I’m Schalz, Y’alls!

I spent a week over the Thanksgiving holiday in South Carolina, visiting Greg’s parents.  We had a really nice time, which concluded with me seeing his mom’s foot doctor so I could get a second opinion on my ankle.  The doc told me I’m deformed and possibly have bursitis, but I’m not going to get into that today.  What I am going to talk about is the fact that the doctor’s office gave me a new Southern name!

When I was finished with my exam, I was printed out a very thorough and extensive note to take back to my original doctor.  I was very impressed with the information provided in the note, but my eyes were immediately drawn to the awesome spelling of my last name.  Schalz was a new one for me, and I was giddy over how effortlessly Southern it sounded as it rolled off my tongue: sh-ah-lz.

I’m totally okay with my new last name, but it’s so not cool to age a woman.  I’m 31, y’all!

I’m totally okay with my new last name, but it’s so not cool to age a woman. I’m 31, y’all!

Having a German last name with a vowel that doesn’t follow the traditional short or long sound, and consonants that are never, ever combined together in common English, my surname of Schatz has been butchered for me my entire life.  It is pronounced shots, which has recently made LMFAO’s “Shots” my personal theme song.  But to get back to my point, I’ve been called anything ranging from Schwartz to Schultz, and my personal favorite: Shats.  As in, the past tense, plural or possessive form of shits.  (And by favorite, I mean that I cringe every time I hear it.)  My poor, beautiful last name, which German natives envy due to its use as a term of endearment in Germany, very often gets reduced to the act of pooping.

My favorite twist of my last name, however, is Schatzy.  For some reason, those that know the correct pronunciation, like to add that cute little “y” at the end for a fun nickname.  When I was a senior in high school, and my brother Robert was a freshman, he gained the nickname Schatzy from his baseball team.  For the rest of my senior year, I was known as “Schatzy’s Sister.”  Despite attending that school for four years, and only gaining recognition due to my little, freshmanbrother, I liked it.  Ten years later, it made me happy when one of my co-workers took it upon himself to call me Schatzy.  Take that, Robert!  They knew you as Schatzy’s Brother!

Regardless of having various versions of my last name presented to me, it’s been a source of entertainment my entire life.  Just when I think I’ve heard it all, something like Schalz shows up to prove me wrong.

Kinda Smelling a Fart

Partly because I can’t smell, but mostly because I’m gross and find farts humorous, Greg and I let the gas fly freely in our household.  While folding laundry together the other night, Greg let a particularly stinky one rip.  With each disgusted face he made, I laughed harder and harder.  It’s always awesome for me to watch others suffer through horrid smells, and this time was especially funny because Greg did it to himself.  He took a few steps toward me in anticipation for tickling revenge, and as he did, I inhaled, and suddenly choked on a burning sensation in the back of my throat.  I let out a soft cough, thinking I must have had a weird tickle or spur of allergies over some dust microbe.  That’s when Greg went back to his side of the bed to fold and said something to the effect of, “Oh god it burns.”  I paused over the wonder and realization of me actually experiencing a fart, so I promptly asked him, “Do farts really burn?  Like, can you actually feel a burning sensation in the back of your throat?”  To which he responded with his this-is-common-sense tone, “Yeah.  It’s methane gas.”

I must have asked him three times to clarify exactly how it feels, because I couldn’t believe that I may have actually experienced a real fart, but it’s true.  I was ecstatic!  I quickly walked into his fart zone in the hopes of feeling the burning sensation again, but a few deep breaths later, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  Smells are fleeting with me, and usually entail less smelling and more tingling in my nose, tastes on my tongue, or currently, a burn in my throat.  However, that didn’t dampen the initial joy of actually semi-smelling a fart.

As grossed out as I’m sure most of you are by this point (if any of you are still reading), I’ve been trying to smell farts my whole life!  In high school, my cousin would let a good one out on her mattress while we sat on her bed doing homework, and I’d immediately rush up, plant my nose firmly into the bed, and hope that I’d smell her alleged rose-scented farts.  For all I know, her farts really did smell like a beautiful rose garden, so I totally back her on that claim.

I am so intrigued with smells, and it’s so incredibly difficult for those around me to explain what they’re like.  So please, those of you that read and are good with words, I beg of you to attempt to explain to me the smell of farts.  Or just share a good fart story if you want.  Your grossness is accepted here.

My idol, Jenny The Bloggess Lawson, attempted to explain to me what blood smells like, and I was thrilled!  Think she nailed it?

