call me crazy

Monday, January 28, 2013

i had a super long day at work today.

as in twelve hours long.

i know this is completely normal for many people, but i am definitely not cut out for days like this, and i freely admit it.

ten hours? sure.

eleven hours? why not?

eleven hours and one minute? that's pushing it, and anywhere beyond that gets treacherous.

of course it was for a good reason, but the fact remains that i don't do well for extended periods of time. endurance isn't my thing. i'm a sprinter at heart (and i mean that in a very figurative way).

but there was a little slice of happiness that came my way today, and please, please, please do not judge me for this.

i got my w-2.

which means i can do my taxes.






love it.

i start itching to do my taxes around mid december every year, and then i painstakingly wait for january 31st to arrive, and i realize this makes me completely different than 98.4% of america. it's just one of those things i adore checking off of my list each year.

guess what?

as of right now, everything is done on my taxes, except for my 1098-t form from the university of texas/arlington.

it seems like lots of people are waiting on uta to get things done...myself included.

in the meantime, i have to share my annual tax amusement with you.

if i was an artist, i would title this jpeg 'really, turbo tax? what part of single mom and teacher is unclear to you with this picture?'

for some reason, this question always, always makes me laugh. i can never click 'no' quick enough to appease myself, but it's all part of the process.

april 15th will be here before you know it, so don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today (however, if you're waiting on uta, then you're at their mercy like me).


a feature!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

i am beside myself and completely giddy right now...

i have my first-ever featured post on blogher's page!!!!!!!!!!!

and i'm completely rethinking my absolute abandonment of capital letters.

check it out when you have a chance!!


the power of the circus

Monday, January 21, 2013

when i was 20, i spent ten days in the french alps. it was a trip i'll never forget, and it's a huge part of the reason i want to take the girls there some day.

i flew into paris and did the normal tourist things for the first few days: the louvre, versailles, the eiffel tower, notre dame cathedral, the seine, picasso's place, the was truly amazing. for those few days we spent in paris, i survived on bread, cheese, and pears. and mcdonalds. i hadn't yet unearthed my inner oenophile, and my inner foodie was still an untapped resource.

and then my adventure began. i hopped on a train from paris to lyon, boarded another train from lyon to chambery, and from there i was driven into the french alps to the magical village of valloire.

photo credit
it was july, and since valloire is best known for its ski slopes, i got a true peek into the slow, refined pace of the people who live there year-round.

this quintessential french village had a boulangerie, a boucherie, and a patisserie; but all i really needed was the meadow full of wildflowers right behind our condo and the little pizzeria in the bottom of our building. that's where i found my love of stone-fired pizza margherita and freshly made crepes dotted with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

that restaurant, combined with the patisserie, where i could artfully ask for "deux pommes" while giving the international sign for two with my right hand while pointing at the apple pasteries with my left hand made up for lost time (and calories) in paris.

the reason i'm telling you all of this is because the girls went to the circus yesterday with their dad. they had a blast. cee loved the trapeze artists, and jay loved the tigers and elephants. and i was stunned by the innovation of the circus when they both informed me that they saw someone fly out of a canyon. i couldn't for the life of me figure out how they replicated a canyon, and as it turns out, they were actually mesmerized with someone who flew out of the cannon.

i'm amazed that one word, circus, can stir up memories of an entire trip.
photo credit
when i was in valloire, a circus came through town in honor of bastille day. the french circus was seriously amazing, and not necessarily in a good way. i walked by the whole set up one morning on my way to the boulangerie and made my way through the menagerie of animals as they lay in waiting in their cages (which were glorified train cars). i specifically remember feeling really sorry for the giraffe and thinking the tiger's cage was a little too clumsy.

i bought my ticket that morning, and when i arrived at the show, i was surprised and humbled when several french children wanted to trade me: my bleacher tickets for their floor tickets. i felt like it was too good to be true, so i kindly declined their offer.

every since then, i've followed my gut when situations like this present themselves to me because apparently there aren't really rules or laws or regulations for circuses in france, and ring-side seats are actually the cheap seats.

what unfolded during the course of the circus was pretty much chaos. there were elephants. there were alligators. and there were tigers. and there were no protective barriers between the audience and the animals. let's just say things got dicey a couple of times, and the targets of the diciness were sitting in the plastic lawn chairs. the plastic lawn chairs were holding the french children who tried to trade tickets with me. fortunately, everyone lived to tell the tale.

when my time in valloire was up, i headed back to paris (via the same series of trains). my hotel was about a block off of the champs, and my arrival coincided with the end of the tour de france...before lance armstrong was a household name, before the doping allegations, and before oprah had her own network.

photo credit
i simply walked out of my hotel to grab a coffee and into a sea of spectators. there were hundreds (but it seemed like thousands) of bikers riding around the arc. it was one of the most incredible things i've ever experienced, and it was a feeling that i'm not sure could ever be replicated for me again.

either way, i do love all things french because of that trip.

