El Zone-o de Comforto…

Spanglish is the best language said the gringo in the back of the class.

I’ve mentioned how much I adore my comfort zone.  It’s a beautiful place… in my imagination… all decked out in pillows made of pizza (except… no thanks… how uncomfortably gross would that be… wiping off marinara sauce every time you lay down)!  But it’s a pretty zone… somewhere in nature with waterfalls and sunny days chasing the clouds away (five points for whomever can name that song) and trees… gotta have some trees… except they’re birdless in my imagination… either that or the birds do not have a digestive system… because seriously!  There are a few people in my imaginative zone of comfort, but not a ton of people… gotta have some hyperventilating room up in that there joint.

On the edge of my comfort zone lives a mean ogre named Anxiet-eetodd.  He’s ogre-ish because if I happen to cross that line between the comfort and the not-so-comfort, he is waiting with a keg of sugar and an all-you-can-eat Italian smorgasbord.  Stupid ogre.  That’s what happens when you are an emotional eater… rather than deal with the emotion, you eat it away, which is only good for Anxiet-eetodd because he works on commission from the Pillsbury Doughboy… and all I get is a wagon full of lard sauce.

I’ve had a number of comfort zone-crushing moments the last several years.  It’s a good thing to get out of one’s comfort zone, and I need to think of it that way.  Not only will it get me to try new things, but it will also make me face what I hate to face… how to get through feeling an emotion without stuffing it down.

My latest challenge… dancing… in public… with people around!  Close your eyes and picture me dancing.  When you finish laughing your aspercreme off, I’ll let you know it’s exactly as you imagined it.  Somehow, I… Whitney of the Zumba In the Dark With The Blinds Closed… am dancing for the curtain call in the aforementioned Mary Poppins shindig.  I knew they’d rue the day they decided to invite me into their web of talent!  :P  It’s still not too late to back out, FSTC!  I hope there’s a particularly darkened corner somewhere on the stage with my name on it.  We learned part of the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious dance this week, where-in Whitney nearly took out the whole back row with her skills.  I’ve been practicing it a little bit every single day since.  The steps aren’t that hard once you get them down, it’s the speed at which we have to do them.  If one of the cute smaller dancers twirls around, it’s like they’re walking around a pole.  If I twirl around, I’m at least walking around a block with change.  I’m leaving the dance moves below in the video for your perusal.  Someone who knows how to do the Mexican tequila bean dance on caffeine, jump inside my skin until July would ya’?  :P

Any tips, fellow dancers? (sorry, I couldn’t say that with a straight face… the “fellow dancers” part!)

T

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Filed under Getting A Life, Mary Poppins

Recommendations Of (In)Sanity…

Floor boy is no more.  Insert sadface.  However will I make it through the entire Spanish class without such entertainment!?  He didn’t go without parting words, though… which the teacher actually typed up and included in her lecture during the next class… apparently he had that much pull.  They were something to the effect:  Remember:  The word “burro” in Spanish means both donkey and ironing board.  Don’t be like me and picture ironing on a donkey during the test.  Also, don’t be like me and give up.  I think those words came too late for most of us burros.  We started the class with 20 students total.   As of this typing, we have a grand total of 7, including myself!  Either I need to take 3 showers a day because they can smell me all over the state of Utah or this class be too much work and studying for the state of Utah.  I’d tend to agree… Español es muy dificíl.  Tambíen Whitney no es muy inteligente.  I took my mid-term this past Monday and wracked my brain so hard for 2-1/2 hours I’m pretty sure all the cranium fluid is gone… never again to be replaced!  Whatever happened to open book tests for geezer college students?  Scientifically, I’ve been losing brain storage space since I was a baby… what with all the new things crammed in the thing.  I have a whole section of brain dedicated to jelly bean flavors, for crying outloud!

