Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Angels are Among Us..Sometimes disguised as high school boys!

Sometimes, the gifts we receive at Christmas come wrapped in the most unexpected packages.

Typically, those are the best gifts of all.

Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity that would change my life.

I wanted to make a difference in the life of a child at Christmas.

The idea wasn't new..it wasn't original..but it WAS rewarding.

I started the "Angel Tree" in our high school.  A holiday program that would identify young children in our community that would benefit from the kindness of others at Christmastime.

I felt it would also give our students an opportunity to understand the true meaning of the holiday season...love and giving from the heart.

A win-win for everyone involved.

Although the concept of the Angel Tree is simple... the execution can sometimes be tricky.

First, identifying those children who would benefit the most can be a delicate process.  We received names from area churches, elementary teachers and community members. Sometimes from students themselves who wanted to make sure their little brothers or sisters had something under the tree on Christmas morning.

We collected our "angels" and put them on a tree in the school foyer.  Students and staff members would choose an angel and that is who they would buy a gift(s) for.

People always LOVED to TAKE the Angels, but sometimes getting them to remember to go out, purchase a gift and RETURN it to me could be a challenge.  It seemed I was always chasing people down with only days to spare before our big delivery day.

All in all, even with all the craziness it involved, it was still the most rewarding experience of my life. And many times, the lessons that were taught about love and giving didn't come from me at all, but from my students.

My wonderfully caring and kind-hearted students.

One year, I had a group of young men approach me about taking some angels from the tree. The group of young men were students that lived in a community foster home.

Young men, who grew up knowing the pain of waking up Christmas morning with nothing under the Christmas tree at all.

Young men, who many would have understood, if they saw no importance in helping others when no one had helped them.

Instead, these young men, these beautiful, caring young men wanted to make a difference.  Wanted to be someone's hero.

At that moment, they were already mine.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned about their ability to follow through on this commitment. These kids didn't have jobs, they certainly didn't have much themselves and I wondered if they would be able to fulfill their Angel Promise.

I was a FOOL..these kids had a plan.

They approached their foster mom and asked if they could do extra chores for money.  They asked teachers and neighbors if there were things they could do.

And they did them.

They raised money and they went shopping and they fulfilled children's Christmas wishes like it was nobody's business.

They were the ULTIMATE Santa's Elves.

And these kids weren't playin'...they didn't go to the dollar store and buy a matchbox car. NO, these kids came back with the most sought after gifts of the season.

It was BEAUTIFUL and NO, it wasn't about the gifts..it was about the GIVING. It was about their HEARTS.

It was about a group of young men that could have been bitter and angry...and instead, were loving and wonderful and magical.

Those young men taught me so much that year.  So much about the Spirit of Giving.

Unexpected packages perhaps....but those boys were truly the BEST gifts of all...simply THE BEST!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Left Holding the Dirty Underwear...

I think somewhere in my marriage vows my husband slipped in a line about me following him around for the rest of our days picking up after his ass.

I don't recall this line per say, but it must have been in there and my husband holds me to it.

I follow him around picking up dirty socks, dirty dishes and even dirty underwear...YES, dirty underwear...ewww.

Why it is so difficult to place the underwear IN the hamper is beyond me..it must be a Y chromosome thing.

Now I don't LOVE that I do this.  I have tried to put my foot down several times and refused to pick up after him...but guess what...it doesn't faze him!  Not in the least!

He will walk past those dirty ass underwear a HUNDRED times and NEVER pick them up.

He will even look right at them and leave them lay there. Now I'm sure he isn't trying to determine if they are his or not.  I mean, it's just he and I in the house, and I quit wearing boxer briefs years ago.

No...I think what he is thinking is..."Why in the hell hasn't Tonya  picked these up yet...Geez she's really slipping."

This irks me to no end. (yes, irks me? who says that?)

Anyway...last night was no different...EXCEPT, that it was....

Currently, we are out of town for work and renting an upstairs apartment.  We have to share a bathroom with the apartment across the hall and although I HATE this I am trying to make the best of it.

Therefore, it's a MUST that we respect the space and keep it clean and free from our usual clutter.  We've actually been doing pretty well with it...both us, and the guy across the hall. I appreciate this very much.

Well last night we hit a speed bump.  Just a little one...but one I felt needed to be addressed.

When Joel got home from work yesterday he quickly showered and then we were off to run some errands.

When we returned, we put up some Christmas decorations my wonderful husband had gotten me and then straightened up the place.

As I went into the bathroom I noticed that Joel had left a T-shirt and a pair of underwear hanging on the back of the bathroom door.

I was going to leave them there...let him be embarrassed when the guy across the hall saw what he had done.  That would have really taught him a lesson, right.

Well, I couldn't do that, so instead, I decided to grab them myself and continue the ritual of picking up after him. (it's just easier that way)

I walked into the room...dirty underwear in hand and said, "Ummmm...honey, you need to be more careful.  You don't want our neighbor to have to deal with your dirty underwear hanging in the bathroom do you?"

Well of course I don't dear...that would be rude of me."


"Well I'm glad we got that cleared up.  Now what do you want me to do with these?"

Well, I don't really care what you do with them.  THOSE are not mine.


I stood there dumbfounded...what did he just say? What was he talking about?  OF COURSE they were his...whose else could they have been?

WAIT A MINUTE.....

"These AREN'T yours?  You're telling me that these dirty, mens underwear that are currently in my hand are NOT yours?"

That's what I'm telling you...NOT mine.


"OMG...OMG...AHHHHHHH!  That means...."

Yep, THAT means you are standing there holding some strangers dirty underwear!


I run back to the bathroom...put them back on the door hanger...and wash my hands under scalding water!

When I finish and walk back into the room...my husband is laughing hysterically.

You know honey, I'm not a neanderthal. I wouldn't just leave my dirty underwear lying around like that.


SERIOUSLY...that's what he said....SERIOUSLY!



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus....

Yes Virginia...there IS a Santa Claus. And anyone who wants to ruin that for the children in my life is going to get their ass kicked...got it?

Yesterday, I read a blog post where the author asked, Do you lie (or make your kids lie) about Santa Claus?

The author and commenters talked about their struggle with perpetuating the LIE that is Santa.

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?  You struggle with lying to your children about Santa? You struggle with the decision to bring joy to the heart of your child?  To allow him/her to get excited in the wonder of Christmas, in the magic of something so simple and innocent as Santa Claus?

If you do, then you SUCK!

SUCK. SUCK. SUCK.

Am I making myself clear?

One commenter wrote this:


     I never lie. Especially about fantasy worlds.


Critical thinking skills are an absolute must for kids to negotiate this big, weird world. Lying (and covering up the lie, again and again, making less and less falsifiable) is a disservice to the kids and a danger to society as a whole. Teach them to THINK, not to BELIEVE.
SERIOUSLY LADY?  STFU!

Letting your child believe in Santa Claus is a "danger to society as a whole"? I seriously want to throat punch this lady!

I imagine growing up as her child must be a real riot...you know, since she NEVER lies.

I can see it now...little Susie is upset because nobody has asked her to the school dance...enter "mom" to make it all better.


Well Susie, it's like this...you're ugly. You're fat and ugly and no boy wants a fat, ugly girl as their date to the dance.  Sorry, but that's the TRUTH..I wouldn't want to damage you by telling you a lie. 


I'm sure Susie will appreciate her mother's honesty.  She may slit her wrists, but at least her mom can be proud of the fact that she NEVER lied to her kids.

KUDOS mom...KUDOS to you!

For me..I will be a liar.  A BIG. FAT. LIAR.

I will encourage the children in my life to BELIEVE...to believe in goodness, and kindness, and wonder. I will teach them the importance of giving to others and allow them to feel the magical presence of Santa.

Yes, I will LIE to them...and my heart will burst with joy when I see their little faces light up at all the wonder that is Christmas.

 I believe that some day they will grow up to be well adjusted adults. In spite of, the belief in Santa Claus. Quite capable of using their critical thinking skills to navigate this big, weird world. Even if, for a few years they left cookies for Santa and heard the jingle of sleigh bells in the distance on Christmas Eve. Yes, I believe they will adjust to adulthood quite well, in spite of it all.

But for now...for now, I will allow them to enjoy the innocence of childhood.  It is a gift we only get once in our lifetime...I will not rob them of that.

