Saturday, October 30, 2010

a halloween horror story: three mistakes

so today . . . is halloween. and i have a horror story for you. but it is ok, because even while you are saying "eeeek!" you will also laugh. i think.

last sunday, rollie and i went to manhattan beach for pastor's retreat. this is a yearly event where the nazarene pastors in our area get together, ostensibly to rest and recharge. there is some resting that happens (usually after midnight,) and recharging (usually monday afternoon at lunch... and maybe at the movies,) but we also have times of worship and a special speaker.

rollie got a phone call on sunday from the pastor who was going to lead worship. he wasn't bringing a whole band--it was just going to be him and his guitar. but he thought it might be a good addition if rollie played his bass as well. rollie, who loves to play the bass, said sure!

that was mistake #1.

i had thought we might drive my car--my cute, little, fun, fast car--on this short break from reality. but when i learned that rollie's bass guitar, and more importantly, his giant amp were going along with us, i knew we would be driving the rodeo. which was actually fine with me--the weather was supposed to be a little bit cloudy and cool, and maybe rainy anyway.

we got to the hotel, checked in, and carried our bags to our room. rollie unpacked, because even though we were only going to be there for two nights, it's what he does. i, on the other hand, tend to start out with everything in my suitcase, but over the course of my stay i scatter things about. so by the time we leave my suitcase is empty, but there is no organization to how it gets that way...

when we were settled, rollie said he was going to go down and bring his guitar and amp in and get it set up to play. i kicked back on the couch (yes, we had a pretty nice room. not as large as some people--jim and dan--but it was still really nice,) and read a book.

several minutes later, and earlier than i had expected, rollie returned. "you are not going to believe this," he said.

what usually follows after someone says those words is rarely good. those words are hardly ever followed with "we won the lottery!" or "i just saw robert downey, jr!" or "the blazers won the championship!" (ok, we did hear those last words once, a long time ago...)

he continued. "i took the amp out of the rodeo, turned around to close the door (that was mistake #2,) and when i turned back, the amp was gone!"

what?!?! (this is what i was thinking) how could someone sneak up behind him and carry that thing away without him knowing it. it is huge! it must weigh over 100 pounds! and how will he be able to play without an amp! he needs that thing...

i looked at him quizzically. he continued. "i heard someone shouting, so i turned the other way and a flight attendant was yelling at me 'it's rolling!' when i realized what she was saying, i turned back, and it was rolling across the parking lot, picking up speed as it went!"

(oh, did i mention that his amp is on wheels? apparently really strong, sturdy wheels...)

i laughed. i could just picture it. he went on, "it isn't funny! i took off after it, running as fast as i could, but i couldn't catch it. it rolled about 50 yards! and it hit a car."

uh oh. "yes," he said. and then he stopped and shook his head. "it hit a porsche."

are you kidding me?!?!?! he hit a porsche?!?!? with his bass amp?!?!?!? all i can think is, i wonder if our car insurance will pay for it. i mean, it wasn't our car that hit it, but it was sort of a vehicle. it had wheels...

"was it a new porsche?"
i asked, praying that it was an already dented 15 year old model.

"i couldn't tell," he said, "but it looked pretty new." he went on to tell me that the amp rolled into a section of the parking lot that was almost deserted, except for two cars--the porsche and an older suv. (rollie's car is the red one on the left with the tire on the back. the porsche was parked on the right where that person is standing.) it went right past all the empty parking spaces, sneaked past the suv, and hit the porsche right above the wheel well. and when he got there, just two steps behind the runaway amp, he could see that it had taken out a huge gouge. he left a note on the windshield, and his contact info at the front desk, because it was raining and he was afraid it might make the note on the car illegible. ( just wait, it gets better...)

oh yes, it was also raining--one of the five days that it rains here every year.

when he got done telling me the story, he just sat there, shaking his head in disbelief. he looked a little sick. visions of angry porsche owners and thousand dollar repair bills were dancing in our heads. "well," i said, "there isn't a lot you can do about it. i guess we will just have to wait until he calls back..."

and so we waited. and he called back. but somehow rollie's phone sent the call straight to voicemail. when he realized he had missed the call, he immediately returned it, only to reach the porsche owner's own voicemail. and this is what he heard... (get ready, here it comes...)

"hello, you have reached the law offices of..."

yep. he didn't just hit a porsche--he hit a porsche that was owned by a lawyer! (that was mistake #3)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

busyness and randomness...

so today . . . i'm just writing to let you all know that i am still alive.

i haven't blogged in a week! but i'm not sick. i'm not hurt. i'm not sad or depressed or unfunny. i'm just busy.

we had a very busy weekend, and then we were out of town sunday night through tuesday for a retreat. (oddly, i was more tired when i got home from the retreat than i was before i went.) i've spent most of my available time continuing the search for glasses--both online and in stores. i think i've finally made a decision, but since i haven't actually paid for anything yet, i'm not absolutely sure that i am sure about my decision. we will see what happens in the next few days...

tuesday afternoon i got a flu shot. it was free--i guess my insurance company is hoping it will keep me from getting sick. i am hoping for that too. i am hoping i will NOT get the flu this year. or pneumonia. or have an asthma issue. again, we will have to wait and see...

