Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thanks be.

It's spring break. It's the first day of spring break, nine sweet, holy days in which I'm sure I'm meant to contemplate the fact that Jesus rose from the Dead, but instead I get to do whatever the hell I want. Which involves my parents coming to stay for a week.

I"m not anxious.

No, not at all.

First off, they've never visited for more than two days before. Second, they've never visited on their own. Third, they've never visited because I guilted the hell out of them, singing the refrain of "You Go See My Siblings All The Time" and "Plus You Screwed Us On Christmas", with the added encore of "And That Birthday Gift? Who's Sorry Now!" in three part harmony. It was like Row Row Row Your Boat sung in a round, only with more guilt. In my defense, I never thought they'd seek retribution with seven straight days.

So They're Coooooooming!

We're going to Ashland to see the Oregon Shakespeare Festiveal, which isn't so much Shakespeare so much as it's Plays Which Include Shakespeare and not so much a Festival as Plays All Year Long (We Have Them Too, Y'Know). We actually have tickets to see a Stoppard play, which my little drama-girl heart is totally thudding for. But other than that? We'll play it by ear.

And hopefully we'll find lots of things to do, or my dad might end up reframing the walls in my basement while my mom buys lots of shoes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why I didn't go to the gym today

5:00 Wake up.

Realize that the clock had not, in fact, read 6:00 like I'd thought. But now I'm showered. And dressed.

5:45 Might as well have breakfast.

6:10 Might as well go to work.

6:30 Grade the quizzes I was supposed to grade this weekend, but didn't because my geek squad WENT TO THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP AND TOTALLY WON AND IT ROCKED.

7:00 Students! Hi! You are all very loud! And I have not had my coffee yet! I swear, I'll be right back!


7:20 Get back to my classroom just as zero period starts. I have ten students in asking for help.

7:50 Zero period over before I ever found anything even slightly resembling a groove. A grooveless, groove-free, nongrooving zero period.

7:55 My prep period starts in which I need to (a) finish grading quizzes (b) plan for the class where I'm to be observed by the principal (c) write a test (d) write some review sheets and (e) something else, and it must have been what I did because I certainly didn't do (a) through (d), but I'll be damned if I can remember what I did.

8:55 Stats class. Three people--THREE--have done their homework. Put off test one day. In the last three minutes of class, get a call from a local newspaper about my geek squad WINNING FIRST PLACE IN THE ENTIRE STATE BECAUSE THEY ROCK THE HARDEST. I ask if I can email her more details later, but I'm teaching class right now.

9:50 Oh, Hi, Principal M! Yeah, I'm totally prepared to teach this class (what was (b) in my prep? shit shit shit! it's not, like, totally obvious I am faking my way through this class and am, in fact, completely pitted out right now, is it? shit shit shit!)

10:35 Can forty five minutes go more slowly?

10:40 Class over. Thank you sweet jesus for not actually stopping time, even though, I have to admit, it totally and completely felt like it, but I'm not holding grudges, baby jesus, I swear I'm not.

10:45 Give the same lesson plan another go. Equally shitty. Crap. Can't blame the principal's presence on the shitfest that was 3rd period.

11:25 In the last ten minutes of class, get a call from newspaper two because my geek squad IS THE BEST IN THE STATE AT THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS THAT THEY TOTALLY WON BECAUSE OF THE EXCESS OF ROCKING THAT HAPPENED. Get the students together? For a picture? No problem! Yeah, just send your photographer down! Yeah, absolutely! Well, lunch is in ten minutes, and it lasts half an hour, so send him down in, what, say forty five minutes? Yeah, noon, noon-fifteen. That'd be great!

11:35. Lunch. Shit shit shit. Email due to newspaper one. What does she want? Totally forgot and can't read my message to myself. Get as detailed as possible, she can cut what she wants. And then, newspaper two! What do I have to do to get permission for photographers to, y'know, photograph the students? Where are they? How do I get them here? Oh! Trophies! Where are the trophies? Gotta get the trophies. And how do I get permission? And someone's gotta be in my fifth period class while I'm... hey, can you cover my fifth? Great! AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY CO-ADVISOR HAS A SUB TODAY??? AHHHHHH! And I have to find some food. Food. Where can I... right, lunchroom, cafeteria, buy a sandwich and some Sun Chips. Put sandwich on my desk I'll... get to it. Soon. CRAP--that's the bell? Lunch is over?

11:15--thanks for covering my fifth period. This'll be, like, five minutes.

