Monday, December 31, 2012

Kira Next To A Car

Kira and I pulled in to the school parking lot one day and parked right next to a car that had this bumper sticker on it:

And she said, "That must be my English teacher's car.  She has the same sign in her room."  I said, "You mean the Coexist sign?" and she said, "I don't know what it says, it's in German."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Awkward Family Photo

This might be my new favorite Christmas picture.  These are my sister's daughters, in their pjs, in front of their Charlie Brown Christmas tree middle (their dad had to cut the top off to make it fit in the house), they are holding hands, and Millie (the little one) looks to be choking to death.

Here's another picture of their tree middle:

The sparse branches seem to grow right into the ceiling.  Christmas magic!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Merry

Wow, what a week.  These really are the darkest days of the year aren't they?  Did you know there was a school shooting in Connecticut?  There was.  It was awful and now thanks to a 24 hour news cycle everyone can relive it every moment of every day.  In the little bit of TV news I have watched since last Friday I heard one political type on Fox news say that if the principal of that school had a similar semi-automatic, loaded and ready in her office, maybe this could have been avoided.  If this wasn't so grim and depressing and horrible that would make me laugh and laugh.  An elementary school principal with a loaded military rifle in her office.  That would be like Santa having a sleigh full of mustard gas "just in case." Oh. My. God.  I also heard a guy interviewed on NPR who has a mentally ill son and he said that it's easier in this country to get a semi-automatic weapon and  hundreds of rounds of ammo than it is to get mental health care.  Again, Oh. My. God.

Winter solstice is on Friday and after that the sun will shine longer and the days will get brighter and better. 

Unless the Mayans were right.  Then we're all fucked. 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sam at a Mexican Restaurant

Sam and I went out to dinner tonight.  I was trying to be international and asked Sam if he had to use el baño? (What? So what if he shaves, am I not still his mother?)  He said, "It's pronounced baahhnooh.  I learned that in Spanish class."  I said, "No it isn't.  You didn't learn anything in Spanish."  and he said, "Oh, I learned aaallll about N's stupid little brother, Ñ."  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fond Christmas Memories

Having-a-job is really cutting in to my blogging time and you know who suffers for that.  Nobody You do. And I'm sorry about that. Also we are having a feud with our Internet provider so wifi at home is sporadic and slow. It's not that I have nothing to write about, I do, I just can't get myself organized enough to do it properly. For instance right now I'm writing this on my iPad at a coffee shop which seems so lame-o, but that is what's happening. Its really hard to type on an iPad.

I've been getting ready for Christmas, decorating and shopping and stuff, and that got me to thinking about Christmases past and my funny sister Beth.  She usually gets me a passive-aggressive, and hilarious gift. Last year she gave my kids every single VHS tape she has ever bought, and she put them in one giant box. I think it must have been the box her washing machine or dryer came in. It was enormous. The kids, of course were thrilled with it. As I was sitting there thinking about how I was going to get her back for that she said to me, "You better go through those before the kids do. Some of them are extremely inappropriate for kids."  Nicely done, Beth.

The year before she gave my kids about thirty packages of "tuna snacks" she had gotten at the dollar store. My gift was the story of what happened when she bought them, and it's still to this day one of the best gifts ever.

She bought a package of the tuna/cracker combo one time just to try it, and she liked it. The next time she went to the dollar store she saw them again and had fond memories of them so she decided to buy all of Dollar Tree's stock. She got one of their teeny carts and cleared the shelf of all their tuna snacks and, feeling proud of herself, headed for the checkout. That's when she ran in to one of her old boyfriends. They said hi and he looked in her cart, and then looked her up and down and said, with sincerity in his voice, "How are you?" which I choose to translate as, "How long have you been homeless?"

Anyway, after that she lost her taste for dollar store tuna so she gave it all to my kids for Christmas. But the joke is on her because they really liked it, ha ha, Beth!

Friday, November 30, 2012


As any good middle school teacher will tell you, a bucket full of candy is a must have school supply.  Adolescents will do almost anything for a piece of candy.  They will do almost anything for the mere promise of candy.  I suspect that is why pervs use candy as a lure to getting kids in their teardrop-window vans.  It just never fails.

"Hey kid, you like Twizzlers?"

I usually get to school a couple hours before my first class to do my work because I refuse to bring anything home with me.  Yesterday I opened my candy drawer and ate candy while I worked.  Usually I'm not that crazy about the stuff I buy, but yesterday for some reason, it was really hitting the spot.  I'd eat a piece, throw the garbage away, work for a few minutes and eat another piece.

When my first class came in, the kid that sits right up next to my desk looked into the garbage and we had this conversation:

Kid: Mrs. Lindahl, do you have a class before this one?

Me: No, why?

Kid: Well, who ate all that candy then?

Me: I had a few pieces before you guys came in, so what?

Kid: A FEW PIECES?  There's like, a hundred wrappers in there!

Me:  There's not a hundred wrappers.

At this point other kids came up to look at the collection of empty wrappers.

Another kid: Hey! She has Twizzlers!

Different kid: Are there any left, Mrs. Lindahl? Can we have some?

Original kid: Did you eat breakfast this morning?

Me: Yes, there are some left, and yes I had breakfast, why?

Original kid: You did have breakfast?  Wow.

Me:  Hey, it's not that much candy!  I like candy too, ya know.

Original kid: Not that much?  There's enough wrappers in there to feed a village!

At this point my aide was curious also, so she came to look at the wrapper carnage.

Original kid: Mrs. P., you must have been in here helping her eat all that.

Mrs. P.: No, I wasn't invited to this Twizzler party.

Me:  I'm never sharing my candy with you guys again.

Original kid: That's because there's probably none left.

Me: You have detention.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kira in the Car

Sam, when you start driving I'm going to put a bumper sticker on your car that says "I heart my sister's hugs".

