Pure Gold 

My mom is a great storyteller. Family stories have been passed down, retold countless times, and loved since I can remember. On Sunday, my mom told us a story I had never heard before, and how it’s even possible she never told us this doozy, I do not know. 

Because it’s pure gold. 

Back in the time of Mom Jeans, VHS, and Kenny Loggins cassette tapes, my mom and her brother had a battle of epic proportions. 

It was Christmastime, and my uncle was visiting, as he did every year. My cousin and I were young, and likely we were the reason the whole fam bam was at the park in the middle of December. 

For some insane reason, the topic of who was faster on foot between my mom and my uncle came up in conversation. My uncle swore he’d literally beat the pants off of my mom. 

Well, that pretty much sealed the deal. 

My mom and uncle readied themselves for a foot race that would easily rival that of Usain Bolt…if he were middle aged, out of shape, and if he considered tight Lee jeans appropriate running attire. 

Quite handy for the two marathon runners was that the particular park where we were had parallel bridges, not too far away from each other. My grandmother, humoring her two always-picked-last-for-sports-children said she’d call “ready or not”. 

I guess now is a good time to paint the scene.

My good ol’ Uncle Gary, or, My Own Personal John Candy was one of the best parts of my childhood. If my mom was a good storyteller, it’s only because she learned the craft from the king of all storytellers-her older brother. 


He was round, and, just like Santa, when he laughed, his belly shook like a bowl full of jelly. (And he laughed a lot, because he always had a new, mildly inappropriate joke up his sleeve.)


In essence, he was pleasantly, perfectly plump (he wouldn’t have been Uncle Gary had he been any different). 

As for my mom, it was she who I inherited my overly curvaceous bod, cellulite, and body hair from, so…

I think the picture is fairly clear. 

They were 100% the kids who cheated on running the mile in PE class (or walked the entirety, coming in with a record time of 12 minutes). 

Basically, we had a pair of real marathon winners.

I don’t think my mom even took the race seriously. She probably figured she’d have to embarrass him by beating the pants off him in front of God and everybody, or that he had a cheat or a trick ready and waiting. 

This was why she was far more concerned with what he was doing at the starting line, instead of readying herself for moving more quickly than she had in years. 

She was staring him down, incredulity and an ounce of fear growing, as his Rocky-esque stance proved he was ready and actually serious. 

Suddenly, Grandma called, “Go!” and it was all just a blur of color block windbreaker and handlebar mustache. 

My mom was glued to her spot. Stunned. 

Pretty quickly, she couldn’t contain her laughter and broke down in hysterics. 

She said, “At the starting gate, I collapsed in laughter. I saw him there, this 300 pound man, with his 32 year-old shoes flapping, going like the wind.”

As my mom was dissolving into a puddle of tear-soaked Jordache, Grandma was yelling, “Go, Judy! Just go a little bit, Judy!” 

After listening to this story, it was only natural that I dared my brother to our own relay race. 

I was fairly certain I’d beat the crap out of him. I’d only been an aerial yogaist for five weeks straight, and all of my walks to 7-11 had to make me more capable of movement than him. 

The last time I was witness to him doing anything that resembled physical exertion was when we went on a family picnic five years ago, and I dragged him on a “hike” up to a lookout, barely half a mile away. It was not his favorite. 
I figured I’d finish and have time to bake a cake before he came across the finish line. 

As he confidently, unwaveringly got into his runner’s stance, I began to doubt myself as a shoe-in for first place. 

Maybe he runs during his time off? Had I somehow completely missed that aspect of his life? 

I said to my mom, “I think I’m kinda scared!” 

She replied, “Maybe you should be. Sometimes fat people surprise you and they run like the wind!”

Spoiler Alert: I lost miserably.

Not only did I lose, I came incredibly close to eating asphalt. 

You know when you are trying to go faster than your body can catch up and your head has literally a head start? Well, that was me the entire 20 or so feet we ran. 

Not only did he beat me by running a hell of a lot faster than me, he did so with bare feet. 

When my dad yelled, “Go!” (BTW, my dad was excited enough to watch this spectacle, that he actually paused the golf he was watching, and said, “Now, I gotta see this.” as he practically ran outside), I thought my body would be moving quicker than it did. It was like I was in slo-mo, shlepping through molasses. Before I could even start actually moving, he had propelled his body through the finish line with his Fred Flinstone feet. 

