The Life of Bon: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Today is Halloween!
Do you want to know what I'm going to be?

Do you!?  Do you?!  Do you?!

I am going to be....


I can't tell you what I'm going to be yet, because it's a big secret!!! 

But I'll tell you this much...

It's going to blow last year's costume out of the water.


Answer me this: 

What in this world is better than a day to dress up, stay up late, and eat loads and loads of free candy?

My main Halloween post will be tomorrow where I unveil mine and Hubs' costume for the year.  (What will it be?  What will it be?!?)

For now you will have to be satisfied with some Halloween costumes over the years.  And by over the years I mean the past six years.  Pictures from my childhood required way too much effort.  What do you expect from me?  I've been busy preparing for Halloween this weekend!

2004- Tinkerbell! 
Best made Halloween Costume
(and no, I didn't make it, my roommate did...)

2010- Hubs and I "just dating" at this point.
Tooth fairy and little boy who lost his tooth.
Corniest Halloween costume.
2006- Marilyn Monroe
Most Scandalous Halloween costume
(I received some heat from my padres for this one, believe you me!)
2009- Gold Diggers
Most creative Halloween costume

Not actually for Halloween- this was for a Harry Potter premiere
But I had to put it in
It's my coolest costume to date.
Hubs refuses to look at the picture.
It makes him sick.
Which means the costume was a success!
Most amazing/disgusting Halloween costume
2006- Pirate. 
Lamest Halloween costume.

2011- Most unique costume
I am Hubs.
But this is only costume #1 that I wore for our ward Halloween party on Friday night. 
The REAL costume for this year will be revealed tonight.
Check in tomorrow
You don't want to miss it!
P.S.  Halloween will always carry a special little place in my heart since last year.  As we were cleaning up from our 2010 Halloween party, Hubs, who at that point was only BoyToy, said to me "Bon, next year we're going to have to go with something real scary.  No more of this cutesy stuff."

And that's how I first knew Hubs wanted to marry me.

Because who plans a year in advance if you don't want to marry the person?!?!

And if that isn't a Halloween love story, I don't know what is.

***Disclaimer*** The pictures aren't in chornological order.  And the formatting is a disaster.  This is because blogger is dumb.  The user of blogger (*ahem* me) is often sometimes dumb.  This is the best you're going to get today, so don't leave me some comment saying this post don't look professional enough.  I don't want to hear it!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to work on my killer costume and dip some caramel apples.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hubs' first wife

Sometimes Hubs brings up the old wife.

His first wife.

I don't really like talking about her.

Fine.  I have jealousy issues.  I said it.

Hubs will give me a hug, look deep into my muck colored eyes and say:

"I love you...

...But I miss my first wife."


This is a picture of Hubs and his first wife on the day of their marriage:

(SECRET:  Hubs has really only been married once.

He thinks he's been married twice.

This is because two months into the marriage, I drastically changed the color of my hair.

Thus... the end of Hubs' first wife.

And the emergence of a new wife.

Wife #2, if you will.)

The new wife is the girl NEXT to Hubs, not the girl above him.  The girl above him
is my sister, Mary, and if that was Hubs' new wife then we'd really have
a problem on our hands.

Hello new wife.  You look great with your new hair color.  Why, thank you.

Hubs is smart in that he only protests something if he is really really adamantly passionately opposed.  (And then he protests hard!)  Otherwise, he'll  just subtly joke about it until I realize he doesn't like it.  Sometimes it takes me months to figure out his true feelings.  (If you don't believe me, please take a look at our bright green walls.  I am just now starting to catch on to Hubs' sly hints that he's not a big fan.)

You see, I have thought all along that Hubs was okay with the brown hair. 

But I realized the other day that he is bringing up the first wife with more and more frequency. 



Even when I specifically ask him not to talk about her.

I'm getting the feeling now that he wants me to kill the second wife, resurrect the first wife, and allow him to live the life with the first wife that he always thought he'd live (say that ten times fast!) 

His hints are getting more blatant.

Last week he asked, "So when is my first wife coming back?  Do you know?"

"I have no idea.  I never talk to your first wife," I answered.  And left the room.

A couple of days ago we were driving along in the car, you know, chatting about life like young married couples do.  We had just been with a group of friends, and I told Hubs that if I died he had my permission to marry one of our friends, Zoie.  You see, Zoie is hilarious and if anything happened to me, heavens knows Hubs would need someone pretty dang funny to take my place.  Also, Zoie rocks bright red lipstick and that is truly hard to find!

Hubs just shook his head.  He obviously was not down with my idea.

"To start with, if you died I would murder Zoie because I would suspect her of being the one who killed you."

Wow.  I didn't expect that.

Hubs went on, "Secondly, I already have someone picked out for if you die."


I was... let's to describe my feelings at this point...

insanely jealous? 
morbidly offended? 

"Oh yah, and exactly who would you marry?" I demanded.
"I'd go back to my first wife!" Hubs chimed happily.



Last night I dyed my hair.

Darker than before.

You see...

I'm a very jealous person.

And I don't want that first wife coming anywhere near my husband.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why my students can't focus.

my students are taking a test
a hard test
on Of Mice and Men
fifty short answer questions
and an essay...

Analyze George and Lennie's relationship
healthy or unhealthy?
How does it change throughout the novel?
What does the novel say about unfulfilled dreams?
How does it reflect American life in the 1930s?
My essays are not easy.

But the poor kids, you see.
They are having a hard time concentrating.
Their Focus is gone
For outside the classroom window they can see
Mr. Lance's physics class.
Doing a physics experiment
of sorts
dropping pumpkins off the roof of the school.
Who knows?

Every few minutes we hear a bang
 a crash
a pumpkin dropping
 a pumpkin splitting
kids cheering outside
Physics has never been such a blast!

My students are distracted
I see them sneaking peeks
out the window.
What is going on out there?
It sounds like fun.

They can't tear their eyes away.
The essays call for my students
"Finish me!  Finish me!"
but the students have checked out
of the essay,
maybe never to return.

You see,
Life in the 1930s is not as interesting
to them
as pumpkins

And really
who could concentrate on a thesis statement
when just outside the window
kids are
throwing pumpkins
launching pumpkins
destorying pumpkins
smashing pumpkins

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The weirdest things

Sometimes the weirdest stuff happens to me.

