4th Grade Prayer

I know you’re not supposed to wish for things from God.  We are supposed to pray for things we need, and be thankful for what you’ve been given.  I can’t help myself. I go to bed every night and thank God for my family, ask Him to bring peace on earth, and wrap it all up by asking if He could bless me with a pair of boobs.  It’s not like I’m asking for something that won’t eventually show up.  I just want to catch up with the other girls.

Breanna got boobs last summer. She came back with two orange sized lumps under her shirt, and celebrity status. All the boys want to be her boyfriend. Timmy gives her brownies at lunch every day. Seth does her math homework, and rumor has it, Ben gave her his brand new Nintendo system last week.  I want brownies. I want a Nintendo system. I want a boyfriend. I don’t really like boys, but the trade off of a little hand holding for a Nintendo system is totally worth it. Cooties are an urban legend. And if they aren’t then God would surely spare me the wrath.

The boys that can’t afford to give Breanna stuff try to make her laugh. Joey Fitts can shoot milk out of his nose. He must have practiced to become such a good shot. On his third attempt, he was able to make the milk shoot all the way to the end of the lunch table, and hit Kim Grossner right in the face.  Breanna giggled and bounced with glee as Kim’s tears drifted down the milk spray on her cheeks.  Her laugh made me sick; so high and sharp.  Like a poodle that just got its tail stepped on.

At recess I sat with Sarah, also boobless, and we watched the boys chase Breanna in a never ending game of tag.  She laughed and pranced around.  She seemed to move in slow motion.

“How did she get so lucky?” I asked Sarah.

“She ain’t lucky. My Mom says when you get boobs you get the curse too,” she said.

“What’s the curse?” I asked.

“Your period. You’re gonna bleed every month…from down there,” she pointed at the space between her Indian style legs.

“I bet it’s worth it. How do you think I can make my boobs grow?” I asked.

“My aunt Susan got hers to grow a couple years ago. She went to a doctor and came back all wrapped up in bandages.  When they took the bandages off, she was huge,” Sarah said.

“Do you know the doctor?!” I asked excited

“No. Beth asked Mom if she could go to the same doctor, and she said it was only for old ladies who lost the fight with gravity,” Sarah said.

“Hey do you think I can come over after school today, maybe Beth knows more than she says. She has boobs now right?”

“Yeah, but she got them normal style. It just sort of happened.”

“Well maybe she can tell me what to expect, so I can know when they will grow,” I said.

“Yeah sure. Oh and we got a cordless phone, so we can prank call the pizza place from my room now!” Sarah said clapping her hands.

“Awesome!” I yelled back.

The rest of the day flew by, and when the bell rang, Sarah and I met out front and walked to her house.  When we got there, Mrs., Jacobsen was on the phone.  She paced the kitchen with the cordless phone pinched between her ear and her shoulder, “What do you mean he can’t pay? He signed a contract! That penny-pinching sonofabitch!” She turned and saw us standing in the kitchen doorway, “Hi girls, would you mind running upstairs to play in the den?  I’ve got an important call to finish,” she said in the sweetest tone.

“Sure. Can we have some cheetos?” Sarah asked

“Don’t spill them.  And take a napkin, that orange powder gets everywhere,” she said quickly grabbing the bag from the pantry.

We ran upstairs to den.  It was a tiny wood paneled room with a TV set, roll top desk, and a rocking chair.  Sarah sprawled out on the floor and laid the napkins down filling each with a small haystack of cheetos in the center.  She lay on her stomach and turned on the TV.

“Hey pass me the remote.  It’s by the chair,” Sarah said pointing her thumb back at it. I pointed my toe forward and stood tall, like a ballerina, jumping towards the remote.  I poked my foot out in my wake so my sock foot dangled next to Sarah’s head.

“Eww, you’re feet stink!” She laughed pushing my foot.  I tilted unsteadily and jumped backwards crunching down on the cheeto haystack.  We both sucked in the air and held our breath.  I picked up my foot and the cheeto debris sprinkled onto the carpet.

“Stop moving, you’re spreading it!” She yelled.

“What do I do?” I asked.

“Sit down, and take your socks off, I’ll get the vacuum down the hall, She said.

She came back wheeling a small shop vac.

“Move my cheetos to the side, so I can suck up the dust,” she ordered.  I grabbed the corner of the napkin and slid her pile to the side.  She turned the vacuum on and started sucking the crumbs in front of my feet.  Each orange line erased in the carpet as she dragged the hose in short pulls.

