Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I had a horrible afternoon. Let's examine the factors leading up to my bad afternoon. Then we can discuss.
Factor #1: I stayed at school on Monday evening to give another practice AP Exam. These beauties are 3 hours long. So I basically went from after lunch (1:00) through until 6:30 without any down time. By the time I got home I was toast.
Factor #2: STAR testing minimum day on Tuesday. In itself, not a huge stressor except for the fact that I have to wait around like a sitting duck to see if anyone doesn't show up that day: in which case I'd be proctoring the test for a class full of kids I don't know. Nobody needed me, so I went to work at setting up my classroom for the 50+ kids that all needed to take the test at the same time. Translation: I hauled desks from across the hall for a half hour. Good times.
Factor #3: Another 3 hour AP test mid-day Tuesday, concluding at 1:10. They need the practice, but I always hit the wall about two hours in, so I can't be very productive during that time. Plus I'm trying to keep an eye to them as they take the test... so I didn't even finish the essays I had to grade during that time. I ate my lunch during the test and K brought me some McD ice cream, so that was a plus. But by the time it was over, I was beat.
Factor #4: A meeting, beginning exactly 20 minutes after the test ended. I can't post anything here about what happened, but I can say that it was emotional for me, and that it was a situation where I felt like I couldn't control what was happening, that there was no clear solution, and that when people are in a situation where they're going to lose something important to them, you tend to see their true colors. I'm sorry. Vague, much? I can't write about anything specific, but it suffices to say that I left the meeting in a panic attack. An honest-to-God legit anxiety attack, cold shoulders, tingly fingers and all. I was upset.
I hate anxiety. I hate when I feel it coming and I know I can't control it. It ruined my entire afternoon. When I'm like that, I can't talk to anyone or do anything. I had planned to run, and there was no way that was going to happen. I get paralyzed, for lack of a better word. I want to be in my bed, and I want the world to go away. It's hard to even talk. So I didn't run (which I knew would have been the best thing for me, if I could have done it) and I didn't do anything at all. I was a lump. I couldn't even talk to E for a while. It takes over--I just loathe that about myself.
I guess it's good that it happened last night, because it reminds me that it's been a while since that has happened, and that's a blessing in itself. This used to be every day for me, for awhile. it ain't pretty, but that's just a part of me. Anyway, I got it under control, and I had a really good talk with the Bestie, who brought me back down to earth. Thank God for people who can put things in perspective. Really. Bonus: she talked to me by cell while she was on the elliptical machine at the gym. And she could talk. I'm in awe. Try talking to me while I run sometime... not.
Problem is, I'm still pretty grumpy today. It seems like things are just not working out. I've had enough of that, thank you very much.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
I don't want a cardboard-cutout of myself for snuggling but what I really wish I had more of were pictures of me with the kids. Snapshots. I have almost no snapshots. I have the kids, the kids and E, the kids and the grandparents... you get it. All the pictures of me are posed shots on Easter/Christmas/etc. Let me tell you how gorge I look in those. (Is there a phonetic spelling of gorge? Gore-dje. Like as in the first half of gorgeous, which I am not.)
So here's what's going on. This is the deal, my peeps. I'm giving myself a 30th birthday present. 30 wonderful years on Saturday--holler! Yep. I'm having some shots taken of me and the kids. Maybe some posed ones, but some tasteful, artful candid shots where I'm actually in the frame, and I think (just for kicks) we'll include that E man in some of them too. I have been wanting to do this since back when I was still thinking I was a newly minted single gal. I came across a blog of a single mom who had some pictures done of herself with her daughters and I thought to myself self, you should do that. Okay, I didn't really say it like that, but that's what my sixth grade teacher always said when she talked to herself. I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate my relationship with the kids, and since there's not anything I need that I can't get at Target, a way to spend some money on something that I will (hopefully) love forever.
I don't usually do anything like that, and last summer when Auntie (E's sis) and Uncle G got married, they had a really laid-back, sweet photographer who took great candid and posed shots. I really liked her, and she got some of the cutest pictures of the kids. I've enlisted her help to do this birthday thingy. Well, I'm still playing email tag, but it's in the works. Anyway, I thought I'd give her a little free publicity, because she basically rocks my socks. Check out her website:
Carmen Salazar Photography
Okie doke. I just came here to say that. Go say hi to Carmen and check out her work. I'm sure what will happen is that she'll take these pics and then I'll love them so much that I plaster them all over this little blog o' mine, so you'll probably be sick of my mug, but for now you can just imagine it.
I love Cheesy Gordita Crunches. And you, for reading my blog.
