Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shannon's Non-Twitter

Since Jodi has a twitter and I don't, I have created a "non-twitter." These are some sporadic non-tweets I have jotted down in the "notes" app on my iPhone since July. Because even non-twitterers have random thoughts too. :)

07/08/12 4:17 pm
Sitting in the car on a stuffed boa constricter so the seat doesn't burn my ass.

07/08/12 11:34 pm
Is it normal to have a hidden stash of brownies in your underwear drawer?

07/11/12 8:03 am
On the news: Guy was trying to get rid of spiders by setting them on fire...he accidentally burned his house down. Oops.

07/22/12 9:31 pm
Is there a 12-Step program for chocolaholics? "My name is Shannon and I am addicted to York Peppermint Patties..."

08/12/12 10:05 pm
"It's so hot that the squirrels up here have to use pot holders to grab their nuts."

08/22/12 6:35 pm
Dog peed in the hallway and the cat puked on my bed. Home sweet home.

(Still says "Jodi" on bottom because Google is evil).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Days Drifting Away

Today was a shopping frenzy. The kids start school on Monday, so we took them shopping for school clothes. We also got our hair cut, and we all went to Chili's for dinner. $1,003.00..poof! Gone. These damn kids are expensive. Okay, well....I got some stuff too...:) 

Things are about to get a lot more hectic (like they were EVER calm), and not just because the kids are returning to school. Samantha is starting back in soccer, so she will have her weekly practices and games. Cass is starting piano lessons in September, and Dylan will be starting kick boxing. I told Cass if she keeps her grades up, I will let her take dance lessons, but she will have to get there herself. Me, I'm just gonna be drinking a lot of Moscato. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about school anymore.

Holy smokes! I forgot to write about school. I passed my dissertation defense last Monday, so I'm done! I just have to submit the thing for copy and editing and then get it bound (I'm in the process of doing that now). I spent this week making sure all gazillion of my internship forms were turned in, and I applied for graduation and degree conferral. I can't believe how many hoops they make you jump through to get a stupid doctorate degree. They even charged me $250 to apply for graduation. My graduation ceremony isn't even until October 20th (by that time, I will be so over it). 

Now that I am done with school, I have to complete 1,500 post-doctoral intern hours. I plan to stay at my current work to complete those because I am pretty damn content there. Then I have to take two enormous tests to become licensed as a psychologist. I decided to wait until October before I start studying for the first test. My brain needs a siesta. (Knowing me though, I will procrastinate and try to cram 6 months of studying into 6 days). 

My poor house is so neglected right now. I should....clean it or something.

(Once again, ignore Jodi's name at the bottom...I still can't log in to my stupid gmail account!) 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Not Cut out for This

In case you were wondering, I SUCK at single-parenting.  Clint is on a job right now conducting trains back and forth to Arizona, and it's taking him away from home two to three days at a time.  During these last ten days, I've run over our fence, broke our living room lamp, lost my keys, locked myself and the kids out of our house, broke the pond's filter, locked myself out of my car, and stubbed my toe on a roller skate.  Oh, and the house got overrun by ants (again).  It's not like these mishaps can be blamed on Clint's absence...I'm sure I would have walloped my toe on that damn roller skate whether he was home or not.  But I've noticed in the past that whenever Clint is gone for long periods of time, things start falling apart.  A long time ago, back when he trained as a dispatcher in Texas for nearly three months, I remember I did stupid things ALL the time--like accidentally leaving one-year-old Elijah in Trin's kindergarten classroom on her very first day of school.

The thing is, with the kids in school and me back to work, I just can't seem to keep up with all of the responsibilities by myself.  Yesterday I had to go to a conference all day, so the night before I was trying to pack the kids for school, make sure their homework was done, create sub plans, make dinner, make sure everyone had clean clothes, and so on, only to have my alarm go off at 5:00 a.m. and sleep walk through the day.  I feel like every day I'm collapsing in bed with no down time whatsoever.  And then I'm losing so much sleep because I spend hours in bed with my mind racing,  worrying about everything coming up the following day and trying to figure out if I've remembered everything.

