Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day Thirty: what a month


Today, November is over.  I'm pretty sure this is my last attempt at NaBloPoMo.  After reading what Eden, the inventor wrote a week or so ago, it could be the last one for everyone.  It's a fun, but very draining experience to write something on your blog every day for a whole month.

This morning, I've been thinking about the last month and about some of the things that have happened in the last thirty days.  Here's the short list.

  • hosted two dinner parties
  • baked and iced nearly 200 cupcakes
  • made 7 dozen croissants from scratch
  • all four of us had bronchitis.  They boys had walking pneumonia, too
  • celebrated dad's birthday
  • moved out of my house for four days
  • had my entire house painted while I was moved out for four days
  • did my job, attended a staff meeting, planned for and prepared a live webinar for folks all over the country
  • picked my mom up form the airport
  • went to church
  • taught a big combined lesson at church that made a couple young women cry
  • survived the preschool carpool another month
  • survived having my preschooler home with out school for five days straight
  • bought an artificial Christmas tree and decorated it
  • mourned the loss of my great uncle 
  • prayed for my brother-in-law who was in a terrible motorcycle accident while he was in the hospital two weeks and had to have his shoulder joint replaced
  • continuing to pray for my brother-in-law as he makes a slow recovery
  • finished 90% of my Christmas shopping
  • wrapped a few Christmas gifts to send to Arizona
  • sent Ross and the Chick to the emergency room because he wasn't breathing so good.  Spent a week doing the inhaler every three hours and a lot of sleepless nights driving around the neighborhood
  • watched football on tv
  • addresses and stuffed all my Christmas cards
  • sat for a family photo
  • made Christmas count down chains and hung them throughout the house
  • bought my own Christmas present
  • cheered my brother on as he made the VARSITY basketball team
  • attended an early morning two hour church training
  • went to book club even though I didn't read the book
  • finished two books this month
  • prepped a ton of food for Thanksgiving
  • had a happy Thanksgiving at my mom's house with extended family
  • enjoyed the company of my husband for 5 days straight - happy he was home - didn't argue or fight with him once .
  • loved my boys - loved that they loved having their dad home
Phew!  That was quite a month, wasn't it?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Twenty-Nine: Digging Out


I've lived my entire life in Utah.  Snow doesn't really bother me.  I'm not a huge fan of driving in the snow, but I actually enjoy shoveling snow, watching snow fall (especially with a hot chocolate in hand), and I don't even mind being outside and freezing a bit...for a few minutes at least.

There have been major snow storms during my life, but only a few snow days.  I could probably count them on one hand.

The first winter I was married, Ross and I traveled to Arizona for Christmas.  Talk about opposites in weather, right?  I've been covered in snow every winter of my life and spent my first married Christmas in 60 degree weather, watching Arizonians cover themselves in sweaters and jackets and coats because they were cold.

That winter there was a huge storm right around the big holiday.  Trees broke, power was out for days in some spots, and mother nature really dumped on the valley.  Our big car was parked at my parents house and they took care of it.  By the time we got to my parents from the airport we could see some of the damage from the snow, but really didn't have a full grasp on the storm until we got home.

We lived at the University of Utah in student housing.  We had a great ground floor, three bedroom, two bathroom student apartment that had been part of the athlete village during the winter Olympics.  We were right up on the hill.  Literally, on the hill.

As we pulled into the parking lot it was quite obvious that there weren't any real spots to park in.  A plow had sort of been through the lot and any car that was in a stall just got buried.  My little VW Golf was included in that mess.  Ross and I drove through the parking lot three or four times, not looking for a parking space, but looking for my itty bitty car.  It was literally buried in the snow.

I think after a few minutes of circling we gave up.  We knew it was there, and we'd find it later.

The next morning I found my car.  It was going to take a crew of shovels and a whole lot of sweat to get it out.  I called in the cavalry  - Mom, Haley, and Willie - to help me out.  They showed up with shovels and we set to digging.  It took the four of us quite a while to get that little car uncovered let alone dug out enough that we could actually open the door, start her up, and get her moving.

For a lot of people, that probably sounds like a grueling situation - digging out a buried car.  I'm pretty sure that was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

We probably went to the training table after for some fries and cokes.  That's always fun, too.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day Twenty Eight: NaBloSuckO


It's almost over. Two more days.

Two more days.

Two more days.

Really, I've got nothing left to write about. No stories. No genius.


It happens every year. I get excited and the excitement lasts for about 10 days and then it's just a struggle to finish.

Blogging every day is hard.

Planning out time to sit down and write something is painful.

It's like the big snow storm we were supposed to have last Tuesday. Everyone was in a panic. Schools shut down. Business shut down. My staff meeting ended early. We all needed to get home before the blizzard to end all blizzards.

We got like and eighth of an inch of snow. Maybe.

Today? There's a blizzard out there people. I just got home from driving in it. My parents have a foot or more, the roads are slippery and we couldn't stop at one intersection and coasted through a red light.

Thank you people for not being in a hurry and killing us.

Where were the bells and whistles for this snow storm? Where were the masses of people hitting the grocery store for bottled water?

Where is my hot chocolate?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day Twenty Seven: Festivus for the Rest of Us


Today we were all sitting in the living room and the boys were exhibiting feats of great strength. Ross said all we needed was a pole, and an airing of grievances and we would have just celebrated our first familial festivus.

Instead, tonight, on the 27th of November we put up our ARTIFICIAL Christmas Tree.

Damn the masses. We caved and went fake this year. Standing in the store last night debating which tree to purchase was a strange feeling. There was no sense of excitement and no smell of pine.  We weren't bundled up and running through a make-shift forest of trees.  It wasn't special.  It was economical.

I grew up with fresh cut pine tree for every Christmas. A real, live Charlie Brown tree. One with bare spots that just needed a blanket to wrap around it's spindly limbs and love.  One that needed regular attention and care.  One that never really stood up straight and always leaned a bit to the left.

I now have a fake, pre-lit tree in my basement that cost us $99 on sale. It pays for its self in one holiday season! I of course wanted to the more expensive, cooky, non-traditional tree but with two screaming boys, two pushy salesmen and one frustrated husband it was quickly decided that cheaper was better.