Sunday night I made this Pamela's Products Chocolate Cake Mix. I also used Egg Replacer, and I feel it's worth mentioning that even though the packaging is straight out of 1975, it worked well. It's primarily made out of potato starch. Hmm. Who knew?
Stir by hand. I took this shot so you could see my sausage fingers.
I totally have man-hands.
Pour into a greased cake pan. Worth mentioning: batter was good. Pretty much tasted like Duncan Hines brownie batter. Good sign.
Oh yeah. And I decided that since this was for E, and not for me, I was going to make chocolate frosting. (For me, chocolate cake + white frosting = heaven)
Look! It looks like a REAL cake!
I couldn't wait for it to cool so I could frost it, so I poured the frosting on right when it was hot. I figured we'd go for more of a fudge cake thing. Mmm... fudge.
So sorry I didn't get a better picture (i.e. one that was in focus)--I was too excited to try it. The texture was like a "normal" cake, and it smelled great, both as it was baking and when I sliced it.
I can completely recommend Pamela's Gluten-free chocolate cake mix. We bought this one at Nugget--I haven't checked other stores yet to see who else carries them. E's happy that he can enjoy one of his favorites and not suffer for hours afterwords. Everybody is happy.
Let them eat cake!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I'm taking the advice of chic runner, and I'm trying to make this running thing even more enjoyable by accessorizing/dressing myself in functional and fun stuff.
I had a great run this morning. I know we're talking baby steps still, but this was the first time when I didn't have to stop to walk at all. That's huge for me. I believe it represents overcoming a mental block as much as anything else. I didn't think I could keep running, so I had to convince myself that it was possible. When I started this crazy running jag that I'm on (last Monday, April 13), I couldn't run a quarter of a mile without having to stop. So you can imagine how I was practically doing cartwheels when I got home this morning, I'd gone 2.3 miles, and I hadn't stopped to walk even once. Slowed, yes, shuffled a few times, definitely. But now I have it in my little brain that it's possible. I want to do it again. I feel great.
Dang, I guess this must be what all those healthy people are always talking about. You know, psychological benefits of exercise, blah blah blah. I feel like this is going to have long-term mental benefits for my anxiety issues. Yet another reason to stick with it.
I've only gotten in three days this week because I was sick, but I did five last week. I'm almost to the two week mark. I'm not noticing any visible differences in how I look, but I do notice that it is much easier to breathe as I run. Today I could have had a conversation, were I not alone, which is what they say you're shooting for.
Back to Target fashion, which is I'm sure hilarious to those of you, 21 and under, who are reading this. I remember how through high school, I was so embarrassed that most of my clothes came from Mervyn's and the like; now when I have to go to Target or Wal I'm excited to see what new stuff they have so I can peruse. Of course I love me some Express too, but I'm glad that arbitrary allegiance to brand names is something that I've shed with age. I never had the money to be in style anyway, and What Not To Wear has shown me that there's a greater sense of self that comes from dressing the body you have, well, and favoring shape in your clothing over trend. I can't imagine life if I was a slave to Coach or Ed Hardy or Abercrombie or any of the 800 other brands I see teenagers plaster across their bodies everyday; meanwhile their clothes fit poorly and their souls seem to be as empty as their bank accounts must be to keep up that lifestyle. That's a battle you'll never win anyway--you will not ever have what the next guy has.
So here is some cheap junk that I like, y'all.
(All of the pictures in this post are straight from www.target.com. They are not pictures of me. Don't ask. You think a high school teacher is dumb enough to put pictures of herself on the interwebs in an undergarment? Um, no. Yay Target.)
Stuff I bought at Target today, by PDawg
Best find at Target: This sports bra. As uncomfortable as I feel blogging about the girls, it's worth it to share this little beaut with the world. (Okay, and I didn't actually let myself buy anymore of these today, but I own a bazillion. Damn. I just negated my own title.)
The C9 by Champion Seamless Cami Sports Bra. $16.99 (cheaper when you can find them on clearance!)
I can't quit you, C9 Cami Sports Bra. Unlike all sports bras before you, you must have been crafted by a dancer or by, I don't know, an actual woman. Now let's be clear. Baby-growing and breastfeeding have left me with a lil' sumpin' sumpin' (a sad lil' pair, actually), but I am not what you would call gifted in that area. I can only speak about what I know. Which is that after serving as a milk factory for two kids, even if you were at pancake status before, you need some serious bizness holding things in place. This little friend does the job. It's two snug layers, adjustable, breathable as all get-out, and the cami straps are nice because you don't get any of that bulky tight feeling on your shoulder blades when you move. I discovered these when I was dancing with CORE, and I fell madly in love. Perhaps that has something to do with my now owning one in every color of the rainbow.