this morning i had to go back to work after having two days off. my alarm went off, and i thought, "rats! back to work..." i wish i was one of those people whose eyes pop open immediately, and who leap out of bed in a happy mood (yes, i guess in the morning i wish i was rollie!) but instead i lay there thinking, "i can't get up and go to work today. i just can't. i can't get out of this warm bed. i can't get in the shower. i can't get dressed. i am just too tired. i can't go to work. not today. nope. today i think i just have to stay here in bed. today maybe i will just go back to sleep."

this is all a bluff, because i know that i am going to get up, get in the shower, get dressed, and go to work. i know that when the clock hits a certain time, i really have to roll out of bed. i know this, and yet i lay there pretending that i have a choice.

it isn't that i hate my job--i have a pretty good job. the problem is that i hate getting out of bed. i even hate getting up on saturdays! my bed is comfy cozy. i have a memory foam mattress pad and a fluffy comforter. i usually have a dog snuggied up against me, and reading material close by... and at 7:00 in the morning, it seems preferable to a room full of four and five year olds.

but i did finally get up and made it to school on time. it was a completely uneventful day--except for the appearance of sod on our newly renovated playground. actually, the new sod was the most exciting thing that happened today, until "angry birds" showed up...

angry birds is a shooting game. i got a notification that it was a free download today for android phones. i don't have an android phone, but rollie and diandra do. so i forwarded the email to them. i had no idea what the game was like, but it was free (and probably more fun than my flu shot!) rollie downloaded it, and then started playing it so i could see what it was like...

little birds jump into a slingshot, waiting for you to fling them toward different structures that house green pigs. they smack into the structure, causing differing amounts of damage, trying to flatten the pigs. of course, you get points and there are ever increasing levels of difficulty. but what i love, even more than the graphics, is the sound. the angry birds mutter angrily. when they smack into a structure, they say "ow." if the pigs survive, they laugh. i found it funny. especially because rollie was sitting next to me on the couch so i could see the game, but while he was trying to play, both dogs were trying to get into his lap. he was trying to ignore them and send tiny virtual birds smacking into pig-infested structures at the same time. milo would try to get close enough to his face to lick it. rollie would try to avoid milo. mia would creep closer to him, until she was draped completely across his lap. milo sat in my lap watching for an opportunity to reach his face. and rollie kept playing. through all that commotion... he cleared ten levels!

he finally went up to bed, but i am not so sure he went to sleep. my guess is that he is still avoiding dogs, and sending virtual birds flying through the air...

i, however, am going to shut down my computer for the night and head for my comfy, cozy bed. it is calling to me, and maybe if i get into it earlier, my morning conversation with myself will be a bit more positive. maybe. or maybe not...

Friday, October 22, 2010

the payoff postponed...

so today . . . was mostly consumed dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's "incident..."

my elbow hurts. my knee hurts. my glasses are crooked. my feet are cold.

there's not a lot i can do about most of that, but after yesterday's ordeal we decided new glasses were on the agenda for today. as usual, nothing is ever as easy as i think it will be...

i had to go to work this morning, so rollie checked on our vision insurance coverage, and found that somehow we have two plans. neither plan is all that great. if we could put the two of them together, we might actually end up with a good pair of corrective eye wear at a reasonable price. but of course, we can't use them together.

which really didn't matter anyway, because if we used our insurance i was going to have to wait at least two weeks for the new glasses to arrive. and although rollie managed to shove the temple piece back onto the pin so that i could wear them temporarily, my glasses keep trying to slide off my face whenever i move. i'm really not excited about having to put up with that for two more weeks. so the only thing i could think of was to go to lens crafter's and get a pair of one hour glasses.

but first i needed an eye exam. and for that, i did have to use my insurance. i was fortunate enough to get an appointment right after lunch. i arrived a little early and foolishly began to look at frames. i say foolishly, because i was not going to buy glasses there today--i was going to lens crafter's to get one hour glasses. remember?

but while i was waiting, i thought maybe it would be good to just randomly choose a pair, and get a price on the lenses--you know, for comparison when i went to lens crafter's. but the cute little optician was not going to go for that. instead, she tried to help me find something i liked.

(did i mention i was alone? with no second opinion?? i didn't know how long i would be, so i had left rollie at rubio's with his kindle and refillable soda. and diandra was busy today. so there i was, alone with my low sales resistance, and the optician.)

i finally chose six or seven frames that i thought were ok. i tried them on, but nothing miraculous happened when i looked in the mirror. i casually mentioned that they all sort of looked the same, and that i was really hoping to find something with some jewels... at this, the optician's eyes lit up! she quickly went to the LOCKED GLASS CASE and came back with a pair of frames. they happened to be the same glasses she was wearing. (it has been my experience that opticians generally wear the most expensive glasses in the store. i'm still pretty sure that is true.)

i made a huge mistake and put the glasses on my face. and of course, the angels sang...


i could no longer see any other pair of frames in the store. everything else disappeared. my eyes were glued to this new frame. i was afraid to ask how much they were. but then i decided it was ok, because i wasn't going to buy them today anyway--i was going to lens crafter's to get one hour glasses. she went to work figuring out how much these beautiful, sparkly glasses would cost after the pittance my insurance company was going to kick in, and gave me the total.

