The Life of Bon: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Let's start a revolution!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

7 women and a 12 passenger van

Tomorrow I start no sponsor October which is a month of no sponsors and just writing for this bloggy blog.  Almost.  I have two sponsorship commitments that were already planned before the idea of No Sponsor October was birthed, so it's actually more like "Two Sponsor October."?  Or something.  Still though, it'll be days and days of just good old fashioned writing.  I am trying hard to maintain balance on this blog and to stay primarily a writing based blog.  Therefore, there will be more information about me than you could ever possibly dream of wanting in October.  Aren't you excited?!

(Oh, and if you want to be hanging out on the sidebar for October, it's $7 for a 200 x 200 ad.  Email me at thelifeofbon@gmail.com by the end of the day and we'll get you up there.)

This weekend I piled into a red, 12 passenger van and headed South to Cedar City with my mom and sisters. Well... my mom, two sisters, sister in law, aunt and cousin if you want to be all technical about it.  I know the big red van may seem a bit extreme for seven grown women, but Blackburn women don't do anything discreetly and the van seemed more than fitting.  It's my sister's van- she bought it because she has five kids, four of whom are rowdy, growing boys and a mini van just wasn't going to cut it for them.  They could have bought a suburban I suppose, but who wants a suburban when you can have a van?!?

I have a deep and abiding need to be in control of anything and everything (See: Reasons why it is hard to be married to me) so naturally I volunteered to drive, and drive I did!  I tell you, nothing makes you feel powerful like steering a big honking bright red vehicle.  Am I finally beginning to understand why men love trucks?



The best thing about girls' trips is girls' talking.  Men just don't love to talk the same way women do.  With men you gotta pry and push and do a lot of work to get any information whatsoever out of them.  With women all you gotta do is ask one half interesting question and you've got two hours worth of conversation at your feet.  Finding something to gab about for the three hour van ride was a freaking cake walk.

Oh- I forgot to mention why we were going to Cedar City.  Cedar City is renowned for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  Every summer and fall they put on a bunch of shows and people come from all over the country to see the shows.  It's really a big deal!  Really!  The festival recruits their actors from all over the country- big cities like L.A. and New York and Chicago.  They only pick the best of the best and the plays are always amazing.  We went last year and this year we decided, hey, might as well make it a tradition!

Sidenote:  I always feel a little bad when I leave Greg for the weekend to fend for himself, but he always does juuuuuuuuust fine.  He eats fast food to his heart's delight, stays up until the wee hours of the morning, and plays unlimited amounts of video games with his friends.  So basically in all shapes and forms, he reverts back to 18 year old Greg.  And he LOVES it.

Once we got to Cedar City there wasn't a lot of time to spare, so we ditched our bags at the house and went right to dinner.  We were running oh so tight on time, but the hosts said we could be seated and out of here within an hour so stupidly, we banked on that.  Seven of us huddled around a four person table because there just wasn't time to wait for a bigger table.  We knew exactly what we were going to order the minute we sat down, fired off our pizza requests to the waiter, and waited not so patiently for the pizza to cook as we had only 20 minutes at this point to eat our pizza, pay the bill, and run.  It's the type of situation that gives Greg ulcers to the max, but it's always been the way my family does things so it felt just like home!



The waiter was quite slow with our pizzas and we didn't have time to be slow, so when he brought the last one out at 7:22 everybody grabbed a piece and ate it on the go.  My older sister, Becky, and I stayed behind to pay the bill and then Becky couldn't find her ticket to the show (it runs in the family) and somehow miracle of miracles we made it to the play just as the curtain was rising.  Close call!

We saw Peter and the Star Catcher which is possibly the best piece of theater I have ever seen and I have seen a ridiculous amount of theatre being married to an actor and all.  I even did a study abroad in London and saw a play every night, and I hold firm on "Peter" being absolutely one of the best.  If you are in the Utah area and you haven't seen this show yet, you have to go before the fall season ends.  The script was insanely clever- absolutely brilliant writing, the acting was spot on, and the villian "Black Stache", was about a hilarious a villian as I've ever seen.  I knew the end of the show was coming, but I kept hoping the play would go longer and longer and longer.  A sign of a good play, indeed!

We finished up the night with nutella pizza that we'd had to box up from dinner and a couple of rounds of cards. I won, naturally. My little engaged sister didn't get to play with us on account of she is taking 15 credits of hard sciences at BYU and therefore had a book at her side the entire weekend.  Oh, to be graduated from college!


Saturday morning we all slept in and then had lunch at a fantastic place that was secluded and quiet and we had the whole restaurant to ourselves at 11:30 on a Saturday.  What a dream!  We gabbed and laughed and scarfed down our food, and I didn't take any pictures of it because that it was trend I am having the hardest time hopping on to.  But I ate an asparagus and roasted red pepper quesadilla with feta cheese and it was divine.  Good enough?

We had an hour to kill before our Saturday matinee show so we wandered around the city's "Pumpkin days."  It was one of those absolute gorgeous fall afternoons that are just perfect in every way.  Seventy degrees with the sun shining and not a cloud in sight.  Is this what heaven feels like?



We found ourselves quite entertained with the "Redneck Photo Booth."  Who wouldn't be?  That's my mom and sister in law with me, everyone else had gotten lost/ distracted along the way.



