Tuesday, September 29, 2009

my day is defined by text messages

so today . . . was an ordinary day. well, except i did not feel like a very nice teacher this morning. after recess i sent this text to rollie, who was bringing me lunch today--i felt like he needed fair warning. "i am not a nice teacher today. someone may die." ok, now before i get horrified comments on the death threat, it was just a colorful expression of frustration shared only by text message to my husband. you all know i am not capable of murder. well, unless there is only one brownie left, and you look like you want it . . .

anyway, he replied, "hope it's not me! i brought you food--please don't hurt me." yeah, like that could happen. he is a foot taller than me, sixty-five pounds heavier, and has a black belt in tae keuk won. yeah, i am going to hurt him . . . but i was feeling feisty and irritated and like i wanted to kick someone, so i texted back, "if you don't whine or argue or hit, and you listen to my words, then you are safe. and it doesn't hurt that you brought me food!"

he said, "i think i am good on all of that except maybe for a little whining . . . "

so i relented, "ok, i can tolerate whiny CONTENT as long as it isn't said in a whiny voice."

(some days i think if i hear, "but he did it first!" or "but i had it first!" or "but she said she isn't my friend any more!" one more time, i will run screaming from the room. take some responsibility!!)

ok, i know--they are only four.

anyway, rollie brought me food, and most importantly, a giant soda. that gave me the strength to get through the afternoon--even though we fingerpainted fall trees--all the way up to our elbows!!

and then i got this text from diandra: "i just found out that a song i always thought said 'secret asian man' actually says 'secret agent man!' sooooo much better!"

i laughed and laughed and laughed. i mean, probably everyone has a story like that about song lyrics, but this one was so visual. then she said, "this is why i say i like songs that are 'bad' . . . i guess i make up my own words and have no idea what they actually say."

i said, "yes, but i kind of think secret asian man is worse than secret agent man. i mean, how can you be a secret asian man?"

she said, "i know! i never understood that."

as it turns out, she was enlightened while watching dancing with the stars. donny osmond (who is clearly not asian,) was performing to that song. dressed in a velour tux! which didn't make any sense to her, so she listened very carefully to the words, and finally the quarter fell . . . although that velour tux will never make sense . . .

so now i will never think of roger moore when i hear that song again. or don adams (you know, from "get smart!") now, i will always think of jackie chan! and diandra singing, "secret asian man . . . "

Monday, September 28, 2009

a series of unfortunate events, even though i'm not lemony snickett

so today . . . i ate dinner at the laundromat. or is it laundrymat. or laundramat. maybe i'll just use one of the few spanish words i know, since they seem to be the only ones with a consistent spelling for the place where you go to pay a lot of money to wash your clothes all at once in machines where hundreds of other people also wash their clothes . . . and say i ate dinner at the lavenderia . . .

"why?" you ask? well the short answer is because my washing machine isn't working properly. but you don't come here for the short answers, so let's go back to last friday . . .

fridays are typically my favorite day of the week, even though i have to work half a day. but that is also part of the reason why i like fridays--i only have to work half a day! which gives me half a day off, which is not enough time to tackle any big jobs . . . so fridays are my day to play. usually rollie and i go to the movies (at the cheap theater, because i must have a soda--which costs $4! so if my movie ticket is only $2, then i feel like we get our money's worth. whereas, if we have to pay $10 for each ticket . . . i'm sorry, but no.)

last friday when i got off work we went to lunch and then took my car in for an oil change. (i tell you this, because it was the beginning of a series of unfortunate events.) i had a coupon! so i drove into mazda, and the guy immediately came out to help me--we get the best service there! i told him i needed the oil changed, he said ok, and then walked around the car checking it out. and saw the dents.

remember the dents in my previously perfect front "fender?" yeah, i try to forget about it too. so when he said, "whoa, something fall on your car?" it wasn't really a conversation i wanted to have. he finished his inspection, and we went in to do the paperwork. he checked his computer and found that it was also time to have my tires rotated. ok. i know that maintenance is important in keeping my high performance vehicle performing highly, so i said go ahead and do it. of course, i do not have a coupon for this . . .

we headed home and watched the season premieres of our favorite tv shows with diandra instead of going to the movies. she had a rare afternoon home, and it was too hot to go do anything, so we hunkered down in the air conditioning to see who survived survivor this week . . .

a few hours later, diandra and her jeep went off to spend quality time together. two minutes later rollie got a text message--"i noticed there is water running out of the garage down the driveway. you might want to check it out . . . " um, yeah--water running out of the garage is usually not a good thing. i opened the garage door, and heard the water running. i hurried over to the washing machine, thinking that maybe the drainage hose had worked it's way loose. but what i saw was water pouring out over the top of the machine. it just kept filling and filling and filling . . .

an hour later (after taking care of that mess,) i answered my phone only to hear my friend at mazda tell me that my car also needed an air filter. ok. i know it needs clean, fresh air to breathe, so go ahead and do it. i do not have a coupon for this either.

my friday is going rapidly downhill. i turn to my computer and the internet for refuge. i start catching up on my blog reading, and guess what? the evil killer virus attacks me. AGAIN!! i cannot believe it! but i learned some things from last time, so i handle it differently to minimize the damage and think maybe it would be a good idea to take a picture of all the messages it is sending me. i grab my camera and turn it on. and nothing happens. shoot! it must need batteries, so i replace the batteries, race back to my computer screen (which is now the blue screen of death,) turn the camera on, and . . . nothing. AAGGHHHH!! ok, those "new" batteries must have somehow become mixed up with old ones. i quickly run to rollie's stash of rechargeable batteries and insert those and turn the camera on again. still nothing.

my camera is history. toast. dead.

and the evil killer virus is still attacking my computer. i can't call james, because by then it was 11:00 at night. so i did the only thing i could think of. i turned it off. well, after i raced upstairs, babbled to diandra to come downstairs RIGHT NOW with her camera, because i needed her to take some pictures. at 11:00 at night. when everyone else is in bed, and i am clearly not looking my best--of course, because MY COMPUTER IS UNDER ATTACK!!!