11:20 Nah, you should just take a picture of the kids, they're great, they did all the work (plus, have you NOTICED this giant zit in the middle between my nose and upper lip? I mean, it's a totally bi-colored pulsing MONSTROSITY! No WAY am I committing that to photgraphic record!), 'kay, great you guys are... no? not done? Oh, no problem at all...

11:45 Shit shit shit shit! Sorry that took so long I TOTALLY owe you a covered first period free gratis anytime kthxbieee! Okay, kids, buckle your seatbeltS, we're about to do fifty minutes worth of proofs in twenty! Wheeee! Cuz this lesson didn't suck hard enough the first two times I did it today, it has to suck balls even worse! AWESOME!

1:10 Oh, hi sixth period. So, yeah, what were we doing today? Right. Review. I. Um. Do you mind if I eat my sandwich first?

2:00 Thank God end of school day. Oh, hi... you... right. Wanted to take your test today because you're leaving for China tomorrow. Huh. Right, that test that I... no, I totally have it written I just haven't... oh, you have something else to do first? Yeah, fine, do that, I'll have the test for you at 2:30. Shit shit shit shit shit.

2:10 Newspaper number three. I... they were great. It's all just... can I call you back? Because I just might die soon.

2:30 No, yeah, kiddo, I totally have the test for you. Here, why don't you start the free response while I finish... proofreading the multiple choice.

3:00 See? Here's the multiple choice, totally typo free!

3:03 Ha! Ha ha ha! Isn't it funny? See where it says "confidencer"? Hee! That should so say "confidence"!

3:06 Ha! Ha ha ha. Um. That place where it says "pyrothesis"? Yeah, I don't even know what that means. I think it is supposed to say "hypothesis."

3:10 Ha. Ha. Crap. Number 5, where it says "now" that really should say "not". Yeah, it really does change the meaning of the question, doesn't it?

3:12 Ah, hell, don't even bother to answer #7. I don't even know what I was trying to say.

4:00 Holy hell, how is it four already?

5:00 Sweet she-gods of Jerusalem, it's five? I.... have to leave. I... what the hell? When did that happen? Baby jesus, are you trying to mess with time again?

5:45 Hi hon, I'm home! How was my... ? What? DAMMIT. No, I didn't go to the dentist. Yes, I forgot completely about it. No, I know exactly where I was at four. Yes, I'll reschedule. No, I don't have the other doctor's phone number, and No, I didn't call her, and Yes, you can call and make an appointment all you want.

6:45 Ahhhhh, Screw Kappa Napa, have I ever told you how very very very much I love you?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ahhh, molding young minds is my job

As said by one of my students yesterday:

"Ms H! I couldn't find your Myspace page! I mean, I googled tattoos, kickball and teaching, and I couldn't find anything."

Hee. And yet still more Hee. With a side of BWAHAHA and some snicker on top.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This weekend.

Dear Matilda,

Please don't whine so much. One, because it breaks my heart, and two, because I miss him too.

Your mama

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dilemma at the Gym.

I was working out on Tuesday, and I picked an elliptical trainer thingy that had a good view of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire with captions because, well, it's trivia and if it's trivia then I can be entertained for that entire time and so that with my wee little iPod shuffle (that's orange! I love this wee little thing! It's so wee, I'm destined to lose it in about 90 days, but it's perfect for working out! can't you tell by my exclamation points?) piping my workout music into my ears and the trivia, ye gods, the trivia for my eyes (although some of it--yikes, "Finish this phrase: a good man is hard to..." seriously?) I would hardly notice the half hour passing and I don't need to worry about accidentally being introspective or dwelling on anything and it's like this perfect storm of how to get Kari to actually like (or maybe just Hate Less) working out.

Except there was one teeeeeny flaw in this plan: commercials. And it really felt like it would be question, and then we'll be right back to see if she can answer another dumb-shit question! question, and then stay tuned! question and then Febreeze for all your things with surfaces! So my attention would wander just a bit.

I purposely put a little hand towel over the readout when I'm on one of those torture devices machines because if I pay attention to the time as it passes, that's all I pay attention to, and then I barely make it to 15 minutes. If, however, I can not notice? I can easily make it to thirty or even forty minutes. It's awesome. So distracting me is a very big priority for me.

So there I am, annoyed by the ads broken up by wanna-be trivia, desperately searching or something to pay attention to that wouldn't make me the Creepy Person at the Gym. Focusing on the ass in front of you? Someone will eventually notice. So eyes up! at the TV! at all times! is the unspoken rule.