So YES Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus....He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.























Monday, December 6, 2010

There's So much to know about your HOO-HA ladies....

Where the HELL have YOU been? It's been awhile since you visited my Blog ya know!

Oh wait...What? You haven't come because I have been neglecting my Blog and haven't written anything new in LONG time.

Well...Hmmmpf...what kind of excuse is that?  Fine...Fine...I'll write something...GEESH you're demanding!


Okay, so what shall I write about?  Aren't you all on pins and needles wondering?

 I was going to write about some of our travels over the last couple weeks and I WILL, but today something caught my attention and it made me think I should take some time to get back to my educational roots.

If you haven't read THIS you really need to.  Brittany is a hilarious writer and THIS is what gave me today's inspiration.  So go HERE now and I'll wait for you to get back.

SEE..I TOLD you..she's HILARIOUS right.  You people REALLY need to listen to me..I know what the hell I'm talking about ya know!

So after reading that post I knew I had to share this little ditty.  Think of it as a public service announcement.

 Now over the years I have taken  a lot of flack for being a health and phys. ed teacher.

"Wow...that has to be the EASIEST job EVER.  How tough can it be to teach kids to wear deodorant and to throw a ball out for kickball..hardee har har!"

Yeah... that's HILARIOUS douchebag...PLEASE take my job for a week and then get back to me would ya.  Oh, and during that week please teach the SEX EDUCATION unit to a bunch of horny teenagers! It's a HOOT!


ANYWAY.....


During one of my college health education courses this story was relayed to me and I feel it is my duty to do the same.

A girl about the age of 16 went to see her doctor because she had been sick for WEEKS and it wasn't getting any better.  To her HORROR the doctor told her she was, in fact, pregnant.

"That is IMPOSSIBLE! I am on the pill...there is NO WAY I can be pregnant!"

Doctor: Well I'm sorry honey but you ARE pregnant.  You know I told you that the pill is NOT 100% effective.  Sometimes, it can fail.  Are you sure you took the pill as directed...EVERY day at the SAME time?


"Yes...I did it the same time EVERY day. And I ALWAYS made sure it didn't fall out before I got dressed!"

Doctor:  HUH?  Wait...what do you mean you made sure it 'didn't fall out'? You did take the pill ORALLY, right?


"Ummm...orally?  I..uh...put it up there...you know, WHERE you get pregnant."


SERIOUSLY..I am NOT making this shit up!  This girl was sticking her birth control pills up her Hoo-Ha at the SAME time EVERY day!

Obviously, the girl was well lubricated to be able to dissolve that little pill so quickly...you know, before she got dressed.

I have since used this educational story during my sex ed unit.

 It NEVER fails that EVERY ONE of my students laughs and tells me how STUPID this girl must be. However,  I ASSURE you, somewhere, in one of those classrooms there was a girl (or several) that had a "lightbulb moment" that day.

So just to be clear....DO NOT put your birth control pills up your HOO-HA ladies...just SWALLOW...everyone KNOWS you can't get pregnant THAT way!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oprah can SUCK IT!

Oprah can SUCK IT!

OMG...What am I saying?  Oprah I LOVE you...please forgive me...I just lost my mind for a moment.  This is all very traumatic for me.

Generally, I am not a materialistic person. I would rather give than receive and I'm rarely envious of the "things" that other people have. I lead a very blessed life and try to always remember that.

However,  today...TODAY, I am feeling like a whiny brat!  Why you ask?  Well, because I am sitting here watching Oprah's Favorite Things, Part One (yes, part ONE, Monday is the Final Final).  And all I can think about as I watch these crazy ass bitches, jumping around, crying and making complete asses of themselves is...WHY CAN'T THAT BE ME DAMMIT?

 I  know how to act like an ass.  I  can be a greedy bastard too you know!  


The thing that really pisses me off is that this year, I KNOW that I will never be in that audience.  This year, I have to come to the realization that my dream is DEAD.  How could Oprah do this to ME?


Damn, I hate when a dream doesn't come true.  Well, at least I still have the lottery.  I'm gonna win that bitch!  


Shut Up...I AM!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

THIS will probably piss some people off...TOO BAD!

Disclaimer: If you are a parent of a child(ren) who acts out in public and you think that it's perfectly acceptable and the rest of the world should just put up with it because "they are just kids"..you will NOT like this post.  Oh and just to be clear...I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!


In a restaurant, on a plane, while I'm shopping...it doesn't matter where I am it seems that I am always in close proximity to a crying, screaming, acting out child. And before all you parents out there get your panties in a bunch I GET that they are kids...I ALSO GET that you as parents should attempt to DO something about your child when he/she is acting like an obnoxious lunatic in public!

It NEVER fails...whenever my husband and I go out to dinner, a family with one of these children are sat right next to or behind us.  It doesn't matter if we are the only people in the restaurant...inevitably they will be sat next to us.

Take last night for example. Joel and I had some shopping to do and afterwards we decided to stop for a quick bite to eat.  The restaurant was pretty empty and we were sat down at a nice booth.  We placed our order and then IT happens...two families with 5 kids were sat down directly behind us.

Look, I understand that children will occasionally yell or cry and that doesn't bother me in the least. Especially, when I can see that the parents are attending to whatever it is that the child needs.  What irritates the HELL out of me is when a child continues to do this and the parents IGNORE it!! Look you MOFOs... parent your children!

And don't give me that crap about you have as much right as everyone else to go out with your children...I AGREE with you.  It's when you disrespect MY rights, that I have a problem. You may be able to overlook your child crying and screaming and kicking the back of my seat, but I assure you... I CANNOT!

Soooo, to the man that continued with his adult conversation last night and ignored his little girl as she was SCREAMING at the top of her lungs, "DADDY...DADDY...DADDYYYYYYYY".  You should know that I wanted to turn around and punch you in the junk!  The only thing that saved you was that my husband talked me down off the ledge by offering me chocolate if I restrained myself...you should Thank Him!

I think the next time I am in this situation I will mimic the child's behavior and see how tolerant others will be of me. (and yes you don't have to point out that I am an adult and should know better)  I'm guessing it won't take long before I am asked to change my behavior or leave the restaurant...Hmmmm...what a concept!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Ricky to make you smile....

So last week I wrote about 'Ricky'...one of my favorite students.  If you don't know about Ricky you need to click HERE.


No, SERIOUSLY, click HERE NOW....I'll wait!


*do do do do do do do..do do do do..do, do do do do do..do do do do do do do..do..do do...do..do..do* (that's the jeopardy theme song playing while I wait)


Oh Hi...you're back.  Okay, so now you understand what a cool kid Ricky is and how much I adore this boy.


It's important for you to understand that, because when I tell you this story you need to know that I'm NOT 'making fun' of Ricky...not even close.


So...it's the end of phys. ed class and I send the kids in the locker room to get cleaned up and changed.


Some of the kids are done and are now hanging out with me waiting for the bell.  Ricky joins us shortly and approaches me...visibly upset.


Mrs. Fig...I don't know where my cards are.  I had them in my jeans back pocket, but now they're gone.


What cards hon?  Are you sure you had them with you?


It's a deck of cards and I'm sure I had them.


I ask Ricky if he locks his locker and he tells me he does.  He says he shares a locker with another student, Calvin.


Right away a couple kids speak up and say that maybe Calvin took the cards.


No way, Calvin wouldn't take my cards, Ricky says, Calvin's my friend.


Some of the kids roll their eyes, saying that if the locker was locked who else could have taken them.


Well, maybe I left them in my hall locker and just forgot.  I know that Calvin would never take them.


I am about to ask Ricky if he would like to go check his hall locker, when Calvin emerges from the locker room.


Calvin says,  Ricky...hey Ricky come here.


Yeah Calvin?  What is it?


Ummm...well, you have MY pants on...yours are still in the locker.


Well...CRAP!


**Okay, now go ahead...because we all did...we laughed so hard we cried. As the Cable Guy would say, I don't care who you are...that there's funny! **


So when Ricky returns from changing pants I ask him if he has his cards now.


He smiles and says... Sure do!


Then he looks at the kids that were so sure Calvin had to have taken the cards and says...


See guys...I told you Calvin would never take my cards.  He's my friend.


God, I LOVE that kid!



Friday, November 12, 2010

Ricky...

