I’ve always had RBS, or Resting B*tchface Syndrome

One of my former students posted this on facebook with the caption  "Stay in shcool kids!"

One of my former students posted this on facebook with the caption “Stay in shcool kids!”

As I’ve said before I can curse and swear like the rest of them, but one of the caveats that I said to myself about this blog was no swear words. So when I feel I need to write the bleep and blip words, I plan to use the little asterisks all over the m*ther-f*cking place to get my point across instead of writing the whole curse word out. You know the words, okay? And I hope you know how to spell them, so you can figure then out on your own, okay? Okay.

Back when I was teaching, whenever I confiscated notes in class I would laughed at how awful the spelling of all the words were, but especially the curse words. B*ch, fuk, d*kc (dyslexic maybe?) made me laugh. Did they spell them wrong on purpose? Gosh-golly I sure hope so!

So anyway I suffer from a condition known as Resting B*tchface Syndrome. I’ve had it since I was a little girl which you can see in the Big Green Meanie picture of me from kindergarten. This morning I was looking at something at my computer before taking the boys to school.

Chippy asked, “What’s wrong Mommy? Are you okay?”

I blinked at him a little perplexed and said, “Um, yeah, why?

Sheepishly he said,”Well, I dunno, it’s just that, you look, ya know, kinda angry?”

“No Chippy, I’m fine. I’m just concentrating on looking at the computer.”

Later on I pulled out my cameraphone and snapped a picture of myself. Yikes! Please note the picture posted here is obviously not the very first one but a similar RBS look.  Add more scowl and you’ll get the original. 😡

No really, I'm fine.

No really, I’m fine.

I then found this Thought Catalog post because, of course there is an IN-DEPTH article describing RBS. Whoever coined the phrase, I hope you are trademarking or copyrighting or doing whatever you need to do. The description is so right on.

I guess what I originally wanted to say in this post is, I’m fine. Not mad, but not terribly thrilled about anything in particular today. Just kinda tired as any SAHM in her 40’s with two teenage boys would be.  I use to be kinda cute with my RBS syndrome when I was a kid. “Tough Little Cookie” my mom use to call me. In my teens and twenties I think I had the look of being aloof, so that seemed like a challenging appeal for some guys. In my 30’s my RBS was more pensive so I still had that adorably brooding thing going on. Now in my 40’s? Forget it, I just look scowling and moody.

But really I just wanted to let you know I’m really okay today. I’m not mad or moody, it’s just my normal everyday face.

So my question to you is, what is your “normal everyday face”? Do you think you look approachable? Do you WANT to look approachable?

I will add that as a middle school teacher having RBS is definitely an advantage when you need to work on your teacher look.

From a lovely illustrator blog - Kris Atomic

From a lovely illustrator blog – Kris Atomic

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Double Post Day – Being Sentimental and Sensitive

Like I said, things on the internet are making me too sensitive. A few days ago Marathon Man was flipping the channels and there was this show that was talking about the all-time great Superbowl commercials. One was this Clydesdale commercial –

It’s a good one.

A few years ago, I don’t remember what was the event, but we went to go see the Clydesdales when the boys were little. I’m not really a horse fan but yes, they were beautiful, magnificent, impressive, all those glorious adjectives and more, especially when you see them up close.  So when I saw this new Clydesdale commercial on Jezebel with the caption, “Did this Budweiser Commercial Just Make Me Feel Emotions?”

Answer: Yes, yes it did.

p.s. No fair! Stevie Nicks and Landslide? No fair!

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Thoughts on “I’m a Liberal Who Believes In God”

That's me in the corner? No it's actually Michael Stipes from REM

That’s me in the corner? No it’s actually Michael Stipes from REM

I share my ideas and insights about my life on this blog and mostly it’s about my family and my hiatus of teaching. Today I am going to talk about religion because it seems everyone else in the US is talking about it lately.

I saw an article on Thought Catalog today that gave me pause. Thought Catalog is a blog that posts rants, poetry, insights and a bunch of other stuff by ordinary people like you and me. Most of the articles are by the more tech savvy 20-somethings of our world and being a happily married 40-something the articles regarding dating, relationships, and love, don’t really speak to me but this one article “I’m a Liberal Who Believes in God” made me pause and think.

Many of my friends, conservative and liberal, (Yes, you can have both!) think I am agnostic or atheist because I would identify as liberal, believe in marriage equality, and think a woman’s right to choose is just that, her choice. Also I don’t really talk about God and praying and religion that much. My mother was brought up Lutheran but growing up, didn’t really attend church that often. My father was raised a strict Catholic, however, when he came to the US he did not attend church and actually married a Jewish woman in his first marriage. His second marriage was to my mother. My brother and I were not raised “anything” but my mother did send us down to the local community church on Sunday once in a while to go to the Bible School. Here is where I learned about Jesus, Noah, and David and Goliath. I also learned that stuff from the only cartoon on Sunday, Davey and Goliath*.

