The Cabin

I think of it often. My heart never forgets its pull. In my dreams, it’s just as it always was when I was young. Its imprint on my memory, it’s image like a photograph, burned into my heart. When my eyes close, I see it. There sits a humble cabin on a quiet bay of a picturesque mountain lake. 

Every summer of my childhood was spent in heaven, paradise, our own personal Elysium. Every month, week, and day leading up to the summer was spent in heart-aching-anticipation of this special place. 

From my earliest memories, I recall the cabin on Coeur d’Alene Lake and it’s profound magic. 

The cabin is many things, but mostly it’s…

800 miles of sticky skin on sticky skin, drooling cousins, hot air whipping in through the windows, and knowing it all will not be in vain. 

A dark-haired, pig-tailed girl and a toe-headed boy eagerly sharing they are “going to Idaho” to anyone they meet along the way in Idaho who inquires. 

Friends. Foes. Ballers. Cousins.

The lazy susan that just maybe will reveal Lucky Charms on its next go-round instead of Raisin Bran.

Soft sunlight peppered through the curtains, the sound of familiar voices, the smell of coffee and toast, the feeling of an unburdened soul.

Bud’s Big Burgers and the time someone tagged, “Bud’s Big Boogers” on the side of the building. 

The smell of our family’s past in the musty throw pillows and dusty books. 

The taste of milk in vintage Harvest Yellow plastic tumblers and powdered Nesquik sprinkled on Darigold vanilla ice cream.

That particular bend in the road as you’re  coming from town where the temperature drops ten degrees and you know you’re truly at the lake.

Grandma’s tomato soup with elbow macaroni and the best dried garden herbs from The Herb Lady. 

The crystal clear waters that cleanse the soul and clear the mind.

The summer when Return of the Mack was popular and Mom thought Mark Morrison was singing, “We’re Tearing Up the Moon”. 

Check out this video on YouTube:

It totally sounds like that, Mom. (No, it doesn’t.) 

The sound of a car door on the landing, followed by Uncle Gary’s unmistakable voice, and the exciting knowledge that he’ll either have ingredients for an exotic dish, a new lake floaty, or, even better, a new crazy story. 

Captain Gary

Water-logged, pruney, sun-drenched skin and a satisfying tiredness that only comes after a day on the lake. 

Grandma’s favorite-Julio Iglesias, or Lee Greenwood’s Mornin’ Ride (that we only recently discovered is not about an early morning horse ride) blaring in the car, as we hug the curves around the lake, toward the cabin. 

Check out this video on YouTube:

I envisioned an innocent horse ride through a dewy meadow. My brother always thought of a virtuous truck ride in the early morn. When we discovered the true meaning, my mom was appalled and my Grandma never chose to believe it was about a ride in the hay, and by hay, I mean bed. 

The smell and presence of Grandpa in the old board games stacked in the closet, the ancient, but clean linens, and the worn gold-colored armchair. 

Pool Noodle Ballet in the deep and how that’s the only kind of ballet Mom and I will ever be good at. 

Fireworks, reflecting on the water, damp life jackets, and the sound of gentle waves lapping against the boat. 

Finally entering the Idaho farmland from the desolate desert drive and feeling the pull of the cabin and the lake in your bones.

The time Uncle Gary lost his teeth in the lake and offered up $20 to whoever found them. That was me. 

The tiny Jewel Box Gem Shop in Harrison and the treasures you could find there.

“The Hootie”*, its unpleasant smell, and the time my brother almost lit it on fire, used the Brita water pitcher to put it out, and then dropped the pitcher down the hole.

Isn’t she cute?

Butt to butt in the tiny kitchen, the smell of bleach water, and calling dibs on being the dish dryer. 

The annual Great Carlin Bay Swim: 42 people belonging to one family, 672 floaties, and a whole lotta racket, echoing off the water of the bay. 

The scary night when we almost became a bear’s midnight snack, my heroic grandma and how she scared the garbage-can-digging-by-the-window-creeping bear (It was a dog).

Night swims that sometimes turn into skinny dipping, and the time the neighbors came home and turned on all of their 8,000 lights. Mom and Aunt Dana are still pruney in places. 

The sound of a faraway boat, speeding down the channel. The creaking of Grandma’s hanging Rattan chair, and her melodious humming as she stares, her blue eyes a perfect reflection of the water. 


