Saturday, December 29, 2007

I May Have a Hard Time Scoring PR This Week Because This Arizona Place Doesn't Have Bravo. I'll Keep You Posted.

After I defended my master’s thesis, I started keeping track of the books I was reading in my right sidebar over there. It turns out, since May 18th, I’ve read twentyish books. Ish because despite my best intentions, I didn’t finish some of those. Like Death Comes for the Archbishop, obviously since I don’t like Willa Cather, and Purple Hibiscus. Everyone told me I would love that latter book, but for some reason, as it turned out, I didn’t really want to read it. The same was true for Watchmen. I lied to my brother-in-law the other day and told him I’d read it cover-to-cover. I wanted to have read it, that’s for sure. Besides the other books, I did read US Weekly just about every Friday or Saturday. It makes me feel a little dirty, I admit, but the truth is, I do generally love it.

I will say one thing: I have enjoyed these months of reading stuff like Eat, Pray, Love and Run. I have enjoyed them more than I enjoyed the previous seven months, which I spent thinking about, worrying about, and finally writing that damn thesis.

I may finish the Ira Glass nonfiction book before the new year, and then I’ll read the new Richard Russo. I have read everything by Richard Russo except that new book. I liked Straight Man and Empire Falls the best.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It Seems Like Shrek Three Kind Of Sucks

This Christmas was a great one, to tell the truth. All of the celebrations were quite enjoyable, and the presents were well-chosen without exception.

Santa must have thought we were really good this year because Shef got the Playmobil castle he’s been coveting for months, and Dan and I are getting a new, king-sized Sleep Number bed.

I am so happy. It might fit both of us and two kids, don’t you think? At least some of the time? So I won't have to slink off to the empty twin in the dead of night to avoid a killing kick to the head?

On our Boxing Day trip to Target, I thought I’d pick up a couple of emergency pacifiers for our plane ride to Arizona tomorrow. (Yes, my nearly-four-year-old still has a sucking habit. We’ve accepted this, and so should you.) I looked for some solid-color pacis in his favorite brand, but the only ones available had cutesy designs of animals on them.

“We’re not getting these pacis,” Shef said disdainfully, as he pushed the package back at me.

“Well, I guess pacis are really for babies,” I explained, “so the designs are for babies.”

“No they’re not,” Shef said indignantly, and searched the shelf in vain for manly, knight and castle paci motifs.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

You Do Know That Cellulite is One of the Main Ingredients In Corn Chowder

Yesterday, when I told the librarian at my school that one of my big plans for winter break was to read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, which basically every single girl in my classes has already read, she looked skeptical.

"Do you like vampire fiction, in general?" she asked.

"Well, no." I admitted. "Not really."

Even so, I'm finding the "deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful" novel to be kind of entrancing. Maybe it's safe to say I'm interested in vampire love? I did watch almost all of the episodes of Buffy back in 1998 and 1999. And I have peered in the windows of Anne Rice's house in New Orleans.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Paper Bullets of the Brain

I almost never yell at my students. It’s not because I am trying to preserve their confidence or senses of self, or anything like that; although I guess I do think that’s important. And it’s also not because I like to maintain a calm and controlled atmosphere in English class, which, of course, I do.

The bottom line is, I don’t yell because I really suck at it. My outbursts are genuinely funny. I gesture wildly, my voice shakes, my face gets blotchy, and I always say completely ridiculous things.

Like on Wednesday when I was upset with my sixth hours for being completely lazy and intolerable.

“LOOK!” I railed. “You are acting like fourth graders! This is high school! GROW! UP!”

If I were finished there, everything would be okay, right?

Sadly, I carried on.

“I have tried being nice to you, and it doesn’t WORK!" I shouted, making eye contact with all the usual suspects. "I have tried being harsh, and THAT doesn’t work!”

Then, I started spastically gesticulating toward the projector screen, which was an unfortunate development, for sure. “Frankly, I just don’t know what to DO! So this is the assignment! Pass or fail, it’s up to YOU!”

Pause. And, inevitably, some tittering rose up from the class.

“And, YES!” I continued, owning it. “That rhymed! And now you have twenty minutes! Get to work!”

That's it.


I know you’ll join me in sincerely hoping I manage to maintain my self-control for the rest of the year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I. I Was Standing. You Were There.

Me, on the way home from swimming lessons: Love ya, kiddo.

Shef: Mom? When you put your hair up, you look like a man.

Me, laughing: Why?

Shef: Because you just do.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Singing For The Whole World

I've been missing wine a lot more this pregnancy. I think last time I was all, Wow! This is so cool! I'm with child.

This time it's more like, damn! Nine months is a long time to go without booze. And hot dogs, and of course, soft cheeses.

I've taken to sniffing Dan's red wine and occasionally wetting my lips with it.

"Here," he offered last Friday. "I'll drink some and then give you a kiss." I gave him a wary look. "Okay, ready!" he proclaimed, swallowing a big glug. "I've coated my tongue!"

Excuse me if that didn't sound overly appealing.

Since I can't actually be drunk, I've decided to upload a photo of me looking drunk. Here I am at sixteen weeks, with my nine pounds pretty much evenly distributed over my whole self, from the looks of things:

Friday, December 14, 2007

And Covered in Acetate Lace

I have some miraculous news.

I have only gained nine pounds!

Sixteen weeks and nine pounds! This is so unlike me!

To tell you the truth, I went to the doctor’s office with some trepidation in my heart because I’ve been feeling pretty great these days. Energetic and cheerful! I think I felt that way for maybe thirty minutes of my whole pregnancy with Shef, so I was certain that these good feelings were an extraordinarily bad omen.

But my doctor tells me everything is actually totally fine. The fetus is growing and definitely has heartbeat. Plus, I feel good.

And the weight! I’m euphoric about the weight!

I called my sister to tell her the excellent news, but she was less than enthused.

“But it’s so funny when you get all bloated and fat,” she whined.

I told her, don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time to turn this thing around.

After all, I am gunning for a ten-pounder this time around. 9.14 was close, but I’d really rather start the description of the child with double digits.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sweet Miserable Crap

Today's Tuesday, which means....tomorrow's Wednesday.

If you're playing the Project Runway Challenge, I need your guesses for the next three losers, as well as tomorrow's winner.

From the looks of the previews and promos, Jack has some infection on his face (he guesses MRSA in the preview) and then makes a tearful announcement with Tim at his side. The promo says, "The competition ends early for one of these designers!" I bet it's Jack.

Dan, the man who won't even watch the pre-commercial "coming up next" bits on the show because they give away too much information, insisted that I post this info about Jack for the benefit of the group. So, do with it what you will. Remember that if he quits, he's not auf'd, so you wouldn't get points for that pick.

I'm picking Ricky, Steven, and Elisa for my next three. Yes, this is a repeat of two of my choices from last time. And I'm picking Kit for the win. I'd like some points this week. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

One Positive Is That My First-Trimester Acne Has Cleared Up

Fifteen weeks is a very bad stage of pregnancy. Way too fat for normal clothes, and yet, not big enough for “cute” maternity outfits. I am lumpy and disgusting with lots of cellulite.

Sometimes, I get up in the morning, choose an ensemble , look in the mirror, and think, “Wow. This is really the best I could do.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

There Is. No Shirt.

I had been without a book to read at bedtime for a few nights, so when I was over at my friend Jordan’s house, I asked if she had anything I could borrow. For light reading. Before bed.

I guess we have different views on light reading because first, she gave me a collection of Milan Kundera short stories.

Milan Kundera is described on the back of the little tome Jordan thrust into my hands as “an intellectual heavyweight and pure literary virtuoso” who “takes some of Freud’s most cherished complexes and irreverently whirls them about in acts of legerdemain that capture our darkest, deepest, human passions.”


I was just looking for a little Shopaholic and Sister to fill those moments before exhaustion takes over.

“Um,” I said, “don’t you have anything else?”

She perused her shelf, skipping over volumes until she landed on something that excited her very much.

“Oh this!” she exclaimed. “Have you read As Nature Made Him?! It’s about twins, and when one of them was getting circumcised, the knife slipped and he was castrated. It’s SO good! You HAVE to take it.”


“No REALLY. It’s SO interesting!”

So, I did take both books because saying no thanks to Jordan is pretty much impossible, but I am telling you right now: I’m not going to read them. I stopped at Target and picked up Eat, Pray, Love. It’s a little deeper than Shopaholic, but at least there are no genital mutilations.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Does He Like Hot Pants?

Every month, Shef's teachers publish a newsletter, which includes a little anecdote about each pupil. Here's Shef's note for this month:

Shef farted while sitting in Ms. Dawn's lap. "Did you fart on me?" Ms. Dawn asked. Shef said, "No, I farted in my underpants."

I tell you, we are so proud.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

This Is Reminiscent of A Members Only Jacket

My sixth hour is kind of a mess. There are some real smarties in there, some real trouble-makers, and some who fall in both categories. The combo-plates are the heart of the problem, actually.

I’ve tried several techniques with them. I’ve made sarcastic remarks, I’ve cajoled, I’ve sat down at my desk in a huff after writing an hour’s worth of seatwork on the board.

None of these were very effective, actually.

One afternoon, after I’d had a lovely time with my 4th and 5th hours, I tried this: “Look, people. I did yoga this morning. I feel happy and centered. Nothing you can say or do will ruin my mood today.”

