Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today's Not the Day

My first article with the Journal of the Colorado Language Arts Society--just happens to be about one experience I had in the classroom...the only time I was ever frightened. And yes, it was because of a weapon. It's just a glimpse at the love I have for every kid that enters my classroom.

Today's Not the Day

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Substitute.

Recently I've had a student teacher in my classroom--an absolutely amazing student teacher, I might add.  So after spending a lot of time working on the publication side of my first novel, planning my next few units out, and reading a ton of short stories that I plan on using, I've more or less been a substitute in my building.  With the flu season kicking in, substitutes are needed.

And what an experience it's been thus far.  Oh yes.

I've learned a few things in the past few weeks that I thought I'd share with you.  Here goes...

  1. Nose pickers gross me out.  They have no shame as they dig in there and pull out a doozy.
  2. Booger eaters make me want to yack.  Especially when they are chewing away on the slimy ooze, then look to their fingers in hope of finding some more delicious goodness.
  3. 6th graders love, love, LOVE cheesy jokes.  And I love the 10 second pause they take before actually getting the joke.  (The one I told "Why was the nose sad?  Because he did not get picked"--I was hoping the nose picker/eater would get the double entendre I was exposing him to...but no such luck).
  4. I have no clue about science.  Seriously.  Lights on, but nobody is home.  I should've paid more attention in school.
  5. My math skills versus today's math skills are completely different.  As a matter-of-fact, my way of performing mathematical functions are "old-fashioned", as in "Dr. Collins is that the old-fashioned way of doing math?"  Bite me.
  6. Our special education teachers are actually angels, goddesses, saints--you name it.  Of all the substitute experiences I had these past few weeks, this particular class took the cake.  I fell instantly in love with the kids, who were the kindest and sweetest little kids ever.  Except perhaps the boy who wanted to discuss weapons, drugs, and body parts--just typical conversations I have on a daily basis with students--NOT!  Or the poor little girl who burst into tears because she couldn't find her paper.  Some of us are equipped to handle complete meltdowns every 30 seconds, and some of us simply are not.  I don't think I need to say which category I fall into.  Regardless, to do this work every day is without question a gift from above given to a few.  Thank God for them!
  7. The "Dr." in front of my name confuses the young.  They asked me countless times what hospital I worked at and when I found the time to be a doctor.  Funny!  Especially since I am extremely nervous around anyone who looks, acts, or is ill in the slightest of manners.
  8. I have a presence.  I am little, but I am fierce.  And I don't even have to say a thing.  Pretty cool.
  9. These kids adore their teachers.  And they love the other teachers in my building.  I loved when they asked if I could always be their sub--how cute is that?  
  10. The gullibility of 6th graders is priceless.  When asked who was teaching my class, I told them 8th graders are so together they don't need teachers.  I leave the instructions on the board and they just get it done (yeah, right).  "Wow, can't wait to be in 8th grade" was heard more than once.  
So yep.  Here's to all you substitutes out there.  Whew.  It's quite the experience.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Is in the Air!

I love fall.  I love the crisp, cool air.  I love the way the trees turn into golden, mystical creatures or vibrant orange and red.  I love the way I suddenly have the urge to eat apples (which I've been doing every day for the last three weeks.  There's just something special about fall.

Years ago, when my kids were little, Fall meant shopping for Halloween costumes, decorating the house with feign spider webs, and buying a TON of candy (we were on the one for the kids at the door and two for us type of system).  We carved pumpkins every year, got lost in the corn maze, and prayed for good weather come Halloween night.

And then, somewhere along the way, my babies grew up.

Here it is, October 26th, and everything has changed.  I'll still go shopping for my daughter's costume, but no longer for the trick-er-treating that used to occur.  No, instead for a Halloween dance that she's dying to go to.  My son is long past the costumes, not even mentioning getting a mask this year.  And the candy?  What candy, unless it's for me.  Being the only house on the street means no trick-er-treaters, unless I force my kids to stand on the porch, ring the bell, and yell "Trick-er-treat!" like I did last year...

With this being said, I can't tell you my delight when my son said to me last night, "Mom, when are we carving pumpkins?"  And my daughter busting at the seams to get her costume perfectly in place.  So while things have changed in my home, I'm still so thankful we're doing SOMETHING to ring in the Fall.

I don't know what I'll do when both my kids are too old to care about the season.  Well, I guess that will mean dressing up the dog (can't wait to show off his costume for this year) and maybe my hubby... haha  =)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Getting the Workout ON!

I'm sitting here at my desk, shoveling a Hostess cupcake into my mouth, and thinking how great I've been doing at working out.  Yeah, I'm a walking contradiction over here.  Seriously though.  There's something about hitting the gym 3-5 times every week that makes eating this cupcake simply A-OK.

There's no guilt.  There's no worry about it staying on my ass for the next few weeks.  Nope.  Nothing of the sort.  Because I know, I'll be zumba-ing it all off tomorrow.  So for now, I'm going to take another bite and enjoy.  Yum.

Monday, July 30, 2012

On Sabbatical

It's been awhile since I've blogged or written any articles for the Glass Heel (only one up last week, another to be published this week--that's it for the summer...).  I've been working aimlessly on my first YA (young adult) novel.  I'm up to 43,000 words and Chapter 21.  So I've been a bit preoccupied with that...and hope to finish it by next week.  Writing the ending of a book is bittersweet and with this book it's no difference.  It always amazes me where a story ends up--and where this one is ending up so far is not at all where I planned it to be.  This story is a coming of age for a young girl in the Midwest.  There's the laughter, the tears, the confusion, the hard knocks--ya' know, all those things that are needed when growing up.

On that note, my first book--Mr. Rights Gone Wrong--is in the works to get published.  I'm hoping to be sitting in the Tattered Cover at my first book signing in the next 6 months.  I love that this store really embraces Colorado authors.  While I don't expect to make money, yet, I have learned the importance of networking, networking, networking.  I'm not a good networker...although my husband disagrees.

The novel I'm currently working on--Everything--will most likely be seen another year from now--I already have the sequel spinning in my mind...  One day I hope to be a full-time author.  For now, it's a dream that I am demanding to come true.

So that's where I've been, in case you've wondered.  =)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Burberry Dreams...ahhh.

Beginning two years ago I fell in love with this gorgeous Burberry tote and wallet.  Every single time we went to the Cherry Creek Mall, there I'd be in Burberry.  Just asking to hold it on my arm and flip through the wallet.  Whenever I was at the Park Meadows mall, I'd take a stroll into Nordstrom and go straight to the designer handbags.  There she sat, where I'd once again hang her from my arm, then flip through the wallet.

In 2010, when I graduated with my doctorate degree, I was quite intent on making the purchase.  I remember heading into Burberry with my husband (Kent), checkbook in tow.  The saleslady took down my bag and I held it on my arm for about ten minutes.  But when she rang up the price, and I saw the total being well over $1200 with tax, I just couldn't do it.  Purchase it that is.  So I handed her back and kept the monies in my savings account.

And then last Monday, as my daughter and I strolled through Nordstrom, something almost miraculous happened (stop laughing, Kent, it WAS miraculous).  I did my usual ritual--holding her on the crook of my arm.  This time I tried to take a step and the security chain tugged her back.  "Can't go far with that bag!" laughed the saleslady.  "Oh, I know that..." I laughed back, placing her back upon the shelf.

I walked over to the matching wallet, who wasn't chained down, picked her up, just wishing to make her mine.  My daughter, so used to the Burberry ritual, stood and waited for me to finish.  Eventually I did, and we started making our way to another part of the store.  Before exiting the Designer Handbag section, another saleslady stopped me.  "You know...that tote that you seemed so fond of is actually going on sale next Friday."