My eyes are scanning the TVs, and it's like, afternoon news (car crashes! and a fire! and a car crash! and guess what, it might rain tomorrow), ESPN (hey, I hear there's something about basketball going on?), local news, Scarborough Country (even though we're in a super-liberal town in a pretty liberal part of it, so really, wtf? I mean, Trader Joe's is across the street!), and then... Oprah.

How bad could it be?

It just so happened to be showing an episode on thirteen families in Charlotte who adopted twenty-eight different children--teenagers!--from an orphanage. In Liberia. And then a gay couple who had fostered twenty one different kids and adopted four of them and were in the process of adopting, like, sixteen more (that poor kid who was left out...). And then. Then. Then it was of the family who had a set of identical quadruplets, without fertility drugs, just pow! bang! bang! bang! four beautiful daughters. The family's name would make a fiction editor's eyes roll until they could see their own brain: Breedlove.

It's not weird to be snibbling on the elliptical trainer thingy, is it? People would just think I was having a really good workout, right?


Shit. Next time I'm plopping my fat jiggly ass in front of the VH1 television screen, wherever it happens to be. I don't care if that means I have to use the rower or if it means I have to watch thirty minutes of Paris Hilton: Misunderstood, Skank, or Just Really Shallow? because that must suck less.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Things I learned from watching The 300

  • Women don't generally talk.
  • Queens/wives/mothers don't get names.
  • Shouting platitudes can apparently get people to do really desperate things.
  • Dark skinned people are eeeeevil!
  • Nose rings are eeeeeevil!
  • Girls who sleep together are eeeeevil!
  • Eeeeevil kings will wear girlie makeup!
  • (and I can be totally jealous of whatever the hell was on his lips!)
  • Dark skinned girls will sleep together.
  • And be eeeeeevil!
  • Any men who do not have sculpted (and perhaps, just perhaps, cgi'd) abs are pussy weakliartraitors.
  • Hey also: blackmailing a woman into sex isn't rape!
  • Ancient Greeks, especially Spartans, had really great dental plans.
  • Persians, not so much.
  • No, seriously, those Greeks? For the most part: really white, straight, clean teeth. With fillings.
  • Any society that accepts imperfection: eeeeeevil!
  • Facial piercings: eeeeeeevil!
  • Also: when it comes to movies I might enjoy, a craptastic script rife with cliched dialogue, homophobia, xenophobia and misogyny cannot make up for visually stunning cinematography. Apparently I need some there there.

(For those who wondered: yes, there is only one woman who has any lines at all in this movie, and she doesn't get a name. Oh, wait, there's the adolescent "oracle" who gets to show some tit and whisper some ancient Greek, but she doesn't get a name either. Or, y'know, a personality. Just a tit and some cool cinematography.)

It's a little thing, but it's not.

I've started working out again. It's nice. It's a time when I can go absolutely zen brainless listening to music and reading crap magazines and still feel virtuous! It's win-win-win! Plus I've lost four pounds already! I haven't weighed myself since that four-pound weightloss weigh-in, just in case that was a water weight fluke. In fact, I'm focusing on that. Four pounds! Lost! Which means, actually, I can now fit into my Real People clothes as long as I don't breathe. That also means I only have twenty pounds to go before I'm at my weight last summer. Which wasn't ideal, but it also wasn't No You'll Never See Me In a Swimsuit Ever Fuck Off bad, so that's a plus. No pun intended.

Almost two years ago, I was on an exercise kick because I'd gained back some of the weight I'd lost for my wedding (ha! I was twenty-five pounds lighter then! ha!) and I saw this gym had a buy-three-years-membership-now-save-a-ton! deal. So I did. And, in fact, promptly stopped going because I got a job that was leaving me exhausted at 3:30. So, thumbs up, Kari! Well done!

Fortunately, I'd also bought the go-to-all-the-gyms-in-the-area pass, because the gym nearest me is in the corner of a dying mall. Well, the middle part of the mall is dying. Either end of the mall is anchored by a Target and a Home Depot, so no matter which end I went in, I was screwed.

Wait, that sounds dirty.

What I meant was, it was costing me more because I'd just take a little trip through Target and find a t-shirt! That was only $6.99! So I should just buy four! about once a week. Not good.

