Thursday, April 29, 2010

My first successful business

This may surprise you, but as a child I was a young entrepreneur and had my own ice cream shop. Okay, so maybe I’m stretching the truth. I owned it joint custody with my older sister. At our ice cream shop you could order one of two flavors, with a variety of different toppings. You could order vanilla, but it tasted like sand, or you could order chocolate, but it tasted like sand. You could have chocolate chips mixed in, but it mostly tasted like small rocks. You could have mint, but it mostly tasted like the leaves of a Maple tree. Our ingredients may have come from Mother Nature, but the cups were real plastic. 
We opened our shop up in the middle of a Maple tree. The tree split into three sections from the ground up, so you could sort of stand in the middle of it and the drive through window was essentially the open space between the trees. One employee could only work at a time, because the standing space wasn’t big enough for both a manager and a trainee. Our need for few employees contributed to our high profits. What made this tree “the ice cream tree” was its unique dispensing properties. There was a natural hole in the tree where you could fill it with sand, and then it would come out the other end. We would create a delicious mixture that would have rivaled Cold Stone, shove it down the tree hole, and then dispense it into cups to sell to our happy customers.
            Since we lived in the country with not another child in sight for three miles (all of our direct neighbors were old and drank grape juice), we mostly sold ice cream to each other, our imaginary friends, and to our parents when we could convince them to come by. We accepted payment in the form of Maple leaves. A typical cone cost three leaves.
            Shortly after my sister and I moved away from home, the ice cream tree had to be chain sawed in half, much like our hearts. The tree was two feet away from the corner of my dad’s shop, and its height was becoming a problem. Luckily for us, he cut a seven foot high stump, so most of the actual shop still remains. The tree bark of the former dispenser has grown in, and the tri-trunks have expanded in girth, making it near impossible for an employee to stand in the middle, unless you are the size of a bean pole. Those memories are still as sweet as sprinkles, though.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rock it like Mick Jagger

Me: There's this guy at church that Natalie and I totally think used to be a rock star--or at least in an 80s band. 

Kaitlynn: What does he look like?

Me: He has this aged skin like he used to spend a lot of time in the sun on the Californian coast, and he wears a fedora.

Kaitlynn: Wait, I’m not sure I understand what a fedora is.

Me: You know, a hat like K-Fed wears.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Delusions of an eight year old

When I was a kid, my sister and I had a pet barrel. It was made of white plastic and both ends were blue. My sister named it Blue Bell. It was in our dad's shop, and who knows what toxic substance was in it before it became our pet. Blue Bell was a horse, or at least we pretended that she was.

My sister, Jess, was obsessed with horses and really wanted one. She cleared out a corner of the shop/barn and put down wood chips for Blue Bell. Then she dragged this barrel in. She was probably ten years old and 70 pounds, so it took a lot of work. That's where I came in. I was the brute force. When I was eight years old, I was pure muscle. So we lugged this barrel in to a corner of the shop, and my sister would feed it hay, and pretend to brush it, and give it a bucket of water. Talk about delusional.

After a week caring for this barrel, my sister decided it was finally time to train it for a ride. We had ridden it lots in the stall. You sit on top of it and wiggle back and forth and imagine you are in the Kentucky Derby. But after you realized you were going no where fast, that you were still staring at a pile of wood at the other end of the barn, well, it was time to go mobile.

Jess and I had a classic Radio Flyer red wagon, with wheels. The wheels were the essential part, of course. Our gravel driveway was a hill, so we would tote the Radio Flyer to the top, get in, and then zoom down screaming. Jess always drove, steering that wagon handle in the right direction so we wouldn't crash into the blackberry bushes. We still did. Occasionally we would wipe out and be sprawled on the gravel, howling until our mother came out and bandaged our bloody wounds.
My sister had an excellent idea. We would hoist Blue Bell atop the wagon, and then take turns riding. One person would pull while the other would ride our trusty stead. Putting Blue Bell on top of the wagon was the easy part. Jess tried to tie her down with some baling twine, but it was less than secure. Getting on top of Blue Bell was the hard part. She stood about 3.5 feet tall, and we had to drive her by a stump to get on.