It didn't fit in the back of the car. We looked a bit like hillbillies driving home with a tree hanging out the back window, screaming kids strapped to seats, and a hankering for some orange chicken from the local Chinese take-out.

The tree, though it's only been up for an hour as I write, has got me thinking about holidays past and how my kids will really never experience some of the traditions I celebrated (and survived?) around holidays. It's also helped me realize - this week of Thanksgiving, that I don't despise holidays nearly as much now that I have children. I would still like to run and hide every single time a significant celebratory date rolls around but rather than actually book a flight and head out of town (as we have done on many occasions) I find that I'm starting to get into the spirit of things.

I want my kids to have joy and happiness in their lives. I want them to fill the spirit of giving and service and to be generous.  I want them to have memories to pass on to their own families. Our traditions may be a bit lack luster and somehow always be consumed by an insignificant sporting event, but my kids will remember, I hope, that their parents love them. That their parents set up the Christmas tree before it was even December.

That their parents can celebrate holidays, too. Even if they'd rather get out of town and go out to dinner.

Now, can anyone help me find a powerful pine tree sent that I can fill up my house (and my vacuum) with?

Friday, November 26, 2010

People say we look alike

Annie is growing tired of the daily posts, so I get to pinch hit.

Here is a story.

Once in 2002, Annie and I went to a session of LDS General Conference with my parents at the Conference Center. We were 'dating' and at some point during the session began to hold hands.

A very nice lady that was sitting next to us said, "before you started to hold hands, I thought you were brother & sister".

I replied, "no, we are cousins".

She did not speak to us for the rest of the session.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day Twenty-Five: Thankful

I am so thankful for so many things.


and lots of other things that start with "F".

Even though they were stinkers for most of the day, I am very thankful for my crazy boys.

I am thankful for a smart as a whip almost four year old who answers phones, bosses everyone around, starts conversations with people and can use a computer all by himself.

I am thankful for an 18 month old who despite everything that's wrong with him, and the fact that he's always sick is still happy and funny and smart and can sing a melody from a Lady GaGa song on demand.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Twenty-Four: Identity

tunnel outside Baltimore

On Veteran's Day, 2001 I was at a church event. I left my wallet in the car. Driving home from the event I noticed that my car was REALLY cold. I looked back and saw that the window on the back door, passenger side, had been broken. Shattered and all over the seat and floor of my car.

Crap! Why would someone "bust the window out my car" on Veteran's day?!

Then I thought to check under the seat. That was where I always left my wallet.

It was gone.


I started to cry.

Once home, my mom calmed me down and we called the cops.

The police officer came out, looked my car over and told us the obvious. Someone had broken into my car and stolen my wallet.


I didn't know that. We filed the police report and as soon as the officer left my mom and I went inside to start canceling stuff. At the time I had a credit card and a checking account. We canceled both.

It was a few days later that the gravity of the situation really hit hard. There was a lot of drama and anger but the summary of the story is this: my identity had been stolen. From the time it was stolen until my mom and I canceled it, my credit card had been used at a local mall for a couple thousand dollars. Merry Christmas thief!

My drivers licence had been used at the local bank, where I regularly banked and had gone to high school with the teller (teller #11) that did all the transactions, to cash some stolen checks in my name for a couple thousand dollars.

The story is much longer, but I'll spare the gory details. Lots of talks with debt collectors, police, banks and a nasty situation that took almost a year to figure out.

My identity had been stolen. My 21 year old credit had been ruined.

The bank, I think, eventually fired teller #11. I think that they figured she was in on it. No one could ever figure out why I was a target, but the cops thought that whomever broke into my car new me well enough to know that I was a super dummy and left my wallet in the car. My aunt, an attorney, wrote some nasty letters to credit agencies threatening them if they wouldn't leave me alone.

I don't remember exactly, but in the end, I think it was close to $10,000 dollars of theft in my name.

Hopefully, knock on wood, since it happened to me once, it will never happen again.

Good thing I no longer have a credit card.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day Twenty-Three: A proposal

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

barbed wire

My husband was not the first person to propose to me.

Are you shocked?

You should be.

You see, once I "dated" this boy.  I use the term "dated" very loosely because you see, over the period of a little more than two years i went out on 6 dates with the boy.  Three before his LDS mission and three after his mission.  He was a kid I'd gone to high school with.  We were not friends.  I pretty much thought he was sloppy and gross.

The first set of dates came happened in a round about way.  He was in attendance at the same church meeting as me.  We somehow ended up walking out together and talking for a while outside, after the meeting.  At that time, he didn't seem to be nearly as big of a goober I had thought him to be.  As our conversation was wrapping up, he asked if he could call me sometime.

I said sure.

Um...bad idea.  The first date was okay.  I thought he was nice.  The second date was a bit blah, but I was trying to be nice.  The third date I found him as annoying as I had in high school and wanted out fast.

He sent me letters while on his mission.  He wanted pictures of me for his "friend" wall in his apartment.  I never wrote.  I never sent photos.

Fast forward two years.  He got home and I got dumb.  Being perpetually dateless has it's benefits.  Being a bit lonely however does not.  Somehow he found me.  He asked me out.  I was lonely and bored and I said yes.

Three more dates that followed the same pattern as they had two years previous.

I was done.

At the time, ignoring someone was the easiest way for me to get rid of them so I ignored.

He stalked.  He drove past my house all the time.  It felt like he was lurking everywhere.  I played basketball with his cousin on the weekends and she said that he really liked me.  He tried to come and watch me play basketball.

He totally creeped me out.


Then one night there was a knock at my door.  It was him.  It was cold outside.  He asked me to come out and talk.  I obliged but not without giving my mom and sister a look of fear that begged that they watch out the window.

This boy yelled at me for messing with his life, desperate to know why I didn't return his calls and was ignoring him.  He was frantic and creepy and I remember that when I got in the house, my mom said she thought he was going to hit me or something.  I had to be honest, and tried to be nice.  I didn't really like him.  I didn't want to date him anymore.  I thanked him for the dinners and the activities and wished him luck.