During the course of a school day many things can frustrate a teacher.  Homework not being completed, unruly students, lack of needed materials and on and on, but then something will come along and put it all back in perspective for you.

On one particular day, it wasn't a 'something', but rather, a 'someone'.

Ricky.

I loved Ricky.  I know teachers aren't suppose to have favorites, but I'll let you in on a little secret...WE DO! (you're shocked I know)  Ricky was one of my favorites....No doubt about it.

Ricky was a student in one of my physical education classes.  He showed up every day, on time.  He dressed properly, always participated, and did his very best at whatever the activity was for the day. He never complained and he was the sweetest kid EVAH!

Oh, and he was legally blind.

As a teacher, I made as many modifications as I could to make Ricky's experience as positive and safe as possible.  However, it IS gym class.  There would be flying projectiles and uncoordinated, over-caffeinated kids running around and inevitably INTO one another.  Ricky and his parents were aware of the risks, but were adamant about allowing Ricky to participate in all class activities.

Well...okey dokey then.

During the indoor soccer unit I used a modified soccer ball that was neon green in color and had a beeping mechanism inside of it to help Ricky identify where the ball was.  This was a good idea in theory, but the reality was that after about 3 good kicks the beeping thingamajig no longer worked.  For the most part, it wasn't that big of a deal and Ricky did just fine.

Then one day, Ricky had a request....

Ricky: Mrs. Fig, can I change positions?


Me: Sure Ricky, where would you like to play?

Come on...guess... what position he wanted to play?

Yep...

Ricky: Cool...I want to be GOALIE!


Me: (Gulp) Oh...umm..are you SURE Ricky?  Don't you think that might be a little dangerous?

Ricky: Oh come on Mrs. Fig...what's the WORSE thing that can happen?


Of course I'm thinking...umm....well the worse thing is, you are going to get a ball kicked in your face and break your nose.  Then, my boss is going to say, 'What in the HELL were you thinking putting a blind kid in as GOALIE...are you INSANE?!

But...Ricky's parents made it VERY clear they wanted him to have no restrictions. I looked at his personal aide and she said, "Let's go for it.  I'll stand back there and help him by giving him play by play of where the ball is."

Well, okey dokey then.

Me: Okay Ricky, get in there.  Let's see what ya got kid.

The rest of my students looked at me like I'd lost my marbles (can you blame them?).   I just smiled and said, 'Okay, come on now, let's play."

Now the thing is, I had GREAT students.  They never complained when games needed to be modified and they were very good about looking out for Ricky.  So I knew that although they would play hard, they would also take a little off their shots on goal.

Well....MOST of my students would.

Everything was going fine and then one kid becomes a bone head.  He steals the ball and is headed towards Ricky.  He gets right in front of the goal and then unloads a super hard kick right at Ricky.

Ricky puts his hands up to try to deflect the ball, but he's a little late.  The ball hits Ricky in the face and ricochets through the goal.

I gasp...the rest of the students gasp..and Ricky shakes his head and says, "Did I stop it?"

Everyone smiles and starts to laugh...not in a mean, teasing way, but more in a 'you're something else kid' kind of way.  I say, "Sorry Ricky, he got that one past you."

Ricky: "Well...CRAP!"


Meanwhile...the kid who shot the goal is running around the gym...hootin' and hollerin'...and fist pumping, because he scored.

It's funny how sometimes as a teacher you don't have to say a word.  The other kids just looked at him and shook their heads.  One boy gave him a slug in the arm and said..."REALLY?"

And Ricky?

Ricky was PISSED.  He shook off the knock to his noggin' and says, "Come on guys, let's go.  I'll stop the next one."

Yeah, that's right...THAT'S Ricky.  You can see why he was one of my favorites, right!

I thought so.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BROKEN...AND THE IMPORTANCE OF 3:00 A.M.

This is about the next step in my journey. I wrote about where it started here. This is the next piece of the puzzle in making me whole again. 





Broken.

That's all I knew.  Medicine masked the pain, for now. Traction held my leg in place, for now.

But broken isn't dead.  Broken can be fixed.  So broken wasn't THAT bad...... right?

 Everyone told me it could have been so much worse. I knew they were right, but that somehow made me feel guilty for complaining.  What right did I have to feel bad when there were others whose crosses were so much greater to bear?

So I didn't.  At least not out loud. I put on a smile the best I could when others came to visit. I wanted to make THEM feel comfortable. So when they would tell me how lucky I was, I would just lay there, smiling and agree.

But I didn't feel lucky.

I felt...pain.  I felt...depressed.  I felt....angry.  I felt...BROKEN.

I was independent and stubborn and now I had to rely on others for everything....EVERYTHING!

My family was incredible, my husband NEVER complained.  Their lives too were turned upside down, caring for me 24 hours a day.  It was either that or be sent to a nursing home and I couldn't stomach the thought of that.  I just couldn't.

So around the clock I had people with me. Asking if I was okay.  Asking if I needed anything. Jumping to my bedside if I let a moan escape my lips...wanting so desperately to make it better. If only they could.

3:00am quickly became my favorite time of the day. It was quiet...still.  No one was hovering...no one was trying to fix anything.  I love my family so much, but I needed that time.  I needed to know that if I had to turn over or scratch an itch that I could figure out how to do it for myself. It was something small, but it was so important in the healing.  Not the healing of my body, but the healing of my mind...my soul.

I wasn't prepared for the recovery.  I wasn't prepared for everything ELSE that came with healing.

I thought it was all about the broken bones, the ruptured tendons, the stapled skin.  I could endure those things.  Time would heal those things and everything would be fine, right.

I didn't understand it would be more.  So much more.

While the injuries healed, my body would rebel in ways I wasn't prepared for. The human body wasn't meant to be without activity.  It wasn't meant to lie in a bed for months without there being consequences.

Nerve pain and atrophy set in. Pleurisy attacked my lungs. Bodily functions, we take for granted, stopped working. All of these things were consequences and complications that added to the difficult and painful road to recovery.

 I tried to stay positive. I tried to hang on to the knowledge that no matter what lied ahead I WOULD survive it.  I would be a stronger person in the end...a better person.

I longed for the day that rehab could begin.  I knew it would be hard...painful.  (although I COMPLETELY underestimated how hard) I also knew that it would mark the first steps in regaining my power. The first steps in reclaiming myself.

Yes, I longed for that day.  Until then, I would try to find pleasure in the little things....like 3:00am.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Vacation Memories

I'm jumping in and linking up to Slutier Nation for her Top Ten Tuesday funfest. This week the subject is vacation memories. Some may be good..others not so much, but all memorable.

So in Letterman fashion...

#10  Devil's Lake with the family: We would go up to a friends cottage and spend some time cooking out, taking boat rides and learning to ski. Let me emphasize learning to ski. I remember bobbing in the water...skis out in front of me... and listening to the instructions of holding on tight until I'm upright.  Unfortunately, I should have realized that those instructions only pertained to people whose skis did NOT flip over their head on take off.

#9  Cousins Reunion: As we got older my dad's side of the family decided to throw together a reunion for all the cousins.  It was a chance to get together for a weekend of fun and laughs...lots and lots of laughs! One year one of the campers was parked on the edge of a ravine. We were in this camper and all of the sudden the camper started to shift and I did what any loving person would do.  I pushed my husband out of the way and jumped out of the camper to save myself!  Hard to believe that marriage didn't work out, huh.

#8 Florida:  Family vacation to visit my grandparents when I was in high school. My Grandma wanted us to have a great vacation so she paid for us to take a charter boat out in the Gulf for some deep sea fishing.  SHE chose to stay behind and although I wanted to do the same, my parents didn't want me to be rude so I went. BAD IDEA!  Between the smell of the dead fish that was being chopped up for bait and the waves of the water, I spent the entire day sick as a dog! Laying on a filthy cot and having a fisherman with fish guts all over him and no teeth hitting on me was NOT my idea of a great day.  Blech!

#7 Daytona Spring Break: My only year in college (Go Rockets!) to head to Florida for the infamous, Spring Break.  Six girlfriends piled into a pickup truck headed down I-75.  The truck had 'three on the tree' shifting and was so old we had to take it out in the country to practice driving it.  Only two of the six of us were capable of driving. We put a cap on the bed...threw down some mattresses and lined the truck bed with our luggage.  Three girls sat up front and the other four rode in the back...VERY safe, I know! Up all night...laying on the beach all day...lots of fun, but once was definitely enough!

