Sunday, November 1, 2015

Stupid Things I Have Done/Rebecca’s Still Got It

I was a mild-mannered kid to say the least. However, like many who started out as mild-mannered kids, I went through a bad-ass phase with the vigor of someone making up for lost time.

So many stupid things. All the usual stuff, of course: setting things on fire, letting your sadistic twin sister pierce your nose with a sewing needle in pliers and a butter knife jammed in your left nostril…

Although it isn’t really story-worthy unless You Could Have Died. To that end, here are a few of my favorites:

1.  The Bus Trip

When we were barely eighteen, my friend and I took a trip to California.

Okay, we took a Greyhound bus to Long Beach, California.

FINE: We took a Greyhound bus to Long Beach, California to find a guy that my friend had met on the internet.

It takes two and a half days to get from Athens, Ohio to Long Beach, California by Greyhound bus. 

Myriad stops at bus ports that brought words like sordid, uh-oh, and booster shot to mind.

I had a Walkman with one tape: The Best of the Eagles (which I had stolen from my mother) and a copy of The Communist Manifesto (whyyy?). Our food provisions consisted of a can of Easy Cheese and the candy necklace I was wearing. For two and a half days. Before we (both) ate it.  

I was so delirious when we drove through Vail, Colorado, I was convinced it was some sort of magical elven village. It was so sparkly.

Night two on the bus there was a person dressed as a cowboy who was convinced something bad would happen if people fell asleep. This person paced the bus aisle and poked people who were drifting off until the bus driver stopped and introduced this person to a police officer.

Once we arrived in Long Beach, our shenanigans included (but were not limited to):

·         getting lots of free taxi rides from a group of taxi drivers (who were all roommates) (and gave us free rides because my friend is a ginger and they were in love with her)(how did we not die?)
·         thinking that finding Muscle Beach was really important and then being really disappointed and sunburned afterward
·         letting some guy we met on the bus crash in our hotel room (again, how did we not die?)
·         startling the mess out of Internet Guy Love Interest by showing up at his place of employment
·         somehow not dying (how?)

2. The Tower

A few years later, in college, my fellow baristas and I completed our tradition of closing down the coffee shop (mop-mop-mop) and then closing down a nearby bar (glug-glug-glug).  In a fit of espresso-and-Bloody-Mary-sotted logic, we decided to find a water tower and then climb it.

In spite of the fact that I had a broken leg in a cast.

That is pretty much the whole story. We climbed up, it was pretty and chilly and there were stars and some mild existentialism. We climbed back down. I did not slip off of the rickety metal ladder and break more of my bones. I’ll call that a victory. It didn’t occur to me until years later how idiotic it was. Probably for the best.

3. The Bandit (okay, this one isn’t death-defying as such)

Just when I thought my bad-assery had worn off (you know, kids, real job, very occasionally shaving my legs) I ended up bandit running a half marathon. Bandit running means that you don’t pay, and run a race WITHOUT those sexy white squares of paper with numbers on them that people pin to their chests. It states explicitly in the rules of nearly every race that you are super-not-allowed-to-do-this, that this is Naughty Runner Behavior. 

Honestly, it was not my plan to bandit run. I trained for it with my good buddy and gym rat Not Me Becky. But I was lazy and unorganized and the race sold out before I could buy a spot. My first reaction was, that’s that, then, I suppose. Time to get into competitive eating. But then my second reaction was what…exactly…would happen…if I just ran it…anyway? I did some research (and by that I mean I asked people who had 26.2 stickers on the backs of the cars in the gym parking lot, and poked people near me until they looked up information on their smart phones) and found that:

 a) race organizers really don’t want you to do this for a wide variety of pretty valid reasons,

 b) if I got caught I could be kicked out of the race, banned from future races, arrested, and/or have charges filed against me, and

c) there’s a chance I could get away with it

I was pretty undecided right up until the night before the race. Then at five thirty the next morning I found myself in an SUV with Not Me Becky. In the moments of silence betwixt items in her deafening nineties hip-hop mix, we planned where I would go sulk, mutter profanity, and wait for her if I was caught and flung off of the race course.