I thought that was the end of it.

Every once in a while I still saw him drive past my house.  

Then, on a spring day, when my dad and sister were outside doing the yard work, Haley came in and told me I had a visitor.  She didn't tell me who.  I walked out into the garage and it was him.  He came to visit me.  There was a girl in the car.  He told me that she was his fiance and that they were getting married in a few weeks.

I told him congratulations.

He said thank you and handed me the invitation.

As he passed the card over to me he said that he really liked me.  That he wished we hadn't stopped seeing each other.  That he didn't really want to marry the girl in the car and that he was hoping I could give him a good reason to call the whole thing off.

You know - like in the movies - I think he wanted me to jump into his arms, say I'd always loved him, and that the girl wouldn't be sad or dejected...she'd just walk away and find some other boy.

I looked him in the eyes and said, "I hope you two will be really happy together."  Or something like that.  He stood there stunned, then walked away.

Phew!  That was close.  My dad stayed in the garage and witnessed the whole thing.

I did not go to the wedding.  I thought I was finally done with that boy.

Flash forward a few months to the beginning of the new school year.  It was going to be my first full year of teaching, I'd just graduated from the "U" in May and I was so excited and so nervous.  Our beginning of the school year meetings were at a hotel in a big ballroom.  I was sitting taking notes when the new teachers were introduced.

That's when I heard HER name.  That boy?  Well, his wife got a job teaching science at MY school.

How could this have happened?  He's still stalking me?  At the first break in the meeting SHE came up to me and said that her husband had told her to seek me out.  That we could be the best of friends.

The first semester of school was pretty awful.  I avoided that teacher like the plague.  Her husband, that boy?  He was at school all the time.  He walked past my classroom door slowly and stared in at least once a week.  Sometimes more.

No, I'm not making this up.  He was still stalking me a bit.  Following me around.

How did it end?  She couldn't hack it as a teacher.  She also got pregnant.  Then, she quit.

I never heard from him again.  A few years back when I tried out the cursed facebook for a few months he tried to be my friend several times.

Thank goodness for "IGNORE".

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Twenty-Two: Coping Mechanisms

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


When I was little I got migraines. Not really sure what triggered them, but I got them all the time. They made me puke. I was a super puker. Could have won an Olympic gold medal for throwing up if there was such a thing. In the car, in the gutter, at sporting events. You name it, I did it. I think that I usually puked twice - back-to-back - once because I was sick and once because I was so grossed out by what I had just done, it happened again. I had a 9 year stretch of no puke. That ended the second night I was home from my honeymoon in Mexico. We ate at ztejas. That restaurant is dead to me.

My sister got nose bleeds all the time as a kid. Once, when we were little and home alone she got a bad one. I didn't know what to do with a nose bleed so much so I had my sister lay down. Bad idea. After a minute or two of that she jumped up, ran into the bathroom and puked up gallons of blood. It was awesome.

I am prone to gagging. Talk about something I think is gross and I'll run out of the room, dry heaving and hyperventilating.

Why these stories? I don't know. Prior to having kids, I didn't really cope with things well. I gagged, I puked, I cried. I would keep my emotions pent up inside until I just exploded at the closest person (sorry, mom!), wall, counter top. I haven't banged my head into something hard, or my wrist for nearly two years though. That's real progress.

I've had a stint on Prozac and have some xanex in case of extreme emergency panic attack and meltdown. I left a sick newborn in a hospital for 10 days. I spoke at a funeral. I've done hard things.

My kids have asthma. The Chick spent some time at the hospital last night doing breathing treatments and getting checked out. He's wheezy. He rattles. He coughs. He pukes and screams and freaks out. He got two drives in the night in two different cars with two different parents - sitting on our laps and helping to drive. Trying to sleep.

Getting puked on by a 1 year old isn't as traumatic as my childhood pukey self thought it would be. I've discovered in the last almost four years that a sick kid - my kids in particular, is the most frightening thing. Yesterday was hard. Last night was awful. I don't cope well. I panic. My voice is shaky. My stomach aches, my shoulders are tense, my jaw is clenched. Seeing a sweet little thing struggle to breath is so hard.

Knowing that there really isn't anything I can do about it but pin him down and hold an inhaler with a spacer over his mouth while he screams to the point he might pass out is all I can do. And oh, boy! That's awesome. Really. Really. Awesome.

My most favorite thing to do ever.

I need to come up with some new coping mechanisms that don't involve panic.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day Twenty-One: Snow Day

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


First big snow of the season.

That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day Twenty: Self-Sufficient

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

Most of the day today was spent in the yellow room in my mom's basement.  I showed up to paint and ended up volunteering to organize and clean up the yellow room, aka haley's old room, aka the office, aka molly's room if she ever wants to move in.

My mom, bless her heart, collects paper.  She doesn't seem to throw it away under any circumstances.  I enjoy throwing paper away - especially other people's paper when they aren't watching me.  I threw away some stuff today from 1996.  That was the year I graduated from high school.

As part of my clean up efforts (It's all in the spirit of Thanksgiving.  My mom is hosting.  I'm so excited!) I was sent to fetch lunch for everyone.  My brother and I loaded in the car and headed to Chick-fil-a.  Leaving the drive thru there was a man standing on the corner in the blustery wind.  He had on a baseball hat and a decent coat and was holding a sign that read, "homeless.  hungry.  God bless."

It made me mad.  It always makes me mad.  I don't understand homeless-ness.  I don't understand how in a country like this, a person cannot find a job and a meal and a place to stay.  It made me more mad than usual because last night I watched a documentary called, "God grew tired of us".

The documentary blew my mind. It made me cry. The film won several honors in 2007 at national and world wide film festivals. It follows several "Lost Boys" of Sudan from a refugee camp in Ethiopia to the United States. They were selected to relocate after 10 plus years living in camps to Pittsburg, PA, and Syracuse, NY. These boys, turned men, were amazing. The documentary followed them for three years.