As a gift for completing my mid-term on the first day of spring break, the lovely parking police gave me a ticket and a bunch of attitude. Oh no you just didn’t!  Spring break usually means no students on campus and a lot fewer teachers who need parking spaces… and the lot I parked in was large and completely empty when I parked in it… with a total of 3 cars when I returned.  Of course I wore my stanky, I’m-so-annoyed-at-you face the whole time I was paying for the ticket.  See if they ever give me a ticket on spring break again!  Note to self:  Don’t tempt fates… park at home and walk 3 miles.

In other recommendations… I went to the movie, McFarland, USA this weekend!  What a charmingly, inspirational true story.  I’m a sucker for a true story.  Of course it was the predictable inspirational sports movie… hard-working dudes who no one thought could amount to anything, eventually win… blah, blah, blah… and the peasants rejoice!  But, those are the kinds of things that bring out the goose pimples and the rooting for the underdog in a person… or maybe it’s the swelling music that does it for me.  Go root for Danny Diaz, the slightly overweight runner who whooped the more fit boys on the hills… or Thomas Valles, the head-strong, overworked runner extraordinaire!  Your heart will swell three times larger that day!   All the burros in the land agree!

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The Cream Of the Crop…

It’s that magical time of year where the fairies who hate sleep rob us of an hour.  Once I get over the gravity of this situation, I rejoice in the longer evening light.  Sorry mothers trying to get your kids to bed early… I will try to rejoice in private.

I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to the extended family members who have made their final heavenly journey over the last few weeks.  First, an uncle, Scott Nickell a week or two back.  Although, I didn’t spend near enough time getting to know him on this Earth, I do remember what a teddy bear of a man he was and how he always made me feel welcome and at home when I was in his presence.  That is not an easy thing to do when you have a socially-awkward chic with a stick up her rumpus… but he was so good at that.  His family and friends have been temporarily separated from a great man.  My thoughts and prayers continue to be with them that they are able to find peace and comfort during this difficult time of waiting to see him once again… but the next time will be on the other side of the veil and with a lot tastier chocolate!

The second loss was just this morning, a sweet cousin, Brenda Hillman Sewell.  A strong, fighter of a woman who battled and beat cancer three times before her big heart gave out.  There is one shared story I have always remembered.  When I was a kid, couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6, during my rebellious years of lying to police officers about stranger danger and getting into brawls with 50-pound turkeys, a 20-something Brenda and her brother Kevin were charged with watching my sister and I for a day.  I don’t remember the circumstances as to why they had to watch us, but I do remember the day.  They went out of their way to plan fun activities, shuttling us around in an oversized Crown Victoria from the 70s (or at least one that looked as big as that boat was in the 70s).  One of our stops was to McDonald’s drive-through for an ice cream cone.  My sister and I were giddy like the wind at the prospect of getting an ice cream cone at the Mickey-Ds.  We didn’t get out much on account of the fact I was grounded so often… you know… for lying to police officers and the like.  Ice cream cone in hand, that boat of a car pulled out onto the busy Main Street and we jetted on down the road to our next fun-cation.

On her side of the car, Lindsay had her window rolled down and was busy sticking her hand out the window pretending she could fly.  This was in the 80s long before there were booster seats and required seatbelt usage… you know… back in the days where no one cared if you slammed your head into the dashboard during an abrupt stop.  Concussions for everyone!  I was jealous of Lindsay’s rolled-down-window, so went about trying to roll down my side.  Turns out, the window roller on my side was either nonexistent or it was existent and I was too stupid to tell the difference between the window roller downer and the car door opener, so I chose the car door opener and swung my door wide open.  I then, of course, freaked out… did not attempt to close the door, but instead curled up into a ball on the floor while Kevin and Brenda were freaking out in the front seat trying to figure a way to pull over on a busy street to close the door so that they didn’t kill me on their watch.  Brenda was understandably shaken and I got a talking to… but then I remember her taking me in her arms as tears streamed down my cheeks and making me feel safe.  This was before she was a mother… and I knew then she’d make a great one.

Big hugs and prayers and thoughts and love to you, Hillman and Sewell families and all of the many friends and relations that were touched just by knowing Brenda.  God only takes the best ones way too soon.  I can imagine the reunion she was able to have with her sweet mother was a glorious day for the both of them.