Then, as visions of getting tased and/or arrested danced through my head, we passed a row of security guards. Fortunately, it was 33 degrees outside, so my nervous twitching looked like enthusiastic shivering. I walked past undetected! Could I possibly get away with this? In front of me, Not Me Becky was shaking her perky little runner’s butt to the pop music that was blasting in an effort to make the racers forget that their extremities were freezing and dropping off. I considered celebrating not getting caught by butt-punching her super-hard and then running past her, laughing spitefully. I did not do this. Her butt is still intact.

It was a great race. We ran well. I do not plan to do any more bandit running. The people and organizations that put these races together deserve my money. However, next race I’m definitely going to butt-punch someone.

Like a bad-ass.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Other Jobs

A few weeks ago, I was at teacher training. In the midst of Completely Paying Attention and Being 100% on Task, my good buddy and fellow teacher said this to me:

                “If you weren’t Rebecca the Teacher, what would you be? I always wonder what people’s jobs would be if they weren’t what they are.”

Of course, this is a fascinating query, leading to all manner of contemplation. Being the dynamic individual that I am, it was a struggle to narrow my alternative occupations down to these three:

Deranged But Kindly Despot of Some Small Tropical Island Country:

 I feel like I would be a great one. We would have to have some bizarre but profitable export, though. That’s square one. Did you know that Lichtenstein’s primary export is postage stamps? Or at least it was when I was in high school and my team represented Lichtenstein at Model UN. I rocked those lederhosen.

After I die, they would find a stupid amount of some item hoarded in my palace. With most dictators it is something that makes sense: jewels or porn or Hennessey. The person narrating the PBS documentary about MY dynasty would have to utter the words, “Over 500 tons of imported pinecones were found in the catacombs under the palace.” And no one wants to say that. At least not until one’s career is pretty established.

I’m also looking forward to scandalously diverting people’s hard-earned tax dollars to my own private projects, like breeding hitherto mythical creatures into reality. Unicorns and such. It would go like this:

                “Well, did the horse try taking the narwhal out to dinner first? Come on, people!”

I don’t think I’d have to change my personality very dramatically to cultivate the “deranged” part of this job description. Plus, I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon than lounging on my throne, shouting, “Phil Collins ruined Genesis!” and, “Scalp wounds bleed a lot!” while my office staff try to avoid eye contact and plan a coup d’├ętat.

Old-Timey Pirate Ship Captain:

Now, modern-day pirates are terrifying, and the product of a lack of economic opportunity.
I’m talking about the sexy, ruffle-shirted, “yar!”-uttering persons of legend. I could sail the wild seas with my crew of misfits, doing strange and upsetting things in international waters and generally causing trouble. We could sidle up to cruise ships and lay waste to their buffets. Steal the old ladies’ old lady jewelry and slap their old lady rumps. You know: piratey things.

Although, I have to admit, the best part of being a pirate would be getting to say “poop deck”. Right?

Proprietor of a Strip Club:

Let me explain. This isn’t just your ordinary strip club. I would employ people like me: ladies who really should know better. Moms and accountants and librarians who want to unleash their wild side on stage. Women with stretch marks, tan lines from mowing the lawn, and the kind of arm muscles you get from carrying small children around. Women who may doggedly refuse to wear high heels or acknowledge that Yellow Submarine is NOT a valid stripper anthem.

Champagne room treatment would include straightening your collar, tying your shoes, asking if you’re hungry, applying band-aids. Which could totally work for you if your mind is dirty enough.

I would call it The Tarnished Dime Piece.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Eulogy for My Little Car

The 2005 red Ford Focus that I scoot around in hasn’t died yet; but it is only a matter of time. I realized this recently; and it gave me more of a sentimental pang than I expected. To that end, I dedicate this post to my little car.

Once upon a time, that red Ford Focus was just the car that cute boy drives. Then, one day, I found myself in the passenger seat. We spent a lot of time in that car while first getting to know one another. (CONVERSATIONALLY! You nasty-minded people.)

(Okay, mostly.)

Once we had a small herd of bipeds to transport, it became My Car. My poor husband started packing his burly frame into the tiny, un-air-conditioned silver roller skate I used to drive. I can only assume that when he emerges from it in the parking lot in the morning, people stop to see if more clowns are going to get out. [Insert clowny honking noise.]