i just about had a heart attack.

she must have sensed that my knees were about to buckle, because she quickly said, "but i'm sure we can get you approved for credit, and then you can take 18 months to pay for them. that way they aren't very expensive at all!" yeah, and i will have a whole six months after they are paid for before it is time for me to get another pair...

and btw, they cost just as much whether i pay for them all at once or in 18 monthly installments...

i took some deep breaths, paid my $25 for the exam, said i would think about it, and escaped back to rubio's and my original plan. and lens crafters...

i kind of knew what to expect from lens crafter's. i had just been there with diandra when she was on the quest for the perfect corrective eyewear. it seemed like when i went with her, i saw lots of frames i liked. today it didn't seem to me like they had much to choose from, but i wanted glasses right now, so i decided i just needed to choose a pair and be done with it.

and then i experienced the defining moment of the day. i knew they could make single vision lenses in an hour, but i wasn't sure about progressive lenses. so i asked the optician if i could get progressive lenses in an hour, and she said yes! unless i wanted the anti-reflective coating on them--then it would take a week to ten days...

what?!?!? how could that be??? all their advertising is about getting your glasses in an hour. and i know when diandra got hers, they had that coating on them. so why can you get the anti-reflective coating on single vision glasses in an hour, but not progressives???

now i was bummed. i was not going to be wearing new glasses today. i was not even going to be wearing new glasses by this time next week! i was going to have to wait.

(i hate waiting--especially for something new. when i order something from shopping tv, i start checking the mail for it two days later--even though i know it is going to take at least a week to get here...)

so we came home. rollie tried to get me to go out look at some more frames. he wanted me to find something i loved. today. but the problem turned out to be that i had already found something i loved--it was just way more than i thought we should spend for glasses.

we watched some tv. i was mindlessly clicking around on my computer. i started looking for glasses online. i uploaded a picture of my face so i could "try" some glasses on. i kept clicking around from site to site, with no particular agenda.

and then, there they were... the horribly expensive, beautifully sparkly glasses! they were online, and even cheaper than if i used my insurance! i was encouraged by this. the online price was almost down into the reasonable range. i started looking at lenses. there were pages and pages of different lenses. and most of them were significantly less than the prices i had been quoted earlier in the day. now i was starting to get excited. maybe i was going to get the glasses i liked after all.

and then i started thinking... what if the prescription wasn't right? what if i picked an awful lens that was heavy or distorted? what if i changed my mind and decided i wanted the transition tint? what if it turned out that the glasses weren't what they were described to be? what if i decided i really wanted something way different than what i already have? what if i really didn't love them? if anything was wrong, there wouldn't be real person to deal with--it would just be the internet.

so now i don't know. is it worth the risk of ordering online? should i just go to costco, even though it takes so long to get the glasses back? should i go back to lens crafter's and just choose something there?

or should i just get out the hammer and super glue and try to fix the glasses i have. i do really like them. and they are only three or four years old. i could probably get by without them for two weeks while new lenses are put in... my vision isn't that bad...

sigh. some days i just wish i was a dog...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

what evil lurks in the closet...

so today . . . my fake ugg boots are toast. they are done. they will no longer get to clothe my feet.

they tried to kill me.

i should have seen it coming. i don't think it was their first attempt. they have sort of been testing the waters of my limits for some time now, but today they gave it their last, best shot. damage was done, but sadly for them, i am still alive. and able to have the last word.

it all started a few years ago. i wanted ugg boots. they looked so cozy and warm, and even in california, my feet get cold. i went online to check it out, and decided ugg boots from australia were not going to be in my future. so i did the next best thing--i looked for something similar. i bought a pair of "bear paws." i put them on. they were so comfy and soft. and warm. i immediately loved them, and wore them often.

but as time went by, they got a little too comfortable with my feet. the furry lining squished flatter. the suede stretched. and soon i didn't so much walk in my boots, as schlump around in them. you know what i mean--i would pick up my feet to take a step, but since my foot was loose in the boot, the boot would sort of drag along. it drove me a little crazy, but the warm coziness still called to me, and i continued to wear them...

last winter i noticed that they were pretty loose. in fact, a few times the rubber sole caught on the carpet and tripped me--not enough that i fell, but just enough to make me stumble. i should have realized right then that they were starting to think about doing me in. i should have known it was only a matter of time until they made their move...

summer came, and i put the boots away until cooler weather returned. as the weeks progressed, two new pair of boots (compliments of diandra) joined the old ones. i think that is when they decided it was time. they must have been worried that they might no longer be my "go to" boots. i think they spent the rest of the summer plotting and planning and waiting for the perfect opportunity...