Take yesterday for example.

The last bell of the day had rung, school was wrapping up, and I was working on a few odds and ends before heading home.

Enter:  Brad.

Brad was a student last year.  He hated me.  And I didn't much care for him, either, if you want to know the truth of the matter.  He didn't hand any of his assignments in, showed up late for class every single class, and was always trying to distract the other students.  In my favorite class, too!  How dare he!

One morning I showed up to work at 7 am only to be accosted by Brad's mother who had been waiting outside my door. 
She demanded to know why Brad had an F. 
I showed her the gradebook. 
She demanded I let him hand in a writting assignment that was due a month ago. 
I said no. 
She told me that there has to be exceptions to every rule and I can't treat all students the same because everyone learns differently, and a good teacher would let Brad hand the assignment in, and what did I know anyway because I was just some young, dumb first year teacher?
I said that if Brad had shown an inch of effort even once during the school year I might be more yielding.
She asked me if I knew of a teacher that Brad would work better with.
This is when I got kind of sassy.
"You mean a teacher who doesn't assign any writing and who doesn't expect their students to adhere to deadlines and learn to be responsible?  Maybe you should teach him English."

She didn't like that much.

Brad's mom left. 
I sat down and cried.

This job requires real thick skin and sometimes my skin is thin.

I fully expected Brad to transfer out of my class that day.  Instead he came to class, avoided eye contact, and put his head down for the entirety of the period.  A week passed, Brad was still coming.  The end of the quarter came and Brad stayed.  I was shocked when he was still with us at the end of the year.

In my year with Brad, he managed to hand in one writing assignment. It was a page and a half long.  All one sentence.  Not a period, comma, or capitalized letter in sight.  The paper was an insult to me as a teacher.  I knew Brad was capable of so much more, but I saw it as his 16 year old way of sticking it to the man.  (Believe it or not, Brad, I've been there before, and I know all about getting upset with the man.) 

It was like I could hear Brad's taunting voice as I read his paper.  "Yah, you're going to make me do writing to pass your class?  Ok, but you can't make me spell right.  You can't make me punctuate.  Enjoy reading this paper, suck-ah!"

I gave Brad a 50% and told him his mechanics were an embarrassment to our country.  Then I remembered my college profs told me that in every paper I read, I need to comment something positive.  (You can't just tear those kids down completely, people!  They're sensitive!)   So, as an after thought, I scribbled "Great Voice!"

I breathed a sigh of relief when last year was over and Brad was out of my class.

This year, when checking my rolls a few days before school began, I searched carefully to see if Brad would be joining me as a junior.  He would not.  Life was good.

That's why it was weird when Brad strutted into my classroom yesterday afternoon.

"Brad!  What in the world are you doing here?"
"I want to see if I can switch in to your class."
My jaw hit the floor.
"I want to see if I can switch in to your class."
"You're joking."
"Brad. You hated me last year."
"That's not true.  I just always came in late and that pissed you off for some reason."
"Aaaaaaand you never did your homework...Aaaaaaand the only paper you ever turned in was just one sentence..."
"Yah... I didn't too good on punctuation and crap.  But you said I had great voice!"  He added with a goofy grin.  (While I'll be!  My profs were right!  He remembered the one positive thing I had ever said to him!)
"But... why would you want to switch in?"  I was vainly trying to get Brad to change his mind.  "I assign a lot of writing.  And we read like a million books in my class.  I was surprised you survived last year to be honest with you."
"I know...  I was too, actually.  But now I really miss your class.  You were a good teacher."

Well!  Thank you!  It's about time someone started getting some credit around here!

Kids these days, they can be quite baffling!  I spent last night and the better part of this morning thinking about how weird it was that Brad wanted to switch back into my class after the utter Hell he had inflicted upon me last year.

This morning during my prep period, I was pondering the above mentioned incident when Weird thing #2 happened.

A kid I have never seen before wandered in to my classroom. 
"I don't know you" Boy said.
"I don't know you either," I replied.
"What's your name?" Boy asked
"None of your business."
"Are you new here?"
"Not really.  I taught last year."

And Boy left.

And then....


Weird thing #3 happened in second period... a girl was sitting at her desk eating out of a tub of frosting with a fork. 

In class. 



Blame all the weirdness on Halloween?

(PS... I'm sorry, but this post will have no picture.  It's just that I tried to google "weird" on google images and saw some of the most disturbing pictures I have ever seen, and now I don't want to do another internet search for at least 3 hours, so please forgive me, you will be pictureless today.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome to the world, baby girl!

Hiya Emery!

My brother, Dennis, and his wife, Ashley, had their first little baby yesterday. 
Yes, I am now once again hankering for a baby.
Yes, Hubs is once again seeing if he can rent a giant teddy bear for the week.

Emery Ashley Blackburn weighed in at nine pounds seven ounces and put in a helluva fight to get into this world! (If I put the swear word with other words and combine them like that, it's not really swearing).  First Emery was four days past her due date, THEN she made her mama struggle in labor for 24+ hours, THEN Emery was upside down, THEN she decided maybe she'd actually like to come out via C-section.

Hate to tell you Dennis and Ashley, but this girl's gonna be high maintenance!

Now... I, being the loving, caring, full-of-wisdom aunt that I am, decided to help Emery out a little bit.  You see, I've been a girl in this world for 25 years now.  She's only been a girl in this world for 25 hours.  So I think I'm entitled to teach her a thing or two.

1.  Your dad is a real softy.  He tries to play tough, but he's not, so if you play your cards right, you'll be able to get just about anything you could ever want from him.

2.  Your mom's got real good fashion sense.  Take advantage of it, and learn to like shopping now, because you're going to be doing alot of it!

3.  If you need someone to sneak you to the mall to get your ears pierced, I'm the gal.

4.  God already gave you a bomb family.  Now you get to pick your friends.  Choose them wisely, especially in college, because those people will help you through some tough times.

5.  One day you are going to hit puberty.  If you start mensturating on a 9th grade field trip to Goblin Valley and somebody points it out to you while you are climbing a huge ol' rock, don't even worry bout it.  It's happened to the best of us.  Your life as you know it is not actually over, as you might think in that moment.  You'll survive and live to tell the tale.