In three years time all the boys earned their high school equivalency, associate degrees and were enrolled in college to earn their bachelors degrees. All of them were working two or three jobs, saving every penny to send back to the refugee camps or to their surviving family whom they found with help from the Red Cross. They joined the Job Corps to pay for school. They learned how to flush toilets and sleep on beds and put food in a refrigerator and turn a light switch - all things they'd never seen. They learned to drive and bought cars - had cell phones, and maintained their cultural identity. One boy, John, found his family in Uganda and paid for all the paperwork and travel for his mother and sister to come to the US - he hadn't seen them in 17 years. He became an ambassador for Lost Boys and other African immigrants to the US and was working towards getting legislation heard in Congress to provide help for African refugees.

Another boy, Panther, sent money back to the camp in Ethiopia and saved enough to travel back himself to find and marry his girlfriend and bring her back to America. He was studying Economics at Pitt.

I was truly amazed by these men. They were so proud and so thankful. They praised God for the opportunity to get out of the camp and make something of themselves to honor their family, their country and culture, and to prove that it was worth the investment to get them out.

Not only was I inspired, but amazed. These refugees fought for their lives to even get a chance. And when given the opportunity, dove in head first thirsty for success. And today I see a guy who is standing on a corner with a sign, begging for small change. My brother said he stands there every single day. I wonder how much money he makes. I wonder where he goes at night. I wonder if he is really homeless and hungry.

If the Lost Boys of Sudan can come to America with nothing more than a United Nations refugee camp rudimentary education and some basic English and thrive, then why can't homeless harry on the street corner do the same?

I want to help people. I want to be good and kind. I donate money to my church. I've given money to the red cross, heifer international and other such aide organizations. I want to see people be successful in life.

What is it about American culture that makes it acceptable to beg and not work? To ride on other peoples coat tails and not be self-sufficient.

Please watch this documentary if you get the chance. Add it to your Netflix que. You'll be inspired too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day nineteen: blah

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy


It's now over halfway through the month of november and this is my first dud post of the month. Ever have one of those days where you're about 90 minutes behind schedule all day long and it messes with your brain totally and completely to the point that you write the longest run on sentence in history just because you feel frantic enough that your entire thought process is just one long run on sentence like in a Jack Kerouac novel but you aren't on benzadryine (i have no idea how to spell that word and no spell check help available at the moment. Sorry.) or any other gnarly drug you just are hip and cool without the drugs and you could go like those for days because you are so out of sorts you don't even know what punctuation to use because there are too many choices!?:()

Yeah. A day like that.

Today I made this cake:

Red and black icing are most totally disgusting. Seriously. Have you ever mAde black icing? Blew my mind and my hands are still black. And invade you were wondering that beast of a cake was four layers of chocolate decadence and with all that buttercream easily weighed I. At 11 pounds. Serious!

Do you ever count your steps? Or recite the same words over and over again in your head? Or have very animated conversations with yourself in the car while driving home from dinner in the dark so that people stare at you and think you might be having a hand gesture seizure?

Yeah. Me neither. I just know this person so I thought I'd ask!

Note: I wrote this post on my moms iPad which is really just a giant overpriced iPod. And it can't do half the things I think I want it to do that my phone can do without having to download a new app. Just saying.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day Eighteen: baking

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy


Today - as a pinch hitting emergency life saver - I've been commissioned to bake a cake.  A real live cake.  For a party tomorrow night.

How cool is that?  I'll let you know how it goes.

I have been baking since I was a little girl.  I'm not sure how old I was when the reins of cookie baking were handed my direction, but I feel comfortable saying that I have perfected the chocolate chip cookie.

When I get stressed out I often find that I recite this to myself:
shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.
shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.
shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla.

It's like my own little mantra.

I love to bake.  I'm starting to love to cook.  But I LOVE to bake.

On Monday I made 100 cupcakes.  On Tuesday I iced them all.  Piping icing is seriously one of the most fun things in the world.  I'm still not very good at it but its so much fun.

It's probably all about the creating.  Very rarely do I ever eat a cupcake.  Yes, I taste the batter and get a couple good hits of butter cream icing down the gullet but it's all about the process for me.

The ingredients, the baking, the creation.

If I could make a career out of food I would do it in a second. 

Food (mostly sweets and croissants) is becoming my passion.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day Seventeen: Smarty Pants

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


This boy of mine. 

Let me tell you.

He is too smart for his own good.

He has brought so much joy and laughter (and tears and frustration) to my life since the day he was born almost 4 years ago.

I cannot believe that I will have a 4 year old.  Whose going on 16.  At least.

This kid of mine is a smarty pants.  He has a photographic memory, is obsessed with math and numbers, and is teaching himself how to read.

Preschool is awesome.

Every day Elliott comes up to me with a different combination of fingers up on each hand, asking me if I know the number.  If I can do the math.  When I'm right I get a pat on the shoulder, a "good job mom" and a wink with a thumbs up.

His new obsession however is spelling.  He spells everything.  We read books with him spelling out every single word on the page.  He spells letters with pretzels.  He spells imaginary words.

"Mom, what spells e-m-m-a-s-z-l-y-t-a?" he'll ask me in the car.

"Nothing," I reply.  "That my boy, is not a word," I say kindly.

"Sure it is mom.  You just aren't trying hard enough.  It says cat!"

We play this game back and forth.  Back and forth.  All day long.  Every single day.

On Monday we were in the car and I got this question, at random in our series of spelling words.

"Mom, what spells p-o-o?"

I started to laugh.  He had no idea what he'd asked me.

"That spells poo, Elliott"

"What?"  he said surprised.

"You heard me.   You know what it spells.  Don't ask me again" I said back, stifling my laugh because his was already contagious.

I'm sure you can figure out where the rest of that conversation with a three year old went.  Lots of spelling and singing of those three letters.

He started to get a bit hysterical in the car, laughing at his bodily function genius.

He then said to me, "Mom, I just can't control my laughter.  Spelling poo is just too funny."

Yes my boy.  I guess it is.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day Sixteen: Curse the Retainer!