“Don’t forget my socks,” I presented my feet into the air.  She brought the hose to my sock and the suction gasped as the sock sealed into the hose.  I pulled my feet back in fear as she turned off the switch.

“Woah,” I said examining the stretched out sock on my foot.

“This thing is strong,” Sarah said.

“Hey do you think that would work on skin?” I asked?

“What do you mean?” Sarah asked.

“Like if we put this on our skin, do you think it would stretch it out like it did to my sock?” I asked her.

“I don’t know. Maybe,” She said looking at the end of the hose.

“This is how I can make my boobs grow!” I said jumping up from the ground.”

“No, we can’t. My Mom will hear,” Sarah reasoned.

“She is still on the phone down there, she didn’t hear it before.  Come on, just let me try once and if it doesn’t work, we’ll turn it off and put it away,” I said.

“Fine,” Sarah said.

“I’ll position it, and you turn on the power ok?” I said grabbing the hose from her hand.  I pulled the hose under my shirt and peered down the neck hole to be sure I placed it in the right spot.

“How many seconds do you think?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t know, like 30 seconds?  I’ll stomp my foot to signal you to turn it off,” I told her.  “Ok, I’ll count down and you turn it on.  Ready, 3…2…1…GO!” I yelled.  The vacuum engine raged and gasped as the suction took hold.  My chest skin grew tight and began to pinch.  “Owww. Stop it,” I yelled falling to the floor.  I rolled onto the other cheeto haystack pulling at the hose, trying to loosen it from my chest.  Sarah killed the switch and ran over to me writhing in pain on the floor in the orange dust.

“Are you ok? Are you ok?”  She grabbed at the hose and it pulled my skin before popping off.  My nipple lay exposed burnt red and cracked.  I covered it with my hand and rolled like a log on the carpet.

I rolled forward onto my chest hugging myself tightly to stop the searing heat on my nipple.  I began to cry and snorted cheeto dust into my nostrils as I sobbed.  Mrs. Jacobsen appeared in the doorway,

“What the hell is going on up here?” She yelled with the cordless phone still in her hand.

She called my mother and we went to the hospital.  The doctors asked me what happened and applied ointments to my nipple.  I left with a bandage around my chest.  When I took it off, I didn’t have bigger boobs.  They were the same thing I’ve always had; except there was a scab covered nipple and my other regular one. I stopped praying for boobs and just stuck to the request for world peace.




Published in: on April 17, 2013 at 11:09 am  Comments (1)  
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Elder Sass

I have been told I have an old soul.  I’m not quite sure which trait puts me into this category.  It could be my style of driving; I rarely speed and am the least aggressive person on the road.  It could be my culinary desires: I love a good jello salad, warmed vanilla milk, and bran cereals.  My favorite pasttimes include watching channel 11 and getting to bed before 10:30.  I’ve been named a “grandma” by many people in my life; friends, family, co-workers, and even complete strangers.  At first I was offended but now I’m happy about it.

I love the elderly.  I can’t wait til the day that I fall into this category.  You are eligible for more government benefits, your work load is decreased, and you and say and do pretty much anything you want (exempt from breaking major laws).  My grandparents all have taken advantage of that last perk, they rarely filter the thoughts that travel through their mind.  They just let it out in raw offensive form, especially Betty, whom I’ve mentioned in previous blogs.

In fact, Christmas Day my grandmother invited the family over for brunch.  I was unable to stay for the entire time because I had to meet my boyfriend for his family Christmas.  Upon saying goodbyes and hugs at my grandmas, she returned hugs, kisses and “i love yous” with an added, “Rachel, I just thought I’d ask, are you on birth control?”

Now mind you, I’m ready to walk out the door with my coat on and bags in my hand.  She thought she’d just sneak that one in real quick.  Like “hey, what did you think of the sermon at church last night?” or “What do you think of this sweater?”  My mouth fell open as I struggled to find a tactful way to answer such a question.  My aunt immediately jumped in to my rescue reassuring my grandmother that I am a mature individual who makes safe, smart decisions.  I assured her that I was raised well and make safe decisions.

She wasn’t always this raw.  She used to be creative when asking personal questions.  When we were little and used to run off to the bathroom, she’d ask us when we were done if we made a “fishy?”  She was just concerned about our regularity.

Who’s got time for tact when you’re an octogenarian?  I get it, when you’ve spent a lifetime inside the rules of propriety you just want answers.  She really is just looking out for my best interest, but sometimes she really makes me laugh.  And it’s those magic moments that have me craving old age.  I want to say “hey I’m curious about your personal life, and I don’t care what you think…but you better answer me damnit.”