...which came today. this is the fourth or fifth cold, cloudy, "rainy," day we have had. i find myself slowing down a bit more with each non-sunny day. today i didn't even wear my regular school clothes--i threw on skinny jeans, my "bear paws" boots, and a sweater, and slouched off to work... i daydreamed my way through the morning until it was finally time for my break. i made a cup of peppermint tea (i know, that doesn't sound very invigorating--i probably should have had an extra-strength coffee drink!) and headed back to the play area. i walked down the hall, conscious of my boots dragging their heels with every step. i turned the corner and started up the stairs. i made it successfully up the first flight... and then the boots made their move.

on the second flight of steps, the rubberized toe of my boot grabbed onto a step which sent me flying forward. i felt it happening and tried desperately to stay upright. i had my travel cup of tea in my left hand, and my right hand? where was it?? well i can tell you where it was not! it was not holding onto the safety handrail like it should have been!

(every single day i tell my students "hold onto the hand railing! be safe! if you trip, you need to be holding onto the hand railing so you won't fall!" every day i say that. but do i practice what i preach? apparently not. at least not today.)

my body was somehow falling UP the stairs. i thought i was going to be ok. i tried to get my feet under me. i grabbed for the railing or the stairs, or anything that would steady me and keep me from hitting the ground. i thought i had made it. my brain said, "ok, you are going to be ok. you are going to regain your balance and not fall. you will be fine." but my brain spoke before my body was really under control. my brain is sometimes the most optimistic part of my body--although not always the most realistic part. because just about the time i thought i was going to land on my feet, one of my traitorous boots caught the edge of the top step and sent me flying once again. through the air. straight toward the glass doors leading outside...

i knew i was going to hit the glass door. i knew it. there was no way to avoid it. my body was traveling waaay faster than my feet (yes, the feet encased in the evil boots.) i knew i was going to hit that door and do a face plant onto the concrete outside.

and that is probably what would have happened, except for one thing. somehow, i managed to stop trying to use my hands to break my fall, and instead grabbed for the crash bar on the glass door. fortunately the door opened. unfortunately my body still ended up smacking the ground. my face hit the door, sending my glasses skittering across the pavement. my travel cup went flying, spreading streams of peppermint tea everywhere...

i lay there, half in the building, and half outside on the damp pavement, momentarily stunned. i was alone. i needed help, but i didn't know how to get it. there was a guy working outside who had apparently seen me come flying out the door. "are you ok?" he asked.

really?!?! he had to ask???? did i LOOK ok?? i was pretty sure i did not! but i said i was fine, because i was still conscious, and he moved on. i sat up. i didn't quite know what to do. no one had seen me, but i was pretty sure i must be bleeding somewhere! thankfully in the next few minutes help arrived...

the director had heard the crash from her office and came to see what was going on. my elbow was severely scraped up and my knee is going to have an awesome bruise on it. miraculously my face didn't smack into anything abrasive, it seems to have just sort of bounced off the glass door. my jeans and sweater were ok--no rips or tears (yes, i was worried about that--i was wearing my favorite jeans!) but i think my glasses are history...(i loved those glasses...)

most importantly--i didn't cry.

so the evil boots are no longer a part of my wardrobe. i treated them like family, and they tried to kill me. i am not going to give them another chance. they are dead to me. my feet may never be so warm and cozy again...

...however, i just turned on the tv, and in an amazing coincidence, shopping tv is selling similar boots today. and they are sparkly!!! i think the perfect revenge would be to replace the malicious boots with a brand, new, sequined pair.

if only i didn't have to buy new glasses...

stupid, evil boots.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

twitter: social network or CIA spy tool...

so today . . . the first words spoken in my classroom were "i love lady gaga!"

and no, i am not the one who said them!

these words came out of the mouth of a cute little 4 year old girl. i wasn't quite sure how to respond. i am somewhat horrified by lady gaga, along with several other current pop stars. and yet there are certain current songs that make my head bob--even though the words are terrible! i don't purposefully choose to listen to these songs, but they are out there... just waiting to grab my head and make it bob. i hear them at the mall, at fast food restaurants, on t.v... and when i hear them, my head overrules my brain, and bobs.

i am not proud of this.

so as i was wrapping my brain around a four year old who even knows who lady gaga is, i tweeted. because that is what i do if i have an interesting thought. (if you follow my tweets, you will notice that there are days when i don't have even one interesting thought. my interesting thoughts seem to follow the "feast or famine" pattern...)

in less than five minutes i got a notification on my phone that my twitter account was now being followed by "lady gaga watch." less than five minutes. that is all it took for lady gaga watch to find me. and follow me...

now i am just a little bit unnerved. while i am not a conspiracy theorist, i do think big brother knows a whole lot more about me than i would like. i chafed at giving the state of california my thumbprint--i'm not a criminal--but finally succumbed when they refused to issue me a driver's license if i didn't. i don't join groups on facebook--even the guilt-inducing ones like "if you love your mom, click like,"-because that gives them access to my information. (i can't imagine what good it does for someone to know which games i play or how long i am on fb every day, but still, i don't want them to know... and for the record, i do love my mom--i just don't think i need to join a group to prove it.) i have so many different passwords that i have to keep a list--which should also be password protected, but isn't. yet. (i've got to get on that...) i try to minimize using words like gun, kill, and b*mb, because i am pretty sure homeland security could find me even faster than lady gaga watch (yes, some days it is awfully hard to blog without using those words, but i do my best...)