Anyway, besides the usual things that happen to cars, this poor thing has me to contend with. I bear this car no ill will; honestly, I’m quite fond of it. It carries my spawn around on our adventures, and does a bang-up job of it. But the fact is I’m kind of a mess. I’m a disorganized, distracted, uncoordinated mess.

Several examples:

1. Let’s not forget that I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was eighteen in a half, and didn’t learn how to drive a standard until a year or so after that. [Thanks again, Harlan Dalzell, and sorry about your transmission.] I finally mastered downshifting in my early thirties. It seemed way easier to just put that thang in neutral and jam on the brakes. Don’t judge.

2. I thought I was being clever by pre-boiling eggs as a quick on-the-go breakfast. I poked one into my face as I put my car into gear one morning, chewed it several times, and then sneezed violently, blowing chewed up boiled egg all over the steering wheel, dash, and windshield. One could argue that this damage was only cosmetic, or even that it only really damaged the dignity of the car. But it certainly didn’t help.

3. I have, as the delightful young gentleman who sold me my last set of tires stated, a Curbing Problem. Here is how the conversation progressed:

Tire Sales Person: You have…a Curbing Problem.
Me: Yes.

4. The 2005 Ford Focus has exactly zero Level Dashboard Space. In spite of this, I persist in setting things on it. Recently, I put a cup of precious, beautiful coffee on its silly, slanty surface. It promptly slid off, and somehow all of the coffee poured (in slow motion, mind you) into the little crevice betwixt the driver’s side window and the little rubber seal that runs along the door. It just completely disappeared. Then I heard a very soothing tinkling sound reminiscent of one of those rain sticks that one can find at shops that sell dream catchers and tiny Buddha statues and tie-dye onesies for your patchouli-scented baby. My hometown is riddled with these shops. Anyway, rain sticks are dried branches filled with pebbles or rice or something that makes awesome rain-ish sounds when you tilt them back and forth. So my car door did that for about ten seconds, and then a ton of coffee gushed out of the bottom onto the parking lot. That car doesn’t have power locks or windows or anything; but that doesn’t seem like a particularly GOOD thing to do to a car.

Someday, I’ll have a newer car that actually accommodates the size of my family. But I’ll always look back on the Red Ford Focus Days as pleasant ones. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

I'm a #@&* Genius

Please note: I am not claiming to have an IQ of 160. I honestly don’t know what my IQ is. That is not what a #@&* genius is. A #@&* genius is someone who comes up with amazing, innovative, world-changing ideas. These ideas are then presented to family, friends, colleagues, or passers-by in the following format:

“Holy #@&*! I’m a #@&* genius! [Explanation of brilliant idea] Check THAT out! [Lots more profanity].”

This display is accompanied (and punctuated) by victory-like dances, vulgar gestures, aggressive pointing in the audience’s face, unwelcome displays of affection, and other simultaneously attention-attracting and off-putting behavior.

The #@&* genius process (and unveiling) is accelerated and amplified by caffeine, alcohol, and sometimes antihistamine. (Once, while on Benadryl, I had a lengthy journey of introspection and discovered my spirit animal is algae.)

Some #@&* geniuses are sell-outs. They get patents, make infomercials, audition for Shark Tank. True #@&* geniuses hate these douche-nozzles. #@&* genius ideas are meant to fizzle out, or at best be knocked up into some duct-tape-riddled prototype and then abandoned in one’s garage. Most often they are simply battered out of existence by the ridicule of one’s more sober friends and/or elevator-mates.

Having said all of that, I’m a #@&* genius and here are some of my #@&* genius ideas:

1. Pair people who have extra skin from pregnancy or sudden weight loss with people who need skin grafts. I have not researched this medically at all; it isn’t the #@&* genius way. It is slightly better than my original Extra Skin Idea, which was to sell it to a pork rind factory. That one seemed a little bio-hazard-y. Although, one could argue that the sorts of people who eat pork rinds deserve whatever ill fate awaits them from eating people rinds instead. I also don’t think that the facilities that produce pork rinds are called “factories”. Unfortunately.

