Since I went back to work, 2 1/2 years ago, I have grown to hate this question.
Now my vacation days are full of doctor appointments or family trips.
BUT - - gone are the days that Max is excited about sitting in Dr. Chanin's Blue's Clues Thinking Chair....
Gone are the days of a stay-at-home mom of little boys....
My baby Jack will be 17 in a month. He is never home because he drives and has a job...
Monday, he flew on an airplane for the first time......to Budapest, Hungary...for 12 days.
The red suitcase is mostly full of empty space, 13 t-shirts, and a couple of shorts.
The black suitcase was packed by a youth leader, not Jack, and contains 50 pounds of powdered paint in baggies....much like drugs....and Jack was instructed, by the mission trip leader:
"they will ask you if anyone else packed your bag. You say 'no'..."
Thankfully, I found this funny...going on a mission trip and lying to the feds....
My baby Max will be 15 in two months....driving...
He has passed his mother in intelligence. He gave me a complete History lesson at the 3rth of July celebration.
Being a homeschool teacher/mom, I should have responded proudly:
"I'm glad you paid attention to my teaching."
But instead I was: "Really?? where the heck did you learn that?"
Gone are the days of feeling the need to provide educational playtime, worrying if he will wander off at the 3rth of July concert....
What is not gone? Max's fascination with destruction...explosions, taking things apart to see how they work.....burning things with a magnifying glass...
I needed some summer days...DESPERATELY!
So Friday and Saturday, I did nothing but read a book.....one of the best books I have read in a long time!
I donned my Esther Williams swimsuit and lounged in the backyard for two days. I was transported to Germany during the late 1930s and early 40s. I laughed and cried as I became another character in the book. I had not lost myself in a book, in years. I entered 2014 only to go in the house for water or break for lunch with Max.
Today, as my heart pounded because I was nearing the end of the book, I needed to stop for water. I ascended the steps to the back door and noticed my neighbor had been watching me through parted blinds.
I told Jeff, "the weirdo is looking at me, in my bathing suit, and probably wondering why I would walk around the backyard without a cover-up!" Jeff responded with an obligatory compliment. I rolled my eyes and went back to my backyard blanket, and a riveting story.
Later, my phone buzzed with a text. I paused my running from the Nazis, to see who might be trying to contact me. It was Jeff and he had sent an image....
I turned to look at the house, and Jeff stood proudly in the window.
Gone are the days that I need 2 months of nothing. I have thoroughly enjoyed my two days of summer and am ready to go back to work, on Monday.
Tonight, I ran on the hotel treadmill, instead of running outside, in the beautiful weather, into the colorful sunset. Why? I don't know.
As I entered the tiny workout closet, I noted that I was the only one in the room. I turned on the basketball game, turned on my music, and started running. Out of the corners of my eyes, I noticed 2 other people running with me.
It began to be distracting so I casually turned my gaze straight ahead, into the entire mirrored wall. I then turned to my left and lost my orientation in the other entire mirrored wall.
I tried to go back to watching the game, but I was mesmerized by my reflection. No matter how much weight I lose or how toned I get, my body does not show it.
To pass the running time, I started really looking at myself, trying to see what others see. I have spent my whole life avoiding my reflection. I have perfected the glance-roll-eyes-and-go move.
I have never LOOKED at myself.
I started at my face and moved down to my feet. I probably should have cringed at the sight, but instead I was whisked away into "my life story".
I saw two spiral curls on top of my head that did a trampoline "double bounce" every time my feet landed. They looked like broken, unraveling bunny ears. I have thick unruly hair, and it matches my personality perfectly.
The longer I ran, my skin shade turned from white, to pink, to a light sunburn shade. Sadly, I had a few years in high school and college, when I thought a tan would make me pretty. I am thankful I realized in my late 20s that my shading is perfect for me. I am not without blemishes, but the sun damage is minimal.
My face is round and will always be round, supporting my wild hair, my grumpy expressions, and providing amusement. It is rare that I get an involuntary real smile, but when someone is able to extract it from me, my cheeks fill out and block my vision.......making me laugh at the absurdity....creating a bigger smile.