"What?!  I thought Burberry never went on sale!" my voice was filled with astonishment.  After all, I'd been eyeing this bag for over two years and never had I seen a sale sign.  Never.

"Well, it's not the typical sale.  Our manager wants to try to get some customers excited.  The only bag going on sale is the one your hand was on."

"How much?"

"40% off."


"Seriously.  I can presell it to you if you'd like.  We open at 10:00 and I guarantee it'll be gone by 10:05."

My mind started swirling with mathematical calculations.  For the last few months I'd been saving my pocket money and had over $500 to go toward my Burberry Dreams.  I'd been planning on saving through December or as long as it took to make my Burberry Dreams come true.  I was thrilled!  I was elated!  I'd barely have to dip into our savings account.  Yay!

"Okay, sign me up!  I'll be here first thing on Friday morning!"  The woman filled out the necessary forms, making sure to jot down both the bag and the wallet.  The moment she finished I was on cloud nine.  Not only were my Burberry Dreams about to come true, but I'd be SAVING money too.  Yes!

The moment we finished the transaction I had to call my husband.  Two weeks earlier we had the Burberry Dream talk.  "How many Coach bags do you think you buy every year?" he began.  

"I don't know 2-3?"


"Yes..."  Not all of them count...

"Okay, if you didn't buy any Coach bags for say three years you'd have enough for the Burberry, right?"

"So you're saying if I promise not to buy any Coach bags for three years, we'll head down to Burberry and buy my bag and wallet?"


I had to think about this deal before signing on.  After all, three years is a LONG time.  We didn't make the deal.

And now I had the Burberry without having to make such a crappy deal!  Yes!  My husband was happy for me and my purchase.  I could see him just shaking his head at his desk, smiling at my glee.  But believe me, there are many purchases he makes that make no sense to me.  Like his $1000 bike and the other $1300 he's spent on the "accessories"--seriously.  To make his ass hurt, that's what he spent?  But whatever makes him happy...

Friday couldn't come soon enough.  I woke up early, went to the gym, got ready to hit the mall and sat in the parking lot for a good 30 minutes before the doors opened.  It was a Friday morning and there was a line outside of Nordstrom.  I don't know if this is normal, but I was happy I was a presale.  The bag was mine.

I was greeted by a transvestite.  She was kind, but so homely.  One would think that if you want to be a woman, you'd at least shave the beard.  But whatever.  I liked her immediately.  We chatted about her morning and the employee that fell in the parking lot earlier.  The ambulance had to pick her up, which was making my saleslady's job a nightmare.  "Take your time ringing me up," I told her.  "I've been waiting two years for my Burberry Dream to come true, a few more minutes isn't going to matter."

She went in the back room to retrieve my new love.  The anticipation was killing me!  "Oh, no," she said as she started manning the cash register.  Panic arose in my eyes and I waited for her to continue.  "I know you were told the wallet is on sale too, but it's not.  Only the bag."

"Really?" I asked trying to figure out if I still wanted the wallet.  It's not a couple hundred bucks we're talking about here, but rather $375.  No, I wouldn't be able to get the wallet without the discount.  It just wouldn't be mine.

"Well, I'm going to give the discounted price to you, honey.  You've been waiting all week and lord knows Jenny wrote it down for you on your slip.  I'm going to honor that for you, sweetheart."

"Really?!  Thank you so much!"  See it was meant to be.

The total came up on the screen and I took out my wad of cash.  "I'm paying for it in cash," I said.  "I've been saving for awhile."

"Well, I guess you have, honey.  That is how everyone should make their purchases.  Save up and then buy it.  I can't tell you how many people try buying their Burberry on their credit card and the thing gets declined.  Good for you, sweetie!"  Seriously, I was loving this girl.

Finally the bag was wrapped, as was the wallet.  I literally skipped out of the store.  And that, my friends, is how my Burberry Dreams came true.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sometimes Ya' Gotta Tell Them To F-Off.

So there I was, chillaxin' at the pool with my hubby.  He took the day off in order to spend some much needed time together.  Life this summer has taken hold, and we've been busy--and our alone time has suffered.  Before hitting the movies and over to Texas DeBrazil (dinner tonight, thanks to Julia and Chiz!), we decided to catch some rays.

We brought our Subway sandwiches and drinks, beach towels donning the lounge chairs, sunscreen all over our bods.  The sun had been soaking us in for about 30 peaceful minutes.  Beautiful, quiet, serene minutes.  There were barely any others at the pool, one of the luxuries of not working during the week.

And then the family of hillbillies came traipsing through the gate.  Three women that could fill the entire baby pool, two men, and a shitload of kids--at least 6--and they were all boys.  And it was still fine when they started canon-balling into the pool.  And it was still fine when they were screaming at the top of their lungs, as though the invention of a pool had never been introduced to them before.  And it was still fine when the squirt guns came out and they were firing shots at each other within reach.

Things were still fine when the father started screaming at his kids to stop talking to their mother in the profane manner that they were.  Things were still fine when one of the mothers told one of the little boys that she'd "Beat the shit outta him if he didn't stop squirting her."  Things were still fine when one child began to sink, and started to scream for help.

And we lay there, the sun taking ahold of us, not saying a word.  We relaxed through the mayhem.  Soon Kent arose and dove into the pool, anything to get away from the noise or perhaps simply because he was too hot.  Who knows?

And there I lay, feet toward the pool, about 10 feet from the pool's edge.  Next to the Rules and Regulations sign that clearly stated several infractions these yahoos were breaking.  But who am I to enforce them?  No, not my job.  It's the summer.  I'm here to relax, to swim, to relax, and oh, yes, to relax.

I tuned out the annoyances so close to my right, focusing on my hubby who was swimming around.  And that's when a huge burst of water hit me directly between my legs.  It was like a bidet cleaning with my suit still on.  "JESUS CHRIST!" I yelled in shock and jumped up out of my seat.

And one of the piece of shit mothers, who ten minutes ago was cursing out her kid, had the audacity to harp in on me.  There was no apology.  There was no "Hey, son, say your sorry to the lady that you just violated with your squirt gun."  No, there was nothing but a "If you don't want to get wet you shouldn't be at a pool."  Oh really.

And without a moment's thought or a moment's hesitation, I had to tell this woman, and the other two women who stood with her, to all "F-off."  Except I used the word.

If I seem a bit self-righteous, I don't really care.  There's nothing worse than parents who are unable to control their children in public places.  Seriously.  If it's that difficult, please turn your ass around and go home.  Public places aren't merely for your children to run amuck.  They're not cute.  They are annoying--as are the adults who are unable to control them.

And by the way--Rule #2: No throwing of water.

Tomorrow I'll hit the pool again, and when I do I'll be sure to bring my headphones and super soaker.  Except it won't be the kids I'll be aiming for, it'll be their parents.

Enough said.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Memorial Day Hell.

Memorial Day weekend.  I could end the story with that one fragment of a sentence, but what would be the fun in that?  I swear, between my kids and the dog, there's never any reprieve.  Every year, I get all excited right around Memorial Day weekend.  The planning take hold, lists are compiled--this sudden urge for the perfect summer-kick-off-weekend is always on the forefront.  It's as though if the first summer weekend is perfect, the rest of the summer season will fall easily into place.  And as my children are getting older, these summers feel more and more important--to me, if not to anyone else.

And so this year, after the last two DISASTER camping trips on Memorial Day weekend, I was bound and determined to have the perfect summer-kick-off.  Lists were made--from camping supplies to the food we'd bring.  Great preparation was taken going through all of the gear, with another shopping trip getting all the supplies that were either missing, broken, or seemingly essential for this year's trip.  Marissa and I spent two hours filling the cart, deciding on what was needed and even putting back some things that seemed silly to buy (i.e. the plastic carton to hold the eggs).  I strategically packed the Sorento, perfecting this job with ease and skill that the women in my family all seem to have.

