What Kind of Mood Are You In Today?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heros, Courage, The Wisdom of a Child, and other cliche titles that in no way convey my feelings.

There are people in this world that make you stop in your tracks, evaluate, educate yourself.

There are people in this world who possess something you don't have and you stand back and wonder if you could ever have it.  An inner courage.  A deeper level of wisdom.  Something you admire because you're not sure you could attain to that.

For me, that person is a 9 year old boy named Brady.

Brady has Juvenile (Type I) Diabetes.  To steal the words of his parents, Brady has to do things that no child should.  10-12 needle pricks a day, a painful infusion site that attaches him to his insulin pump every 3 days, and when his insulin pump isn't working, shots of insulin.  He must always be aware of carbs, his activity level, his body.  He has to deal with frightening lows and life-threatening highs.  He has to live with the knowledge that this disease can rob one of fingers, toes, eyesight, or cause kidney failure, to name just a few harsh realities.

And yet, Brady possesses something that makes me stand back and wonder.  He has an inner courage, a deeper level of wisdom.  Something I admire because I'm not sure that I could ever attain to that.

Though Type I diabetes is not caused by eating too many sweets and is completely unpreventable, Brady understands what Type II is and knows that it IS preventable.  I love sweets.  I have a horrible sweet tooth.  I know I shouldn't eat so many of them, but it was Brady that made me stop and think one day.

I had my near-daily cup of hot chocolate sitting on my desk, chocolate candy, and I think I was talking about ice cream or some other yummy pile of sugar.  Brady said to me, "You shouldn't eat too much sweets.  You can get diabetes."

I don't know if the power of that statement comes through in black and white, but it stunned me for a moment.  Here is a kid who did nothing to cause his own diabetes (which is entirely more complicated than Type II) watching an adult eat her way into Type II Diabetes, completely by her own choice.  Here's a kid who has to count every carb and get insulin for every gram, watching an adult...me... eat junk food with no care in the world.  No testing, no counting, no insulin.

And here I tell him to be responsible and stop what he's doing, even if it is recess, and test.  He knows that if his numbers are too low he'll miss recess completely (like today).  I tell him to think about his future while he does what no child should ever have to do-grow up fast.  I give him lectures, reinforcing the standards that no other child in the entire school has to follow.  I stress the importance of taking care of his body and keeping himself healthy. What a hypocrite I am, sitting there with my hot chocolate, candy, and dreams of ice cream.

Brady, where do you find your courage?  How is it you possess the strength to keep poking and testing while you would rather be out having fun?  I stand back and wonder if I could ever have that.  But should I ever need it, I will think of you and be inspired.  Your strength will increase mine.  And I will stop eating too many sweets.  :)

Below is a video about Brady and Juvenile (Type I) Diabetes.  Please watch it and then click the link below if you are able to donate anything...even $1...to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for Brady's team, "Brady's Bunch."  Pray for a cure.

Click here to donate.  Thank you!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Am Not a Ticket Master

I knew it was only a matter of time.

Things were just going so...perfectly!

But it's been awhile, so it was simply inevitable. We all knew that.

This last weekend I took Travis to San Francisco to celebrate his 40th birthday. Other than the fact that he knew I was getting a sitter and taking him away for an overnight birthday celebration, it was all a surprise. Where we were going, where we having dinner, where we were staying, and the fact that we were going to see "Wicked."

I spent hours planning this weekend and was so careful to make sure everything was in place and organized. I read so many reviews for hotels and restaurants, pouring over every detail.

Ticketmaster has this really cool feature. You can pick a section of the theatre and it shows you a picture of what your view will be. A wonderful little detail that I did not miss! Since it was Travis' 40th, I wasn't going to just get any 'ol tickets. Nope! This was going to be a memorable and very special weekend!

So, after waiting a couple of days to make sure that buying tickets to "Wicked" was what I really should do for him, I got back on Ticketmaster and bought the tickets. To my disappointment, the seats I wanted were no longer available. So, I took the next best, though I was wishing I wouldn't have been quite so careful and been a little more impulsive, as I generally am. Naturally.

A day before we were to leave, I decided to check the tickets again and *WHOA* the tickets I wanted were available! Did someone cancel? Or did I make a mistake when I ordered the tickets before? Naw...that couldn't be...well, maybe. Shoot!

I called Ticketmaster. No returns, no refunds, period. Not a single thing I can do, other than buy 2 more tickets. That would be utterly foolish, so I would just have to settle for what I had.