2. We all know that mangoes are delicious but infuriating. Cutting them up is annoying, getting all of the luscious, luscious mango flesh off of the stupid, stupid mango stone is next to impossible. I have witnessed my husband cram a mango stone into his mouth and then commit a series of appalling and invasive acts upon it in an effort to harvest every shred of tastiness. Instead, peel your mango (that’s not that difficult) and then jam corn cob holders into either side! Now you can gnaw away at it with relative dignity and success. Right? Amazing. You’ll probably have to rearrange them as you eat. Deal with it.

3. So. There are tanning beds. There are also strange cylindrical tanning chambers that require a person stand upright whilst lifting his or her arms above his or her head and hanging onto some sort of handle (while muttering to his or herself, “Yes, yesssss! Tan aaaall the crevices. Get ‘em good. Yeahhh…”) Point being: how has no one thought to branch out in terms of tanning furniture?  Perhaps a nice relaxing tanning recliner. Does anyone know if tanning bulbs can be converted into fiber optic technology? Then they could be woven into a tanning hammock. You and your significant other’s romantic spa day could include a couples massage, pedicures, and side-by-side tanning on a tanning love seat, where you and your lover’s pools of butt sweat and tanning oils mingle…like your burgeoning love, or something.

See? I’m a #@&* genius. I wish you were here, dear readers. You are missing my victory dance.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cows Think You're a Jerk (And They're Right)

No adorable Rhodesian ridgeback/hound mixes named Marla were injured in the making of this image. Only very confused, and fed way too many French fries. Although she would certainly argue that “way too many French fries” is not a thing. She’s pretty cool.

So…Rebecca’s a vegetarian. Not the judgy, pushy kind. I won’t make you feel uncomfortable snarfing a steak in front of me. Although, if you are eating ribs, I can’t say I won’t stare in horrified fascination; but that is more about the actual physics of the endeavor.

Many people have asked me why I became vegetarian. For a long time I would reply, “I don’t know any animals that deserve to be killed and eaten. But I know a few humans that  do.” Then stare ominously at whomever asked the question, as if maybe, perhaps, that person might be on that list. Make em think about their lives a little. Do a little introspection. Check their locks when they get home.

 I had to stop saying things like that since I got a Big Girl Job and life stopped being fun. So it goes.

It should be noted; however, that I am merely a lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means I eat (humanely-acquired) eggs and dairy. To some this may be considered Weaksauce Vegetarianism. Hmmmmm. Now I’m trying to think of what sort of sauce “Vegetarian Weaksauce” would be. Something that would really offend a vegan, while remaining vegetarian. Maybe a nice hollandaise? Let’s go with that.

Dammit, now I want Eggs Benedict.

My mother is a farm girl, so she was Not Amused by Them Shits when her moderately idiotic teenage twin daughters announced they were going vegetarian. I don’t blame her. I don’t plan on letting any of my teenagers EVER finish the sentence, “Mom, I have been doing a lot of thinking; and I’m going to…” I plan to grab their face-flesh in either hand and say, “No you weren’t, and no you aren’t. Now go mow the lawn.” I authentically believe that my mother would have preferred that I get a face tattoo than become vegetarian. Or join a cult. Or join a cult which the primary tenet of their religion is acquiring face tattoos.

Dammit, now I want to join a face tattoo cult.

We all know there are many reasons to be vegetarian. I hope to not belabor the point; but I probably will. Here are some thoughts on being vegetarian:

The meat industry is notoriously inhumane. From factory farming to slaughtering practices, profit, rather than the animal’s basic needs, is the primary focus. I’m not going to link to any of the horrifying videos people have taken of animal cruelty in the meat industry. You know where to find them. They are, unfortunately, plentiful. Some nerd in Poland did an excellent job of very systematically discussing the ethics of the eating meat from factory farms. Click here to read it. I like to think that the future holds at least a rudimentary bill of rights for animals, which will afford them a good life and a swift, painless death. It isn’t completely far-fetched, check this out.

The meat industry is bad for the environment. It creates air and water pollution, and, in some countries, desertification of what was once viable land. Here is more information on the environmental impact of the meat industry. More calories can be produced from the same amount of land if it is used for vegetables, fruits, and grains than the grazing land for herd animals. I have heard that if an additional 10% of the world’s population went vegetarian, it would end world hunger. I don’t know if that is true or not; some hippie chick at a street fair told me.  I have learned the hard way about citing hippie chicks at street fairs as reliable sources in research papers. MLA is a harsh mistress.

