I come from the water

 
In some gross moment of oversharing my parents once pointed out some beach hotel where I was conceived.
My husband and his family are mountain people. They can fish and sit on the back porch for weeks and not ever want to go anywhere. And I just spent a week in the mountains. I like them. I like the way the air tastes cleaner. I like the mountain views and the fact that it isn’t 110 degrees like it is at home and that you can see a billion stars. But, there are only so many books I can read on the back porch before I get ancy. And want to drive or climb or find a town or an Americano.

But this week we are at the beach. And as soon as we crossed that long bridge, I breathed in the thick salty air as deeply as I could. It isn’t like the mountains. It is loud. The waves and the city. The air is thick and sweaty. And I’m up 24 floors reading on the balcony rather than the backporch.
And there is no doubt that I come from the water.

This morning me and my sneaks hit the sand a little after 8 am. This part of the beach is newly developed and pretty empty. Especially that early. So I didn’t see many people down my initial stretch. Except a guy who looked like he might be sleeping off some cheap whiskey from the night before on a tarp in the sand.

About half a mile down I saw three figures. All dressed in thin black robes at the shoreline. One of them was moving in circles and I thought he must be doing some kind of tai chi exercise. But. Then I got closer. And realized he was just spinning. Twirling, almost, like my daughter does when she puts on a dress, about knee deep in the surf.
All three of them had on the same robe that went from their ankles to their wrists. Their heads were shorn straight to their scalp. The robes were loose and it was hard to tell if they were men or women. Old or young. And none of them spoke. I watched carefully as I approached because I was intrigued by these figures that were so different than me. The one I saw first kept spinning and splashing. Another was sitting on the ground with his palms deeply planted into the sand like roots and his eyes were closed. He had to be praying. And possibly my favorite part of the scene was that right there on his lap sat a bright blue water balloon ready to be thrown. The last monk, or whatever they were was laying, full dressed, in the water, arms and legs spread wide like he was making a snow angel. Eyes closed, full of joy and peace. Just letting the water crash over him. He had a light smile on his face and I wondered what God he was praying to? And if it was the same as mine.

And I kept running until I ran out of beach and then climbed up and ran a few more miles down the seawall. But I kept thinking about those three figures. And how they seemed so oblivious to everything else. Except the ocean. And whatever God I’m sure they were praying to. And I ran and thought about other things and sweated and listened to my ipod, but their faces kept sneaking back into my head.

I looked for them on my way back. But, when I got back to where they had been, there was just a guy setting up umbrellas and chairs to rent. Nearly an hour had passed so the beach traffic was picking up a little. People were out walking their dogs and a few families were already laying claim to their spots in the sand.

And without thinking about it, I slipped off my Nikes. And tucked my key and ipod neatly inside. Strode out a few feet into the water. And laid down. Fully dressed. Arms and legs out just like I had seen earlier. And it didn’t feel like I expected. There was no bliss or peaceful smile immediately formed on my face. I was too distracted to pray. I worried a little about the sand in my hair. If someone was going to steal my ipod while I had my eyes closed. How I’d look walking through the lobby totally drenched. And what people were thinking if they saw a middle aged woman fully dressed just laying outstretched in the sea. But I kept my eyes closed. And tried to push all of that away. And eventually my breathing slowed just like it does when I lay on the floor after sweaty yoga. And prayed silently to my God as the waves lapped over me. And thanked him. And most of all hoped that if anyone happened to walk by that they noticed the smile on my face too.

i'm a slacker

I'm on summer vacation. And apparently a blog vacation as well.
So, since I haven't been putting much out here....let me give you some great sights to help you waste time.

