Friday, October 30, 2009

hi, how's it going?

i just wanted to pop in here and share with you what must be one of murphy's underreported laws.

when you need to buy a little black dress for a costume that was dictated by the murder mystery party that we will be attending tomorrow night, it is impossible to find anything except too short or too sweater-y (which, if you have hips or wear a size in the double digits of any kind, you should NOT PUT ON YOUR BODY EVER).

thank heavens for the potential of raiding a friend's closet.

but if that doesn't work, i might just wear jeans and a shirt and some heels and try to look hot and call myself a modern, low-key witch because this junk is FRUSTRATING.

the end.  i have to clean up this house. it's a pithole of death. the fact that i deeply believe it is my duty to make sure that food and house is taken care of despite considering myself a deeply independent, forward thinking woman is a blog post for another day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the grateful game.

it's all about the gratitude today, people. it has to be.

things i am grateful for:

1. i felt adorable in my kitty cat costume for last night's church halloween volunteering activity.  i took pictures of myself.  i had fun seeing all of the families all dressed up in their costumes.  they were really cute and it was fun to play with the kids, even though it involved me chasing after little balls and putting up bowling pins over and over again.  it was good.

2. the person i backed into in the parking lot before said halloween volunteering activity (who had backed up behind me without me knowing it) said it was likely his fault and didn't really have any damage so essentially said not to worry about it.  the damage to my bumper is paint and minimal.  it could have been so much worse and more traumatic. it wasn't. people are genuinely kind.

3. i got to talk to my mom last night.  that was good. it's been too long.

4.  in the course of talking to her, i came up with a good and merciful idea for one of my rural cc classes.  it felt like a revelation of sorts.  they have been my guinea pigs and have gotten the short end of the stick for that; i let up on them SERIOUSLY for the last few weeks of the semester.  yes, in the course of doing that i have eliminated some of my work, but it was mainly for them. and i loved sending them the email to tell them.

5. my awesome quintessential teachergirl idea for musicboy's birthday is coming together. and it involves multiple types of baking. hooray!

6. the pile of grading is getting smaller. or my attitude toward it is becoming less rebellious and angry. either way, it's better.

7. sleeping well, even if it did involve some sort of strange dream where i was both on a movie set and in the collegetown stadium and dumping milkshakes or smoothies on girls who were trying to steal my man. and i'm pretty sure that there was a long interlude that involved peter, paul, and mary and a bookstore.  hey, at least i'm dreaming and at least they're entertaining.

8. i worked out yesterday. i'll work out today.  i'll work out tomorrow.  that's three in a week.  that's my definition of success.

9.  despite me being selfish and mopey, my wonderful musicboy knew exactly what to do.  we were running late and i was all sorts of stressed and freaked out and who knows what all (see earlier post about NO BUFFER AT ALL).  instead of letting that ride, he pulled me close and we said a prayer to start our day.  it was exactly what i needed; it was, in fact, exactly what i thought i should do right before he did it.  i have the best husband and best friend in the world.

10.  as i prayed, my heart full of gratitude for a husband that most days i don't deserve, i felt the burdens of this week and this day lift off of me. in my prayer, i asked that Heavenly Father be my buffer until i can figure out where mine went.  and almost immediately, i felt peace. i haven't felt that kind of peace in a while, since i've been letting chaos reign supreme. 

today, i just feel grateful...for everything that i've been given and offered and provided despite me being a whiny wimp about most of it every day.  for all of the days when i seem to willfully refuse to recognize the incredible awesomeness that populates and punctuates my life and instead choose to feel overwhelmed and burdened, He fills in the blanks and seems to wait patiently on me to have a day like today--when it all hits me very hard how incredibly merciful He is and how blessed i am. 

its challenges don't make this life any less amazing. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


the heading at the top of the paper i'm about to grade says "mrs. teachergirl musicboy" (a double name only because i'm in the "i just got married and everything in the world has two different names so let's just use both until i have time and the inclination to change it all over" stage).  this, i noticed, after i just looked down at my rings and had one of those whoa moments.

i'm married.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

fall back.

we got a new couch yesterday.

by new, of course, i mean it was owned by someone else and sold for a song and we went and hauled it home but it's new to us.

