Because kids like to make you feel young. (not)

I get a lot of love letters from my students.  Mostly my girls. 

I have one precocious child who asked me earlier in the year how long I’d been teaching.  To this, I replied 10 years.
She created a doting card for me.

One line read:
“Those ten years really paid off.  It seems like you’ve been teaching 100 years!”

I’m going to take this as a compliment, whether it was intended as one or not!

Ohm, Karma, and a Monkey

On Monday night we had storms.  I didn’t know that because I was sawing logs with my sleep number set on 45, dreaming of a strange child named Ohm who was up for auction because he broke out in bruised lumps on his body whenever he made a sound. 

Uh, yeah.
I probably should lay off the late night snacks. 

The next morning, I stumbled out of bed to check Facebook and heard from my town friends that there were tornadoes in 57 surrounding counties and it was frightening.  To everyone except me.  Instead I was being haunted by Ohm, and was taking his picture and blogging about him to try to find him a good home.  I was hoping you would take him in.  You would wouldn’t you? 

Tornadoes in real life. 
Weird boys who flap their hands in dreamland.

Anyway, I was just so thoroughly impressed with myself and my sleeping abilities.  Because obviously, I’ve got to work with what I have.  So impressed, in fact, that I bragged about it on facebook. 

You remember what my grannie always said, “She who tooteth her own horn, the same shall not be tooted.” 

Needless to say, I awoke this morning at 2:20 with a brain synonymous to a monkey on Red Bull and acid. I tried praying, I tried stretching, I tried reading, I tried deep breathing.  If Jason had been in the bed, I’d’ve tried that too.  I was desperate. 
Nothing would settle the monkey.

So I finally gave up at 4:00, had coffee and started my day.  Now I’m tired.
The last time I bragged, my goldfish died.

You know what they say about her don’t cha?

Lesson learned this time.

The monkey is finally sleeping.

Let’s Go To Luckenbach, TX—-I bet you didn’t know this #2 (zwei in German)

Today I’m continuing educating the world about the fascination and awesomeness of Lukenbach, TX.

When I stepped onto the porch of the general store, the first thing I noticed was all the names that people have written all over the building.  Leaving their mark I guess.  Which is really frowned upon.  There’s a sign that says the store is like a antique rocking chair, sit awhile and relax but please don’t write on it. 

The store is filled with this and that.  On the right side is a counter to buy souvenirs and on the left is actual merchandise from the general store:  and ladies rotting corset, a jar of rotting olives, old tins of medicine and asundry of other things. 

The general store also used to be a post office, but it closed down in the 1970’s.

Straight back behind the general store is the beer joint that is still in operation.  It also is laden with all sorts of diversity.  Dozens of caps hang from the rafters, stickers line the benches, badges line the windows.

Sayings hang around reminding people to be responsible drunks.

If you need credit, you don’t need a beer, you need a job.

If you’re drinking to forget, please pay in advance.

Please don’t make us make don’t signs.

 And a white line is painted across the floor.

Fun tidbit #2— (zwei)

The Luckenbach General Store was originally a post office with a bar behind it.  But when the post office was in operation, you couldn’t cross the white line into the post office with a beer in your hand.

Let’s Go To Luckenbach, I Bet You Didn’t Know This #1 (eins in German)

Luckenbach, Texas.
I’ve found my home.
I’ve caught the Luckenbach bug and I bought the T-shirt to prove it.

There’s not much there in this sleepy little town, except a general store/former post office/beer joint, and a dance hall.

I spent a half a day there last week. 
I tried writing about it, but there is so much I want to share with you, I couldn’t get my little thoughts to come out and lay down straight enough for anyone to make sense out of.  So I decided instead to give you a fun fact, tidbit, or story about Luckenbach each day until you get so tired of listening to me, you’ll either stop reading or send me a one way ticket to where “Everybody’s Somebody”.

 Probably the former.