it turned out to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day . . .

saturday, i didn't want to get out of bed.

but i did. i texted james my tale of woe, and he assured me he could take care of my computer. i called a repair service to come and look at my washer. they said they would be glad to help me.

next friday.

which is why i was eating dinner at the lavenderia tonight. subway sandwiches and barbeque potato chips and diet coke. and rollie (without whom, there would have been no dinner at the lavenderia tonight.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

even though . . .

so today . . . i am conflicted. parts of my life are colliding with other parts of my life and making a mess.

i'm an orderly person. i like stuff to be neat and organized. i like to know where things are. you would never know this by looking at my life right now. right now i have no relief. everything is a mess. and it is exhausting me.

i would like nothing more than to come home after work and drive into a garage with a few neatly stacked plastic boxes storing a few important things, and then walk into a house freshly vacuumed and free of clutter. and then get into bed by 10:00, sleep all night without waking up even once, and go to work the next day in a neatly organized classroom--instead of driving into a garage full of stuff that threatens to hurt me, walking into a house that is nothing but a list of jobs to get done, staying up until almost midnight, and sleeping in spurts of an hour or two. then going to work the next day in my classroom without a complete lesson plan (what to do with those four year olds . . . ) and a desk piled with books and papers.

i would like nothing more than to be able to better manage the different parts of my life, and the people in it, so that it felt like i was living my life instead of like my life was steamrolling right over me.

BUT, i am thankful that i have a job (even if it includes four year olds this year and gives me a headache,) and a nice place to live (even though i am still battling the clutter,) and music (yes, even though it means listening to teenaged boys explain why they can't make it to rehearsal on time, even though they had time to drive through mcdonald's on the way, and even though they didn't bring me anything from mcdonald's,) and sunshine (even though it is way to hot to be called 'autumn' here,) and two precious, furry bundles of love (even though mia has started barking at us, and milo thinks he is the little prince--wait, you didn't think i meant rollie and diandra, did you?) and my family (who apparently love me, even though . . . ) oh, and fast food.

so, even though my life could be an advertisement for calgon ("take me away,") i will get up tomorrow morning and get through the day. again. i will figure out how to deal with the collisions. i will tackle a portion of the stuff that still lurks in nooks and crannies. i will try to get some sleep. and i will look for something funny to write about . . .

. . . even though i just want to go to the bahamas.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

let's all say thanks!

so today . . . let me just start by saying, my friend james rocks!!! he battled the killer computer virus until all was normal again . . . although he said he left it on my hard drive in case it had captured pieces of programs i use that would then be unusable if he completely deleted it. and then he said, "so, you could send it to someone else . . . " and then laughed. maybe a little nervously, as though he was thinking, "uh oh! what have i done?!" i thought he knew evil julie, but maybe he forgot about her until he saw the gleam in my eye. evil julie is secretly thrilled to know that she is in possession of such a weapon . . . i now amuse myself by compiling a list in my head of possible candidates with whom i might share . . . bwahahahaha (for the uninitiated, that is my evil laugh.)

since this is wednesday, i was going to repost the blog i wrote on myspace about the last time james helped us with a big computer issue. but first i thought i should make sure i hadn't already done it, so i searched my blogspot archives, and there it was. shoot!! (sometimes i really miss my brain . . . ) so i'm not going to re-repost it. albert would kill me. ("what? now you are reposting blogs you have already reposted?!? how many times am i going to have to read the same blog over and over and over again?? write something new! i'm not as old as you are! i remember what you have written--especially after i have read it twice!!" i take this abuse from him because he is my oldest blog reader--i don't mean his age, i mean he was one of my first blog readers, back in the myspace days.) i am, however, going to put the link here, just in case you missed it the first time. albert, don't click on that link!

and i know you are all probably getting tired of hearing me say how wonderful james is, but the truth is, without his help i would be sitting here twiddling my thumbs and you all would be staring at old blog posts, longing for the days when there was something new to read.

i told james how grateful all of you would be. i told him i was sure you missed reading my words just as much as i missed writing them. i told him i was sure you would all send him expensive gifts . . . but then i realized i would have to give out his address . . .

so instead, i am inviting my loyal readers (all 13 of you, plus anyone else who reads but isn't a follower) to write a comment thanking james for the service he has done to the blogosphere by enabling me to continue throwing my words out there. and then, in a week or so, i will email him this link so he can read your comments. because james is not a loyal reader--he is just my virus-slaying, computer fixing, patient, helpful, funny, partner-in-crime friend.

thanks james! you rock!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

finally--the funny comes out!

so today . . . i laughed out loud at my school kids for the first time this year.

it has been a rough start to a new school year. our school is going through some transitions that have been difficult to deal with at times, so the mood among the staff is somewhat less than relaxed. and in the pre-k/kindergarten classrooms we have our hands full with behavior issues as well. it tends to make our days somewhat stressful, which probably doesn't help the atmosphere, but we are working on it.

i am just trying to keep my head above water. i have a pre-k/kindergarten combo class, and integrating their curriculums while trying to address different weekly themes than i am used to just puts my brain into overload some days. and i was having one of those days today. so this afternoon i was transitioning my kindergarteners from a short playtime into an art activity, and they were asking if we were going to paint (their favorite thing!) i said yes, we were going to use paint, but in a specific way. and one little girl said, "oh i know! we are going to paint ocean pictures." huh? and she continued, "well, you said we were going to paint in a pacific way!" i started to chuckle and then another little girl said, "no, she didn't say pacific, she said spafissick." i laughed and said, "what did you say?" and she said it again, "spafissick!" we tried it over and over again, but she just could not say it. she could say each syllable if i said it slowly enough, but she could not get the whole word out.

so then i asked them, "do you know what specific means?" and the first little girl raised her hand and said, "i already told you--it's the ocean!"