As we hit the road, kids were happily listening to their music, dog found a comfy spot between them both, and there was excitement in the air.  Granted it was a bit windy out, but we figured it'd either die down or it wouldn't be that bad in the location we were headed.  Before hitting up the lake, Brandon would be playing in his last soccer game of the season.  His game went well--they won once again, Gates enjoyed chilling under the tree with Kent, and I sat and watched the game with Riss.  Perfection was still looming all around, and I was happy.

Two and a half hours later, we piled back into the Sorento and hit the road lake bound.  We were all quite anxious to arrive, set up the tent, and get our camp on!  Oh yeah.  The ride itself was enjoyable--in other words, there was no arguing or bickering or moments where I wanted to pull over to beat some kids.  Yup, good trip.

Upon arrival, the wind seemed to take notice and apparently wanted to greet us.  Kent and I made our way down to introduce ourselves to some of my sister's friends (who were also camping for the weekend--except in campers, not tents) and figure out where to sent up our site.  The wind was approaching 25 miles an hour at this point.

The lake was beautiful.  Gates was getting along famously with Body (sister's boyfriend's dog).  Kids were happy.  My husband kept giving me the look of "Yeah, this isn't going to end well," which I was pleasantly avoiding.

"Babe," he began.  I looked toward the lake.  "Babe," he said a bit louder.  I turned my head and flashed a beautiful smile toward him.  The smile that always makes him melt.  He grinned back, shook his head, and asked, "Where are thinking this tent's going up?  It's going to be like a kite in this wind."

"It'll be fine," I answered nodding over toward the trees.  Perfect.  I mean the trees will totally block the wind, right?  "How about in there?  Next to the water, in the trees."  The kids were all for it, running toward "our" spot.  They began clearing branches, making sure our spot was ready.

"You do realize this site is at an incline?" he questioned.

"Yeah, that's fine.  We'll face the water--it'll be fine."  I honestly had no idea whether or not it'd be fine.  At this point the wind picked up to about 30 miles per hour.

"Honey, you do realize it's all sand over here."

"Kent, it's FINE.  Plus the sand makes it easier for the tent stakes to go into the ground."  Which was completely true.  No need for the mallet over here!

By this time the dogs were running through the water, chasing each other and having a grand old time.  I was pleased that Gator was doing so well!  After all, he'd never been off leash like this before--except at home every now and then.  But never in public.  And he was behaving.  This was going to be the perfect weekend.

Kent and the kids started unloading the camping supplies and bringing them down to the site.  I was supervising (the MOST important job, if you ask me).  Kent was unrolling the tent, getting the long tent thingies put together, and I was putting the stakes into the tabs.  "Wow, babe, this is easy breezy!"  The tent stakes slid right into the sand, no problem.  I thought back to last year when I was pounding them into the rock--yeah, that was awful.

And it was perfect.

For about 10 seconds.

Then this gust of wind picked up our tent, with no regard for the tent stakes I meticulously put into place.  "Sit on the tent while I try to put the tent rods in," Kent directed.  And so I sat.

And the moment I got up, the tent soared into the air, with sand flying straight into our eyes.  "This isn't going to work," he started and I had no choice but to agree.  Sand was everywhere--the tent stakes were now buried, but without the tent.  Yeah, the wind was going to win this one.

I headed over to the others to tell them of our dilemma, when I heard Brandon and Marissa screaming for Gator.  He had long tired of the water and running with Body, and decided to jump the fence across the way.  The fence that housed the farmer's cows.  "Ah, shit," I mumbled and started to whistle for the damn dog.

He was going nowhere but after the cows.  And that's when I saw this big ole' cow begin to jump two fences, with Gator right on her heel.  He was barking and herding her.  And we were all screaming for him to "COME!"  Yeah, he didn't listen.  And that when we saw the heifer lift her leg and give Gates a huge kick.  Marissa started screaming and crying, and I began to worry.  I know the power behind those kicks--not first hand, but from my sister who is a dairy farmer, and has had her fair share of injuries.  Thinking my poor dog was killed, I lunged toward the field, yelling his name.  Kent was on my heels.

And that's when I saw him, the prodigal son returning home.  He was limping, made his way in-between the barbed wire fence, and collapsed right at my feet.  "We're going to have to take him to the vet!" I told Kent, afraid his leg was broken.  Marissa was now in hysterics when another camper headed toward us.

"If the farmer sees any dogs chasing his cow, he'll shoot them on site."  That was enough to send Marissa and Brandon over the edge.  Suddenly my angel babies turned into mafia maniacs and were ready to come unglued on the farmer.

"We are going.  Let's packed up and blow this clam bake.  We can go camping in a hotel, with a pool and room service, but I'm done with this!"  the mama bear had spoken.  Kent took Gates and walked off his injury.  He was fine, just a bit shaken up.  Within a few minutes his limp was gone.

So another year, another Memorial Day weekend that bit the dust.  And I've decided that next year, should we want to ring in the summer, we will do so poolside.  As for camping in Colorado, May is simply too early.

We did make it home, safe and sound.  Ordered pizza and movies that night, went bowling the next night, and ended up having a great weekend--tent-free!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Groupon Groupie

 Hello.  My name is Meredith Collins and I'm addicted to Groupon.  *pause for audience sighs and acknowledgement of my admission*

This addiction started a few weeks ago when I downloaded the Groupon app on my phone.  Since that time, I've found myself clicking on the app to open up the glorious savings that miraculously appear every day.  EVERY DAY.  *look away, trying to contain excitement over the wonder of this technology*

Usually, I just look through the items up on sale--Featured, Now!, Getaways, and Goods--trying not to click on the BUY.  It's been a struggle.  *pause again as the sympathetic sigh makes a wave over the crowd.

But then, upon me was a deal I couldn't pass up--2 hours of horseback riding through the Rocky Mountain National Park for 4 people for ONLY $99!  Incredible buy!  I immediately set up my Groupon account and that's when the addiction began...  *look down in shame*

Suddenly, I have the need to get a manicure in Lakewood, sushi in Denver (I hate sushi, but my husband loves it), and a facial in the DTC.  Seriously.  *shakes head in disgust*

I'm looking forward to summer--to seeing all the great savings and adventures my children and I will get to go on, due to Groupon.  I've even added the cites in Florida so I can get the savings when our family goes on vacation!  We can save all over the country!  *oops.  I'm regressing.*

Working on my Groupon addiction is going to take more than 12-steps, I'm afraid.  It's kind of like Kohl's--I feel like I'm getting paid to shop!

P.S.  To my husband, Kent--this is a COMPLETE work of fiction.  Don't feel the need to suddenly check our bank account for any Groupon withdrawals.  It's all under control...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just a Few Little Words...

Last night, after my son finally got home from work, I made my way upstairs to get ready for bed.  Everyone was exhausted from a long week.  After brushing my teeth and throwing on one of my husband's shirts (the best form of PJs ever), I crawled into our bed and set the alarm.

There was a knock on our door and as it creaked open my son made his way in.  "G'night, honey," I began when I saw a look of perplexity on his face.  "Didn't you see," he started with his eyes wandering over to my dresser.  I jumped up quickly and feasted a look upon some beautiful roses.  There was a card propped up in front of them.  MOM was written on the card.  "Oh my god!" the excitement evident in my voice.  "No, I didn't look on my dresser."  He was beaming from ear-to-ear, so proud of the reaction he was getting from a very happy mother.  I reached for the card and opened it--seeing the "From Your Son" perched up on top.