Tidbit #1—-

On August 23, 2009, Luckenbach broke the Guiness World Record for the number of musicians singing and playing the same song at the same time during “Pickin’ for the Record”.  The song of course was “Luckenbach, TX” made famous by Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson with 1,868 guitar players participating.   The Guiness record was previously held by a group of 1,802 Germans who came together to play “Smoke on the Water”. 

Participants were given a t-shirt and a number.  There were bricks on the patio that some people bought for $50 engraved with their name and number to commemorate the event.

Here’s a portion of it.  Please watch.

Man, is that cool or what?

I’d’ve loved to have been there.

The Carriage House

The past few days we relaxed in Fredericksburg in this little cottage on the corner.

I miss it.

 It sits next to this spacious, yellow home with a porch that I dream of having some day.

There are a few things from the past that I wish were of the present.  Porches fall in that category.`  I sat on the porch in a white wicker rocker and was transported to a time where lemonade on the porch and a visit with friends were meaningful occurances.  And there goes Miss Scarlett walking past carrying her parasol and Mr. Rhett in his frock coat tips his hat as they pass.

Besides 8 1/2 hours of sleep each night, this cottage is all I need in life. 

A bed and a couple of chairs,

A kitchen,
a bathroom,
and a closet.

It even had a hot tub. 

I really miss it.

This little lizard was there too.

And I didn’t mind him one bit.

It was quaint, cozy, private.
And the neighbors dog didn’t bark either.

I’m Saving My Money For A Rooster

Jason and I have just rolled in from a pre-weekend, pre-anniversary celebration, pre-summer vacation, mini-vacation to Fredericksburg, TX. We experienced a slap-yo-momma fun time!  As soon as we figure out how people actually afford to live there, we are packing our bags, bidding our farewells to this flatland and becoming permanent residents to the hill country.  My dilemma that I’m faced with now is whether I’m retiring to Fredericksburg, Tx or Anacortes, Washington.

Back in March, I started whining because spring break was coming and people were buzzing about great trips they were taking: to Vegas, the mountains, etc, etc.  and here I sat, so I booked us a couple of nights during the coolness of May and Jason’s “slow time” to visit this tourist attraction of a town.

Top 10 Reasons Why This Trip Was Perfect:
Reason #10—
 We did not see one, not one, I mean none, zero, zilch mosquitoes after we passed Aspermont, Tx.  It is unbelievable I know, I’m still pinching myself.

Reason #9—
We stayed in a fabulous little guesthouse.  Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!  It is all I need in life.

Reason #8—
Roosters!!  I don’t care what anybody says, I want one, don’t need it, but want it.

Reason #7—
The wind doesn’t blow 70 mph consistently.

Reason #6—
We loved using our fancy new GPS system.

Reason #5—
We ate at a bug infested roadside park for the first time in our married life on the way home, but had more laughs at that moment than we did all weekend.

Reason #4—
I discovered my life’s motto—— “Seize Tomorrow”

Reason #3—
I missed Field Day at my school, which involved races, water events, snow cones, sunburns, bug bites, sweaty armpits, and hyper, crazy, sugar induced children.  And if by chance my principal is reading, I’m wiping a tear right now.

Reason #2—
I went to LUCKENBACH, TX!!!!! Willie and Waylon stood me up, but the boys were there.  I’ve gotta write a separate post about this.

And the number one Reason This Trip Was Perfect…..

#1—It gave me something to blog about! 
And at least 3 more to come!!

Good night.

Festivities Abound

Happy Day After Mother’s Day.
I went to church and was fed breakfast by men.
Don’t let anyone tell you that childbirth is necessary to relish the perks of Mother’s Day.

I’ve discovered that Mother’s Day is an awkward day.  It’s a day that people tend to feel sorry for me because I’m childless. I sense pity vibes all around.  But please don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m a non-mother by choice.  And it will suit me fine to live without any lecture right now if you are hankering to give me one.  Please.  I’ve heard them all, “Whose going to take care of you when you’re old?”  “You’ll never truly know what love is” “Having kids is the greatest joy.”  “The pleasures outweigh the heartaches”  Blah, blah, blah.