6.  Your first kiss probably won't be that awesome.  You'll have a lot of expectations and the kiss will let you down.  Your first kiss with your future husband, though- that's something you can look forward to!

7.  I know your parents try to eat pretty healthy.  So if you need chips and salsa, coke, ice cream, or fruit gushers, head right on over to Aunt Bon's!  I'll hook you up.

8.  You don't have to go on a mission if you don't want to.  Your mom might want you to stay home and be where she can always call you.  But if you do want to go, just know that it'll be one of the best decisions you've ever made and will change your life. I'll send you cookies and letters and be your #1 fan while you're out there.

9.  Mary, Mindy, and Becky are alright, but you need to know that I'm the coolest of the sisters.  I'll gladly take the role of favorite aunt.

10.  If you could get yourself a little sister some time soon it will make your life so much better.  I wouldn't be half the person that I am today without my little sis guiding me along (*Hint* Dennis and Ashley... Emery needs a little sis...)

11.  Sometimes life gets a little rough, even for the toughest of us.  But we'll be here for you- helping you, cheering you on, and loving you to pieces. 

Welcome to the clan!

Monday, October 24, 2011

When coupons turn ugly...

I've gone too far.

This whole cutting coupons/ price matching/ saving a quarter here/ saving $.35 here... it's reached it's limit.

It happened Saturday night.

I had been procrastinating grocery shopping all week long.  Finally, late Saturday afternoon when Hubs was busy, I figured "Ok, I'll hurry and get this done, make my list, price match the items I need to buy, cut the coupons, an hour tops and I'm outta there!  I'll be home in time to go on a date with Hubs!"

Girls who know how to cook don't understand me.  I don't understand girls who know how to cook.  I know this shouldn't be such an ordeal everytime I have to go grocery shopping, but oh, is it ever.  Every week I have to plan out exactly what we are going to eat, and then buy the exact ingredients to make it.  There is no messing around in the kitchen, no fun experiments.  A little of this a little of that and we've got a delicious meal?  Forget about it. Not for me. 

As I was sitting there making my grocery list, an idea dawned on me.  Maybe it'd be more fun if I got Hubs to come with me!

"Hubs!  You want to come grocery shopping with me?"  I tried to trick him with my enthusiasm.
Surprise, surprise.  He did not.  He wanted to go out.  You know, like on a date, it being Saturday night and all. 

But he at least came up with a compromise.
"Tell you what, I'm not going to hike around Wal-mart and match all your coupons with you for three hours, but I'll go to Macey's and get the stuff that we need at least for tomorrow."

So I agreed.  We stopped at Macey's for potatoes on our way home from a Saturday night date, and that was the end of the grocery drama.

Well almost.

There was just one problem.

I'm out of diet coke.

I drink diet coke prolificly  (I know that word doesn't fit there.  But I like it.  So it stays!)

And so, after putting the bag of potatoes in our grocery cart, we caroused on over to the drink aisle.  Twelve packs of diet coke were "on sale" for 3/$12.  You call that a sale, Macey's?!  I can get those things down to $2 a pop at Wal-mart! And you want me to pay $4?!?  It's highway robbery, people!

I stood in that aisle for a good minute, debating if I should fork over $4 for something I could get for $2.  Was a Sunday without soda worth saving two measley bucks? 

No!  It was not!  And I threw that diet coke in the cart and went on my merry way.

"Good job," Hubs congratulated me,  "you'll be happy tomorrow when you're craving a coke."
"Darn right I will!"  I felt good about my decision.

Register time.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

"Wait a minute," I said to the cashier.  "I thought the diet coke was supposed to be 3 for $12.  Why is it ringing up at $4.67?"  I don't miss a beat at that cash register, I tell you.

"That's only if you buy three,"  the cashier replied,  "If you just buy one it stays at full price."
"Ok, just forget it.  I don't want to buy it," I said, frustrated and ornery at this point.  I was not going to pay five bucks for soda when I knew I could get it for two on Monday.  I'd just have to wait.

Hubs watched all this in silence.

Walking out the car, Hubs said, "You could have gotten that diet coke.  It was only an extra $.67.  I don't think you should be stressing about such an insignificant amount of money."
"It's the principle of the thing!" I snapped.  "They're trying to rob me!  It all adds up!  I'm not paying five bucks for soda!"

Hubs knew better than to speak again.

Sunday came and went.  Let's just say a Sunday without diet coke is a long Sunday.  No little lunch sip, no dinner companion, no friendly late-night drink with my popcorn.

This morning I woke up with a pounding, bursting, splitting, intolerable headache.  My pain tolerance= zero, so from the hours of 6-8 am, I was absolutely not functioning because of the headache.

What always helps my headaches?  A diet coke. 
Who doesn't have a diet coke?  This girl.
What school sells diet coke in the vending machine?  Copper Hills.
How much do these diet cokes cost?  Sixty five cents.
Who forked over the sixty five cents first thing this morning to get a diet coke?  You guessed it.

The irony is not lost on me.
I went to all the trouble to save what ended up being two cents.




Curse my pride.  Curse my stubbornness.  Curse price matching.

And most of all,  curse TLC for ever running that extreme couponing show that started it all.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumping plasma

I didn't sleep too well last night.

I tossed and turned, I woke up every twenty minutes and looked at the clock to check the time.  Was it 9:00 yet?  Should I just get up now?  Toss.  Turn.  Bad dream.  Toss.  Check clock.  Toss. Turn.

Finally, at 8:00 I got up.  I'm on fall break, so techinically I should be sleeping in until 10:00 and not feeling a drop of guilt for it.  But I just couldn't.  I got up and drank a bunch of water and scooped myself a bowl of ice cream.  (I realize at some point in my life, my body will force me to change my eating habits.  Fortunately, that time has not yet come.)

Hubs got up about 9:00.  "Drink some water!" was the first thing I said to his sleepy- confused face.  "You have to be hydrated.  And you need to eat something too!"

Today was the day.
The day to donate plasma.

I've never done this before.  My brother, Reed, practically got himself through college by giving plasma twice a week.   Hubs' friend has donated over 70 times.  You get anywhere from $30-50 every time you donate and after the first time it only take 60-90 minutes to donate.  Not a bad hourly job. 