Craigslist! Yes! I could sell them on Craigslist for a little less than I paid, then buy the tickets I really wanted. It would be worth a litte more money to make this weekend most special.

The tickets sold in 1/2 hour! Whew! I ran off to Starbucks, traded tickets for cash, headed home, bought the tickets I wanted, and sat at home looking like the cat who swallowed the canary.

Off we went the next morning. Our hotel room was perfect. Dinner was AMAZING!!! (No, amazing does not even begin to describe this restaurant! If you ever get a chance to go to Grand Cafe, DO IT!!! I don't know that I'll ever enjoy going out to eat again after that.)

Then, off to the show!

As we walked in, I saw the couple that I sold the tickets to in the will call line. I tapped the gentleman on the shoulder to say hello. The couple looked at me for a moment and didn't recognize me. I explained that I was the one that sold them the tickets, then they looked at me...

and said what I did NOT expect....

"They said these tickets were for TUESDAY!"

That would be 3 days before.

"WHAT?!?" I took the tickets, looked at the date, and sure enough, they said, "Tuesday, April 6."

No! No! No!!! I was shaking. Seriously shaking. I would NEVER, EVER try to cheat and steal like that. What am I going to do? They must hate me! Do they believe me when I say that I didn't know? Why should they?

They went to the window and asked if they could trade the tickets for this night since the tickets they were holding had not been used. Manager came.

I went to the window to explain. My voice and hands were trembling. I...I...I can't believe this is happening!!! Oh, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me get out of this and PLEASE let them agree to trade the tickets.

The manager finally said, "We can do that, but you'll have to pay $30. These tickets are more expensive than the ones you bought."


I didn't care. $30 to save my reputation is a very small price to pay! I paid it, then pulled a $20 out of my purse and gave it to the couple for their trouble.

To my utter surprise, Travis laughed and said, "Oh, my Rachael. I love you."

Maybe I should take him out every weekend!

I'd do the Math for you, but I'm too embarrassed to say the total amount of what I paid for 2 tickets to "Wicked." Let's just say that had that amount been the face value of the tickets, I should have been able to go backstage and take home an autographed copy of a CD...and a T-shirt...and a mug...and been entered 10 times into the raffle they had going. (Winner gets to go onstage with them in their next production. omGOSH that would be SO amazingly awesome!!!)

Well, despite my efforts to be detail-oriented and level-headed, in the end I could be none other than myself.

Perhaps that's exactly how it should be.

And maybe I should go into show business and leave the ticket ordering to Travis!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The First Proposal

If you haven't read the first 4 posts, please do so now.  :)

1.  He Should Have Known
2.  Thunderlips
3.  Chaperones in White Jackets
4.  Isn't He Romantic

All caught up?  Well, then get grap some Valentine's chocolate and get comfortable.

As you've read, the first date was a rather eventful one.  On Sunday the church was all abuzz and had us married in their minds already.  Even Travis' co-worker told him on Monday, "Travis, you HAVE to marry her!  That's a great story to tell your grandkids!"

Fast forward 3 months and we are beginning to agree.  I know, I know.  3 months is not a very long time to get to know someone and be thinking about marriage.  But in all fairness, we'd known each other for over two years already.  It was beginning to look as if this might get serious, but neither of us had vocalized that yet.  We weren't anywhere near talking about marriage, but we both knew deep down that that's exactly where this relationship was headed.

I think I'd known that since I was 15.

My birthday was near.  It had become a tradition in my family to go to Apple Hill for my birthday.  I loved it there, especially sampling the just-made apple juice!  It was also where I caught my first fish and I wanted to share this with Travis.  So, the Saturday nearest my birthday we made plans to drive to Apple Hill together, just the two of us, and have a picnic lunch.

I was the navigator.

I'm as good with navigation as I am with gas pumps!  I told him, "Just get on 80 and keep going until you see the signs."  So, he did.

We wound up in Tahoe... 2 hours away from our destination!

"Oh," I said.  "I guess it's 50."

We decided to make the best of it and see Tahoe before heading to Apple Hill.

Now, I must let you in on what Travis was up to.  A few days before, Travis kept asking me if I wanted my birthday present early.  I wanted it on our special date, so I declined the offer.  He asked several times, each time I said no.  The day of our date, he started it with, "Are you SURE you don't want to open your present early?"  Why was he so excited about this present?

He was asking nervous all day.  In Tahoe, we took a walk at a beautiful place and I mentioned that it would be a pretty place for a wedding.  Travis paused for a moment and said,

"Would you want to have a wedding here?"
"Would you want a big wedding or a small one?"
"Outside or in a church?"

