Long Live Livlife

My friend Elena recently had someone reach out to her on Facebook. As most of you know, I don’t do FB. But this person, Katie, reached out to Elena asking for my contact info because they wanted to send a yearbook.

Um, what?

Elena asked me and I asked who this person was. You see, I don’t really remember high school. But Elena does. So I figured she would know who this was and if it was worth sending along my contact info. She said, “I think she went to HS with us.” Well that’s strange. If Elena doesn’t remember her, then who is this person? More importantly, how does this person know that Elena and I are friends?

So I gave Elena permission to pass along my contact info, but not my regular email, my junk email, the one I use to sign up for stuff, and, apparently, pass along to people I may or may not know from Elena’s FB page. Obviously, I was curious. Then, Elena emailed me, “there is more to this story.” GAH! Tell me. Tell me NOW. She said she’d tell me in person, fortunately, we were seeing each other last night.

We went to a concert and Elena slipped in just as the lights were dimming, so there was no time to talk. After the show, after hours of waiting, she gave me this.

Katie Whatsherface reached out to me on FB about a yearbook. Apparently, she learned that you had died and wanted to send a copy of the yearbook to your family.

WHATTHEEVERLOVINGWHAT?!?!?

I’m not dead.

I’m really not. This is not a ghostly memoir. I’m a real, live girl, who reads a lot of books.

Now, of course, I have so many questions, so.many.questions, and I am just waiting to see if Katie Whatsherface reaches out. She’s had my email for two days and I’ve heard jack, with a side of squat. I’m wondering if she’ll even bother now that Elena confirmed that I am, indeed, still among the living.

Also, if I were dead, why would my family want my high school yearbook. Which is especially weird because I have a high school yearbook. One from every year (which I plan to use to look up Katie Whatsherface tonight, I forgot last night after hearing the story.) Junior high as well. And one from sixth grade. All on my bookshelves. So if my family wants them they are free for the taking when they clear out my house.

So odd. So, so, SO odd.

But I am here to state, firmly, that despite the fact that I am not a member of the Facebook community, I am, as a matter of certainty, alive and kicking. (I even just did an air kick just to prove it.)

I am alive.

Long Live Livlife.

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Reading in the Rain

I know I’ve talked ad nauseum about how much I love to read outside. I LOVE it, it’s just the best thing in the world. I’m honestly surprised I don’t go into depression when I can’t for nine months out of the year.

At my house, I have a three season porch off my living room, which is on the second floor, that means my patio has a roof, the floor of the porch. I have my swing  hanging from the porch and that’s where I spend 99.99% of my outdoor reading time (once it was too sunny and I sat on the bench for 15 minutes, that’s the other 0.01%). Because of the way the three season porch is designed, it doesn’t get wet underneath. The rain has to be blowing virtually sideways to get rain underneath. The same is true inside the porch, so I’m lucky I can leave those windows open day and night, from April to October.

Okay, so this means I don’t have to stop reading when it is raining. This is a HUGE plus for me, especially this summer when it has been super rainy. And since rainy days are prime reading days, it’s basically heaven on earth for me.

Cut to Tuesday night. I was out reading and it rained a bit. No big deal. Then it got dark and a storm blew in. It was rapidly cooling off outside and I was considering heading in (I was reading on my iPad, so the dark didn’t matter) but it was a good part of the book and I was enjoying the sounds and smells of the storm, so I stayed put.

Suddenly, something wet and slimy landed on my bare leg. Okay, I just got a chill typing that. Truly. It was dark outside, so I couldn’t see it. Instead, I just freaked. FREAKED. Remember this? It wasn’t quite that bad, because I wasn’t naked, but still, I was in capri pants and it was on my bare skin.

So I freak out and start kicking both legs, which were previously resting on a footstool. Kicking like a maniac with one hand holding my iPad to keep it from crashing to the ground, I felt whatever it was leave my skin.

I calmed down and finally brought my legs to rest on the footstool when whatever it was touched my other leg! Again with the freaking and kicking and not knowing what the hell was happening. So I removed my feet from the footstool, but I was so freaked out I didn’t want to put my feet on the ground because I didn’t know what was happening and I was barefoot (my sandals were under the footstool where I had slipped them off) so I simply stuck my legs straight out. And, naturally, because I was on a swing, I start swinging wildly about in the dark with nothing to anchor me. During this time I was chanting, out loud, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf.  After maybe 20 seconds, my legs were starting to hurt, but I was calming down and I realized I needed to figure this out. On the heels of that thought was the reminder that I was holding an iPad IN MY HAND and it emits light. Um, duh?

So I flipped the screen toward the ground and, obviously, saw nothing, since the fear of the ground was all in my imagination, and finally put my feet down. As I stopped moving I was able to turn toward the footstool and I aimed my iPad again.

There it was, the source of all this drama.