i was excited to get it, but i don't think i realized how much awesome it would be.  it fits nicely where our twin bed couch used to be, the one we never used but thought would be a good idea since the futon that we dearly loved left this earth in a pile of assorted pieces when we moved. 

it was so nice to sit next to my husband, unhindered by armchairs or floor space, and do work or watch tv.  most of it was doing work, but it was punctuated by silliness that can only occur when you are sitting smashed together on a faux leather love seat. 

musicboy says it will be good for our relationship. i thought he was kidding at first, but now i'm beginning to see his point.


this week has worn on me already and it's only tuesday.

i canceled my classes as rural cc yesterday, with the idea that i would use the time to catch up on grading and planning that has piled up during the Week.Of.Performances, but which didn't ultimately help that much. and honestly? it was mainly because i couldn't face it. i couldn't face going there and having students not have read the assignments and just sit there staring at me. i just couldn't face it.

so i didn't.

way to be brave, teachergirl.

so i'm still behind, despite trying valiantly all day to work on things.  things just took a lot longer than i thought they would, and so i am still behind.  and today is tuesday, the toughest day of my week, and i am just praying mightily that i can do it.

i don't know what's up with me. i just feel like, whereas normally i have a barrier or a buffer of patience and the ability to cope with life's little twists and turns, that buffer has now been whittled down so far that every little thing, from dishes to a 5 hour block of classes, hits raw nerve. i know it's me. i don't like it. but i'm just not really sure how to recover.

i think i spent it all from sunday to sunday and didn't have a sunday or a saturday to find it again. 

is there somewhere you can purchase said capabilities?


halloween is coming.  soon.

i have one costume ready, for a little church activity that i am volunteering at on wednesday night. it's pretty simple but i hope it will be cute.

saturday's costume, though, for a party that we've been invited to? infinitely more difficult and i have no idea what to do.  i'm really just not sure. if things work out as i hope, i might end up just recycling a costume that i wore a couple of years ago.  but i don't know. i'm at a loss.


the moral of the story is this. amid life's difficulties comes carved pumpkins and glittery cat ears.  and sometimes you just have to slog through the days in order to get to the short but shining moments that make everything else worth it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

music groupie zombie girl.

i'm going to be really glad when this week is over.

it's giving me a brief glimpse into what life will be like when musicboy is performing/directing/touring/whateverhewillbedoing after school is over.  in addition to performing every day for 5 days with his percussion group in the school's musical revue, he was also guilt-tripped/cajoled/blackmailed/convinced (never asked, though...) to play in said musical revue's pit orchestra.  so...he's been gone most every night until about 10.  he's normally gone three nights a week until 8:30 or 9, but this week it's just been over-the-top.

luckily (and by luck i really mean it's a blessing from on high and i know it), things haven't been too stressful for me. but i think i realized today how much stress i was holding on behalf of musicboy. i was trying to take care of everything at home, at school, and also attend all of his performances. so far, it's been okay. but today, the prospect of having to go to the laundromat just sort of sent me over the edge. i guess i don't really like having our routine disrupted. 

or maybe i don't like having my plans disrupted.  i had a plan for today and, while it hasn't happened as well as i had hoped, good things have still happened.  and that's a good thing.  but i was still one grumpy camper going to the laundromat. 

haha.  good thing life is predictable, huh?

i love how life is teaching me so much all of the time. i am not at all saying that sarcastically.  i really mean it.  i'm glad to have these lessons because they are preparing me for the future. i'm sure there will be many weeks (months, maybe? hello football and marching band season) like this.  practice is good. 

maybe someday i'll get good at it? actually, i hope i never get good at missing my husband. i'm glad that i like spending time with him as much as i do.  that's the way it should be, i think. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ps to obscure thoughts

after reading it, i thought...wait, people might think i'm talking about musicboy.

in NO WAY is any of that related to musicboy, unless only really tangentially. it's all about situations that i can't/won't talk about but that i needed to talk about.

so there you go.

all is well with teachergirl and musicboy. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

completely obscure thoughts that you won't understand.

it's becoming more and more of a disappointment. realizing this is frightening and exhilarating at the same time.  but with every disappointment comes a greater insight into myself and that's incredibly comforting and awe-inspiring.  saying all of this out loud is freeing.

