Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Things About Clothes

I haven't got a thing to wear.

No seriously. In my wardrobe that consists of a minimum of 1374 items, I hate it all.



Maybe it's PMS. Maybe it's springtime and the dark plaids of Pendleton are mocking me. Maybe I am tired of black hoodies and Ugg boots. I am not sure, but either way, I need new clothes. I generally find myself needing an entirely new wardrobe right about the time of year that I can least afford it... crawling my way feebly out of the winter doldrums, shedding winter pounds in my head and imagining all of the size 6s that I will fit back into next week. That's part of the problem right there, half of my 1347 piece wardrobe are throwbacks to another time that I am absolutely refuse to give up on completely. I still have some Levis from when I got married - the FIRST time. I am adamant that they will fit again. Along with the bohemian sundress from Valentines day 2003, and the black velvet Audrey Hepburn shift dress with the boning in the size 4 bodice. I'll get back into it someday - and maybe then I will have an excuse to wear it.

Either way, right now, in my size 10 reality, the stuff that does fit involves black hoodies and Ugg boots. Enough is enough.

I told my sister last night about the emergent need I had for new boots. New boots are the starting point for building a new wardrobe and hence, a new style. She obviously agreed with me, because who doesn't need new boots RIGHTTHISSECOND? But I am torn about what kind of boots. Spring is coming. So tall boots with cozy socks and layers of sweaters might be a little much in the very near future. And let's be realistic: while I like to dabble with the idea of skinny jeans and patterned leggings, probably the only person that wants to see me in those is my good friend Noone. I might never escape the clutches of the low-rise bootcut jean that took me prisoner in 2001. Granted the "bootcut" has waxed and waned over the years, but the fit, other than going up several sizes, hasn't varied much for me. So any boots I get have to be bootcut friendly, which is redundant, since aren't all bootcut jeans cut to go with any boots? But NO! I protest. I think we can all easily imagine some footwear styles that just should not be rocked with any jeans, especially bootcut. If not, here's this:

exhibit A: Just don't. 

Additionally, with my back being like, the worst it's ever been for the last month or so, I am desperate to find shoes that don't make it worse (if that is even possible) This means no heel height and hopefully a little bit of squish. But I've also realized that a good, solid pair of shoes that aren't Baldies, Uggs or flip flops, might actually help a little bit. Not to mention the fact that if I ever felt like dressing like a civilized adult I would be totally screwed. 

Case in point: I went to do an interview with a semi-famous soul singer the other day (I only say semi-famous because nobody around here knows who he is. Real people do.) and I nearly panicked about what to wear -you, know, that didn't say: "I have four kids in school and I had to drop them off before I came to meet you and they used all of the hot water so I didn't get a shower and also I am out of laundry soap and there is dog hair on everything I am wearing. You're welcome." I talked myself out of a total freak out, because it wasn't like I was interviewing Bono or something, in which case I would have probably booked a ticket to New York, hired a stylist and sold my two youngest children for one outfit and a pair of grown up shoes. Instead I made do with my traditional bootcut jeans and a frumpy t-shirt. What famous musician doesn't love a frumpy t-shirt? I mean seriously. 

I started out this blog in 2012 with a post about Things That Moms Wear, wherein I decided to start dressing like an adult. Sort of. It didn't work out very well and I think I have the exact same wardrobe now that I had then, plus a few Pendletons. I was supposed to write a follow up blog about accessories but I have been in a long term argument with necklaces since then and haven't been able to reconcile. Looking back, and, to be honest, forward, there are a few non negotiables in the fashion (or lack thereof) world of Liv. One, I like holes in my jeans. I pretty much have since the day that Kurt Cobain died. I have, unlike some kids in the highschool, established certain limits about these holes. For instance, this will never fly:

exhibit B: why wear pants?

But tasteful holes, which I have paid extra for, are just something I can't get away from. I've tried. It's like beer and saltines with butter. It's just my thing. 

Also, I hate collars. I hate anything around my neck. Probably why necklaces and I aren't on speaking terms. Turtlenecks are right out. I even cut the necklines of some of my best hoodies because I can't breathe in them. I love Pendleton enough to tolerate an occasional button down collar, but otherwise, just no. This rules out cowl necks, mandarin collars, and even a lot of vintage crews that choke me. It is somewhat limiting, I will admit. And given our family fixation with Dickeys, it's somewhat frustrating that I just can't make it happen. 