Sam said, "Pass."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's something from the past to get us in the mood for the big day tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving! I'm sitting here with my sisters and dad talking about Dolph Lundgren and his relative hotness (I think he's not, my sisters think he is, my dad says "he doesn't really think about that.") and discussing whether my dad has ADHD. (We all think he does) I don't really know where my kids are. I think they are outside somewhere probably buried in 40 feet of snow. I hope they are okay. I will be very thankful if they are okay. We are having a late dinner because of work schedules and I haven't eaten anything all day long (except for a giant breakfast) and I am getting HUNGRY. I also think I might be having a heart attack. Or heart burn. But how could I have heart burn if I haven't even eaten anything? (except a giant breakfast) I bet beer will help. Also, my foot is asleep and it's annoying me. It's my left foot. Isn't that a sign of a heart attack? Uh oh. I have to go to BRB.


Good news, according to Webmd, a sleeping left foot is not a sign of a heart attack, so I am free to sit around and eat my weight in stuffing with no life-threatening consequences! Yay! Kira just asked me, "Do you think if I threw Amy's dog in the fire, it would stink?" I think maybe I have to look into some counseling for my sweet little angel. Between her potential horrifying animal abuse and her milk farts ("Oh my god! I farted and smells just like milk!") she's both getting on my nerves, and causing some serious worry. Be back after dinner.


Okay, dinner is over. Everything was delicious, as usual; and the company was great. We had champagne and Beth (who is six months pregnant) wanted a glass and wavered on whether to have a small one or not. My mom and her friend said, "No! You can't! What about FAS?" and were indignant until they were reminded about how much they smoked and drank during pregnancy in the 60s and 70s. They said, "Well, we didn't know about it back then!" and then looked at all of us like they were seeing us for the first time, inspecting us for small head size and short attention spans. To their relief we all have enormous heads so whew, that's one bullet dodged! Score one for drinking during pregnancy! Beth decided that a few sips of wine would be okay considering all the mouthwash she "accidentally" ingests.

Then we got in an argument about why the Kardashian's are famous. Amy said it's because their father was one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers and the rest of us were all, "Yeah, right! Bruce Jenner was not O.J. Simpson's lawyer!" and she tried to tell us that he's not really their father, but please, we've seen the show! How dumb does she think we are? Whether Bruce Jenner is a world-class athlete as well as a cracker-jack defense lawyer still does not answer the question about why the Kardashian's are so famous.

And then Beth told us a delightful story about how she had to go to the bathroom really bad while she was on the road with her toddler and she couldn't hold it so she had to stop at a gas station. She, of course, had to bring the baby in the bathroom stall with her because leaving toddlers in running vehicles right next to the highway is a no-no (apparently). She tried her best not to let the baby touch anything because gas station bathrooms = blech. She was pretty successful until she flushed and it was one of those super loud powerful flushers and it scared the crap out of the baby who jumped, screamed, and fell; smearing herself against every gas-station-bathroom surface she could on her way down and the whole catastrophe culminated with the poor scared baby spitting her binky out and it skittered across the disgusting floor, and then she screamed even more when Beth wouldn't let her put the gross binky back in her mouth. Fun times! I also watched Beth change a diaper that made her gag THREE TIMES. I thought she was going to puke on her baby. Oh my god! I want to get pregnant again RIGHT NOW!

But seriously, I'm thankful I'm not pregnant, and that my kids are old enough to leave alone while I use the bathroom by myself. Really, super thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I'm going into a tryptophan/wine coma now for the next 24 hours or so!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A day in the life of a bad haircut

When you have been given a bad haircut every day is filled with unwanted, unwelcome stress that emphasizes how shallow you are for feeling this amount of stress over something as inconsequential as a hairdo.  Then you are stressed about how shallow you are.

First of all, there is no more waking up looking adorable and slightly tossled.  You wake up looking like someone spent the previous eight hours sliding your head through a mangle.  Also there is no wondering if you can go one more day without a hairwash because this is what you look like when you wake up.

So you take the shower you didn't want to take, and you put in extra conditioner to discourage your hair from getting any of its own ideas.  You want it as limp and lifeless as possible because the above picture is what your hair looks like with life and vigor now.

You get out of the shower and prepare yourself for spending a ridiculous amount of time on your hair when you'd normally spend about three minutes on it.  First you have to decide how much product to use.  Too much and you will have to rewash and start over, not enough and your hair will revert to the original "fat bird with teeny wings" style it had when you walked out of the "salon."

After about twenty minutes of hairstyling that only takes you from looking like a mental patient to looking like you cut your own hair with a dull knife (mentally outpatient), you are ready to face the day.  You have pasted down the teeny wings that want to flare, you have tamed the hair on your cowlick in such a way that you can only hope it won't silently stick up like a  flag in an hour, and you have fought the top part that only wants to be in the shape of a cone.  Time for work!

You go to work and even though you've had this horrible cut for several days now, people still look at you with wonder and pity like you just walked away from a terrible car accident.  Several people say, "You got a haircut!" to which you can only say, "Yes, I did.  Thank you?"  Your students say, "I liked your hair better before."  And you agree.  Then they say, "Then why did you get it cut?" to which you have no answer.

You stop in the bathroom for a mid-morning pee break and glance into the mirror to discover that your hair has somehow, without you even knowing it, transformed itself and now you look just like Dwight Schrute.

You wonder how long you've been walking around like that and wish that someone would have said something, but at the same time you're thankful nobody said anything.  You frantically fingercomb the hair back into some semblance of a purposeful hairdo and go back to work.

The day goes on and on with many more "You got a haircut!" comments and bathroom breaks to see how ridiculous you look.  Finally, you can go home and relax.  You stop worrying about your hair for awhile and just let it do what it needs to do.  When you go to the bathroom to brush your teeth before bed, this is what you see:

And you remember fondly the old days when your hair was glorious enough to earn you the name "Lord Farquad" by a couple of jealous sisters.  You think that the stylist must have had some style in mind that was so good it was worth not listening to a word you said and giving you this cut instead.  "I just haven't figured out how to fix it right," you tell yourself.  "Tomorrow I will figure it out."  Then you go to bed sure that it will grow quickly and soon you'll be the ugly duckling no more!  Then you wake up to another morning and it's like it's Groundhog Day all over again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be careful what you wish for...