 

I Once Was A Tiny Being

There’s something many of you readers might not know about me: I saw my pediatrician until I was 20.  No, I’m not a freak (well, yeah, I kind of am), but there’s a valid reason for this: I stopped growing at a young age, and if not for modern medicine, I’d still be child-like in stature.  Yep, my body decided to stop producing growth hormone, so I was technically a dwarf.  Okay, that’s not totally true. If I’m going to be honest, my growth hormone deficiency can be referred to as pituitary dwarfism due to the pituitary gland being a lazy asshole, but all I see in that name is “dwarf,” so I’m running with it.  Wouldn’t you?  I think I’ll call myself Quirky.

In any case, in 10th grade at the age of 15, being only 4’10” and well below the average line for height and weight, I began growth hormone injections twice a day.  I was told that I’d be lucky if I reached 5’1”, dashing my hopes of being an airline stewardess.  I didn’t really want to be a flight attendant, but when I was a dwarf, one of the medical professionals, in an attempt to shed some positive light to enduring multiple shots per day, pointed out that certain jobs had height requirements, and her example has always stuck with me.  I didn’t need coercing to start the therapy, but one factor that scared me into wanting to begin immediately was when my pediatrician told me I needed the shots if I wanted have children in the future; which I did.  Gentlemen, you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph.  But hoorah alas, I was fifteen and had yet to start my period.  I cheered and loathed the day it came two years later at age 17.

Even with the late onset of puberty, I still had a ways to go with my injections.  A quick x-ray of my wrist allowed my doctor to see how much further I could grow.  Apparently, our joints show how much room is left for growing because they fuse together once we’ve reached our maximum growth potential, and as long as mine had space and weren’t fusing, I could still grow.  Armed with this knowledge, I placed a $10 bet with my cousin’s future husband (who’s really short, but was taller than me at the time) that I would be taller than him by his graduation day.  Not knowing I was taking shots, he agreed.  I totally won that bet, but didn’t see him after graduation and never got paid…that is, until almost 10 years later when he began dating my cousin and reunited with me with a $10 bill in his hand!

I took my needles and medicine with me to college, where it was a bit harder to hide from others.  Living in the dorms and actually being social, it was common for friends and acquaintances to witness me injecting myself.  Once I was out of high school, I was more comfortable with putting my true self out there for people to accept or not, so people knowing about it wasn’t as big a deal to me anymore.  By my sophomore year of college, I was still growing, and my x-ray showed that I had the potential to continue to do so.  At that time, I was 5’ 4 ¾” and a healthy 120 pounds.  My goal for beginning the therapy was to reach puberty and reach an acceptable height of at least 5’1”, which I had more than surpassed.  By 20 years old, I was taller than most of my friends, but not towering over them.  If anything, I was finally “average.”  My doctor was honest with me and said that my joints showed room for growth, but that it would be safe to stop the injections now, and my joints would fuse together at this height with no problems.  It was my decision, and despite being an indecisive individual, it was an easy one for me.  After four plus years of twice daily shots, I was done.  As expected from a non-functioning pituitary gland, I grew no more, I am currently the same height as the day I stopped the injections, and I have no regrets.  I was born to be this height!  Well, not literally, but in my head, I was born to be of this stature and feel incredibly lucky to be standing where I’m at today.

Me, my cousins and BFFs at ages 13 and 14.  I'm the one on the left in the dorky pink hat: the shortest and oldest of us all.

Me, my cousins and BFFs at ages 13 and 14. I’m the one on the left in the dorky pink hat: the shortest and oldest of us all.

Cold Sores 101

I kicked my latest cold sore’s ass, and I couldn’t be more proud!  I don’t think I’ve ever won that battle before!  I’ve learned how to maintain and minimize my cold sores, but never, ever, have I completely obliterated it before it could destroy my mouth!

My very first cold sore aptly appeared when I was a freshman in high school.  I guess my body wanted to make sure I maintained my uncool status, ‘cause I can think of nothing more embarrassing in high school than mouth herpes.  There was no hiding that sucker either!  Overnight, I developed a huge sore that took up the entire left side of my bottom lip.  Being a Plain Jane, it wasn’t like I could hide it behind some dark lipstick either.  I just had to grin and bear it.  Well, more like just bear it.  If I so much as cracked the tiniest smile, I risked blood or pus pouring down my chin.  Sorry, you can go vomit now; I’ll wait.

Anyway, back then, all I could do was put globs of Campho-Phenique on it, and cross my fingers that it’d be gone in the morning.  Of course, cold sores take their sweet ass time to clear, so I would usually have to deal with its ever-changing stages for at least two weeks.  For those of you who’ve never had a cold sore, it usually starts with an itch or burning sensation on your lip, which then transforms into a bubble of liquid.  You could let that bubble pop on its own over time, but no one ever does that.  It’s gonna pop the second your sandwich bread rubs its sandpapery surface across it, so might as well avoid that disgusting mess and take care of it yourself at home.  At this stage, it’s really not too bad.  I mean, you might have this nasty loose piece of skin resting on your lip, but if you apply chapstick regularly, it’s hardly noticeable.  That is, until the next morning.  By then, blood has come to the surface and a beautiful, purplish black scab has manifested itself on your lip.  For me, the scabbing was the worst!