He was merely talking hypothetically, but one would have to wonder if perhaps he's putting out feelers.  Hmmm...is he having the same gut feeling?  Does he see spending the rest of his life with me?

Not going to entertain that thought.  Not now, anyway.

We went back to the car and drove back the way we came until we could turn toward 50.  By the time we arrived at Apple Hill, it was dark and everything was closed down.  We'd planned on having a picnic lunch, but we decided to save it for dinner.  And now it was dinner time.

We searched and searched in the dark for a place to have our picnic, but to no avail.  We finally decided to eat in the middle of an apple orchard.

It sounded romantic.

Until a bird rustled in the trees and tricked me into thinking there was a mad man with a chainsaw about to attack us!

As we finished, Travis asked, "Are you ready for your present now?"

Yes, I was.  So he went to his car to get it, acting nervous.  What was the big deal with this present?

He came back, handed me the gift bag, and I proceeded to reach into the bag for the gift.

It was small.

It was a box.

It was velvety.

Travis took it from me and got down on one knee.

Oh, my gosh.  Can it be...?

"Rachael, I know we haven't been dating very long, but I do know that I am sure of my feelings for you.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah..."

All I caught was the first line.  I was now outside my body, looking into his eyes, asking myself if this was real.  He was NOT going to propose!!!  He can't!  I'm not ready.  Three months...  I'm pretty sure I want to marry this guy, but I'm not ready to say it and I'm certainly not ready to promise it!  I can't say yes, but if I say no will I lose him?  Will I totally crush him?  What am I going to say?  Oh, man.  I can't believe this is happening.  I...I...I...

"Rachael, will you...."

He opened the box.

"...accept these diamond earrings?"

diamond..diamond...wait.  Diamond EARRINGS??

I looked down and, sure enough, there was small pair of diamond earrings.

I cannot express in words the relief I felt!  At this point, I should have called him a name and asked him what the heck he was thinking, but I'm not that quick on my feet.  Plus, like I told you before, he was a practical joker.  Everyone came to expect the unexpected with Travis.

I slowly travelled back inside my body and put the earrings on.  I don't have a clue what happened the rest of the night.  But on Monday when I showed the guys in Chemistry class what Travis had given me for my birthday, they all agreed that he was planning on marrying me.

And they were right.

Travis' Defense...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Isn't He Romantic?

I'd tell you the story of the rose, but since I was in the emergency room, I'll let Travis tell you...

So, I Gave a Guy a Rose!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chaperones in White Jackets

Did you read this yet?

What about this?

NO?  Then go there NOW!  And in that order!

There I am, like a damsel in distress in an old black-and-white melodrama.  I began to gain a sort of semi-consciousness as he lifted me into the car.  It was so strange.  I literally felt like I was floating.  I could not feel him at all.

He shot around to the driver's side and took off like a...well, a guy who thought his date might be dying.  I don't remember much of the start of the drive, but by the time we reached the emergency room, I was fully recovered.  

We checked in, though it really felt quite silly to walk in looking perfectly normal and saying I needed to see a doctor. 

Now, these were the days where not everyone had a cell phone.  To own one was something, at least in my mind at the time, only the rich or the business man/woman owned.  I certainly didn't own one and if Travis did, it was his work phone and he was absolutely forbidden to use it for personal calls.  After I checked in at the window, Travis went to find a pay phone.

Travis called my mother.  

"Linda, this is Travis.  I'm here with Rachael in the emergency room.  She passed out."

"Travis," my mother said, "You're just kidding me."

Travis did have a thing for practical jokes.  He was widely known for them.  Some of them were pretty...I wouldn't call them good, but they make great stories (one of which you will get to hear later...).  

"Linda, I'm not joking.  I wouldn't joke about something like this."

It took a bit more persuasion on Travis' part, but he finally did convince my mother of the truth.  I was indeed in the emergency room and I had actually passed out.

Well, the time between my mom arriving at the hospital with my brother and the next morning are not all that exciting, other than Travis taking my brother out in the dark and giving him a rose, but Travis wants you in suspense on that one.  

Why did I pass out?  After waiting for HOURS, drawing blood, running tests, and going through a CAT scan, the final diagnosis...?


It was a very busy time for me.  I was the All Student Body President that year, so I was privileged to be able to do a speech at graduation.  I totally loved it, I was totally honored to do it, but it was pretty nerve-wracking, as you can well imagine.  I was also part of the committee that was planning the Senior Trip to Disneyland.  Again, I totally loved it, I was totally honored to do it, but it was also pretty nerve-wracking.  