Last year I was honored at church on Mother’s Day.  My niece secretly wrote a letter, not on her own accord, but because she was asked.  Then the pastor read it aloud without saying who it was addressed to, and I was called forced to the platform with Ashlynn.  I wasn’t the only one who was honored of course, and it was kind of fun to try to figure out for whom each letter was written.  Here’s my letter.  I have it hanging in my bedroom:

Tribute to Angel Wheeler
Even though you’re not my mom, I think of you as a mom.  You spend time with me and love me in a way that only a mom can.  You always play Wii with me and let my friends come over.  And sometimes, you even let me have a sleepover, but I only get to invite one friend.  If I have trouble with my math homework, you always help me because you know it gets really frustrating.  You are so smart.  I really like the way you get me to church on time, unlike my dad who is slow as Christmas.  Thank you for all you do for me.  I owe you a debt I could never repay.  I love you extra, extra much!!  Love,
It was extremely touching and my eyes stung with tears.  Not only that, but my cousin had been killed the day before and my heart was gaping and raw.  I surmised the letter was for me when she got to the “sleepover with one friend” part.  I can’t handle a bunch of wild kids.  But I’ll have you know that we had a real sleepover last weekend with 3 friends.  That’s right, three!  1-2-3   It was a birthday party sleepover.  I’m not too much into kids keeping me up all night, so I plotted a perfect plan.  I stuck them in the backyard in a little outhouse/building/shed that we have with food, drink, and activities. 
First, I made a few rules, because I’m a teacher that’s why.  And children need boundries, very tight ones.   Then, I hung them on their door.
When you use a lot of colors, kids think rules are fun. 
I think. 
Well, maybe not.
 They didn’t keep the “lights out by 2:30 a.m.” rule.  When Jason got up at 5:00 to go to work, they were still up. 

And I do realize that it says “only come in the big house”  because I like to pretend I live in a mansion.  Sometimes I push a pretend button at the supper table to talk to Jason in a speaker.  I pretend he’s at the other end of a fancy banquet table, waaaay down there. Really he’s right beside me, so close I can jab his hand with my fork, which I do on occasion.  But it’s fun for me.  I push the button and bend closely, “Jason, will you please pass the butter?” 
Self amusement, people.   If I don’t do it, nobody else will.

Maybe karaoke is misspelled on the rule chart too, but I was too lazy to look it up for a bunch of eleven year olds who probably couldn’t read it anyway.

Karaoke, crafts, Wii, dancing, music, snacks, and games all night long.

Fun was had by all, including me, who got a full 8 hours of sleep. 
Nyquil—the so you can rest during a sleepover medicine.

I’m all ready to do it again.
In about 6 more years. 

Sleepover = Success!

Bearing much Fruit (unless we’re talking about pumpkins)

I’m definitely not an expert on trees.  All I really know is that I have a lot of them.  Messy ones at that.  Oak trees that love to shed tons of leaves and acorns.  Acorns of which I don’t pick up and sprout into more oak trees under a moist mound of dying leaves of which I didn’t pick up.  It’s a vicious cycle man.  One of which I realize I am in control if I’d choose to be.  But I don’t. 

Amongst all these oaks, I have two other trees, one is not a money tree and the other happens to be a pine.   A scraggly, measly, thin little pine. 

But do you see those specks?
All 4,562,566,748 of them?
Believe it or not, I think those are pine cones, being the expert that I’m not.
I am flabbergasted at all the stinking pine cones on this tree.
Pine cones that I apparently am not going to pick up.
I so wish you could see it in real life.  It truly is mind boggling.  When your mind is like mine, that is.
It’s always overkill around here.
If I attempted procreation, I’d probably end up with a litter.
Although if I had a money tree, I wouldn’t be complaining.  You’d never hear me say one disparaging remark about its fruitfulness.
And I’d share my harvest with all two of you who read this thing.

