Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Love

St. John's Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the land of lizards. And, being such, it is also the land of Lizard Love. It was actually kind of funny. There were all these lizards lying around. Every once in a while one of the boy lizards would get his eye caught by one of the girl lizards and then he would go on the chase. As soon as she realized there was a boy in hot pursuit, she would take off herself.

Ah, lizard love it turns out is a lot like people love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some days I have less to say than others

Ok, I admit it. I have lots to say, but I sometimes don't seem to get it on to paper or the blogsphere as it may be. I have ideas from my trip of things I would like to write about, but nothing is coming to mind, and I forgot my thumb drive with pictures on it.

I got back from spring break feeling pretty good. I worked on weeding the flower bed. (Looks good.) I pulled up the rest of the carpeting in the master bedroom. (The floors underneath look wretched, but I'm still glad that the carpeting is up.) I also did copious amounts of laundry. I met what is potentially date #8 at Kirby's Steakhouse last week. I think we are going out Sunday, but we'll see what happens.

All of this to say, that really nothing much is happening these days, so it is hard to come up with good stuff to write.

I have a friend being traumatized by, what is currently, a bad relationship. I keep telling her not to put too much stock in what I say because I keep having flashbacks to my own bad relationship: Guyana Punch. The one that I wanted to last forever. The guy that made my toes curl. I can't even begin to describe the millions of ways that I was crazy about him, or the 8 million ways that he was totally toxic. I am trying to support her, but I'm not sure that I always do a great job.

Her relationship has great potential. God knows, mine had potential at one point, but the travesty of relationships is that we can only control 50% of the participants at best. Hell, if we are honest with ourselves we don't even control 50%, quite frankly. We do all sorts of stuff that we don't mean to do, and we find ourselves saying things we may or may not mean to say. What a beating.

It's really hard to think of the right things to say. I know the most important thing is to just be there, but it is almost painful to hear what is happening. First, I hate that she is in pain and suffering. She is a really good person, she has a heart of gold, and she truly always tries to do the right thing.

Second, it is absolutely painful to hear her talking about something happening now, and know how utterly horrible it was for my bff to hear my stories and to not be able to wrap her fingers around GP's neck and slowly kill him. Because I so desperately want to shake the shit out of the stupid SOB that she has set her heart on.

(Did I mention that I actually like the stupid SOB? Known him a long time. He's funny, smart, interesting, etc etc, but sometimes people are broken. There are lots of amazing people out there, but because of trauma in their lives, too many things going wrong at the same time, or just because of how they have chosen to live their lives, they are broken. Right now, I think he is a little broken. I really hope he pulls through and figures stuff out for his sake and hers, but it is so hard. I am praying for them both that it all works out.

In the meantime, I follow my amiga in dating Cha Cha dealing with her ex's and the current drive-bys and I look at my own past with GP and current drive-bys. Why is dating so difficult? And it doesn't do anything but get harder as we get older. As time goes by, we are more set in our ways, and it is harder to be willing to tolerate other people's idiosyncracies especially when I can barely tolerate my own. (I'm saying 'we' hoping it really is 'we' and not just me.)

I am hoping for good things for my friend, but I am also hoping for good things for me, for Cha Cha and for all of us trapped in the Hell known as dating.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In the midst of the fab vaca. . .

I got to have a moment of sadness. I brought my laptop with me, because although I am not an ubergeek, I am a bit attached to my chit which includes the laptop.

So, I got on to Facebook yesterday and saw a coworker/friend who I sent a note to about the fact I would know if he didn't accept my friend request and my feelings would be hurt if he didn't.

Turns out we are not only not friends (possibly in any sense of the word) but that he has been holding in some hurt/anger for a while himself.

His response was "Feelings hurt like when I found out that you, Ms. X and two administrators sat around over cocktails and discussed my personal life? Yeah, I'm not near as forgiving.." (The coworker and two administrators are friends and we meet once a month after school to chat and hang out and such. So, it was really just a group of girls shooting the chit.)

I really respect and like this guy, so it makes me really sad that he has been feeling this way. I realize now that he has been letting me know something was wrong, and I just haven't been clued in enough to realize it.

I do NOT remember the conversation of which he speaks AT ALL. Makes it harder to even respond because I don't have any recollection. My response to him was to apologize, say I didn't remember it but that I would imagine that I said I didn't know and didn't care, and apologize again. )

Cause really I don't know ANYTHING about his personal life, so I can't imagine the conversation lasted long. In addition, I would imagine we were going through a host of people asking generic questions. . . certainly not with any intent to harm. . .

Then, I think about how does he even know? Was someone there who over heard and then went back to him? Why? What would that person gain? Was it one of the people I was with that went back to him? Again, why? It makes ME sad.