Up next: Following in the same vein, this Yoga Cami
Okay, I am seriously never doing any Yoga... that stuff is sooo boring to me... but I'm gonna run around my neighborhood in this Yoga Cami, also $16.99, and try to look like a buffoon. I used to see these in Target all the time and I never bought them because I was afraid they'd ride up and my post-baby tummy would show. (As a former ballerina, it's still difficult to wrap my mind around dancing in anything but a leotard and tights.... my security blanket.) But I tried this one on and it seems to be the appropriate soccer-mom length. I like the pattern, and it has the same inner support system as the sports bra. I'll have to let you know how it does on a run. It feels good on. I needed something more breathable. The cotton stuff has been fine when it was mild, but that day when I ran and it was 85-90 degrees, I thought I was going to die. Okay, I barfed. Once. So that wasn't good.
Because I want to look like I mean business: The Singlet
What the hell is a singlet? Yeah, I don't know either, but it was comfy and it was $9.99. Looks like a tank top to me, but apparently if you want to be cool and act like you're a runner, you go around being all oh so the other day when I was running in my singlet... So here I go, buying one. It's nice and light and it has a cute white mesh stripe down the back and I think it will be really good to run in. I just don't really get why it's a big deal. La ti dah, me and my singlet are like so awesome. I'm willing to bet those hard core runners aren't talking about some crap they picked up at Target along with a hairbrush and some laundry detergent, but I am. Again, I'll have to road test it. Barring any unforeseen snowstorms, I'm guessing the review will be a good one.
Finally: Awkward-looking running leggings and this running skirt.
Be cool, Internet... be cool. Before you go telling me that leggings are not okay, let me just say I'm giving them a try. I ran today in some jazz pants (don't worry--the cotton/lycra kind, not the sparkly kind... no sequins) and it was nice. It felt kind of light. I thought it would be nice to try some real ones. We'll see. The skirt? Just looked cute. It's really a set of booty shorts with some fabric stretched over it, so the jury's still out on that one too. I don't really want to run into any of my students if there's free-range cheekage. But again, we're looking for non-cotton options here. Mostly I've been running in cut-off sweats, but they're feeling a little bulky. Anyway, the leggings and skirt were $17.99 and $19.99, respectively. I think. I'm not really sure--I'm going by Target's website but I think all this stuff was on sale when I was in store.
I AM SO HAPPY!
Wow, back in January when I started this blog, I was in a total pit--emotionally, physically, relationship-ionally (?). It's just nice to be excited about things again, even if it's a poly-lycra blend from a big box store. I hope you're all having a great weekend.
I'm off to find a margarita.
Whenever a task is set for you, don't idly sit and view it, nor wish it done, but begin at once and do it!
That's cool, but let me be frank. (Hi, Frank!) Sometimes I like sitting idly, and viewing it. IS THAT SO WRONG???
I like planning. I'm the Queen of Charts. I like seeing things all in their pretty boxes on a spreadsheet. I plan things that happen, and some that never do. Parties, vacations, lesson plans, careers, savings and debt reduction plans, entire units of study. I just like the challenge. When I was a college student, I cared way more about finageling the perfect schedule than I did actually attending, say, Nature and Culture, or Geology. Bleh. But if I could make Geology fill the time slot between Late Shakespearean Lit and Medieval Medicine, than that was the class for me.
Fun fact: The one thing I remember from Medieval Medicine was that they believed in the balance of the four humours: black bile, phlegm, blood, and yellow bile. I know. Just savor that for a minute. They believed in a balance of the four, that the four were linked to the seasons of the year, and that if one took over, you started to have some problems. I know quite a few people with an excess of black bile, if you know what I'm sayin'. Anyway, I'm not going to get my Medieval (or as one of my students put it this year, Mid-Evil) medical degree anytime soon. I failed that class. It was the semester I got engaged. What do you want from me?
Scheduling, charts, planning... these are the stuff of my dreams. It's not as much fun actually doing the stuff, generally. Occasionally I have this problem, and I am having it right now. Sometimes I will plan and re-plan and double check my planning for something but I get a kind of anxiety about moving forward. So I don't do anything and then pretty soon I either run out of time or I have to scramble around to make it happen. I don't really like being disappointed, so I'm afraid to take action on the initial plan for fear it won't pan out. Good Lord, does that even make sense? Probably not. Maybe you should find yourself a nice blog about puppies or something and quit trying to unravel the enigma that is me.
This is going on right now. As you know, E and I are renewing our vows next Month. I wrote about it here, and the reasons for it here and even though I didn't set out to make a poem about it, this poem accidentally ended up being about it. And if you've just showed up here and you don't know what the heck any of this is that I'm talking about, here's the long story short. E and I separated in the fall with the intent to divorce, we decided that wasn't any better, we went to this thing called Retrouvaille, and we're working things out. We always will be. But we dig each other, so we're doing this. Forever.