i wish the type of kindness i hope to cultivate was just inherent.  i feel like it should be. or i wish that i understood more how to negotiate this particular brand of kindness, which seems more like guilt, without feeling attacked or like i'm back at square one.  i felt like i had come so far, made so many inroads, and i hate that sometimes it feels like that rug has just been pulled out from under me.

i'm so glad that they are finally mailed, even though i am not yet completely done.  i wish i had been better about it.  i need to forgive myself about that. i am pretty sure i did my best.

i have a plan now and that's really nice. i'm not even scared that i won't be able to do it. i am sure that i will get there, but mainly i'm just committed to doing it. getting it done. being done. i don't know what will come next after that, but i think that's okay.  i really do.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

teachergirl rants: the gameday edition.

dear girl behind me who, with her five friends, is sharing the spot of two seats:

i appreciate the college football game tradition of tailgating. i think that most people probably don't get riproaring drunk before a game where you have to stand for four hours, keep track of complicated plays, and deal with the heat and limited oxygen of a stadium full of tens of thousands (nearly a hundred thousand) people. 

of course, as i write that, i think that i may be very wrong, given the fact that i heard you complain that you had forgotten your flash and, oh woe is you, didn't have your game on that day.

uh huh.

listen.  you are already standing on my husband's seat. which you shouldn't be doing.  despite both of us having an internal battle about whether or not we were going to be jerks about said spatial intrusion, we decided, nonverbally, against it. thank you for having some semblance of a soul and realizing that when we might want to sit down, you need to move your flip-flopped feet off of our stadium seat.  thank you for also realizing that if you touched my husband one more time, i was going to have to say something.  i mean, i might not have, but i might have started sighing really loudly and looking back at you even more than i was.  so thanks for not making me get passive-aggressive on you.  i appreciate it. 

but here's a few tips.

number one. sit in your own seat.  crowding in with your friends in their 9th row end zone seat may seem like a really good idea, but it's not.  go to your nosebleed section, begrudgingly, and then realize that the brilliance of this stadium is that EVERY seat is good.  and then, once you have paid your dues, you can relish the days when you unexpectedly get the most amazing seat ever, where if the kicker went wide right you'd be catching the failed field goal. 

it's only fair.

number two. stop talking about football like you know what you're talking about unless you actually know what you're talking about.  listen, i understand. i often say things, in the privacy of my own living room, that would be laughable to anyone other than musicboy, who just lovingly listens and corrects me when i'm an idiot. most of the time, though, i confine my comments to things that i know about or have learned about.

or, if i'm not sure, i frame it as a question. that way, i save face if i'm just horribly wrong.  like, for example, last night, i asked musicboy if that particular play should have been a holding penalty call. and i learned that holding only refers to someone who DOESN'T have the ball.  knowing that i had just seemed like an idiot, i made a joke of my idiocy by saying that they should change the rules.

that, my dear, is how it's done.

don't, for example, say that the play featuring a player on our team who has the ball, is trying to break two tackles, and is not yet down on the ground but is still digging for yardage, nay inches, should have been called by the ref 4 seconds ago.


don't, for another example, say that the kick-returning dynamo should have gone to the left instead of jutting up the middle, where he subsequently was tackled, because on the left WAS A BIGGER WALL OF THE OPPOSING TEAM.

these are comments that might be entertaining to those around you at your local sports bar or friend's living room, but they're not for the die-hard fans around you who probably know more about the statistics of this team than you can conceive of. when you enter the stadium, you have to bring your a spectator game. otherwise? you have to be a virtually silent fan, cheering when the obvious things happen and keeping your opinions to yourself.

