Friday, December 30, 2005

Night and day.

I cannot BELIEVE how quickly the attitudes of people change after Christmas. BC (Before Christmas), the customers were nice, friendly, polite, patient, etc. NOW, however--holy shit. EVERYONE is impatient, rude and grumpy. Either they don't have their receipt and they're pissed because they aren't getting the full amount back that they claim they spent, or they resent having to walk the extra three feet to lingerie to do their returns, or they're upset because the coupon they want to use is expired, or they're irritated that the item they thought was on sale wasn't. Today was the most miserable day of them all. Granted, I dealt with assholes during my waitressing days in college, but I was making a hell of a lot more money, too. But for what I'm making at the JC, it's certainly NOT worth putting up with this crap.

Mind you, I AM PMSing right now, which doesn't help (not to mention the fact that my car is in the shop, receiving **2500** dollars of tranny work)--but it wasn't just me. It's all EVERYONE was talking about in the break room today.

The capper was when this older guy (and not one of those cute old men, either, but one of those jerky old men who just walks around in a perpetual state of asshole-ishness) got mad at me because after waiting in line, he got up to the register and was told that I'm sorry, sir, but returns are being handled in lingerie. He got all huffy and, as he was walking away, he muttered, "It'd be nice if you had some signs."

YOU MUST HAVE MISSED THE BIG ASS NOTICE AT EVERY ENTRANCE TO THE STORE **AND** THE THREE AT EVERY COUNTER.

I whipped around and called out, "We DO, sir." My words were polite but my tone was pretty damn sharp.

I MEAN, F&@*.

I resent being talked to and treated like I'm a fucking moron when I probably have more education than half of those people. And even if the person you're dealing with is a high school drop-out, you still aren't justified in talking down to someone simply because they work in retail, for Crissake.

The only positive part of the day was getting fitted for a bra at Victoria's Secret (still a 38D, even with the weight I've lost) and finding out that yes, "busty" women need padded bras, too. I tried on one of their new seamless bras, and I can't even TELL you the difference it made. I looked GOOD. Once I put my sweater back on, my silhouette was completely transformed. My boobs were perky again! They were closer to my shoulders than my waist again! They were TOGETHER again, rather than heading in opposite directions like some kind of repelling Boob Magnet! It was a magical moment. Mind you, those bras were $50 so I couldn't afford to actually BUY one of them today, but I WILL. I never understood why people would spend so much on a bra when you can get one for like $7.99 at Target, but now I see that some things really are worth splurging on. And, when you're a big-busted woman about to enter her 30s, a good bra is DEFIINTELY one of them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas "spirits."

I had a really, really good Christmas this year. I expected to be just a TAD bit down, due to being single and all, but as it turns out, I had a blast. Maybe that's 'cuz I was drunk.

Okay, I wasn't DRUNK, but Santa gets one hell of a shout-out this year. Usually, my sisters and I each get one of those big plastic candy canes filled with candy. This year, they were filled with mini bottles of Schnapps. Needless to say, by the time the first carload pulled up around 1 pm, I was already feeling the Christmas spirit, so to speak.

However, that's not the ONLY reason I had such a great time this year. It was just FUN. Highlights included a new cell phone (I haven't had one for like 2 weeks, and trust me, I was hurtin'....it's REALLY COOL. It even has voice recognition! For example, if I hit the call button and say "byatch," it will automatically call my sister) and Nikki's Bathroom in a Box (all the stuff I need for my bathroom once I move into my new apartment--shower curtain and liner, rug, soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and I think something else). I also got a home microderm-abrasion kit (I used it for the first time last night and miraculously, I managed NOT to do serious damage). I also received scented candles, books, etc. (Damn, I can't WAIT to get a "real job" and move into my apartment, where I can light my scented candles in my brand-new bathroom.)

Later in the evening, after a couple carloads of people had left, Nikki, Mis and I all got to sit around, act stupid and laugh our asses off.

Good times. I truly hope that everyone else's day was just as wonderful.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas to all!

And to all a good night.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. We're going to have 18 people here on Christmas Day (and that's just immediate family--my parents, sisters, nieces and nephews and various significant others).

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Aerosmith was awesome!

At least, that's what I hear. I wouldn't know, since I wasn't there.

Some of you know that I was going to see Aerosmith on Saturday night with my mom. Well, my stepdad ended up not having to work, so I gave him my ticket. I thought it would be nice for the two of them to go out and do something together--plus, as you know from Nikki's blog, he's a big music guy and I knew he'd like it.

Unfortunately, my sister and Nick also got tickets to this same concert. They waited, of course, until the last minute to try to find a babysitter. Once Big Mouth Mom let it slip that I was no longer going, I got the full-court press to watch her kids. Now mind you, I don't just mean, "Hey, can you watch my kids?" (Cuz I said no. Like 4 times. I was either going to stay home and relax, since I had opened that day and was tired as hell, or go to the originally planned Girls' Night.) Katey, who feels that the world owes her a babysitter, kept asking and asking. Nosy Ass Mom got involved, too ("PLEASE watch them"). I finally gave up when Katey got the kids into it, as well (Paige: "Why won't you watch us, Aunt Jenny?").

The kids were still up when they got picked up at 1 am. The two younger ones were still running around like crazy people (mind you, they're 3 and 2. They WOULDN'T SLEEP. It was probably due to the TWO birthday parties we had gone to earlier in the day. They were hopped up on cake and ice cream).

I would have had a quieter, more relaxing night at the rock concert.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Have I become boring?...

...or have all of YOU?

Seriously, why is no one posting anymore? I thought about it during my lunch break today (I really did. I know, I need to get out more) and I think I've realized: this is the period of my life that my psychic told me was coming--the calm, drama-free period in which I could just recharge and reflect. Good for me but sucky for all of you, as no drama equals a pretty dull blog (as many people have noted, I am often quite humorous and entertaining when I'm hearbroken and/or miserable).

I've been busy working and Christmas shopping, with a couple of dates thrown in (when there's something to report, I'll be sure to let you know. So far, not so much). I did, however, recently stumble across the new diet fad that will soon be sweeping the country: Nyquil and cake (no, not together). Late last week I caught the most horrible cold/flu thing, so for three straight days I took Nyquil around the clock, waking up only long enough to eat some cake* and take some more Nyquil. Three days later, I had lost 5 lbs, putting me at a weight not seen since high school.

Forget Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers....I'm going to write a book and make millions. Good thing, too, because that's about as much as I owe Penny's at this point.

* Late birthday cake from my mom

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Friday, December 09, 2005

New Angels' newsletter!

For all you Angels (and Angel enthusiasts) out there, there's a new Soldiers' Angels newsletter up, as of roughly 1 am (that's why I haven't posted a whole lot of new stuff--I've been pretty busy between work and trying to get this latest edition ready to go).

It's at http://sanewsletter.blogspot.com/ . (Check out the article called "Four-legged friendship" under Angels at Work; I thought it was pretty cute.)

Enjoy!

Jen

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thomas is home!!!

As of very early this morning, my adopted soldier, Thomas, is back in the States.

I have no idea what, if anything, will happen with "us" now that he's home, but for right now, all I care about is that he's BACK IN THE USA!!!!!! (I'll start obsessing later, I'm sure.)

I am SO proud of him.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Holiday Season!!!

I am totally into the holiday season this year!

I decorated my house and office. We have some lovely lights up. I'm doing the cards. I'm buying extra presents. I'm listening to Christmas music 24-7. I'm even hosting a holiday cookie swap this weekend.

I love this time of year! How's it going for you?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Skeleton Key--help, please!

DISCLAIMER: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THIS MOVIE BUT PLAN TO, DO **NOT** READ THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST.

To those of you who HAVE seen it--what the hell is up with that ending??? I watched the last few minutes like 5 times and I still don't get it. Please, PLEASE, explain this movie to me.

AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE, DO NOT READ THESE COMMENTS OR THE ENDING WILL BE GIVEN AWAY.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Important landmark study.

Some of you may have seen this study already.

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features.

However, if she is menstruating or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with scissors lodged in his temple and tape over his mouth while he is on fire.

No further studies are expected.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Because of You.

I was never a HUGE Kelly Clarkson fan but she's been growing on me....and damn if I don't love this song.

I will not make
The same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself
Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break
The way you did, you fell so hard
I’ve learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

[Chorus]
Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid

I lose my way
And it’s not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes
I’m forced to fake
A smile, a laugh, every day of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

[Chorus]
Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

[Chorus}
Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid

Because of you
Because of you
Because of you I am afraid

Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt

Because of you I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don’t know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty
Because of you I am afraid

Because of you

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My friend, the author.

I'm proud to announce that Lori, my best Angel friend, is now a published author. If you have any preteen or young teen book lovers on your Christmas list, I highly suggest checking out Gettysburg Adventure: Ghost on the Battlefield by Lori Bakewell (see below for the plot summary). You can get it online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com (and both sites usually have free shipping on orders over $25--so buy two!).