Monday, September 21, 2009

an evil plot?

so today . . . I am back to blogging on my phone.

when I got my computer back from james-the-virus-slayer, I was so relieved! and glad to be back online! I immediately went to my email to read the comments and sympathetic messages I was sure you had all left for me . . .

next I went to facebook, because I had crops that needed harvesting on farmtown, and a pet that needed attention on pet society, and fish that needed to be fed on fish world . . . I know, as if I didn't have enough stuff to do . . .

then I went to blogspot to post a new blog. and that is where I found trouble . . . I could not get to the blogger page! I could go to facebook, shopping sites, news sites, my bank, and even read blogs, but it would not let me write! apparently blogger.com is the only page on the entire web that I cannot access.

so now I am wondering . . . was the killer virus just a random attack on my computer? or was it a tool in someone's evil plan to keep me from blogging . . .

I have words stacking up in my head like the traffic on the 405 freeway! I need to blog!

so james is going back to work on it with his magic bag of tricks and his genius computer brain. I know he will once again get it up and running--it is only a matter of time . . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

now my computer is hospitalized!

so today . . . I am blogging on my phone. again.

as it turns out I have a very aggressive virus on my computer. rollie couldn't get rid of it. diandra says it looks like the one that killed her computer. I am hoping mine is salvageable. james, the computer wizard (who, coincidentally is not geeky at all-just very smart) is going to try to save it. blogging on my phone is doable, but not so easy. so until I am back up & running on my computer, I probably won't be blogging a lot.

here is my advice to you--get an external hard drive and REGULARLY back up your files!!! I have a 500 gb hard drive, but I haven't backed anything up since early last spring. why? because my files are not all neatly organized yet. and you know me, I want them to be perfect! but today I am wishing I had saved all my imperfect files on my hard drive--they would be better than no files at all. so if my computer comes back to me intact, I will back it up every weekend-just in case . . .

more advice--buy the biggest, baddest anti-virus software you can find. and use it! viruses are real, and they can affect even insignificant users like me. I get all the email notices about the latest virus threats (thanks mom!) but I guess I have been cautioned so often without ever actually encountering one, that I've kind of become immune to their threat. so even tho I know they are real, I guess I don't think they will find me.

and lastly, don't click on anything you don't recognize! this sounded like it was trying to alert me to a problem. it looked like it was a windows program. it wasn't. it was a disaster waiting to take over my computer and slurp up all my info.

my final warning-beware of anything called "total security." it is a digital nightmare!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

my computer may be sick!

so today . . . there will be no blog. my computer appears to have a virus & it is getting late & I have no one to help me. rollie is asleep & diandra is gone. and james, my personal i.t. guy, doesn't live here! so I am in trouble! I am afraid to do anything for fear of letting hackers have access to my computer-although what they would want with my pitiful information is beyond me! so I am writing this on my phone . . .

wait! I hear creaking & dog movement. maybe diandra is home! no, even better--it's rollie!

maybe he can help . . . anyway, no blog today. cancelled by virus . . .

Monday, September 14, 2009

expectations of a personal trainer

so today . . . i've decided age has it's advantages--at least when you are working with a personal trainer who is young enough to be your son!

yes, today was the day--it was time for my free consultation with a personal trainer. i admit i had some pre-conceived ideas as to what was going to happen. my experience with personal trainers is limited to watching other people want to kill theirs, so my first expectation was that he was going to make me suffer. a lot. and i was determined not to kill myself, or him, so our expectations may have been somewhat different.

we began by meeting in his office. he talked really really really really fast, which made it hard for me to catch everything he said--especially with my hearing issues. so i am pretty sure i didn't understand everything, but i made it clear right from the start that i was 51 years old. and would be 52 in another five months, so he should take it easy on me. he asked me what my goals were, and i said, "not to keel over dead while exercising." he looked at me blankly, like 'i can't write that down.'

"let's just say you want to increase your muscle tone." ok, i could live with that. increasing muscle tone doesn't sound all that hard. i kind of pictured lots of stretching, maybe some bike riding . . . then he wanted to know how serious i was about reaching my goal. i wasn't quite sure what he wanted me to say. i was very serious about not keeling over dead, but i didn't think that was the goal he was referring to, so i said, "well, i want to come to the gym a few times a week, but i also have a life."

i think maybe he gave up on me before we even left his office.

he guessed my height and missed it by 3 inches. he guessed my weight and missed it by 25 pounds. he handed me something that looked like a nintendo control and said, "stand up and hold this out at arms' length. it will measure the percentage of your body fat." maybe i didn't want to know the percentage of my body fat, but apparently i didn't have a choice! i obediently held it out until a number popped up. he looked at the readout and said, "hmmm. well that's obviously wrong!" ok, i'm starting to wonder if this is a personal trainer imposter. nothing is adding up . . .

after he tells me i need to add at least 15 pounds to my tiny little frame, we head out to the weight room. he feels i should be using free weights to "increase my muscle tone," so we walk down the long hall to the maximum security weight room. i say maximum security, because i don't think they let just anyone in there. i'm pretty sure they shouldn't have let me in there!

i hadn't seen this room before. it is separate from the cardio equipment and all the other machinery. the first thing i noticed was that the weights in this room were enormous!! the second thing i noticed was that everyone else in the room was male and muscle-bound. and there i went, in my new pink top, scrawny arms hanging from it's sleeveless shoulders, ponytail bobbing, following my trainer like a puppy.

he looked for weights for me, but the lightest ones in this room were 15 pounds. i'm not sure he thought i could even lift them, but i got through the first exercise and was feeling pretty proud of myself. until i tried the next one . . . it was harder, and i couldn't even do one with those big weights. he just looked at me, took the weights and led me out of the "big" boy weight room . . . i think he maybe he should have been able to tell that i didn't belong in there just by looking at me.

the rest of the work out went better. he lowered his expectations, i continued to remind him of my age, and we found some middle ground. he occasionally asked me to do something that i knew would kill me, i would say, "remember, i am old," and he would modify the instructions to better suit me.

he did push me to do more than i thought i could do, and i did it--most of the time. we worked muscles that have been taking it easy for far too long. i have no doubt that i will feel it tomorrow, but i'm still not completely sure what i should be doing when i am working out alone . . .

what i learned today is that the free consultation with a personal trainer is mostly an opportunity for them to try to get you to sign up for further personal training. he didn't design an exercise program or eating plan for me. he didn't show me how to use all the equipment. we didn't even go upstairs! he did tell me that if i would sign up for his services for the next three months, at a cost of almost $1200 for 24 hours of instruction and training, he could help me tone up those muscles, lower my body fat percentage (based on that crazy readout) and gain 15-20 pounds.

i politely declined.

i'm pretty sure if i set my mind to it, i can gain a few pounds on my own . . .

