creamy Italian I can forever do without.

Nothing about it appeals to me. I just do not love the smell.
It's too...What word am I looking for here?...tangy. It smells tangy.
And, unless I'm at the Deli with someone who loves "creamy", I don't even allow the waitress to leave a bottle of it at the table.

I know I'm going on about my dislike of this condiment and it might seem silly to you. It seems silly to me sometimes, too. I really don't appreciate it in my life, but I am an adult and I can get over it. I'm not like one of those freaks who can't even pass someone a sealed jar of mayonnaise -- looking at you Aunt Maria.

Every once in a while, Daniel will bring "crackers and creamy" as his school snack and, as I am his teacher, I am subject to it's smell.

I try not to let it get to me. It's just a snack for Pete's sake and Dan does love it so much, and I love him. I can endure 10 minutes of a smell I don't like if it brings this boy 10 minutes of happiness.

Today, however, as Daniel was opening the container that held his beloved creamy Italian dressing, it kind of exploded and dressing went all over him.

It was simultaneously funny and horrifying.

As I sit here typing this, Daniel ,and my classroom, smell like tangy creamy Italian dressing.

It is not making me a happy camper.

Five smelly things I would rather smell than the tang of this dressing:
     * canned meats
     * sulfur (egg smell, for the non-scientific types)
     * fertilizer
     * the dog food plant
     * skunk

** UPDATE **
Joy brought Daniel a change of pants.
The smell is gone.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

...for ames...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The day started out as any other day.
I woke up, got ready for work, and shook some sillies out with my preschool class.

It did not stay that way for long.

Sometime after 9:00 a.m., Bekah came over from the kindergarten room to bring me some terrible news.

Amy was in an accident on the way to work.

Amy, for those of you who don't know, is my bestest best friend.
We are two peas in a pod.
Wonder twins.
Peanut butter and jelly.
C-3PO and R2-D2.
Frodo and Sam-wise.
Joey and Chandler.
Waldorf and Statler.
Friend isn't even enough of a word to describe our relationship.

I'm pretty sure I went deaf for a few moments after hearing the news.

It wasn't what Bekah said that frightened me.
Accidents are just that.
Amy had been in accidents before.
Shoot, I had been in an accident with Amy before.

It was the way Bekah said it.
There wasn't harshness or severity in her tone.
There wasn't moaning and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
There were just facts...and facts are the scariest part.

And the facts we had were limited.

She hit a tree.
The car was totaled.
She was pretty banged up, but she was alive.

In her dimly lit hospital room, Amy, the oldest in our group, looked like a child.
Her wiry curls, normally kept in a ponytail because, yes, they are that crazy, engulfed the pillow in a sea of raven waves.
Her neck encased in a brace so ridiculously large it would have made Queen Elizabeth 1 jealous.
She wasn't wearing her glasses.
They were flung from her face during the impact.
She was pretty loopy from all the meds and exhausted from the day's events.
The doctors said she had to stay the night for observation but would, hopefully, she'd be home the next evening.

Amy did not get to come home the next evening.
Or the evening after that.
She didn't get to come home for three days.

I won't go into all the details about what happened or what was broken.
To be quite honest, I'm not even sure what the final diagnoses wound up being.
The bruises and scratches and fractures don't matter.
Wheelchairs. Walkers. Surgeries. Leg braces. Neck braces. Dry shampoo.
None of that matters.
The only thing that matters is Amy's life.

Amy, who in our entire friendship, has never not stood by me.
Amy, who always tells it like it is - most of the time, lovingly; sometimes, not so much.
Amy, who would give you the shirt off her back, probably after scolding you for being foolish enough to not have a proper shirt in the first place.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Today I woke up, got ready for work and those same silly preschoolers are now in 3rd grade.
Once again, I am their teacher.
While they sit at there desks and work on math and history, I sit at mine and let my mind drift back to that day six years ago when I nearly lost my best friend.