They kind of twittered. But then, they were actually pretty good, comparatively. A few days later, they asked if I’d done any more yoga, since I seemed to be in such a cheerful place.

And then, somehow, I ended up doing some alternate-nostril breathing with the sixth-hours. It’s something one of my yoga teachers showed me. It’s supposed to be calming and bring focus, and it’s admittedly a little weird – you have to close of your left and right nostrils for inhales and exhales alternately.

I’m not sure it worked for them. But maybe next week when we do sun salutations, that’ll mark progress? I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Every Sight And Every Sound

Last night I watched Die Hard with Dan because he claimed it was, like, his favorite movie of all time.

Afterwards, I decided I enjoyed it as much as the James Bond franchise. However, it wasn't as satisfying as Bourne movies, which of course star Matt Damon, who is officially People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

“So it makes your top ten,” Dan said, back to Bruce Willis.

“Well, it beats out Pitch Black for sure," I conceded. Pitch Black is a truly repugnant offering of the supernatural-horror-thriller-action variety.

And, believe it or not, watching that Vin Diesel vehicle was the high point of what was an exceptionally terrible evening back in 2000, an evening which included dinner at Hooters.

“Come on,” Dan said, “That was a great date. If you can think of a greater date than Hooters and Pitch Black, I’d like to hear it.”

And then I threw up in the sink due to an unfortunate combination of nausea and too much laughter.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

People Might Not Like That Their Dress Has Been Spit On

After watching the preview videos posted at Blogging Project Runway, I'm ready to pick Rami as the winner of the next challenge.

The previews didn't really show anything about the potential winners, but... I'm going with it. There was some potential drama and intrigue you might want to check out, though.

For the contest, if you're already on the scoreboard, you don't pick any losers this week or next. You go with the three you originally chose. You get three points if any of your three get kicked off in the next two episodes. You do get to pick a winner for this week's episode, though; and if you're right, you get one bonus point.

If you still want to play and you haven't started yet, you can post guesses for the next two designers auf'd. You get one point for each correct guess.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Want To Imbibe It With Energy and Essence

At the end of my pregnancy with Shef, I was undeniably huge. Most people would try to say nice, placating things about how I looked. But since I owned a mirror and could see that I had a blotchy rash on my face, size E or F breasts that rested on my belly, and was clearly bulging out of my second size of maternity jeans; I knew they were full of it.

Luckily, I could always count on Mom for a dose of reality.

“Can you even fit in your car?” she asked one day around 37 weeks. “I mean, I can’t believe you could even get behind the wheel.”

This Thanksgiving, Mom told me I looked lovely, which was nice. And she gave me a present: two pairs of supremely comfortable fleece pajamas. They’re really terrific, and in fact, I’m wearing some right now.

“I got one large and one extra large,” Mom explained, as she handed me the bag. “Because let’s be honest, we know that’s where you're headed.”

I nodded. There’s just no escaping it.

“I didn’t even bother with medium,” she continued, “because really, what’s the sense.”

Friday, November 23, 2007

Your Look Left Us Very Sad

This is really strange: a squirrel just came up to my back door, knocked on it, looked at me through the glass panel, chewed the apple or whatever was in its mouth, stared at me for maybe thirty seconds, and then just when I was starting to get really really weirded out, ran away.

Also, just to accommodate my two Thanksgiving feasts, I broke out the maternity clothes yesterday. I think now that we’re entering the second trimester, there’s really no turning back.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wear Your Hair Just For Him

Me: I just wish I had less gas.

Dan: Yeah. I've been wishing that for years.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ain't Too Proud To Beg

The last few days have been kind of rough, pregnancy-wise. I have some kind of cold with sinus congestion and cough, which has totally ratcheted up the level of nausea I’m experiencing. I’ve also had digestive woes, the details of which I will spare you. And, just for good measure, I sprouted a monster zit just below my bottom lip on the right side.

Given this state of affairs, I’ve been sleeping a lot. And when I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve been whining. And Dan, in the face of this set-back, has been a model of patience and servitude. That is, until last night when I ran him right up to his limit.

We were lounging on the loveseat, watching Chalk, which was way less funny than it could have been, when I dumped my legs into Dan’s lap and asked plaintively if he could just rub them a little bit. I modeled the technique I was hoping for – a moderately firm kneading of the calf. He obliged, with only minimal eye-rolling.

Then, I complained about my stomach upset and headache. He made sympathetic noises and engaged in more vigorous leg-rubbing.

Finally, my eyes started watering, and I poked frantically at my nose with the kleenex I’d been carrying all evening. Something about the congestion had shifted.

“Ugh!" I cried. "I have boogers in my nose that are hurting my nose."

“Look,” Dan said, frankly, halting the kneading and giving me a stern look. “I have sympathy for a lot of your pregnancy symptoms, but ‘the boogers in my nose are hurting my nose’ is not one of them.”

Okay, I thought, tears still streaming. Fair enough.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Jury Duty Was Complete As of Three O'Clock This Afternoon

The sad part is that I’m sure I would have made an excellent juror. I would have been fair, and I would have weighed the evidence carefully.

But none of the attorneys ever asked me any questions.

I didn’t get picked for any juries.

I think it's too bad for those charged with armed robberies and solicitation. I would have been a very nonjudgmental. I would have tried to see their sides of the situations.

I was actually considering volunteering to stay on jury duty a little longer, just to give the courts and criminals the benefit of my excellent reasoning skills.

But, in the end, that seemed a little silly, even to me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Did You Watch?

I hope so. If not, it's lucky for you that Bravo likes to replay episodes of their reality shows like nobody's business.

Once you've watched, join the challenge! It's going to be fun, and I've already purchased a fabulous prize. The prize is real this year (sorry about last time, Judy and Dan). Post your guesses for the next three Auf'd in comments. Bonus for next week if you pick the winner of the challenge.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Jury Duty Starts Tomorrow

I worked myself up into a minor frenzy after Trusted Doc couldn’t find the heartbeat of the fetus this morning.

“It’s no reason to panic,” she said cheerfully. “It’s early, and it depends on how the uterus is tipped.”

I smiled tentatively.

“Normally, we’d just grab the ultrasound, but since you have an appointment for that this afternoon, we’ll just wait till then.”

Okay. Fine.

I took a deep breath and tried to go back to the happy moment, just ten minutes earlier, when I stepped on the scale to discover that I’d overshot my weight-gain estimate by seven pounds.

“It’s a miracle!” I told the nurse, who was more or less unphased by my temporary euphoria.

Luckily, when we went back for the ultrasound appointment, we discovered that the reason TD couldn’t find the heartbeat is that the fetus is hyperactive. Hyperactive and super huge. It’s growing fast. Every time they look at it, the due date gets closer and closer.

I would have had to call TD tomorrow to ask whether I should worry that the baby is growing too quickly, but luckily I remembered to chat about that with the ultrasound tech this afternoon after I was finished with my blood work.

“Because God forbid you’d leave the office without something to worry about,” Dan said, as the ultrasound tech’s laughter was ringing in our ears.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dah Who Dor-Aze

“I want to put up our Christmas decorations right away!” blurted Shef from the backseat on the way home from dinner.

“We’ll do it on December 1st,” I said. Dan snickered a little, presumably since the earliest we’ve decorated for the holiday in our life together is maybe December 20th. We’re usually the last ones at the tree lot, perusing the picked-over selection of Charlie Brown offerings. “Well,” I explained, “we have the advent calendar this year. Plus he’s really into it.”

And he is. I’ve already exhumed the Santa Bear from the basement.

“Fine,” Dan conceded. “Just don’t even say anything about a F-A-K-E T-R-E-E.”

“W-H-Y?” I asked. I always had an artificial tree growing up, and I never felt deprived. I’ve often suggested we get one, only to subject myself to much ridicule and exasperation from my loving lifemate.

Dan predictably rolled his eyes. “Because then why don’t you just P-I-S-S on C-H-R-I-S-T,” he spat.

And so, oh-kay, it appears we’ll be watering copiously and vacuuming up nettles again this year.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Starting Him Young

So, Dan had more trouble finding a Dale hat in North Carolina than he expected. It turns out there aren't NASCAR-themed stores on every corner, even there. So, finally, in the airport, minutes before flying home, he purchased the cap pictured above in a last-ditch effort not to disappoint the family. We all really expected him to deliver the final piece of the costume, and he likes to pull through.

So yesterday, when Shef's teacher told the class the letter of the week was B and asked if anyone knew any words beginning with B; Shef shot his hand into the air and yelled, "Budweiser!" Which is, obviously, a correct answer.

"Oh yeah," I said apologetically when Teacher Dawn related the story to me tonight at the school's spaghetti dinner. "Well. That's Dale Earnhardt's sponsor."

I thought that was enough of an explanation, but Dawn keep nodding at me like I might have something more to add.

"Just another example of good parenting," I smiled. "We'll see you tomorrow."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Let the Public Whining Commence

Shef and I are pretty excited about his impending big brotherhood. We've both wanted to add to our family for awhile now, so the joy we feel is great.

Of course, even though I am grateful and happy, I’ve also been a miserable disaster. I feel sick, I’m already fat, my boobs are bursting out of 95% of the shirts I own, and of course, my hypochondria is in full effect.