My Journey of a Half Marathon Began with One Step

About one week ago, I completed a feat that made me feel like I can do anything.    My first (and last) half marathon!  I’m still recovering. My fingers are just now regaining strength to type about it.  It was an awesome experience, but not one that I’ll repeat.  People have asked me if it was fun.  And I have to answer honestly.  No, it was not fun.  It was hard.  It was grueling at times.  It was physically painful.  None of which I equate with F-U-N. 

I began this adventure wanting to push myself.  I doubted I could do it.  So I began, in my mind, believing that I would walk it.  Thirteen miles turns out to be a really long walk.  I suckered a couple of friends from work to do it with me, and we began our training.  None of us were runners.  Our training began slowly, running 30 seconds, and then walking until we recovered for up to 20 minutes.  As the days passed, our running increased.  For five months we trained, gradually increasing our miles.  We trained in wind that pushed against us and told us we couldn’t do it.  We trained in snow and in frigid temperatures that numbed our fingers and toes.  We bundled ourselves and perservered through long Sunday afternoons. 

A couple of months into it my knees began hurting me, so I backed off my running and increased walking.  I looked forward to the day of the half marathon, not to accomplish, but to get it over with.  To check it off my list.  I couldn’t quit, although there were times I wanted to throw up my hands and lie on the couch, eat chips and watch The Biggest Loser instead.  We had endured too much to quit.  I prayed for endurance, I prayed for healing, I prayed for perserverance, I prayed for Rapture.  Our group of runners posted scriptures on our running page for motivation or inspiration.  So while I was running, I would quote scripture knowing that I can do all things through Christ.

The day the marathon was upon us, I was as nervous as a little girl.  I had to talk to myself and tell myself that I’ve been running for 34 years.  It wasn’t anything new. 

We were up at the butt crack of dawn.  We were supposed to catch a shuttle to the race, but it was running late, so we were actually 12 minutes late to the race.  But as we were hurrying to the start line, which was blocks and blocks long, we ran into some other friends who let us cut in and we started with them.
There was so much energy.  There were so many people.  After about the first mile into it, people started throwing off their clothes because they were so hot, and just leaving them in the road.  I wonder if they went back and got them or if we live in such a disposable society that it just doesn’t matter.

The people of Oklahoma City were the best part of the race for me.  Not the runners, but the people who made it all happen.  The volunteers were there at 3 in the morning preparing for us.  They cheered us on all the way, passed out water and orange slices, told us thank you for running in memory of the OKC bombing, and cleaned up streets of trash and paper cups.  There were dancers on the sides of the street, bands, people in costume all asking us ‘How are you feeling’.  I wrote before about those bright neon green shirts that dared people to question our current state of being.  It turns out I managed to make it through the entire race without flipping anyone off.  One lady who was cheering on the side of the road and encouraging us at about mile 3 spoke into her microphone and said,”You people in the green shirts are everywhere.  You’re like a bunch of ants!” 

Seeing the finish line was both exciting and relieving.  When I laid eyes on that banner, I began to kick it into second gear.  I’m sure I wasn’t running fast, but it felt like I was flying.  It was a great feeling to cross the finish line knowing that I had done it.  I had completed it.  It was finished and I would never have to run again in my life.  I placed 5,863rd.  Eighty one percent of the racers finished ahead of me.  But I accomplished my first goal of simply finishing, and my second goal of finishing in under three hours.  Barely.

Most people were being handed their medal, but this lady, Polly Nichols, a survivor of the OKC bombing, took the time to put mine around my neck, like I was a true winner.  I told her thank you and teared up when she replied that she was honored to do it.  It was a tender moment for me.

And then I limped home and burned my running shoes.

Metaphorically speaking of course.