The Chicken and the Baby

The other day, while babysitting, one of the kiddos asked if I like babies.

I said, “Meh… not really. I like kids better.”

Then she asked, “But don’t you think they’re so cute? Don’t you want to hold one?”

And again, I was like, “Uh… not really. I’m not much of a baby person. I like kids better.”

Shortly after that, one of kiddos I tutor asked if I wanted a baby of my own.

Because it is rude to be like, “Ew. Gross.” when one is speaking of babies, I shrugged naively and said, “I don’t know.” But really, inside, I was all…

ew

Apparently, when it comes to all things “Annie”, people have had babies on the brain. As in… I should want one… I should have one. Apparently, having a longish-term, stable relationship that it veering towards marriage makes everyone think of babies… except for me.

A few months back, my teacher peeps and I were sitting around having lunch in the teacher’s lounge and the conversation naturally turned towards babies. Apparently, amongst women, conversations have a tendency to turn towards babies when you have one girl on staff about to be married, another one expecting her second, and a third one waiting with bated breath for that engagement ring. The older ladies were talking about the miracle of childbirth and placenta this and infertility that, while the younger ladies were all enthralled and chirping happily away about their hopes of having at least one kiddo who plays hockey and maybe, a husband who can change a dirty diaper.

I sat there eating my sandwich like this…

idiots

I could not have been more turned off by the entire conversation, which got me thinking…

WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?!

Okay, so I’ll admit that a few years back I was all, “SQUEEEEE! BABY! I want a baby! I want a little doll-sized child to dress up and plan a nursery for and raise properly and then I can show everyone how it’s done! And I will love him and kiss him and call him George!”

Apparently, this phase in my life was rather short-lived because now I’m all… “Nah. I’m good.”

In fact, the other day, I ran into a friend who had just given birth to their 3rd kiddo… and because I know what is expected of me when babies are around, I pretended to be interested and in love. You guys? I honestly couldn’t have cared less. But I did the whole cooing thing and complimenting thing and baby talk thing, all the while thinking, “Can I go now? I have things to do.”

And then the friend held the baby out to me so I could hold it.

uncomfortable

Um… I’m sorry. What?

You guys… I had no desire to hold this little bundle of joy.

So, I tried to get out of it. “Oh, no-no-no. I’ll probably drop it.”

“Oh, comeon… no you won’t!”

“Yes, but it’s head is going to fall off…”

Side Note: What is WITH baby’s heads?! Why are they so wobbly?! Shouldn’t they be screwed on in a more secure fashion?! They’re all like… bobbly and ready to snap at a moment’s notice. That’s not safe! Babies freak me out for their wobbly heads alone. It’s unnatural and unsafe and weird.

“It’s fine. Here. Hold her.”

And then this may have happened…

hold baby

You guys, I was holding that baby like a mutant alien strapped with nuclear weapons.

It was the most uncomfortable, unnatural three and a half minutes of my life. And the whole time I’m sitting there thinking, “What is all the fuss? I don’t want to smell this child, I don’t want to kiss this child, I don’t want to gnaw on their little baby fingers or stroke its head or cuddle it or snuggle it or talk to it. I WANT THE MOTHER TO TAKE IT BACK!”

And when she finally did, I was all, “I don’t get it. Ew.”

Okay, so I didn’t say that out loud. Out loud I was all, “Awww… she’s so precious!” But inside I just… couldn’t even.

In fact, a few days after this incident, I was asked to hold a chicken… (yes, a chicken)… and I did. And you guys? Holding that chicken felt more natural than holding that baby. The chicken I could handle. (After all, its head was securely attached.) The baby? Not so much.

So, while everyone my age is out there popping out babies and making plans to pop out babies, I’m just going to sit here quietly with my cat and my chickens and silently question their decision making skills. Honestly, I think that sounds like a pretty good plan.

 

 

Do what you love

The other day, one of my students asked me, “Ms. Evans… was it always your dream to become a teacher?”

I had to stop and think. As a child, I had some wild ideas about what I would be when I grew up. A singer? A dancer? A doctor? A lawyer? A teacher? A writer? An actress? A movie director? An FBI AGENT? (No lie… I actually wanted to be one for a while…)

But when it came down to it- when I was forced to declare a major back in college… it all came down to what my gifts were and where my passions lay. It had to be writing or teaching.

