Archive for August, 2011

I am, by nature, an empathizer.  If you tell me about your bad back or your daughter’s loser boyfriend or your son’s lack of ability to turn in his homework, I am going to nod understandingly and tell you I know just how you feel.  I am going to pat you and encourage you to give yourself some grace, and then I am going to try to make you laugh.

When it is me, though, who is feeling frantic about the fact that I am 47 and working full time and taking Geology and Geography (have yet to crack this book btw) and this godawfulhard Math class and keep up with ALLMYSHOWS, I really struggle with it. I am, at any given moment, about equal parts FREAKEDRIGHTOUT and perfectly calm.

Same with all the medical stuff…either in a mental fetal position envisioning my theoretical funeral or just fiiiiiiiiiiiiine, depending on the moment, depending on the last Google search on ‘positive FOBT no symptoms colon cancer.’   And, trust me, folks get onto me all the time about all the googling going on over here.  JUST STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT.  How many times have I heard that?

About a zillion times is how many times.

But here’s the thing.  Telling someone whose job it is to stop thinking about the theoretical medical things that may or may not be going on in her innards, and whose job it also is to GOOGLE STUFF ABOUT MEDICAL STUFF, is like telling a carpenter to stop thinking about wood things.  or sawing. hammers.

Not possible.

But just because I am thinking and googling doesn’t mean I don’t have faith that whatever the outcome is, I will be fine and finely taken care of…

Where was I going with this.

Oh, this math class.

I tend to think I am the only moron who is sitting there trying desperately to look like I have one clue in the world about this guy Polya and his infamous book on problem solving or that theory on number series 1, 3, 5, 7…

I mean, last night, I was sitting there, smushed in this desk, HAVING A HOT FLASH for crying out loud, probably the color of a nice ripe watermelon, readers perched cutely on my nose, hoping the sweat that was pouring down my back wasn’t getting my shirt wet, and I was nodding knowingly, like I knew exactly what the next number in the the series 1, 5, 18, 32, 98 would be.  Ah yes, 102.

I didn’t have a single clue.  She could have been speaking Mandarin.

But appearances!

Don’t look stupid!

Don’t look like you don’t know ALL THESE THINGS.

I don’t know that I’d really allowed myself to survey my classmates to that point, and there are only 9 of us anyway…but to that point, I had been purely focused on eye contacting Mrs. Hillyard and making her fully believe that I was GETTING ALL OF IT.

Then she gave us two problems and broke us up into three groups.  Me, the cute little dark-haired girl (Nellie) who is Casey’s age, and THANKFULLY someone roughly in my age demographic (Lisa).  We wrote the problem down and huddled our tiny little desks together…and for the first time made real eye contact.

And imagine my COMPLETE AND UTTER GLEE when I saw that her eyes, too, had that crazy panicky look that I had been trying so hard not to let come out of mine!

Even the young cute one had it.



And in that moment, I knew that it was going to be okay.

I am going to be just fine.



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I have to admit that I am having some pretty serious second thoughts about school this semester.  Seriously.  I got my Associate’s in May, but thanks to a relatively large oversight on my part, I was missing 4 classes that I need before I can transfer.  Sooooo, this semester I am knocking 3 of the 4 off my to-do list.

Does it make me sound like a complete weenie to say out loud that taking 3 classes at a time feels way too much for me?  Because it does.  Especially when one is Geology, which is ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS TECTONIC PLATES VOLCANOES ROCKS EARTHQUAKES TECTONIC PLATES IDENTIFY THIS ROCK.  Second is Geography, which I will tell you right now that I sucked at in 5th grade before all the big things like the USSR split up into 12 million smaller things.  One of my worst memories of elementary school was walking into Mr. Lutrell’s class every morning, after walking the long 6 blocks to school barefoot, only to be greeted by that dreaded BLANK MAP on the overhead.  Our job?  Fill it in.  Right.  Coloring maps with map colors?  I was great at that.  My maps were the prettiest.  Identifying countries and seas and states and mountains?  Not so much.

These are internet classes, to boot, so I am my own teacher, and apparently I suck because all of my friends say they loved geology IT WAS THEIR FAVORITE IN COLLEGE, etc.

My third class, and the one that is giving me night sweats, is this Mathematics for the Elementary Teacher.  Sounds benign enough, right?


Let’s just say that upon perusing the first chapter, “Problem Solving,” I came upon this question about Carmela’s piggybank that had $15.30 in it and my job is going to be to figure out how many of each coin she has…

oh, and there can only be the same number of each coin.


Folks, the only math I’ve done in 25 years is figuring out what my negative balance is in my overdrawn bank account.

Real life math is what I’m good at.

There are only about 10 of us in the class and all of them are roughly the age of my children.

Speaking of my children, I am so thrilled to report that my youngest daughter is back in school this semester and she has decided to do the nursing program.  Which is hard.  I don’t know how many times I have said,

Honey, dumber people than you have done it.  You can do it.

I mean, you know what I mean?  Have you ever known a doctor or had a nurse or a teacher or a lawyer or President and thought, dear God, how’d they even get through school?

So, I think I’m going to have to give myself the same advice and eat this semester like an elephant…one bite at a time.

But it makes me feel old.

Having a 13-year-old son isn’t making me feel any younger either.  Having one who is in AP classes but really isn’t that conscientious about things involving school is so stressful for me.  For instance, this morning I went through his binder checking for things to sign and found all the things I signed LAST WEEK


Which then made the nerves on the back of my head poke through my scalp and my voice get real pointy…and it is just week 2.