Riding Blue Bell was something else. We pretended we were cowgirls in a western, jockeys in the Preakness, or Calapooia Indians in the forest. I got to ride the most because I was littler and easier to pull. My sister would gripe at me every time I tried to tote her around, complaining that I was going the wrong way, or going too slow, or wiping her out on the side of a tree because I didn't turn with enough clearance.

As with all legends of greatness, there comes a time when the hero falls. Quite literally, in fact. Jess and I decided we would take Blue Bell for a race down the driveway. We pulled her up the hill, I mounted, and then Jess got ready to run. She planned to pull me down the hill as fast as she could and let gravity do the rest. The problem was that when this actually happened, the wagon started going too fast and bit her in the heels. Her own barrel horse was about to run her over, so she let go of the handle and dove into the bushes while I went sailing past. There I was, eight years old, 65 pounds, hugging a barrel that was loosely strapped to a rogue Radio Flyer wagon. We hit a pot hole, Blue Bell dislodged, and I went flying into the gravel.

One hippopotamus, I'm catching air. Two hippopotamus, my hands come out in front of me. Three hippopotamus, my chin eats gravel. I didn't breathe for about five seconds after that, and then came a big WAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

Jess had to carry me into the house for emergency medical care and then my mother banned us from ever riding Blue Bell again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pee in this Cup

WARNING! This story maybe be TMI for you. If you're not down with lingo, that means TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I'll give you a chance to exit this post and read something else. Like this.

Still here, huh? Gosh, you're nosier than I thought. But don't say I didn't warn you.

June 2004
“Fill it up about half way,” the lab technician tells me, like I’m a Shell Station attendant filling up a fuel tank. I take the plastic cup with me into the bathroom and focus on giving it all I’ve got. I have to. Every drop has to go into that cup. This is a lot of pressure, especially considering the lab technician is listening outside the bathroom door.

An hour and a half earlier that day
It’s nearing the end of the work day. I’ve been working for a week now, but I still have to go take my pre-employment drug test. I have to take the drug test, even though I am clearly not a pot smoker. Cocaine is my drug of choice*.
            I’ve been drinking a lot of water in the past hour, so I’ll be able to go when I have to give my urine sample. You have to plan ahead for these types of tests. I work for another forty-five minutes, the bell rings, and it’s time to leave. While everyone else packs up to go home, I have to drive to the next town (forty-minutes away) to take my drug test. I’m all ready to leave when I realize I have a major dilemma. Mainly, I have to pee right now. I know that I cannot hold it for nearly an hour. No way. I decide that since I pretty much have to pee all of the time, I can just go before I leave, and by the time I get to the lab and fill out the paperwork, I’ll have to go again.
            I take care of business, hop in my car, and begin the long drive to the lab. So that I’ll be ready, on the way I’m chugging water like a camel that hasn’t drank for forty days. Bad idea, I find out all too late.
            Eventually I get to the lab, fill out a few forms, and get frisked. I’m asked to leave my purse in the lock box, and I have to empty my pockets of coins and vanilla chapstick. Clearly, my shifty demeanor clues the lab technician in to my cocaine use.

            “Fill it up about half way,” he tells me. Well sure, no problem. I always have to pee. I take the cup, size up my goal, and try to get started. One problem. I do not have to pee. At first I think it’s just nerves. I take a deep breath in, try to relax a little, try again.
            Eventually I emerge from the bathroom, shamefully holding the cup. I give it to the technician. I watch as he passes judgment on my urine. My godforsaken bladder has failed me. I have filled the cup, maybe 1/8 of the way full. It’s a ludicrously small amount. The technician doesn’t say anything except, “Sign here.” But I know what his judging mind is thinking. Damn crack addict can’t follow directions. Probably shook so much she spilled it all in the toilet. He gives me a toothy grin and tells me I can gather my things.
            I begin the 80 minute trip home. Thirty minutes into the drive I am physically in pain. Squirming in my seat, I begin to break the speed limit. I have never had to pee so badly in my life. 