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

surveying the land

I've mentioned before that as a kid, making the pilgrimage to Mecca, aka Disneyland, was a ritual. A rite of passage. Something we could count on doing at least every two years or so.

Oh, I love Disneyland.

On such trip was at the end of 9th grade. I had just gotten my braces off. I had a retainer.

Ick. The retainer and I had only been in a relationship for about a month. We weren't getting along. I secretly wished that he would get up and walk out of my life but, since he was trapped in my mouth except when I was eating, there wasn't much hope of him going AWOL. A retainer-napping perhaps, but no running away.

I spent the better part of every day flipping it out of my mouth with my tongue; flipping it around in my mouth with my tongue; and doing everything I could to get rid of it.

Flash forward to D-land. The Indiana Jones ride had just opened. I had no idea what to expect - had been standing in a 27 hour line to get on the ride, and loaded up in one of the adventure jeeps with my sister, cousins, and other family members.

The ride was great. It was exciting and fun and air conditioned. It was 3 minutes of bliss until the very end. (side note: why are we willing to stand in a 2 hour line for a 3 minute ride? I don't get it.)

You know that part at the end where the boulder is coming towards you and then you duck down under it and the ride is over? Yeah, that part. As our jeep whooshed down, my tongue flicked up and my retainer flew. Out. Of. My. Mouth.

You have no idea how much my 15 year old brain panicked.


I knew it was expensive. I knew that my parents had been telling me for weeks to stop flipping it out of my mouth.

I new I was dead meat and that by the time I got out of the ride all my teeth would return to crooked and I'd not only be in trouble but have to start the 3 year braces adventure all over again.

Sweat. Panic. Stomachache.

That was, until I finally opened my eyes and decided to breathe.

My cousin was sitting in front of me. She had long, wavy, curly hair. In her mess of hair was my retainer, perched every so gently. Tangled really. Staring at me. Daring me to every try and get rid of it, intentionally or accidentally, ever again.

I was saved by the hair.

The hair rescued me from pain and torture.

And saved my teeth from being eternally crooked.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day Fifteen: History

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


I love history. I love history like birds love to fly. Like bears like to eat fish. Like football players love to tackle.

History is in my bones. My dad is a historian. The guys knows everything about American history. The Civil War? He's your guy. The American Revoultion?  He's read more books than anyone I know.  My dad's "thing" growing up was George Armstrong Custer. When I was about 12 years old we went on a marathon trip to Bismark, North Dakota. We drove. My mom had a conference. I think the drive to Bismark lasted about 4 years. I remember listening to enough Elton John "Crocodile Rock" to drown a river of crocodiles.

As part of the trip we ventured to the other Dakota - South. We spent the night in Custer, South Dakota. Custer is the only town really close to Mt. Rushmore (or, Rount Mushmore as we called it then) and the only thing in Custer was a strange little miniature land of "the flint stones", like the cartoon.

Custer is important however. That was the theme of the trip. Or, the only thing I really remember from the grand adventure in the Northern US. Sure, we visited Devil's Tower in Wyoming, and hit a corner of Montana (I think). We went bowling in Bismark and even visited the zoo - which I think only had some deer and a Yak (don't talk back).

The thing I remember about the trip is our visit to a battle field. We were deep in my dad's "Custer phase" and the Battle of Little Big Horn, in the Black Hills, was my dads history obsession. At the time anyway.

The battle, also known as "Custer's last stand" was epic, to say the least. The Native Americans won, Custer was killed (and scalped) and it was tragic.

Epic and tragic.

Epic and tragic.

What was really epic however, just as big of a deal as the battle itself, was our visit to pay memorium. Now, it's my memory and I'm sticking to my story, but we were there for HOURS!

Maybe even days.

It was hot.

My dad got out of the car and walked out into the middle of a field. My mom and sister got out of the car and listened to the ranger. I never got out of the car.

There were 1.67 billion grasshoppers. They were everywhere. Grasshoppers and I are not friends. They were so thick that you could see them jumping like fountains.

Fountains of creepy jumpy grasshoppers.

My skin is crawling just thinking about it.

I melted in the car.  It was so hot.

My mom and sister listened to the ranger over and over and over again tell the story of Custer's Last Stand.

My dad? He was standing in the middle of a field of grasshoppers.

Reliving the entire battle, I'm sure.

When he finally made his way back to the car he was sweaty and drained. He'd fought the war.

Like Custer, he probably lost. But he got to keep his head.

I'm sure that the whining from his three girls ruined the moment.

The heat and the grasshoppers were just too intense.

Back in the car. Back to crocodile rock.

The moral of the story?






I had no idea what my dad was doing in that field. I didn't get it. It was strange and crazy.


My sister and I went on our wonderous roadtrip across America. We paid a stop to the city, cemetery, and battle field of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

We drove in to town on a dark and probalby stormy night. I think we stayed in the only available room in town in a pink motel run by a family from India. We really had no idea where we were in location to the historical sites and just dumped our stuff, found some dinner and went to bed.

The next morning, while Haley was in the shower I stepped outside of the pepto motel.

There was a thick fog on the ground and as I looked up from the fog and across the street I realized we were yards away from the Gettysburg Cemetary. Where Lincoln stood. Where brave men fought and died.

It was awesome.

I stood there, on the stoop of our room for what felt like a long time. The serenity and the gravity of the scene hit me hard.

At that moment I thought back to when I was a little girl trapped in a car in South Dakota. At that moment I figured out what my dad had been doing. He wasn't torturing us. Well, maybe he was a little. We were there for HOURS.

He was living history.

He was loving history.

He was having a moment.

And at Gettysburg, I had one too.

There have been many opportunities since to soak in the history and live the moment.

It's one of the coolest things there is.

History is awesome!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day Fourteen: Tired

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

fun at snowbird

It's Sunday night. I'm tired.

This week:
The boys and I are recovering from bronchitis.

The babysitter couldn't come because she was injured.

I packed up my entire house, was homeless for three days, and am still unpacking my entire house.

I sliced my finger open with one of those dumb circle apple slicers.

I missed my husband because he was working ALL WEEK LONG - even the weekend.

