Saturday, December 30, 2006

Farewell, cruel Michigan

It's actually not Michigan that's cruel; just the weather. But no matter, since tomorrow afternoon I'm returning to Ft Myers. Although there were times I didn't know how I'd last the entire 2 weeks (my mom and I had a couple of showdowns), it really did go by quickly and I'm sad to have to say goodbye--AGAIN to family (well, most of them), especially nieces and nephews. Man, it sucks to have to keep doing that over and over, every time I leave again.

So, I'm torn, because part of me is REALLY FREAKIN' EXCITED to get back to the warmth and sunshine of Florida...but it's also cool being in Michigan, where I can just zip over to my sisters' any time I want and see what's up.

I just have to convince them all to come down south, I guess... ;)

UPDATE: According to weather.com, it's supposed to be in the high 70s/low 80s for the forseeable future. Yeah, THAT should help to ease my pain over leaving the Little People behind.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Does this look wrong to anyone else?

Or is it just me...and Missy...and Nikki...and Steve...and Katey...and Ron?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I scanned a copy of my MRI for ya...

Tee hee.

Your IQ Is 120

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Above Average

Not only are they brave...but they're funny as hell, too

Remember the John Kerry quote I posted a while back (something to the effect of, "You either get an education or you end up in Iraq")? Well, I just found this picture on Myspace and I HAD to share it with all of you.

Here's to our heroes this Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Starting next Dec. 23

Festivus. *

Who's with me? (I'm thinking me, Nik, Mis, Lynda, Shawn, Ron, Renee if she happens to be in town and whoever else we can bribe with alcohol.)

I read about it every year, but today I actually sat down and researched the different elements of it and actually, I think it's pretty damn funny. With this group (and the aforementioned alcohol), it could be a blast.

Main elements of Festivus as excerpted from Wikipedia:

The Festivus Pole
The tradition begins with a bare aluminum pole, which Frank praises for its "very high strength-to-weight ratio." During Festivus, an unadorned aluminum pole is displayed, apparently in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, and because the holiday's creator, Frank Costanza, "find[s] tinsel distracting." Local customs vary and you may be able to decorate your pole with non-threatening plain decorations, or ordinary green garland.

The Airing of Grievances
At the Festivus dinner -- a meal featuring non-holiday comfort food -- each participant tells friends and family all of the instances where they disappointed him or her that year.

The Feats of Strength
The head of the family tests his or her strength against one participant of the head's choosing. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned to the ground. A participant is allowed to decline to attempt to pin the head of the family only if they have something better to do instead.

*We can cheat a little and still do Christmas, too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Life List

I started my life list tonight after watching some 4-year-olds in a karate class (don't ask); here's what I've come up with so far. I'm going to work on this a LOT more but these were the first thoughts that came to mind. (I'd like to hear some of yours, too, because I bet you all have some I want to steal.)

Go to a NASCAR race
Fly first class
Get a black belt in karate
Go somewhere requiring a passport
Quit smoking
Get married
Stop procrastinating
Return calls more quickly
Go scuba diving
Fly a plane
Ride in a hot air balloon
Have LASIK surgery
Follow things through (projects, promises, ideas, etc)
Skydive again
Change someone’s life
Meet Ryan Newman
Stop sabotaging relationships

Monday, December 18, 2006

How to kill an hour

MYSPACE SCATTEGORIES...it's harder than it looks!

Your Name: Jen

Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...They MUST be real places, names, things...NOTHING made up! If you can't think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

**The only one I couldn't answer was "dairy product"**

1. Athlete: Julius Erving
2. 4 letter word: Jump
3. Street name: Jackson St (in Ft Myers, I had to look it up)
4. Color: Jade (damn, that one took a while for me to think of)
5. Gifts/presents: Jewelry
6. Vehicles: Jaguar
7. Tropical Locations: Jamaica
8. College Majors: Journalism
9. Dairy Products: ???
10. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Junk =-)
11. Boy Name: James
12. Girl Name: Jill
13. Movie Titles: Just Like Heaven
14. Beers: J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale (LOL, you do NOT want to know how long it took me to find THAT one)
15. Occupations: Jock strap maker (what? That's not a job? Fine. Jockey)
16. Flowers: Juniper (that's a flower, right?)
17. Celebrities: Justin Timberlake
18. Magazines: Jack and Jill
19. U.S. Cities: Junction City, Kansas
20. Pro Sports Team: Joe Gibbs Racing ....No? Fine. Jets (New York)

And I'm going to keep looking for an answer to "dairy," too. It's just the principle of the thing now.
Back in Michigan

Thanks to everyone who has asked--and yes, I made it safely back to Michigan. I was, however, EXTREMELY hung over for most of the trip (I went out for "one drink" with some teachers after work on Friday--and I got home at about 1:30. On a side note, I got up to pack at around the next morning--I was supposed to do it after work on Friday but, of course, THAT didn't happen--and I couldn't find my suitcase. I looked EVERYWHERE. So I ended up having to pack 2 weeks worth of clothes and various supplies in what was basically a glorified duffle bag. Yeah, that sucked).

Anyway, one of teachers from my school was actually on my flight from Ft. Myers to Detroit--and we both had a bit of a layover. Naturally, we did what any good teacher would do and went to the bar. I actually almost missed my connecting flight because of it (in my defense, that flight DID leave earlier than scheduled), but it was a good way to pass the time. Plus, we "bonded" (this was a teacher I had never really hung out with before) and the 2 screwdrivers seemed to help me recover from the 8 the night before. ;)

Both flights were fine, although I jumped at every sound and clutched the arm rests for the 15 minutes before and after takeoff and landing. I've already been to Katey's house to see her tribe and will get to see Donovan and Anthony (Missy's kids) soon, hopefully tonight or tomorrow.

Mom, of course, is already getting on my nerves, but that's to be expected.

How's everyone out there?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Why people become teachers
















There's more stuff piled behind the desk, too--and I had other things coming in all week.

This is why it pays to teach middle school: you have five times as many students. ;)

My kids are AWESOME.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not sure how to title this post

I guess I'll just cut right to the chase: there's a 75% chance it's MS.

So that sucks.

But, it actually doesn't suck as bad as the other 25%, which includes vasculitis. I guess that vasculitis can be a pretty big deal when it affects the brain. At least MS won't give me a fatal anueryism or something. The test for that, though, is pretty damn invasive, so let's just hope it doesn't come to that. And there are other diseases that mimic MS, but the blood tests are more rare (I guess it's hard to find a place that is capable of testing for that) and really expensive.

Anyway, my neuro (I can't believe I actually HAVE a neurologist) said that considering the symptoms I have (including what appears to be lesions on my brain and possibly my optical nerve, which is the "multiple" in "MS"), my age and my race, "it's MS until proven otherwise." So now I need a spinal tap, which I'm having on the 2nd. (I told him that I'm the type who has to be sedated for an eyebrow waxing, and he said, "Don't worry. It's not nearly as bad as an eyebrow waxing.") After that, it'll take about 2 weeks for the results to come back. My next appointment (which is when I'll probably find out the results) is January 20-something. The spinal tap CAN come back negative for MS when it's actually positive, though, so it's by no means a definitive answer. But it's the next step. And then, positive or negative, we go from there.
Two months later...

Here are a couple of pictures from my hungover birthday trip to the gun range.




My most flattering picture? Perhaps not. But NO ONE looks good in those goggles and "ears."














See? I told you I didn't suck.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Top 100

Tomorrow (Thursday) is our last day of actual "work" at school before Christmas break (on Friday, we're having parties, etc). I was going to do something else, but I'm making a last-minute change to the lesson plan. I found an article on Cosmopolitan.com that I'm going to share with the kids--and with you. And then we're going to create our own Life Lists. (I got the idea when I read a post from a student who said she had done it in HER English class; I won't make them do 100, though. Maybe 25 or 30.)

As we come to the end of another year, it's generally the time for personal reflection, etc. Instead of making New Year's Resolution, I'm making some Life Resolutions. Feel free to join me.

The Life List You Must Write
BY MOLLY TRIFFIN


"I'm not proud of everything I've done, but I have no regrets," Ann once said.

Five years after Ann Nelson's death on September 11, she's still an amazing inspiration. Here's why.

When Ann Nelson decided to learn to cook, she didn't start with a simple meal: Her first culinary endeavor was Thanksgiving dinner. Although the turkey was done at midnight, it tasted delicious and everyone had a blast. In January 2001, the 30-year-old from Stanley, North Dakota, achieved another impressive feat: She relocated to Manhattan from Chicago. "One Monday, she called and said, 'Leenie, I just accepted a job in New York.... I'll be flying out tomorrow,' " remembers her friend Eileen Swartout. "I could hear the tingle of anticipation in her voice.... She was beginning a new adventure."