#3.  on behalf of all women everywhere, can i just please suggest that you speak powerfully and with authority rather than with that affected, artificially elevated voice that has now come to be associated (perhaps unfairly) with blondes or with airheads?  i think you're smarter than that.  i really do.  but i think you speak like that because you think it gets you points, because you think that people like it, or because you think that it will get you what you want.

stop it.

you are an attractive woman who attends one of the best universities in the nation. i don't care what you major in or what your gpa is. you're here. 

speak with authority.  speak with power.  you will get much farther and will do much more with that voice than with the one that is both easily dismissed and easily mocked.  life is not a post-game party, where the dimmest bulb seems the shiniest.  bright is beautiful. own it.

on behalf of all of us who don't think your drunk airhead girl schtick is cute, thank you for your kind consideration.

teachergirl, the football fan.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

pumpkins and pigskin.

it's finally fall.  you can't tell it's fall here in collegetown by the calendar. oh no. it only becomes fall teasingly, in two or three day spurts, usually on the weekends. 

but it's best when it's on a saturday. that's football day, and it's the best day for it to feel like fall.  a little bit of a bite in the air, jeans becoming a viable wardrobe option for standing in a stadium for three hours, the need to pull a sweatshirt out of the deep recesses of the closet because the wall of chill you hit outside the front door sends you scurrying back inside.

i do love fall.

i don't care what people say about spring--fall is the time when i want to clean and organize and set my world to rights.  the living room window is open in our little apartment, the texas-oklahoma game is on, and i'm waiting for the floors to dry after i swiffered them.  the sheets are already changed and the bed is made, the bedroom is much more in order, and the bathroom shortly will too.

[mopping is too much effort for me today, but i am not thrilled with the swiffer performance either, so mopping is definitely in my future.]

in the next hour, i'll do dishes and dust (which i never do) and straighten the house and vacuum and clean the counters and burn an apple-smelling candle and try to welcome this beautiful fall weather in whatever way i can before it leaves again.

i'll pull on my jeans, put on my game colors, and head out to spend the most beautiful saturday that i can remember in one of my favorite places on earth...with my favorite person.  we'll walk across campus to the stadium hand in hand, through throngs of tailgaters and fellow fans, and find our seats.  we'll watch the plays and listen to the band, full of people that musicboy knows, and cheer loudly for the team that we both love.

maybe on the way back we'll buy a pumpkin from the little pumpkin patch set up by the church down the street. by then it will be dark, and cold, and the weather will tell us it's time for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  i'll make sure to mark tuesday on my calendar, when they'll show "it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown" so that i can remember to actually watch it. 

maybe i'll make this delicious weather and beautiful time feel so at home that it won't leave so quickly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

guilt is not essential.

that is what i learned from this.

let me back up a little.

i found this blog through my google reader. i subscribe to a couple of blogs that fall under the umbrella of mormon mommy blogs but, as i'm far from a mormon mommy, it seemed a stretch even for me. but i like the way the blog poses thought-provoking questions and topics of relevance not only to mommyhood but living the gospel every day.


i was feeling pretty overwhelmed on monday, needing to grade a million papers that i had procrastinated and not understanding how it was all going to happen.  that's when this blog post hit my reader and every line felt like it was directed to me.

i think we all have those revelatory moments, when something seems destined to speak right to us. sometimes it's a song that absolutely captures our feelings. sometimes it's a novel that contains a character that behaves just like us.  in those moments, i think we sometimes attribute that connection to art, creativity, or some other abstract human idea.

i don't.  i know exactly where it comes from.

it comes from a Heavenly Father who loves me.

when you're hit by a revelatory moment that is divine in origin, you don't ignore it.  unless, you know, you just want cosmic pianos to drop on your head.

so i'm making my to-do lists differently now, and while i haven't made huge inroads into my "like to do" lists, i have gotten the things done that i needed to get done and i've noticed that my days are much brighter. and i'm realizing that i'm listening less to the voice that tells me that i'm not enough.

i don't know why the world is suddenly brighter and why i feel so much happier. it's like a physical reaction, genuinely. 

but i like it. i'll keep it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


sundays have long been my favorite day.

i used to love tuesdays, when musicboy's letters from far across the sea would arrive.  before that, it was thursdays because it was the weekday that, at its close, told me that i had survived the week (my thursdays are becoming very much like this again). 

but since the phd program began, and the chaos descended and made itself at home, it has been sunday.

sundays aren't my funday, despite what the bangles say.  no, they are literally my day of rest.  musicboy and i do nothing--NOTHING--remotely connected to what we do all day every day for the rest of the week.  well, i'll concede that i often check my email later in the day as i'm preparing for monday, but that's it.

no grading. no reading. no practicing. no planning. no nothing.

it is bliss. it is my favorite day.

