Lately…

Well hello dear friends!

I haven’t written a blog post in ages… I miss you.

I’ve been busy trying to keep my job. I have a temporary position and have been offered a full-time position teaching 6th grade Language Arts and Creative Writing next year. But I recently found out that they offered it to me prematurely and I now have to jump through the proper HR hoops to ensure that I have a job next year.

The unknown has got me a bit stressed out. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the blog is always going to suffer near the end of the school year simply because I’m just too busy to frolic around.

Plus, the weather around here has been awful. I’m pretty sure I went two weeks without seeing the sun. It actually even snowed on Mother’s Day.

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When the sun did decide to make an appearance while I wasn’t working the last thing I wanted to do was sit down inside and write a blog post. Sorry but it’s true. Instead, during those short snippets of time when the sun would peak out through the clouds I felt compelled to hunt for puddles with Penelope…

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Then slowly but surely the clouds would roll back around and we would be stuck inside again. And that made me want nothing more than to cuddle up with a blanket with a hot cup of earl grey and get lost in a book.

My current obsession is Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, which takes place in the Highlands of Scotland.

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You would think that I would have chosen to escape to a place where it never rained but reading it with the rain pelting the window made it all that much better.  Besides, it’s not too shabby when you have this guy to keep you company…

Jamie

You know, when you aren’t too busy looking admiringly at your husband as he obsesses over Cardinals baseball 🙂

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Apparently, this is a TV show on Starz but I haven’t been able to watch it. Good thing too or I definitely would not find myself in a rehireable position.

However, when the sun did come out I took full advantage and planted seeds for the garden before the rain came pelting down again.

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Penelope is quite the garden helper these days…

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In addition to mammoth sunflowers and wildflowers, I’ve planted pumpkins and two types of kale. My rainbow carrots from last year took it upon themselves to reseed and take over the garden. While the potatoes I never picked last year have popped up ready for a second chance. Brent also weed whacked my raspberry bush last year (no that’s not a euphemism) and it has come back thriving along with my strawberry patch and herbs. It appears that my years as a failed gardener are paying off!

The other day I found a lot of little green bugs in my strawberries and took photos to show the professionals at the nursery. It turns out that they are aphids, the lady bugs meal of choice. He gave me two choices 1.) Spray the shit out of the strawberries to try to knock them down. 2.) Buy lady bugs and release them in the wild so that they can consume the vagrants.

We chose option number 2 simply because lady bugs are cute…

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This was clearly the best choice. Penelope has observed several of them giving each other “piggy back rides” hopefully that means that they’ll multiply and be around to take care of the spider mites that usually attack my tomatoes.

All of these garden preparations have made me so ready for warm weather and summer fun! I can’t wait for the freedom that it will allow me. I need to get back in touch with myself and reconnect with the balance of health and work.

I Wanna Live In My Bathing Suit… Half Wedgie And All

Hi friends!

Sorry I haven’t written in a while… I just didn’t feel like it. Well, that isn’t true. I felt like writing, I just didn’t feel like writing about weight loss and the insecurities of a grown woman who struggles on a daily basis to keep her shit together.

Somewhere in between Saturday and Monday I lost the motivation… to do anything. I blame it on the rainy weather we had. Basically, I was just feeling a little burned out.  On Sunday, which would have been my selected blog posting day, I opted to watch Mary Poppins and drink red wine with my friend while she watched me do my laundry and potty train my child. That’s a good friend, you know 🙂 I did all of this for the sake of doing things the happy way.

I thought by the time Monday rolled around my motivation would return.

It didn’t.

I did what I had to do but I wasn’t really feeling it. It wasn’t until I saw the sun peek around the clouds that I pepped up again. On one particularly beautiful run I stumbled upon a gaggle of girls giggling and doing an impromptu dance in the middle of the park. So like any other creeper I took a picture because I secretly wanted to join them.

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(You always have to appreciate impromptu dancing when you see it.)

I didn’t really feel like running on that particular day, but the weather called for it so I felt obligated. But by Tuesday Stella Nina got her groove back one step at a time. It started with the running and then it escalated with sucking down my new favorite water concoction (frozen strawberries and half a lemon) and got even better when I started chowing down on this awesome  Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad.

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I’ve seriously eaten this four times in the past week. I also ate a handful of chocolate chips every night because… well, I needed wanted that too.