As soon as I started talking, I could feel the scab ripping and tearing, and with a quick lick of my tongue, I would verify that blood was oozing out of it.  It’s not like I could wear a bandaid on my lip, so as soon as it bled, I’d pop my lip in my mouth and keep sucking on it until the bleeding stopped.  Many times, this resulted in the scab being sucked off and digested.

Anyway, once you let the scab heal and fall off on its own, it’s over.  Unfortunately for me, since I kept eating my scabs, a big, circular, cratered, scar appeared on my bottom lip.  (That scar is the reason why, to this day, I still gnaw on my bottom lip. Oh! And I gnawed on it so much in high school that I can’t even get cold sores on that spot anymore, so I consider it a win.)

I still get cold sores every now and again (nowadays on the left side of my upper lip).  As I mentioned, I’m usually pretty good at keeping them small and somewhat unnoticeable, but this time, I beat my cold sore, and I wanted to share how I did it in case any of you suffer from this.  However, this post is reaching my blog entry length limit, so I’ll have to share my cold sore busting secrets with you tomorrow!  Bwahahaha!  Stay tuned!

**UPDATED**  To read on how I beat my cold sore, click on the following link: How to Get Rid of a Cold Sore

Running (or lack thereof)

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad is the Athletic Director for San Pedro High School–my alma mater’s hugest rival.  Despite attending Narbonne High, my brothers and I pretty much grew up within the PE department of Pedro, and the coaches and teachers became like a second family to us.  Because of the prestige we’ve gained from our father, and the fact that we all ran Cross Country in high school, we were invited to run in their Alumni Cross Country meet at our home course tomorrow.  I’ve heard that Valerie, Pedro’s best runner during my time, and my fiercest competitor, will be racing.  By “fiercest” I mean, friendliest and humblest non-teammate I’ve ever had the privilege to run against (and beat once…in the mile…at my home track…but that’s another story).
I probably would have ignored the pain of my recovering ankle surgery and negligently ran in the meet for nostalgic purposes, but as soon as I heard Valerie was going to be there, I opted to be a supporting observer.  Marissa humorously expressed my exact sentiment when I told her she could run, and that Valerie would be there, by replying:  “I’m not about to make a fool of myself.”  Back in high school, Valerie was a top notch runner, as well as the entire San Pedro Cross Country team, and while Marissa and I still run occasionally to keep in shape, we are nowhere near the racing speeds or endurance of our youth, and we’re betting that Valerie still is.
Without coming across as a braggart, I just want to state that Marissa and I were born with some raw talent in running.  As freshmen, we were the fastest on our team, and went to City Finals every year of high school.  We quickly overcame our competitor from Banning High, Juana, in our freshman year, and were living large until San Pedro’s team stepped it up and started producing some bomb runners.  We had some goodhearted coaches who believed in us and worked with us to the best of our abilities, but we just weren’t as dedicated as the San Pedro runners, and our high school’s running program was just not as well organized as theirs, so it became increasingly difficult to individually win meets.
I wish I could say that we tried our hardest, but looking back at my high school running days, it’s clear that we did not.  Our coaches continually told us girls to separate during practice runs, so that we’d be training at each of our ability levels, but we stubbornly stayed in a group so that we could chat together for the 5 or so miles.  As soon as we got a few blocks away from school, we’d slow down and plan out the order of a natural arrival, leaving in waves so that it would appear to our coaches and teammates that we weren’t actually running together the entire time.  Sadly, our coaches eventually caught on and would periodically monitor our runs more closely.
Also, on hot afternoons, or days that we just didn’t feel like running, us girls would run to my house (which was right off our route and only a quarter of a mile away) to gorge ourselves on granola bars and fresh oranges picked from my tree, all while jumping on our huge backyard trampoline.  It could be argued that we were still getting some sort of endurance training through the constant jumping, but really, it was purely a time for rest, relaxation, and sweet, sweet snacking.  Our workout was so minimal that we’d have to “sweat” ourselves with the water hose before we took off back to school to make it look like we actually did our run. 
I’m not saying we did this all the time, or even every week, but I can imagine what sorts of runners we could have become had we actually trained correctly.  We relied on our natural abilities to get us through our meets, and it’s amazing that we got as far as we did.  That said, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.  No, I never made it past City Finals to State Championships, and yes, San Pedro’s growing team eventually overtook ours, but I have some amazingly fun and silly memories with my cross country teammates that I wouldn’t have had I actually listened to my coaches and broke away from the pack during practices.  What other cross country team sings camp songs together while running for miles?  Instead of focusing on medals, we focused on friendships, and I’m thankful for it, because you know what?  I got both.  