Okay, I'm getting frustrated with all the interruptions I am creating for myself, and I'm sorry that the last paragraph had more "catch-you-up" info than the first chapter of a Left Behind book, so I'll move on now.
So E and I are doing this whole vow renewal thing, and we want to have some form of time off together in some sort of proximity to that day, summer time, and his graduation from law school. Yep, it's going to be E, esq. pretty soon. Or is it E, J.D.? You know, I don't know, and it doesn't even really matter to me. He's finished with law school next week, then he finishes finals mid-May and starts prep for the Bar exam two days later. So time's tight. Making matters infinitely more complicated is the fact that my school district decided to cut two weeks off our summer this year, so I start school mid-August. Let me dance a little jig about that for you, I'm so excited. Yay school.
Here's the breakdown of my wasted planning to date:
Maui Condo in August.
Plan #1 FAIL: E has to take the Professional Responsibility Exam, and it is only offered during the one week we could go to Maui.
Plan #2: go to Maui in May, the week between his final and graduation (yes, I'd have to miss a week of work. I'm sure you can hear me crying about it.)
Plan #2 FAIL: Maui condo is booked in May. Crap.
Plan #3: Cruise?
Plan #3 FAIL: E doesn't want to go on a short cruise.
Plan #4: Go to an all-inclusive in Cabo. That sounds promising, right? This plan has been around, oh, almost a week.
Plan #4 FAIL: It sounded so good. But alas, we're too close now to chance passports, and we weren't thinking we'd be leaving the country anytime soon, so we are not passport-ready in time.
Plan #5: back to the cruise? With different dates? There are different rules for cruises than flights. Maybe some time in San Diego on either side? I had a conference in SD last fall and I really liked it there. I'd like to go check it out for a little bit longer.
So it's not that I don't like doing all the internet research and such, but now I'm beginning to feel like this might not happen, no matter what. That's just the story of our lives. I try to plan stuff, and it falls through. I know I'm being a negative Nelly... I just really want this to work out. I think some time spent just the two of us would be good for me and E since we're planning on a summer (mostly) apart so he can prep for the Bar. That's inevitable.
Law School and Bar prep are tough on stable marriages. Ours is still so fragile... I don't want it to hit the bricks because things are going to get hairy. Ew, hairy bricks. It's going to be hard. This we know. I have to keep reminding myself that it's different now... I got through being a single parent before, and that was when I was so sad I could barely get out of bed. It wasn't easy, but the difference now is that I know how much he wants to be here and I know that I am not leaving no matter what. And I'm not alone in this, even when he's not here.
That's something, right? I need to stop planning and start doing.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Last night was Addie's First Grade Open House. A few highlights:
1) Her self-portrait. It's hard to see the glasses from the pic, but I love the specs and the "surprise" mouth.
2) Her "cozy" dress.
3) She was so excited to take us around. Bonus: E made that planter box last year for the Kindergarten classes.
4) Ad's first attempt at Abstract art.
5) Her adjective flower. Notables: fast, smart, hard-working, pretty, and kind.
6) Her abstract piece and her symmetrical flower. What a great metaphor for her parentage. She's the genetic juxtaposition of order and messy creativity.
7) What a ham.
8) Watercolor butterfly. When was it that we stopped being able to make things out of coffee filters? I miss that.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Some good things today:
1) As the day has gone by, my cold has petered out a little. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to capitalize "Peter" in petered or not. I'm guessing not.
2) Reconnecting with the Bestie a little. I missed her.
3) Lunch with J. She's funny. :)
4) Running again. Only 1.7 miles, but it was something, and I only had to stop to walk twice for short periods of time. Getting better at pacing myself.
Some crummy things today:
1) I broke my awesome new Target sunglasses. Boo.
2) STAR TESTING and a Steering meeting. Double boo.
3) The... oh crap, this is one of those things I shouldn't blog about if I want to keep my job. Let's just say that going to meetings provides me with a cornucopia of possible topics for discussion... I just won't go into them for a while.
So, about my zebra toes.
I was just feeling a little zesty today, and I had a bit of free time before lunch, so I stopped into my favorite nail shop for a pedi. Favorite Nail Shop isn't what you'd call a swanky place, but I like the people there (mostly) and they do a decent job. Plus, let's be honest. With my spa treatment addiction as bad as it is, I want to maximize the amount of times I can go and have somebody rub my feet. As long as a place is clean and friendly, I will go. Cheap helps.