My full and sagging chin/neck identify me as a Kennedy. My maternal grandmother, her sisters, her brother, and my mother have the same chin/neck. A family story tells about my mother's aunt strapping saran wrap under her face to hold up the hereditary droop, for a family picture.
My profile presents my odd nose, but it is my maternal grandfather's odd nose. It reminds me how he would listen without response to all the chaos around him, puff on his pipe, wipe the end of his nose with one finger, and grunt a laugh or grumble, as his opinion.
My full upper arms and upper body were developed during the years I swam, and they remind me of all the years of picking up my special needs students and my own large babies! I have great upper body strength.
My firm calves and skinny ankles made me audibly giggle. They are the only evidence that I am a runner.
My thighs......my thighs....
As I looked at my thighs, I tried to see some of my life history in them. I had a thought on the tip of my brain, but I could not think of what my thighs could remind. So I looked at them intently, and it hit me.
They look like two baked potatoes.
The family album project was over. My brain was flooded with thoughts of loaded baked potato, baked potato with French Onions on top, twice baked potato, potato soup......
The run was over. I hopped off the treadmill and hurried to the shower.....ready to eat!
What is a valentine?
Anyone that chooses to love you when you are at your worst.....
a friend, a spouse, family
I chose the above picture to represent LOVE because I had just birthed Max, Jeff was in zombie state and Jack was being so naughty. I remember thinking "what have I done..."
I really don't care for valentines day.
I want to be shown love because a sunrise was inspiration or I said something funny, not because you ran in Walgreens and an aisle of pink and red crap commanded you to love me.
I haven't always felt this way..
I loved it in elementary school!
The class party!
The 43 valentine cards in a shoebox!
(I went to public school=challenging student/teacher ratio)
As you can see, I was the same at age 8.
Hungry and not so girly....
Then, when I entered junior high, there was no shoebox.
I quickly realized my classmates were forced to love me in elementary.
Not so in junior high.
And therefore, I never received a pink, yellow, or red carnation....not even the friendly white.
High school.... I was never asked to the dance....or given a dang cupidgram.
But despite the many movies, books and TV shows confirming my feelings in my teen years..."I am not the girl they want to love"
I learned what "I love you" means:
Being disappointed but not leaving
Disagreeing but willing to agree to disagree
Hurting feelings but feeling the need to repair them
Enjoying silence without anxiety
Enjoying conversation on any topic because it is conversation with the one you love
Making an effort to let the other "feel" loved
Knowing that you both like each other even in the worst fight
Showing love to them on Valentines Day, as well as "you're gettin on my nerves" day.
When I travel, the guys text me pictures of their day. I always look forward to my texts from home!
Our Science curriculum ALWAYS says to wear safety glasses, even if all you are doing is measuring a book. It is quite ridiculous!
Jeff sent me these pictures with the text, "good thing he had on safety glasses"
I have learned not to check my texts during meetings because it is quite possible that I laugh!
I was sent this picture to show that my sweet child, although recovering from surgery and dealing with double ear infections, was doing his school work.
The picture was sent as a "slide show" with the second picture. So when I received the text, I was looking at the following picture of Max, and then all of the sudden, the second picture popped up!
I spent the day in a small town about 5 miles wide, and yes! I still got lost....
but that is not what this post is about
I realized that Osceola, AR is a small but friendly town.....uncomfortably friendly, like when you are at a stop sign with your windows down because it is one of the most beautiful days of the year and the gang on the corner not only says "hi" but ask you if your day is going well, and "do you need a light?" as they hand me their lighter......thoroughly confused me.
but that is not what this post is about
After I had an actually WONDERFUL day, business wise.....because I make up weird challenges for myself and then see if I can complete these "missions" to see how far I can get into a "secured" facility.
but that is not what this post is about
I set up shop at the ONE McDonald's, stuffed my face with yummy fries and lost myself in work...
I hear above me in a muffled voice:
"I just celebrated my 102nd birthday this week"
I look up at a tall man that YES looks like he is 102 or 127!
"wow, that is great" I politely said, smiled, noticed his cataract covered eyes and hearing aids, then looked back at my computer....