Actually BEING vegetarian isn’t too bad at all. Once upon a time, being vegetarian could get you accused of witchcraft, non-meat protein products were borderline inedible, and your mother wouldn’t stop looking at you and weeping silently. Things are better now. Being vegetarian has now gone past being cool, was lame for a while, and now has kind of an ironic, retro feel. Vegetarian options are plentiful at grocery stores and restaurants. In fact, this. I want to put that business in my belly for sure. Right? In short, a person of average intelligence, average income, and average motivation could become vegetarian without it really cramping his or her style too dreadfully.

Heck, YOU could probably become vegetarian. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Intro to Jesse

Scene 1

 [A mediocre American restaurant]

(Busboy gathers dishes from a messy, empty table. Floor around the table is covered with crumbs and debris. Waitress approaches.)

Waitress:   (Collecting dishes and trash.) Thanks, this is pretty bad.

Busboy:     Little kids always leave a mess.

Waitress:   (Moves chair, recoils.) That’s a lot of…crackers? Maybe? Ugh.

Busboy:     What can you do? Kids are gross.

Waitress:   Indeed! We should just kill them all.

(Busboy, with bemused expression, carries full bus bin off stage.)

(Fade to black.)


That’s it. The first conversation I ever had with my husband. I’m sure the irony is apparent.

When I meet someone I find interesting, I always wonder what their significant other is like. Is he or she similar or different? What first drew them together? Is the significant other worthy of my friend? They had better be.  I hold my friends in high regard.

(Seriously, don’t eff with my friends. I run a discount thug service. Our tag line is, “dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.”  What are you talking about? Copyrighted? Naw. )

I should not write these things with a drink in my hand. Moving on!

The point is, dear readers, I know that you adore me, and have surely been wondering Who From My Sizable Throng of Admirers I Had Chosen to be My Lucky Man-Bride.  Or What Idiot I Suckered Into Enduring My Absurd Shenanigans Until We Both Die.

In either case, the answer is Jesse H. Luttrell.

Fun facts about Jesse H. Luttrell:

1.       His favorite food is pizza
2.       He looks amazing in navy blue
3.       He keeps disposable gloves in his car like a damn serial killer
4.       Somehow, he can construct a computer from its component parts, but cannot fold a bath towel
5.       He has a phobia of loose change

We are neither completely similar not entirely opposite. We both like good food and good books and travel and a rousing debate. He can easily bench press me and I can run circles around him. He is (sort of) conservative and I am (mostly) liberal. I am seventeen years a vegetarian and he is an enthusiastic carnivore.

No doe-eyed youth has ever approached me and asked what the secret to finding lasting love is. But if anyone ever did, I would answer,

                Find yourself a worthy adversary.

I have been in relationships with people who didn't listen to my perspective on anything. I have been in relationships with people who deferred at every turn. The relationships that work are between people who are willing to clash with one another. I guarantee that you aren't going to agree with Prince/Princess Charming 100% of the time. Find someone you can have a clean disagreement with. One where you both give your honest perspective, debate the subject, and come to a compromise. (And still wash dishes while the other dries afterward.) A worthy adversary.

That is the extent of my wisdom for the evening and possibly forever.

Of all of the jerks that I have asked to guest-write a post for bloggily, Jesse is the only one who has given me a concrete “uhh, sure?”

 I hope this post is a worthy introduction to whatever he comes up with.  Stay tuned, folks! The next post you see will be authored by the one and only Jesse H. Luttrell.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Vomiting with Rebecca

I’m a power-through-being-sick kind of person. I haven’t been the kind of sick where you can’t get out of bed and need someone to bring you tea and saltines for as long as I can remember.

When you are a kid, you lie limp and moaning, your parents bring you things, let you watch cartoons, and help you hobble to the bathroom. When you are a college student, you skip class and recline in bed all day. When you are a 32 year old teacher with 3 children, life giveth not a shit that you are sick. Not a bit of a shit. No shits.