It wasn’t even a competition. 

The two expert sprinters

Moral of the story: Don’t underestimate people carrying around some extra weight, because they can move. With the exception of this fat chick. I can’t move quickly for anything. 
Also, family stories are better when you don’t try to reenact them. Don’t let history repeat itself, people!  

Flashback Friday: Sudden Summer Shame

Happy Flashback Friday! 

I just realized that some of my newer readers might not know that I used to write for the U.K.-based online magazine, Shopper Lottie. It got to be a little much on top of working and coming up with content for my blog, because the Shopper Lottie content had to be original and not previously published. I guess I’m really not the writing machine that I would like to be. Still, it was a really awesome experience, and I still adore the magazine creator, Charlotte. 

Since it’s almost summer break, I thought I’d share a post I wrote for Shopper Lottie about that fun realization when you’re super not summer body ready. 

Let me know what you think in the comments! 

Six Summer Fashion Tips For When You “Forgot” to Get That Summer Bod

WTF Wednesdays #16

I have at least three posts sitting in my drafts folder just waiting to be finished. My excuse for not having a polished piece this week is that I’m a teacher and it’s the last week of school.

I’m just feeling lucky that my brain hasn’t melted.

Yesterday was spent out in the sun all day for Field Day. I could barely even.

I silently mouth or say outright, “WTF?!” at least 20 times a day in response to a wide assortment of inconveniences, ridiculous happenstances, strange personal choices, and annoyances. 

It’s basically my go-to response, because I’m a lady like that. 

So, for this week’s installment of #WTFW, I am sharing some WTFs with you. Ready or not, here they come! 

1. How is it that one minute I’m watching a video on how to make strawberry cheesecake macarons, and then, somehow, it’s three hours later and I’m in deep, searching through a rando’s Facebook pictures of their dog? Or, why is it I spend an ungodly amount of time scrolling the comment section of a video on how to fold a shirt? Why do I waste my time like this? I think I need therapy. 

2. When, after walking precisely 20 miles round trip to the work room, staff lounge, admin’s office, back to the work room for the tape I forgot, and back to my classroom, I realize my Fitbit is still charging on my computer. None of those steps counted. Might as well just go home and go to bed. The day is a wash. FML.

3. When one second I am peacefully, albeit horribly, singing to my latest favorite tune in the car, and the next, I am screaming obscenities, that would make a sailor blush, at the idiot who is driving 30 miles an hour on the FUCKING FREEWAY. 

Check out this video on YouTube:

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This is 1,000% me. 

4. Sometimes I start my makeup on the opposite side of my face that I always start with, and I wonder if I’ve somehow entered a parallel universe. Or, I worry I’m losing my mind, because what kind of routine-driven person does that kind of thing?

5. Sometimes (always) I ask my boyfriend really ridiculous, inane questions that, most likely, make him question his undying love for me and are, 100%, why he has more gray hairs and some new wrinkles. I’ve personally aged the poor man. Some examples would be:
“Did you wash your hands?”

“Do you think it’s safe to eat this salami I left in my bag all day?”

“Did you lock the doors (for the 8,563rd time)?”

“Can you smell my breath from over there?”

“Do you think anyone at Panda Express will notice I’m not wearing a bra?”

“What do you think it means when someone’s pee is green? Asking for a friend.”

And, his absolute favorite: “Can you hold my purse while I use the restroom?”

 I don’t know why I’m crazy, I just am.  

6. When I buy my Friday Treat Donut at Starbucks (for $2, might I add) and there are freaking free donuts in the staff lounge. Fatty don’t play. WTF! 


7. This:


So, tell me: What makes you go “WTF”? I need some humor to get me through this last week, people! 

WTF Wednesdays: Travel Tag Edition

The lovely An Historian About Town nominated me for the travel tag. I was so excited to be nominated, because I love to travel and I love An Historian. Not only are her posts well-written, interesting, and positively filled with gorgeous photos of beautiful places and things, the girl behind it all is just fabulous. Go check out her blog-you’ll love it!

Now, without further ado, my responses to some fun travel-themed questions:

What is your favorite place that you have visited?

