Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

How to Get a Terrible Picture Taken for Free August 17, 2012


Church pictures.  Something I thought I’d never be a part of at 27 years old.  I vaguely remember being a part of them as a child.  I know I’ve seen pictures of myself at 5 years of age, permed bangs hair sprayed up 4 inches, and my parents in matching white shirts in front of a gray backdrop.

Yet, as a member of a great church today, I found myself in the same mortifying moment 22 years later.  They advertised “100% participation” in the bulletin for our church photos week after week.  So I signed the hubbie and I up for our photo shoot and what we got was an awkward moment (and photo) to remember…

We walked in at our scheduled time wearing shirts in semi-matching hues (hey, I checked pinterest for tips on how to dress for photos!)  As we waited for our turn, I noticed the hubs had on a pair of blue plaid shorts that completely clashed with my navy striped shirt.  We were off to a wonderful start.  A nice older lady walked up and told us she was ready.  The gray background made me cringe, but I rolled with it.  She directed me to sit on one of two stools.  She stood back, assessed the situation, and said to the hubs, “I’m going to have you sit on the other stool behind her.  Straddle her.”  I fought back a laugh.

My husband did as he was told, we looked at the camera and waited for the click.  I begged the lady to crop out the plaid shorts and smiled.  We smiled for what seemed like 5 minutes… you know when you smile for so long that it begins to look like your third grade school picture?  I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when the shutter finally clicked, but at least it was over.  I stood up and turned to leave.

“So, we’re done?”

“Um, no.  Unless you really want to be.”

How could I walk away from this nice old lady?  She was just doing her job.  OK fine.  She had us stand and face each other.  “Let’s show off this pretty ring!” she said and propped by left hand up on my husband’s chest.  Can you see this in your mind?  It was one of those cheesy engagement picture shots that just make my roll my eyes in the back of my head.  I mean seriously.  Who does that?

I blurted out, “I can’t do this one!!”

Startled, she said, “Why not?”

“It’s too cheesy.  Sorry, I just can’t.”

Instead she had me wrap my arm around his waist so we were now just in a standing hug position.  Not much better than the cheesy engagement photo pose.  This was God’s punishment for being difficult.

Pose number three had my husband sitting on a stool with me behind him.  I was told to wrap my arms around his neck and lean forward.  Really?  Now I was just going to roll with it and get the pictures done.  Finally, the photo shoot was over and we sat at a desk with our photographer.  She brought up all of our pictures on a computer screen and I screwed my face into a horrified expression.  Ew.  The florescent lighting, navy blue shirt, and gray background did nothing for me.  I looked like a meth addict who had been locked in a closet for 3 years.  Not exactly the church photo I had in mind.  I looked about the hubs who could care less what he looks like and even he was cringing.  She clicked through all of our pictures and we decided on one.

She assured us our free 8×10 would be arriving in the mail within a few weeks.  Oh yes.  That is for sure going on the mantle.  When we thought the awkward church photo experience was over, the photographer offered to… um… spruce up our photo.

“Would you like me to add some words to your 8×10?”

???

“For example, I could add something like, ‘Love’ or ‘Together Forever’ on the bottom of your photo.”

“Uh, no thanks.  I think we’re OK…. yep… plain is fine.”

We slinked out of church that night with 2 shreds of dignity left.  We got in the car in silence.  I was clutching a piece of paper containing our black and white photos in thumbnail size.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing.  The whole things was just weird.  These photos would haunt us for years to come – and lucky us!  They’ll be published in our church directory for thousands to see.

I texted a photo of our pics to my mom.  Her response?

“LOL those look like the photos you see on the news when the wife disappears.”

Thanks mom.

The point?  If you can’t laugh at an experience like this, you’re taking life too seriously.  Chill out, laugh at odd situations, and get your church pictures taken.

 

45 Minutes for a Table? Hell no! April 28, 2012


I’m about to admit my only character flaw to you all…  I’m impatient.  (Pause for gasps.)  Yes, me, the teacher, is impatient.  I’m very patient with my students, patient with my slow computer, and patient waiting for my nails to dry.  But when it comes to food, bitch don’t make me wait 45 minutes.