Well don't you all just loooooooove the idea of me sending my sister who is in Afghanistan a picture of myself with the worst haircut ever given to anyone who has had haircuts.  I have spent most of the past four days trying my hardest to keep my head from looking like a fat bird, but last night I stopped the constant smoothing for a while and then took some pictures of myself for my sister and I SENT THEM TO HER.  Are you all happy now?  I did that for my own personal troop.  What are you doing for your troop?  Don't have a troop?  You can share mine.  She says she loves getting mail over there so send her something.  Some magazines, or some gum, or some cookies, some holiday decorations, or some pictures of YOU with a bad haircut.  Her address is:

LCDR Amy Lindahl
FOB Tarin Kowt
APO AE 09380

Send her something, Smarties. Now I know you are all dying to see my crazy awful bird hair so I am going to post it, but this is not for you, dear reader, this is also for my troop because nothing makes a sister happier than when another sister looks silly, right Amy?  Right, Beth?  Right sisters all over the world?  (And also because Amy has a blog and I wanted to scoop her on this hot story.)

There must be some magical under-cutting on the sides that I can't find because without constant management those wings want to fly.

Side view.  There is nothing in the back to support those wings.  And nothing on the top to hold them down.  Just fluffy feathers.
This is just for Amy and Beth.  A gross, lipless, multi-chinned oversmile.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Decision 2012

This is a Facebook chat between my sister and me this morning:
Amy: I DO have a package to send you....since I didn't get you a b-day present....

Me: Is it a blue burka?

Amy: I got Sid and Mills some 'jewels' at the bazaar last weekend. And no, it's not a blue burka. You're NOT getting a blue burka. Those are creepy.

Me: But that's what I want!!! I got a horrific haircut on Saturday. I've never wished more for a blue burka.

Amy: I want to see a picture. And I'll see what I can do....there's certainly enough of them around here. Geez.

Me: No pictures. Just imagine a fluffy fat bird with teeny little wings. That's my hair.

Amy: HA HA! PICTURE!! Come on....your followers would LOVE it!!

Me: No. It's too horrible. That's why I need a burka.

Amy: NO you don't! What does Kira say about it?

Me: I would wear the burka and say it is in protest of the taliban, but really I'd just be waiting for my horrid haircut to grow out. Kira calls me "Sir."

Amy: HA HA HA HA HA!! I'm going to tell her to take a picture and send it to me....

Me: No.

Amy: Come on, that would be a GREAT Christmas present!! Framed, please.

Me: I will send you one of my school pictures.

Amy: No, I've already seen that.

Me: But it's a professional portrait!

Amy: Sarah, I'm in AFGHANISTAN. Don't you want to lift my spirits? I won't be able to Afghanistand it if you don't....

Me: Oh.... My .... God.... That was horrible.

So, should I throw vanity and self-respect to the wind and send her a picture of my horrific hairdo? Or do I say tough shit, I will not sacrifice my dignity for the cause of troop morale and just send her some gum instead? You, my readers, get to decide. Vote in the comments...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Person of Walmart

About a month ago I got my 150,000,000th bad haircut.  Like many in the past, it was almost right, but not quite.  I had to come home and hack off a couple pieces to make it better which seems so stupid, but it simply has to be done.  Of course, I didn't do a very good job because it's hard to cut the hair on the back of your own head.

So today while I was out and about, I thought I'd stop in somewhere and just get the back part shaped up a little.  I got in right away and told the cute girl that I just wanted the back fixed where I cut it because it wasn't very neat.  We talked for a long time about what I am looking for in a haircut and I thought she got me.  I told her I liked the sides and top, but the bottom of the back needed to be fixed.  She took my glasses and assured me that she was doing what I was asking.  It even felt like she was doing what I was asking.  I'm no stranger to cutting my own hair so I knew what I wanted, I just needed someone to do it that could actually see what they are doing.

Like the optimist I am, while she was cutting I thought maybe she was the one.  The girl who would be my haircutter for the rest of my life.  The girl who I would be so loyal to that when she got promoted to a super-fancy salon that charges 80 dollars a cut, I'd still go to her because it would be worth it.  She seemed so happy with her work, and genuinely excited about what a good job she'd done and how good I looked that I was excited too when she turned me toward the mirror and handed me my glasses.

I looked in the mirror and could hardly keep from crying.  It is the worst haircut I have ever gotten, IN MY LIFE.  Yes, worse than the crop-topped poodle cut I got in seventh grade when I asked to look like Stephanie Powers.  Worse than all the cut-THEN-perms I stupidly got.  Worse than all of it put together.  I am at a loss for what to do about it because there is no way in hell I'm going in to have someone else cut MORE and try to fix it.  And I don't even know where I would start if I try to fix it myself.

How to describe it... hmmm.  It's like she heard that I didn't want the sides touched, but then totally stopped hearing me so she gave me a supershort "mom-cut" but left the long sides.  Like a Hasidic Jew.

Like this. (NOT the woman)

It's like I have three different ugly haircuts all morphed together onto one head.  It's horrifying.  It's a pixie cut with long chunks on the sides.  When will I meet her, the one who will get that I don't want to look like Velma or Peggy Hill or an Orthodox Rabbi?  The one who will laugh with me about all the shitty haircuts I've ever gotten and will never give me a bad haircut again in my life?  I found a husband.  I even found a dentist, but still the hair stylist eludes me.

When I was in the car on the way home I called Mitch and told him how upset I was because of this, sort of giving him a heads up so he wouldn't laugh at me as soon as he saw me or say something like, "What the hell have you done?"  He was appropriately sympathetic until he said, "Where did you get it?" and I said, "Walmart."  Then he laughed and laughed and said, "What did you expect?!"  I guess now we know where the "People of Walmart" get their hair done.  Honestly, I only wanted two or three quick snips to fix the back and since I was there anyway to pick up a prescription, I thought Walmart could handle that.  Nope.  I am now, and for the next several months until this can grow out, a Person of Walmart.