There are so many more things that make the cabin what it is and was to every member of my family. I don’t know why I was suddenly inspired to write a post about my summers spent on Coeur d’Alene Lake. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been in many years and I feel the pull of it in my bones and I crave a swim in its cleansing waters. That must be it. 
*”The Hootie” is our very fancy outhouse. It comes complete with its own deck, curtained-window, built-in magazine rack, and a very intricate ventilation system that Uncle Gary jerry-rigged together after a particularly hot and smelly summer.
 

Some Teaching Truths

In honor of Back to School, I decided to drop some fun teaching truth bombs (Also, I’m swamped this week and list posts are the easiest #sorrynotsorry). Even if you’re not a teacher, you’ll likely relate. If your job is high stress, but also high reward, you’ll for sure relate. Because I really should be labeling all the things instead of writing a blog post, let’s just begin:

1. Unless you’re crazily devoted to a fitness plan or you have a superhero’s will and control, you will eat every carb in your house after a bad day. 

2. Forget about the college “Freshmen Fifteen”. There’s such as a thing as the “Teacher Twenty”. Or, sometimes, the “Educator Eighty”. Also, this can happen during year one or year ten. 

3. You will eat your weight in mini-size chocolate candy. Sometimes in one day. 

#goals

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4. If the day after Valentine’s/Christmas/Easter clearance candy has been cleaned out, you can thank a teacher. 

5. You will get fat. So fat.

6. If food isn’t your happy place (congratulations on not being “pregnant” every year), you will drink copious amounts of wine and at some point in your career, consider rehab, but only the facilities that are more like spas and only because it would be the best sanity-saving vacation ever. 

7. If it comes down to toilet paper or a shiny new pack of Expo markers at the end of the month, markers win-hands down. 


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8. You save straws, bits of fabric, tissue boxes, and one 3 inch piece of string, because it all just may come in handy at some point. 

9. They never come in handy. 

10. Your teacher cabinet/closet/cupboard is a portal to Narnia or another dimension, because it’s where all of your supplies go to never be found again. 

I Googled “messy teacher cabinet” and this popped up. Two things: 1. Ya’ll lyin’ and 2. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Maybe someday I’ll be brave and share my Closet o’ Shame.

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11. No matter how poor you are, you always find a way to buy $80 worth of crap from the Target Dollar Spot. 

12. No matter how frustrating your students can be sometimes, you’re fiercely protective of them when they’re criticized by another teacher who doesn’t know them as well as you. 

13. Your students are your family. Your tribe. You love them. Every year, your heart opens up to allow for 20 more spaces. 

14. You crop dust. It’s only fair. 

15. If you weren’t an emotional person or crier before becoming an educator, you can kiss your shyness/pride goodbye. 

16. You will cry over everything.

17. You will have to kindly remind your students that, “Maybe someone needs to go to the restroom” after toxic waste lunch bombs are dropped all afternoon. 

18. If your student’s book order money is short, you pay what they’re missing without a second thought. 

19. You only go to the bathroom during the day once a week, but during that exact time, admin will walk in. It’s basically a scientific fact. 

20. Your teacher look is such a work of art that an eyebrow raise, lip purse, and nose wrinkle can mean 875 different things and no matter the day, the kid, or the teacher friend, the message is always received loud and clear. 

Trainer at inservice day says, “Pick a partner”-Teacher Bestie and I look at each other like…

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Tell me, who was your favorite teacher and why? Or, make me laugh and tell me an hilarious school or teacher story. 

WTF Wednesday #5

Just me and my best friend (not a random dog I borrowed to snap a pic for Instagram).

As many of my followers know, I’m on the hunt for a house. I couldn’t have chosen the absolute worst time to do that, too. It’s a seller’s market in my area, and home prices are climbing to new heights. Homes that would have been right up my monetary alley are not even within reach. 

Probably you’re wondering, “Then, why are you choosing to buy right now, dumbass?”

Well, it’s simple. I’m sick and tired of paying someone else’s mortgage. I’m sick of having to share the communal laundry area in the basement that reeks of weed and stroganoff. I’m sick of forgetting to get quarters to do said laundry. I’m sick of not having a garden I can swear I’m going to use for planting an herb garden, but I’ll likely neglect. I’m sick of not having private outdoor space that I never use, but it’s there if I ever do decide to enjoy some fresh Reno cigarette air. Most of all, I’m sick of not having a dog.

I’ve had more people than is even reasonable who respond to that desire in a way that would insinuate that I’m not “ready” for that responsibility. Maybe they are just putting a really rude spin on the classic, “There, there. It’ll happen in time.” Either way, it pisses me the hell off. 

First, I’m 34-fucking-years-old. Sure, I can’t keep a house plant alive to save my life, but an animal is completely different.