 

I don’t cook because…. well because… um… I just don’t want to.  You have to like think about what you’re making, check to be sure you have all the ingredients, put them together, heat them up or something, and then comes the worst part- you have to clean it all up.  Ugh.  By then it’s 7 or 7:30 and all the good shows are on (you know, Modern Family, Real Housewives of well, anywhere etc.) and there I am with my hubbie groaning about loading the dishwasher and putting food down the disposal.  Because of this extremely taxing experience, I prefer to eat at restaurants when I get the chance.

 

So then comes Saturday night.  We leave church and get in the car.

“Where should we eat?”  The hubbie asks.

“Oh I don’t care…” I say casually, secretly hoping for my favorite place.

We head to restaurant #1.  We park the car about 3 miles from the entrance and hope it’s not busy.  Um, duh, red flags were waving at us in the face and we ignored them.

“Hi, ” I say to the hostess, “2 people please!”  I always think that a big smile and overly sweet greetings will get us in faster.

“45 minutes!” she says just as sweetly, handing me the buzzer.

I turned my head in such a panic I almost bitch slapped that poor hostess in the face with my hair.  The hubs and I agreed we wouldn’t wait that long, handed the buzzer back, and bolted in search of food from somewhere else.  But not before I slipped out a nasty, “That’s why we don’t come here,” just loud enough for the hostess holding the door open to hear.  I’m not proud of that one, but when I get hungry I turn into a completely different person.

 

Off we went to restaurant #2 (my pick!).  We never have to wait there, this was a sure thing!  We walked in and I did the chipper and overly sweet, “Two people please!”

“45 minutes!” she said through a smile and handed me the buzzer.  This time I did not even confer with the hubs.  I pushed that buzzer right back and we headed out the door.

“Now what?!” I said, as if there were about to be a nuclear attack and we had 5 minutes to find food or we’d starve.

We decided fast food was the way to go and happily walked right up to the register, ordered, and ate our food within 20 minutes (What can I say? We were hungry.)  We hopped in the car and headed home, 3 restaurants later, satisfied.

 

So here’s my question to you: How long is appropriate to wait for a table at a restaurant?  How long are you willing to wait?  Am I the only one who is too impatient to wait more than a half hour for a table?  If I’m psycho please feel free to let me know that as well, everyone needs a reality check once in a while.  But be brief, I don’t have the patience to read through long comments.

 

Spring Break… You Dirty B*&%@# March 23, 2012


What the hell is everyone doing?  No, I’m serious, what is everyone actually doing?  I’ve been on spring break for 8 days now.  8 days.  As a teacher, it is one benefit we reap every year in March.  10 days with no students, no assessments, no crazy parent emails (well, actually those keep coming, I just choose to ignore them during my hiatus), and no stress.  With 8 days down and 2 to go, I’m feeling stir crazy and just want to know what everyone else is doing to occupy their time.  Until I can figure that out, let me tell you about the wild shenanigans I’ve been up to.  Brace yourself…

Days 1-3 my parents visited.  I moved approximately 3.5 hours from home (yes hours, not miles, I cannot read a map to save my life and would easily die on Survivor before being voted off first by my tribe) so when they come to visit it is always a fun time.  We went downtown to see the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.  My dad grabbed for my mom’s hand upon seeing multiple “weirdos” as he called them.  “Where the hell are you taking us?” he asked.  After convincing them that this parade is supposed to be really cool and worth our time, we stayed and sat on a curb for an hour.  I tried to keep conversation rolling to pass the time, but it was clear they weren’t exactly impressed with my itinerary thus far.  Finally, the first few floats (well more like large party buses) drove by and were filled with screaming, and I’m assuming drunk, people.  Mom began to enjoy herself as she screamed for beads as each float, er, bus passed by.  She had several within a few minutes and was smitten.  An hour or so passed and my parents rolled up our blanket we were sitting on and promptly announced they’d had enough of the drunken people screaming and were ready to go.  We left.

