Thursday, September 29, 2011

Magnolias, the Kool-Aid man, and The Grinch

I scribble when my students scribble. Here's a few nuggets of prose from the past term. They are fictional...ish. We worked mostly on imagery this week.

She has a mass of strawberry curls, a gentle voice, but a grin that matches the Grinch in sinisterness. [side note: I have a Grinch grin, and I'm pretty darn proud of it.]

It's not my Grinch grin, but it'll do.
He has a buzz cut straight out of Top Gun, and an explosive personality, in that it seems dormant and harmless much of the time, then explodes at random intervals, sometimes with elementary-leveled insults like shrapnel on my board. [I heart this kid. Makes me laugh everyday. Today he wrote "underwear" on the paper under the doc. camera. That's what I mean when I say "elementary-leveled insults", b/c he always writes something funny like "bottom" or "barf".]


She has a sunny disposition...like the Kool-Aid man, but without the creepy crashing-through-walls and frightening small children way, and her charisma and modern bohemian style is infectious.


She is a red-headed hairdresser from the Deep South with a sweet drawl and a booming glare. She reaches my shoulders in height, and either smells of magnolias or shrimp, depending on the time of day.


I once thought it would be a good idea to reconnect with a friend from high school. I met up with her for a bagel at Einstein Bagels. She came...late, waltzing in like a glamazon in  5-inch leopard print Jimmy Choos and a tangerine trench.

I had already ordered and waited a good 20 minutes for her to finally decide on lox and bagel. Gross. Who eats that? Raw fish and capers on an Everything bagel? It smelled like salmonella. Then, I had to listen to compliment the cashier on her "wicked piercings". That's just the way she talked. [eyes rolling] I started to remember why we weren't friends anymore. Maybe I felt like I had to compete with her personality too much. There was nothing muted about her. Her brown hair was teased and loud, and her voice boomed like a megaphone.

It was going to be a long lunch. [all fiction]

That was fun. And I didn't mean any offense.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Folios, Persians, and Cheese Curd

I'm back now from my creative writing conference in Cedar City, and I've returned with a few more poems, teaching strategies, and more fresh cheddar cheese curd than one person can consume. No, really.
Here's a photo of me taking my first bite EVER of cheese curd. Our colleague Dean, born and raised in Delta, UT insisted that we stop in Beaver, UT for this infamous cheese curd. Despite that the food has the most inedible sounding name on Planet Earth, I'd say it was pretty darn tasty when it was fresh. But a couple hours later, curd cheese is rubbery at best.

Dean insisted we stop, and, really, how does one say no to reputable cheese?
Here's a photo of me in front of the glorified cheese store. You know how you go into a 7-11 and find a wall of soda and booze coolers? Glass doors and the whole bit? This place was the same way, but with cheese. You could get any kind of cheese from the "wall o' cheese" on the side of the store. I've never seen anything like it.

I actually had to ask someone what DFA stood for. Oops. heh. heh. I guess this "farm-girl"missed that day in 4-H.
One of the coolest experiences, aside from the royal cheese, was viewing the original Shakespearean Folios on loan from Washington, D.C. held in the gallery in the basement of SUU's campus library.
The other corner of the case has a censor that apparently alerts Washington if anything fishy happens with the case or texts. I dared Mike to lick the case, but he wouldn't do it. I just wanted to see if saliva would bring down the cavalry. P.S. the big one is the folio.

For those who may not know, folios are the "complete" works of Shakespeare, the 1st ever to be published as an omnibus. (It didn't actually have all of his plays, but close.) We got to look at them in a glass case and smile at how all the lower case s's looked like f's. It made reading Shakespeare even more challenging.

Mini Shakespearean plays
Additionally, I got to meet and plug my blog to author, Firoozeh Dumas, who wrote Funny in Farsi in addition to other things. She is a beautiful Iranian American woman with sharp features and the best taste in violet billowing scarfs. In a side note, I had been deemed the friendliest member of our party at this conference (by other colleagues), and ironically, I forgot to ask Dumas if I could take a photo of us for the blog. Damn. (Here's one I found online though.)