Mind you, I am about to step off into a whole new arena in life.  Perhaps not so much as others since I was going to live at home, but one without my childhood friends and one in which I would be expected to foot a little more of the bill.  (Thank you, Mom!)

And to top it off, I decided to start that new adventure in life a little early.  I barely pulled a C in Precalculus and, at the time, I thought I wanted to go to Medical School.  If that were the case, I would likely have to take Calculus in college and I knew I wasn't prepared for that. 

I decided to take Precalculus again at the local junior college during the summer, but their summer started before my last day of high school.  I was going to high school in the morning and college in the afternoon.  Finals and fast-paced, college-sized homework at the same time.  And I wasn't doing much better at Precalculus in college than I was in high school.  No, I was actually doing worse.  I was getting D's and F's and that was not something I was used to.  It crushed me.

And when I had to make the decision to drop that class, I felt like a failure.  Here I was, my first step into the new arena of life, and I was already falling flat on my face.  WHY couldn't I get it??  This should be review!  My answer was that I just wasn't smart enough.  Not good enough.  Born defective.  I was letting everyone down.  My teachers, my parents, my friends...they would all finally see me for who I was.  (As if that were a bad thing!)

Yeah, wasn't a very confident person at age 17.

I dropped the class that week and was going out with Travis...THE Travis...on that weekend.  It was really more than I could handle.  I suppose the kiss was the final straw and once we got to his car, my mind and body needed to check out.  

The emergency room is certainly not where I planned to end our first date and my mother certainly didn't plan on having to pick me up there.  I suppose the doctors in white jackets were great chaperones, though.  They prevented, at least for a night, another electrifying encounter with...

Thursday, February 4, 2010


That's the engraving on the garter I wore on my wedding day.

Scratch that - the garter my husband kept that looked just like the garter I wore on my wedding day.

I'm not the one who gave Travis that name.  A friend of ours did and it had something to do with another girl, but after our first date I claimed it for my own.

This same friend told Travis the Monday after our first date, "Travis, you have to marry her!  This will be a great story to tell your grandkids!"

I was 17 and had just graduated from high school.  There was this boy- scratch that - GUY at church.  He was 23 so in my mind, that didn't qualify him as a "boy", me being 17 and all.  I'd had my eye on him since I was 15...sort of.  I mean, when I was 15 he was 21 and it wasn't like I thought I would ever really go out with him.  He was like...a grown-up!  And I can't say that I sat dreamy-eyed in my room, scribbling his name on all my binders, but every time he talked to me I blushed.  Every time he invited me to join the church youth group on an outing and offered to drive me, I got all flittery inside.  And whenever he let me ride in the front seat, I couldn't do anything except stare out the window and hope that I didn't look or say anything stupid.  And when he tried to strike up a conversation with me, everything I said came out silly or snobby as I tried to look like I was cool, calm, and had composure.  What was it about this guy?

He was also the standard I measured every other guy by.  Is he friendly like him?  Is he considerate like him?  Is he as faithful to God and to church as Travis is?  I totally liked that in a guy.

And those questions were safe to ask.  I was 15.  He was 21.  And as if that weren't enough to settle the question of whether or not he'd ever be interested in me or vice versa, he was engaged.

Totally safe.

So again, here I am 17 and fresh out of high school and here is this guy, now aged 23, now no longer engaged...and talking to me...wow!  Wait-actually flirting with me...well, I think.  I mean, he is a friendly guy.

And when he said to me one summer evening, leaning over talking to me through the window of my car, "Would you like to do something sometime, like dinner or something?" I figured he was just wanting to hang out...as friends.  Like, maybe now that I graduated high school I was cool enough to hang out with this guy and not just with all the other teenagers around.

My mother was wiser.

"But Mom, he hangs out with Davia and Tiffany all the time!  That's just how he is!"

Nonetheless, Mom thought I should be prepared and go ahead and dress nice....but go ahead and take some money to pay for my dinner, just in case he really was just being friendly.

The night came.  July 24.  (I TOLD you I was fresh out of high school!)  He picked me up at my mother's house, which is where I was still living, being 17 and all, and let my mother know that we were going to Chevy's on the river.  I'd never been to the place, but anything on the river is kind of romantic.

The car ride was...quiet.  I was so shy and so nervous.  He did his very best to make conversation and I tried my best, too, but I know it had to be hard for him.  I warmed up a bit over dinner, but still I was so incredibly shy and incredibly worried that I would wind up with my dinner sticking out of my face or some of it spilling onto my white shirt, or that I would gleek on him or something.  I do not miss my shy days!

