Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ginger Me This

I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write lately, as it seems not much has happened that has warranted expression in the form of writing. Talking? Yes. Writing? No. You see, I don’t tend to write about things mundane. It has to be something that strikes my emotions or thoughts or interrupts my life enough that I have to express what I’m thinking, feeling, or experiencing. This is one of those topics. Not because it’s of great intellectual value; not because it’s enlightened my soul in some way. It’s just simply something that I have an interaction with on a daily basis, and for some reason, today, it’s been on my mind more than normal. Is the suspense killing you yet? Well, sorry to disappoint, but my topic today is red hair, fair skin, and freckles. All the things that make me a ginger.

Mind you, growing up I was picked on as the redheaded, freckle-faced, awkward little girl, but the teasing terms didn’t truly bother me. For example, when someone called me a “carrot top,” my instant reaction (hands firmly placed on hips, of course) was one of, “Is this person stupid? The top of a carrot is green. If they’re referring to the rest of the carrot, it’s orange, and my hair is definitely NOT orange. Idiot.” (It’s amazing how much my personality was evident even in elementary school!)

My mom always called my freckles “angel kisses,” so as an innocent little girl, I assumed they were. It wasn’t until I went to my first dermatologist when I was about 10-11 that I began to have a hatred for these “angel kisses.” I had the misfortune of going to a dermatologist that apparently lacked the ability to interact with people. At all. She began berating me and my mom for the amount of skin damage I had already received. “Why didn’t you make her wear more sunscreen? Why did you let her play outside so much? I’ve seen girls die at age 16 from skin cancer!” And on and on she went. I was stunned, scared, and hurt. I had never thought of my freckles as “damage,” and I couldn’t understand why my mom had not been more truthful. I left the office and instantly went to the bathroom to cry. Uncontrollably. The only thoughts in my head were how close I was to 16, and I assumed based on what she said that 16 would also be my death. My poor mom was left to console me as best she could. I now understand that my mom was only trying to protect me from reality. She did try to keep sunscreen on me, but you probably know by now that I can be a wee bit stubborn and don’t like being told what to do. I repeatedly tried laying out in hopes that I would one day get a tan, despite her constant reminders that it would never happen. I was then left with numerous, painful sunburns. I can't tell you how many it took before it finally sunk it that it would, in fact, never happen. She knew I probably shouldn’t play in the sun so much, but how do you keep a cheery, chubby faced little girl inside when she just wants to run outside in the sunshine, play in the sprinkler, jump on the trampoline, and ride her horse? I realize now, I would have done the exact same thing. Let the girl play. After that eye-opening experience, I began wearing SPF 30 on my face every single day and I slather it up every time I’m going to be outside. It was and still can be a nuisance, but I now realize that hopefully it will be worth it. One, when I DON’T get skin cancer. And two, when all those tanned chicks look like leather, I’ll still have beautiful skin at age 50. Fingers crossed!

Later in life, I randomly came across an article written about “gingerism.” Yes, it’s supposedly a legitimate form of discrimination primarily in Britain. It’s considered a huge insult to refer to someone as a “ginger.” (I personally L-O-V-E the term and would L-O-V-E it if more people called me that. I see it as a term of endearment and, more than likely, sheer jealousy. But, then again, I’ve never suffered some form of discrimination. It’s even the name of my imaginary shoe boutique that I hope to open when I come into obscene amounts of money. Apologies for the aside.) People were quoted discussing all the ways their jobs and lives had been negatively affected by “gingerism.” They even went so far as to liken it to racism. I couldn’t help but laugh. Seriously? I wanted to jump on a plane to Britain, just to see how I was received. Would there be torch-wielding villagers waiting at Gate 7? Would rotten apples and spit be flung upon my perfectly coordinated, stylish, yet still comfortable, flight ensemble? Needless to say, I opted not to test my theory at that time. I’ll report back when I do.

