Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Saturday, March 29, 2008


It used to be I couldn't go a day without needing to go to a certain SuperMegaMart. In fact, back when I had a regular checkbook, you would see SuperMegaMart, SuperMegaMart, SuperMegaMart. For some unknown reason, I can now go a month or more without entering that establishment.

Unfortunately, I had to go to that store the other day for craft supplies for my #1. They, of course, were out of what she needed. I decided not to make it a wasted trip and picked up the snacks she need for a lock-in she was going to at the church. Since I was down the snack aisle, I got some snacks for the house, too.

The first thing I picked up were my favorite Flat Earth Chips which just happened to have a coupon directly below them for $1 off. How could I be so lucky? I got two bags and two coupons. Next I went to the drink aisle to get #1 a drink for her evening out. She spied her favorite SoBe Pomegranate Cherry Life Water. I felt a little uneasy paying so much for water, but then she noticed that there was a $1 off coupon attached to the package of four bottles. Things were going great, until I got to the check-out.

If you haven't been to our SuperMegaMart, the first thing you need to know is that although there are 30 checkout aisles, there are never more than 10 available at anytime unless you include the self-checkout. Today, I decided that I would venture into the land of self-checkout, but I was met with an unpleasant surprise. Each and every self-checkout station had a sign on it saying "NO CASH - CREDIT/DEBIT ONLY - NO CASH BACK."

It had finally happened, a world where paper currency was no longer of any use had finally come into being. I was wondering which government agency would be monitoring my purchases. Would they wonder why I was buying fat-free chips and Life Water along with dip and Cheetos? Would it go into my data file for future reference when I apply for Medicare and Social Security? (By the way, that won't be around either by the time I am 70.) Will I be hearing, "Sorry ma'am, you aren't qualified for benefits because you ate unhealthy chips when you were 40."

I decided to wait in line with the other cash users for a real human cashier. This began the rest of the drama. When I got to her station, she scanned my purchases, and I proudly handed her my wonderful coupons. "I'm sorry ma'am. These coupons are expired." "Expired?" I questioned. "What do you mean expired? I got them from your store." Now here is the problem of shopping at SuperMegaMart. If I had been in a mom and pop store, this mistake would not have happened in the first place because Mom and Pop would know what products were on their shelves and be aware of expired coupons. Even if the error did occur, more than likely Mom and Pop would try to make it right and save a customer by giving me the value of the coupons. Unfortunately, our town's only two mom and pop stores went out of business 10 to 15 years ago because of SuperMegaMart. It was a sad, sad day to see that last one close.

I have decided since I don't want to move from my hometown, and I don't have the ability to be a self-sustaining farmer, that I have to put up with the larger stores, but I will avoid SuperMegaMart as much as possible.

If you want to see another reason why SuperMegaMart is evil, Click here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mega Hand Cramp

One more experiment. How long does it take to send a blog in by cell? Way 2 long without a QWERTY Keyboard. I would have 2 be desperate 2 do this more than once- After all it is just a blog. BTW the picture is of #2. Now I need some Advil.

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Blogging From My Email

I was exploring the capabilities of blogger when I encountered this neat little device. I am checking to see how it works. If it works, great, then I can send blogs from my phone. That will be so cool. If it doesn’t work, I will have to do some more exploration. I always tell people, just like my Spanish, I know just enough about technology to get in trouble.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's the Simple Things

It's the simple things that make life worthwhile sometimes.

Example 1:
Today I was looking for supplies in my cupboard at school when I realized that I had an unopened box of Girls Scout Thin Mints. There they were just calling my name. I was good and resisted tearing open the box and having a handful right in front of my students. Instead, I waited until I finished my healthy lunch of Progresso Chicken Soup, carefully pulled out three and enjoyed them one by one. I did have to resist the urge to leave the open box at the table and eat them freely from the box. (A habit I broke many years ago.)

