First Grade Draft

My boss is a fitness competitor. As I walked into his office recently, I was distracted by all the shiny trophies proudly displayed on a top shelf. There were 6, I think. As I stuttered for a second in what I was sharing with him, it made me take a quick look at my own accomplishments.

Memory Lane

When I notice the rack full of medals, I don’t see the end result. I do see the work I put into earning them. And they were earned, for sure. Granted, it’s nice to have them, but it’s what isn’t written on them that makes a difference. Which leads me to this point – you can’t make someone want something they don’t want for themselves. If you’re doing it because it’s another person’s dream for you, the value is minimal, if real at all. Not to say there isn’t value, but it probably isn’t the full value you would have instilled.

All this to say…I believe there’s a draft system in public schools. Very loaded statement, Kel. As mini goes to a small(ish) school – but certainly not as small as mine was – there are 4 kindergarten classes and, I presume, as many first grade classes. So as she has begun peppering me with questions like who will be her teacher next year, I gently remind her I don’t know and probably won’t until about a week before school returns in August. Then she asks who her classmates will be. Wash, rinse, repeat.

photo credit: pexels

Which got me thinking how are classes decided? Is it a drawing? A lottery? Do the teachers drink heavily one night and pick names from an empty wine glass? There’s an idea! My predominant belief is a draft system. As the school year goes on, their teachers are keeping score. Since kindergarten is a (typically) rookie year, they get a wild card pick. So when you see kids getting traded within the first week of school, it’s because a teacher has decided to use her wild card. For the remaining years, trades can only happen when the owner, ahem principal, deems it necessary. At the end of the year, by popular vote, the teacher with the worst class gets first pick in the new school year. Indeed there lives score sheets, mugshots…I mean school photos, and printouts on how annoying the student’s parents were. Sorry, Toots, I bugged the crap out of your teacher.

I’ve been assured the draft doesn’t really take place; it’s all up to chance, so they say. Can’t fool me. I’m convinced there’s a secret society of school personnel who wait all year to call dibs on the class that will rule the school. For one year, at least.

First rule of fight club…

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I ask you –

At what point should my boss stop bringing his big trophies to work?

How many kindergarten classes did your school have? Just one.

Draft: yay or nay?

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

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I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.

Facing Giants

I’m 5 weeks into a long 10k training plan and it still blows my mind how I ran a sub 10 min/mile avg for over 13 miles just 5 months ago. And it was awesome! Now? I’m barely sustaining a 11:30 min/mile for a 5k.

Whoever talked so highly about a comeback was a liar. What’s this comeback you speak of? Because I sure haven’t seen it yet. The only thing coming back is my level of discipline. Although work is really trying hard to throw me off. Anyway – 10k. It doesn’t feel possible I’ll ever get there. On the bright side, most knee pain has all but disappeared. Sometimes there’s a twinge, occasionally it’s a little more than a twinge, but I’m reminded this is normal and may just be a lifelong effect of a torn anything. A run last week reminded me I’ve come a long way and not to be too hard on myself. Still weird though.

In April, I also faced a different kind of giant…the celebration of my great Aunt Mary Catherine’s 95th birthday! She’s no giant. But the revere and awe I am of her is bigger than life. You’d think she’d stop falling for these surprise birthday parties, but it worked again. Her big smile, bigger heart, and sweet words make my soul sing. She is a giant in my eyes – of the most tender loving kind I’ve ever known. Many relatives, family friends, and neighbors were there to share in her day. I even convinced her to eat two pieces of cake. It wasn’t difficult.

Mini finagled her way into Rubik’s cube lessons with my uber-smart cousin.

fast learner

We also had time to take Bluebonnet photos on the side of the highway. This was near where I had the car accident 2 yrs ago so it felt good to find something beautiful near a place I’m not fond of.

Giants aren’t always scary, looming creatures; sometimes they’re just small stepping stones. Other times, they’re the people you love the most whom are giant in your eyes.

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I ask you –

Are you currently training for anything? Survival counts!

Who is the oldest living person in your family?

Tell me what a “giant” looks like to you!

Spring Cleaning

Where has the time gone? How is it April?

My incredible co-worker, Ms. Pat, and I located some gloves and trash bags for “Spring Clean Up Day” at work. Photo op fail. We looked like a service crew who had lost their party…like a prison work group minus the orange jumpsuit. From our vantage point, we didn’t see but one other person outside participating in an event touted as “base wide”. Hmmmppphhh. 30 mins later, with 30 mph wind gusts, we tossed the bags in the dumpster and returned to our building. Spring cleaning: ✅.