I sit down. It's the ushe. Did I mention what a total FREAK I am about having my feet rubbed? I don't know if this is all dancers or what, but I would rather have a foot rub than pretty much anything else. Yes, I am aware of the implications of that statement. And yes, I still proclaim it loudly. Foot rubs are magical. Much more magical than some other things can be. Yeah, a footrub is good every time.
I sit and browse apps on my iPhone. Wha colah you want, Heatha? (I apologize if I'm being offensive here... It's not my intent. I love these ladies and I love that they work so hard at making me comfortable... but I also feel like the dialect is necessary to fully appreciate the experience.) Zebra, please. Just to make sure she understands what I want, I describe it. White polish, black stripes. The stripes should come from both sides, and not be straight. Does she understand what I mean? Yes, oh sure, no problem Heatha. Do I want white, or white opal? Good, she gets what I mean. Just white, please.
I go back to my iPhone and my email, and when I feel the polish happening, I glance down at my toes. Ehr. Um. Ehhhh... I'm squirming out of my skin. I am so bad at this. I cannot for the life of me ever manage to tell someone that I am unhappy with a service when they are more than halfway finished. You have no idea how many bad haircuts or haircuts/colorings that I have left the salon with, simply because I was too chickenshit to say "Hey, could you fix that for me please?" The problem is that I've been on the other side of that equation, and I know how frustrating it is when you don't feel like you can make somebody happy. Believe me. That's why I have a job like teaching where it doesn't matter one bean how unhappy they are. They are my captives.
But I am looking down at these toes and I am like CRAP, it doesn't even look like a zebra. Addie has a better idea of what a zebra is than this monstrosity on my toes. It's white toes with some weak little dashes across the middle, randomly. Great. I have effing Morse Code on my toes. I can't leave like this. What would my people say? (BTW, when you teach high school you might as well put yourself on a billboard every day. If something is out of place, it will take less than 3.2 seconds for some rude kid to tell you or to make fun of you behind your back.) So I suck it up and put my big girl panties on, and I say um, could you, like make the stripes thicker?
I know, right? I am such a colossal bitch. How dare I? I can tell she's not happy, but she gets out the giant bottle of Acetone and erases her handiwork. At this point I'm falling all over myself because I feel so bad that I said something. Does she understand what I mean? Has she seen a picture of zebra stripes before? Here. Here's a picture of zebra stripes on my iPhone. I'm desperate. It's not like zebra stripes are the hill to die on, but I'm invested at this point. There's no turning back. She sighs and scrubs and I sit there and feel like a meanie.
I can hear the chatter start, and I can tell it's half about how unreasonable I am... I catch zebra in there a few times, and she's shaking her head. Oh, please don't hate me, nail lady. You were one of the nice ones. Pretty soon they're all gathered around... I don't know any names except Susan, the awesome one, and she's busy. But I've got the owner, and the quiet young one, and the mean one... and they're all around and they start telling me that you can't make zebra stripes on a toe unless it is airbrushed, and didn't I know that my toenails were too short anyway? Dude. I like my toenails short. This is no crime. There is nothing worse than a toenail overhang. I like to play it safe.
Pretty soon, the quiet young one pushes the original girl out of the way. She does one toe. Like this? Yeah, I say, I like that. No, no, no, Heatha. I try for you. The owner boots out the poor nice girl (who actually got the closest to what I was hoping for) and tries some more. Her zebra stripes look like little black sperms, and I am not really thrilled with them either. Finally, Mean Lady comes over and establishes squatters' rights on the stool and she goes to town on the remaining eight toes. Let's be clear. It looks like crap, but I'm too scared of this lady to say a word. To borrow a phrase from Kathy Griffin, she'd cut a bitch.
I bite my lip, and I start to notice that all the ladies have moved away from me, and they're huddled together in groups across the salon. I can hear them talking again... zebra comes out a few times, but they're talking about Mean Lady now. I can tell. They are just as afraid to stop her as I am. This lady is amazing. I can be getting a fill from her and she will literally sand off my skin with the Dremmel tool, and I will apologize to her. I will be all I'm so sorry my skin got in the way of your sandpaper and she will just grunt and yank my arm out of its socket. I fear this woman and her wrath. You don't mess with Mean Lady.
Once the ordeal is finished (I'm starting to watch the clock now in hopes that I won't be late to my lunch with J), I look at my toes. Not as bad as before, but not zebra either. Is this really so difficult? I have a hard time imagining that it is. The original girl asks me if it is okay, and I say that no, it isn't really what I wanted but I was too afraid to say anything when Mean Lady got ahold of me. She winks because she gets it too. It's our little secret. I sit with my feet in the UV light thingy, I pay, I laugh, and then I leave. And I laugh to myself even more because I know I am going to go home and fix these toes before anybody sees them.