But then the walk from Target to the gym was through an echoy mall with empty storefronts. In fact, the only store still there is Claire's, and I can't figure out how they're selling enough $4.99 earring sets to stay open, but open they stay. It was depressing. The people at the gym were not very friendly. And I had a trainer that I had to avoid because part of my membership "deal" was that I got to see a trainer free five times. I went those five times before I stopped going, but Rick (Steve? Tom? Whatever his name was) would still call me. He even sent me a Christmas card. I did not make that up for comedic effect. Anyway, I didn't want to explain to him that I wasn't going to pay for more sessions with him because frankly, I was too tired to go to the gym at all and have him guilt me about going to the gym and what all, so I thought it best if I just never saw him again. It was a little like breaking up with a boy. In eighth grade.

Now I'm going to the shiny new gym that's not so near my house but is near a Trader Joe's. I justify replacing my Target shopping with the TJ shopping because hey! organic! Plus: this gym is much nicer. The people-watching is much prettier. In fact, I bring the prettiness average down quite a few notches as I sweat and grunt my way through my workout. I am not a pretty sweater. Meaning sweating person, not the knitted or woven garment. I get all red and flushed and my skin gets all patchy and teenage acne looking. But hell, it's not like I'm going there in order to look glam. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, I went today, and then went to TJ's and basically I feel that no matter what, if I do nothing else today (oh! and we cleaned almost our entire house this morning, like with mops and stuff! so there's that too!), I was still virtuous and so can consider this day a Win.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant rant

  1. I hate it on TV or in the movies when people run a program that is clearly ridiculuous. Does it make funny noises when scrolling through a list, or a boop-boop-boop when it's running a program? Your computer is not a microwave, it doesn't beep as it counts down. And three-dimensional imaging, while fantastic, is not how businesses show the results of a search. CSI? I'm looking at you. Oh, and plus? One does not get one's DNA results by merely spinning a teeny test tube for forty-five minutes. That's not a one-day process.
  2. You know what? Don't tell me teachers have it easy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, summers off is a great bonus. But I get shit pay, shittier respect (along the lines of if-you-could-do-anything-else-wouldn't-you-be-doing-it???) and the hours suuuuuuck. I can honestly say that I never worked this hard when I was making twice as much. Today I left the house at 6:45 and got home at 5 and have been working on lesson planning since then. And while this isn't every day, it also isn't unusual. Why do it, you ask? Well, I did want to slit my wrists at my previous job, so--less suicidal is a step up. Don't get me wrong--I love teaching, in the cheesy I've-found-my-calling way (and, apparently, in a need-to-use-hypens-a-lot way). But I also work really really hard to be a good teacher. Back up off that "you've got it easy" shit right now.
  3. Hey, students! It's called a typo. Sorry its there, yeah yeah I suck, now figure it the fuck out and move on. It's really not hard to figure out that I meant "te" to be "the". Don't be such dumbasses.
  4. Right now I'm finding it very hard to talk to, look at, or even think of pregnant women. Seriously, hate every single one of you. And yeah, this includes people that normally I love dearly. Don't take it personal, but also, don't tell me to just get over it. I am, and at my own pace, but if in the meantime I want to black out the teeth and draw beards on every pregnant woman in a magazine, I will and fuck you. Naomi Watts, this means you, you glowing sack of beautiful shit. I am also contemplating running up to pregnant women on the street and tacking signs on their back that read, "Ask me about my hemorrhoids!" So I don't want to hear how happy-go-yay you are about your full and lustrious hair, how the pregnancy juice flowing through your veins just makes the very oxygen you breathe smell better, nor will I be in the least sympathetic about how rough it is to have to pee all the time. Suck it up and find someone else to be your Pregnant Goddess Sounding Board.
  5. If I work with you but take some time off for some horrid personal shit and so miss a meeting we're supposed to have, that is really really not a good time to rant about my communication style to everyone else. Yes, I-dress-in-clothes-from-the-eighties-and-not-in-a-good-way, I'm talking to you, oh you who has the hair down your back and still curls your bangs. If I'm not there to either receive constructive criticism nor to defend myself, why the fuck are you ranting about me by name unless it's because you're a chicken shit cowardly cunt? PS: the ghost of Princess Di called. She wants her blazers with the puffy sleeves and skirts with the pleated waists back.
  6. Oh, and 2007? You just took the father of a really dear friend of mine. He didn't smoke, he didn't play with radioactive material, whence his sudden cancer? Fuck you 2007. Just fuck you sideways.

Can someone wake me up when it's May? Because sometimes it hurts too much for it to still only be today.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Would you like some tea with that awkward?