One man’s trash, you know the rest. I decided weeks ago to participate in the “Citywide Yard Sale” something or other. Even my neighbors happily gave me their discards to haggle. Why not. As I reminded my MiL I was going to be camped out in her lawn from dawn to whenever, she had a fabulous idea: to ruin my party of 1 with a robe-wearing rendition of old lady humor complete with a solid dose of “GET OFF MY LAWN!” Maybe it was funnier pre-sale. Alas, I waited all day for the show, but none appeared. I sold each item for $1 while Mini bombarded them with items she thought they needed. Team work!

And, on a less funny but more in line with spring note, it was past time for a haircut. I needed something lighter for hot weather.

New do, who dis?

P.S. mini will be 6 years old tomorrow and I’m in shock of how this happened. I swear she was a newborn yesterday. If you leave her happy birthday wishes in the comments, I’ll read them to her tomorrow!

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I ask you –

When was the last time you paraded down the street picking up trash?

Are you a garage saler? Negative. Haggling gives me anxiety.

Spring cleaning: yay or nay

One Day, but not Today!

More funny radio show things to share: forgive me, this isn’t really funny, like hahaha, but more like haHA! A man in Brazil was being chased by bees. He ran towards the nearest body of water and jumped in. Wouldn’t you know said body of water was inhabited by piranhas. And the rest is history. First, let me say I laughed entirely too loud within the confines of my solely occupied car at 7am. By this point, if you don’t know my death-is-funny past, then allow me to reference many previous blog posts with prime examples. Then, I cringed because the radio hosts went on to say…”did you know piranhas are very small, about the size of your palm?” Alas, I did not know this pertinent piece of information and I wonder what this man’s final thoughts were on escaping bees only to be eaten alive by palm-sized fish. FFS. Cue my future fear of bees and water. Wonderful.

I had a song stuck in my head so, like any good employee, I located the song and began to blare it through my desk speakers. Mostly kidding. Whilst searching for this song, I found a playlist of it on repeat for ONE HOUR! I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to repeat a song for one hour, but you’re my hero! It’s been said repetition is the pathway to higher learning – ok, no one said this, I totally made it up, but it’s true – therefore, listening to the song over and over again will most likely remove it from my brain. I hope. But, if not, that’s ok, too, because I rather like the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPanjfwJvlE

Forgot to Mention –

In my next to last physical therapy session, the amazing people at Reneau brought out the big guns…ehh, needles.

The following day after dry needling, mini said to me “Mom, I just have to ask you one question. What does your leg look like after all the needles? Is there holes in it?” Truth be told, she was extremely disappointed there were no visible holes. If you missed the PT graduation post, it’s here: (link)

We had a joint birthday celebration in the office with some of my favorite birthday buddies. And any reason to eat too much cake is always welcomed. In fact, I’m still eating the cake. Sidenote: frozen cake is delicious! I’ve shared before how the military celebrates everything with cake, even the things that make no sense to celebrate, like sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR). Cake? What?

One day, I won’t be so random. Not today! Maybe tomorrow. Probably not.

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I ask you –

Do you think you’re an annoying co-worker?

Do you always celebrate with cake or something else? I love ice cream.

Tell me if you’ve had any experiences with dry needling!

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane!

Some know my love for flying. Even as a child, I wanted to fly. Off the staircase. Even now, as a mostly functioning adult, the airport is a happy place. People trying to get somewhere fast, the focus of being on time – it just amazes me. Some are fearful of flying and I respect that, but it isn’t me! Fly me to the moon!

Mini recently had her first opportunity to fly. I’m slightly disappointed her first flight wasn’t with me, but it is what it is. Fun fact: I’ve only ever flown alone. She did pepper me with questions until the day; I think I did a great job alleviating any fears because she seemed to enjoy it! The ‘to’ trip was a success in her book and she was able to complete post-flight checks with the Captain. I hope she asked all the hard questions.

Credit: Southwest Airlines

Her Tennessean spring break was eventful, to hear her tell it. She enjoyed an outdoor dance platform, visited a space museum in her loathed state of Amabama (story for another day), and most likely ate all the Panda Express (Panda Bear, in her terms) she could hold. Alas, she did have to return to school at some point. It felt like both the shortest and longest week for me.