This was the first time my son has done anything like this for me.  Yes, I've gotten things for Mother's Day before, but never has he put his own time, his own money, and his own way of surprising me into something.  And I can tell you, it felt really good to be on the receiving end of things.  I pulled him into my arms and hugged him tight.  I love the way he hugs back--real hugs, not superficial or any holding back.  "I love you, Fuzz," I began with the tears beginning to well up.  "I love you too, mom.  Happy Valentine's Day."  "Don't you mean Mother's Day?" I asked with a grin.  "Yes, you know what I mean," he said with a smile and hugged me again.  It felt amazing to be thought of--to feel appreciated and loved.

I went into Marissa's room to give her a g'night hug and kiss and to ask if she knew what her brother had been up to.  "No, mom, what'd he do?" she asked leaping from her bed and into my room.  "Ohh," she admired looking at the roses and his thoughtful card.  "Can I give you my gift early?  I don't want to look like a loser."  "Seriously?  You're not a loser, don't say that."  I always hate when the kids cut themselves down.  "Can I, mom?"  "If you want to--it's up to you."

She ran down the stairs to get the masterpiece she created.  The girl knows how to wrap a present.  She sat on my bed with anticipation as I began to open her gift--beginning with the beautiful card that she had made.  I love homemade cards, and often miss the days when they were younger.  The artwork, cards, poems, and just stuff they created for me was always so treasured--still is.  "I love your card, Marissa!  It's beautiful!" I told her as showed it to my hubby and began to tear into package number one.

Inside was a beautiful, flowery dress--in swirls of purples, pinks, and whites.  "I thought you could wear this to the Mother's Day tea that we're going to," she told me.  "It's perfect," I said feeling the silky material.  Marissa always picks out clothes for me that I'd never pick out for myself.  I tend to wear black almost every day.  I love black.  One day as we were shopping she asked me, "Mom, are you depressed or something because you're always wearing black!  You need to wear the bright colors!"  I couldn't help but laugh and tell her, "No, I'm not depressed.  I just like black."

Box number two produced another bright, flowery shirt and white capris.  The last time we shopped together I had tried on a pair of white capris, but couldn't imagine myself actually wearing them.  She loved them on me, told me buy them, but I've never worn white pants before.  Just couldn't do it.  "You looked good in those white capris, Mom."  "I love them, Riss.  And I love this shirt!"  "Now you have two outfits for the Mother's Day weekend--one for the tea, and something to wear on Mother's Day."  I pulled her in for a hug, so grateful to have such a thoughtful daughter.

As I hung the dress up in my closet, and put the boxes on the side of my bed, I had to go into her room and give her another hug.  We had had an argument earlier this week, and there were a few little words that had hurt during that argument.  I just wanted to let her know that I appreciated her card more than anything.

I plopped down on her bed, telling her exactly that, and giving her another hug.  And that's when a few little more words came out of her mouth.  "You're a really good mom.  We should celebrate more than one day a year for you."  And that's when the waterworks of happiness began.

It's so easy to tell someone the things you can't stand, the things that need to be changed, and the things that are negative based.  And you know what?  It's easy to say the good things too.  Those things should be said.  Hearing those words coming from my stubborn, teenage daughter's mouth meant the world to me.  I know how difficult it is for her, as I was much the same.

A few moments ago before my kids headed out the door for Brandon's early soccer game (we're leaving 45 minutes after them, as he needs to be there early and wanted to take his own car), he showed Marissa what he had gotten me for Mother's Day.  "I was going to get you a dozen roses, Mom.  But everyone does that.  I wanted something different."  "I absolutely love the vase, and its uniqueness," I told him.  "Yeah, me too."  He gave me another hug as Marissa described, along with me, what she got me for my special day.

And I have to tell you--the best part of this morning wasn't the retelling of last night's gifts.  It was the peace amongst my two babies.  That's right.  No bickering, no arguing, just love.  And honestly, I think that's all any mother truly wants for Mother's Day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Baby Girl

Today, as I was in the midst of helping my student prepare for their mock trial, my phone vibrated with an urgent text message.  My daughter was in the middle of her French class, wasn't feeling too good, and thought she was going to hurl.  Eww.  I texted her back quickly telling her to get to the nurse and to call me as soon as she could.  I put my phone on and warned my students that it may go off.  "My daughter's sick," I told my sympathetic students.  They are all so understanding.

A few minutes later my phone vibrated again, this time with a phone call.  I took it out in the hall, where she told me she was running a fever and still felt like puking.  I hate it when my kids are sick--especially when it happens with one class period left and without the ability to just leave my job.  "Stay put," I told her, "until the bell rings.  Go straight home with Fuzz and I'll meet you there."  I felt bad not being able to just drop everything and go to her.

On my way home I stopped over at Safeway to grab her some soup and TUMS to help her upset belly.  Poor thing.  By the time I arrived, my son was headed out the door toward work.  During the week I see him for the "good mornings" and "good nights" I miss my son.  Anyway, I raced into the house to find my sick child.  She was feeling much better--thank GOD!  There's nothing more frightening than anyone that's going to puke.  Yeah, just not for me.

She made some soup, I got dinner started, and before I knew it all of her homework was scattered all over the kitchen table.  She had Biology homework, a Biology project, English homework--reading and questions, and was working on something else on top of that.  I jumped on over to see if she needed any help.  And she did.  We worked on her Biology project and homework--I drew and she embellished.  We couldn't help but laugh at my pathetic drawings, although she did say they were much better than what she could create (which I doubt, I am NO artist...).  Over dinner we tackled her English--reading every other chapter out loud and answering all of the study questions.  She completed everything, rather we completed everything, in only 2 hours.

I cherish these moments with my daughter.  Watching her, listening to her, studying along side of her.  It's these simple times with her that I know I'll miss the most when she's out on her own.  When she was little, it was snuggling with a PowerPuff Girls book or putting together a poster for school.  It was the way she would grab ahold of my hand to cross the street or run toward me at the end of the school day, so excited to see me.  Today it was more than just homework.  Today it was living in a moment of her young adulthood and appreciating the fact that she still needed me--even if it was just for some vocal words or reading along side of her.

It's the needing that I think I'll miss the most some day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Running...and not away

Whew!  Today I started Week 7, Day 1 of my Couch to 5K app that I have going on my iPhone.  Honestly, tomorrow is really the 5th week of my new running venture--however, the app only has me running 3 days per week, and I've been running 4-5 days a week--which has put me ahead of the game.

Running is not something I was ever good at.  I ran when my coaches made me, but other than than--NO WAY!  I even faked an injury in high school so I could be the track manager instead of having to run the track.  Seriously.

But a while ago, one of my husband's really good friends and my friend too, began running--using a C25K app on his phone as well.  He's now run several 5Ks and even a leg in a marathon!  I know, right? I was so impressed and in awe of his success.  If he could do it, certainly so could I?  Besides there's nothing I like more than a little competition--even if I'm only competing with myself.

The first few weeks I did think I was going to die.  I was so out of breath, but kept on going.  What I love about the app is how it doesn't just throw you into the fire, instead I eased onto the coals.  Still get the pain, but it's doable.

I remember the week when I had to run 5 minutes straight--on and off with walking.  I didn't think I'd make it.  Whenever I started to falter, I would think of Bryan (friend mentioned above) and say to myself, "If that F*&^%! can do it, so can I!!"  Granted, I don't think Bryan is a F*&^%! in any way--it's just what I needed for my motivation.  And it worked.  Then I had to run for 8 minutes in a row, then 10 minutes.  Each time I went into the gym thinking there was no way I could do it--and each time I proved myself wrong.

Today, as I ran for TWENTY-FIVE minutes straight, I felt really proud.  I've never been a runner, and today I almost felt like one.  Of course, I still look like absolute hell as I'm running--I'm sweating like crazy, breathing out of rhythm until the 10th or so minute, sometimes singing out loud when I don't realize I am, pulling down on my tank as it rides up over my ass...yeah, I'm still a bit of a mess.  But I'm loving it.  I'm feeling great.