I mean if you aren't busy playing angry birds (like my husband, son, and mother in law), or tweeting ( I still don't write them...can't work w/in word limits or follow b/c my husband reads enough of them outloud to me), playing words with friends (I don't do that either because I think I'd have to join a 12 step program to stop), playing outside (you obviously don't live where i live where it is a bizillion degrees), or being productive (like cleaning or something...and if that is you. stop. you are just making the rest of us look bad), or even worse working (sorry, you don't get a summer like me, i'd tell you to consider a career change but i still need people to sell me frozen yogurt and let's face it...this is not the best time to think about teaching....and despite what everyone thinks....NOT EVERYONE CAN DO IT!)

so. some of my favorite online time wasters....guarenteed for some good laughs.

1. Damn You Auto Correct! People's iphones have a mind of their own. Expect a little naughty. But you will laugh outloud I promise. I've had a few of my own.... such as "at gym", once turned into "at gunpoint". or another time my friend came to pick me up and intended to text me "i'm here" instead I got "i'm heterosexual". I was glad for the clarification.

2. Dear blank, please blank.  One of my newest favorites...and it is just like it sounds. One of the latest...
Dear Dr. Phil,
More kids are addicted to Facebook than marijuana.



at the wheel

Since my son just had a birthday, I figured it was time we teach him to drive.

He just turned six. And I’m not even sure he will be able to reach the pedals in another ten years.

And some of you might be thinking that six is too young to drive, but I was taking the wheel on my dad or brother’s lap at least by then. And you think all that extra practice would have made me a better driver….but that is another blog post.

So this morning, I needed to run to the gas station and told him he could crawl on my lap and steer down the dirt road. Until we got to the highway. We can’t do these kinds of things in town and better take advantage of the opportunities when we can.
He was hesitant. But sat on my lap and grabbed the wheel anyways.
And then on the way back. And again on the next run with his dad.
And dad gave him a little more command of the wheel than I did.
I just kept telling him to watch the road and try to keep it straight, but we were swerving all over the place.
On the grass. Almost in the ditch. And then he’d correct and jerk the wheel back in the opposite direction. And we’d end up on the other side of the ditch.
Then – just when he got it going steady or center, the road would turn. And he'd have to start all over again.

And I hardly think about keeping my car on the road and can steer with my knees or while checking my phone, while eating lunch, or while changing the song on my radio.
Yes, I know those are all bad habits. And it is no wonder why I have so many tickets!
But despite my bad habits – I usually can keep my car in the right lane.

But.
I do understand my son’s tendency to overcompensate. To overcorrect. That is something I still quite haven’t figured out. And I still get frustrated when you finally get it figured out and the path changes. And usually the answer is as simple as keeping your focus in the right place and trying to keep going straight ahead.


And we can all be thankful that this kid has another ten years before he is street legal. Me, however, you might want to watch out for.

(and I’ve only got dial up here…so will have to upload pics later )

pomp and circumstance

I go to a lot of graduations. One a year (or occasionally more) for the last dozen or so years.


I don’t remember much of my high school graduation, except I sat next to someone I swear I had never seen before. And my friend Kenneth quoting the famous philosopher, Dennis Rodman. I remember wearing a cute black dress from the Gap, only because I think it might have been the last time I wore a size 6 in anything. I don’t remember what the valedictorian said, although she posts pretty clever and funny things on facebook these days so it was probably good.

And for the last twelve years, I’ve heard a lot of the same quotes. A lot of cliché speeches. And remember none of them. But. Almost every year there is a moment. Where the audience gets quiet. When a student who has walked awkwardly with bulky arm braces into your room every day, sets his braces aside and walks without help across the stage. I’ve seen parents accept diplomas that their kids should have received. But didn’t get the chance. Or most recently, a sister accept her brother’s diploma while he watched on TV from his hospital room waiting on a new heart. And suddenly it doesn’t seem that cliché.

And so the day isn’t about the corny speeches. Or even the cap and gown. And I’m not even sure what pomp and circumstance means. But. I’ve heard my share of speeches. And today, several of my friends posted this one on facebook. And I loved it. Mostly because I love Conan. But also because he managed to be funny and real and vulnerable at the same time. And it might be my favorite graduation speech of all time……except the one my nephew gave at his just a few weeks ago!
(and feel free to skip to minute 15:30ish if you are pressed for time and want the serious part of his speech.)





congrats Mat!

a slightly belated birthday post

Six years and nineish months ago I peed on a stick in my friend Tina’s bathroom.