so being followed by "lady gaga watch" was not something i was comfortable with. because i am not a fan. and maybe they know that and were going to be watching me for signs of lady gaga mocking (although i have to say, she makes it awfully easy...) i immediately went to twitter to block this new follower. i don't need followers that badly.

although, i only have 13 followers. and i am pretty sure that at least half of them are some sort of marketing engines. or new people who will follow anyone. but it's ok. fewer followers means less backlash when i tweet something explosive--like "i need to walk my dogs," or "i think a brownie is calling to me." so usually i ignore my followers--anyone who wants to read my tweets is welcome to read them. but when i see the word "watch" in the name, then i start thinking maybe they aren't reading my tweets for entertainment--maybe they are reading them to make sure i only say nice things about lady gaga. maybe they are going to report me to someone if i say something uncomplimentary. maybe i should be worried...

...because while i did block "lady gaga watch" from my twitter account, maybe they won't like being blocked. maybe that will make them suspicious, and they will just start following me under an assumed name, like "i love puppies" or "chocolate is a food group." how would i know? how do i know who any of these people are? maybe they are all watching me... and keeping track of what i say... and reporting it to someone... somewhere...

maybe i am a conspiracy theorist after all...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

picture day prep

so today . . . i don't think i have time to blog.

i planned to blog earlier, but i've been doing other stuff. and now i need to go figure out what i am going to wear to school tomorrow.

you wouldn't think it would be such a big deal, but tomorrow is picture day. and i happen to know that they will be using some sort of holiday background, but i don't know what kind. and although i never buy the pictures, they always give me some, so i don't want to look totally dorky. or totally christmas-y.

AND this is all complicated by the fact that it is supposed to rain tomorrow. but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be cold. and i will have to actually do something with my hair instead of just running a comb through it, which means i have to get up earlier than usual in the morning. which means i should go to bed NOW. but i still don't know what to wear. and if i don't make that decision tonight, then i will have to get up even earlier so that i have time to try on and discard several things until i find something i like that i have never worn for picture day before. because that is one of my picture day rules--i have to wear something different every time.
have i mentioned how much i hate picture day?

Monday, October 18, 2010

calculating the value...

so today . . . i wondered how long i would have to carry a $350 handbag to make me feel like i got my money's worth...

this morning i woke up with a scratchy throat. i felt tired all day. i almost asked if i could go home after lunch, but afternoon is the easy part of my day. so i stayed, did what i had to do, and then came home and curled up on the couch for a nap. i put shopping tv on quietly for background noise and proceeded to sleep for two hours...

when rollie woke me up to eat, i noticed that the show had changed. they were no longer selling jewelry--they were now selling handbags. $350 handbags.

these were beautiful handbags. they were made from lovely soft leathers. they had shiny hardware. they had lines of straight stitching. they had numerous zipper pockets--both inside and out. they were handmade in italy, not china. they were the perfect size. they might have even been worth $350...

but let's just clarify a couple of things-
1. i can't really afford a $350 handbag.
2. that doesn't stop me from lusting after them just a little bit.
3. i think i would be embarrassed to be carrying around a handbag that cost that much. really. i already have to sneak out of the church parking lot some days in my cute car (which i bought used, btw,) when i go past the line of people at our food bank.
4. i have a short attention span. as much as i might love the $350 bag today, several months down the road i know i would find another bag i loved more. but i would never be able to get rid of the $350 bag (because it cost so much,) so it would go to the handbag graveyard in the hall closet, along with all the other bags i once loved. (it would, however, be the most expensive one! by far!!)
5. if for some reason i did spend $350 for a handbag, i would have to carry it every day until i die. and then diandra would have to carry it every day until she died. and i'm pretty sure she wouldn't.

i have read that when evaluating if something is worth the price, you really shouldn't look at the actual price--you should really look at how much it costs per use. so if i bought the $350 handbag and carried it every day for a year, it would only actually cost $1 each time. and if i carried it for two years, it would only be 50 cents each time. and if i carried it until i died...well, it would be practically free!

this is masterful marketing by the high end fashion industry--just convince me that a ridiculously expensive item is a bargain, and i am instantly trying to figure out how i can afford it...

i am not buying a $350 handbag. i'm not. i think i am morally opposed to it. i'm sure my checkbook would scream in pain if i tried it. i don't need it. i have a handbag i love, given to me by my daughter for mother's day, and a closet graveyard full of other choices.

although, in terms of value, a $350 handmade italian leather handbag would probably last longer than my $400 netbook...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

sharing sorrow and hope

so today . . . we spent about an hour with some friends, talking about their precious 28 year old son. as of yesterday, he doesn't live on earth anymore... was a fairly typical saturday for us--rollie played basketball in the morning, i slept in and then started the laundry, diandra was in san diego shooting a wedding. early in the afternoon rollie and i went to petco for dog food and then to rubio's for lunch. we were on our way home when the first phone call came in, asking us if we had heard, if it could be true...

a flurry of phone calls followed, and we quickly learned that the unthinkable had happened--our good friends had lost their youngest son. he was 28 years old. a seemingly healthy young man experienced multiple heart attacks in the space of an hour and a half and then, despite heroic life saving efforts, he was gone.

there was nothing we could do, except let them know that we love them. we can't feel their pain, but we can hurt for them in their pain. we can sit and listen to them talk about their precious boy--what he was like as a child, some of the difficulties he had weathered, and his plans for the future, plans that will never be realized. we can remind them that we live in an evil world and sometimes terrible things happen. and God weeps. we can agree with them when they talk of God's plan, and how we don't always understand it, (and sometimes even hate it,) but still acknowledge that God does have a plan and we choose to trust it--even in our pain and grief and longing for the one who is gone.

parents should not have to outlive their children. that is not the natural order of things. but sometimes it happens.