Adventure was something Ann often sought out, from whizzing down mountains on Colorado ski trips to traveling solo in Peru. Once in New York, she rented an apartment in the hip SoHo area, where her boyfriend, Eric Lockovitch, and their 130-pound Newfoundland, Newman, visited her.

But on September 11, 2001, Ann's jampacked life came to a halt — she was working as a bond broker on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. This past March, Ann's mom, Jenette, opened a file on Ann's laptop called Top 100, revealing an incomplete list of goals her daughter had hoped to accomplish. That list, printed here, may very well motivate you to start your own Top 100 — and live by it.

View Ann's list here (you'll have to copy and paste the whole link instead of just clicking it, since it stretches to two lines):
http://magazines.ivillage.com/cosmopolitan/connect/articles/
0,,284420_705638,00.html
Hot hotty hot

Anyone watching The Biggest Loser finale? They're not even on the top 4 yet; they're just showing the eliminated contestants--and I'm BLOWN AWAY. As I write this, Brian is in first among this group--and may I say, he is freakin' HOT. (He was the Grizzly Jack-looking guy, with the huge beard and heart of gold.) However, Marty is in close 2nd place (for hotness; that's all I'm worried about right now, LOL. I'm having my own little competition over here).

I hope he wins the "eliminated people" weigh-in. He was SUCH a sweetheart on the show. Everyone just ADORED him. He always reminded me of Missy and Nikki's Uncle Brad.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gimpy's home!

She came home yesterday. She's off the morphine so she's much easier to have a conversation with now. She's basically "back to normal" (have yourself a little giggle here--or a sarcastic snort, whatever) but is realizing, as she said, "the little things you take for granted." It takes her a lot longer to do EVERYTHING now, of course.

That's about all. I have my kids making her cards for extra credit (it's the last week of the semester so I figured I'd throw them an easy one; usually my extra credits involve a lot of writing and/or research--well, except for the Growing Pains theme song thing). One girl went all out and made her a really impressive pop-up card. I told her she's getting quadruple-extra-credit.

Monday, December 11, 2006

You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU6NrOR63VE&eurl=

(You may not want little eyes to see this one, unless they know that Mall Santa isn't the REAL Santa.)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Soundtrack of my life

I know you guys did this before but I just got a new iPod so now I'm finally able to play along.

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie

Opening Credits:
Nothing to Lose - Josh Gracin

Waking Up:
You Raise Me Up - Josh Grobin (LOL)

First Day of School:
Love Hurts -the Cher version

Falling In Love:
Wasting Time - Kid Rock (hell yeah it's been a waste of time so far)

Being In Love:
Seasons of Love - Rent (ooh good one)

Fight Song:
Strong Enough - Cher (I shit you not)

Breaking up:
Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

Prom:
How to Save a Life - The Fray

Life:
It's My Life - Bon Jovi (no, SERIOUSLY)

Mental Breakdown:
Irreplaceable - Beyonce (hahhahaha--see, God is reminding me that no man is worth the drama and heartache)

Driving:
My Kind of Girl - Colin Raye (huh?)

Flashback:
You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi (shut up, they're my favorite band. I have like a billion of their songs on my iPod)

Getting Back together:
Walkaway Joe - Trisha Yearwood (holy crap)

Wedding:First, I got How to Save a Life, but I figured repeats don't count so I did it again and got To Be With You- Mr. Big

Birth of Child:
Broken Road - Rascal Flatts (THAT one gave me CHILLS)

Final Battle:
La Vie Bohiemme- Rent (I know I spelled it wrong but I'm too lazy to look it up)

Death Scene:
Runaway - Bon Jovi (who else? LOL)

Funeral Song:
You'll Accomp'ny Me - Bob Seger

End Credits:
The Longest Time - Billy Joel
Never a dull moment

My cell phone was on vibrate all morning, so I didn't realize it was blowing up until I remembered to check my messages around 1 pm. When I saw that I had 10 missed calls from my sister, I knew SOMETHING was going on.

Turns out, my mother (known as Deb on the blog, hereafter referred to as Gimpy) fell last night and broke her leg in two places (right below the knee and above the ankle). She got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and due to a blood pressure medicine that she WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING, she apparently blacked out and fell. Thank GOD my stepdad was home (he usually works nights and he was actually supposed to be at work last night, but then the overtime got cancelled at the last minute) because Gimpy was absolutely unable to move. They had to call the ambulance and everything. (On a side note, Missy actually heard the call go out over the scanner at work last night, but she got a phone call before she heard the address. All she caught was the "55-year-old woman fell from a standing position" part. She later told me that it caught her attention because most of the "fall calls" are usually REALLY old people, like 80, and she remembered thinking, "Wow, that's kind of young--they must have been drunk or something." Nope, not drunk--just our mother).

Gimpy went into surgery this afternoon; everything went fine and she should be back home either Sunday or Monday. I'll be flying into Michigan next Saturday for my Christmas break, so I'll be there to keep an eye on the old girl and make sure she's not taking any unauthorized meds, etc. I'll also be helping with a great deal of the Christmas shopping, cooking (aka, heating up her Lean Cuisine and ordering the pizza), and other various tasks, because she's not supposed to be on her feet very much over the next couple of weeks. (That's about as long as they expect Gimpy to be out of work.)

So, all things considered, we're pretty lucky and it could have been a lot worse. Of course, this shoots my plan of laying on the couch and eating bon-bons for 2 weeks all to shit, but hey--you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

I draw the line and helping her shower and pee, though. She's on her own there.

UPDATE: I just called the hospital (6:15) and talked to my stepdad. Gimpy's still pretty out of it, but she knew I was on the phone. I'll call back tonight, but I don't expect she'll be much of a conversationalist till tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm a fitness ma-cheen

I was just b*tchin' to Missy the other night how I'm up about 9 lbs from my low point last winter, and how I can't seem to get the scale to go down no matter what I do. I'm eating the same as I was, working out the same--what the hell?

Then I realized: when I first started to lose weight, exercising 30 minutes, 4 (or so) times a week was a big change for me, so of course it had a major effect on my body. The problem is, I've been doing that for over a year now. As a result, I'm in much better shape than I was back then (AND I'm getting healthier overall; shit, I ate VEGETABLES at lunch the other day. PEAS, even), and that same exercise routine just isn't cutting it for the lean-and-mean me. So now, clearly, I have to step it up.

Dammit.

For now, I'll increase it to 40 minutes at a time and see what that does. I'm also going to stop eating the school lunch (teachers get to eat free, so I figured, sure, why not?); unfortunately, school lunches these days are FAAARRR from healthy. Seriously. The "entree" is almost always fried; if we get fruit it's usually canned and swimming in fruit syrup; and the vegetables--well, I think the nutrional value has been processed right out of them. I am willing to bet that if I make the workout changes and replace the school lunch with a Lean Cuisine, I'll see some pretty decent results right there.

Of course, I should probably stop buying bulk candy at Costco, too (but COME ON--**30** FULL-SIZE candy bars for $10?! They're practically GIVING it away!). And, hmm, I bet all the drinking I've been doing since beginning my teaching career hasn't helped, either--but screw that, the drinking's staying.

So: here we go again.

Starting weight: 149 (I can still fit into all my size 8 clothes so it's not TOO bad yet, but I better get it under control before strangers start asking me when the baby's due)
Inches: I'm too damn lazy to get up and get the tape measure, but I think my waist was about a 31

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good noggin news (relatively speaking)

I had a follow-up with my regular doctor today (the one who called last week with the preliminary MRI results). I dragged some info out of him about this whole "spots on the brain" situation (he REALLY didn't want to say much, but I told him I was gonna worry anyway, and I'd rather know what I COULD be looking at rather than wildly speculating).

Anyway, the good news is that he's pretty sure it isn't cancer, tumors or anything else really, really scary and life-threatening like that. So that in itself is a huge load lifted off my shoulders, because in my scariest moments I've been thinking about death and cancer and having to shave my head (which, for me, ranks right up there with the whole dying thing). I told him to give me worst-case scenario so I knew what I might be dealing with and he said it could be MS. (On a humorous side note, I said, "Aren't I kind of young for that?" and he goes, "No, not really.")

I've been researching MS and I do have some rather concerning signs and symptoms (especially the damage to the optic nerve and the MRI thing), but you know what, you can pick almost ANY malady, look it up and convince yourself that you "have all the symptoms." However, I've come to accept the fact that it's a possibility--and I actually feel okay about it. If THAT'S worst case, then it's not the most horrible news. I can think of lots of stuff that would have been WAY worse. And, hopefully, my life wouldn't change very much for quite a while. (Other than a new family rule that "MS patients get more shit at Christmas"--I think THAT should be implemented immediately.)