Not a day goes by that I am not 100% grateful that Amy is in my life.
I thank God that he brought her into our group 14 years ago.
I thank God for sparing her life.
In doing so, mine was spared, as well.
We lost Uncle Bill unexpectedly in 2006.
Grandma followed in 2007.
If I had lost Amy in 2010...well, I can't even imagine the mess I would have become.

I read this quote once, and I think it perfectly sums up what happened when Amy and I first met:
         Sometimes you meet a person and you just click - you're comfortable with them, like you've                 known them you're whole life, and you don't have to pretend to be anyone or anything.

I love you, Ames!
I love you more than Oprah loves bread...and she LOVES bread.

This just goes without saying.

It still baffles me that this hasn't happened yet.

So. Many. Moments.
I'm glad we've shared them.

I will cut someone.

Monday, February 15, 2016

...some days...

I once had an algebra teacher who, if you did poorly on a test, would say, Some days you eat the bear. Some days the bear eats you.

As a 16 year old, this phrase annoyed me to no end.

As a 35 year old, I fully understand it.

There are days when you wake up refreshed and ready for anything that might be thrown at you.
You use your shower time to, not only star in your own Broadway show, but also solve most of the world's problems.
You're put together physically and mentally.
On time? Forget on time. You're, like, 15 minutes early.
And you even stop to grab some coffee from your local spot.
Maybe you even have it together enough to bring coffee to a coworker.
Look at you, acting like Jesus and everything.
You crush it at work.
You crush it at the gym.
You crush everything.
You. Are. Getting. It.

And then there are some days...

You over sleep and run out the house with soaking wet hair, praying to God you payed enough attention as you ripped clothes out of your closet Tasmanian Devil style to have grabbed something that matches.
You spill the coffee that your coworker was nice enough to bring you all over your shirt.
You forget how to act like Jesus because you are overtired from your life that both exhausts you and bores you to tears.
You are irritated because everyone's breathing is the absolute worst noise in the entire universe.
You have a terrible day at work.
The gym? Forget the gym. You grab take out on the way home and eat it on the couch while you binge watch Making a Murderer on Netflix.
You feel like you are being crushed.
You. Are. Getting. The. Furthest. Thing. From. It.

Let's just keep it real here, kids.
I am not eating the bear.

I wouldn't necessarily say that the bear is eating me, either, though.
Not quite yet, anyway.

He is definitely sitting in the corner sizing me up and licking his lips.
I think I may have even seen him tying a napkin around his neck - a bib to catch, not only my blood, sweat, and tears, but my heartbreak, tiredness, and frustrations.

Actually, I see it more like that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when the Wampa has Luke in it's lair.
The Wampa is just sitting there snacking on the Tauntaun while it has Luke hanging upside down by his frozen boots.

That's me.
I'm Luke.
I'm the second course.

All I have to do now is take and deep breath, close my eyes, and let the force flow through me so I can dislodge my lightsaber from the ice block and cut myself out of the frozen cave roof. I'll chop off the Wampa's arm (and not eat it, because, gross) and run off to face certain frozen death whilst mumbling something about Ben, Yoda, and Dagobah.

But if Han Solo comes to rescue me at the end of this mess, it will have been well worth it.

Tauntaun stench and all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Recently, I overheard two people discussing their New Year's resolutions.
One person was saying that is was a struggle to keep the promise he had made to himself, but he was determined to "hold out longer" than he had last year. The other person joked that his resolution was broken before New Year's Day had ended. 
They laughed.

And I laughed.

But then I had a thought:
Why are we intentionally making promises to ourselves that we know will, inevitably, be broken? And why are we laughing about it?
If your brother, or your best friend, or your neighbor made you a promise and immediately turned around and broke it, would you be laughing?
If it isn't acceptable for someone to treat you that way, why are you treating yourself in that manner?

And since when is a resolution a promise?

A promise is an intention - an indication of what may or may not happen in the future.

A resolution is a firm determination.


