Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pop-Up Playlist

I've always had a variety of musical tastes. My parents loved old country. My friends were into hip-hop and rap. I graduated high school at the height of the Seattle Grunge movement. I have a soft spot for classic rock. And I'm continually surrounded by teenagers so the spectrum widens even more to Top 40. So for tonight's #Write30 topic, I had no idea what to expect when I hit shuffle on my playlist and waited for the first three songs.

Admittedly, the first 7 songs were all Mozart as I use my phone at school, and that's my favorite "quiet time soundtrack" for my students to work to. I'll bypass those. No offense, Wolfgang.

So here are the next three, and my thoughts on them.

Thought #1: this list does not seem very diverse at all, and it makes me look like a total liar. Sigh.

"You're True" -- Eddie Vedder, Ukelele Songs

I love Eddie Vedder. There. I said it. I love him. There was a time that people tried to make me not love him. They were not successful as evidenced by the insane amount of space he and Pearl Jam take up on my iPhone. My latest obsession is his album Ukulele Songs. I don't know why I love it so much except that my favorite Eddie is Eddie and a guitar. This is just Eddie and a teeny-tiny guitar, I suppose. Maybe this is my grown-up version of Vedder. Simple, stripped down, natural. My go-to "shout at the world" album will always be Ten, but this is my "on the deck, sipping a drink, glad to be alive" music.

"Where Is My Mind" -- The Pixies, Surfer Rosa

I don't have a ton of Pixies on my playlist, but they are there. They'll always remind me of my friend, Carrie Simpson. This one has a haunting quality. It reminds me of late nights on lake roads with the top down, and a black sky-full of stars overhead. There aren't many times I miss being 17, but the Pixies always fill me with a wish to be there just a couple more times.

"Love, Reign O'er Me"-- The Who (as covered by Pearl Jam)

I love The Who from a totally shallow level. I'm no music connoisseur, and I could never claim to be. So I came to The Who somehow, and I truly have no clue how. What's funny is that this is, yet again, a journey into my fandom of Pearl Jam. They covered this song for a horribly, bone-deep sad movie called "Reign Over Me" starring Adam Sandler. I don't like it as much as the original, of course, but Eddie gives it his best wail, and I always have to appreciate that.

Sadly, the next song was Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance". Sorry y'all missed out on that one. #JuniorHighForever

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


One of my mother's favorite games is Scrabble. She is amazing at it. She used to play Scrabble with her friend, Ann, who was the only person who could ever beat her on a regular basis. They'd sit there for hours, studying that board, looking not only for the places to score the maximum points available but also for the places to defend. And sometimes, they just were looking for the places to screw over the opponent.

I did not inherit my mother's love for Scrabble. I stare at the board for about 5 minutes, working out different patterns in my head, and then I just get so tired of searching that I give in. I go for the most points I can get, and I hope that it's enough to sustain me if my opponent scores big.

I do not have the patience or the wherewithal to ever be  excellent at Scrabble.  

I didn't beat my mother at a game until I was almost 30, and it's a feat I've only repeated a couple more times, if even that.  But if I were to think about the gifts my mother tried to instill in me, I cannot help but think about that board.

A problem has to be studied, and weighed,  from all sides.

Striking first may not be your best play.

Know your opponent's weakness and tendencies.

The best offense is sometimes a really tough defense.

Working hard for something, devoting your best effort to it, is worth all of the headaches.

That sometimes in life, you draw some shitty letters, but it's up to you to make the most out of them.

And that no matter how hard I try, I'll never be quite on her level.

Happy Birthday, Mama. Thanks for never letting me win.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Who's Afraid of a Little Rabid Raccoon? It's Me. Pick Me.

We live in a big ol' world full of big ol' scary things. As an anxious child, I naturally developed many deep fears, some normal while others are, well, not as normal.

The topic tonight asked for 5 of my biggest fears. My response was "Only five?" But as one of my fears is disappointing others, I'll separate my fear list into two categories: "deep-seated fears" and "where the eff did that come from?"