So, I went after what I loved.

And became a teacher who writes. Or a writer who teaches… depending on how you want to look at it.

And in that moment, I realized just how thankful I was that I was doing what I genuinely… LOVED. I wasn’t stuck in some dead end job trying to make ends meet… drudging through each day with the weekend as my only respite to what was otherwise an exercise in futility. I mean… how many people can say that? “I love what I do and I’m doing what I love.”

Can you say that? Because if you can’t… I encourage you to go for what you really want. Even if your dead end job is just a means to an end… work at it and stick with it and keep your eyes on that end result… because truly, it’s never too late. And life is too short. So, find what you love and do it.

Earning Love

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

Having additional time off and not staying crazy-busy has sent me into a bit of a tailspin.

I had no idea how much I crave busyness. During the school year, I rarely have down-time. During the summer, even with my part-time gigs, I underestimated just how much down-time I would have. I seem to have forgotten the negative effect down-time can have on me. Suddenly, I have time to think. And when I have time to think I have time to obsess. And when I have time to obsess, I have time to be anxious about everything. And when I have time to be anxious about everything, I have time for panic attacks.

Before going to bed, while in the shower, while prepping for tutoring, while babysitting, while in the doctor’s office, while waking up in the middle of the night, while preparing for the day… panic, panic, panic.

It didn’t actually occur to me that I was having panic attacks until I took the time to look it up. All I could think was, “What the heck is wrong with you?! Chill, woman. You’re being ridiculous.” But all the chastising in the world couldn’t bring me down from the ledge I was about to hurl myself over. It all came to a head while in the shower one afternoon, freaking out about the numbness in my leg, convinced I had a life threatening disease that was going to kill me right then and there, when I pulled the towel off the rack, tied it around my head and…

A spider, the size of Cincinnati, crawled out of the towel and into my hair. The result? There is no gif adequate enough to properly convey the madness that followed. The screaming, the throwing, the hyperventilating… Winston (who doesn’t get up for anything) actually came to check on me. That’s how bad it was. When I realized I had trashed my apartment and emotionally fallen apart over a spider? I knew it was time to see the doctor.

So, of course, the doctor prescribed me something. But, of course, since it wasn’t a magic pill, it took a few days to kick in. (Actually, I may still be waiting for it to completely kick in…) In the meantime, I surrounded myself with Bible verses and prayer and sleep. (Well, the best sleep I could get when I wasn’t obsessing, worrying, and panicking.)

One night, while in the throes of yet another panic attack that had awoken me at 3:00 in the morning, Winston jumped up on the bed to offer his company… and I immediately launched into what I like to call my, “Have-To” mode.

I have-to cuddle him. I have-to let him know he’s appreciated. I have-to show him he is loved. I have-to give him some attention. I have-to be a better pet parent. I have-to brush him more, feed him less, play with him more, hold him more, leave him home alone less, etc, etc, etc. I have-to do this, that, and the other thing for him, right here, right now, otherwise, it’s all going to fall apart.

Okay, clearly the have-tos play a big part in my anxiety… But it was in the midst of me tearing myself down over how much I wasn’t doing and how much more I could be doing that the following thought crossed my mind…

Maybe Winston just wanted to give me some affection. Maybe he wanted to keep me company. Maybe he wanted to check on me. Why couldn’t I  just let him love me? Why couldn’t I just let myself be loved… period??

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a thought. Maybe it was a prompting of the Holy Spirit. But it was this thought and/or prompting that made me realize… If I can’t even let my cat show me love, how can I ever expect the Lord to get His foot in the door long enough to show me love? I’m always so worried about what I’m doing earn that love – any love – all love – love from family, love from friends, love from coworkers, love from Jack, love from God, even love from my pet. What it boils down to is the fact that I seldom am able to receive love because I’m always convinced that I haven’t earned it. I haven’t done enough, I’ve done too much, I’ve done it too often, I’ve done it too seldom, I’ve done it too late, I’ve done it too early, I did it too eagerly, I did it impersonally, I did this wrong, I did that wrong, I didn’t do the other thing well enough… And until I can fix it all, and tie up the loose ends, and prove I’m worthy of love, I shrug it off, push it away, and ignore it altogether because… anything that unconditional… that free…. can’t be meant for me. I’m not good enough for it.