Lesson? (Cause I know there is one.) 1. Don't say anything you aren't ok having be said to the person's face. (I know I didn't say anything mean spirited or with intent to harm because I really like this guy, so the truth is I'm ok with whatever I said, although I'm sorry he was hurt.) 2. Be a lot more careful about speaking in public? Be a lot more careful about talking to my friends? (perhaps they aren't my friends?)

Oh, and the most important. Don't gossip. That one's a killer. Probably gonna get nailed on that one a couple more times before I totally take this one to heart. (Painful but true.)

OK, now that I have that off my chest, back to my vacation.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stations of the Cross

Each year during Lent I attend St. Jude's Catholic Church for stations of the Cross. I do this for several reasons.

1. My friend attends St. Jude's. The Catholics are a little tight on the communion thing if you aren't Catholic. If you are Episcopalian (I am) or Catholic, you basically attend church for the communion, so I'm less inclined to go to a service with Communion. Stations doesn't, so it works out. We usually try to get dinner before or after, but we've had a little trouble making that work this year.

2. The priest there, Father Church, used to be Episcopalian. In fact, he was my priest while I was growing up. It is terribly unfortunate that he became dissatisfied with the Episcopal church and stood up one Sunday and said we should all be Catholic. It did not, as you might imagine, go well. It tore our little church apart and created A LOT of hard feelings. Still, I have great memories of him and growing in my faith through and because of him.

3. They have the most beautiful stations of the cross I've ever seen. In fact, I snagged the booklet so that I could show at least one of the images. In the back there is an informational piece about the artist. It reads:

The pencil sketches were drawn by a young Texas artist Cody Harrington. Cody, age 22, was commissioned to paint the fourteen Stations of the Cross to hang in the archways of our new building. It was decided that the pencil sketches submitted as design concepts were so magnificent, that paintings would be too overpowering.

The images represent Cody's interpretation of the Mel Gibson 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ. The adaptation from this genre brings a unique sense of motion to the Stations of the Cross, creating the illusion that you are there. From these images, we are able to see the reaction on the faces of the people in the crowd, the cruelty of the guards, the sorrow of the women and the surrender of Christ.

4. Besides being my priest, Fr. Church (isn't that a great name?) gives great sermons. For the Stations, he is talking about the last 7 phrases of Christ and why they were so important. He has always done a great job of helping to place events of the Bible in historical context so that events are even more powerful and full of meaning than they are on their own.

5. I love Stations of the Cross, and the church I attend doesn't do them. I think they really help to remind me about what kind of person I want to be and why it is so important to stay focused on what I believe.

The Funk

I've been quietly sliding into a total funk for a couple of days. Ok, quietly may not be the right word, but I haven't been blogging. Seriously, there is no part of my life that I don't look at and think FML. (great website, you should go there. And it has the ability to make me feel slightly better about my own sad existence.)

In addition, I think everyone else in the world seems to be having seriously good karma while the good Lord looks down and smacks me around. Why?

I have no idea. But I am fairly certain if I don't figure it out soon, He's going to choose to smack me around some more.

So, last night my eye was caught by a book the BFF got me a while ago. It's a book on gratitude. There was scientific research done on what gratitude is exactly and how it can change your life. I just started going through it more closely than I did last time (Ok, I perused that time, I'm reading the whole freaking thing now.)

This, my friends, might be what we call a sign. I'm still in a funk, but I'm determined to not think about it. Tricky.

Oh, and spring break is in 2 days. Surely I can make it that much longer without falling apart right?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Mentalist

Watching The Mentalist I find myself highly amused. I like the show in general, but this exchange really made me laugh.

"Who is he?"
"I am not at liberty to say."
"I want his name"
"You can't have it."
"Are you sure because I can make one phone call and your career is toast."
"That's impressive. The most I can get with one phone call is a pizza."

That's about how I feel.

I found out today that the Humanities class I was supposed to teach next year didn't make. It's a bummer, but I'm also interested to see how the AP of currriculum will try to screw me in the fall before school starts by making me teach some crappy ass class. Typical.

In the meantime, there are no Journalism I kids applying for yearbook, so the newspaper adviser who SUCKS will be screwing me on that front as well. I probably shouldn't drink then blog. Makes all my crankiness flow.

I'm taking a bath. Goodnight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ode to a Gall Bladder

For many years you did your job
and what that was, I had no clue
silent and steady, you worked and worked
processing fat as I grew.

But then I went to Italy
spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, too
It was too much, I see that now
It was too much for you to do.

SO, you cried, "No more, I cannot continue."
and you went on strike, no mas, no more
Many did say, "No biggy, no problem."
Ah, but for me they knew not what was in store.