I got yelled at by someone I don't even know and lectured by someone I don't really like.

My kid set off a house alarm.

I ate out every meal except for breakfast and two dinners all week (no kitchen).

I paid a large sum of money to Fernando.

I dyed all white dish towels red.

I put the wrong soap in my in-laws dishwasher and gave the dishes a bubble bath.

I clipped off half a dead toenail and am just waiting for the rest to fall off.

I cleaned up two houses - my own and the one I was staying in. My house, I've cleaned twice.

I couldn't figure out how to use a vacuum. It was harder than it looked.

The Chick thinks everything is lotion. He rubbed foaming glass cleaner on his face, in his mouth, and narrowly missed his eyes.

My brother-in-law got in a severe motor cycle accident and is awaiting surgery and possible shoulder joint replacement. We're praying for him.

My great uncle died.

My baby didn't nap all week long.

My grandma can't breath.

It was one of those weeks.

Tomorrow is Monday. I guess we're ready to start it again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Thirteen: Hero Worship

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


This week he made the VARSITY basketball team. As a sophomore.

He's pretty cool, that brother of mine. He'll be 16 soon. In like, 6 weeks. He's had his drivers permit for a while. I let him drive my car once. I watched him try and back my sisters car out of the driveway. Stick shifts always bring me to tears.

He's such a good boy, that brother of mine. He's fun to talk to, has great taste in music, and is an awesome super duper cool uncle.

The boys adore him. The chick worships him. He carries his uncle Willie t-shirt around the house, pointing and grunting at the picture.

Yes, this brother of mine is a great kid.

I love him a lot.

Even if he is taller than me. I can still box him out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day Twelve: 18 months

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


Today, little Chick, you are 18 months old. You are such a big boy and getting smarter every single day.

Lately, it's amazing to see how much you know and understand. Last night we were eating dinner and your dad said the word, "tiger". That was your Pavlovian prompt to growl like a tiger. This happens pretty regularly and there are about 20 words that when you hear them (like head, fact, feet, dog, train) you have an immediate reaction and start acting out the word - or hitting yourself in the face.

You still prefer grunting over talking, but your vocabulary is growing every day. Some of your best and most understandable words are:
Elliott! (you only yell your brothers name)
thank you (in sign language, but it's still a word)
Haley (only a couple of times)
car (a couple of times)

You also know the sounds a lot of animals make, thanks to some apps on the iPhone:

The skill you are working on the best however, is still destruction. Yesterday we were at Grandma Connie's house for about 30 minutes and in that time you found the phone, opened all the cupboards, grabbed a butter knife, dumped out a drawer with notebooks, found and unplugged the carbon monoxide detector and armed the house alarm so that when we left the house, the alarm went off. it scared your brother to death! You thought it was hilarious.

You march to the beat of your own drummer for sure. You insisted on going trick or treating with Elliott and agreed to wear your costume. Every person who saw you that said, "What a cute little monkey" was greeted by a glorious monkey roar from you.


And, perhaps the biggest opinion move on your part in the last little while involves the high chair. It's now in the basement. You, my boy now eat at the kitchen table with us because you are apparently, not a baby.


I still get to rock you to sleep a couple times a day, and you still have to drink a bottle at night but I'll try to remember. You are now officially a toddler. Not a baby.

You got it kiddo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Eleven: Honoring a Veteran

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


I seem to have offended my Uncle Blaine's family by this post.  I'm sorry.  I've change what was found to be offensive and I wish them all the peace they can find in their time of grieving.  I just wanted to pay tribute.

Today is Veterans Day. I had a great story about identity theft to share today (my identity was stolen on Veterans Day night, 2001). Instead however, I'd like to honor a veteran.

My grandma's brother, Blaine Eccles, passed away last night after a very brief but brave battle with cancer. He was 82 years old and a veteran of the Korean War, as so many men his age were and are.

I really don't know much about my Uncle Blaine except that he's always been around.  He has always supported everyone on my side of the family. No matter what we've invited him to over the years, he's been there. Weddings, parties, sporting events. The only time he hasn't arrived on time was when we had a surprise 80th birthday part for him. For that event, he didn't even show. He stayed home, and we partied without him, in his honor.

He appeared to be in good health in August at a family wedding but quickly went down hill in the last two months. My Aunt Cindy wrote a nice post about last weekend with Uncle Blaine. You should read it here.

We'll miss you Uncle Blaine. Rest peacefully.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day Ten: "Hey Grace, how's charm school?"

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

blond teacher hair, maybe 2003 or 2004?

Nearly six years of my life were spent hold up in a high school. I was a teacher. During my tenure I taught World History, Sociology, Law and Courts, American History and Advanced Placement US History. Also during this time I was a cheerleader advisor, assistant sophomore basketball coach, student government/junior class advisor and the co-key club advisor.

I LOVED being a teacher. At that time in my life it was the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I could have been doing. There were times I gave my whole life to my kids, getting to school at 6:00 am and coming home after 4:00 pm. Long days, lots of work, and lots and lots of 17 year olds.

Teaching is maybe one of the only things I'm good at. And I know I really was good. I was one of the best. A colleague of mine, after a busy morning of class changes in the cafeteria asked me during a department meeting why I was so popular with the kids.  I could have told him it was because I really cared, or because I was hip and cool, or because I was a better teacher than him.  Instead I said, "Because I wear tight sweaters!"

And one time, my mom came and observed a class I was teaching. She told me I did a great job. That meant the world to me.

Now, to the story. During one of the years I was advising the cheerleaders I needed some help one morning before school started. There weren't many kids in building, but I grabbed a few to help me get some stuff out of my car. A few cheerleaders and a couple other kids came along. We were headed out the doors by the gym. Big glass doors that faced east. The sun was still rising so I'll use that as my excuse for what happened.

Like I said, I was turned around talking to the kids. I was however, still walking forward.

I finished talking.

I turned around.

I walked right into one of the plate glass doors.

I smacked my forehead so hard I nearly collapsed and I thought the glass might shatter.

There was a greasy schmear on the door where my forehead hit.

It was like one of those loony tunes episodes where the bird hits the window and slides down.