Through the magic of Facebook, I was reminded of the infamous Ginger Kids episode of South Park today. Twice. It was a sign. I finally came around to watching the Ginger Kids episode a while back and just re-watched it today. Again, hilarious in my book, even if some did not find it so. Apparently, after the show’s airing, an informal National Kick a Ginger Day was formed in Canada and students were kicked numerous times at school and were sent home covered in bruises. Wow. As if redheaded kids don’t suffer enough! Back to the episode. I, folks, suffer from what could be considered a severe case of gingervitis. I do, however, have a soul. I think. (muahaha) Sometimes I wish I was a Daywalker (those redheads Cartman says do not have the fair skin and freckles and are therefore not harmed by the sun). So, in the summer, I do have that wish when everywhere I look there’s another bronze body. And I hate. Repeat, hate. Sunscreen. Those of you that slap on a mere SPF 15 or less and then immediately jump in the pool just. don’t. get. it. Never can. But once the miserable heat of summer is gone and fall and winter are sliding in, I once again embrace my fair skin and freckles. There’s something about the contrast between my hair and skin that I’ve grown to love. At times, it can be quite striking. And striking is not normally an adjective I would use to describe myself. So, if on the rarest of occasions, I can achieve even a glimmer of that, then it’s worth it.

Speaking of fall and winter, I’ve found a shade of red I want to try out for this year. I used to be opposed to coloring my hair, as I thought it would be sacrilegious and a slap in God’s face to tamper with the colors he so expertly blended on this head of mine. But, I then realized, he wouldn’t have also given me the fair skin and freckles that can pull off multiple shades of red, nor would he have allowed scientists the ability to manufacture said color. So, there goes that moral quandary.

I consider it a blessing to be a ginger. It’s one of the things that make me unique, so for that, I’m thankful. I can only hope that I have a little ginger kid of my own one day on whom to impart all of my hard-earned appreciation and love of the rarity that is being a redhead.

Some good redhead quotes:

“Connect the dots. Redhead with freckles included. Two players required.” :)

“Blondes are noticed. Redheads are remembered.”

“A face without freckles is like a night without stars.”

“It takes balls, passion, and intelligence to love a redhead.” (I obviously have yet to find a guy who possesses all 3 of those qualities.)

“Wow, the angels must have loved her the most!” (In reference to my freckles coming from angel kisses.) -Addie Sykora, age 4

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead." -Lucille Ball

“You’d never change your hair. It’s half your personality!” -Will to Grace

Friday, May 29, 2009

If you know my mom...

...then you know that I really need no explanation. In most ways, I am truly a carbon copy of the crazy lady. Things I got from Mom: 

my red hair
my inability to say "no"
my tendency to take on too much responsibility because I know only I can do things the exact way I have pictured in my mind
my flights of fancy
my sarcastic sense of humor and quirky personality
my love of being the center of attention
my love of quiet solitude
my passion for reading, but only if it's good, intelligent writing
my obsession with proper grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling
my refusal to tolerate ignorance
 my love of cooking (and drinking)
my overuse of ... but nothing else more perfectly represents my shifts between my random thoughts!
 my great taste in all things
my love of great music...mostly nothing after 1980
And the list goes on and on...

But today she and I entered into a thread of emails that had me laughing hysterically at my computer while my kiddos worked on a semester exam review. I couldn't stop laughing because it was one more thing that proved how much I'm like her! If the threads weren't labeled, you could truly not be able to tell which one of us is saying what.

Mom: They just had a spot on "Today" about Prince Harry playing polo. As part of the spot they had a famous polo player (who also happens to be the Polo model) and "oh, my..." Forget baseball players! His name is Nacho Piedras (sp?) and all that can be said is "oh, my..." :)
Misc. Redhead: Haha...Nacho...I guess you could look past the name if he's that cute! :)
Mom: Oh, trust me - you could look past a lot of things...except, maybe, that wedding ring on his left hand. Then again... :)
Misc. Redhead: Shame on you!! ;)
Mom: I know you can't do YouTube at school but when you get home check out Nacho Figueras. He's got a couple YouTube spots and then you might be planning a trip to Argentina! Oh, my... :) I googled (and ogled :) ) him to send you a picture and the YouTube spots were the "best" - as if there could be a worst. :) !