You see, high school English teachers aren't making as much as they should now days and Hubs quit at the Olive Garden because his schedule was too busy, so we be needing a little extra funds.  Originally, I was going to make Hubs donate on his own because well... I'm just a little girl afraid of big needles.  I told him I'd offer encouragement, go with him, you know, the whole supportive spouse shiz.  But then I figured as long as I was there, I might as well cowboy up, donate some plasma, and make a buck or two.

We arrived at the plasma center four minutes late.  It was my fault.  Maybe if we got there late they wouldn't let us donate?  I was hopeful. 

No such luck.  You're a little late?  No problem.

"Bonnie, we're going to need you to come with us," a stern man said.  I read his nametag.  Hugh.
He led me to the room where people were donating their plasma.  There were a lot of big machines.  And a lot of big needles.

"Brian!  I need a check on this girl!  I don't think she can donate, you can hardly even see her veins."
A long haired man with a clear face mask strutted over to me.

"Pump." He commanded.
"Excuse me?"  I was lost.
"Pump." He repeated.
"I don't..."
"Lady, pump your arm.  Squeeze your fist."
"Oh, okay..."
I did so.  People at the plasma center don't have time for games, you know.
I pumped.  Squeeze.  Release.  Squeeze.  Release.
Brian stared at my arm.  "We're not going to be able to use your right arm at all.  I can't even see a vein.  Left arm."
"Excuse me?"
"Pump your left arm."
"Oh."  I did so.  He felt around for a vein.
Finally he came to a conclusion.
"There's a small vein here that I can work with.  She's good."
And that was that.  First test- passed.  

Next, Hugh took me to a room for some questions. 
"Sit down in the red chair in the corner," Hugh commanded.
I sat down.
"Is that a red chair in the corner?"
I looked at the chair I was sitting in.  It was black.  In the middle of the room.
"My bad..."  I moved to the correct chair.  These people don't let you get away with much!
Hugh gave me a big book.  "Read every word in here."
I began reading.
Then I saw Hubs walk in, and a lady took him to the other side of the room.  I started watching Hubs.  I can get quite distracted by him you know.
"Are you reading?"  Hugh was staring at me.
"Oh... I'm sorry..."
Suddenly I felt like one of the students in my classroom.
I looked down at the binder, but I wasn't reading it.  I was just staring at the words on the page, so take that, Hugh!  

Hugh began to fire questions at me. No, I have never lived in the Congo since 1977; No, I have never injected myself with illegal drugs; No, I have not been pregnant in the past six months; No, I have never witnessed an ape murder in France... just making sure you're still with me, folks.

"Do you have any allergies?" Hugh asked.
I've always gotten allergies in the spring and fall, but what if that makes me ineligible to donate?  The allergies are mild enough, I better just keep mum.
"No," I answered.
"Never in your life have you had an allergy to anything?"  Wow.  Hugh was good.
"Well... in high school I used to get allergies in the spring..."
"And you haven't had any allergies since high school?  None at all?  They just magically disappeared?"  It was like he was drilling into my soul.
I don't lie well under pressure.
"I still get them sometimes now.  In the fall and spring."
"Okay, I'm going to write down seasonal allergies on here.  And tell the truth from now on.  It's important."
I felt dumb.  I wanted to leave.  Hubs was passing his interview with flying colors.  I could see him laughing with his interviewer on the other side of the room. I always get stuck with the meanies.
"Did you have a healthy meal before you came in this morning?" Hugh drilled.
"What exactly did you eat?"
"A piece of toast and a bowl of ice cream with peaches."
"And you think that is healthy?"
"Well I guess it's all relative."
"That's not healthy.  Ice cream isn't healthy."  Now Hugh was giving me honesty lessons and nutrition lessons.
"After your screening, you need to come in here and grab one of these cup of noodles and eat it."
"Yes, sir."
"You are dismissed."
I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  I bolted from the question room.

I waited in the lobby with Hubs for the next part of the ordeal.  I was beginning to seriously consider my decision to donate.  Was this really worth $40?  "Bonnie.  We are ready for your screening.  Go to door #3,"  they announced.

I obeyed.  I was learning a thing or two about listening around this place, I can tell you that much.  I entered Room 3 to see Hugh sitting at the desk.  Damn.  I thought my time with him was over.

Hubs got called, and I could hear him entering the room next to mine.  He got the nice lady.  Once again.  I could hear them laughing.  Joking.  They seemed to be getting along quite swimmingly.  Hugh didn't even look at me. 
"Put out your finger."  He ordered.  I obeyed.  He didn't seem to give a hoot that I was nervous as all get out to give my plasma. 
"Ouch!" I screamed.  Hugh had violenty stabbed my finger with a needle.  I was beginning to think we got joy out of watching my suffer.
"What did you expect?" he asked.
He drew a bit of my blood, put it in a weird testy thingy (sorry, but I can really offer no better description than that) and then asked me a series of questions.  The exact same questions he had already asked me.  I answered.  Then he tested my blood.  Hydration level- check, protein levels- check, sexy level- check.  I was good to go.

Next came the physical.
I entered the phsyical room to see a woman staring back at me.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  It appeared that Hugh would not be continuing with me on the journey.
The lady asked a bunch of questions: 
What surgeries have you had?  What year?  How long was recovery time?  What prescriptions are you on?  What pills have you taken within the past 30 days?  Etc. Etc. 
I answered them all truthfully and faithfully, Hugh had taught me well, afterall. 
"Okay, now I am going to do an exam on your body, there will have to be some bare skin contact," the lady warned me. 
"Alright, fine, that's no problem."  Because seriously- I have no problem with that. 

"Lift up your shirt, I need to place this just below your left breast."
I lifted my shirt up all the way, flashing the innocent victim.
"Oh, no, no, I just need the area right below your left breast." 
The lady was turning red.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I must have misheard you."

Welp, I bet that lady got more than she bargained for when she came into work this morning.

I wasn't trying to be a pervert.  I honestly thought that that was what I was supposed to do.  Just trying to not get into trouble around this Nazi place.

After I passed the physical, it was time to wait in line with everyone else to give my plasma.  Hubs was in line right beside me, holding my hand, telling me not to worry, everything was going to be just fine.
"That's easy for you to say!  You've had nice people helping you all morning!"  I wasn't resentful at all.