And the BEST feeling of all is that I know this is the year I'll be able to actually make good on a promise that I made to my daughter years ago.  See, we've been walking the Race to the Cure for the past 8 years together (9 for me).  Every year Marissa asks if we can run the race and every year I say, "Next year.  I promise, next year I'll train and we'll be able to run it."  And this year we WILL be running the race--and I have a feeling I just might beat her...  =)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bring Your Child to Work Day

Ahhh.  Another bring your child to work day--which equates to half of my students being absent.  It reminds me of when my children used to go to work with me.  There was one year when my daughter, when she was just a little first grader came to Hinkley High School.  She stood in front of my seniors, perform one of her cheer routines, and then gave them a speech all about Earth Day and why conservation should become a part of their lives.  She was adorable!

And the time when she came to Hinkley High School with me, as a 2nd grader, performed another cheer routine, then proceeded to read the opening soliloquy of Romeo and Juliet.  The students looked at her with awe and admiration--then knew my expectations of them would be really high.  After all if a 2nd grader could read it, there would be no excuses for them.  Over the years as she got older, there were times when she came with me to Sky Vista--sometimes making my copies, sometimes helping out the kids, sometimes just waiting for us to go to lunch.  This is the first year in quite sometime that she hasn't come to work with me.  But she was here on Tuesday, when the Juniors were taking their ACT exam, helping me with all of my copying.  Taking her to work with me every so often will be one of those things that I'll miss when she gets too old and too busy to come.

My son is a whole other story.  When he went to Sky Vista, he would want to "go to work with me" and basically just sit at my desk all day.  He was just content to not have to go to any of his classes.  Another part of him revered in the fact that the students that were there had to attend, while he got to just hang out with mom.  Yeah.  There were years when he went with his dad though and he'd come home talking about how fun it was to play on the computer, play soccer at lunch, and go out for lunch.

Take your child to work day--something I'll miss, something I already miss a bit with my own kids.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Wait

Every night that my son has to work, I sit and wait for him to get home.  I can't sleep.  I can't relax.  I can't stand when he's even two minutes past the time I expect him to be home.  So that's what I'm doing.  Sitting here.  Waiting.  And hoping he gets here no later than the expected 9:30 arrival time.  *sigh*

And so I wait.  With Marissa.  Who doesn't seem to have any of the impatience that I'm experiencing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

That's What Friends Are For

Yesterday as I was getting ready to leave school and head home, my husband called--something's that a bit out of the ordinary.  Usually it's me that gives him a holler, as I'm racing toward the gym or home or wherever.  I picked up the phone to the sound of his voice, except this time it was filled with worry.  Our good friend, J, was suffering from a migraine so severe that her butt was planted in the ER.  I rushed home as quickly as I could and the two of us zoomed on over to Rose.

When we walked into the ER, I'm not even going to lie--I was nervous, petrified, expecting to see iotas of bodies on the verge of death.  I slumped behind my hubby, grabbed ahold of his arm, and continued down the hall to Room 8.  There was a doctor sitting at my friend's side, her head tilted down, the pain obvious.  I gave her mom a hug hello, as J looked up at us.  She looked awful.  Poor thing!  There was an IV sticking out of her arm, the monitor going, and although the lights were dim--not dim enough to anyone who knows, has, and understands migraines the way I do.  I've been a sufferer for years and let me tell you, it's not fun.  According to the doctor, they'd been trying different meds all day, but J's body wasn't accepting any of them.  She continued having allergic reactions, her poor face a bright crimson from scratching at it.  "Hey train wreck," my supportive, caring, and sensitive husband began.  And I won't lie, I did crack a tiny tiny smile because the poor thing did look a bit like a train wreck.  

The doctor finally left, and my husband left the room to go and call J's husband, Chiz.  He was out of town caring for his sick grandma.  Luckily the girls were at their friends' home and J's mom would soon be getting them.  J and Chiz have two little ones--four and three and just the cutest, sweetest little girls ever.  I swear, being in the ER is ridiculous.  Here was my poor friend, who's head was pounding beyond belief, she was unable to even open her eyes, when every noise under the sun began.  First it was the maintenance people, who just HAD to unload boxes right at her doorway--and of course, dropping them and creating more noise than is necessary.  The intercom then came on with this woman's high, squeal of a voice.  Next the machine, that the doctor unhooked from J, started beeping loudly and making all these loud pumping noises--hello!  The doctor unhooked her from it, but never bothered turning it off.  There's NOT GOING TO BE A BLOOD PRESSURE CHECK!  I frantically texted Kent to get back to the room because I couldn't figure out how to turn the damn thing off.  Plus, she was a bit pale and, as we know, puking and migraines go hand-in-hand, and I DON'T DO PUKING!

It was not good.  Kent got the damn thing to stop beeping, but it kept going off which further upset poor J.  I found some orderly in the hall and got him to find someone to do something about the noise.  ERs are ridiculous!  We did make our way back to J's house, got her snug like a bug, and I zoomed on back to our place to feed the dog, grab our stuff for an overnight, and stop for food.  When I got back to the house, the girls welcomed me with lots of hugs.  J still looked like crap, and after awhile took off to bed.  Kent and I snuggled with the girls, reading them their bedtime stories and giving hugs and kisses once again.

And in the middle of the night, when CoCo woke up, I didn't hear a thing.  Sorry J!  Although I did finally get up--I'm a little out of practice.

In the morning, I heard their bedroom door open up and this little head peered over by the couches.  "Do you want to jump in for a snuggle?" I asked the ReeseMo--she flew over to me and under the covers for a snuggle.  And it made me miss the days when Fuzz and Roo were small--the way they loved snuggling on a Saturday (or Sunday) morning with me before we started our day.  Pretty soon another little head peeped around the corner, but then took off to find a good hiding place--which she did because neither Mo nor I could find her.  She was curled up behind the rocking chair, not making a sound--until she saw me.  "Mere Mere this is a good hiding spot," she said.  I gave her a hug and we were off to make breakfast.  

Little CocoBoat was eating her muffin, with the pink napkin over her little legs, when she said, "Mere Mere is pink your favorite color?"  It must've been my pink bag or my pink sweats or my pink computer that was giving it away.  "It sure is," I replied.  "I want to show you something," and with that went in search of the step stool.  "I got it!" she said, lifting the stool in front of her.  "Mere Mere you have to come here to see it."  I headed into the kitchen where she was standing on the stool in front of one of the cabinets.  "It's in there," she said pointing up to the cabinet up above.  As I opened it up, she said, "I think I want a bagel with chocolate and pink for breakfast."  There in front of me was a jar of pink sprinkles and a chocolate, nutella-like spread.  "Would your mommy let you have this for breakfast?"  "Oh yes Mere Mere," with her little head shaking back and forth.  She's just too cute!  As we made her chocolate, pink sprinkled bagel, J was coming down the stairs looking like death had finally passed her over.  Her eyes were actually open and the pain seemed to be lifted--not entirely, but much much better.  Plus she couldn't help but crack a smile as she watched her daughter pouring pink sprinkles on her bagel.

And I'd do it all again in a heartbeat because that's what friends are for.  And I know my friends would do it for me, for us, in a second.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latest Glass Heel Article!

Things I Never Knew Until I Became a Mom

Hope you like it!  =)

Gator Tator Pumpkin Pie.

I love my dog.  He's so damn cute and cuddly and just adorable.  I love the way he brings me his ball, drops it in my lap, sits down, then waits for me to toss it.  Oh the little things that make him happy!

This past weekend my hubby, my son, and I took Gates to the doggie park.  It's always an adventure because we never know how he's going to behave.  He's still a puppy--only 2 years old--so his behavior can be sketchy.  But I like taking him there.  Gates loves being social, loves to run around like a crazy person, and seems to have a good time.