How hip is she? She is adept at YouTube, and she uses "google" as a verb. I love her.

Now that I've piqued your interest, here's a little taste of heaven. You probably don't remember when I dyed my hair dark for the shoot because I quickly went back to red. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How old am I again?

This is a night full of contradictory components that make it hard to determine if I'm really almost 4 months shy of 30 or only 8 years old. I'm sitting in my big, comfy chair with pigtails, drinking a beer, painting my toenails, eating sour punch straws, and watching The Reader. If you haven't seen it, it's got some pretty intense sensuality...but it's with a teenage boy! I'm a little, ok quite a bit, disturbed. Just now getting to the post-statutory rape scenes. I think...
So Ralph Fiennes was in The Reader. Just started Taken with Liam Neeson. Two of my fave actors and some dang good eye (and ear) candy! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

I love that song...ok, I just love Billy Joel period. Today my parents and I took my grandma and great aunt out to lunch at the good ol' Olive Garden in celebration of AE's 91st birthday yesterday. Today was an all-around good day...everyone was one thought anyone was stealing, plotting, or trafficking drugs. Little victories in my family that get us through. Thankfully, there was really, really good background music today that kept making me smile. I swear I was born in the wrong decade/generation.

Scene #1

(middle of a conversation with Mom about a tv show - keep in mind I am classic ADD and can't usually stay focused on one topic in a normal conversation, much less one involving these two)

Misc. Redhead: You haven't watched it yet?

Mom: No, I just haven't gotten around to it this week.

Grandma: What was the name of the lady who bought Lydia's house?

Mom: What?

Grandma: You know...the one who had that fat little dog.

Misc Redhead: Oh yeah...Speedy. Her name was Jean something.

Mom (looking back to me): Okay, go ahead.

Misc. Redhead: What were we talking about again?

Mom: House.

Misc. Redhead: Oh yeah. I don't know what I was even saying about it. Wait. I know. "Clang clang clang went the trolley" is stuck in my head. I think that's all I was going to say.

Grandma (looking at me): I bought that mirror you have from her.

Misc. Redhead: Who?

Grandma: That lady who bought Lydia's house.

(and on and on it goes)

Frank: Tell you that you're marvelous, tell you that you're marvelous, too marvelous for words...

Scene #2

(The hostess and a manager are setting up a table for 6 - the hostess originally sets up 2 on each side and 2 on the ends. The manager moves the chairs so there are 3 on each side.)

Manager: It's always better to arrange them like this because it encourages face-to-face conversation for the guests.

In come the, dad, and 5 kids. I'm sure they're eternally thankful for the thoughtful layout of the chairs for face-to-face conversation comprised of crayons and menu/coloring pages folded over the kids' heads while they converse about politics and the state of the economy.

Dino: When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, that's amore...

Scene #3

There's a cute elderly couple at the table next to us. They each have two glasses of wine with their lunch. He has red; she chooses a blush. I'd like that some day. Enjoying wine over Sunday lunch after church with the love of your life.

Mr. Buble: But remember this, every other kiss, that you'll ever give long as we both live...

Scene #4

Grandma: I think AE has a boyfriend.

AE: (just gives her a go-to-hell case you've ever wondered where I get my face expressions from)

Grandma (laughing): She roommate's boyfriend.

Mom: Oh really? You've been making at eyes at someone? (Mom's classic phrase when we tease AE about chasing men)

AE: (just gives a devilish grin and nods)

Dino: When we dance you have a way with me, stay with me, sway with me...

Scene #5

(Walking out of the restaurant - discussing the surprise get-together we're having for AE later today at the home)

Mom: If you could get there a little early and take care of getting AE ready, I'd really appreciate it.

Misc. Redhead: Of course...what time? What all do I need to do?