So...I can actually sleep a bit easier now. If it turns out to be MS, then at least I've had some time to research it, get educated and come to terms with it. And if it's NOT--then hey, anything else is very, very good news.
Have you ever...

...shaved with the plastic protective cover thingie still on the blade, and then when you were done felt your legs and been like, "Dude, this razor sucks" ?

Or is it just me?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Weird Al can rap, yo

Have you heard "White & Nerdy" (a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin' ") yet? The video is funny as hell and the lyrics are, once again, brilliant. But the most enteraining part of this song (in my opinion) is discovering that Weird Al is actually a hell of a rapper. Yes, seriously. "Amish Paradise" was just the tip of the iceburg.

Here's a link for the video (the actual link is off to the right, under his picture):

http://rap.about.com/od/hiphopvideos/v/WhiteandNerdy.htm

Or just the lyrics:

http://rap.about.com/od/lyrics/a/WeirdAlLyrics.htm

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Can't I just be, like, the cool older sister?

Last night, after an evening of socializing with the other teachers, I swung upstairs to see what my new friends from last weekend were up to. One of the girls just found out that she's pregnant and has decided, in the words of Miranda from Sex and the City, that she "need not be."

"Well," I said after she told me what she had decided to do, "if there's anything I can do, please let me know. You know I'm right downstairs if you need anything."

"Ooooh, I love you," she said as she threw her arms around me. "It's so, like, awesome how you look out for us. You're like our mom--"

and then she must have noticed the look on my face--

--"slash-best-friend," she finished.

Now come on. This is one of the younger girls--18, I believe. If you work the numbers, it is downright unlikely that I'd be old enough to be her mother, if not physically IMPOSSIBLE. I mean, I would have been like *12* when she was born. And that's getting a REALLY early start.

Even for THIS family.

Friday, December 01, 2006

On my board today

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Winter is here! I'm actually welcoming it with open arms. It felt weird to put up Christmas decorations last Saturday when it was 65ยบ. NOW "it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas..."
After the hype all day yesterday about getting a foot by this morning, John was extremely disappointed when we went to bed at 11 last night with no signs of snow. I woke up at 6:30 this morning to the foot we were promised, plus some, I think. Brent is beside himself with joy and there's no school today because of it. Can life get any better for a kid? The first snow day of the year!


Brent practically rolled John out of bed this morning so they could go out and snowblow and shovel before John goes to work.














You can't really tell in the pictures, but there's about 14" in our driveway!









The whole idea of shoveling is great, but what boy can resist diving in the snow and pummeling the neighbor kids with snow balls? The snow is heavy and wet; perfect for a snowball fight! Brent is in the red.


Happy Winter to all!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ick

The air conditioning on the 2nd floor broke yesterday. I, of course, am on the second floor. Although it's not THAT hot here this week (relatively speaking)--only in the 70s or so--it is SO muggy and humid in the school. I finally took my afternoon classes down to the cafeteria (on the first floor) to work today because it was so stuffy that you couldn't even think after a while; kids were becoming light-headed and dizzy; everyone was cranky; and several students (and me) were starting to have asthma/breathing problems. When I came back upstairs just now, the papers sitting on my desk were actually DAMP from the humidity.

Seriously, it's miserable.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

6th grade, trucker-style

The kids are working on a writing piece about their favorite state. One student came up to the desk to discuss her paper on South Korea.

"South Korea isn't a state," I informed her. "It's a country."

"Are you f______ing kidding me?" she blurted out.

Once we realized what she said, our mouths both dropped open. I was actually speechless for a moment there.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Well, THAT sucks

As part of my ongoing Blurry Eye Saga, I had a brain MRI last Wednesday. My doctor called yesterday and said he wanted to "discuss the results" with me and to call him this morning. (I already had a bad feeling after listening to his message, because he had no problems leaving an "everything was okay with your blood tests results" message on my voicemail the week before, so I was a bit concerned that he didn't just say "everything was okay with your MRI" and leave it at that.)

Anyway, I finally connected with him this afternoon. APPARENTLY, the MRI found "multiple spots on my left parietal lobe." That's all he can really tell me right now, as--he reminded me several times--the brain isn't his area of specialty and he would "hate to speculate and cause me undue worry." (Thanks, doc, but the whole "multiple spots on the brain" thing already shot THAT to shit.)

So I'm being referred to a neurologist, who will be able to tell me more, run more tests (possibly including, my doctor said, a lumbar puncture--CRAP), etc.

I'll let you know. In the meantime, I think I'm gonna go ahead and not worry about my student loans for a while. Oh--and I ordered a LARGE fry at Mickey D's tonight for the first time in years. Diet be damned!

(PS--Mom Googled some key words tonight and discovered that I have a cavernous brain, or something. I really didn't understand a single freakin' word on the site but it was supposed to be reassuring, I guess.)

It's okay, though. Thank God I have reassuring, tactful and supportive lifelong friends.

"I'm sure it's nothing, right?" I said at the end of a slightly panicked phone call to Renee.

She hesitated. "Well," she said. "What with the blurred vision and all, it's probably SOMETHING."
Holy Greatest TV Quotes, Batman!

This is long, but definitely worth reading. It's funny to realize how many of these we use in daily conversations (my sister and I still talk like Beavis and Butthead to each other, and have inadvertently gotten Brent to say some stuff like them). Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face; laughter if you use as many of them as I do :-)

NEW YORK - Sometimes it takes only a word, or just a few, to become immortalized in television history. The TV Land cable network has compiled a list of the 100 greatest catchphrases in TV, from the serious _ Walter Cronkite's nightly signoff "And that's the way it is" _ to the silly: "We are two wild and crazy guys!"

The network will air a countdown special, "The 100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catch Phrases," over five days starting Dec. 11.

"We have found that television is such a huge part of baby boomers' DNA that it makes sense that so much of America's pop culture jargon has come from TV," said Larry Jones, TV Land president.

The greatest number of moments, 26, come from the 1970s. TV Land identified nine moments from this decade. Ten are from commercials, and 28 from comedies, including six from "Saturday Night Live." In alphabetical order, TV Land's list:

_"Aaay" (Fonzie, "Happy Days")
_"And that's the way it is" (Walter Cronkite, "CBS Evening News")
_"Ask not what your country can do for you ..." (John F. Kennedy)
_"Baby, you're the greatest" (Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, "The Honeymooners")
_"Bam!" (Emeril Lagasse, "Emeril Live")
_"Book 'em, Danno" (Steve McGarrett, "Hawaii Five-O")
_"Come on down!" (Johnny Olson, "The Price is Right")
_"Danger, Will Robinson" (Robot, "Lost in Space")
_"De plane! De plane!" (Tattoo, "Fantasy Island")
_"Denny Crane" (Denny Crane, "Boston Legal")
_"Do you believe in miracles?" (Al Michaels, 1980 Winter Olympics)
_"D'oh!" (Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons")
_"Don't make me angry ..." (David Banner, "The Incredible Hulk")
_"Dyn-o-mite" (J.J., "Good Times")
_"Elizabeth, I'm coming!" (Fred Sanford, "Sanford and Son")
_"Gee, Mrs. Cleaver ..." (Eddie Haskell, "Leave it to Beaver")
_"God'll get you for that" (Maude, "Maude")
_"Good grief" (Charlie Brown, "Peanuts" specials)
_"Good night, and good luck" (Edward R. Murrow, "See It Now")
_"Good night, John Boy" ("The Waltons")
_"Have you no sense of decency?" (Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy)
_"Heh heh" (Beavis and Butt-head, "Beavis and Butthead")
_"Here it is, your moment of Zen" (Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show")
_"Here's Johnny!" (Ed McMahon, "The Tonight Show")
_"Hey now!" (Hank Kingsley, "The Larry Sanders Show")
_"Hey hey hey!" (Dwayne Nelson, "What's Happening!!")
_"Hey hey hey!" (Fat Albert, "Fat Albert")
_"Holy (whatever), Batman!" (Robin, "Batman")
_"Holy crap!" (Frank Barone, "Everybody Loves Raymond")
_"Homey don't play that!" (Homey the Clown, "In Living Color")
_"How sweet it is!" (Jackie Gleason, "The Jackie Gleason Show")
_"How you doin'?" (Joey Tribbiani, "Friends")
_"I can't believe I ate the whole thing" (Alka Seltzer ad)
_"I know nothing!" (Sgt. Schultz, "Hogan's Heroes")
_"I love it when a plan comes together" (Hannibal, "The A-Team")
_"I want my MTV!" (MTV ad)
_"I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl ..." (Larry, "Newhart")
_"I'm not a crook ..." (Richard Nixon)
_"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" (Vicks Formula 44 ad)
_"I'm Rick James, bitch!" (Dave Chappelle as Rick James, "Chappelle's Show")
_"If it weren't for you meddling kids!" (Various villains, "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?")
_"Is that your final answer?" (Regis Philbin, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire")
_"It keeps going and going and going ..." (Energizer Batteries ad)
_"It takes a licking ..." (Timex ad)
_"Jane, you ignorant slut" (Dan Aykroyd to Jane Curtin, "Saturday Night Live")
_"Just one more thing ..." (Columbo, "Columbo")
_"Let's be careful out there" (Sgt. Esterhaus, "Hill Street Blues")
_"Let's get ready to rumble!" (Michael Buffer, various sports events)
_"Live long and prosper" (Spock, "Star Trek")
_"Makin' whoopie" (Bob Eubanks, "The Newlywed Game")
_"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! (Jan Brady, "The Brady Bunch")
_"Mom always liked you best" (Tommy Smothers, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour")
_"Never assume ..." (Felix Unger, "The Odd Couple")
_"Nip it!" (Barney Fife, "The Andy Griffith Show")
_"No soup for you!" (The Soup Nazi, "Seinfeld")
_"Norm!" ("Cheers")
_"Now cut that out!" (Jack Benny, "The Jack Benny Program")
_"Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!" (Stan and Kyle, "South Park")
_"Oh, my nose!" (Marcia Brady, "The Brady Bunch")
_"One small step for man ..." (Neil Armstrong)
_"Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" (Grey Poupon ad)
_"Read my lips: No new taxes!" (George H.W. Bush)
_"Resistance is futile" (Picard as Borg, "Star Trek: The Next Generation")
_"Say good night, Gracie" (George Burns, "The Burns & Allen Show")
_"Schwing!" (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, "Saturday Night Live")
_"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" (Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle)
_"Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids" (Trix cereal ad)
_"Smile, you're on `Candid Camera'" ("Candid Camera")
_"Sock it to me" ("Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In")
_"Space, the final frontier ..." (Capt. Kirk, "Star Trek")
_"Stifle!" (Archie Bunker, "All in the Family")
_"Suit up!" (Barney Stinson, "How I Met Your Mother")
_"Tastes great! Less filling!" (Miller Lite beer ad)
_"Tell me what you don't like about yourself" (Dr. McNamara and Dr. Troy, "Nip/Tuck")
_"That's hot" (Paris Hilton, "The Simple Life")
_"The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" (Jim McKay, "ABC's Wide World of Sports")
_"The tribe has spoken" (Jeff Probst, "Survivor")
_"The truth is out there" (Fox Mulder, "The X-Files")
_"This is the city ..." (Sgt. Joe Friday, "Dragnet")
_"Time to make the donuts" ("Dunkin' Donuts" ad)
_"Two thumbs up" (Siskel & Ebert, "Siskel & Ebert")
_"Up your nose with a rubber hose" (Vinnie Barbarino, "Welcome Back, Kotter")
_"We are two wild and crazy guys!" (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd as Czech playboys, "Saturday Night Live")
_"Welcome to the O.C., bitch" (Luke, "The O.C.")
_"Well, isn't that special?" (Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, "Saturday Night Live")
_"We've got a really big show!" (Ed Sullivan, "The Ed Sullivan Show")
_"Whassup?" (Budweiser ad)
_"What you see is what you get!" (Geraldine, "The Flip Wilson Show")
_"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (Arnold Drummond, "Diff'rent Strokes")
_"Where's the beef?" (Wendy's ad)
_"Who loves you, baby?" (Kojak, "Kojak")
_"Would you believe?" (Maxwell Smart, "Get Smart")
_"Yabba dabba do!" (Fred Flintstone, "The Flintstones")
_"Yada, yada, yada" ("Seinfeld")
_"Yeah, that's the ticket" (Jon Lovitz as the pathological liar, "Saturday Night Live")
_"You eeeediot!" (Ren, "Ren & Stimpy")
_"You look mahvelous!" (Billy Crystal as Fernando, "Saturday Night Live")
_"You rang?" (Lurch, "The Addams Family")
_"You're fired!" (Donald Trump, "The Apprentice")
_"You've got spunk ..." (Lou Grant, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show")

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oh, Get Over Yourselves!

I just read this article and I'm so irritated! Nothing pisses me off more than people who don't take their vows seriously. Not even FOUR MONTHS. Seriously.

LOS ANGELES - Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock each filed divorce papers Monday seeking to end their marriage of less than four months. Anderson's representative would not comment on the reason or any particulars of the divorce. Anderson and Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, each cited "irreconcilable differences" in their divorce filings in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"Yes, it's true," Anderson wrote in a brief statement on her Web site. "Unfortunately impossible."

A message left with Ritchie's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
The relationship between Anderson, 39, and Ritchie, 35, has been a turbulent one since they became engaged in 2002. They broke up the following year, but later reunited and held several wedding ceremonies over the summer.
They were wed in late July near St. Tropez, France, and again at a courthouse in Beverly Hills on Aug. 3. They also tied the knot in an Aug. 17 ceremony in Nashville, Tenn.

The pair filed separate divorce petitions, about an hour apart, early Monday. Anderson reported their separation date as Nov. 21; Ritchie said it was Nov. 26.
First word of the split was reported by "The Insider" syndicated news magazine.
Anderson's spokeswoman, Tracy Nguyen, confirmed earlier this month that the actress had suffered a miscarriage.

The actress has two sons, Brandon, 10, and Dylan, 8, from her marriage to rocker Tommy Lee. Ritchie, a Michigan native who owns a condo in Nashville, has a 13-year-old son, Bob Jr.

Anderson appears in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." She has been filming "Blonde and Blonder." Ritchie released his latest CD, "Live Trucker," in February.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sweet!

Growing Pains is on every night at 9 on the "I" channel (which, apparently, is also the same as PaxTV here).

You have no idea how excited I am about this. It's second only to Scrubs now being on Comedy Central every night from 7-8.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Just overheard...

...in a parking lot lovers' quarrel:

He told her, "You're a f*#&#^ liar...I hope your face f#*#&&# falls off in the middle of the night."

Is it wrong that I laughed my ass off?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I'm thankful...

...that I made it to Florida this year
...that I'm finally a teacher
...for the incredible view on my way back from Tampa tonight (the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico)
...for the joy that came with giving Justin's Crown Royal away to some random Mexican guys in the parking lot
...for this laptop, my belated birthday present
...for my friends, old and new
...that the cop who pulled me over about 22 seconds into my trip today let me go with just a warning ("It's a STOP sign, ma'am, not a YIELD sign")
...for my family, as dysfunctional as it may be
...that I have THE BEST name picked out for my future daughter: Alike (pronounced A-lee-kay), after one of the models on Deal or No Deal
...for Deal or No Deal
...that it's Thanksgiving and in the 70s. Why would people live anywhere else?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Boys suck

And no, I don't want to talk about it. Just giving you the heads up.

That is all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

John Kerry allegedly said, "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well, and if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq...."

One of our heroes supposedly wrote this letter in reply (I don't know if this incident really happened but damn, this is a good letter nonetheless):

I am a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I am currently on my second tour in Iraq, a tour in which I volunteered for. I speak Arabic and Spanish and I plan to tackle Persian Farsi soon. I have a Bachelors and an Associates Degree and between deployments I am pursuing an M.B.A. In college I was a member of several academic honor societies, including the Golden Key Honor Society. I am not unique among the enlisted troops. Many of my enlisted colleagues include lawyers, teachers, mechanics,engineers, musicians and artists just to name a few.

You say that your comments were directed towards the President and not us. If we were stupid, Senator Kerry, we might have believed you. I am not a victim of President Bush. I proudly serve him because he is my Commander in Chief. If it was you who was President, I would serveyou just as faithfully. I serve America, Senator Kerry, and I am also providing a service to the good people of Iraq. I have not terrorized them in the middle of the night, raped them or murdered them as you have accused me of before. I am doing my part to help them rebuild. My roleis a simple one, but important. You see, Senator Kerry, like it or not, we came here and removed a tyrant (who terrorized Iraqis in the middleof the night, and raped them and murdered them). And we have a responsibility to see to it that another one doesn't take his place. The people of Iraq are recovering from an abusive relationship with a terrible government and its going to take some time to help them recover from that. We can't treat this conflict like a microwave dinner and throw a temper tantrum because we feel like its taking too long.