Second, I could have gotten a dog like other irresponsible college kids do when I was young, living in a cramped apartment, and I sometimes couldn’t even afford to feed myself, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I knew that kind of lifestyle and my idiocy was not fair to any animal. 

Third, who are you, the Everything You Could Possibly Know About Dogs expert? Who says you’re the best dog mom/dad ever? I know you feed your dog expired hot dogs and clearance tinned cat food in secret. That organic dog food you made and posted on Instagram happened once. Three years ago. Sit down. 

Lastly, needing/wanting a dog in your life is almost as legit as the need to have a child. It’s all about the biological need for a woman to nurture something. 

Maybe it seems silly to you, but I was born with puppy ovaries. I yearn for a furry, milk-breathed baby. I need something to love and care for. Since I’m not planning on having human children, my desire for a puppy feels legit to me. 

Don’t belittle that desire, because it seems silly to you. 

Might I remind you again that I’m well into my adult years, I am responsible for 20 human lives on a daily basis, and I’m pretty damn dependable. 

Quit acting like I don’t know what kind of huge responsibility it is to have a dog. 

Just stop.

So, the search continues for a non-crack den house that’s crack-den-cheap so I can have a dog. Keep your eyes peeled for my next WTF Wednesday, which will likely be on the myriad options I have for housing (hint: I’m being sarcastic, and most of my options come on wheels).

Tell me: Has anyone made you feel like you were too inept for a dog, or even a houseplant? Let me know in the comments. 

My dog cousin, Pepper. She was cold. See? I know what to do.

I Get It From My Mama

In honor of Mother’s Day here in America, I thought it would be fitting to re-blog a post I did about my mother on my old site, Big City Betty. Enjoy!

mama3

My mother is a phenomenal woman. My mother is the person who keeps me grounded and helps me to get my head out of the clouds and… out of my ass. She is the rational voice in my head telling me what the right thing to do is. She taught me that when you commit to something, you do it. No going back. She taught me that to have a friend, you must be one first. She taught me how to properly set a table and how to fold a fitted sheet (OK, she TRIED to teach me how to fold a fitted sheet. Don’t tell her that I just ball it up, throw it in the closet, and that is as good as it gets). She taught me that Christmas is truly magical and is best spent with family and lots of Chocolate Crinkles and egg nog. She taught me to always R.S.V.P and to say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’. She taught me how to be crafty and how to tie the perfect bow. She taught me that a spoon full of PB and J in the middle of the night cures all nightmares and worries. My mother is my best friend and I honestly do not know what in the world I would do without her. It is funny how all girls go through stages with their mothers. When you are little she is the only one who can calm you down when you are upset and she knows just what makes you feel good when you are sick. When you are about 10 she drives you crazy, telling you how to dress and no matter what you say, you still have to wear the poodle sweater. When you are a teenager you butt heads with her and promise yourself you will never be like her when you grow up. When you are a young adult you begin to realize that your mother is actually your friend and confidante. You realize that you can laugh together about life and that you actually relate to one another. You realize that you can laugh and laugh and talk and talk for hours, days. Forever. You realize that you want to be just like her.

As I have mentioned before, I moved away from my life in Reno to come to Elko. With that move, I left so many things and, I left my mother. I loved my shopping, my apartment and my friends, and was so very sad to leave all of that, but to leave my mother…well, that was a whole different story. Without a doubt, leaving my mother was the saddest thing I have ever had to do. When I moved out on my own for the first time it was a piece of cake. I never looked back, but only because I knew my mother was 10 minutes away if it all came crashing down. I talk to my mom as much as I can and I cherish the time I get to spend with her when I come to visit. We sit and laugh for hours and it seems it is never enough. I have so many fond memories of my mother. As I have grown from a teenager into an adult, we have definitely butt heads, but boy have we had a good time, too.

I was always notorious for borrowing my mother’s deodorant, socks, etc. without ever putting what I “borrowed” back. My mom would get irate with me when she would go to put on her pit potion and it was not there. She would curse under her breath and tell me if I did it one more time she was gonna…yeah, you know how moms sound. Well, one morning, I guess she had had it. It was early and I was getting ready for school. I don’t even think I was fully functioning yet, and had only one eye open when there was a knock on my door. Wait, no, it was not a knock it was more of a “BANG, BANG!” and an, “OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW!” Oh shit, I knew what she was looking for! I clumsily stumbled to, and unlocked the door and before I could even open the thing, it flung wide open and there was my mom in full glory, buck naked and wild eyed. She bellowed, “Give me my deodorant, NOW!” I was pretty much scared for my life… and subsequently blind, so I happily obliged. When I handed her the borrowed item, all she said (and very sweetly mind you) was, “Thank you and have a nice day”. I have never “borrowed” a thing from her since that day.

