Racing for my life

I experienced Memorial Park on two different ocassions… once as a walker..once as a bike rider.

As a walker, I felt like I was involved in some sort of bizarre foot race against a much stronger force.  As I concentrated on not breaking my face, bikes would come flying around bends and cause me to jump into the brush.  The riders would yell strange codes like, “wiefowefh”. What in the hell am I suppose to gain by some out of breath athlete yelling at me?  I know they’re suppose to be warning me of eminent dangers, but I can’t figure out what they said in time to react. So by the time I’ve figured out that they mumbled that there are 6 riders behind him, I’ve already had to dive back into the woods to avoid being run over.

So today, The Boy and I tried it from the other side.  We got our bikes out and tried the trails ourselves.  I was concerned because I hadn’t learned my mountain bike-ese (though I did spend some time on Google) and since The Boy biffed three times on the same trails…well, yeah… it didn’t look promising.

A paradigm shift is when  you change your initial beliefs because of being able to experience an event from another’s perspective.

On a bike, a walker seems to materialize from the ether.  I was focusing on the gigantic roots when :whomp: pedestrian.  So I veer out of the way, whilst avoiding those tree things.  Then I try to tell them that it’s all clear behind me, but it comes out as “mekfwjl” because I’m out of breath and trying not to break my face on a root. Stress, stress.

I have to say though, if you’ve never gotten the opportunity to truly trail ride, you really need to try it.  It’s an amazing thrill and takes a lot of focus.  Today was my first true mountain biking experience, and it’s one that I’ll definitely be trying again.  I had one true off-the-bike-on-the-ground- sort of tumble, which is better than The Boy and I expected.  In truth, I had my insurance card ready to go.

(On a side note: After I landed in the woods, The Boy came rushing down the washout where my body laid in a heap.  He made it to my side and asked breathlessly, “Are you okay?”.  It’s just…he was picking up the bike, caressing the crossbar and had his back to me.

So all’s well that ends well…

Except… after inspecting my legs after our ride, The Boy very quickly pulled his hands away from me.  He then gently asked me if I noticed when I fell if there was any poison ivy hanging about.

Wouldn’t that just beat all?

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A Call For Oregon

My students don’t know what oxen are.

Well,  some of them vaguely know what an ox is, but the plural form leaves them befuddled.  Naturally, when I think oxen, my mind goes straight into a time-warp scene of playing Oregon Trail on an old Apple computer. Do you remember real floppy disks??

Well my students don’t. They’ve never felt the joy of surviving a snake bite or the pain of knowing you just lost four sets of clothing. And they never got to learn that oxen set on ‘grueling’ pace are funny to watch, until you see their heads start to sag down due to exhaustion.

They’ve never decided to ford the river or float across.

I have to confess though, and it’s a pain that has haunted me for years… I never made it to Oregon. It didn’t matter if I was the banker and if I left in early spring, I still couldn’t make it.  In fact, I was killed even when I was just a passenger in some else’s trip. 

Most of the time, I would suffer a grueling few months and then the computer would kill me right when Oregon was in sight. I would survive my double broken leg snake bite cholera epidemic, only to be swept away when my wagon was fording the Dalles.  There were times that I, the team leader, was killed before any of my pioneer children.

And so I am left to wonder what sort of lives my students will have being as they did not have Oregon Trail to shape their understanding.  I feel as though I’m a better person because I could prioritize my needs vs. my inability to shoot the damn buffalo that slowly charged at my musketed self.  I was a good leader, darn it…. if you were looking for a slow suicide trek across uncharted America.

Oh Oregon! Why could I never reach you?

After reviewing the amount of memories I have surrounding The Oregon Trail, I’m left to wonder how often my class went to the computer lab and what curriculum was left out.  Now where did I put that thing with all those pages and all the funny little shapes typed on it?

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Sexting (No, not me)

On my commute this morning, I heard that Texas legislature is trying to pass a bill that would make underage sexting illegal. In fact, if a kid gets caught sexting, his or her parent would have to go to court and they would be charged. The kid would be charged with a misdemeanor, which I heard was a down grade. I guess right now it’s a felony for trafficking child porn.  What’s more, the parent would be mandated to go to a parenting class.

Naturally, there are mixed reviews on this issue. There is always the right to privacy vs. right to protect people born to idiots…er whatever. So being that I can’t formulate an opinion ( I always thought that this blase attitude was a result of my generation and perhaps lead paint as a child.), I don’t know where I stand on this issue.