Saturday, September 12, 2009

i'm a gym rat--i have the clothes to prove it!

so today . . . i bought workout clothes.

i'm not all that worried about how i look when i go work out, but i want to be comfortable. ok, i also want to be color-coordinated if possible, but that is a secondary concern. so what to wear to the gym has been a bit of an issue, since i am more likely to have clothes i can wear with heels than clothes to wear with sneakers.

i am thinking i will get hot while exercising. i think if i am doing it correctly, i should even sweat. so jeans and a cute top are not going to work. not only would that be uncomfortable and hot, but i'm pretty sure it would draw the disdain of the other people laboring away on the equipment. and my ineptness on the machines already draws more attention than i would like, without adding inappropriate clothing to the mix. so i am going to need shorts.

i have several pairs of shorts, but they are the cotton plaid bermuda style shorts. they are cute, but not really gym-appropriate. i did have two pair i thought might work. i bought them last summer before i went on vacation, because i thought they would be comfortable to sit around in at night. they are stretchy cotton knit and go clear to my knees! (ok, i am not at the gym to pick up guys, so these shorts will be perfect!) but i only had 2 pair and if i am going to the gym 4 times a week, i am still a couple pair short. (don't even suggest i do laundry in the middle of the week! that is not going to happen--and when would i find the time anyway, what with hanging out at the gym all the time . . . )

tops were another problem. tshirts would be ok, but i do sweat on those terrible machines of death (i speak of the elliptical machines or stair steppers, or whatever the heck i was on!) and a shirt with sleeves just compounds the problem. i need tank tops! but the tank tops i have are just barely long enough to meet the tops of my shorts, and i am pretty sure i am not a "bare-midriff" type person. some people are--mostly the people who have already been going to the gym for the last 5 years and are showing off their abs! i would not be one of those people. ever. also, my current crop of tank tops are made from a ribbed knit which is a little heavy--translate that to mean warm--so while they are better than a tshirt, i am going to be less than comfortable in them.

but even though i was going to have to get some workout clothes, i hadn't really planned on buying them today. i went to target to buy a sweater that i had seen was on sale. and then i found a pair of shorts--nice long shorts--on sale for a mere $7. ooooh, i thought. i wonder what else is on sale . . .

i made my way to the area set aside for work out clothes. this is not an area i frequent. in fact, the only time i have ever given it any attention was last summer when i went to purchase the shorts for my vacation. i think of this area as the place where gym rats spend their money, while i prefer to spend mine on shoes.

i was hoping to find one more pair of shorts on sale, but instead i found tops! tops made of a feathery light miracle fabric that promised to keep me cool and dry and ventilated(?!?) no matter how hard i worked out . . . and they were on sale for $7! and they had my size! and they came in fashionable colors!!

although, i have noticed that most of the gym ratty people wear black, white, and gray. i too would wear black, white, and gray--which would further my quest to remain unnoticed--except black, white, and gray were not on sale. pink, turquoise, and dark blue were on sale (probably because the gym rats beat me to the black, white, and gray!) so that's what i got.

and i'm not quite sure why i have to be ventilated. cool and dry i understand, and i am looking forward to seeing just how these tops accomplish that seemingly impossible task. but ventilated . . . ?

i guess i am going to have to work at becoming more proficient on those machines, because my new, colorful clothing might make me stand out from the crowd a bit. which means if i fall off the ellipical machine while trying to drink from my water bottle (hey--it could happen. ask diandra,) more people will notice. and snicker.

and i guess i'd better keep that appointment with a personal trainer on monday. even though i'm pretty sure the personal trainers are minions of the devil. maybe he can at least teach me to use the machinery without embarrassing myself. although, he'll probably want my soul in return . . .

Friday, September 11, 2009

sometimes your comments crack me up!

so today . . . rollie and diandra and i were discussing some of my recent blog posts. ok, we were having the discussion about what sort of torture machine i had actually been using in the blog i wrote about my first visit to the gym. it sure seemed like an elliptical machine to me, but diandra says it wasn't. of course, she can't tell me exactly what kind of machine it was, but she seems sure that it wasn't an elliptical machine. which is what she said when she commented on it . . .

so i was telling them about the comment sherry made on the same blog, and that diandra's comment made her laugh as much as the actual blog that i wrote . . .

and that got us to talking about some of the other comments you guys have written in response to my almost daily posts. and i have to say, you guys are funny too! sometimes a comment will make me laugh out loud, but sometimes it is the whole stream of comments that is funny--it is almost like another blog, but with your thoughts.

so i am going to suggest that on those days when i don't blog--which have been few and far between, but may be a little more frequent this fall--you go back and read the comments that have been left on the blogs. here are a few of my favorites, starting with "i will survive."

also check out--
"petco: is it walmart for dogs?"
"the devil (donuts) and rollie"
"timing is everything"
"but is it really mocking if there is love?"
"at least it isn't a rerun"
"joshua-isms" --i include this, because i am missing joshua this year, and this is one of my favorite blogs. and another teacher included a funny story in her comment. so if you are missing joshua stories too, read this one again.
"wednesday bonus blog: alert! food talk ahead"
"the mysterious disappearing food"

while my plan is to continue to blog every day, i have a very challenging class to teach this year, and i'm also trying to go to the gym, which takes time each day. so if i miss a day here or there, don't panic and think something is wrong. it was probably just a hectic day and i ran out of time (since school has started again and i can no longer stay up until 2:00 a.m. every night!)