I'd like to say I wanted to watch this, but if Tom and Jerry were on I woulda changed the channel!

I’d like to say I wanted to watch this, but if Tom and Jerry were on I woulda changed the channel!

Growing up, religion wasn’t a big part of my life, but I believed in God and Jesus and Santa Claus. We hunted for colored eggs during Easter not really realizing it was celebrating the death and rebirth of a savior. Back then, I remember only one Jewish kid in my elementary class and we sang Christmas songs and Hanukkah songs. I never really thought about the religion of any of my friends, even in high school.

Nowadays it seems you need to be labeled and fit into a category and have a very strong opinion about politics, sex, and religion. Maybe it’s because of the access of instant information and putting those categories of sexual preference, religion, and more, on our facebook profiles. We look up information about someone on the internet, instead of getting to know them in real life, and we have them “all figured out”.

Well here’s the hard part. People change throughout their lives. Life events both good and bad affect what kind of a person we are at any given moment in our lives. If I had a facebook in high school, you would have seen a very different person than what the Big Green Meanie is today. Even my name Big Grean Meanie, doesn’t really reflect the real me today. Being a SAHM this year I’m gotten a little nicer and more patient with people. It’s weird. Things that use to get me angry I can honestly say – I just let it go.

But on the other hand, I am more sensitive to all the sadness and unhappiness that I see and hear on the internet. People are fighting, FIGHTING! about stuff that before all this social media they would have just Let it Go. Sometimes I think about ending this blog because it makes me use the internet more and seeing all the negativity out there kinda stinks. What do you think?

So in the end I believe in God, but don’t go to church. I believe in Buddha and Jesus and Muhammad too because as an Ancient History teacher I know they were all real people. I believe faith and hope can help people through struggles, hardships, and sacrifice. So yeah, I believe, just don’t go around telling everybody…

*So I never realized this but Davey and Goliath is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church – guess I’m Lutheran!

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Remembering the Challlenger

Do you remember where you were when the shuttle exploded? I do, I was in high school. It was one of the first national tragedies that happened during my lifetime when I actually cried. Sadly it was not the last. The great thing about Storycorps videos is that there are some very sad stories, like about 9/11, but there is a sincerity and sweetness to them. This video is from the conversation of Dr. McNair’s brother and you can hear in his voice that although he is very sad for what happened to his brother, you can also hear the pride in knowing that his brother died doing what he loved to do.

Eyes on the Stars – On January 28, 1986, NASA Challenger mission STS-51-L ended in tragedy when the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff.  On board was physicist Ronald E. McNair, who was the second African American to enter space. But first, he was a kid with big dreams in Lake City, South Carolina.

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Studying for the CSET is a “Learning Experience”

When the study guide is misspelled maybe it's not so good, huh?

When the study guide is misspelled maybe it’s not so good, huh?

Although I am trying to blog more often, I was trying to be good last week and limit my internet time so that I could study for a teacher test. Here in California one must pass the CSET subject test if one wishes to teach a specific subject for upper grade levels, which is something I am considering when I go back to teaching next year. Although I have taught 6th grade in the past, I only have a multiple subject credential which allows me to teach ANY subject to ANY student up to 6th grade. I have never taught in an all-day elementary classroom, but rather a core class where I see middle school students for two periods and two subjects. Last year was a big challenge being at a new school and teaching two brand new subjects. Although technically I am qualified to teach those subjects, I struggled to create lesson plans in Math and Science in addition to actually teaching and grading those subjects. As the saying goes “I learned a lot from that experience.” Although isn’t it funny how we never say that when something really awesome happens? You know, “I was just walking down the street when George Clooney invited me to dinner and then took me on a weekend get-away to his Italian chateau. I learned a lot from that experience.”

A great "learning experience" for Ms. Pohler. Take that Will Arnett!

A great “learning experience” for Ms. Pohler. Take that Will Arnett!

Oh wait, bad example, I WOULD learn a lot from that experience. But I digress…

So I am taking the CSET for History in hopes that someday I will be allowed by the state of California not only to teach all the subjects from K – 6, but also teach Social Studies for middle and high school students. There are three parts; Ancient and World History, U.S. History, and the third part of Civics, Economics and California History. Of course I nailed Part I the first time because I’ve taught that subject for the last 11 years, but I also passed Part III the first time, which was a surprise. This last Saturday was the third (lowers eyes like a dejected student) time I took the US History portion. I didn’t really study the first two times (again hides face in embarrassment) so I got this fabulous idea to maybe study this time, although I used a study guide from the library that was rather questionable. I won’t know the results for a few weeks but I will say this test was the same EXACT test that I took the first time. So if I don’t pass again well…(shameful sad puppy dog look of BGM) Well what? I am just going to take it again until I DO pass, that’s what.