"Do you know why girls have curly hair?"
oh, crap! not only is he going to talk to me, he is going to loudly talk to me....
I cringe at the question because, frankly, I am scared what the answer might be.
"why?" I give him a side look as if that will deflect the coming answer.
"From looking at boys! You college girls need to watch out."
Bless the man with one foot in the grave. I ignore that he is legally blind.....
hey! he saw enough to see I had curly hair! Let's say he saw enough to see I look as young as a college girl.......
yea, I know....
"Well, I am a bit older than college."
"Well then, you need to really be careful because looking at boys can get you babies."
"yea, that is what I have heard"
He goes back to his "mcdonald's mens club" taking up 4 tables...none of them can hear....it would have been humorous, if I wasn't trying to concentrate!
As I was packing up my stuff to leave, he walked over and handed me this:
"You look like you might need this. You have a long life ahead of you."
So I looked young and SINFUL.
I have been teaching my sons......well, since birth....
AND I have been homeschooling them for 6 1/2 years.
As with most students, finding out what they truly have retained is like running in sand:
After finishing a great, visual, auditory, and tactile lesson, I ask
"So what year did this take place?"
"I don't know"
"Well, what was the purpose?"
"I don't know"
"Tell me the steps they took"
"uh, well....I can't remember all of them"
I gladly spend my free-time planning and re-planning to suit their educational needs. I figure I will get an extra smiley face in teacher heaven.
Two weeks ago, on a short car trip around town, Max got bored in the backseat and started reading the OSHA manual.
It was actually quite entertaining hearing him read, in a very animated voice, the regulations on floor holes....or as he read it FLO HOES.
Two long weeks after he read this information, I pick him up from a week long mission trip. He is telling me about serving in a mission house.
"....and mom, they weren't obeying the rules on floor holes. They had open holes in the floor that didn't have covers, or barricades, or guardrails."
This from the kid that can't retain my repetitive lecture on
"when you take your socks off, don't just toss them, take them to the laundry room"
complete with "repeat what I said", "now show me"
But apparently I need to say
It shall be unlawful to place, or cause, or permit to be placed, on any floor or roof or wall or other structure, haphazardly tossed sock(s).
To facilitate cleaning, every floor, working place, passageway, areas of comfy sitting, and storage of random outdoor items shall be kept free from freely tossed sock(s).
So I guess Max's learning style is how the OSHA manual is written.......ACHHH, I refuse to write my lessons like federal regulations.
We went to view an exhibit on the University of Memphis campus. As we walked by the psychology building, Jeff pointed to a window and said, "do you remember that window?".
I racked my brain. I took quite a few psychology classes (should have gone for a minor) but I wasn't sure what HE would have known about my psych classes.....
Then the memory came back! One day, in my 8AM abnormal psychology class, I was sitting in my regular seat by the window. Half way through the class, I looked out the window. There was a paper taped to the outside. I leaned over to get a closer look and recognized Jeff's signature.......fish.....
I love you infinity (Jeff)
Jeff taped it to the window the night before my class!
Remembering this, I joked all day how this was his one and only attempt at being romantic.
I don't keep things, but I hoped I had kept this note. I found it in a secret drawer of a wooden chest Jeff made me when we were dating......along with
46 other notes!!!
I truly had forgotten ALL of this. I found over 30 notes that he had left on my car for me to find after class.
One of my favorites was one I obviously scored when we first became friends.....
That's right! I got HIS digits!!
Several made me laugh. I have always been high strung and put my ALL into work/studying. So Jeff knew from the start about my STRESS!
Sorry it is blurry, but it says "I hope you did well on exams, but if you didn't, don't STRESS"
ALL of the notes said something about "Margaret, the beautiful"......WHO was that?
(when he says this now, I say "you have to say that, I'm all you can have")
Finding this note cracked me up. He wrote it on my DAD'S work stationary!
It seems like it has always been US.....I don't remember the dating.
Today, I entered the dressing room at a local department store. I prepared myself to only "glance" in the mirrors that lined the walls. I only needed to make sure that secrets were covered as I begrudgingly took on the task of choosing a swimsuit for our August beach trip. I did not need to go into an emotional breakdown over a swimsuit.