So basically I am operating out of a wardrobe that consists of holey bootcut jeans, deconstructed hoodies, scoop neck t-shirts, flip flops, baldies and Uggs. It's time for some help. But not too much help. We've established the unreality of heels, collars, skinny jeans and necklaces, but I know that there is more out there... I guess that will be my quest this spring - reinventing the bohemian tomboy redneck. But not too much. 

But first.. new boots. 




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Things About My Life

There is no question, when I am spending the better part of a weekend with 30-something-year-old Lost Boys that my life is far from perfect. If I had a perfect life I would probably spend most weekends on white sandy beaches, sipping ice cold beer with lime and getting bi-daily massages by a cute cabana boy in flannel with a beard. But since my life is not perfect, I spend my days chasing down fourteen different occupations with an odd assortment of companions and miscreants.

I complain a lot, I know that. I complain about my bad (terrible, awful) back pain, my weight, my filthy disgusting house that is 1000% INFESTED with dog hair right now. I whine about my bills and the General Impossibility Of Success in my life. I moan and groan about being lonely and having no one to cuddle with that isn't comprised of 47% fur, 12% slobber and a lot of toenails (actually, minus the toenails, it doesn't sound half bad). I am the quintessential first-world whiner. I own it. I could write a book on the finer nuances of Appropriate Whining and how to be most successful at perpetual complaint. It would probably be a best seller. But every once in awhile, all of the good in my life implodes like a collapsing white dwarf - which is probably a terrible analogy since white dwarfs are probably stars that are forming and not collapsing, but I am not the family astronomer, so we'll go with it - and converges on me in an overwhelming wave of knowing just how lucky I am.

In spite of the dog hair. And the 11 year old who won't quit wearing the boot cast that When finally got to take off. In spite of the fact that I ran out of laundry detergent several days ago and am tottering  precariously on the brink of underwear recycling after the four-way fire camp fashion. I am lucky even spite of the giant wad of blond, red, and black hair, and what is undeniably dachshund fur, that just fell out of my sacred and well hidden hairbrush. My fortune is not reversed by the indisputable smell of dog pee on a corner of the living room rug when I do my one yoga move a week. I am not rendered unlucky by the fact that we have gone through no less than 47 rolls of toilet paper in the last 12 days. My luck is fixed. It is unconditional and unchanging, because my good fortune is the people that I have in my life.

At this very minute, as I watch a dust bunny the size of a football blow serenely into the bathroom, I have one brother booking me a flight to visit my other two brothers and a sister-in-law that I am pretty sure aren't pretending to want me to come visit. My other sister in law is redesigning the blog layout that I gave up on weeks ago, because she "wants the experience." My close-to-home sister is making plans (I just know she is) to come visit and repair my broken sewing machine, hem the new jeans that I got for Natalee two months ago for her birthday, and help me design a bedroom remodel. My brother-in-law has become my personal gun-shopper, and my baby sister is getting ready to drive her brand new car over for a visit. I am loved. All the way around. I am known, and I am loved. My friend came for coffee yesterday and stayed for 8 hours. My other friend built me a shadow box to hold all of the precious ticket stubs I have saved diligently over the years of reckless concert going. My kids mostly did their chores tonight without very much complaint, and Taylor Swift was BLARING over the amp while banana bread that they made from scratch was cooling on the counter.

I got two stories done today, three yesterday, and still have three whole days to crank out the last few details. I limped my way to a parent meeting for softball that starts in less than a week, tomorrow it's a track meeting for my all-star hurdler, and Thursday we meet about our graduating seniors. I subbed in SPED today, had lunch with one of my besties and got almost all of the paperwork done that I needed to for another new job.

My life is full. It's rich. It's glorious. I have friends from shore to shore and curb to curb and couch to couch. I have family coming out my ears that I actually LIKE. I have dogs that I could honestly sit and just watch sleep, because they're that wrinkly and cute. I have a house that I love, in spite of the dog hair, and the destroyed couch, and the ruined rug, and in spite of the fact that I may not get to stay here forever like I planned, I am comfortable. I am safe. I am home. Every wall speaks my name and the names of my children and tells our story. Every scratch on every cupboard is another part of living that makes it real.

I love this place. My place. My people. It's not perfect, but it's mine, and it's good. I am thankful.




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Things About Being In Between

It was an odd weekend for me. The home school prude that still reigns stealthily under my swaggering, brash exterior was given a run for her money.

