Sunday, April 29, 2007

Anatomy of a weekend.

Usually, I overschedule myself.

Overscheduled Me is a total bitch. I mean, a BEEEEYOTCH of epic proportions.

Unscheduled me? Muuuuuch more mellow.

The side benefit of hermitting and cocooning because I feel sorry for myself is that my social calendar has slowed immensely. Not that friends aren't inviting me places; they are. Just that I'm being much more choosy. Not that my friends' events don't sound delectable; they do. Just that it's really really hard to beat sitting on my front porch doing a crossword puzzle* with a glass of wine.

This weekend I had a very short list of goals. The big advantage to a really short list of goals? Easy to accomplish.

Laundry? Check.
Clean the front rooms? Check.
Dig up the nasty-ass old-lady rosebushes** and replant something, ANYTHING? Check.

I ROCK. AND I'm not stressed.


*Note: given my family's obsession with crossword puzzles, and now the revelation that my high school math teacher has become a Will Shortz Published New York Times Crossword Author, I have more supplies of books of Sunday crossword puzzles than any one person should have. Spiral bound and otherwise. I have more crossword puzzles than I could do in, literally, a month of Sundays.


**When we bought our house, it had recently passed from Mrs. S, who had inhabited the house for thirty-odd years. She left her mark in three--THREE--different freezers, one of which had a handle that had broken off so it couldn't be opened (leaving the piecrust, steak and fish (!!!) in it until the junkers came to pick it up), two nicotine-soaked rooms (that took one full week of painting to keep the tar from soaking back through the primer and paint) and yard full of prissy prissy roses. I got rid of three bushes and one puffball rose tree.

Next up: the dumbass droopy trees in the front yard. Their asses are... well... grass.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Repetition makes the heart grow fonder.

Games Will and I have made up with his parents aren't looking:

Put your hand under your jaw, in a fist (a la Rodin's The Thinker). Now, without moving your fist or lower jaw, open your mouth (will necessitate moving the upper part of your head back, sort of like Guy Smilie from Sesame Street). Go "Ya! Ya! Ya!" while doing so. Giggle until you lose breath. Repeat. And then repeat again. And then repeat again.

Put cardstock insert from magazine on top of tennis ball can. Blow card off. Scream with glee. Repeat. And then repeat again. And then repeat again.

Put (teeny wee) hat on Kari's (ginormous, huge) head. "Blow" off (with perhaps, reportedly, assistance from a flinging motion of Kari's hand). Repeat. And then repeat again. And then repeat again.

Help Woody and Buzz perform "I'm a Little Teapot" in basso profundo. Applaud their performance. Repeat. And then repeat again. And then repeat again.

The game that started it all: Put block on head. Tilt head so block falls off. Put block on someone else's head. Laugh with mad insanity when it falls off. Repeat. And then repeat again. And then repeat again.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I just cleared out my voicemail on my cell phone. Yeah. The messages were, oh, um, what, crap. Like, they went all the way back to March 2nd. And um, the mailbox was, er, full. (To be fair, half the messages were from Andrew, who will call back every five minutes.)

I'm a terrible phone person. I don't chat very well. If I'm mildly upset or stressed, I reeeeeeally don't chat well. Emily has a very funny story about me "chatting" with her on a day when I had been particularly stressed, where I thought I was being all chill, and apparently I was coming off more, oh, serial-killery.

And cell phones... gar. Really, just don't try to get a hold of me via cell phone. Chances are about 4 in 10 that I even have it with me. Add in "forget to charge" and "has she even turned it on?" and you're much better off either figuring out who I'm with or just giving up on an immediate rendezvous and leaving me a message at home, because eventually Andrew will have to listen to the messages.

My discomfort with the phone extends to listening to messages. They are just a reminder of how much I suck at answering the phone, remembering my phone, checking my messages. I'm sure that every message left will be someone disappointed in me, so I just don't want to hear it.

Yay, maturity!

So yesterday when I answered the phone from my brother, that's a testament to how much I love him. Our conversation lasted all of five minutes, though, because as soon as he told me his wife was pregnant (surprise!), I was incapable of forming coherent sentences.

I broke.


Pieces. Everywhere.

I'm really happy for you, but I can't. I. It's. I can't.

and I hung up.

Yay, maturity!

This is not going to help my fear of the phone.