Ah well. Instead you get the traditional feet photo and this story about Dumas. Her favorite word in the English language is "serendipity", which apparently gets it's name from an island called Serendip. Never does one plan to land there, it only happens on accident. She told it much more beautifully and with a humorists flair of course.
Teacher feet.


Then back at the conference...
Here's a poem I wrote that was inspired by this line of a poem called "You Begin" by Margaret Atwood:

"Then the world which is round and has only the colors of these nine crayons."

The red crayon of absolutes.
The black of cultural misunderstanding.
The white of superior blandness.
No grey.
The blue of sadness but not the depths of sorrow, depression, and melancholy songs.
The yellow crayon of childhood innocence.
No grey.
The pink of feminine constraints and societal demands.
The green of the earth, cordoned off on the globe by blue globs; a simple division.
No grey.
The brown of dirt, of filth, of muddy waters...and minds.
The orange of sunsets, a color that bleeds emotions and hope. Orange is the mother of new colors.

It's still pretty raw, but as we were taught this weekend, writing isn't always about perfection.
Fun conference.
And...done.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My mom will probably not like this post very much.

An original folio on loan from Washington, D.C.
I had another post planned, but...

I'm at a conference again! A sweet creative writing conference at SUU. I got to meet poet, J. Allyn Rosser, and after a sordid affair with diction and imagery and 5 versions of a Russian poem about a panther, our love child (this poem) was born. And here it is presented to you without swaddling clothes, without the amniotic fluids swiped from it's face, and cord still attached. (Man, this metaphor is gross.)
I hope you enjoy. 
It's like if pecan pie and ice cream were lovers, and I, a food voyeur.

When she spears me with an you're-an-idiot look over the rims of her glasses,
and I end up at home hours later,
Frowning naked in the mirror while finishing off a bag of peanut m&ms, 
My chocolate fingerprints evidence for a diet forensic pathologist,
I slide to the bottom of the tub,
Let the water rain down on my convulsing body to bathe my tears.
Yet, the pain remains and now I have a stuffy nose.
Then, mentally, I finger my goals, 
 My dreams deferred and I curse aloud. 

Damn! Flannery O'Connor and her Southern genius on the human condition.
Damn! Meg Wolitzer and her Jewish feminist brilliance.
Damn! Damn! Damn! Stephenie Meyer for being a fluke success.

Buried beneath the weight of words;
I take heart, wipe away black tears, 
Kiss my daughter, the next generation feminist;
A Buffy...not a Bella.
A Buffy battling the Bella's of the world.
A roundhouse kick to her pining female foil.
An uppercut to Her male-dependent prose.
Because my daughter deserves an example of me. 
She needs to know how to defeat the enemy,
And stake inferiority,
While wearing stylish shoes.

Next up, I'll divulge the AWESOMENESS of the play, Noises Off! and dish all about my encounter with the bestselling author of Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas. (Spoiler alert: Dumas likes her scarfs and serendipity.)
Ash and I at the sandwich "pub".

Brad talked a big game, but we never played cards. Still we toasted at a "pub".

Did you leave a lingering impression? Yes.

I've known a lot of people over the years. Growing up my family moved just about every 5 years, and I'm not talking moving from one end of the town to another or even moving from one end of the county to another; I'm talking moves across the United States. I've lived in Missouri, Texas, Nevada, Missouri again, Mississippi, and Utah. Over the years, I've had a chance to meet some pretty incredible people who have had a lasting impression on me, and in some cases I don't think I've ever told some of you just how much you blew my mind.

So here it goes, the first part of a series of thank yous.

Part 1:

(The following nick-names only have relevance to the people involved.)
Alien and Dill, respectively. Jk, they are real people with pseudonyms.


Dear Dill and Alien,

I think you're the first boys to show an interest in me after a tragic childhood experience that changed my perspective on men forever. (I couldn't be more vague, I know, but I don't like to focus on the a-holes in my life; they don't deserve any attention unless it's a swift kick in the balls.) Both of you played a major role in my recovery even though you probably have no clue.