I am in my late 30s. I am the mother of four teenagers. I am an EMT. I like television. And the Internet. At this point in my life, it would seem safe to assume that I have seen and/or done it all. And it wouldn't be far from wrong. But being home schooled like I was, and married early, and all college-educated online, there are a lot of crucial life experiences that I missed out on - most of these are thoroughly documented in a plethora of crass movies starring people like James Franco, Zac Galifianakis and Seth Rogen. I have seen some of the movies - or at least the parts that I could manage without total embarrassment (enter the prude), and the parts I haven't seen have been mostly explained to me or re-enacted by the middle school boys I know. This weekend was kind of a mini immersion into para-maturity and quasi-responsibility.

It started with a stop at a wedding expo so I could write about it for the paper. I tried to get my "colleague" to pose as my fiancee and do a mystery shopper routine through the show, but he declined once he saw a bevy of younger, more attractive girls to network with.

After the expo I had an interview for the paper. A local musician who was wearing what I can only safely call a dress, which is fine, unless you are a 27 year old male singer/songwriter. If you are a 27 year old singer/songwriter coming from a tiny town in Stevens County Washington and you have made it to the relative Big Time, selling out international shows and dating an Australian Yoga Instructor, I guess you can wear whatever you want, including a dress. It really only feels a little awkward when you are scratching your balls. But I get it, you just came from yoga class. In your skirt. It was a fun interview.- my first semi-celebrity one. My "colleague" insists I was all fan-girl fluttered out, but I protest. After the interview, I drug the "colleague" down to Spokane then on a mission to do some investigative journalism for work, and meet with my "real journalist" cousin. She has a college degree that gives her legitimacy, plus she's fun. She gave us some good pointers and shared a pitcher of beer with us and we went on our merry way.

I dropped my "colleague" off at a buddy's house and I did what any full-grown 37-year-old adult would do with a night off in the city all by herself. I checked into a cheap hotel, took a long hot bath, and watched Law and Order SVU all night. To be fair, and with every good intent, I kept my iPad open in front of me with a blank document staring me in the face all night, so I could get some "writing done". I was able to stave off the need to order in delivery pizza, only because none of the delivery places reached my hotel. The few people who know me well know that the secret to my eternal happiness lies in a hotel bed and delivery pizza. Nothing feels more decadent, luxurious, and PRETEND-GROWN-UP. After rationalizing the $50 the room would cost me compared to A) a bar tab at a brew pub, B) a fitful night on a couch and/or C) staying up way later than I really felt like, it seemed like the appropriate course of action. So, spurning all of the judgement from friends and family with couches, beds and Good Financial Decisions, I took a night for myself. Ironically I laid awake half the night thinking of the stories I could make up about where I stayed so people wouldn't make fun of me for staying at a hotel alone. In the end I decided one-night-stand alibis were probably not the best course of action, so here I am, truthing it out. Luckily most of the friends and family won't ever read this so I have nothing to fear.

In the morning, I went to pick up my "colleague". Enter the James Franco narrative. I've been in college apartments before. I've slept on air mattresses and used jerry-rigged faucets and cooked on hot plates. Ain't no thing. But this morning, I got to settle in on a futon-type set up on the floor of a studio apartment between two guys that were mostly my age and watch really ridiculous Australian TV shows all morning. What else do kids in their late 30s do on a Sunday morning? I couldn't think of a single thing. When that got old we went downtown and watched Hot Tub Time Machine 2 at the theater, because apparently that movie needed a sequel. The best part was listening to the two boys giggle like 12-year-olds at every penis joke. I suppose this goes back to my not having boundaries, getting pushed into ridiculous things like this, but then again, why not? Maybe I can never get those hours back - but if I had been home I probably would have wasted them scrubbing toilets or doing laundry.

I have a lot of "responsible adult" friends. Ones with mortgages and retirement plans and life insurance. I have a lot of young friends who don't even know what those things are. But I find myself more closely related to the friends of mine that aren't young any more, but they certainly aren't "responsible adults". We shouldn't be going to movies at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. We should be paying bills, or going to church, or raking lawns. We shouldn't be sleeping in hotels when there are couches and beds and Real Expenses to worry about. We shouldn't think about going to Iceland when we might not be able to make the car payment. We should be concerned about mortgages and life insurance and retirement plans. It's a hard balance to find. Living life or letting life run you over. Being responsible but still making life worth being around for. A responsible adult would probably be watching the Oscars right now, not Animaniacs, which I am absolutely DELIGHTED that Aspen seems to have discovered in my absence. Here I go making poor adult choices again, and never quite regretting it. I wonder if I started to make Good Choices if I would regret those? I should try it and see...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Things About Boundaries

I has come to my attention lately that one of the Great Problems in my life has to do with my lack of boundaries. It turns out, after 37 years, I am just now realizing that I get pushed around by things that I allow to get too close to me and my family to control. So I have been looking into this issue, fully intent upon resolving it.