The show Saturday was "The Marvelous Wonderettes" which was pretty good, but paled in comparison to Peter and the Star Catcher.  The cast consists of four women who are on stage the entire time.  As my sister commented during intermission, "I just generally don't think it's a good idea to write an entire play based on the annoying habits of women."  Here here, sis!

After that we hit the road (but not before loading up on gas and treats at the gas stations.  Tigers Blood Frazzle, you complete me!) and I was happy to get back to Greg who had even put a load of laundry in and vacuumed the carpet for my arrival.  What a guy!

Thanks, mama, for a great weekend!  Until next time!

I don't know what that 'until next time' is supposed to mean.  It just sounded like a good way to end this.  I'm lost for an ending basically.  So goodbye.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A weekend for the girls!

My mom and sisters.

I'm headed out this weekend to Cedar City to the Shakespearean Festival with my mom and sisters.  Girls weekend, BOO YAH!  I love men and all, but sometimes it is so great to just hang with the girls for the weekend.  We'll be gossiping and staying up late and eating junk food and all the things girls are supposed to do on girls' weekends.  Maybe there will even be a pillow fight in our underwear?  One can only hope!
(Grammar nerds: I have been debating in my head the past twenty minutes if "girls weekend" is possessive or not.  Do the girls own the weekend?  Or it is plural- just multiple girls on a weekend?  HELP!)

(Mindy, don't feel left out.  It won't be that awesome.)

FOR YOUR WEEKEND READING:
+ My life has been so much easier since I dropped the 50 minute commute.  Reading this post on what my commute was like makes me want to cry with happiness.
+ I can not believe I ever did this to our house.  LIME GREEN WALLS!
+ I had an absolute blast writing this post about tragedy at Wal-mart.  Reading this reminds me of how much fun writing can be.
+ The last time I was at the Shakespearean festival.  A dead battery may or may not have been involved.
+ This girl's blog cracks me up on the regular.  She is one of the absolute funniest.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Green Eyed Monster: Revisited.

My family.
They make my life rich.

I feel like an apology is in order.

I'm not sure exactly who I am apologizing to.  To the vast internet audience or to my mom or maybe to God but I feel like I need to apologize to someone for being spoiled and whiny and ungrateful.  I've had the better part of five days to think about it and if I could unwrite Sunday's post I would but I can't, so this post will have to do.

On Sunday I wrote about jealousy.  I wrote that I was jealous of a friend who has recently bought a house and gone and gotten herself pregnant.  She is on her way to adulthood and steadiness and consistency and all the things you dream about.  What a life!   I was jealous that I don't yet own a home and haven't had kids and just generally don't feel like I'm in a place in my life to make those huge decisions that everyone else makes so easily.

That was my post I wrote on Sunday.

I was thinking about that post as I drove to work on Monday morning.  I was driving to school in my little toyota corolla that has not given me one problem since the day I bought it.  The car is paid off as of a year ago, thus I get to drive this bad boy every day free of charge.  It's reliable as they come.

I was thinking about that post as I went to the grocery store Tuesday afternoon and bought whatever I felt like.  The coconut almonds looked good so I picked them up, not thinking much that it was $3 down the drain.  It's only $3 and that ain't too hard to spare.  My grocery cart was full with food for the week.

I was thinking about that post when I checked my bank account on Wednesday and saw that I got paid.  I have a full time, steady job that pays me well enough to provide for all my basic needs and then some.  I never have to worry about going hungry or having a place to live or putting clothes on my back.

I was thinking about that post when I taught my class Thursday morning and we held witch trials for all the witches from The Crucible.  We dressed up and guillotined the accused witches and we laughed and the kids were creative and funny and I realized for the one millionth time how much I freaking love my job.

I was thinking about that post tonight when I cuddled up with my sick husband and realized how immensely grateful I am to have a companion to share this life with.

I was thinking about that post when I took a hot bath and realized I don't have to tote warm water, but have it right there for me whenever I want it.  I was thinking about that post when I called a friend that lives out of state but whom I can talk to whenever I want thanks to the modern conveniences of phones.  I was thinking about that post when the weather turned cold today and I put on a sweater and turned up the heat and didn't suffer hardly two minutes of discomfort.

Turns out I don't have much to be upset about.  I am abundantly blessed.  Rich, even.  I have everything I need in this life and then more and then more and then some more.  There's no house but who in the world said that every 27 year old should feel entitled to owning a home?

I have enough.
I am enough.
There will always be enough.

(P.S.  This article also helped shed some light and made me feel a bit sheepish.  It's okay to not have it all at a young age, it takes time and work and all that other good stuff to get a place of stability in your life.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bon's Book Club: The Glass Castle


BON'S BOOK CLUB
SEPTEMBER: THE GLASS CASTLE



2013 Book Club Schedule
February:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
March:  The Fault in our Stars by John Green
April:  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
May:  Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
June:  Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
July:  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
August: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
September: Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
October:  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
November: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
December:  We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver'

Book time, ladies!  This month's book was The Glass Castle.  I absolutely tore through this book- I could not put it down.  The last few pages I tried to read as slowly as I could, savoring each page and wishing it didn't have to end.  I always know that's a great sign that I liked a book, if I get so sad the closer I get to finishing it.