Dill, we were never right for each other, that's obvious EVERY time we have a conversation now, but what you taught me that fateful summer evening (Was it summer? I don't even remember) was that I could be attractive again. I realize your actions following that day were LAME almost beyond redemption, but to be fair, you didn't know how damaged I was. And we were teens so...[shrug.] Anyway, thanks.

Alien, my first crush who reciprocated my feelings in earnest and dedication even though I moved 2 states away soon after we became an item, I think you helped re-establish some of the confidence I had lost as a young girl. You might even have helped sow the seeds of the current feminist me. We too would never have lasted, but it's not really about that. I'm grateful that you were in my life for that short period of time.


Sincerely,


Disco Queen


Stay Tuned for part 2: Where I thank people for being jack wagons to me. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can't get much more real than this...

We've seen a lot of posts about getting real and sharing our imperfections for the greater good, especially from Single Dad Laughing and Brandi Douglass's blog, and as heart-wrenching and strangely uplifting it has been, I decided to take it one step further.

I'm going to show you a picture of me really drawing out my blackheads with a cleansing mask.

The face I really make to my kids when I put on a mask. Gavin used to get scared, but now he just laughs. Cole said, "You look like Michael Myers." I responded accordingly...with a giant butcher knife.


I was going to post a photo of my bathroom right this second so you could see just how gross it is (it would be symbolic of how terrible my housekeeping has gotten in the last few months) but the pictures just didn't capture the dog hair on the carpet or the toothpaste splatters on the mirrors or the ring in the toilet well enough, so all you get is this awesome picture of me doing something real.

I also really shave my legs and pits everyday or every other day. (Depending on whether I have to work the next day, if I feel like it, or if I am having a fat day. Fat Day = shave legs to feel better about appearance. Heels required too.)
I really pluck the brows, but not as often as I should.
I really use skin firming  moisturizer that reduces (or at least claims to reduce) the appearance of cellulite on the backs of my legs.
I really clip my toes nails.
I really blow my nose.
I really would get a nose job if I could.
I really yell at my kids when I lose my temper.
I really don't vacuum.
I really would rather watch the Kardashians instead of vacuuming and any other housework.
I really never plunge; I leave that job to the hubby.
When the dog has an accident, it is really all-of-a-sudden my husband's dog, not mine.

I really wanna be a full-time writer.

Are you brave enough to get this real on your blog? C'mon. Post a real picture, and then tell me so I can link it here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Most days, I'm barely hanging on

I have a slew of imperfections.

A slew.

A blogger once said that if we spent less time building a ruse of "perfection" and more time sharing our imperfections with the idea of helping others with similar buried struggles, everyone will see that there is no perfect person and the real perfection is likely accepting ourselves for what we are, and eliminating that guilt we feel from our constant failures, whether in our heads or not. He did not mean to say that we shouldn't try to get help, but stop trying to paint your life as perfect to the people around you. It takes too much energy and it's not helping anyone, least of all yourself.

In the spirit of divulging the truth about what may look like "perfection" to the casual observer (see this blog post), here's what my life is really like: (It's REALLY going to help and make more sense if you read that other blog post first.)

  • I sit in bottom of my shower and sob about once a week. 
  • I work out to clear my head and sometimes work out so hard that the pain I feel in my legs and body is strong enough to distract me from the pain in my heart. I suppose it's better than how I used to self-medicate with food.
  • I take on too much, but I have trust issues and that's why I don't delegate much.
  • I may seem outspoken in public, but at home I eat  my words and swallow them into a pit of bitterness and resentment. It's a coping mechanism that I'm aware of now and am trying to work on. 
  • I lack faith and hope when I need it the most.
  • I curse.
  • I alienate my friends and husband and blame them for what was probably more my fault than theirs. But I never have the guts to actually bring up my problems in a conversation. 
  • I doubt myself ALL THE TIME. 
Kristen Bell