remember, your comments are my reward for blogging. and i need rewards, so keep the comments coming. whether they are funny or not, i love to hear your reactions to what i write.

thanks for reading . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

where's who?

so today . . . finally some funny words came out of the mouth of one of my students.

our theme this week is "i am special." and so we discuss how each one of us is unique, blah, blah, blah . . . and then i show them my "where's waldo?" books.

in case you don't know, "where's waldo?" was popular about 20 years ago. waldo is a tall, skinny guy dressed in blue jeans, a red and white striped shirt and hat, and glasses. he also carries around a stuffed backpack and a walking stick. and he visits lots of places. the books are large, and each two page spread is packed with stuff. for example, at the beach not only is there sand and water, but also about 1000 people on the sand and in the water. and each one is doing something different. the idea is to find waldo on each page, among all the other distracting stuff. and it isn't easy. but it is a good visual of how we all look different, because no two items on the pages are exactly the same. except for waldo.

the kids were fascinated with the books, and this afternoon when they had some free time, two of them were poring over the open book, searching for the elusive waldo. as they looked, they were talking about the other things in the picture. and then i heard one of them say, "there's weirdo!"

since she was so excited, i am guessing she meant waldo . . .

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i will survive . . .

so today . . . diandra tried to kill me. with an elliptical machine. an unusual weapon for sure, but apparently her weapon of choice. thankfully i prevailed.

yes, we went to the gym together today. i can't say it was the most fun we have ever had together, but it probably wasn't the worst time either. although, i can't think of a worse time--oh wait a minute, yes i can . . .

anyway, it began in the women's locker room. let's just say that we saw things we wish we hadn't seen. diandra had the sense to come in her workout clothes. i did not. i had to come straight from school, because i knew that if i went home to change i might never end up at the gym. so we had to go in there. and while i do appreciate the fact that there were people of all ages, shapes, and sizes working out, i really didn't want to see them in the locker room. after their showers. before their clothes. although i do kind of have to admire the confidence of people who will wear their only towel around their head when the rest of them does not conform to popular standards. but still . . .

we were able to find our way out of the locker room while looking mostly at the floor or each other. i took my bag of school clothes back to the car, because it didn't occur to me to bring a lock so i could use a locker--that's how long it's been since i went to a gym!

i came back in and found diandra on the machine of death--the elliptical. i used to think this looked like fun! i see people selling them on tv all the time, and everyone who is using one looks like it is just the most fun they have ever had! (it isn't exercise--it's a party!) it is all a lie. these machines will kill you!!

i started moving my feet, pretty fast i thought. around and around and around. and then i was ready to move on to something else. but diandra wasn't stopping--i kept looking at her for signs of slowing down, but she just kept pumping those feet of hers around and around.

"i'm tired!" i said.

"mom," she said, "you have only been on that thing for two minutes."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!? i seriously thought i was going to die. i was sweating (which i rarely do,) i was sucking air, my legs were shaking, and my heart rate was already maxed out! and then she says, "we have to do this for 15 minutes." then i knew i was going to die. she must have sensed this from the look of despair on my face, because she graciously said, "we will go by the time on my machine, ok?" i gasped out, "ok." because she was about 4 minutes ahead of me.

i glanced at all the lights and numbers glowing on the screen on my machine and noticed that i had already burned 18 calories. "hey," i said, "i've burned 18 calories already." then i looked at her machine and noticed she had burned over 30. hmmm. "yes," she said, "it takes a lot of work to burn those calories. i'll bet the next time you look at something with 500 calories in it, you will think twice about eating it, knowing how much work it will take to burn it off!" there is good logic in that thought, but i might have traded her in for a twinkie at that point.

i plodded on. i slowed down, so as not to raise my heart rate too much. (i need to go to work tomorrow--i don't have time to be hospitalized with a heart attack.) i tried going backwards for a while, but that scared me--it felt like i was going to fall off the back of the machine! i kept my thumbs glued to the sensors that measured heart rate, figuring that if it got too high i would have a legitimate excuse to stop. but my body betrayed me once again, and my stupid heart hovered right around 145.

i wanted a drink from my water bottle soooo badly. but i was afraid to let go of the handles and reach for the bottle. and i knew that if i tipped my head back to drink, the machine would devour me. diandra did it--more than once, and without stopping. but i knew it would be the end of me, so i just tried to think of other things . . . which led me back to the fatigue in my legs.

when her timer neared 13 minutes, she informed me that we should really push hard those last two minutes. i said i would try not to die in those last two minutes. she took off! i watched the clock.

finally the magic time arrived! yay, i thought. now we can go sit on the weight machines. my legs will be so happy!

then she pointed me toward the bikes. oh no, i thought. my legs will cramp up. i will scream in pain. it will be bad for business. they will revoke my brand new shiny membership. but when i turned around, diandra was gone. i was alone with all those machines . . .

have any of you seen "transformers?"

well, she was gone and i didn't want to lose her, so i stayed where she had put me--at the stationary bikes. it wanted all kinds of information from me, and i didn't know the right answers to any of it's questions. so i just made stuff up and said i was a level 2--hoping that meant beginner, but not so bad as to be a level 1. i was going to be in BIG trouble if level 1 was the best and not the worst . . .

i started pedaling, my feet barely touching the pedals (i didn't know i needed to adjust the height of the seat!) and after about five minutes, the drill sergeant disguised as my daughter, returned. "where were you?" i said, a little desperately.

"i went to the treadmill. i didn't think you would want to do that." she said. she was right about that! so we rode the bikes. this time we went by the clock on my machine, since it was ahead of hers . . .

finally it was time to move to the weight room. this is the part i was looking forward to. well kind of. we went from machine to machine. diandra did 5 sets, i did 3 sets. when diandra set the weight to 50 pounds, i set it to 25 pounds. and with those adjustments, i was able to keep up with her. if you can call it keeping up . . .

i was just glad diandra was telling me what to do today. because we saw one girl working with a personal trainer who looked like she was going to crumple into a heap on the floor at any minute. i think that is the trainer's evil plan. because they know that if they leave you with any strength or energy at all, you will probably use it to hurt them, seriously hurt them.

so i made it through my first day at the gym. i don't feel too bad right now, although my legs felt like rubbery spaghetti when i walked to the car. i had serious doubts about whether i would even be able to drive home, since that required pushing pedals with my noodle legs. but i did. and then i folded laundry, warmed up some leftover steak for dinner and did some computer work.

oh, and ate a piece of chocolate cake.