Senator Kerry, you don't have to agree with this war. You don't have to say nice things about those of us who choose to make sacrifices for the rights of every American rather than sit back and simply feel entitled to it. But please, Senator Kerry, if you're going to call me a stupid murdering rapist, stick by what you say. Don't tell me that I misunderstood or that you would never insult a veteran because you are one too. Having been there and done that does not give you a free pass to insult me. My suggestion for you, Senator Kerry, is to remember that your speeches are recorded, and broadcast to us simpletons over here. You may want to write down what you want to say before you say it, maybe have somebody look at it before you say it and tell you what others might hear. Remember that we can't read your mind, if there are any misinterpretations in what you say, it's because you didn't communicate clearly.

Good luck to you Senator Kerry, if nothing else it's always entertaining to watch you try and climb out of the holes that you constantly dig for yourself.

Sincerely,

Somebody who is watching his daughter grow up in photographs so that you can have the right to say whatever you want about him.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Nikki!!

Enjoy your last year of your 20s, byaatch.
Whoo hoo!

He's not going!

Whoo hoo!

It turns out, you need to be 26 to hold that particular position, which he won't be for another 2 years.

(LOLOL. Shut up.)

Anyway, I AM sad for him, because he was really excited about this job, but he's not leaving, so I'm pretty excited. He thinks he's going to interview for this pharmaceutical sales job; it's based out of Orlando (a couple hours away), but the pay is good, he'd be salaried instead of commissioned, AND they'd provide a condo for him. It'd be a traveling job so he'd still be in this area a lot (and for his daughter too, of course), so at least we'd still get to see each other pretty regularly. Nothing's definite there yet, though. For now, I'm just excited that he'll be HERE.

Oh--and I'm leaving for Michigan on Dec. 16 and I'll be there for 2 full weeks, heading back to the warmth and sunshine of FL on the 30th. So brace yourselves!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Are you freakin' KIDDING me?!

Great news! Justin got a promotion at work yesterday. (He works for a car dealership here in town.) He's being promoted to business manager, which is a huge deal for someone his age (the youngest BM before him was like 34). It comes, obviously, with a HUGE raise. So I'm very proud of him.

Now....he just has to go to "business manager training school."

In Tennessee.

15 hours away.

For 3-6 months.

He leaves a week from today.

Yes, go ahead and laugh. I did. Not because it's particular funny, but just because....it figures. What? Jen's deliriously happy? Well shit, we can't have THAT.

No...in all seriousness, I'm incredibly bummed, but I'm not that SAD. I mean, it's an amazing opportunity for him, and I'm so proud of him. We talked for quite a while last night, and we're just going to see what happens, pretty much. Hell, we've only been dating for a freakin' WEEK (two, by the time he leaves), so going into a 3-6 month long-distance relationship is asking a bit much. However, we're also NOT going to be together, if that makes sense. We're going to talk and we're going to see each other when we can (he'll be coming home to see his daughter, of course, but obviously a great deal of time will be spent WITH his daughter--and we don't know yet how often he'll be able to come home. When he told me how much he was going to be making, I told him that he could EASILY afford to fly home every other weekend to see Chloe--and I didn't say this, but if *I* saw him even once a month, I'd be happy). The bottom line is, we don't want to put the stress of a "formal" LDR on such a new relationship--but if this thing we found is really real, it'll still be there in 3-6 months. (I feel like he's going to prison, LOL.) This way, he said, "Now I have something really good to come home to."

So....we'll spend as much time as we can together this week (he has Chloe tonight, but we're hopefully going to get together either Wed. or Thurs., depending on his work schedule, and then he's going to come over on Friday and spend the weekend), and then....I tell him I'm happy for him and that I'll talk to him soon. And then I find something to keep me busy till he gets back, like achieving world peace or finding a cure for cancer. (I already told him I didn't think I wanted to date anyone over the next few months. Dating is to find someone you want to be with, I reminded him, and I already DID that, even if he's "going away" for 3 to 6. I won't be putting my LIFE on hold; not by any means. I have work, my friends, the gym, the world peace/cancer thing, etc. I still have my life...I'm just waiting for him to come back into it.

And, once he DOES came back, he'll be making bank. Holla!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Happy birthday, Kish!!

I know I'm a bit late, but I forgot to post before I left work for the weekend. Welcome to my decade! =-)
Tow truck driver who?

Wow. It was a heck of a weekend.

WOW.

On Friday night after work, we teachers met up at a Mexican place for drinks (which led to a surprise impromptu belated birthday celebration, complete with a slice of birthday cake and being serenaded TWICE with the birthday song--the second time by a mariachi band...but I digress). One of the teachers invited some of her guy friends to come out and meet us...and the rest, as they say, is history.

Justin and I immediately clicked by--what else--talking mad sh*t to each other. We're both incredibly smart-assed and sarcastic, and once we got going we were hard to stop. The table couldn't tell if we liked each other or hated each other. As we all realized pretty quickly, it was definitely the former.

We were INSEPERABLE this weekend. I saw him Friday night. Saturday night (the only reason we weren't together during the day is because he was at work) and all day Sunday. And I mean ALL day, from like 9 am to 8 at night. And he has an 18-month-old daughter, whom I met on Sunday. "She really likes you," he said at one point. "Well, no shit," I affectionaly and compassionately replied. "I'm a teacher. Kids are my thing."

Here's the best part--he's 24.

(HELL, YES. GO, ME.)

And he's freakin' adorable and has a baby face and normally isn't my type at all--he's short (maybe 5'5") and skinny as hell (I think he weighs less than me) but DAMN if he didn't suck me in with that sarcasm. He has an incredible smile and beautiful eyes. And he doesn't SEEM so young, probably because he's seen his share of crap. He's divorced--yes, I know. My first thought was "24 and already divorced??" But if you heard the story behind it, you'd understand. And that past is the reason I forget that he's 24 when we're together; he's more mature than a lot of older guys I've dated. And he's SUCH a good daddy. You should see him with his daughter.

Anyway...I'm trying really hard not to go too fast or get too attached too soon and all that, but right now, we're definitely in that new-relationship "love buzz" phase and damned if we're not going to enjoy it while it lasts. (After being together for almost 12 hours yesterday, he called me when he got home and we talked for another 2 hours. Seriously, it's enough to make you sick. =-)

And, and PS--tow truck driver called me like 15 times between Friday night and Saturday night. Needless to say, I'm not calling HIM back.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Because it's ME, of course

Last night, I went out to the parking lot to get my asthma inhaler from my car. One small problem, though: my car wasn't there.

I called the police, who were able to track it down for me. It had been towed, due to the fact that my tags were slightly expired. I called the tow truck company, who explained to me that my apartment complex hires them to cruise the parking lot periodically for things like that. Bastards.)

Side note: remember the reason I went out to my car in the first place? I told the tow company that my asthma medicine was in the car. "Well, we're 24 hours," they told me helpfully. "You can come pick it up now." (It's 10:30 pm by now.) "Um, sir?" I politely began. "I don't have a CAR." "Oh yeah," he said. To make a long story short, I used my feminine wiles on him and actually convinced him to drop my inhaler off on his way home at the end of his shift that night. (He got off at 11.) And since he was already going into my car for me, I also asked him to get the envelope titled "Car Papers" out of my glove box for me, since I figured I'd need all of that information anyway. So yeah, I'm da bomb.

Anyway, I got a ride to school this morning and then began figuring out a way to get my car back. The problem, as I quickly discovered, was that the tow company wouldn't release the car to me until I had a valid license plate and registration/tags, since it wasn't "street legal," blah blah blah. HOWEVER, in order to GET my Florida registration and license plate, they require that my car BE there. So I was in quite a pickle.

(LOL. I actually used that phrase.)

Anyway, the tow truck company offered to tow my car TO the license plate and registration place for me (in Florida, it's the tax collectors office). They didn't charge me any extra for that; pretty nice of them, considering I had already paid them $165 to get my car back in the first place. Mind you, the PRINCIPAL had to drive me to the tow place, since I couldn't wait till after school (I was afraid I'd run out of time and then have to pay the tow people an additional per-day charge until Monday) and everyone I know in Florida was either out of town (Frank) or here at school until about 4:00. AND they had to pull in a sub to cover my classes for a couple of hours this morning. (We have permanent in-house subs, so that wasn't a huge deal. And luckily, I have a very sweet and understanding principal.)

So Eric (the tow truck driver) brought me to the tax collectors office, unloaded my car, and waited as I took care of everything. I made it back to school at the end of 4th hour.

Oh, and one last thing--Eric* and I have a date. He asked me out as he walked me back out to my car.

