Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The White Rabbit is my soul sister.

I do love Shakespeare pissed:

Devouring Time blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood,
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix, in her blood,
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet'st,
And do whate'er thou wilt swift-footed Time
To the wide world and all her fading sweets.
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen,
Him in thy course untainted do allow,
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
Yet do thy worst old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.


But Time is such a crazy entity - precious and fleeting and a healer of all wounds and that which I curse on a daily basis, so when Jen over at Sprite's Keeper threw out the idea of time as a writing prompt, I jumped on board.

I actually allowed two of my students, two girls who would fit right in with The Plastics, to ruin a large chunk of my day today. And then I ruined another chunk by being so pissed that I allowed that to happen - that I wasted time on ridiculous people. Excuse me while I go beat on the punching bag for a minute.

Okay, I'm better now.

My kids pay a price for all the hours I work (minimum of 50 hours a week), and I am actually being eaten alive by guilt. Luckily for me I am able to consume enough pasta, chocolate, and cheese to fill in the eaten-away-parts and then some. However, this past weekend I grabbed Time and wrestled it to the ground, commanded it to stay down in my fiercest teacher-voice, so that my daughters and I could create these:

Is this just one of the cutest things ever? It is made from cake and candy coating and an extra helping of cute.

I can't take credit for these. The kudos go to Bakerella, who is just amazing.

But, I can take credit for the cute bakers ...

And, I did make sure to use Red Velvet cake mix. This way, when the darling little chicks are bitten into, the insides look meaty.


And it was worth every single minute.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

owls and hair. but not hairy owls.

This weeks Spinfest is all about quirks (which is a fun word to say, especially because it sounds like quirt, which sends my fantastical mind whirling into giggly areas).

The Peanut hates loose hair. Finds it horrifying and disgusting; it gives her the all-overs to have to take the hairbrush back to the kids' bathroom after I have tortured her with it in the morning - she pinches the handle between the very edges of her thumb and forefinger and holds it at arm length so that there is no danger of a hair coming in contact with any part of her body or clothing.

The other morning Peanut came running into the bathroom, without knocking, all out breath. In a high, screamy voice, she let me know that "there's a SPIDER on the floor by my CLOTHES" and the I "NEED to come and KILL IT NOW."

Calm down, Peanut, I'll be there in a sec - Mama's almost done putting on mascara.

She took a breath, and to my well-hid astonishment, did actually calm down. And left the bathroom.

I finished separating and lengthening my lashes and turned to go kill the spider when the Peanut came back into the bathroom, holding her hand out, her flat palm up. I said "show me where the spider is honey, and Mama will kill it." "No thanks," she piped. "I killed it. See?" Sure as shit, there's a smooshed spider-like blop on her palm.


"Wow! That was brave! Great job, Peanut!" (I did take some pride (still do) in being so upbeat and completely not gagging at 6:15 AM). "Now just wash your hands, baby." She walked to the sink and made the strangest noise, something like a squealed "gak!" I looked at her and she said "I CAN'T - there's a HAIR!" A hair? "A HAIR! In the SINK!" Yep, there was a hair. "Wait a minute," I said. "You will KILL a SPIDER with you bare hands, but you won't wash your hands, covered in spider death-goo, because there is a hair in the sink?" Over her glasses she looked me in the eye, so solemn and disdainful, and said "Hair is nasty." And she walked out to go wash her hands in the other bathroom which, apparently, was hair-free.

My middle daughter loves owls in a way that is sometimes uncomfortable but I guess it could be worse and she could love crack pipes or used tires in the same way. So when I saw this darling necklace I bought it immediately to put into an Easter egg and tuck into her basket. (Hopefully she doesn't read my blog. I don't think she does since, until this very moment, it's owl-free and is not connected to her iPod, phone, or Facebook page.)

Then I realized that it is made out of a Scrabble tile and I nearly fainted from the cuteness of it all. These adorable pendants are not limited to owls - oh no! Want one? Simply go here. Then you can nearly faint from cuteness. If you haven't already.

Thank you Mark and Stef for creating such darling owl pendants that my daughter will swoon at the sight of! This should make Easter morning very interesting!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pens vs Kings

My favorite sport, aside from riding horses, is hockey. I could not believe when, for my birthday, my husband surprised astonished me with tickets to a Penguins game. Not just tickets - that really doesn't do it justice. Fifth row from the glass, just to the right of the goal where the Pens would be shooting twice. I. Lost. My. Shit.

I have only been to Pittsburgh a few times, and two of the three times were spent driving through, wondering what in the bloody fuck whomever was in charge of mapping out the road system actually had in mind. Seriously, someone had to have had meetings, several options, and then chose ... this?

Luckily, I was not driving. We stayed with my daughter, Gena, in her apartment, which so wonderfully nice - not only was I going to a Pens game (my first ever), I was getting to spend time with her and her roommate, Albert. Albert knows how to drive in Pittsburgh. I wish I knew how to be a graceful, grateful passenger in Pittsburgh. We drive big ol' four-wheel drive trucks down long winding roads that divide fields and timberland, cross gorges, and only have other trucks parked alongside during buck season. In Pittsburgh, there is no such thing as "no place to park." Every street is lined with cars, nose to tail, usually. Sometimes they get a little more innovative. So as Albert scuttled us through this maze at an amazingly fast speed, I felt a tad uncomfortable. I kept thinking of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse. When we arrived (whew!) at Mellon Arena, I thanked Albert, but also mentioned that I felt a little bit like I was in The French Connection.