Thinking as a parent, (I just shuddered. I thought about my friend’s adorable kiddo who threw up in the backseat of the car and then said, “Oh Mommy! Look! It’s my favorite color.”…. not ready to parent, not ready to parent) I would hope that I have a better handle on what my kiddos are doing. Of course, I’m a middle school teacher and not naive enough to think that that is entirely possible. I know how sneaky kids can be.

But woes be the kid who gets my butt hauled down to the courthouse because they couldn’t control their hormones/text buttons. I wouldn’t have to worry about that court appearance twice though. “Here Gus/Olive (Hypothetical Child #1 and #2’s names). This is called a this a Jitter Bug phone.”

(On a side note: The Boy just asked what a Jitter Bug was. For those that don’t know- the Jitter Bug is the phone for old folks that can only call preset phone numbers.)

All the cool kids use these phones!

(On a secondary side note: I erased this entire post once. Don’t know how it happened. I cried and pouted. Now I’m back in the game. It may be time to accidentally smash Oliver {that’s my computer’s name, not my Hypothetical Child’s name. Hypothetical Child #3 is formally named No Name. No Name doesn’t even have a gender yet, let alone a name.} and get a new one.  Hello birthday in May!)

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This is a Northern test. This is only a test.

Since I grew up in Ohio, I spent each winter not being able to feel my toes or fingers.   One would think that a Yankee baby would develop into a strong, insulated child. Not the case with me.  I froze each and every winter.  Thus the appeal of Houston’s winters.

But dating in Ohio taught me a few things. In fact, there were a few tests that I would always wait for. If a fella passed those tests, I knew that he was a good guy for me.

So skip ahead to The Boy. We met in Houston.  My Northern tests were no longer valid.  What did I want him to do in the heat of Houston? “Here honey, let me turn up the AC,” as the sweat drips down his face too. 

But this recent cold spell has given me the opportunity to observe The Boy.  I am happy to report that he has passed both cold weather tests without hesitation or me hinting. (Okay yes, sometimes I would guide the guy through so that he would pass the test. I know it’s cheating, but I’m an optimist.)  The Boy did these things on his own accord.

Cold weather tests:

1. The Boy gets up in the morning and while I’m still getting ready for battle work, he goes outside and turns on my car so that everything is defrosted and toasty for me when I’m ready to leave.  It’s a thoughtful touch that starts my day off right.

2. Last night, when we went to the store, he had me go and turn the car on and get it warm while he loaded the groceries in the back.  It gave me an opportunity to be out of the wind.

I have no doubt that if snow actually fell, he would clean my car off for me.  That’s the ultimate test of Northern love.  Now granted, I don’t expect these actions every time, but it has been wonderful to see that he did them just because he is truly a nice guy.

“He’s a keeper”  Bronx Tale anyone?

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The Three C’s

Yesterday went something like this:

“Yeaaa yeaaa snow day!”

: 4 hours of working at the kitchen table (but we were together, so it made it pleasant) even though we weren’t obligated to work:

“Let’s go to the grocery store!”

“Yeaaa yeaaaa grocery store!”

This is the part where I have to mention that I have not gone to the grocery store in 2011.  The Boy decided that we had waaaaaay too much food stored in the pantry and freezer, so we should eat our way through it all before we buy anymore.  Then The Boy left for Nigeria.  Convenient, eh?

Anywhooo…. we decided to go to the store while people were still at work or afraid of the ice on the roads.  When we got near to the store, I told The Boy that we were close to my optometrist.  He offered to go there first to get my glasses, then go shopping.   And then we got lost. Okay, so I wasn’t sure we were anywhere near the eye doctor.  Houston makes me directionally challenged.

After finding that the office was closed due to ice, we went back to the store. And parked. And looked at one another.  And realized that we had forgotten the coupons that we so diligently cut out each week. Crap!

Now this is where things get interesting.  I must preface his statements by saying: 1. One of the things I love about him is that he rarely gets upset about things. So even when we drive around the city for an hour and had nothing to show for it, he is still relaxed.  2. Our division of responsibility in the house is very, very equal. Yes, I clean, but that doesn’t mean he does less work than me.  We both feel we work equally, just in different ways.

In any case, The Boy told me that it was totally my fault because, “you’re the woman. You’re in charge of cooking, cleaning, and coupons. They all start with C.  You can remember that.” 