#6 Trip to NYC: Two girlfriends and myself went to NYC for a long weekend. One of my friends had a little business to take care of so we had a free room in the middle of Times Square.  We went to TWO Broadway musicals, Mama Mia and Rent, and had brunch at Tavern on the Green.  It was an awesome trip with great friends. And to make things even better, Joel surprised me by driving up to the airport to pick me up...great ending to a great weekend!

#5 
Trip home from Washington State: Joel and I decided to take a little extra time coming home from a working trip out in Washington State.  We went to Coeur d'Alene,ID (yes..Idaho...it's GORGEOUS), Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, and the famous Wall Drug.  What?  You've never heard of Wall Drug?  Well just drive through South Dakota and you can't miss it.  There are about 100 signs along the highway directing you to the 'largest drug store in the world'.  How could we resist? It was an GREAT trip and I got to see places I probably never would have gone to otherwise.  We have a beautiful Country...I'm lucky to be able to see it!





#4 Mexico with a Group of Friends: Spending a week at an all-inclusive resort with a big group of friends was a great time. A full week of sun...fun...foo foo drinks with little umbrellas...and lots and lots of laughter. One of the biggest laughs came when we first settled in on the beach and I turned to find Joel dropping his board shorts to reveal his......bright blue speedo!! When in Rome....(or Mexico)

#3 NYC with Joel: For Christmas a few years back Joel got me one of the best gifts EVAH. A long weekend in NYC with tickets to my all time favorite musical "Wicked"! We stayed in a chic little boutique hotel right off of Times Square...over-indulged in everything...and had an incredible time! Joel even admitted that he really enjoyed "Wicked"...and lets face it... how could he not! We are looking forward to planning another trip to The Big Apple soon.

#2 Mexico 2004: This was a vacation we planned as a much needed get-a-way.  It turned into sooooo much more. We went into town to do some shopping one day and while I wasn't paying attention Joel bought a ring I had been admiring. Then, on a dirt road in Mexico, in 110 degree heat he asked me to marry him!  After my initial response.. of "For real?" I said, "ABSOLUTELY!" It was one of the BEST days of my life!

#1 Las Vegas/Maui:  If #2 was our engagement then it should be no surprise that #1 is our wedding and honeymoon.  We decided that we wanted to go away to get married.  We planned everything long distance and much of the details were left to the staff of the The Flamingo Las Vegas.  I was a little nervous about that, but it couldn't have turned out any better.   About 50 of our friends and family members joined us for the most incredible day of my life! I told Joel that Vegas was fine with me, but I didn't want to get married at a drive thru window or have Elvis perform the ceremony.  What we got was a beautiful ceremony...an incredible reception...and a great time in Vegas with the people we love most. What could be better than that?

Well.....the honeymoon comes close! After a few days in Vegas we left our guests to fly off to Maui.  Ten days in paradise was a perfect way to end our celebration.  We did some of the touristy things, such as, snorkeling and a helicopter tour, but after a bout of motion sickness and air sickness, we figured out that laying in the sun and visiting local eateries and pubs was more our speed. We had the best time ever and didn't want to leave.  We have vowed that we WILL return someday....I can hardly wait!

So, these are some of my favorite vacation memories from over the years. I could share so many stories from each of these vacations, but these are the highlights.  I look forward to adding many more in the future and would LOVE to hear about some of YOUR favorite memories! Come on......SHARE!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Turkey Day Angst...I NEED Your Help!

While some of you have Halloween on the brain I have already leap frogged over Oct. 31st and have moved on to a much scarier holiday...Thanksgiving!

Don't give me that look.

Halloween is a piece of cake.  All you have to do is buy a few bags of candy and wait for the scavengers to descend.  It's a couple hours of oohing and aahing over little kids costumes and then pigging out on the leftover candy that you intentionally mistakenly bought.

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is an entirely different monster.  For those of us that are "domestically challenged" it is just down right an anxiety fest. Trying to figure out what recipes to make and listening to people complain that, "that's not how my grandmother,mother,aunt, etc... fixes it".  It's all judgey and a real pain in the ass.

Last year was my FIRST turkey and although it turned out alright, it did not go without a few missteps along the way.  Apparently, there are TWO bags of shit you are suppose to take out of the turkey before you cook it, huh? Yeah well, I didn't KNOW that.

Stop judging.

We got through it and nobody died from food poisoning so in my book it was a success.  So let's jump ahead to THIS year.

We are once again on the road and we are thrilled that both kids will be able to join us in California. Our son, who is a Marine, is stationed near us and our daughter is flying out for a visit.  We are REALLY excited about that.

What I'm NOT so excited about is trying to plan this years menu. Joel will be working so it is time, once again, for me to scour the internet for recipes. Except THIS year we have an added twist.

This year we don't have a full kitchen to work with.  The apartment we are staying in has a 'kitchenette'. We have a grill with ONE burner, a small toaster oven and a microwave...that's it! Good God I'm breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it.

How do you cook a respectable Thanksgiving Day dinner with NO OVEN?!

So this post is less about what I WILL do and more about you people giving me suggestions.  Help a sister out would ya. If it's left up to me we may be giving thanks over some grilled hot dogs and toaster ovened french fries.  Don't let me do that to my family!

Come on people...Bring It! (and please keep in mind my lack of culinary skills...thank you)

Friday, October 22, 2010

FEAR...

With halloween approaching, it got me thinking....about FEAR.  Things that scare the bageezus out of us.

When I was a child my biggest fears were the boogeyman and monsters under my bed.  Both, fears that would vanish with the comforting squeeze of my parents arms or the break of dawn. Because it's common knowledge that boogeymen and monsters don't exist in the daylight and your parents arms will protect you from everything.

Once I conquered those fears I'll be damned if new ones didn't take their place.

After  falling off the shoulders of a friend while trying to perfect my cheerleading dismount, I broke my jaw and several teeth and I began to develop a fear. NO not of cheerleading, although that WAS the end of my cheerleading days.  I developed a fear of the dentist.

I know...that's a common fear, and having your jaw wired shut and several root canals will tend to make one leery.  However, I actually didn't start having, what I consider a phobia, until one dentist SCREAMED at me while I was in his chair.

He was supposed to LOOK that day.  No drilling...no needles...JUST LOOK!  I had made sure to ask my mom that question a million times before we got there so I was sure that's all that would happen.

Me: Are you sure he's just looking today? I won't have ANY shots today, right mom?
Mom: No honey, no shots today.
Me: Oh okay, good, but you're POSITIVE, right? No shots at all today?
Mom: No honey...I PROMISE...no shots at all today.
Me: Whew okay. ( a few minutes later) But you're SURE, right?

Then, he decides that he wants to do a double root canal instead and, I admittedly,  freaked out on his ass got a little upset.  For Christ's sake I was in like 5th grade. My mom wasn't too happy with him turning her into a liar either.  He then proceeded to SCREAM at me and told me to "SHUT UP...I was scaring his other patients!"

I should have bit his damn hand, but I just sat there and sobbed while my mom chewed his ass out.  To this day I break out in a cold sweat and have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the dentist.

Another fear I have is a fear of heights.  Yes, another common fear, but I'm only afraid if I'm in a situation where I feel I can fall.  Put me in the needle at Cedar Point or an airplane, no problem, but put my ass on a ferris wheel and I will become a lunatic and shit a purple cupcake.  I kid you not...A. PURPLE. CUPCAKE.  It isn't pretty.

I know it's common to develop fears.  They're like assholes...everybody's got one...or ten (well I don't know anyone that has ten assholes, that would be weird, but you know what I mean). I've had people tell me they aren't afraid of ANYTHING. Those people..well, those people, are just lying.  We ALL have fears.

The fears I have today aren't as easy to deal with, as dentists and heights.  The things that scare me today are sometimes too much to handle. Alone.

A phone call at 2 am.
The deployment of our son into a war zone.
Will our daughter find a good job? Will her fiance' keep her safe and happy?
Will my nephew grow up in a world that is less scary than it is today or will it only get scarier?
Am I making the right decisions?  Am I doing enough?  For my parents? For my husband?
The unknown.