This lady has better hair than me.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Hot Hot Body

Like everyone past a certain age (40) I am not a perfect physical specimen.  I have my little health issues, but I usually don't talk about them too much (shut up, Mitch!) because although my problems aren't frightening or deadly, they tend to not be glamorous maladies like amnesia or elephantitis (shut up, Beth!).  One of my problems is that I have to wear a CPAP mask to bed because I have sleep apnea.  I've had it since I was a little kid.  My doctor says I have "dainty respiratory passages."  (And that's why she's my doctor.)  The reason I don't tell people about the CPAP machine too often is because I get into conversations that I think are genuinely supposed to make me feel like I'm being commiserated with but are just humbling.  Kind of like this:

Me: I wear a CPAP mask to bed.
Other Person:  Really!  My uncle has one of those.
Me: Oh?
Other Person: Yes.  He's morbidly obese.
Me: Oh.
Other Person:  He lives in the nursing home now because he couldn't wash himself.
Me: ....Oh.
Other Person: He had to be taken out of his house with a fork lift.
Other Person: Because he's so fat, not because of the CPAP.
Me: Okay.
Other Person:...
Other Person: They had to use a chainsaw to remove a wall to get the fork lift in there.
Me:  Alright.
Other Person: But he's doing great now!
Me: Well.  Good, I guess.
Other Person: The only thing he's mad about is that they don't let him eat his favorite breakfast anymore.
Bacon and egg yellows.
Me:  I gotta go.

Or when I recently had vertigo and had to explain myself to other people.

Me: Sorry I couldn't make it.  I had a bad case of vertigo.
Other Person: Oh! That's terrible!  I'm so sorry!  My great great grandma has that.
Me:  Your great great grandma is still alive?
Other Person: Barely.
Other Person: Anyway, she has a walker because her balance is so bad.
Other Person:  It's a really nice walker. It has a seat on it.
Me:  ...
Other Person:  And a basket.
Other Person:  Want me to ask where she got it?
Me:  I gotta go.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seventh Grade Sucks

Kira has FACS class this quarter (Family And Consumer Science (home ec.)).  She had the rotten luck of being put into a kitchen with three girls with food allergies.  One girl can't eat gluten, one can't eat eggs, and one is lactose intolerant.  She came up to my room the other day in a total huff and gave me a baggie with what looked like a couple of misshapen candles.  They were her pumpkin muffins.

They are as disgusting as they look.  She said she was so looking forward to pumpkin muffins and when they were cooking, she looked in an oven at a pan she thought was from her kitchen, but was from a kitchen with some kids who could safely eat eggs, flour and dairy.  She said they were puffy and golden with just a hint of crispness on the top.  Her mouth was watering.  You can imagine her disappointment.  No, actually you can't.  She was more disappointed than a person should be about bad muffins.  I don't think saying that she was outraged would be overstating.  She was outraged.  What really put her over the top was that the gluten girl (who never does the dishes!) wouldn't even try their muffins.  She had the gall to go and try one from another kitchen and then came back and raved about how good the other muffins were while Kira was doing the dishes, AGAIN.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

First World Problems UPDATED!

Some unpleasant things are going on around here.  Firstly, I'm not what I would call sick, but I feel like something crawled into my digestive system somewhere and died.  Maybe a squirrel. It feels like there is a huge ball of raw over-kneaded pizza dough in my stomach and it won't go away, it just rolls around all day.  You can imagine the effects of having a undigested tudball of dough/dead squirrel stuck somewhere in your intestines. It's not good.  Also, the corners of my mouth are chapped and irritated so I look like I just took off clown make-up all the time.  I'm disgusting right now.

The other unpleasant thing is that apparently my upstairs bathroom is the central destination for all the flies in the world.  There were hundreds of flies buzzing around the window yesterday, and many more hundreds of teeny fruit flies that hang out on the mirror.  I took the vacuum in there and took care of business, and then cleaned the place until it smelled like a hospital thinking that would take care of the problem, but the flies are back today.  Why is this happening?  There are no carcasses in there for flies to breed on, and there is no rotting fruit for the fruit flies so I really don't understand the attraction to this particular destination.  There is only one possible explanation:
My upstairs bathroom is possessed by the devil.

Remember in Amityville Horror when the priest was killed by the millions of flies in the upstairs?  I have the same thing except they haven't killed anyone, yet.  One of these days I'm going to be sitting on the pot, trying to dislodge the squirrel, and I'm going to hear "GET OUT" in a devil voice, I just know it.  At least if that happens the squirrel will probably come shooting out, no problem.

But then that makes me think that maybe the two problems are related.  I mean, it seems like a ridiculous coincidence that I could have dry-rot in my innards and a demon-possessed bathroom at the same time. That's just stupid.  Maybe the flies are coming from inside my body and I am the one possessed by the devil.  Holy crap.  It's not a dead squirrel inside of me, it's Lucifer.  If that is in fact what is going on, I have to say that the little girl in the Exorcist was kind of a drama queen.  It's not all that bad.  In fact, if it wasn't for the flies, I wouldn't even bother bringing it up.

UPDATE:  Anonymous wrote me a helpful comment about how to solve my problems.  She told me to take a probiotic for the dead squirrel, and to set up a fruit fly trap.  I got a jar and filled it with some fruit (didn't have apple vinegar) and put in a paper funnel.  I am catching fruit flies.  Then I thought, "Huh, anonymous really knows her stuff!" so I looked up probiotic on Wikipedia because I didn't know what it was.  Is it a pill?  Yogurt?  And I found this:

Probiotics are also delivered in fecal transplants, in which stool from a healthy donor is delivered like a suppository to an infected patient.[2]

Oh. My. God.
I would rather be possessed by a dead-devil-squirrel-demon than have a fecal transplant.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Juxtaposition (I've never written that word before)

Yesterday Sam had a friend over who started the year going to a charter school, but a few weeks after school started, went back to his old school.  Mitch asked why he did that and he said that at the charter school they made him take all kinds of tests and found out he is really smart (he's super smart) and they made him take (free) college courses.  Well, he was having NONE of that because in college there's lots of homework!  Yuck!  No thanks!

Mitch told me this story and we laughed and even as I was laughing at how dumb a smart kid can be, I glanced out the window to see my own brilliant little daughter bent over in front of the car and she may or may not have been licking the headlight.  Mitch and I watched her for a while and we couldn't decide if she was actually licking it or just resting her face on it.  Either way her head was really close for a weird amount of time.  I stepped out of the door and said, "WHAT are you doing?"  She said, "What do you mean?" innocently.  I said, "I mean with your FACE on the headlight?"  She said, "I was just looking at it."  Maybe she needs new glasses.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How Fantastic is Facebook?

My answer is:  Pretty Fantastic!  My sister is in Afghanistan on a military base and she gets the internet and can access her Facebook account which allowed us to have a chat conversation yesterday morning when we were both supposed to be working.