Deep-Seated Fears

1. Being wrong in front of LOTS of people. I was the kid who was paralyzed by the thought of going to the chalkboard to solve a math problem. I still am. Even now, when I stop by a math teacher's tutorial session to help crowd-manage, I get the sweaty palms. I know, in my heart, that I understand 7th grade math. I passed it. I have a college degree. But there's still a moment of dread that I'll mess up and everyone will think I'm dumb. That teacher thinks I'm trying to be helpful; truly it's just fear therapy. I still feel my face flame up in embarrassment when my friends bring up a mistake I made once, 10 years ago. My fear is so palpable that I just googled three different sites to determine if it's "deep-seated" or "deep-seeded".

Excuse me while I go reapply my deodorant.

2. Disappointing others. I have an addiction to helping others. Being needed is my drug of choice. So the thought of letting someone else down, of not being enough, is a fear I fight daily. Maybe hourly. I am constantly on the look-out for someone's disappointed look. But, inevitably, I can't be everything for everyone, so I have to talk myself off that ledge quite often.

3. Drowning. My mother has this fear too, and I think it was passed down via the umbilical cord. When I was a kid, we lived on a lake. Never, ever was a life preserver a choice. But that didn't extend to just the lake. I was the kid in the big orange life jacket at the city pool. I learned to swim, truly, at summer camp, and I am thankful for that. I still love the water, absolutely and completely. Yet there's still a part of me that gets nervous each time I jump in. Like I'm going to suddenly forget 3 decades worth of swimming ability.

4. Natural disasters. Another of my mother's fears were storms -- tornados, in particular. And because I grew up in the Texas panhandle, every spring and summer were spent readying ourselves for the next big storm. To make things worse, we lived in a mobile home for most of my life with the city storm shelter at least 2-3 minutes drive away. When those are your realities, you find ways to cope. So for the first 12-14 years of my life, I went to bed most spring and summer nights in my nightgown with my shoes on, and a flashlight in hand. Whether those were her instructions or a creation of my own, I couldn't tell you. Yet even now, as soon as clouds roll up, the first thing I put on are my running shoes. I'm much more confident now though because as a West Texas kid, I often have to be the weather girl in many situations and maintain calm. But hurricanes or earthquakes or volcanic explosions? Get all the hell the way outta here with that. Natural disasters can't be predicted or controlled, and that freaks me outtttt.

5. Fear. Yes, I have a fear of being afraid. As crazy as that sounds, it's true. I worry often that I'm not living my life to its fullest. That I'm missing out on opportunities because I'm harnessed by fear. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. But what I've narrowed it down to, basically, is fear. I spent a LOT of time and money figuring that one out. Who would've guessed?


1. Clowns. They're all psychopaths looking to peel my face off and use my pancreas as a hat. Of this, I am convinced, and I'll never believe otherwise.

2. Marionettes. Their movements are so creepy. And their strings are perfect for strangling an unsuspecting person when they come to life. Truth be known, I have a highly illogical fear of all dolls for much the same reason.

3. Dumpsters. I have a long-held fear that I'll discover a dead body in one. But dumpsters also attract all kinds of creatures. At worst, you could get a rabid raccoon bite to the face and at the very least, that little furry bastard will scurry out from his hiding place and literally scare the pee out of me. I don't like anything that scurries. Or scuttles.

4. Technology will take over the world. I suspect this stems from one too many sci-fi stories gone wrong, but I can't prove it. All I know is that when the robots come for us, don't say I didn't warn you.

5. Unnaturally smart small children. You see all these videos of toddlers doing algebra and listing all the world capitals and such. Everyone thinks it's SO cute. Nope. Not me. Not cute at all. It's unnerving. I mean, I'm all for kids being smart, but there's a fine line between having a well-built vocabulary and leading the robot revolution. Know what I'm sayin'?

6. Vomiting. Oh God. I can't even...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Carry It On

I stood in line at the Walgreens near my school tonight, exhausted from a long Monday at work. As I typed in my phone number, I felt someone sidle up to me and put a head upon my shoulder. I was not fazed. Not many things faze me these days. I assumed it was a student or a former student. Possibly even a parent.  Because of this store's proximity to my school, I often find myself visiting with my Mustang past, present, and, sometimes, future. Tonight was no different.