Yes, I'm finding that there are some fears that can survive the light of day.  Some fears that don't vanish with a simple hug.   I'm also finding that we can overcome our fears by letting go.  Living each day fully so that if the unthinkable happens, we have no regrets.

Yes, we all have fears...and I am learning to conquer many of mine.

Well, except for my fear of clowns, but come on now... clowns are just FREAKIN' CREEPY!






*Go ahead...leave me a comment. Tell me what you fear and how you deal with it!!



































Monday, October 18, 2010

Who needs Lassie....

Almost 4 years ago we went to the pound and came home with the sweetest member of our family.

 I was the one who was hesitant.  It was such a huge responsibility, and I refused to bring a dog into our home if we couldn't give her everything she needed and deserved.

I agreed to 'just go look'.

So many dogs had found their way to the shelter.  Each had a story and not all of them would have a happy ending. I hate to even think about that , but it's the sad truth.

We walked in and the dogs all started to bark and jump around.  It was as if they were saying 'look at me, pick ME.'

And then there was Ashley.  She was standing in the first kennel and she wasn't barking at all.  Just looking up at me with these big brown eyes.

Joel and our son wanted to look around.  See all the dogs before we made a decision...before WE chose which one would go home with us.

Yes, as soon as I walked in the room I knew I couldn't 'just look'.  I'm sure my husband knew that too.

I told them to go ahead...I'd catch up.

But I already knew...I knew that Ashley had picked  US.

I knelt beside her cage and she crept closer.  As close as she could get to me and then she reached her little paw under the cage and touched my hand.  I think she somehow knew that I needed her.  Maybe more than she needed me.

Not long before that day at the shelter I had gotten sick.  I don't want to over-dramatize it. I wasn't dying, but I was in a lot of pain.

Joel knew...he didn't tell me until much later, but he knew having a dog would give me a companion on the many days I spent at home not feeling well.

He was right.

We took Ashley home and from the very beginning she was loving and as sweet as a dog could be.  She would lie down next to me if I were on the couch or curl up next to me in bed....she never left my side.

My illnesses are more under control these days but my need for Ashley has not diminished.  She is my daily companion.

And YES...I am one of 'those people'.  I talk to my dog like she's my child. I call myself 'mommy' and Joel, 'daddy' where she is concerned and I don't give a shit who doesn't like it or thinks that's stupid.

Now don't get me wrong...as much as I LOVE her she is not perfect.

She sheds more than any dog I've ever seen.  She's horrible on a leash and just this morning she was no help at all.

At 4:30am the walkway was dark (another whole story) and I was creeping down the stairs one at a time.  Being very careful as I went. I got to the bottom step, or so I thought, and then went to step on the ground.

Oops...there was one more step.

As I missed the step and my weight shifted, I twisted my foot and went tumbling to the ground.  My purse strewn everywhere...covered in mud and grass...and my foot throbbing in pain. I look for help (or at least some sympathy kisses) from my trusty companion and where is she?

Sitting on the patio...looking at me like, 'get your ass up and open the door already'.

So much for her being like Lassie.  If left up to her, Timmy would STILL be in that well.

That being said... I may not have gotten Lassie, but I wouldn't trade Ashley for anything in the world.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TADA....

Nadia Comaneci...Mary Lou Retton...Shawn Johnson..ME...one of these things is not like the other...one of these things does not belong...go ahead take a guess which one.

Okay, well you didn't have to guess it so quickly..Geez!

When I was in elementary school I wanted to be in the Stardust Tumblers soooooo bad.  I begged and begged and begged Mr. Vogt (the coach) to let me join and he told me he only wanted kids that wouldn't quit when they got to junior high to play sports. I PROMISED him I would never do that and he let me in.  I was average at best, but I felt like one of the cool kids so I didn't care.

Oh, then I got to junior high and I quit. (sorry Mr. Vogt)

Jump ahead many years later to college. I was a health and phys. ed major so naturally there were many different activity classes that were required. One of which was.....(drum roll please)....gymnastics!

Now you need a visual here to appreciate this story. I was a college basketball player, 6'0 tall.  Not exactly the body of a gymnast.

A friend of mine , Steve, who was a football player and 6'5 280lbs., also needed to take this class.  We were quite the pair.  I remember the instructor looking at us on the first day of class and just shaking his head.

What the hell did he know anyway. I had a secret that he knew nothing about. I had been a Stardust Tumbler back in the day!

Turns out, this was not as helpful as I was hoping.

Both Steve and I figured, how tough could this class be?  We'd stretch out, do a few cartwheels and frog stands and waltz out of there with an 'A'. Well whatdayaknow (spelling/grammar nazis just move on)...we were mistaken.

The instructor (who was about 80 yrs. old) hands out the class syllabus.  This guy was insane...INSANE I tell you.  This class required us to become proficient in each of the 7 events. We would be required to perform a routine on each apparatus to pass the course. That is right..I would have to create and execute a routine on the floor, balance beam, uneven bars, vault, horse, parallel bars and the rings!

For Christ's sake, this guy thought we were training for the Olympics. He evidently didn't get the memo that his class was just required for us to get one step closer to our dream job.

For me, that would be teaching in a high school that had little more than 4 bases and a few balls to create a physical education course with.  If I had to watch one more game of kickball or dodgeball I may have slit my wrists. (but I digress)

Back to this class.

As Steve and I stand there in our sweatpants and t-shirts we look around at our classmates.

All of them were 5' nothing and weighed 105lbs. soaking wet. (I think drool was seeping from the corners of Steve's mouth)  Something told me these girls had been around a balance beam or two before. I could hardly wait to get started. (that's sarcasm in case you were wondering)

The first routine we worked on was the floor exercise.  We were given a list of about 10 moves we were to incorporate into our routine.  As we practiced, the instructor was getting frustrated with me.

Instructor:  Tonya, you are NOT completing the routine within the floor's dimensions.  You need to finish ALL of the movements before you reach the end of the mat!

Me:  Hey look Bela Karolyi...I'm 6'0 tall with long ass arms and legs.  I am going to land a little further down the mat then the rest of these little cheerleaders....DEAL with it!


Then we move on to the other exercises.  Next....the Rings!

Seriously...when Steve stepped up to the rings and he was flat footed with his arms bent while hanging on to them I thought I would pee my pants!


Oh yeah, come on big boy let's see ya hoist your ass off the ground...without caving in the roof!

Bela didn't find it as amusing as I did.

The rest of the course went about the same way.  The little chickies flipping and twirling and prancing around to the instructor''s praises, and Steve and I laughing our asses off at each other while the instructor scoffed and sneered at us.

Whatever, old man.

We FINALLY get to the LAST day.  I have stumbled through each apparatus, but have completed each routine with a passing mark...thank freakin' God!

I am on the uneven bars, performing my LAST routine. I swing and twirl and THEN....WHAM!  I hit the floor!

During my twirl, the little piggy that went to market and the one that stayed home, decided to do the splits on the bar! I lost my balance fell to the floor and hit my head.

Damn...that was graceful!


My foot is throbbing.  I look down at my toes and they look like they are broken or dislocated.  It hurts like a son-of-a-bitch and I'm pretty sure I was cussing like a sailor at this point.

THEN Bela looks at me and says: "Well, you haven't completed the routine.  You'll need to either finish or I will have to give you an incomplete for the course. Then you will need to come back next semester to complete the course."

Are you FUCKING kidding me? I have been tortured throughout this entire course.  I have done EVERYTHING that has been asked of me (even if it WAS pathetic) and now you are threatening to give me an incomplete because of an injury on my final routine?


What I WANTED to do is get up and punch that old man in the face, but I figured that would ensure a failing grade, so instead, I got my sorry ass back on that bar!

I twirled and turned and cussed my way through the rest of the routine.  Then something unbelievable happened.  It was like all that hard work throughout the last 9 weeks had finally paid off.  I finished with an amazing, flawless dismount and stuck the landing...TaDa...just like Kerri Strug!  Bela came over and hugged me and then lifted me into his arms and carried me off the floor.

Shut Up. That's what happened.

YOU weren't there.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Day IT Happened....

I wasn't sure I would ever write about this. I wasn't sure I wanted to go back there, but it's part of me. It happened a long time ago, but it still affects me. I can't write about it all at once, so I'll take it in steps...baby steps. One post at a time...when I'm up to writing about it.  This is where it began....