Why can’t I just receive it? Who said I had to earn it? What makes me think I’d ever be able to earn any of it? EVER?! That’s what’s so amazing about our Heavenly Father’s unconditional love… it’s just always there for the taking… but we’re not taking it… because we’re too busy trying to earn it.

At least I am. And it’s exhausting… and probably an excellent source of all that anxiety.

So, as I settled back under my covers with Winston nestled under my chin and drifted off to sleep, I realized, I can barely do enough to earn my cat’s love, thank God I don’t have to earn His. And with that, I let Him love me, as I settled in for the best morning’s sleep I have gotten in a long time.

 

 

 

 

 

Ahem.

I know.

I’ve been ridiculously inconsistent about writing on here.

It’s not that I don’t have the time…

It’s just that… well there’s so much else to do!

Kids to tutor, kids to babysit, boyfriends to date, siblings to talk to, friends to keep up with, thank-yous to write, dishes to wash, laundry to do, books to read, music to listen to, cats to clean up after, road trips to take, prayers to pray, naps to sneak in, lessons to plan, new years to prep for, pretend arguments to have in my head…

And all of a sudden, one third of the summer is gone and I still don’t feel like I’ve had a vacation. I feel like I’m still on everyone else’s schedules… because I am… with parents to answer to for tutoring and babysitting… when all I ever wanted was a break. A break from screaming, arguing, challenging, whining children. And I don’t get a break…. It’s just that I get to deal with them for a shorter period of time and I get to sleep in a couple extra days a week… THAT’S NOT A VACATION.

I know. I do it to myself. Because I can’t say no. It’s all my fault really. But I’d be much obliged if everyone would stop POINTING IT OUT TO ME.

“What are you doing here?! School’s out! You’re on vacation!” says every other married teacher at the school who is simply maintaining this job on a disposable income kind of basis because their spouses are the bread winners and they just get to pursue their hobby of teaching.

No. See, this is my actual JOB. Which requires additional jobs in order to maintain. I actually have bills to pay. And I need food to eat. And clothes to wear… n’ stuff. So, I HAVE to work these extra jobs… along with this other teaching “gig”. I don’t do it just for fun. I’m not a public school teacher. Geeze.

I just want to sleep. And stare. And write. And drink coffee every day. And not set an alarm clock. And shower when I darn well feel like it!

I realize how petty and pathetic this all sounds. “Oh, BOO HOO. Annie has to work the rest of the summer like EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!”

I know. I’m spoiled rotten. I get it. I need to shut it. But hey, don’t blame me because you didn’t go into education. It’s not that it’s my fault that I have a cushy job that affords me the privilege of having 3 months off and the perks of working only 3 extra days a week for some extra cash.

Ahem.

I’m going to stop talking now.

And pretend this conversation never happened.

Because it didn’t.

I’m too busy for such pathetic, self-pity wallowing conversations.

Ahem.

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

Let Me Break This Down for You…

Let’s get you caught up, shall we?

A few weeks back, I imported all my work from my deleted blog over to this blog so you’d have some idea of what I was talking about with this “Catholic Conversion” stuff.

Although, jumping from blog to blog didn’t provide much of an adequate segue about the why and how and when of the conversion and how it resulted in a reversion.

So, let me break this down for you piece by piece without going into too much mind-numbing detail so as to lose your interest.

Let’s see here… It all started when I started working as a teacher at a Catholic school.

The people at the new Catholic school were very, very nice. They welcomed me, they helped me, they answered all my stupid questions… they were very kind and thoughtful and Mormon-like. (What? Like we don’t already know the Mormons are the nicest people on the planet? What, like we’re going to pretend they’re not? Puh-lease.) Basically, they treated me like their new Protestant pet.

giphy lilo

THEN, I started going to Mass… and became mesmerized by the smells, the bells, the chants, the kneeling, the robes, the high arched ceilings, the statues, the stained glass, and the shockingly shiny metal ware they used for communion.

ooh

This is church like I’ve never seen it before…

And then my mom died… and they were all…

“Let me offer this Mass for you.”

