6:42 PM

Wordful Wednesday

I am participating in Angie's Wordful Wednesday this week. Why not, you know?



Photobucket

This photo was taken of me this summer when I was in Seattle. My oldest, dearest friend Megan was getting married at the coolest venue you could ever imagine. It was a huge building owned by a movie set designer and had big multi-colored paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a really cool atmosphere all around. Megan looked so, so beautiful. My pictures of the wedding itself turned out kind of lousy since my camera sucks in dark-ish lighting, but it was a really cool ceremony and I will post a picture or two as soon as I have the opportunity to snag a decent one from someone else's flikr. Oddly enough, the pictures of me posing next to a rusty car after drinking several glasses of wine turned out just fine.

It seems as though I drink a lot of wine when I am in another city with no chance of driving and no kids to watch. Especially when it is free. And delicious. It kind of gave me a boost to know that, given the right conditions, I can still party like I used to. But I also realize how lonely it would be to spend my life partying all the time in a strange city with no car and no kids to watch. So, overall, I learned that I wouldn't trade my life for any other...but it is really nice to get a break from it sometimes.

8:20 PM

The Life and Death of a Vacuum

For my wedding shower, my in-laws bought us an awesome vacuum cleaner. My father in law is the kind of guy that will extensively search online before making a purchase. FIL searched and searched for the best vacuum cleaner to give to his youngest son and his blushing bride. I wasn't really blushing, but whatever.

Anyhoo, this particular vacuum cleaned my carpet as if it had been bitten by a snake and the particles on my floor contained the antidote. If I were the Federal Government, I would have called it NCLB (No Crumb Left Behind). NCLB and I were in the honeymoon stages for some time. Don't get me wrong, we had our ups and downs: the occasional belt mishap, the obligatory bag change, an unfortunate event involving a tightly wound elastic thread. But together, we got through it. We persevered through the tough times and NCLB always came out victorious in the battle of the crumbs.

It is sad to say, but the time has come for us to part ways. NCLB is now just an empty shell of what it once was. We no longer respect one another, and I often find myself cursing it in my head. It was a hard decision, but I can no longer stand idly by while NCLB performs poorly.

I have not yet broken the news to FIL. I know it will be as hard on him as it has been on me. The good news is, bogger extraordinaire Kathy over at Mama's Losin It is giving away a NEW VACUUM. I think she can kind of read my mind. Plus she is pretty. And a great writer. And I bet she can sing well and is really fun at a party. I am not just saying that because you are having a contest and I want extra points, Kathy. I really think you would be a great partygoer. And that is a very big compliment coming from me, because I am an awesome party guest, so I know how to spot this quality in a person.

When I report NCLBs expiration to FIL, I am hoping to be able to accompany this news with the announcement that I have also won a contest and a new vacuum. I think it will soften the blow.

6:42 PM

The Dream

It's that time again, folks. Behold, my weekly writing assignment courtesy of :


I chose the following prompt:

Do you have reoccurring dreams? What are they about?

WARNING: There is a little bit of gross-ness in this post. Nothing too bad, but I felt the need to warn you.

I do not currently have any recurring dreams, but there was a time in my life that I did. When I was a kid, I would have the strangest dream every time I was sick. Every single time. For about 5 years. It is more bizarre than you can imagine, which is why I can still see it all so vividly.

I am standing on a giant green surface. The green is sort of a felt-like material, but very textured. Kind of like a soft-ish astroturf. There are people around me, but they don't seem to be doing much of anything. They are just kind of milling around, and none of them look familiar. I take their lead and wander around for a while too until I realize that I am actually standing on a giant pool table. I find this out when a ball comes toward me at lightning speed. I run into one of the pockets and save myself. At this point, I would usually wake up, walk into my parents room, and throw up on the floor. Which meant I had actually walked past the bathroom. Why didn't I just go in there to throw up?

Anyway, I would go back to bed, fall asleep, and the dream would continue. I am standing in darkness in front of the doors of a very scary, extremely precarious church. It is a very tall and lopsided structure with uncomfortable angles sticking out every which way. The door is open and the light inside draws my attention to the crooked, rickety stairs going from the doorway all the way to the top. There is a Frankenstein-like monster holding a piano and trying to make his way up the stairs. He is groaning and sweating and drooling. He drops the piano down the steps and it comes, noisily plummeting, towards me. I stand at the bottom of the stairs paralyzed with fear. Then, I wake up and get sick again. This time, I destroy my entire bed. And at least a little bit of the carpet. Right next to the giant bucket my mom has provided for this exact purpose.