In true Mini fashion, she made a friend on the return flight home. A young girl – same age as mini – was experiencing her very first flight and on her own. Of course there was a whole story to go with this situation, but it’s not my story to tell. However, mini (now an expert flyer) was the girl’s seatmate and happily showed her the ropes…ehh, wings. Her brave, new friend made it back to Love Field and now each has a story! (Note: I did meet the young friend’s family. I’m amazed at the teamwork that came together to get this little lady home and the support system they have. It was not by accident my mini and her friend were able to sit together. Praise God!)

And then she arrived!

Needless to say, the reunion filled my soul. I love how mini has had so many opportunities to do things some people never experience. She takes it all in stride. As a mom, it’s tough to watch your children get older and more independent; however, mini’s independence is much a part of her as it is a part of me. She is a very blessed girl who has never met a stranger and happily befriends those she meets, young and old alike.

Yes, spring break has come to an end but mini’s adventures are lifelong. She is already looking forward to flying again. And now we have new friends in the DFW area. This child is forcing me to be overly social. Bring on the coffee!

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I ask you –

At what age did you first fly?

Have you never flown and wish to? Or are you intentionally never flying?

Tell me your thoughts on flying alone vs with others! I’m not opposed; the opportunity has never presented itself.

Day in Photos, pt 723

These are kind of my fall back posts when it’s been a slower writing time. Or when I get lazy. But posts like this can be fun and equally entertaining.

Salad on repeat. I actually enjoy the meal prep routine. Some people I know meal prep every.single.meal but I’m not that dedicated. Or strict.

On the topic of salad, these are my final baby tomatoes from the plant we’ve had growing since this time last year. It has survived ice, snow, seasonal changes, and me. Mostly me. I suck at growing anything. I grew a human. Surely that counts!

My gummy game is still going strong! I’ve considered stopping. Ctrl-Alt-Delete. But I really have a hard time considering not playing. Maybe I really am addicted.

And, finally, we visited with my parents. Mini always asks if Scoot Scoot will be in attendance. Fairly certain she loves animals more than people. Can’t blame her.

Mom, Mini, and Dad

I brought my own iced coffee on the way. This time I had no alternate agenda searching for coffee shops. In case you were wondering.

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I ask you –

How many times a week do you eat salad? A typical week: 5

Should I stop playing gummies? It’s ok if you say yes.

Tell me about your upcoming weekend!

Reminiscing

Of all the strange things we go (and grow) through in life, one I’m definitely having a hard time wrapping my mind around is my beautiful, great Aunt Mary Catherine not living in the home I’ve only ever known for her to live in.

Her voice is that of an angel, she is so very humorous, and her kindness cannot be rivaled. You have no idea how much it’s been tried. But I believe she’s embracing her new life in new surroundings near her sons. She joyfully stated apartment living would do until she “ran out of money or ran out of life!” I mentioned running out of patience. We had a good laugh. Alas, her home “is not Boxelder” anymore; yet she maintains a pleasant disposition toward the “old, gray-haired women” whom she says are both nice and sweet, but she’d rather not have so many meals with “a lot of women I don’t remember the names of”. Ditto.

her smile makes my heart happy

Fortunately, we were able to visit her recently in her new abode. Mini has been asking me for weeks when we were going to see her; unfortunately, it took me entirely too long to actually plan a trip. In reality, her new accommodations are actually closer than where she previously lived (+/- 3 hrs versus 4 hrs). As her birthday is in April (she’ll be 95), I’m hoping our family has a big birthday celebration planned. Remind me to ask them about this.

“Whispering Hope” by Percy Faith is a song she mentioned as one of her favorites. Growing up in the big band, big orchestra years, she shared a story of questioning our hometown’s funeral director why this song wasn’t played at funerals and her expectation that it very well should be. I’m making note of it here as a reminder she has a desire for it to be played when she passes. Her wish is my command. In the meantime, I treasure every hug, every smile, every ‘I love you’ we share.

blueberry pie

And, of course, there was a warm blueberry pie awaiting our arrival! Mini ate two pieces. Aunt MC shared another story of when she and my Uncle Jack were newly married and driving up the East Coast, my uncle noticed a roadside stand selling blueberries. At that time, Aunt MC had never eaten a blueberry and didn’t know what one was! Turns out, my uncle loved blueberries and once they became easily located in grocery stores, she had to figure out what to do with them all the time. Introducing the most famous (in my world and family) blueberry pie. Every minute I spend with her is such a blessing and a lesson in our family’s history.