Hands down, the U.K. and Ireland. My trip was seven freaking years ago, but I still think about it everyday, and I have tried to get back to the U.K. on several different occasions.

Is it possible to look any more touristy?
My ancestor-Lady Godiva’s statue was dwarfed by a Primark. I felt equal parts let down and excited. I really wanted to buy a pair of £8 jean shorts.
 

I also loved NYC and have always dreamed of living it up a la every.single.chick.flick in all creation, as a Big Apple girl.

(All of my NYC pics are stored away on my external hard drive. Sad face.)

Large cities, with tons of energy and culture, are definitely my favorite places to visit, but I loved being in the middle of nowhere, amidst rolling green hills in England. I also adored driving through the otherworldly terrain of the Scottish Highlands, and even though the road to Dingle, Ireland is crap-your-pants scary, the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula is unmatched.

I feel like there should be an “I Survived the Road to Dingle” badge.
Somewhere between Inverness and Edinburgh

If you could visit anywhere tomorrow where would you go?

100% the U.K.! But, I mean, if someone wanted to take me to Japan or Italy or Brazil, I’d not argue one bit. *spastic winking*

Would you rather go on a city holiday or a beach holiday?

I’m such a city girl-the energy, the eclectic culture, the myriad languages, the food, the history… Also, I’m not a huge fan of sunburnt fat that turns into one big, ugly rash, because too much of my skin was exposed and rubbing together. Give me chilly weather, layered clothing, a coffee, and a walking trip around an historic city ANY DAY.

Buuuut, I won’t say ‘no’ to a beach holiday!

Just embrace the sand in your crotch and the sunburned everything!
Alcohol helps!

My top three travel essentials are: 

  • Obviously, my phone/camera is my number one travel must have. The best souvenirs I’ve ever gotten on a trip are the insane amount of pictures of every noteworthy (and, not so noteworthy-I have been known to photograph a random bench or ugly pigeon, because it’s a foreign bench and a foreign pigeon) sight and experience.
  • Hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and a travel-size hand soap are essential. I’ve never traveled somewhere exotic enough to encounter squatty potties or lack of running water, but you just never know what kind of facilities or amenities a restroom will have. Also, the very first hostel I ever stayed at did not provide hand soap or even paper towels. You just never know what horrors you’ll encounter. You.never.know.
  • A versatile scarf and a pair of Wayfarers. I know these sound like lame “essentials”, but when I’m feeling ugly as hell on the 6th day of crap hair, because my flat iron refuses to work with the expensive adapter I bought, a scarf makes me feel a little more put together.


Can you even tell my hair is greasy and I’m wearing zero makeup? See what I mean? 

Are you an over packer or an under packer?
Literally, I used to bring three full suitcases for a weekend trip back home when I lived in Elko. The pressure that exists when you have to decide what you want to wear before the day(s) in question is just too much. I can’t even. Also, sometimes my favorite piece of clothing looks hideous on me for various reasons. You just never know.

Before the trip I took to the U.K., I obsessively researched light packing tips and practiced packing the one bag I took. It was a real trial, and it took a huge leap of faith to know I’d survive if I wore the same jeans two days in a row.


So, I lied. I took three bags…

What is your favorite thing about going on vacations?

When I’m on vacation, I feel whole. It’s an indescribable feeling of just being. When you’re on vacation, you get to live a life that would exist if daily stressors, like bills and other lame adult responsibilities didn’t exist.

Edinburgh
Edinburgh, my love!
I also love completely immersing myself in the culture and the history of wherever I am. There’s nothing more humbling than standing in a church built before your own country even existed.

Said church-St. Margaret’s Chapel

Would you rather go on vacation with family or friends?

Yeesh.

Either choice has its share of positives and negatives. Traveling with family means that there’s a pretty good chance your mom might pay for some of the travel expenses. There’s also a fairly good chance she might forget you’re a grown adult and remind you to thank “the nice travel guide”. Or, she might feel the need to chastise you about your frivolous waste of money on name brand deodorant.

Traveling with friends has its benefits in that your friends are usually more in tune with your level of fun. That might mean an adventurous competition to see how many museums at the Smithsonian you can visit in one day.


This was the day after our Smithsonian challenge. Someone had a museum hangover #8thgradeugly. 