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Beep Beep Boop…

This wordpress website has a new format in which whenever I want to type a new post, it brings up this box that has the words “beep beep boop” flashing while it supposedly churns out a new screen.  As if there are magical elves on the other side of the inter-waves cobbling together a shiny new post.  What would be even cooler is if those elves wrote up my blog post whilst beep beep booping.  Note to wordpress… beep beep booping is unnecessary and so 80s it makes me want to crimp my hair and join a metal band with leg warmers.

Moving on… my sociology class is quite an eye opening read.  It focuses on the messed up social institutions and laws aspect of why our country is a frigging mess, tackling topics like racism, poverty, gender, politics, class, education, etc., etc., etc.   It’s mostly one big… oh no we just didn’t moment from page to page.  I do know one thing… we need to bag all of the politicians running this nation and get a group full of middle and low class sociologists in office… and STAT!  They know what they be talking about.  Obviously that won’t happen because this nation is run on money and those who have money make all the laws and rules… it’s no wonder the gap between the wealthy and the poor is twice the size of the grand canyon, and the middle class is being squoze out like road kill on a cracker.

All this to say, I had an interesting experience a couple of weeks back.  My friend and I are taking these USU extension classes once or twice a month.  Usually they are classes on how to eat healthily and/or budget wisely… and the eating healthily classes usually come with samples of healthified dishes… all for free!  Although, last class I had to gag down a spinach ball with a side of barley… NEVER AGAIN!!

The people who come to these shindigs vary from class to class, but I always see one particular lady… every single class.  I notice her because she is usually overly bundled up for the weather and is often seen wearing colorful character pajamas.  She’s always been very nice.  One time she sacrificed her seat so that I could sit next to my guest.  Our February class was on heart health and once again the lady was sitting right in front of me.  During a break in the class, she turned around and asked my friend and I where we lived.  She then asked me if she could get a ride after class.  I didn’t think anything of it and immediately agreed.  She told me that I could just drop her off on the corner of 10th N. and 3rd W., to which I replied that I would have no problem taking her right up to her house.  To which she quietly answered that she was homeless.  Thankfully the class started back up again and the awkwardness of it all was forestalled until the end of the class.

As I was driving her to her “corner” she was proudly showing me the new knit hat her mother had purchased her.  I stuck my foot in my mouth about 8000 times when asking about her family.  She told me she had 3 grown sons, I didn’t think and told her she must be an expert at raising boys, to which she replied that her oldest and youngest sons were in prison… her youngest just about to go back in for the 2nd time.  She felt like she needed to explain that he got caught up with the wrong friends as a teenager and couldn’t get out of it.  She was a prime example of every chapter of my sociology textbook put together.  The institutions we have set up for the poor do not help them get out of a neverending cycle of poverty and hopelessness.  There is not much hope for a person coming out of prison to change.  He/she is still poor and still has to go back to the same place he/she had trouble with in the first place with nothing to bolster them into a better sphere.  My heart hurts for those stuck in the neverending cycle of never-enough.

As I dropped that lady off on her corner on a chilly night, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I said a prayer of gratefulness for all that I have.  I do tend to complain about my situation on occasion, but the truth is there are so many people who would trade me in a freaking heartbeat… and I know I don’t have what it takes to live their lives.  Kudos to you sweet lady with the new hat.  I sent up a prayer that you will see some hope in your future.

****

We had Makayla’s 9th family birthday par-tay tonight…

The owl theme… I’m not at all obsessed with owlie owls!

In fact, no I did not stay up late Friday and Saturday night concocting this lopsided, 12-year-old-could-have-done-better owlie pillow…  I should have asked for help from the beep beep boop fairies!