Dinner went well and we headed off to play a game of miniature golf.  On our way, we passed by the street that my elementary school was on.  I hadn't been there in such a long time and rarely did I ever drive past it because it was not near my home.

I mentioned to Travis that my elementary school was down that road and he said, "You wanna go see it?"  To which I replied, "Sure!"

Travis got out of the straight lane and into the turn lane.  We turned left and quickly found ourselves in the school parking lot.  I showed him where my 1st grade class was and where the Special Ed. building was that I helped in when I was there.  We talked about the playground and I mentioned how there was this tree we planted and I wondered how big it must be by now.

"You wanna go see it?"  To which I replied, "Sure!"

So we parked, got out of the car, and walked to the tree.  There it was.  It was much bigger than when my class and I planted it.  So big in fact that Travis and I could stand under it.

I must back up at this point and tell you about the conversation we had on our way to the school.

Travis asked if I thought a couple should kiss on a first date.  Me, being absolutely as naive as they come, began to debate with him without getting a clue of where he was going with this.  I told him no, that I didn't think a couple should kiss on their first date.  That it was a special, intimate thing and one should get to know the other a bit more before heading in that direction.  Shoot!  What if you didn't even care for the guy or girl but they were expecting a kiss at the end of the night?

Travis, being the logical thinker he is and, well...being a guy, naturally took the position that it was just fine for a couple to kiss on the first date.  After all, it was just a kiss.  He said some other things that I couldn't argue against.  It's pretty much always been that way.  He states logical conclusions and I am defenseless to defend my position.  The systematic thinker meets the intuitive one.  How opposites do attract!

In the end, I conceded that it was ok for a couple to do a "peck", but no open-mouthed kissing, although I still didn't think it was the best thing.

So here we are under the tree.  It's dark by now.  This time I have more to say than he does, talking about my childhood teachers and friends and reminiscing.  I'm guessing he had no idea what I was saying because once I was finally quiet, he looked into my eyes, put his arms around me, and kissed me.

A peck.

Ok.  Now I'm back to nervous!

We walked back to his car and my heart must have been going a million beats per second, or something close to that at least.  We stopped by the car door and just stood there talking.  Eventually he slipped his hands around my waist and my freak-out factor hit the roof!

He was talking about something when suddenly his voice started sounding further and further away.  Then there was this tingling sound in my ears and everything was going fuzzy.  And then...

I passed out.  Right there in his arms.  Out cold.

More later...

Looking Through Travis' Eyes

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

He Should Have Known...

He really should have.  When our first date ended in a trip to the emergency room, he should have seen the red flags flying!  

We have been waiting months to share our story with you.  From the start, our life has had some funny episodes and in honor of Valentine's Day, we would like to tell you all about it.

But one must start at the beginning...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad-What Kind of Apps Can We Expect?

Thanks, Paula, for the idea!

What kind of apps would you expect to see on this product?

see more Epic Fails

iPad...With or Without Wings?

Forgive me, but the name just gives me the giggles!  I know my mind is warped, but when I saw this, I just HAD to post it!  It was the first thing I thought of, too.  LOL!!!  (got the giggles again)

see more Epic Fails

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What a Great Quote!

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. ~Albert Camus

Got that from my Aunt Mary's Facebook status.  I think it's my new theme!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thoughts on the Simple Life

Ah, the simple life.

I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days about the simple life.  What is it?  Is it desirable?  Is it attainable?

I posed the question here and on Facebook.  Some seem to think that it means having less.  Others, feeling more.  For some, it seems that living in moderation is the key to living the simple life.   Seems everyone has their own definition.  So, I had to ask myself, "Rachael, ,what do YOU define as the simple life?"

"Good question, " I said.

When I think of the simple life, I think of one with fewer bills, because there are fewer things that I "need."  I think of homemade rugs and jam for wedding gifts.  Not because one is poor, but because one knows her well enough to know that those items are her favorite and your heart takes joy in making her happy.

I think of driving slow because, a)  you left with plenty of time and b) there is no other way to go.  No such thing as the fast lane or drivers cutting you off because they're in so much of a hurry.

I think of a life where I can let my children roam the neighborhood without fear of the perverts that might be lurking.  I think of myself being able to walk down the street or through the woods or on the beach without fear of being prey to someone's violent impulses.

I think of a place where you know your neighbors and you share with your neighbors.  A place where "everybody knows your name".