What's worse is during Clint's absence, there is almost no communication between us.  He's not allowed to use his cell phone on the train, so the only time he can call me is from the terminal.  But so far, every time he's at the terminal, it's either the middle of the night and all the sane people are asleep, or it's the middle of the day and I'm teaching class.  He did text me last night saying, "I'll be at the terminal soon and will call you in about twenty minutes.  I'm dying to hear your voice."  It was already getting late, but I opted to stay up for his phone call since it had been 48 hours since we had last talked.  That's one silver lining...all of this time away actually gives us opportunities to miss each other.

Clint finally came home today and brought me lunch at work.  Later, when I came home, the lawn was mowed, the pond filter was fixed, the ants were gone, and the pantry and refrigerator were stuffed with easy-to-prepare food.  He was watching TV, and I told him, "I don't care if your ass just sits around staring at a screen all day long, I'm so glad you're home!"  And it's true.  Right now, he can just sit there and be a non-communicative blob for all I care.  It's a huge sigh of relief just to have him home.

Oh, I tried an energy drink for the first time ever!  During the first hour of the conference, I was trying desperately not to fall asleep, so one of the teachers gave me a Red Bull.  Holy geez.  Maybe I'm just not used to these things, but within a half hour, I could not stop moving.  At one point I had to sit on my hands just to get them to stop tapping the table.  I wanted to go run laps, but our conference didn't really afford an opportunity for that.  There is now two teachers, a principal, and an assistant principal who will never let me touch a Red Bull again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pinecone, CA

Wow Jodi. Thanks for giving my town such a refined, posh sounding name. 

Sometimes I don't know why I bother with Facebook. Today, there should have been a disclaimer, "WARNING: Do not eat dinner before reading this New's Feed." The following posts made my stomach take a somersault dive: A snake being skinned, a hairy man giving birth to a baby, a bloody toe, and an emaciated pit-bull.  Do some people just wake up and think, "Hmmm....I wonder how many disturbing images I can permanently sear in people's brains today?" 

Yesterday, I accidentally got sucked into a political discussion on FB ("accidentally" meaning I finally couldn't TAKE IT ANYMORE, and I had to say SOMETHING). I was trying so hard to be respectful, because I am tired of the mudslinging that takes place just because people possess different ideologies. And I was doing SO good too, until stupid spellcheck changed this girl's precious Senator "Al Franken" to "Al Frankenstein." Oops. After that, the peaceful discussion took a turn for the worse, and I lost a dear FB friend close to my heart (okay, I barely knew the chic). 

Speaking of politics, Jeremy acquired free tickets (through a radio station) to a sneak preview of "Obama's America: 2016," and we saw it last night in Ontario. It was REALLY cool, because we got to meet the director, and there was a Q & A session following the movie. The movie opened last month in Houston, Texas, and has been doing really good there. As far as Southern California, the movie is opening in Ontario, Riverside, and Corona this Friday.

This movie was REALLY good. I was initially worried that it would just be an Obama bashing movie. As many issues as I have with our current president, I shut down the moment I feel that I am listening to a biased news or media platform. That's why I hate "Hannity" on Fox News. It's just an Obama bitch fest. I feel like "Hannity" is the right winged version of "The Rachel Maddow Show." I find both of those shows very slanted and one-sided (plus I want to slap Rachel Maddow's irritating little smirk off her face). 

However, I felt this movie was fair. They used Obama's own book "Dreams from my Father," and interviews with family members and old family friends to create the movie. This movie paints a pretty clear picture on how Obama developed his world view, and what that world view IS. The movie also explained what we could expect for another 4 years should he be re-elected (not good). Surprisingly, this movie was FASCINATING. It also evoked some sympathy over our president, as they reveal some sad facts about his childhood. 

Damn it's HOT! Many of the homes in Pinecone, CA don't come with central cooling because it's supposedly not supposed to get THAT hot here (tell that to my sweaty butt). I just screamed and jumped ten feet in the air because I felt an ant crawling on my arm. I'm not having a good time here. 