It’s not like I’d forgotten how much I hate pregnancy in the four years since I've done it, but god, I really, really hate it.

I told Rachel that this nine-month odyssey is the equivalent of my trek to the top of the black and scary mountain to drop the ring into the fiery pit.

Sometimes, when I’m being extra pathetic, Dan calls me a “brave little soldier.” Let’s just make one thing clear from the outset: I have no intention toughing any portion of this out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Into the Belly of the Beast

“How interested are you in feminism?” Dan asked, while I was putting some dishes away.

“Very,” I said, noncommittally.

“I’m happy to hear you say that,” he said, “because I have a movie on Tivo that explores the very roots of feminism.”

I flashed him my look. The one that says, “Look, Buddy, I’m not to be fooled or cajoled.”

“What is it?” I asked dryly.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” he revealed, grinning.

Luckily, I had work to do, so I was only mildly aware of the sights and sounds of the Angelina Jolie classic. However, I did notice that when Lara hit the shower in the nude, Dan commented, “Now here is where the real feminism begins.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sharing the Laughter and Love

Today I went to a pretty-good staff development workshop where I learned several strategies. Some, like Dancing Definitions, I will surely try; and others, like Who, What, When, Where & How, I almost certainly will not.

WWWW&H requires some group chanting and clapping and pseudo-rapping that would absolutely make me look like a total idiot in front of the sophs.

In fact, I can imagine them brandishing their cell phones to take videos of me making an ass of myself that they would then upload to YouTube under the tags, “teacher” and “psychotic.”

I did, however, try the rhythm and clapping strategy with Shef and Dan. They seemed to enjoy it. I mean, first they had to get over the initial shock of what a total idiot I look like while digging the funky beat, but then, they started to harness the WWWW&H power.

I pseudo-rapped about NASCAR drivers and Shrek. Dan paid tribute to Belle and other NASCAR drivers.

Shef also liked to do the chanting. His most successful verses were about Cinderella. And her butt.

So, I’m sure I’ll have a few questions to answer tomorrow at preschool.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Happened to Just Doing a Nice Job With the Kids? Now We Have to Boil?

Dan’s in Charlotte. North Carolina.

You know where that is, right?

Deep in the heart of NASCAR country.

Because we’ve all gone down Redneck Lane, we’re really hoping that he’ll locate a red #8 helmet to go with the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. jumpsuit Shef will be wearing for Halloween.

You know what? I’m not proud, but I’m not hiding it either.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

That's the Situation

A disgruntled David Sedaris fan overheard me telling my friend Jordan that I’d be seeing the famed humorist at the State Theater last night.

“Oh, I saw him last year,” he said, knowingly.

“Oh, great!” I smiled. “Was he good?”

“Well,” he sighed. “I always have a problem when people charge you fifty bucks just to hear them read from their book. I mean, Ira Glass did the same thing.”

He was really bitter about the practice, I could tell.

“I mean,” he continued, “I even wrote a letter afterwards. That’s one thing. If you write Sedaris a letter, he’ll write you back. A handwritten letter.”

“Really!” I said, semi-supportively.

I was thinking that perhaps this fan didn't fully appreciate how funny Sedaris's voice is just in itself.

And also, maybe he hadn't nearly peed his pants the time he heard Sedaris singing on "This American Life."

The fact is, Sedaris is definitely at least fifty bucks of funny. And the stories he told last night were not actually in his currently published books.

So. Overall, I was deeply satisfied by his performance.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vegetarians are the Enemy of Everything Good and Decent in the Human Spirit

My friend and dissertation-finisher, Lee, told me that Kitchen Confidential by sometime-Top Chef judge and vegetarian-hater Anthony Bourdain would be a good choice for reading.

She's right. It's wicked fun. And I'm learning valuable lessons, like don't order mussels ever and also no fish on Mondays. Furthermore, Tuesdays are really the best night to eat out.

And speaking of reality television, only 30-some days until Project Runway Season 4. There will be a challenge for sure.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Status Report

On progress of religious education:

Me: What did you learn today in Church School?
Shef [hands me a picture of Noah's Ark he's "colored"]: A ship.
Me: What kind of ship is it?
Shef: It's an animal ship, [duh].

On not getting ass-kicked by beginning of school year:

Me [upon entering school building]: Hi.
Rach: Hi, Kace. Wow. You look like a wreck.
Me: I'm even wearing my eye-brightener.
Rach: God. Sorry.

On maintaining a happy, peaceful marriage:

Dan: I can't believe you told your friend that "Remarkably, [I] am the least nerdy of all my high school friends."
Me: I didn't mean it like that.
Dan: What did you mean? That I am so nerdy it would be impossible to find a whole group of nerdier people?
Me: Well.
Me: Tell me this: What shoes are you planning on wearing to your reunion? Go put your shoes on, and then we'll talk about nerdy.
Dan [returning wearing woolen, open-backed clogs. Planning to wear these to swank bar for fancy school reunion]: What? [indignant] These are cool!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You Can't You Won't And You Don't Stop

I've been ignoring this blog, since I've had nothing to write on it. I do feel bad about not writing. The guilt is overwhelming, actually.

I was going to post on Saturday while I was at work. Working. On my part-time job.

But then I didn't.

The problem with September blogging is that I usually forget about the intensity of the beginning of the year, and how it sucks me dry, no matter what level of FTE I'm embodying. I forget about it until I'm smack dab in the middle of it, barely keeping my head above water and straining to stay awake past nine every night. This year, I'm only supposed to be just a little more than half-time, but so far I'm working kind of a lot. So far, I'm definitely in that "dear Lord, deliver me from this madness" kind of place.

One example of me working a lot so far was open house, which was from 6:45-9:00 on a Monday night. I'm usually quite good at doing open house, and the parents generally like me. I do it well so that later in the year when their kids come home saying, "God, Ms. W. is such a bitch," their parents will think this is a total lie.

Anyway, at this year's open house, I got kind of flustered in my first talk. I think it was because the parents mostly didn't laugh at my of opening jokes. Also there were some people there whom I knew to be somewhat disapproving of the literature selections I've made for their children. And, lots of people seemed to be scowling at me. Only one that I saw was nodding and smiling.

Still, I persevered. I made it through the talk with just moderate voice-wavering and, of course, the requisite sweat attack. Luckily, I was wearing a jacket, so as to avoid any potential sweat rings and classroom b.o. contamination.

In the break between the first and second talks, I went out to the hall to commiserate with my pals.

"It was kind of rough," I said.

"Yeah Kace," Rachel replied,"you have HIVES."

And sure enough. I did.

That's the whole story. Fini.

Can't you see why I haven't been posting here?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Like Two Dolphins In The Ocean of Our Hearts

We’re well into the fall swing now. After two weeks as high-schoolers, the sophs are coming around to the W-Way of operating. By all reports, Shef has become a leader in his class, rather than a follower, now that the boys he idolizes have graduated to the next room. And, of course, the new season of swimming lessons has commenced. This marks the first time one of the parents doesn’t have to actually get in the water with the cherub, and I’ve got to say, we’re all quite glad.

The photo credit here goes to Rachel, who, because she is such an excellent friend and sensitive to my needs as an extreme extrovert, consented to accompany me poolside and then documented the session via her Blackberry.

Now, if Dan would just quit working out-of-town so much, things would be perfect. I would feel worse for him regarding his travel schedule if he wasn’t in San Francisco, where he enjoys Room Service, happy hours, and first-class dinners, while I wile away at home, trying to sleep while Shef glues himself to my chest.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

We Are Called To Act With Justice

Today, we made Shef start Church School. He wasn’t that psyched, but it was time: he simply had to go.

For someone who had a very thoughtful and thorough religious upbringing, I’ve done a pretty shitty job of educating my child in the Christian faith. I think I mentioned Jesus once at Christmas last year, and then again at Easter, just before the traditional egg roll.

“Jesus is a baby,” Shef said then, confused.

“Oh, right,” I said lamely. “Well, he was one at Christmas, but now he’s died and, uh. Well. He’s risen from the dead.”

Blank stare.

"Here, have a jelly bean."

So, this morning, as we were playing with the knights, wiling away the time before our return to worship, I started in again: “So, Shef, what do you know about God?”

“Nothing,” he answered, snapping a mace into his jouster’s hand without looking up. “What is it?”

I'm afraid that Church School has a lot of heathen to knock out of him. Godspeed to them in their efforts.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hearts On Fire, Strong Desire, Rages Deep Within

The new year is going pretty much okay, I think. I have been exceedingly cheerful, welcoming, and enthusiastic, if I do say so myself. I have gone the extra mile both in kindness AND in eye make-up.

“Do you notice anything different about me?” I blurted at Rachel the first morning, gesturing frantically at my face.

“Yes!” she cried supportively. While I waited for the impending compliment on my new cosmetics, I noticed a look of slight panic begin to creep across her face. “Haircut?” she offered. “Contacts? New outfit? EARRINGS!”

“NO!” I couldn’t contain myself. “It’s eye brightener!!

Besides that, which was less embarrassing than last year's Tourette's attack regarding pointy shoes, beacause at least Rachel now knows me, the only little hiccup has been this afternoon when I found myself babbling on and on incoherently about this speech the sophs are supposed to give tomorrow, while madly scribbling pieces of thinking maps on the board.