This brilliant and engaging story is a great way to get kids interested in and learning about history. As one reviewer noted, "Ghost on the Battlefield blends adventure with history in such a way that children will not even know they're learning about their country's past."

Here is the official plot summary from www.loribakewell.com:

"Kat Rogers is not enthusiastic about leaving her friends and missing ninth grade to be homeschooled on a year-long road trip with her family. She is also not happy about spending time in a confined RV with her younger brother, Brian. History is dull and battlefields are boring, until she sees a figure at the Gettysburg battlefield who captures her attention. He could be a young man dressed up to entertain visitors, except that she can see through him. Once Kat realizes that this Confederate soldier needs her help, she discovers that history isn’t dull and battlefields can be interesting places. With the assistance of Brian and an eccentric lady from town, Kat works to resolve unanswered questions and free the ghostly Will from his very earthly concerns. Along the way she realizes that touring the country with her family might just be an exciting adventure."

Please keep Lori and her book in mind this holiday season! And CONGRATULATIONS, LORI!! I'm very proud of you.
A very JC Penny's Christmas.

Well, I got the Penny's job. They actually hired me immediately and I even worked for 4 hours right after my interview. (I sold TWO PAIRS of shoes. It was quite fun, actually.) I'll be rotating between women's, men's and shoes, depending on where I'm needed that day. Although the money is only slightly above "sweatshop," my 20% employee discount takes effect immediately. (Holla!) So, if I work the sales right and then add my discount, I should be able to get some good Christmas shopping done.

I'm scheduled for about 40 hours next week (my first full week), which is great--and I was even able to squeeze 26 out of her for the rest of this week. Best of all: I was able to schedule an earlier shift on Saturday so that I can still attend Cookiepalooza.

So, all in all, things are not going too badly. I've been in town 4 days and I have a new (albeit temporary) job and a wonderful young man who (he was quick to point out) did NOT stare at my boobs to hang out with. ;) Not to mention, of course, the upcoming reunion with my high school byatches, Kacey and Kishelle. (Lord, the three of us back together again...I'm not sure West Michigan is ready.)
I had a date.

I met Bill, a 29-year-old engineer, for a late dinner at Applebee's last night. It went well, I guess. Sounds like he wants to see me again.

I'll keep you informed. ;)

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's my very best dream coming true!

I just got a call for an interview at Bath and Body Works, the Happiest Place on Earth. (I applied on Saturday for a holiday job, to get me through until I can start subbing in January.) I'm going in to talk to them at 2:30....oh, I'm just DELIRIOUS at the thought of working at the Mecca of Happiness. It's like they're calling me home.

(On a side note, RIGHT after they called, Penny's called, as well, which is the other place I applied to on Saturday; however, I'm going to wait and see what happens with BBW before I call them back.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

The End of an Era

The decade of Jen in the Detroit-Metro area has come to an end. She came a small town girl and left a woman of the world. While here she got a couple of college educations. She conquered several career worlds including non-profits, business marketing, adult toys and teaching. She fell in and out of love with a variety of idiots. She made fabulous friends and had all sorts of new experiences. She had a good run.

A memorial service was held last week at the local bar, Bumpers, where many friends gathered to drink and party in her honor.

She will be missed. Jen is survived in Detroit by several ex-boyfriends, a couple of ex-cats and shall be missed by her devoted companion, Anna, and her bunches of grieving friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A story that needs to be told.

In honor of SPC Tommy Byrd's service and sacrifice, I hope you all take a moment to pause and reflect on this young man's amazing life. No matter what your feelings are regarding this war (and I know we all have different views), Tommy's a hero, as is each and every serviceman and woman over there.

To date, over 2,000 heroes have died in the Iraq war (2,077 as of this posting). This is Tommy's story.

http://www.somesoldiersmom.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This sounds like something I would do.

"But he's not ALWAYS an asshole..."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10065038/
Reasons why it sucks to leave Detroit.

In the next couple of days, I have to say goodbye to:

1) Anna, my very bestest Detroit friend for the last few years
2) My students
3) My "kids" (the S's)
4) Jeff (which actually makes me sad, even though I know it's for the best and I'm not in love with him anymore. Even so, I had such HIGH hopes when I moved in here, and we HAVE been really close the last year and a half, even after we broke up)

Worst of all,

5) I have to live WITH MY PARENTS. More specifically, MY MOTHER.

Reasons why I'm getting excited to go back to Holland.

1) I get to hang out with my sisters
2) More time with my nieces and nephews (I've missed a LOT living out here)
3) Kacey and Kishelle--I'll be able to renew my friendship with my best high school friends

Friday, November 11, 2005

Three posts in 15 minutes...

can you tell that I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands?

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.
You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once in a while. And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!
Well NOW what?

Student teaching ended about 8 hours ago, and I already feel...adrift. For the last three months, I've put my heart and soul into that school, that placement, those kids....every night and weekend I've had papers to grade and lessons to plan...and now, just like that, I'm all done. It's like...having a huge New Year's Eve party--and then suddenly, half an hour after midnight, you realize that everyone has gone home and you're standing alone in a living room full of empty glasses and confetti.

I do have a COUPLE of "requirements" left. I have my last seminar on Wednesday, at which time I'll turn in the application for my teaching license (!!!!), my remaining assignments, etc. On Thursday, I go back to "my school" to meet with my university supervisor and cooperating teacher one last time. This is my final review, when I'll receive my grade for student teaching (which basically becomes my grade for the entire 10-credit semester. And for the record, any class that requires you to put in 40 hours of class time plus another 10-20 hours of "prep time" every week should be worth WAY more than 10 credits). I'll get to see my kids one last time that day, which is probably why, miracle of miracles, I didn't cry today, my last real day of student teaching.

So now I'm just sitting here....no essays to read, no spelling tests to correct, no lesson plans to create. And I'm not sure what to do with myself, actually.

I guess I finish packing.
Who said that America's teachers are unqualified?

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!


(Thanks to pseudo-intellectual lunatic for the link.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

I ran today!

And I wasn't chasing an ice cream truck or a hottie at the end of the street or ANYTHING.

It was only for a minute or so at a time, but I did it TWICE. (I'll tell you what, though: those seemed like some long-ass minutes.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm doing dishes.

Yes, WHILE packing and grading papers, I am SIMULTANEOUSLY doing the dishes. "How is that possible?" you may wonder. Well, I am employing the Jeff Method of washing dishes. The JM involves filling the sink with water and soap, piling in the dishes--and then walking away. Indefinitely. It's not uncommon for him to "do the dishes" over an entire weekend.

So, since I'm already doing laundry (the real way, which requires me to navigate the miles of underground tunnels to the laundry room--which, based on the length of the walk, is somewhere near Lansing) and going to 5 different stores to beg for boxes and packing and renewing licenses and going to the bank and doing school stuff and a MYRIAD of other activities--I am reverting to the JM style of dish-washing.

AND, might I add, I am doing all of this with a Debilitating Injury (I sliced the knuckle of my thumb last night on Jeff's Contraption of Death, otherwise known as his beard trimmer).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Rosa Parks' funeral.

As she lived, died and is being buried here in Detroit, her funeral is obviously being televised. (I've been watching since 10 am and, as of almost noon, we're still waiting for the actual program to start...and now I have to leave for my student teaching seminar, so I'm pretty bummed.) Anyway, my question is: my mom told me that they're televising it in West Michigan. Are any other stations across the country broadcasting the funeral proceedings? Is this a national thing or just a regional event?

We discussed Rosa Parks in my language arts class yesterday morning. One student said, "So people were treated bad just 'cuz of their color? That's stupid, Miss K."

I couldn't agree more.

Rosa Parks: "she stood up by sitting down."
Halloween revisited.

I forgot to ask, what did everyone do for Halloween? I went trick-or-treating with my "other" family, the S's. It was a lot of fun, actually. A local park (the same park I took the kids to just about every day in the spring and summer) hosts trick-or-treating there, so we went to check it out. (Mr. S., Mrs. S., three kids and their former nanny--just one big happy family.)

Madison (6, almost 7) was an angel; Noah (now 5) was Dracula and Luc (now 3) was Darth Vader. Mrs. S took pictures on a digital camera, so I hope to get some emailed to me and posted on the blog in the near future.

As always, it was great to see them. They seemed pretty happy to see me, too. At the end of the night, they asked if I would "come over and play every day" like I used to. And of course, the day wouldn't be complete without Luc proclaiming, "Supernanny, you FUNNY."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Dear Mrs. K,

Thanks for being a good teacher, a friend, and the best person ever.

You taught me alot and even when you weren't talking I learn.

I will know you will make more people happy as me when your teaching.

Sometimes I think your a angle [angel] from above to keep people safe.

