Thursday, May 30, 2013

What To Get A Woman Turning 40

So I had a lovely 40th birthday- Went to work and taught a class. Came home to a thoughtful and useful gift from G- a bistro set. Exactly what I wanted! He even had gluten free vegan cookies and a bottle of sparkling wine.

 My mom even remembered. She sent me a lovely gift and called me on my birthday.

G also took me out to dinner at the nicest restaurant. He even made reservations, though on a Tuesday night in Ellensburg, you probably don't need them.

My husband's family called, sent messages and texted me too. Even a couple of nieces remembered. I felt really loved. And tired.

 I sick, sick, sick for my 40th birthday. Couldn't drink the wine. Sat on the bistro chairs for about five minutes in the sunshine. Went to bed right after dinner. So no pictures yet. Soon. But don't think I didn't enjoy my day. I really did!

 I toughed it out until this morning. My cough started to really hurt and I felt exhausted just waking up. Usually, once I'm up, I'm ready to go. So I took the day off and went to the doctor. I do not have time to be sick. I don't have time for bronchitis and I sure don't have time to take a whole day off of work. 

Blood pressure 102/77. Resting heart rate is 58. "You're healthy as a horse," said the doc. "Except for that viral infection that's suspiciously acting like bronchitis."
 She smiles a lot but otherwise I like her. "Rest. And take this fistful of medicines twice a day."

I DON'T HAVE TIME TO REST! FINALS ARE COMING! I HAVE TO GRADE! I didn't say any of that out loud. It was all screaming in my head. With more exclamation points. There was even one upside down.

But when I do get to feeling better, I'ma use that bistro set, sip some bubbly in the sun (or maybe just carrot juice) and maybe finish grading these papers.

Anyone want to grade papers for me?


Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Going to be OK

So I'm not even sure how long it's been since I posted a blog- a tornado and a lifetime ago.
The Moore tornado happened on the 21st, I think. It was about 5 miles from my house in Norman.

Some of my friends lost their homes. Some are displaced right now and living with friends, relatives or at a shelter or on the OU campus where free housing has been arranged.  Kevin Durant, the star Thunder player, has donated a million dollars to disaster relief.  I know several people who were teaching in schools in Moore at the time, and two who were in schools that suffered direct hits. They are all ok. Their kids are ok. Lots of people are ok.  The communities are coming together- Shawnee and Carney were both hit as well as Little Axe, south of Norman.  Lots of damage.  Lots of people feeling lucky.

And guilty.

Not everyone made it. Those who breathed a hug sigh of relief after checking in with loved ones (like I did- everyone safe) exhaled and felt awful for those who would not be coming home to their families. And guilty for being so fortunate.

So many people are donating time, materials and energy to the clean up and recovery efforts. President Obama flew in to survey the damage and the governor actually met with him. She hates him, but he's the best chance of getting disaster relief.  Both of our US Senators voted against relief for hurricane victims. I hope they feel ashamed. They said sending relief would lead to government dependence.

Lots of celebrities have chipped in- Tobey Keith, Carrie Underwood, Sandy Bullock and many more. It's inspiring. And people have driven in from all over to help out.  But I think the biggest heroes are the people who live in Oklahoma. The ones who are cooking for their neighbors, donating their time, scooping up debris and running facebook pages dedicated to returning items to their rightful owners. The animal rescue folks, the veterinarians and dentists and opticians offering their services free of charge- even the insurance adjusters (like the one who does my homeowner's insurance) who showed up in Moore with a checkbook to help ASAP.  Or my friend Mike who shows up to his church to help sort donations and make them easy to find for those in need. And the ones who organized benefits and dinners and shows.  And the local businesses who are helping out.  Those people. The ones you don't hear much about because it's not for fame.

There were many good reasons I left Oklahoma, but the people are truly like this.  Humble and pretty darn effective. They'll pull through.

Now, in my life, everything has been on fast forward.

I was approached just after the first of the month to write three parts of a giant grant to get a new program funded for five years.  However, the grant is due at the end of the month and I'm not only teaching 4 classes, but also doing research and finishing up my online class. Yikes!