*He's 38, which at first sounded old to me until I remembered, shit, *I'M* 30. He recently retired from the military (that makes him sound REALLY old, but he joined when he was 17) and just got back from Iraq about 8 months ago. He was a 1st Lt. in one of the Airborne Divisions--I want to say the 101st but I'm not sure. He's divorced, with two daughters, 14 and 9, whom he has every other weekend. He got the divorce papers during one of his tours about 3 years ago. Him and they ex are still good friends, though....can you tell we did a lot of talking today? (He called me on my cell on my way back to school and we talked for another 15 minutes or so.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ready....aim....oh, crap.

Sorry I'm so late with my check in, but it was a busy few days.

I went out on Friday night to celebrate my birthday with some fellow teachers. I am told that I had a great time. ;)

Saturday was, of course, the trip to the gun range. Have any of YOU ever gone to a GUN RANGE with the worst hangover of your entire life? I wouldn't recommend it. Still, like a trooper, I dragged myself out of bed. I had a great time, actually. (I'm still waiting for some pictures to be emailed to me.) All in all, I did a pretty darn good job. I did NOT, as it turns out, shoot either myself nor an innocent bystander. My aim improved with every shot and I hit the target the majority of the time; in fact, 5 shots even hit the bullseye. And I am now a member of the Fowler Firearms and Gun Range. Holla!

On Monday, I had my visit to the retina specialist. To make a long story short, they did some REALLY disgusting things to my eye--

(for example, they poked it with a stick to measure the density of my eye or something. Oh, and did I mention that they did an ultrasound ON MY EYEBALL?!

Yes, MY EYEBALL.

Not NEAR my eye. Not in the general eye region. THE ULTRASOUND WAND THINGIE WAS PLACED DIRECTLY ONTO MY EYEBALL AND MOVED AROUND. Luckily, my eye had been numbed beforehand so I didn't feel much besides the cold gel. Are you cringing yet?)

--and they still can't find the cause of my eye blurriness. So that's good, I suppose--no cancers, tumors, etc. growing anywhere--but my blurriness still isn't fixed, either. The retina specialist finally threw up his hands (figuratively speaking) and said (and I'm paraphrasing a bit here): "Well, something is causing the vision in your right eye to become blurred, but damned if *I* know what it is." I have an appiontment with a regular doctor in about a week; Retina Guy wants a full workup done to see if the cause could be physical (diabetes, thyroid, etc). So we'll see. In the meantime, I'm stuck with my gimpy right eye.

What's new with all of you?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Happy 30th today, Jen! I know you aren't thrilled with that number, but it IS just a number! Look back at all you've been through and all you've accomplished in those years! So many things to be proud of, and so many things we can laugh at! I'm proud of have been part of 24 of those years.

Wish I could take you out for a few birthday drinks! Enjoy your day! Love you,

Renee

Friday, October 27, 2006


Party like middle-school rock stars

My homeroom threw me a surprise party for my upcoming birthday. I knew they were planning SOMETHING, since 6th and 7th graders are not especially subtle OR good secret-keepers, but I didn't expect them to go all out. They decorated my entire room with construction-paper chains (seriously, it goes ALL THE WAY around my room...that's a LOT of links for them to have made), they plastered my bulletin board with a construction paper "30," some of them got me gifts....AND they coordinated a little food spread. When I walked into the room, they all jumped out and yelled "Surprise!" It was really pretty sweet. This class is also my 2nd hour, so I told them that once they get back from P.E., we'd scrap our lesson plans and "party like rock stars" (which, for middle-schoolers, basically entails being allowed to eat cake, potato chips and chocolate at 9:30 in the morning).





























Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Place your bets

In celebration of my upcoming birthday, I was looking for a fun, unique and new experience. A new decade, a new adventure. Well, I found it.

On Saturday, a bunch of us teachers are going to a gun range. (A student's dad runs it and we get to go for free.)

Yes, I'm serious.

Yes, an actual gun.

What do you think will happen?

1) I won't hit a damn thing.

2) I'll accidentally shoot someone else.

3) I'll accidentally shoot myself.

4) Against all odds, I'll turn out to be an excellent shot and find a new and hidden talent I never knew existed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

By the way

UPDATED WITH A PICTURE OF THE ORIGINAL FRANK

Justin Verlander from the Tigers looks EXACTLY like my roommate, Frank. His hair seems to have more of a reddish tint thank Frank's but it's really an eerie similarity.








































Monday, October 23, 2006

Renee's Soundtrack

I got this from Kish's blog and found it to be quite entertaining :-) My prom song is my favorite, lol.

Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)Put it on shufflePress playFor every question, type the song that's playingWhen you go to a new question, press the next buttonDon't lie and try to pretend you're cool!If you haven't already done this on your own blog, do it.

THE SOUNDTRACK OF THE FILM OF MY LIFE

Opening Credits: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly
Waking Up: Cowboy, Kid Rock
First Day At School: Could’ve Been, Tiffany
Falling In Love: Heartbreaker, Pat Benatar
Fight Song: Bawitdaba, Kid Rock
Breaking Up: Grillz, Nelly
Prom: Wild Thing, Tone Loc (LOLOL)
Life is Good: Don’t Do Me Like That, Tom Petty
Mental Breakdown: Dazzey Duks, Duice
Driving: Hot In Herre, Nelly
Flashback: Murder Was The Case, Snoop
Getting Back Together: Broken, Seether feat. Amy Lee
Wedding: Light My Fire, The Doors
Paying the Dues: Cecilia, Simon & Garfunkel
The Night Before The War: 1,2,3,4 (Sumpin’ New), Coolio
Final Battle: Hoochie Mama, 2 Live Crew
Moment of Triumph: Homeward Bound, Simon & Garfunkel
Death Scene: Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson
Funeral Song: Mony Mony, Billy Idol
End Credits: Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
Oh, say can you see...

From the "this could only happen to YOU" medical files of yours truly:

I went to the eye doctor a week ago for a routine eye exam. I had noticed that my vision was a bit blurrier than usual, so I just figured that I needed a stronger prescription.

So the doctor and I went through the "can you see this?...how about now? what looks better to you, this one...or this one?" routine until I was looking through lenses that were supposed to have me at 20/20 vision. There was just one problem, though: my right eye was still blurry. When I covered my right eye, I could read the second row from the bottom. When I covered my left eye, though, I struggled to read the third row from the top. He told me that he wanted me to come back in a week so he could dialate my right eye and see what was going on.

I went back this weekend for the eye dialation (which, by the way, just feels WEIRD) and he used a whole bunch of REALLY bright lights to look at my retina. And he found...something.

Don't ask me what, because I still don't know. HE still doesn't know. But he did see something back there that's causing the vision in my right eye to be blurred. "It's not, like, cancer or anything, right?" I asked.

"I don't think so," he said. "But that's why I want you to go see a retinal specialist."

I asked several more questions, including "What caused it?" "Can it be fixed?" and "How serious is this?", to which I kept getting variations of "I don't know, but that's why I want you to see a specialist." He asked me if I'd recently suffered any kind of blow or trauma to the eye. Not to my recollection, I told him. "Hmm," he said.

"Hmmm?!" What is THAT?

The doctor's office is calling the specialist's office themselves, so I don't know yet when I have to go. I'll let you know.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pray for me

I am about to enter the most dangerous combat zone for teachers: parent conferences. And I'm going in without backup, too. I've been through conferences once before, but that was during student teaching and the fabulous Mrs. R. always had my back. Today and tomorrow, I will have to stand up and defend/justify my grades all by myself. Pretty intimidating for a first year teacher, but it's a rite of passage that all educators must experience.

Reports went home yesterday, so we were actually fully prepared for the backlash that hit today. Parents that have showed absolutely no interest in their child's education the last 9 weeks are now suddenly "very concerned" that their child is failing _______'s class (whatever class that happens to be). Luckily, not too many kids failed MY class (and those that did, I have the reasons to back it up), but needless to say, we all walked in this morning to full email boxes and phones that were blinking like Christmas trees.

Wish me luck...I'm goin' in!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Put Your Thinking Caps On

If you could spend one whole night alone with anyone in the world who is currently alive (OTHER THAN YOUR SPOUSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER), who would you select?

You've Got to Know When to Hold 'Em...

I know. We've been back for 2 1/2 weeks and I'm FINALLY getting around to posting about our trip to Vegas. Honestly, I don't have a whole lot to say about it. We had fun, we really did. But I don't think it lived up to the expectations of the other couple we were with, and they (or she) made it known and morphed into a spoiled brat on Friday night. It kind of put a damper on our last night there, and unfortunately, that's what we took away from the trip. I'm glad this wasn't my first time there, otherwise I might not have wanted to go back.

Having said that, I can't WAIT to go back again (sans the Cranky Pants Couple), and I believe EVERYONE should go at least once in their lives. Even if you aren't a gambler, there's SO MUCH to see and do. I hate crowds, but I love Vegas. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced.