Example 2:
Another simple thing is the ability to hit the snooze bar. I love it. It feels like I am getting over on someone. Sure, I have to wake up early to enjoy this, but somehow it is worth it to be able to slap that button a couple of times. Otherwise, I would have to jump up right when the alarm went off. Where's the fun in that?

Example 3:
Living where I do, it gets hot. Not just a little warm. I mean HOT, 100+° HOT, burn your skin on the lawn furniture HOT. Because of the heat, stores and dining establishments love to keep the air on 65°F. Now that is just too cold for me. When I leave these places, all I want to do is warm up. I do this by getting in the hot car without turning it on or opening any windows. It only takes a few seconds, but this is something I truly enjoy. Every time I do this, I have the pleasant memory of going to the commissary with my mom and little brother where it was almostcold enough to store meat without a freezer. Upon check-out, we would go out to my mother's station wagon and warm up while we waited for her to turn on the car. I don' t know why this is a good memory, but is, at least to me. To my daughter who has to hear me repeat it every time we leave a restaurant...not so much.

If it weren't for the simple things, what fun would life be? We can't just sit around waiting for that ultimate experience. We have to enjoy the good when we can.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Feeling Jealous

I ran into something called moleskine notebooks. Take a look at a couple I found on YouTube then read on. (If you work in a place that blocks YouTube like my district does, you will have to wait until you are home to view it, but believe me it is good.)

Who thinks of these? I used think I was pretty creative, but I certainly couldn't fill an entire book with artwork all based on a central theme like these artists have.

Somehow I ended up clicking link after link that led to more moleskine books. I then began to feel a little jealous not because these people could draw or paint better than I (although most could) but because they were focused enough to fill an entire book with their artwork. I am so NOT that person. I start things that I never finish. I am sure my garage (closet, attic, office) is full of projects that I began but never found the time to complete.

Case in point: My #1 turned 11 years old this week. Somewhere in a drawer is a quilt that I started when I was pregnant with her that never got completed. I can still picture it, navy and blue flowered calico sewn in a zigzag pattern. It would have been a lovely keepsake for her, but now it is just one of the many things Mom never finished.

Somewhere in the house is a bag full of green and white yarn attached to a semi-completed sweater that I began before I even got married. (Sad, I know.) Even if I finished it now, it would be way out of style. Occasionally I think of it and think I should find and finish it just for general purposes.

My mind is reeling with all the half-finished projects I have stashed away in my house (not to mention the ones hiding in my mother's house.)

I could possibly fill an entire moleskine book with all the projects I have begun and never completed....

But that would require me to finish something wouldn't it?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Break is Nothing More Than a Memory

Tomorrow the alarm clock will go off at 5:30 a.m. I will hit the snooze button a couple of times, dreading the inevitable-- the first day back from Spring Break. Don't get me wrong. I love teaching. It's not going to work that I would like to avoid. It is the routine that I have to begin again.

Each tap of the snooze button will conincide with an internal conversation with myself.
5:30 - "It's Monday. Get up."
5:39 - "Who picked this radio station?"
5:48 - "If you don't get up now, you will have to go to work without washing your hair."
5:57 - "It's now or never. Don't forget you still have to pull #1 out of bed, too."

That last one is usually the one that will force me out of bed. Nothing is worse than trying to coax my 11 year old daughter out of bed. Forget it if she didn't bother to lay out her clothes the night before. We will definitely be late to school.

Once she is vertical, I will have to run back to my bathroom, wash, apply makeup, figure out what to do with my hair (since I chose the path of not washing it,) figure out what outfit needs the least ironing, run back to #1's room to make sure she didn't crawl back in bed, scurry back to my room to find the left shoe, find my school bag, remember a can of soup for lunch, ensure that #1 has enough lunch money (she doesn't,) dig through the change on the dresser for quarters so #1 can eat, and last but not least search for my cell phone, car keys and badge.