When I wasn’t busy fulfilling my familial obligations and job deadlines I was busy sniffing the lilac bushes and pining for the day that it would be appropriate for me to wear my bathing suit all day long and finish the book I’ve been writing.

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It’s a little juvenile fiction I’ve been working on for a while. It’s very Gidget meets Judy Blume.  It’s about a girl named Micah navigating her way through the summer between 6th grade and 7th grade.

Here is a little sampler-  (FYI Wichita Falls peeps, the pool scene takes place at Sea Blue.)

…I hurried and squeezed into my one-piece bathing suit because I couldn’t stand to see myself naked anymore. It was tight. I was definitely going to need to get a new one. It dug into my shoulders and gave me a perpetual wedgie. But I was dying to go swimming so I pulled on some shorts, grabbed a towel and headed out the door.

As soon as I stepped out of my air conditioned house I started to sweat. I had forgotten to put on deodorant that morning and instantly regretted it. I decided to go ahead and ride my bike because it was too late not to look like a dork in front of the kids in the neighborhood. I had two huge bandages on my elbows now and there was no turning back. Hey, at least I have high school to not be the ugly duckling anymore. I’ll just make my transformation then.

As I rode down the street the sounds of kids screaming, whistles blowing and music playing got louder. When I finally turned the corner I saw the pool overflowing with people. I started to get nervous about my bathing suit. I’d just have to stay in the water as much as possible to keep people from seeing me pick my constant wedgie. After riding my bike my bathing suit had now earned its way to thong status and I was glad that I was wearing shorts.

I walked up to the gated entrance and showed my card to the lifeguard sitting at the gate. There were a lot of kids there my age and I instantly felt self-conscious. I wanted to draw as little attention to myself as possible, so I chose to lay my towel down by the baby pool.

I quickly pulled my swimsuit out of my butt and took off my shorts. I was headed toward the big pool when I heard someone shout my name.

I looked and saw that girl, Megan, who had bandaged my arm earlier waving me over. She was sitting with two other girls who were wearing bikinis. They were sunbathing on their towels and were slathered with suntan oil.

“Come lay over here!” she yelled across the screaming toddlers bobbing around in the baby pool.

Great, I thought, just what I needed, to lie on my dirty towel next to girls who looked like they belonged in Cosmo Girl.

“Okay,” I said trying to smile but it turned out to be more of a grimace. I was pretty sure I looked more constipated than confident.

As I walked up the other two girls were looking at me a lot like Marissa Pete would look at me, like I was disgusting. I put my towel down next to Megan and sat down, which was a big mistake because I could feel my bathing suit shift in a half-wedge, revealing my right butt cheek. Luckily, I was sitting on it.

“Micah, this is my friend Ava,” she said pointing to a tan redhead wearing a pink bikini that tied at the sides. I didn’t even know you could be tan and redheaded at the same time.

“And this is Trish”, she said pointing to the other girl who had long light brown hair and wore lots of eye makeup. She gave a half smile and then turned toward Ava to show her a text message that she had received.

“So, how do your elbows feel?” Megan asked as she lounged gracefully on her towel.

“Oh, they’re fine,” I said, not wanting to talk about it.

“My mom got so mad at Keaton when she got back from the store and found out he nearly killed you. She’s decided to make your family dinner sometime as a welcome to the neighborhood type of thing. She said she’d like to meet your mom.”

“Oh,” I said, not wanting to mention the fact that I didn’t really have one.

“Hey Megan look at this?” Trish said as she handed Megan her cell phone.

Megan scrunched up her nose like she smelled something bad as she read the message. For a minute I thought it might be me, so I took a stealthy whiff of my armpit as I rested my arms on my knees.

“He wants to know if I’ll be in town on the fourth to watch the fireworks from the soccer field!”  Trish squeeled.

“You know what that means!” Ava screamed as she wrapped her arm around Trish’s head covering her mouth with her hand and pretending to make out with it.

“Seriously Trish, if you kiss my brother I’m going to puke.”

I felt my heart skip a beat.

“But he’s so hot!” Ava and Trish said in unison.

 Since I was a girl of few words who was sitting on an exposed butt cheek, I spent the next few minutes listening to Megan and her friends talk about their Fourth of July plans. It sounded like they were going to go to the carnival by the high school football stadium and then they were going to watch the fireworks on the soccer field. Apparently, the soccer field was the “make out spot” for middle school. That was, if you hung out there at night. The other two girls acted like they were professionals at kissing by the way they were talking about it.