When I finally get back to sleep, I am now standing in line at a store. There's a long line of people ahead of me, but nobody is buying anything. Everyone walks up to the cashier and hands her a key. She tries to put it in the register and it doesn't fit. They walk off disappointed. Finally, it is my turn. I hand her my key and she puts it in the register. It fits! She congratulates me and there are bells ringing and all kinds of confetti and celebration. I feel pretty uneasy, but go along with the people who lead me to my prize.

They open up a door to a room and I go inside. I am standing in the clouds. There are pillows and feathers and lots of white and softness. Everything is weightless and perfect. There are children around me squealing with joy, throwing feathers into the air. Laughter and happiness surround me. I feel like I should love it. Except I effing hate it. I can't stand it in this cloud room. I want to get out of here. But how? I begin to sob. Not just cry, I actually sob. This is how I wake up, tears streaming down my face. Just in time to run into the bathroom. And I actually get there in time for a change.

So that's it. Weird, isn't it?

6:42 PM

Wordful Wednesday

I am participating in Wordful Wednesday this week. It is for people who couldn't possibly just post a picture without some sort of explanation. Which describes me exactly. Thanks Angie :).




The following picture represents the fruits of our labor and the success that was our ill-fated garden. We actually got real crops this year! Peppers, tomatoes, a coupla green beans, and herbs. The secret this year was that Andy was in charge of them. Worked like a charm.

Photobucket

It felt really good to use our own produce. Kind of makes me want to move to a farm. If Andy took care of it, of course.

8:23 PM

Extra Credit

This prompt was too hard to resist.



1.) Write about a brief, but scary encounter with one of your old professors or teachers.

It was my second year of teaching at a local college and I took part in the "Learning Commnities Institute". My role was to pair up with a professor from another department and integrate our curriculum. We would share a cohort of students but our classes would be held separately. Sounds easy enough, right?

I was paired with Professor "Maverick". Maverick has a stringy white combover atop a rectangular head. He often has spittle on the corner of his mouth and he has a large torso perched on the skinniest sticks of legs you have ever seen. His pants are 4 inches too short, and he wears them cinched under his large torso by a skinny belt that is barely keeping them up on his nonexistant ass. He speaks with an accent that I have never heard before. To say he is intriguing is an understatement. I wanted to know more about this human caricature. I welcomed the opportunity to meet with him.

When I walked into his cluttered, dirty office, he was eating cookies. He began talking immediately, going on and on about his course and his tests and his willingness to respect my professional autonomy. Then he tried to be hospitable and offered me a cookie. No thank you. He looked disappointed, but I didn't think I could eat anything that came out of this dirty office. Would I like a water at least? All that listening had really made me thirsty. How dirty could a bottle of water get from simply sitting in a dirty office? I accepted the offer.

Maverick then did the unthinkable. He picked up an old yogurt container. A quart sized one. He opened a teeny tiny refrigerator housed under the filthy desk, and he retrieved a tiny little ice tray. He then (gag) used his longish yellow fingernails to pry 10 little ice cubes out of the tray. One by one.

He placed them into the yogurt container, proceeded to take it into the MEN'S BATHROOM to fill it with water, and topped my beverage off with a straw he found in his top desk drawer. Then, with a crooked but sincere smile, he handed it to me, obviously proud of his hospitality.

What's a girl to do? Drink the Maverick-infested yogurt water or be a complete beeotch and just leave it sitting there after he had worked so painstakingly to prepare it?

Well, what would you do?

6:57 PM

My homework assignment

My homework assignment from




3.) You are 20 years in the future, write a letter to your todays self.

Dear Mrs. Whimsy,

One day, you will be able to run to the grocery store to pick up that one ingredient you need for dinner, and (brace yourself) you won't have to spend 20 minutes buckling carseats, taking short little steps into the store, explaining over and over again why you don't need the "double-wide" shopping cart with a petri dish disguised as a car in the front, and negotiating gum choices while in line.