And had a hard time comprehending just what those two little lines meant.
How much was going to change.

There was a lot I didn’t know.
Like morning sickness sometimes lasts longer than the first trimester.
That the not sleeping starts long before delivery.
That deliveries rarely go as planned.
That 8 lbs and 1 once is more than big enough to grow my heart in imeasureable ways.

And the years are sneaking by.
Six of them.
Most of the time faster than I’d like.

And five was a big year.
Because not only did you learn to read and add and subtract but you learned how to build almost everything out of legos, how to tell time by something other than episodes of Diego, how it feels to score goals, how to put your own straw in your juicebox, that you better hide your candy or toys from your sister or be expected to share, how to do the running man and moon walk, that bad days don’t make for a bad kid, how to sleep in, how to feed the dog and clean your room and all kinds of other things that you can now do with out me.
And that is what I want.
A boy who will one day be a man.
Who hopefully will be able to tie his own shoes and buckle his own seatbelt and say he is sorry and love as big as your smile.

But not just yet.
For now, I’m still hoping you will let me carry you to bed. And hold your hand in the parking lot. And point me to your friends when I come to your school.
At least for another year.

too little butter spread on too much bread

I think I'm quoting Bilbo Baggins...but am not sure. my husband could probably verify that for me.
In other words I'm too thin.

I've never been skinny.
Well. I've never felt skinny. I look back at pictures in high school and I was totally skinny. I just thought I was fat. Now, I think I'm skinny enough until the doctor wants to weigh me and WRITE IT DOWN, or I have to try on swimsuits and then I know the truth.....I'm not skinny. Not even a little bit. But most of the time I can ignore that and eat another cupcake.

So, as unskinny as I might be....... I am undoubtably way too thin.
And have been for years.
Spread so thin that everything in my life is kind of like eating at Golden Corral.
I can do lots of things. Some of them I'm even ok at. But almost none of them are very good. And When I keep going....I end up getting sick.

And I've gone on diets. I've cut back. And cut activities. But they always find their way back in. Like I miss playing soccer and bible studies and watching TV.
And I'm a fast paced over do it kind of girl anyways.

My summer just got started. And I thought I'd have more time for things like laying on the couch. talk shows. reading. blogging.
But, I've been running around crazier than ever. Soccer camp, lunch with friends, sprinklers, ice creamn, literally running, yoga, sushi, birthday parties and coffee.
lots of driving, rushing, eating. and pretty much the only time I've been still is when I'm exhausted on the yoga studio floor while someone reminds me to breathe.

And today I picked Owen up from soccer camp, ran some errands and decided to lay down because I didn't sleep good the night before. I told Owen we could go swimming after a quick rest.
But I couldn't will myself out of bed. Pretty much all afternoon.

I have never been good with calendars, but with multiple kids and appointments and practices and soccer snacks I kept missing stuff. So I eventually (or my husband) started using the one on my phone. Every day that has something scheduled shows up as a dot. And there are only 2 days between now and mid-July are dot free.
That is way too thin.
And I need more dot free days.
My calendar is getting fatter and I am getting thinner.
And this kind of thin isn't good and certainly doesn't look nice in a bathing suit.
This kind of thin is frazzled and late and tired.
So. For the rest of the summer, I'm gonna work on more butter and less bread.
More dot free days.Thin is overrated anyways.

And I'm pretty sure, that just gave me an excuse to have another cupcake.

the last day (and what's in my drawers)

In case you have ever wanted a sneak peak into the world of the last day of the year for teachers…

It was not Friday. When the last of my kids took their finals and fished their books out of their cars or closets or lockers and begged to be taken off the fines list or for that last half a point. That day is bittersweet. So happy to be done, but my heart tugs a little when they leave.
Today was really my last day.
No kids.
And every year it is the same drill.
I’ve been in four different schools and each one of them gives out an end of the year checklist. That is really more like a scavenger hunt to find all the principals and secretaries and hunt down ridiculous things they gave us in August and now want back.
Like our hall pass.
And I assure you, I wouldn’t touch that restroom pass with a 10 foot pole….even if I knew where it was.