It sucked sitting there listening to them. I wondered if I would be invited to come along. I was also a little nervous that they would ask me to come along. I didn’t know anything about kissing and I wasn’t so sure how I felt about it. Soon the conversation switched to face wash and lip gloss. It was at that point that I had had enough of the girl talk. It was scorching hot and I could feel the sweat drip down my back. I would have been in the pool first thing if I wasn’t sitting on a problem. I kept wondering how I could stand up without mooning the little kids behind me?

While the girls talked I nonchalantly tried to scoot my butt on my towel thinking the friction would shift my bathing suit back over where it belonged, but it had the opposite effect. Instead, I felt the left side slowly shifted over, exposing both cheeks. Ava looked over at me and I stopped, realizing I probably looked like a dog scratching his butt on the carpet.

Finally, I was so hot and sweaty and tired of listening to girls talk about girl stuff that I decided that I would rather show my butt to the world than to have to sit there for one more second. I stood up abruptly, and was aware that they all had stopped talking and were looking at me. Ignoring them I picked my wedgie, walked over to the edge of the pool and dove in.

I spent the next hour staying underwater for as long as I could. It made me think of all of the times I played Mermaid with my old best friend back when it was cool to act like a kid. I had stayed down there for so long that when my head popped through the water the lifeguard was staring at me. Maybe he thought I was drowning.

When I rubbed the water out of my eyes he smiled at me and said, “Hey that’s pretty good. How long do you think you can stay under?”

“I don’t know I’ve never counted.”

“Well, try to do it again and I’ll time you.”

“Okay,” I said, not really caring if he timed me or not.

So I went under again and let my hair swirl around my head listening to the muffled sounds of people talking over head and the gurgles of the bubbles as they slipped from my nostrils. Finally, when I came up I realized I had a small audience watching to see how long I had stayed under.

“She did it boys,” he said as he grinned down at me. “She broke the record.”

Some of the boys moaned and some of them cheered, but the only boy I was looking at was looking right back at me with sea green eyes and a slight smile on his face.

“You broke my record.”

“Sorry, I didn’t know it was a contest.”

“No it’s cool. I’ll just have to beat your record,” he said showing off his crooked grin with a smug look on his face.

“Yeah? And what makes you think you could do that?” I asked. Not knowing why I was running my mouth.

“Because you’re a girl and I can’t just sit here and let a girl beat me.”

“Aw yeah! That’s what I’m talking about buddy,” Josh said as he bumped his fat fist against Luke’s.

That did it. I just glared at him. Yeah, Luke was cute and he made my heart flutter but he was really getting on my nerves.

“Let’s do it now.” I said, feeling the determination to beat him bubbling over. I looked over at the life guard and asked, “Can you time us?”

“Sure,” he said with a smile, “Good luck buddy, she’s good.”

Luke jumped in the water and then splashed me in the face. On the count of three we both went under to see who could hold their breath the longest. Staying underwater with him there with me wasn’t as comfortable as it was before when I was by myself. I was having a hard time breathing above water when he was around, so holding my breath underwater felt almost impossible.

I opened my eyes underwater feeling the burn of the chlorine as it clouded my vision. I wanted to see if he was still there. He was and I was surprised to see that he was staring at me through the water. I didn’t know how much longer I could stay under but I couldn’t let him win. He was starting to wiggle when finally he broke the water and I came up right after him.

“Oh, she beat you!” I could hear the other boys say.

Without looking at me Luke hoisted himself up over the edge of the pool.

A kid wearing goggles that pushed his nose up to look like a pig snout pointed his finger in Luke’s face. “Ha! Ha! You got beat by a girl!”

“Shut up Keaton,” Luke said as he shoved his little brother into the water. Then he looked down at me and smirked.

“I think you lost something,” he said pointing to the water.

I looked down to see one of my bloody bandages floating in front of me.

“Oh sick! It’s probably her pad!” laughed Josh.

I grabbed it as fast as I could and started to swim to the shallow end before my face turned red. I tried not to look up at them but I couldn’t help it and I looked up just in time to see Luke turn his head and wink at me.

“We’ll see you tomorrow Micah,” he grinned, “same time, same place.” And then he strutted off with his friends while I watched him walk away.