The Glass Castle is a memoir written by Jeannette Wells about growing up with nomadic parents.  They move all over the place, they never have money, the kids sleep in cardboard boxes for beds.  The mom is an aspiring painter and the dad wanders from project to project- neither one of them hardly working or making money.  The kids are basically starving and are left to fend for themselves while the mom daydreams and the dad spends days at a time at a bar.

This is my second time reading The Glass Castle.  The first time I read it was in the summer of 2006.  I was 20 and living the carefree, wild life that summer. I must have been pretty dang distracted that summer if I couldn't remember more of the details of the book because it is an absolutely terrific book. Anytime anyone has mentioned The Glass Castle the past seven years I have chimed in, "Oh yah!  I read that!  It was great!" and then as soon as that person would want to engage in any sort of conversation about the book I was out- couldn't remember a darn thing.

This time around I reacted very strongly to the book.  Little Jeanette practically became a part of me.  I lived her and breathed her and it was like she was a real part of my life, calling me up every night to tell me all of the crazy shenanigans her family was up to.  I worried about her and stayed up at night thinking about her and wondered how in the world she was going to make it out alive.  

I was also much angrier with her parents reading it this second time.  I remember about a year after first reading The Glass Castle my sister said something along the lines of, "Oh, that's the book with the parents that abuse their children?" and I stood up for the parents.  I didn't think it was abuse at all.  "No, they just live a more carefree lifestyle.  They're not concerned about all that worldly stuff.  It's certainly unconventional, but I wouldn't call it abuse."  As I read it a second time I found myself totally contradicting my earlier thoughts.  I was infuriated by her parents.  I saw both parents as extremely selfish and in no condition to be raising children.

The scene I reacted to most strongly was one of the scenes with the grandma- Erma.  Mom and dad have gone back to Phoenix to pick up their things and while they are gone Erma tries to touch Brian inappropriately.  The other kids stand up for Brian and Lori gets in a fight with Erma, at which point Erma banishes them all to the basement.  For days the kids are by themselves downstairs with no food, no water, and no heat in the middle of winter. This is what Walls says when the parents come back weeks later to find the four children huddled in bed for warmth,

"Dad stomped down the stairs into the basement, furious at all of us, me for back-talking Erma and making wild accusations, and Lori even more for daring to strike her own grandmother, and Brian for being such a pussy and starting the whole thing.  I thought Dad would come around to our side once he'd heart what had happened, and I tried to explain.

"I don't care what happened!" he yelled.

"But we were just protecting ourselves," I said.

"Brian's a man, he can take it," he said. "I don't want to hear another word of this.  Do you hear 
me?" He was shaking his head, but wildly, almost as if he thought he could keep out the sound of my voice.  He wouldn't even look at me. 

Up until that point I could understand Jeannette's tenderness toward her dad- what little girl doesn't think her dad is a hero?- but that was where I drew the line.  I couldn't believe that the dad wouldn't stand up for his kids, defend his soon, take the children out of the house right that minute.  I could forgive to some extent his drunkenness and his constant unemploymentk and his allowing his kids to go hungry, but not this.

I was likewise upset with the mom.  Although her neglect seems to be a bit more subtle, she still drove me crazy.  The kids are so starving they are eating butter and sugar and when the kids find a two carat diamond under the house, the mom keeps it instead of selling it to give food to the kids.  Her reasoning: "It could improve my self-esteem.  And at times like these, self-esteem is even more vital than food."

What I loved about the parents, though, and Walls' interpretation of them, is that you could tell as she wrote about them that she still had so much love for them.  I loved the parents in one chapter and in the next I wanted to strangle them to death- just like people in real life, I guess.  They were incredibly flawed and frustrating, but also somewhat endearing.  I appreciated that Walls could write about what most of us would see as a terrible childhood without sounding bitter or resentful.  She describes it with love, even the truly horrific parts.

I would recommend this book to anyone in a heartbeat.  In fact, I am trying to get it approved by the school district to teach my seniors.  It is such an eye opening book and so well written.  I feel like there is so much to discuss too.  One of the questions I would love to ask my students is if they think the parents should lose custody of their children.  Is it better that the children go on in filth and starvation and be together or be split up and have essentials like food, warm water, winter coats, etc.  Should parents like these be punished in some way for their actions?  What gave the kids the ability to rise up from their surroundings?  I think I could get great discussion out of those 18 year olds with a book like this.  Now, if I can just get it approved!

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or if you wrote a blog post, leave the link for the post!  If you want to write a post but don't know what to say, consider the questions in the paragraph above.  Should be lots to discuss there! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Bloggers Have Babies

PSSSST.
Don't forget book discussion on The Glass Castle tomorrow.
I CANNOT WAIT. It's my favorite book we've read all year.












I finally figured out why so many bloggers have kids.  Because it's so much easier to blog with a kid!  And more fun!  And feels less narcissistic!  And a tad more normal (just a tad!)!

I really love it when a company asks me to try out a product.  It makes me feel like a super legit professional. Or something.  The only downside is I never know how to talk about a product without sounding and looking like a complete idiot.  I have certainly not mastered the art of having my picture taken by myself.  I generally just stand there like a freak show doing some strange pose that does not even border on cute.  That's why every time I test out a product for this bloggy blog I am have filled with anxiety because I'm no photographer, I'm no advertiser, and I'm certainly no model.

You see, I was supposed to let you all know about Wendy's new flatbread sandwiches.  Have you tried them yet?  There are two kinds- Honey Mustard and Asiago Ranch.  They are inexpensive for fast food and actually taste good.  I was sold!