Day 4 began with my friend calling me around 10:00 screaming, “SPRING BREAK 2012 BITCHES!!!”  A little groggy having just woken up only minutes ago, I managed a small, “Woooo.”  I looked down at my baggy pajamas and tried to run my fingers through my bed head hair.  Spring break wasn’t off to a great start this week.  If only I was hanging out at a swim up bar with my girlfriends in a cheetah print bikini taking body shots off some guy named, Brad, whom we had just met and claimed to be producer for MTV.  Now that would be a real spring break!  “Hello?”  I shook my head as my friend brought me back to reality.  “Oh sorry, I was just trying to figure out what to do today,” I said.

Days 4-6 were filled with my attempt to be a 1950’s housewife.  I am a pretty big feminist so this was big for me, and very exciting for my husband!  I’m sure you heard of Pinterest by now.  If not, get out from under your rock and Google that shit.  I hunted furiously for great recipes I could actually make (the options were limited due to my crap cooking skills and flat-out laziness) and got busy cooking!  Creamy Crock-Pot Spaghetti was up first.  Overall, it went pretty well.  But four hours later when it was time to open the pot and stir, all of my noodles were stuck together.  It tasted alright, but watching my husband eat a wad of 10 spaghetti noodles stuck together and kindly say, “Mmmm, good!” with each bite was just sad.  Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies turned out great!  I put way more care into making these high calorie, carb-filled, bites of pure deliciousness than I had selecting our first house.  Finally, I made Lasagna Spinach Roll Ups.  Although they were more time-consuming than the lovely blog they came from explained, I was proud of their outcome.  We didn’t eat until after 8:00 PM, but hey, Jersey Shore wasn’t an overnight sensation either.

Finally, FINALLY, on Day 7 I found a poor soul to have lunch with.  Seriously, I had been calling other teacher friends all week for some human interaction (apparently my mind craves it after only a few hours alone) and everyone was busy.  What the HELL were they doing all week?  Someone please tell me!  I walked into the restaurant and my friend says, “Wow, did you get your hair done?  It looks cute!  I like your clothes, very fun!”  Nope, no hair appointment.  No new outfit.  The thought of interacting with another person excited me so much that I kind of dolled myself up and went a little crazy.  “Well, you know….” I said and shrugged as if I hadn’t been lounging in baggy sweatpants and old college t-shirts for 6 days in a row.  Lunch was nice and we ended up having a 2 hour convo about moving, school, relationships, and buying furniture from nut jobs who “only accept cash.”  Yikes.

Which brings me to today.  Day 8.  It is Friday and the only part left of my spring break is the weekend with my hubbie as usual.  My “vacation” is over and back to reality I go.  I managed to rearrange some bookshelves after knocking over a lamp and cussing like crazy to nobody in particular.  I also caught up on the latest celebrity scandals and gossip by repeatedly checking my Twitter account and People.com.  (Did you know Tori Spelling is pregnant AGAIN??)

In conclusion, I just have to tell spring break what a dirty b*&%@# she is.  Yes, I got to relax.  Yes, I slept in like a college student with 1:00 class.  Yes, my photos are now perfectly arranged by date and in albums.  But I’m ready to get back to contributing to society.  Back to getting dressed like an adult every day.  Back to having a reason to put on hair spray and mascera.  Spring break, you’ve been relaxing, but you’re also a dirty  b*&%@#.

 

What Does Your Magazine Say About You? January 10, 2012


A great visual for our personalities as a couple!

Once a month my husband comes in beaming from his trip to the mailbox.  He strolls towards me holding a thin package in clear plastic wrap.  He shakes it in front of me and says, “It came!”  MY GLAMOUR MAGAZINE!

I’ve been subscribing to Glamour Magazine since high school.  Finding out the trends for next month, how-to hairstyle guides, and photos of celebrities spotted canoodling in Hollywood coffee shops gets me all hot and bothered!  Within an hour I usually have the issue devoured cover to cover.  (In case anyone is wondering, I love the “Hey It’s OK” section!  My fav!)  I set it aside and anxiously await next month’s issue. 