When I was around 22, my mother and I somehow got into a conversation about clothing sizes. Since the days of her dressing me in stirrup pants and hideous Christmas sweaters were over, she was unaware of what size I wore. She was convinced that she wore a smaller size than me. I was aghast! Of course she didn’t wear my size! No way. But, she was persistent. She knew she could fit into my size and that there would be excess fabric at that. I was also very sure of myself. I suggested she try on some of my clothing. “Bring it!”, she said. I remember her confidence was practically through the roof and out in space somewhere. I grabbed a skirt and a shirt that didn’t have much stretch (stretch would be cheating). She got the shirt on, but the seams were bulging. She was slightly disheartened, but still confident. She knew the skirt would fit, she was sure of it. As she is old-fashioned, she put the skirt on over her head (big mistake). It was about boob level, but some was still over her head, when it got stuck. And when I say stuck, I mean she had her hands fixed above her head and was sweating and starting to swear. She was still not giving up, however. Beside the fact that she was standing in the middle of the living room, in her shoes and underwear with garments stuck on her boobs and over her head, she didn’t give up. She said, “They will fit, watch!”. I was pretty much losing it at this point. Through fits of laughter and tears streaming down my face, I somehow said that I was most definitely watching and inquired if she would like to record her upcoming win on the video camera. The squirming, sweating and swearing seemed to go on forever, until she said, “OK, OK, it doesn’t fit, OK? Help me!” I have to admit I stood there just laughing and pointing for a few more minutes until I helped her out of my clothes. She couldn’t deny that the entire thing was a riot and was laughing hysterically at this point, as well. She grudgingly admitted that I do, in fact, wear a smaller size than her. I was pleased, but more so from the amazing show. She put her clothes back on and said, “I need a stiff drink”.

 

Here’s to my amazing mama! Happy Mother’s Day!

mama2

This Is Elko 

I just got home from visiting Elko after nearly five years since I fled. I left Elko after a very nasty, unexpected, but much-needed breakup.  It had taken the almost four years that I lived there to grow to love the place. For the first few months I lived in Elko, I ate my sadness through the entire McDonald’s menu (because that’s all I found acceptable to eat). Every moment my brain was free to recall that I was permanently situated in a tiny cow town in Nevada, I was depressed. I devised every possible flight plan to get myself out of my living hell while I double fisted Oreos and everything ever made by the Keebler Elves. It took months for me to finally accept that if I wanted to see a movie, I would have to sit on a rickety, bodily fluid-soaked chair in their ancient theater. Whenever I got the opportunity to make it back home, I spent long hours wandering the posh isles of Target, lamenting how Elko was too ass backward to ever understand how beautiful a Target would be up on the hill instead of the nasty Kmart. What I didn’t realize until I looked up, out of my KFC Bucket of Shame, was that Elko was more than a Target. More than a comfortable movie seat. More than what you see at first glance. Before I knew it, I had established a very comfortable, happy life in Elko, enjoying the beauty that can be found when you open your heart and clear your mind of any preconceived notions. 

I was going to list the things that I love about Elko, but instead, I will just leave you with the following pictures. A few of you asked, about my previous post, “What is Elko?” Well, this is Elko. 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  


 
 
 
 
 
 
A lot the first pics are actually of Lamoille and Lamoille Canyon, but those places still mean Elko to me.   

Memories

 

Holly
One of the crazy bishes I lived and loved with. Also, back before I shaved my man arms!

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose” The Wonder Years

We all remember our first taste of freedom-that time in your life when the tight grip of the metaphorical fist loosens up and you break free. The time in your life when you feel no fear in saying goodbye, because what awaits you is too exciting to feel homesick. I remember that time vividly, and wish I could relive it on a daily basis. It was a time of momentous change in my life. I was single for the first time in years. and my life was decidedly going to be all about me for once. I was young, carefree and I no longer had to hear my father say 100 times a day, “Rinse your dish when you are done.” If I didn’t want to rinse my dish, guess what? I didn’t have to (I did, however, come to find that a sink full of dirty dishes pretty much smells like death, so I ended up just rinsing the damn dish). It was an indescribable feeling to be on my own for once. I don’t think I could properly explain in words the way it felt, but you all know. You know.