Now the question.  How do I take pictures of myself eating a sandwich and film a video of the sandwich without it being 100% awkward?

Enter baby.

My friend, Amy, suggested I use her baby to do the video (The video is on instagram: @thelifeofbon).  Genius!  Then Amy offered to take some pictures of me and baby Bonnie going to town on the sandwich (Yes the baby's name is Bonnie!  Yes, both Bonnies love to eat!)  I'm not really used to having willing picture takers around- Greg has told me he's going to start charging for his photography services- so I took advantage.  And guess what?  It was so easy!  And fun!  None of the stress and anxiety I normally have over trying to look normal while promoting a product.  Babies for the win!

Here's the scoop on the sandwiches. I tried the Honey Mustard Chicken, costing in the $3-4 range, and I totally loved it.  The chicken was moist and tender which really surprised me because I'm used to gross, dry chicken whenever I eat fast food.  The bread was perfect- I would recommend the sandwich to anyone.  I'm excited to go back and try the Asiago Ranch- rumor on the street is that that one has bacon!

And from now until September 28 you can win $6,000 by creating a six second video of you and your flatbread sandwich.  SIX THOUSAND BIG ONES!  Post it on Instagram or Vine with the hashtags #6secondsflat and #thelifeofbon6 to enter your video.  Easy peasy!  Click here for more details.


This post is sponsored by Wendy's

Monday, September 23, 2013

ANNOUNCING: An announcement. And a giveaway.

FYI.

Wow.  I like starting posts with FYI.  I mean, was that powerful or what?!?

So here's my FYI... I know this is two giveaways right smack dab in the middle.  But I'm not doing any giveaways in October so it makes up for it.  In fact, in October I am participating in "No Sponsor October" which is something I just made up myself right this second.  It basically means I want to take my blog back to the basics this next month and focus on just writing.  I am exhausted with the high demands of my job and my blog so I'm going to just take a bit of a step for October, let the blog be just writing like it was in the good old days, and let you folk enjoy some commercial free programming.  Or something.  My sponsorship program will be up and running again in November, good as always- I just needed to break for a bit so that is what you will get in October.

That being said I will still be doing sidebar ads.  Just sidebar ads.  No giveaways no twitter shout outs no guest posts, just a button on the side that clicks through to your bloggy blog.  Sidebar ads are $7 for a 200 x 200 ad for the entire month.  I'm averaging 75,000 pageviews a month because I know you want to know that before you fork over $7.  I don't blame you.  I'd wanna know too.  If you are interested in the seven dollar special email me at thelifeofbon@gmail.com and we'll get it set up for you.  Other than that, enter this awesome giveaway ($75 to Sephora, two books, and $30 to Barnes and Noble just to name a few prizes.  It's a pretty smary girl's dream!) and get ready for a few weeks of all Bon all the time on the blog!

MWAH.




$50 Sephora Gift Card
Bloglovin// Instagram


HELENE IN BETWEEN


$15 Target Gift Card




$30 Barnes & Noble Gift Card


"101 Secrets For Your Twenties" by Paul Angone




A copy of East of Eden, These Is My Words, or  A Homemade Life




$20 gift card to Hope's Boutique
Blog// Twitter




$25 Etsy card




$25 Sephora Gift Card




$15 JCPenny Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The green eyed monster



It happens from time to time that I experience an overwhelming wave of jealousy.

I don't know what it's caused by, and I never know how long it will stay, but every few months the jealousy inevitably comes.

I suppose I'm mostly jealous of people who have it all figured out.  You know- they know where they'll be living for the next thirty years, what job they'll be doing for the next thirty years, what grocery store they'll be shopping at for the next thirty years.  I'm at an age in my life where you would think I would have a little better idea of where I'm going.  I should know exactly what my husband will be doing for a living and where we will raise our family and when we will start said family.   But alas!  I have no idea what we will be doing or where we will be in a year, much less in five years or ten years.  We could be living in Utah doing the same thing we are now or we could be going to grad school anywhere in the country or heck, we could be having a baby in a year!  The options!  The endless possibilites!  Who can even think about buying a house when the future is so uncertain? 

I don't mind the uncertainty too much except for when I realize that some people's futures are much less uncertain than mine.

This was all triggered today by a little bit of time on facebook.  I discovered much to my delight that one of my freshman college roommates and good friends, Holly, is having a baby in April.  Under further investigation I also discovered that she and her husband have recently become home owners. A baby and a house!  Two things that most certainly point to the fact that there are some permanent plans being laid. Congrats Holly, on permanency and certainty!

But then.  Jealousy.

Why don't I know where I'll be living for the next five years?  Why can't I afford to buy a house?  Why don't I know the exact state and city and neighborhood where I want to spend the rest of my adult life?  Or at least the next ten years?

Lots of my friends from high school and college have babies and houses... in fact almost ALL of them do, so this is nothing new.  I'm 27 living in a state and culture that encourages you to start a family just as soon as you are able, so houses and babies are pretty much the norm for other 27 year olds.  So I should be used to this type of thing, right?  Right.