I just want to say son, i need to spend all my time worrying about tectonic plates and whether or not I’m going to be able to fit and sit in that desk for math class tonight, I don’t need to be worrying about whether or not you are capable of turning in all the PAPERS I SIGNED LAST WEEK AND YOUR MATH HOMEWORK.

And last on my list of things that make me feel old and overwhelmed is this house.  There is just so much that needs to be fixed, and I’m talking about big stuff,  that I honestly just don’t see it ever getting fixed.  It is just going to fall down around us.  I won’t ever be able to have people over for dinner for fear they will need to use a restroom (oh sorry about the floor in the restroom and you falling through it, we’re going to fix that soon, like in another 15 years).  My dream is for it to be struck by lightning and burn to the ground, somehow sparing the computers and my comfy Craig’s List leather furniture, anything paper that is priceless, like Reagan’s drawings and the baby books…alright, somehow sparing all the stuff IN THE HOUSE, and then we could just build a new house with plumbing that worked well and breakers that didn’t blow if you made toast and stuff like that.

That’d be great.

I’m just feeling tired.


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If You Could…

I am going to forego, at the moment at least, blathering on about the doctor appointment that was supposed to be not that big of a deal and how it turned into a very big deal that involved an abnormal mammogram and a heart murmurs and a cardiologist and an echocardiograms and a positive Hemoccult test and a general surgeon and a colonoscopy, but suffice it to say that there is nothing quite like 15 doctor’s appointments to beat the doctorphobia right out of a person.
Instead, I have snagged this fun meme from my friend over at Just Eat Your Cupcake.
1) live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’m a fat girl who doesn’t really like to get in the water, but I would love to live on the beach.  I was 27 when I first saw the ocean and the feeling that I got when I look out into it is like nothing I have ever felt before…it’s like I’m home.  I wouldn’t be picky about where, either.  The first big water I ever saw, when I first had that ‘I’m home’ feeling, was down in Galveston right before a big storm was coming, so the water was the color of Yoo Hoo and agitated…angry.  I was in love.

2) change anything about your body, what would it be?

When I younger, it would have been my nose.  I have the longest, pointiest, ski jumpiest nose of anyone I know.   Now, I’m fine with it.  After I had kids, I would have said I would have loved to have better boobs.  I never had good boobs, even before I had babies.  They were big, but not good big.  Now, I’m fine with them.  I’m not going to say my weight either, because that isn’t so much an ‘if you could’ as a ‘why aren’t you’ sort of question.  OK GOT IT.  I’d change my feet.  I have the WORST feet…so Fred Flintstony.  They are as wide as they are long and my toenails are sort of wonk, and the truth is that I am jealous of my girlfriends who get pedicures because I would die rather than have someone fiddle with them.
3) go to your perfect job, what would it be?

I’m a teacher.  Period.  I wish I would have realized that when I was younger so that I wouldn’t be 47 years old and taking Fundamentals of Mathematics for the Elementary Teacher,  which sounds fairly benign but trust me when I say that it is anything but.

4) change anything about your partner, what would it be?

I’d have him go ahead and quit smoking.  I quit when we had to stop drinking because the thought of doing one thing without the other was so foreign to me, but he remains steadfast about having a few in the morning and a few in the evening. 

5) have dinner with a celebrity, who would you choose?

Craig Ferguson.  Years ago, probably around 2006, which was 2 years and change before we had to stop drinking, I was sitting in bed watching the Late, Late show, big beer in one hand, cigarette in the other (because at some point in our unraveling we decided it was okay to turn our room into the designated smoking area), and he was talking about his alcoholism…in this monologue…and that was when it first began to dawn on me that what had started out as a fun thing wasn’t so fun anymore…and I’d like to thank him for that.

6) be invisible for a week, what would you do?

I’m the biggest eavesdropper/people watcher, but being visible and having people notice that you are trying to see what they are saying really ruins it for me, sooooooooo If I’m invisible, I’m sopping up all the juicy details of those folks over there.

7) tell someone the absolute truth what would you say?
I would tell someone who used to be my bestie best that I think that money changed her.  and not in a good way.

8) have a talent that you don’t have now, what would it be?

I would love to sing…well.

9) see someone who has died just for an hour, just to talk, who would you want to see?

My mom.  I’d love to apologize for being such a horrid little snot…and to ask her how she made that sweet and sour chicken when i was a kid.  I remember it being very red and vinegary, with the chicken literally falling off the bone with tons of onions.  It is one of the things that I have never been able to replicate.

10) be the opposite sex, who would you want to look like?

Jon Hamm.  

11) take one thing back that you’ve said to someone, what would it be?

Once, when I was about 13 I guess, my mother brought home this makeup kit with all different colors of eye shadow and lip color and blush.  I immediately assumed it was for me, since everything my mother ever did was for me, so when she said she’d gotten it for herself, I took a tone and said “why do YOU need makeup.”  Then she gave it to me.  But I never used it.

12) pick the time of your death, when would you want it to be?
It needs to be after the Boy is fully cooked and after I’ve rocked a grandbaby or two.  

13) pick an actress to play you in the movie of your life, who is closest to what you really look like and could play your personality well?

Ha.  My go-to on this one is always Catherine Zeta-Jones

14) change your name to any other, what would it be?

Alex.  I love a name that swings both ways.  All of my children have names that are as suitable for a boy as they are a girl.  I want one.  

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