Typically, my hubbie gets his monthly magazine on the same day.  After he drops my Glamour in my lap, he turns his attention to his… brace yourself… Kiplinger’s.  Nope, not speaking another language, it is indeed called, Kiplinger’s.  I’m not exactly sure but I believe it’s some sort of money management, 401K, investment banking… blah, blah, blah.  What on earth is exciting about that?  I get the articles about upcoming spring fashion trends.  I pour over recipes that “make your man melt.”  I take the quizzes to find out what kind of sex life I’ll have in 2012 based on my sign, height, and shoe preference.  But what I don’t get is how reviewing the criteria for deducting a home office on your taxes IS ENTERTAINMENT?!?

Just yesterday I had a dentist appointment.  After I placed my purse and coat on a chair in the waiting room I eyed the magazine rack.  Yessss!  Fresh magazines of all shapes and sizes!  (The only reason I go with my hubbie when he gets his haircut is to paroose the newest magazines.)  As I stood in front of the magazine rack I could see a dad and his son watching me make my selection.  Damn. 

The following interpretations of each magazine flashed through my head in a matter of 25 seconds:

Seventeen Magazine:  I’m 26 reading a magazine targeted to a teenage girl.  Prom dresses, curfews, and ACT prep are no longer issues in my life.  Boo.

Newsweek:  Makes me look smart… like I know about the world.  Except, I don’t care. 

Redbook: I must be a mom who needs 10 easy crock pot recipes so when I’m between dropping my kids off at soccer and book club, I can feed them healthy meals.  Nope.

Sports Illustrated: I’m a butch with a hot chick waiting for me at home.  I probably want to stay current on the latest college softball scores.

So, what did I go with?  Travel and Leisure Magazine:  I’m well-rounded, cultured, and enjoy a good time!  I grabbed it, sat down, and then got called in for my teeth cleaning. 

It’s amazing what magazines say about a person.  For my husband and I, they illustrate who we are.  At the dentist office they give a glimpse of the many different  people who go in and out of the office every day.  Magazines are a great source of entertainment and information.  They may change with us as we get older, but sometimes, they also help us hang on to who we will always be.

 

I’m Failing at Fall! September 25, 2011


freefoto.com

A midwest summer is something to experience.  It’s hot, humid, and even opressing at times.  The pools are packed, buttcheeks fall out of girls’ shorts, and foreheads are usually dripping with sweat.  Ok, so clearly I’m not a summer girl.  People shouted it throughout all of spring as the students at our school became restless.  “I am so ready for summer!” They’d yell in passing through the hallway.  “Don’t you just love summer?” my friends would ask as we baked on their decks drinking margaritas.  Of course I enjoy a warm summer night, but no.  I don’t LOVE summer.  My response to all of their “I love summer” chatter was often, “Yes, but I’m so ready for fall!” 

Leading up to fall I couldn’t wait to have the windows open to enjoy a cool breeze through the house.  I anxiously awaited the change in weather to bust out my leggings, tall boots, and comfy sweaters.  I wanted to meet my new students and teach them how to read and write for the very first time.  Finally, I wanted to fill our home with the warm smells of pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies baked from scratch to impress my hubbie.  “See?” I would say, “Fall even makes me a better wife!” 

Well, here we are.  Exactly 3 days into fabulous fall and 5 weeks away from Halloween.  I’m living it up right?  Not exactly…

The first day our temperatures dipped below 70 degrees I ran (literally sprinted) into our house after work and through open every damn window in the house.  Yes!  The crisp air whipped through every nook and cranny of our house and I was happy… up until the next morning.  I tightened up the blankets around my shoulders, shivering in the dark at 6:00 AM.  I stared at the 29 used tissues I had used and thrown next to the bed throughout the night.  I rubbed my itchy eyes and attempted to itch the back of my throat with my tongue (not easy.)  I made my way to our bathroom and flipped on the light.  Bloodshot eyes, raw nose, and purple bags above my cheeks only meant one thing: my fall allergies had arrived.  After frantically searching for a leftover allergy pill from last year’s stash, I slammed the windows shut and yelled, “Who’s God damned idea was it to open all of these windows anyway?!”  We’ve had them shut ever since.