As I looked left, I saw two former Mustangs. They are two of three sisters I coached and taught, the youngest of which recently graduated from high school. Hers was the head upon my shoulder, grinning up at me. Although she was taller than me, even by 7th grade, this has always been the way she snuck up on me, head lowered, fitting into the cradle of my neck and shoulder. Had I had time to think before looking, I could've probably guessed her identity from that alone.

I gave them both a quick hug and prepared to exchange pleasantries and small talk on the way to our cars. They were buying shampoo; I was buying toilet paper and pencils. A Monday task if ever there was one.  Before I could even swipe my card, though, they told me that their father had died last week. I stopped, frozen, unable to process what I had just heard. I could not speak, and words are the one thing I'm hardly ever  without.

I looked at them, realizing fully what they had said, realizing I was holding up the line. I told them how shocked I was. They echoed my shock, sadly, and told me that it was a sudden death. His heart had given out. We moved outside, trying to pick up the pieces of the conversation. I think they felt bad, giving me such a shock. I felt bad unable to give them any comfort.  So we caught up quickly on the good things -- a marriage, a proposal, a life forging ahead. Things that would make their father so proud, this forging ahead.

Mr. F was a giant of a man. Not only big in stature but also in laughter and generosity. He was a man, I know now, that was destined to have only girls. I see them, these men, larger than life, who are delivered  tiny baby girls, all pink and frilly, full of sugar and sass. These are the men who understand God's sense of humor. These are the men who understand God's wisdom.

I taught two of his girls in the classroom and coached all three in volleyball and basketball. His voice boomed throughout the gym -- encouraging, cajoling, laughing. After each match or game, no matter the outcome, he was there. There for his girls, for their teammates, for their coach.  He seemed a good man.

We talked only a few minutes more before I grabbed them both in a hug and asked them to pass along my condolences to their mother and sister.  And I walked to my car in tears. In tears over a man I was not best friends with. A man I did not call by first name. A man I hadn't even seen in at least five years, probably more. But a man who trusted me to help lead his daughters. To help teach them how to compete, to write, to think. What an awesome gift such trust is, and, perhaps, that is what moved me most.

My heart is heavy for them.  For his wife, who would greet his bellows with an eyeroll and a soft punch in the arm. For his baby girls out in the world, without him. Because baby girls  may outgrow their frills and pink, but they never outgrow their daddy's hands.  I haven't yet. I don't know that I ever will.

I realized, again, how little I know of my kids when they leave my classroom and my hallways. I don't always know where they land, who they fall in love with, or which of their dreams come true. I know them only in this middle stage -- this becoming of who they will be. It's hard to not know sometimes. I'm never good with not-knowing. Yet as I watched them walk away, I did know something for sure. I knew that what they had told me was true but incomplete. His heart may have stopped but it had most certainly not given out. Watches give out. Televisions give out. Seams give out. A heart could never.

Especially since there are three strong girls who are carrying it on. Just like he knew they would. What a legacy he has left this world.

Love one another. Tell them often and tell them loudly. Because that's the only reason any of us are here.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I am a keeper of quotes. 

I am a firm believer that if someone has already said it better than you, then let them say it.

I am a reader and a listener and an observer. I collect words like others collect pieces of delicate crystal or rare stamps or shards of sea glass, smoothed and shaped by the pounding of thousands of waves.

Because words, wise words, are all of those things -- delicate, precious, rare, hidden.

I collect from all paths in life -- friends, movies, politicians, books -- but books are, by far, my favorite. I visit them time and time again, culling from them a guidebook to my own peace. 