Years ago I would have had to tell her how I had an abundance of stomach gas and was apprehensive about going in to a meeting in a letter.  Then I would have had to get an envelope and fill it out.  Then I'd have to find a stamp.  Then I'd have to send it and wait for her response for about two weeks.  Now, because of the miracle of Facebook, she can advise me immediately that I should try to "take care of business" before the meeting because she recently put off going until after what she thought would be a 20 minute meeting, which turned in to a 90 minute meeting, and let's just say everyone was sorry.

Of course, everything that is wonderful also has its down side.  During the very same bathroom chat I had with my sister across the globe, I happen to read a status update by a former student who is upset that Obama is going to take away his "right to bare arms."  If he has ever seen a picture of Michelle Obama and her beautiful guns, he would know that Obama is an obvious advocate of sleevelessness.  I guess I should have taught homophones a little more.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hot hot hot!

Things overheard in my bedroom last weekend:

“You have to line the holes up or it won't fit straight.”
“What do you think, upper holes or lower holes?”
“I'm not ready! Don't push yet!”
“You want me to pound that in for you?”
“Maybe don't screw that in all the way yet.”
“Ha, I finished before you AGAIN!”
“Okay, let's do this again.  WAIT Wrong hole! Wrong hole! Back up!”
“Oh, I don't know, I think this is going to be TOO HOT.”
“This is IMPOSSIBLE to get in.”
“Just fold it over your thumb and shove it in.”

All this because I went to IKEA and got a brand new bed!  Ta da!

I wasn't going to buy anything but then I saw the duvet cover and I LOVED it.  But I didn't have a duvet, so I had to get a duvet.  Then since I knew I had to go through the cash registers anyway, I went a little nuts.  I got a bunch of other stuff and then I thought to myself, "Self, why not get a bed frame as long as you're going to pack your car up to the gills anyway," so I got the bedframe too.  Then I came home and Mitch and I assembled our bed and stuffed the new duvet into the duvet cover, hence the dialog at the top.  The duvet is nuclear hot but I'm so determined to use it that we sleep with the window open.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curse my dainty ear canals!

The vertigo I had all last week is somewhat over.  Aren't you glad?  And when I say "somewhat" I mean that I'm still kind of dizzy, but not in a grab-a-chair-because-the-world-is-spinning-out-of-control-and-I-can't-get-my-eyes-to-stop-jumping-and-OMG-get-me-a-bucket-cuz-I'm-gonna-puke! kind of dizzy, but the regular, "boy, I feel kind of spacey and shitty" kind of dizzy. I blame the icky way I feel on the medicine.

The medicine I take for it is Scopolamine.  When the first wave of vomiting hits, the drug seems like a miracle, but after a couple of days on it, the novelty of not constantly throwing-up wears off and I start to get concerned about my blurry vision and constant headache, and I start to wonder about the drug that is coursing through my body.  Apparently it is used in Colombia as a date-rape drug.  It's street name is "Devil's Breath" and there is a video on YouTube called "The World's Scariest Drug."  Great.  The real problem is that in high enough quantities, it inhibits your ability to make memories. So you can be on the drug, seem totally normal and coherent and then the next day you don't remember anything at all.  Which I guess might explain why I woke up in a bathtub full of ice with a ten inch incision in my side and a note that said, "Thanks for the kidney.  You better get to the hospital."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vertigo is worse than most things

I've had vomit-inducing vertigo for almost a week.  I had to take a day off of work to let my sea-sickness medicine kick in.  The medicine mercifully eliminates the nausea and vomiting but otherwise is almost as bad as the vertigo itself.  Here are some of the side effects:  temporary vision loss, headache, drowsiness and vertigo. Which led me to think of things I'd rather have than this horrible affliction and its horrible treatment.

Things I'd rather do than have vertigo. Again.

grocery shop in the nude
let my carcass-eating dog lick me on the mouth
watch professional wrestling
vote republican
eat sauerkraut
lose a toe
get bad haircuts for the rest of my life
go to the dentist
get a root canal
get sprayed by a skunk
gain weight
go on a date with Mario Lopez
get a home perm
get syphilis

Thursday, October 18, 2012

As Promised...

I got my school pictures back.  Remember when  I told you that I forgot it was picture day and then I found out that not only do all the kids have their pictures taken, but the teachers do too?  I am notoriously unphotogenic and this was emphasized by the laughing and re-taking of my picture three times by the photographer who saw the pictures on a monitor.  She eventually put me in the most unnatural position ever, had me crane my upper body one way, tilt my head down, and then look up off to the side.  It felt so weird.  It was so weird.

It doesn't look like a totally unnatural position when you look at it here, but my legs were pointing out behind me. I especially like the way my chin bunched up because she had me look down, and the way my eyes are pointing different directions because I was confused about which direction I was supposed to be looking.  I have chameleon eyes, did you know?  Mitch insists that I give him one of the wallet-sized ones and write something meaningful on the back.  "Hey Mitch!  You're AWESOME!  We should totally get together and party this summer!  BFFs 4EVA!  Love, Your wife!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beauty is in the eye tooth of the beholder

Mitch and the kids and I went to see that movie Here Comes the Boom with Kevin James as a teacher who goes on the ultimate fighting circuit to raise money for his school.  It wasn't a good movie, but the kids liked it.  Salma Hayek was in it and was gorgeous as usual.  I said something about how pretty she is on the way home, thinking Mitch would be all over that and he said, "Her teeth are weird.  It's like her molars are only about a millimeter long."

He sees a picture like the one above and now I know that he's not looking at anything but her back teeth and judging her negatively on their shortness.  Luckily for Mitch and I, my back teeth are looooooong..... ooo baby.....

Monday, October 15, 2012


Remember last year when I described teaching kindergarten like having to manage a room full of cats?  They all had their own agenda and didn't give half a crap what my agenda was.  Just like cats.  Well, after a few weeks of teaching sixth grade I can honestly say that unlike a room full of cats, they are like a room full of puppies.  They are all eager and frantic and playful and have whippy tails and sharp little teeth, and their play looks a lot like fighting.  Just kidding. (They don't have tails.)

