“Bye sweetie, have fun at college!”

21 Jul

“She sat on a bench in the dorm lobby waiting for the tour guide to take her back down to the car.  As she waited she looked around at the rooms around here.  These rooms were full of girls and boys who had started to talk to one another.  They were milling around in the halls, some were returning from the dining hall.  She sighed as she looked at the rooms, the names of the occupants outside the door reminding herself that she needed to remind her girl that she may have to share the television and the bathroom.  Her roommates may want to watch shows that her girl did not enjoy.  Maybe they would be night owls to her girl’s morning bird.  She sat there, a pang of anxiety hitting her.  She had to let go sometime and this was a situation in which she really needed to let her girl go do her thing.   The tour guide was coming toward her.  She took a deep breath before walking back out to the car to help escort her girl to the next chapter.”


This is the story of a mom dropping off her daughter at college, right?


This was me this afternoon dropping my mom of at rehab.  I seriously sat there waiting for the PCA (nurse’s assistant type person) to get a wheelchair and walk to get my mom out of the car.  I seriously sat there wondering if my mom’s dreams of watching the Olympics starting next week were going down the drain (and if you think I am a huge Olympics fan, you ain’t seen NOTHING till you’ve seen my mama!).  I was looking at the other rooms with 3 names on the outside hoping that my mom would like her roommates, hoping that she would like the food and would be safe getting to and from the cafeteria.  I swear I felt like her mother dropping her off at college.  Anyway, when we got to the room we realized that unless they plan on putting several people into her twin sized hospital bed, she has a single!!  YAY!  So I stuck around long enough to help her unpack and organize her things, I made sure she knew where everything was, I made sure she was somewhat settled in and then I drove away.  Until tomorrow at least 🙂

Let the caretaker/cared for role reversal begin!!


Three Things Thursday

20 Jul

Well, there’s a lot going on in my head tonight.  It’s been a trying week.  It’s been an eye-opening week.  As you know, on Sunday night my mom broke her hip and then had surgery on Monday afternoon.  It went so well; she was up the very next morning starting to move around.  Today she walked probably about 100 feet all together with a walker.  She is SO ready to go to the rehab center and hopefully she will tomorrow.  I am so proud of how strong and determined my mom is being.

That being said, I’ve been really overwhelmed.  It’s hard being the only family member helping to make decisions.  My mom is so sweet and she she doesn’t always stand up for herself the way she needs to.  She doesn’t want to disturb her nurses or she doesn’t want her guests to feel like they need to go, even when she is tired.  So I have to be the bad guy.  A lot of it is the stress of this experience, some of it is just the way she is.  Regardless, it’s really hard to do this alone.  I try to steer clear of this topic most of the time, but I have been missing the invisible husband by my side, supporting me as I support my mom.   And I know that so many of you have offered to help in whatever way, but the things I wish I had help with are things I have to do alone.  That’s just the way it is.

Enough of that…. today is Three Things Thursday!  So here are three things that have offered shining light in midst of this tough week.

1. My mom is such a trooper.  She asks for opportunities above and beyond what the physical therapist gives her every day.  She is completely ready to get out of Methodist West Houston Hospital and live it up at Katy Rehab.  The nurses all love her to pieces and talk about how easy she is for them to serve.

2. I am so thankful for my dear friends at Bible Study every Wednesday night who are supportive in ways that I never imagined.  The way they listened to me and have prayed for our family this week has been great. Also my good friend Jessica got me out for dinner for tonight and that is always a good time. You never know when you’re going to have to dole out fashion advice to a mom and daughter team of strapless dresses with bra straps hanging out.  Obviously Jess and I were dressed as though we were going to a magazine shoot later.  Or not.  Whatever.

3. This is the weekend of sweet babies.  My good friend Marisa Ortiz turned 1 last Saturday and her parents are letting her throw a raging party Saturday evening.  Then on Monday I get to go see the sweetest 7 month old on the planet and his brothers and sisters.  And maybe his mom and dad.   While all this is going on, my mom’s friends from church will be making sure my mom doesn’t have too much time on her hands!

Ok, kids!  I am headed for bed.  Have a fabulous Friday everyone!!

Things that make you feel like a real grown up

16 Jul

1. Paying your mortgage.  It isn’t necessarily fun, but I promise there is a difference in the way it feels to pay a mortgage as opposed to rent.