On eof hte more interesting images I got when googling "dejected student".

One of the more interesting images I got when googling “dejected student”.

You see, in education a funny thing happened when we started implementing all these tests on students to see if they are learning. Testing companies “We” designed tests so that not everyone is successful. Tests have some easy questions, some harder questions, and some questions designed to be very hard or complicated. “We” want to make the hoops and hurdles of going on to the next level hard. “We” want to test if students “get it” by bubbling in a scantorn, which most teachers know is one way, though not always the best way, to evaluate students’ knowledge of a subject. So I knew when I took this teacher test, it was designed the same way; if you don’t know the subject material really well and if you don’t know how to answer questions that are designed to confuse you, you might not pass. It’s deception to make sure you can analyze the question correctly but really I get weary when I think back to the CST some of the tests I had to give my students that trick them into answering wrong when I know they “get it”. I know I can teach U.S. History but if I didn’t pass the test then so what? I’ll just try again.

I didn’t think I was going to write about education in this post but there you go, it’s still a part of me even on my year of being a SAHM. I’m trying to find a way out of this life of education, but I guess I still miss it.

In some great, fantastic news, my friend, who was the laid off teacher that I was meeting for coffee once a week, got rehired.  Yeah! I am so not jealous happy for her, but will miss our coffee talks. I truly am not jealous because I know I’m not quite ready to go back. I try not to get worried about my return to teaching this upcoming August. What’s the point, right? I am fortunate that I can have this time off to pause, think, reflect, and come back with a better perspective. Any advice for the BGM? What can I do to make my transition back to school easier in August?

Also, I have discovered #Projectlife365 on Instagram and have been posting pictures on my real life account. I am trying to post some pictures for the BGM blog too. This dual Instagram and secret identity blog is getting harder and harder to keep up. I am tempted to just go ahead and let my RL friends know about this little blog of mine, but I’m still not quite sure. Should I let everyone know the real me? WWWWD?

This is a REAL book. Holy cow!

This is a REAL book. Holy Hera!

Follow me on Instagram and see if I can keep up with the Projectlife365!

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Resolving Not to Make Any Resolutions

Legoland, NYC at "midnight" or actually 6pm

Legoland, NYC at “midnight” or actually 6pm

For a long time I have given up resolutions and focused more on goals that I would like to accomplish throughout the next year. I realize why I gave up resolutions the other day when we were having a family dinner. Please allow me a moment of your time to share my New Year’s celebration before I get to the reason why no resolutions will be made in the BGM house ever again.

So we went to Legoland for New Year’s Eve which if you are a regular reader (haha!) or go to my About section, you know that is my eldest son’s favorite place in the whole world.

Marathon Man was enjoying the food and beer at Stone Brewery

Marathon Man was enjoying the food and beer at Stone Brewery

We stayed at the Carlsbad Sheraton which has a secret back-side entrance to the park. This little perk where we can walk straight from our hotel to the park is extremely cool for Lego Lad. We had driven down the day before so we could stop by on the way to Marathon Man’s favorite place Stone Brewery. It was a chilly day but the food was good and the boys had fresh lemonade while I had a prosecco and MM had a beer, or two.

A lovely day and a lovely evening except all four of us had to share a room. Oh yes, we had two double beds, but between the snoring (MM), sound of the sheets from the tossing and turning (Chippy) and teeth grinding (Lego Lad!) I had about 2 hours of sleep before our day at the park. I braved breakfast and 3 cups of coffee and then it was off to the first roller coaster, watching the boys on the robotic arm thingy called Knight’s Tournament, and then watching them ride Aqua Blasters. I was ready for a nap by 2. So MM was kind enough to send me back to the hotel room while he spent time at Minestorm and the rest of the park.

Who's tired?

Who’s tired?

By 4 I was no longer a zombie and back to a fully charged Meanie! I came back to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks at 6 and then we walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

During our dinner Lego Lad said his New Year’s resolution was to spend more time with his family like he did today. Now this is where the problem starts. So BGM says, “Hey when we get back home let’s make a list of resolutions for each other and share it.” Hugs and cheers Moans and groans from the family but we were having such a great time I didn’t care.