We had a teacher workshop the other day about "Learner Engagement."  There are five levels. Level one is "authentic engagement."  The student is truly interested in the topic at hand, wants to participate, and wants to learn.  I can't remember what the fifth level was called, but basically the student is not at all engaged in the topic being taught, and is causing problems and distracting other students.  Levels two, three, and four were something between the two, but I didn't really pay attention to those because I have found that my students are either at level one or at level five.  There is no in-between.

The funniest thing about them is that in my class, I seem to have a gravitational pull.  This is what my class setup looks like every morning:

The kids all have their own desks and I have a kidney shaped table at the front (I don't know how to make a kidney shape on Microsoft Paint) and a side table where I keep my lesson stuff.  Our room is nice and big so we have lots of room to spread out and I have a microphone and stereo system so everyone can hear me.  The kids actually only spend about 30 minutes at their desks, and the rest of the time we are all moving around.  I started the year mostly teaching from the front but I found that by the end of the day, this is what my room looks like:

The kids have all moved closer to the kidney table, in fact some kids who were in the back are now sitting at the front tables, and the side table is pushing into my side because it has been moved so close to me.  The kids still sitting in desks are complaining that they don't have any room to push their chairs back and the kids left in the back are complaining because they don't want to be "waaaay back here!" when in reality they are about eight feet away from where I am sitting.  I have tried to watch this happen, but it must be like watching a plant grow; you know it's happening, but you can't ever see it in action.  I have started teaching the first half hour of class - when everyone is in their desks - while walking around the room to see if this has any effect on the migration of desks.  It doesn't.  I end up moving every desk back about two feet every day after school.

They are just as fun as a room full of puppies, but they are also as exhausting as a room full of puppies.  One day when we were discussing whether the word "consistently" is an adjective or an adverb one girl raised her hand and told us, "I have ADHD."  Then about five other kids said they did too and before I knew it the conversation was no longer about vocabulary, it was about who does and who does not have ADHD.  I wrangled them back in and taught them the word "analogy." I told them that our class is like a train, I'm the conductor, and everytime someone blurts something out, or says something totally off-topic, it's like they just jumped off the train, and then I have to stop the train, back up, and pick them up.  They are so funny because now whenever someone says something off topic, the rest of them say, "GET BACK ON THE TRAIN!"  It's the ADHD Express and it's a pretty wild ride.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hey Sarah, what stinks?

It's me.  I'm the one who stinks.  I don't think we realize how important smells are until our lives are ruined by a bad one.  A few years ago sewer gas seeped into our house for a few days and I can't even tell you how many hundreds of times I considered burning the whole place down.  And now I can honestly say that since my dog got sprayed THREE times in a ROW in the FACE by a skunk last week, I love her less.

I love her less because I can barely tolerate the stench I think will probably follow her (and me) around for the rest of her life.  I love her less because she was stupid enough to get sprayed three times, not that it would make that much of a difference smell-wise if she only got sprayed once, but how dumb was that?  If a skunk sprayed you in the face, would you keep chasing it?  I thought border collies were supposed to be smart.  Not this one.  I love her less because she didn't have the decency to wait until the skunk left the deck before she harassed it, so the first time it sprayed her it also sprayed the house, the deck furniture, and the door.  I don't think she thought the whole thing out very well.   SO inconsiderate.

If it was summer I would shave her bald to get rid of the offending fur that is carrying the stench, but no, it's fall so I suppose it would be considered animal cruelty to shave her naked right before winter.  Also, one time I cut her hair short and she looked ridiculous and slinked around in utter embarrassment for about six months while it grew out.  She's very vain so I bet this whole debacle is pretty bad for her too.  I cut off the worst of the hair, around her mane, and she looks pretty silly.

Since I had the scissors out there cutting grossness off of her, I also cut her butt hair because in another example of how stupid the theory of intelligent design is, the hair right around her anus grows longer than any hair on her whole body.  I don't think I have to tell you why that is gross.  Now she looks like she has a radical bob haircut on her butt.  I kind of like the way it looks, but judging by the way she tucks her tail between her legs everywhere she goes, she does not like it.  She would NOT let me take a picture of her back end.  Every time I got her to stand and then pointed the camera at her she would sit.  See?  She seems pretty smart!  But she's not.

Just so she wouldn't feel so alone I also got a bad haircut.  My sister sent me a great picture of my dad yesterday and my hair looks just like his in that picture.

Of course, he is in his sixties and is working outside in the rain so the style is understandable on him.  On me it just looks weird.  So now both Maisy and I smell bad and look weird.  For a while.  Someday the stench will fade, and the hair will grow out, and we will be back to our old sweet-smelling, gorgeous selves.  But probably not for about a year.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Yesterday morning while I was still in bed Sam let our dog, Maisy, outside for the day.  Almost immediately I heard her barking like a crazy person and then shortly after that the entire house was enveloped in a never-ending cloud of skunk spray.  Sam said he saw the whole thing unfold.  Maisy went outside, around the house, and saw a skunk eating out of her dish.  She ran to defend her territory and the skunk ran away from the dish.  Maisy wouldn't let up and chased it.  That's when the skunk did a handstand and sprayed Maisy in the face.  Right next to the back door.  ON the deck.  Maisy got pissed and continued chasing the skunk into the yard.  The skunk sprayed her again.  In the face.  Did she learn her lesson?  No.  She continued to chase the skunk and got sprayed one more time.

I had to go to work so I couldn't do anything about it yesterday morning.  When I got done with work I went to Petco and Shopko and got Skunk-Off, Dawn dishsoap, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a big plastic tub.  I found a solution on the internet that combines the dishsoap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide that  is supposed to work at cleaning off the stench.  It didn't seem to work.  I washed her with the solution and rinsed her off.  She still stunk.  I cut off the hair that got the worst of the spray and then washed her again in Dawn dishsoap.  She still stunk.  I covered her with the Skunk-Off and let it soak in twice as long as recommended before rinsing it off.  She still stunk.  I washed her with shampoo.  She still stunk.  By that time she was shivering and I was thinking that maybe I needed to abandon this futile project and just get a new dog.  I let her free to shake and seethe and then later I let her in the house to warm up.  God, my house stinks.