"Bonnie."  They called.
I gulped.
I kissed Hubs goodbye (this might be the end, afterall.)
I walked into the room with the big machines that suck your blood.

A man named Sam helped me get settled in a big chair. 
"Let's see here," he said, looking at my chart. "Looks like we can't take from your right arm, only your left arm is suitable." 
"Yes, sir." 
I was sweating.
"Okay, don't worry, you're almost done here.  You've done great so far.  This is only going to take about thirty minutes, and then you'll be out of here." 
I found Sam to be strangely comforting.
"I know it's already been a long day, you had to answer a bunch of weird questions about Africa, someone stabbed your finger with a needle..."
I laughed.  Not bad, Sam, not bad.  He was doing almost as good a job as making me feel better as Hubs!
"Pump," he commanded. 
No problem, I had already done this before!  I pumped.  Squeeze.  Release.  Squeeze.  Release. 
Sam talked to me while I pumped.  "This isn't my first time sticking a needle in someone's arm," he told me, "In fact I've done it more than 7,000 times."
Wow.  Sam was doing a dang good job at making me feel safe.  You can't argue with a man with 7,000 sticks under his belt can you?
Sam apparently couldn't find my vein that Long-Hair-Brian had spotted two hours ago.
"Okay, let's try your right arm."
I considered telling him that Brian had already deemed my right arm completely unusable, but I decided to just let him figure it out the hard way.

"Okay, pump..."
I pumped.  Squeeze.  Release.  Squeeze.  Release.
No vein was showing itself.
"Hmm... this might be a little hard," said Sam.

He left.
I did not know where he went.
I was nervous.
Then he came back.
With Brian.

"This is the best guy we have, so he's going to stick your arm.  Your veins are so small that they require someone with more experitse.
"More expertise than 7,000 sticks?!?"
Sam laughed.  "Don't be nervous, you're going to be fine."

Brian switched back over to the left arm.  "The right arm is completely unusable." He echoed his words from two hours earlier, "We'll have to make a vein from her left arm work."
"Pump" he ordered me.
I was becoming quite good at pumping by now, so this part came easy.  Squeeze.  Release.  Squeeze.  Release.
"I might have made a mistake passing her through to give plasma," Brian told Sam, "I thought I could get the needle in the vein, maybe I was being too confident..."

I kept squeezing.
Brian wasn't making me feel too comfortable about this.

"Okay, Bonnie, we're going to go for it.  I promise you I would not try this if I wasn't certain that we could do it.  I have gotten plasma from smaller veins before, and you're going to be fine.  Now look the other way and talk to Sam."

I looked the other way.  Sam had a big goofy grin on his face.  "I notice you've got some books in your lap," Sam said, "I used to own a used book store..."  Wow.  Sam nailed the conversation topic.  He successfully got my mind off the needle. 

If I had two pieces of advice for the plasma center, it would be this: 
Fire Hugh. 
Give Sam a raise.

Prick.  Prick.  Ouch.  The needle was going in.
Prick.  Prick.  It was going in again.  They were moving it around.
It doesn't feel that good getting a huge needle stuck in a small vein.

"Okay, Bonnie, your ordeal here today is over."
"You got it in?!?!"  I was elated.  This guy really was the best sticker in the place!

"No... I thought I could get that needle in, but as soon as I tried to put the needle in, the vein ripped.  I could keep trying, but your best vein already ripped and it is likely that would keep happening if we tried with your other ones.  Unfortunately, your veins really are too small for needles of this size.  It looks like donating plasma is not for you."

They gave me a little slip of paper, told me I would still get paid for that day, and to wait in the lobby.  I saw Hubs on my way out,  hooked up no problem, his giant vein successfully pumping out all the plasma that center could ever dream of.

I stopped to talk to him.  "It was so sad, Hubs- they tried both my arms for the longest time and they poked around and Sam was cracking jokes and I was---"
"Ma'am get off the floor right now.  We're already busy enough as it is," I was cut off.  A woman worker was glaring at me.  Probably Hugh's girlfriend.
People around here.  They don't give you an inch of leeway.
And I left the floor. 

Don't tell Hubs this, but as I sat in the lobby, waiting for him to finish, watching all the people come in and out of the plasma center, I was secretly relieved.  Very relieved.  I'll face a roomful of bratty sixteen year olds any day before I have to deal with the likes of Hugh and a needle of that size again. 

My veinless arm.  It saved my life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Keeping away from the Kardashians

Lately I have been quite into reality TV.

Oh wait, did I just say lately? I meant always.

It's my guilty pleasure. I just can't get enough of it. Watching people's crazy lives spill out all over television for the whole world to see is like a little piece of chocolate chip heaven for me.

I've had an obsession with the Kardashians for a long time now.  But because of severals weeks without cable, I resorted to watching whatever reality TV that netflix had to offer.  The answer was Teen Mom.  The show's about four girls who got knocked up when they were sixteen and are now trying to figure out life with a baby. The relationships with the men in their lives involve lots of namecalling, screaming profanities, and lying.  All the girls fight constantly with their parents. Many of them have nowhere secure to live, no jobs, no high school education. 

I sit there and watch it and then when I turn it off I just feel so darn good about myself and my beautiful life. I've got my own place to live, a school that allows me to brainwash their students every day, a car that runs great, money in the bank, and Hubs who dances in the kitchen for me. Life is pretty good.  Pretty dang good I tell you!

Then we got our cable back.  Halla-Kardashian-llujah! No more resorting to Teen Mom! Back to the days of classy reality TV! 

Anxious to catch up with what I missed, I dived right into an episode of the Kardashians on vacation.  I watched the clan prance around Tahiti, I watched Kim cry because she lost a $75,000 earring, I watched them eat every meal out, I watched the group rent jet skis and go deep sea diving. After I turned off the TV, I didn't feel too good about my life. 

"Hubs?  Can we go to Tahiti?" I called from the living room.
"With what money?" 
"I don't know.  Can't we have more money somehow?"
"You need more money?"
"Because the Kardashians have lots of money.  You know they've never cut a coupon in their life."
"I don't think you should watch that show anymore."

I stopped complaining.  The last thing I wanted was Hubs to ban me from watching the Kardashians.  But I dreamt of Tahiti and went unhappily to work the next morning.  Some people don't even have to wake up early to go to work. (*Ahem* every member of the Kardashian family, I'm talking to you.) 

