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.