Both the kids said that shortly after they got on the bus yesterday people would sniff around and say, "Pew, something smells like skunk."  They said they got a blast of skunk every time they opened their lockers all day.  I opened my desk drawer where I keep my purse and was blasted in the face by skunk stench.  Is this ever going to go away?  My hands have an awful smell and it's not exactly skunky, but it's so horrible that it gives me a headache.  I need a do-over.

I think that poor Mitch is having a harder time with this than me or Maisy because he has been telling me for years and years not to leave dog food out next to the house.  Naturally, I have ignored him.  That food feeds chipmunks, squirrels, bluejays, other dogs, bears, gigantic chickadees, the occasional rat, mice and apparently skunks.  Mitch is dying to gloat, but he hasn't.  I think I have finally learned my lesson.  Go ahead and gloat, Mitch.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

I went to a party this weekend for my sister who is leaving for Afghanistan in the next week or so for a nine month deployment.  Many of the people there were people we've known since we were in high school so some hilarious stories were told.  One time Amy had a friend sleeping over and they snuck out and went to a party.  When they got home the door was locked.  Crap.  So they went to my sister Beth's basement bedroom window and knocked.  

Beth said as soon as she heard the tapping on the window she was immediately paralyzed with fear.  She was laying in her bed, scared to death and couldn't even move so, of course, she didn't let them in.  Amy and Christie then had the brilliant idea of taking off their pants, knocking on the back door, and then when my parents answered, telling them that they were getting the dog (who always slept in my parent's bedroom) and the door swung shut and locked them out.  

Why did they take off their pants, you ask?  Well, I asked the same thing.  They said that their story would be more believable if they did it without pants because then my parents would think that they had been in bed and got up to get the dog.  SO smart.  They got in and I'm still not clear how.  Did my parents let them in?  Did they sneak in a different way?  I don't know.  But anyway, after they got in they confronted Beth about not letting them in her window.  She told them she was petrified and didn't know it was them.  She said, "Next time knock a song so I know it's you.  Knock 'Hot Cross Buns'."

Beth said that when she snuck out, she always left a bathrobe in the garage to put on in case she had to knock on the door so she could be spared the indignity being pantsless when she had to beg to be let in the house.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012


One of the dozens of techniques my students use to get me off topic is to tell me crazy stories.  They can tell I love their crazy stories so there is an absolute fight every day during small group for them to tell me something outrageous.  I have tried to parlay this into a writing assignment by telling them that if it is so vital to have their story told, they need to write it down and then they can read it to me.  It's funny how they can pare down a twenty minute blabathon into one hilarious sentence.  One boy had what I could tell was going to be a long story about how he is afraid of spiders and how he thinks they might kill him blah blah blah blah... and I said, "WRITE IT DOWN!" so he sighed a sigh of resignation and started to write.  When it was his turn to share he had reduced his long-winded story to this:  "I am afraid of spiders and death."  Another boy said he had a hilarious story about what happened to him last weekend.  I told him to write it down.  So he did.  He said he was on a city bus with his brother and there was an old lady sitting across the aisle and one seat ahead of them (at this point in his reading I interrupted and said, "Nice details!  I am getting a good image!  Go on..." Then he said, "and she farted and dust came out."  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nighty Night

Mitch's parents and my brother-in-law, Mat were over today; and while we were chatting he was perusing my bookshelf.  He picked up my copy of Bear Attacks and asked if I had read it.

I told him I used to read it to the kids before bed.  I never thought that was strange but by the looks I got from Mat and his parents, it was akin to child abuse.  "They liked it!"  I had to say in my defense a hundred times.  Mat paged through and found a story about a man and woman who were stalked and eventually eaten by a grizzly and read it aloud for all of us.  It was graphic.  Lots of blood and ripped-off scalps.  "How old were the kids when you read this to them???" my mother-in-law asked in shock and horror.  "I don't know, I suppose Kira was about seven, and Sam about ten.  Old enough," I replied.

"What else did you read them?" Mat asked in a judgemental tone.  I said, "Well, let's see... Johnny Tremain, Harry Potter, Death in Yellowstone..."

"Death in Yellowstone???" they all said in unison.  I got the book out of the shelf and showed them.

It is a book that lists in order all the deaths that have happened in Yellowstone National Park since its inception, and the stories about how they happened.  Fascinating.  It was one of our favorites.  We especially liked the story about the guy who jumped in a boiling mud pit to save his stupid dog and he was so badly burned that his skin peeled off in sheets and then he died.  At this point I think my mother-in-law was considering taking the kids home with her for good.  I was about to change the subject when bigmouth Kira said, "What about that book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place about the guy who cut his own arm off with a dull pocketknife?  That was good."

Apparently I have to teach Kira that the throat-slitting gesture means to SHUT THE HELL UP.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kira in the Car

You know what I think goat owners should feed their goats?  Ground up goats.  
(I don't think she likes goats very much)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reluctant Readers

I've been talking about "avoidance" a lot with my reading class lately.  The class I'm teaching is an intervention class aimed at kids reading below grade level.  Of course, some of them loathe the idea of being in the class because everyone in the school knows that kids in my classes are reading at lower levels than most of the other kids.  They don't want the stigma of having everyone think they are stupid.  Who does?  They aren't stupid.  They are extremely clever.  They have been avoiding reading as much as humanly possible since first grade.  I know because I've known many of them since they were in kindergarten.  They are the kids who have to go to the bathroom, go to the nurse, go to the office, get a drink, sharpen their pencil etc. etc. etc. every time they have been required to read in class since day one.  I don't know why they start avoiding it in the first place.  Learning to read is hard.  Maybe that's it.  But over the years it has taken a toll and they are now starting to face the consequences.  I feel bad for them because they are frustrated, but I'm also exasperated with them because they work so hard to avoid learning anything new.

So we've been addressing the problem of avoidance.  Part of my program splits the kids in to three groups and during our time together they go to different stations.  One of the stations is on computers set up with reading software that is awesome.  It modifies itself to their level and works individually with them on reading passages and answering comprehension questions, vocabulary, and spelling.  Of course they always want to go directly to the spelling so they don't have to read anything.  They seem to like the software though.

Another station is the individual reading station.  They pick a book from the class library (high interest, short, age appropriate books supplied by the program) and get twenty minutes to quietly read in a section of the room with bean bags and comfy chairs.  I have been watching them while they do this and for the most part they don't actually read.  They sit in the chairs quietly (because if they don't they have to go back to their desks), and they hold a book and they stare.