Monday, September 7, 2009

to sleep? or not to sleep?

so today . . . i woke up at 9:00.

i know that is not earth shattering information--probably most of you wake up much earlier than that on a regular basis. but the problem is, i thought it was 10:30.

when i am on summer vacation, i stay up late--really late, like 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. late. or would that be early . . . ? i don't know. and then i sleep until about 10:30 the next morning. that is just my summer schedule. so when school starts in the fall, adjustments must be made.

my plan is always to start creeping my bedtime forward in august so that i am back to a normal schedule by september. this never happens. ever. and then the week before school, i think, "YIKES! i have to start going to bed earlier!" but at the same time, i realize it is my last week of summer vacation, and so either i spend it doing all the fun things i didn't get done earlier, or all the work i didn't get done earlier, or recovering from all the work and fun i did do earlier. which means i stay up even later!

this year was unique, because i had to start school before labor day--this has never happened to me before. so i spent the last couple of weeks of august in denial (meaning staying up late and pretending the summer wasn't ending,) and started my new school year tired. and spent the whole first week in that state. which is ok, because i had a long weekend coming up . . . and my plan for that weekend included lots and lots of sleeping.

saturday i had stuff to do, some of it outside, and it was getting HOT. so i knew i couldn't spend the whole morning sleeping. sunday morning i had band rehearsal early, and then church. that left this morning for my last opportunity to decrease my sleep deficit.

the stage was set. my alarm was off (oh, did i forget to tell you that yesterday i left my school alarm on? it went off 30 minutes earlier than i needed to get up on sunday morning. but it took me a long time to shut it off, because on sunday morning i use my phone alarm. and i kept punching and poking the screen on my phone and the stupid alarm would not shut off!! because it was not my phone alarm--it was my clock--a half hour early. sigh.) ok, BOTH my alarms were off. rollie was up and out. he had taken the dogs with him so they wouldn't bother me. i should have been in blissful slumber until nearly noon.

and then, i turned over toward the clock. my brain was slightly awake, but my eyes were still shut. my brain thought, "you should look at the clock." my eyes said no. my eyes are smarter than my brain. they knew that if i looked at the time, that would be it--i would not be able to go back to sleep. my brain said, "but diandra is out of town and you turned off your cell phone, and what if she tries to call or text?" my eyes said she could just leave a message--i needed to sleep. my brain was horrified at that, and forced my eyes open.

my clock said 10:28.

ok, but remember what i said about the time on my clock? it is not the right time. and i wasn't awake enough to do the math to find the correct time. but i figured it was still probably 10:00, and i should probably get up. my eyes were not happy with my brain! so i laid there for a while longer, until the dogs discovered i was not sleeping (i don't know how they can tell that--my eyes were still closed!) it soon became pointless to stay in bed--there was too much commotion. so i got up, got dressed and headed downstairs wondering whether i should eat breakfast or lunch. it was, after all nearly noon by then . . .

only it wasn't. it was 9:30. i'm not kidding you!! i'm not quite sure how it happened. i must have read the time wrong on my clock. or maybe my brain tricked my eyes. but there i was. up. and dressed. and thinking i should choose breakfast over lunch, since it was only 9:30 in the morning!!!!

it was strange--my whole day was skewed. every time i looked at the clock it was 2 hours earlier than i felt like it should be. i got quite a bit done before we ate lunch at 2:00. but after lunch i was feeling my early morning. and since my plan for the weekend was sleep, i took a nap. it must have compensated for my early rising, because when i woke up, it felt like the planets were all in alignment once again.

now, if i can just get to bed early tonight. but first i have to pack my gym bag (yes, my plan is to hit the gym tomorrow,) get my school stuff ready to go, and go pick diandra up from the airport. her plane lands at 9:48. somehow, i don't think "early" is in my future. maybe i should shoot for "before midnight."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

julie wonders about rollie . . .

so today . . . i was sitting in the family room doing some computer work and watching tv, when i got this message from rollie, who was upstairs in the man-room.

"rollie had leftover subway for lunch."


first of all, it is not uncommon for us to text each other from different rooms in our house. our phones are always with us, and it is a much more pleasant way to communicate than to try to yell up the stairs, or worse yet, WALK up the stairs when you need to get someone's attention. but i knew he had eaten leftover subway for lunch, because he had actually told me that in person when he came down to get his sandwich. and he was talking in the third person--i don't believe i have ever heard him do that before. so how to respond . . .

i texted back, "ok?"

he replied, "rollie wishes he could be watching the USC game."

i also knew that--he had been bemoaning the fact that the usc game was not going to be on tv today. and he was still talking in the third person. i wasn't quite sure what he was up to . . .

so i said, "yes, he told me that this morning."

and the conversation continued . . . "rollie is considering a nap."

"that would probably be a good idea--a nice long nap--maybe in an institution . . . "

"rollie is ignorning negative feedback and preparing for imminent unconsciousness."

so i decided to give it a try myself and see what happened.

"julie is going to drink the rest of the pop and eat half a cheese sandwich. how exciting is that!"

"rollie just sneezed, disturbing the stealthy approach of probable somnamulance."

huh? "bummer," i replied.

"undeterred, rollie is trying to attain blessed unconsciousness once again."

"good to know."

"he's just oozing consistency and integrity!"


"metaphorically. rollie has recently added a canine nap enhancement accessory to his journey toward nirvanah."

"good luck then--at least the canine isn't trying to eat my puny sandwich."