Today is gonna suuuuuuuuck.


I woke up at two!

Today will be great fun!

And tho it's technically just begun,

Hours I've been up is four

And there will be so many more

Filled with teens and work,

My job I cannot shirk.


Don't you wish you were me!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Drill down deep.

When I was in school, we had one tornado drill a year, and maybe one fire drill a year. Everyone has fire drills, but tornado drills are peculiar to FlyOver Country. In a tornado drill, kids are lead out to the hallways, away from windows, where we knelt, put our foreheads on our knees, and laced our fingers over "the most vulnerable parts of our necks" in an effort to protect our, what, carotid artery? from, uh, flying debris? I dunno, we were ten and did what we were told!

Now, by state law, my high school must have one drill per month (which usually means it's on the 30th or 31st, at whatever time is possibly least convenient). This being the Pacific Northwest and not, say, Nebraska, we're not so big on tornado drills. Instead, of course, we do earthquake drills. At this school, earthquake drills look eerily like atomic bomb "Duck and Cover" drills. Which seems to me, um... well, admittedly, I've never been in an earthquake (that I could feel) but still. Wouldn't, uh, outside, like, out from under a roof be a better choice?

In addition to earthquake drills, though, we have another drill. A Stranger Danger drill. I draw my curtains, lock my door (buy, uh, opening my door and using my key, which I'm sure I'll have no problem with should I ever get the "this is not a drill" announcement) and we all are supposed to do is huddle as far away from doorways as possible.

Which is awesome.

My school is an open campus, a little mini-college campus. I'm in one of the smallest buildings that's right next to the parking lot. There's no way to lock down the campus. Almost everyone's classroom opens right up to the outside. (Hey, great plan for Portland! No, really!) I'm sure, when it was built in the eighties, there was no reason to think anything about it.

Since the New Year:

In January, in Tacoma Washington, one student shot another.

Last week, in the surburb of Portland (the one that's oh, half-a-mile from my home) a fifteen year old boy, angry at his mother and two teachers, took some shots.

And worse, so, so, SO much worse:

Today, at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg Virginia, four students survived a classroom massacre by pretending to be dead.

Despite our lockdown drills, I don't ever really imagine this happening to us. I'm sure they didn't either. You can't operate that way. Any time my mind wanders into territory even near wondering about it, it skitters away and shies away almost instantly. The image of a stranger walking into my room with the intent to do me or my students harm terrifies me and angers me with such a protective fierceness that my mouth gets dry. Those are my kids. I've read People magazine stories about students overpowering intruders and it gives me chills. These are my kids.

"School Shooting" is now a term, separate and different from just, y'know, "shooting." Statistically, for all that, not something I'd call a movement or anything, but it's what I do, where I work, who I am, and scares the shit out of me.

And I feel completely powerless. And I ache for the faculty, students, staff and families at Virginia Tech. And I dread the revelations over the next few days of "if-only" and "I never thought". And when I think about it happening to my kids, my heart goes still.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Anyone able to take the stress away?

I hate days like this. I had to call two sets of parents under the pretext that I wanted to verify whether an absence was excused or not. I say pretext because it was a test day, and there is no way on earth those boys didn't know it was a test day, and mysteriously, they were only absent for my class. Plus, they are friends. And both absent together. I'm not always too bright but I'm pretty sure I know why they were absent.

But that means they get a zero for that test. The crap of it is, I really like both of them. If just by psychic force of will I could get them to work and to think, I would, in a New York minute. As it is, they are probably going to fail the class. And that sucks. They brought it on themselves, but it really sucks. Plus, I think I got them in a LOT OF TROUBLE at home.

I tried to play it as fair as possible. I warned both of the boys, told them what the penalty was, and gave them the opportunity to talk to their parents first. I had spoken with both parents on other occasions, and knew they were straight shooters and wouldn't excuse the kids to get them out of a punishment they'd created. One of the boys took me up on it and fessed up to his mom before I talked to her, which was good. The other? Whooooo boy, I think he's in a heap of trouble.

My inner dialogue: I didn't make him skip class. I didn't make him skip class on a test day. I didn't make him lie about it.

But still, I hate being a grown up sometimes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I've been trying to process my parents visit. I don't remember visits with my parents being this... difficult, for lack of a better word.