I suppose what made this particular round of "house and baby" so hard to bear is that I always thought Holly was my partner on the slow track.  When our other freshman roommates quickly married men who knew exactly what job they'd be doing for the rest of their lives, I took comfort in the fact that both Holly and I remained unmarried.  We were taking our time together!  When other freshman roommates started having babies and then two babies and then three babies, Holly and I were baby-less.  Other roommates bought houses, settled down, enrolled their children in preschool.  Not for Holly and me!  I remember conversations with her where we discussed how we were kind of wanderers and had no idea what our future would hold and why so many question marks...?

And now, gosh dang it, looks like Holly has gone and erased her question marks!  Found a man with a steady job to marry and bought a house and settled down and now is having a baby.  While I had my back turned, Holly went and figured life out and didn't bother to let me in on the secret.  Here I am running the slow track with my last remaining buddy, only to discover that she's up and joined the fast track and I am left running alone-  running my long, slow, steady laps.

The thing is, this weird feeling of jealousy always passes within a few days, sometimes even a few hours.  I realize I love our little apartment and I love my low paying job and I love the shows Greg is in and I love wondering what our next adventure will be.  I'm not ready to know what the next thirty years will bring me and maybe I'll never be ready for that kind of stability.  Maybe I'll always crave to some extent the excitement and adventure that comes with not knowing what next year has in store.

And that's okay too, right?

---

Oh- and because I thought it sounded awesome I am joining in on this vacation giveaway.  Everyone loves a free vacation right?  $290 for flights, $250 Visa gift card, $100 Kiki La'Rue store credit (Free gear for vay-cay!)  For your chance to enter just enter the rafflecopter giveaway.  And don't forget to leave a comment telling me where you would go.  I have been dying to see New York City for years now!

(P.S. Giveaway goes live Monday morning so if you are reading this on Sunday night you'll have to check back in on Monday to enter.  Sorry!  I'm always jumping the gun like that.)
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mrs. Vatsen? Vatsen? Calling a Mrs. Vatsen?

Well folks, it's official.  I am liking my new school more and more but it is apparent that none of the higher ups have a clue in the world who I am.  Take this picture for example:


This is my new staff ID card.  It's great!  My hair looks real cute!  I'm not doing one of those weird closed lip smiles that I've been into lately.

But Vatsen?  Seriously? VATSEN?  Not even close to my real last name. Wouldn't you think that some higher up would have wondered when they were going through these ID cards, "Vatsen?  Vatsen?  We hired a Vatsen this year?"  Nope.  Apparently they have no clue who I am.

It didn't help that the vice principal stormed into my room the other day needing to talk to me about a student.  The kiddos were all at their desks working quietly on their prompts like they should be because I have freaking awesome classroom control.  The VP stared at me at the teacher's desk on the teacher's computer in the honking huge teacher's chair.  He looked me up and down and then gave me a big old crusty.

"Where's your teacher?" he demanded.

"I am the teacher,"  I replied.

He apparently did not believe me.  "Where's your badge?"

"It's in my purse...."  I pulled it out.  Showed him.  Only then did he seem satisfied.

I was totally shocked.  He really thought I was some student posing as the teacher, jacking her computer and sitting at her chair?  I mean, come on!  Maybe he was looking for Mrs. Vatsen and when it was just me, little old me , he got all kind of confused because I look nothing like Mrs. Vatsen and how dare I sit in Mrs. Vatsen's chair?!

This is me at my teacher desk.  
I have a brown leather chair for crying out loud, you're telling me this doesn't look legit?  
Could someone really mistake this for a student?

For your weekend reading:
It was two years ago this month that I started blogging like a fiend.  To celebrate, these are some of my very favorite of the first posts I did.  Ah, it was a simpler time back then!

+ This week wasn't the first time I've been mistaken for a student- heck it's even happened in bathrooms before.
Another VP getting mad at me- this time for allowing my students to threaten the president.  OOPS!
+ I was missing my old principal the other day and remembering fondly how truly terrible his grammar is.
+ A hilarious first writing assignment of the year.  Those kids don't hold back.
+ The first thing I ever wrote about Greg, celebrating six months of marriage. We were such idiots then.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

To know you is to love you.


Me and my namesake hunkering down on some grub. 
If there's one thing a smart Bonnie loves, it is food.
Have you tried one yet?  They are diviiiiiine


On Wednesday a fellow English teacher, Stephanie, asked me during lunch if I am on Instagram.  I said yes (@thelifeofbon) a little nervously knowing that my instagram is linked to my blog and from then on, freak guys, the jig was up!  The secret blog life would be done for!  You see, having all my friends and family read my blog is great and all, but sometimes I still like to be a blogger in hiding.  Sometimes I miss the days where I could say whatever I wanted about whomever I wanted on my blog and no one would know the difference.  That's why I have loved the blog anonymity at my new schoo... I can write about everything school related without worrying who is reading my blogging escapades (Can I call them escapades?).  Obviously I knew it would end at some point and my cohorts would find out that every thought I have ever had I have plastered all over the interwebs... but I guess for a few weeks I wasn't ready for them to know yet.  It all came crashing down, though, as Stephanie glanced over my Instagram and remarked nonchalantly, "I am so blog stalking the crap out of you."

She looked at her phone for a few minutes and then said, "You have sponsors?  Who sponsors you?"  At this my ears perked up because Stephanie was talking blog lingo and if there's one thing bloggers can spot quickly, it's another blogger.  It's kind of like being Mormon.  All Mormons can identify other Mormons from a mile away.  I couldn't totally be sure, though, so I decided to test the waters a bit.