My first roommates were my two best friends. The first night in our apartment was spent drinking vodka straight out of the bottle while we watched Santa Clause 2. Oh yes, we knew how to party. The next night was spent drinking half a bottle of watermelon Pucker, because the other half I spilled on the carpet. Best friend number dos made her famous waffles and poached eggs for dinner. We ate A LOT of waffles and poached eggs. I am 100% certain it was not because waffle ingredients and eggs were cheap; it was because those were the only two things in the world she could make (pretty impressive if you ask me. I still have to read the macaroni and cheese box for instructions). To this day, I do not know how we survived on our diet. The only liquid in our apartment was the alcoholic variety and the only food found in the fridge was an odd jar of pickles and some butter. Nutritious, yeah? The third night in our first place I found out that a whole roll of toilet paper generally does not flush well. I also found out that if Daddy and his plunger aren’t there, you have to do it yourself. Also, an over-flowing toilet travels fast…The fourth night in our apartment we broke our dryer. Let me tell you, a panty chandelier is quite the conversation piece.

Oh and…we thought we were so damn cool. We found a convenience store that would sell us booze and then we would go home with our prize and play drunk Skipbo. We would drag main in my ‘86 Mazda 626, with purple tinted windows, blaring Adam Sandler’s “Piece of Shit Car”. We thought we were hilarious. We would blast music and dance half naked on the coffee table (Poor coffee table, RIP). We would get in huge fights, throw clothes, keyboards and play mariachi music to piss each other off, and then the next day we would laugh at our stupidity. We would forget to pay the bills and rack up the credit cards. We were young and stupid, but we were wild and liberated. Yes, I still feel the brunt of my young stupidity, but, damn, was it the time of my life.

As I said before, I was single and ready to mingle. I met new love interests and had fun going on myriad dates. I began to feel like a new, sexier version of me. I developed a swagger that said, “Yeah, you can’t touch this!”  I got inked and pierced and said, “How do you like this?” to people who told me I couldn’t be me. I rebelled. I danced. I lived.

I recall, vividly, a walk around the marina on an early spring day, a few months after day 1 of freedom. The air was cool and crisp, but the sun was warm. I was recalling all the good times spent with my new self, my friends-my roommates, and I felt this overwhelming feeling of complete, total, utter, unadulterated happiness. So, this is what it feels like to be independent and fancy-free!

I can thank my wild ways during this time for being a college graduate at the ripe old age of 27, but with no regrets. It was worth it. I still love the girls I shared that time with. They belong to a time in my life that has a special place in my heart, right up on the shelf full of “never forgets”. I still can’t help laughing whenever I hear “Everybody in the Club Gettin’Tipsy”  by Chingy, and think of how we would shake our bums to that song in our socks and panties, with twinkling eyes, full of big dreams.

Linda 

She ordered a plain hamburger, no bun, no cheese, with a pickle on the side. I glanced at the greasy chicken strips and fries, steaming in front of me, and felt instantly self-conscious. She smiled at me politely, but her arms, at her sides, were rigid, telling. Her watery blue eyes were judging when they scanned over my lip ring and tattooed skin. The mint-colored cashmere sweater hung on her tiny, strong body like a throw-lazily flung over the side of a worn chair. Expensive, but without much thought. Her dry hands shook slightly, and I instantly softened. She was nervous. She was more scared of me than I was of her. I knew then that she was fiercely devoted to her son, and didn’t want to let him go to just anyone. I would have to prove I wasn’t just anyone. 

I look back on that first meeting with my ex’s mom with fondness…and regret, because that tiny woman, sitting so resolutely, in a sticky vinyl booth, in Chili’s, would be a woman I’d love intensely and detest vehemently, I just didn’t know it yet. At that time, I merely regarded her as a necessary evil. Someone I’d have to be polite to at holiday gatherings and during awkward phone conversations.

She stayed up far past her bedtime to greet us. Her hair was matted to one side of her head, but her eyes were awake, alert. She had a skip in her step as she brought plate and bowl after plate and bowl of delicious dips, cookies, chips, and huge, plump grapes, and meats and cheeses to the table. She wanted to know everything. How was our trip over? How was school going? Along with the many questions asked and answered, were the ones unspoken: Who are you? Are you the right one for my only child?  

In no time at all, visiting Elko and her, grew to be my most cherished moments. Over time, we grew to be friends, comrades, having one very important thing in common: loving the same man. The way she treated me, you would think I were the Queen of England. She regarded me as her only child’s true love and she saw me as beautiful, strong, intelligent, someone with so much potential. Her faith in me is the one driving force that contributed to my present success. Had she not been there, rooting for me, I don’t know where I’d be.