By this time it will be 6:45 which leaves me 15 minutes to make it down the country road (watch out for deer), through the military checkpoint (please don't ask to inspect my car), crawl through the school zone (don't have time for a ticket) and run to the back door (I hope my badge will open the door) just in time to open my classroom.

Whew! You would think, knowing what I know the day before that I would prepare for this now.

Nah, that would take away from what's left of my spring break.

So don't get in front of me tomorrow. I will be the one in the white LeSabre dodging the deer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mission Impossible

The mission should you choose to take it is a simple one:

Accompany your mother to a doctor's appointment and drive her to an IKEA in a major metropolitan area. Things to consider before accepting this job are as follows:
  1. Every route you will take will be under construction.

  2. Your mother will not want to walk through the parking lot at the hospital because she is late.

  3. She does not want to pay for valet parking.

  4. You will be required to sit in a waiting room for an hour watching a myriad of sick people wander by.

  5. Your only entertainment will be an oversized aquarium and your eleven old daughter who is listening to her new iPod.

  6. After her appointment, your mother will want to eat lunch, delaying the trip to IKEA.

  7. Your mother will ask you where you want to eat, knowing that there are only two places in town that she is willing to eat.

  8. You will get to listen to your mother describe the many difficulties she has eating, including, but not limited to her inability to open her mouth more than a centimeter, her inability to digest dairy, and her restriction on salt intake.

  9. Once you are on the interstate you will have to maintain a driving rate one mile below the posted speed limit.

  10. Remember to keep a following distance of two to three car lengths.

  11. Even if you are about to slam into the back of a suddenly breaking car, do not change lanes suddenly as this will cause your mother to have heart palpitations.

  12. Upon arriving at IKEA, you will have to search for a shopping cart and explain how the store works.

  13. Be prepared to look at every item the store has to offer, interpret price tags and help her follow the clearly marked arrows on the floor.

  14. Even though you will be quite irritated by the time you reach the checkout counter, you will be required to hold your tongue.

Should you choose to abandon your mother at IKEA we will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

Your sanity will destruct in 5 seconds.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, #1

Eleven years ago today:

It's 5:00 in the morning. I am not feeling well. I had better have my husband call in to work for me. I don't think I am going to make it. What is that strange feeling? If I could stay out of the bathroom long enough I would call in myself. Well at least I don't have to find an outfit that fits.

It's 8:00. WOW! That really hurt. "Uh, Gary. I think that was a contraction." In a state of disbelief, he starts timing them. Five minutes. Oh, my God. Now he's wondering how he's going to get me to the hospital 20 minutes or more away from here. There's no time for the suitcase. Just get the keys and let's go.

Speeding through the streets of Colorado Springs, winding our way to Fort Carson. There is no major amount of time between contractions. I am banging on the window screaming, "I have to push." Gary, "Don't Push!!!"

After the worlds fastest trip in a Festiva, we pull up in front of the emergency room. Now they told us not to go through emergency in our childbirth classes, but I figured a baby crowning was an emergency. They don't believe us and put me in a wheel chair and roll me into an ELEVATOR and take me to Labor and Delivery. The nurse on duty whisks me away and asks Gary to start filling out paperwork. Don't they understand the severity of the situation???? We called ahead!

Oh my! I can't even bend over to get my pants off. A dumb aide is there trying to find the baby's heart rate. "Uh, Nurse Ratchett, I can't find the heart beat." An old nurse comes and grabs the monitor from the idiot and immediately finds the heart rate.

9:08 a.m. Gary comes running in the room just in time to see his first child come into the world, all 5 pounds 15 ounces of her. Yep, it's a girl. He is so happy. I just want to go to sleep.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just for Renee

I have known my friend Renee since we were in 3rd or 4th grade. That is not to say we were friends back then, but we have known each other that long. When I reached 5th or 6th grade, we started hanging out together, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The one thing I remember most about growing up with Renee is her love for (might I be so bold as to say obsession with) Harrison Ford. Not being inside that complex head of hers, I don't know exactly when it began, but this much is certain, today it still continues.