My favorite book contains many of my favorite quotes, but this one is perhaps the one closest to my heart these days. When I see the world, I am often dismayed at its state. I do not understand the ways in which we hate, both big and small. I look to my own world, both personal and professional, and I find so many reasons to quit. But I can't because "you rarely win but sometimes you do".  
I want to lead a life of courage. To stand up when it is easier to step back. To fight when it's easier to give in. To struggle, to live, to ask for help, to give my heart, to share my soul -- even those jagged pieces, smoothed and shaped by the pounding seas.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bullet Points

  • 5:00 AM -- alarm clock goes off for first time. 
  • 5:09 AM -- repeat
  • 5:18 AM -- repeat
  • 5:27 AM -- repeat 
  • 5:36 AM -- repeat
  • 5:45 AM --Wake up
  • 5:46 AM -- begin calculations of how much longer I can sleep if I don't wash my hair. Or put on makeup. Or if I eat a handful of saltine crumbs instead of cooking breakfast. 
  • 5:47 AM -- reset alarm for 6:18 AM.
  • 5:48-6:15 AM -- try to go back to sleep
  • 6:16 AM -- fall asleep
  • 6:18 AM -- hear alarm
  • 6:18-7:30 -- various activities to make me presentable for society
  • 7:30-8:30 -- work in classroom and wait for students who promised to show up for tutoring
  • 8:30-8:45 -- cuss those little liars in my head
  • 8:45-9:45 -- 1st period: talk a kid off the emotional ledge
  • 9:42-9:45 -- show kids their grades/listen to whining about their grades/feign surprise at their surprise of their terrible grades
  • 9:48-10:28 -- 2nd period: 4 behavior conferences, one office referral, and 6 minutes to talk yesterday's star kid off the emotional ledge because someone stole his paper. SOMEONE STOLE HIS PAPER, BY GOD.
  • 10:28-10:36 -- actual teaching in 2nd period
  • 10:39-11:10 -- Advisory:Please read. For the love of all that is good and holy in the world, please read. 
  • 11:13-11:55 -- PLC
  • 12:00-12:15 -- Literally run into a student in the hall. I see he is in the midst of an angry cry. Reveals he's being bullied. Walk him to the counselor. Talk him through the details. Fill out an incident report. Send an email about situation. 
  • 12:15-12:30 -- lunch
  • 12:33-1:22 -- grade papers, do battle with copy machine
  • 1:25-2:15 -- 6th period: solve tech problems on Google classroom help edit 21 papers on Google docs.  Make up songs to sing aloud about my sweet, but whiny, children. "Life is so hard..." No emotional ledges. Score. 
  • 2:18-3:03 -- 7th Period: repeat 6th period, but with fewer kids. Go into someone's Google doc and make changes as they type to freak him out. Watch him freak out. 
  • 3:06-3:55 -- treasure my 8th period. Except one. 
  • 3:56-5:00 -- tutor
  • 5:15-6:00 -- traffic
  • 6:00-7:10 -- dinner with good friends
  • 7:30-9:15 -- sit in a beautiful performance hall, watching one of my favorite writers test out new stories for an upcoming book. Laugh until I cry. Be thankful for good storytelling, even about fatty tumors and snapping turtles. Realize I'll never be as great of a storyteller as David Sedaris. Make peace with my shortcomings. 
  • 9:30 -- head home
  • 10:00 -- scoop litter boxes
  • 10:01 -- reevaluate life choices

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Breakfast Lesson

My #Write30 topic of the day is to list my 3 pet peeves. There are many, but here are the first three I can think of: people who smack their gum, the tearing out of spiral paper, and people who don't follow rules and create more work for me.

But I'm feeling kind of sassy, and I'm going to break the rules and not write about today's topic. And it DOES actually create more work for me because all the way to work this morning, I thought about all the ways people piss me off and all the ways I plot my revenge.

See, each Wednesday, I roll into school for 45 minutes of duty time. Some stations are easy; some are hard. But not many of them try my patience as much as supervising the breakfast tables, and that's where I've been the last 5 weeks. Kids are messy. They don't clean up well after themselves. And they are desperate to stick together, so the thought of having to leave one another for the 7.2 minutes it takes to eat your bacon biscuit and chocolate milk seems sort of like this:

Kids are dramatic.

We also only open up 2.5 tables for breakfast so that messes are more confined and easier to monitor. But because of the pack mentality and the general slowness/obstinacy of junior high kids in general, we get kids nursing their carton of apple juice as if it's the last drop of water on Earth.

They're also going to try to sit wherever they want because this is what kids do. If I taped a $50 bill to the table and Sharpie-markered a personal invitation to sit down in that spot, they'd be all, "Yeah. No thanks" and move on to whatever spot an adult asked them not to sit in.