“I still don’t get what we’re doing,” a brave, but sullen little guy piped up.

“Well, the directions for this step are right here,” I offered, pointing at a section of the assignment sheet.

“Yeah,” he slumped, “I read that like, twenty times, and I still have no idea what to do.”

“Hmmm,” I answered, at a loss for any ideas about how to explain differently or better. “Well!” Pause. “Let’s just move on to the brace map!!”

I’ll be shocked if anyone has any clue what they’re doing tomorrow. Shocked, but enthusiastic and with bright eyes.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Awesome Casual Dining

So, summer didn't suck, but still, it's over.

I welcome the sophs back to school tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Just Want To Say One Thing: Be The Extra Degree

Rachel has been trying to convince me that now that we're finished with grad school, we should move immediately on to National Board Certification. The great thing about this certification is that in my school district, it gets you an extra 4k, no questions asked, every year for ten years.

That’s a lot of dough.

I've been telling Rach that we should go for the certification next year. I would have more time then, I said. And also, I just finished My Stupid Master’s Degree™ and all.

But, today, good pal Tim was recognized for completing his National Boards, and in addition to the cash, he also got a nice golden apple.

It even has his name engraved on it.

I think the apple incentive might just put me over the edge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jick In A Box

Yesterday I got my hair cut from shoulder-length to chin-length. My pal Emily master-minded this welcome transformation. It’s the shortest I’ve had my hair in four years.

When Dan got home at 10:30 from a firm function last night, he sat on the couch with me for a half-hour while I finished watching Music and Lyrics, the lame, but sort of endearing comedy featuring Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. Then, finally, as we're going up the stairs, he asks wonderingly, “Did you get your hair cut?”

“Um, yeah,” I say. “It’s, like, dramatic.”

He looks sheepish. “You don’t always notice when I get my hair cut,” he says.

I roll my eyes. “That’s because yours goes from this long [fingers one-and-a-half inches apart] to this long [fingers one inch apart].”

Just about every two weeks, Dan announces that he’s starting to look like “some damned hippie” and skips off to Great Clips for a treatment.

So, today, while I was at work, the juniors were queued up to get their schedules and pictures taken. I made eye contact with Marie, a nice former-soph whom I last saw on June 13. I wave as I walk by, and she shrieks, “Ms. W.! Oh my gosh, I love your hair!”

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fresh, So Fresh

I took a blog break while we were on vacation with our friends Adam, Tracy, and their daughter, Sophie. The trip was way fun. By day we waterskied, kayaked, boated, and swam. Tracy has a small problem with clothes pile-up, so she did laundry. Every day. Mostly at least twice a day. Sometimes she’d ask us to take off the clothes we were wearing in order to wash them.

Look, we all have fun in our own ways.

By night, we played a card game called Smear, which is native to the U.P., from whence Adam’s family hails. This was a re-match between Team AK-47, comprised of Adam and me, and Team Dumb Tits, comprised of Dan and Tracy. AK-47 prevailed on Grand Cayman in 2001. In fact, we dominated. The Tits, as Adam would say, they were a-saggin’ big time back then on our first vacation together.

So, I tell you, I felt confident coming into Grudge Match 2007, an event that spanned six nights. And AK-47 certinaly had our ups, for sure. But in the end, I’m sorry to say that the Tits, well, they pushed up, if you will.

Still, I want you to know that I when I won, I won graciously; and when I lost, I accepted defeat with maturity and a zen-like disposition.


I only swore and swatted at Dan a couple of times, I swear. And I apologized sincerely for all of those.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The End of An Era

Perhaps it’s a sign that summer’s gone on too long when you’re sitting alone in your dirty house watching Billy Bob Thornton get his drink on in Badder Santa: The Unrated Version while feeling mildly nauseous from doing too many bad flip turns in the pool at the YWCA.

Tonight is Top Chef, though. I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

He's Gotta Be Strong And He's Gotta Be Fast And Gotta Be Fresh From The Fight

His latest hobbies are cross dressing and trying to spit and pee into the toilet at the same time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Flat Tires

A bridge collapsed yesterday a few miles from our house. It’s surreal, isn’t it? Huge structures aren’t supposed to just come crashing down without warning, killing people and crushing metal.

“This is just a reminder that we could all die at any time,” I told Dan, as we were trying to make sense of the disaster. “There are a million ways we could die every day.”

Neither of us slept very well last night.

At six, I pulled Shef into our bed for maximum dozing. Before he opened his eyes at seven, he said determinedly, “I want to be a big brudder.”

“I know, kiddo,” I said.

And do I ever. Last week, he repeatedly told his whole class he was getting a baby. Congratulations, his teacher finally told me on Friday. I tried to smile as I refuted the news.

“Tell me when the baby is done growing in your tummy,” Shef continued this morning. “Actually, let’s grow two babies. That way we can each hold one.”

And so there have been lots of reminders that we are not, in fact, in very much control at all.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Her Name Is Rio And She Dances On The Sand

I woke up in a funk today. I logged at least twenty-five deep sighs before ten o’clock.

“Do you want to go to the museum tomorrow?” Sheila IM’ed.

“I don’t know,” I responded. “I’m despondent.”

Finally, I left for the Y to try to swim away the bad attitude.

On the way there, I called Rachel, who tolerated about ten additional audible sighs. I could tell the funk was extra thick because I was speaking longingly to her about going back to school.

After I got to the Y, I stood in the vestibule for a few minutes, sighing and droning on until I decided to just get on with the exercise.

“Call me back later,” Rachel said.

“Sure,” I agreed. “I’ll probably have to call you because I’ll go in and weigh myself and discover that I have yet to lose a single pound this summer despite working out for -- wait for it -- FIVE HOURS EVERY WEEK.”

And then sure enough.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This Entry Isn't Funny At All. Just So You Know.

Since college, I’ve gone through phases of getting in and out of shape. The in-shape phases have been motivated by wanting to be less frumpy, wanting to run a fast marathon, wanting to fit into my clothes better, wanting to distract myself while writing my thesis, wanting to lose the fifty-odd pounds I gained in pregnancy, and wanting to feel less stressed.

Last summer, the challenge of training for a totally new sport was a perfect foil to the graduate-school work which was no longer exciting to me – reviewing the literature on digital literacy and learning about my ethical research responsibilities. Brain stuff that wasn’t all that rewarding.

This summer, I returned to triathlon to make myself feel happier after an unexpected disappointment. I came to it to make myself feel good. And so I’m a little easier on myself in training, which is a pleasant surprise. I’ve never been a just-get-out-there exerciser, but I have to say, it’s kind of nice to run slow if I feel tired, and I like to stretch out in the pool if I feel sore.

I recommend it heartily, actually.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Yesterday, I got up at 4:08 am to get ready to drive to Chisago City for my first triathlon of the season – a 400-meter swim, 20-mile bike, and 5k run.

I arrived at the park at 5:30, and after I’d checked in and finished setting up my transition area (tris are a bit more complicated than running races in that you need a bunch of gear quickly accessible between each leg of the effort), I headed down to the beach, wearing spandex from neck-to-knee, to wait for my wave to go off.

I only had a few moments of, “Why the hell did I sign up for this?” – historically my most common pre-race sentiment – before we waded in thigh-deep and heeded the two-step command to start swimming.

The biggest problem of the day was finding my bike rack each time I entered transition. There were 1200 people participating in this event, and that equals a lot of stuff.

Even though I told myself while I was out there that I was just doing this "as a celebration of fitness," we all know I really like to beat people. As I finished in the top third of my age group and the race overall, I'd say that's pretty much okay.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

He Wears Yellow Crocs Now

Last summer, a pair of lime-green Crocs sort of changed our lives. He wore them, oh, maybe 280 of the last 365 days.

The greens are now too small, and we're on to yellow. He seems to like the yellow just as much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Don't. Stop. Thinkin' About Tomorrow.

First, I fell of my bike again on Sunday. I wasn’t even riding the bike with the fancy pedals. And once again, I was standing at an intersection. Of course, it was supremely embarrassing.

So given this incident, the one described below, and the unfortunate occasion on which I prompted my spinning instructor to repeatedly shriek, “PRESS THE EMERGENCY BRAKE!” it seems the only bikes I’ve fallen off of in my adult life have been stationary.

Second, I have finished the last of the Harry Potter installments, and I am deeply satisfied.

Third, it’s not too late to join the Top Chef challenge. Come on! Guess this week's loser and post the name in comments.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Trying to Get Away, Into the Night

On Monday, Cycling Mentor Jamie gave me a lesson in how to change a flat tire. I also bought a little under-seat bag to carry an extra tube, tire levers, and a CO2 cartridge. It's stuff I should have had all along, frankly.

Today, on my first ride with my new supplies, I flatted 12 miles from home. Thanks to Jamie’s careful instruction, I thought I knew what to do. I calmly dismounted and got to work on changing the tube.

Just as I was finishing, a guy came out of his nearby townhouse to see if I had everything in hand. “You got it?” he asked.

“Yep,” I said, re-setting the chain, pride surging through my spandex-clad body. I felt victorious, actually. Like I'd accomplished an important and edifying triathlon rite of passage. I refastened my helmet and smiled at the guy. “I feel victorious,” I told him.

“Um,” he said. “Well. Good then.” He pinched the back tire and helped me spin the pedals to get the gearing worked out. “You should be ready to ride.”