The moment we mention the word "Park" he gets a little nuts.  He hops up and down waiting for his walking collar, tongue just a flying all over the place.  When we head out into the garage, he eagerly sits as the car door is opened--and then in one huge leap, launches his body up and into the car.  I love the way he paces, lies down, sticks his head out of the window, and then plants himself between Kent and I.  He's too cute.

When we arrived at the doggie park on Sunday, there were a ton of dogs everywhere.  It was a beautiful day and it seemed as though everyone had the same idea that we did.  We grabbed his huge jug of water, his portable bowl, attached him to his leash, and headed out toward the enclosed area.  The moment we released the bondage that held him, he flew across the park and onto the backs of new friends.

Seriously.  Onto the backs of new friends--or so he thought.  I swear, we had the ONLY dog that couldn't behave himself.  He was trying to hump everything in sight--from the Great Dane to the Cocker-spaniel.  It was ridiculous and very embarrassing to say the least.  I was driving my poor husband crazy because every time Gates decided to go a-humping on some poor dog I would say, "Kent!  KENT!"  "What do you want me to do?!" he kept saying back--well, hell, I don't know.  CONTROL THE DOG?  haha

I could hear the voices in the other dog owners' heads--"Keep that horn ball at home," "What's wrong with that animal?", and "GET YOUR DOG OFF OF MINE!"  Seriously.

I love my dog--I really do.  But I wish he could extend his greetings to the other dogs in another manner.  How about a friendly bark hello?  How about a nice little wag of the tail and sniff of their butt?  Is it really necessary to get up on that?

Eventually he did settle down and simply run around with Brandon--chasing after the ball and bringing it back to him.  He drank almost 1/2 of the jug of water, and I know he tried to listen when we called him.  Selected hearing seems to run in our family with all of our children...including Gates.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's Like Paper Facebook.

A few days ago I had a "silent discussion" happening in my classroom.  This is where the questions are posed on butcher block throughout my room and my students travel from table to table, quietly answering the questions and leaving responses for their peers.  They love it because everyone in the classroom has a voice--which can be as strong or silent as they choose.  They are pretty anonymous, believe me when I say no one knows each other's handwriting like we did when we were kids.

The days of passing notes, getting the love letter from the cute boy, and talking smack by passing the notebook back and forth are long over.  I can't remember the last time I've "confiscated" a note being passed.  Nope.  These days it's all about texting, messaging on Facebook, or the occasional email between friends.  Everything's electronic--making a statement dependent upon the font being used.  And god forbid it's in bold or all caps--look out.

When the discussion was over, I asked my kids what the experience was like for them.  I heard the same thing all day long--they loved being heard, feeling anonymous, and getting responses on their answers.  They liked how I was able to respond to so many of them and how they "talked" to some kids in the class that weren't necessarily their friends.  Everyone had a voice, not just the confident kids.

And then period 8 rolled around and one student gave the best analogy of the day.  "Miss Dr. Collins," he began, "it was like paper Facebook."  I couldn't help but grin just a bit.

He was showing me the importance of social media--the importance we all place on the feeling of being heard, which is exactly what Facebook does.  We put our thoughts out there, and hope to get a response.  The more responses we get, the more validated we feel.  We thrive on feeling connected--it's what links us all together, regardless of our walks in life.

So it was with a smile that I told him how right he was, wrote down his analogy so it wouldn't be forgotten, and let him know I'd be sharing his thoughts with my Facebook friends.  To which he got the most perplexed look on his face and said, "YOU have a Facebook?"  Yeah, if that didn't make me feel ancient, I don't know what will...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tattoo--Number Five and I'm Done.

For those of you that know me, know I have a few tattoos.  The first one I ever got was when I was on the brink of divorce in 1997.  It was a way for me to demonstrate my independence--do something permanent.  Perhaps it was because my relationship wasn't, perhaps it was like a teenager in defiance of what was not deemed acceptable, perhaps because I just wanted one.  Regardless of the answer, I decided to venture out and get myself a tattoo.

My choice of tattoo is not one that most can understand--especially if they truly know me, and know my fears.  Number one fear is mice--any rodent really.  It's not the typical "Oh my god, it's a mouse!" type of fear either.  It's heart-stopping, blood-curdling screaming, sweating, breaking into tears type of fear.  I've been terrified of mice since I was little.  Hate them.  Absolutely detest them.  First tattoo--Mickey Mouse.  On my ankle.  You figure it out.

My second and third tattoos happened together--two Chinese symbols that I got at the same time as two of my friends (one a good friend, the other my Best Friend!).  The symbols mean true, loyal, sincere friend.  It meant something to all of us.  Lower back--got this in my early 30s and yes, before everyone else decided to get tattoos on their lower back.

My fourth tattoo I didn't get until two Decembers ago.  I love the word BELIEVE.  From the way the word looks, to the way it makes me feel.  Love the word.  Keeps me going.  Resonates hope in every sense of the word.  I had this word tattooed on my left foot, along with a little cross.  Second favorite tattoo, which I got when I was 39.

Now up to this point, I have had zero issues with getting tattoos.  While they do hurt, especially the lower back (BIG OUCH!), I never experienced any real discomfort--just the constant stabbing of needles for a little while.  Before each tattoo, I do get nervous--for me it's the usual sweaty palms, anxiously looking at the clock, just wishing for the pain to be over.  Not a big fan of pain, but I DO love tattoos!

I've been planning my fifth tattoo for quite sometime.  I wanted something to honor my love for my children.  Kids names are the only ones I personally believe you should get permanently put on your body.  I found this awesome symbolic tribal thingy that I loved--but I couldn't get my kids' names around it the way I really wanted it.  I stayed focused on this tat for over a year.  For our anniversary, we decided to get tattoos for one another.  My honey would take Wednesday off of work, and I'd plan out the entire day.  And yes, it included our tattoos.  Well, come Tuesday night, I completely changed my mind about my tattoo.  Instead I found this eucalyptus tree, intertwined with ivy.  The symbolism behind it was exactly how I wanted my tattoo to represent my children.  I also decided to just write out their names in my handwriting--after all, it was me who gave them their names, plus the imperfection of my handwriting was another symbol of me.

We showed up to the shop, and my sweating of the palms began.  What I thought was going to be the size of my tattoo was simply too small because of all the little intricacies in the design.  After a little deliberation, and size down from what the artist had in mind, I settled on the size that is now on my left shoulder.  He put the imprint on, I checked it out in the mirror, and straddled the chair that I'd be sitting in for quite awhile.  And then he began.

I don't know if it was my nerves, if I built up getting this tattoo, or if it was the way I was sitting.  Whatever the case, I could not stop sweating.  On top of this, my right foot couldn't stop tapping the floor.  I asked how long it would take, and he told me about 30 minutes.  Unfortunately there was no visible clock, so time became a bigger issue.  It was taking him forever.

About half-way in, I began to feel extremely lightheaded.  Then woozy.  Then my hands started to numb.  Ummm, not good.  I was about to pass out.  I was so embarrassed as I asked the artist to stop.  He took one look at me and started to worry.  "Hey, I never had anyone pass out on me before," he began as I swayed back and forth.  He ran to get me some water and a cool clothe for my head.  Seriously, ridiculous.  So I sat there, in a pool of sweat, waiting for the feeling to pass--and yes, with my head bent forward toward the floor.  And I was SO excited that I was in the tattoo chair right next to the receptionist desk, who kept asking if I was okay.  Okay, yes.  Embarrassed, hell yes.

After a few minutes of these two people looking at me as those I were a circus freak (and let me add that the artist is completely tatted out with the receptionist donning not only tats but a gazillion holes all over her face and body), I got a friggin' grip and he was able to continue.  When he finally finished, the chair needed a good wipe down.  I continued to sweat throughout the entire process, all down the back of the chair, which my head had to lean on.  Every man's dream, I know.