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 11:45 am  Comments (1)  

Wisdom of roommates

It’s been a full day of contemplation.  Today we celebrated the life of Fred Martin.  He lived a full life, and I say this not because he was 81, but because of the reach of his love.  He was able to touch, influence, and change so many lives while he was here on this earth.  My sister illustrated this beautifully in her Shades of Blue Blog Post.  It was amazing for people to come together to share all their moments they shared with Fred.

I feel out of place when it comes to funerals, wakes, and grieving.  I am always uncertain of propriety, reaction from others as well as myself.  I think that’s a natural part of grief though is the uncertainty.  Funerals also push me to take the time to contemplate life in an existential way.  So after a nap and some chef boyardee raviolis, I sat down to think things through a little.

My roommate (whom I thought spoke no English) was in the kitchen when I began to microwave.  After many moments of silence and smiles I decided to tell her that I was going to try to brush up on my Chinese so that we could talk more.  “All I know is ni hao, but I’ll try to learn more,” I said smiling.

She was quiet and began cutting her mango up on the cutting board.  “Is there a word in Chinese for that?” I asked pointing.  She looked at it and said, “mango.”  After she finished cutting her fruit she turned to me and said “it’s different when you learn English for a career.”  I was shocked.  She spoke so smooth and well.  “I thought you didn’t speak English at all!”  We ended up talking for the next couple hours about our jobs, family, home towns, food, boys, movies, plastic surgery.  It was like re-meeting a person I never knew.

Some where in the middle of our chat she took my hand and turned it towards the light to examine it.  “Hmm.” she furrowed her brows.  “What is it, what do you see?” I asked.  “You will work a lot,” she said.  “Well that makes sense, I have 3 jobs right now,” I replied.  “I have the same thing on my hand, I will work a lot too.  My mother tells me that I will be married twice.  See these two slashes that connect here?” she asked showing me her lines.  I nodded, and asked if you could change the outcome of the predictions.  “Yes, everyday your hand changes a little bit.  If you take a picture today and look at it 10 years later there will be new marks from decisions and changes that have happened in your life.  If you see something you don’t like, you need to make a change now to avoid what is forseen.  My mother says if I don’t want to get divorced and married twice, I need to wait til after 25 to get married, because the first one won’t last.”  She grabbed my hand again and pulled it towards the kitchen light.  “Oh, you will be married just one time, congratulations!  Then she pinched the fleshy part of my hand below my thumb, “You will be rich one day,” she reported.

“How do you know what all these things mean?” I asked.

“Your hand says it all, I know nothing,” she said.

“No, like how do you know what to look for, what each line stands for?”

“If you read old Chinese books, they will tell you,” she said.

After our talk, it made me curious to look at an older persons hands.  To see the lines and decisions that were listed in there palms.  Wrinkles on hands aren’t ugly, they are a lifetime of decisions and events that occurred.  Grandpa Martin’s hands probably had a slash for his marriage to Grandma; a long and steady line for his longevity;  some markings for his creativity in teaching and coaching; and a talent line that matched his vocal prowess.  It’s amazing what stories we are telling, writing and editing throughout life, even if it’s not written on paper.

Published in: on September 16, 2011 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

When I grow up…

Ever since I was a child I had 2 dreams that have accompanied me into my young adulthood.  The first was the dream of becoming a nurse.  There is a picture of me on my 10th Halloween dressed up in a white dress, starched hat and a medic kit decorated with a red cross.  I even got sterile gloves from my aunt (an actual nurse) to complete the ensemble.  I felt like I could save the world in that uniform.  I imagined running around sterile smelling hallways  with ugly orthopedic shoes popping into various rooms to help strangers.  Blood doesn’t bother me, panic is something I find easy to diffuse, plus I am used to needles after years of type I diabetes.  I was raised for this profession.  Give me a paranoid, bloody patient who needs an update on their tetanus shot because they stepped on rusty metal filings; I can handle it.  Whenever the question what do you want to be when you grow up, I automatically replied “a nurse.”  I took this with me all the way through high school and applied at NIU with hopes of being accepted into their nursing program.

Everything seemed to be moving into place.  I applied and was accepted to NIU; I’d complete the pre-requisites and go through the motions to become an R.N. and then specialize in Endocrinology and Diabetes Education.  After my first chem class in my first week of college, a bomb dropped on me when I realized that despite my best intentions, I would need to pass many science and math classes to make this dream a reality.  I am a simpleton when it comes to this side of my brain.  I retain multiplication, addition, subtraction, and even some fraction knowledge, but I don’t stretch much farther from these points.  As far as science goes, it’s a miracle that I even passed in high school.  I am confident that my brown nosing, and extra credit attempts forced my physics teacher to pity me with a C so that I could in fact graduate.  The creative side of my brain was always more alert and active.  Writing was easy and literature was something I liked to dissect and understand.  Far easier than the frogs we ripped apart or the geometry problems we were given to solve.