We all have days that change us... forever.

For me, September 18,1997 was one of those days.

Full day of teaching, followed by volleyball practice. Then, the plan was to run home, change clothes and return to town for the homecoming parade.

I had volunteered to take over senior class advisor responsibilities for a good friend who was dealing with her own life changing events.

What do they say about best laid plans?

On my way home from practice, all my plans would change.

It was like slow motion...driving along...approaching an intersection...and all of the sudden a car pulls out in front of me.

I tried to swerve, hoping she'd see me and put on the brakes.

She didn't.

Awful noises...tires squealing...glass breaking...metal crushing.

Then for a moment....silence.

A face appears at my door. I know her. A student of mine...a volleyball player. She too had left practice only moments before.  I can see in her face she is scared.

I see some blood running down the side of her face. She asks if I'm okay.

I'm not.

She starts to scream...I tell her to go get help...she leaves.

As I'm waiting I looked down at my legs. Something isn't right.  My right leg looks... wrong.  It's crossed over my left leg.

I'm not thinking straight.  I pull myself over to the passenger seat.  I somehow think this will fix my leg.

Of course, it doesn't.  Now my leg is facing the driver's side door.

Someone opens the driver's door...she takes my hand.  It is another student who lives nearby.  She is a quiet girl.  A sweet girl.  I am crying out in pain, I think. She holds my hand and caresses it.  She is telling me everything will be fine. I'm not sure I believe her, but I appreciate her sitting with me.

From then on I just hear noise...lots of noise. Sirens...voices...the sound of metal sawing.  The pain is getting worse....

I hear..."Life Flight"...this can't be good, right.

I'm removed from the car...put in the helicopter...the pain is excruciating.

I'm begging for relief.

 I don't care how they stop the pain...Please God, just let it stop.


It doesn't.

The hospital is bright.  It is loud and I'm scared.

Doctors...nurses...these strangers that don't know me.  They don't know I am always the tough one. They don't know that if I'm crying I must really be in pain...that I must REALLY be frightened.  They just don't know.

There is someone standing over me...standing ON the table, looking down on me.  He grabs my mangled leg.  The pain is indescribable...He pulls hard on my leg...I am SCREAMING!

He lets go of my leg....It POPS loudly...the pain is making me sick. He pulls on my leg again...again I am screaming. He lets go...it POPS again! Please God...please let this end.


Whatever he is doing, is not working. Yet he grabs my leg once AGAIN!  He pulls...I have no strength left to scream...I think I am praying to die.

I don't WANT to die..I just want the pain to stop..I NEED the pain to stop!

I hear my dad's voice.  His voice is undeniable...it is low and strong and I can tell he is angry....scared. He doesn't understand what they are doing.  All he knows is that his little girl is hurting and he feels helpless. He doesn't know that hearing his voice gives me strength...he IS helping...he just doesn't know.

They are taking me somewhere...I feel a hand on my head. My eyes open and I look up to see Reverend Haller standing over me.  He leans over and whispers to me..."I'm not here because it's that bad honey...I'm here because I Love you." His words calm me...I KNOW he is telling me the truth. I KNOW I will be okay, but I also know it won't be for a long time. I can tell I am "broken".

The next thing I remember I open my eyes...it's dark, but I can see my mom sitting in the corner of the room. I may be an adult, but I needed my mom. I needed her, and she was there...there was never a doubt...she is ALWAYS there.

I don't feel pain...I don't feel anything ...I'm numb.

That would change soon....sooner than I would like...but it's part of this journey.

So much ahead of me...but this is the day it began.  This is a day that would change me...Forever.

 I just didn't know...how much.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sometimes words DO hurt you....ASSHAT!

This post is going to be extremely short and not so sweet. It's something that happened many, many years ago but has stuck with me my entire life. It has sort of become a family joke, but I have to admit, at the time I found very LITTLE humor in it. So, I'm just going to put it out there...cleanse my soul so to speak.

Here was the exchange I had at a family gathering, with my grandmother's brother.


Uncle Dick:  Hello Tammy, boy you sure have grown since the last time I saw you.
Me: Hi Uncle Dick, but I'm Tonya not Tammy. Tammy's my cousin, remember.
Uncle Dick: Oh yes, how silly of me, of course. You're the athlete, Tammy's the PRETTY one!

I never DID like my Uncle DICK!

So there you have it folks...I was the athlete, NOT the pretty one. It probably shouldn't bother me as much as it does, but REALLY?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

5 years and counting....

Just Friends
That's what we said.
Far longer than anyone believed.

A dirt road in Mexico
That's where you asked me.
I said, Absolutely.


A Vegas gazebo
That's where we had our
"perfect day".

Five years later,
We're not just friends...
We're Best Friends.
I'd say Absolutely all over again.
And Vegas was just the beginning
of many "perfect days".

I Love You.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm GREAT on Road Trips....

Let me be the first to admit that I am a HORRIBLE passenger in a car...HORRIBLE!

Since a bad car accident I was in 13 years ago I just cannot relax in a car. For over a year after the accident I had to ride around with a pillow between my legs and the dash. I know that's ridiculous...I mean what in the hell is a pillow going to do if we crash. I don't think I have ever heard a paramedic say "Good thing she had a pillow with her...it saved her life." Regardless, it seemed to help me emotionally and I can thank the pillow for allowing me to get back in the car.

I think my husband, however, would argue that the pillow hasn't done enough to restore my confidence in driving.

So when we faced a 2300 mile trip across the Country I know that neither of us were looking forward to it.

The vet gave us some pills to sedate our dog and on more than one occasion I think Joel was trying to figure out a way to slip one into my morning cocoa. Not that I blame him, but in my defense he really doesn't help the situation.

Him: Wow, did you see that?

Me: WHAT?! See WHAT? (as I've got a death grip on the door handle and the dash)


Him: That bird.  Did you see that bird over there in that field?  It just swooped down and grabbed a mouse in its' claws.

Me: WHAT?! Are you fucking kidding me?  We are on a highway doing 75mph with semis getting dangerously close to us and insane drivers going 90mph racing by us...NO I DID NOT see a fucking bird out in the field.  I figure ONE of us should be looking at the damn road! Christ Joel, you're gonna kill me I just know it.


 I know he thinks I'm being over dramatic (I can tell by the rolling of the eyes and the big sigh) but for God's sake I think the least he can do is watch the freakin' road! Is that really asking too much?

So this is how most of the first 2 days on the road goes:

Me: (hanging on to the door handle the ENTIRE time) Ummm...do you see that car?


Him: WHICH car?

Me: What do you mean WHICH car?  That one up there that put its brakes on.  It's slowing down and we are going to crash into it if you're not careful.


Him: You mean that car a mile in front of us that tapped its brakes? Yes Dear, I saw it. I think we're fine.

Me: Well, I just want to be sure you saw it. You know it's important to anticipate what the other drivers are going to do. I'm pretty sure I learned that in drivers ed. If I had done that 13 years ago maybe I wouldn't have had my accident.  If I had only anticipated her moves I probably would have been fine. So I just want you to anticipate what the other drivers might do...okay?


Him: Yes Dear. (he doesn't sound very reassuring, by the way, I don't think he is taking my advice seriously)

The other thing that I do that is VERY helpful is that I spend the entire trip leaning from one side of the car to the other. I think that by leaning I will magically steer the car in the direction I want it to go.  He doesn't thank me for this help, but I know he appreciates it...I can tell.

So for the first two days (because of my help), we plug along without any major incidents and we are still alive.

THEN...THEN we hit DENVER!  We have to drive up in the mountains through Denver, Vail and other little towns.  I hear it's beautiful. I wouldn't know this because I was too busy having a heart attack.  People from this area drive around that mountain like it's the Audubon. Do they not realize that at any moment your car can plunge off the mountain and you will DIE? Evidently, this is not a concern to them.  Well let me tell you...it IS a concern of mine!

So there we are driving UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN the mountain, and I am trying to be very helpful in getting us through there unscathed. I am bobbing and weaving...grabbing the dash...grunting and groaning.  I look over at Joel and he is white knuckled on the wheel.

Oh Good Lord, if HE is scared I KNOW we are in trouble.

We come upon a tunnel. A LONG tunnel.  Two lanes..dark...people flying through the tunnel.  We are half-way through and what happens......the car DIES! It just stopped working. So we are now sitting in this tunnel with our hazards on praying to God that a semi doesn't ram us in the rear end!