Yesterday I turned on the TV to see if there was any more drama the Kardashians needed me to to keep up with.  And, oh, was there ever!  The wedding special!  (Hubs said I would be greatly limiting my audience if I ever started posting about The Kardashians. But I heard on the radio that 10.5 million people watched Kim's wedding, so I'll show you limiting my audience. HA! Take that, Hubs!)  Gleefully I popped a bowl of popcorn and saddled up on the couch, not planning to move until I had tearfully witnessed Kim's beautiful "I do's".  I watched Kris Jenner plan endless details for the most extravagant wedding mankind has ever seen. I watched as Kim carefully placed diamond earrings, necklace, bracelet, and tiara on her perfectly cut and colored hair. I watched Kim walk down the aisle and was only a little jealous that she got three dresses and I only got one.  (And that one was hard enough to find on it's own, I'll tell you that much!)  

I turned off the TV.
"Hubs? Will you buy me a diamond bracelet?" I called from the living room.
"With what money?"
"I don't know. Can't we have more money somehow?"  This conversation was starting to feel very dej-a-vu.
"You need more money?"
"Have you been watching the Kardashians in there?"
"No."  I lied.

I looked around our cozy little apartment that I love.  Suddenly it seemed very shabby.  And dirty.
"Someone needs to clean up these dishes!  I've done enough dishes for the rest of my life!  I'm through cleaning up around here!"  I yelled to Hubs. 
Some might say I was acting a bit... Kardahsian-like?
Hubs ignored my sudden rant. "Come to bed, it's late.  You should have been asleep half an hour ago."  Sometimes Hubs can act quite parental with me.

I trudged into the bedroom and crawled under the sheets, pouting all the way.  Even Hubs cuddling up to me couldn't cheer me up. 
Suddenly, I remembered I still needed to take a shower.
It was as if my world were falling apart.
"Oh my gosh!  I forgot I still have to take a shower!!!"  (Imagine very whiny voice here.)
"Ok, go hop in, and I'll time you.  See if you can beat your last time."  Hubs knows me well.  Make it a game and I'm all about it. 
Well it didn't work this time.
"I'm too tired!  I hate taking showers!"
I started kicking my legs and pounding my fists in the sheets. 
"I don't want to take a shower!  I don't want to wake up early tomorrow!  I don't want to go to work in the morning!  I just want to lay around and have someone else do everything for me!"
Hubs waited until I quieted down.
And he said the three words I'd been dreading,
"No more Kardashians."

As much as I hate to admit it, Hubs is right.  The show is having a bad effect on me.  Sudden outbursts, spoiled demands, and pounding fists isn't the norm for this girl.  I need a show that will make me feel good about my life.

Join me this afternoon for Teen Mom?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Honeymoon is Over

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much about my students lately.

I'm mad at them.

Let me explain.  There is a cycle in any school year.  The first six weeks are teaching bliss.  Kids are on their best behavior, they're excited to be back in school, they get their homework in, and they can't get over the fact that I look just like one of them. 

The honeymoon, if you will.

It is around week six or seven that the hoodlums show their true colors. 
Spit wads start flying.
Kids begin arguing with me.
Cell phones magically appear.
Assignments go missing.
Students cease to look at me with complete awe and respect when I teach.   

The honeymoon is over. 

The good news is that after about two or three weeks of this hoop-lah, the kids realize that I do mean business, they can't get away with murder, and that I'm not going to take their crap.  And then they go back to being good students for the rest of the year.  They just need to test me for a bit, see how much they can get away with.  I have to be mean and lay down the law until they understand the boundaries of the classroom and we can all go back to business as usual. 

A happy marriage for all of us.

Right now we are right smack in the middle of week six and seven. 

The testing period.
I was reading/lecturing/teaching/doing one of the many things I do at the front of the class and could hear little whisperings.  I looked up just in time to see a kid in the front row mouth "F*** you!" to someone on the other side of the room. 

"Leave the room.  Now.  Wait in the hall and I'll be out to talk to you a minute.  Go." I don't have a lot of tolerance for the F word in my classroom.  He left.

When I went out to talk to him, he turned his back to me, gave me a lot of attitude and yelled, "I don't want to hear anything from you!  Don't talk to me!"

"Fine.  You don't want to talk to me?  You can talk to the principal."  And away he went.

Those are the kinds of things that I've been dealing with as of late. Meaning that I've been an ornery teacher. It is during these two testing weeks that I wonder why in the world I ever became a teacher.

Add on to that that I didn't get a raise this year.
Add on to that that I actually took a pay decrease because they aren't allowing me to teach the extra class that I taught last year.
Add on to that that it's dark as night when I drive to work at 6:30 in the morning.
Add on to that that I have a million poorly written papers to grade.

And, Voi-la! You've got a woman who (temporarily!) hates her job.

Monday after school, a popular senior cheerleader was killed in a traffic accident.  As you can imagine, the mood was somber in the hallways yesterday.  In the middle of third period, one of my favorite students, Lara, came in with tears in her eyes.  It was her best friend who died.  I gave her a big hug and she didn't let go.  You know those hugs that are real hugs and you hug and hug and don't want to stop hugging because there is so much emotion behind the hug? (How many times can you say hug in once sentence?)  It was one of those.  We were just sitting there hugging away right in front of third period.  But third period is full of smart cookies- they read the situation and just sat quietly and let us have a moment.

I thought for a minute about what to say to comfort Lara.  But here's one thing I know, there's very little you can say to make someone feel better when someone close to them has died. 

But "I love you" helps.  So I told Lara that I loved her.

She looked at me with tears rolling down her cheeks.  "Thanks so much, Ms. Blackburn.  I'm so glad you teach here."

And that, my friends, is what makes it all worth it. 

Even during the testing period.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome to Argentina!

***Warning:  This post is a little long.  And if you only like seeing pictures of me where I look very hot and sexy, this is not the post for you.  I repeat, THIS IS NOT THE POST FOR YOU!***

My lil sis is on her way to Argy as I write this.

That statement would also be true if I wrote this twenty hours ago.

It would also be true if I wrote it in twenty hours.

It's a long journey to Argentina, you see.