"Um... I don't know.  Like I guess Wendy's?"  I felt quite weird about the whole conversation, honestly.

"That's cool.  Have you worked with BlogHer?  I really like them."

I looked at her.  She looked at me.  And right there passed between us a definitive a-ha moment where we recognized with absolute certainty that we are both on the same level of crazy that involves allowing total strangers to read our most private thoughts.  But the bell was ringing and kids were banging down our classroom doors begging us to teach them so we scurried off our separate ways and did our best to keep our cool about the whole thing.

At the end of the day I hopped onto my computer to look at Stephanie's blog and was surprised to discover that I had actually already visited it several times, just never put two and two together that it was her.  In fact, Stephanie is pretty much a huge deal around Utah because she put together the whole movement for women to wear pants to church one day back in December.  I mean, this chick's practically famous!  It was crazy to put it all together in my head and to realize how many of the same people we know and how much of the same things we think and how alike we really are.

Interestingly enough, I felt a lot of compassion and love for Stephanie as I read her blog.  Stephanie is a "Mormon feminist" which is certainly a weighted term but basically means that she wants to see some changes in the Mormon church in regards to the way women are treated and represented.  I respect people like Stephanie and in general I support the Mormon church continuing to move toward more tolerance, love, and equality.  Stephanie describes herself on her blog as being in a place "between believing and unbelieving" and that this place is "lonely" despite how many other people may be there with her.

Mostly this experience opened my eyes.  I have been very self absorbed the past few weeks.  There has been so much going on in my life that it was easy to be wrapped up in me and to feel sorry for me and to think about me.  As I read Stephanie's blog I couldn't help but think about the silent struggles that we are all going through.  Who would have thought that the girl that I was sitting next to in lunch every day for the past month grapples with faith and wants to empower women and loves her child dearly and etc, etc, etc.?  I maybe could have gotten to know this about her sooner if I hadn't been so concerned about why she wasn't getting to know me. 

As it turns out, as I was reading her blog, Stephanie was reading my blog and so stopped by my room half an hour later.  She came bearing gifts:  a note and a candy bar.  She had read my post about starting at a new school and my angst about the new requirements of the district and came to cheer me up:  "You don't have to listen to any of it!  Just keep being a good teacher.  Make minor changes as needed, but don't sweat it!"  She had also probably read that I have had a hard time becoming besties with all the new faculty at work because she apologized, explaining that they are "a hard group to break in to."  Which meant a lot of me in a nerdy, I-want-everyone-to-like-me kind of way.

The whole thing was so subtle that it's hard to blatantly state what meaning I found in the whole experience, except for that I know it was very profound for me.  As soon as I read Stephanie's blog I connected with her and as soon as she read my blog she connected with me and what we weren't able to learn in a month's worth of lunches together we learned in 20 minutes from a bit of light blog reading. 

I guess it just goes to show that what my momma always says is true, "to know you is to love you."  I can't help but wonder if every person out there had a blog that I could secretly stalk would I love them more?  If they poured out their doubts and vulnerabilities and fears, would I stop being annoyed with them/ mean to them/ judgmental of them?  Would I stop all of the negative feelings and instead be left with compassion and love because I know what is going on underneath the surface is difficult and that like the saying goes, we all have our private battles we are fighting?

I guess it just makes me think twice about the way I treat people.


 *This post is sponsored in part by Wendy's #6 Seconds Flat

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The end of an era: Goodbye to Laughing Matters

I'm real proud of Greg.

Tonight is his very last show with his comedy group, Laughing Matters.  I feel like now would be a good time to let it be known that Laughing Matters was given a cease and desist (is that the right term?!?) on the name Laughing Matters because someone else owns the legal rights to the name.  So now they changed the name to Dr. Yes.  But I can never call it Dr. Yes because it feels like a fake name for the group, just like if Greg told me his name was now Brad he would still always be Greg to me.  So on this blog the group shall be forever known as Laughing Matters!  Screw the Cease and Desist!

I suppose I have a soft spot in my heart for the comedy group because both Laughing Matters and I entered Greg's life at the same time.  Rumor on the street is that he even flaked out on the other three members for their very first LM meeting because our first date was going a little long.  Can you believe it?  First date and first LM meeting on the same night?  Certainly, it was fate.

As Greg's commitment to Laughing Matters progressed, so did his commitment to me.  They started doing shows more and more often, he got more serious with me.  About the time we decided to tie the know, Greg started making money off of the shows.  COINCIDENCE?  I think not!  We've been together for three years now, and Laughing Matters has always been there for us.

I guess that's why I'm kind of sad that the LM days are coming to an end.  I almost feel like if Laughing Matters is going to be over than certainly our marriage is headed out the door too, right?  Of course this is completely irrational, but still.  I can't help but mourn the end of this chapter for him.

I don't usually direct things specifically to Greg on this blog.  Or ever.  So tonight will be a first for all of us, and it might be weird, but whatever.  Go with it.

Greg I'm so proud of all the hard work you put into your theatrical pursuits.  You inspire me to be a more creative and passionate person.  You've got an insane work ethic and so many brilliant ideas.  I love watching you on stage and you make me laugh for days and days.  Good luck tonight!

Was that too weird?  Yes, I think so too.

Greg's on the right.  A glimpse of what our future daughters will look like?