Me: OMG..what happened?  Why are you stopping the car?  You can't stop here. Keep going.


Him: REALLY?  You think I stopped here? What, do you think I needed a little breather so I picked the inside of a mountain, 11,440 feet above sea level to take a little break?  The car just STOPPED.  It won't start.  We are stuck here.

Me: Stuck here? HERE?  We can't be stuck here.  What are we gonna do? OMG.. Joel we are going to get hit.  We are going to die.  This is how it ends for us. Dying in the middle of the Eisenhower Tunnel. I have so much more I want to do. I'm not ready to die..I Love you...


Him: Good God woman, get ahold of yourself!  We are NOT going to die.  Everyone sees us, they are going around us.  I'm sure someone will send help.

Me: Well just in case, we shouldn't drink the rest of our pop or eat any munchies.  We may need them to survive if we are here much longer. We need to ration our supplies, okay.


Him: Okay honey, I promise I won't eat another cheese doodle in case we need it later.

I think we are stuck in there for 3 days (Joel says 10 minutes, but I'm sure it was longer than that) All of the sudden the car starts.  We pull out of the tunnel and then get pulled over by the mounties. (I don't think that's what they are called there but whatever)  She tells us.. Oh yeah, your car vapor locked.  Happens all the time up here. Your car should be fine now..Have a Nice Day.


Have a nice day? We almost died on the mountain and all you have to say is "have a nice day"?  Now I don't know what in the hell "vapor lock" means, but if it happens "all the time" then maybe there should be signs posted or something. I mean Geesh..Joel was scared to death.

So for the rest of the drive I continued to help Joel get us to Southern California safe and sound.

Me: You see that car, right?  The one that is swerving a little.  I think she is probably texting and driving.  Do you KNOW how dangerous texting and driving is honey?  Don't EVER do that, okay.  Even Oprah knows its dangerous.  She has this whole pledge thing going on.  I think we should take the pledge, don't you. Okay when we get somewhere I can print. I will print off the pledge and we will take it.  But you see her up there , right honey?


Him: YES DEAR, I see her. We will take the pledge dear. We will do whatever you want. (I think I heard him say "shut up", but he swears I was hearing things)

Anyway...we are now in San Clemente,CA. It is beautiful and we are alive. I'm just glad I could help get us here safe and sound.  I always try to do my part.












Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's in the Mustard...Of Course!

I asked for a "sign"...I needed a sign... Sometimes they come in the strangest forms...but they always come.


I'm sitting here feeling very "magenta" right now.  Anyone out there who loves the Golden Girls will totally get what I'm saying. For the others, it comes from an episode when Blanche referred to her mood as the color, magenta.


All kinds of feelings tumblin' all over themselves. You aren't really blue because you aren't really sad. You feel a little jealous, but you wouldn't say you were green with envy. And you might feel scared, but you wouldn't call yourself yellow. I hate that feeling, and I hate the color magenta.  That's why I named it that. (paraphrased but you get the idea)


Well right now, I am Magenta.

I've been looking for a sign to tell us that we are doing the right thing.  That leaving for California in less than two days is where we are suppose to be.

I feel guilty leaving. My dad's health hasn't been good for some time now and although he is doing better than he has in years, it still seems selfish of me to leave. I struggle with that.

My mom is currently out of town on her yearly girls vacation.  It's something she needs to recharge her batteries and something she deserves more than anyone I know.  I have to tell her today that we will be gone when she returns. It will be hard on her.  It will be hard on me.  It's just hard.

Our son is coming home from the Marines for a 10 day leave the same day we will be leaving.  We won't get to see him.  We haven't seen him since last Christmas and we've been looking so forward to some time with him.  He is stationed in San Diego and that is where we are headed, so we keep telling ourselves that we will get to see him when he gets back.  The only problem with that is, he told us yesterday that when he returns from leave he will be out on the boat for a month or so.

He gets deployed for the first time in Jan. or Feb. so we have been trying REALLY hard to get this job so we might be able to see him off.  Or at least see him more often before he leaves.  Now that we finally get to go, our plans of spending time with him may not work out as well as we hoped.

Still, in my heart I feel like we need to go.  The job is a great job.  Good money. And the adventure is something I look forward to.  So far, Joel's job has taken us to Saginaw, Cleveland, Washington State, Florida and Georgia. We've met great people and seen parts of our beautiful Country that we probably would have never gotten to do otherwise.

Yet, I have still been waiting for a sign.

SOMETHING to let me know it's time.  SOMETHING to let me know it's right.

Then, there it was....in a bottle of mustard.

This morning I was packing Joel's lunch like I always do . I made his sandwiches and put the mayo and mustard in separate containers, just the way he likes it.

As I put the mustard into the container IT happened. The sign.

PPthhhttttt!!!! ( <----- that's that farting noise a bottle makes when it's at the end...I obviously have no idea how you spell that)

The mustard ran out.  It was a bottle of mustard we have had since we got back from our last long trip.  I know it was from that trip because it was a Publix brand mustard bottle and we don't have those stores here. (Evidently, we don't eat a lot of mustard because we returned from that trip in December.)

But there it was...a CLEAR sign.

It's time to go. It's time for our next adventure.

How much clearer can a sign be?

We need to buy more mustard.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When I KNEW HE was a KEEPER...

There are moments within a relationship when you stop and say to yourself Yep, this is the person I should be with for the rest of my life. I've had many of these moments with my husband, but there was one night that he sealed the deal for me.

There is an annual Fourth of July party that we go to each year. It's a fun-filled day full of golf, swimming, food, fun, friends and alcohol...lots and lots of alcohol.

Seeing as we are very responsible people we take turns on who gets to be completely shwasty faced and who has the responsibility of driving home.

This particular year was my turn for the shwasty faceness. (spell check can bite me with the whole shwasty faceness..it's MY story)

Anyway...

We proceed to enjoy the day (me MUCH more than him) and when it's time to go home my darlin' pours me into the car.

I am incoherent and half-passed out at this point (which is soooo sexy) and I think I'm drooling out the side of my mouth.

Joel decides he needs to stop at Meijers and get some beef to grill because he's hungry. I on the other hand only need my bed. As Joel gets about 10 steps from the car he hears me open the door. When he turns around I am hanging half-way out the door and tossing my cookies all over. Some of which has hit the parking lot but much more that has ended up down the side of my car and inside the door jam.

I am sure that I look very special at this moment...thankfully, I have no recollection of this. Joel comes over, wipes my face off with some napkins he finds and then once I'm put securely back in the car he goes and gets his beef. (I guess my cookie tossing did not diminish his hunger)

We get home and he takes me inside to the half bath. He then goes back outside to clean up my car. When he returns he can't find me. I have now thrown up to the point of dry heaving and my hair is completely wet and disgusting from my head being thrust into the toilet.

He finds me passed out on our bed...nasty hair..fully clothed and all. Now at this point I am sure he is finding me completely irresistible.

He then takes my clothes off...takes me to the master bathroom and proceeds to give me a shower, washing my hair and all (awww...I KNOW, right) He puts me in clean pj's and lays me in the bed.

The next morning I, of course, feel like a truck hit me and someone shit in my mouth. I get up and go to the bathroom and when I come out my husband is smiling at me. I sit back down on the bed and in my most grateful voice say to him..."What the FUCK did you do to my hair?"

Ummm...yeah, that was my response after he took care of my pathetic shwasty faced self...what the FUCK did you do to my hair.

When he didn't punch me in the nose or kick me out of the bed I knew...HE WAS A KEEPER!





Friday, August 27, 2010

So I got my hair done....

I went and had my hair done yesterday...my husband said it looks beautiful. What else could he say, right?

Well... let me tell you what ELSE he could say. He COULD say, "Wow..it's umm...short."

In fact, he DID say that several years ago. It didn't go over well...shocking, I know. Yes, several years ago I went to get my hair done and then met him at the bowling alley. (we're that kind of classy) When I got there I walked up to his table and he looked at me and said.."Wow..it's umm..short."

REALLY? That's what you have to say to me? In front of all your buddies..THAT'S what you've got for me. Are you a freakin' idiot?


I give him "the look" and he says, "What? What did I say wrong? It IS short."