1 month, maybe 2 till your liver takes over
A little problem, but then it will all be old hat
Oh, how I wish that was the case
Cause 9 months later, I can still eat no fat.

The cramps, the pain, oh you cannot imagine
The rush to the potty with fear in my eyes
Please, Lord, let me make it
So far, he's headed my cries.

Sure, it's all well and good cause I've learned to eat differently
The punishment harsh when I play it wrong
The meds, they do take the edge off,
but between bad choices and punishment, I don't have to wait long

Dear liver, I know you are a busy bee
and if I'd stop drinking
you'd take over, I'd see
but, I continue to drink, it's just what I do
so I shall continue to suffer through trips to the loo.

Written during TAKS testing.


If you follow the Twitters, then you pretty much know everything that happened in Topeka. I like to keep my audience fully apprised of all the minutia in my life activities.

We arrived in Kansas City Sunday afternoon. They had SNOW.

The rental car place tried to give us a small cadillac for six people. Literally, we walked out to the car. Stared at it for a minute. Counted heads again. Contemplated the car, then trudged back inside.

After much discussion and calling to the lot dude, we got a Mercury Mountaineer.

We had a lovely drive to Topeka. Since our flight left at noon, I was pretty sure the girls wouldn't plan out in their heads how meals would work. So, we got to Topeka and they were all starving. Worked great, cause I like to eat din din earlier than most . . .

So we are at Outback Steakhouse by 5pm where I fall victim to the most delicious of delicacies . . the blooming onion. I love that thing which is unfortunate since it is fried and no longer on the approved list of foods to eat. Damn gallbladder.

That meant when I got my oh, so tender and yummy steak, I ate about 2 bites before I stopped because my stomach was NOT happy. Chit.

Last year the girls wanted to watch Enchanted when we got back to the room. This year? Frost/Nixon. I'll admit, I wasn't sure how good it would be, but we really enjoyed it.

We got to the plant at about 9am. I love the plant. There are great smells. . . It's like magic markers, glue and gas exhaust all wrapped up together. A lovely little high ; )

We were in Kansas, so it was only appropriate that we follow the yellow tape lines through the plant. . . If we weren't certain that they were amazing, they had a big banner to help us out. . . The girls noticed immediately that there was a sign identifying the "big ass books" that they do . . . please note 39111 (no irony in THAT job number)

At any rate, after sniffing my way through the plant, we went to lunch and then had to head to the airport. Talk about a quick visit.

Sabrina was waiting for me when I got home, and I picked up Buddy last night. Turns out Buddy may have been too much for my poor Dad. He is exuberant in his love and he is a danger to kidneys due to his desire to leap into laps. (He is completely unaware that 50lbs is a lot of weight to drop onto a lap suddenly.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TAKS Tuesday

Today is TAKS testing day. TAKS testing day is a beating. I can't begin to describe how much I dislike it.

We go through training every single time we give the test. This means when we give another round of testing in approximately ONE FREAKING MONTH, we'll have to sit through training again. Oh, the pain of it all. It is the same set of instructions every single time. Our administration is crazed about the TAKS guidelines. I don't know if it is a fever passed down from TEA or their own freakish nature gone wrong. Every time a new rule emerges, we know it is a knee-jerk reaction to a "testing Infraction" that occurred "in another district." And woe be to the person that has a testing infraction. He/she will find a mountain of paperwork awaits, including filling out the "incident" report in triplicate with, I'm just certain, an extra copy for God. Oh, and most likely the person that has the misfortune of being anywhere near when the testing infraction occurs will find his/her teaching certificate being ripped away like hair off a new army recruits head. Gone. Total Certifiable Bullshit.

So, for 3 1/2 hours, 2 teachers in each room move continually about "active monitoring" as the kids test and probably get annoyed with the constant movement of the two freaking teachers.

One of our latest instructions is that we are not to have inflection in our voices when reading the instructions at the beginning of the testing period. Thank heavens I am the 2nd proctor and therefore not responsible for the reading of instructions. I don't think I'm capable of reading without inflection. My partner (a science teacher) has the deadpan voice down pat. He has almost put me to sleep.

Ok, they have made such a big deal of the horror of the testing infractions that I couldn't bear to keep my phone in the room. I had to go put it in my office. All I need to is to get fired for my phone vibrating. That would be stupendous.

The kids are now working diligently because a) they are good kids and b) even if it is a stupid test they are going to do their best because, well, they are good kids.

We still have two hours left. This is agony. You cannot imagine the boredom, except that if you are reading this I am bringing you along on the painful journey of boredom. Thanks for coming. It's like watching paint peel . . . or kids test . . . or sloths move. (Ok, sloths are fun to watch cause it's like a slo mo movie but this is making my eyelids twitch.)