" Pinecone"...what a dopey name. I kinda like it. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tumbleweed, CA

I try not to say the name of the little city I live in.  It's a pretty pointless endeavor, because at this point a person trying to figure it out would probably have no issues connecting those dots, but at least I give internet safety a feeble effort.  In three years of blogging, I've only slipped twice and said my city's name.   I figured this out just now--I actually typed my city's name into my blog's search box, and it came up with two posts.  I found the slip-up on both of them, and changed the name from the real-thing to "Tumbleweed".  So I guess for all intents and purposes, I now officially live in Tumbleweed, California, located somewhere in the High Desert.  I don't know if Shan is trying to keep her location a secret too, so until she tells me otherwise, she now officially lives in Pinecone, California.  

By the way, I love Wikipedia's definition of the High Desert:

The High Desert is an unofficial and vaguely-defined geographic area of southern California located to the northeast of the San Gabriel Mountains. 

Thanks for such startling precision, Wikipedia. 

In other news (literally), it has been so very hot here in good ole' Tumbleweed.  It's not just the triple digits...that's pretty standard for August.  It's the mugginess.  We've had this constant half-cloud cover nonsense that's making the air all yucky and humid.  I was working in my classroom today, and every time I stepped out, it felt like a sauna.  With twenty laundromats running inside the sauna.  And the AC broken in all the laundromats.  Okay, you get the point.  

Here's our weekly forecast.  I'm pretty sure Wednesday is a typo and is supposed to say "100% hot", unless the author of this chart believes that 1,090° constitutes a typically hot day.  I like how Thursday and Friday say "Super Hot" and "More Heat"...I think the forecaster typologist person (okay, I obviously don't know his job title) is suffering from creativity-fatigue due to all of this heat.  

Tomorrow and Friday are in-service days at my work, and then Monday I officially start the new school year with students.  As usual, I'm both excited and apprehensive.  My biggest regret is having to say goodbye to this fantasy summer.  This was honestly one of the nicest summers I've had in the past six years.  I think working at the college played a huge role, but I also did a lot of outdoor activities (camping, hiking, 5Ks, etc.) that kept me feeling rejuvenated. 

In honor of saying goodbye to summer...

I used to love Dido many years ago (back when they were popularized by the show Roswell), but had actually forgotten all about them.  Yesterday this song played on the satellite radio at Jack in the Box, and I was trying hard not to shush the customers in my attempt to identify it because it seemed so familiar.  I think the video is cute, although I'm jealous cuz now I want to play dominos and drink moscato in the middle of a busy street.
Wish me luck for this Monday.  Hopefully I won't enter my classroom on such a balmy 106° day with sand dribbling from my shoes. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Patriot

I  haven't been able to blog, and I don't have time now either! (I am sure Jodi is immensely pleased with herself that she ever invited me to share her blog, because I contribute SOOOO much).

I finished writing my dissertation last week, but I still have a shitload of corrections. I also have to add an abstract, table of contents, list of tables, dedication page, etc. etc. My dissertation defense is in a week, and my chair wants the thing polished and ready to bind before I defend.  I requested a half day off of work for my defense date. I almost requested the whole day off, but then I decided this would lead to over prepping and pulling my hair out the entire morning. A week from today, I'll be! 

Jodi is right about us not being able to get interested in "The Avengers" movie. I feel like some mutant who wasn't made for this planet because I know I am SUPPOSED to like it. Everyone I talk to loves that movie. In the beginning, I was TRYING. I was asking Clinton who the different superheroes were and what were their powers. When Captain America showed up, I asked Clinton, "What are his super powers?" Jodi (who is clueless) said, "He is super patriotic." And the thought of a super hero who was only known for being "super patriotic" seemed suddenly to be the most silliest, bizarre thing that I started giggling, and even after I managed to stop, I was giggling in my head, and I TOTALLY couldn't focus. I was imagining a bank being robbed, and suddenly this deep voiced demigod in tights and a red, white and blue cape suddenly materializes and shouts reassuringly "Don't worry folks, I will save you!!!" But instead of beating up the bad guys, he suddenly pauses, puts his hand on his heart, and starts singing the National Anthem. Yeah, after that, I was done with the movie. (Thanks A LOT Jodi!).