I think of a life with far less stress and far less noise  I can be alone in my home and not hear the hum of the refrigerator, the buzz of the lights, or the quiet fan of the desktop computer.  The phone doesn't ring and there are no telemarketers, for crying out loud!

I think of the quiet hours spent making things for my home and "homely" is fashionable.  There's no expectation of having my home look like it came from the department store or like something out of a Bed Bath and Beyond mailer.

I don't want to feel guilty when I come home from work because the house is messy and doesn't have the homey touch of a mom who has been home all day.

At the end of the day, I can read a book or write or play music in the evenings.  I can relax without feeling guilty about it, which isn't very relaxing.

Relax.  Hmmm....

So, as I daydream about all the wonderful things the simple life has to offer, truth is, I will likely never be one who leaves in plenty of time to get somewhere because I will likely always want "just one more minute" of sleep.  I don't want to take up sewing or quilting.  Not right now, anyway.

While I enjoy my one day per week I have off when the kids are at school and can spend time feeling like the housewife I intended to be, if I'm honest with myself I know that I love being with people and if I did not have an outside job, I would find something else to do outside of the home.  I'd be volunteering at school, at church, you name it.

Truth be told, I don't want to give up my fridge, computer, or electricity for the sake of quiet.  I just want quiet.

So, do I want to live the simple life?  Yes.  Uhhh..no.  I mean yes.  But wait…

When it comes down to it,  I just want to relax.  But I don't want to work hard at it and that's exactly what simple living is about.  It's not a dream world where life falls into place the way you want it and it isn't a place where you control what other people do.  Simple living is about  making the tough decisions that require cutting back and doing less and working hard to uphold them and, at the end of the day, taking time to relax.

How do I fare?  I have to laugh at myself.


And then, there's Little League and piano lessons...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Simple Life: Need Your Input, Please

My brother and sister-in-law came over for the weekend and brought their wonderfully sweet and adorable son.  My sister-in-law also brought over a box of books for my daughters that she had read as a girl and when I spied the last 3 books in the Anne of Green Gables series, I snatched them up immediately.  I read the first 3 books as a girl, but never read the last 3.

The next day we went to church and the pastor, who said he could't believe he was going to do this because he disliked it when other pastors did this, talked about the way things used to be.  Days when moms stayed home, families got together for Sunday Dinner, kids respected adults, children took care of their aging parents, and other things that some attribute to the "simple life".  Food for thought, if you care to keep an open mind.  (Open mind does not mean you agree nor does it always mean that what you are considering must be something new or anti-status quo, but that's another post.)

I came home and started reading Anne of Windy Poplars and I was whisked away to a land of a young lady who didn't know anything of Little League, American Idol, or working inside AND outside the home.  While I disagree with the notion that anything from the past must be better, I can't help but think, as I often do, about what the simple life is and if it's something I want to have.

This is where you come in.  What comes to your mind when you hear someone talk about simple living?  What images are flashing in your head?  Is it attainable?  Is it desirable?  Is it just a notion we find appealing, but is not in fact reality?  (Why is my mouse not working right now?)  (There!)

Your thoughts...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Missing Costume

Besides damaging fuel pumps, crushing my car in drive-through car washes, and being the luckiest person on the planet, I, as I have mentioned afore, teach Music at a K-8 school, Pacific Coast Christian Academy. I absolutely LOVE my job!!! Working with children is one of the most fulfilling things in my life. To know that I have made, am making, and will make a difference is something that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, nor can it be explained by letters on a computer screen. Suffice it to say that this job has made me realize that love has no limits, even though my heart feels sometimes like it's going to bust open because it's just doesn't seem possible for it to contain it all.

Or maybe I just have the most special students in all the world, which is possible. Just ask their parents!

One part of my job is to direct the school's two musicals. It's a big production on a small budget. There are roughly 80 kids on stage at once, close to 100 when preschool is on the stage with us. The whole school sings in the choir and there are drama and solo parts. In less than 3 months, somehow we manage to learn 6 or 7 songs and memorize parts for a 45 minute show. Three months may seem like a long time, but we only have Music class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My kids are amazing!!!

I can go on and on about my job and about my students, but I may have already lost you, so let me go on to the story.

Like I said, it's a big production on a small budget, so when it comes to costumes, we beg, borrow, and... uh, can't steal because it's a Christian school. ;-) But we do a lot of begging and borrowing. For Christmas last year, there were 3 kids that played the role of janitors. We borrowed 3 coveralls from...well, that's confidential information.  I didn't give them to the kids until the day before the show because I didn't want them to get lost. You know how it is, child puts costume in backpack, backpack goes home, backpack gets unloaded along with the newest glitter creation of the day, and somehow it ends up under the bed with stinky socks and all the healthy food that mom or dad packed for their lunch and told them they had to eat.