We were initially a little disappointed when we realized our room wasn't overlooking the Strip. That quickly changed when I opened the curtains and saw this view! The picture doesn't do it justice-- the mountains are breathtaking!










This is the clearest picture of John and me, which isn't saying much. This was taken the night we got there, standing next to the fountain outside of the Monte Carlo, where we stayed.
I think this is the first time I've posted my picture on here. Good thing it's blurry ;-)

This one is meant as a joke... Friday morning the guys stayed at the hotel to play in a poker tournament, so C and I went exploring. We were actually looking for the infamous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to take pictures next to, but someone apparently gave us wrong directions. He told us it was next to Mandalay Bay. We walked to and completely around Mandalay Bay, and up and down the street, looking for that damned sign, to no avail. C wore her pedometer; we walked 6 miles that day. Me, in sandals. Good call, Renee. Since we couldn't find our sign, we posed next to this one, since we walked around it 75 times.

This is me next to one of the Egyptian dudes outside of the Luxor, one of the coolest hotels out there.

Another disappointment is that most of my night pictures didn't turn out. I realized, much too late, that I'd been using the "firework" feature on my camera instead of the regular ol' "night" feature. Yet another reason to go back again soon!

This is the best nighttime picture I took, and sadly, not even of the Strip.

I'm not a huge gambler (I only play Blackjack out there), and I lost the $200 I started with, but it took me all three days to lose it, thanks to the $5 tables. John won my $200 back and more playing Texas Hold 'Em. I'm trying to get him to go professional :-)

You know, girls... Vegas would make a really fun Girls' Weekend! Next year is Florida, the following year... Vegas? Flights are cheap! Start saving your pennies!

You never count your money

When you're sittin' at the table

There'll be time enough for countin'

When the dealin's done

Monday, October 16, 2006

One last thing...

GO TIGERS!!

I'm not much of a sports fan, but having the "hometown team" FINALLY make it to the World Series again (just a couple years after being the worst team in the league) is pretty exciting. Makes me wish I was back in Detroit.
Anna's update (by proxy)

She started a new job recently....and here's part of the email I received from her this weekend.

"I love, Love, LOVE the new job! Last week was SO GOOD! I love their mission - to help people with disabilities get through the difficult process of getting the social security disability money they need. The people are wonderful- my kind of people! The opportunity for growth is great- they want to go from 75 to 150 people in one year. The benefits are amazing, including groups for wellness and charitable giving, a book club, and the one that just got me- they bring in a massage therapist to give chair massages. WTF?! This kind of place really exists?! So I love it and they love me. We all live happily ever after, right? Well, not quite...

Tim got the job offer in MN last week. It's a good job. It's a good raise and bonus. The relocation package will buy our current house, pay for packers and movers, help us find a new house in MN, and even help me find a job when we get there...we really do need to take it.

You know how much I've wanted to move back home for years. It's bittersweet that we're finally going when I'm finally starting to feel fulfilled here. But it's the right choice and I am happy and excited. It'll be good to be home with our families and old friends."
Jen 2.0

"Yes, we CAN rebuild her. We HAVE the technology. We can make her better, stronger, faster."

Anyway, after a devastingly traumatic event on Friday night (I was mistaken for my 24-year-old friend's MOTHER by the stupid, apparently blind, teenage clerk at New York and Co.), I underwent a mini-makeover this weekend. On Saturday, I cut my hair (same basic style, just shorter--around my ears), became a brunette (shut up, Missy) and, best of all, GOT CONTACTS! I used to wear them but haven't in years. Last time I checked into getting them, I was told that due to my astigmatism, I'd have to get specially-made contacts costing upwards of $200...but with recent developments in eye care, they now have (relatively) cheap disposable ones for "special" people like me.

D-Day is less than 2 weeks away.

Anna has exciting news but I'm not sure that she gets over here too much these days...maybe I'll post it for everyone. Quite a dramatic turn of events!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BYAAATCH!

The "byaaatch" in question is none other than my sister Missy (well, Melissa to some of you). Love ya!

(I believe you officially qualify for your LATE 20s now, right?) ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

My next career

If this teaching thing doesn't work out, I already have my next career move ready: I want to be a Coyote.

This weekend, I watched a marathon of The Ultimate Coyote on CMT. Women from all over the country vied to be crowned the ultimate Coyote Ugly girl (I'm sure you've seen the movie--and if you haven't, go rent it now). Well, let me tell you--the real thing is even more fascinating than the film version. I was enthralled. Now, never mind the fact I don't have the body for it (yet); I can't even dance on terra firma, let alone on a narrow, slippery bar or the fact that I've never bartended a day in my life and know a grand total of maybe five drinks. (Also, I don't have cowboy boots *, which no self-respecting Coyote would be caught dead without.) I WANT TO BE A COYOTE.

After a full day of watching these girls with their skinny legs and tight, flat tummies prance around on the bar, though (not to mention boobs that are up where they're SUPPOSED to be), I have to tell you: I'm getting my ass to the gym every single day this week.

*Note to Mom: excellent Christmas gift idea

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Leaving Las Vegas

Seriously, Renee, you've been back for a while now. Where's our Vegas post??

In other news:

Nick Lachey
Deathcab for Cutie
Phil Collins

These three artists comprised my most recent BMG music order. It made me laugh to realize how eclectic and varied it was.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

So it's not just a clever name?

My elderly, conservative grandmother was quite upset last night when Jerry Springer * made it through another week on Dancing with the Stars. (Due to her religious convictions, I am quite sure that she probably sees Jerry as the devil incarnate.)

"People are just voting for him because he's a celebrity," Grandma huffed to Mom last night.

??????????????????????

"Um, Mom?" my mother slowly began. "They're ALL celebrities. That's why it's called Dancing with the STARS."

"Oh, you know what I mean," Grandma said. "People are just voting for him because he's on TV." Then, just before hanging up, Grandma added with a heavy sigh, "Well, I'll try to get some sleep tonight."

(*I have to say, I actually think he's incredibly endearing and funny on this show. His comments are hysterical, and the whole reason he's doing this show is so he can learn to dance for his daughter's upcoming wedding.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Creepy crawlies

Last week, one of the teachers was out sick due to an allergic reaction. He'd had to go the ER in the middle of the night because (I later found out) a bite on his arm had started to affect him pretty severely. Friday after work, several of us Michigan teachers gathered for an impromptu "support group" meeting, and J. (the teacher in question) showed his battle scar (i.e., the bite site, which still looked pretty scary) and recounted his adventures.

APPARENTLY, the doctors say, he had been bitten/stung IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT--

--yes, people, IN HIS OWN BED, IN HIS APARTMENT, WHILE HE WAS SLEEPING--

by either a BLACK WIDOW SPIDER or

(it gets worse)

A FREAKIN' SCORPION!!!!!

Like hurricanes and earthquakes weren't bad enough.

Fred and John, this was NOT on the "Come live in Florida" website.
Viva Las Vegas

We are leaving tomorrow for Vegas! John's parents arrive this afternoon so we can show them around a little before we leave. Our flight isn't actually until Wednesday, but we're staying in a hotel by the airport Tuesday night so we don't have to get up so damn early.

Our friends, Greg and Chrissy, are celebrating their 10th anniversary by renewing their vows out there, and have invited us to come with them. It's gonna be GREAT! Except I'm already dreading the weather. 91-95 during the day, 70's at night. And don't give me that bullshit about it being a "dry heat" so it doesn't feel that hot. Last time we were there was in the middle of July and it was 110. It felt like 150, I don't care what the humidity was or was not :-)

I've got a shitload of stuff to do before we leave tomorrow afternoon, so I may be MIA until we get back on Saturday. I will definitely post about it next Sunday or Monday. You all have a great week and weekend!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The first week of school (all over again)

We recently "redid" the middle school in two major ways. First, we "leveled" the kids (grouping them by ability level), so our classes were now completely different (as far as who is in which class). In some cases this was a good thing (we were able to separate some kids who shouldn't be together, and it put all of our more advanced--and generally better-behaved kids--into one class. The flip side of this, of course, is that all the lower students (who are also more likely to be the "problem-behavior" kids) are all in the same class, as well. (Remember me telling you about the one class who was giving me some problems, the class I had to lay the smack down on? Well, at least before, roughly half the class were "good," well-behaved kids. Now we've taken the worst-behaved kids from both 7th grade classes and stuck them all together. Yes, FANTASTIC idea.)

Second, we completely overhauled the schedule, making room for an entire extra period--for most kids, this is a reading intervention class. Guess who's teaching the lowest-level reading group for all of middle school (6th AND 7th; we combined grades for this particular period)? Yup. The brand-new teacher. Again, FABULOUS idea.