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Today we spent the afternoon/evening at Sarah's house.  She just moved, and her new house has an in-ground pool!  I've waited my whole life for a friend with a pool.  And luckily she can never accuse me of using her specifically for her pool since we've been good friends for over a decade (haha).

Around 8:00 p.m., everyone decided to drive to our house to watch the Avengers.  Our house was voted over Sarah's because we had flan.  It doesn't take much.  Anyway, I had never seen the Avengers before but I heard it was really good.  Unfortunately, I was very bored from the movie.  I think it was probably because I never followed any of the prior movies (Iron Man, Captain America, etc.), so I felt detached from the characters and storyline.  Shan felt the same way, so we ended up ditching the end of the movie in favor of laying on our backs in Trin's room and staring at the ceiling fan for a half hour.

After the movie, Clint plugged his laptop into our TV and we watched music videos for nearly an hour.  The two below were my favorites.  They both deal with feelings of nostalgia, although the first one is more warm and happy nostalgia, while the second is a more cutting, sad nostalgia (could Lana possibly look more depressed?).  The first one really speaks to my inner desert-rat.  All of that desert scenery, the bare-feet, those spontaneously carefree moments...this was life in the desert when I was a child.  Those unexpected moments of sheer joy never came in eloquent packages.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Rain Clouds in the Hot Springs

Okay, Monday.  Just like the weekend, it was both really crappy and pretty wonderful--with not much in between.  That morning I woke up, expecting to enjoy a relaxing morning with Clint, whom I hadn't seen in three days.  Instead we got into a nasty argument.  I won't get into the whys, but it ended up monopolizing our entire morning.  We did eventually make up, but the whole thing left me feeling emotional for hours. 

The day wore on, and I started feeling more upbeat as we began packing for the Hot Springs (although my eye infection was coming back, which was really aggravating--guess I should've followed the Rx's directions).  As I mentioned in my last post, Matt and Alana were visiting from Nor Cal, so all of us decided to hike up into the Hot Springs again.  But this time we planned to stay the night.  I had been excited for this excursion for the last three weeks.  I kept fantasizing about soaking in nature's jacuzzi beneath all of those bright stars, enjoying  late-night wine and conversation with good friends. 

Matt and Alana had already hiked up to the Springs earlier that day, so Clint and I decided to meet up with them sometime after 4:00.  The first little problem arose when Clint's mom called us around 1:00 saying she was sick as a dog and couldn't watch our kids, but luckily, she arranged for Moo (Clint's sis) to watch them.  So all was fine.  But then at 3:00, Moo called and told us that Lucas (my nephew) was projectile vomiting, so she couldn't take the kids.  We now had no babysitter.  We tried several other options, but nothing panned out.  I was starting to panic, because I knew Matt and Alana were already at the Springs, and there was zero cell service up there.  We had no way to call them and tell them what was going on.  I couldn't bear the thought of canceling our plans and not only leaving them hanging all night, but losing out on an experience that I had been looking forward to for weeks. 

Clint agreed that we couldn't leave the two hanging, and bringing the kids along was definitely not an option.  Thus one of us needed to do the hike.  Of course I volunteered.  Initially he was opposed to the idea, but he was still so sore from the black belt test that it didn't take much to convince him.  He filled my backpack with all sorts of little survival stuff, plus I took my .38 special and Yang (my dog) in case I needed to ward off any crazies (it is the Hot Springs).  He dropped me and Yang off at the trail head and off we went.

Now I say this casually, but at this point I need to mention that I have a teeny-tiny fear of going to unfamiliar places by myself, and a big fat fear of getting lost.  I used to have recurring nightmares as a kid in which I was deserted in unfamiliar places.  It's one of my worst fears.  I'd rather cuddle with a black widow than get lost alone.

Okay, so back to hiking.  The trail I was on was one I had never taken before and was much more vertical than the other option, but was only two miles from the Springs instead of six.  So of course I decided to take this route.  I was about ten minutes into the hike when my trail went into two opposite directions, and I realized I had no idea which way to go.  Of course there was no one around.  I knew this was a possibility, so I kept calm.  I pulled out my cellphone to see if I could pull up some sort of map, but I had no service.  I remember just standing there for a few minutes, looking back and forth, feeling utterly helpless.  Then it started pouring.  I actually laughed outloud at this point, because I live in the desert, and it might be self-absorbed but I knew that fucking rain cloud was there just for me.