So, the day before the BIG NIGHT I handed out the coveralls. The next day one of the kids brought the coveralls back so he could practice with them. (He was very eager! He was also GREAT at his part! I could start bragging, but I'll spare you...for now.)

You probably can't imagine this, but I am a total stress case the day of the program. Stage 10, I call it.    When the coveralls showed up at our last rehearsal and then got left behind, I knew that in my heightened state of freak-out I should be sure this costume gets put somewhere that it would not get lost.

So, I put it in a very...safe...place.

The BIG NIGHT approaches ever so suddenly and before I know it, I am pacing the floor of the church where we are performing our program. Well, I don't know that walking the entire length of the building back and forth is pacing...perhaps more like hiking...in nylons and heels. But I arrive an hour early to set up and well...pretty much hike the length of the building.

At 6:30pm the drama kids start arriving. I make my rounds, making sure they get mics, props, and to check over their costume to make sure everything is there. I get through all the kids, but at 6:40 I'm missing a kid. Where is he???

As I hike toward the foyer of the building, I see him.  Whoo!  Thank goodness!  I think to myself, "He better get his costume on soon!"

"Mrs. Mickel, Joe (not his real name) lost his costume."

Lost his costume?

"I remember you brought it to school..."

"Yeah!"  Joe says.  "And I left it in the chapel."

Ok.  At this point, in the height of Stage 10, I cannot remember anything past seeing the costume in the chapel.  I don't remember if I picked it up and ran it to Joe's classroom or that I put it in a "safe place."  I don't remember anything at all.  What I DO know is that if this is my fault, I am going to feel really..really...really bad!!!  This is Joe's first program with a speaking part.  Not just that, but he also does a little dance number.  Joe is a born entertainer and I have been looking forward to seeing him shine on that stage since he was in Kindergarten.  I MUST FIND THAT COSTUME!

And so, not knowing who's fault it is, I look at the clock and see that we have 20 minutes until show time.  Let's see...5 minutes home, 2 minutes of looking, 5 minutes back. Yeah, sure!  I can do this!

And so off I fly like a bat out of a Scooby-Doo episode.  I get home, tear out of my car, and begin searching the house, the garage, the trunk of my car, the inside of the infamous Expedition...  Everywhere I can think of.  When I don't see the costume, I begin to tear into my husband's wardrobe to find SOMETHING Joe can wear!  I pull out a flannel or two and head out.

On my way back to the church I think, "Hey!  I'll bet Joe took the costume back to class with him since I told him to make sure and not forget it at rehearsal today and then he must have forgotten to put it in his backpack.  Yeah!  That MUST be what happened!"

I've got 8 minutes until the show starts.  Let's see...10 minutes to the school, 30 seconds of looking, 10 minutes back...I won't be TOO late.  Ok.  Let's do this!

So, off I flew like an early bird who just woke up late and drove to the school.  I unlock the classroom door, search wildly, and to my dismay, do not find the costume.

Office!  Maybe it's in the office!

I run to the office, unlock the door, tear inside, unlock my office door, and begin searching.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Under this thing?  Nope.

I give up.  I'm late for the show, I have no costume, the search is over.

On my way back to the church I'm thinking, "Oh, please don't let this put Joe in a tailspin!  Please don't let it be so unnerving for him that it ruins his whole night.  Oh, please, please, please!"

I get back, throw the flannel over Joe's back, and try to explain to him that his costume is lost, he has to wear this.  While rolling up his sleeves, I try to assure him that he is going to do an amazing job, I have total confidence in him, and his new costume looks GREAT!

On with the show!  I have the not-so-wonderful privilege of letting the audience know why we are starting 10 minutes late.  There was no sense in saying something like, "Due to technical difficulties..."  No, all that means is, "Hey!  I was running late.  The technical difficulty was my blow dryer."  I had to tell the truth.  A costume is missing and I'm not sure why.

Well, the show went fabulous.  No one in the audience knew which costume was missing because the flannel I put Joe in looked perfect, perhaps even better.  He did a fantastic job and I was so proud of how he was able to be flexible with the costume and still come out shining on stage.  I love that kid!

Two weeks later I am cleaning up my office.  I lift up a sweatshirt and...wait!  What's that?  No.  It can't be.  I looked under there!  I picked up this same sweatshirt and looked under there!

There it was.  The costume, finally out of hiding.  Oh, thank goodness because it was slightly begged for and definitely borrowed.