The next day at dinner when we’ve unpacked and are decompressing from all the glorious family time, I give my boys and hubby index cards to write one, just one, resolution for each of us. Lego Lad took it upon himself to write a silly comment about his brother that he thought was harmless but it ended up hurting Chippy’s feeling. Long story short, there was some discussion with my youngest about not being so sensitive about how his older brother sometimes doesn’t pick up on what is appropriate to say and when to filter comments. There was also a discussion with Lego Lad about how although he has opinions about others, he needs to not always share what he thinks. After all the drama discussing I was pooped and in the bedroom had more discussions(!) with Marathon Man about my worries with our eldest son. You see Lego Lad can sometimes be unaware of hurting other people’s feeling because he doesn’t really get his feelings hurt that easily. He’s pretty resilient that way but again, sensitivity to others is not one of his strengths. Chippy is very sensitive, like his mommy, and he needs to work on being less so. So having opposite temperaments can sometimes lead to conflict with my boys. I know teenagers are difficult but I also know Lego Lad is difficult in other ways that I don’t want to share on this blog. I can handle his blunt words and speaking without thinking first. But I worry he will hurt someone or get hurt from someone who doesn’t understand him.

So yeah my first night of 2013 was dealing with emotional teenage boys. sigh. No more resolutions for this family. It wears me out!

What are your goals, dreams and resolutions for 2013? A few of my goals are to have peace, less drama, and be positive. Yeah, those all sound kinda general but that makes them easier to follow right?

Must remember this one when dealing with teenagers.

Must remember this one when dealing with teenagers.

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Be Merry, Be Bright

Only because I am holding her favorite ball is why she is sitting so still.

Only because I am holding her favorite ball is why she is sitting so still.

I keep telling myself I am going to write a post before Christmas to try and brighten my (and maybe your) day. Here are the joys of the holiday season so far in the Big Green Meanie house.

I will start off with a serious but meaningful one. Chippy played hooky from school on Monday. Shhh… Oh, he really did have a cough and cold that he was still getting over, but both he and I knew he could have gone to school.  So after I came back from dropping off Lego Lad at school, Chippy had wrote me a letter about how he was a terrible son and felt sad and a lot of other things I won’t share on this blog. Then it hit me. I’m feeling sad and he knows it. He’s feeling sad and I’m not really knowing it. My older son is a junior this year so my focus has been to help Lego Lad prepare for college soon. But Chippy is having some stress too with freshmen year in high school, being in the marching band, practices for both band and running. He’s a good kid. I forget to tell him that sometimes.

So we went to Starbucks and I gave him his first coffee drink, a cafe mocha which is half coffee and half chocolate milk (I think everyone knows this but just in case 😉 ) So, yeah I’ve exposed my youngest to the wonders of caffeinated beverages, and it was good. We later had soup and grilled cheese at Panera. He doesn’t usually get to go to such “swanky” places for lunch, maybe occasionally In-N-Out, so when he said it was the best grilled cheese he ever had, I believed him. Who’d a thought sourdough bread is key to making it delicious? But the best part was the time alone we had to talk about we’ve both been feeling sad recently. As my boys grow to be young men I realize I cannot hide when I’m not okay like I could when they were smaller. I was sad and he was sad and we talked about being sad and that made us both feel better.

On Tuesday I had promised a neighborhood friend of Chippy’s that we would attend her school holiday play. We think she might have a crush on Chippy, but I also think she just likes hanging out at our house. As most parents know most of us just tolerate going to our own child’s activities and would think it insane to volunteer to attend an event of someone else’s child. There’s no familial tie so you can have an excuse, right? Well even though I’m the Big Green Meanie, I can actually be nice at times too. I have been tutoring this girl for math and she kept talking about the play so yeah, I caved, I’m a sucker. But I have to say, the sets were designed so nicely and all the kids knew their lines. I thought they were pretty good. It was good to see kids working so hard for something they loved and I was so glad that I went. At the end I even got a little teary-eyed.

Can you believe I did all this? Gold star for me please!

Can you believe I did all this? Gold star for me please!

Another activity that cheered me up was my baking. Marathon Man told me he was planning to give some goodies to people at his work. The planning was his part, but the making and baking was my part. I must admit I was pretty pleased with myself in making Chocolate Softies, Chocolate Peanut Butter Clusters, Cornflakes Cookies and Pumpkin Bread. When I saw the 14 containers in green and red I thought, “Not bad, BGM, not bad.” It felt good to make things for people I know work so hard all year.

Finally, the Chiweenie is learning to behave better. When I look at Dogshaming I realize how much worse it could be. She still has her barking fits and still has her accidents. But all my presents are still intact and she will always snuggle with you at the end of the day. She may be an anxious dog but she loves every one of us in this crazy family. So yeah, she’s helping me work on the merry and the bright. I can do this. I hope you can too.

What are the things that have given you Christmas cheer lately? I would love to hear about it. And remember, peace on earth and good will towards men, and women, and yeah, little wiener dogs too.

Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards

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