If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that I  haven't made a New Year's resolution in over 15 years.
Personally, I find them silly. If I really want to do more or less of something, well, I'm an adult and I'll do it, or not do it, as the case may be. I don't need it to be on a certain day of the year. If I decide on Tuesday, May 10th that I want to skip around my house an hour a day, I will. I won't have to wait until January 1st to do so, either. 

Instead of a resolution, I participate in OneWord365
You pick one word and you do your best to live that word everyday for the entire year.

This year, my word is truth.
Not because I'm a liar.
Because I need to live in truth, and walk in truth, and hear truth.
Because truth is courage, and courage is never weakness.
Because the truth will set you free...even if it first makes you angry.
The thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if no one believes it.
And the truth is that nothing great comes from living in your comfort zone.

Truth is why I've started writing again in the first place.
Truth is what allows you behind my curtain, where you can see that the Great and Powerful Oz is merely human.
And, the truth is, this human is just seeing if any other humans are listening.

If I could leave you with one last bit of truth for today, it  would be this:
Take a good long look at yourself and evaluate your life.
Are you living your life to it's fullest potential?
Are you really living...or are you just surviving?

Find some resolve.

Resolve to be the best version of you.
Resolve to make better habits.
Resolve to be a positive thinker.
Resolve to let things go already.
Resolve to love - yourself, each other, everyone.

Monday, February 1, 2016

...the winter of our discontent...

Many people detest February.

I do not know how I have come to live on this planet for as long as I have without making this revelation sooner.

We have barely crossed the threshold of this new month and my eyes and ears are already being inundated with slanderous accounts of February's supposed wrong doings -
* It has a preposterous number of days for, seemingly, no reason. Also, that this is the month that has been earmarked as Black History Month brings about it's own problems. What exactly were the powers-that-be thinking with that one? Jim Crow, anyone?
* It has pointless holidays:
Groundhog Day? Why? Who chose groundhogs, of all things?
Valentine's Day? People are either entirely behind this celebration of love or they are single.
President's Day? You would think that Washington and Lincoln were the only two presidents our country has ever had. Did you know that William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan were also born in February? I didn't think you did.
* It is often the coldest of the winter months. This seems to also incite people to riot.
* Why does no one know how to pronounce Feb-RU-ary correctly?

I am not a member of this anti-February movement.

It humors me that February has an obscure number of days.
And, just for the record, I think Black History Month is a fantastic thing and was a tremendous deal when I was in school back East but, I have noticed, is met with much less celebration here in the mid-west.

I don't think I will ever understand the point of Groundhog Day but do I really need to understand it?
Shadow-smadow. Sometimes traditions are just what they are. Unless someone has asked you to pull a groundhog from it's burrow, why are you so concerned?

I am a single person and I kind of like Valentine's Day.
Maybe it's because I'm a teacher.
Maybe it's just because I like candy.
Maybe we should just love each other all the days and everyone should just buy me candy and shut up about Cupid.
That fat baby is plain ridiculous.

To be completely honest, I have no feelings on President's Day.
Why should I?
Washington was a good president.
Lincoln was a good president.
William Henry Harrison was barely a president. Maybe if he had remembered to put on a coat for his inauguration he could have been a good president.
Reagan, also a good president.
Yay for presidents...and sales.
Boo for bank holidays and no mail.

People do realize that February is in winter, don't they?
If winter isn't your cup of tea, may I suggest relocating to a warmer climate?
Might I also remind you that complaining about the weather never actually changes the weather.

I do know how to pronounce Feb-RU-ary.
If you do not, sound it out.
Phonics are your friend.

So, for all you February haters, I leave you with this:
"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March."
- Dr. J. R. Stockton

As I stumbled over that quote today, it began to stir some things inside me.
I find myself reading it over and over again. long as is needed to pass the time until March.

So beautiful. So simple.

Perhaps we should stop being so discontent with the things we cannot chance about our situations.
We cannot get to the next springtime without first going through the winter.
Without the ice covered branches, how can we hope to appreciate the small green buds?
What would our lives be like if we stopped praying for March and started embracing our Februaries?

Perhaps this season will truly be the winter of our discontent.