Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oh and since I promised posts about pizza...

Pizza hut is running a deal in most places - large one topping pizzas for about $6.95 on weekdays.  I may or may not have partaken of this goodness already.  I am resisting doing the same every other night of the week.


MeltDOWNS and Picking Yourself Back UP

On Monday I had a meltdown.  

I seriously sobbed for about 2 hours straight.  I was sitting in a new teacher training worrying about how dangerous my school placement would be.  I was feeling bad that my husband would have to be at work worrying about me every day.  I had that uncomfortable stomach-ache feeling you get when you're sitting in a class and plotting whether or not it would be worth the extra work to switch out of it even though it's been a few days and you really just want to be settled in and 100% invested in whatever you decide.  Then I found out I have to work every single day my family is here to visit me.  Then I went to the orthodontist who said that I would need 4 teeth pulled for him to do braces for me.  

At this point I am silently telling myself, "Hold it together, hold it together, hold it together - at least til you get to the car for goodness sake!"

And I drove home peacefully.  Then the floodgates opened.  And I cried to my mom.  I wanted to talk to my husband but alas he was states and states away in New York, and at work.  And that made me even sadder.  I just wanted him to hold me and tell me everything was going to be fine, but I couldn't even talk to him.  

But luckily I had my mom.  She has the most amazing knack for comforting people.  She will sit and just listen to you.  If she's there she'll rub your back or bring you kleenex.  Then she'll comment only when you're ready to stop talking and say something that is actually rational, but not rational like a man might say it to you.  More like, "When I was here, I felt like this but it ended up being ok."  But in the meantime she'll just listen and share and maybe start crying with you because she hates to see (or hear) you so sad.  

Then my husband finally got a chance to call me and I talked through everything with him too.  Just released all my pent-up worry, and stress, and fear, and uncertainty.  And then I felt a heck of a lot better.  

In fact, by the end of those two hours of sobbing, I felt like I wasn't sure why I was crying anyway.  My school wasn't really that scary, in fact, there were a ton of things that were awesome about it!  Like my department chair and my instructional coach - they had given me more resources and information about our school than any other Teach for America (TFA) person I'd talked to.  So really, I was pretty lucky.  

Once I purged myself of all emotion, I actually started feeling really good about everything.  I would just throw away that orthodontist's card and find another one.  I would see if I could get out of one of my days of work while my family was visiting, or just make the most of every day after 4-5pm.  I would get excited about teaching at my high school again because the kids needed me at my best.

The next day of course, I drove to work.  After work, I turned the key for some AC in the 105 degree Texas heat, and the car wouldn't start.  Good 'ole Kanye came through the speakers, the lights turned on, and the car beeped at me, but not the tiniest click from the motor.  BUMMER.  

But, seriously, I actually felt lucky.  I felt lucky because I had AAA.  So I called them and waited for them to come.  I also felt lucky because some of my coworkers offered to let me come over to their house if I had to wait a long time.  How nice is that???  Coworkers who I barely knew (recognized, but didn't even know all their names)!  I also felt lucky because the high school our training was at was still unlocked and air-conditioned.  So I could wait inside there away from the debilitating heat.  

Then when the AAA guy arrived he said I could sit in his air-conditioned truck while he ran all the tests.  So I was lucky because of that, too.  Then the AAA guy couldn't fix the car.  It wasn't a battery problem - probably the starter.  But he called a tow-truck.  And luckily, the school was still unlocked and it had free wifi, so I could look up some places to take it to.  And luckily, because the tow truck took so long to come, I had time to call around and get some price estimates if it was the starter.  And read online reviews.  And feel bummed about having to deal with this instead of calling to set up a dentist appointment now that we had insurance or find a different orthodontist, but what can you do.  

And at that moment, sitting all alone in the 3rd floor cafeteria of an abandoned high school after hours, I thought about crying again.  I remembered my meltdown from the day before and I thought to myself, I would be totally justified in crying right now.  But then I checked myself.  And I didn't want to cry.  Because no one was picking on me - life just happens.  Bummer things happen to random people all the time.  And it wasn't my fault, but it wasn't anyone else's fault either, so I was just going to have to deal.

So I did.  I went back to the car, said a quick prayer that the car would start and tried it again.  The first time, still nothing.  The second time, it started!  I am so grateful that it did.  I was able to call off the tow-man, drive myself to a gas station, get gas, and lo and behold—it started again!  I even drove it to Walmart and back later that night (which if it had not started then would have been truly disastrous). 

And even when the car refused to start again this morning, I felt grateful, not annoyed.  At least it got me home last night.  At least I had an amazing friend who picked me up and drove me to work.  At least this same friend gave me a ride home from work.  At least another friend who I don’t even know very well volunteered to take me to and from work tomorrow.  At least I have AAA, so the tow to the auto shop doesn’t cost me anything more than the annual membership fee.  Pretty much I’m very lucky. 

And even though some kind of annoying things keep happening to me, being able to see how fortunate I am keeps the stress at a minimum.  So thank you to all the excellent people in this world—you help me pick everything back up after the meltdowns.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Plan D, God's Plan A: Thesis Crisis

I really liked the last line of this article:

Some may even find that “plan B” was simply a way of making His “plan A” a reality.

His, meaning God's.

This summer has been a little rough for me.  I've had some great experiences, some very fun times, and made some very great friends, but I couldn't escape the stress lurking in the background, or foreground for that matter.  My thesis.