Apparently my boyfriend was delivered straight from 1954.  Who knew?

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Here on Earth

As many of you know, my best friend just had a baby.  The little guy came into being yesterday afternoon (by the way, his numbers are 2/3/11 at 12:32…Love it!). The Boy and I got the honor of meeting him last night. So in a truly uncharacteristic moment (I may lack that instinctual maternal instinct. Eep!), I would like to tell L.G a few things that I’ve learned along the way.

Welcome L.G!  I think you’ll like it here on Earth. There are a lot of really neat things, if you care to look.  I wish I knew more, dear nephew, but here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Legos don’t belong in your nose

2. If they say, “Stop, you’re going to hurt yourself.”- Please listen.

3. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” usually means you’re about to get hurt.

4. If you hear your mom’s voice in your head- go with what she’s telling you.  She knows a lot more than you realize.

5. Wear sunscreen even though it feels ucky.

6. Ultimately, the people who will always support you are your family and those couple friends that you’ve adopted as part of your life. Everyone else is in your life for a reason or a season- only those few people will be there through it all.

7. Ice cream melts really quickly. Buy one scoop at a time. If you want more, then go get another cone.

8. Nice guys don’t finish last… it just takes longer for them to get what they deserve. Be a nice guy, L.G.

9. No kindness is ever forgotten.  Sometimes the kindnesses get collected together in the universe and work to make things better. You’ll never know what a kind word does for someone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to give them each day.

10. Real guys ask for hugs.

L.G is the first lil' kiddo that I've ever held. I was TERRIFIED, but I didn't even drop him!!! Success!

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Snowless Day

We have a snow day tomorrow.  We don’t have any snow.  I’m glad I’m not the one making that decision!

Will write more tomorrow. I met a brand new baby today.  Can’t wait to tell you about him!

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Snowy problems

“So I totally put a cup of water outside last nite. Guess what? It froze! I mean, it was totally a big hunk of ice!” my student excitedly proclaimed during breakfast. She didn’t tell me….she told her friends. So this wasn’t a “let me impress the teacher with my knowledge of the hydrologic cycle”….oh no, she was generally excited to make ice. 

That, my friends, is a Texas baby.  I couldn’t help but giggle. 

On a side note, I wanted to let you know of the snow day tradition that may not be as prevalent as I imagine. In fact, when I told The Boy about it, he was certain that my parents made it up to make me look like a fool.  Granted there was the dog biscuit incident during the Browns game when I was kid, but this is not the same thing. Not this time!!

Okay, do you really want a snow day? Take a spoon, put it under your pillow, then you need to put your jamas on inside out.  If you do this, you may possibly, sometimes, barely guaranteed to get a snow day!

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I has gone bad

No, my title isn’t an utter lack of grammatical understanding….my ‘i’ key is moving into a slow death.

More often than not, I have to smoosh down on the ‘i’ key in order to get it to register.  In addition, I keep missing the missing ‘i’ in words, and that’s wreaking havoc in my editing abilities.

My space bar died a few years ago….I had to fix it (while in Brazil) with super glue and a tiny piece of springy plastic that had fallen off.  Mayhaps I can do the same with ‘i’?

Or D&C will be taking an odd turn in which I will no longer use any words that involve the letter ‘i’. Challenge!

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Play it again

 I realized today how often I repeat myself at work.

I get in to work, say good morning to any person with a heartbeat, occassionally throw in a ‘good. How are you?’  And then I continue on.   I yell “thank you” to my classroom neighbor for opening my door and turning on my light.

Once the day starts, it’s the “goodmorning-tuckinyourshirt.whereisyourid?unzipyourjacket,” diatribe. 

When my class actually starts, it’s a combination of “take out your warm up and begin working.” “This is a silent warm up.” “This is a silent warm up for everyone.”  Afterward, things get a bit of a mix up, depending on the day.

Without a doubt though, I say, “spit out your gum” and “tuck in your shirt” multiple times during each class period. 

Today…I had had enough.  Homegirl got caught with gum.  She spit it out.  Homegirl got caught with gum again.  She spit it out.  Homegirl got caught with gum.  I wrote her up and got her out of my class. This was within the first 12 minutes of class. Apparently my limit for gum reminders is limited to three.. or perhaps it was the four minutes between infractions that finally made Miss lose it.

As if you wondered why they can't chew gum. Uck!

By the way, no one else chewed gum or had an untucked shirt during that class period.

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