I probably wouldn't have seen as many Star Wars or Raider's movies as I have if it weren't for Renee. Lest we forget his later works like Witness, Frantic, Working Girl (my personal favorite - just kidding,) The Fugitive, Clear & Present Danger, and Six Days-Seven Nights (now that was a waste of $7.) There are so many more, but then if you know anything about the man, you already know that.

On Sundays after church, Renee and I would rush through dinner to make it to the matinee. We would sit in the Cove Theater, The Cinema, or Cinema 76, and (because she had already seen the movie) she would quote all the lines right along with the characters. When she moved to the next town over, I would spend the night, and we would go the mall to watch a movie. (Don't tell mom.)

I admire Renee for her dedication to one actor. I was never able to do it. Maybe it was my ADD. I don't know. What I do know is that when the next Raiders movie comes out in May, I can guess who will be the first one in line. I am pretty sure it won't be me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

One Word - Meme

Thanks Jen for posting this.

You Can Only Type One Word.
Not as easy as you might think.
Now copy and repost. Change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's hard to use only one word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your significant other? Gary
3. Your hair? Curly
4. Your mother? Smart
5. Your father? Active
6. Your favorite thing? Eating
7. Your dream last night? Unmentionable
8. Your favorite drink? Bush's
9. Your dream/goal? Travel
10. The room you're in? Living
11. Your fear? bankruptcy
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Technologist
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? independent
15. Muffins? blueberry
16. One of your wish list items. iPod
17. Where you grew up? Texas
18. The last thing you did? Sleep
19. What are you wearing? nightgown
20. Your TV? Noggin
21. Your pets? Zoey
22. Your computer? Dell
23. Your life? Exhausting
24. Your mood? Tense
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Your car? Messy
27. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
28. Favorite Store? Nordstrom
29. Your summer? Busy
30. Your favorite color? Purple
31. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
32. Last time you cried? Recently
33. Who will/would re-post this? Unknown

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Meme of the Day

Found this over at Ima's Blog If you're reading this, you're tagged. If you're my brother, you're especially tagged.

What kind of soap do you have in your bathtub/shower right now?
Something from Bath & Body, Red Tea and Fig Scrub from Mary Kay, Irish Spring and L'Oreal's kids wash

What color or design is on your shower curtain?
Glass doors--impossible to keep clean.

What would you change about your living room?
I am so ready to remove the carpet and finally get my hard surface flooring.

How many plants are in your home?
One dead bonsai.

Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty?
For once they are clean.

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?
Glass. I finally weaned my husband off of disposable cups.

Do you have iced tea, made in a pitcher, right now?
We always have a gallon of Bush's iced tea in the fridge.

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?
I am not allowed to touch it even though I grew up loving it. My husband has no desire to use an epi pen or visit the emergency room.

So, what is in your fridge?
Milk, apple juice, white grape juice, cranberry juice, butter, margarine, bread, strawberries that need to go, cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, an apple and some birthday cake.

What’s on top of your refrigerator? Cleaning supplies (out of reach of the 3 year old, a pasta dish from Longaberger (also out of reach from the 3 year old), a collectors bottle of Coca Cola, and a wine box with a picture of a rooster on it.

White or wheat bread?
Wheat - multigrain, wheatberry

Comet or Soft Scrub?

Is your bed made now?
My husband is in it.

Is your closet organized?
I know where everything is, does that count?

Can you describe your flashlight?
You know the is wooden with a red sulfur tip that you strike against a box. It works really well until it the flame reaches your fingers, then watch out.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered?
It is definitely a hazard.

Now I Understand

When I was little, my mother put me in ballet classes. I think she thought I was too chubby. I couldn't have been more than 4. I remember going to those classes in my black leotard, pink tights and pink leather slippers thinking, "Don't I look cute?" Our teacher would make us practice our splits, but I don't think I was able to do them. Even back then, I would get lost in thought and forget to switch legs when she told us to. After that year, my mom never enrolled me again. I never forgot that.