(Angles dont have to sing well either.)

Just wondering, how can you deel with K. [a classmate she doesn't get along with] all the time? You must be very calm and skilled!

Love, KS

I'll miss you

Yes, this is an actual note I received today from one of my students, in all of its misspelled and grammatically incorrect glory. And it's one of the best gifts I've ever received.

(I think the letter is especially meaningful when you consider this: just two days ago, my psychic told me that "you like kids, they like you and they feel safe around you." And then, out of nowhere, I get this letter today. Interesting, huh?)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Party of one (at least until 2010 or so).

First, I must thank Anna (my self-described "birthday coordinator") for showing me such a great time yesterday. The day included our trip to the psychic, dinner, a haunted house and a (very) brief appearance at the bar. Most of this blog entry will focus on our psychic encounter (at least MY portion of it, anyway--I'll let Anna post her experience, if she so desires); however, I do want to mention the haunted house, where my normally level-headed and practical amiga LOST HER DAMN MIND. (FYI, Anna, I have several finger-sized bruises all over my upper arm--any idea how those got there?) ;)

The psychic, by far, was the highlight of my day. I learned a LOT of valuable information; I've just taken 5 pages of notes from the tape I have of my 20-minute session. I know some of you out there may be more skeptical, but truly, I found it to be insightful and more than helpful. The most important thing I learned, I think, is that I AM on the right path; that what is going on around me is happening exactly when and how its supposed to, and I'm learning all the lessons I'm supposed to be learning. Having said that, here are some of the more important points.

1) The million-dollar question: Will I ever get married--and when? And to whom? (Okay, that was three questions.)

Yes--although not as soon as perhaps I would have liked. Marriage is in the cards (literally) for me in 5-10 years--not within 5, she said, but definitely within 10, putting me at about 34-39. However, she said that marriage is "definitely going to happen."

Interestingly, I have a LOT of "kid lines"--2 girls and 4 boys. However, she said that these are not necessarily the kids that I'll HAVE, just those that I'll become closest to. She said the two girls are "really strong." I'm thinking that those are Amanda and Paige. I'm not exactly sure about the boys, as I currently have 6 nephews to choose from--but I'm hoping that at least one or two of the boys she's seeing are MY future sons.

2) BOLO (be on the lookout) for:
A man with lightish brown hair and light eyes (blue/green/hazel), who is very loving and kind, loves nature and animals and is shy and quiet. Yes, you guessed it--that's HIM. The One. And no, she said, I haven't met him yet.

3) At least I have one thing right.
Teaching is DEFINITELY the right career path for me. It came up again and again--in my cards and in the palm reading (my "amibition mound," which focuses on career/work, is completely covered by a grid of "teacher squares").

4) General things about me.
--I have "major trust issues."
--I'm incredibly stressed out and I worry too much about everything ("you're much too young to be this stressed out") .
--At one point, she looked me dead in the eye and said, "Quit being so hard on yourself."
--I'm very intuitive when it comes to people and events; I have a lot of "psychic X's" on my palm (my problem is that I usually don't LISTEN to my instincts, because they're generally telling me something that I don't want to hear, especially when it comes to relationships).
--When I love, I "love from the soul;" there's no halfway with me and I love with my whole heart.
--I have four guardian angels/spirit guides (it makes me laugh that FOUR are needed to handle me and the trouble I seem to get myself into; however, it is very reassuring that they're around me and are looking out for me).

They also do home parties (private reading are $30 instead of the usual $25 but STILL quite reasonably priced, especially when you consider that you can easily blow that on a dinner out, a few drinks at the bar, etc). You only need 6-10 people. Anna and I were talking about doing one as a girls' night--I know Renee would be up for it, too, so that's three. Plus, I'm sure the girls who originally recommended this place to us would love to come, as well. Anyone else?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Apple-palooza.

So far today, I have made apple crisp (I found a recipe online, Anna) and caramel apples.

Here's what I've learned:

1) Make caramel apples with real caramel. I bought a "kit" and it's not as good.
2) Caramel that has been in the microwave is very, very, excrutiatingly hot.
3) When peeling apples, be sure to remove the protective film from your brand-new apple peeler first. It works much better that way.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Just checking in.

This past week was CRAZY busy. We had parent-teacher conferences, which means that I lost my evenings and fell horribly behind on paper-grading. Luckily, a) my teacher took pity on me and graded 90 6-page geography tests, and b) my good friend Anna helped me grade some more assignments today. As of now, I am once again caught up on my grading and I am quite happy.

Conferences went well. It gave me my first exposure to defending my grading practices and principles to some not-very-happy parents. (However, I must say, that even THAT wasn't too bad; we had expected some pretty irate confrontations--from what I hear, these things can get ugly--but for the most part, everyone was more-or-less civil.)

Today, Anna and I rewarded our hard work with a trip to the apple orchard. Note: if you're short like me (5'4"), bringing a tall friend with you is a must (Anna is--and I'm estimating here--roughly the height of Shaq). We got the GOOD apples, way up high on the tree (once she stepped up on the crates, I'm pretty sure that she was actually TALLER than the trees). In addition to about 500 lbs of apples, we also got apple bread, apple butter and donuts (I saw "we," but mostly it was "me"). So please: if you know any good, yet fairly easy, apple recipes, send them my way.

NEXT weekend will be even more exciting, because we're making a trip to a psychic for my big 2-9. (Mom asked, "How will you know if she's for real?" I told her, "If she tells me what I want to hear, she's the real thing. If she tells me nothing but bad news, then clearly she's a fraud.") I already have my questions ready: 1) Will I ever get married? 2) Roughly WHEN will I get married? (I'm not looking for a date or even a month, but some kind of time frame would be nice.) and 3) Do I remotely know the person I'm going to marry, or has he yet to enter my life? I figure that everything I need to know about my future can be answered by those three questions. After all, I finally have this career thing figured out.

What's new with all of you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Well, We're Movin' On Up...

To northeastern Illinois. John got another promotion, so here we go again! This is not yet the District Team Leader position that he has his sights set on, but a promotion nonetheless.

His title is Operational Specialist over 4 districts of stores, all in Illinois and Wisconson. In a nutshell, his job will be to help the Store Team Leaders fix their fucked up stockrooms, receiving and flow processes (replenishment). There are more operational aspects that he'll be dealing with, like the front end (which is like the service desk, check-outs, etc) but I'll not bore ya'll with the details. Mostly stockroom stuff.

So he'll have about 40 stores that he oversees this stuff on. Lots of daytime travelling, but hopefully not a ton of overnight stuff.

At first I was less than pleased with the move (even though we discussed it and agreed that he should interview for it), because this is the first place I've actually made NEW friends. One of which has moved with Target, too, but the other is still here and I just love her! Our sons are both 4 (and both only children), and they adore each other. When it's time for Daniel to go home, Brent says "I just want Daniel to stay here for a thousand days!" Brent is the reason I was dreading the move... last year he HATED preschool and cried every time I dropped him off. This year he LOVES it and wants to go every day. I'm afriad that putting him in a new school is gonna turn into last year all over again. Especially cuz it'll be in the middle of the year (like last year). But I'm getting a little excited now.

We'll be just north of Chicago, where there are so many fun things to do... can't wait to take Brent to the zoo, the aquarium, Six Flags... two weekends ago we took Brent with us up there to scope out some neighborhoods and stuff and we passed Six Flags and Brent wanted to go there immediately :-) We also happened upon Gurnee Mills Mall which is HUGE. They have an ice hockey rink in there, which is attached to an insanely huge and noisy arcade. We took Brent there for dinner and to play. He couldn't take his eyes off the youth hockey game that was being played, and announced that he wants to learn how to play hockey (YES!! But first he needs to learn how to skate. This place gives lessons).

So, Brent is getting a little more accepting of it when he sees all this cool stuff by where we're gonna move. We've told him that we aren't gonna live by Daniel anymore, but he's not grasping that. We'll still get together with them, but right now they see each other almost every day with school, swimming lessons and the childcare at the exercise place Linda and I go to. I'm sure there will be an adjustment period, as there always is, but I think we'll get through it and he'll be fine.

My parents are watching Brent this weekend while John and I go house-hunting with our realtor. Those who know me well know that this is my favorite part. Realtor.com is bookmarked in My Favorites thingie on the computer. Even when we aren't moving, I love looking at houses. This part is lots of fun for me. We're hoping to find one we love this weekend and write an offer either while we're there or early next week. We'll probably end up taking Target's offer to buy our house, cuz we want to get it done ASAP, since John already started his new job yesterday. I'll keep you all posted!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

HELL YES!

I went to the mall today for my monthly weigh-in.

