Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crazy Dog Lady

So, I have been living in my little motel room for the past four months, not really getting out except to go to work and walk the dog and maybe go grocery shopping. I hadn't realized just how crazy I had become in that short amount of time. I have prematurely turned into the crazy cat lady. Except that I am the crazy dog lady. It took me a few days of spending time with people who really aren't dog people for me to see myself in their eyes. I hold conversations with my dog, and not just, "You wanna go for a walk?" But more like, "I know you're tired, but we have a few things to do before we can go home." I'm the lady who talks to her dog in a baby voice and feeds her dog the last bit of food off her plate. I think I haven't traveled totally to the dark side though.

I need to be brutaly honest, and I am sane enough to only do some of these things when there are no other people around, but I still do them.

Things I Do

-Let my dog sleep on my bed
-Lose sleep if my dog is sick or uncomfortable
-Feed her from the table on a regular basis
-Talk to her in baby talk
-Talk to her like she is a real human being
-Apologize out loud for stepping on her
-Plan my day around her walk
-Plan my travels around taking care of her
-Brag about my dog and share cute anectdotes as though she is my child
-Take her with me whenever I go out
-Feed her expensive canned dog food

Things I don't do yet, and when I do do them, I am officially the crazy dog lady.

-Have more pictures of dogs in the the house than people
-Think my dog can understand English
-Buy her gifts on her birthday
-Take her to the groomers
-Let her eat from plates
-Let her lick me on the mouth
-Have more than one dog
-Heat her food in the microwave

Monday, December 17, 2007


I love making schedules for my life, planning ahead what I'm going to be doing. They almost never work out the way I plan them, which is even more fun, because as soon as I change the first thing on my schedule, the rest of my docket has to change to reflect the new plan. This upcoming plan is not as exciting as plans I've made in years past, but here it is.

-Jan. 2008 through Dec. 2010 Go to River Falls University and get my teaching certificate and Masters degree, taking off summers to work as needed.

-Summer 2009 Live in either Ireland and work at a camp for sick kids or live in Jackson WY and take people on horseback rides.

-Jan. 2010 Go live on a Native American reservation and teach ESL. Buy a few horses to work with during the summer.

-Spend the next few summers either working with my horses, and by now, my kids, or spend them in South America with my new philanthropic husband working in rural schools and practicing my spanish...or maybe China, who knows.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Random Thoughts

Well, I was laughing with a few friends the other day and was telling some story about my work and it made me think of all the times I haven't added anything to my blog because I don't have anything interesting to say. So what follows will just be a collection of memories of my travels and friends that make me giggle. Mind you, they make me giggle, they might not make you even crack a smile. Expect more to follow, but not soon.....

Jackson, WY Summer of 2007
Ok, so I had worked and lived in Jackson Wy for a few months when some co-workers and I went out dancing. Now, Wyoming isn't the most diverse place in the world. There are white people, a few latinos, and everyone else is probably a tourist. So I no longer was suprised to look around at a hopping dance floor and see only pale skin under cowboy hats. Well, one night we are standing around, waiting for the band to return from a break when all of the sudden people either stop talking or lower their voices. I looked up from whatever I was doing to see everyone staring at the door.
Yes a black man had walked in the door. With his white girlfriend.
Everyone stared as the bouncer took the cover charge and the couple walked in. The hushed voices got a little louder, and people even started pointing. The guys seemed the most upset, talking louder and not taking their eyes off of him, while for the most part, the girls had glanced up to see what was going on and gone back to their conversations.
Except me. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Was it 1942? How could people think that is was ok to stare like that? Just because someone of a different race came in? What were they thinking? I was starting to get really furious when I noticed my friend standing up to go talk to him. I didn't know what he thought he was doing.
He came back a few minutes later to tell us that "yes, he was the football player for the cowboys." Just like all the guys staring had been wondering.

Quito, Ecuador Fall of 2006

My friend was trying to pay her rent and use her limited Spanish. She figured out the sentence she wanted to say and said it, "Yo quiero pegarte con platanos." (I want to pay you with cash) The guy who was to take her rent just stared at her, so she repeated it. "Yo quero pegarte con platanos." He started laughing and got someone who spoke english to translate. She had meant to say, "Yo quiero pagarte con plata." What she had said instead was "I want to stick you with bannanas."

My friend had been having a lot of problems with her stomach. She tried to eat healthy and not drink water from the tap and wash all her fruits with bottled water, but it hadn't helped much, she just couldn't get over these issues. But it didn't stop her from making the most of her South American experience. We were walking one day, on our way to buy books for the library she was building, after stopping at a quaint little resaurant for breakfast when she stopped and said calmly, "Hey, Sara, wait up a bit." I stopped and looked back, she had a calm expression on her face, like she had just forgotten her leftovers at the table and wanted to go back to get them.
She tilted her head to the side a bit and said, "I think I just shit myself." (apologies to those offended by language, but I have to quote it how I heard it) My eyes went big, "What?"
She said matter-of-factly, "Yeah, yeah, I just shit myself."
After a second I said, "Well, let's go find a bathroom so you can clean yourself up." We started walking back to the restaurant, she walking a little stifly, and then added, "Of all the days to wear a thong."

