Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I've decided that the only sure thing in life is the passage if time. Everything else is up for grabs. Things happen or they don't happen. Some people say it's fate or God's grace that is responsible for everything that happens to us. I tend to agree. I guess it's because of God's grace that time exists at all, come to think of it.

No, this isn't a spiritual post. Just been thinking about time lately--how quickly or slowly  it passes depending on what I am doing, how incredibly predictable it is. It's the one thing you can always count on. Think about it. No matter what happens one day, then next one is always hours away whether you want it or not.

I sound like a 90-year old lady, ruminating on her life. Pathetic.

I'm just not good at managing time. Better than I used to be, but I still suck at planning, organizing and following through and then doing it over again the next day.

I have finished being a student teacher. My schedule has changed so much that I can't help but obsessing about time. How I'm going to use it. Will I use it appropriately? Do my days have enough structure, or am I just one chip bag away from a downward spiral into anxiety and lethargy? I feel sort of like a rug has been pulled out from under me. Here I was structured to the hilt for 3 1/2 months. Leave at 7 come home at 4. Teach these certain classes then, prep for them then. Feel the adrenaline rush at the beginning of  each class. Feel the terror of classroom management gone awry. Relax when it's all over. Do it again tomorrow. Be on stage all the time. 40 kids staring at me. Why are there so many of them? This must be against fire code. This lesson better be good.

Then suddenly it's all over.

Work is good for me. Structure is exactly that--a support to keep me from veering off into unmanageable directions.

Here is what has consumed my time the past 10 days since student teaching got done:

1. Watching TV and movies. Watching the Titanic. The best movie ever made. Love it. Could watch it endlessly all day long. It still entertains me. Watching The Big Bang Theory. I have never watched anything that makes me laugh so uproariously. Watching Elementary.Watching Downton Abbey season 3 for the 4th time and still being so mad at the end. Still loving Mr. Bates (my favorite character) and missing Sybil even though I have watched her die 4 times now. I think that was the most gripping piece of drama I have ever seen on TV. I still cry for poor Sybil. And I hate that awful Harley Street doctor.  I have never watched so much TV in my life. All the Brady Bunches and Gilligan Islands that I watched after school for years and years couldn't equal the amount of TV I have consumed lately. It's not near the amount the average American watches. It's just a lot for me, someone who hasn't watched TV for years.

2. Looking for jobs. Waiting for interviews. Wondering what if I have WAY too much time next fall. Checking district websites and worrying. Recreating the perfect classroom layout in my mind.

3. I have not been reading. I don't know why. This bothers me. I have not been able to read for so long, that I still think it's taboo--that I should be doing something else. I need to go to the library and start to give myself permission to just read. Never thought I'd ever say that.

4. Driving. People. Everywhere. Filled up the car Friday. Filled it up again this morning. All of the sudden I feel like a taxi service. I didn't used to feel like that, did I? Yes, I'm sure I did. Yesterday I was in the car off an on from 1:30 to 7:30. Nathan is reffing soccer and so that adds to it. HE GOT HIS LEARNER'S PERMIT YESTERDAY. He and all the other people he knew at the DMV. Party for 15-year olds at the DMV.  He listed his eyes were green on his license and I say they're blue. We argued. There wasn't a greenish-blue choice. He also said his hair is brown. It is not. It's just winter. Wait til summer. HIS EYES ARE BLUE AND HIS HAIR IS BLOND AND THAT'S HOW I WANT IT TO STILL BE. Yesterday I felt so old watching him, all grown up, sweating buckets waiting to take the test.

Look what time has done. Even eye color can change with time.

4. Cleaning. Cooking. Laundry. Mundane stuff. The stuff life is made of.

5. Trying to exercise every day but I'm not quite there. Trying to change my thinking about it. Exercise becomes effective when you do it because of how it makes you feel rather than for weight loss goals. I am trying to make this my mantra.

James Taylor's lyrics "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time," has new meaning for me these days.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nathan's Summer

I've decided that the perfect age to be in the summertime is 14. Kids this age are too young to have serious jobs, but old enough to be independent going to Seven Peaks or over to friends houses on their own. I watch what Nathan does during a typical summer day, and it's way more fun than work. I keep saying that you're only young once, so let them live it up, but it just doesn't seem fair that they actually have SOOO much fun.