"rollie has discovered that tweeting can sometimes inhibit continuity in his daily pursuit of productivity."

and then i got it. he was pseudo-tweeting. i say pseudo, because he is not signed up for twitter. he is just not that into all the social networking stuff. he says he socially networks with real people all day long, so when he comes home he is looking for peace and quiet--not more 'chatting.'

i wondered how long this game was going to continue. but i did my part.

"especially when he uses such a vocabulary!"

"rollie is distressed at the pedestrian vocabularial attainments of his followers." i guess that would be me . . .

so i decided, fine--i would not subject him to my 'pedestrian vocabulary' and i stopped texting him.

a few minutes later he said, "the attainment of oblivion appears to remain equidistant, as rollie communicates his journey toward that end."

my response? "hmmm. shut up and take a nap!"

he continued. " . . . and yet my canine accessory appears oblivious to my distress, and has preceded me to my objective!" i took that to mean that milo was sleeping . . .

i said, "canines are like that--of course, they don't have phones!"

"seems to be a somewhat unfair advantage . . . "

"having a phone? or not having one?"

"the absence of the communicative accessory."

as entertaining as this had been, i was starting to get tired of thinking up responses. so i just said, "ahh."

but he wasn't done yet. "rollie requests that his multitudinous adherents refrain from response so that he can continue his quest for oblivion."

did he not understand 'shut up and take a nap?!?' i was not the one keeping him awake--it was his 'twittering.' "okey dokey," i said.

finally, phone silence. my brain settled back into it's vegetative state. and then several minutes later the phone beeped again.

"rollie has abandoned his fruitless quest for restorative somnambulance and has embarked on a mission to relieve excretory urgency." ok then. more than i needed to know, but ok.

"well, at least he is adaptable."

and then a few minutes later, "so what do you think--should i twitter?"

let's see, how can i put this . . . NO! NO!! NO!!! PLEASE DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!

but instead i said, "i am going to take a short nap. and this will be my final communication about it."

"okay." he said. "hope it works out better than mine."

it did--i was able to nap for about 45 minutes. of course, i wasn't laying there thinking up enormous, obscure words to "tweet" with . . .

Friday, September 4, 2009

out of the blue . . .

so today . . . my blog will be short, because i am processing some terrible news.

one of diandra's childhood friends is gone. just like that.

ethan and diandra were not best friends, probably, but they seemed to end up in the same classroom through most of their elementary school years. they played on the same soccer team--the one year that diandra played--and his mom was the coach. he seemed to have a quiet personality, but he was "off the charts" smart! and he was diandra's friend.

we moved to the coast, diandra started high school, and while she pretty much lost contact with ethan, i would still think of him occasionally. there was just something different about him . . . i always kind of thought he would grow up and be the one to find a cure for cancer or something.

and then the internet worked its magic again, and diandra and ethan reconnected. we learned that he was attending graduate school at stanford, and i'm pretty sure i can't explain to you what he was doing there, because i didn't really understand it. but i'm sure he had to be "off the charts" smart to be doing it.

recently as diandra and ethan talked, he told her he was going to china. i don't know if there was a purpose to this trip, or if it was just an exciting vacation, but his family was not going along.

and then today, she got a phone call with the terrible news that ethan had been killed by a boulder while in china. just yesterday.

we still don't have the full story--he was either rock climbing or hiking, so it was apparently just a horrible accident. but it doesn't really matter what happened--all that matters is that ethan is gone.

and so this has been a very sad day for us. we have been processing this shocking news. the truth is, again, ethan wasn't a part of our everyday existance, so his passing isn't going to affect our normal routines. but still there will be moments when he will come to our minds and we will have to acknowlege that we won't be seeing him again. i will never get to see what kind of person he grew up to be. in my mind he will always be 7 years old and playing soccer.

when diandra was just old enough to go and do things without us, it became very important to her that the last words we said to each other were always, "i love you." just in case. at first it was cute, but then we started teasing her. she would say i love you, and we would say, "me too." but that wasn't good enough for her. so she would say it again, and we would respond with, "i can hardly wait to see you!" or "i'm so glad you do!" or "right back at ya!" and this would go on and on, until we would finally give in and say the words she needed to hear--"i love you too!"

it's important to let people know we care. the last time diandra told ethan goodbye, she didn't know that it really would be the very last goodbye. we never know. so this weekend, when you think about us and the loss of this friend, tell someone in your life how important they are to you, how much you value their friendship, or how glad you are that they are a part of your life. people need to hear those words, and we need to say them. because we never know which words will be our last words to someone.

so diandra, i love you too!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

me and james dean

so today . . . i was a rebel. i wore my red birkenstocks to school--yes, my "if i'm moving to california, i am buying birkenstocks" shoes.

i am one of those people who hit the snooze button 3 or 4 times before i can actually roll my body out of bed. the result is that i do not have much time in the morning to get ready for work--it is jumpintheshower, runacombthroughmyhair, slaponabitofmakeup, throwonclothes, grababagelandmycomputerbag, and careenoutofthedrivewaytowardschool. so i do not have time to make clothing decisions. but girl clothing requires decision making and as you know, i am terrible at making decisions. i can try on 4 different tops with a skirt, reject them all and the skirt too, and then grab a dress--because there are less decisions to be made with a dress. until i remember how cold my classroom can be when the a/c is blowing directly on me, so then i have to choose a sweater too. or maybe my denim jacket, because it goes with everything, or perhaps just a scarf will be enough . . .

but shoes are the worst. i want to be comfortable, but i'm not going to work in tennis shoes. that is where my beloved skechers come in. but some days the skecher look is just not right, and today was one of those. my choices were either my favorite pair of red patent leather high heeled steve madden open toed shoes or my red birkenstocks. i lovelovelove the red steve madden shoes, but i thought their appropriateness for school might be questionable. that left me with the red birkenstocks.

the red birkenstocks are comfortable and cute, and seemed like the obvious choice except for one small detail--they do not have a back on them.