June 2007
After landing a much needed job, my supervisor calls me and tells me I just have to go take a pre-employment drug test. I think to myself, No problem, I’ve quit doing coke. The day of my drug test I wake up, drink a tall smoothie for breakfast, and get ready to leave. I consider peeing before I leave, because I always pee before I leave, but my mind flashes back to the summer of 2004. I can hold it this time. I drive to Human Resources, fill out some papers, and then get the map to the lab. The woman at the lab asks me if I have anything in my pockets. I say no. She gives me the cup. “Fill it up about half way.” Well, that was expected.
I take the cup into the bathroom with me, relieved that I finally get to pee. There’s a bit of trouble getting started, but then I think I’m doing pretty well. I give it all I’ve got. I check the cup. I didn’t have to pee as much as I thought I did. Not quite half way. Not too shabby, though. I exit the bathroom and hand the cup over. The technician’s quite skeptical. “I’m not sure if this will be enough,” she states. Like I had a lot of control over the matter. I mean, what do you want me to do, sit in the waiting room for an hour so my bladder can fill up? The lab technician proceeds to pour my urine into two cups. I see quite clearly that there is a minimum fill line. She fills up the first cup no problem. As she fills up the second, smaller cup, I cross my fingers and hope that it makes it. Just barely. I’m pretty proud of myself. I mean, drug tests are almost harder than the SATs. The technician labels my urine and I sign for it, under the “donor” box. Donor. Makes it sound like I’m saving lives by giving away my pee. 
I drive home without any problems of discomfort.

*I am not a current or previous user of cocaine or any other illegal substance. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

this is not worth your time

I'm in a crabby mood. Thought you should know. Today was fine, but the past hour of my life has not been. I'm tired and annoyed and whining. I want to be asleep and not have to wake up for work tomorrow. GRRRRRRRRR. It's all very pathetic but right now I don't even care. Natalie offered to let me punch her in the face to make myself feel better, but since she is not the problem that won't work. So I'll just go to bed feeling pissy instead.

I'll delete this post tomorrow if my mood changes. Ha.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The other day

I was thinking to myself:

Maybe you should try harder to be awesome. 

Because maybe if I weren't so apathetic, maybe if I just put in a little bit more elbow grease, it would pay off.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I guess I'm a stalker

If you're my friend and have ever asked me during a girly-slumber party, while nearly high on acetone from painting our nails, who I like, chances are I've lied straight to your face.

You see, I can't trust anybody with this information, not even my own sister. They all use it against me later on. Next thing you know, you'll be sitting in a bar across from some stranger and your sister will be telling them about how a decade ago you used to stalk boys in high school. Only she won't say used to, she'll make it out like you are currently a stalker.

Because I follow people in my car daily to see where they live. And when I was 14 I looked up my crush's address in the phone book. And I keep detailed files in a fireproof cabinet in my basement.

I mean geez, when did Googling people become a crime? What can I say, I used to work in a library, I know how to access information. Sorry if you don't know how. So you'll be sitting there across from these near-strangers, while your own sister, the one person you might trust with sensitive information, blabs on, calling you a stalker and naming names of guys you used to like. Luckily, she only knows about three--which is two too many if you ask me.

You've kept your big mouth shut about the rest of them, so unless she finds the hair you've swept up after you followed said crush to the barber shop, or she actually makes an inquiry at the county court house to see how many restraining orders have been filed against you, you're golden.

After you get over the initial shock of being stabbed in the back, er, pierced in the heart with your eyes wide open, you start to understand why she did it. She wants everybody to think you are a stalker so that no one will like you, because she's afraid to make you look too good (or even just decent). Because you're smart and you actually could find out everything about everybody if you really wanted to. Savvy?

P.S. I'm sorry I've lied to your face, but I just don't trust you that much.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A conversation between J and N

Setting: Natalie and Joelle are sitting in the kitchen on the bar stools. Natalie is flipping through a catalog of athletic swimsuits and active wear. Joelle is looking on.

N: (looking at monokini swimsuit) I don’t get this. What’s the point?

J: Maybe it’s for people who want to hide their stomach but show off their back. From the back they’re all “ha, look at me, I’m wearing a bikini,” but then they turn around and they’re like “sucker, it’s a monokini.”
N: Is it for people who have a stomach but no love handles? Is that possible?
J: I’m not sure.
N: Seriously, who is this for?
J: Maybe it’s for all the aliens on earth who are trying to hide the fact that they don’t have belly buttons.
N: ….You mean like Kyle XY?