Mom: I hung two outfits on her closet door that she can choose from. If she chooses the dress, there are some thigh highs in the top drawer she needs to put on.

Misc. Redhead: Thigh highs? I didn't know it was going to be that kind of party! Wild Turkey too?

Mom: (didn't even notice my attempt at humor because she's in her planning zone) And I bought her some new lipstick, so help her with that too.

Misc. Redhead: So that's a no to the Wild Turkey?

(AE perks up at the mention of Wild Turkey...she has a "history" with the stuff that we tease her about relentlessly)

Frank: But why should I try to resist when, baby, I know so well, I´ve got you under my skin...

Scene #6

I run into my dad's long-time business acquaintance/friend. He's one of the kindest and cutest old men with the brightest sparkly blue eyes. When he sees me, he tells the hostess, "Excuse me while I go hug that pretty girl." How could your heart not melt? He's a former city manager for this (relatively) small town and started talking to me a while back about wanting me to ghost-write his memoirs. He has some really good dirt about all kinds of scandals, dirty deals, and underhanded dealings from back in his day. I hadn't heard from him in a while and had honestly forgotten about it.  

Mr. S: How ya been, girl? Hey, I don't want you to think I haven't been working on my stories. I have; I've just gotten busy and haven't 

called you recently.

Misc. Redhead: Oh, that's okay. Just start sending me stuff whenever you're ready. (thinking, holy crap I completely forgot about this...

is there a way to back out?)

Mr. S:  Well, I've been jotting down some of my stories and I've been using little tape recorders. Would that work for you? We can just keep 

swapping them back and forth when you're done with one, etc.

Misc. Redhead: (thinking...what the hell have I gotten myself into? - but of course I adore this man and could never tell him I have 

the chance to write a book! So against my sanity the words fall out of my mouth.) Whatever works easiest for you! Just give me a call!

Not really playing at the restaurant, but I thought this would be more fitting:

Ado Annie (from Oklahoma!): I'm just a girl who cain't say no...

Scene #7

Dad: Mom and I were going to go see The Soloist on Friday, but it wasn't out anymore. So, we went to the Slippery Minnow instead.

Those're my folks! 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cirque du Gouge my eyes out with a dull spoon

As the first number in the dance recital came to a close, I immediately whipped out a receipt and my trusty retractable Sharpie to begin taking notes...I could already tell I had some good material heading my way. And in the words of my mom, "You can't make up shit this good." Buckle in; it's going to be a long one.

Now before I fill you in on all the ridiculousness, I must first give you my qualifications for being such a harsh critic. Dancing was pretty much my life for about 20 years. During that time, I took ballet, tap, and jazz, and was usually (actually always), front and center. The stage was mine, and I loved it! For four years in high school, I was my dance teacher's assistant and pretty much ran those classes. Also, for two years in college, I was a full-fledged dance teacher with classes all my own. Oh yeah - and I have eyes. That last one is pretty much the only qualification needed to realize this show - the choreography, music choice, and all-around circus concept - was crap...absolute...utter crap.

The show started with the ballet (and I use that term very loosely) portion of the evening. Every single song was one of those French pieces used by Cirque du Soleil and the like. Those guys can get away with that annoying, uninspiring music because they are simply amazing at what they do. Not so with little girls who don't know their right from their left. That same monotonous cringing noise with pseudo-ballet went on for about 35-40 minutes. One of my dance studio pet peeves jumped out during this time. Would you try to teach differential equations to a 4-year-old? Hell, no. So, why in God's name do these small-town dance teachers think it's appropriate to teach 5-year-olds pirouettes and leaps? They can't and shouldn't do them yet, so don't put them in the damn dance! (Same goes for older girls. If they can't do the move, don't use it!)

We now enter the jazz set. I can pretty much sum this up with a verbatim quote from my receipt notes: "more freaking poms." Seriously. Poms have no place at a dance recital. Save them for the football field, people! But, I kid you not, over half the jazz numbers used poms. The song "A Little Less Conversation" has now been ruined for me for eternity. Then comes the performance to "Circus" by good ol' Britney. I'm thinking, "Okay, this one's got to have some's Britney freaking Spears after all!" Nope. Boring. I guarantee you, I could have gotten on stage in my 4-inch wedges and free-styled some better moves than what she had done. 