It sucks to be the brother of the birthday girl during her party… all he gets is this heat pad!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

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The Conjugator… I’ll Be Back…

It’s at this point in my life where I’d like to hunt down the inventor of the Spanish language and give he/she a good dressing down… and I don’t mean for prom!  Also, does anyone, preferrably someone who speaks Spanish fairly fluently (I know there are a handful of you reading this), who would be interested in trading brains for approximately a year and a half?  I think that should be sufficient to get me through the next 2-1/2 semesters of my Spanish learning… after I get back from the dress hunting shindig, I mean.

Everything seems to move so dang fast in this class.  I don’t remember moving this fast in high school Spanish… and I took like 85 years of Spanish in Jr. high and high school.  My brain is a lot older than it used to be and currently is so full of English words, it’s hard to cram the Spanish words into the crevices.  Translation:  I can’t remember a dang thing!  I might be a hopeless case.  I hate pronouns… I hate verbs… and I really hate conjugation… particularly conjugating imperfect and preterite tenses!  What the!?!?  Those tenses mean the same dang thing in English, Spanish inventor… get with the times!   I pretty much just have to guess between the two on every test because my translation skillz are horrid at best… 50/50 chance I’ll get it right and so far my running score is 1 right, 85,000 wrong.  Good odds, Vegas-ites… who wants to buy Whitney a lotto ticket!?

Update on the weird class members… donut box/85-ounce soda girl has dropped out, leaving me by my lonesome in the Logan classroom (along with the professor and an aide).  Floor boy is still in the class and is still as inappropriate as ever.  I bow to my profesora… along with dealing with the deer in the headlights look I give her on a weekly basis for the entire 3-hour class, she is also mastering the art of dealing with floor boy’s weird outbursts and interjections… like the time a few weeks back when he blurted out that there was no way he’d be able to take the test before the deadline because he just bought some new video game (insert the name I can’t remember here) and he was too busy to study.  Then, he promptly got out of his chair and left the classroom, only to waltz back in half an hour later eating an entire regular-sized bag of Doritos.  Let me tell you… you ain’t lived until you’ve practiced Spanish with someone who was too busy licking the cheese off his fingers to recall which activity we were on.  I had to work so hard not to tell him to go wash his hands before he touched his book, that I didn’t learn a dang thing that night.  Oh the horror!

Back to this Spanish language inventor… take some notes from the inventor of pig latin next time you invent a language.  Also, you owe me 80000000 brain cells and a brain eraser… I’m never going to get that Doritos picture out of my head otherwise.

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Planconstramine…

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be having my own children in this lifetime (at some times better than others).  I’ve always felt a bit of a sadness when remembering this fact.  It’s not like I never wanted kids.  When I was a child and we played that M*A*S*H game… the one where you list how many kids you will have and their names, etc., I always had at least 10 kids.  I thought of names all day long as a kid, and even went as far as to dress my cats up in diapers and doll clothes… just for the practice… much to the chagrin of Fluffy and Company.  Life doesn’t always turn out the way you imagine it when you’re a kid… some pipe dreams just aren’t meant to be.  Things happened in my life the way they were supposed to, and though I’ve not dealt with all of my road blocks with as much grace as I once imagined I would, I do know that my purpose for this life is different than most.  I’m not sure I’ve found that purpose, unless it’s to be the germ-a-phobe police in a gallant effort to save someone from the dreaded Salmonella fiasco, but I guess one just plugs along making decisions as they come and living life as best as she/he can in the moment.

Boy, that was a long tangent.  My purpose was to illustrate the fact that I try to adopt other kids in my life.  There are my step-nephews, Christian and Ethan… but they’re pretty much grown up and no longer interested in cutsie things like owlies and piggies and cupcakes…  okay scratch that… I don’t think they were ever interested in owlies, piggies, and cupcakes!  :P  I’ve hijacked my cuzzin JenJen’s sons, Cruz and Blaize… who live way too far away.

I’ve tried to kidnap my cuzzin Angie’s kids, Makayla and Corbin… super fun kids who indulge in my owly obsession!  Example… this past Friday night we had pizza par-tay night… and Makayla made her pizza into the shape of an owlie…

I would have done it too, but that would have meant less toppings and hello… have you seen the size of my mouth?