There's a lot I wished I knew before I ever set my dainty little foot in that country.  Stuff no one ever warned me about.  Lucky for Mary, I blazed that trail for her and you better believe I'm the kind of gal who shares her knowledge with her little sis.

To Mary: 
Advice for Conquering Argy

1.  The country smells like an outhouse all the time.  Get used to it.  It's just the smell of the land.

2.  Don't try to ask anyone if you can come by to teach between 1 and 4 in the afternoon.  That's siesta time my friend, and if you think those Argentinians don't take their siesta time seriously, you've got a thing or two to learn.

3.  Don't touch the dogs.  They're diseased.  If a dog starts following you, bend down and act like you are picking up a rock and that dog will high-tail it out of there. (**Disclaimer:  This trick does NOT work in the U.S.  It has been tried.) 

Oh, just a diseased dog roaming the streets of Arg.

4.  If you still don't know about the birds and bees, you will really get your chance in Argy.  Watch a couple of dogs for awhile and you'll undoubtedly understand how it all works.

5.  The dogs don't shut up at night.  Ever.  So if you think you're going to get a good night's sleep the first few weeks you can just fuhgeddabout it.  (And Hubs wonders why I hate dogs so much!)

6.  Don't flirt with the Elders (I had to include that one for dad.  Heavens knows mom isn't going to tell you that!)

7.  Oh, I'm sorry, you don't like washing all your clothes by hand?  Too bad, sista.

8.  They put eggs on their hamburgers.  Just go with it.

9.  Stand guard for the first time a woman breast feeds in front of you!  Argentine women have no sense of privacy, and  I reckon you'll see a few more bosoms than you bargained for.

10.  You're gonna be teaching a lot of bare chested men.  It's too hot for shirts around these parts.

11. These people don't own jack crap. Take that in to account when they turn the gospel down and won't give up their life to follow your message- they haven't had all the opportunities and blessings that you have had throughout your life.

The home of one of our investigators.

12.  Just because the men are drunk and perverted and cat-calling you from the side of the road, doesn't mean they can't listen to the good word!  Teach 'em girlie, and you've got yourself  a baptism!

13.  When it is sweltering hot at night in the apartment, take a shower in your garments and then sleep in 'em wet.  Or, if you have a porch, drag your mattresses out and sleep outside. It's the only way to get a little shut-eye in December, January, and February.
Sleeping on the roof in December- and a taste of ice cream before dozing off.

14.  During the day when doing personal and companion study, you can cool off by wrapping a wet towel over your head.

15.  When you see the fireworks on Christmas and New Years just love it.  You're never going to get Christmas fireworks again.

16.  Eat ice cream.  Every day.  It's dirt cheap and it blows U.S. ice cream out of the water. Eat ice cream on awful days when no one will let you in and on amazing days where you taught seven lessons in a row.  Eat ice cream when you love your compy and when you hate your compy.  Eat it when you commit someone to baptism and when someone bails on a baptism- after you've filled up the font.  I'll tell you this much, I never would've finished that mission if I didn't have ice cream to look forward to at the end of the day.

Before taking out the trash one P-day... each of these are 
containers for half pints of ice cream.

17.  When the relief society president is the same person as the primary president and the branch president doesn't have counselors and the elders quorum president is going to jail and the young mens president is inacitve, don't get depressed.  It's how the branches run down there!

18.  When only nine people show up for church six weeks in a row it's not your fault- no matter what the APs say.

20.  Take pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.

21.  There's going to be some torrential downpour.  This makes the whole country reek even more because all the sewage on the streets gets wet and smells to reach the heavens.  And just know that when it rains, no one leaves their house.  But you still have to.

22.  If you need to cry, do it in the shower where your compy can't hear you.  Cry loud and hard, and then go on with the day.  But you won't need this one, because you are tough.  Tough as nails.

23.  Don't bother trying to find a grocery store- there aren't any.  Learn where the best bread shops, vegetable stands, and meat markets are.  There is a kiosko (grocery stand with a strange and unpredictable variety of food) around every corner and when you come back to the states and have to drive two miles to the grocery store, you'll think it's a crying shame.

24.  Look at the stars.  Find the Southern Cross and don't even think about The Big Dipper here at home.  He'll still be here when you get back, but you only get 18 months with Mr. Cross.

25.  You will most likely puke more in the next 18 months than you have in your entire 21 years of life combined.  If you're puking more than once a week, you most likely have parasites.  The bad news is you will be sick.  The good news is you will lose a lot of weight.

26.  Don't feel bad when people make fun of you for your American accent.  That's part of the reason why they love you so much.  And when they call you "gringa" and "gringita", embrace it.  Because once you're back in the US with a million gringas, being a gringa ain't so special anymore.
27.  Learn Argentine slang, jokes, idioms, and nuances of the language.  Argentines are so stubbornly prideful about their language that they don't even call it Spanish, it's "Castellano!"  And it's beautiful.

28.  The first six months out there, time will crawl by and you'll think it'll never end.  The last six months will be a kind of warped time on speed, and before you know what happened, you'll be on a plane home.  Enjoy it while it lasts, honey, because it ends much too soon.

29.  When you start having dreams that you're teaching the lessons in Spanish and the spirit is strong, even in your dreams, then you've made it.  Made it to the big time, sista.

30.  Carry a water bottle around with you.  Leave the apartment without it and die.

31.  Don't worry when you're sweating like a whore in church after only ten minutes outside.  That's just the way it goes.  Make it a contest with your companion- first one who has a drop of sweat roll down her back gets a free Orange Fanta from the compy.

32.  Memorize scriptures or practice Spanish as you walk.  Because believe you me, you're going to be walking.  A lot. And a lot.

Packing to go home from the mission- looks like I'll chuck the shoes.

33.  Don't think about home too much.  We'll still be here when you get back.  Besides, it's not like we even miss you around here!

34.  Love those lazy, sleeping, partying Argentines.  They're some of the best people out there.  And the members?  You won't find 'em any stronger.

35.  Cry when you come home.  Cry and cry and cry.  Even if I didn't tell you this, you'd do it anyway, because you won't be able to help but bawl your eyes out when it's all over.

Can you tell I'm just a little jealous?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Married Church

I always thought singles wards were quite strange.

That was before I started going to a married ward.