I HAVE NOW OFFICIALLY HIT THE 20-POUND MARK!!! In fact, I've lost 23 pounds, which means that I'm only 2 lbs away from my original goal. (I'm going to keep going, though, since I'm only like 7 lbs away from my mom now.) That means I've lost 7 lbs since my weigh-in last month (student teaching has a lot to do with it, I'm sure, especially walking back and forth across that big-ass school and generally being on the move all day).

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cam update.

I called Cam's mom today. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot new to report. He's still at the rehab place; they have to make their home "barrier free" before he can live there again. He's not in a wheelchair (he's walking by himself now, though sometimes he falls down), but he needs special handles to grab onto in his bedroom and bathroom--so they're working on getting an addition built on their house now. They hope to have him home for good by the holidays.

His speech is still very slurred. His mom and dad can understand him, of course, but others have more of a problem. The more you're around him, the easier it is to understand him.

His short-term memory is still shot. He doesn't remember a whole lot from day to day. They have to keep reminding him of events, conversations, etc. He HAS gotten to the point, though, where he'll blame his memory lapses on his brain injury (as in, "I don't remember. I have a brain injury," which is kind of funny. That sounds like him). ;) There are times that he doesn't remember life at all before the accident--he's actually asked his parents if he's always been like this. He asks them if he's ever been married or if he has any kids. He doesn't remember me, though. He does, however, remember Tweak (the cat he got me for our anniversary, who now lives with Mom and Steve). It's nice that he remembers the cat he had for about 4 months, yet the woman he was with for a year and a half has failed to make an impression.

I told his mom that I'm leaving this part of the state soon and I'd love to see him before I go. "If he doesn't remember me, then he can just make a new friend," I told her. She said she'd bring it up and let me know if he's open to a visit. Frankly, though, I don't expect to hear from her. I told her that I still think about him all the time and I'd make sure to always let them know where I am, just in case they ever need to find me. You never know when he'll change his mind.

I'm never going to really be able to "get over" him.

Friday, October 14, 2005

In other news....

"...when it comes time for the actress to give birth in several months, it has been suggested that [Katie] Holmes will attempt a silent labor in keeping with Scientology tradition. The practice encourages mothers to be to forgo painkillers and to refrain from screaming or even talking as they bring their children into the world. Scientologists believe that the silence reduces trauma during birth and prevents irrational fears later in life."

Let me say that again.

The practice encourages mothers to be to forgo painkillers and to refrain from screaming or even talking as they bring their children into the world.

Uh huh. Okay, L. Ron Hubbard. Until you're able to push something the size of a watermelon from YOUR nether regions without screaming (or drugs), shut the hell up.

Jackass.
Mark the date.

I saw my first Christmas commercial tonight.

IT'S OCTOBER FREAKIN' 14TH.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Anything to put off paper-grading.

LoB had this on his site, so I decided to play, too. Using Google, you type in your name and then "needs." Here are my favorite five search results for "Jennifer needs":

1. Jennifer needs this Diva Publicity like she needs a hole in the head!

2. Maybe Jennifer needs to be in a mental health facility right now.

3. Perhaps Jennifer needs to take some advice from Paris Hilton...or perhaps not.

4. Jennifer needs to sex it up a little.

5. Jennifer needs a cold shower.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Jenny don't play that.

I had to lay the smack down yesterday.

Our schedule has been switched around due to the MEAP; as a result, my 2nd-period geography class now meets during 7th (last) hour. (Don't ask.) For some reason, a class that is normally quite cooperative and well-behaved during 2nd period becomes a room full of Demon Children at 2:00. Yesterday, I had to give them a "Come to Jesus" talk (in teacher language, this means any speech designed to help them "see the light").

Mrs. R. had to leave early yesterday for basketball, and of course, the students decided to see how much they could get away with once they realized that Mrs R had left the building. Since I don't want to be one of those teachers who yell, I have instead perfected "The Voice"--a low and eerily calm voice, infused with so much anger that they probably WISH I were yelling.

Yesterday, using The Voice, I delivered a near-perfect Come to Jesus speech making it perfectly clear that their behavior was BEYOND unacceptable; if I wanted to teach preschoolers, I'd go back to my old job; and if they thought for one second that Miss K was going to put up with this, they were sorely mistaken. I concluded (through gritted teeth, yet perfectly levely), "You haven't seen me mad yet and you don't want to. Don't. Push. Me."

Today, I taught geography to a group of angels. In fact, they were SO quiet and coopeative that, at one point, I actually stopped talking, looked around mock-suspicously and asked, "Okay, what are you up to?" This broke the ice; they laughed and a chorus of "Nothing, Miss K!" rang out. At the end of the hour, I congratulated them on their behavior and asked, "Now see, isn't this a lot more fun than Cranky Miss K?"

It was quite a victorious moment, actually.

Towards the end of class, I decided to have a little fun with them. I dropped hints insinuating that, after their horrid behavior the day before, there was now a hidden camera installed somewhere in the classroom. They spent the rest of the hour casting furtive glances around the classroom. (What--paranoia is not an acceptable classroom management plan?) I had to turn away a few times to hide my smirk. At one point, Tyler came up to me and said, "Is that it, Miss K?", pointing to a completely innocent, random hole high up on the front wall. In a stage whisper, I replied, "Don't let them know you found it!", which of COURSE (as per my evil master plan) prompted him to announce, "Hey, everyone, the camera's up there!" I plan to milk this for as long as I can; if they start to even THINK about acting up, I will let them "catch" me looking up at the camera.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Live for the moment.

"As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. Live for today... tomorrow may never come."

--Author unknown, from Some Soldier's Mom's blog

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Biopoem

One of the final projects for a unit I've been working on is a biopoem (students have to write them about characters in a book). Here's the format for biopoems, followed by one I wrote about T.

Feel free to add your own (about yourself or someone close to you).

Line 1 First name of person assigned
Line 2 Three or more characteristics of this person
Line 3 _________ (daughter, brother, etc) of __________ (relative’s name)
Line 4 Lover of _____________ (people or things)
Line 5 Who felt____________( 3 words; can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 6 Who needed___________ (3 words; can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 7 Who feared___________(3 words; can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 8 Who gave ____________(3 words, can be three separate words or a phrase)
Line 9 Who worked to change__________
Line 10 Who hoped______________
Line 11 Who lived______________
Line 12 Last name of person assigned

Here's mine:

Thomas
Brave, sensitive, loyal
Son of Slena
Lover of freedom
Who felt tired, scared, proud
Who needed to kick ass
Who feared letting others down
Who gave everything he had
Who worked to change the world
Who hoped he had done enough
Who lived as if there were no tomorrow
LeB****

Saturday, October 08, 2005

We survived the walk.

Our Making Strides walk was today, and it was very succesful. Thousands of walkers participated. After a stretch of 80-degree, sunny days, we got a cloudy, 50-degree day. I wore a lot of clothes and by the end of the walk, I was shedding layers like a damn boa constrictor.

Anna and I were able to keep up a pretty good clip during the whole walk and once we reached the end, I realized that 5 miles wasn't TOO bad, after all.

There were people set up at various points to cheer us on (I actually chided one man for not being "peppy enough," which did inspire an odd jumping-jack-type movement out of him), and Girl Scouts were handing out bottled water and, at the end, animal crackers and granola bars.

We went out for lunch afterwards; FOUR SOLDIERS sat down at the table across from us, so you all KNOW that I had to say something to them. (They actually spoke to us first; they saw our shirts and asked if we had participated. When we told them yes, one hero actually thanked US for doing it. That's when I, of course, thanked THEM.)

All in all, it was a lovely day, topped off by an equally lovely nap once I got home. We got done a little after 11, and we weren't even CLOSE to being the last ones done (not that it was a race, of course, but as a matter of pride, I wanted to keep up a fairly decent pace during the whole course).

Thank you, Renee, Fred and Rich, for contributing--and to everyone for supporting us.

Friday, October 07, 2005

From the mouths of (incredibly wordly) babes.

As some of you are aware, T. (my soldier) and I are talking again. I received an apology message from him a little over a week ago, and although things aren't back to how they were, they're definitely getting better. (Right now, we're both treading somewhat carefully.) However, he DID say that I could now officially wear the "half my heart is in Iraq" necklace that I ordered shortly before our, um, whatever the hell that was.

Anyway, my students are incredibly observant and notice the slightest change in my appearance from day to day, and several of them have commented on my necklace. I just say that "a very good friend" of mine is over there right now.

Today, Jacob asked, as I was passing out papers, "Where in Iraq is your boyfriend stationed?"

I said, "Well, he's not really my boyfriend...but he's in Tikrit...and he'll be home next month."

Then, this *sixth grader*, this 11 year old, WINKS AT ME KNOWINGLY and says, "And THEN you'll make him your boyfriend, huh, Miss K?" (He says this in a voice full of worldly wisdom.)

I just laughed and said, "I'll see what I can do, Jacob," and kept going.
Ramadan.