“Here’s some homemade bread.”

“Are you okay?”

“Do you need to talk?”

“Can we pray for you and your family?”

And I was all…

aw shucks

You like me! You really like me!

And so, I put on my rose-colored glasses and started to question some things about my church background.

Things like…

Why do we need coffee at church?

Why do we build churches like malls and shopping centers instead of places of worship?

Why do we have to entertain the faithful with rock bands and light shows and fog machines?

Why are we always talking about what God can do for us and what we can get out of a relationship with Him instead of how we can better serve Him and further His kingdom?

So… I started to ask some questions. And I started to study. And I started to meet with a priest. And I prayed and I dug and read books and read all the really hard questions until finally, I was all…

“Yup. This is it. Christ’s one true church. Let’s do this.”

So, outwardly I was all…

YES

But inwardly I was all…

hold on

Marian devotions? Praying to the saints? Purgatory? Doing penance to shave time off of purgatory? Annulments? Transubstantiation? Wait a minute…

But I couldn’t actually say that. I mean… I had people to please. I had people to impress. I had people to answer to! I work at a Catholic School, peeps!

But then, I figured, “Meh! I’m never going to have to deal with any of that stuff anyway… No church is perfect. Let’s do this. I got this.”

Annnnnd… apparently, that was really the wrong, wrong answer.

I guess, coming from my church background, I just thought, if you change churches, you can always change back… it’s not that big of a deal. A Christ follower is a Christ follower is a Christ follower. God is present in all His churches.

But that’s not quite how it works in the Catholic Church. Once you become Catholic… you can’t just… go back. If you receive the teachings of the Catholic Church as true, and believe them to be true, you can’t just… change your mind. You can’t go back. Once you’re Catholic you’re locked in…

forever

So… IF I do decide that maybe I don’t agree with all the Catholic teachings, maybe I’m not “Catholic” after all… and IF I decide to go to another church…

I’m destined for…

Well…

Hell.

Because I’ve rejected the teachings of Christ’s true church. And apparently I don’t want to have anything to do with Him… or them. So, therefore…

Hell it is.

But… I have difficulty with this teaching. Because I’m not rejecting Christ. I’m not rejecting His teachings. Everything I do, I do to honor and glorify Him. It’s just that some teachings of the church are what I take issue with. Because I can’t quite believe that the teachings of the Catholic Church are indisputable and infallible… because it’s still a church run by man… and man can be incorrect… even if they do claim that every teaching they put forth has been ordained by God… how can one be sure? Man is fallible. We get things wrong all the time. I just can’t believe that Martin Luther was wrong about everything. I can’t believe that Christ was as unmerciful and unmovable as some Church teachings suggest. I can’t believe that all the Catholic Church’s teachings are 100% correct.

So… because of this… because I’ve already agreed to be Catholic, and now I’m backtracking…

I’m now destined for Hell.

Which is…

You know…

Icky.

A few months back, I had a conversation with Jack about this very thing. Jack is just about the most practical human being on the planet. Nothing ruffles his feathers. He’s methodical and sensible and reasonable and calm and decisive… and he does what he does and if someone doesn’t like it… OH WELL. (I seriously want to be this man when I grow up.) So, we were talking about the fact that if I decided not to be Catholic, I would be going to Hell, supposedly.  And I was trying to explain that I knew, deep down, that I wouldn’t be going to Hell just because I decided not to be Catholic, but what truly bothered me was that there would be other Catholics out there who would think I was going to Hell because I decided not to be Catholic. And that’s what truly bothered me about this whole “Catholic – To Be or Not To Be” Conundrum.

And because he is Jack, he was all, “But who cares? You know where your spiritual walk is. Why are you bothered by what other people think?”

And I was all, “Because they THINK I’m going to HELL. That’s a pretty big deal! How does it not bother you that all these Catholics might think you’re going to Hell because you’re not a Catholic?!”

And he laughed and said, “Because it isn’t true! They can think what they want to think, but they’re wrong. So, why should I care?”