I asked Corbin to smile with his pizza creation.  This was his best effort.

All this to say, my sister and brother-in-law, Lindsay and Shayne are expecting this coming August.  My first full-blooded niece or nephew.  I plan on kidnapping the little critter just in time for me to require diaper changes and toenail clipping sessions.  Can you imagine this kid’s life?  He/she best be moving 4 continents over before I hit 80!  In the meantime, I’ve got some Salmonella lessons to teach him/her.  Congratulations, Lindser, Shayne, Christian, and Ethan (and let’s not forget Gramsy and Grampsy Wade)!  Oh, and Lindsay… remember how worried you were as a kid that someone might come along in the family and steal your #1 choice for girl’s name, Planconstramine?  Your dreams have come true… it’s still totally available!  In the meantime, I’ll start crocheting a “Kick Me, My Name is Planconstramine” T-shirt!  You are welcome, Auntie Whitty Woo Woo.

Oh, and thank you to JenJen and Ang for allowing me to hijack your chillin’s!

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The Case of the No Good, Very Bad Gargantuan Feet Syndrome…

Yes… it’s a cross I’ve had to bear.  I blame my mother… except my mother is tall and slender and I’m built like a Mack truck on donut day at an all-you-can gorge Chuck-Up-A-Rama conference.  We both wear a size 10-1/2… which would be cool and all, but most shoe companies do not make a size 10-1/2.  They make half sizes for all of the other sizes clear up to 9-1/2, but screw you people in the 10s!  You will be forever cursed with wearing shoes that are either a tad bit too small or a tad bit too large… a 10 or an 11… them’s are my choices.

If that was my only problem, I’d be lying.  I was also born with my dad’s very tender, sensitive feet.  The kind of feet that couldn’t walk on a bed of cotton balls barefoot because it would feel like a bed of glass shards.  I never go barefoot.  Not in the house, not outside, not at the beach (I never go to the beach, but this is beside the point!)… I simply do not like green eggs and ham.  And don’t get me started on those somewhat dressy shoes they sell with the sole the thickness of a paper towel.  Them things are like strapping ice skates to your feet UPSIDE DOWN!  Then if my shoes are ill-fitting and I try to maneuver the world in the ill-fitted shoes with my tender sensitive clodhoppers, it’s like throwing a whale out of the water and telling him to crawl back into it.  It don’t work, Sam!  I’m sure you can all relate to every last one of my analogies this post.  I tell you, I stayed up late putting these suckers together.

So, the point of this post, if there ever is one, is that buying shoes is like trying to find the elusive Bigfoot.  I need new shoes.  I’m hobbling around on a pair of slippers (I call them slippers, they are actual shoes… my slippers have to have a hard sole) and then another pair of shoes that I’ve pretty much worn down to the threads… and I can feel every pebble I step on through.  The week after Christmas I went out to do my least favorite thing… shoe shopping.  I figured there might be some fairly good-ish deals the week after Christmas… and let’s face it… I’m a cheap wad.  After visiting several places and trying on several shoes in the sizes of 10 and 11, I was not impressed… the 10s were a bit too small and the 11s a bit too big… where the helium balloons is my Goldilocks moment!?!?!?  I finally settled on a pair of 10s… thinking maybe I could get them to stretch out.  I just got around to wearing them out and about this past Saturday… and they were horrid.  I will be selling them on eBay STAT!  It was like a Chinese torture chamber up in them hoppers.  My feet could not breathe and I swear I have an abscess on the back of my Achilles tendon from where the shoes rubbed through all day.  BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!  Hey shoe companies… throw a large clodhopper chic a stinking bone over here.  Humor me with the size 10-1/2, will ya!?

In other news… people with actual real problems are roaming the Earth and I’m over here rambling for 12 hours about feet!  Carry on with your lives, friends!  :P

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Anyone recommend a nice, comfortable, fairly non-ugly brand of shoes for everyday wear?  

T

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