Frankly, I never even HEARD of Ramadan until I moved to metro Detroit. For years, though, I still didn't really know what it was--I was aware that it was a Muslim holiday, but that was about it.

Now that I'm teaching in Dearborn--which has the highest Arab-American population in the United States; in fact, it may have the highest population, outside of the Middle East, of anywhere in the world--I'm becoming extremely familiar with it. Most notably, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown. They don't eat or drink at ALL. I feel really bad for our students, but I guess they're used to it. From what I hear, they get up early, before sunrise, to eat a really big breakfast and that tides them over until sunset.

Can you imagine, though, how hard this must be when Ramadan falls during the SUMMER? First of all, the days are especially long. Secondly, imagine not being able to drink ANYTHING during daylight hours during those hot summer days.

Mrs. R says that she usually picks one day out of the month to fast with her students. Now, I can do the no-eating part (stop laughing, Nikki and Mom, I COULD), but I can't imagine not drinking all day. I ALWAYS have pop or water or SOMETHING with me. My mouth gets pretty dry, especially talking all day (teaching, I mean). I guess, though, that if Ramadan had the same kind of meaning to me that it does to them (it's a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives), it would be a lot easier.

According to my web research, "...As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. "

(In hindsight, then, offering a cinnamon roll to my Arab-American, Ramadan-observing principal was probably NOT the most tactful thing I've ever done. But I forgot.)

Happy Ramadan!
PMS by the numbers.

(Men, you may want to just skip this post altogether.)

In the past two days, my waist went up 1 inch and my boobs went up 2. (I hope I don't tip foward at the walk tomorrow.) In addition to the unpleasantness of bloat and cramps that, I'm here to say, are probably worse than LABOR, I also get really, really clumsy right before my period. Does that happen to anyone else? Granted, I'm not exactly the epitome of grace even in the best of circumstances, but when I'm PMSing, I can't hold onto ANYTHING. Now that I'm teaching, it's even worse. Pens, pencils, paper, paperclips, binder clips, books--I drop it all. You might as well just save me the time and effort and sweep everything off of my desk onto the floor. Hell, poor Mrs. R is starting to look a bit fearful for her own safety.

It's a good thing I don't work at an infant daycare.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Does this mean I can sue every man who lied to get ME into bed?

DUDE. If this woman was stupid enough to FALL FOR IT, she shouldn't be ALLOWED to sue.

SEATTLE (Reuters) - An Oregon woman whose doctor convinced her that he could cure her lower back pain by having sex with her is suing him and his medical clinic for $4 million, according to legal documents obtained on Monday.

The doctor, Randall Smith, who was 50 at the time, was stripped of his license and sent to jail for 60 days last year for charging the state's Oregon Health Plan $5,000 for his 45-minute "treatments" involving the woman.

"Dr. Smith's medical treatment included intercourse in which he told plaintiff was needed to help alleviate plaintiff's lower back and lower extremity pain," the former patient said in the lawsuit.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Anna has successfully roped me into joining (I mean, invited me to join) her in this weekend's 5-mile (or maybe it was 5 kilometers) walk for breast cancer this weekend at Detroit's Belle Isle.

I only have a few days to raise pledges. If anyone out there would like to donate, please email me at jlkrzys at yahoo.

Thanks!! (Renee, I know you already sponsored Anna, so don't worry about it.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hot off the presses...the latest Soldiers' Angels newsletter.

It was a bitch to get up this month because of student teaching, but I finally got it out this weekend. Feel free to check it out (especially if you're an Angel). I highly suggest starting at the top and working your way down, since there are like 12 sections now and only about 9 of them are listed under the "Previous Posts" section.)

http://sanewsletter.blogspot.com/
Jeff* said a sweet thing.

Jeff's mom stopped by tonight for his birthday, and we were chatting about my student teaching. Jeff said to her, "I never realized how hard teachers work until I lived with her."

So for that, I will give him a happy birthday shout-out. Happy 31st!!!!

And speaking of which...Quasimodo is starting to look normal again. He had a seriously infected AND compacted wisdom tooth pulled on Friday, after about 5 days of his face swelling up to 4 times its normal size. The swelling hasn't completely gone away yet, but at least he can go out in public again with scaring small children. (And yes, I know that the real Quasimodo had a hunchback and not a swollen face, but seriously y'all, Jeff was looking HIDEOUSLY deformed--even more so than usual. So that's my new "pet name" for him.)

*my roommate/ex-boyfriend, for those of you not in the know

Friday, September 30, 2005

My first observation.

Today, my university supervisor came out to observe me teaching a lesson plan. She only does three of these during the entire student teaching, so they're a pretty big deal. As some of you know, I realized midway through the day that *I* had scheduled my first observation for a FRIDAY--LAST HOUR on a Friday. You can imagine how kids are right before the weekend like that, so I was sure that classroom management was going to be a nightmare and that I was doomed before I even began.

Well, as it turns out, it actually went very well. I got a lot of good feedback. The lesson went smoothly. The kids behaved REMARKABLY well for a Friday afternoon. (I didn't tell them who she was, so maybe they were nervous because they weren't sure WHO she was there watching.) The classroom discussion following my lesson was a good one; the kids were engaged and involved; and she said they really seemed to be enjoying this unit (on a novel called The Watsons Go to Birmingham, a fictionalized account of the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham--it's a very good book, actually). She said that I seemed "very at ease" with the kids, that I actually had very good classroom management, especially considering that this was my first observation, and that middle school seemed to be a very good fit for me. Of course, she did have "suggestions for improvement," but I expected nothing less (a, I'm still learning and b, she's one of the toughest advisors at the school. So I was extra excited when we were walking out to our cars and I thanked her for coming and she said something like "Nice job," and I said, "Thank you, I'm glad that it went relatively well" and she said "Don't say 'relatively well;' I'd say that it went very well, particularly for a first visit." Yay.).

All in all, I'm quite happy with how this first observation went. It was a very nice way to start the weekend. AND, Saturday night, Anna and I get to have dinner. I actually get to go out and be SOCIAL on a weekend! Whoo hoo!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wow.

Approximately one month from now, I will be turning 29.

I'm not exactly where I thought I'd be.

And then one year from NOW, I'll be turning "twenty-ten." After THAT, I'll be "twenty-eleven." (You get the idea. There will be no 3-0 for me.)

It could be worse, though...I could be old enough to have a DAUGHTER who is 29. (Ahem.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The Enchanted Isle (at long last ;)

Ireland is FUN! The people are laid-back, friendly and fun! Everywhere we went, all over the country, the Irish just want you have a seat in the local pub, grab a drink, sit back and listen to the music!



And Beautiful! The land is gorgeous! The cities were very well kept up, very pedestrian & tourist friendly. The towns were quaint & endlessly colorful with each building a different bright color. The countryside was breathtaking – some rocky, some hills, some mountains, all covered in greens of every shade. Fluffy sheep graze down green hillsides, past ancient rock walls, into quaint towns nestled in valleys by the sea.

The history of the country and the people pulses through everything. The people are very proud of their land, their history and their present prosperity but completely unpretentious about it all. We were in buildings, seeing things that were made before North America was even discovered!




Everywhere we looked there were castles! Many are open to the public, like Bunratty Castle, where we saw how life was lived 500 years ago complete with authentic furnishings from the period. Some

We had different adventures that I could write about like the Best Night of Irish Music, Driving in Ireland, the Most Beautiful Day, or Getting Lost. It was a fantastic vacation full of wonderful memories. You absolutely must go!

Monday, September 26, 2005

I wonder....

...what Ireland is like. IF ONLY we knew someone who had been there recently and could tell us all about their trip!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sparky Diva, I'm thinking of you!!

And now that I've just ranted about my "problems," I want to let Sparky, who lives in Texas know that I'm thinking of her. Trust me, I'm well aware that right now, there are people out there who REALLY know what a "bad week" feels like.

Sparky, I don't know if you're in the path of the storm (her Blogger profile says Hurst, which is about half an hour from Dallas, but I could have sworn she was closer to the Houston area than that), but please let us know that you're okay! We're praying for and thinking of you.
Please sir, may I have another?

In addition to being sick, going through the "break up" with Thomas and then having my power out for 24 hours due to a storm--my CAR DIED on the way home from work today.

I got it towed (luckily, I still have AAA) to a place right next door to my complex (mind you, I was JUST THERE yesterday getting it "fixed;" they put a new hose on my transmission or something). The mechanic will look at it at soon as they open up tomorrow mornning; I just walked home (took me about 5 minutes to get back to my building). My car decided to take a break from running while I was cruising down the exit ramp to my street; I was able to steer most of the way off the ramp, and a few minute later someone stopped to push me the rest of the way. (So that's positive side #1--it could have died in MUCH worse places in metro Detroit during rush hour; namely, on the major road that is currently down to one lane due to construction. That's the way I USUALLY go home, and had that happened, I would have been in SERIOUS trouble. Positive side #2 is that I had my cell phone on me--thank God that I DID charge it up at work today. Positive side #3 is that I had AAA so I didn't have to pay for the tow. Positive side #4 is that I was able to get it to a place tonight and get home relatively easily. See? I can still look at the bright side.)