(diandra is having to endure extra motherly love right now. that's just the way it is.)

the thing that comforts them the most is knowing that one day they will see him again. his time on earth is over, but while those of us still breathing are grieving, johnny is dancing with Jesus. he no longer has to deal with all the frustrations and deadlines and people that seem to define our days. he never has to worry about being hurt or heartbroken again. all those things that rule our lives are no longer a concern to him. because he is dancing with Jesus.

when she was about six or seven, diandra had this need for the last words she heard from us to be "i love you." whether we were walking out the door, or hanging up the phone, the last words spoken had to be "i love you." sometimes we would tease her by trying to throw in a "see you soon," or "be good" at the end, but she would insist on hearing us say "i love you" before we were separated. at some point, it became less of an issue for her, but i think it is about to come back into play. because this has reminded me that there are no guarantees in this life. every time one of us walks out the door, there is no guarantee that we will walk back in again. (especially if we are headed for the freeway!)

we always think we will have time. we will have time to mend relationships. we will have time to show our parents how much we appreciate them. we will have time to tell our kids we are proud of them. we will have time to let our spouse know how lucky we feel to get to spend our life with them. we will have time to sit on a swing and eat ice cream. but sometimes we don't. sometimes the phone rings, and life is never the same. and we are left wishing... that we had taken the time when we had it.

and so, when we are all going our separate ways, i'm going to take 30 seconds to tell my family i love them. even if i am in a hurry. even if it feels awkward. even if my precious, darling daughter rolls her eyes (not that she would...) i want the last words my family hears me say to be "i love you." i hope it is a very long time before they hear me say it for the last time, but i am not taking any chances!

no regrets. i love you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

am i not speaking clearly enough?!?!?

so today . . . it has been a long and difficult day. so was yesterday. and monday was no picnic either. some days are like that--very busy and full of stuff that i either can't, or won't, blog.

one of my rules--don't write anything mean about anybody. ever. sometimes, that is a challenge :)

which means that today i have very little material for a blog. but i don't want to fall into the habit of only blogging a couple of times a week--i prefer to blog every day. so i am going to repost one of my old myspace blogs. i haven't done that in a while, but i remembered this one earlier in the week when i was writing about periods and commas. don't expect to laugh out loud, but i think you will at least smile...

this was originally posted on monday, november 12, 2007. that was almost three years ago. this was before i was blogging all the time. you may notice, my early blogs were much more concise :)

today was a rough day at school--wild, yappy kids all day long! but i did laugh twice and thought i would share why before i forget.

first, i was getting ready to read a thanksgiving story, so i was reviewing what we had read about last week--you know, the pilgrims leaving england, the journey across the ocean, and building a new life in america. when i asked, "and who remembers the name of the ship they sailed on?" one little girl raised her and exclaimed "the cauliflower!"

then later i was introducing the concept of a sentence during phonics instruction. i was showing them that a sentence begins with an upper case letter and ends with a punctuation mark--either a period or exclamation point or question mark. the examples i had written on the board all ended with periods, since that is the one most commonly used. so when we were reviewing, i would ask, "how do we know this is a sentence?" and they responded that it began with an upper case letter. then i said, "and what else?" and the response i heard from more than one child was, "and it ends with a pyramid!"

kids are still funny. we have been talking about christopher columbus this week, and for some reason my kids cannot say his name correctly. so while i say we have been talking about christopher columbus, the truth is that in my classroom this year, he is more commonly referred to as christopher coLUMPus.


Monday, October 11, 2010

periods? or commas...?

so today . . . rollie was reading yesterday's blog on his phone while we were at dinner. (don't even ask where we were--you already know...)

sometimes i like it when he reads the blog when i am with him, and sometimes i don't. i like to see his reaction, but there is a kind of pressure present when i am actually there. what if he doesn't laugh? what if his reaction is "huh?" what if he doesn't "get" it? usually it isn't an issue. usually the only reason he is reading it in front of me is because i have asked him, "did you read my blog today?" and i only ask that question if i think he is really going to think it is funny. so here is what usually happens--

r: silently reading
me: silently watching him read
r: laughs
me: "what? what was that?"
r: reads out loud what made him laugh
me: smiles
r: reads some more
me: waits some more
r: laughs again
me: "what? was that the part where..."
r: reads out loud again
and so on...

but tonight something happened that has never happened before. tonight he paused after reading for a minute or two, and said, "why all the periods? what happened to the commas?"

huh? could he possibly need new glasses that badly?? or did i really make a mistake?