In an effort to analyze exactly where I am lacking boundaries, I decided to start by looking at problems that might be arising from this root, so I started with, of course, the kids.

Do my kids talk back out of disrespect to me because I lack the boundary that would not allow it? How have I raised them with no fear of repercussion for their insolent tone? I look at my own childhood, and that of most adults I know. We didn't talk back because we knew that the retribution would be swift, painful, and humilating. So, out of fear for the slap across the face, or whatever form of corporal punishment a disrespectful tone warranted, we wouldn't dare. Clearly, my kids do not have this fear. Have I failed to establish this boundary by not slapping my girls? Have I modeled disrespect toward other people, of any age? Is there a way that I could have firmly established this boundary without inflicting the insult and injury that I remember from my own childhood, but even moreso from the moment that I DID unleash that punishment on one of my girls? Would it be worth it?

Do I not establish a firm enough boundary of who comes to my house when I allow most of the high school to visit for a party, including teenage boys who will be tempted to break the Cardinal Rule of The Doghouse: NO BOYS UPSTAIRS? Is there a line in the sand I am missing that would have avoided the awkwardness and frustration of chasing him and my drop dead gorgeous 17 year old out of an upstairs bedroom? Are these teenagers running all over me because I am an amoeba without standards (this I have been told repeatedly)?

How about the boundary I lack in my willingness to spend time with, unsupervised, single guys my age? Knowing full well and being informed of the absolute certainty of gossip and judgement springing from such folly, I am still lured into the trap of thinking that I am an adult (even a single one) and can have friendships with people of the opposite gender without EVERYONE deciding that we are "hooking up". Clearly I need to be more firm in my absolute refusal of quality time with anyone male, single, within 20 years of my own age, and never, ever alone.

In both of my marriages and nearly every "serious" relationship that I have had, my lack of boundaries have produced toxic relationships that I am rendered powerless to escape or avoid. Well, not exactly, but if I had had more boundaries, would my relationships all have been healthy and preserved?

Where am I missing boundaries?

Is it when I won't confront a teenager filling their pockets from my snack box, because I know what their life at home is like?

Is it when I help my daughter get a dress for her senior prom, even after she's been completely rude and impossible to me, because I know deep down, that her impossibility is the tough-guy show of her fear for the imminent and unknown future of Growing Up?

Is it when I override the guilt of condemnation and gossip to sit down with a scandal and begin to create something that I think could really be a part of my life in the next few years?

Is it when I eat the moutains of debt from a terrible marriage just to get a signature on a divorce decree without anymore heartache?

Is it when I consider letting my kids see the man they considered their stepfather for three years, even when he's toxic for me? They are so hungry for affection from any man... Am I bullied by my own longing for that kind of affirmation?

Boundaries are walls. Walls are hard, unforgiving. They don't change. I have yet to experience anything in this life that doesn't change over time.

Maybe I am looking at the wrong kind of boundaries. The only things that I really want to wall out of my life are the guilt and judgement that keep me from breathing, the anger and bitterness of responding incorrectly to life's disappointment that make my ears ring, and the aged coldness of not trusting, not believing in anyone that makes my heart ache. These are the boundaries I want to set - the rest is all learning. Sometimes from mistakes. But where there is a life with no mistakes, there is no life.





Things About Valentine's Day

Things About Valentines Day

Valentine Throw Down at The Doghouse:

Step 1

Wake up at 7:44 from a nightmare wherein your best friend accidentally runs over your only true love (Dagny) when your daughter accidentally throws a ball in the highway for her to catch. Interpret the meaning of this dream as the unintentional heartbreak all around you. Happy Valentine's Day.

Step 2

Make waffles (which you hate, thereby reducing risk of overconsumption) with strawberries and whipped cream, bacon and eggs for 6 teenage girls, two of whom say thank you. Feed the leftovers to dogs, all of whom thank you.

Step 4

Go back to bed and make sure no dashing romantic has sent a surprise Valentine Facebook message, text or IM.

Step 5

Give up on all such fantasies and go on a 2 mile "run", pounding out all of the negative thoughts.

Step 6

Wait two hours for the hot water to come back before you can shower, since three teenage girls took 45 minute showers as soon as you got back from your run. Eat the leftover bacon that you hid from the dogs.