  • I may be a size 10 right now, which is the smallest I've ever been since 8th grade, and people tell me all the time that I look great, thin, awesome, cute, whatever. It makes no difference, b/c I feel fat and I don't know if I have a complex or what, but I want the exact body of Kristen Bell. Yet, I'm scared that if I had that body, I still wouldn't be satisfied. And I think I am fat and ugly and completely unattractive about 90% of the time. The compliments feed me for a moment or two, but then I see a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The wrinkles. My wide, dough-y thighs. The dark circles under my stressed eyes. It's not pretty.
  • I often wonder if this is it for me. 
  • I never fully understood "A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes until this year.
  • I don't take enough responsibility for the problems in my life. 
  • I don't love teaching sunbeams. 
  • I don't apologize enough. 
  • I sacrifice a lot for my kids, but I don't think it's enough. I think they'll end up damaged somehow b/c of me.
  • I feel strangely satisfied when I learn that other "perfect" people have problems worse than mine, and then feel resentful when they figure out how to fix those problems, when meanwhile I'm still treading water. I hate that I do that, and I'm so so so sorry.
  • I'm a terrible person. 
  • I'm extremely hard on myself. (Ask Shan. She has a firm testimony of this.)
  • Most days, I'm barely hanging on. 
  • I can't afford a lot of things, but mostly, I can't afford to get the help I need.
Even as I write this, I can't imagine how it's supposed to help anyone. I just feel like I broadcasted my dirty laundry for all the world to see so that everyone could be present for my pity-party. But the thing is pity-parties are not so helpful, if you ask me. I've never been the kind of person to tell anyone--but my closest friends--about my issues, b/c of that stupid "perfection" front that I've tried to cultivate in the past. Plus I don't wanna bother other people with my stuff.
And I'm freaked that someone will use it to attack me, silently and passive-aggressively judge me, or do that self-satisfied thing that I'm guilty of. Or worse...pity me.

In any case, this is hands down the scariest blog post I've ever written.
I hope it can help someone.
Anonymous (or not) comments are welcome.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Taxidermied Newborns

I frequently have bad dreams, but never as bad as when I was pregnant with my 1st kid.

Once I dreamt that I was in a movie like "Along Came a Spider" and I was an FBI agent investigating a string of kidnappings that raised the hairs on the back of the Bureau's neck. The victims were pregnant women in their last days of gestation.

As I interviewed people in the vicinity of the last known victim, who was of course the Senator's daughter (which is how the FBI became involved in the first place), I knocked on this guy's door and smelled something acrid and foul. Using that as reason enter for "probable cause" I busted that door open and then discovered that he was a taxidermist.

I thought "oops", and started to leave when I heard a thumping and a muffled cry. The guy, a tall lanky fellow with unwashed hair and ruddy grime under his fingernails, looked panicked, so I hand-cuffed him to a radiator and went into the guy's basement. At the bottom of the dark stairwell, I squinted to see a large chain-linked dog kennel. Inside sat a pregnant woman, cradling the swell of her belly and rocking to the sounds of her own sobs. Despite her matted swath of blonde hair and the filth camouflaging her face, I knew that she matched our victim's description. Behind her the walls of the perp's "work room" were lined with a creepy menagerie of plump gnomes, dressed and posed like dolls. One step closer and I realized they were taxidermied babies.

My lungs became a vacuum and I gasped, feeling as if someone were squeezed my airway shut. I clutched my own gut, reminding the audience of the subplot, which was that I had recently discovered my own pregnancy. [Because, yes, my nightmares generally have full plots and subplots. It's a blessing and a curse.]

And then I woke up.

I had to turn on Spongebob for like 2 hrs. to forget that dream.

It has been said that I inadvertently gave my child her first encounter with severe anxiety with that dream. I only have pregnancy to blame. And if one you dares to blame in on the amount of spicy foods I ate during my pregnancy or some other nonsense, you'll be getting narrowed eyes and an e-flip off from this momma. Obviously, I didn't mean to dream this.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Notes to my 20 yr old self...