"where," i said. he showed me, and i said, "no, those are supposed to be periods." he looked at me a little blankly. "it's my style..." i continued. "i don't want you to just pause at those points--i want you to stop! for emphasis!"

he just looked at me and continued reading... sometimes i leave him speechless :)

when i started blogging, i made some conscious decisions about "style." i decided to write all in lower case letters. i wish i could say there was some artistic reason for it (like emulating e. e. cummings,) but the truth is, when i write everything in lower case letters, there are fewer mistakes to correct :)

i also decided to almost totally ignore everything i know about proper writing technique. i know proper writing technique (i had to say that, just in case there is some random person reading my blog who is looking for a writer that they want to hire. i graduated from college. i can write properly. really, i can!) but when you read my blog, i want it to sound like it would if i was telling you the story in person. and i don't always speak with proper grammatical form. i repeat fragments for emphasis. i use lots of conjunctions (conjunction junction, what's your function? ah, schoolhouse rock...) i say things like, "no, really!" and "seriously" and i use "totally" as both an adverb and an adjective. i think. and i don't just pause--i stop. for. emphasis. i do have rules, they just aren't grammatical ones.

i love to blog! i love the frame of mind i have to be in to do it. i can't do it if i am angry or unhappy or feeling really bad. my mind has to be a little bit bouncy or everything i write just sounds flat. and uninteresting. (i would say boring, but i still hear my mother's voice in my head saying, "if you are bored, i'm sure i can find something for you to do." trust me--boring is a bad word! and it can lead to things like picking up the plums in the back yard... or cleaning the bathrooms...)

so, when you read my blog, remember that it isn't meant to be great literature. it is just me, telling you a story, trying to make you laugh. and if you see periods where you think there should be commas, remember to stop. at. each. one.

because i did it on purpose :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010


so today . . . was october 10, 2010. you know, 10-10-10.

numbers fascinate me. i think they feed my ocd tendencies. one plus one is always two. twelve inches is always a foot . if you have four cookies and you give one cookie away (yeah, like that is going to happen,) then you always have three cookies left. and check registers should always balance. to the penny.

(did i mention that i love math...)

so number patterns catch my imagination.

my fascination with number patterns collided with my need to take photographs at midnight on new year's eve, 2000. in my mind, that was a huge event. and as circumstances would have it, i was not where i wanted to be. we had just moved to the coast, leaving the friends we had spent the last twelve years making. and i knew those friends were having the new year's eve party to end all parties. and i wanted to be there. music was going to be played, and i wanted to be playing it. i wanted to ring in the new century with my peeps. (diandra is dying right about now. i didn't even know the word peeps then. but somehow, it just seems to fit...)

...but we had just moved to a new community, and there were expectations of rollie in his new job that made attending that party impossible. so i tried not to be too sad, and we tried to make the best of it. we didn't have new friends to party with, but we stayed up late anyway and watched the ball drop into times square. (and waited to see if everything with a clock would continue to work, or if everything would reset itself to 1900 and cease to function.) and we took a picture.the turn of the century gave me multiple number based photo ops--01-01-01, 02-02-02, 01-02-03, 03-03-03, 02-03-04...well, you get the idea. did i get pictures on any of those dates? of course not! i would think about it. i would tell myself not to forget. and then i would forget.

until 2007--in 2007 there was an event at the rose bowl sponsored by some of the churches in our area. diandra and i were assigned to go to lax to pick up one of the bands. yes, a real, live band whose cds people buy, and whose concerts people pay to go to.

i was pretty excited. (i admit it--i get a little star struck. i try to be cool, but inside i am going "oh my gosh!!! do you know who that is?!?!?! i have their cd in my car!! and they just talked to me like i was a normal person!!!") sadly for me, there were plane connection complications, and after sitting at the airport for a couple of hours and having several conversations with the band, it finally became clear that they were not going to be arriving at lax. ever. (well, at least not for this event.)

we went back to the rose bowl, bandless. and yet we still had a good day. we got to meet two other bands and heard a lot of great music. we got to stand right behind the stage. it was awesome! yeah, i was feeling pretty cool. and did i mention we were in the middle of the rose bowl?!?! on the grass?!?!?!?!?!

of course, i took a picture. with my phone. (which i can't seem to find. i really have to get my photos organized...)

which brings us to today. i wanted to take a picture at 10:10 a.m. on 10-10-10. this was going to be easy. since it fell on a sunday, i knew exactly where i would be--i would be in the gym at church just finishing up band rehearsal. so it would be easy to remember to take a picture.

and then i got sick.