So while I had already planned on this being my last tattoo, this is really going to be my last tattoo.  Unless, I just happen to get one more that's really, really, really little.  Maybe.  Damn, tats--they are SO addictive!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Latest Article on Glass Heel--Lifting Up the Puppies 101

Here's the latest Glass Heel article!

It's pretty funny, if I do say so myself.  Quite the experience!


The Squishing of the Boobs.

I'd dreaded my 40th birthday for as long as I can remember, and not for the typical reasons.  See the closer I approached 40, the more nagging I heard from my mother to get a mammogram.  And I understand why.  With both of my parents being adopted (I truly only know one biological grandparent), we have no family medical history.  I can't mark "no" on the form when being asked about my family's breast cancer history.  I simply don't know.

I've always been pulled toward Breast Cancer Awareness--I've been doing the Race for the Cure for eight years--this October will be the 9th.  I've seen a close friend lose their best friend to breast cancer at a very young age.  I babysat my friend's kids when he went to the hospital, for the last time, to see his mother who died from breast cancer.  My mom has friends with breast cancer--some who died, some who are survivors.  It's a scary thing.

When I turned 40, I didn't get a mammogram.  I was terrified.  My mother told me how painful it is--literally squishing the boobs until they are like pancakes.  She mentioned I'd have to hold my breath--another thing I suck at, which is why I can't swim to save my life (unless it's the doggie paddle--I rock at that).

When I turned 41, I didn't get a mammogram.  I was terrified.  My mother once again told me I needed to go, but then added her terrifying stories to the mix.  Yeah, right.  That's going to get me in there.  By this time my sister had also gone.  Her stories weren't as dramatic, but still it didn't sound like a pleasant experience.  I was too scared to go, so I didn't.

This year I turned 42 and said, "Screw it, I'm going."  I made the appointment on Monday, and have been terrified ever since.  I named the day "The Squishing of the Boobs" and started the countdown right away.  The appointment was scheduled for this morning at 8:10--I had to be there at 8:00.  Yesterday, the panic started setting in.  As I was taking my shower, I tried squishing my boobs--how bad could this hurt?  UMM, HELLO!  It hurt!  Screw this.  Ten minutes after I got out of the shower my boob was still sore.  This was not going to go well.  Every time I looked at the clock I would think, "By this time tomorrow The Squishing of the Boobs will be over" or "Only 10 more hours until The Squishing of the Boobs."  I've been dreading it.

Around 3:00 yesterday afternoon, Kaiser called me to reaffirmed my appointment time and to remind me not to wear any lotion or deodorant.  I guess those things can skew the test results.  "Hey this is my first mammogram and I'm terrified," I told the lady on the phone.  "Don't worry, Meredith," she assured me, "It's really not that bad.  There are some amazing ladies working tomorrow and I'll let them know it's your first mammogram.  It's going to be just fine."  Yeah, right.

I woke up this morning, jumped in the shower, and headed over toward Kaiser.  "You okay?" my husband asked me.  "Yes, just scared," was my reply trying to focus on anything but The Squishing of the Boobs.  My daughter sent me an email (she's at her dad's) wishing me luck at The Squishing.  When we arrived, we headed over toward Radiology.  "Is this your first mammogram?" the lady behind the desk asked.  "Yes," I told her.  "I can tell by the terrified look on your face," she said.  "Try to relax, it's really not that bad."

There were two other ladies in the waiting area, and Kent, and me.  I couldn't believe these women could be here without any support.  Much braver than I.  When the radiologist came into the waiting area and called my name, Kent asked if I wanted him to go.  "No, I think I can do this," gave him a kiss and headed toward the galley.  I swear I took a deep breath as the woman showed me the changing room.  "I'll be right back, and don't worry, it's not that bad."

She came to get me and we headed into the room where The Squishing of the Boobs would commence.  There was this big machine with this metal square for the boob to rest.  Then there was a square plastic contraption that would press down on the boob.  "Hey, you look nervous.  Let me go through everything with you before we start, so you know exactly what to expect."  This lady was so kind, so nice--I can't even begin to tell you the patience she extended toward me.  She had me put my hand on the metal square, then lowered the plastic square.  I could feel the pressure.  She told me I'd hold my breath because it helps keep everything still.  She told me she wasn't going to squish it pancake style and that she preferred mammograms to paps.  And I've been handling the yearly pap forever.  "Okay, I'm ready," I told her.

She put these bandaid like things on me--this was so they could see where the center was on the pictures.  And then The Squishing of the Boobs began.  And it wasn't so bad.  It wasn't that painful--honestly, my squishing in the shower was way worse than the machine was.  What I didn't know was they'd also have to so sideways pictures--the only difference was in my positioning.  I literally had to side hug the machine, which I was okay with since the machine did not inflict the pain I was expecting it to.

And then it was over.  And my years of worrying were put to rest.  I thanked the lady profusely.  And I let her know how her kindness really relaxed me and helped put my fears to the wayside.  I'm no longer afraid of the mammogram machine.  I can insure good breast health for myself because the fears have been destroyed.

One day when my daughter is approaching the 40s, I'll let her know getting a mammogram is not painful, it's necessary, and it's nothing to fear.  Until then, I'll be going and getting them once a year--except this time there will be no countdown and my husband won't have to be in the waiting room...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Day To Play!

Ahh!  Today was perfect from the get go.  My husband and I decided to take a day, just for us, to celebrate our anniversary.  We started the day at the gym--but not just any gym.  We headed over to the 24 Hr. Fitness at Lowry.  This was the gym we would go to when we were just friends, and then when we began our relationship.  I remember when we first started working out together--Kent would always push me to the limit.  I loved that about him.  That I was able to lift more than I ever thought imaginable.  He'd be there to spot me, to encourage me, to be my friend.  As time went on, and our relationship blossomed into more than merely friendship, it was where we'd meet every morning between 4:30 and 5:00.  Funny how I wasn't too tired to get up and go to the gym back then...

When we'd finish our workout routine, we'd head over to the Starbucks at Lowry--which is exactly where our second stop of the day was.  They knew our drinks by heart four years ago, but now the barista's have changed--even though the feeling this place evokes has not.  We took our coffee and headed over to another favorite spot--Washington Park.

I love this place.  I love the neighborhood, the houses, the ducks in the pond.  I love how we have "our bench," which is right next to "our tree."  I never tire of this place.  Today we sat on our bench, sipping our coffee, talking and laughing and being so ridiculous.  Great morning.

Our bellies started rumbling, and it was time to get a bite to eat.  Neither of us had ever eaten at Snooze, but both have wanted to for quite sometime.  We tried taking the kids there a few weekends ago, but the line was literally wrapped around the block.  This time there was only a 30 minute wait--which was SO worth it.  Seriously delicious!  We can't wait to go again.  And their coffee cups are unbelievable.  I'm literally going online to order one.  They have this little nook for my finger and my hands perfectly wrap around the mug.  I love them!  Unfortunately, so does the rest of the free world and Snooze can't keep them in stock at their store--thus, the reason for ordering it online...

After coming home, cleaning up from the workout, and spending a little time with Gator we did what we've been wanting to do for a while--get new tattoos!  The last one I got was December of 2010--the Believe on my foot.  This time I wanted a sort of tribute for me and my children.  So I found this tribal eucalyptus tree--which symbolizes protection.  There's ivy climbing along the trunk to symbolize faithful love, attachment, and tenacity.  Finally, I wrote their names and had them underneath the trunk.      Kent got a tribal tattoo on his left arm--no meaning other than he really liked it!  =)

Tonight, we were going to head back out to see The Hunger Games, but I'm way too tired.  Tomorrow brings about another day, so perhaps we'll hit a matinee'.  Great day!  I love days like this!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary, My Love.