I eventually figured out where I was going, and at that point the hike was amazing.  It smelled so wonderful, and once I found the right trail I was able to just relax and enjoy the scenery.  It also felt so liberating to conquer that fear of exploring unfamiliar territory alone.  After such an emotional day, those two miles were such a soothing therapy.

Once I reached the Hot Springs, Alana saw me right away from the river and hollered for me.  I explained to them what had happened with the babysitting, but Matt spent most of the day not believing me.  The eye infection had given me a case of the sniffles, so he was convinced  that Clint and I had argued about going to the Springs and I had stormed off without him.  All day long, he was like "Why are you crying Jodi?" and my answer was always the same: "Because I have a damn eye infection Matt."  It was pretty funny.

So we enjoyed a day at the Hot Springs, met lots of interesting people, collected wood for a fire that evening, and everything was going great.  Until night came.  Matt slipped from a rock, fell about ten feet, and ended up dislocating his elbow and breaking his arm.  At first he didn't think it was that bad, but then he held it up under what little moonlight was filtering through the clouds to show Alana, and it looked all contorted with a round ball sticking out from his elbow.  When Alana saw this she took a few steps back and told me "Oh my god, I'm going to pass out."  She didn't, so good job there Alana.

Alana and I, along with a dozen of nearby hippies, tried  for hours to convince Matt to let us hike him out, but his answer was a resounding "Hell no."  There was no way he wanted to risk a treacherous six mile hike in pitch dark (there were no stars due to the cloud cover and barely a moon), with us girls having to carry a bigger burden since his arm was useless.  Of course this made sense, but sitting there all night with his injury seemed so wrong.  Ultimately, all we could do was keep Matt's arm in the cool water all night and wait it out until morning.  He did take some Excedrin to help deal with the pain, plus we bummed some mystery liquor from one of our neighbors, so all of this helped a bit. 

Obviously we didn't get much sleep that night.  Matt constantly wanted to be in the water, but neither Alana nor myself were comfortable with the idea of him navigating the rocks in the dark with an injured arm.  Alana was pretty exhausted by 1 or 2 in the morning and could barely keep her eyes open, so I told her I'd watch out for him and ended up staying in the springs until 4 or 5 in the morning.  It was beautiful in those springs.  Even though the stars were hidden, the moon came out at one point and was so bright that it was reflecting off of the clouds.  There were a few people here and there with us, and they were all so easy-going, friendly, and relaxed.  Okay, they may have been stoned. Anyway, we spent most of the time in a spot that the three of us discovered earlier; a river pool containing cooler water, but if you lean against the rock, a hot waterfall spurts down your back.  It's wonderful--a non-stop back massage.  But in this case, it was a nice compromise; it gave Matt the cool water he needed for his arm, but gave me the nice hot water that I was craving.  

Eventually we came back to camp and I finally curled up in my sleeping bag, which was on the ground outside because I forgot to bring a tent.  Matt and Alana insisted that I sleep in their little two-man tent, and had it been necessary, I would've had no issues with it.  I'm not one with worrying about personal space.  But the temperature that night was so beautiful and perfect, and I actually felt excited about the prospect of sleeping under the stars...even if I couldn't see them.  So I tried to fall asleep, but I remember I felt so, so silly.  I think I was delirious with fatigue, but I didn't feel tired at all.  I started chattering to poor Alana who was trying to sleep, until eventually I passed out.  It was more of a doze though...I could still hear all the noises around me.  I do remember that the ground and the backpack I was using as a pillow felt like the most comfortable thing on the planet, so I must have been pretty tired. 

I woke up at first light.  Not because I was ready to wake up, but because my damn eye was super-sensitive to the sunshine even behind the closed lid.  Soon after, Matt and Alana woke up, and we spent time preparing breakfast and breaking down camp.  Matt's injured arm was now very swollen, with purple marks forming around the joint, so Alana and I felt pretty concerned about getting him to a doctor.  Right after breakfast, Matt threw up, and he seemed to be running a small fever, all of which didn't help our worry. 