Here's the weirdest thing, though. My car was still running, but when I put it in drive and hit the gas, the engine just revved; it wouldn't drive. And trust me, I tried for like 15 minutes. Well, when I got to the mechanic and put it in drive to show him what the problem was--my car was working again. (Which was unfortunate for the mechanic who was, at the time, leaning into my car as I suddenly took off.) So I have NO idea how it suddenly started working again, but there's definitely something going on. (I was actually going to swing by the mechanic on my way home anyway, since my car has been getting up to about 2.5 RMP thingies and then revving, instead of actually accelerating--so whatever they did yesterday clearly hadn't fixed the problem anyway.)

SO. That's the fantabulous conclusion to my stellar week.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Go rent this now.

"Crash," a movie about racial stereotypes, prejudices and attitudes. And I don't just mean white/black, either. Black, white, Asian, Arab-American, Hispanic...

It's not exactly a lighthearted comedy (although there were a few scenes/lines that made me laugh)--but it's a movie everyone NEEDS to see. There were scenes that had me, literally, on the edge of the couch, because you could just SEE what was going to happen next and you were praying it didn't (yes, you get THAT involved with the characters). And sometimes you'll be right, and sometimes something will happen that you didn't see coming.

For once, I agree with the critics (who ALL raved about this movie when it was first released). Go watch it, NOW.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Stat update.

Bust: 70 (okay, 40, but as the rest of me gets a little smaller, they sure FEEL like 70. Seriously, they're just starting to look cartoonish now.)
Waist: 32
Hips: 36 (I had to measure twice, but it's true--after being stuck at 38 forever, they suddenly dropped 2 inches)

However, because of my asthma, I'm now on a 40-day regimen of Prednisone, a steroid. "Being on this medication for such an extended period of time could result in moonface," the pharmacist warned me. (I'm usually on them for 7-10 day "bursts.")

I just looked at him. "'Moonface'? Is that really what it's called, or is that just Mean Pharmacist Slang?"

Moonface, for those of you who aren't regular steroid users, is when your face swells up all big and puffy. As I've been on Prednisone many times in the past, I'm all-to-familiar with this charming side effect; however, I had never heard it referred to as "moonface" before. Lovely, no? (Prednisone also causes a temporary weight gain, both from the water retention and from the CRAZY increased appetite brought on by the steroid.)

So if you need me, just look for the girl with the slim hips, Pamela Anderson-boobs and puffy-ass face.
Am I the only one...

...who is mildly irritated that Anna's been back an entire week and STILL hasn't told us about her trip????

On Friday after work, I went shopping for some new clothes and realized I am now a size 10/12. HELL YEAH. (And a size 8 in skirts.) ;) THEN, I got to go drinking for free with some of the girls (and one new, very attractive guy) from my preschool job. All in all, yesterday was a pretty good day.

Now, I return to a weekend of grading papers and having no life. (4 weeks down, 8 to go.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What the hell?

Can someone please tell me why "Listen To Your Heart" (originally by Roxette, now covered by DHT) is the official song of Hurricane Katrina?

After 9/11, versions of certain songs were played on the radio including sound clips from TV and radio coverage. Now, of course, they've done the same thing with the hurricane (at least here in the Detroit market). However, what the HELL does the following song have to do with this catastrophic event?

I know there's something in the wake of your smile.
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yea.
You've built a love but that love falls apart.
Your little piece of heaven turns too dark.

Chorus:
Listen to your heart when he's calling for you.
Listen to your heart there's nothing else you can do.
I don't know where you're going and I don't know why,
but listen to your heart before you tell him goodbye.

Sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile.
The precious moments are all lost in the tide, yea.
They're swept away and nothing is what is seems,
the feeling of belonging to your dreams.

Chorus


And there are voices that want to be heard.
So much to mention but you can't find the words.
The scent of magic, the beauty that's been
when love was wilder than the wind.


I bolded the ONE part of the song that could be loosely symbolic of the hurricane. However, the overall message of the song (and 90% of the lyrics) clearly say "Hey, maybe you should search your soul before you walk away from this person" (ahem) and NOT "We lost everything we own to this historic act of God/Mother Nature, yet we will find the courage and inner strength to go on and rebuild our lives."

I am not, in any way, making light of the tragedy these people are facing. I just really don't understand which programming genius was watching the hurricane coverage one day and suddenly thought, "Oh my God, this is SO 'Listen To Your Heart!' "

Am I missing something here? I mean, I realize that there aren't a whole bunch of songs out there that literally translate to this EXACT situation, but come on-- if you're trying to find a song to represent the horrible, heartbreaking loss and/or the bravery and resolve to move forward--there has to be a song that's much more fitting than this one.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I went to church today.

And if you know me, you know that that means there is something very wrong.

I don't really want to talk about it, but it has to do with Thomas, my soldier. Let's just say that I have a tendency to push people away (especially of the male persuasion) and I am usually quite successful. Afterwards, of course, I hurt like hell.

I don't want to talk about it so let's just say that, unless you hear otherwise, let's not discuss anything related to Thomas and/or Texas.

Thank you.

(And what kills me the most is that I quite pissed him off and, frankly, I'm not even sure WHY. It could be any number of things, really. And since he refuses to talk to me, I can't get the clarification I need. )

Okay NOW we're not talking about it.

(I told him that I can't fix it if I don't know what's wrong. But he has totally and completely shut me out, and I don't know HOW people can just turn off all their emotions just like that. I mean, two days ago he cared for me a whole lot and now, he's just...shut off completely?)

Okay....starting NOW.

(I mean, he said I could trust him not to hurt me and I was starting to, but I was still testing him a bit to make sure that he meant it when he said he wasn't going anywhere--I mean, I can't just trust someone unconditionally, right? They have to PROVE to me that if I give them my heart, they won't fuck me over. And I TOLD HIM, if I try to push you away, don't let me, because I don't REALLY want you to go, I just need to know that I can trust you. And I really, really thought that he'd stick by me as I tried to let my guard down. I was trying really hard, even. And then this happens. How am I supposed to trust ANYONE if every time I try, they end up leaving? It's like a chain reaction, but then it makes it that much harder to open up to the NEXT person who comes along, and so on.)

(But I really, really liked him.)

OK. No more talk. I'm too sad.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I got to teach another lesson on Friday.

And other than accidentally punching a student in the eye, I think it went pretty well.

In my defense, I didn't MEAN to pop her.

I should have known it was going to be a rough afternoon when we had a fire drill in the middle of my lesson. But no big deal--I got everyone outside in a very organized and timely manner, and I was even able to get them back on task pretty quickly once we got back inside.

Towards the end of the lesson, an agreement was brought in that all 6th graders had to sign. Row by row, Mrs. R had the students quietly come up to the front of the room as I continued helping the other students. Everything was going fine until I gestured quite largely to make a point (I'm one of those people who talks with their hands)--and, as my hand (which was in a fist, for some reason) went back, I caught little K. in the eye. And it connected quite solidly, might I add. (If this had been a street fight, I totally would have won.)

I turned around and poor K. was clutching her eye. I gave her a hug and told her how sorry I was while looking at her eye. It was already a little red and puffy but she was otherwise okay. (She wasn't crying or anything; she was actually laughing, albeit somewhat dazedly.) I told her to go home and ice it, just in case. Hopefully, she won't come back to school on Monday with a shiner.

I feel HORRIBLE.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Flattery will get you everywhere.

I was monitoring the lunch line yesterday (it was right across from the teachers' lounge and most of the kids in line were my 6th graders, so I stopped to talk to them for a moment). As I was standing there, I was absently shaking my Slim Fast.

"What's that, Miss K?" one of the boys asked.

I explained that it was to make me skinny.

"But Miss K," another boy said, "you're ALREADY skinny."

"A.," I said, "you just made my day." I even gave him a half hug before I remembered that middle school boys probably wouldn't be delighted to receive a hug from a teacher in front of their friends. (Remember, I'm used to being around younger kids.)

Well today, I was walking around the room, checking to see how many kids had done their homework from the night before. I passed A's desk and noticed that he hadn't written anything in his geography notebook.

"A," I said sternly (well, somewhat), "why didn't you finish your homework last night?"

He looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights--and then he blurted out what he clearly thought of as his get-out-of-jail-free card: "You're skinny!"

"That's not going to help you here, A.," I told him and handed him a Missing Homework slip.

I had to fight back my smile as I walked away from his desk.
True tales.

First, I need to set the scene, as the following paragraphs are quite relevant to the story I'm about to tell you.

