Thursday, October 10, 2013

Best Days of My LIfe

I’m not one of those girls who cries a lot.

But lately I feeeeeel like crying—like when I'm listening to Dave Matthews, or when I’m hiking with my dog, or when I watch my sons studying.

Or when my students say “AHA!” or “Thank you,” or “This is so exciting!”

It feels like being pregnant, only without the vomit. 

Maybe I've discovered an alternative to pregnancy--something that creates a similar amount of emotional tenderness, but doesn’t include the stress over what you’re going to be able to eat next.

I think it requires reading and discussing ideas. On a daily basis. With a bunch of sassy pants teenagers.While simultaneously not getting enough sleep.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but sometimes during my classes, I forget to look at the clock. 

And sometimes I don’t wish I was the custodian.

And sometimes, when my students are interrupting each other to tell me what the sunshine represents in The Scarlet Letter, or why the ending is satisfying, I think to myself, “why did I want to get cancer again?”

Once in a while, I even think, “Why did I want my students to get cancer again?”

This I think, even if they call Hester Prynne a “Ho” or an “Idiot,” or Dimmesdale a Jerk.

I know, right? How did this happen?

Once I even thought, “If I were at home right now washing dishes and folding laundry I would have missed this conversation.”

But then I went home and we were out of clean dishes and clean socks, and I felt like crying all over again.

But I didn't.

I'm just not a crier.

Except in my sleep.

This morning I woke up and my pillow was wet. My face was wet too.

I had  been dreaming that my daughter was jumping around in our driveway in Hawaii with my three sons, who had little round crew-cut heads. She was 8 years old and her hair, parted in the middle, bounced off her shoulders as she spun around, singing with her signature raspy voice. As she turned toward me I caught sight of her face, dotted with familiar freckles, and I ran to her, pulled her into my arms, and hugged her tight.

I didn't let go either.

Then I burst into tears and said to my husband, "These are the best days of my life."

. Photobucket

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How can you tell you're in love . . .

. . . with your AP Language class?

Something about the way the students groan when the bell rings, then say, "We need to come to school earlier."

And how can you tell you're in love with your daughter?

You just know. Even before your water breaks at Kentucky Fried Chicken you know. And even after your heart breaks as she goes off to college you know.

But now she has gone off to study abroad in Paris. In other words, she's living my dream.

I would have lived my dream myself, if I hadn't decided to live my dad's dream of studying abroad in Isreal.

I could have lived my dream with my daughter if I hadn't decided to live my grandmother's dream of teaching high school.

Maybe someday, after I die, my granddaughter will live my dream of blogging across America in a van down by the river with my dog and my Nutribullet.

Sometimes I lay awake at night and think about how far away my daughter lives.

Instead of counting sheep I count miles. That's how I can tell I'm in love.

From God's view, I look like this, only with bigger hair.


Only a few days ago I could walk down the hall and down the stairs to reach my daughter.

Only a few months ago I didn't even have to get out of bed to talk with her through the closet between our rooms.

Only a few years ago, I could rub my belly and feel her reassuring kick.

But now she's in Paris.

She also got her mission call to Nashville, and she leaves one week after she returns from Paris.


I couldn't be happier.

At least I've got my AP Language class.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Good Morning Love

Close your eyes and inhale.

Now exhale.

That's right, let it all out.

Now go into a down dog, and feel the stretch. Slowly move into child's pose, and release all your worries into the universe.

Now try a cow stretch. A tree pose. A mountain pose. A bridge pose. Twist into an awkward chair pose . . .
Jump into a handstand. A finger stand. A nose stand . . . 

That's it. Now you're groovin'.

Now go grab a mango smoothie, and stick your toes in the sand. Lean back and let the sun have his way with you, while the waves yawn and stretch.

Now push play on this new Cubworld single "Good Morning Love" and pretend Jack Johnson is making your banana pancakes for breakfast.

Now watch this image swing back and forth as you listen to the song.

You are getting sleepy. Very sleeeeeeeepy.

When I snap my fingers you will wake up, and tell your love, good morning.

You all know I love me some Cubworld, and that his last album Speak Softly Carry a Big Stick could have been the soundtrack to my life, right?

Or was Step Lightly Create Out Loud?


Well Cubworld has done it again. You can take the boy's music out of the islands, but your can't take the islands out of the boy's music.

Click here to download this single for free until his new album comes out early next month.

And as if he's not talented enough, he's also the creator of COLD--Create Out Loud Designs Don't check it out unless you want to feel cool and hip.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Road Trippin'

I do other stuff besides teach high school you know. I paint stuff, and I eat stuff, and I complain about stuff. I also vacuum stuff, and worry about stuff.