i seriously do want to take the girls to france one day because it's a beautiful culture to embrace, it's a chance to see that americans don't necessarily have all the answers, it's an opporunity to see how our cultures meld into one another, and most of all, it's a glimpse into the charming life of another world, safety regulations or not.

until next time,


excuse me...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

something weird happened to me last week: i realized exactly how necessary it is for me to get a good night's sleep.

more specifically, a few sleepless nights over the last few weeks threw my body directly into a tumultuous mini-rebellion. just to clarify, when i say 'sleepless nights', i don't mean that i had a couple of nights of restless sleep or that i woke up ten minutes before my alarm went off or that i stayed up too late...

my brand of 'sleepless' involves waking up at 2 am with a million things on my mind ranging anywhere from a all the way to z (oh, the irony)...night after night after night after night. and at some point, my body decides something has to give.

i've tried the garden variety of cognitive behavior approaches like writing everything down that's on my mind before i go to bed...and writing everything down that's on my mind when i wake up at 2 am...and 3 am...and 4 am.

i've tried adjusting my bedtime around these unexpected waking times. i've even taken extreme measures and not had my glass of wine before bed. as it turns out, that's a horrible idea all together, and i just have an overactive mind.  


when i wake up in the middle of the night, i honestly can't do much to quiet the random thoughts as they race  through my head, and i can't simply put them aside for a few hours while i reach the magic number of eight hours that my body loves.

so last week, i got some adorable little 10 mg friends to assist me with getting back into somewhat of a normal sleep routine and to give these little thoughts a rest of their own.

these pills are great, but i'd much rather handle this on my own, i said to the universe.

the universe replied by depositing a ted link on my facebook feed, the title being 'your elusive creative genius'.

the mastermind behind eat, pray, love
i am in no way trying to compare myself  to the lovely and talented elizabeth gilbert, who is the speaker of this enlightening little piece, nor am i trying to imply that my elusive creativity belongs to any form of genius...more likely than not, my creativity can best be credited to a little bit of  a fair amount of good, old-fashioned anxiety.

regardless of who gets credit for this hitch in my sleep schedule and the subsequent bank of ideas that comes from it, elizabeth gilbert's talk gave me an idea.

last saturday when my thoughts tried to interrupt my sleep at 1:56 am (on a night i opted out of the 10 mg assistant), i simply wished the following words to them: 'excuse me...can you not see that i'm sleeping? do i look like i can deal with you right now? if you really want to exist, come back at a more opportune moment when i can take care of you! otherwise, go bother somebody else right now.'

it felt really good to address them and their extreme rudeness.

did it help? well,

but it felt good to grab the bull by the horns, even if it was all for naught. it also made me realize that i can get control over this if i'm persistent enough in my efforts.

there's a lot more to her message than just addressing your daemons head on, and i hope you'll take twenty minutes out of your day to digest what she has to say. maybe, just maybe, it will resonate with you like it did for me.

peace, olé, and sweet dreams...

chips on the table

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

yesterday i witnessed a miracle.

well, sort of.

on sunday, the girls and i found a dog. we didn't just find any old scruffy dog, we found a super cute, very well mannered little lady who just happened to not have on a collar.

when the girls brought her inside, i instantly realized she was exactly what we'd been looking for. and then i remembered exactly how wonderful our previously 'found' dogs were the sheer hell we went through with walter and hank (who wasn't with us long enough to earn a goodbye post).

regardless, this dog was lost and i was certain that if we didn't hang onto her, she would get run over.

they brought her in, i mentioned that she smelled sour, they asked if they could use my perfume, i gave her a bath, they called me a control was a beautiful moment. really, it was.

and within an hour of having this little dumpling in our home, i realized that she was actually a really, really good dog...

...and i realized the girls really, really liked her.

i also realized that because she was awesome and not horrendous, she probably already had a home of her own.

i told the girls we needed to make signs, and of course they asked why. i explained that if browning got out (and he has had his fair share of runaway attempts), we would want somebody to get him back to us.

they weren't buying my story.

people would bring him back because he eats too much...they said.

people would bring him back because he sheds everywhere...they insisted.

people would bring him back because he gets smelly...they pressed.

but wouldn't you miss him and worry about him?  i asked.

i thought this put things into perspective for them. i thought they understood what kind of 'sign' i was talking about - after all, they love reading the signs posted on the six-foot by four-foot bulletin board by the mailboxes in our neighborhood, and they maintain a nearly-constant vigil for any pets that might possibly be missing.

what if we wait for the owners to put up a sign first?  they wondered.

what about karma?  i countered.

this worked, i won, and they got out paper and markers and quickly set forth on their endeavor to make signs. fifteen minutes later, here's what jay brought to me:

and five minutes after that, cee brought me her handy work to inspect:

it was at this point that i made the decision to harbor the dog for the night because obviously our signs weren't hang-able.

before i knew it, they'd named her bella, decorated her dorm room, and made her a bow collar. they were completely smitten with her (and so was i).