I wish everyone had an Aunt Mary Catherine. But not mine; she’s spoken for.

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I ask you –

Do you have someone in your life like my Aunt MC?

Is there a family recipe you love the most?

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you love blueberries? I’m a 12!

Day in Photos, pt 4 + Snow Notes

First snowstorm of 2022 was a rousing success, in my humble, North Texas, don’t drive on wet pavement opinion.

Also, I had just recovered from a stomach bug my generous mini brought home from school. Bless her heart. Every single year during Jan/Feb time frame, I inevitably contract some sort of digestive issue resulting in at least 24 hours of disgusting unmentionable symptoms. Truly an exciting time to look forward to. You may think I’m being dramatic, but I’m not. Every year for the past 10+ years. Like clockwork. It’s a running joke now. If you’ll recall, I was almost finished with a 31 day run streak in Jan 2021 when I got suspected food poisoning on the 27th. Run streak: busted. I could barely walk to the bathroom much less run.

Anyway, the photos. Who needs proper snow weather clothing when Crocs and a thin nightgown will do just fine.

Anyone else addicted to the popular game Wordle? Jason, I know you are! I’ve got two degrees and this is what I use them for.

Doing well!

As the day progressed, it got colder and snow-ier. We also found appropriate clothing, less pants that fit. Stop growing! If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be scouring all 3 local stores in search of ski or snow pants for an almost six year old.

Sledding for days

As my office and I were discussing the possibility of snow days, of course talk turned to driving on ice. I stayed quiet. Upon my coworker’s remembrance of the reason I don’t drive in this weather anymore, the next sentence ensued “…what kind of employer would make their employee drive to work in that?” Let me clear it up. No one except my own insane need to do what I felt was right made me drive that day. I felt a loyalty to people I worked with and for. Repeatedly they instructed me to stay home. Repeatedly I replied I got this. And we know how it ended. Now, I am thankful each day I believe in my heart there is nowhere I am more needed than to stay home when the weather turns bad. My family is here and I have nowhere to be.

Now excuse me while I patiently await the next round of snow days. After a weekend of 70 degree weather to make it really complicated.

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I ask you –

Do you play outside in the snow? I’d rather watch.

Wordle! Who else plays?

Give me your best snowman-building tricks!

Reunion Tour!

It doesn’t happen as often as we’d like but occasionally I get to catch up with one of my very best friends, Sam. She and I were inseparable for several years, especially during the formidable early-Navy days. In fact, it was a running joke how if you saw one you would see the other; even around people we’d never met before, our easy banter and knowledge of the other’s life led them to believe we’d been friends since childhood. The military has a way of helping you get to know someone really quickly. Because if you’re going to trust your life with someone, you best know a few things first. Anyway, Sam and I were thick as thieves. No word yet on any actual thievery but admittedly we did a lot of shady stuff. Don’t ask about the 4am inspection. We learned together how to navigate some really tough situations and live to tell about it. Sam was always my go-to for great advice. Even now, our conversations pick back up right where we left them. Those are the friendships I value the most. Can’t forget the Joker. We have countless inside jokes, memories of late nights and even later coffee dates, too many tears, and laughter that can be heard miles away. No matter our distance, a best friend like her is hard to come by. She hails from the great state of Illinois now; however…

Further good news is Sam may be visiting Texas in the upcoming months for some military required training and you know what that means! Batman and Robin Reunited!

Reminiscing about the Navy is like taking a manic car ride down a crowded street in Mexico. Let me improve your image. A clown car overfilled with good idea fairies on a dirt road between overgrown buildings surrounded by pedal carts. A hell bus, if you will. Different story for a different day. Being in the military is like living another life, like having a separate personality, like being one person in a skewed reality. At times, it’s lonely while simultaneously so loud you can’t hear yourself think. There’s no outlet. A constant circus meets board room. So if debilitating anxiety is for you, I’ve found the place!

Unrelated but on an equally uplifting note – Jamaica has a bobsled team for the 1st time in over 20 years!! Check out the full story here.

Everyone knows one of my all-time favorite movies is “Cool Runnings”; which, by the way, is more than 30 years old. Geez, I’m old. You can guarantee I’ll be tuning in to watch Jamaica hurl themselves and their light-as-a-feather bobsled down a sharp concrete chute in February. “It’s bobsled time!!”

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I ask you –

What’s your oldest friendship?

Will you be watching the winter Olympics?

Tell me a nickname your friends called you! Clearly, I’m Batman.