What a game! Having never been there before, I was trying like hell to not look like a damn tourist (which is why I didn't take any pictures), but I am hoping someone knows what those lines are hanging from the ceiling, the ones with appeared to be testicle-shaped fishing weights at the ends? I just could not figure those out at all.

And just in case you have never been to a game before, if you get up to use the bathroom during the period, you cannot go back to your seat until a whistle is blown. Apparently, they take this rule very seriously. Being completely ignorant of this rule, I started to walk down to my seat, past the lady who was, I now know, guarding the stairs against people just like me. She actually scrabbled at my jacket, simultaneously grabbing me and nearly pushing me down the cement stairs. After I regained my balance and a little bit of my dignity, I stood off to the side where the security guard kept eyeing me up like I was going to make a break for it and run amok through the stands, blocking everyone's view.

And I must give anyone living in an apartment props for, well, living in an apartment. Everyone was very nice, and I should have felt so much safer because the German Shepard on the floor above us was VERY CONCERNED about every single noise or movement on the street. Concerned enough to try to bring everyone else's attention whatever he saw or heard. Who knew that so many people got up during the night to use the bathroom? Or had to leave so early in the morning? In stilettos?

It was an amazing night, an incredible game, and fabulous to spend time with my daughter. My only question is, how is my husband going to top this?

Another little fact I figured out: I was confused because Sydney Crosby looks so pretty in all his interviews but when he plays he has this wicked overbite, so I was wondering about camera angles when I realized, yeah, he's totally got a mouth guard in.

just duh.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Quiet Joy

This week's Spin is titled Creative Writing 101:

A Quiet Joy

A woman stands in the doorway of a log house, a steaming mug of tea in her hand. She surveys the scene as she does every morning, through fresh, happy eyes. The rolling meadows, still hung with mist, and their white plank fences are calming. The stout rough-cut barn evokes visions of dark security, the smell of horses, hay, and leather mingled with manure are forever tied with a sense of belonging, of home. As the woman ticks over her mental list of chores to do and horses to work, the gleam of a copper coat over rippling muscles catches her eye. He pretends to graze but, in truth, is tensed and ready for the excuse that will send him streaking across the field. He will boldly thrust his regal head upward, knowing his beauty and that the woman loves him all the more for it. Watching him, the woman feels the pull to be astride him, to be a partner to his freedom as only she can. She can no more deny herself this joy than could air. At this moment she is at total peace, filled with a quiet joy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, only we’re pretty and didn’t paint anything.

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. – Winnie the Pooh

I never had a whole gaggle of friends in high school, or any other time for that matter. In elementary school, it was Scout aka Ronnie, then junior high it was Karen (who fucking abandoned me), and I made it through high school thanks to Yvette and Dawn. Kim was there for a while, but ran away at 16 to get married and have a baby. Good call.

Moving around like I did certainly didn’t help to cement any great friendships, either, so when I started teaching at the school am at now, I had my one close friend (who is amazing and wonderful and I can’t watch Steel Magnolias without her!). I felt so awkward and 17 (at the ripe old age of 39) about the whole damn idea of meeting new people, thinking stupid things like “no one is going to like me as long as my ass is THIS BIG” and “maybe I should just eat lunch in my room.” Ridiculous. But I was amazed that, despite my outrageously large ass, people did seem to like me and were even nice to me. No one beat me up and stole my lunch money. I became friends with the girl who taught across the hall, close enough that she invited me to join her book club.

I was so nervous! I love to read and talk about books (too bad I couldn’t incorporate that into a career), but my social skills were questionable. I teach ninth graders, so I knew all about Ugg boots, ceramic straighteners, and Fergie, but adult conversations – GROUP adult conversations – were not a daily occurrence. I almost didn’t go. That would have been the biggest mistake of my life.

Our book club (JUGS: Just Us Girls) welcomed me in with all the love and warmth of Christmas dinner on a Hallmark or Lifetime show. It wasn’t at all like I had imagined. There was no individual expounding on themes within the text, no shushing, no heated arguments over semantics – we hardly talked about the book at all. There were enough snacks to feed the Russian Army. As the conversations whirled, I learned who was related to who and who was married to, divorced from, living with, or going to jail over whom. This was not limited to the book club members; I’m talking about the whole damn town. It was a bit overwhelming.

We have had some, *ahem,* interesting book club meetings. Like when the book was Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice and all the snacks were penis-shaped (even the ice cubes). Or when we almost brawled over the elementary school’s abolishment of spelling test – they were horrified and I was thrilled. Things got heated. Then there was the time I made fruit skewers soaked in rum and honey, but we had to postpone for two days, which left my fruit soaking for four days. None of us could drive home and we giggled uncontrollably at the thought of being pulled over and asked, “how much have you had to drink?” and our truthful answer would be “NONE!” I guess you had to be there. And be eating fruit skewers.

As time has passed, I have found myself so intricately connected with all of these women, they have become a part of my life in such an intimate way that I never would have dreamed possible – something I didn’t even know was missing from my life. Each one of these incredible women has a story to tell, a story so rich, that I itch to do it, to do an exposé on my fellow JUGGers! (Right now, as they read this, some of them are shitting kittens at the idea.) We have a connection that has supported some of us through the most difficult of times, like when one of us went to jail, and now when one of us is fighting for her life.

I have yearned to go home to Arizona from the day I left over 18 years ago. Every February I fall into a funk, feeling claustrophobic and extremely homesick sorry for myself and driving everyone around me completely batshit, but if I was given the opportunity to go home tomorrow, I just don't think I could leave these girls.