Today is our 2nd Anniversary.  Time is already going by so quickly!  I can't believe that it's already been two years since we made our vows at Washington Park in Denver and had our little reception at the Denver Chop House.  

Each year I feel closer and closer to my husband--he's truly my rock, my best friend, my love.  As cliche' as it sounds, it's true.  I still have the emails that he sent to me when we were just friends, talking about our day, our kids, our lives.  I love the way he listened--the way he wants to know what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling, who I am.  He supports me, isn't threatened by my intellect or by my intrinsic motivation.  He encourages me with all I strive to be.  He's my number one fan--and I'm his.  

I'm so proud of him.  I love the fact that he's not afraid to go after his dreams.  I love how incredibly loyal and kind he is.  I love how silly we are.  I love the fact that when we go on double dates, especially with friends who are dating new people (I won't mention who this may be...Tina), and I take on the role of interrogator, that my husband laughs and accepts that's just who I am.  I love when he shakes his head and says, "I can't believe you just said that" or "Did that seriously just come out of your mouth?" or just shakes his head with that chuckle that only he possesses.

I love that it's taken him so long to open up to people around us.  He's himself no matter what--another thing I love about him.  I love that we can have completely opposite points of view, and he never belittles or tries to talk me out of things.  I love that we can discuss our views, and learn a little from the other.  I love that he appreciates my independence--and doesn't try to take that from me.  

I love that he starts the laundry, cooks dinner, vacuums or does whatever needs doing.  I love that he respects my hatred of roses and gives me flowers when least expected.  I love that he gets up to greet me should I arrive home after him.  I love that we go grocery shopping together every single Sunday, and make the list together too.  

I love that he loves to read.  I love that he doesn't absolutely detest chick flicks.  I love that he appreciates the passion I bring when watching the great Green Bay Packers.  I love that he's a man's man and does all the repairs around the house or for the cars.  I love that he's a dog guy.  I love the words he writes to me in cards that mean a lot.  I love the way he'll leave them on the bathroom sink, just ready for me when I awaken.  I love the way he wakes me up to give me a hug and kiss good-bye in the morning.

I love his sensitive side that very few get to witness.  I love the way he is with his friends--the way they love him and he loves them.  I love the way he invents new sayings--like ride the lightening.  I.E. Gator you better sit down or you'll ride the lightening--referring to the zapper, should he misbehave.

There's so many things I love about my husband.  I'm one lucky girl.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, my love.  I love you very much!

Monday, March 19, 2012

They Say It's My Birthday!

Wow.  Crap.  I'm officially "in" my 40s as of tomorrow.  See last year and the year before, I was barely a 40-year-old.  But now.  42.  Shit.  I'm in my 40s.

Ummm, when the hell did this happen?  Seriously.  SERIOUSLY!

So tomorrow, when I awaken, I'll be 42.  Oh yay.  Let the celebration begin.  *insert applause here*

On a more positive note, I had a great birthday weekend!  My wonderful dad baked me the most delicious chocolate cake.  My wonderful husband cooked a fabulous Irish dinner and will be taking me out for my b-day tomorrow night.  My wonderful family spent the day with me.  Nice!  =)

Tomorrow I will happily await my children's call to wish me a Happy Birthday.  I will enjoy an amazing dinner at Carmine's.  I will continue to wonder where the last 20 years have gone.  And when the day is over, I'll wake up, still feeling 20, still not recognizing the wrinkles that are developing on my brow, still plucking that annoying hair that keeps showing up on my chin.

Whew.  42.  I'm embracing this age with vigor and excitement!  Okay, that was a bit much.  But hell, I am excited about the new role in my life.  I'm no longer the naive, ridiculously stupid 20-something.  I'm no longer the trying-to-survive and keeping-it-together 30-something.  I'm in my 40s.  I'm IN my 40s, dammit, and for ONCE I'm not naive.  I'm well-educated.  I'm doing what I love.  I'm making a decent living and yes, MY LIFE IS FINALLY TOGETHER!  If nothing else, that's a means for celebration.  Took me long enough to get here, but I'm HERE!  So yeah, I'm 42!  Okay, this is looking brighter.

So Happy Birthday to me.  And besides, I'll always be younger than Joelle (my MUCH older sister).  haha  (She's going to love that one.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring...Please Stay for Awhile.

It is so beautiful out--and has been all week.  There's nothing like walking through the neighborhood with my husband and Gates on these warm, springlike evenings.  I love our conversations, or sometimes just quiet walks that we have.  Gates, on the other hand, is like a puppy on crack.  I swear he goes 10 miles to our 1.5.  He runs around in circles, back and forth, back and forth.  And god help us all when he sees a bunny.  Our dog has some serious issues.  The cutest part though, where cars even slow down to look at him, is when he sits at the corner to wait to cross.  It's just so damn cute.  Tomorrow I'll take a picture.

My son is my child that loves to be outside--it's where he is as I write this.  When I was on my way to the gym today, I called the kids to make sure they made it home safely.  Marissa was telling me that Brandon locked her outside of the house.  "WHAT!"  I yelled and had her put her brother on the phone.  He started to laugh, in that prankster-on-the-prowl way that he does--telling me he'll tell me all about it when I got home.  Hmmm...

Dinner was yummy--French dip, roasted potatoes with onions and green beans, and broccoli.  Oh how I love my crockpot!  Once I had everything ready, we sat down at the table--with me ready to hear how Roo got locked out of the house.  She was still fuming a bit when Fuzz starting relaying the story.

"Mom, it's beautiful out," he began, "and she wanted to just sit in the house and watch T.V."

"I was watching a movie, if you don't mind," she snapped his way.

"She said to me she didn't want to go outside.  I kept bugging her and she told me there's no way I could get her to go."

"So what did you do?" I asked, knowing he was up to something.

"I grabbed her Ipod, ran outside and put it out there.  When she ran out of the house, I ran back in and locked the door."

I just looked at him and shook my head.

"See what I have to put up with!"  Marissa said, with her brother laughing next to her.  He's such a pain in the ass, although he was right--it is beautiful outside and they both should be out there instead of in the house.

After dinner, Marissa went back to her movie and Brandon called a friend to hang out.  And that's where they are, hanging outside in the dirt somewhere.  He actually brought his remote control Jeep to maneuver around out there.  I love that he loves to play outside still.

So my son just walked in the door, and I discovered that no, he didn't play with his remote control Jeep.  Instead they tore around in his friend's Jeep--rallying around.  Oh well, at least he was outside!  =)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Walk Down Memory Lane...

Today Kent and I went to the parentals for dinner--which included a nice walk down memory lane.  My sister and I spent much of the afternoon just laughing our asses off because some of our stories from our childhood are absolutely ridiculous.

Nostalgia must've been in the air because the moment the kids walked in the door, they wanted to go down to the basement--Fuzz to shoot pool, wanting Roo and I to be there down there with him.  I went down there, planning on writing my article for this week's Glass Heel contribution, with Marissa following shortly.  Five minutes in, Marissa started pulling down all the old photo albums.  We started flipping through the pages--in awe at all the time that's gone by.  It's funny how easy it is to determine age, based on the look of the teeth!  I couldn't stop oohing and ahhing--I seriously made some very beautiful children.

So even though my family is constantly busting my balls for taking a million pictures, I know that one day my kids will be all grown up, with families of their own.  And I'll have my pictures to look back on and reminisce, to share with them, and to pass along to their kids someday.  Pictures have the ability to stop time--to take me back to any day I wish to remember.

I'll keep on snapping away, putting my shots into albums, and loving those moments when we sit around the albums talking about the "good ole' days..."