My audience of students burst into outrageous laughter. Kids were coming into my classroom all day long to ask me about my run in with the door and to mock me.

I deserved to be mocked.

And, I had a brain tumor headache the size of Texas for the entire day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Day Nine: Just Dance!

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

It's no secret that in our family we love music.  There is always music playing.  There are always songs to be enjoyed.  We love to listen and to sing.

And, we love to dance.

What you may not know is that when I was a little girl, I REALLY loved to dance.  Lessons were part of my life from probably three until I was 12.  The teacher I'd had my entire life moved and I joined up with a new "studio".  That change gave me the chance to be in bigger programs, and even dance my way down a few parade routes.

The new teacher and group of girls though - left a lot to be desired.  I was out of my element.  I had no friends.  I realized for the first time in my life that I was too tall.  You see, as a 12 year old I was five feet eleven inches tall.  Yikes, right?  A girl that tall dancing with girls that barely make it up to her chest stands out a bit.

I stood out a lot.  I'd like to say it was because I was so graceful and charming and elegant on the stage.

Um...that wasn't why I stood out.  There was some definite ugly duckling going on....and at that age, no hope of turning into a beautiful swan.

It was a hard decision to make but I quit dancing.  I just really wasn't very good.

I still however, have some sweet moves.  Think - Elaine from Seinfeld....yeah, I'm that good.

And, lucky for me I've passed my desire to dance through life (it's still there...why else would we have sweat breaking dance parties in the kitchen every single day) down to my boys.

And, un-lucky for him, my dear sweet boy has inherited my sweet dance moves, too.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Day Eight: Anniversaries

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

Today is a day.  It's a day of three significant anniversaries.


The oldest anniversary is for my dad.  Today is his birthday.  He's celebrating 56 years today.  He has been my dad more than half his life.  He is a good dad and a good grandpa.  We all love him lots.  Even if we are all dorks and drive him a bit crazy.  He's spending his birthday in school.  He is getting close to finishing his bio-manufacturing program and trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up.  My dad is a great role model and all around awesome person.

Happy Birthday, dad.

4 generations

Two years ago today, was the funeral for my beloved Grandma. We were traveling home from a trip to Lake Tahoe when my dad called. I was driving through Battle Mountain, Nevada and Ross and Elliott were in the back seat watching a movie. I knew when the phone rang something was amiss. It was my dad on his cell phone. That's not a normal combination. He told me that grandma wasn't doing well, and that they didn't think she'd make it through the night. He wanted to wait until we got home, but he needed to tell me right then what was going on. He and his siblings were by her side.

I was heart broken and devastated. I cried the next several hours home. I was pregnant with Wyatt, a few days before had suffered a nasty bout of food poisoning and had just returned home for a pretty rough trip with Elliott - having taken him to the emergency room in Tahoe because of some nasty ear infections.

The next morning when I woke up to the sound of my cell phone I knew it was bad. Why else would my mom be calling me at 6:00 am. I bawled like a baby at the news of my grandma's passing. I called in sick to work. I got my act together, got Elliott up and ready and did the only thing that felt right...drove out to my mom and dads to spend the day. We hung out. We got lunch. We went to Kohl's to find funeral clothes. On the drive my dad told me that it was one of my grandma's requests to speak at her funeral. I'm still trying to swallow the lump that news left in my throat.

I asked if Haley, my sister could do it. She's better at public speaking. My dad said no, that it was a written request I give the life sketch for my grandma.

Such a responsibility. One I wasn't prepared for. I spent the next several days sitting at my computer in tears. I didn't know where to begin. I had no idea what to say. I prayed and prayed and prayed that my grandma would send me some inspiration. That she would tell me what words to use to honor her.

On the 8th of November, my dad's birthday, was my grandma's funeral. I was the first speaker. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done.

I love you, Grandma.

2005 hair

I was reminded by my husband this morning that today is the 8th anniversary of our engagement. We got engaged on my dad's birthday. I picked out my ring. I knew that it had arrived. I didn't know that Ross had gone to lunch with my dad to ask if it was okay to marry me. I also didn't know that he was coming to ask me on the day that he did.

I was at school, on my lunch. Every day at lunch Ross would call me. He did on this day, too. I had my back to the classroom door, was typing away on my computer and talking to him on the phone.

It got really hard to hear him. I heard my classroom door open and remember telling him on the phone, "Someone just came in, I'll have to call you back."

I turned around and that someone was Ross. He was grinning from ear to ear, had a gigantic bouquet of white lilies and walked over to me at my desk, got down on one knee, pulled out my ring and asked me to marry him.

I said yes.

The ring fit.

He gave me a kiss and then said, "Good. I love you. I have to go back to work now."

He left me alone in my darkened classroom at lunch time with a bunch of flowers and an engagement ring.

I took the rest of the day off.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Day Seven: Basketball Diary

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!


I played basketball in high school.  I was okay.  I was very good at being tall.

During Christmas break my sophomore year, we had a basketball game against a neighboring high school at a church.  It was an unofficial "practice game", but I think we actually had referee's.

I don't remember.

I was playing in the game and got a rebound.  I brought the ball down and protected it as a good center should.  As I was tucking the ball and preparing to swing my elbows a bit to clear some space I noticed something.

A tiny little guard on the opposing team was reaching into my realm to try and get the ball.

She was trying to steal my rebound.

Or, steal my thunder more like it.

I wasn't prepared for that and immediately went into my basketball center instinct mode "Must protect the ball".  

With one strong swing of the elbows and shoulders, I spun around with the ball.

And the guard.  She remained firmly attached and flew in the air.

Promise.  There were witnesses.

She flew in the air and landed SPLAT on the ground.

It was one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me.


Attack of the giant amazon girl!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Day Six: Moose!

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month. This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life. Enjoy!

 moose and wild flowers

For a couple years in a row, almost 10 years ago, one of my uncles organized, HIHA.  The Huber Institute of High Adventure.  It was for all family members willing to participate.  The plan every year was to do something in the wilderness, the "high adventure" part involving canoes, camping, and signing waivers that if we were attacked and mauled by a bear, our families couldn't sue.