J & N: (bust up laughing)

Friday, April 16, 2010

P90X or Facebook

Right now N. is doing P90X while I am sitting here in the living room with her checking Facebook and reading about Ryan Phillippe on Celebuzz. I'd feel more guilty about it (especially since we just got back from a dessert for the mayoral candidate) except that I already went to the gym today to do kickboxing and it kicked my butt. She's stretching now.

What I really want to do is what Lost on-line because I missed it, but I don't think I can stay up that late. Plus, the P90X guy is all "5-4, 3-2, ONE!" Oh, now they are stretching. Natalie is noticing how the blond British girl has non-manly abs that we both covet. Maybe it'll happen by summer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

*By You I mean I

Sometimes you* think of a plan that would work just famously, you figure out something that would be absolutely perfect if it were to happen, and you have all the details worked out in your mind. Then it doesn't happen. You might be like "hey God, you kind of missed your chance on that one. Where were you? Because I was right here. Why didn't you make this happen? It would've been perfect." And then you're in a bad mood and think God is treating you scummy.

Basically, what you've got to realize is that God is not an idiot. You have to realize that His idea will always be better than yours. So you need to just go with it. If your plan didn't work out then His will.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Beautiful Side

Sometimes I think I catch strangers in their most lovely moments. They're like a butterfly in my mind's net, fluttering their wings and allowing me to see the beautiful side of their wings. It's an ephemeral moment, that short time that I see them in full brilliance. But once I know what's there, that they are lovely, I can still see it in their less glorious moments. The beautiful side of their personality starts to glow brighter, like a waxing crescent moon.

I love to see people in their raw moments, their truest form, when they are unaware that I am watching so closely, when they prove themselves braver than me and stop hiding.

I want you to know that I saw you. I glimpsed you from a distance and what I saw was radiant. Like a curious child eager to touch a butterfly's paper-thin wings, I want to touch you. I'm afraid of the consequences so I stay away. Instead, I'll have to wait--let you fly as you please and let you land on my nose if you want.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

live life like you're gonna hurl

How much farther in life would I have gotten, how much more would I have experienced, how much more interesting would I be if everyday I did one thing that made me feel like throwing up. The answer to that question, I don't know. I'm thinking about this because today I wanted to do something, but just the prospect of doing such a thing made my stomach lurch and my heart beat faster. I worked up the courage and did it. However, after I did so, it wasn't that big of a deal. I wish I was brave enough to do this everyday. What do you wish you would/could do, but you get sick just thinking about?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Short Rant

Things you should not do to your co-workers:

1) Do not hit "reply all" when responding to an e-mail, unless everybody really does need to know what you think. Most of the time, we don't care.

2) Do not send many short e-mails and expect instant responses. When you do get a response, a "thank you" email is not needed. It's clouding up my inbox. If all you are going to say is thank you, I'd appreciate it more if you saved me 36 seconds and four clicks of my life.

3) Do not type very long e-mails and expect an instant response. The longer your e-mail is, the longer I will put off a response, because after four lines I have run out of time to read it. Condense your words. Give it to me straight. I don't need an introduction. Just tell me what you need.

4) Do not snag me during a time when I'm supposed to be doing something else (prep time, lunch, time, leaving, etc.) and ask me questions about something that is not individual. I cannot answer for the team. They are not here.

5) quit writing your e-mails in all caps BECAUSE IT IS RUDE, EVEN IF YOU DON'T MEAN IT TO BE. There's this button to your left. It's called "caps lock." Trying pushing it once.

As my cousin Chris would tell me, "Do you want some cheese to go with that whine?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I am going to die young

So sometime last week I discovered what I thought was a tumor and was sure I had cancer. I was positive I was going to die young because that would explain everything about my life. I was up until like 1:37 am googling pictures and key phrases to see if what I had was some sort of malignant tumor. I didn't find anything too conclusive. A few nights of sleep and a couple of days later, and I feel better about the whole thing.