And last week I packed stuff into my car--including my husband, my twins, and my dog, and we drove for hours and hours to watch my oldest son play basketball at the new 225 million dollar Matthew Knight Arena at the University of Oregon, which I'm pretty sure Nike paid for.

My daughter didn't come with us because, as she put it, she couldn't get off work, because, as she put it, someone has to work around here to pay for my study abroad to Paris in the fall!

(Raise your hand if you want to hide in her suitcase with me?) 

I have  never been to Oregon before, but as far as I can tell, it is exactly like Utah. Except  the voice inflection doesn’t have that game-show-host ring to it. 

And the air smells like a sprinkler rather than a sauna. 

And in Utah my hair looks like this:

But in Oregon my hair looks like this:  

Also, in Oregon The Department of Transportation super-sizes the speed limit signs and posts them every. single. mile along the interstate. I was able to memorize the speed limit in Oregon in less than six hours.

(What's the speed limit in Utah again? You'd think I would know it after graduating with a double major from traffic school.) 

But mostly Oregon is exactly like Utah. Except Oregon is a more "nurturing" environment, or, as my husband would say, a more “liberal,” environment.

You are not allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon. That job is outsourced to the locals, which is why Oregon was voted the state most likely to have clean windshields.

In a less “nurturing” environment, people pump their own gas and clean their own windshields. Take Utah for instance, no one is willing to pay someone to do something they can do themselves. Or can get someone to do for them for free.

Also, there are no plastic bags in Oregon, and I think the state has a restraining order on Walmart.  They are retro--still operating in the Fred Meyer time zone, which I believe is the late 80’s, early 90’s. They are also cool and hip, sporting chic little organic markets. My favorite was called Market of Choice. Like all the shopping venues in Oregonthe choice was not between paper or plastic, but between carrying your groceries to the car in your t-shirt, or paying a nickel for a paper bag.   

The hotels in Oregon also emphasize choice. That was the slogan for the hotel chain where we stayed in Pendleton. By Choice Hotels, which is a sweetened condensed way of saying, you chose this dump of your own volition, so quit your whining.  My twins were sure it was The Bates Motel disguised at a Rodeway Inn, so the slogan could also be a disclaimer: we are not responsible if you happen to get knocked off while staying here. 

My twins were so sure it was The Bates Motel they made us sleep right in front of the door--which was where the bed was located anyway, so it worked out perfectly. 

The Bates Motel in Oregon was a much better choice than The Bates Motel in Redding California. My new policy is, don't trust a hotel where the bathroom smells like a bathroom, or where the walls are spackled, but not painted, or where the tub is lower than the floor. You know it's bad when your dog paces the floor until 3 a.m., your husband passes on the free continental breakfast, and your twins are in the car with at a map at 6 a.m. 

Other slight differences between Utah and Oregon: Oregon has more video rental stores, less huge metal stars on their homes; more amber waves of grain, less purple mountains majesty; more Hall and Oats on the radio, less construction on the roads. Less liposuction, body contouring, and cellulite treatment commercials, more commercials about that purse who wants to do cartwheels but can’t because it doesn’t have the hand-eye coordination.

Other than that, I couldn't tell the two states apart. 

All in all, the road trip was a PaRtAy!  Here are the highlights: 

Meant to do that


 Thought you said meatballs and noodles

My first veggie burger


Monday, June 10, 2013

Together Forever

I made it through my first year as a high school teacher. I don't know how, and I don't know why, but somehow I made it.

I expected to cry as soon as I walked out of my classroom--just break down and sob uncontrollably. Not because it was over, but because it was done.

But I didn't cry. I just got in my car and drove home with my eyes closed. When you're a high school teacher you get used to doing things with your eyes closed, including grading papers, preparing lectures, and applying make-up. The only thing high school teachers don't do with their eyes closed is sleep.

While driving home with my eyes closed, I didn't know how to feel. Was I happy? Sad? Empty? I decided I felt stretched out, like a pair of maternity pants after you've finally given birth. I also felt like there was a hole in my soul, and I needed to fill it with something. But what?

Chicken soup, maybe?

No, Korean Bulgolgi for the soul.

In other words I needed to watch a Baz Luhrmann film, or listen to Radio Head, or read Pablo Neruda poetry.

I ended up eating a cupcake instead. (Actually I boiled cabbage, but whatev.) Then I wandered around my house, aimlessly, until I finally sat down and fell asleep. I slept long and hard--the kind of sleep that makes you realize you haven't truly slept in nine months, since you became pregnant with 95 juniors and seniors. It was the kind of sleep where even in your dreams your eyes are closed.