I have the best friends in the world. I've been getting the sweetest cards that invariably make me cry but also make me feel like eventually, one day, maybe even one day soon, I'll be less of a hermit and it won't hurt too much. I still hesitate when I get an envelope with handwriting on it, I kind of put off reading it until I'm okay with the idea that I'll want to cry and it'll take me back to that place but I eventually do read it because I'm so incredibly, deeply touched.

Plus, cards are way way better than phone calls. Such as my 90-some-odd year old grandparents, my oh-so-Minnesota-Scandinavian-Uff-da grandparents. The phone conversation went like this (note: you'll have to insert the northern-Minnesota accent yourself):

Me: "Hi Grampa!"

Grampa: "Oohhhh, Hi Kari, it's your Grampa here... your grandmother is getting on the other line... so..."

Me: "... well, hi Grampa... um... how're you?"

Grampa: "I'm fiiiine... you know... your grandmother is getting on the other line..."

Grandma: "Hiiiii, Kari!"

Me (loudly):"Hi, Grandma, how're you?"

Grandma: "Ooooh, you know... truckin' along... "

Grampa: "We're.... we're calling because.... your mother told us that you... that you... that some rough things happened and... we've sure been thinking about you, you know, a lot...."

Me (thinking, shoot me now, can this get more awkward? and that I suck and will burn in hell for thinking such terrible things about my grandparents being super sweet? and yet, the awkward? is awkward and awful?) "Yeah, it's been rough...."

Grampa: "...and we're sure sorry and sad."

Me: "That's very kind, thanks. I... yeah, it's been a rough week, but thanks."

Grampa: "So, how's the weather down there?"

Me: "Fine, it's 60 and sunny today. How about you?"

Grampa: "Oh, it's been terrible, the worst storm I can remember! We've been snowed in for days now."

Grandma: "We're surviving off the food we have in the house!"

Me: "That sounds awful!"

Grampa: "Oh, you know. Are you planning a trip up to visit us?"

Me: "Um. Well, our plans for the year have been somewhat abruptly changed, so we'll try to figure something out..."

Grampa: "That'd be great, we'd sure look forward to it. We're thinking of you."

Grandma: "Be a good girl, now!"


Me: "Okay, um, bye?"

I don't think they make a card for that conversation.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

One hour changes a lot.

In Chicago, if you drive for an hour... chances are, you're still in Chicago. Max, you're in Skokie or maybe Naperville (if you were driving at 3 a.m.), but still the Greater Chicagoland Area. Which was a problem in the "getting away" department, because it was a major chore to get anywhere that even vaguely resembled "away". Maybe that's why we got out of the habit.

Because sweet jesus, it's easy to get to a great place, just an hour away. Why did it take us FOUR YEARS to even try it?

Here: Grey. Probabily misty rainy--that sort of unsatisfying rain that is cold and clingy and wet but doesn't have any sort of cozy-inducing rat-a-tat-tat against the windows. Just a numbness-inducing blah.

There: Blue skies, and feet--as in plural of foot, feet--of snow.

That's the peak of Mt. Hood that you can see. That's the mountain I can just barely see (if I ignore the apartment complex blocking it) from my bathroom window. That I see looking east along the Columbia River on my way to work. It's flipping gorgeous.

There's more over on Flickr, if you want to see pictures. I'm relaxed and ready to get back to grading... although I did just heave a really big sigh upon typing that. Maybe a better way to put that is that grading doesn't seem like it's pulling the capillaries out of my skin one at a time anymore. I'm ready for this next week.

Thank you Andrew for taking this trip for me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

And, as a final act--the cherry on top, if you will...

My day:

Underwear up ass: four hours of class time, where picking ass is discouraged. Two cumulative hours of driving time, where space is too confined for ass picking. Finally reach around to pick ass in Fred Meyer Parking Lot (through a denim skirt, which is no mean feat, let me tell you), only to turn around and find a two-year-old watching me. With her finger up her nose.

Exposed: Fly down. Three. Separate. Times. Each time, I realize it while standing in front of twenty or more teenagers. Fucking denim skirt.

Ass: so big it knocked over loud items twice in class without my intention (just to clear that up, because sometimes my ass knocks over loud items with my intentions) in front of teenage audience (who are oh-so-forgiving, haven't you noticed?). Once, a metal bucket full of writing utensils. Once, a large stack of paper. Um, very large. And now, no longer stacked.

My karma: really, I need to be humiliated on top of everything? In front of other people? This week, it hasn't slapped silly enough to know I'm its bitch? Seriously?