Or, maybe, that means buying every kind of foreign candy in the convenience store and then going back to your hotel room to see who can get diabetes first.

Diabetes!
When you travel with your friends, there’s also the potential for a complete WWIII, nuclear fallout, because after being together 24/7 you can’t stand the way they chew their food or breathe.

Whether traveling with a friend or family member, just drink. Their mouth breathing won’t matter near as much. 

Either way, memories are made and that’s all that matters. Right?

What is the most adventurous dish you have ever tried from another country?
Abso-freaking-lutely that would be haggis with ‘neeps and ‘tatties that my friend and her Scottish husband made for us while we stayed with them in Edinburgh.

It was actually amazingly delicious. No shit, I crave that dish on the regular.

My amazing Scottish friends! 

I’d like to nominate the following bloggers (please don’t feel obligated to participate):

The Wandering Flamingo
This girl is an amazing photographer, writer and blogger friend. She also lives in my favorite country, so I always feel I get to live vicariously through her photos and posts. Also, she is an avid traveler, so I’d love to know more about her envy-worthy travels. Please go check out her blog and beautiful photography-you won’t be disappointed!

A Walk and a Lark
Here’s another blogger bud who lives in one of my favorite cities-London! She’s become an amazing blogging supporter and friend, and I simply adore reading her blog! She is well-traveled, so I’d love the inside scoop on some of her favorite places! Check out Josy’s blog! I promise you’ll love it and her!

All Thoughts Work
This chick cracks me up. Every time I get a comment from her, I know I’ll end up practically peeing myself from laughter. I’ve gleaned that she’s an avid outdoors-woman and talented writer, but that’s all I know. I need to know more! Head on over to the funny lady’s blog-you won’t regret it!

Monday Musings

I’ve been feeling like I should be in England lately. I didn’t realize until just the other day that it’s been almost a year since I was offered a teaching position in England, and, after a really difficult decision-making process, declined the offer. 

I know, who decides against living abroad after being offered gainful employment? I know, right? 

I really struggled for some time after having made my final decision (I’m still struggling). I wondered how much of my choice was driven by my inate second-guessing, worry-wart, scared-to-jump mentality or legit financial concerns. 

I’m a huge fan of those girl-has-devastating-break-up-and-career-let-down-at-the-same-time-so-she-hops-on-a-plane-to-her-dream-get-away-locale-and-despite-having-eight-dollars-and-thirty-cents-and-no-change-of-underwear-she-somehow-lands-a-job-apartment-and-dreamy-new-man-chick-lit-books, because, duh. 

Isn’t that every girl’s dream-to move abroad on a whim and it’s just like in the Lindsey Kelk books? 

I’d like to hear of a real life situation where this scenario works out, because I had $800 in my pocket and I knew that would only get me as far as Toronto. 

When I first started seriously considering working on obtaining a teaching position in England, I didn’t think it would be so easy. Or quick. I figured it’d take a few dozen tries, I’d have time to really mull over legit moving to another country, and that I’d have plenty of time to save and get my finances in order. 

I was so mistaken. One minute I was dreamily planning how I’d decorate my make-believe tiny flat with decor from TK Maxx and the next I was using Skype for the first time, going over classroom management with a head teacher in Oxford (this was the first of two interviews I had. I didn’t end up getting the teaching position in Oxford). 

Let me just break it all down for you in an easy-to-read timeline:

4/17/16: Applied for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

5/3/16: Application for QTS was approved, received login to view/print certificate 


5/6/16: Emailed application to Stanwell Fields CE Primary School, among others 

5/9/16: Received email response from Stanwell Fields Business Support requesting I fill out application

5/13/16: Received email from headteacher inquiring about availability for phone interview

5/19/16: Phone interview with assistant headteacher 

5/23/16: Received voicemail from headteacher offering the job (I was too scared to pick up. What a noob)

I still have the voicemail…

So, in a little over a month, I had gained the necessary qualification to teach in England, interviewed at two schools, and was offered a position. 

Just typing this now, I’m feeling the excited, heady warmth in my stomach one gets when exciting things are on the horizon. 

It was all fun and games until shit got really real. 

Just in case the headteacher at Stanwell Fields ever reads this (though it’s highly unlikely), I’d like to make it clear that I was genuinely serious about teaching abroad. That is, until I realized I was crazy to think I’d ever be able to afford it. 