Anyway, since both the classes and the schedule have changed, this past week was basically like the first week of school all over again. In a sense, that was good for me--it allowed me to go back and "redo" some of my "learning experiences" from the first few weeks of class. It also let me come in strong (and stay that way) in my new Class From Hell (as we affectionally call it). And so far, so good--that's not to say that the kids have been perfect or that my classroom management is exemplary--far from it. However, when the principal came in for an "impromptu observation" during the CFH yesterday, they were all 1) in their seats 2) quiet and 3) participating in the class discussion.

It was my most successful, exciting and proud moment so far this year.

Monday, September 18, 2006

This made me laugh

A whole plethora of nieces and nephews are having birthdays this month. Tyler, who is just turning four, recently received his birthday check. I got this email from Katey (his mom, my sister):

We took him to pick something out on his birthday and he [comes] home and goes, "I left my money at the store!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hubba hubba

I LOVE this season's Dancing with the Stars. It's got a very entertaining, mixed casts of dancers (everyone from Jerry Springer, who's surprisingly loveable and charming, to Emmitt Smith to Vivica A. Fox). And if that's not enough for you, I have just two more words:

Mario Lopez.

And his hips.

HOLY HELL, ladies. If you missed it last night, watch it next week and you'll see what I'm talking about. Tuesday is guaranteed to become your new favorite night of the week.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scientists say Florida earthquake rare
By PHIL DAVIS, Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. - Floridians can go back to worrying about hurricanes. Scientists said Sunday's magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rattled windows from southwest Florida to Louisiana is rare — the largest earthquake in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in 30 years. A seismic jolt powerful enough to do damage or unleash a tsunami on the U.S. Gulf Coast is unlikely.

Hurricanes are always going to be a bigger threat than earthquakes in Florida," said Eugene Schweig, a Memphis, Tenn.-based geologist who specializes in East Coast earthquakes.

But that doesn't mean the Sunshine State can count on shake-free living. And damage is possible.

"Earthquakes are possible anywhere and Florida is no exception," Schweig said. "There is always the possibility of an earthquake in the place you don't expect it."

Some south Mississippi residents reported feeling the quake Sunday.

Florida is an unlikely spot for an earthquake because it is far from the boundaries of the massive tectonic plates that make up the earth's crust. California, on the other hand, is perched atop the intersection of the Pacific and North American plates. On Monday alone, scientists had recorded 23 earthquakes in California by 4 p.m. None were strong enough to be noticed by residents.

"People in Florida haven't awakened and found themselves in the same boat as people in Los Angeles," said Jeffrey Park, a professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University. "But the potential for another earthquake in the area is real. The risk is much less significant, but we can't ignore it."

Only one earthquake has caused notable damage in Florida. In January 1879, St. Augustine residents reported heavy shaking that knocked plaster off the walls.

A November 1952 temblor prompted a resident of Quincy to report the shaking "interfered with the writing of a parking ticket," the USGS said.

A 1991 University of Florida study reported seismic activity strong enough to be felt on land in 1978 when tremors strong enough to rattle windows were reported in Polk County.

Sunday's temblor was a rare "midplate" earthquake where pent up energy from faraway plate collisions is released in random spots. There is no way to tell where the earthquake will strike. Scientists are intrigued by Sunday's temblor because the USGS recorded a magnitude 5.2 earthquake in the same spot on Feb. 10.

Neither earthquake caused damage, primarily because the epicenter was so far from land. Park said more damaging earthquakes closer to shore are possible.

He was not surprised the USGS received reports Sunday of weak shaking from as far away as Winston Salem, N.C., more than 760 miles from the epicenter of the quake. He said energy travels more efficiently in tectonic plates far from friction areas.

The epicenter of Sunday's earthquake was about 260 miles southwest of Tampa, about 18 miles beneath the Gulf of Mexico. As of Monday afternoon, the agency had received more than 5,500 reports of shaking, mostly from Florida's panhandle and west coast.

The reports noted the intensity of the shaking was "light." No major damage was reported. Many people didn't even notice it.

The earthquake was not powerful enough to trigger a tsunami. But Park said that doesn't mean Gulf Coast residents can ignore the threat.

"If there were a massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake, I'd advise people to get off the beach," Park said. "You'd probably still be safe in Disney World."

Monday, September 11, 2006

All shook up

We had an earthquake yesterday.

This isn't nearly as dramatic as it sounds. It was very minor; I didn't even KNOW we'd had one until I heard it on the news this morning. Still, I don't get out much, so it was definitely note-worthy.

As you were.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Models Flunk BMI, Get Spain Fashion Boot

By DANIEL WOOLLS, Associated Press Writer

MADRID, Spain - Spain's top fashion show has turned away a slew of models on grounds they are too skinny _ an unprecedented swipe at body images blamed for encouraging eating disorders among young people.

Organizers of the pageant, known as the Pasarela Cibeles, used a mathematical formula to calculate the models' body mass index _ a measure of their weight in relation to their height _ and 30 percent of the women flunked, said the Association of Fashion Designers of Spain.
The association said Friday it wanted models at the show running from Sept. 18-22 to project "an image of beauty and health" and shun a gaunt, emaciated look.

The decision was made as part of a voluntary agreement with the Madrid regional government, said Jesus del Pozo, a designer who is part of the association, said Thursday.

Last year's show, also called Madrid Fashion Week, drew protests from medical associations and women's advocacy groups because some of the models were positively bone-thin.

This time the Madrid regional government decided to intervene and pressure organizers to hire fuller-figured women as role models for young girls obsessed with being thin and prone to starving themselves into sickness, said Concha Guerra, deputy finance minister of the regional administration.

Fashion shows, Guerra said, "are mirrors for many young women."
Del Pozo said this was the first time skinny models have been snubbed at a major international fashion show.

Ryan Brown, director of marketing and public relations in North America for the Elite modeling agency in New York City, agreed. "It is very unprecedented," said Brown, who has nothing to do with the Spanish show.

He welcomed the decision saying "I think it is great to promote health."

Madrid's show, which features mainly Spanish designers, is not as prestigious as catwalks in Paris or Milan but "it is not at the bottom of the pile," he said.

The impact of rejecting skinny women would have been greater at those other glitzier venues. Still, he said, "I am sure the industry is taking note."

The body mass index is a tool for doctors who study obesity. It is calculated by dividing weight in pounds by height in inches squared, and multiplying that total by 703.

If the resulting number is between 18.5 and 24.9, the person's weight is normal. Below 18.5 they are underweight. In the case of the Madrid show, organizers rejected women with indices under 18.

Brown of the Elite agency said fashion shows reflect the tastes of clothing designers, who for now prefer the Kate Moss look as opposed to the curvier dimensions of models such as Cindy Crawford in years past.

"They don't want voluptuous girls any more," he said. "It would be nice if fashion got back to that."

ABOUT DAMN TIME!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fall

After being reminded by one of my MOM'S COWORKERS that I am neglecting my blogging duties, I figured I'd better get a post up here. I can't alienate my loyal readers, after all (yes, all 2 of them).

It's September and, in most parts of the country, that means fall is coming. I will say this: during all 29 years of my Michigan living, I bitched and moaned about the weather (especially winter, of course). But if Michigan does one thing right, it's fall. And I'm really going to miss that here. It's just now hitting me, I think, as we approach mid-month and the weather here is hotter than ever. I'm starting to think of what will be happening back home in the next 4-8 weeks: leaves changing colors, the smell of burning leaves, the chill in the air at football games (like I ever WENT to football games, but just go with me here), and those requisite trips to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, to name a few. Last fall, Anna and I went to an apple orchard, PICKED OUR OWN APPLES (people look at me like I've grown a second head when I mention it here) and then went home and made apple crisp (and for a girl who can't cook, I hit that one out of the ballpark, I must say). I can't make apple crisp from freshly-picked apples here. Oooh, and don't even get me STARTED on apple cider and cider donuts. I suppose I could go pick coconuts and make a lovely cream pie or something, but it just doesn't seem the same.

So that's what I'm thinking about as we approach fall and I'm sitting here sweltering in the heat. (In what crazy world is SEPTEMBER once of the hottest months of the year?!) Just this morning, I went to CVS and saw all the fall accoutrements (MAJOR props to me for using such a fancy word--at **8 am**, no less): the decorations (pumpkins, orange/brown foliage), scented candles (pumpkin, apple), cute little towels with "fall scenes" on them, etc. When I get paid again, I'm going to buy them OUT.

For those of you in the midwest: yes, winters suck. Yes, it gets cold as hell. Yes, that shitty weather sometimes lasts well into April or even May sometimes. But you all have one HELL of a fall.

Enjoy it.