When I woke up I cleaned my bathrooms. Then I changed my banking username from Iwillcleanmybathroomsin2013 to Iwilltakedownmychristmasvillagein2013.

Then I took down my Christmas village.

At graduation I didn't feel like a proud parent the way I thought I would. I felt more like a mom who one day gives birth to 95 children, and then the next day sends half of them off to college.

But what is that commandment again? Thou shalt not complain about thy class half empty when thy class is still half full? I have much to be thankful for. I have developed both professionally and personally over the past 9 months.

I have also developed a twitch and irritable bowel, but who's counting.

So now that school is out, my brain is all the way full again. In other words I'm operating with my whole brain again, and I have turned that whole brain towards updating my dream house. That kind of brain power entails a lot of paint, and a Lowe's Rewards card.

Oh, and some Gorilla Super Glue gel.


If I can teach you anything about home improvement it is this: DON'T EVER use Super Glue gel to attach your address to your dream house. Glue gel is unpredictable, and it bears testimony to the truthfulness of the song, "Stuck on You."

It's too bad I didn't have any glue gel on hand when my father-in-law's teeth fell out.

One thing about super glue gel is you have to shake it. Really, really hard. And sometimes it comes out and sometimes it doesn't. But when it does come out, it comes out in globs. And sometimes it splatters, and you have no idea where it has landed, until you answer your cell phone and realize it has become a permanent fixture of your face.

Also, I think I figured out how face lifts were invented. I got a glob on my eyelid and wow, I looked an awful lot like Zsa Zsa Gabor.

After attaching the first number of my address to my dream house, I realized that I should have worn gloves and used a toothpick instead of Q-tip for application, as toothpicks wouldn't be as visible from the road. I had to take a 24-hour break in between numbers so I could Google ways to remove Super Glue gel from one's fingertips. Unfortunately, there is no way to remove super glue gel from one's fingertips without actually removing one's fingertips. I found this direct quote from a credible source on

"Super glue gel has the power and authority to seal your fingertips together for time and all eternity. By epoxy."

My class may be half empty, but at least I know my fingertips will be together forever.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Students! Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em

Q: How can you tell when your students have found your blog?

A: When they start referring to themselves as peeps and leaving notes on your desk signed LY!

Oh, and when they ask you to tell the class about the time you went to the Jr. High to pick up your twins . . .

So, yeah, cat's out of the bag, which, unfortunately means I'll be cracking less jokes around here, and giving more assignments.

In fact, please take out your text book right now and turn to page 323. Read the first section and then write an analysis, beginning with a thesis on the dangers of reading your teacher's private diary, and ending with a list of the first 16 presidents--names, dates and noteworthy accomplishments, please. 

And no, you can't go to your locker and get your book, because SERIOUSLY? 



BRING YOUR BOOK TO CLASS, peeps! Unless you enjoy watching my head spin around and my eyeballs pop out of my head.


One of my students suggested I write about my classes on this blog. 

"Oh, good idea," I said. "Super idea. Best idea ever."

Dear Diary,

There are no students named Wolfgang in my classes, and none of them sparkle like vampires or think we should push Jean Val Jean down the stairs, but we are not completely devoid of excitement in Happy Valley. Just this week we went through two boxes of Kleenex instead of one. And in a single day 16 students came unprepared to read their Huck Finn journals, and I caught five students studying calculus during class, nine students on their cell phones, and one student simultaneously playing his Gameboy and reading The Top 700 Things You Can Do to Annoy Your Teacher.

Not to mention the German exchange students with their heads on their desks, or the student making tangelo peel art in the corner.

You might think I would be discouraged by this, but think again. I get it. My own son has told me how much more he learns at school if he is playing Tetrus, so, except for the student who wrote on my teacher evaluations, "This class is boring!" I'm pretty sure I will be nominated for best teacher on the face of the earth.

(For the record, that student was probably absent on the day I did my famous people power point presentation.)

And this is the bathroom that Obama used at Turtle Bay. 

And this is the top of Fergie's head in the viewfinder in front of me.

And this is Jim Halpert from The Office as I race toward him entering Regis and Kelly.

And this is Nick Jonas checking me out.

And this is me in NYC with the Double Decker Brochure guy. 

My class, boring? Come again?  

Say that to my face!  

I think the biggest difference between high school students and college students is in the amount of Kleenex used and questions asked. Teenagers, as you know, are full of questions, particularly rhetorical questions where no answer is expected, because the question itself is asked to make a point. 