Nathan has about an hour of chores a day which isn't nearly enough, frankly. Let's weigh the work vs. fun. One hour vs. eight hours of play. Hmmm. Slacker Mom big time.

Nathan's life consists of playing his guitar with his friends, and practicing a little for his lesson. He has been glued to the Euro soccer cup going on. That takes up about 2 hours a day. Hanging out at friend's houses or having friends to our house takes up another four hours. Texting back and forth about when and where they will all meet takes up another hour. No one seems to be able to make any decisions. "Dude, my Mom's making me tend my sister, I'll call you when I can hang out," is an example of one of them. Another might says, "Dude, my Mom says we can't hang out at my house because we ate all the food last time and she has a headache." That Mom may have been me.

He went on a canyoneering trip with Darren a couple of weeks ago. Some days he sleeps until 10:30. He eats his six meals a day. He wrestles on the floor with his dog. He texts, he reads Harry Potter, he plays games on the Kindle at night in bed. He jumps on the tramp with a hose and four big sweaty friends. Next week he starts summer soccer practices for his team, The Yellow Jackets. He will go on another scout campout and spend a week at the cabin in Montana riding on the slider behind the boat on Lake Hebgen and buying cool pocket knives and leather wallets in West Yellowstone. Cousins are coming in from New York. He will sleep as much as teenagers need to sleep. That thought makes me happy.

His life is idyllic. I want to preserve this innocent time. Time for pure fun and unabashed joy, the kind of fun that adults can never capture no matter how hard they try. I keep telling him this is best time of his life. He agrees. He grins and says, "I love how great my life is." I notice his teeth. They are getting straight, and he is growing taller. I think he is the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my life. I only get him for a little while longer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sweet Sam and Finals

Sammie in the hosptial

Poor Sammie. On Easter evening she had a terrible accident and sliced her knee open. She slid into a measly plastic sprinkler head with jeans on. The damage was amazing. It was a huge, awful gash that required surgery and a three-day hospital stay. She is still in a brace and can't bend her knee. The cut was 12-inches across. Some of the skin below the cut isn't getting blood and is in danger of dying, in which case she would have to have plastic surgery. It's kind of a sad way to end her senior year. But she is a trooper--resilient, positive and so good-natured. I love her so much. In the meantime she has three AP tests to study for, and so being less active suits her lifestyle in a way.

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks. Finals are over. I survived. I really did. And a lot of good came from it. This past semester was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I read and wrote, read and wrote for three and a half months. That's about all I did. My brain feels like it's made ample room for all this extra information, that it's being absorbed and filed away. Retrieval of this knowledge at a later date is a distinct possibility. I'm banking on it, anyway.

Just when I have some time to smell the roses my tulips are dying--already. And my lilacs are in full bloom, several weeks early. They usually don't come out until Mother's Day. Time is marching on. Sammie graduates the end of May and school is almost out for everyone else.

Tonight we ate dinner on the patio. It was sort of an idyllic Sunday afternoon. Darren barbecued, Theo chewed on his bones and chased birds, wagging his tail as fast as a hummingbird's wings. We played "Say Anything" and had homemade peanut butter cookies for dessert.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two days without a microwave

 A few days ago, in the middle of defrosting some turkey, our microwave gave up the ghost. It didn't screech, or whine or peter out slowly or make any other distress sounds. It just stopped. It had died. It was only four years old.

Such a young microwave. Was it defective or is that just how long microwaves last "these days?" The guy at RC Willey said, "I don't care how nice or expensive a microwave it, they are all just garbage and won't last for more than four years." He had obviously been selling microwaves forever, and wasn't in commission mode at all. He could say whatever he wanted. It was sort of refreshing to know the truth about something, but irritating to think that we would just have to buy another one in four more years. Of course we bought one. How can you NOT have one?

We didn't get it until yesterday. So there were two days of maddening chaos in the kitchen. The kids kept asking how they were supposed to eat without a microwave. Put a pan on the stove, pour the stuff in and turn on the stove, I told them. They were perplexed. They are the microwave generation. The stove is for cooking dinner stuff, not for warming up stuff, they said. When they tried this they scored the bottom of the pan, leaving them to "soak."  Putting something to "soak" means you will not ever clean it. Your mother will because she is SICK of looking at it and she needs it because the microwave is broken!