However, I had some explaining to do to some parents...

Here's "Joe".  He's the one in the flannel and broom.

(Thank you, "Joe's" parents, for letting me post this story.  You have a great kid, there!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Story That Started It All

I invited my Facebook friends to add the My Poor Husband Page to their account.  Some of them are wondering what in the world this is about, so rather than have my hairy armpit be the first thing they see on my blog, I thought it would be wise to let them know how this all started.  If you look on the right-hand sidebar, you will see an archives section where you can browse past stories.  Feel free to hang out for awhile and add a few laughs to your day.  If you're so inclined, add the My Poor Husband Page to your Facebook account and pretend that the box on the top right doesn't say "fan", but "interested party," or "person who thinks Rachael is nuts", or "I just wanted to see my face in that box."  I hate the word "fan."

Here ya go.  The story that started it all...

The SECOND Time I Drove Off With the Gas Pump

I was pumping gas and talking on my cell phone to my poor husband, Travis. (Pumping gas while talking on the cell phone. Doesn't that cause brain tumors or something?) I finished pumping, got in the car, and continued my conversation with my poor husband, Travis. Suddenly, there was a loud THUMP and SCRAPING of the pavement. Did my muffler just fall off? Did I run something over? Did I...oh, no.  I couldn't possibly have...oh, yes I did!

I forgot to remove the gas pump from my car!!!

I did NOT want Travis to know what I had done, so I couldn't slam on my breaks and go tell Chevron what happened. That would get the kids' attention and they would no doubt tell on me.

I kept driving.

As I was rounding the corner, trying to find a place to park and act natural, the owner of the place started running toward the car yelling, "Stop! Stop!" I'm still talking to Travis mind you, and so I could not yell back, "I'm parking! I'm parking!" I waved at the guy, who started running faster and yelling louder. The guy caught up with me, pulled the hose from my gas tank and yells, "You could at least give me my pump back, " and all the while I'm still talking to Travis on the cell phone, trying to act as if nothing is going on so Travis wouldn't suspect.

Eventually I found a way to get off the phone and then I went inside and assured the guy that I was not planning on driving off with his pump. He took my number and I never heard from him again...

...until today. Is it because he finally got around to calling me? Oh, no. Not in Rachael's world. I did it...(sigh) again!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bringing In The New Year in Rachael Style

My son is convinced that his mother is verifiably weird. (Yes, he is a very smart boy, indeed!) My daughter is on the fence about this issue and the other is in denial. What we all agree on is that I don't do things the way everyone else does them and though my life can get expensive, it does not lack for laughs.

Tonight we spent New Year's Eve with friends. I was trying to figure out how to get a movie going (not having cable I can't navigate a TV anymore!) when I said, "How do you push play on this thing?"

My son is very literal. If I tell him to get dressed and then he can do such-in-such, he does exactly that. He puts on every item of clothes he is supposed to wear, but then gets bent out of shape when I tell him that brushing his teeth, brushing his hair, and washing his face are part of getting dressed.

"MOM! You said GET DRESSED. Brushing your teeth isn't getting dressed!"

Ok, technically he is correct, but surely he knows what I mean!

Eventually he'll learn about how he's supposed to be able to read a woman's mind.

So, my son, having a very literal mind, hears me ask how to push play on a DVD player and is now affirmed of his mother's weirdness. He looks up, sees the 2 new friends that joined us this New Year's, leans over to me and says in a hushed voice,

"Mom. Are you sure you want them to know you're weird?"

To which I reply, "Oh, Honey. They've read my blog."

Case closed. That satisfies his question.

As I mentioned, this was New Year's Eve. We spend every New Year's Eve with close friends. This year was fun because we had two new friends to share it with and because we had a costume party. A 70's costume party. I love costume parties! And I gave my costume much thought.

I didn't want to go the hippie route…everyone does that. But I also didn't want to spend a lot of money on a costume, which most of us understand these days.

I went the hippie route, but I had to do SOMETHiNG different! How could I jazz up this costume a bit? How could I make it a little more authentic with a twist of Rachael?

Let me say a big THANK YOU to Kiah. She was my inspiration. Without her I might never have come up with the perfect costume…

Oh, yes I did! I grew out my armpit hair. That big, bushy black thing you see there…that's real! I did not glue that on. I did not color it with a sharpie. Nope! That's the real thing right there!

My son rolled his eyes. My daughter turned her head away. My other daughter said, "MOM! That's GROSS! Shave it off!" and my poor husband...?

He just focused on his own costume.