we've gotten a new calling (or, for those of you not down with mormonspeak, an assignment) at church. for the past few sundays, then, we've been working in the nursery.  after the first meeting, where families are together, the next two hours parents drop off their children, ages 18 months to 12 years old, in primary. the nursery is where the 18 month old to 3 year old crowd hang out.

and that's where we serve.

i love it.  i genuinely love it. not for the reasons you might expect, but because i think it's an assignment calculated to show me what i'm good at and what i'm...not so good at. today, we had a mega non-sharing day. every kid seemed to want to pick a fight with every other kid.  so, i took two kids who were fighting over toys and showed them how to take turns. and before i knew it, the kid who was the worst offender was offering the toy when it was his friend's turn.

that's success right there.

i have also learned that i have absolutely no patience with children who are bullies or who don't listen. for the ones who know that they are doing something wrong, have just seen you tell another child not to do it, yet look at you with the little gleam in their eyes and do it anyway. they just dare you to stop them. i can't tolerate that at all.

but i have also learned that my heart melts for a crying child, especially the one we have who doesn't talk in any discernable words. she signs, and she makes noises that sound like they must mean something to her, but she doesn't talk.  she's my favorite. i'm not afraid to say it.  and she clings to me like i am her security blanket, sitting on my lap during lesson time and not straying far away during the rest of the time.  i told her today that i couldn't wait until she started just talking in paragraphs, because it's going to be an amazing thing.

serving there brings a lot of sweetness to my sundays.

but so does having the time and the inclination to just watch a movie with my husband, to hug him as much as i want, to have the unhurried, unrushed time that helps us to remember why we love each other so much.

sundays are my favorite day, by far.  right now, raspberry bars are in the oven, musicboy is playing bach by memory on the keyboard, and a good friend is on her way over to play games and eat dinner.

today was exactly what i needed. today, i am content.

Friday, October 9, 2009

the beatles wrote a song about this day. i think i only know two lines...but they're important lines.

at 8:05 in the morning, 32 (gasp!) years ago, my poor mother ended three days of labor, laboring through a nurse's strike, and an extra almost month of pregnancy by delivering a nearly 11 pound baby.

and that's how i roll, y'all.

today's my birthday.  normally i am all HEY LOOK AT ME I'M THE BIRTHDAY PRINCESS! but this year, not so much. i'm not sure what's different, except that i am perhaps more happy and content with my life on this birthday than i ever have been.

i don't know that i could ask for anything more than i have. i am healthy. i am married to the love of my life and my very best friend--forever. i have jobs enough to keep us supported and they are jobs that let me use the skills that the Lord has blessed me with.  i am surrounded by so many people who love me that i am honestly always astounded by the outpouring of it.  my life is full and rich and i am incredibly happy with it.

my darling musicboy asked me what my birthday wish was last night.  since i have nearly everything i could hope or wish for (except for maybe wii fit), i thought that i would think that i wanted to finally finish the phd or something similarly goal-oriented.  maybe actually stop eating copious amounts of cookies and work out more.  lose the weight i've gained since the wedding.  find a way to balance all that needs to be done better. learn to make a cheesecake. you know, something wish-y.

not even close.  i didn't even have time to think, really. when he asked me, the answer sprang to mind immediately. it was the very first thing that flashed into my mind, in such a spontaneous way that testified to its deep truthfulness, and it surprised me.   genuinely. 

it's my birthday.   i'm certain this year is going to be a good one.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

this is your wednesday update.

i saw two yellow butterflies playing in the air as i drove home from small rural cc today. i love when i see them, and i see them frequently. they seem like the insect embodiment of happiness.

i have decided that the lyrics "like ice cream melting, they embraced" are probably the worst country song lyrics i've ever heard. sorry, tim mcgraw.  that one should have gone back to the drawing board.

i chopped off my hair and dyed it dark brown, darker than i've ever dyed it and i've dyed it some colors.  it seems like a universal rule of mine that, after i take really adorable pictures that will cement an important moment in my life, i dye my hair a significantly different color.  for engagement pictures, it was blonder. now that wedding pictures are back and chronicle my cute blondeness, i am now a serious brunette.