Every other summer of my marriage I have diligently moved for three months to a brand new place that I have never been before - Houston, Philadelphia, and now Dallas and Austin - and all while my husband's internships brought us to those places.  I was always very excited that he had a great job, hence the move, but I was always stressed about having to find my own summer job.

In Houston I hit the ground hard placing my resume at every single place I could think of looking for a job, and I finally got a call back.  One call back.  But it was the one I wanted so that was great.  And I made some lovely friends who I think of often.  And it was the first summer of being married to my very best friend, so it was wonderful just for that.  Despite becoming an urban huntress of cockroaches.  And listening to them squeak in the walls (or the kitchen) before falling asleep.  And having rank smoke and fried food smell seep through the walls from our neighbors.  Nice people, lousy smells.  Ha, we didn't even realize how bad the smoke was until we left and unpacked our clothes - they all smelled like smoke.  Gross.

In Philadelphia, I had two potential jobs and I picked the one that was closer to our house so that it would be easier to share our car.  I walked to this job most of the time.  And I really liked it at the beginning.  And then I kind of hated it by the end.  Mostly because I had just graduated in the top 1% of my class and I worked at a deli.  But as this blog is called, "Pages of Payne and Pizza," I must say that the food there was absolutely FABULOUS.  And I could eat it for free while I was working.  Philly Cheese Steak goodness HEAVEN.  This summer was also grand because I only worked M-F so Tanner and I took the weekends to do fabulous things like see Wicked in New York

The lights from the 3RD ROW made it a little difficult to get a clear picture for some reason.  But it was awesome.  We also went to DC

Cape May, the Jersey shore, Longwood Gardens, and a bazillion other awesome places while we were in Philly.

But this summer - while being AWESOME - especially in Dallas where for some reason I just loved everything, has been trickier because after my summa cum deli experience, I was loathe to find another summer job.  And I had to miss my second semester of graduate school to go with Tanner to his internships, so actually, I was loathe to find two three-month-only jobs.

So I didn't.

Instead, I said, "I am going to work on my thesis."  And I did - sort of.  Actually I worked on it a lot, but there was a lot of waiting involved.  I wanted to do some classroom observations to empiricallify my article, but that involves IRB approval, school approvals, and so much more than just reading and thinking.  So I prepped those type of applications and got denied.  Boo.  So I revised those type of applications and got approved!  Yay!  But then I hit a major brick wall in Austin because the class that I was all set up to observe didn't end up having enough kids sign up to take it.  So they canceled it.  So my thesis died.

R.I.P. Thesis.

Then the devastation set it.  I contacted another school site in desperation but they were "too busy" to participate in my study.  Good luck, anyway.

So then I started to feel like the people in the article I referenced at the beginning.  (The full version of the article, "When Good Plans Don't Work Out" can be found by clicking

Things were just not going right.  And I wasn't working officially so I had a lot of time on my hands to just think about how much I was failing at life.  "Would you like a little epic with that fail?"  And there were a few other things I failed at during this time, in addition to the big thesis fail.

But then I turned to God.  I started reading my scriptures a little more diligently.  I started praying a little more earnestly.  And I basically turned it all over to Him and said, "You are a lot smarter than me, and I am really going to need some inspiration with my project because I tried doing it alone and it died.  Please help me."  And I also decided to read my scriptures and pray right before I started reading and thinking about what I was going to do for my thesis now.

And then the clarity came.  I just realized  that, actually, I can still run with my original idea minus my classroom observations.  I realized that, actually, I have a really good argument.  And I realized, actually, I can do this.  I can do this!  With God's help.

And now I'm doing it.  And it's coming along great.  And I think that my Plan D really is a reworking of God's Plan A.  Because I'm closer to Him.  And I'm really excited about my project again.  And I know that it's going to work out.  Thanks to Him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Theory About Moles.

I spent the last week and a half hanging with my family in Florida.  We had a super fun time at Disneyworld and on Sanibel Island.  But possibly best of all, I learned a profound truth from my baby brother Joshua--  about moles.

Our conversation proceeded like this:

Josh:  "I know why you get moles."

Me:  "Why?"

Josh:  "Because there are little moles inside your skin and when they come out they leave dirt that sticks."

Me:  "That is a really good theory."

The no-nonsense nature of a nine-year old never ceases to impress and entertain me.  Behold the little mole-theory man:

Those were taken on our deep-sea fishing boat where I caught 8 FISH!!!!  The pictures below are of Josh sliding down the slide at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground at Disney Studios.  And then there's one of me doing the same. . .trying to channel that 9-year-old wisdom.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Pizza?

As the opening post of this blog, I feel it necessary to warn you that I may post frequently about pizza.  Because I love it.  And so does my husband.  We eat it at least once a week - at least.

I have recently perfected a pizza dough crust that we both love.  It is flat and crispy.  It doesn't take very long to make.  It crunches when you eat it.  It's lovely.  And I found it here:

If you choose to embark on this pizza-dough-makingness I suggest you do the following:

  • use only 1 tsp of sugar (the first time I made it with both and it was far too sweet)  
  • use only 3/4 cup water  
  • add a couple shakes of garlic powder, oregano, and basil

The end.

Making homemade pizza isn't even very expensive.  But buying a large pizza from Little Caesar's is still cheaper.  Plus they have $1 crazy bread for students (in Provo).  So when my husband and I go back to school, we will probably return to Little Caesar's buying.  $5 for dinner and breakfast for two?  Yeehaw.