Tears filled my eyes as I drove the dusty highway further and further from my family, my friends, my life. As the miles grew longer from all that I had left, the only thing that kept my foot on the gas was her. Her warm, comfortable, shabby love. It would be okay when I saw her. 

Sure enough, she was there, bouncing out to greet us, arms open, eyes smiling. Her boy was home. Her favorite girl was with him. It was the happiest of days. Only briefly did she question her decision to welcome her son and his girlfriend into her home. Of course, that was when her son hauled a refrigerator-sized box filled with shoes into her humble abode. 

The almost four years that I lived in Elko were some of the most life-altering, ugly, inspiring, beautiful, and memorable years I’ll ever have. Some days I wanted to drive off, in my beat-up Saturn, back home. Some days, ‘home’ was where she made fried chicken and biscuits, and always had a bowl of fresh fruit waiting.

Every first day, every accomplishment, and many times “just because”, she had flowers waiting. Cards praising my hard work, with gift cards for dinner or new clothes were a common show of love and pride. She kept me going. She was my biggest fan, always cheering me on. Always.

We laughed. We had engaging debates long into the night. We enjoyed discussing her son, my hopes and dreams, and the future. But…we also didn’t care much for each other some days. I think she had no clue what to do with a girly-girl, and I didn’t know how to relate to someone who wore tennis shoes with a skirt. We were polar opposites in so many ways.

Many of the days I endured living in her home were spent positively hating her. She wouldn’t buy a swamp cooler, so I was hot all summer. She was cheap, so I spent the winters freezing, wearing a ski mask inside, so my nose wouldn’t snap right off. She didn’t understand why it was necessary to take 20 minute showers or why I had so many clothes to wash. She didn’t use her dishwasher, so my hands got pruney. She was a pain in the ass. I was a pain in the ass. I was the biggest ass. I hang my head in shame over my ungratefulness, still.

Only when I thought I would lose her, did I realize the error of my ways. There are not enough days left in her life, nor mine to pay her back. To thank her. To have her.

When I drove that dusty highway away from Elko, this time, tears streamed down my face. I was leaving home. I never said ‘goodbye’ to her, too scared that she took his side, that she would reject me. I was also embarrassed, terrified I would cry, or look weak in front of her. So, I just left.

Relationship heartbreak is one thing, but nothing prepares you for the loss of family you grew to love. Nothing.

About a month after leaving Elko, a 7 year relationship, and my second mother, I received a package in the mail from her. It answered all of the questions I still had. Did she remember me? Did she still love me? Had I lost her too? 

 

No. She was still there. She still loved me. I left, but she never did.

We never spoke of what happened, only of the future. Whenever I was at my wits end, frustrated with the teaching job search, she was there to vent to. Her belief in me was unwavering. She didn’t think I would succeed, she knew. She knows.

Anyone who has ever loved a significant other, knows it comes and it goes. Stronger and more meaningful are the relationships you build, unknowingly, while you think nothing is more sacred than the love you feel for your partner. Who is there forever are the people who loved you, quietly, in the background.

Two years after leaving Elko, we finally met while she was on a school trip in Reno.

Her thin gray curls shone like a beacon in the sun. I knew it was her. The familiar gait, the pantyhose and tennis shoes, the open smile, the light in her eyes. 

She was there. She will always be there. So will I, repaying her with my love. How else can I show her how much she means to me?

My two most favorite people in the world

Love Thyself 

Today I went to hot yoga for the first time in months. I went to yoga all summer, but it was the “lay down” kind (yin yoga), so that basically doesn’t count. You can’t call an hour long stretch a workout. I mean, you could, but you would be a big, fat liar. So, after a summer of going to yoga, I finally went back to yoga. Actual effort yoga. 

All day I was dreading the inevitable. The feeling weak. The sweating from my elbows, even. The wanting to pass out and die. It took every ounce of my being to change into my yoga clothes and steer my car in the direction of the studio. 

I easily could have bailed on my friend and my commitment. I could have told her I had diarrhea. I could have told her I was painfully bloated. I could have told her I threw out my back reaching for the secret Oreos on the top shelf. The excuses are endless when you’re a chub and you aren’t exercise’s biggest fan. Too many excuses, and so little motivation is what usually ails me. 

What was different about today? I wish I knew. I wish there was some secret formula to finding motivation where all can be found are donut crumbs and regret. 