Soon enough, you will be able to just say, "I am running out for milk. Stay out of trouble!" and you will come home to find that they have listened. They will actually stay out of trouble. And this will be a moment you cherish always.

In the meantime, let Ethan get in the damn petri dish once in a while. And stop asking Emily so many questions when she gets home from school. It's annoying.

Both kids will turn out just fine, so stop sweating the small stuff and just enjoy it.

Sincerely,
Old Lady Whimsy

12:33 PM

Strike 3: The Recycling Debacle

Our fourth grade spring project was to collect bottles and cans to be recycled. We learned all about the benefits of recycling, we colored pictures about recycling, we wrote an essay about recycling, the whole nine yards. To add to the excitement, there was a competition involved. The class that collected the most recyclables would be able to spend a portion of their recycling proceeds on a special lunch.


There was absolutely NO WAY we were going to let the other class win. The other class had a cool male teacher that looked like Tom Selleck and actually liked his job. There was actual joy going on in their classroom on a regular basis. What the hell did they need with a special lunch? By this time in the school year, my class had bonded like a bunch of miniature POWs. We had made it through this far, and this potential special lunch was the only thing we had to look forward to.



To say that Mrs. Miller's class rallied would be an understatement. We climbed under parked cars. We picked through people's trash. We did whatever it took to get that can. We mended our broken spirits with heart and determination. We dominated the competition. Mrs. Miller sent a moderately enthusiastic note home to our parents informing them that our hard earned recycling money would be spent on a McDonalds hamburger lunch. This is where the story takes an ironic turn.



When my mom read the note, she was a bit surprised at the McDonalds decision. If you recall, late 80s McDonalds hamburgers sported this non-recyclable styrofoam packaging. To Sandy, this contradiction was borderline hypocricy. What kind of lesson would we really learn about recycling if we chose to then turn around and contribute to a landfill? I saw her point. I did. After a series of notes home on the subject, it was clear that Mrs. Miller did not. At our special lunch, styrofoam was served.



So, that would be about the gist of strike 3. The class made it through the remainder of the year only thanks to inspirational tunes such as Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie's "We are the World" and Better Midler's "Wind Beneath my Wings". Our 5th and 6th grade teachers were wonderful women who taught us about Impressionist Art and let us make topographical maps out of salt and flour dough. And all was right once again.

6:59 PM

Men are from Venus Women are from Mars. Or is it the other way around: Men are from Mars Women are from Venus?

I was IMing with Kristy the other night and we were discussing this woman that we both respect. I was all, "She is so smart", and Kristy was all "I love her hair", and I was like "She has really cool glasses. And shoes." And Kristy was like "And her husband is hot!" and I was all, "She is just so talented. I think I love her." And Kristy was all, "ME TOO!!!".


Then we both reread our conversation....and came to the conclusion that this type of exchange would NEVER occur between men. Picture it:


One guy: "You know [Admirable Man]. He is really good at fixing things. And he has really nice tools."


Other Guy: Yeah. And he has really cool sneakers.


One Guy: I like his haircut a lot too... I wonder who cuts it.


Other Guy: Yeah, I wonder. He is just so amazing. I love him!


One guy: ME TOO!!!


Kristy and I have decided to conduct some unscientific research on this phenomenon we will refer to as "Girl Crushes". Our primary interest in this survey would be to determine the following:


1. Are we weird? Do all women feel this way? I am pretty sure we are normal, because Kathy has been exhibiting some serious Ellen admiration...and this Blogess chic is all over Amy Sedaris.


2. Do men ever exhibit man crushes? If so, do they keep this information to themselves or do they use some sort of man code like, "Yeah. He's cool." to communicate such feelings?


If you have any information that would be helpful to our quest, please do tell! Even if it means you are telling me that we are weird. We can take it.

12:14 PM

The Christmas Present

In order to satisfy your curiosity, I shall now divulge the story behind Mrs. Miller the Fourth Grade Killer's christmas gift.

My mother, (let's just call her Sandy), is not the type to give someone a generic gift. No candles or coffee mugs for this holiday elf. Sandy likes to give thoughtful and inspiring gifts. Sandy knew how much I disliked Mrs. Miller, but she did the right thing. She ordered her a nice set of pro-teacher notecards printed on recycled paper. How could a teacher not love that?