A tiny green tree frog. Okay he wasn’t tiny, like maybe 1.5″ long. Which is sizeable, but by no means terrifying. Frogs do not bother me in the least. Except when it is storming, and dark and they are wet and land on my skin, uninvited, then, I guess, they bother me plenty. But I was laughing as I saw him, and I leaned forward and pushed him off the footstool with my hand. Because frogs don’t bother me. I touched him, he hopped off, I resettled in my spot and dove back into my book.

But something was bugging me, niggling in the back of my brain…

Finally, I switched over from the book to my browser and googled how high tree frogs can jump. I mean, I see frogs and toads frequently and they hop a bit, I’ve seen them jump great distances, forward, but never have I seen one jump high. Maybe and inch or two off the ground, but that’s it. However, this particular frog landed on my leg, on the footstool, which I am guessing is close to four feet off the ground when all is said and done. Four feet in the air! So my brain was wondering if he was on a tree or something and got blown onto my leg? I mean, it sounds crazy, but how else did he get there.

And then Google told me that tree frogs can jump up to 7 feet in the air, or 50 times their own body length. Wowza. I mean, that’s impressive, but also strange that I never knew that. Now I’m a little creeped out. Before I saw frogs and thought nothing of it, but now, knowing that if I am walking and see a frog on the ground, he could literally leap up and land on my head. That’s a little creepy.

Anyway, I filed that information away for later and finished my book. I was so close that even though I was cold and living in my own private dramedy, I wanted to finish. So I did. As soon as the book was done, I shut off the iPad and lifted my feet to the ground. I stuck my left foot under the stool and slid it in my flip flop. Then my right, but I couldn’t quite reach it, it may have gotten moved in the frantic flailing of the aforementioned dramedy. So I stood up on my left foot and reached further and my toe caught the edge of my shoe. I scootched it toward me and finally slid my foot in…and my toes met something slimy!

Again with the instinctive reaction, my foot kicked and the sandal went flying. Not far, mind you, just off my foot. STILL standing my my left foot, I leaned backward and grabbed my iPad, turned it back on and shined the light. My flip flop was about a foot away and now sole side up. I leaned forward with my hand and picked it up and that little frog was sitting underneath. Apparently, he thought he could make himself at home in my sandal.

Not true my freaky, jumping, little nemesis. This time I picked up the shoe in my hand, put it on, and grabbed my iPad to head inside. I kept the light pointed at the ground the whole time so I didn’t accidentally step on this frog, or worse, he didn’t hop right inside with me. As I stepped across the threshold, I turned back for one last look and the dim light from the screen could barely touch him several feet away, but it was enough to see the gleam of mirth in his froggy eye as he sat there mocking me.

Damn frog.

A Day for Moms

So Mother’s Day is still over a month away. However, I just had a cooking question and I emailed my mom, she promptly replied with the answer and now I can have dinner tonight. And it made me feel grateful for her, all over again. Not just that she’s my mom and she’s awesome and she knows so much, but that she’s always there for even the little stuff.

i was thinking that I don’t need a special day to profess my love and admiration for her. But this year, I will be so glad for the arrival of this pseudo-holiday for one reason.

Then Hulu will finally stop playing that horrible commercial about breast cancer. EVERY episode of EVERY show that I watch it is on during EVERY commercial break. It’s awful, non-compelling, and way too long. And each time it comes on I think, “seriously, I have to put up with this for three, two, one more month(s)?” Now that MD is only five weeks away it’s almost over, but I still have to watch it every day for five more weeks.

Unbearable.

So, bring on the day to celebrate Moms. Let people walk for breast cancer. Allow me to celebrate my mom any old time I want. And for God’s sake, quit showing that damn commercial.

Amen.

P.S. Happy Maundy Thursday, everyone.

Out of Control

Anyone else feel like technology is getting out of control?

I mean, really, who actually NEEDS this much technology?

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Yep, I have three iPads. That is my desk, just a few minutes ago, at precisely 2:43 pm. The one on the right, bearing the handsome face of Christian Kane, that is my personal iPad, the iPad 4. The one on the left, with the beach photo is my old work iPad, the iPad 2. The one in the center, with the mountain and stars, is my new work iPad, the iPad Air 2. Our old work iPads were out of date and not as current as the students I am teaching, so we got the newest tech.

The new one arrived today and that is how I found myself with not one, not two, but three iPads on my desk at the same time. All mine. Oh, and I took the photo with my iPhone.

Yeppers, this tech is out of control!

The Birds and the Bees

Except, well, no birds. Actually, yes, there were birds, chirping and singing and generally being adorable, but they have no impact on this story.

So yesterday, I went outside to read. It was 57º outside, but the air felt warmer than that. I figured it was one of my last chances to read outside in 2014 and I had a book I had been waiting on a long time, so that was the plan.