Here is where it all falls down, too. Because I am what I call “someone who finds the humor in everything,” and my husband calls “someone who is notoriously unsympathetic to sick people.” I learned early in our relationship that he involuntarily prefaces every retch with a noise similar to what a rancher might use to bring in the cattle. It is physically impossible to resist laughing when my husband is throwing up. My heart feels bad for him while my face is giggling its face-ass off.  And then when I am sick he is really nice and takes care of me; which just makes me feel worse.

These experiences do provide opportunities for introspection, though. You can learn things about yourself, such as whether or not you can finish your sentence at the teleconference meeting you are facilitating and hit the mute button before you throw up. I totally can.

Here are some observations I have made through the haze of nausea:
  1. Throwing up into a trash bin full of dirty diapers is a sensory experience that I cannot describe.
  2. Peanut butter smells gross.
  3. Even if they have just WITNESSED YOU HURLING WITH THEIR BEADY LITTLE EYES, small children will still jump on your stomach immediately afterward. They don’t care. And you aren't even allowed to throw them out into the snow. There are laws against it. Imagine you told a full-grown adult co-worker that you had just thrown up in the restroom and that co-worker belted you in the gut. You would murder him or her, am I right? Anyway.
  4. Throwing up is like crossing a rope bridge. Don’t look down.  Now is not the time to reminisce about what you have eaten for the past ten hours. Not. The. Time. 
That's all I have for now. I know this one is short; but I'm a sickie. Give a girl a break.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rebecca Whines About Winter

Holy meth-fueled goat orgies, I hate the cold.

I am aware that this is not that interesting of a topic; but I can’t stop thinking about it. I suspect my cerebrospinal fluid has frozen.

Cold ruins great things. Take Halloween, for example.  You have to choose between integrating winter wear into your costume and freezing your face off. Drinking until you can’t feel temperature anymore doesn't work when you are in charge of a herd of miniature, sugar-charged robots or elephants or whatever.  My plan is to buy one of those sleeping bags that cinches around one’s face in a vaguely pinkish hue, cut the bottom out of it and walk around trick-or-treating as a length of someone’s colon.  Dress the kids as doctors and they can be little proctologists.

I have been asking for a pluggy-inny-type heat rocks for lizards for every gift-giving holiday from everyone I know for as long as I remember. That isn't the sort of gift a lady gets for herself.  So far it hasn't happened.

Once winter sets in, the phrase, “I can’t wear this outfit; it is horrible” leaves my vocabulary, and is replaced by the phrases, “Oooh! THAT’S fuzzy,” and, “More layers. BRING ME MORE! Bwahahahahaha!”

If you ever hear that I was found dead in a dry sauna, just know that I died happy.  Really, really happy. There was probably an upsetting smile on my gross, dehydrated, raisiny face. Dying in a dry sauna is actually on my list of Causes of Death I am At Peace With, alongside items “While Having Sex” and “Of Baklava.”

For those of you who have children, you know that taking them anywhere amid frigid temperatures is surely penance for the more appalling acts you have committed.

 First, make a pile of all of the wintery things you must wrap around said children in order to fend off a Jack-London-style death.

Then, snatch a child from the writhing throng before you.  This is an important choice. Once bundled, this child will instantly be too hot and pissed: choose the child whose wails are the least abrasive, and who isn’t coordinated enough to take his or her own clothes off.

Meanwhile, the medium-sized one will have scattered your carefully collected pile of hats, socks, boots, and mittens to the far corners of the house, and the largest one will declare that she isn’t going wherever it is and flee.

Catch the large one, pin her down with a knee to the chest, cram her in winter garb. Then, using threats of physical violence and/or destruction of her personal property, prevent her from stripping while stuffing the medium-sized one’s wiggly little arms and legs into boots and mittens. Now everyone should be sweaty and weeping softly.

Small and Medium under each arm, Large held in thrall by threats hissed through gritted teeth: to the auto. This is the worst part. While your children sit comfortably in the preheated car, you complete the ten-minute-long process of buckling them in while your rump is collecting snow. That, and your jeans are riding down and your traaaaaaaamp staaaaaaamp is chilly.

I guess the point of all of this is: I hate the cold, and I plan to be in a bad mood until spring. So don’t talk to me or even make eye contact until it is at least seventy degrees out. You may think I'm looking at you; but I am seeing you as a tauntaun from The Empire Strikes Back. I may try to take out your guts and use you as shelter. Mkay.