Rexburg, Idaho Spring of 2002

My friend and I took a horse training class together at BYU-Idaho. It was an awesome class, we trained and had our own horse for two semesters. It was suprisingly dangerous, especially given the state that we live in, where coffee cups have warnings on them, seatbelts are the law, and you need parental permission to hand out aspirin at school. For example, to start the class they had about 18 or 20 horses, who were totally wild, had never been around humans, had been born in the wild and their only experience with humans was to be rounded up and forced in a trailer, then taken on a very long scary ride, and set loose in a big arena. Ok, so instead of giving them some time to calm down, he has his T.A. crack the whip a few time and get them good and terrified. They start galloping frantically in a cirle, their fear feeding off of the other horse's fear until they are out of control. Then the teacher says, "grab your halters and go get your horse."
What?! Walk out in that mix of out-of-control horses? They are easily galloping at close to 30 miles per hour, running on sharp little hooves and nothing is going to stop them except time. But wait! That girl is going out there! And it looks like she wants to catch the pretty little palomino! (A gold horse with a white mane and tail) I want that palomino! And all of the sudden all the students are out in the middle of this rearing kicking mass. There were three or four horses that everyone wanted, and all the students were set on getting the horse they wanted, regardless of the injury they risked to get it. (I got the palomino by the way.)
Anyhow, that wasn't my point. My point was the funny thing that happened. After we had had our horses for about two months, the intermediate riding class came to ride our half-broke horses. One by one, they were paired up with us, and who do I get but the heaviest girl in the class? (Really heavy) Now, there's nothing wrong with being heavy. I mean, these are horses we're talking about, right? They are massive creatures and my horse probably weighed around 900 pounds, she could totally carry any person we put on her, right?
So, with the help of a stepping stool, and two people pushing and Theresa (my horse) being better than she usually is and standing still, this girl got on. I imagine that this is funnier if you have the image in your head, rather than the words I'm about to write, but try and create a picture in your mind. This horse, a petite, delicate little horse, who has only ever carried 160 pounds, tops, now has to carry twice that. And not only carry that, but walk, trot and lope with that weight. So Theresa takes one step, then stops. She spreds her hooves a little farther apart. But after another kick in the ribs, Theresa starts to walk, a little lopsided, and little crooked, her back end going off to the side, leaving strange hoofprints in the dirt, like that horse costume with people where the front half moves independent of the other. Another kick and she is up to a trot, but a bouncier, head-tossier, akwarder trot you never saw. Theresa refused to go any faster, no matter how hard the kicks come.

Sokcho South Korea Summer 2006-Summer 2007

Ok, so this didn't happen to me, it actually happened to Shaun, from Birmingham England, another English teacher where I worked. This might be another story where you had to be there, seeing the facial expressions, and hearing the accent to appreciate how funny it was.

Shaun had to teach this strange little boy. The boys parents, pretty much just wanted a babysitter who spoke english, and told Shaun to just play games with this boy, and have fun, no books or lessons. So Shaun at first was excited, he imagined class periods spent playing soccer, walking to the local park to hit baseballs, playing board games or watching movies. The class didn't turn out that way. This kid turned out to be uncontrolable, he couldn't study, sit still, or learn English. In hopes of helping the student, Shaun started teaching actual English lessons. Well, one day this boy came in to class with a toy light saber. Shaun, after a brief battle, took it away and put it up high on a shelf. He told the student that he could have his light saber back when class was over. Well, midway through the lesson, when Shaun was focused on something else, he looked back at his student to see him covertly pointing his hand at his light saber and focusing his eyes and all his energy on actually using the force to make his toy float off the shelf and come to his hand.

Sokcho, South Korea

My friend, Kelly, was looking up a work in an English to English to Korean Dictionary. (This type of dictionary is for adavanced learners of English, they can look up an English word, and try to read the English definition, but if they are still confused, there is a Korean translation there as well. Well, it has been lost to history what word she was looking up, but she came accross the word, Harlem in the dictionary. She glanced at the definition and saw this phrase, as well as I can remember it. "A large city in the United States of America. Also known as Nigger-Heaven. Other helpful phrases: Work like a nigger. Nigger-hair. Nigger-toes......." Can you imagine a young Korean coming to the states and mentioning to the hotel clerk that he or she wants to visit "nigger heaven?" Or heading into Seoul and walking past the seedy bar for GIs (there is a real bar called Harlem) and saying, "Look! Nigger Heaven!" As the GI's lounging outside hear only, "Blah! Nigger Blah!" Which would be just as bad as them hearing what he was actually saying, considering that 21% of people in the military are black, and there would probably be a few of them hanging out at Harlem bar.


The fun thing about learning Korean is that it is a lot like learning Spanish. In Spanish you add an "o" to the end of everything. In Korean, you just say it in a Korean accent. Not because the languages have anything in common, no latin roots or anything like that. Just that a lot of new technology, created in English Speaking Countries, mostly the US, had english names, and the Koreans used those as their names, like the internet. They also liked taking other words and making them their own, like veranda (berandah), snack (Suneguh), ice cream (ice-uh cureemuh), and lots others. In fact, we made it a game to figure out how many Korean words we could learn, like the Korean word for athelete (Sports-man, Suportzu-manuh). When we would go into stores and wanted to buy something that we didn't know the name for, we would just look around and give it a try, it worked more often than not. "Do you have any posters?" "Posutoruh issoyo?" (Issoyo is "do you have?")