my birthday is on friday and i have thought about it not much at all. this is deeply unusual for me, the birthday queen.  i think it's because i'm happier and more content than i ever have been.  that said, it's kind of cool to have two families to shower me with birthday greetings and fun things. i just got two unexpected gifts today from musicboy's family.  whee! 

i have grading to do and bones to watch, at the same time.  i am multitasker, hear me roar. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

love is the answer.*

all you need is love.

love can move a mountain.

insert any sort of cliched idea here about love, and you get the general idea.  most people, because these ideas have been used so much and so badly, dismiss them with a quick eye roll and an even quicker change of subject. 

but i think we need to stop doing that.

this weekend was one of my favorite weekends. despite having to change my plans and spend most of it in bed (still grading, but SO SLOWLY and punctuated by naps) because of the persistent case of the YUCKS that we have, we still got the chance to watch conference.

for those of you who don't know, i am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. every six months, we as an entire church have the opportunity to spend the weekend listening to messages from our church leaders, each of which has prayed earnestly to know what we might need and has prepared equally as diligently.  it is a deeply renewing time for me and for musicboy.  it inevitably comes at a time when i feel worn out and worn down, when my batteries are flashing red and i'm not sure how to continue to face all that i have to do.

the same was true this weekend.  i've written before about how i'm having trouble adjusting to the new populations i'm teaching and the new subjects that i'm tackling, how it feels like i'm walking uphill in mud most days and how that feeling doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence.  nevertheless, i keep trudging, but i have found myself easily frustrated and easily annoyed by those same situations, which only makes it worse.

so when i began to watch conference, and began to see a consistent theme focused on loving one another, it sank deep into my soul.  i began to feel the pieces of this puzzle that i'd been grappling with--how do i become a better teacher? how do i deal with these situations better? how do i balance life at home, which is wonderful, with life at work, which is hard, without letting one negatively affect the other?--start to come together. 


what does that mean?  it means, for me, that i have begun to pray to love my students.  i don't expect to feel warm and fuzzies for each one of them every single day, but what i have already noticed is that the frustration that i was feeling about their lack of participation and preparation has stopped really penetrating my heart.  that sounds like i'm callous, not loving, but i don't mean it that way. rather than reacting out of anger or frustration, i simply assess the situation and deal with it, with an attitude that's more about what they need than about how i feel. 

trying to love those around me, i know, will make me much less likely to react negatively. it will allow me to recognize the moments when i can reach out and do something for someone else. it will make me want to be better every single day.  it will change me, rather than changing the situation. 

it makes sense.  i've been trying to change everyone and everything around me, all of my students and how i approach teaching and the lessons i've been doing, without realizing that the greatest change needs to come from me.  in my public speaking classes, i talk on and on about how delivery is the way that you will capture your audience.  how could i not have realized that, being the open book that i am, the frustration and annoyance that i have felt would read on my face, making me much less likely to encourage or inspire students?

so i'm trying love.  i'm trying love in everything that i do. i'm trying to find ways to encourage and ways to care and ways to love that might not have been obvious to me before.

i know it will work, if only i can stick with it.  i know it will change my heart, if that's what i really want.  i know it will have a deeply positive effect, even if i don't realize it right away. 

love always does.

*it really is. it always is the answer.  i'm not even kidding about that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

because when we get sick, we do it differently.

flu?  cold?

no way.

when musicboy and teachergirl get sick, they don't get a fever. their temperature goes DOWN...subnormal really down.  they sleep a lot, but then feel good enough to be normal for a few hours before i feel like crap.

when teachergirl gets sick, she doesn't get sick enough to be like WOW. I'M SICK. no, it has to be this big things where she has to decide if she's actually sick or if she's being a BIGGIANTWIMP who just doesn't want to do her grading.

sick.  definitely.  some sort of weird virus thing.  it's stupid and lame and caused me to get only 3 hours sleep last night.

so it's naptime for me.

good grief.  the swine better stay away from me. i don't have time for this nonsense.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 look like a monkey, and you smell like one too!

today is my mom's birthday. hence the obnoxious, and totally joking, post title.

since it's a new blog, i haven't talked much about her.  mama raised me on her own, with some help from my grandparents, but mostly on her own.  that, in and of itself, ought to tell you how amazing she is.  she worked full-time, finished her degree, and made a life for me that taught me how to be all that she was--fiercely independent, committed to what's right, kind and generous, and a ridiculously hard worker.