In between every single dance number, the "ringmaster" for the evening came out in a top hat and tails to introduce the next "act" of the show. He's a high school senior who I actually adore, and he was - hands down - the only truly entertaining part of the night (my weird enjoyment from watching the massacre of the art of dance doesn't count as real entertainment). At some point, there's also a "performance" by some high school students doing random crap like riding a tricycle, bouncing on a pogo stick, hula hooping, and blowing bubbles while roller-skating around the stage. I know - I couldn't have made it up if I tried.

Back to the "dancing." This one poor group of girls did a pom dance to "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliott. I bet Missy would DIE knowing they used poms for one of her hard-hitting tunes. That then transitioned into "Super Freak." Remember the awkward stripper-style number done by Olive at the end of Little Miss Sunshine? It was awesome compared to the choreography these poor girls had. I promise you - I'm not exaggerating. (I love that scene though!)

Then comes the number one of my students is in. I'm still trying to think of what to say to her come Monday morning. But anyways, it's to "Whip It" and they use those ribbon sticks. You know, like what they use for rhythmic gymnastics in the Olympics except instead of ribbons, it's plastic pom-like strips instead of actual ribbon. Needless to say, they're flying all over the place, not to the music, getting tangled together, etc. Just a train wreck that should never have made it past the "now what about this?" phase. One group performs to "Route 66" and at the beginning and end of the number, a weird person dressed as a cat drives a toy car across the stage. Don't ask me - I have no idea.

Then there's the "How Much Is That Doggy" number...the quintessential little girl's dance number seen in every dance recital across the nation. The girls were, of course, cute because they're the 3-4-year-old class, and they're wearing these pink poodle costumes made entirely of tulle. Literally. You don't see any leotard...the whole bodice is tulle. But the weird, weird, weird part is this grown man dressed as a dog juggling at the back of the stage the entire time. Again, I have no idea what was going through this lady's mind when she came up with this stuff. Even if it sounded good in her head, how did she not realize how ridiculous it was during rehearsal? Why didn't someone speak up??

Now, I already told you I was an assistant and dance teacher for a total of 6 years. I stood on the downstage right corner behind the curtain (out of sight) and dorkily danced the numbers in exaggerated fashion to help the little girls who forgot the next move, etc. But, oh no, not this lady! She shouted the moves the entire time. I was on the very back row of the auditorium and heard "shuffle ball change," "arms up," "move to your circle," etc. throughout the entire dance.

The biggest travesty of all came at the end, thankfully. If it had come at the beginning, I may not have lasted. I feel it best to just, once again, quote my receipt notes: "Ring of Fire, tap, red cowboy hats, fake red boots, red sequined vests. Johnny Cash would die if he weren't already dead." That pretty much sums it up.

Those are just the highlights, and I probably didn't even do the show justice. It is disgusting, sad, and somewhat criminal that all those parents truly believe their money has given their daughters a dance education. I have, however, semi-calculated what that woman makes per month. Ladies and gentleman...I am opening a dance studio! 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Because I'm worth it (said in Beyonce's attitude-filled voice)

I was in Target (shocking) the other day and ran into an old high school friend's mom. She didn't immediately click as to who I was and said, "Oh, I almost didn't recognize you! Your hair doesn't look as red."

What?!? Get me a box of Miss Clairol, er, how about an appointment with Jennifer instead, stat! I can't become the Miscellaneous Blah-head!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hey Big Spender...

I have this tendency to call my students my "kids." I'm not really sure why I say this. I guess it makes me feel like I have a closer relationship with them than just strictly student-teacher. I'd like to think that they also view me as more important in their lives than simply someone who teaches them proper grammar and sentence structure.  