The confidence of this man is truly mind-boggling. I have never, ever, had that kind of confidence in my life. I have never been 100% confident of anything ever. You know how much anxiety that creates inside of a person?! To never feel confident and secure about anything? I mean, I know what I believe and what I think, and I can be maybe 95% certain about it… but I’m never 100%. Maybe it’s due to years of being brain-washed as a youngest sibling. I could think something, but more often than not, my older siblings would disprove what I thought and I’d be all, “Ohhhhh…” because I was young and stupid. I could never trust myself 100%. There was always that chance I could be wrong. And so, here I am, at 35 years old, bright-eyed and bushy tailed and uncertain about EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER BELIEVED IN MY LIFE BECAUSE… CHANCES ARE… SOMEONE ELSE IS USUALLY MORE RIGHT THAN ME… SO MAYBE I AM GOING TO HELL.

I might love God, I might follow Christ’s teachings in my life… but I’m still… going to Hell.

You guys… being me is truly exhausting. You have no idea.

So, what do you think? Am I wrong? Am I right? Do I just need to calm down and grow in confidence?

That’s not even what this blog post was supposed to be about… I just got a little distracted. Sorry peeps. Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Ugly Crying on the Beach

If I ever write a book, I think I’m going to title it, “Ugly Crying on the Beach”.

Catchy, right?

I know. I’m so stinkin’ creative.

Anyway, you know that awesome vacation I was so super excited about?

Well, much of it was spent ugly crying on the beach. Not entirely unlike this:

ugly crying

I mean… Ew.

Why, you ask?

WHY?! Why would I spend most of my vacation if not actually ugly crying, then trying not to ugly cry on the beach?

Because…

Because…

Well, for starters…

I mean…

It was all…

Okay, looking back, none of these things probably actually warranted ugly crying on the beach… in front of everyone…

But at the time…

I was all discombobulated and overwhelmed and overwrought.

There was the allergic reaction over half my body had to the sun.

Yes, THE SUN.

The big, burning globe up in the sky? Yeah. Apparently, that side note that the doctor mentioned three years ago about me having a slight allergy to the sun? Yeah… apparently, that’s an actual THING. Which is why over half my body broke out into these hideous boil-like swollen hives… that had to be iced and aloed and calmed the frick down with lots and lots of Benedryl.

I mean… it was ridiculous. I put on a bathing suit for the first time in a decade and my entire body decided to revolt. So, of course, I had to spend the rest of the trip covered up underneath umbrellas, popping Benedryl and keeping any sun exposure down to a minimal.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the beach condo, Jack’s chillens were all spazzing because apparently he was spending more time on the vacation with me than he was with them, and so they brain-stormed these crazy elaborate plans to manipulate every possible situation so as to keep me at arm’s length and make it known that just because it was okay for me to hang out with them at home… vacations were a completely different beast and I just needed to…

bye

GET OUT.

Even though… in my defense… I barely saw the guy all vacation. And every time he would even venture to sit near me, there were dislocated shoulders and projectile vomiting and pandemonium and chaos of near apocalyptic proportions… all in an attempt to keep him away from me. And if we did manage to sneak in a moment here or there, there ensued a great wailing and gnashing of teeth about how he never spent time with them and they’d barely seen them all week and this was the worst vacation ever. And I was all trying to figure out what happened to the previously wonderful kiddos I had grown to know and love. Apparently, they had decided to take a vacation too… while the cyborgs filling in for them plotted my demise.

And then of course there was the food poisoning from a local waffle place, trying to be on my best behavior because I was on vacation not only with my guy’s kids, but also his parents, and the constant bickering, complaining and drama coming from the pre-teens. Oh, and apparently, while I was away, every work e-mail that has ever existed in the history of work e-mails needed to be answered that week… and also, there was the homeless meth head wandering the halls of my apartment building in my absence…

So… YAY!!!

So, by the time my sister called to see how things were going, I was all…

crying

Can I go home now?

Suffice to say, it was wonderful coming home to more screaming kids to nanny and even more confused kids to tutor.

Apparently, I needed a vacation from my vacation.