So I did. For 11 more miles.

I didn’t find the second flat to be quite as empowering.

I didn’t have another tube, so I was forced to get off my bike and walk the last mile home across the Franklin Avenue bridge while wearing my form-fitting outfit, including shorts with a huge pad in the ass. My helmet hung from the handlebars, as I pushed my incapacitated cycling machine on the sidewalk while lots and lots of cars whizzed by.

I felt like a total tool, to tell you the truth.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's All About Finesse, Style, Grace, and Elegance

I’ve found that dinner is more enjoyable if I present the food I’ve made a la Top Chef.

For instance, this evening I stood to the right of Dan’s chair, swooped his dish dramatically down to the placemat, and recited: “Tonight we have a San Marzano tomato sauce served over whole-grain pasta. The sauce is built on an olive oil and garlic base, featuring farm-fresh zucchini and red scallions, and garnished with fresh sprigs of basil. On the side, we have a fresh caprese salad with Minnesota-grown tomatos, organic avocados and vidalia onions, and fresh mozarella with a balsamic drizzle. Please enjoy.”

Then a terse nod, and straight to my seat to test the seasoning.

I recommend trying this at your house for kicks. I also recommend watching Top Chef.

Seriously, why haven’t you? They do a marathon on Bravo every Wednesday before the new show airs at 9 Central.

Please enjoy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Think the Whole Shrimp Course Was Really Poetic

I have avoided checking my school email this summer, but today I logged in.

I logged in, and I downloaded the superintendent’s e-newsletter for July, which included information about the "Wellness Policy." Apparently this document mandates that carbonated beverages will no longer be available for purchase anywhere on school property.


Including the staff lounges.




Do they have any idea what will happen to the quality of my English instruction after fourth hour if an emergency Diet Coke is beyond the realm of possibility?

How does the "Wellness" Policy think we survive in a building with fifteen-hundred teenagers every day?

And what are their plans for dealing with the increased need for mental health counseling due to sixth-hour nervous breakdowns?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Living Large

Rachel told me she thought I might be too old to appreciate Zach Braff's manifesto, Garden State, which arrived this afternoon from Blockbuster.

Too old! Pish tosh. Listen, I get angst like nobody's business.

For the record, I watched and enjoyed Braff's fine film this evening on a portable DVD player complete with my own comfy headphones. Dan sat next to me on the couch customizing his quarterback avatar on Madden 2007, an endeavor that occupied our television.

I gotta tell you, it's a romantic life here in married-almost-five-years land. You newlyweds have a lot to aspire to.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Long, Boring, and Ultimately Embarrassing

Because of My Stupid Master’s Degree™, begun four years ago, and, you know, Shef, also begun four years ago; I haven’t seen any movies or read very many literary books in that amount of time. Four years.

I’ve set about remedying that situation this summer by joining Blockbuster Online and reading stuff. I read a little and watch a little every day. In case you want to know what I’m reading or watching you can look in the right sidebar, where I’m keeping a list. If you don’t care what I’m reading and watching, then you don’t have to look at it.

Also, I’m doing triathlon training, which brings me joy. This summer, I’m riding my new road bike with clipless pedals, the kinds of pedals that your shoes lock in to. The kinds of pedals that bad-ass and wannabe bad-ass cyclists use.

The trouble with clipless pedals is that, you know, you clip your feet into them. And then when you want to stop and put your feet on the ground, you have to be able to clip them OUT.

This hasn’t been a serious problem, except today. After I’d already clipped out my right foot and was waiting at an intersection, right foot on the ground and left foot clipped in; I lost my balance.

I lost my balance, began falling to the left, but of course the left foot was still locked into the pedal, and there was no time to get it out. In a panic, I reached out for cycling mentor Jamie, who happened to be right there. But in reaching for her, I really just pushed her down.

And then we were both on the ground under our bikes. When I first got down there, my left foot was still clipped into the bike, and I had to lift the bike off my legs and twist my foot violently to toward the ground in order to be able to stand up again.

This took time. And there were several witnesses.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I'll Show You Run-of-the-Mill

Lee recently asked for boring stories. Well, today we cleaned out our basement, extracting no fewer than nine trash bags of junk and half-a-garage full of second-hand furniture that’s ready for a third hand.

While we were at it, Shef played with Nana. We all had dinner together, and then when we got home, I ordered some more knight books from Amazon because I’m really sick of reading In the Castle fifty million times a day.

That’s all.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

All of His Research is Really Paying Off

We saw a billboard featuring a suit of armor on the way home from the bagel shop this morning.

“That’s what I wear when I fight,” Shef said knowingly. “Armor, a shield, and chainmail.”

“Hmmmm,” I said.

“Yep,” the would-be fighter continued, “armor protects knights against swords, spears, lances, and other weapons.”

And I’m so glad he’s using his powers for good.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Everyone Should Really Eat More Organic, Local Food

Anyone who’s spoken to me for more than five minutes this summer knows I’m completely obsessed with the vegetables. They come from Richard at Harmony Valley Farm each Thursday, and I fixate on becoming more organic, more green, and much more healthy via consumption of these magic fruits of our Midwestern land.

I’ve been chatting nonstop about the veggies since January, and Dan still thinks it’s funny to pretend he has no idea what I’m talking about.

What vegetables?” he’ll ask distractedly, as I read through recipe ideas and serve up delicious organic meals and side dishes.

This nonchalance does not subvert my passion, I’ll tell you what.

So far, my goal has just been not to throw anything away, but now my rock-star colleague Jackie, who turned me on to the farm in the first place, has started up a blog devoted to sharing ideas about using Harmony Valley products. This is seriously going to elevate my cooking. Mark my words.

Friday, June 29, 2007

It Had a Lot of Flavor, But It Was All Pea.

Usually I totally understand Dan’s crushes. Natalie Maines: Yes. Ashley Judd: Obviously.

“Sporty Spice is off the list now,” he told me last night, “but Baby Spice is totally on it.”

And I think that’s a good edit.

But I do not understand his fascination with the host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi. Padma seems smart and nice. She seems to have a discerning palate and contributes nicely to "Judges Table." Overall, I think she does a swell job of hosting the second-best reality show on television.

But, she’s not hot. She’s actually kind of emaciated, I think; her wardrobe is questionable, and in some shots, her face looks somehow just not quite right.

“Look,” I said emphatically, as we watched this week’s show, “she looks kind of like a reptile right now.”

“Yeah,” Dan replied without a pause. “A hot reptile who I’d like to have sex with.”

Excellent. I guess there are some things we don’t need to understand about one another for our marriage to continue.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Latest

The latest obsession is knights. He reads about knights, dresses up like a knight, pretends every ordinary household object is a medieval weapon, rides the armrest of the couch to practice jousting, and requests that we both “get angry and spring to action!!”

Yesterday, when I picked him up from school, he was running around the playground with a bucket on his head while brandishing a shovel. This behavior was tricky to explain. Actually, I sort of feigned ignorance.

Photo credit: Dobby

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Vacation Report

So, Santa Fe rocks. On the morning of our second day, I told Dan I’d like to live there someday, and he looked at me like I was insane.

Because, of course, everybody knows that Minnesota is The Promised Land and should you desire to be closer to God, all it takes is a dip in one of our 10,000 pristine lakes. Or a quick trip to the State Fair.

But then, that evening we sipped cocktails on the patio of a partner’s sprawling adobe sanctuary on the mesa, where we gazed at the sun setting behind the Sangre de Cristos mountains, and he was singing a different tune.

The next day we conquered the rapids on the Taos Racecourse, which was way fun. On the way to the rafting drop-off point, the guide asked us why we’d all gotten together for the weekend.

Someone said, “To gain weight and be drunk.”

That’s mostly true. I also think it was provide an incentive to keep them working so goddam hard.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Under a Sky of Azure

Dan and I are headed to Santa Fe tomorrow. He has some work to do, and I’ll be devoting myself to lounging. Lounging and also digging the chilled-out Southwestern Vibe.

There will be some river rafting, a Wild West night, and a bit of gallery hopping. Plus a book club meeting on Death Comes for the Archbishop, which isn’t as bad as I feared.

Instead of joining us in The Land of Enchantment, Shef will run his grandparents ragged at the cabin in Wisconsin. I’ll miss him a little; although I won’t miss his defiant streak:

“We had a rough morning,” he explained to me on the way to school, after the worst was over.

“Um hmm,” I said. “And why was that?”

“Because,” he said nodding, “I was not cooperating with you.”

I’ll be cooperating with myself until Sunday.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Status Report

This summer, so far, has been too busy. There has been party-planning, house-cleaning, sitting in the f’ing Department of Motor Vehicles and attempting unsuccessfully to be seen in the urgent care clinic.

Tomorrow, I do have a few jobs to do; but I plan to carve out a chunk of time to devote to watching Entourage. I’ve never seen it and I’ve been told it’s entertaining.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And My First Summer Reading Book Will Be...

Death Comes For the Archbishop by Willa Cather.

Yeah. I know.

It's just that I couldn't see any way out of the Book Club meeting at Dan's law firm retreat next weekend, seeing as I'm an English teacher and all.

I'll let you know how it is. I'm sure I'll like it at least as much as I liked My Antonia.