The last station is the small group station where one group at a time comes to me and we work in their text book together on the skill we are trying to master.  They are like popcorn in this group.  It's less like teaching and more like playing whack-a-mole.  They work together like a pack of wolves to keep from doing the task at hand and keep me from focusing them on "finding the main idea."  I have to say, their diversions are entertaining to me because of their pure ridiculousness.  When asked to use our target word in a sentence one girl said,"Wanna see me do a backbend?" and before I could say no, I wanted her to use the word "consequence" in a sentence, she was doing a backbend.  It was pretty good.  When asked to identify the topic sentence in a paragraph, one boy said, "I wrote a song, can I sing it?"

They all are capable of reading, like I am capable of running; but much like me and running, they will avoid it at all costs.  So I have to ask myself, what in the world could possibly motivate me to run because maybe that is the answer to how to get my kids to be more open to reading.  The truth is that the only thing that could cause me to run is if something dangerous was chasing me.  So I guess the answer to the "how would I motivate myself to run" question is pure self-preservation.  I don't think that translates to getting 6th graders to read.  I wonder if Scholastic has any cute "READ OR DIE" posters I could hang in my room.

Well?  I'm open to ideas.  Were you a reluctant reader when you were a kid?  Obviously none of you are now because you're reading this blog, but maybe you used to be.  What can I do to get these kids to do my bidding?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's almost my birthday (I think)

It's almost my birthday.  Well, I think it is anyway.  In the past few years there has been some question of when my birthday actually is, and how old I actually am.  My parents have secrets.  My parents tell me they met in January of 1969, had a whirlwind romance (gross), and got married in June because they couldn't stand to be apart.  Then, as their story goes; in the fall of 1970, a full fifteen months after they got married, I was born.  When I was a teenager I thought about the story a little more carefully.  They met in January and got married in June....hmmmm.  That's weird.  Who gets married to someone they've only known for five months?  Then I looked more closely at my mother's wedding dress.  Empire waist.  Hmm...

Interesting choice.  Sure, it was in fashion in 1969, wasn't it?  But still.  See where I'm going with this?  I suspect I was born in September of 1969 and not September of 1970.  I could never get my parents to admit it though.  In fact, whenever I bring it up (every year) they get a little impatient with me and tell me, "You were born in 1970, NOW DROP IT."  Somebody doth protest too much, Mom and Dad.

The other birthday bombshell is that September 29 is not my real birthday.  September 30 is.  I learned that last year in an email from my dad:

"Here's what I remember about your birthday. In September 1970-do the freaking math will you!........ You were born in a Catholic hospital in St. Cloud with nuns in attendance. Mom was in labor for over 24 hours and she passed out between labor pains. At one point she told the cute little red-headed nurse she wanted to go home. The nurse looked at me and said, "Do you want to take her home Mr. Lindahl?" I didn't.  You finally popped out in your own good time and all was well except we missed some insurance deadline for coverage by an hour or two so the good old nuns changed the dates of your birth to get us the coverage we needed. You ended up costing us not much. Whew! You may have been born on the 30th of September but it was in 1970 NOT 1969. Sometimes you acted like a little bastard but you actually are not one. Happy birthday and legit or not, I love you! Dad"

Notice the defensiveness about the birth year?  Interesting.  Oh, and of course I didn't know until I turned 41 (42) when my birthday really was.  They kept that secret for over forty years.  That just makes me wonder what else I don't know about these mysterious people I call my parents.  What else are they hiding???

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Might Be Really Sick

Something is happening to me and I don't like it.  My skin is raw and tender and dry, and my tongue is so tender and chapped that I could barely eat the chili cheese Fritos I had with my lunch.  Barely.  I'm actually kind of regretting the Fritos because I don't think they were worth all this pain.  Mitch says that it sounds like an allergy and I said, "But what in the world could I be allergic to???" and he suggested it's the neighbor's dog that I have stolen made friends with.

I let her in our house every night to sit on my lap and watch TV (we like the same shows).  Mitch isn't crazy about it because he is afraid we are going to get busted by the neighbors and he's sure that she will just happen to be on Mitch's lap when the angry neighbor looks in the glass door and sees his dog with her new family.  I don't think I'm allergic to her.  I'm not allergic to dogs, Mitch, I mean, "DOCTOR."  And my tongue is the most affected part of my body and I don't lick the dog.  You'd think if I was allergic to her I would have itchy hands or an itchy lap, but I don't, Dr. Oz; I don't.

If I was going to self-diagnose (which I always do) I would guess that I probably have the beginning stages of leprosy or scurvy.  Or maybe Vitamin D poisoning.  Mitch, are you lacing my food with extra Vitamin D???  My plan for dealing with this problem is to do nothing different and escalate the whining and complaining.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Boot Dance

I'm finally NOT overwhelmed at work so hopefully I can be a better blogger.  So far, two weeks in, I am loving the job.  I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm a pretty good teacher.  The hardest part of the job is acting like an adult and being professional around the other adults.  Seriously, that is really hard for me.  I wore some new boots to work the other day and someone complimented me on them and I had to stop myself from doing a tap dance in them.  Specifically the move where you twirl your arms like windmills while your legs are doing jumping jacks.


That was my first instinct.  Something like that happens every second of every day I'm around a coworker.  Now you understand why I have been avoiding the work-a-day world for so long.

The kids are a lot of fun.  They openly enjoy a good boot dance.  They are just now learning how to run their locker combinations.  I told them they will dream of forgetting their locker combination for the rest of their lives.  One girl was coming to class late all the time with a huge pile of books and I found out she had given up on her locker and just decided to carry everything with her all day long for the next three years.  I've been making her practice opening her locker and now she can do it like an old pro.  Yesterday the kids really buttered me up by telling me that I look like I'm 37 and feigned shock when I told them I'm almost 42.  (Who says they don't have social skills!) They said that I look good in yellow, and that they like my fingernails.  One kid asked me if I dyed my hair.  I told him if I didn't, it would be mostly gray.  He said, "You can't even tell you dye it."  Which was weird, because how did he know to ask me if I dye it in the first place if it looks totally natural?