My fall wardrobe has been in full force.  It has to be since it’s a balmy 42 degrees in the morning.  Last night I attended Octoberfest with some friends outside and froze my ass off.  It was a lot of fun, but my hands were jammed under my armpits for most of the night in attempt to stay warm.  “You should have worn a hooded sweatshirt,” my husband mused.  Ha!  And deprive myself of these wonderful leggings, tall boots, and beautiful brown and black scarf?  Yeah.  Right.  I froze while drinking my plastic mug full of beer and cringed at the people passing in laderhosen.  So much for the fall wardrobe excitement!

As for the kids who walked through my classroom door in August, they’re wonderful!  However my life is again consumed with tying shoelaces, endless nights creating lesson plans, early morning meetings, and cranky parent emails asking that I prepare materials for their child’s 5 day vacation in which he will be missing school.  Seriously?  I don’t recall going on a tropical vacation at 5!  I’m the one who needs a vacation here!  Me!!  What is happening here?

The yummy chocolate chip cookies did happen though!  Ok, so they were the kind that are already formed into squares.  But I had to put them on a real baking tray and preheat the oven.  Then… then, I had to set the timer and be sure they didn’t burn.  My husband smiled as he bit into the first cookie, so I’d say they were a success!  Today is when I was supposed to create a beautiful aroma of pumpkin bread spilling throughout the house.  I bought the bread pans at the store, checked off my ingredient list… and took a nap.  Damn.  It’s 6:00 and there’s no pumpkin bread.  The pans and recipe are lying on the countertop as if it were a graveyard for unfinished fall fun.  Oh well, there’s always next weekend.

I do LOVE fall!  I’ll just have to enjoy it from inside my sealed up house, while sitting in sweatpants on the couch writing lesson plans.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go throw another blanket on my lap, take my allergy medicine and write some fantastic lesson plans for the week.  Is it summer yet?

 

Wanted: Childless Couple Friends May 22, 2011


I feel like a liar.  I feel deceitful.  I had a birthday last week that makes my blog title no longer true.  However, I don’ t think calling my blog, “Halfway to 50… and then some,” sounds as catchy.  On Tuesday I entered Club 26 (ooo now that has a ring to it!)  I rang it in with my hubbie, a bottle of wine, a vodka shot, and a few unexpected surprises…. let me explain.

The weekend before my birthday the hubbie and I went to dinner downtown.  You know, one of those places with dim lights, long narrow menus, and tiny tables.  The waiter came over and poured my husband a small glass of wine.  I raised an eyebrow at the smidge of wine standing in his glass and anxiously waited for him to fill up my glass when I noticed something great happen.  My husband picked up his wine glass, swirled it around, smelled it, and took a sip.  He nodded to the waiter who proceeded to pour him a full glass and then fill up mine as well.  Oooo classy!  I smirked at my husband who so gracefully handled a situation that made me giggle.  Turns out his fancy job puts him in situations like this all the time so he knew exactly how to handle it.  That’s my oh so grown up man!  We wrapped up dinner and walked, well my husband walked and I stumbled, back to the car.  We hit 2 Redbox machines up on the way home (both were out of order) so we gave up. 

Tuesday night we went out to dinner again with another couple because, well, I’m not about to cook on my birthday.  We ordered a round of shots, which my girlfriend declined.  The waitress came back with a regular glass, not a shot glass, full of vodka for each of us.  “Sorry,” she said with a shrug, “we don’t have shot glasses.”  Gulp by gulp I took about the equivalent of 3 shots and continued with my dinner.  Hey, like 50 Cent says, party like it’s your birthday!  That’s when my girlfriend dropped the news on me.  “We’re expecting,” she said.  Surprisingly my eyes began to well up with tears.  I’m not a super emotional girl so this was big.  I pushed my husband out of the booth, forced her husband out as well, and hugged her.  On the way home I tried to picture her with a baby.  “Well, another one bites the dust,” I said to hubbie.  “One more couple we can’t call to meet at the bar on a Saturday night.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them!  I love kids (I am a teacher after all; it’s not for the money) and I hope to have my own someday, but it’s getting tough to maintain couple friends without kids.  We’re holding tight to the ones we’ve got.  When the topic of babies comes up with them, I often try to make it sound like we’re discussing purchasing a snake. 