Here are some pics. I wish to heck I had snapped a pic on my camera of the first attempt. It was pretty weak, but the one I left the salon with wasn't much better. Anyway, here ya go. A few comments.
1) I'm sorry to post pictures of toes, because I know how difficult that is for some of you. Sorry. If you can't handle the toes, better hit that "back" button fast.
2) If you are a boy, you will probably not be able to tell the difference. Haha, you are very funny. They look different to me.
3) I tried my best to repair it, but I think the best thing to do is going to be starting over. You work with what you've got.
Please to enjoy. I now present you... zebra toes:
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As I was saying though, TV blows cheese tonight. It has come to watching reruns of Chopped. Nobody likes that. I already know what they're going to chop. Lame. I am compelled to elaborate on my love of TV. TBL is an exception to this rule, but I have to say I heart any show where the contestants have to improvise.
Improvisation in dance is spontaneous, unplanned movement. It is my favorite thing in the whole dang world. It can be cerebral, artistic, scary, and emotionally moving. It follows, naturally, that most of my favorite shows involve some form of improvisation. I love to see how different people approach a challenge. I love watching the creative process, in any form. It doesn't matter what it is.
Top Chef. Food improvisation.
The (Celebrity) Apprentice. Business "improv."
Top Design/ Shear Genius. Lame shows, but good room decoration and hair styling improv.
Project Runway. Clothing improvisation. Fierce.
America's Next Top Model. Modeling improvisation. (Don't judge me. I see you! It's a skill. )
I love watching people think about the solution to a problem. It doesn't matter what the problem is. Okay, maybe it does. They're not going to make a TV show called Agree on a California State Budget any time next summer. I think it would be a real nail-biter though.
Of course, I am a card-carrying TV junkie. I'll watch most anything. Almost. I'm not in to gross-out TV or physical challenges (and while we're at it, why is the physical challenge on The Biggest Loser every week something involving hanging those poor, overweight people 200 feet up in the air on a little wire? Enough with the fatty trapeze, NBC!) and some things I just like because they are guilty pleasures. I'm nosy. I love me some Real Housewives or Celebrity Rehab or What Not To Wear as much as the next guy. Dr. Drew? Sigh. And don't EVEN get me started on all the dance shows. That's work-related though. Excusable.
I think the shows that motivate me the most, the ones that pique my interest above all those voyeuristic, vapidities, are the shows that follow this formula:
Challenge, Brainstorming, Production of Product, Outcome.
Doesn't matter if it's making a dress out of produce, creating a playroom, or cooking a dish with figs, saltines, and Swedish Fish. I dig it.
Thanks for listening to my TV mania. I bet you didn't think somebody could waste this much time talking about reality TV, didya? Maybe someday I will get some friends IRL. Nah.
PS: American Idol, I see you there. I had enough of you once you started exploiting the mentally ill and people who were not self-aware enough to know better. Plus, you are boring and I can't watch Paula/Simon/Randy anymore, Dog. Boo. I said it. Stone away, dear public.
- People WHO TYPE IN ALL CAPS.
- When somebody leaves the room and doesn't say where they're going or if they will be back.
- Toenail clippings.
- Comic Sans.
- Soggy sandwiches.
- Mean people.
- Facebook application requests.
- When a glass breaks and then you're one short of a set of 8.
- Leg stubble.
- Students who ask me every day if they can have a pass to the bathroom.
- Waiting for everyone to show up to a party.
- Poorly written novels.
- When the fitted sheet comes untucked at the bottom of the bed and creeps up on your toes under the top sheet.
- Kids who enter my classroom and say "it smells like ass in here."
- When things break beyond repair.
- My kids being sad.
- Awkwardness and public shame.
- The fact that curly hair has never been and will never be in style.
- Dentists and anyone's hands in my mouth.
- When milk gets left on the counter for more than a few minutes and then it gets put back into the fridge, because it develops a taste.
- Cruelty to children and animals.
- SISWEB and taking roll.
- When an underwire pops out and gets ya.
- The texture of bananas.
- People who don't listen.
- Stepping on snails in my bare feet.
- That guy in the next campsite that always blasts his radio when you're camping.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
A good apology is more than just admitting wrongdoing or saying "I'm sorry," though. Apologizing in a thorough and healthy way can lead to trust-building in your relationship and make everyone feel even more secure. Apologies done poorly can feel (to borrow a metaphor used on Facebook today by my friend Tom) like shaving your legs with a cheese grater. Painful.