Step 7

Get dressed in something as unsexy as possible. Because who cares. Make sure you are wearing unmatching underwear, since obviously no one is going to see them unless you get into a car wreck, which really isn't on the agenda.

Step 8

Giggle when fourth teenage girl attempts shower after you used all of the hot water. Then realize the joke is on you as you are locked out of the bathroom and your hair is drying after the fashion of Ramona Quimby. But hey, who's going for sexy anyway?

Step 9

Leave the house in an undecided foray into fun... it's 7 hours until the basketball game you will be at, but sitting at home in the meantime just seems like a waste of a Saturday.

Step 10

Get the mail. And then go home because sitting at home actually sounds pretty fun.

Step 11

Go back to bed and turn on the matress heater and force Dagny to snuggle for most of the afternoon.

Step 12

Finally get out of the house for a pizza and a beer and to watch the NPHS boys NEARLY win a loser out regional finals game. It was worth the drive. I am proud of our boys. And girls. Even when they use all my hot water.

Step 13

Go home and collapse into bed, once again, and finally. (with Dagny, of course)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Things About Time Travel

Yesterday I drove over Sherman Pass to Republic for a cello concert. The concert was amazing - more about that to come. But the drive...

Ten years ago, I made that drive a million times a week. Sometimes twice in one day. The memories of that summer wash over me like a rough cold wave on the Oregon coast, taking my breath away. The songs, the sights, all flash through my mind. The Forest Service campground where I spent weeks excavating. The creek bed where I waded up to my waist on survey. The brilliant smile of a beautiful boy with a soot-blackened face. Camo pants, Dollar Bets, karaoke at the Hitching Post. Sweet Home Alabama, Tim McGraw and Watching The Wind Blow By, rope swings and watermelon. Falling asleep in an exhausted pile of over-sung, over-danced, over-worked and over-funned boys and girls still wearing nomex and boots.

The memories make my heart race and my stomach flutter like it hasn't in years. Funny how a drive can transport you back in history to a different time. Every curve of the road had a different memory, a conversation, a song - this is the spot where I lose cell service, and this is the other spot where it comes back and 37 text messages from a waiting boy flood my screen.

I remember a little blonde baby and a 4 1/2 year old who ate so much watermelon that she threw it up all over my car.  An 8 year old tomboy and a 7 year old fairy princess. Missing plenty of teeth but not one minute of life. I remember liberation from the tyranny of a terrible marriage. Years of pain washing off of me in the lakes of Ferry County. I remember stepping off of the blind precipice that is leaving A Religion behind, to find out if there is really A God instead. I can still feel the freefall into learning that absolute truth is defined in the burning trees and tumbling rocks of nature. I can still taste the tiniest trace of unconditional love on my lips. Love without judgement, only curiosity and the desire to Know Me. I can feel the wonder of being my own person, valued and sought out and enjoyed, finally escaping years of condemnation and failure and never, ever, ever Getting It Right. For a little while, I didn't have to. I just had to be. Honest, open, trusting, seeking, learning.

That drive was my road home. My pathway to freedom. To knowing my own soul and who I was Created To Be. That mountain pass was the crossover from incarceration to liberty. I learned to fly on that road, and not only when I was going 75 MPH, trusting in the false security of friendship with the county cops and the entire staff of the Colville National Forest. After an insular life of overprotection and sheltering, I finally found a safe place in the wild country over the hill. I fell out of the nest and into a whirlwind of freedom and grace and learning. My instructors were rough and clumsy. My classmates were unruly and uncouth. And I loved them all. Still do. I am thankful for that summer. For all of the steps leading up to it and away from it. For the memories and the baggage that it gave me. I am thankful for that time machine of a road.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Things About Martyrs

The thing about growing up in the Christian Community is that you learn a lot of buzzwords. Sometimes, you know what these words ACTUALLY mean, like PARADIGM, and sometimes, you just operate under the accepted, applied meaning as it is handed down to you from the powers that be, such as MARTYR.

We all "know" that a martyr is someone who will lay down everything for the cause that they believe in. But over the years, the connotation of a martyr in many circles has evolved from the hard-working bible-printers burned at the stake to sappy, willing victims who have found power in "giving up" things for the sake of attention, notice or spiritual elevation. In fact, the Merriam-Webster definition has expanded to include this version of a martyr:


Martyr

Noun

1) A person who is killed or suffers greatly for a religion or cause, etc.