Fifteen years later, my roommate and I tried out for cheerleader in college. I had never done it before - I was known as a dyed in the wool "band geek/flag twirler." Tryouts were fun, but I didn't make it. I called my mother to let her know, and her only comment was, "Well, you were never very coordinated." It was like a stab to the heart. Weren't moms supposed to console you no matter how bad you were at something?

A few years later I became an aerobics instructor at a dance studio. I was quite good. My classes were always full. Since I worked for the studio, I got to take ballet, tap and jazz classes. I told my mom, and although I can't remember her exact response, it wasn't super supportive. I then asked her why, when I was little, she did not continue my dance classes. Her answer? "You never practiced," to which I replied, "I was FOUR." I don't think it ever crossed her mind that it would never occur to a four year old to practice.

Now to many of you still reading at this point might think that the purpose of this entry is to bash my mother. On the contrary, it is to say, "Now, I understand." I understand why I do what I do to my own daughter.

I have become a mother to a dancer. She has a very good memory for routines. Is she perfect? No, but because she loves what she does, I have to filter myself when I hear my mother's voice trying to come out. "Caitlin, you're not trying hard enough."... "Caitlin, how come you don't practice." ..."Caitlin, look at so and so, you can tell she practices a lot."

I freely admit that I am living vicariously through my daughter. I get a sense of satisfaction taking her to competitions. Watching her team perform and receive High Gold and Platinum medals. It doesn't matter, that I spend my free time each week running her to dance lessons, or that I use my tax refund to pay for contest fees, costumes and hotels. (I am happy to say I have not gone into debt as many mothers may have.)

At the end of each season, I ask her if she wants to continue dancing, secretly hoping that the answer is yes. For if she says no, then what will I do? Thinking about this possibility, I decided to make a preemptive strike....

I signed up for dance classes myself as seen above - front row, second from the right. I have survived one recital, and I'm making my way to another one in June. No, I am still not the greatest, but we have fun laughing at each other. I no longer have to get my satisfaction vicariously. Should my daughter decide to give up dance, I can continue dancing without her.

(Secretly, I still hope she doesn't.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What to say...

So I was just thinking about how many blogs there are out there and how I don't have one. For the longest time I wasn't even sure what they were or how they worked. Being a school teacher who values the use of technology to express ideas, I felt a little inadequate in this area. Maybe I was really just worried about not having anything of importance to say. Then I realized, as much as I like to talk, I must have something to say to people outside my small circle of friends and acquaintances, so here it goes.

Basically, I have been living in the same town since 1974. My father was in the military, which is why we moved to this little place. Now don't get me wrong. I have left this town several times, but there is some force that keeps pulling me back. Is it familiarity, insecurity, or fear of the unknown? I still don't know.

When I graduated high school, I purposely went away to a college three hours away so I couldn't run home every weekend like I had seen so many of my friends do. I graduated early and moved to New York, but couldn't afford graduate school there and moved back home after 2 years. After graduate school, I married and moved 10 hours away for 2 years and then 16 hours away from my home town. The distance still wasn't enough to free me from that unknown force. My husband was supposed to go Korea for a year, and I couldn't imagine living so far from home with a one year old, so I moved back home until he left the military. I thought it was only temporary, yet here I am 9 years later.

The town I grew up in is definitely not the same. Urban sprawl is taking over. I long to be in a place where I can walk into a grocery store and not worry about who I am going to run into from high school -- trying to place names with faces. I would love to be in a place where people don't remember me as the chubby girl with coke bottle glasses and say, "Wow, your daughter is the spitting image of you." What does that really mean anyway?

I will keep looking for that ideal place. Until then, I better remember to put my face on when I go to grocery store and keep a copy of my yearbook out in the car.
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