I talked to Grey about it and we agreed that I'd take on the project and that he would help me.  There was no way I could get it done on my own with any chance of the grant succeeding.  Grey is a wonderful researcher and he has done some editing for me too. We worked for a couple of evenings and an entire Saturday and got it done- did I mention that my parts were due last Monday?  It was a bear getting information out of people. Like I said, Grey is a good researcher and a really good editor.  We got it done and I think the committee was pretty happy about it.

All week has been crazy too. I had a class field trip on Thursday to prepare for and on Thursday night I met my friend VP in Yakima.  She flew in with her boyfriend for a wedding.  Random and lovely, but I ended up grading papers until midnight. We had a great visit and totally worth it. Friday she and her BF came and talked to one of my classes. I taught the others, then got a call from my sister, Yvette. She and her boyfriend were in Yakima and needed a place to stay. The state girls fast pitch softball tournament was going on and they were postponed for rain. Grey and I had planned to attend that day because my friend from elementary school, Carrie (DeWitt) Speer was coaching. Carrie and I had played softball together in little league. But everything was put off. So Yvette and Jim came over and we passed a fun night. After a run, I woke them up Saturday with breakfast- homemade blueberry pancakes. I wasn't feeling really great- had a sinus headache for a couple of days. But what are you going to do? We went to watch my niece, Jessica, play short stop for her team. We also caught a game with the Quilcene Rangers duking it out with another team. It was exciting and stressful and by the time we left, I wasn't feeling so great. Both teams advanced to the finals - though they wouldn't face one another. Yvette stayed over again and I started going downhill. The long and the short of it is this: I'm in bed where I've been all day. ALL DAY! I can't stand being sick. I've not had many unproductive days in the last 15 or so years. But I know my husband and he'll behave himself next time he is sick if I relax and just rest. Good thing, too. I slept all day. Missed the finals- both teams took trophies. I think the Rangers got 4th and the Dayton Bulldogs got 3rd in their respective divisions. And Yvette went home. And VP went home to Oklahoma. And I'm home in bed with a cat who has an addiction to treats that give her flatulance. Oh, and tomorrow is Memorial Day. And Tuesday? Yeah, I turn 40. So I've been a bit busy, a bit crazy and a little bit sick. I'm excited about this summer though- there are lots of things we have planned. A trip to Portland, our first anniversary, a family reunion and lots of visits with relatives. And maybe some hiking. I'll be keeping an eye on Oklahoma news too. I hope all goes well there. Oklahomans have a lovely spirit, one that gives me hope that everything is going to be ok even when everything falls apart.

Monday, May 13, 2013

You Might Be A Redneck...

You know you live in Dayton, Washington...

Ever hear those jokes? They are lines from Jeff Foxworthy, including such gems as these:
You might be a redneck if the dog catcher calls for a backup unit when visiting your house.. if directions to your home include "turn off the paved road"....if your mother has ever been involved in a fistfight at a sporting event... or if you've ever been too drunk to fish. 

Those are some of my favorites, though there are endless possibilities for such humor.  True, I've lived in a trailer way up yonder out on a dirt road that you still can't see using google maps. And true, you can make fun of rednecks all you want.

But there's this other thing.

I haven't seen my friend Israel since high school. Maybe junior year, so that's between 1989 and 1990. Luckily, I'm Facebook friends with lots of my former classmates from high school. Not the ones I didn't like. We're pretty clicquish like that. But with several of them. I just don't have time for bitchiness. But I got time for the rest of everyone else. Including Izzy, who has always been a pretty cool cat.  He works hard and he's a Dayton kid, even if he's approaching 40 just like me. Moved to Oregon a couple of years ago, I think. He's what you'd call a good man- he takes care of his family and seems like a nice person.

Yesterday, he was in Dayton for a family function.  He went by himself up past Ski Bluewood to camp for the night. Bluewood is what you'd call "out there". Not many passers-by except for a few black bears and the occasional cougar. In the morning, he tried to start his car. Nothing. Damn car battery was dead. It's 20 or more miles to town.

So he got on Facebook. Things revved up. Izzy was like "Hey! Help!"