For your rest of your entertaining pleasure I've got Helene on the bloggy blog today.  Her blog is pretty much a gold mine.  I love reading her posts because most of them manage to be my three favorite things all in one: short, witty, hilarious. I especially love this post on 10 things that are more important than the new iPhone.  Although I have to say I only agree that some of the things are more important, others, definitely less so.  Take it away Helene!
 
Hi Life of Bon readers I'm Helene and I blog over at Helene in Between. I have always admired Bonnie because she's been able to establish her voice in a the very chaotic land of blogging. Although I'm not a teacher I have learned a lot about blogging and what it means to find your own voice. I love reading her take on the world of blogging, so I thought I'd give you mine. 
 

In real life, I usually fit in. That's not at all to say I'm popular. I have just been lucky to have an outgoing personality, wonderful parents and a great group of friends. But with blogging, it's been a bit different. 
 

When I first started out blogging I thought I needed a niche. I struggled with that so much I gave up blogging and came back two years later. I decided to just be myself. Not a fashion blogger, or a mommy blogger (no kids for a while at least for my husband and me) or a DIY blogger. 
I began small. talking about my life. What I found of interest or funny or anything that I could relate to my life.

And you know what? That was more successful than anything I did before. People actually read. Even commented.  The weeks that I carved out just trying to mold my blog into what other would read meant nothing if I was being unauthentic.

So here's what I've learned about fitting in with blog land:

- Quality over quantity. You don't have to post every day. Every other day. Etc. Post when you feel like you want to.
-Stop saying you're sorry for not posting yesterday. The only person that cares is your mother. And that's just a maybe.
-You don't have to post about what everyone else is posting about. If you post about something different it might actually bring more people to your blog.
- People will judge you no matter what you say. Not everyone's going to love you. It's hard but it's true.
-Your most popular posts might be ones you thought would be the least popular.
-And lastly, find your voice.
This is broad but try and find what you actually enjoy writing about. Then blogging no longer becomes a chore, but a passion.

Thanks for letting me take over the blog today Bonnie!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The return of... WHAT WE DID IN CLASS THIS WEEK




Dress:  Target

I haven't written a post of this type since May, and I tell you, I have missed it!  It's been a long summer- or at least long enough to get my fingers aching to tell someone everything that we've been up to in class.  Here goes!

Seniors:  Last year I taught two senior classes- this year I'm teaching four.  My seniors are lively and rambunctious and totally smarter than they appear.  We started this year right off by teaching Lord of the Flies.  I thought this would be a great started book since it's kind of morbid and twisted and if nothing else, has the virtue of  being weird enough to keep 17 year olds interested.  This year I felt much more comfortable with the book and felt like I was able to teach it at a much higher level than I did last year.  A book is kind of like an individual class- the first time is a bit rough, the second time is better and by the time I teach it three or four times it is a freaking gold mine because I know the material so well.

***Spoilers ahead***.  We just finished reading about the deaths of Simon and Piggy.  Simon's death especially bothered the students, "But he was such a good guy!" "This author is messed up!"  "Jack needs to hang for this!"  (For those of you who haven't read it, Simon gets circled by the group of boys who beat him to death thinking that he is a dangerous beast who lives on the island.)  Simon's death sparks such fantastic conversation- Was it really an accident?  Did they know to some extent that it was Simon?  Why did no one stop it?  Once we exhausted these questions we were able to take it a level deeper as I posed the question, "Is man a natural savage?  Without laws or rules would we all turn in to this?  Are we born evil and are only good because society makes us be good or is the good innate in all of us?"  Oh these questions sure get them and I LOVED their responses.  This is one of the joys of teaching- when you can see their little minds ticking and you can tell they are processing things in there that they've never thought about before.  That, and when the big, tough football players get caught up in the discussion and raise their hand and give some crazy, insightful comment and I step back and try to not act too stupidly excited that they hit it right on.

I shared this weird little bonding moment with my fourth period class last week.  This is the class that has been the toughest for me so far... loud, rowdy, full of energy at 1:00 in the afternoon.  This is the class I had to give a serious yelling to and I even went so far as to call them the most disrespectful group of seniors I have ever come across.  After that little "chat" their behavior certainly improved and I have seen some of them noticeably trying to impress me and improve their behavior.  I had to have a sub on Tuesday last week for my district training and when I came back on Thursday I joked with them, "When I looked at my watch on Tuesday and it was 1:45 I thought to myself, "Ah, fourth period is giving my sub hell right now."  They all laughed proudly, and it was this weird subtle moment where I could feel them coming over to my side.  Almost like, "Yah, we give the sub hell now, but we're done doing that to you."  Or something?  The relationships of high school classes is just about the hardest to explain.

Funniest moment:  Introducing Lord of the Flies, I made the students brainstorm everything they would have to do to survive a shipwreck.  One socially awkward kid yelled out totally seriously, "Oh I know!  First off, is anyone in here morally opposed to cannibalism?!?"  Silence.  And then an eruption of laughter.

JUNIORS:  I'm trying to line up with the way my new school district wants things done so for the first time ever, I am teaching my American literature class in chronological order.  I have always wanted to do this, but never been able to because of lack of books at Copper Hills.  Well, the new school has books galore so I'm teaching in order, dang it!  This means after an introduction assignment and a pre test we found ourselves already starting The Crucible.  I did my classic mouse prank on them but it didn't fly over so well as we had only been in school three days when I did it.  Usually by the time I do it, the kids and I have built up trust and respect so when they find out it is all a hoax they just kind of roll their eyes and go, "Oh that's our teacher for you!  She'll do anything to get a point across!"  But, with this brand spanking new group of juniors I think more than anything they were just confused.  Oops.