So my day began with coffee and me losing and then finding my wallet. Which was it’s own kind of scavenger hunt. I had planned to get to school extra early and get cracking on my list and boxing up my room but, was driving all over town trying to find my money…and hoping not to run out of gas before I got it back. (I got it back barely, but that is another rant for another day)
So instead of getting there extra early and being super productive, I slid in a smidge late to my meeting. But it isn’t the kind of day where anyone notices. They are all smiles and jokes and dressed for summer. And they serve retirement cake for breakfast.

I rush back to my room and get cracking on my checkout list/scavenger hunt and make significant progress before graduation practice. I had 2/3 of the required signatures – even the really tough ones to get. And had spent over an hour of my morning waiting in lines.
But did a few dumb things.
One was that I was so anxious to get signatures I turned in my keys long before I was really ready too. Which meant being locked out of my own room and not having access to anywhere else. Even the bathrooms. Another big mistake of the day, when you break your graduation line up sign, the principal will not find it amusing when you try to reattach it with your chewing gum. And even worse, it was my last piece of gum. Totally wasted.

Lunch out in an actual resturaunt took priority over the rest of my signatures.

Also the lines were extra long by this point and those morning smiles and jokes were long gone. Everyone seemed to want the same thing. Which was to make their 1 o’clock tee time.  I just wanted a nap. And a massage. But figured I wasn’t getting either, so for a change…. I took my sweet time getting out of there. And amazingly the lines are much shorter after lunch.
I got all my signatures.
I boxed up my photos and stapler and put away all the dirty beakers.
My googles were washed. My books all turned in. I had removed the batteries from my remotes and filled my recycling bin. And no one could be more ready for summer than me. I love my students, the people I work with and even could tell you which soda machine actually has diet dr. pepper and won’t steal your money.
But. I miss my couch. And my own kids. And am ready for 8 weeks of not being at work before the sun comes up.  And I’m hoping for a little more time to write. And read. And run. And spending time with my kids rather than other people’s 18 year olds.

And one thing I hate more than standing in line, and turning in books and verifying grades is cleaning out my classroom. But the other day the internet was down. And my students were all at least pretending to work on their review. So I started cleaning out my desk. Which turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought. A list of just a few of the things I found, besides the normal stuff like post its and bandaids:
*Tess’s hospital bill from when she was born. Almost 8 grand. I also never noticed that I was charged 23.87$ for a dipstick. I’m not sure what that is, nor do I remember anyone checking my oil.
*A Barbie doll – which Tess decided to paint all over and cut off it’s hair when I took her to work with me over the weekend to finish cleaning.
*an airhorn. This came in handy when kids fell asleep. Although the teacher next door was less than fond of it.
*a dozen years worth of school pictures. And no, not me grades K-12, but all as a teacher. I get free ones every year and am never sure what to do with. I've tried to give them out as prizes, but I never have any takers. so they just pile up year after year in my bottom drawer.
It has never occured to me NOT to actually go downstairs and have my photo taken like most of my friends.
*gorilla glue. Not sure why I have it. nor why anyone would name glue after a gorilla. I don’t think they are particulary sticky.
*a Polaroid of Owen’s first haircut. Not sure what was doing in my desk drawer, although I’m pretty sure we could say that about everything else on the list too.
*a frog. Vacuum packed. We named him optimus prime and he was great fun without ever being sliced open.
*some fake lottery tickets. These were going to be put in fake Christmas card from the principals. But thought maybe not everyone would think it was as funny as we did.
*37cents. Not enough for a soda.
*a mostly empty bottle of Alleve. It has been a good year. But. not headache free.
* 3 wintergreen life savors that I had obviously forgotten about.
* pictures of my colon. Don’t worry it was clean. And taken by a doctor. I think some of them were of my esophogus too. But they are all kind of pink tunnelish and it is hard to tell which end is which.
*about a dozen chewed on pens. It is a nasty habit, but it does keep kids from stealing my pens.
And all kinds of other ridiculous stuff.
But things I didn’t find….my hall pass or my keys!
Maybe they will turn up next year.

wiggle


I am beat. Exhausted. Worn out. Only like the last week of school and throwing my kid a birthday party could do.