One one such of these adventures we were totally back country.  It was a hard canoe journey across a windy lake for two sisters who'd never canoed before.  I guess we were bonding.

I'm not a camper.  Don't enjoy it at all.  There are too many sounds and critters at night for me to handle.  And, I have issues with bathrooms (as previously mentioned).  To survive a night in the wilderness I medicate.  Not sure how many Tylenol PM it's safe to take at night in the great outdoors but I took enough.  This was also during my brief addiction to Mentholatum so not only was I drugged, but I smelled good and had very clean sinuses.

On our last night, in the middle of the night I awoke to the sound of my sister's heavy panicked breathing.  I'm sure I yelled at her, because that's what I do.  She was able to slow down and tell me that, she believed, there was a bear sitting on our tent, doing some panting of it's own, plotting our demise.

Now, our food was tied up in a tree.  We were camped by a creek, but thought we'd be pretty safe.

I immediately joined in the panic and both of us were about to lose our minds.  I convinced myself that my giant tub of Mentholatum was what had drawn the bear to us and it was just a matter of time before he figured out how to unzip the door on our little dome tent and invite us for dinner.

The two of us, in our terror did what other people about to be eaten by bears do.  We prayed.  Whispered and in our heads.

Bear, please don't eat me.  Please don't eat me.  Please don't eat me.

As our eyes adjusted to the light of the dark, and we calmed a bit under the circumstances we realized it wasn't a bear.

It was a moose.

Taking a siesta on our tent.

We found the tracks in the morning to prove it.

Moose are vegetarians.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Day Five: Improper Hygiene

The month of November is National Blog Posting Month.  This is my 5th year participating. This year, for thirty days, I'll be telling stories from some point in my life.  Enjoy!

Many moons ago, in the spring of 2005, Ross and I went on a trip to Firenze, Italia (Florence, for the rest of you).  The trip was splendid and magical and if not the best trip I've ever been on, definitely in my top Five.

Italy 2005

Now, though Italy is old, and they were on the wrong side of a couple of wars, the people and the country are very civilized and very clean.  And the food?  Oh, there is no way to describe the amazing food we ate on our little tour of Italy.

One area of the trip that left a lot to be desired were the facilities.  Being an old country, with old buildings, on old hills leaves a lot to be imagined as far as bathrooms are concerned.  I'm no hygiene nut, but I appreciate a decent facility to take care of my business.  Only being able to vouch for the ladies room on the trip, most of the bathrooms left a lot to be desired.  The majority were just holes in the floor with little foot print impressions indicating where you should stand.  The few really nice restrooms however had attendants, a fee, and a toilet ticket to indicate when it was your turn.

For some reason, this sort of situation makes me a bit nutty, but I can deal with it.  There were however, two instances however, where my always constant need to search out and use bathrooms, or attract those that need to go got me into a bit of trouble.

Italy 2005

Instance One:
It was pouring rain in Florence.  It was getting late.  We were standing in like at the Ufitzi museum to see priceless works of art.  Both of us needed to go and there was no way we could get out of line - the clock was ticking towards closing time and we were in line with gaggles of Italian students.  Think Disneyland on Junior High day.

Ross had the brilliant idea to walk the block or so back to our apartment to go.  Brilliant for him.  He left me in line in the rain and round trip was back in about 12 minutes.  Then, it was my turn.  The line was moving much more quickly and I had to hurry.  I ran as quickly as someone desperate to use the facilities can run and got to the gigantic wooden door with the crazy lock that let us into our building.  After about 10 minutes of desperately trying to get the key to work in the pouring rain I gave up.  I ran back to the line.  Told Ross that I didn't go and that I was going to start crying - hoping that would relieve some of the pressure?

We got in the museum.  There was only one bathroom.  It was at the end of the line.  We walked up flights of stairs, ran past priceless works of art to find me the bathroom.  The museum was closing in about 30 minutes.

I got in line.  The line seemed short.  The line was not moving.  I was in trouble.  Why wasn't the short line moving?  Because apparently in museum bathrooms in Italy, you don't go one at a time - you take all your girlfriends into the tiny stall with you.  A door would open and 4 women would come out.  Then three more would go in.

I finally got my turn - took care of business - was sweating buckets and ready to look at art.  In 10 minutes, before the museum closed.  My time would have been better spent just perusing the gift shop.  Oh wait!  There wasn't one. 

Italy 2005

Instance Two:
We had just spent the afternoon visiting a town called San Gimignano. It was this Medieval little tower town and was cool. Very crowded but cool. It was in the beautiful Tuscan countryside and we had to ride a train to an abandoned town (I think it was Sunday so nothing was open) and find the right bus stop to catch the right bus to the town.

As if figuring out all the logistics for our arrival weren't hard enough, as we got to the bus stop to head back down to the train we realized that we hadn't bought the tickets. Ross left me at the bus stop to hold a spot and who knows, speak Italian to the bus driver if he came and Ross wasn't back? No idea.

He probably left me so I could have a story to tell.

I was literally by myself on a bench when a little Italian man, sort of looked like Roberto Benini with the shakes, approached me. He was smoking and shaking and talking to himself.

Yeah, I thought. There are crazies everywhere.

This old man walked right up to me and stopped in front of me. He stared. I averted my eyes. He took a last drag, blew the smoke in my face and snubbed the cigarette out right in front of me.

Thanks, I thought. Just what I wanted.

Then, creepy old Italian guy reached deep into his pocket. A little too deep perhaps and pulled out a tiny little can of coke. He opened it, chugged it, crunched the can, threw it down and belched loudly.

Ross, where are you?

And, as if the guy weren't creeping me out enough (remember, I'm the only one around) it got worse.

He walked right in front of me, unzipped and.....


At the bus stop.

Right in front of me.

I was paralyzed with cooky fear.

Ross got lost in the city and took a long time getting back. By the time he got back, and we got on the bus, the nutty man was a few rows in front of us, shouting in his native language.

Probably about the stupid American girl who gave him no privacy at the bus stop.


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