The scary thing is, next time I could, possibly, choose the lame excuse route. I could choose to have an IDGAF attitude and drown my fat regrets in the grease of my Juicy’s cheeseburger. But, maybe I won’t. Maybe I won’t. 

What I’ve learned since starting this yoga journey, the one thing that’s really got to me, is…self love. No, not that kind, ya nasty freak. Like, love for yourself, your weaknesses, your strengths, your failures, and your successes. 

At the end of the session tonight, the instructor told us to give ourselves a big hug-knees to chest. She said to really bring it in. As I struggled to breathe, as I slowly suffocated myself in my stomach, I realized something. I realized that I need to love myself. I need to celebrate my successes. I need to honor my commitments. I need to forgive myself when I fail. I need to let go and just live. 

Sure, I’ll likely bail on a yoga session some time in the (very) near future, but other times I won’t. That’s the point. I’m not perfect. No one is. There will be days I’ll make it to yoga and sweat my ass off in all my Namaste glory. Other days I might pop a button off my work pants in the middle of guided reading, and then go home and drink an entire bottle of wine. It’s a crapshoot. 

The point? There will be days I feel strong and able. There will be days I feel like shit. No matter what, I need to love myself. No more excuses. 

Love/Hate 

lovehatechallenge

I was nominated by the lovely, Carrots In My Carryon to participate in the Love-Hate Challenge. I am pretty freaking stoked to do this, because there are so many things I hate. Yup. Hate. This doesn’t make me a horrible person, it makes me particular and tasteful, just in case anyone was wondering. Also, hate is just a word to describe a particularly strong emotion. If anyone feels things too strongly, it’s this gal.

Don’t forget: I will be listing 10 things I love as well, so calm down.

I guess I’m supposed to list the rules before I begin my assault at all horrible things.

1. List 10 things you love

2. List 10 things you hate

3. Nominate others to do the same thing

Yay.

I will be starting with the things I hate, so I can end with sunshine and rainbows.

So, here we go…

1. I freaking hate, HATE repetitive throat clearing. It grates on my nerves and tests my patience. It also makes me wonder if the throat-clearer is doing it on purpose distinctly to annoy others. Why else would one need to clear their throat 80 times in 10 minutes?

2. I hate when a stranger burps in close proximity to me. On the airplane the other day, a dude sitting next to me belched and didn’t cover his mouth. I almost went ape shit all over him. I DO NOT want air, laced with your stomach contents, entering my nostrils, or any opening on my body. Cover it up or swallow your nasty face fart. Please and thank you.

3. I hate, detest being hot. It makes me sweaty. It makes me cranky. It makes me feel like poop. If I could walk around with a fan, constantly blowing cold air on me, I freaking would. I don’t even care how insane it would look. Quite unfairly, I always run hot. When most people are bundling up in their cardigans inside a movie theater, I am suffering from boob, and every other kind of crevice sweat you can imagine. I don’t even want to think about how monstrous I will behave when going through the “change” *shudders*.

4. I hate Walmart. I mean, who doesn’t, but I would win, hands down, for haterest of the haters. I am very proud to say, I have not been in a Walmart for a year. I could say it’s been a lot longer, if it weren’t for a certain friend who convinced me I’d find what I was looking for if I just broke down and went. She was right, but I hated every snotty-nosed-child-screaming-adult-pant-shitter-inept-employee-picking-their-ass second of it. It’s just a more peaceful world when Katie doesn’t have to frequent that hellhole, mmkay?

5. I hate people who pretend like they’re listening, but they’re mentally making their grocery list instead. Don’t ask me about my weekend, or upcoming plans if you have no intentions on really listening. If you don’t really care, that’s cool. I don’t really care for small talk either, if we are being honest. Let’s not waste each other’s time. Just don’t ask, if you aren’t really good at feigning interest. Some people can tell. Alright?

6. I hate the smell of latex. I’m gagging right now, as I type. Eckgrr…I hate that I have to choose between latex stanky hands and prune fingers when doing the dishes. Both are curses from the devil. Life really is unfair.

7. I hate polish sausage. Growing up with a Polish (oh, excuse me, Lithuanian) father, meant polish sausage at least once a week. I.cannot.stand.that.ish. Cannot. It’s made with fried potatoes and onions, which are otherwise quite tasty, but when cooked with the sausage, they taste like feet with a side of bad breath. I started hating polish sausage when after asking my dad what we were having for dinner once, he said, “Pig snouts”. I had JUST seen pig snouts at the grocery store and I thought he was serious. I had nightmares consisting of snout-less pigs dancing on potatoes that night and that was it for polish sausage and me.