Another of the memorable lessons that we learned at Retrouvaille was that feelings are not right or wrong. They are spontaneous and uncontrollable. It is what you do with them that matters. Often times we get into a situation where we think that the other person needs to stop feeling the way s/he does. That's a no-win situation. Dismissing a person's feelings (e.g. You shouldn't feel that way, or That's stupid to feel that way) is ultimately dismissing that person at their core--their most vulnerable. Being able to hear and accept what another person feels shows them their inherent value to you. As you can imagine, this is another area of struggle. I wish we were better at assessing the situation to see where the feeling of our spouse came from, and then trying to address the cause without defensiveness. We've dabbled in quality apologies, but it's still an area where we need some work.
I'm posting this article here because tonight we had a big blowout over a Facebook status and I lost it. He lost it. We got ugly. We're so good at that. But I have this post bookmarked and I read it to remind myself of exactly how to craft an apology. Maybe it's the English Teacher in me, but I feel like structures for carefully structuring writing and/or speaking are very helpful. Something as fragile as another person's feelings deserves some tenderness until you're comfortable enough with it that you don't need help. I still need help.
Here's the article, reposted in its entirety from a blog called Simple Marriage. Original post on 2/9/09. Please visit Simple Marriage. It's a very helpful blog that relates to a lot of the issues we've had in our marriage. I am sure we're not the only ones.
How To Say I’m Sorry: The 5 Steps To A Genuine Apology
Photo courtesy *Zara
Editor’s Note: This post is by Simple Marriage contributor Mary Ann Crossno.
The words “I’m sorry, I apologize, and Forgive me” are so easily said that they’ve lost their meaning. Ever get an apology that left you wondering whether or not the person apologizing had a clue about what hurt your feelings? Or maybe you were shaking your head, thinking, “I see your lips moving, but I don’t believe what you’re saying.”
And if you were the one giving the apology, did you ever walk away thinking, “I don’t know why I bother to say I’m sorry - you don’t believe me anyway!”
Both people might think, Well, I’m glad we went through the motions, but I don’t think that that “I’m sorry” or “Please forgive me” changes anything.
So what’s the difference between the same old same old, “I’m sorry, I apologize, or Forgive Me” and a genuine apology? In the real deal, both the offended and the offender walk away feeling
- heard and validated,
- accountable and responsible,
- competent and confident.
In a genuine apology, the words take on new meaning as they are lived, more than spoken.
Here’s the 5 steps to the real deal, a genuine apology.
- Describe the event (WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE)
- Tell what you did and describe the action
- Acknowledge the damage done
- Tell what you wish you had done instead
- Tell what you PLAN to do differently the next time.
Yesterday when we were in the car (where), you (who) were telling me how you handled a situation at work (what) . . .
. . . and I said, in a sarcastic manner (how I acted) that I thought the way you handled the situation was stupid (what I did). I want you to know that I was rude to use such a harsh word as stupid. It was judgmental of me to think that I knew better how to handle that situation at your work. I think that speaking to you in a sarcastic manner was disrespectful and contemptuous and not the way I want to treat you.
I know that it hurt you for me to label your actions as stupid and to speak to you in a sarcastic manner. I know that my thoughtless words reflected a lack of confidence in your abilities and my sarcastic tone was unkind and necessary.
I wish that I had been more thoughtful and kind and chosen my words more carefully. I wish I had talked about the many school situations you have handled successfully.
The next time you are telling me about something that happens at work, I plan to listen better, ask more questions, and choose my words carefully. I plan to focus on my knowledge of your strengths. And I commit to you my intent to speak to you in a manner that reflects how much I care for you and about our relationship.
When you’re the offender, you hold yourself accountable for your actions by responsibly describing the event and your offensive actions, and you validate that you understand the hurt those actions caused. You then demonstrate your competence by letting your partner know that you thought about what would have worked better in that situation. And you build confidence that you mean it when you lay out a plan do what you wish you had done the next time the same thing happens.
Your partner gets to hear an objective description of the event and the offense - (WWWWH - Who, What, When, Where, and How)- validation of the hurt felt, along with your thinking about what might have worked. You inspire confidence in a different future outcome in both your partner and, just as important, in yourself by creating a plan of action.
You need to be responsible for you and your partner need to be responsible for him.
- You do not need to plead for your partner to restore your sense of self by either asking (begging) for forgiveness or to accept your apology. You are forgiving yourself by holding yourself accountable to your partner while taking full responsibility for your actions, and committing to act differently.
- Your partner does not sacrifice himself by accepting an apology that is incomplete, insincere, or without a commitment to future change (true repentance). Your partner can accept the apology, or not, or he can state what is still missing. They have the option to wait and see. They don’t have to fold because you apologized and you don’t have to wilt in exile until they accept.
The real deal respects and enhances the integrity of you and your partner. A genuine apology is heavy lifting in going deep into taking your shape - and becoming the best partner you can be, regardless of what your partner does or does not do.