buried deep in the employee handbook for my school is a paragraph requiring all teachers to wear shoes with a back on them. it is not a rule i am fond of, but i have adhered to it for the last five years (well, except for a few times when i have sneaked a pair of "clog" type shoes in under my pants.) i try not to complain too much, because i know some schools also decree that teachers cannot wear open-toed shoes, and at least we still have that option. but sometimes i chafe under this rule--especially when the perfect pair of backless shoes is staring out at me from my closet just begging to go to school . . .

recently i overheard someone say that i was a "people pleaser." this really bothered me, because i don't think that i am, and it bothers me that apparently that is how some people categorize me. i think of a people pleaser as being someone who is weak and easy to push around, someone who will do anything to make others happy, or to keep from rocking the boat--an "anything to get along" attitude. i'm not like that. i am nice. i am polite. i try to be kind and considerate to other people. i see no point in arguing, so i usually just don't. and i usually follow the rules, because i think that is the right thing to do. but not at any cost. i am a strong person with a mind of my own. i stand up for what i think is important, speak out when someone needs to, and occasionally i speed :)

this morning i looked at those red birkenstocks and thought, "yes, i am wearing those!" and i did. with my attitude intact, i headed for school. and everything was fine at first . . .

. . . and then the director arrived.

i had forseen this happening. i knew she would be at school today. i knew that at some point she was going to see my shoes. the question was, what would happen when she did?

as the day wore on, i found my bravado slipping. i tried to avoid her. when i did see her, i tried to hide my feet--which is a little bit hard when you are standing all alone in a hallway. i thought up responses to her possible remarks. verbally, i was ready, but emotionally i still felt like a kid with stolen candy in my pocket.

but i got away with it--at least for today. not being one to press my luck, tomorrow i will go back to wearing "regulation" shoes. but i have a plan, a slightly rebellious plan. it involves pushing the limits of acceptable footwear in my workplace, one backless pair of shoes at a time . . .

i am NOT a people pleaser. i am a rebel. sometimes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"HELP! i need somebody (funny)"

so today . . . is wednesday, and i am back in school. so odds are, you will not be seeing blogs on wednesdays again for a while.

but i am a little bit worried, because i have now met the children in my class this year. and they are not funny--not at all. maybe they will get funny as the year goes on, but so far . . . not funny.

i was spoiled last year. i could count on joshua to say something hysterical every day. i couldn't always remember it when it came time to blog, but joshua did his part by providing me with material.

so i don't know what is going to happen. i am now spending most of my day with small, unfunny children, and the rest of it at home with other adults who are also tired from working all day. so they aren't that funny either--or maybe i am just too tired to recognize it . . . but my blogging future is at stake here!

maybe something funny will happen while i am at the gym. if i go. oops--i mean WHEN i go . . .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

how painful will it be?

so today . . . i joined a gym. i think.

diandra took the plunge a few weeks ago. she has talked about joining a gym for quite a while, and we have even talked about doing it together. but when rollie was in the hospital, she decided it was time. she texted me one afternoon while i was at the hospital to tell me she had joined, AND had signed up for four extra sessions with a personal trainer. she sounded really excited. i wasn't so sure . . . but she had an appointment to meet with the trainer, so i thought, "ok, we will see how this works out."

she came in the house from that first session very slowly. you should have seen her try to go up the stairs! it was hilarious--she could barely move!! i was so proud of her!!

i used to work out three times a week. when we lived in southern oregon, a new YMCA was built near our house. there was a lot of interest in it--i don't think there was another gym in town--and it was a lovely new facility. and i drove right by it on my way home from school. so i finally gave in to peer pressure and joined. i hated going, but i loved it once i got there. all the way home from school, i would argue with myself about whether i was going to go or not. i was tired. i had stuff to do. i could always go the next day. and yet, when i came to the entrance, most of the time my car would turn in. it was hard because i went alone. no one was waiting for me to show up, so it would have been easy not to go. but i went anyway.

then we moved from that small town, to one that was even smaller. it had a gym (kind of) but the monthly fee was ridiculous! so i convinced myself that i would just walk out in the fresh air for exercise. we were close to the beach, and i love the beach, so i thought it was a good solution. and it would have been, if i had ever done it. but it was cold. it was wet. there were lots of steep hills (which i know would have been good for me, had i ever gone . . . ) and so, it never happened.

then we moved here. people here are very health and body conscious. there are gyms on every corner, with people in them at every hour of the day and night. so i can't blame my inactivity on a lack of opportunity.

i blame it on the wardrobe.

i have come to the conclusion that i don't exercise, because i don't like having to change my clothes in the middle of the day! maybe it would help if i had cute exercise clothes, but i usually wear shorts and t-shirts that escaped the goodwill box only because i thought they would be ok to wear when i exercise. (i say "when," but i really mean "if i ever in a million years . . . ") but changing clothes to work out means hanging up and putting away the clothes i wore to work, and then repacking my gym bag after i put the workout clothes in the laundry, and then putting on another change of clothes until it is time to go to bed. i'm sorry, but that is just too much changing! and so i come home with every good intention of walking. but before i can get upstairs to put on walking clothes, i gtet distracted. and then it is time for dinner. and then it gets dark. and then it is finally too late. really. and so i go to bed, having escaped the exercise experience for another day.

but when diandra joined this gym, they had an incredible deal for other people who wanted to join with her. i wanted to join, but i didn't know how i would fit it into my schedule. and should i really pay for a gym to exercise in when i can't even get my body out the door to walk the poor puppies? and how long would i have to wait for equipment among the throngs of people who frequent these places?!?

we discussed it. and she reminded me that there was a time limit to the special offer. and i tried to figure out how i was ever going to find the time to do it. but diandra kept going, and she was moving a little easier each day.

finally i succumbed to peer pressure once again--ok, not peer pressure, but sometimes daughter pressure can be just as great! and told her i would give it a try.

and then today i got this text message: "you are a gym member, and you owe me $50."

i replied, "yay?" and she wrote back, "yay!"

so apparently i have a gym membership. and an appointment with a personal trainer--just ONE. and at least two facilities within a couple of miles of my house.

you would think that now i have no excuse for not exercising. and yet, i am sure i can think of one. or two.

i guess i'd better go pack my gym bag . . .