When Hubs and I first got married, we lived in an apartment a couple blocks south of the university mall.  We moved the second that contract was up.  Mostly because it was haunted, but there were other reasons, too. 

Our first ward was a family ward.  The regular kind.  Our new ward, however, is strictly a married couple ward.  Because our apartment complex has only one room apartments, it means that there are no babies to speak of.  As soon as a couple gets pregnant, they high-tail it to an apartment with two bedrooms.  The result of that is that our complex has a lot of just married couples. And I mean just married. Every week new couples stand up and introduce themselves. "Hi, we're the Millers! And we've been married for four days!!!" Followed by shrieks of glee. Hubs and I said our "I do's" seven months ago and we're practically veterans over there.

Testimony meeting in singles' wards was always questionable.  Undoubtedly we would hear lots of tales of dates gone bad, healing after a break-up, and "I have the best roommates ever!"  Now, in a married ward, the testimonials have changed to learning how to put up with living with someone of the opposite sex, healing after an argument, and "I have the best wife ever!  No... but seriously I do.  You might think your wife is cool, but mine is the best."  (Well, shoot.  I wasn't aware it was a contest, but if it is, sign me up!  I'm all about a little healthy competition, after all!) 

Yesterday was ward conference- meaning that the third hour, relief society and elders quorum, was combined.  In singles' wards, this always meant one thing.

Chastity talk.

"You can't do this.  This is okay.  If you feel this, then you've gone too far.  Don't ever find yourself in a situation like this.  If you have questions talk to the bishop."  Etc. Etc.

When they announced yesterday that Relief Society and Elders' Quorum would be combined, I assumed it would be the chastity talk again.  After six years in a singles' ward, my brain has been programmed to think so.  I sat down next to Hubs and began to doodle, waiting for the "don't do this" and the "don't do this."

"Today we are going to talk about how to love your spouse more and how to have a happy, healthy marriage."

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone.  This wasn't a chastity talk at all!  This seemed quite the reverse, in fact.  Instead of talking about ways not to love each other, they were talking about ways to love each other.  I listened intently and glanced excitedly over at Hubs.  He rolled his eyes.  "I can already tell this isn't going to be good," he whispered.  He has a bad attitude sometimes, please excuse him.

"All couples must hold hands or have their arms around each other for this lesson," the speaker commanded.  Did I hear right?  Had my ears deceived me?  We were being commanded to cuddle during this lesson?  I could get used to this.

"Hubs!  You heard the lady!  Hold my hand!"

Hubs absent mindedly placed his hand into my lap.  He obviously wasn't as into this interactive lesson as I was.

"Now," said the speaker, "It is obvious you got married because you love each other so much.  When you got married you thought your spouse was the best person in the world.  Sometimes after a little while of marriage, those feelings can wear off and we let annoyances get in our way.  Right now I want you to talk to your spousees about ideas for how we can always maintain the feelings of love."

I turned anxiously to Hubs.  "Ok, what do you think?"
Hubs was turned, talking to our friend, Crazy A.
"We're supposed to be doing this activity."
"Bon, give me a break, I'm trying to plan games for tonight.  Don't you want to play games later?"
"Yes, I do, but I like this lesson and I want to talk about---"
Hubs was talking to CrazyA again, "So what time could you guys come over if we played Settlers?"
"Oh, forget it, I'll just talk to myself!" 
That seemed to get his attention. "Okay, I'm sorry.  What are we supposed to be doing?"
I explained.
By that time the free chat session was over and the lady was already giving the answer, "The best way to always see the good in your spouse is to remember that they are children of God."
"We need to always remember that we are children of God."  Hubs echoed.
"You just copied the speaker lady!"
"No I didn't.  I came up with that on my own!" Hubs claimed.  But he knew he was caught.  I could see it in his eye.

"Okay for our next activity, make sure you are sitting very close to each other."

Pouting because Hubs wouldn't participate, I inched further away.  But Hubs just pulled me close.  I looked around the room.  All couples were sitting uncomfortably close to each other.

"Now for this next activity I want you to whisper in your spouse's ear one thing that you love about him or her."

Hubs turned to me, smiled boyishly, and said, "You go first, sweetie."  I melted.  I can never stay mad for long.  All around us, couples were giggling, whispering, and grabbing each other's thighs.  At this point I wasn't even sure if I was still in church or at Copper Hill's homecoming dance.

"I like how hard you work and how motivated and determined you are," I whispered romantically.
"I like how funny and clever you are," Hubs whispered back. 
Then he gave me a kiss.
Wow!  A kiss in church!  It's not every day that that happens!

And let me tell you, we weren't the only ones to get this idea.  All around us, couples were puckering up.

"Next..." the speaker tried to break up the hanky panky from the podium.  Or was he trying to encourage it?  At this point I was lost.  "I am going to teach you a secret sign you can use with your spouse whenever you want."

Secret signs?!  Oh my!  Quality of church has certainly gone up since my single days!  Heaven knows I never learned any secret signs when I was flying solo to church.

"Hold hands with your spouse."

We obeyed.

"I want you to squeeze three times.  This sign means I love you.  Anytime you can't actually say those words, you can squeeze instead.  When you're in a crowded room, this sign will do the trick.  One squeeze for each word.  I.  Love.  You."

"Now practice."

We practiced.  I can be very obedient when it comes to cuddling in church. 

Hubs squooze once, but before he could finish, I cut him off and started squeezing.  I was a little anxious, I suppose.  Then he squooze four times real fast and darn near broke my hand.  I squooze back as many times as I could and as fast as I could.  It was harder than it looked,  but finally we got the squeeze down.  Three squeezes.  One code message.

"Wasn't that fun?"  the speaker asked?  "Yes, it was!" I agreed heartily.

"Now give each other a long hug and a kiss and think of how lucky you are to have this person to share your life with." The speaker concluded.

You don't have to tell me twice! 
We hugged. We kissed. We thought.

All around us it was starting to get a little hot and heavy. I felt like I needed to give everyone a little privacy. Couples were practically sitting in each other's laps, embracing, smooching, the whole nine yards.

But I'll tell you this much.  It sure beats the heck out of the chastity talk.

Hubs and I going to church back in the single ward days.  We've graduated- meaning no more chastity talks for us, suckers!