And now that everything is back to normal (Jack’s chillens no longer hate me, and my skin is no longer breaking out… although it is still in the process of healing from that horrible, ugly sun) I want to go back and try it all over again.

*sigh*

Geeze, Annie… you’re just never happy, are you?

 

 

Too. Much. Stuff.

I have a vacation coming up on Friday.

Yes, a vacation.

A bonafide vacation.

Like the kind where you go to the beach, and stick your feet in the sand, and lie back, kick up your feet, read a good book and just REST.

I have never, EVER been on a bonafide vacation before.

I used to dream about them as a little kid when my mom would sing the “V-A-C-A-TION” song to us at the end of every school year. I always wondered what one of those would be like. I mean, sure, we took road trips as a family… went to fairs and explored big cities and visited museums and went to see family… but it was never a “Rest and Relaxation” kind of vacation. Even my honeymoon. We went to Chicago (I know… Chicago?!) and walked ten miles every day and didn’t have time to rest and relax because we had to see everything in a span of four days.

So, this vacation? This is a big deal.

But I digress. This post isn’t even about the vacation. It’s about the prep work leading up to the vacation… which leads to other work… which leads to ridiculous frustrations… which leads to ridiculous blog posts. (Stay with me, peeps. This all makes sense in my head.)

So, yesterday, in preparation for this vacation… I did some laundry, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned out the litter box, and then took a gander around my apartment and decided to clean. (You know, because one’s home cannot be too clean before embarking on a vacation. I mean, what would the cat sitter think if they were to see your home in utter disarray?!)

absurd

I know, Nick. I know. I deal in absurdities.

SO, anyhoodles… I’m all… cleaning... and I come across a stack (yes, a stack) of … gifts… given to me by well-meaning parents and students. Gifts that have been piling up since Christmas of LAST YEAR. Gifts that have been piling up since Christmas OF LAST YEAR (thus the need for the stack) because… I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THEM.

It seems wrong to just… toss them… they are gifts after all… but they are gifts that I will literally NEVER-EVER use.

EV-ER.

The apple cinnamon mini candle? Tell me you didn’t just regift that because you panicked at the last minute realizing you didn’t have a gift for the teacher.

The teeny-tiny apple picture frame? Whose picture am I supposed to put in there? Your child’s? I didn’t even like your child that much.

The mini book of inspirational teaching quotes? Do you honestly think I’m going to put that in my purse and pull it out when I need some wise words of encouragement? Um… Honey? Ain’t NO teacher got time for that!

The Mod-Podge glitter vase with my initials in it? Really? REALLY?

The LIP GLOSS?! Is that some kind of passive aggressive insult or were you just super desperate for a last minute gift?

THE BOX OF SPICES?! (SPICES?!?!) The ENDLESS array of teaching angels. The mugs… the mugs, the mugs, the MUGS! ALL THE MUGS ALL THE TIME. The candles and the calendars and the rosaries and the note pads.

I don’t know what to do with it all!!!

too much

Me too, Kevin. Me. Too.

Now, before you get bent too out of shape… I’m really not that mean and ungrateful. ANY time a student or a parent gets me anything, I’m always super surprised and delighted. I never expect anything for simply… doing my job. So, the fact that parents and students take the time to get me something always gives me the warm fuzzies.

It’s just that… once I look at the stack at the end of the year I’m all…

pile it up

But after a couple years of doing just that…

too much 2

(You guys… I’m going to let you in on a little secret… all the stuff? I piled it into a box bound for Good Will.)

Shhhhh…. No one will ever know.

Truly… I’m not trying to be ungrateful… but I have enough of my own stuff to contend with… stuff which also needs to be gone through and shipped off. (Heck, I haven’t even gotten through all the things from my parents’ house that I need to do something with. So, forgive me if I get all discombobulated with your candles, and picture frames and itty bitty books. It’s not you. It’s me.)

From now on, the only gift anyone will ever receive from me (Unless you explicitly state, “Annie. I would like item number 09283XL48 in red from page 243 of this catalog.” – I love that I assume people still shop from catalogs…) is a gift card. Because I know what you do with all the other gifts I have ever gotten you. You toss them. Or give them away. Or regift them. Because there is such a thing as TOO. MUCH. STUFF.