Sometimes the questions begin even before I finish my instruction. 

"Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?" 

"Can I go fill up my water bottle?" 
"Can I go get another box of Kleenex from the office?" 
"Will this be on the test?"
"Can I text my mom to check me out?"
"Can I write my whole paper in hashtags?" 
"Should I get my hair cut?" 
"Have you seen the gallon smashing video on YouTube?"
"Can we watch Duck Dynasty now?"

By this time the kid making tangelo peel art is usually taking "selfies" with my cell phone, or drawing stop motion animation on my sticky note pads. 

What can I say, I'm inspiring. 

But now it's Spring Break, which means I am down south on vacation, which means the only rhetorical questions I am not expected to answer are the ones from my twins about when  we are going shopping for a new pair of basketball shoes, and my MIL about when we are going to eat Chuck-a-Rama. 

In some warped and twisted place deep inside, this almost makes me miss my . . .

Ah students! Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. 


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Anything's Possible

Four months without writing a single blog post. Have I lost my mind, or found it? That is the question.

Alls I can say for myself is that it's super hard to be dumb when you're trying to be smart.

Wait, I take that back. Just last week I facilitated a brilliant discussion on Emerson and then drove straight to my twin's junior high to pick them up early from school. I signed them out, and even excused an absence from the previous day, while the attendance office called them down over the PA system. When my twins didn't come, they made another announcement. I thanked her kindly, then stepped into the hallway to wait. After a moment of staring at a Caveman sweat shirt hanging on the wall, a disturbing thought slowly dawned on me.

My twins don't go to this school anymore.

Maybe it's not that hard to be dumb when you're trying to be smart, after all.

I would say that I haven't written because my life is too predictable--that day in and day out all I do is stand at the front of a classroom, pouring knowledge and wisdom into the heads of a bunch of sassy-pants teenagers--but my life has actually taken some unexpected turns lately. For example, we bought our dream house, my son's high school basketball team won the national championship, and I quit watching American Idol.

I didn't see any of that coming.

Oh, and I'm a primary teacher now.

I didn't see that coming either.

It happened so fast. A member of our new bishopric stood in my foyer (my dream house has a foyer) and said "We want you to teach the five-year-olds."

"But . . . but . . . I . . . I . . . just moved in," I said. "How will I make friends if . . . "

"I know what you're thinking," he said. "And it goes against everything I believe in to call a new move-in into the primary. Believe me, I would never do this to anyone else, but we feel really, really strongly that you need to teach the five-year-olds."

There was a pause while I blinked and stared.

"In other words," he continued. "God NEEDS you to teach the five-year-olds."

So anyways, I'm teaching the five-year-olds.

I suspect I came into my new ward with a warning label. My old bishop probably called my new bishop and told him to keep me as far away as possible from all the sassy-pants teenagers, unless of course he wanted combined activities that included kissing tag and spin the bottle.

So anyways, Forrest Gump was right when he said life is like a box of chocolates. If you had sat me down last March and said, hey, at this time next year you'll be teaching high school AND primary, and you'll no longer be watching American Idol, I'd have poked my eyes out.

If you had also told me I'd be living in a house with a foyer and my son would be playing on the best basketball team in the nation, I'd have poked your eyes out.

Guess it's good we can't see what's coming, else we'd all be blind.

There's a moral here. There's a definite moral here. Dr. Seussical knew what he was talking about when he said anything's possible (especially if you have Nick Emery, T.J. Haws, and Eric Mika on your team). I'm in a whole new realm of possibility. And who needs friends when you've got five-year-olds? And who needs American Idol when you've got Duck Dynasty and Downton Abbey. And a foyer. And a garage. Our dream house has a garage too. And a shed. It also has baby blue carpet and wallpaper, and my boys bedrooms are pink, which just goes to show that even dreams need to be updated, if you get my drift.

Some people get to live a dream they never thought possible, and the rest of us get to live a dream they never thought desirable--someone else's dream, for instance. But hey, just because one man's dream is another man's nightmare, doesn't make it any less valuable to society as a whole. I mean, as long as you're living the dream you're handed to the best of your ability. I mean, my son never thought he'd be a national champion, and I never thought I'd be a high school teacher, and . . .

What was my point, again?

Oh yeah, my life is goooooood. My life is fantastic. I get to wake up every morning at 5:00 a.m. and make lesson plans. It is theee bessssst. I love it.

I am a dummy who is changing the world, one sassy-pants teenager at a time.

That being said, there was one time I thought I might be in the wrong profession. It was the day the yearbook survey came out and my students nominated me for class clown.