My eyes are still swollen from an emotional breakdown 2 days ago. For someone who hates emotion and crying, I do it well.
I was so tired Wednesday from lack of sleep that when I got home from work, I fell on the bed and cried the snotty, gasping for breath, ugly cry. It lasted for almost 2 hours. Ridiculous!
Jeff knows this is how I ultimately handle stuffing my emotions, so he patted me on the back and told me all about a TV show he started watching. He spoke louder the louder I cried.
Back in today's dressing room, I chose several different types of suits. One was designed to flatter my femaleness but after I stuffed myself into it, I cut my eyes at the mirror and felt like my body had turned into a cartoon:
Still tired, I fought back tears as I reached for another suit. It was supposed to hide unwanted curves with slimming lines...
I cut my eyes at the wall of mirrors and realized vertical lines are not ALWAYS better!
Trying to convince myself that I look fine, just not made for clothes, I tried the next bathing suit. I KNEW it was going to work! The tag even said so!
"tummy control, instant slimming"
It was black, which I feel is easier to disappear into a hole.....a black hole....out of sight!
I moved the tourniquet over my thighs and tucked my body into this magic black cloth.....
much like you would tuck a long shirt into your pants. After minutes, the suit snapped onto my body with a loud "cracking the whip" sound that echoed through the fitting room.
Before I looked into the mirror, I made the decision that if this suit looked great, I would gladly wet myself at the beach....because there was no way I was going to put that suit on more than once a day!
I slowly turned to face the mirror. The tag did not tell a lie! My tummy was slim!
However, it had pushed the extra body down and out to my thighs...up and out my chest....back and around and out between straps.....
Disgusted and fighting back emotion, I stretched with all my might to remove the slimming suit.
What the tag did not advertise was the fact that in the event of removal, you will be turned into a human slingshot/catapult.
I shielded my eyes from the wall of mirrors, pulled the straps out and launched myself out of the suit.
I shot across the dressing cubicle and into the thin wall. The force knocked the square room out of whack and the walls began to fall like dominoes.
Thankfully, all of us ladies were about the same body type and trying on bathing suits. Giggling erupted and requests "are you okay?" rippled down the 9 temporarily unhinged walled rooms. I started laughing uncontrollably which led to uncontrolled cry/laughing.
Most people that witness this emotional act feel a need to send me straight to emergency therapy!
I quickly got dressed, gathered my wallet and keys, apologized profusely and tried to escape.
Dressing Room Attendant picks up my credit card and my business card, "is this yours?"
I grabbed my credit card "yes! thank you!"
I looked at my business card with "GREEN & SAFE" screaming out to everyone. I thought about the unsafe demolition I had just caused.....
"This isn't mine, but I'll take it"
Being a part of Su Casa Family Ministries, in Memphis, was one of the best things I have done with my life.
I helped with the children's ministry.
I was there over a year and the only thing I could say was "no llores, no llores...."
Which means "don't cry, don't cry".....but mine sounded like "no, your esss, no, your ess".
Somewhat helpful because the little ones stopped crying to wonder what was wrong with me.
Because of my foreign language disability, I felt I became a master at charades and sign language! I don't think the mothers of these little ones would agree.
One day, I was using my fabulous MAZ-charades-skills on a mom. I was simply telling her to bring a diaper next time. I must have gotten carried away with my theatrics because she left and came back with a translator.....she thought I was saying her baby was very sick.
I left that part of my life, defeated, because no matter how hard I tried, how many times I asked "how do you say.....spell it....", I could not get a grip on Spanish. One time, I thought I was answering in Spanish, but I was informed it was French....my two years of French in high-school crept back into my brain.....strange!
Every time I am around the spanish speaking community, I am reminded of my failure.
Until! YESTERDAY!!! greatest day of my life
Non-English speaking man: "check for me?"
Lady: "are you S? "
Man; "si, and G's check?"
Lady: "you want your check and G's check?"
Lady: "where is G?"