2) A person who pretends to suffer or exaggerates suffering in order to get praise or sympathy

3) A person who suffers greatly from something

(side note: who is this Merriam fellow and when did Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary quit becoming the rule? See end of blog for the answer.)


I personally had lost a lot of respect for the word martyr, until this week.

Kayla Mueller was 26 years old. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, (my alma mater) majoring in political science, Kayla continued a lifestyle that she started in high school, devoted to one thing: taking care of people. She volunteered in women's shelters, HIV/AIDS clinics, and refugee centers in Israel and along the Turkish/Syrian border. In August of 2013, she was taken captive by an Islamic Extremist group. It would be nine months before Kayla's family would receive contact and proof of life from her captors, and in February of 2015, 18 months after her capture, her family confirmed publicly that she was killed in captivity. While rumors and speculation about the nature of her death fly around the internet and news media, the one important fact remains: Kayla Mueller is gone.





Last night I went to see American Sniper, and along with much of America, I was taken aback by the senseless death of an American Soldier who nearly sacrificed his soul on the battlefield long before he lost his life at home, in relative safety.

The thing about a Martyr is that the death is, as Mueller's and Chris Kyle's, totally senseless. Mueller was dedicated to helping people. All people. Not just Christian people, although she was a devout Christian - but every race, religion, lifestyle and region of humanity. Chris Kyle fought to regain his own humaness and then turned back to reach out to other veterans facing the soulless aftermath of war. They were killed DOING GOOD. Good that could have continued. The beauty of martyrdom is the message that is sends. While Kayla and Chris have been stopped in their tracks - their stories go on in the actions of others who are compelled by their deaths to do something. So while martyrdom is, indeed, senseless, it is not, in fact, useless.

I have a new respect for martyrs - real martyrs, and the eternal imapact they have on our global community.

We cannot undo the deaths of Kayla Mueller or Chris Kyle, but we can continue their work.

 Support To Life is one of the last relief organizations that Kayla Volunteered with before her capture. Check them out and see how you can help.

The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is an organization for veterans and their families, offering the support for re-patriating soldiers that Chris started before his work was cut short.



(answer to the side note: the George and Charles Merriam Company obtained publishing rights to Noah Webster's dictionary after his death in 1843)


sources: Merriam-Webster.com, USAToday.com, NBC.com, The Mueller Family



Monday, February 9, 2015

Things About Being Bulletproof

There's this trendy thing going around out there called "bulletproof coffee". I heard about it from one of my few cool friends who knows about trendy things, even if the trend is probably already like 6 years old. Not being one to allow an outdated trend to pass me by, I jumped on the bandwagon and started making bulletproof coffee, without even knowing what the trend was about, or why the coffee was bulletproof, or what made it bulletproof, etc, etc, etc.

So I made my first cup, just to be cool, by blending a couple tablespoons coconut oil, a couple tablespoons of Kerry Gold butter (I was told that this was a prerequisite to being cool) and hot coffee, in my awesome Magic Bullet Ninja™ til I had a big frothy mug of surprising deliciousness.

Then I went to work.

Then I researched it, because researching "why drink bulletproof coffee" is much more interesting and less headachy than researching "what is a quadrangle", and I needed to look like I was very busy so the geometry students wouldn't ask any more questions.

Turns out, Bulletproof® Coffee is a craze started by one David Asprey, after a trip to Tibet where they drank tea with yak butter and hiked all day. Being an American®, Dave came home and put his own twist on it - specially formulated coffee beans lacking some hideous chemical that is only available through his website, some oil with a weird name I can't remember (also available only on his website) and unsalted Kerrygold® grass-fed butter. My cool friend told me I could use coconut oil instead of the weird oil, and I used my old go-to Kirkland Rainforest® Organic Coffee Beans, complete with hideous chemical. The idea behind the thing is that it offers a low-glycemic, high energy, healthy fat alternative to breakfast, since apparently croissants and Captain Crunch® are bad for you. (WHO KNEW???) A lot of the paleo junkies are all over it and it has gotten some great reviews from people who don't believe in food or fun or love. (also, can you tell that I just found the ® on my keyboard?)

I believe in all of those things, as well as Captain Crunch, and since I did my research AFTER I made my first cup I had no idea I was supposed to not eat breakfast, which I did, and heartily so. Anyway I read a lot of articles about how awesome Bulletproof Coffee was because now people didn't have to be bothered with the grueling task of eating breakfast (pun intended), and alternately how stupid Bulletproof Coffee was because really it's an expensive excuse to drink a lot of calories and sound cool at work. In these articles I read about fancy coffee making machines that I had to Google because I had never heard of them, but now want really bad, and I read about glycemic levels and people crashing and stuff like that, but mostly, I just like how the high-calorie coffee tastes. Especially with a big breakfast. And I sound cool at work.