  1. Wear flip-flops on your wedding day.

  2. Don't work at a pizza place or anywhere that enables you to gain weight or causes you to be wrongfully interrogated by the police.
  3. You are not immune to diabetes.
  4. Consider taking more writing classes...or a double major.
  5. When you get pregnant with Layne in a couple years, don't assume "eating for two" means "eat whatever the hell you want."
  6. Follow Shan's advice. Always. Period.
  7. Don't pine. For anyone. It's a waste of time and energy. Especially boys 1 & 2.
  8. You'll save money and weight-gain by avoiding Olive Garden for 5 yrs.
  9. Try out for soccer at UVU. You'll never know if you don't try.
  10. Travel more.
  11. Don't have kids until you're 30.
  12. Save money and listen to mom when she says, "don't get a credit card."
  13. Don't lose confidence when someone doesn't value you the way you should be valued. It's not you, it's them.
  14. Treat everyone like they are having the worst day of their life. (But not with the intention to make it worse.)
  15. Write furiously and often. You'll make it.
  16. Live in a dump for a longer period of time so that you can save more for a house and vacations, etc.
  17. Become BFF's with Dave Ramsey and follow all of his advice. End of story.
  18. Recognize the symptoms of ______________early. And don't go it alone.
  19. Layne will have anxiety. That's why she can't sleep. It's not because you're a bad mom.
  20. When you think that guy at Wendy's is cute...walk away. He's trouble. Three words: Britney Spears posters.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Look, I got a new header!

Brandi inspired me when she challenged me to a Scrabble thrown-down next March. It's the first of a series of Scrabble-inspired headers that I'll cycle through as needed. (Plus, Brandi, you're going down!)

Plus, update on the Morford family's efforts to adopt: I got this email today.

Rena,
I was so moved by the post you shared with us, I don't know what to say.  I really can't put into words what all of this has meant to me and how it is affecting me as a person.  With how exhausted I am by everything that is going on right now, I feel like I am missing the depth and breadth of all of it.  Perhaps one day it will all sink in.
I have to update you again...we had $500 donated today by someone we don't know.  With the way things have gone the last two days, we know these donations are all due to your article.  This brings it up to a total of $900!  Thank you again, Rena!
Alisa :)

I am so happy that they are getting the help they need to achieve this goal.


Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11: Even the reporters sobbed

My sister was the first person to tell me about the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

We were roommates at the time, both in college, so rolling out of bed in the mid-morning was habitual. My sister had gotten up earlier than me and snagged the shower before I could even rub the eye boogers away. I was barely up and about when Bennet started screaming at me to come in the bathroom and listen to what she just heard on the radio. I burst in, and we listened, a backdrop of water spraying from the showerhead and the radio host, Jimmy Chunga, a virtual comedian of radio tried to explain what happened, but kept pausing. These long pregnant pauses. Pausing to catch his breath. Pausing out of shock. Stumbling over his words and grasping for coherency, yet all the while the hesitations in his breath and speech marked a rise in the body count.

Unable to piece together the events with Chunga's choppy description, I fled from the bathroom and switched on the TV in the next room, then stared in horror at the scene.

Two towers in New York City. One smoking like a thick match.
The other sturdy, untouched.

The camera capturing the visage shook like a scene from the Blair Witch Project. Suddenly, my sister was beside me, bathrobed and dripping wet, her face a stone carving of dismay as victims flung themselves from windows and fell like rag dolls to an off-camera destination.

Whatever words we might have said at the time didn't capture the fear and anguish we felt for those poor people. Anything we might've spoken was hardly an epitaph for that moment. 

I knew what I was seeing, but I didn't understand it. I tried to wrap my mind around the tragedy, helplessly watching the the fire devour the building. We both watched powerless, thousands of miles away, wondering if it could get any worse in NY.

Then, a second plane flew out of the corner of the screen, tilting slightly to the left, and plunged into the other tower, striking the match with a plume of flames and ash.

Even the reporters sobbed.

And yes, we decided, it could get worse.
And it did.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm humbled...

The Morford family: Angels among us.
As a correspondent for the Daily Herald, I get to interview all kinds of people. Some with harrowing survival stories, noble causes, inspiring life-stories, and others who are the warm fuzzy blankets of our community.

With every article I write, there's a piece of me who realizes how selfish I am, and that I ought to be out there doing something better for the community or doing more for my students or more children across the world. Writing these stories gives me a simultaneous feeling of gratitude for the people in my community and sadness that I'm not helping as much as I could be...as much as the people I write about are.