Now, I'm not saying that Mr. Holden is a redneck. I'm not saying that I or anyone in my family is a redneck. But I have been too drunk to fish and I once used so much hairspray that I accidentally lit my hair on fire in the 90s in a little bar while leaning in too close to a guy with a zippo.  But please know that I use the word redneck in a self-describing and loving way.

This is why I like rednecks. Something like 10 people in the area offered to help. I'm in Ellensburg- 4 hours away by car just to get to Dayton. But my sisters and lots of my cousins live there. Yvette in particular always was good in a pinch. Say HELP and she's on her way, no questions asked.

I re-posted Israel's post and texted Yvette. By then, others were getting ready to send people out in serach. He posted exact coordinates. It was a race to see who could get out the door first. Yvette was faster than everyone. She left coordinates with her son, just in case she got lost and headed up. Gave him a jump and called it good.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure she hasn't seen Izzy in a good long time either. And truth be told, lots of other people would have been up there within the hour. It wasn't that big of a deal. Yvette won the race- good job!

Meanwhile, I've waited for an hour for a tow truck in rush hour traffic in the middle of a city.

We need more damn rednecks. Remember that next time you see my sister at a sporting event. And just in case, (even though I haven't smoked in years) don't ever offer me a light.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Everyday Housewife

Much of my adult life has been spent in search of an in maintaing a semblence of normality.  When I was younger, life life was chaotic. Chaotic childhood, chaotic adolescence and the shifting sands of moving and settling in and moving again.  Somehow I managed to maintain a few friendships and I decided in 6th grade that I didn't really need to make anymore new friends since the new town we'd moved to was probably a stopping place anyway.  Except that I spent the next 8 years there. Shoulda made more friends.

My daily routine when I was 22 and living in Port Angeles, Washington revolved around work and my social life. I'd get up around 9, go jogging probably twice a week, get a shower and go to coffee.  I had learned to make friends again by then. My little group hung out at Pete's Pancake House (it's now a glassblowing shop) and we'd chain smoke, sip coffee, order breakfast or french fries and talk forever.  Nobody had cell phones. It was 1994. I'd go to work at 3 and get off at 11 at the local Red Lion Hotel. There were days for laundry, days for driving my 77 Thunderbird across the state to see my mom and grandparents, occasional days for dates and lots of comforting friendships.  There was a lot of rain. I also lived by The General Store in PA, and often went to the little coffee stand out front for a 4-shot latte. Those were good times and lean times, sometimes filled with sun but often fraught with worry and care.

When I was 32, I lived in Norman, Oklahoma.  My life was consumed with school and work. I'd get up at 8 and be to work at OU by 9, edit, read drafts and give fellow graduate students advice on their papers, take some healthy piece of food with me and a protein bar.  I rode my bicycle everywhere and lived in a small 4-plex just three blocks north of campus.  I ran 5 miles several times a week and had a jogging buddy.  On Sundays, I would go jogging, drive the 127 miles to Tulsa and work out at my dojo, then teach a yoga class there, then drive home.  I would often be up until 3 a.m.  There was a small group of animals that regularly visited my house at night- six cats, an opossum and a small skunk.  I fed them.  My life was exhausting, and I struggled to find meaning and my place in the world.  My ex-husband drove by my house every day for years-hence the jogging buddy and the dojo. I felt haunted.

Now I'm looking at 40 next month. I walk to work every day that I possibly can.  I don't drive much anymore and our family only has one car. We don't need two. I'm married- still newly so- and we live in Washington. Life is simple. I teach and do research. It's cold in the winters and so far, it feels like it will warm up for spring and summer. Grey keeps us healthy and does a lot of the cooking. After work, I walk home and we go work out at "The Gym" down the street. They're nice people. On weekends, we go to Seattle, we stay home, we visit small towns nearby.  It's a good life. It's not where I thought I'd end up when I graduated from high school over 20 years ago.  I'm not sure that we've actually "ended up" yet. I just can't predict how life will go.

I used to think this would be me: Married to Glen Campbell. 

Just kidding. I thought I'd make a good housewife, that I'd settle, that I would somehow be noble.
Turns out I'm not that.
I was, for a time, this.

Now, I'm this.

Have a good weekend.  The farmer's market starts back up on Saturday, so you know where to find me.