2. Planning your best friend’s 40th birthday party…. and knowing that yours isn’t terribly far behind.

3. Mentally preparing yourself for your 20 year high school reunion which will be happening in less than a year.  YIKES!

4. Sitting in a surgical waiting room while a very cute capable doctor performs an operation on your mom…. because she broke her hip.


Guess which one of those is happening right now?  Le Sigh.

Here are the answers to your questions:

She was reaching down for the small bag of trash in her bedroom and lost her balance.

This happened last evening around 7:30

She is having a partial hip replacement surgery which totally has a fancier name, but I keep forgetting it.

She is otherwise doing really well; is in great spirits and has been very calm.

I’m fine.  Yes, I PROMISE to call if I need anything and I thank you in advance for not only offering, but for really meaning it 🙂  I have AMAZING friends!

1 year, 11 months, 15 days and 20 hours

14 Jul

On July 30, 2010 at about 6:00 in the evening I began to write.  It was a Friday evening and I felt like this might finally be it for me.  A few hours later I walked out with six pages.  Today, July 14 at about 2:09 pm in the middle of page 320 I wrote the final words: The End.  I then proceeded to burst into tears and I called my sister.  I kept saying it over and over in my head, “I wrote a book.”  I WROTE a book!”  I FREAKING WROTE AN ACTUAL BOOK!!!!!”

So because I know that you all have tons of questions, I interviewed myself and posted it here:

Can I read your book?

Nope.  Well, let me amend that; yes, but only after it’s published.


Yeah, that’s how it works

What if I give you skittles?

What am I, 8 years old?  No.

Well, can you tell me what the book is about?

That I can.  It is about a 16 year old girl who leaves her family in Pennsylvania and moves to Houston to live with her grandparents so that she will have a better education in preparation for going to Texas A&M.  Hijinks ensue including her grandmother’s requirement that she debut at the annual Country Club Debutante Ball.

Okay, moving on.  What will you do next?

Make dessert for my friends because they drove all the way to HEB with me twice since I forgot the cream cheese and the cool whip the first time.

Obviously I should have clarified; what will you do next with the book?

Oh, yeah that’s more on topic.  My next step is to find and agent to shop it around.  Publishers won’t really look at your stuff if you aren’t represented.

Is that hard?


What will you do with all your spare time?

Get started on the second book in the series and work on the 11 Tools of Doom.

Do I even want to know what these 11 Tools are? Are they gardening tools?

No. and No.  They are way less helpful than gardening tools.

Is it hard to write a book?

Kind of.  It obviously takes a while.  But it’s easier if you already know where the story is going to end and how it’s going to get there.

Do you already know what’s going to happen in the second book?

Yes.  And the third.  Then this series is done and it’s on to something else.

Will you sell the movie rights?

Yes, but only if I can have creative control.  And only if I can have a part in the movie.  And only if Elle Fanning can play a major role.  Oh and Kiernan Shipka.  She has to be in it too!

Do you think you’re hot stuff now?

Yes.  I definitely think that.

Three Things Thursday

13 Jul

Hi.  If you are looking for me in Houston right now, you are totes out of luck.  I am currently sitting in a gorgeous house that overlooks Lake LBJ in Marble Falls, TX.  My good pal Tamara has a hook-up through her husband’s family and she comes every year to work on her curriculum for home schooling the coming year.  This year she invited me to come since she knew that I was really trying to finish the book.  Also hanging with us this weekend is Liz, another homeschool mom.  So far we have eaten dinner, gone grocery shopping, made “Texas caviar” dip, made some sangria and sat around.  We are getting SO much done!!!

Seriously, we’re going to start working on our various projects first thing tomorrow.

About 6 weeks ago or something I wrote a “Three Things Thursday” about my 3 goals for the summer.  One was finishing the book.  Hopefully, that will really and truly happen by Saturday night.  We’ll see.  Another was eating better and exercising more.  I’m fairly certain that I have made a good stab at that.  But the one I am the most proud of is something that was a HUGE goal for me; to spend time with my friends.  Now, I know that last week I wrote about my 3 day exile in my condo that ended in discussion about Dawson’s Creek and 90’s music.  I think we can all agree it was a little strange…. it’s cool.  I can handle strange :).  Other than that, rarely a day has gone by that I have not spent any time with friends.  Most days I have multiple appointments:  breakfast with Kyle, swimming with Julie and Marisa, coffee with Rachael.  That sort of thing.  I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how refreshed I am feeling.  I am fairly social at school, but on my down time I had gotten pretty bad about getting out and meeting friends.  This summer has been eye-opening.  It has also made me brave.  One of these days I am going to tell you about the other major changes that I made this summer.  Don’t worry, I’m not like, becoming a dude or anything…. seriously, I feel like this summer has been a constant refilling of my painfully low friend tank.  I know it is in large part because I don’t really have other responsibilities; the lesson plans and volleyball practices and faculty meetings and paper grading.  But to be fair, I am making more of an effort, and in turn my friends are making that effort right back.  I have some thoughts on how to facilitate continuing some of these things even after school starts.  I am hopeful…