Which was not at all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Year Is Over

It was a year of ups and downs, all of which were more manageable because of my teaching pals, Rachel and Tim, whose rooms conveniently flank mine and who cheerfully tolerate my mercurial disposition and all-too-frequent use of the f-word.

Today, Tim came into Rach’s room, where I was wiling away the moments until the goodbye luncheon, to hand over her summer viewing assignments. She’s teaching a couple of sections of Art of Film next year, and I guess she should be familiar with the ins and outs of the western, film noir, and screwball comedy.

“This one,” Tim said, holding up Bringing Up Baby, “I show out of spite.”

We laughed.

“I mean, the kids hate it, but it’s kind of funny,” he continued. “Katharine Hepburn is kind of annoying, but Cary Grant? Seriously. Even I think he’s hot.”

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's Going to Be a Great Summer

Shef: I’m going to need some new sunglasses.

Me: Aren’t they still in your kayak?

Shef: No.

Me: Where are they?

Shef: They’re in the deep water.

Me: They fell in the water?

Shef: Yes.

Me: While you were kayaking?

Shef: Yes.

Me: It was an accident?

Shef: No.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ginger, Get the Popcorn

I said adios to two classes today. They took their final exams and will be swiftly on their way to junior year. Some shook hands or hugged. Others just gave a shout or wave from the door. Some slunk out without acknowledging the end. Dylan, who had an unfortunate plagiarism episode a week-and-a-half ago after a year of small steps forward and the slow and painful realization that "fuck" is not an appropriate word for the classroom, wrote me a heartfelt note in the back of his Blue Book: “I want you know I love you as a teacher,” he said. “I have a ton of respect for you as a person and as a teacher. I’m sorry I cheated, and I’ll never do it again.”

Good enough for me.

Monday, June 4, 2007

It's Big Block of Cheese Day

I’m not sure what to say as I’m coming down the homestretch. I’m actually going to miss most some of these sophs. They’re cute and kind of earnest. We’ve gotten along for the most part. Still, there’s a lot to grade, and a lot of it is half-assed and crappy. The sophs, it seems, are readier for summer than their teacher, who becomes depressed when sitting idle, but remains happily distracted from her woes while trucking along at a breakneck pace.

In this trying time I’ve reverted to Aaron Sorkin. Dan and Rachel have been aiding and abetting my addiction. At home, we’ve been watching Sports Night, a show on which the two lead characters are named Dan and Casey. Dan and Casey! Like us, only I’m an initial KC who prefers to be pronounced as a real Casey.

And at home and abroad (at Rach’s house), I’ve been re-living season one of The West Wing, a show I loved so much I thought my heart would burst if I wasn’t home on Wednesdays at eight o’clock from 1999-2004.

I’ll let you know if anything exciting happens between now and Friday.

There’s bound to be at least one thing, I suppose.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

If You've Never Been a High School Teacher, You Will Definitely Be Shocked By This Story

Billy is a barely-functional, overly-hormonal soph who manages to do a little work in English maybe once every ten days. Last week, instead of working, he left my room to go to the bathroom. After a half-an-hour, he burst back into the classroom shouting about the size what he produced there. It was really gross.

I try to control him, but I am mostly powerless against this kind of infantile behavior, especially on May 31st, when the count stands at seven days.

So, during class today, Billy shouted out, “Hey, Ms. W! I fathered a child last night.”

“Billy,” I said, not looking up from the papers I was grading, “that’s impossible. No girls would ever go out with you when you act the way you do.”

The class, most of them working pretty hard on their graphic stories due tomorrow, erupted. “Oh, SMACK!” they said.

“Look, Billy,” I said, a little sheepish at having attracted so much attention on his behalf, “I’d be happy to give you tips on how to impress more women.” I kept my eyes on my grade book. “Your first step would be to engage in less public farting.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Our Family Has a Couple New Hobbies

Over the weekend, we potty-trained our little redneck. Current stats: three accidents in four days.

Also, Casey Mears won his first Nextel Cup race. Yee-haw.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer. Shamon.

OTTL Renee and I staged a reunion at the awards night for the graduating seniors that we taught as eighth graders way back in 2002-2003, our one magic year of being teammates.

The kids were cute, and they won a bunch of awards. We had made it through an hour-and-a-half of the ceremony. And then the prize-winning Dramatic Duo from the speech team took the stage.

I’m sure they were quite good, but we’d already reverted to telling fart jokes and poking each other. Their imitation of Squiffy the Tape Worm was only fanning the fire; and I was reminded of the time I turned to her as we walked into a faculty meeting to call her on being a bad influence:

“Look,” I said, still reeling from the scolding I’d gotten from the principal the month before, “I’m just not going to be able to sit next to you at meetings anymore.”

Tonight, as we were laughing backstage waiting to present a scholarship award and she was waving from the wings at the kids on the stage, I beseeched her to show some decorum.

“Do you have any idea how many times you’ve shushed me tonight?” she asked.

Many, many times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Shaming

I had to have a sub, and all of my classes were perfect except one group of enriched sophs.

That one group told the sub that they didn’t have to pick up their trash because the janitor would do it for them. They also told her that presentation skills didn’t matter in the projects they were doing (a lie), and so a couple of boys did their talk while lying on their backs, kicking their legs. They also played their videos in slow motion because the group slated to go after them wanted to stall one more day.

Some other kids refused to give the sub information about the activity they were requiring of the class. She wrote to me that “the class has a lot to learn about self-control.” When she told the kids she’d never seen anything like their behavior in all 30 years of teaching and subbing at the high school, they told her that maybe they were acting that way because their teacher wasn’t there.

It’s fair to say I was less than pleased.

A letter was written and read to the class expressing my distinct displeasure. The letter was designed to elicit maximum guilt. The letter included information about the dangers of by-standers: if you think I'm not speaking to you, the letter said, you better think again.

The letter said that the sub report reflected a failure of the whole. The whole certainly included me, the letter said, because I had made the mistake of trusting them with too much independence.

And so we go to 9. Days, of course. I’ve decided I’ll forgive them when they work up the guts to speak to me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Little Artist's Program At School Is Having An Effect

Shef: Mom, Michelangelo did not use a ladder.

Me: Really? What did he use?

Shef: He used scaffolding.

Me: Oh, great.

Shef: So, if you forgot the yellow or green, you had to go all the way back down and up again.

Me: Hmmm. So he could paint the ceiling?

Shef: (nodding) Yes. And also DaVinci.

Me: What about DaVinci?

Shef: He did the Mona Lisa.

Me: That’s right!

Shef: If you go see it at the Children’s Museum, the eyes might move.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You Can Call Me "Master." Or "Of Arts."

I can’t really believe this, but I’m finished with graduate school.

I know.

My life is one big open field of possibilities.

Yep! Lots of possibilities.

And so far I only have one plan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I'm watching the end of the Gilmore Girls. This is it. The end. No more Gilmores.

This show has been an insitution in my life. I have seen every single episode from all seven seasons. My students tell me I look like Alexis Bledel. I have a crush on Lauren Graham. I wept when Rory graduated from high school, and again when she graduated from Yale. I have visited GG fansites, for god's sake, where all the fourteen-year-old female enthusiasts post their gushing praise for all things Gilmore.

It's official. I'm in mourning. I have been forced to read the E! Online TV blogs to see if there might be anything on the horizon that might fill the special place in my heart that the Gilmore Girls have occupied. I highly doubt it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Think The Lyrics Have Played Themselves Out For Now

This morning I was breezing into my room after chatting in the hallway with Rachel, when I ran into Jude, one of my lovelies who plays in a rock band and pulls a C in English class by the rim of his skateboard.

“Oh, hey,” he says casually, “I just left you a note. Could you charge my iPod for me first hour, and then I’ll come back and get it second hour?”

“Uh, NO,” I say, incredulous.

Jude scraped his gelled bangs off his forehead and seemed genuinely surprised at my refusal. “Why not?”

“BeCAUSE,” I began, “I am not responsible for your electronics! BeCAUSE, I am not an iPod charging service!”

“C’mon, Ms. W.,” he pleaded.

“NO! If you would like to dock your iPod during sixth hour WHEN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE CLASS HERE, I may consider it,” I finish with a big eyeroll.

“Oh-kay,” Jude says, walking toward the desk to reclaim his silver nano.

And now we're at fifteen. Days, that is.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I Study Nuclear Science, I love My Classes, I have a Crazy Teacher, He Wears Dark Glasses

Dan’s poor parents asked me how work was today, so I was forced to give them a recap of the lesson.

To warm up, I sighed deeply and rolled my eyes.

“If I told you that the two of you were to create annotated bibliographies,” I said, “and as a pair, you could share three sources; but then each of you had to have three of your own, how many sources would you include in your bibliography?”

Jane looked at me skeptically. “Six,” she said, clearly wondering about the catch.

“Right,” I nodded, pausing for dramatic effect. “And I spent twenty minutes explaining that to my first hour.”

And we’re down to seventeen days, people. Seventeen days.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gotta Gotta Get Up To Get Down

There’s something about May that really inspires a countdown.

“How many teaching days do I have left?”

For sure, I count every Sunday, and most often, at least one other time during the week. There’s just too much exhaustion and craziness going on NOT to count. The count, especially when it gets below 20, is reassuring. It’s like when I’m running a race and feeling like I’m going to drop dead at any second, I’ll figure out how many minutes I have left. Then I’ll tell myself, “You can do anything for ten minutes.” Or seven minutes, or four, or whatever.