i was not always the ball of sunshine and light that i always am now. (ha. that was a joke. hahahahaha. you can laugh now.) i was a tough teenager, not because i got into fights or drugs or crime, but because i was moody and a typical teenage girl. i did what i was supposed to do, but i did it with a splash of pretty serious attitude.  i rolled my eyes a lot, thought my mom was crazy, and believed the tragedies in my life (oh NO! the boy doesn't like me!) topped the angst scale.

it's only been in the past few years that i have realized, perhaps because i've really had to live ON.MY.OWN. and be an actual adult, how much my mom did (and does) every day.  while she was stressed out at times, she never gave up.  while she wanted to pelt me with olives sometimes because of my attitude (and probably still does...), she worked hard to learn how to best deal with me and to understand what made me tick.  she's a model to me of patient endurance. i hope i am that wise as a mother someday.

she is extraordinary.

my mom is a talented woman.  she's ridiculously good at her job, and takes great pride in what she creates. she's also a closet artist. she doesn't get the chance to exercise it much (i hope she will take it up again sometime...), but when her creative juices get flowing, i always know that things will be more beautiful. she's the ultimate problem solver.  she can visualize a room, a process, a situation and, after thinking about it from every angle, can come up with a solution.  those solutions almost always work, but when they don't, she just starts back at square one.  she doggedly pursues what she wants and doesn't give up--even when maybe she should for her own selfish reasons.

my mom has a big heart--she loves people and is loyal to them.  she expects a lot but she gives a lot in return. those expectations, because they are loving in nature, have the amazing ability of teasing the best out of people. people who work for her or learn from her are better off for having been around her.  she's faithful and true, even in the face of hard times.  she loves the Lord and she does what's right, every day, even when it's hard. she takes care of the people that she loves in all of the ways that she can, whether they deserve it or not. i know that i have been a recipient of this many a time, and i am so grateful for it.  she's always there when i need her. i hope i can even come close to being that kind of support to her.

she's funny--it's a silly kind of funny, but she's funny, and she loves to laugh.  nothing makes her happier than to sit around the kitchen table with my family and laugh until we have to pee.  (and we're usually laughing about some really stupid, random stuff. all the better in my mom's eyes.)  she'll watch any disaster movie ever produced, even when they are SO BAD that they make your head hurt for all of your eye-rolling.  she has an iPod full of showtunes, but she's gradually mixing in some newer stuff thanks to iTunes. 

she's adventurous in her own way, although she'll say that she likes things the same.  that's true--she likes routine and things that she can count on, but she's also brave enough to face the scary stuff in life. as a breast cancer survivor, she'd have to be.   i think she's probably one of the scrappiest people i know--and, from me, that's a huge compliment. 

if i were there, i would bake her my famous strawberry cake, make some yummy chicken enchiladas, and we'd have a fun movie night.  we'd make jokes about how old we're getting and then do something ridiculously immature to assure ourselves that we aren't old at all.

we would laugh at stupid silly disaster movies and plot our christmastime domination of the movie theater. we would hang out, and no one would think about the work they had to do or how much they had to face the next day. we would hit the pause button on life, which is so hard to do nowadays, and celebrate the fact that she's the best mom in the whole world and a darn awesome lady as well.

but instead, i sent her a card that i hope will get there today. i called and sang to her voicemail, and then talked to her for a few minutes as well.  she told me all about her week-long plan of birthday celebration (taking a page from my book!) and i am so excited that she is being honored the way she deserves to be. i'm even more proud that she's choosing to allow those around her to shower her with love rather than fading into the background the way she normally does. if anyone deserves the spotlight, she does.

i'll email her the link to this blog and hope she clicks on it,  so that she'll know that on this day, the day that she was born, i'm awfully glad she was.  not because it meant that i'd get to be here (for which i am very grateful--sorry for the three days of labor, mama! and the 11 pounds!), but because knowing her has made my life richer, better, and much more joyful.

happy birthday, mama.  musicboy and i love you very much and we're very grateful that you are who you are, doing what you're doing and being exactly all that you are meant to be. 

you're amazing.