There I sat, in my lovely swing, in the warm fall air, just out of range of the sunshine, it smelled wonderful outside and I was enjoying it very much. Suddenly, the back of my mind registered a sound that was out of place. It was a low buzzing and it sounded like it was coming from behind me.

Naturally, instinctively, I turned my head to the left to locate the source of the noise.

That was a mistake.

Turns out, the source of the noise was a bee. A yellow jacket. He was either right behind my head on the chair, or right on my head, I am not sure. But when I turned my head, he panicked and stung me.

I got stung by a bee.

ON MY HEAD.

I felt the pain and leapt out of my chair. I couldn’t see the bee, so I assumed it was still on my head. I wanted to get it off but I couldn’t see it and I was afraid to touch it so I just started shaking my head, like a dog, to get the bee off me.

After a few seconds, I went inside to see the damage. I headed into the bathroom and tried to move my hair to see, when the BEE FLEW OUT OF MY HAIR! Apparently my shaking had trapped him under several feet of hair. Now I am trapped in a bathroom with a bee. At first I was annoyed, but as the pounding in my head grew worse, I just got pissed. So when said bee landed, I picked the the closest item, a candle, and smashed him to smithereens. Dead bee. And since I don’t like honey, I feel comfortable saying that in my world, the only good bee is a dead bee.

Well, once I had disposed of the bee, back to my head. Unfortunately, the sting is above and behind my left ear, which is impossible to see. Plus, several feet of hair…

It was very painful and very hot. Not knowing what else to do, I grabbed an ice pack and put it over the sting and went back outside to read. I’ve been stung before (in normal places, like my hand or my leg) so I know I am not allergic, the rest was just dealing with the pain.

And, oh, did it hurt. At first it was like the heat and pain were radiating out from that spot, making my whole head feel strange, but then, it sharpened and focused into a point and it felt like a migraine. It pretty much ruined my reading outside. I couldn’t focus on anything except the hurt.

I went in and laid down on the couch, still on the ice pack, which seemed to help. I laid there until the ice pack grew warm and then I took a couple Tylenol. After about an hour it lessened enough that I was able to read and I did finish my book, but the hurt never went away.

At bed, I couldn’t lie on my left side, which is how I usually sleep, so I had to sleep on the right side. This morning, it didn’t really hurt. I was relieved. Until, of course I did crazy things like shampoo and brush my hair! Now it is hurting again, but not nearly as bad as yesterday.

I’m sure it will fade completely, hopefully by tomorrow. And that is the story of how my Sunday was ruined by one tiny little bee.

The moral of the story? Don’t look. You’d think the horror film industry would have taught us that by now, but no, I had to go and look for that sound. It’s human nature. And unfortunately I got stung. Which, I suppose, is bee nature.

Just Say Hello

I have posts for Green Bay coming, but I need to upload all the photo and video. I know, but reading in the sunshine has just seemed more important. However, to whet your appetite for this exciting weekend adventure, I will share a small story.

So we are in Green Bay for about 20 min, all checked into the hotel. Elena and I are just chilling in our room, before getting ready to head out to the concert. The room phone rings. I assume it is Nancy or Ryan, Lane’s sister and brother-in-law, who are traveling with us. Because I am a funny girl, I answer the phone, using my sexiest voice, I say, “hello, you have reached 1-800-PhoneSex, how can I help you”? Whomever was on the other end suddenly hung up without saying a word. And Lane is freaking out, saying how that had better Nance and Ryan.

I’m laughing, because it seemed funny. A few seconds later, the phone rang again. This time as I reached to picked it up, Elena yelled “Just say HELLO!” So I did. And a guy said “Hello, this is the front desk calling. We know you just checked in and we wanted to make sure everything is alright with the room.”

Oh.

God.

I felt like a complete idiot. I pretended to be a phone sex operator for the front desk of the hotel.

So I tell him everything is fine with the room, then I covered the receiver and said to Lane, “um, it’s the front desk.” And SHE looked embarrassed. Fair enough. After all, it was in her name, they had no idea who *I* was.

Then there was a brief pause on the phone and the guy started….laughing. He was laughing, I figured he must know it was me the whole time. It was so embarrassing, but what can you do? So I laughed and said, “so, did you enjoy that?”

And he hung up.

I was kind of astounded, because that is piss poor customer service, but then, I suppose laughing AT one of your guests is pretty bad, too, so he probably took the easiest route. And it’s not like I’d complain, because who wants to explain that?

A while later, Nance and Ryan came to get us to head out for the concert. First thing I said was “have I got a story for you!” They were a bit surprised, as they’d only left us an hour ago, how could I possibly have come up with a story during that time? And I proceed to tell them this entire story, because who doesn’t want to hear how I made a fool of myself?