Then, this week I was given a story to write about a Genola family who is trying to adopt 2 children from Russia, a task that will ultimately cost them $55,000, which will all have to be raised in one way or another as they are not a family of great financial means. As I read Alisa Morford's blog about her attempts to raise the money and her gratitude for even the smallest contributions, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and love for this family. They have unfailing faith that this is the task they are supposed to accomplish, and even though it seems as if it could be the equivalent to Noah's task of building a boat, the Morford's plunged in with feet. And they had only met one of the Russian kids for a week before they KNEW he and his sister should be a part of their family.

Here's the link to the actual article: (click me).

The story made the front page of the paper today. Something, I have never been able to accomplish prior, but I know why. Those kids belong with the Morfords. Here's the letter I received in an email sent to both the friend to told me about the Morford's plan and me.


Dear, dear ladies...
I only have a moment so I'm emailing you both at the same time.  I am not quite sure of your connection with each other, but I do know that you both have made efforts that have already been so beneficial that I wanted to thank you both and give you an update!
First of all, Rena, the article was so, so very well written!  It included the feeling I had hoped would come across...your focus and wording conveyed those things I wanted addressed in my concerns about how people would react to a family our size adopting two more children.  I really feel that all of this was the Lord's will and that there is a work to do here.  I didn't realize it as fully until I read your article!  Thank you both for being so inspired!
I want you to know that we have had at least 100 views of our blog already today, most of which are coming through the Herald's website.  The other wonderful blessing is that your efforts have already been worth over $400 to our fund.  People have been donating to UCCU and through the blog...more than has happened yet.  So, this is all due to your efforts, the focus of the article and how well it communicated that which needed to be.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!  We are anxiously brainstorming ways of thanking anonymous donors on our blog.  But, I'd like to thank you both personally for what you did today!
Much Love and Gratitude,
Alisa :)
[www.twomore.blogspot.com]

P.S. I have to add that we were absolutely floored that we were on the front page.  What an incredible thing!  What a memory maker!  We have obtained enough copies for all the childrens' albums...including two for Ruslan and Nastiya.  :)  Thank you for blessing us in so many ways.
I'm so happy that I helped make a difference in this small way. 
I heart you, Morfords, and I hope your family is whole soon. 
 
Sincerely, 

Rena


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Romantic Comedies are Liars

Nothing ever happens the way they do in love stories or romance comedies, and people who do think their love-life is like a flipping  Matthew Maconahay and Amy Adams whirlwind romance, are in for some tough times.
"I'm going to ignore the fact that you wanna be with me just for an apartment and dump you b/c of your ug hair. Plus I wanna be with the guy who has to save the bar he let go to hell b/c he has no financial smarts whatsoever. But it's ok, cuz we're in love."

Maybe some married couples have an unbelievable first introduction on an elevator where both were awkwardly singing the lyrics to the Boni Jovi muzak playing in the elevator speakers. Or maybe they met when "future-husband" bumped into "future-wife" while rushing around the corner on the way to the office. His brawny shoulders knocking the files from the Guentenburg case (cuz she's a lawyer in this scenario) from her arms in a slow-motion tornado of attorney-jargoned papers, whilst a one-handed tune on the piano catches the drama of the moment as she sees his wry smile and the freckles on his nose for the first time. But the way a romance starts is not the climax of most people's lives. It's pretty much the exposition.

"Allow me to dump you on your wedding day. I've been fornicating with another woman anyway, so this will be better for both of us. Plus she's J-Lo, so...really  there's not even a choice here."

And I hate how romantic comedies always break-up the main characters prior to them actually taking the plunge. They break up, because one mistakenly cheated on the other. Or they break up, because one didn't stand up for the other's convictions. Or they break up, because one chooses to take a job away from the other. What I hate about that is that in real life a break-up like that wouldn't be "magically" (with the help of a mariachi band and an outdoor ice skating rink in the snow)  reparable. Because it's a red flag. People who break up just before a wedding, don't get back together, generally. Too many red flags.
"I ditch men at the alter...a lot. Plus, I'm a chameleon who becomes what you want, when you want it. But it's ok. We are meant to be together forever, since you are only after my story anyway. That's a match made if I ever saw one...And, hey! I have seen 3 others!"

Or maybe they do.