"How am I supposed to put a corn dog in a pan on the stove?" Nathan asked. He had a point. Maybe we really shouldn't be eating corn dogs, I thought, but instead told him that he should find something else to eat. I started my usual bulleted list of all the things to eat when kids say there's nothing to eat. Like always, I started out with the most nutritious, but then gradually moved into foods that will definitely keep me a member in good standing at the Slacker Mom club.

  • cereal
  • bananas
  • apples
  • pretzels
  • yogurt
  • cheese sticks
  • leftovers from last night (no, that would require a pan to warm it up)
  • grapes
  • cheez nips
  • oreos
  • vanilla ice cream
  • double chocolate fudge ice cream (it's the end of the semester, OK?)
So last night having my microwave popcorn again was a real treat after not having it for a couple of days. And the new microwave is cool. It has a nob to turn instead of buttons to push.

But who cares really? It's gonna be dead in 2016.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hot Mess

This is THE week of the semester. It is the week when everything comes together or falls apart. For 13 weeks, things have been falling into place, but I still worry that they could fall out of place so easily.

Hanging by a thread. It is amazing that I think of my school work in so tenuous of terms. My confidence is something that has to be hefted up from its hiding spot every day and put in plain view. And even then it likes to slink down to the place it is most comfortable. Kind of like when you walk out into the light after having been in a dark room and it feels better just to turn back.

Oh, that *%$#^ research paper that has been tormenting me for two months! Adrie spent three hours with me last night getting it into the right format. She laughed, "I seriously hope you never have to do something like this again." That was after she told me my paper was "a hot mess."

I agree, that paper was the "hot mess" of the semester. If it receives any sort of a decent grade, it will be because of Darren and his red pen and my professor's patience when I couldn't get the question right, then got the question right and then changed the question altogether. Poor guys.

Adrie's so sweet. She's the one who brought me the application to this program last spring and said, "Mom, you can do this."

Every day I remember that when I'm busy dredging up the confidence that has lain idle for way too long.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What a Bathrobe Means

A bathrobe means lots of things and has lots of purposes.

  • You use it when you want to cover up ratty pajamas.
  • You use it when you want to cover up other things.
  • You use it when it's Christmas morning and pictures must be taken.
  • It is a symbol of sickness. For example, when you have it on in the middle of the day, people think you must be sick, and then they may not ask you to do something.
  • You wear it when you are busy in the mornings and you just don't have time to get properly dressed and then it is suddenly noon and the bathrobe becomes a symbol of laziness not busyness.
  • A new one means you are serious about not looking too ratty or dumpy, but that bathrobes are just a necessary part of a wardrobe like pants or shoes.
  • It is a Saturday or Sunday thing. You can wear it more on these days than in the middle of the week.
  • It can be fuzzy for the winter, and "breezy" for the summer.
  • If you wear it in the car to drive the kids to school, you are a slacker mom and can't get it together.
I have used my bathrobe in every one of these ways at some point in my life. Today, my bathrobe means that I have lots of school work to do and that I want to be comfortable doing it. But it is now nearly 1:30 and my bathrobe must give way to real life and real clothes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reading and Writing on the Couch, Pork Rinds and Such

I often worry that this school thing will all come crashing down around me. It just sort of nags at me all the time. My permanent spot seems to be the couch where I am reading and writing in odd positions that make my shoulder hurt. For those of you who know my sad, sad tale of woe about my shoulder, this is not a good thing.

This reminds me of a book called,  "She Got Up Off the Couch" by Haven Kimmel. It's about a mom who sat on the couch for 20 years eating pork rinds, watching TV and reading sci-fi novels, until one day she "got up off the couch," lost 100 pounds and went back to school.

OK, I just can't think about that too deeply.

 I haven't eaten pork rinds since my Dad would buy them at Seven-Eleven on the way home from Vernal, UT. Pork rinds are what you eat on the way home from Vernal. And sunflower seeds that you hack out the window. The ones that you don't hack out the window spill all over the seat and stay there for a long time. He would also buy orange circus peanuts that sit in your stomach like sicky-sweet Play-Doh.  No wonder I don't have much desire to go to Vernal. If I could be with Dad then I'd like it.

Wow, such randomness on a Wednesday night on the couch. Now I have the hiccups. And no, I have not been eating pork rinds or circus peanuts.