Man: " si, check"
Lady: "where is G?"
Lady looked at me...."oh my word"
I stood there deep in thought......I know I can help.......what are the words for "where is".....
Me: "Dawn Day Es Taw, G?"
So proud of myself I did not even think of not being able to understand the spanish answer to where G would be!
I was in luck!
Man, smiling...because I am pretty sure I asked where a female or object and not a male...was.
WHAT!!! STEP BACK WORLD!!!!
I was so happy I did a tiny disco boogie and then turned to "lady"....
"O K!!!! YES! I GOT THIS!! G is either at a Family Ministry or his house!"
(click on above pic)
I want to take this time to encourage all my friends and family to get involved with a really great ministry!!! You don't have to speak Spanish, or be a master at charades!
If you haven't read my ClassicMaz blog from the beginning, then you probably don't know WHY it is named CLASSICMAZ. There was a SNL skit with Justin Timberlake as Classic Peg.
Peg would tell stories about how awkward things happened to her, or how she caused accidents and end the story with "Classic Peg".
I, too, am awkward and cause problems........ending a situation with "Classic MAZ" ringing in my head.
Like this morning...
I was dropping off my youngest at church. I sat in the car to finish posting a picture on instagram. I look up as a car is backing up and coming to a stop right in front of my car (about 5 feet away). The guy looks like my friend's husband, but not. I look back down. I look back up and he is grinning. I throw a stupid "stick your face out and grin big" right back at him and he rolls his window down. All this time I'm thinking, "something is different about SP".
I roll my window down and realize, by the way we are parked, I won't be able to hear whatever he says...so I open my door to get out of my car. As I'm closing the door, his gaze seems to be slightly behind me as he says "what are you doing?" I prepare to say something witty as a lady walks from behind me toward his car.
Oh My Word......He IS NOT my friend's husband AND he IS NOT smiling/talking to me. I am so close to this interaction that I can't just get back into my car like an idiot.....
So I go into the gym, where my oldest son is working the desk. I am sure he is not happy that I have come to see him at work. I make up 2 random questions and then walk back to my car and FLEE!
(BY THE WAY, my friend's husband is a good friend of mine and there is no reason why I should not have been aware that this wasn't him........sheesh)
I am at a work seminar by myself. I am surrounded by nice dressed men and women of the business world, which means I am feeling VERY out of place. My table fills up.....thank goodness, because I was by myself and fearing that it was going to be high school ALL OVER AGAIN...
It would have been much better to stay ALONE because after my table filled up, a man asked if he could join us. I found this odd because he had to pull a chair away from another table to squeeze in with us.
After getting situated, he asked me "what was your maiden name?"
I told him and he loudly proclaims to the table "yes, we went out in college!"
Everyone looked at me. this guy has on a western style dress shirt with the pearl buttons and khakis that have western stitching ON THE SIDES.
My first and natural response was to say "...ha ha ha...whatever! I don't think so!" But I was not there as MAZ.....I was there as someone's employee....so I tried to think of a "professional" reply.....
Before I could speak, he continued, "we had History together, my freshmen year of college. this girl was hilarious! I took her to a party.....a mixer.....she was a riot! she had everyone in tears, laughing."
the table looks at me again.
I politely smile as my brain is scanning memories to see if I remembered any of what he was talking about. I looked at everyone's faces and developed a sudden urge to just slide out of my chair and under the table.
THEN it hit me:
I remember this guy. I DID have history with him. He saved me a seat everyday and told me stories of how he was a rodeo bull rider. at the age of 18, he had a fake hip.
I did remember the mixer. BUT I remember him asking "are you going?"
I said "yes"
I saw him at the mixer.
I dont remember being funny, so maybe he had been drinking. I don't even remember talking to him AT ALL. Not sure how he got "we went out" from that mixer.....
Back to the table,
as everyone is staring at me waiting for my response.....and probably waiting for a funny one, to put them in tears
I smiled. I stretched out my hand to get a drink of coffee....stalling. But instead of gracefully taking the coffee mug...
I spilled the guys water......and then the host rose from my table and walked to the podium to begin introducing the guest speaker......