This is crap.

One of the assistant principals just walked by. He is so lucky I don't own a gun. And I LIKE him. I made the international sign of "I'm having a great time." Gun to head, people. Gun to head.

9:38 I'm wearing a pair of pants that are 2 sizes too big. However, they are strangley short. I keep pulling them down because I've decided a saggy ass is better than high waters.

9:40 My partner has left to do something. . . anything but stare at the backs of 18 heads that are staring at the tests.

9:42 By now you should feel a nervous inkling that this is the post that will never end. Rightly so, because time has practically stopped in the room of TAKS testing. Feel my pain.

9:45 There is a strangely bad smell in this corner of the room, I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure it is one of the boys. Good grief. We are in the land of plenty, How is it possible there's a kid with this kind of hygiene? This early in the morning? Yikes.

9:47 Student needed to potty . . .had to wait for an escort. I love TAKS testing.

9:49 Third student finishes this stupid excuse of a test. Wee have until 11:55!!!!

9:50 1st text proctor returns. Looks no more excited to be here than when he left. Clearly, he failed to take advantage of secret stash of vodka he must have in his desk drawer. I mean, we all have that right?

9:53 Required to have 1 Thesaurus for every 5 students. I begin looking up synonyms for really boring. Really- In truth, actually, fairly, genuinely, indeed, positively, truly, truthfully, verily

boring bore to fatigue with dullness or tedium
Arousing no interest or curiosity: drear, dreary, dry, dull, humdrum, irksome, monotonous, stuffy, tedious, tiresome, uninteresting, weariful, wearisome, weary.

Even the synonyms put me to sleep.

9:56 A student accidentally pushes a dictionary off of his desk. That's the most interesting thing to happen in the last 2 hours. Student apologizes. I want to cry.

10:00 Principal walks by window. Fails to appreciate how close to the edge I am.

10:02 4th student sneezes in 2 hours. I'm pretty sure it's a code. Must decipher soon.

10:03 Student clears throat. This cheating must be stopped.

10:05 Thought I would list synonyms for penis, but it's not in the thesaurus. What does this mean? Vagina isn't either. What kind of crappy ass Thesaurus is this? Suicidal isn't listed either. I say do NOT buy Roget's II New Thesaurus 3rd edition. It totally sucks.

10:20 After a brief expeditious escape break out to get cheeze its , water and a potty break, I return recrudesce (totally the wrong word, but I don't care . . . did I mention this Thesaurus sucks?)

10:28 I study the Cheez-its packaging. Baked check. (cause you know what fried does to me.) Nutritional facts: 160 cal and 8 grams of fat . . . not bad until you realize there are 2 servings. Tricky bastards. These are the peopel that probably cheated on the TAKS test and caused testing irregularities.

10:29 Going for a Cheez-it, the bag makes a noise. Student looks at me. Testing irregularity? Is this it? The end of a teaching career because I couldn't keep my hand out of the Cheez-it bag?

10:35 I begin contemplating what I could have done in a former life to possiblfy deserve this punishment. It's like Chinese water torture. Tehre is nothing. Jack the Ripper couldn't earn this punishment.

10:37 Smelly kid scent is now wafting towards me. I may up-chuck my Cheez-its.

10:39 My bordeom can only be equalled byt he student reading The Encyclopedia of Vitamin Supplements. Obviously, he is bored. I could read, but then I wouldn't be actively monitoring. Sigh.

4 students now sleeping. Oh, how I envy them.

10:44 Another nods off, wait, no, that was me.

10:45 I'm just realizing for the first time ever, not one student in the testing room has been in one of my classes. Apparently the end of the alphabet is not big on yearbook. Go figure.

11:12 Praise the Lord. Girl with broken foot needed to go tot he nurse to take medicine. Got to go with her. (Just in case broken foot was a ruse and she really planned to scream answers through the hallway.) Woudl have tripped her to extend time out of room if I didn't fear it would be a testing irregularity. 2 Asian girls in clear competition to see who could be the last one done. Not a lot of fun for the rest of us forced to remain quiet as long as tests are out.

11:30 Asian girl in corner wins. Controlling the urge to walk over to her rip the test of of her hands and yell "For Pete's sake, enough is enough. Finish the damn thing," I instead stare.

Please note great self-control being shown here.

11:35 20 minutes to go. Is it possible? Are we that close? Will the Asian girl in the corner EVER finish?

11:38 It is a miracle. Everyone is done!!

11:50 Bell rings 5 minutes early. I begin screaming, "Get out, get out, before they realize their mistake."

And that is how a morning can get shot to Hell.