So, needless to say, cafeteria duty was topping the list of pet peeves this fine morning.

And then, 8:20 happened.

This would be about the time that one of my kids sat down with his older brother and friends who are normally quite the handful. I've worried about my student who's always somewhere between a hug and a strangle for me anyway. He wants to be on the right path, but he has these boys in his ear always, setting some not-so-great examples for him.

So he plops down in the big middle of the table, knowing the rule that I fill up one side of the table and then the other side, not sitting all willy-nilly, leaving tiny holes too intimidating to join.

So I asked him to move.

So he gave me the excuse that an administrator said it was okay.

So I told him I didn't care. These tables are my job on Wednesday, and this was not her decision.

So they wanted to call me out and argue that because she was my boss, my opinion did not matter.

So I weighed the situation. I could dig in and prove a point and possibly make my morning worse. Or I could let it go, pick a different battle, and get out with my soul still slightly unscathed.

I looked at these 8th graders sneer and remind me again that I wasn't "really in charge" and that they'd do as they pleased. And in that instant, I gave up. I decided that I didn't care. That I wouldn't teach them any lesson over a bacon biscuit because they don't care either. I know it and they know that I know it. I took a deep breath and readied myself to walk away.

And that's when my kid stood up. He picked up his plate and walked to the other side where I had asked him to go. And as he did, he told his brother and his friends, "Don't argue with my teacher. I'm going Ms. Naz."

I eked out a "thank you" and a smile, but I felt terrible as I heard them start in on him for being a "school boy", telling him he didn't have to do what I said, encouraging him to go back. To "show" me.

And that's when my kid stood up again -- for me and for him. "That's my favorite teacher. I'm not arguing with her and neither are you."

I didn't know what to do. I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell, "SUCK ON THAT, YOU LITTLE BULLIES!" I wanted to hug him until his guts collapsed and his eyes popped out. But I didn't because his street cred was hanging on by a thread at this point and any of that would've ruined him.

So instead, later in the day, I saw him walking down the hall. I called him over and told him that I appreciated what he had done. How he had followed the rules when it would've been easier not to. How he stood up for me by showing me respect. But most importantly, I told him, "You stood up for yourself when everyone tried to make you feel wrong for trying to do right. For trying to be good. And you are good."

And here is where my voice cracked and the tears welled -- "THAT is why teachers teach. To see you stand up for yourself and know you're worth the effort it takes to fight the crowd." And there is where a few of those tears leaked out. And there is where I didn't care. Not one bit. Not ever. Not at all.

And that's when he said, "Oh, Ms. Naz," and hugged me so hard, I thought my own guts would collapse and my eyes would pop out. And there's when he moved all the way to hug... just as far away from a strangle as one can possibly get.

Did I teach any big lessons over bacon and biscuits this morning? Nope. I sure didn't.

Because someone else did it better than I ever could.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What I Didn't Expect

There is a spot on my teacher evaluation form where my administrator always asks "Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?"

I absolutely hate that question. It is a loaded question.

Because, see, there's this idea in schools... and in America, generally... that if you're not headed somewhere different then you're stuck. I just don't ascribe to that philosophy. So when I am asked that question, I typically hem-haw around or throw out some teacher-talk to make the question go away.

(You know what teacher-talk is. It's like mom-talk, where moms talk all around the topic but never really answer your question. But you're not sure if she answered your question because your mind wandered away, and now you can't admit that you weren't listening because you'd get in big trouble. Teacher-talk is the same but with more educational jargon.)

But what I really want to say is this: I'm not done here yet. I don't need to move on up because I'm not finished here. I have more to learn. Just when I think I've got the hang of it, my kids show me otherwise. Kids are good at things like "showing you otherwise".

Today, my school loaded up 650 of our kids and staff, loaded 20 buses, and drove 15 miles to downtown Fort Worth and a visit to Bass Hall. Admittedly, I doubted this trip at first. It was too many kids having to be still and quiet for too long while watching a play they wouldn't understand (Macbeth). But we were going, so we did our best to prepare our kids. We talked about audience etiquette and background of the play and what we were NOT going to do.