i have had intestinal issues all week (which is why i haven't been blogging,) and yesterday i wasn't sure i would be well enough to go to church today. so we arranged to have a combined service. but i felt a bit better this morning and decided to go. i still thought i could get the picture. but circumstances conspired against me (stupid red lights!) and i didn't quite make it. this is the picture we took at 10:13 on 10-10-10.(i know! it is in front of the windows! the worst possible place for a picture!! why we didn't just turn and take it another direction, i don't know. i think diandra just wanted to get it over with--we were in the foyer. and there were people around.) rollie couldn't be in this one, because church starts at 10:15 so he was unavailable for photo ops. but i still wanted a picture with him. on 10-10-10. so at dinner tonight i had diandra snap a couple with my phone (because did i remember to bring my camera?? no, i did not!) she suggested we should hold up our 10 fingers, since it was 10-10. so we did.
but i also just wanted a nice, normal picture of us, so she took this one.i looked at it, and of course noticed the odd hair bump on the top of my head. i said we needed to take another one, and rollie made a face--and not a nice face! i am pretty sure eyes were rolling. and while i was telling him he had just better smile, because we were going to take another picture, diandra snapped this one.i finally got the nice picture i wanted, but since all these were taken with my camera phone, i noticed that when i looked at a larger version of the picture, it was blurry. oh, and did you happen to notice the shark sitting on my head??? yeah, our daughter (the photographer) thought that was funny. and my hand looks unnaturally large...i could be bummed. i did not get my nice, frame-able photo from 10-10-10. but sometimes it isn't so much about the actual photo. i just wanted to remember where i was, and what i was doing on this memorable day, and now i will. on 10-10-10 i was having fun with my family!

oh, and i took one of diandra too, just because she looked so beautiful. (again, shooting with windows behind her--i don't know why...)i had a whole series of her, because i never take just one picture. but since i love her, i am only posting the best one :)

and so, even though the pictures aren't great, at least i got them. now i can relax.

until november, 2011...

Monday, October 4, 2010

if i'm tired, it must be monday...

so today . . . was monday. i hate mondays...

the problem is, i am usually more tired on monday morning than any other day of the week. and this is just wrong! you would think that after having the weekend off, i would feel at least a little bit more rested monday morning than i did friday afternoon. but i don't.

the problem is, my weekends...

i do not have lazy, relaxed weekends. my weekends are busy--spending time with my family, catching up on household stuff, watching the shows i tivoed (is that even a word?!?!) during the week. it seems like there is very little "down" time.

but this last weekend was worse than usual. i had plans to attend the women's retreat for our church. this meant i had to hit the road as soon as i got out of school at noon, if i was going to beat the traffic. which i did.

the word "retreat" sounds restful, but our ladies' retreat weekend never quite seems to achieve that. if i just went, "retreated," and came home, it might be fine. but that isn't what i do...

i left shortly after noon, drove for about an hour, and then planned to stop and eat. every year, i plan to stop and eat after driving for an hour. and every year i miss the exits with food and end up eating a chili dog at the tiny dairy queen at the outlet mall.

but not this year. this year, after i whizzed past the exit i wanted, i decided i would just get off at the next exit and turn around. which i did. and found myself smack dab in the middle of nirvana--a brand new mega towne center!

i was just going to eat lunch and read my book, but before i could find a place with food, i found ulta. and target. and ross. (it is worth mentioning that we have all of these stores within about three miles from our house, so it isn't like these are my favorite stores that i never have the chance to go to. but there is just something about going to familiar stores in a different city...) i finally forced my debit card back into my wallet and went in search of food. i found a chick-fil-a, ordered a kid's meal, and settled in with my book.

the next thing i knew, it was raining.

i had seen the clouds gathering, but it has been so long since i have been in the rain, that i didn't even think about that as a possibility! we have clouds occasionally, but they rarely drop rain on us. it is such an unusual occurrence, that i could have just sat there by the big windows and enjoyed the show... except it was raining on my car... the one i had just taken to the car wash the day before... my nice clean black car...

when your car is black, you look at rain in a whole new way. and wind. and trees. and leaf blowers. they all become the enemy. i knew my car would get dusty on this trip, but rain was nowhere on my radar. i just sat there, helplessly, as my nice clean car got covered in water. and thought about what to do...

i quickly ruled out sneaking paper towels from the bathroom to dry it off. my car is small, but it was very wet! i was pretty sure i could not hide enough paper towels on my person to adequately dry my car. (i know, it is a little unnerving that the thought would even enter my mind!) i thought about driving back to the bed, bath, and beyond store that was just between target and ulta, and buying a big bath towel to soak up all that water. but i was pretty sure that while it might soak up the water, a new towel would probably also leave lint all over it's shiny black surface. i finally settled on target--surely they would carry that sham-wow i keep hearing about...

surely they didn't. but they did have other specially designed car drying towels. i didn't already have a specially designed car drying towel, so i chose one and headed to the cash registers.

by now the sun was shining. the water was starting to dry and leave spots on my car. i needed to put that new drying towel to use fast! but there were so many people in the parking lot... so i drove to the "outskirts" of the parking lot, got out, and started drying off my car--only to realize that what i thought was the outskirts was actually quite near an intersection. i am sure the people who live there were busy tweeting, "there is a crazy woman in the target parking lot drying off her car!!!"

when my car was dry and shiny once again, i continued on down the freeway to the retreat center. and the weekend progressed from there. i ate. i listened to a really good speaker. i napped. i went in search of a soda (and also found chocolate cake!) i ate and listened some more. and on saturday night i headed home.

sunday was as busy as usual, with the addition of unpacking to do. then there were lesson plans to finish up, and facebook games to check in on, and blogs to read...

and then it was monday morning. again. now i have a whole week to recuperate before facing another weekend...