We decided to hike the six mile trail out, because the trail I had taken the day before would require us to hike vertically upward for two straight miles...not an appealing option for someone with usage in only one arm.  Once ready, we set off.  The hike was long and hot, and we were quite the pitiful group.  Sleep-deprived, hungry, and a third of us crippled (two-thirds of us if you count the fact that Alana's hip was giving her issues).  When we finally reached three or four miles, I at last had cell service.  I called Clint to tell him what was going on, and he immediately drove to the trail head and started hiking our direction.  When he reached us, he took Matt's pack and hiked the rest of the way with us.   

Alana took Matt to the ER while Clint and I grabbed Del Taco for everyone.  We were all famished.  In two days, I had eaten one can of tuna, salami, and a packet of oatmeal.  Clint delivered the food to Matt and Alana in triage, where Matt technically wasn't allowed to eat, but he said "screw it" and crammed a burrito down anyway.  Then Clint drove me home and I crashed for three hours.

Matt's arm (with the elbow popped back in):

He is now doing much better but is still not quite up to par. We're still planning to get in one more visit with the both of them before they leave on Saturday. For this next visit, maybe we should stay at home and play Boggle.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Five Black Belts in My Shower

This week has been  Too much to write about.

Trinity passed her Black Belt test!  It began on Thursday night at 6:30, and ended Sunday night at that same time.  It was rough being completely out of communication with her, but reuniting with her at the promotion ceremony on Sunday night was such a joyful experience.  Clint's parents came, along with his sister and her family, my parents, and Shan and her family. My sis had her dissertation due the very next day, yet still managed to make it, so she officially wins Aunt of the Year.  The ceremony was incredibly moving and Trin was nothing but smiles as she promoted, unlike Clint who looked like a prisoner of war when he promoted last year.  Clint also promoted to a first degree black belt that same night, plus I cooked a casserole from scratch without burning it, so it really was a night to celebrate.

Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the casserole. 

The hardest part for me was when she had to take a punch in the stomach from a gazillion black belts.  She was amazing though and had no problems with it.  From where I was standing, it looked like they were taking it easy on her, which I really appreciated.

While Trin and Clint were in the mountains, I busied myself with cleaning the house, going skating with Elijah, going out with Clint's mom, and putting together a photo story for the promotion ceremony.  I'm going to try to embed that photo story, so hold on....

Okay, it didn't work, so I uploaded it onto You Tube instead: That's probably better anyway, because now the family members of the other two black belt candidates can check it out as many times as they want.  I showed the candidates from oldest to youngest--there were only three--so Trin appears after the two boys (at about 5:15 in video).  Her very first picture makes me laugh so hard.  We ended up playing the photo story right before the candidates walked in, and all of the lights were off with dozens of candles surrounding the perimeter of the mat, so the mood was one of excitement.  It was pretty cool.  When we got home that night, Trin opened up some gifts from family members, talked our ears off until about 11:00, and then finally collapsed in bed (the girl hadn't slept properly in days).  It was just a wonderful night, and I know Trin will remember it for a long time.       

The weekend overall was an interesting combination of really sucky and pretty damn great, with not much in between.  Sucky because on Friday morning I woke up with a painful eye infection, which resulted in me having to cancel plans to see a really good friend (the eye infection got better by Sunday but was back full-force on Monday).  Great because Alana and Matt surprised me with a visit on Sunday, plus I was on a high from Trin earning her black belt. 

It was funny because about an hour before I was scheduled to go to the dojo, with not even a tiny smidgen of warning, five senseis showed up at my door, all needing to take showers.  So for a good twenty minutes I was running through the house, throwing towels in one bathroom, shaving cream in another, and telling the owner of the dojo (a fifth degree black belt) that I apologize but he's gonna have to use pomegranate body scrub because that's all I've got.  My parents showed up in the midst of all of this, and it was pretty priceless to watch my mom's face as she entered a house full of geed-up black belts meandering the house, hollering at each other to hurry up before the hot water runs out.

But nothing this weekend compares to Monday evening.  I'll save that for my next post.