Childless couple friend:  When are you two thinking about having kids?

Me: Psh… (gulping a drink) Not for a while.

Childless couple friend: Really?

Me: Yes (taking another drink) I still have so many things I want to do.

Childless couple friend: Like what?

Me: Oh you know, travel, finish school… drink in a bar without paying $50 for a sitter.

Childless couple friend: Yeah… me too.

Haha!  Someday I’m going to laugh at my obnoxious self-centered thinking.  But until then, I’m going to sleep in, write papers until the wee hours of the night, change my plans at the last minute, and plan elaborate vacations.  Please don’t judge me.  Recognize that I just celebrated another birthday, receive news about friends being pregnant almost daily (thanks Facebook), and simply put, am just not ready.  Here’s to all the childless couples out there who are sitting around reading blogs on a Sunday night because there’s nothing else to do!

 

25 in the Midwest March 28, 2011


Are expectations different depending on where you live?

I had this thought today as I was driving to the gym.  I had Cosmo Radio on in the car and was listening to a segment called, Cocktails with Patrick or Cocks with P (if you’re feeling a little sassy!)  He was on a roll delivering a strong message about being 25 years old to his co-host.  Apparently she is 25 and he was telling her to relish every moment of this time, because it only goes downhill from there. 

After you’ve all stopped gasping, continue reading please.  He was telling her that she is at her prime physically, emotionally, and sexually.  He went as far as to tell her that she should throw herself a party tonight to celebrate this wonderful age!  But what really got me was when he asked her about her “old” friends, you know, those girlfriends she has who are 28 or 29 years old.  (There was even a moment where they referred to these women as “golden girls!”  Their words, not mine.)  If asked, he believed every one of them would turn back the clock 4 years.  Why? Because they have more pressure and responsibility now.  Together they listed the things that cause pressure and responsibility when you are in your late 20’s like careers, marriage, and babies.  He advised his halfway to 50 co-host to truly soak up every moment of her carefree existence right now before she becomes engulfed in life’s expectations.

Here is where my head spun around.  What he is talking about??  I’m 25, four years into my career, married, and paying a monthly mortgage.  My halfway to 50 life is full of responsibility and pressure!  Now, please don’t think I’m complaining.  I chose every element of my life and love what it has become.  I have a career that I’m passionate about, a husband who adores me, and a home that we’ve created together that someday we’ll raise children in.  So why does this radio host believe 25 year olds are free of responsibility?  Am I crazy or is he?  Where I come from, once you graduate college, you get a move on with life.  It is still filled with fun and excitement, but you have to work for it.

Most of my friends were married in their early 20’s and many are starting to have children.  We all have jobs because, well, who else is going to pay the bills?  We have fun on the weekends and work hard during the week.  We haven’t thrown in the towel on our youth yet, but still take on a lot of responsibility. 

Two of my best friends are not married.  Both have come to me with concerns about their age and the increasing pressure to marry soon.  They’re great girls with good jobs, amazing families, and dazzling personalities.  So why are they worried?  Because they want security, love, and, babies before they’re 30.  Most of the time these conversations turn to the idea that people our age in other areas of the country are partying, carefree, and starring in reality shows about living in a beach house. 

I guess what I’m saying is if I was born in Los Angeles, maybe I’d be running around from bar to bar, flirting with muscle laden bronzed men, working a temp job as a dog walker, and living in a run down apartment on the beach.  The only responsibilities I’d have is to sweep the sand off the floor at night, keep enough protection in the house for my gentlemen callers, and keep an ample supply of sunscreen on hand for my tanning sessions.

So my final thought to you is, does region determine the expectation on you and your age?  Do you think you’d have a different life if you grew up elsewhere?  What is society’s current expectation of you?