That being said, I still love teaching The Crucible.  The fact that we read the whole thing out loud in class does wonders- all kids know what's going on and are caught up with the reading at all times.  This year I went all out in the scene that Abigail pretends that Mary Warren is a bird, screaming and yelling and doing whatever it takes to get those kids to understand the text.  They ate it up and when the bell rang one girl exclaimed, "I had no idea it was even close to time to go!"  SUCCESS!  The affair between John Proctor and Abigail has always led to great discussion about the nature of affairs:  When is it okay to leave a relationship, can a relationship ever heal after cheating, what is the responsibility of women when their men are involved in scandals.  This year the discussion was only so so as students kept getting more and more off track. "Just use birth control" and "Everyone should have an open relationship" were some of the comments I got from my boys.  You know 17 year old boys, they understand so well the nuances of sexual relationships...

I absolutely love teaching juniors and this year has been no different.  They have been a total joy.  I do wish I had more than one junior class.  I feel like I have just kind of gotten into "junior mode" by the time the class ends.  If it were up to me I would teach at least two, probably three junior classes.

AP LITERATURE:  This class I have enjoyed immensely, despite some of the challenges of it.  There are only nine in the class so the discussions are much more difficult than the other classes.  They are all very smart, but also modest in their brilliance.  In regular classes you've got whatever Joe Shmoe yelling his opinion about whatever topic.  Sometimes they're on and sometimes they're WAY off but it doesn't much matter for those regular kids- they're just trying to figure it all out.  I have noticed the AP students seem much more afraid of failure.  Half of the time I will ask a question to the class and they all just stare back at me with these innocent Bambi eyes- none of them wanting to volunteer an answer.  As soon as I call on one of them, they totally nail the answer, showing me both that they have completed the reading and that they are extremely insightful and bright- they just don't want anyone else to know that.  I can't decide if this is because they are humble about their brilliance or if it is because the class is so small that it feels awkward to them to always know the right answer.  Thoughts?  And any ideas from you fellow teachers (or anyone!) out there on how to loosen up a smaller class.  They are just not having the deep conversations and discussions about literature that I feel like they should be having.

I have felt a bit like I'm swimming in the deep end with AP but we're taking it one day at a time and for now it's working.  I have a one day AP conference coming up in October that I am hoping will really help me to feel a bit more like I know what I'm doing.  They have already completed two timed writes and I do feel like I will be able to get them ready to just absolutely kill it on the essay section of the test come May.  The multiple choice part of the test is much more difficult so we have been doing practice excerpts about once a week.

Right now my struggle with AP is how to cover the material and get them ready for the test AND make the class fun.  I feel like some of the fun and light heartedness is lost from my regular classes because I am so worried about getting them ready for the test.  Because this is my first year teaching AP I don't know yet how much of the fun stuff that my regular classes do I can do with them and how much I have to take out to focus on some of the heavier content stuff.  I'm struggling with the balance.  Advice from any AP teachers out there?  Help a novice out!

P.S.  Have you folks all started reading The Glass Castle yet?  We are discussing it on September 26.  It is my favorite book that we have done for book club so far.  It's a fast read and SO fascinating.  Read it!  I downloaded it on my nook for $9 and I have not been able to put it down.  You will love it!


Monday, September 16, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: An announcement

FYI.

Wow.  I like starting posts with FYI.  I mean, was that powerful or what?!?

So here's my FYI... I know this is two giveaways right smack dab in the middle.  But I'm not doing any giveaways in October so it makes up for it.  In fact, in October I am participating in "No Sponsor October" which is something I just made up myself right this second.  It basically means I want to take my blog back to the basics this next month and focus on just writing.  I am exhausted with the high demands of my job and my blog so I'm going to just take a bit of a step for October, let the blog be just writing like it was in the good old days, and let you folk enjoy some commercial free programming.  Or something.  My sponsorship program will be up and running again in November, good as always- I just needed to break for a bit so that is what you will get in October.

That being said I will still be doing sidebar ads.  Just sidebar ads.  No giveaways no twitter shout outs no guest posts, just a button on the side that clicks through to your bloggy blog.  Sidebar ads are $7 for a 200 x 200 ad for the entire month.  I'm averaging 75,000 pageviews a month because I know you want to know that before you fork over $7.  I don't blame you.  I'd wanna know too.  If you are interested in the seven dollar special email me at thelifeofbon@gmail.com and we'll get it set up for you.  Other than that, enter this awesome giveaway ($75 to Sephora, two books, and $30 to Barnes and Noble just to name a few prizes.  It's a pretty smary girl's dream!) and get ready for a few weeks of all Bon all the time on the blog!

MWAH.




$50 Sephora Gift Card
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HELENE IN BETWEEN


$15 Target Gift Card




$30 Barnes & Noble Gift Card


"101 Secrets For Your Twenties" by Paul Angone




A copy of East of Eden, These Is My Words, or  A Homemade Life




$20 gift card to Hope's Boutique
Blog// Twitter




$25 Etsy card




$25 Sephora Gift Card




$15 JCPenny Gift Card
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