So I decided I am going to give it a couple weeks and see if A) I get way fatter B) I have WAY more energy C) it cures hangovers and D) If anyone thinks I am super trendy and cool and asks me out for Valentines day because of my coffee being Bulletproof. I will get back to you on all of those things. But I am still eating breakfast, because if I don't, the kids in my class start to look like two-headed demons that need to be destroyed by about 10:17 AM.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Things About Saturday Morning

It's Saturday morning. Like the one morning of this entire year that I could have slept in. Forever. But the fates dictated otherwise.

Here's the thing: My back has given me problems for about 25 years. For the sake of brevity lets just say that for the last two weeks it has been giving me hell - except that fire and brimstone are interchanged with the agony of every combination of stabbing, shooting, throbbing, aching pain imaginable. With every possible movement. So yesterday I went to the chiropractor, who sealed the deal for me and made it so I couldn't breathe, much less walk or drive or think. I texted my BFF Christy on the way home with some unintelligible crying-text-jargon, and she met me at my house with Tiger Balm patches, "grown up" medicine and lots of help. Including relocating a memory foam pad to my living room floor and making it up with all my sheets and pillows so that I would not have to spend another night on the marshmallow bed that I swear we bought JUST to help with my back. Then I had to rush right over to the last High School basketball game at home and pretend to sit through a game and a half, in agony, looking like the undead and smelling like I had recently bathed in a vat of Mentholatum. 

Needless to say I went home and crawled into my new floor-bed pretty early, after a few heady arguments with wiener dogs about exactly WHOM the floor-bed was for. I slept like a baby. And I intended to continue to do so for many, many hours - maybe days, even when the 17 year old snuck back in the house during the wee hours, and Truck fell down the last three stairs at about 2 AM, pretended like he meant to and then asked if there was any more room on the floor-bed, and the wiener dogs made their traditional midnight kitchen laps looking for any unattended garbage bags or food morsels, or maybe taking a quick poop under the kitchen table. 

I was doing so well, dreaming about killing zombies (I relate this to my state at the basketball game), YouTube videos of mean cats and tiny dogs (I need to google it and see if it exists), and handsome eligible bachelors showing up at basketball games and finding me absolutely irresistible, even in my undead state. And then....

We have this rolling chair at the desk. It's great, when you aren't using it to prop up a broken ankle and some thoughtless teenager leans on it, sans brakes... Or if it is positioned right next to the head of your floor-bed. 

It started with the darting tongue of a very excited dachshund who seemed to suddenly remember about the floor-bed and me, and the resultant accessibility of my nose for immediate and aggressive licking. Going from handsome stranger to the insides of my nostrils being evacuated by a tiny tongue in .005 seconds is just weird. And then a certain 11 year old, looking for a safety pin, rolls the rolling chair nearly across my head, just before she turns on the iPod ALLTHEWAYUP and turns on every.single.light.in.the.house. WHY???? SAFETY PIN? NO!!! I couldn't even get any intelligent words out, but the combination of growling, angry, drug-hung-over snorts seemed to scare her AND the wiener dog off momentarily. Or maybe she just realized there were other lights in the house that she had forgotten to turn on. 

So here I am. Coffeeless, awake, listening to music that is WAYTOOLOUD for a Saturday morning without coffee. At least it's good music. Now to train the 11 year old to make coffee before she runs over my head with a chair...

My back feels about 52% better, which means the planned trip to Spokane for When's birthday will move forward. Maybe we can find safety pins there. And a nose plug to wear for the duration of the floor-bed era. 


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Things About Highschool

For a minute, they had me almost convinced that it is absolutely ok to hackey sack in the classroom during science, and do the assignment at home. Because classrooms are clearly more conducive to hackey sacking than learning.

Today, the high schoolers taught me how to arc weld - and by taught me, I mean show me where the switch is, tell me I should take off my ring, and walk away. But after an interesting discussion about why girls never take welding, far be it from me to prove their point for them by backing away in the mortal fear that was absolutely gripping my soul. So I arc welded. By myself, without dying. The boys then proceeded to politely giggle behind my back at the terrible job I did, but still, I DID do it. Tomorrow I will finish constructing my steel wiener dog out of junkyard trash. Maybe that's actually what they were giggling about. But as far as I know, nobody spray painted graphic images anywhere or burned anything down while I was lost in my ridiculous little project.