What I didn't prepare them for -- what I didn't prepare myself for -- was the moment we stepped off the bus, and they were transfixed, staring up into the clouds, at buildings taller than most had ever seen in person. We were 15 miles away, but we might as well have been in New York City. Our lovely docent tried to hustle us in, but I had to ask her to slow down. "There's a lot to take in." She smiled, understanding. I smiled back, grateful for her understanding.

I had told my crew that this was a fancy place, and we would be fancy accordingly. We are a uniform school, so I told them that if they went for an evening performance, they'd need to dress up a bit. Yet for a matinee with 700 other students, perhaps just wearing your khakis without the mustard stain would do.

What I didn't expect was to walk up to school and see a boy -- an especially challenging boy -- in a tuxedo shirt and black bow tie. Or one of my girls in a flouncy black skirt and heels.  Or boys who tucked in their shirts for, possibly, the first time in history.  Fancy is as fancy dresses.

I had told them that we were representing our schools and our families and ourselves and that others would be watching. Some might even be waiting for us to make a mistake because of their own misconceptions of who we are.

What I didn't expect was a calm morning with little argument or discussion of where to be or what to do. My kids were quiet, and they are never quiet. I could tell they were nervous. I could tell they were ready.

I had asked them to have an open mind about Shakespeare. I had advised them to watch the action and faces for clues to break down such difficult language.

What I didn't expect were kids who not only understood but who even laughed and gasped and tensed at all the right places. What I didn't expect was to watch a student (who was just in my room yesterday for after-school detention) sit three rows up and lean forward intently, taking in each word, each strike of the sword, each expression.

I had asked them to enjoy today for the experience even if they did not or could not enjoy the play itself.

What I didn't expect was to sit next to a favorite student of mine -- a student who has had a difficult adjustment to junior high -- and watch him sit, unblinking, enraptured by the sights and sounds of the actors, lighting, and scene. What I didn't expect was for him to tell me how he wanted his mom to come so she could see all of this too.

I asked my kids to be gracious and thoughtful to those who were working to give this experience to us. What I didn't expect was for my kids to thank the docents and the bus driver without prompting.

I had hoped others would see us as I see my kids -- as kids -- and not as "Nichols" and what those misconceptions that often brings.

What I didn't expect? To overhear another bus driver say, over the radio, "Now these Nichols students have been wonderful. They are a great group of kids."

What I didn't expect? How things like that never fail to make me cry no matter how many times someone might say it.

So where will I be in 7 years? Hopefully still here. Because I've got more things to learn.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gotta Get That Phone

One day in class, my students were talking about how we come up with inspiration to write. This is the number one hurdle for my students -- many of which have been traditional low-achievers, and their favorite weapon is avoidance.

Their fear of failure typically prevents the joy and challenge of beginning.

Most of them hate writing from a prompt (I know, right, Shawn?), so we talked about how to pull a word from the prompt and let that take you elsewhere. I suggested journaling or writing down your day, mining for the moments that made them feel.  I offered pictures and art and music as jumping-off places.

Finally, one student asked me where and when I do my best writing and thinking. And my answer was simple: in the car.  When I go  home each day, I often find myself sitting in traffic. And while I sit, I talk.  "I turn on the recorder on my phone and just talk," I said.

"Like to yourself?"

"Yes, to myself. And then often I listen back at another time and sort through whatever it was I was thinking about."

"What do you talk about? "

"Everything. What I'm feeling. What the people in the next car are doing. Where they might be going. How my day at work went. You know... just stuff."

Suddenly, one of my most challenging, but generally good-hearted, boys piped up. "You ever talk about US?"

"All the time," I replied coolly. And then I smiled.

I've never seen his eyes get so big, but I had to laugh as he mumbled, to his neighbor, "Yo, you KNOW I gotta get that phone."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Love Language

Unless you just met me 5 minutes ago, you know that my friends are the world to me. They know everything about me, and I know everything about them. And such familiarity creates unexpected things sometimes. Like, basically, a list of words and phrases that are such long-running inside jokes that they've become a shorthand language designed for maximum sarcasm/laughter.