So the other morning, I was enjoying some brunch with a group of girlfriends. An acquaintance of one of the girls comes up, and we begin discussing the Walk for Autism that was held that morning. Without even thinking twice, I said, "Oh! One of my kids' moms helped organize that!" The woman had a perplexed look on her face, and I could read her thoughts:  "One of her kids' moms??" I instantly clarified that I meant one of my students' moms.

I've made several more "kids" references this week, and it reminded me of a joke my mom emailed me a while back because she knows that I use this term of endearment. Her preface suggested I watch my words at the grocery store when talking to men. Keep in mind, I am hit on every time I'm at the grocery store. It's just usually (okay, always) by little old men buying a six pack and some chicken, and we discuss how he's going to prepare his chicken and what I'm making for dinner over the gentle hum of a conveyer belt. I'll flirt with whatever I can get sometimes.

Anyways, here it goes:

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him. She says hello. 
He's rather taken aback because he can't place where he knows her from. 
So he says, "Do you know me?"
To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids."
Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I screwed on the pool table with all my buddies watching, while your stripper partner whipped my butt with wet celery?"
She looks into his eyes and says calmly, "No sir, I'm your son's teacher."

The only caveat is that I'm pretty sure I would never be mistaken for a stripper...I don't think I meet the, er, requirements if you know what I mean. Kinda like the fact that no matter how high I can kick (which is still pretty damn high), I'll never be a Rockette.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Going for a Record Tonight

Calling all Miscellaneous Redhead virgins...

This is a note sent out to some new potential Misc. R readers: 

Based on a recent personality profile I conducted, comprised of your history of drinking with me, laughing with me, making fun of others with me, or some combination of these characteristics, I've decided to invite you to read my blog. (Please realize this is an honor and this decision has not been made in haste.) This also means you are not likely to be the subject of one of my least not one of the "what the hell was this person thinking?"-type posts. If so, I wouldn't be inviting you to read. I'd be making fun of you...behind your back.

I don't blog regularly, only when something I feel is somewhat interesting happens. I don't promise you'll think it's interesting or entertaining, but I do promise to write the truth, the whole truth (unless I can embellish it to make it better), and nothing but the truth (see previous aside regarding embellishments). Feel free to use any information you read in my posts against me.


It Ain't Easy Bein' Red

I wanted to expose a glimmer of my neuroticism. (See "Shirley" post regarding my destiny.)

As is obvious by my blog moniker, I have red hair. Not just red hair. Red hair with fair skin and freckles. Here's what happened when God created me. 

God: "Hmmm...I need to create one perfect poster child for skin cancer. But who can that be? Ahhh...I know. Sweet Miscellaneous Redhead. She won't get picked on enough as an awkward elementary school kid, so I'll add the fear of Myself and skin cancer into her worries along with just a dash of family history to top it off!" (note: When this creation happened, I don't believe He'd quite mastered the fine art of proportions yet considering my top and bottom halves.)

So, I'm basically a little neurotic, perhaps obsessive, when it comes to my hair and skin. To quote Will and Grace (don't worry, you'll get used to it), my hair is half my personality. See pic below showing just how much I like hair products. Granted many of these are empty, and I just leave them here until I'm ready for one mass rinsing before putting them in the recycle bin (yet another obsession).

And now for the skin. I decided that since God did not grant me the ability to tan, I am going to make damn sure that when all the current tanned folk look like leather handbags, my skin will look like the lily-white ass of a newborn...with a few freckles of course. This doesn't even show you my Smithsonian-worthy collection of sunscreens of every shape, size, scent, and spf.

Not the most interesting of posts, but perhaps as insightful and eye-opening as if they'd done an E! True Hollywood Story on the life of a redhead.

Why do you drink? Give me another drink and I'll tell you.

Pretty sure everyone who knows me, knows that I pride myself on my ability to insert quotes from plays, musicals, and Will & Grace into any conversation no matter how off-topic they may at first appear. Hence the blog title. (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof if you're not already aware...and if you're not, why are we friends?) But I digress (note: digress is one of my all-time favorite words...I think because I do it about every 4.76 seconds). But again, I....say it with me...digress.