Tune in to find out if the book gets done this weekend.  I might spontaneously combust with excitement if I manage to finish this thing!!!

Magic Dreams

9 Jul

As you can imagine if you know me at all, my active imagination is not limited to waking hours.  Nope.  I have insanely hilarious dreams.  I also have somewhat terrifying dreams at times.  Most I don’t remember, even when I try to recapture them as soon as I have awakened.  Some though, stay with me all day long; often impacting the way I view the day.  A few have resonated enough that I remember them years down the line.

The first dream I remember having was when I was 5 years old.  I had had bladder surgery and was in and out of wakefulness in the recovery room.  I very distinctly remember dreaming about Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.  I also distinctly remember that there was a little boy across the room from me, also in recovery and he wouldn’t stop crying.  At the time I thought they were doing surgery on him and forgot to give him the mask that makes you sleepy (aka: anesthesia).

My first nightmare came when I was about 6.  It revolved around the church nursery, an elderly woman, and a bowl full of spaghetti.  When I got close she told me the spaghetti was brains and made me eat a bite.  I was scared for 3 weeks.

The first dream that really stuck with me; the first one that made me feel as though everyone in school could read the dream on my face came when I was a sophomore in high school.  Disclaimer: I was not popular in high school.  I was a geek of the worst kind because I had no idea how unpopular I was.  You need that information to put this story in the proper context.  Anyway… I had a dream that I was dating the senior captain of the wrestling team.  His name was Mike and in real life we had never exchanged a single grunt much less words or sentences.  Honestly, I had never really given him much thought at all.  I definitely  thought that other wrestlers were super-cute, but I pretty much kept my crushes to the boys I actually spoke to.  So this dream threw me for a real loop.  Why on earth had I had this dream about Mike?  What did it mean?  Was I focusing my crush efforts on the wrong people?  Did he really drive a black coupe like he did in my dream?  Did he have a secret crush on me?  Was he stalking me?  Should I tell someone or like, watch my back or whatever?  Was he a Christian?  Where did he go to church? Was he at “See you at the pole” last fall?  Clearly I needed to be medicated   to be given a wake up call    some closure.  That came like a cold slap in the face when I realized that Mike had been dating a cheerleader for the past month.

My senior year in college my very good friend Monica would stay in my room most Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights because unlike her super-noisy roommates, she did not have an 8:00 AM class M, W, F.  Monica is not what one would call a morning person.  It’s more like you risk losing a limb or an eye or a ponytail if you wake her before about 10:00.  Or at least in college…. she has almost 3 kids now.  I’m betting she’s slightly better about the early mornings 🙂  S0, on 2 occasions that I remember well (and possibly more that I have since forgotten) I woke up laughing so hard I almost fell out of bed.  Monica would wake up and wonder what on earth I was endangering my life for and I would tell her and we would laugh so hard we couldn’t breathe.  To actually tell you about the dreams would be pointless or would require SOOOOO much back story that you don’t have time for.  The cast of my dreams were the real life characters that I spent my senior year with.  Ugh, with whom I spent my senior year (grammar, I have a love/hate relationship with you!).  And you would have to know our inside jokes…. whatever.  Trust me.  They provided laughter for the following 3 years while we established ourselves in Houston.

I teach in a rough school.  It isn’t like, metal detectors at all the doors and drug deals going down in the classrooms…. I mean it isn’t like Stand and Deliver or Freedom Writers (and in turn I am so not Jaime Escalante or Erin Gruwell), but it is rough.  One night, I think in the spring of 2009 I had a dream that I had gotten angry at a kid and threw a pencil at him.  It struck him lead first in the cheek before falling to the ground.  The entire classroom went silent and then the bell rang.  I went immediately to my desk and started packing my things because I knew I was about to get totally fired.  I was numb, but I was also terrified because who was going to hire me now?  I had just thrown away my entire teaching career because I was mad.  Even knowing it was a dream, I cried and cried all throughout my shower and getting dressed.  It scared me so badly.  You better believe I was on my very best behavior for weeks after that!!