My love for the count is, incidentally, the reason I couldn’t make it through labor. No one could tell me just how much longer I had to hold on. And also, the child was freakishly large and not descending.

The number of days is now at the threshold: 20. That’s not including final exam days and days I know I’ll have subs due to various professional development responsibilities. Because any day I don't have to speak to 130 sophs is a day off in my book.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pour Myself a Cup of Ambition

Some of my students are reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri for their choice text. I love this book, and I recommend it to all. Anyway, because the kid in the book has a problem with his name, the group was talking about the names they would choose for their own future children.

“Hey, Ms. W.,” said one, “does, like, having students influence your choice of names? Like, if you had a kid in class, does that make you not want to pick that name?”

“Well,” I said, deciding to be honest, “I guess if it’s been a particularly difficult student, I might not pick the name.”

“Are there any names you definitely wouldn’t choose?” someone asked.

“Any names that rhyme with swear words are out,” I said definitively, thinking of Dan’s enthusiasm for the name Tucker. As a former middle school teacher, there’s no freaking way I could abide that.

Landon, a cheerful soph with an optimistic outlook, said, “So, if ‘Landon’ were on your list of choices, would having me in your life make you more likely to choose the name or less likely?”

“Definitely more likely,” I said, nodding, which was really the only right answer.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

And You Lift Me Up in a Wave of Love

On Thursday night, some colleagues and I sojourned to Cragun’s, an up-north resort, to participate in a conference featuring English-related teaching techniques. It was a pretty good time, and we thought the talks went well, but the food wasn’t terrific. It was especially un-terrific for Rach, and what with the puking, she missed the story-teller on Friday evening.

When I got home on Saturday morning, I went straight into a whirlwind weekend including a trip to the Children’s Theater, a couple of visits to the hospital to see my grandfather, a birthday party for Dan’s sister, and errands at Target today, during which Shef rode in high-style on one of their super kid-carrying carts, standing on one foot on a platform designed for sitting, making exclamations like: “I love standing on one foot!” and “My penis shakes while we’re driving!”

I don’t think anyone could blame me for being tired.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's a Big Enough Umbrella

This is something I definitely shouldn’t proclaim out loud.

Instead, I’m going to whisper it really really quietly:

Shef has slept in his own bed all night, every night for the last three nights.

I don’t know why he's doing this, and I don’t dare expect it to last. But still. I do appreciate his willingness, however fleeting, to accommodate my recent spring-induced rash of exhaustion. When I collapsed at 8:30 last night, the kid was dozing as well; and when I woke just once at 12:15 to rub his back, he was snoring again before I made it back from the bathroom.

Friday, April 20, 2007

See You're The Kind of Person Who Believes In Makin' Out Once

Yesterday, we did a practice for the vile standardized test the sophs will be taking next week. The passage was a biography of Jocelyn Elders.

It was an innocuous chronological piece with zero pizzaz. Elders was born in 1933 on a cotton farm, got a scholarship to college, was the only African-American person in her medical school class, and later was named Surgeon General by Bill Clinton. She overcame many obstacles in her life.

Isn’t that great and admirable?

I let the kids answer all the multiple choice questions – compelling questions like “What does the word segregated mean in paragraph three?” – before I told them the reasons I remembered Elders from her short, 1993 stint as Surgeon General: her supposed support of masturbation education, and her penchant for saying things that made pro-lifers’ salivary glands spring to life with blood thirst. Things like, “We must end our love affair with the fetus.” Someone so attached to blasphemy was a big topic of conversation at my Catholic high school.

“Don’t you think you would have been more interested in this article if it included that stuff?” I asked them.

“Oh, for sure,” they said, nodding. “Absolutely.”

Monday, April 16, 2007

Listen Up Everybody If You Wanna Take a Chance

It started with NASCAR, really; which actually started with the Cars movie. Shef used to ask me to pause the race scenes so we could look at the numbers of the animated competitors. And then? Before I knew it, he had memorized the numbers and names of twenty-something NASCAR drivers. The 8 car is Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the 48 is Jimmie Johnson, 24 is Jeff Gordon.

“There’s 9! That’s Kasey Kahne!” he’ll exclaim as we drive by a gas station.

“Oh-kay!” I’ll respond, trying to muster up some kind of supportive enthusiasm.

It's gotten so the kid will only wear shirts with numbers on them. Sometimes I try to convince him that the size printed on the tag counts as a number, but that only works about ten percent of the time. He calls Dan and me by our numbers – 33 for him, 29 for me. He reads numbers off of digital clocks, radio tuners, billboards, buildings, and telephones. On Easter Sunday, I kept him busy in church by quizzing him on the numbers of the hymns.

I don’t know when this obsession will go the way of Tide and dolphins, but for now we’ve invested in four or five jersey-type t-shirts emblazoned with numbers to fend off morning melt-downs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

They Spin Around And They Cross The Floor

So, something happened to the sophs over spring break. Some of them have gone crazy, some have become sneaky, and most have lost the little sense of decorum they once had. I nearly hit the roof when one of my usual suspects called me “sweetie” yesterday. As in, I said, “Please take out your notebooks,” and he said, “Whatever you say, sweetie.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We're Living In a Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks

This has been a roller coaster week so far: sophs cheating, texting, and hijacking my speakers. My Stupid Master's Degree on the rocks and then off again. Shef standing on the coffee table belting out Smash Mouth one minute, and lying on the floor of Bread and Chocolate screaming for another cookie the next.

Luckily, one of the kids told me we have 43 days of school left, and I'm on the verge of being finished with grad school forever; so life could be worse.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

You Live For the Fight When It's All That You've Got

I was feeling extra maternal as I tucked Shef, super sleepy and cuddly, into bed last night. "Oh, Shef, you’re just a great kid," I said.

"No, I'm not," he said earnestly, "I’m bad."

"You’re not bad," I said, arm around his neck.

"Yes, I am," he insisted. "I’m bad."

"Well, I think you’re a good kid."

Then, with a smirk: "You’re not my friend."

Lucky for me, my friend Molly provided me with a completely slick response to this statement: "You’re right Shef; I’m your mom."

Shef, unrelenting: "You’re not my friend."

Me, unfazed and proud of it: "Well, good night, Shef. I love you very much."

Shef, full of mirth: "I don’t love you."

Me, determined: "I love you though." And then I made a hasty retreat, to a chorus of "I don’t love you," repeated over and over as I walked down the stairs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Let Me Bust the Funky Lyrics, U Can't Touch This

I’m not gonna lie: the skiing is pretty awesome. More awesome is that Shef has been spending time at ski school. Ski school is staffed by young, energetic professionals. Parents are not allowed in the magic, kid-sized door.

Shef’s double-black-diamond grandfather takes care of drop-off to hedge against meltdowns, and then we carve it up the best way we know how.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Before This River Becomes An Ocean

A couple of weeks ago, I sat with Jessie in a coffee shop, and on my thesis-writing breaks, I read blog entries from her thesis-writing era. It turns out, thesis-writing made her hilarious. It doesn’t make me hilarious, but it does increase my blogging productivity.

I could expound on Shef’s recent spate of naughtiness, but instead I’ll just say I’m on the top of page 58. That includes references.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Marconi Plays the Mamba

Last night, we whisked away to Vail, Colorado, where so far, I have been working on my master’s thesis while gazing out at a gorgeous mountain view. Although I have written 54 pages – that’s up from the 28 I had on March 6th before I got myself a coach and a support group – I am stuck on this part about the importance of space. I look at the heading:


and I just have a hard time starting to fill it in.

There was some sympathy expressed this morning at breakfast about me having to work on my paper while others hit the slopes, but I reminded everyone that I do not, in fact, have to teach school for awhile; so all is well.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'll Be Gone, In a Day or Two

Today was the last instructional day before spring break. I told the students that my goal was to keep it together; but during the last hour, when a million kids gave speeches on the same dumb book about a woman's heart-to-heart bond with a baby gray whale, I lost it in a fit of giggles and snorting.

It wasn't dignified, but it was all I could do.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Knight in Shining Armor, From a Long Time Ago

The birthday weekend was a little too much fun, I guess, as it ended with us in the emergency room last night, Shef hooked up to a nebulizer and ready for a dose of steroids.

We were all psyched about the adrenalin neb, as it perked him right up and he started cracking hilarious jokes about Thomas the Tank Engine.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Party Had a NASCAR Theme

Shef turned three today. He was a complete peach for the duration of his party, which we held at Dobby and Doc’s house because of our latest home improvement project that’s running over-time. He shared his toys and said thank you, and everything was dreamy until the very end when, as we were walking out the door, he wound up and smacked me hard across the face.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'm Making Good Progress Considering

My high school English teacher was a stoic, new critical, don’t-f&*^-with-me kind of guy. He inspired me to love literature, and despite his ambivalence about spending his days with teenaged girls – “Is this any way for a grown man to make a living?” he moaned in a rare moment of vulnerability one day while resting his head on his podium – he made me want to become an English teacher.

Once, a former student came to visit him over his lunch hour and gave him one of those meditation tapes. You know, the ones that are supposed to help you quit smoking or learn to love yourself by repeating affirmations over and over again?