I'm pretty sure it's just a muscle that I never had before. I think. I can't be sure though, because I figured there would be two of them that matched if they were muscles. But there's not really. So now that I'm typing this, maybe I am going to die. Maybe I should go to the doctor.

But then she/he will be all "you dummy. That's a muscle." Or conversely "you dummy. You thought that bulging tumor was a muscle? We need to cut you open." And then I'll be dead before I'm 25.

Not to be melodramatic.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Beautifully Broken

Beautifully broken. Stunningly shattered. Fabulously fractured. This is me—cracked to the core. My life is like the broken pieces of colored glass you find along a railroad track. You know, after someone has lined up the bottles from their ugly secret and shot them to pieces with a BB gun. My life is all of those sharp, jagged, dangerous shards welded together to form a make-shift stained glass window. With the sun shining through, it looks better than the reality that it is—garbage. I'm garbage too, but I look better with the Son shining through, because He has recycled me.
People say that truth is a thing of goodness, of beauty, of purity. It's all trash. The human truth is a thing of ugliness. What I do and how I behave is ugly. Only God's truth is something of beauty. The ugly truths about myself shatter me, but without them I would not have strength. My dark secrets shatter my soul into ten-thousand sparkling bits, crystal glass from a fallen chandelier on the floor. Waiting for Him to sweep me up.
People say that hope is what keeps you alive. Hope is something I've become cynical about. I try to abandon hope, but no matter how hard I try to not have it—to accept what I have in life—little pieces of fractured hope make their way into my mind. Tiny, bitty thoughts spring up, like a single blade of grass in a barren dirt field. No matter how small, there is hope, and I should not believe the lies my heart has been telling me.
            People say that to be broken is to be incomplete and undignified. You are not good enough. If you have been picked over like a carcass attacked by vultures, if you have been crushed like egg shells under the feet of elephants, you are not worth anything anymore. Others break you, but you also fracture yourself with your own thoughts and actions.
You must become perfectly broken. Go ahead and shatter into a million pieces. Fracture your heart. A dead body buried whole under the earth is in one piece. All of its parts are there, but it is still dead with no soul. Break yourself into bits. Ashes poured into the wind will spread out and never re-unite. They will never be a whole again. Yet, those wind blown pieces will sweep over life, will touch more places, will become a part of something new. Let yourself be beautifully broken, stunningly shattered, fabulously fractured. Because He can do a lot with the pieces.
He is risen. Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is not a joke

Even though it is April Fool's day. I was really lame and didn't pull any pranks.

Just so you know, I got my new debit card in the mail today. If you don't know why that matters, you missed this. You know what else? After making the post of how it would be arriving in the mail, I was like now some creeper who reads my blog is going to stalk me and find out where I live and steal my debit card out of my mail box before I have a chance to check it. But they didn't. I beat them to it (probably because I don't have any creepers who read my blog. If I do, creepers, please identify yourselves). So now I can buy groceries again.

My fourth graders have their field trip to the capitol building tomorrow. They are soooooo excited. This year I got 4 parent volunteers to be chaperones, whereas last year I had none so I forced my own mother and friends to be chaperones (Thanks Mom, Britt, and Kaitlynn). Bad news is it will probably be raining buckets around lunch time, so we probably won't get to eat outside our look around the grounds that much. Good news is my bunch is much smarter than last year's group. They know Oregon was the 33rd state admitted into the Union, and that it became a state on February 14th, 1859. They know about the three branches of government, how a bill becomes a law, and that the golden man is a pioneer and not Paul Bunyan.

My kids got divided into groups for the chaperones, and they are coordinating outfits. Like, everyone in group 3 is wearing black t-shirts, and everyone in group 2 is wearing blue. My group is wearing green, because we like to recycle and promote earth friendly living. Or maybe I just made that up. But I'm sure they care. They are very conscientious. Tyler fully pulled an 18 page YMCA camp catalog out of the recycling today because he thought someone should be using it. And Raul always turns off the lights.

Confession: I was on the elliptical today at the gym, and the person next to me changed one of the TV screens to the food network channel. The host was making a scrumptious Easter morning breakfast, complete with waffles, strawberries, cinnamon rolls, and more. When I got home I made myself french toast for dinner. Stupid gym.
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