Hmm..I don't know, jackass...maybe you could have said I look nice? That you like it?


And THEN...and THEN.. I get, "So you want me to lie?" He's really lucky at this point I didn't knock his ass right off his chair or dump my drink on his head. He was only saved by the fact that, I'm pretty sure I couldn't knock him off his chair and there is NO WAY I'm wasting my drink. Anyway, I thought it best to let it drop at that point. I know his buddies thought so too.

Later, at home, we get into a conversation, that goes something like this...

Joel:  So, let me get this straight. I'm suppose to tell you your hair looks nice, even if I don't like it? You WANT me to lie to you?

 Duh...isn't that in your man handbook or something?  I get my haircut, you say, you love it. I ask if I look fat, you say, of course not. I mean what is so tough about that?


Jump ahead a few days...It's Friday night Joel's getting ready to go out to dinner. I'm waiting on him...and waiting on him..AND waiting... Finally, he comes downstairs....

BALD!!


I look at him and say what every other woman would say in this situation..."What the FUCK did you do?"

He get's this shit eating grin on his face and says, " SEE..SEE..YOU didn't say you liked it. YOU didn't say I look good."

SERIOUSLY? You somehow think THIS is the same thing as when I got my haircut? You have lost your fucking mind..you know that, right?


Yes, he believes that by him shaving his head he has somehow proven his point to me.

He doesn't see the difference in me going to get my haircut and him going to TAKE A SHOWER AND COMING OUT BALD?!

Whatevs...let's go to dinner.

Sitting at dinner I look over at him, he looks a little uncomfortable. Now I have a shit eating grin on MY face.


Soooo...do YOU like your hair? (or lack thereof)


Joel: No!

Well, I like MINE. Guess you really showed me, huh?

So like I said, I went and got my hair done yesterday and my husband LOVES it...he said so.














Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Parlez-vous fran├žais?

No, I don't.

So imagine my surprise when I received my teaching assignment one year and it said I was teaching French. Not even Intro to French, but French II.

OBVIOUSLY, this was a mistake you are saying to yourself. And if you're not, you SHOULD be, because it would be ASININE to assign someone to teach a language they DON'T KNOW!

But that's exactly what happened.

According to the "powers that be", or as I lovingly referred to them, "the morons"....there was something about budget cuts, personnel reassignment...blah..blah...blah.  I really stopped listening, because I assumed that when I brought it to their attention that #1 I am not certified to teach French and #2 I don't KNOW the French language, that would be the end of such nonsense.

Ah..but alas, the nonsense continued...

I was told it would be an online class, therefore, I would really only be "supervising" the students. Hmmm...ok...well, what if they don't understand something or they have a QUESTION?  What shall I do with them then...Oh Johnny, stop with all this silliness of asking questions and expecting me to know the answer!  Now go sit back down at your computer and learn that there French would you.


Yes, I see this plan working out very well.

THEN, I'm told that...Oops.. the school has forgotten to actually sign up for this class so it may take a few days before they can actually begin the computer class... Lovely!

A few days, huh?  Let's try an ENTIRE quarter! Yes, for an entire quarter (of a semester long class) I had nothing for these students to do. I was told to "improvise"...SERIOUSLY, I swear I'm not making this up!

So for the first quarter I "improvised"...french food...french culture...anything I could come up with that had the word FRENCH in it.  My husband drew the line at french kissing though....bummer.

So, at the end of the class I have NO IDEA if those kids could speak a word of French, but boy did they have a keen understanding of french fries and french toast.

I'm hoping to teach Chinese in the near future..., I LOVE Chinese food...oh, and I have a great idea for a lesson in translating all those cool Chinese tattoos. (fingers crossed!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dating Hell

What's the absolute BEST thing about being married?

That I will NEVER have to DATE again!

Over my lifetime I have had many different types of dates. Way back in high school I had "the first date"..I remember how nervous and crazy I was that night. I had it all planned out...I would wait in the front room and when he knocked on the BACK door (yes, boys actually came to the door back then) I would have my mom answer it. As I see him pull in the drive I yell to my mom that he's here and then stand nervously in the front room. So what happens?  He comes to the FRONT door!  NOBODY ever went to the front, but he did. He looked at me, I looked at him and then I did what any sensible person would do.  I ran to the back of the house and told my mom he was at the front door! (Smmmmoooootttthhhh) I should have known then that this whole dating thing was going to be a pain in the ass.

Fast Forward many years later....and I come upon my worst date EVER! OK...actually it is the worse TWO dates ever because, apparently, I'm not smart enough to learn my lesson the first time.

I'm not sure the first night even qualifies as "a date" but it doesn't really matter..it was AWFUL.

A friend and I go out to a local restaurant to begin an evening, of what is sure to be, a good time.  We are standing in the bar area when a couple of nice looking guys catch our eye. Or maybe they caught our eye because they were wearing 10 gallon cowboy hats in a very NON-cowboy hat wearing establishment. (red flag #1)

The cowboys send over drinks and then come introduce themselves. They seem rather nice and gentlemeny (I know that's not a word) so we begin chatting. The one that introduces himself to me is named Stephen. That's STEFF-EN...he seems very adamant about making that clear to me. (red flag #2)

We continue making small talk. They ask what we are up to.  We say, just a girls night out, grabbing some dinner then meeting some friends uptown at the local watering hole. No big deal.

They continue to buy drinks....many drinks. We pass on a couple rounds, but those boys are throwin' back pretty hard. (red flag#3) When their table is called they invite us to join them.

As we are sitting down at the table...STEFF-EN sits at the very end and begins to rock back on the chair. I tell him he should be careful but he just looks at me like I'm an idiot.

Well, you know what happens next, right. Yep, he flips over backwards! Not ONLY does he go crashing to the ground, but he kicks the guy, at the table behind us, in the HEAD!(red flag#4) Everyone is staring at his stupid ass and I want to die because there are tables of people that I know in the restaurant. At that moment, I wanted to stand up and let everyone know that I was NOT with this idiot and that I did warn him what would happen if he kept rocking back on that damn chair!

Instead, my friend and I excused ourselves to the bathroom and then got the hell out of there as fast as we could! Whew...disaster adverted!

Well...not quite.

Remember earlier when I said we made small talk about what we were doing that night? Dumb move!

As we are bellied up to the bar telling our friends about these idiots, who do you think walks thru the door? I really don't have to tell you, right.

So the cowboys mosey on up to the bar and get a drink. We are trying desperately to ignore them at this point, but really, what are the odds of that happening.

The next thing I know, the head guy in the band is announcing he has a special request. Cowboy STEFF-EN wants to sing a song to someone! Oh please God, please do NOT let this fool sing a song to me. Please..Please...Please!


Well, God must have had more important things on his plate because I'll be damned if ole' STEFF-EN doesn't announce he is dedicating this song to "Tonya". (that's me) (red flag#5)

He proceeds to DESTROY Garth Brooks' song, "The Dance". I mean, he would have been one of those American Idol rejects that I am embarrassed for at the beginning of each season. It was BAD!! And my friends LOVED every second of it. (Bitches!)

I leave before the song ends and head for home. Seriously, I could not take ANY more!

You would think this would be the end of my story. I mean what kind of idiot would give this guy another chance, right? Well, I don't know if I'm just a glutton for punishment or what, but I AM that kind of idiot.

He calls, apologizes profusely and asks me if I'd like to just get together for something casual. He knew I was a basketball player so he suggests we go to the gym and play a little horse or one-on-one. (which, by the way, I would have TOTALLY kicked his ass at had we ever gotten that far!)

 I agree, and go to his house to pick him up. While waiting for him to get ready there is a knock at the door. (Hmmm...wonder who this could be)

WELL...he starts to open the door and some chick busts in screaming! I couldn't really make out the words because her head was spinning around and pea soup was spewing from her mouth. (not really, but she WAS pissed off)  Then she looks at me and says, "Well, you can HAVE him sweetie" (which, at this point by the way, I am SURE I don't want) (red flag #... Oh who the hell knows, there were too many to count!)

After she leaves, he actually picks up his jacket and thinks we are STILL going to the gym!

Now, I realize that up until this point in the story (the very LONG story) I have, for some reason, believed there was a chance this guy was sane.

Clearly, I was wrong!

And just to prove to you that I AM sane...there was never a date #3.