Did you?


Monday, September 5, 2011

We never spooned. I swear.

This weekend turned out to be a girls-only weekend. Not only that it was a English Education majors weekend. And 66.6% of it was a English teachers weekend.

What do 3 English Education majors do on a 3-day weekend?
BIG FOOT Blood-run 5K. We walked it.

Sasquatch hanging out by our trail.

I heart Big Foot. And apparently, so does Nic. hehehe



  • cough up dust from the run
  • wash grime from our legs and feet after the run
  • eat steak
  • munch on loaded potato skins
  • chow on loaded sweet potatoes
  • stuff our faces with rolls with cinnamon butter
  • down 3 bacon and onion ring sliders
  • consume spinach artichoke dip on pitas
  • devour caramel waffles and fresh fruit
  • ingest apple brie omelet with fried potatoes
  • and have hand-to-mouth "relations" with pancakes for good measure
  • watch romantic comedies and throw pillows at the TV in disgust.
  • swim
  • lay out
  • nap
  • hot tub
  • "J-Dub" (Shan's abbreviation for Jehovah's Witnesses.) We met a few who were in town for a convention. We are not converted, however, as the one dude from the hot tub kept saying "I seen" instead of "I saw" or "I've seen". For English teachers he might as well have spelled "college" wrong (like "collage"). Otherwise, we'd be card-carrying, wet from dunking  "J-Dubs" by now. Plus we learned that "J-Dubs" aren't opposed to having a poolside Bud Light. Did not know their policy on drinking, and now we know.
  • blog
  • facebook
The thinker.

  • watch Planet of the Apes
  • nap some more
  • shop. 
  • Obi belt
  • meet cool people. Other than the "J-Dubs", we met a lady in a boutique who lived in Egypt for many years, and she had some rad rings and a belt that I wouldn't pay $25 for but I'd sure as hell buy a knock off here for 10 cents cheaper. No, seriously, that's the cheapest one I could find online. Granted, I didn't spend too much time looking for it. 

  • not purchase things and then regret it later. I found a coat that I MUST have. I couldn't afford it, however, but when I'm famous enough from writing this blog or from my second novel, they'd send me the coat for free like swag to Angelina.
  • purchase things and not regret it later
  • drink copious amounts of Diet Mt. Dew and vanilla root beer.
  • text
  • talk
  • chat
  • On a completely unrelated topic, remember that time I dragged a cat under my car on the interstate for a mile without realizing it? No? Well, I explain it later, but it did happen. The cat lived. If that instance were a metaphor for other mistakes in my life, I'd sure hope that the cat would survive every time.
  • spill guts
  • gossip
  • share "vault" stories
  • not-share "vault" stories
  • compare teaching stories
  • compare student stories
  • try to stump our Linguistics Ph.D candidate from the University of Georgia with sentence diagramming Click on this link. It's worth it.
  • ....twice.

  • (The linguist won. Twice.)
  • sing
  • share favorite songs about hotels
  • share favorite songs about love
  • meet ma'am/the guy at the front desk whose name we can't remember and somehow settled on  ma'am. I can't remember why, but it's a fair bet that I can blame Shan.
  • have thumb wars
Ten bucks on the red watch.

  • trade SLAP watch innards
  • purely platonic snuggling. No spooning
  • made a cricket out of cheap silverware that wasn't stolen from a Greek restaurant. Cross my heart.

    Not a cricket, but fun with forks anyway.
  • kissed a horse with a newspaper face
Can I get some action from the equine section?

Creepy looking bottom half if you ask me. Both me and the horse.


  • questioned whether the morbidly obese homeless man holding a BIG GULP cup outside of a restaurant really needed money for food. If ever the term "belly spilling out to his knees" applied, this would be the time. I'm quoting Shan. (Uh-oh. Brandi might have something to say about this. But if you were there, Brandi, I swear you would've been a little hesitant to fork over some cash.)
  • acquired our fair share of mini bottles of orange ginger Bath and Body Works lotion, shampoo, and conditioners
  • watch E! news
  • share make-up and lotion
  • make duck faces
"Duck face"


I'd vacation with these girls any day. I heart you guys.





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