They were quiet, mostly, during the story, but Nancy looked uncomfortable. During the telling, Elena was piping in how she wanted me to answer the phone normally. It was funny, we were all laughing. I mean, it’s one of those things.

Then, there was a beat, and Ryan said, “yeah, it was me. Both times.”

WHAT?

I mean, I totally thought it was, the first time. And he told me how after I answered the phone that way, he had to hang up because he was laughing so hard. Then he decided to mess with me and called back pretending to be the front desk. He said that after I asked him (as the front desk person) if he enjoyed it, he got to laughing so hard he had to hang up again so as to not give away his game.

I cracked up.

Ryan is not a guy I know well, but after that, I think we’ll be friends for life. I mean, anyone who can pull one over on me, and make me laugh about it?

Well played Ryan, well played.

Once Upon A Time

I was driving to work this morning and when I stopped at a stop sign, a butterfly flew into my car. In through my window and out the sunroof. It was cool. But it immediately caused my mind to flash on slightly LESS welcome visitors to my car and pretty soon I was chuckling at an old memory. I realized that this was before I blogged and I probably never told this story.

Back in 1999 I worked as an administrative assistant at Dayton’s Corporate Travel. Dayton’s is long gone now, but back then…

My aunt, who is a travel agent, got me the job. It was her office. I essentially filed invoices, answered the phones, printed airline tickets (e-tickets were an emerging technology), and hand delivered them to corporations all over Minneapolis. I loved that part. I got to walk around the city to different offices and I ended up knowing the city and the skyway system like the back of my hand.

Now, it is expensive to park in downtown Minneapolis, but as a manager, the company paid for a parking pass for my aunt. So, I would drive from my parent’s house to her house and then we’d go together to work. It was fine, I like my aunt, so it was enjoyable. The problem was that I was always running late. That surprises no one who knows me. It was an ongoing challenge for me, because my aunt was the boss, she couldn’t be late because of me, and I couldn’t afford to park on my own, so I had to make this work.

One morning, I was running exactly on time. Like I was planning to pull in to her driveway to the minute I was supposed to be there. Finally, on time!

Also, I would like to take a moment to reminisce about my car at the time. It was a 1982 Ford Mustang. It was orange. It was the first car I had with a sunroof. But it was not automatic. I had to unhook the latch and lift the large piece of glass and metal out of the top of the car and lay it into the hatchback in order to use it as a sunroof. Good times. But I really loved that car. It was awesome. I parked it in my parents driveway, outside year round.

Now, back to our story. On this morning, in what was a beautiful fall morning, the air was cool and crisp, but not yet cold. I did not have my sunroof open though.

I was just about to turn onto my aunt’s street. I was taking backroads because the freeway was backed up and I was trying to be on time. So I was waiting to turn left, there was a break in traffic and I started to go. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. I turned my head, just a little, and saw……

A mouse!

A friggin’ field mouse was IN MY CAR!

Now, I am not afraid of mice. Not at all. But this was a small car. And it was IN MY CAR. It was frantic, crazed even, running hither and yon, all over my floorboard on the passenger side. Suddenly, that little bugger zoomed up the partition and headed straight toward…..ME.

I freaked out. FREAKED.OUT.

I screamed. I jerked the wheel, this way, that way, I was flailing. I was jumping around (best as I could in the driver’s seat, under a seatbelt) and he just kept coming.

Thump.

All the sudden, a huge thump.

I had completely stopped looking at the road and driven up, over the curb, onto someone’s front lawn.

I slammed on the brakes, jammed the car in park, unbuckled, and flew out of the door. I was standing on a stranger’s lawn, panting, and my car, still running, was angled across the lawn, with tire tracks through their grass.

I was frantically scanning the car and trying to find the mouse. I couldn’t see it. He was right next to me and then he was just gone. I calmed myself and reminded myself, quite forcefully, that I was not afraid of mice, and crawled inside to find him. I looked under the seats, in the back, I couldn’t see him. He had just vanished.

After a few minutes I had no choice but to get back into the car and finish the drive. I was trembling with nerves. Even though mice don’t scare me, being trapped in a confined space with one is not exactly on my highlight reel.

So I carefully back out of this person’s front yard, wondering if I should leave a note to apologize for the tire tracks (I didn’t), and slowly drive to my aunt’s house, scanning my peripherals for the mouse.

Naturally, when I arrived, I was several minutes late. My aunt was not pleased. Until I told her the story. Turns out, she IS afraid of mice and refused to ride in my car. So I left my car at her house and we rode in her car to work.

All day long, I wondered what happened to that creature. When I got back to my car, I did another inspection and still couldn’t find him. I ended up just driving home. I never saw that mouse again, but let me tell you, for the longest time, I jumped at the slightest movement, thinking he was still there, stowing away in my orange Mustang.

Ah, the good old days. Twenty years old and my biggest concern was whether a mouse was hitchhiking in my car.