All through high school writing was something you had to do in a specific format or about a chosen subject.  I don’t remember writing creatively, so naturally I assumed that all writing was this dry and rigid.  5 paragraph essays and book reports lacked fiction, unless you count my reportage on books I never finished.  I had a natural talent to bullshit teachers, and any other audience that was grading me.  Writing was never a challenge during this time, in fact my last 2 years of high school I never brought homework home.  I did it the class period before it was due, or in one of my study-halls or lunch periods.  I knew I could push through and complete something and I never wanted to spend more than 20 minutes completing it.  This left me enough time to copy my Spanish homework and create excuses for not completing my math assignments.

I started journal writing quite a bit after I knew that there was no way I’d be able to bullshit my chem teachers into a passing grade.  Mostly as a sort of self-therapy but it made me remember how much I really enjoyed writing and reading in my early childhood.  It all started coming back to me when my mother gave me a binder full of old assignments from elementary school one weekend I was home from NIU.  One of my papers had a short paragraph with my rigid 4th grade printing testifying “When I grow up I want to be an author like Roald Dahl.”  I remember James and the Giant Peach and dreaming of living inside fruit with talking bugs and flying about on an absurd magical journey.  Digging deeper into this stack of papers I found another assignment; a short story we were assigned to write for the first graders.  I was the only student who wrote for my audience.  I remember my teacher praising me for not writing gory, violent details about heads being severed and keeping my audience in mind.

Instead, my story was about a little old witch who had gathered ingredients for her cauldron, lizard tails, dead marsh grass, and pigs feet.  She had set all the ingredients out on the counter to spoil and went out for a leisurely flight on her broom.  When she returned her ingredients were just ripe enough for her recipe to be concocted.  She lit the fire and tossed strange and slimy bits into the black pot, humming a tune and tapping her toes.  When she was done she served the bubbly stew to her family and they laughed and giggled over the steamy pots.

It was very short but I’ll never forget the pride I felt as my teacher read it to the class.  She didn’t announce my name until she finished reading.  That was the moment I realized my story was interesting.  My teacher’s pride was enough for me to feel good, but it was the look on my classmates faces that made me feel like I could bust.  They never thought that shy little girl was clever enough to dream something up like that.

It made me hungry for peaches, and often I find myself salivating during my day job, unable to satisfy the hunger.  I try to eat and drink things that will make the taste in my mouth go away, and then I realize that the only way I can stop it, is by writing it down.  Getting messy and putting it out there without shame that I’m sticky and rivers of nectar are trickling down my wrists.  Eating a peach is like writing a first draft: messy, sticky, sweet, juicy, fragrant and eventually needs to be cleaned up and sometimes all you’re left with is a fibrous pit.  But that first taste will leave you wanting more.

Published in: on August 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Eyes Have It

I think the first time I realized how powerful eye contact was, I was in high school being a punk.  My friends and I would drive around listening to our music, leaning out the window, yelling inside jokes out at the world.  Sometimes at red lights we’d all turn in unison to stare at a neighboring car.  This little stunt gave us a variance of reactions. Some people would glance and ignore; some would stare back in a tense bout of the staring game; and some would laugh.  The worst reaction we ever got was a young lady who stopped next to us, looked over to see the 3 of us unblinking and staring at her.  She turned and hit the gas, speeding through a red light.  Thankfully it was very late/early in the morning and there was no other traffic for her to run into.  I think that was the last time we played the staring game.

Who knew that looking at someone could be so violating.  Eyes are very powerful, they say a lot without any words.

Why else would J.R.R. Tolkien write his villain as a giant flaming eye in a barren waste land?  Because it’s scary and intense, and despite being a lidless eye in a dry area, knows a lot in terms of controlling people!

Lidless Villainy

I have many family members who can communicate with a simple look.  As a child seeing this look meant you were in deep trouble, or you had better stop what you are doing if you want to spare yourself from punishment.  Not a word was said and yet all of us knew it was time to knock it off.

Many people claim the first thing they notice about someone is their eyes.  Although cliche, I have to think it is true because that is the first message you may receive from another individual.

I guess we need to remember how powerful a glance, or a look, or even a full on staring session can be.  What are your eyes telling people when your mouth is shut?

Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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