And want nothing more than a nap.
My son is playing with his new legos quietly in his room.
But no way would I dare nap with my 2 year old on the rampage.
Because even when I’m awake she has managed to color all over herself, the furniture and the floor with sharpies.
Lock herself in her room.
Swallow unidentified pills.
And flood the bathroom.
And destroy a room in 3 seconds flat.
No telling what this girl could do if I closed my eyes for a half hour.
And so I can’t wait, until she can play quietly in her room while I get some much needed shut eye.

Or so I think.

There are all kinds of milestones I think I can’t wait for.
Like I couldn’t wait to be done buying diapers.
I couldn’t wait for a full nights sleep (and most nights I still feel that way).
I can’t wait to stop writing huge checks for childcare.
Til my kids can work the DVD by themselves (ok, they have been able to do it better than me before they could walk…but I think that is some crazy innate ability that all kids are born with).
I couldn’t wait until my kid could read – but now when I spell out words. He knows. And I have to be a little more careful with my text messages.
I still can’t wait until they can tie their own shoes, all get in and out of the car without any assistance and can’t wait for the day that I will be allowed to go to the bathroom uninterrupted.
And speaking of milestons, today was my son’s last day of kindergarten.
And the first day he walked out of her in his dress code approved polo and with his Star Wars lunch box and Lego backpack was pretty big deal.
I never quite figured out the drop-off/pick up line. I still hate PTA meetings. Once my kid’s lunch account was empty and thankfully a sweet teacher across the hall had pity on my kid in tears and bought his lunch. He sang and danced on the front row of the bleachers with the rest of the kindergarteners and then dogpiled afterwards. I snuck out to bring him happy meals on occasion. I went to the art show and saw his fat yellow hand painted chicken hanging on the wall of the gym. I took off for field day and sweated my face off in the stands. I had my first parent-teacher conference, as the parent. I stood there like every other silly parent and took pictures on my phone of the awards ceremony where every kid got the same certificate. We did actual homework on the kitchen table. We ended the year with a lot more stamps than signs (good days/bad days). And learned a lot. Unfortunately, still not how to tie our shoes. And I think his last report card said he should work on his skipping. A year full of all kinds of milestones. And growing up. And the sharpie lines are slowly but surely inching up the doorframe.

But today he came barging in the door from his last day. And what made me a little emotional wasn’t that it was his last day of kindergarten. Or even that I am not quite sure how I am going to entertain him and his sister all day every day this summer.
But that he jaunts in to my friend’s classroom. Sets down his lunch box and announces to the room that he has a loose tooth.

And I kind of didn’t believe him. Until he gave it a little wiggle. And suddenly. I wasn’t ready.

For him to have sweet little gaps in his smile. For first grade. For braces. For shopping in the boy section instead of the toddler section. For boxers instead of briefs. For him to not need me to help him buckle his seat belt or open his drink.

And I lost all kinds of teeth in kindergarten. I’d even bring them for show and tell before stashing them under my pillow. I knew this was coming. I didn’t expect it to phase me.But that little tooth that he keeps pushing around with his tongue, is going to fall out in a few days or weeks.
And then so will another. And another.
And eventually all his baby teeth will be gone.
Which is just a reminder that so will the baby that I sometimes still see him as.

And next year, when he starts first grade. A few things are for certain. He will no longer be the littlest kid in his whole school. And he will have an even sweeter smile.