8. I hate doing laundry. It’s the most depressing, endless chore, hands down. You can spend an almost entire day, one of your precious days off from work, doing mountains of laundry. Once the last sock has found its mate and the last wrinkled shirt is hung, you feel satisfaction for precisely 30 seconds. You then realize that you will be needing to do this arduous bullshit again in just a week’s time. Deflated is putting it mildly. Then, your boyfriend finds a pile of clothes hiding under the bed, and you wonder why you even try to be an adult. It’s too much work.

9. I hate autocorrect. With a fucking passion. 9 times out of 10 it’s so far from being right, it’d be laughable, if it weren’t for the fact I’ve been trying to type “irreversible” for 10 ducking minutes, to no avail. Smartphone, my ass! Shut!

10. I hate people who smoke right outside stores or places where other people need to walk. I make it a choice to not smoke and fill my body with toxins. When asshole in the Nascar jacket feels the need to smoke right next to the entrance to 7-11, I want to fart directly in his mouth and see how he likes it. I bet it wouldn’t be so enjoyable.

Now for the freakin sunshine and rainbows.

1. I love being pampered. I’m all about massages, pedicures, manicures and scalp treatments. If I could afford to get a massage and a pedicure every week, it would so be happening! If I could hire someone to give me a head massage every night, well, better start applying!

2. I love talking to myself. I don’t answer myself, so it’s OK. I’m not that loony. If I’m particularly stressed, I talk it out. It’s no biggie. Except when you get caught…years ago when I was living in BFE, I was driving home after a pretty craptastic day. I was going at it, in the car, calling out all the stupid people and things I had to put up with that day. I thought it had been a pretty successful chat. I got home, parked, and resumed my afternoon without thinking about my little tirade in the car again. Later that evening, a friend posted on my Facebook that she saw me driving home and, “You must have been listening to a really great song, you were singing and dancing like there was no tomorrow”. I bet that was a fucking sight. Now, I reserve any talking it out for home, when no one is home.

3. I love freaking sprinkles! LOVE THEM. Most normal people think they are disgusting and taste like chalk. I think they are the prettiest, tastiest, most lovely little morsels ever created. To me, the most beautiful sight to behold is a cupcake with light-as-air buttercream frosting bespeckled with rainbow sprinkles. Pure perfection.

4. I love being at home. I am an introvert at heart, so where I am happiest is in my fat pants, on my couch, with my Netflix. I love going out for lunch with friends, going shopping, lounging at the lake, but those things are really only fun because I know that after them, I get to go home and take my bra off.

5. I love getting new, feel-all-the-feels music and getting in my car and driving. For some reason, new music sounds best in the car. I turn it loud, roll the windows down, and let it go.

6. I love talking to my mom. She listens, like really listens. So many people, and i am guilty of it too, don’t listen to listen, but to respond. Most people don’t really listen, because they are waiting for their turn to speak, or they are thinking up what they want to say next. My mom is a rarity, in that she listens with not just her ears, but also her eyes and heart.

7. I love the shit out of watermelon. I can easily eat half a small watermelon in one sitting. They are sweet and so satisfying. I also don’t feel too guilty about horking out on an entire watermelon, because they are like 90% water. Right??

8. I love carbs. If I could subsist on bagels, pasta, cupcakes, belgian waffles, sticky rice, and fries, I totally would. I know I could survive on these tasty-as-shit carb bombs, so I guess I meant to say, if I could eat these things and not get more fat, I would be the happiest girl in the world.

9. I love clouds. Like, I am obsessed with them. I take pictures of clouds, on the daily, add filters, and the hashtag “cloudporn” like that annoying person we all try to ‘unfriend’ on Faceboob. I am sure no one looks at my cloud pictures like they are works of art. They are pictures of clouds with an unnatural tint to them, thanks to Instagram. They are nothing special to anyone else but me. I love them. They are my babies.

10. I love teaching, because kids are funny little things. They don’t mean to be funny, and that is precisely what makes them so damn funny. One of my favorite quotes from my students was from a 3rd grader I had last year. She loved to write and tried to use phrases she didn’t yet understand how to use properly. it was incredibly endearing. She was writing about something unbelievable that happened to her over the weekend and said, “Teacher, it was so crasy, it blew my mind off”. That is pretty crazy! There is truly a never dull day in the life of a teacher.

There you have it, folks, my top 10 loves and hates. Now, I nominate Cat in the Cactus because her and Carrots In My Carryon are my faves!