I got out there and ran today, but ran is really sort of a misnomer. Limped, crawled, staggered, and careened are more apt. Be glad that your children were in school, or the effects of viewing that may have been damaging to their young psyches.
Problem: My "allergies" from Sunday were not allergies, but the beginnings of a cold/fever thing that's lasted through today.
My plan this week was again to run every weekday, or at least get in five days, which is still possible, but I had to phone it in on Monday's running. I just couldn't breathe well enough. But today--today was another story. My fever was gone so I had to go. I know enough about myself to know that if I started taking off more than two days at a time, it'd be Quitsville, USA for me.
I got off work early today and the kids were at school, so I asked E if he finally wanted to run with me. I did this because I wanted to spend time with my dude, but it just ended up being embarrassing. The combination of the redonkulous CA heat, my two days off, and my inability to breathe without interference of the phlegm variety necessitated frequent stops and a plethora of wheezes. I was a big fat pile of suck... er, sick.
The thing is, I'm glad I went. It hurt like a mother, but I went and it's done. I even increased my distance a bit over the last run because we took off once without Cal so we had to loop back to get him. Best part? Getting to run with my E.
Okay. I think I'm going to go back to bed for a while. I have high hopes about finding my bedroom floor tonight under all the laundry; I'm going to need a little recovery time.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am blasting the Jim Brickman and it's not helping. I can still hear them. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, KID, GO GET A FRIGGIN KLEENEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it's time for some big guns--some Tchaikovsky or some Jack Johnson, or (as Pandora thought was soooo funny to randomly play for me on 4/20 this morning during first period) a little Bob Marley, perhaps? Alas, Bob Marley is not suitable test-taking music. That standard was established in the Fall of '94 in Ms. L's (or as we know her now: K's) Honors World History class. Jim Brickman, yes. David Lanz, yes. Soundtrack to Braveheart, Empire of the Sun, Out of Africa, or The Last of the Mohicans? Yes please. I can't sit in a room and listen to pencils scratch and noses sniff and all that. Pass.
Sad news. (Did you read that in Tony Danza's voice? 'Cause that's how I wrote it.)
The guy that wrote Empire of the Sun died today. It's been a while since I've seen the movie, so I don't remember much other than him eating bugs in his gruel. Maybe I owe it another look. I know enough to know the previous sentence doesn't really do it justice.
So anyway, back to SNIFF me. SNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.
It's my own fault I am listening to this chorus of sniffelage. I am too cheap to buy Kleenex. I usually stick some in my pocket or purse, or up my sleeve like Grandma L, just for myself, but the rest of these nerds are on their own. Do you know how much money a teacher could spend on Kleenex in a year? They snot it up around here pretty quick. I gave up on that a few years back, and the extra-credit Kleenex ran out back in January. Too bad, suckas. Plan ahead for your own snot-related needs. I'm good. At least I'm able to keep it to a minimum, if you know what I'm saying.
I know that there aren't many high school kids that read this anyway (any? I don't know). But can I make a general announcement here? Planning for all of your own bodily functions, all of them, I say, is part of being a grownup. Learn it. Love it. Stop asking me for, you know, stuff.
*gets down off soapbox*
The music seems to be taming the teenage beasts, but SNIFF there seems to be no SNIFFING change in their secretion of nasal fluid and the resulting sniffage. GEEEEEEEEEEEEE-ROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, PDawg.
Don't you really want to be a teacher now? This ain't the half of it either. Oh man. I still have so many stories that are going to find their way here in my post-coaching career. Excellent. *rubs palms together* Bwah ah ah ah....
Okay, just one. This one time, two girls came to practice on 4/20, high. I don't remember how many years ago it was. Or do I? *wink* Anyway, they were so high they didn't know that everyone else knew they were high. They were a good 4 counts behind all of the rest with the choreography. They were not hearing the same music we were, clearly. And when I reported it, their parents were appalled that I could accuse their precious little red-eyed-slow-moving-chuckling-grinning-munchie-having sweethearts--these poor, precious little snowflakes, pure as the driven snow, of having done such a thing. Gag me.
A lot of the time I really have to wonder if this REALLY is my job. Because it is full of FAIL.
Yay school. At least this passed a little bit of time. Only 1 hour, 55 minutes left until I can leave. How on earth will I amuse myself? I can tell you that I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT to dive in to the third batch of essays for the day, a comparison of Robert Bridges and Anne Stevenson's poems, both entitled "Eros." They are definitely not as hot as they sound. They should've been called "Here, I'm your English teacher, let me kill poetry for you."
Why, oh why didn't I teach PE?
Carpe Diem, y'all.