Well, as it turns out, said notecards had an earth and a peace sign on them....underneath were scribed the words "Wouldn't it be nice if schools had all the money they need and the military had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." As it turned out, Mrs. Miller had taken up schoolteaching only AFTER she had retired from the military. As you can imagine, she did not get the joke, much less appreciate it. That was strike 2 for me. (Strike 1 was, of course, the fact that I was smarter than her.)

Stay tuned for Strike 3: The Recycling Debacle

9:21 PM

Rainy Day Volcano

When you are a mom, rainy days are your worst nightmare. Without the luxury of "running off some steam", kids can quickly turn into whiny, combative little monsters. It sucks. In an effort to beat the "rainy day blues", we made a volcano out of junk that we found laying around the house. We also stayed in our PJs all day, ate our lunch in a fort in the living room, and painted some lovely pictures. I think I like rainy days now.



Before the big eruption:




After the big eruption:




New rule: When it rains, make something out of stuff your husband would refer to as "garbage".

7:44 PM

Letter to a 10 year old Me

Here is another writing assignment, courtesy of

http://mamakatslosinit.blogspot.com/

Dear Little Miss Whimsy,

I understand that this is quite possibly the worst year of your life. Looking back after all this time, I need you to know that you are right. Mrs.-Miller-the-Fourth-Grade-Killer is a horrible teacher and a complete bitch (please don't tell Mom I said that). Her plaid bellbottomed pantsuits are not OK. Her inclination to dump your desk all over the floor in front of the whole class is not OK. Her inability to treat her students like people is not OK. You are right to be pissed and hate school.

OK, don't get all down on yourself because of the realization that this year will suck so badly for you that you will still remember it in 18 years. Let's take a look at the bright side. The next 18 years of your life are going to be, like, totally awesome. Let me break it down for you:

1. You are going to keep all of your awesome friends. I am not even kidding. You will still talk to them when you are as old as me. They will always be there for you when you need them. They are truly irreplaceable.

2. You are going to meet more awesome friends. They will be smart and funny, and appreciate how smart and funny you are. One or more of them may even tell you that you are a good singer. More than one of them will appreciate your extraordinary abilities at trivia games. They will also come over to your house even though they are allergic to your animals.

3. Your baby sister grows up to be a REALLY cool chick. I would actually consider her to be a great friend. She is smart, pretty, and witty. You are going to love her even more than you do now. (Note: When you are a crabby teenager and she hides your car keys, they are in the fig tree.)

4. Your mom will eventually be one of your best friends. You will appreciate her intelligence, her resourcefulness, and her ability to be comfortable with the fact that she is almost always right. You will almost even kinda want to be a little bit just like her.

5. You will soon realize how much Tom loves you and that he is honestly the most supportive person you will ever meet. He is also really wonderful at making mixed drinks. You should start calling him Dad.

6. You are going to have a great husband. He will be so wonderful that you will be able to overlook the fact that he is a horrible speller and he once wore very ugly shoes. He will always remind you how wonderful you are and he can fix almost everything. He is also good at directions. And he is hot. 'Nuff said.

7. You are going to have two great kids. One of them actually reminds me of you. She is really freaking funny, super cute, and outrageously talented. The other one reminds me of a clown. A really adorable clown with no props or makeup. You will love them more than anything and really enjoy being their mother.

Do you understand now? If you can get through this year, things will be smooth sailing. You will be free to live a charmed life. A couple of tips to get you through:

1.The next time Mrs. Miller dumps your desk, thank her and give her a really big smile. It will throw her off.

2. Do not, I repeat, do not give this meanie-teacher the christmas gift your mother purchases for her. It will only make things worse. Much, much worse. Trust me. Give her a construction paper cutout of a christmas tree or something. You will thank me later.

3. On the last week of school, you will give Mrs. Miller the book "Sodoko and the Thousand Paper Cranes". She will read this book aloud to the class and she will cry real tears. Only then will you realize that she is a real live human and she actually has feelings. Mrs. Miller has a heart. It is just hard to see because it is covered with all those layers of ice.

4. Michael Jackson will turn out to be a complete weirdo.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Whimsy