My sister and I are close.  However this is a little freaky.  One night I had a dream that I was 17 and pregnant.  I don’t remember much from the dream except being like, 5 months along and I still hadn’t told anyone; not even my family.  I would put my hands on my stomach and know that I had to do something, I had to tell someone, I had to figure out what I was going to do.  The dream was so real that when I woke up the next day I literally had to sit there and think about whether or not this had really happened to me.  I remember thinking, “Did I just suppress the memory?  Was I really pregnant and somehow blocked it out?”  It was like I could remember what it felt like to be the only one who knew that I had a little life growing inside of me.  Even know, over a year later I can remember exactly how I felt, as though I really DID go through all that.  Now, for the record I have never been pregnant in my entire life.  I had this dream on a Saturday night.  On Sunday morning Teresa told me she was pregnant with Clark.  Not. Even. Kidding.

There’s one about getting married.  I was in my mid-20’s and he had given me the perfect ring.  The part of the dream I remember the best, and the part that has stayed with me was right after we left the reception in his car; really and truly on our own for the first time since we became man and wife and the conversation that we had on the way to the hotel.  It was sweet and to my 25 year old mind pretty much exactly how I wanted things to go. Alas, the groom in my dream has long since married another.

About 6 months after my dad died I had a dream I was graduating from something (I don’t know….) and my dad showed up looking just the same as he always did, but he was walking weirdly.  When I asked him about it he said that in Heaven he had a new body and his old body just didn’t fit well anymore, but wearing his old body was part of the deal he made with God to come back for my random graduation.  That in and of itself is a pretty interesting dream, but it gets better.  When Teresa realized he came back for my inexplicable graduation she threw like 7 flower pots on the ground because she was so mad that he didn’t come back for her wedding.


See people, I have to write.  I can’t keep all this crazy in my brain.


Random Musings on a Saturday Night that are either really deep or supremely shallow depending on your point of view.

8 Jul

So, a LOT of my friends are now or have been out of town this week.  Therefore I have had a LOT of time to myself.  I may or may not have left the house for the first time this evening since Wednesday….

-When push comes to shove (or I am in my self-imposed exile) it is pretty amazing what I can make in the kitchen 🙂  Crispy Onion crusted chicken breasts?  Yep.  A single serve deep-dish chocolate chip cookie that I got from a friend on facebook?  Yep.  Steamed Vegetables?  Um, yeah.  I’m not a kitchen idiot?

-We’ve discussed before my love of television.  There are a few shows that really resonate.  For instance, I love Mad Men and Modern Family, but I don’t really identify with any of the characters.  Nothing about those shows makes me really think, “I wish I knew these people and was friends with them”.  I was thinking about it this evening on my way to Chik-Fil-A (what?  I love the Original Chicken Sandwich).  I asked myself the question (aloud, because I can…) “So what shows fall into the ‘resonate’ category?”  I came up with the following: One Tree Hill, because I feel like we could really be friends, Dawson’s Creek because Joey and Pacey will forever be my favorite tv couple, American Dreams (which you probably have never heard of… google it) because those were the carefree 60’s that sometimes make me wish I was born 25 years earlier and Little House of the Prairie because I will always love Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder and will always have the 14 year old desire to marry Jonathan Laborteaux.  For what it’s worth I’ve been on a Dawson’s Creek season 4-5 marathon for the past 3 days.

-A good, summer read + a rainy day = perfection

-Once I left the aforementioned Chik-Fil-A I was done talking to myself about television so I turned on the radio and was met with an apparent 90’s flashback.  YAY!!  I have no idea how long this had been going on, but I rocked out to “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway, “Everything I do, I do it for you” by Bryan Adams, “500 miles” by the Proclaimers and “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio.  And just like that I was thrust backward 20 years to the summers of my high school days.  It’s crazy how you can go years and years without hearing something and still remember every word.  I remember when Robin Hood came out (and when Kevin Costner was like, the hottest thing on the planet and you know, relevant) and every one in the world (or rather, in my circle of friends) just lost their minds over this song…. ah, memories. It actually made me feel really nostalgic and ponder how on earth my heart still feels 16 years old….

-last thought.   16 days until I get to hang out with the five cutest people on the planet and their parents.  Quintuple YAY!!!