He was already laughing when he put the tape in for us during an American Lit class. When the soothing, airport public-safety voice started repeating, “Writing is easy and fun for me,” he clutched his stomach and belly laughed for a good five minutes.

The point? Well, duh.

Writing is hardly ever easy and fun for anyone.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Dumps

My week has been in a downhill slide. It's hard to relish the victories because some of the defeats are sort of crushing.

Here's an example of a small setback: when I got home on Wednesday, Shef cheerfully announced, "Daddy is my friend, and you're not."

That made me feel like a real winner.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Justin Timberlake is My Muse

My coach has been sticking my nose to the grindstone, and I have accomplished more on my master’s thesis in the last three days than I have in many months. I didn't even stop for the lockdown drill today, which happened during my prep period. I just locked my door, turned out my lights, and kept on typing. Later, I emailed my teaching pal, Rachel, that it felt a little weird to be working on the outline of my lit review in the dark at my desk with Justin Timberlake on in the background, but she said: "Bringing sexy back is important—especially when writing a thesis. I don’t think there’s a more appropriate backdrop at this point."

She's kind of right about that, I guess.

I think I owe it to myself to give it three solid weeks of work on the thing, and then we’ll see where I’m at. If I work tirelessly, day and night, without frivolous breaks, I think I have a chance of making progress.

Miraculously, the first set of permission forms came through. My advisor says she can expedite the second set. So, it might not be the paperwork that keeps me down, after all.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Tomorrow is My First Meeting With My Thesis Coach. I'll Let You Know How It Goes.

Sometimes friends whom I haven’t seen, spoken to, or emailed for awhile tell me they feel like they know what’s going on with me because they read my blog.

In fact, this is probably the best way to keep in touch with me because I skip writing about the really hideous parts of my life. It’s like keeping up with me, but exempting yourself from 75% of the whining and angst. I know that’s hard to believe given the amount of whining and angst that actually gets played out here, but… there it is.

Anyway, today a friend I haven’t been in contact with for awhile emailed about summer vacation plans and confessed that her sole source of entertainment these days is my blog and

My blog and in the same sentence! Sort of on the same plane!

It’s probably one of the top ten nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

I'm Going to Concede

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t written much about My Stupid Master’s Degree™. You might have thought that “no news is good news” on the progress front.

If you thought that, I’m sorry to report that you were sadly, sadly mistaken.

All these months I’ve worried about it and thought about it and kind of done some reading about it. Remember how Dan spent two months in Iowa? That was part of the problem. And other times I’ve frittered away my work time by doing dumb stuff like grading papers and planning lessons and clicking around the internet with reckless abandon.

I was supposed to fill out some paperwork this fall that would make doing my paper legit. It would allow me to actually use the data I collected from my kids. Did I fill it out? No. Not until yesterday, when I realized my school district also has their own set of forms that need to be completed and then signed by various dignitaries. And, I can’t actually submit the former set of forms until I get all those signatures on the latter.

What do you think the chances are that all those forms will be submitted and approved in the next eight weeks? What are the chances that I’ll actually write the rest of the paper in that time?

Yep, I agree. Slim. Very, very slim.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Day Off

Yesterday was a snow day, and I am totally grateful. The sophs and I were testy at each other about Odyssey final assessments. They seem to think that because a sizable percentage of them have ignored the homework board, I shouldn’t make them write essays on Homer’s epic, “a foundational text of classic literature.” I told them they need to suck it up and learn how to fake it.

And then it snowed sixteen inches, and we all got a little reprieve.

It was great, and it was also a reminder of why I can’t hack it as a stay-at-home mom. Before 9:30am, we played chase, Candy Land, trains, cars, hide-and-seek, washing dishes, doing a workbook page on same and different, tromping around in the snow, having hot cocoa, making cinnamon toast, and writing with the Cars pencil. There was one temper tantrum about not getting something at precisely the moment he asked for it and one resultant time-out. I tried to make him watch tv, but he was resistant. When I insisted that a DVD simply MUST. BE. CHOSEN., he picked this infernal Baby Dance thing featuring a grown woman speaking like a two-year-old while dressed in leggings and a tutu.

By noon, I couldn’t keep my eyes open; so I told Shef we could both take naps in my bed. I figured I’d be out for an hour, but instead I woke up at ten-after-three with morning breath and sleep in my eyes.

Daycare will be open on Monday. God bless those preschool teachers.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I’m happy to report that this week’s music class was more successful than last. I masterfully averted disaster by coercing Dan’s brother John, a fine young college man, to join us.

I had John in the palm of my hand after I had Shef do the asking himself. I mean, I’m sorry, but what self-respecting Early Music major could resist his three-year-old nephew/God-child begging for his presence at Musical Discoveries?

Not a one. And since Shef behaves far worse for me than for anyone else, we managed to get through the class without any direct blows.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Reality

I’m back from a fun weekend in Nashville with some fave pals.

I know I should be grateful for having such fabulous adventures back-to-back, but instead I’m brattily feeling sort of blah about my real life.

Not two hours after I got home, Shef woke up sick, and now he has a fever and red eyes and a scratchy throat. I’ll admit that I sent him to school dosed on Tylenol this morning and hoped he’d make it through the day; but tomorrow, I’m simply going to have to stay home. It’s the only acceptable option.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


First, Dan's trial ended last week, so he will no longer be sojourning to Iowa for months at a time. Woot.

Also, We went to Paris last weekend for our first real get-away from Shef. He had a fabulous time with his grandparents, so much so that I think he feels a little let down by just us. We can't compete with a days at the ski hill, building a marshmallow and frosting castle, and a Lightning McQueen sheets set.

Perhaps his dissatisfaction with his real life is why he hit me with his rhythm sticks at music class tonight?

No matter how cute the kid, it always sucks to be the one trying to restrain your offspring while everyone else Too-da-la's while trying diligently not to make eye-contact.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Some Days High School is Really the Place to Be

Today there was a pepfest, and this kid dressed up like Meatloaf and writhed around on the floor to “I Would Do Anything for Love.” Then, he exited the stage on a razor scooter.

That, my friends, is called entertainment.

Afterwards, I went back to my classroom and tried to teach about Odysseus and Calypso in Book V of Homer’s masterpiece. It was hard to start because Billy, one of my usual suspects, was singing his own version of the Meatloaf classic: “I would do anything thing for Ms. W., but I won’t do FridayFreeWrite.”

Then some students questioned O’s love for Penelope, since he’d been "losing himself in love" with the goddess every night.

“No one would’ve expected Odysseus to remain faithful to Penelope,” I explained. “All the Trojan War heroes had concubines during the fighting. Plus, he’s been away from home for seventeen years.”

“Ms. W.,” interrupted Billy, “I just want you to know that if I were Odysseus and you were Penelope, I would totally wait twenty years.”


After class, my teaching pal Rachel and I compared notes. She’d been discussing Odysseus’s first day in Phaeacia, when the princess and her maids are bathing in the water together and anointing each other with oil.

“Um,” broke in one of her male pubescents, “I think I had a dream like that once.”

I have to admit it’s nice to know it’s not just me.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


As you may remember, my sister got us a betta for Christmas. Buddy is a nice little fish. I like to feed him and watch him swim around in his purple tank.

I guess I find taking care of Buddy to be therapeutically simple. It’s easier than taking care of Shef, although, I’ll admit, not quite as rewarding.

The bottom line is there’s not as much at stake. If something goes wrong with Buddy, I’ll just flush and replace.

I like Buddy so much, I’m thinking of getting a betta for the sophs. I know they’d enjoy one of their own. We could talk to it about The Odyssey. We could have the betta act out the part of Scylla, the six-headed sea monster. We could pretend the betta is one of the seals that hangs out with Menelaus on the island of the Old Man of the Sea.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


So, when I apologized to the fourth hour class, they laughed at me and told me that although I thought of myself as highly intimidating, I was really more like a “chipmunk standing up there.”

“I see,” I said, coolly. Then they tried to make me laugh by telling me they'd skipped their ADD medication again and making bizarre noises. This is their way of making up.

Last night I took Shef to the JV hockey game, which many of them played in, and a few made a special effort to wave at him. This was a huge thrill for the almost-three-year-old, so I suppose I’m grateful.

In other news, I am now officially a faster half-marathoner than I was when I was thirteen-years-old. By a whopping 75 seconds over 13.1 miles. Wahoo.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Committed to the Triathlon Lifestyle

As you may know, I’ve been committed to finding time for four workouts a week this school year. I think it’s been good for my stress and weight levels. I’ve never really been able to maintain fitness throughout the school year, mostly because in the past, I’ve been an exercise snob and perfectionist. Unless I was training for a Boston-qualifying marathon, it didn’t seem worth it to me to stay in shape.

I’m happy to report that I’m no longer that way. I no longer feel that I have to exercise for a certain amount of time to make it “worthwhile.” I no longer think I have to do things at a certain pace to see benefits.

And perhaps unfortunately for some, I no longer think it’s necessary to have a swimsuit that fully conceals my backside in order to do a few laps. After I got out of the pool today, I realized my Speedo was billowing around my stomach and the mole on my left butt cheek was clearly discernible through the “fabric” on the seat. I knew the suit was on its last legs, but I think it just sort of disintegrated.

Oh well. I guess seeing my ass is the price the rest of the Y patrons must pay for my well-being. I'm totally fine with that.