Of course, the last time they visited, I had lots of percoset and dilaudid, so maybe, I shouldn't trust my memory.

Just maybe.

I want them to have a good time when they're here. I want them to enjoy themselves. I just don't know how to merge my desires with, y'know, reality.

Amazingly, it took my mom two days to give me the head-tilt-"How-are-you?" Note: don't start conversations that way.

I spent days and days and days, cleaning our house, setting up our guest room, planning and researching, and hoping. And Mom and Dad stayed at the Comfort Inn ("We don't want to make you uncomfortable."). Dad got impatient with everything we planned. Sightseeing Oregon's beautiful waterfalls like a drive-by attack? A short walk on a flat path through a beautiful park? Looking into pioneer history? Ashland's antiques?

I finally broke down and asked, "What do YOU like to do on vacations?"

This, I asked of a man who went to Bermuda to play bridge. And that was all he did.

He looked at me and grimaced, and ground out, "Horseback riding." Which, if you met him--you know was sarcasm. Thanks Dad.

It wasn't all bad. I mean, I love my folks. I think I was just hoping for too much. They hadn't seen me in almost a year, and as previously noted, that one time they've seen me in the past year and a half, I was stoned as all freaking hell on prescription pain killers, so where on Earth did I think insta-bonding would come from? You think maybe I put too much weight on My Parents Will Love Me More If I Entertain Them Really Well? Maybe?


On the bright side: I now know how to play bridge. A really really lot of bridge. Hours and hours of bridge.

Because that's what my dad does on vacation.

Monday, April 09, 2007


So, update on the family vacation will come later, suffice it to say: I'm alive, we're all still speaking to each other, and Andrew has not threatened divorce, so we're all good.

IN the meantime, because everyone has already seen Blood, I give this for your viewing enjoyment:

Monday, April 02, 2007


Dear 2007,

Okay, I've slammed you in the past, but in my defense, you've done some really shitty things.

Okay, okay, this isn't going to be a blame sort of letter. It's a new beginnings sort of letter. So I don't want to start off on that negative foot.

Yay, I got my period! My first period of 2007! (if you don't count that four weeks of bleeding that totally included my embryo, but whatever) It's a chance to start over, that kind of restart you never get with a boyfriend who swore he didn't mean to give head to your roommate because oops it just happened and it's really you he loves or your high school friend who totally sent that note that you intercepted calling you a bitch even though she totally denied that it was so in her handwriting even though it totally was because no one else made those y's with the crazy "artsy" loop. Those restarts were never, you know, untainted.

Ahem. Not that I'm holding a grudge or anything. Clean slate, hormones! New beginnings, uterus! I loooooove you, 2007! You wanna come over, just hang out? No, yeah, we're totally friends!

Seriously, a friend just gave me the best compliment tonight. "You're much less angry," she said. Which is true. I am able to be focused on what can still happen, what the next few months can hold. Mostly. Let's not say I'm not totally panicked about how I'm going to react when the gush of babies that's about to happen does, in fact, occur (blessings of health upon the half-dozen of babies due to friends and family because the opposite is too calamitous to contemplate) because I am panicked but I choose not to focus on that. When that happens and if I'm not knocked up at the time, then I'll deal with that when I deal with that (probably with chocolate and alcohol, because hey, at least I'll be able to drink! silver linings, right?) but what I can focus on right now? I'm bleeding which means SOMETHING is still working the way it should and that means I'm that much closer to trying again.

It's not awkward at all that I don't know how to talk to loved ones who are pregnant. It's not awkward at all that I don't know how to communicate the sadness that's always there, the anger that is still there. It's not uncomfortable at all that I see my relationships changing because I just don't possess the fortitude to admit that the relationship has changed just as a result of circumstances and be okay with that. I don't want to blame you for that, 2007, but you are kind of a guilty bystander to all of that. Life is unfair, at its base, and that's not your fault anymore than it's all these mommma-to-be's faults.

You do, however, make an extremely convenient scapegoat.

So I'm trying not to blame you, 2007. I really am. And I'm trying to be okay with everyone else being as fertile as the fucking Nile Delta ("hahah! we got pregnant the first time we tried! Isn't that funny! And awkward as all fucking hell? Hahaha!") because it's not their fault either.

So can you do us a favor? It's not our fault either? You know? So, kinda, cut us some slack? Because that'd be great.