she slept peacefully and without incident in her 'dorm room' (aka crate) all night long (i know this because i was extremely envious of her solid, regimented sleep habits).

when i 'woke up' yesterday, i decided i would have to take her to the vet (if i had time after my appointment) just to see if she was chipped.

i decided if she wasn't chipped, i would make signs of my own. minimal reverse psychology and no emotional appeal would be involved in my signs. we'd give it until friday and then we would make a decision about what would be the best option for us (and bella).

and that's where the miracle happened.

as soon as i walked into the vet with her, everybody oooo'ed and awww'ed at how cute she was.

set her on the table so i can scan her for a chip...the tech said.

the machine instantly chirped back at us indicating that she was, indeed, chipped.

what happened from there went by way too fast - a phone call to the main chip company. a second phone call to the akc chip people. confirmation that her name was lulu belle.

within five minutes of my arrival, i was giving my name and phone number to sherry in raleigh, and by the time i got home from the vet, lulu belle's owner was on her way to get her little lady from my house.

seriously miraculous.

lulu belle (who did a fantastic job of feigning her love for us) was very happy to see her owner, who only lives a few blocks away from us; the girls, on the other hand, were less than pleased with me for handling this on my own without their prior, written consent.

they aren't mad at me anymore (ice cream sundaes work miracles of their own), and we've been invited to visit lulu belle any time we'd like.

if your dog isn't already chipped, i hope you'll reconsider. it was pretty cool to see the reunion between pooch and human. my only regret is that the girls didn't get to see how happy the owner was to have her lulu belle back.

on the flip side of life, browning is breathing a huge, sheddy, hungry, stinky sigh of relief that he has 100% of our attention again.

this was a good lesson for the girls: a tough pill to swallow, but we did the right thing.

and they all lived happily ever after.


my guides

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

now that we're past that obligatory-january-first-suicidal-bird-who-flew-into-the-back-door post (poor, unfortunate soul), i can wish you a proper and legitimate happy new year!

so, resolutions.

they aren't really my thing.

i used to solemnly make them on december 31 of each year only to feel incredibly irritated with myself by january 15 for already having missed the mark. that's why i created the life list last year, and i'm sure there are plenty of things on there i can continue to pursue in lieu of annual resolutions.

instead of resolutions, i have decided on two books to guide me through this year. i'm not resolving to read them, but i am looking forward to perusing them at a jovial pace. and i really liked the idea of pushing myself to read one book a month last year, and i'm hoping to update my a-book-a-month page soon and keep that page going this year as well...

the first book i plan to let guide me this year i received as a gift, and i really do love it!

the entire idea for this book was conceived by a group of writers in san francisco. it is comprised of 642 writing prompts. from conception to delivery to originating editor's desk, it took just about 24 hours for this book to be created. pretty cool, i think. i'm hoping to find inspiration from this book whenever i encounter blog fog (aka writer's block), and if you love writing, maybe this will float your boat, too.

the second book is one that i'm hoping will teach me a whole bunch of stuff i'm not very good at.

i think the reasoning behind me choosing this book is self-explanatory. what i really like about it (besides its super cute cover) is that it's broken down into weekly, manageable chunks. this is good for me. it's not a quick fix, but instead it's a process. i never learned how to organize things when i was a kid, so i'm totally the type of person who needs to learn slowly instead of all at once. added bonus: maybe this will help me better teach the girls how to organize their things.

tomorrow morning, i go back to work. this was a great break, and i'm happy about all of the catching up i was able to do during the last two weeks: with the girls, with friends, with house stuff, with paperwork, and with sleep...

i truly hope you have your sights set on a wonderful 2013 (or 2012 + 1 as some of the triskaidekaphobics are calling it - which i love...), and i hope plenty of happiness, good health, and prosperity are in store for each and every one of us!


a better day for some than others

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

dear dove,

i'm going to be honest with you: you really scared me this afternoon.

i'd just let browning outside, closed the sliding door, and no sooner than i turned to resume my horizontal position on the couch, it happened.

i don't do well with sudden, loud noises, and the 'thunk' you made when you slammed into the same sliding door i'd just closed made me scream. loudly. i don't even want to think about what would have happened if i had left the door open...

at first, all i saw was a fountain of white and gray feathers falling like snow from the air to the ground, collecting in a small pile on my back porch.

and, being a bird dog, browning knows a dead bird when he sees one. he saw you, and let's just say he's still got dead bird skills. which was kind of gross.

it was only after i convinced him to set you down gently in the yard that i noticed the blood splat you left on my door. which was also kind of gross.

it took me a few minutes to figure out how to give you a proper farewell, and in the end i think i did a fairly decent job considering that i was caught completely off guard by the circumstance.

i know this isn't all about me, and i'm really sorry that your new year started and ended in the same day. i'm sorry about your exit from this world into the next. i don't think that's how anybody really wants to go out, but it just goes to show you that we aren't ever fully in charge of anything that happens in our lives.

i do hope that my friends and family have an exponentially better 2013 than you did. in the meantime, little guy, rest in...


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