Those people who are lucky enough to have known me most of my life know that I was not much of, nay, not at all, a party girl growing up. I've always tried to ask my mom how she instilled this intense guilt and fear in me, but she just taps her fingertips ala Dr. Evil and snickers saying it was all part of her "master plan." I call b.s. on her because I, for one, know that one of my main reasons for not drinking growing up and mostly through college was due to the stories I heard of my grandfather's alcoholism. The intense and inate guilt that I felt just thinking about the possibility of letting my mom down in any similar fashion was enough to keep me from the liquid I now cherish and adore. My parents have never had a problem with alcohol, and in fact, alcohol flowed freely in my house growing up (still does, although I think these days gushes is a more descriptive verb for my parents and their wine and beer!). So, all through my college years at wild and crazy M&A, I rarely for a few random occurrences.

But nowadays...things could be considered, shall we say "different." A few reasons come to mind:

One - I think I matured to the point that I realized I could drink without becoming the grandfather I never got to meet. 

Two - I consider myself a "late bloomer" and didn't really come out of my shell until after college. Now I bet some of you are wishing I'd shut my mouth and go back in said shell.

And three - I became a teacher.

Now if you're not a teacher, you may be rolling your eyes saying "yeah yeah yeah." But seriously. I'm not kidding when I say that 7th graders and other adults at my school have led me to drink. Often. As I was updating my Facebook status the other day, it dawned on me that I had four happy hours last week. Four! (Now one was a solo ride on my back porch, but it still counts.) As people, including my former boss, commented on it, I couldn't help but laugh at the vast difference between Misc. Redhead now and Misc. Redhead then. I had an offer for another drinky drink this evening, but after having gone out last night too, I decided to stay in and try to act like the pushing-30 grown-up I should be. So, I'm doing some innocent stalking on Facebook, blogging, and laughing at the cute face one of the cats is making while he sleeps.

Damn that sounds sad. I should have gone to the bar.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running does a body (and mind and soul) good

I got home from a friend's wedding with a completely different, emotionally raw, and probably embarrassing post drafted in my mind. You see, I got into a kind of a funk this morning on my drive back to my (relatively) small town. I think it was the long stretches of country roads flanked by cedar trees and wildflowers, with virtually no one else on the road; Brian Wright was providing some background music to my mind's thoughts that just seemed to wander and never stop. All of the worries that have been piling up in my mind all decided to rear their ugly heads at once. 

I need a change of some kind in my life. It's hit me that my life has been rather stagnant for over 6 years now. Everyone around me has moved on to new stages in their jobs, marriage, kids, etc. But not me. Same job, same town, no marriage, no kids. My problem is that I don't know what kind of change is best for me. Do I move to a new town? I don't feel drawn anywhere, and I do love my family and the friends I have here even though I'm the last of the singles. Do I change careers? (Uh well-considering the job market right now, that's probably not the best idea. This kind of market is what got me into teaching in the first place!) Do I order a husband and baby off the internet? Does Amazon carry an assortment of ethnicities and qualities to choose from, or is it pretty much a "you're shopping for a husband and baby on the internet - take what you can get" kind of thing? I've always thought family pics would look cool if I was with someone completely opposite me: dark skin, hair, etc...but I digress. Maybe I just simply need a new haircut. I don't know. Basically, I don't know where/when/what I'm supposed to do to bring about this mysterious change I feel I need. 

(Those were my worries in a little nutshell - probably a walnut -  and my earlier draft was going to be much more oh-woe-is-me crap. Trust me - be thankful I spared you and gave you the synopsis.

Anyways, as tired as I was when I got home, I couldn't let this beautiful weather pass me by. I threw on workout clothes and decided to go for a run along the river. The weather was absolutely beautiful; people were out enjoying picnics, fishing, playing frisbee golf, and just relaxing in the sun. I smiled at everyone I saw along the path, and they all smiled back; I stopped and chatted with the two older gentlemen who were having no luck with the fish, but were, nonetheless, enjoying the gorgeous weather. It's funny because I was once again listening to Brian Wright, but the result was vastly different this time around. 