Yesterday, we were reviewing (it was SUPPOSED to be a review, but many students appeared completely in the dark) line graphs. This particular line graph depicted the U.S. population growth from 1790 to 1990. The x-axis had the years; the y-axis had the population in millions. The information to transfer onto the line graph was on a chart, CLEARLY LABELED "Population of the United States" and featuring columns with the headers "date" and "population."

IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THAT, the instructions were, "Use the data to draw a line graph to show how the population in the U.S. has changed over the past 200 years."

Okay. As a class, we started graphing the points. For their homework, they were to finish the graph and create a title. They had no idea how to come up with a title for this graph.

"What is the graph about?" I asked. "Look at the chart, read the directions and use that information to create a short title that will tell others what the graph is about."

Fast-forward to today, when I'm grading the papers while waiting for my student teaching seminar to start. Most kids came pretty close: "Populations," "U.S Population," "Population Growth," "US Population Growth in the last 200 years" (that one made me delirious with happiness), etc.

TELL ME, THEN, how one student saw fit to title this graph "Favorite sports." (???????????????)

Another student entitled his, "Numbers."

And a third, "Soldiers lost in the war from 1790-1990." (Nowhere on the paper did it mention soldiers OR war. And, mind you, the population was sharply increasing on this chart--the line was CLEARLY going up.)

It's a good thing these kids are cute.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Another burning question.

What the hell is the difference between jelly, jam and preserves?

(Yes, these are the thoughts that keep me up at night.)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Good sex.

(Mom, you are in no way allowed to participate in this conversation. In fact, perhaps you should just skip this post altogether.)

What makes sex "good"? Is it skill/technique? Chemistry? The feeling/emotion for the person? What if the person isn't very good but you have a lot of chemistry with them, or you care about them a lot? Can you have good sex with someone who isn't very good? What if you can barely stand the person but the chemistry is strong?

In your opinion, what constitutes good sex?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Gas prices in Detroit.

I took a picture to let you all see just what I'm talking about.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Unbelievable.

On my way to work today, I got excited when I saw a sign for gas at the bargain price of $3.15. Yes, that's right--I now actually consider that to be a GOOD DEAL on gas.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My holiday weekend.

Ah, Labor Day weekend--the unofficial end of summer and a chance for families to have one last "fling" before the hustle and bustle of another school year begins anew. I know that some of you have big plans: family barbeques, perhaps, going up north, traveling. I wanted to take a moment to share with you MY plans for the holiday weekend.

1) Grading 25 journals (keep in mind that each journal has three separate entries I need to grade, so this is actually like 75 assignments)
2) Grading 29 spelling tests
3) Grading 28 language arts assignments
4) Writing a week's worth of lesson plans for 7th period reading (the first class I'm taking control of, starting next week)
5) Beginning work on my student teaching notebook/ portfolio (I won't bore you with the details, but this notebook has 10 different components that must be completed prior to the end of my student teaching, including a complete, comprehensive unit)
6) Trying to remember why, exactly, I want to be a teacher

If I ever again hear anyone say, after hearing that I'm entering the education field, "Oh, teaching must be so easy! You only work from 9 to 3 and you get the whole summer off, plus all those breaks during the year!", I will personally bash them over the head.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Luck o’ the Irish!

And speaking of lucky- My husband and I are going to Ireland for our 1st Anniversary over the Labor Day Weekend! (We must go quickly, before any kids appear to suck out our free time & money!)

We’ll be in Dublin on the east coast for 2 days exploring the city and tasting at the Guinness Brewery. Then we’ll drive through the south & southwestern area from Killarny for 2 days, driving around the Ring of Kerry and kissing the Blarney Stone. Then (dream come true!) we’ll stay at Dromoland Castle for a night where I will fully indulge all romantic princess fantasies that pop into my imaginative head. We have 1 day in Galway on the west coast and then zoom back to Dublin to fly home.

We’re driving, or rather, hubby’s driving on the wrong side of the road in a tiny European car for the week. This is guaranteed to look funny as we’re both freakishly tall, as my sister-in-law has so genteelly described us, and European cars are generally tiny. Can’t you just see us folding ourselves into the car with our knees up by our ears?

Anywho,
If you’ve been to Ireland, what do we need to see and do?
If you haven’t been to Ireland, where have you been and what do you recommend there?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I love these kids.

I am so lucky to have an amazing group of 6th graders. Yes, there are one or two more "challenging" kids in each period but nothing too horrible--no backtalking, no defiance, no major issues. They're just a bunch of fun, funny, smart (well, most of them) sweet kids. I would step in front of a speeding bus for any one of them (although there's some I'd move a little more quickly for than others. ;) ).

Today, one of them came up to me and said, "Miss K, can we have a penny drive for the people in the hurricane?" We teachers had already been talking about doing SOMETHING as a school, but to have this boy come up to US with the idea was just so sweet.

Side note: this boy is both one of my favorite students AND one of the most frustrating. He is incredibly smart (he's done very well on his assignments so far), volunteers in class, is funny as hell and usually has very sharp, insightful comments and questions. But HOLY CRAP, he has the attention span of a flea. He hasn't been officially diagnosed with anything, but he can usually be found wandering around the room, looking out the window, standing by the door (not even getting ready to leave--just STANDING there, like he's waiting for a bus), etc. Sometimes I'll look up and he'll just be standing at my desk. "What do you need, R?" I'll ask for perhaps the 15th time that day, since we have him for three periods: reading, language arts and social studies. "Nothing," he'll say. "I'm just looking at this pencil/your desk/this paper/your chair/that paperclip." "R, SIT." "Okay." He listens well--he'll sit right down and start working on his assignment...for about three minutes. Soon, he'll be flipping through his lit book (which would be fine, if we weren't in social studies at the time) or gazing out the window or wandering along the book shelves, touching each title as he passes by.

THIS was the boy who come up to me today with his penny drive idea. And it's moments like that just make me LOVE this kid.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Commercials that make you cry.

(Besides the Fruit of the Loom "You can't over love your underwear" one, of course. That's a given. Have you seen it? The "music video" one?)

Anyway, the latest one to set me off was for Mastercard. It opens with a mom slowly driving her minivan down the street. "Tank of gas, $36."

Then the camera cuts to a little boy (6 years old or so, maybe a little older) shuffling down the sidewalk.

"Being there when he changes his mind about joining the circus...priceless."

And the camera zooms out and you see him dragging his little bear behind him and carrying a kid-sized suitcase....it's just SO CUTE.

Which commercials make YOU verklempt? (Boys, you need to play, too.)
High praise.

My cooperating teacher told me today that sometimes she forgets I'm only a "student teacher" who is just starting out, because I'm so "competent" and "a natural." And Mrs. R. is a master teacher (considered one of the best in the school, easily), so coming from her, that REALLY meant a lot.

So I guess, my coaching skills notwithstanding, I'm doing pretty good so far. ;)

No, but seriously, it's good to know that, after making it this far, I might actualy be able to make it as a teacher, after all.
Old people are cute...

...except when they're driving 30 in a **50** (which, in metro Detroit, actually means 55-60).

IN THE LEFT LANE, NO LESS.

Seriously, I was filled with rage.

That is all.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I must have misunderstood.

I thought I was going to be helping out a junior high basketball tryout today. I must have been in the wrong place, though, because I apparently ended up at tryouts for the freakin' WNBA.

HOLY CRAP, those girls are good. You should have seen their guarding and ball-handling skills--not to mention all the other skills that I don't know the name for.

I think Mrs R is realizing that having me there is REALLY not going to be helpful to her at all. Frankly, she's probably better off by herself. Luckily, she's also in charge of Student Council, which is MUCH more up my alley. I'll talk to her tomorrow, after tryouts are done. I'll let her know that I can continue to help but my feelings won't be at all hurt if she wants to "fire" me. I'll also express my willingness to assist with S.C. instead--and then I'll just pray for the best.
Rockin' with the Crue.

Jeff and I went to see Motley Crue tonight. HOLY CRAP, that was one hell of a concert. Over two solid hours of TRUE rock. It was amazing. The guys are still incredibly high energy, and you can tell that they really love and appreciate their fans. (LOL, oh my God, the FANS. Picture everyone who went to a Motley Crue concert back in '88 or so, but add about 15 years to their ages. That was your typical concert goer tonight. (I am happy to report, however, that mullets, torn jeans and black concert Tshirts are still alive and well.)

Granted, my hearing and my vocal chords have probably suffered permanent, lasting damage--and I saw more boobs than I really needed to see--oh, and I'm pretty sure I got a contact buzz from all the pot smoke--but THAT'S OKAY. It was well worth it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My first day of school.

Our phones didn't work, our computers didn't work and our class rosters were all wrong. Other than THAT, my first day as a student teacher went pretty well.

(Of course, we only had each group of kids for about 20 minutes--just about enough time to introduce ourselves, take attendance and help them figure out which class they were going to next. My first full day is Thursday.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Yes, it's true.