There are three students that absolutely will not stay in, or anywhere near, their assigned seats. I am not sure how to fix this, other than repeatedly threatening to do absolutely nothing, very loudly, and using their names a lot. The (most) mentally unstable student in (every one of) my classes has mellowed out after a grade-schoolesque time out in the hallway yesterday. The Discovery Channel video of people nearly dying in a car wreck that we watched in science also seemed to have a calming influence on him, which is mildly terrifying. One of the delinquents keeps referring to me as "jack", which I am certain is very derogatory but as long as he is in his seat and not shaking any chemical containers, I will let it fly. It's not a verifiable obscenity, and I have more than enough of those flying around to deal with, along with a mummified cat, a mysteriously re-appearing hackey sack and sketches of me with a unibrow on my desk.

The problem breaks down like this: really intelligent kids with not enough work today, really unintelligent kids that won't even attempt the work, and several straight up, boniified, wait for it - delinquents. The blissful moment that all students are head down, working busily at their desks, only happens when I rescind the no-cellphone rhetoric (which really means that I quit saying "no phones" every four minutes) and they are all furiously texting before my next wave of rule setting. And as always, at least four kids every five minutes have to go to the bathroom. And we aren't even to lunch time yet.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Things About Doing It All

I have four kids (at the lowest ebb) and two burners on my stove. If the math right there totally doesn't make any sense, because how can you feed 4+ kids on two burners, then you are calculating correctly. I know this because I am now a high school math teacher. Geometry, in fact. I am pretty good at sounding like I have a clue what we are going over, until someone asks me what orthocenter means and I tell them a story about miniature engines, which happens to be what my most recent article was about.

The thing about being a high school geometry, science and welding teacher, along with a "newspaper reporter", mother to unsubstantiated amounts of children, EMT, secretary/treasurer and binge drinker all at once is that it doesn't work out very well. At least the drinking and geometry. Everything else gets along fine. I am experimenting with spacing those two out from each other. But seriously - I have had a headache for two weeks straight and I am pretty sure it isn't just the wine. I also refuse to blame the toxic gasses released by the delinquent cutting into aluminum containers in welding class because welding is fun and if they knew that the delinquents were running me around, they might not let me teach it. I barely got away after one of the aforementioned delinquents spray painted an electrical outlet black instead of his metal project when he snuck off to the woodshed paint room, but I was able to prove plausible deniability and actually get the delinquent off. He later shook a volatile chemical container nearly to explosion point in the chemistry classroom, but luckily the class clown staved him off from the brink of disaster. You know it's bad when the class clown intervenes.

So, this is my life lately. Delinquents and miniature engines and a lot of wine. Or beer. Or whatever happens to be pouring STAT.

I have been on several EMT calls lately involving violent felons - and being the first and often only responder for the 20-45 minutes it takes for law enforcement, the transporting ambulance, or ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING to get there, it compelled my bestie to buy me an adorable green taser. I am kind of excited to try it out, but successfully resisted the urge when my own 17 year old daughter made an obscene show in my classroom the other day. Looking back, it was foolish to not whip out the little device and cut her exhibit in ABSOLUTE INSOLENCE short, but then the paperwork, being that I was technically her teacher and not her mother at that moment in time (a concept that she CLEARLY did not understand) was a formidable thought.

In addition to the taser, and a BAD-A** little gismo called the CAT (available at amazon), which is like brass knuckles that aren't brass but bright red plastic and LETHAL (my BFF also got for me), I have decided that I need a gun. That's all well and good, especially since I am surrounded by gun experts and aficionados, already have my concealed carry permit to go along with access to endless advise and hopeful some test runs... and am only slightly afraid of shooting my last remaining ovary out accidentally, but I got a little confused today when I was Googling both Ruger LC9 and orthocenter, and got the stat sheet for the gun mixed up with the measurements to find the centroid.... Another nod to NOT multitasking every.single.minute. But I am muddling through. Somehow.

The good news is that I said NO to adopting a homeless pot bellied pig, instead passing that piganthropist baton to my BFF (I know, what exactly is SHE getting out of this relationship, you ask?), and living the vicarious pet farmer's life through her. Also, I am now more well armed for both EMT calls and welding class, since I can use my Cat on the delinquents when they try to spray paint penises on the walls of the painting room. Boys.... I hope they behave tomorrow because I have big plans to weld myself a new trivet. And if ANYONE knows what orthocenter is, I am still looking....