I had naively assumed that since England was in need of teachers, they would possibly offer a sign on bonus, much like many districts do in the U.S. when they have a teacher shortage. Or, they would assist with getting a visa. 

Nope.

Schools aren’t profit-driven, and the sad reality is that many are in desperate need of teachers, but have no extra funds to entice educators to move countries. 

Not that I needed enticing. No, I just had no money and thought I could move my life abroad with $800 and my already-reaching-the-limit credit cards. 

So, after researching the cost of a work visa (roughly $800, currently) and the cost to rent a one bedroom flat in the south of England (around $1000 a month), I realized I was in over my head. 

Despite the fact that the school offered me an extremely nice pay raise, the cost of living in south England, coupled with my current bills, that would be traveling with me, made it so I simply could not afford to live. 

Not only would I need enough money to live once settled, I’d need at least $800 for a one way ticket to London, money for a hotel or hostel once in England, a deposit for a flat, and funds for many other travel and moving expenses. 

My mom and I estimated that I’d need at least $3000 to move and get settled (and it always ends up being more costly than you calculate beforehand). 

Did I mention I had $800 in my savings? I’m amazing at adulting. 

It was really depressing. Really, really dismaying, and not at all like my favorite chick lit books. 

These were some of my biggest concerns:

  • The cost of living in the area was too high (I’d be paying triple what I was currently paying in rent)
  • Many available flats were unfurnished-I’d need to buy furniture (at minimum, a bed)
  • Despite the pay raise, due to certain taxes in the U.K., the pay would be roughly the same or less than my current pay, yet cost of living tripled 
  • I’d be too strapped for cash to travel (travelling to other parts of Europe was a big reason I desired to live abroad)
  • It would have been necessary to drain my savings and rack up further debt for moving expenses (I was already in a significant amount of debt to begin with)
  • I would have needed to sell my car after having it less than a year (if I couldn’t sell it, it would have been another expense I couldn’t afford)
  • I’d barely make enough to save for a plane ticket back home, had that been necessary or desired 
  • I’d have zero teaching supplies and shipping them over would have been too pricey

Regardless of the fact that I had very real financial concerns, I still feel like I let an amazing opportunity go. It didn’t help that I had so many people telling me that debt didn’t matter. YOLO and all that crap. 

Big decisions and I have never been friends. Usually, when faced with a big, life-altering decision, I just bury my head in red sand and fail to make a decision, if at all possible. 

I’m a master of the what-if discourse. I can go all day and go circles around anyone. 

Yet, deep down, I know I made the right decision for me and my present financial situation. 

I also know that I’ll never stop dreaming of England and doing what must be done to make it back. 

For real though, how do most people move abroad? Are you in a better paying field than me or did your company pay for your move? Did you get a huge inheritance?  Are you just in massive debt due to the move? Do you know some magic trick to making fast travel cash? If anyone who’s done it cares to spill the beans, I’m all ears! 


5 Reasons Why I’m Failing at Adulting


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1.When my students do or say something turdly, really, just once, want to say, “I know you are, but what am I?” I know… but it would be so awesome to give them a little dose of the ridiculous excuses/responses/attitudes they give me every.single.day.


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2. Every year when I renew my car registration, I don’t put the new sticker on my license plate until I get pulled over. It’s like tradition. It is just so hard and takes too much effort to wipe the dust and grime off of my license plate and place the new sticker over the 10 that are already there, about to fall off. Pure unadulterated laziness.


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3. Every month, since I was 11 (why, God?) Aunt Flo has visited. One would think that after three decades of this ridiculousness, I would know to be prepared. Yet, every month, I ruin a pair of panties and I have to waddle into the store, with an entire roll of toilet paper wrapped around the crotch of my underwear.


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4. I love to wait until the bitter end before a credit card payment is due. That way, the extra money I was planning on using to pay down some of the debt can be used to buy new shoes or way too many Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccinos far before I have to make the payment. Winning.


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5. I buy bananas for one sole purpose: I like to watch things slowly wither and die. For what other purpose do bananas serve? I sure as hell never eat them.


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5 Reasons Teaching Made (Is Making) Me (More) Fat

There’s a reason I’m fat, and it isn’t just because I eat Oreos smothered with peanut butter for breakfast.