Nobody Like(s) Us!

Camp La Verne, located a tad below Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains, is a place I hold dear to my heart. 
When I first began going to camp, it was extremely rustic; it’s much more modern now.  Back then, the 4-bunk, simply constructed cabins each had a half-door that swung shut with a spring, and the siding of the walls stopped two thirds of the way up, all the way around, with no windowpanes.  Some of the nicer cabins had wooden pieces that could be swung down to cover the “windows” at night.  As far as bathrooms went, there were pit toilets near the cabins (which I’d always have to pretend to hate the smell of).  The water basin was down the trail from the potties, and it literally was a water basin covered with screen to keep out the tree droppings.  It had a few spouts hooked up above for hand/face washing.  As far as showers went, we would gather together under a few spigots in our bathing suits, surrounded by aluminum siding and nothing but the open sunshine above us.  Our water was heated in a tank by a rusty pufferbelly that was kept going with fire while we went swimming at the lake.  If our cabin was last for showers that day, we were pretty much guaranteed to end our cleaning with a shocking blast of cold water.  We ate all our meals outdoors on bright green picnic tables right outside the kitchen, and would take turns doing dishes in the small, 3-sink washhouse.  You might think all this sounds crazy and horrible, but that’s what I loved most about camp.  It actually felt like camping. 
Along with the joys of the rustic camping experience, I enjoyed meeting new friends and looked forward to seeing them again summer after summer.  Many of the people I am still close with today, I met while at camp; including my best friend, Shannon.  It was at Camp La Verne that most of my precious memories were made.  I often think back to various times at camp and find myself giggling or smiling fondly.  Although I have always been shy, it was there that I felt the most comfortable, and there that I truly felt that I could be myself and let loose.
When Shannon and I became old enough, we decided that we wanted to work a week at the Junior Camp being CIT’s (Counselors in Training).  Really, what this meant was we got a winterized cabin down by the kitchen all to ourselves (along with another friend our age who happened to CIT that week) where we helped with random maintenance and/or kitchen needs and bonded with the kiddos during different activity times.  The fun and freedom we experienced that week, led us down the path of being counselors for the Jr. High Camp the following summer.
All through high school, I’d attend my own camp, while also counseling at least one other group of younger campers.  I continued this tradition throughout college, counseling for all the camps each summer.  One of my favorite, and probably not the most responsible counseling times, was when I was too old, and no longer eligible to attend the High School Camp, while many of my core friends (only a year or two younger than me) were.  So I came back that summer as their counselor; even better yet, I had Shannon in my cabin!  It pretty much felt like I was a camper again, but with a small amount of responsibility.  I’m sure I wasn’t too much of a help that summer, but I don’t think that I added any difficulties to the week.  Quite unlike the time us counselors decided we’d let the CITs be in charge of our sleeping Jr. High campers while we snuck out to a winterized cabin to listen to CD’s and gorge ourselves on candy and hamburgers brought in to us from down the mountain.  Yeah, our dumb asses got caught. 
Thank you Directors: Jeff Brehmeyer, Jeff Pence, and Ron Hart for being so laid back and trusting despite my teenage antics.  And Janet Hart, if you’re reading this, I was WAY more responsible with your Junior Camp…I wasn’t completely stupid.  I’ve been a member of the CLV board for years now, and although I like helping behind the scenes, there’s nothing better than being at camp, and I’ve always wanted to direct my own.  Last year, I was given the opportunity to co-direct the Jr. and Sr. High Winter Camp with my brother, Kevin.  It’s so different as a director, but still just as enjoyable.  The main difference is that while I still have the young heart inside me, I have to keep up the act of being a grown up.  For example, as a camper, and even more so as a counselor, I participated in many pranks (the best one still being the time we hung Blair Witch figures everywhere and made most of the Jr. High girls cry all night long).  This year, when a few pranks got out of hand during Winter Camp, although my insides were cracking up at the creativity, the external words coming out of my mouth were about respecting property and financial reasons why their pranks were not appreciated.  I’d see the rolls of some campers’ eyes and smile, remembering my cousin Marissa and I sharing similar glances as teenagers when we felt an adult was being too serious and “ruining camp.”  I get them.  They don’t know it, but I do.  It all comes full circle, and I can’t wait to see what else Camp La Verne will offer me as the years go on.