(I originally posted this as a comment below, but it was just way too long, so I'm making it its own, highly entertaining, post.)

As of today, I am the assistant coach for the girls' basketball team. (Yes, I'm serious. And yes, they were REALLY hard up.)

Fo those of you who may not see the humor in this situation or realize why this "breaking news" has, so far, caused my sister, mother and best friend to break into absolutely hysterical laughter: I'm not much of an athlete and I really don't know that much about sports. I watch basketball on TV--especially during playoffs--and I can tell, basically, two things: 1) when someone gets the ball in the hoop 2) and when someone (or a group of someones) makes a particularly nice play. That, however, is about the limit of my bball expertise. (I mean, I can talk about the Pistons with some degree of knowledge but hell, EVERYONE in Detroit can.)

I got roped into it a) because my cooperating teacher is the head coach b) the woman who was SUPPOSED to help her coach is now coaching golf instead and c) as Mrs. R's student teaher, I am basically her bitch for the next 12 weeks. See, in student teaching, when someone asks you if you want to do something "extracurricular," they aren't really ASKING. Student teachers are expected to take on as much as they possibly can outside of the classroom. This is how you add to your resume, obtain those glowing references and, most importantly, get your name and your face out there. In the ultra-competitive Michigan teaching job market, you need to go above and beyond to even have a CHANCE at securing a spot in the classroom after graduation. So, when Mrs R asked if I'd like to help her out this season, I naturally jumped at the chance, exhibiting my natural enthusiasm and desire to go that extra mile. GO VIKINGS!

Keep in mind that, as head coach, Mrs. R is teaching them the actual skills. For the most part, I'm just there to assist in running the practices, keep her organized at games, etc. Just in case though, I'm also going to rent a whole bunch of "basketball team" movies this weekend, like Coach Carter and Love and Basketball, so I can learn a few key phrases to throw out and make it seem like I know what the hell I'm talking about.

I just have to bluff my way through until the end of October. The're 7th and 8th grade girls--I can TOTALLY do this.
Seriously?!

Hey Jen, would you care to share with the group about your position at the school you're student teaching at? LMAO!! A little birdie named Deb just told me about it. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The person below me.

No, this isn't a dirty post (although undoubtedly, at some point, it will be turned into one).

This is a game I found online that I thought was pretty cool, so I figured we'd give it a shot.

You make a random statement and the next person to post says true or false and then makes their own statement. Example-

"The person below me loves the color purple."
Next Poster- "False- I like red. The person below me likes cats better than dogs."
3rd Poster- "True. The person below me is married."

And so on...make sense?

OK, so I'll get it started.

The person below me loves thunderstorms.

(Remember, only the first person to reply to this thread answers THAT statement--and then the second commenter will respond to the statement left by the first poster, etc.)
Good to know the weight loss is paying off.

Today, at the hair salon, I had a two-year-old boy inform me, "I'm gonna FREAK YOU." (We had been talking earlier; if you know me at all, you know that children and I have a tendency to strike up conversations pretty much everywhere I go.)

His mom, who was getting her hair cut at the time, was just mortified. "WHERE DID YOU LEARN THAT, Georgie?" she gasped.

Yes, folks, that's right. I was propositioned by a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cherub named Georgie.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Godfatha

Even more importantly- The Godmotha.

That’s right folks, this weekend I’ll be christened The Godmotha (insert music and/or quotes from the Godfather movies here). I’ll be able to make you offers you can’t refuse.

But seriously people, what do you think the role of the godparents should be?

Is it a religious role, just a church requirement, replacement parents if the real ones pass away, someone to give the kid extra presents on a birthday? What do you think?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Food for thought.

Nikki's not the only one who can post random, cryptic lyrics on her blog.

Will it ever stop yo I don't know
Turn off the lights and I'll glow
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle

Take from THAT what you will.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I'm Gonna Bathe in Cinnamon Oil Tonight!

Scent Your Way to Dating Success!
Brought to you by Jessica Brown and Match.com!

Saturday night, 7:55 p.m.: Women across America are somewhat frantically trying to find the perfect date-night outfit, one that will flatter their bods and make them seem sophisticated, fun-loving, and an all-around attractive date prospect. Allow us to throw this into the mix: Surprising research suggests that it may be the choice of scent that really makes one's body look hot.

In one study, researchers at The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that, in the presence of both cinnamon and lavender aromas, men rated women (shown to them in headshots) as more attractive, intelligent, successful, and trustworthy. Researcher Alan R. Hirsch, M.D. decided to take a more in-depth look at how odor affects perception. His team spritzed an overweight woman with a different fragrance each day and had men guess her weight. When she wore a spicy-floral fragrance, men perceived her to be as much as 12 pounds lighter than she actually was; the other scents had no effect.

Exactly why scents can have a slenderizing effect is a mystery, though Hirsch has a few theories. "It may be that the scent put the men in a good mood, making their judgment very optimistic," he says. "Or the fragrance may be sexually appealing, so the guys find the women sexier." Regardless of the mechanism, what's important isn't how slender someone appears, but the self-esteem boost it provides, adds Dr. Hirsch: "If a woman feels she's being viewed as slim, she may feel more confident and be more likely to socialize and attract men."

However, Dr. Hirsch has bad news for guys hoping to disguise a beer belly: Women's perceptions of pounds weren't fooled by fragrance of any kind. "Women are too good at estimating weight," he explains--perhaps because they're conditioned to be so focused on their own.

Jessica Brown writes for Fitness and American Baby; based on the research above, she's going to wear a spicy-floral scent and black clothes on her next date.
Peach Raspberry Crisp
I mentioned this delectable little thing on Kishelle's blog. Anna requested the recipe; thought I'd post it on here so everyone can have it. It's SO GOOD and really easy to put together.
5 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1 C raspberries
1 T cornstarch
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/3 C thawed apple juice concentrate
1/3 C flour
1/3 C quick oats
1/3 C brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C cold butter, cut into small pieces
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 375ยบ. Combine fruit in a greased 2-quart casserole dish. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and apple juice concentrate; stir until smooth. Pour this over the fruit. In another bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using a fork or a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Of course it's best served warm with vanilla ice cream, but it's good at room temp, too :-)
Interesting plot twist.

As Renee knows, Thomas and I have been "in discussions" for the past several days. He wants to go active duty (no more part-time National Guard duty; he wants to be a full-time soldier). I'm flattered that he discussed it with me first, but after listening to him talk about the inner...NEED he feels to serve--and how it's who he is, how it's just "in him"--I knew that there was really no other choice. This is what he has to do to be truly happy with himself and his life, regardless of what may or may not happen with US down the road.

So....I'm still going to Texas to meet him in December or January and then he'll (hopefully, depending on his schedule and how that first visit goes) be coming up here in late March/early April for his birthday. And after that...who knows. But if it's God's plan for us to be together, if this is something that's really meant to be....well, it looks like I'd eventually become a military wife, at least for a while.

I don't always understand him, but I sure admire the hell out of him.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Life lessons, from my back to yours.

Do not--I repeat, DO NOT--use Tae Bo as a method of "letting off steam." Sure, in the midst of your emotionally-driven workout, you may start roundhouse-kicking like Jackie Chan. However, when you wake up the next morning, you will quickly realize that you are NOT, in fact, a world-reknowned martial arts champion. What you ARE, however, is an almost-29-year-old woman with what is now a very bad back.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

What is that NOISE?

Tonight, at periodic intervals, we've been hearing this horrible rattling sound coming from the bedroom. We turned off the fan, since it sounded like something was caught in the blades--and then we heard the machine-gun-like noise erupt from the back room AGAIN.

"What the HELL?!" asked Jeff. "I thought you shut the f(*#&&ing fan off!"

"I DID!!" I replied, so Jeff went into the bedroom and yanked the plug out of the wall. Finally, peace and quiet....for about 7 minutes. Then.....rat-a-tat-tat-tat buzzzzzzzzz (think: cell phone or pager vibrating on top of a desk). The problem is that the noises would come in such short bursts that each "episode" was usually over by the time we were able to run down the hall into the bedroom.

We just heard it again about 10 minutes ago--and this time, Jeff was able to hurdle over me and my chair quickly enough to make it to the bedroom door and get a fix on the general direction of the source. "It sounds like it's coming from near the dresser!" he exclaimed.

Oh, shit. I had a sinking suspicion that I suddenly knew what we kept hearing.

I opened my bottom drawer and sat by the bed to wait. Sure enough, after about 5 minutes, one of my bullet vibrators with an apparently-defective battery started rattling around in the wooden drawer. (This was not one of my quietest toys to begin with, let alone when it's in a small, enclosed wooden space.)

I retured to the computer room and, with as much dignity as I could muster, informed Jeff that I had "fixed the problem."

He was laughing too hard to answer.