It’s because I’m a teacher. This profession is rife with situations in which I’m faced with deciding between a few sad, old grapes or Krispy Kreme. Some days my big decision of the day is whether or not to eat the sweaty, homemade, hand delivered cookie. Sadly, the questionable cookie always wins. Mostly, being a teacher means you either drink or you check yourself into the mental hospital. Drinking excessively is more socially acceptable. Also, being clinically insane isn’t usually seen as a desired quality in the teaching world.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Teaching Made (Is Making) Me (More) Fat”

What’s Going On 

Almost. Almost!

I figured I’d write a little update on things. I know that if you’re not consistently writing, you lose followers. Now, we wouldn’t want that! 

Tonight, after what seems like a lifetime, I get the keys to my new apartment! The landlord had the carpets shampooed, the walls painted, and had a cleaning person come in. It’s been a long time since I last moved into a new place. This seems very thorough and it’s much appreciated. The last apartment I moved into I had to clean for a full day before I could move in. So, this’ll be nice! Move in ready! 

My emotions have been riding a roller coaster of epic proportions. One minute I’m excited for the future, and I feel like a strong independent woman who can do anything. The next, I’m freaking out about having to put my bed together by myself, and that, surely, I’ll die alone amid my myriad cats. 

I guess this is life-the constant battle between being happy and feeling at peace and sadness and feeling anxious about everything. The only good part of sadness is that it is needed to feel the good things in life. 

Stay tuned for video and pictures! 

Also, stay tuned for a personal challenge that rivals all of my previous failed challenges! Oooooh! 

Independence Day

I think most have surmised that there’s been some recent changes in my life. I almost went off to England. Alone. And now I’m apartment searching. Alone. 

Yup. 

I’m single and ready to mingle. 

Just kidding. I’m single and ready for some peace, and some much needed soul searching. 

Right now my priority is finding a place to live. 

It has not been easy due to some uncertainty surrounding the whens, hows, and the that-costs-how-muchs. The rental market where I live right now is slim and what you see is what you get. If you don’t jump right on the first half decent place you see, it’s gone the next day. I’m not exactly too picky, but I also don’t want to live in my city’s equivalent of Compton.

So, I’ll just say it’s been…interesting, the search for an apartment. I think I’ll add disappointing, scary, and fun, just to mix it up.

Yesterday, I got to tour a studio apartment in one of the oldest complexes in the city. The vintage charm was just oozing out of the Art Deco windows. There were even little milk delivery boxes. I couldn’t even. 



The apparent charm and ideal location were the only two pros with this place. There were holes in the walls, the lobby and hallway carpets were filthy, and the wood was just being left to rot. It was sad.

The search for the perfect apartment is, of course, disappointing because $425 a month in one of the most coveted areas is, in fact, too good to be true. 

Also, it’s scary to think that someone actually thinks anyone sane would  want to rent a place that houses one of the seven gates of hell. There was a crawl space door located in the closest that went forever into the abyss of your worst nightmares. *NERP. 

I love looking at houses and apartments, even when they end up being a big “nope”. I don’t know if it’s a woman thing, but every potential home I go into is an empty canvas that I can envision putting my mark on. Unless it’s scary and crack den-ish (I’ve never been in one, but I think it would be hard to work, decoratively, around the crack). 

Here’s a video I took of the apartment from yesterday. 


For some reason, my voice sounds kind of Valley Girl-ish. Forgive me. 

Wish me luck on my continued search! 

​*Thanks, Lori! 

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Decision Made

Well, I did it. I sent the email declining the job offer. Before anyone tells me I just lost an incredible opportunity, let me first be clear about a few things:

1. I’ve learned throughout this process that I need to stop taking to heart how others feel when what I really need to be doing is listening more intently to my own beat.

2. It’s really fucking expensive to move to another country, and until you know my finances intimately, you don’t really know. You know?

I don’t mean to sound rude, but it’s really, really hard to make such a huge decision when left and right you’re told that money doesn’t matter, or that you’re wussing out because you don’t want to be going down the road to bankruptcy town. All of my young adult years I went about my business as if money didn’t matter and it led to serious problems. I cannot continue down that path.

Continue reading “Decision Made”