They never fail to make me A) understand instantly or 2) laugh. Although sometimes they can still make me angry/embarrassed (i.e. "Bossier City"). Others hit that "All of the Above" target.

If you've been here long enough, you've been taught about the "chimp grin". It's a classic.

And there are others, some of which I cannot define either because they're embarrassing or I've forgotten their origin. Maybe both.

But here's a very short glossary of my tribe. There are basically only a few categories.

Words/Phrases you want to avoid hearing:

Super -- adj. A word used to imply that I detest what you're doing/asking me to do and I'll do it, but I'm probably thinking violent thoughts about you the whole time. Often accompanied by a deep sigh and an eyeroll. The amount of anger can be easily determined by the length of the word when pronounced. Language of origin: Sarcasm.

I'm just sayin' -- adj. 1) A phrase usually uttered after a statement implying "you're a dumbass". 2) A phrase synonymous with "I told you so", but without the annoying dance. Language or origin: Old Irritation.

You just have no idea -- adj. A statement of warning: You don't want this. Whatever I've endured, you don't want any part of it because now I'm pissed. Language of Origin: Heather.

Well, what had happened was... -- int. An often-used term by my students in school but first initiated by an exceptionally nasally little girl. Therefore, when used properly for maximum laugh, one must close off one's nose and drop all the word endings. "Wha ha happen wassss..." Language of Origin: Lying. See also: Nichols Junior High.

office time -- n. A signal that you need to poop. Language of origin: Travis Wheeler, a man with no concern for co-worker's nasal passages. See also: turlet.

#3's -- n. I'll let you figure this one out. See also: shooting #3's, Doritos (now with Olestra) Language of Origin: unknown

sacred duty -- n. brutal honesty guised as an unchangeable personality trait. Language of Origin: LJ, Dr. Phil

A perfume a girl should never wear -- adj. Girrrrl, you sad. Get yourself together. See also: desperation. Language of Origin: I'd rather not say.

DeanaRant -- n. A word used to embody a long, uninterrupted rant from Deana about something that has really been bothering her for a long, long time and has gone unspoken until some sort of alcohol has been introduced. See also: verbal diarrhea.  Language of Origin: Drunken Outrage

Words/Phrases to signal an awkward moment:

Well, you just never know... -- interjection. An often used phrase in order to signal that the person you're speaking to has no idea how badly you want out of this conversation, but you know that you will not be spared. Language of origin: Porchese.

Well, there's... and there's... -- n. An often failed strategy which indicates that you know there are choices, but you cannot, for the life of you, remember/think of a single one. Best used with a serious, but confused, look upon your face.  Language of origin: Caribbean

Wanger. -- 1) n. A penis. See also: penutis (pen-OOH-tis)

WANGER! 2) int. An unexpected appearance of a penis, usually negative. Usually accompanied by a shocked/disgusted gasp and this face:
Language of Origin: Harvey Keitel's wanger in The Piano.

My, aren't the decorations festive! -- int. Code for: "We've simply got to get out of here." Language of Origin: Kentucky

Cedarfied -- adj. You're drunk and fell down into a cedar bush, or anywhere really. Language of origin: Ancient Porchese.

I had -- maybe -- six Oreos -- n. A denial of personal responsibility for where any food item might have gone. Language of Origin: You Know Who You Are

Deep Woods Off -- n. Something that can, but should not be, used as an air freshener in a time of emergency. Language of Origin: Shame

Is that a tune in your head? -- int. 1) A way to state outright imply that, perhaps, you're singing off key. 2) a quick way to get me to stop my unconscious, and possibly annoying, humming. Language of Origin: Sacred Duty

Mark the time -- int. The signalling that an awkward moment has arrived, and its supreme awkwardness has been noted. Usually accompanied by an eyebrow raise and a glance at your wrist (whether you are wearing a watch or not). Language of origin: Camp Carter

Chimp Grin -- n. The unattractive face you make when awkward meets excitement. Language of Origin: Johnston Girls

Words/Phrases that make us smile:

Porchtime -- n. A place to do and say all the things that are only for us and those we know best. See also: Beer Blind, Book Club, Rooftime, JoeT's. Language of origin: Love.