Driving home 45 minutes later with the windows rolled down, I couldn't help but wonder why my worries had taken such a strong hold on me for a good two hours this morning. It's not that the worries are gone - I still have them - but they suddenly seemed so trivial. I have an amazing life - albeit not the one I ever thought I would have pushing 30, and not the one I want for much longer - but for now, I guess it'll do. I just have to trust that when the change I need is ready for me, I'll recognize it and embrace it. Until then, I'll just revel in the stereotype of an aging school marm who spends some good, quality time with her cats watching Will & Grace reruns.

I'll leave you with this clip from Peanuts. One day maybe I'll find someone who dreams about this little red-haired girl, but for now Charlie Brown will do.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Prime Suffering Years

This post is inspired by the Recent Conversations of The Cachinnator.

Friday night verbatim text conversation with a 12-year-old student (boy), whom I'll call Z. He's a very witty, sarcastic kid who loves to banter, and I typically oblige. (Note: I am generally opposed to texting with my students. I'm not one of those teachers.)

Z: Hey Misc. R, its z
Misc. R: What? How the heck did you get my #?
Z: Cause I'm kool like that haha
Misc. R: Right...
Z: Haha I'm at (my asst prin)'s house
Misc. R: You boys need to get a life...Kinda sad that you're texting a teacher on a Friday night.
Z: I got it from Mr. (asst prin)'s phone geez rude. (Confirmed later this is not where he got it, but I have a feeling I do know where.)
Z: Might I ask what you are doing tonight haha
Misc. R: No you may not
Z: Ok This is a little weird see ya

Aaahhhh....seventh grade boys. Love 'em, hate 'em, glad I never was one.

Surely you can't be serious?! And don't call me Shirley!

I've toyed with the idea of blogging for quite some time. After the story that I'm about to write happened, I decided I needed a forum to share stories just like this one.

It seems in my family that men don't last long. The women, however, live forever. The good news is, there's not a history of cancer in my family. But crazy? Good Lord, there's enough crazy in my family to keep an institution in business for decades. Obviously, I'm a little worried about what this means for my future. This also does not bode well for any potential suitors. Be forewarned: you will die before me, and at some point, I will inevitably lose my mind, go crazy, and start accusing you of the most absurd offenses. This is just one example of my family's crazy:

Background: My great-Aunt E (as she shall be called here) is 90. She has lived an amazing and hard life and has always been an inspiration to me. Sadly, she has succumbed to severe dementia. It usually just breaks my heart, but sometimes, all you can do is laugh to keep from crying. She has always spoken her mind with no filter for as long as I can remember. Now add dementia to the mix, and you've got a recipe for success.

About a month ago, we went to visit her in the nursing home. This happens to be a very lucid day. How can we tell? She's not yelling at us and accusing us of stealing her pictures, clothes, pens, etc. So far, so good. As we're chatting, she looks over at me, points an arthritic finger, just smiles, and mumbles something.

"Looks like Shirley's put on some weight."

Now I have, unfortunately, not been working out or eating like I should, and have put on some weight. But do I really need someone (a 90-year-old woman at that) to point that out to me? No. My tight jeans and chunky waistline tell me so every day. Also, my name is not Shirley. Who's Shirley you might ask? She's only my mom's cousin who is incredibly overweight, you can count the number of teeth in her mouth on two hands, and - oh yeah - she's what we refer to as "special." (Editor's note: Shirley is incredibly sweet, so I mean no offense to her. I just don't want to be compared to her!)

As we were leaving, Aunt E begins telling us about how she's going to ride her bicycle (aka wheelchair) back home (aka nursing home room). Just smile and nod along with it.

So, all-in-all it was a great day. I was reminded that craziness is my destiny, I was called out for gaining weight, and I was compared to someone who is "special." Who could ask for more?