Monday, January 30, 2006
Mom and I drove up to Muskegon yesterday to see my daughter Amanda, now 13 (as of January 6). She looks so grown up now; she's really becoming a young woman. She even had her first eyebrow shaping/waving and MAN, did it make a difference in the maturity of her face.
For the first time in quite a while, Zach, her older brother, came along as well. For those of you who may not have heard this story yet, Zach is actually one of the main reasons I chose this family. For one, I never had an older brother and wanted my daughter to have one. Secondly, during my first meeting with this potential family, I at one point started to choke up and cry. Zach, then just 5 years old, immediately jumped up, grabbed a tissue box, and placed it in front of me. "Here," he said. Right then, I figured any family who could raise a little boy to be that sweet and compassionate couldn't be too bad.
Well--THAT turned out not to be exactly true, ;) but Zach remains, to this day, a truly amazing and caring young man. Plus, he'd beat the hell out of anyone who messed with Amanda, and that's all I really wanted.
As always, it was great to see her and more difficult to be around "her." It's very hard to have to watch every little thing to say, to make sure you don't accidentally slip and say too much. I hate the fact that, after all these years, she STILL doesn't know who I am--or even that she's adopted--and more than anything, one she does find out, I don't want her to feel that I'VE been lying to her this whole time (and trust me, I'll make damn sure she knows whose decision it was). BUT, I've already said everything I can possibly say about that particular topic, so I'll just leave it at that.
They should be coming down here to Holland in June, when my grandparents are visiting from Florida (Grandma and Grandpa have gotten to see her a couple of times, for which I AM very grateful to the G's), so I'll get to see her again this summer (hopefully). And in the meantime, I have her email address now, which means that we can keep in pretty regular contact without my having to go through her mom. It's important to me, now more than ever, to develop a strong friendship with her, so that when she DOES find out who I am, the news is hopefully a little easier to take.
As always, these pics are showing up pretty blurry, so once I get them all downloaded and saved, I'll make sure to email them out.
Her hair is looking pretty cute...highlighted and everything.
This is the one pose where I can kind of see myself in her.
Is it wrong to lust after my daughter's brother?
No, seriously, is it? Cuz he is HOT. ;)
Friday, January 27, 2006
LoB "tagged" me over at his blog, which--for those of you don't know--is basically a thing where you HAVE TO, in the name of all that is holy and right in blog world, answer a series of questions and then pass them on to four other people....kind of like one of those "getting to know you" emails, but, um, different. Once you're tagged, you're pretty much screwed. (And I know you did to see if I REALLY read your blog, btw, LoB. So HA.)
So here you go. (And I also added you to my list o' blogs.)
1: 4 jobs I've had:
Cashier at Burger King
Assembly line worker at a OTC-drug manufacturer
Special ed paraprofessional
2: 4 Movies I would see over and over again:
3: 4 Places I've lived:
4: 4 Favorite TV shows:
There and Back (with Ashley from O-Town, who is trying to make a comeback as a "legitimate" rocker...surprisingly good)
5: 4 Places I've been on Vacation:
Um...this is going to be sad.
Seriously, that's it. I've BEEN to more places, but not on "vacation."
6: 4 Favorite Foods:
Mexican (tacos especially)
McDonald's french fries
Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream
7: 4 Places I'd rather be:
8: 4 Sites I visit:
I don't really surf the net much....*snicker*
http://www.sablogs.com/index.php?blog=40&cat=500 (Juli in Iraq)
9: 4 Other Bloggers I'd wish this upon and also visit:
Nikki, even those she has disappeared
10: 4 Things I'd rather do than answer tags:
Have a cigarette
Read one of my new books
Walk on the treadmill, because as of this morning I was four-tenth of the way back into the 130s for the first time in forever and I'm super-motivated
Go for a drive
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I was really impressed by a recent story about Prince Harry, who has joined the British army. It said that he "will serve in the Blues and Royals regiment of the venerable Household Cavalry, which already has been deployed to Iraq." Harry hopes to lead an armored reconnaissance troop, which deploys in Scimitar vehicles and acts as the eyes and ears of the force commander." I'm especially impressed because there are two divisions, the armored division, where Harry will train, and the mounted regiment, which performs ceremonial duties, including guarding the queen on ceremonial and public occasions. He could have chosen the "cushier" division, but he chose one that could have him deployed. "There's no way I'm going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit ... back home while my boys are out fighting for their country," he said. His brother William, who could become king one day, is currently undergoing military training, as well--although it remains to be seen if he'll choose the same, potentially dangerous path, as his brother. (To protect lineage to the throne, he may not be ALLOWED to.) Either way: it's one thing for the leader of a country to send its soldiers to war while their own loved ones are safe and sound back home (ahem); it's quite another to put your money where your mouth is and actually deploy WITH them.
Random thought #2: a bunch of us were congregating near the bathing suit section at work yesterday, doing some "straightening" (ie, "shopping while getting paid for it"). I mentioned that I wasn't quite ready for the immenent arrival of the dreaded bathing suit season. "Why not?" one girl asked, looking me up and down. "You're skinny."
The thing is, though: maybe my body perception is now permanently skewed, but I honestly don't see myself as "skinny." Yes, I'm much thinner than I WAS, but I still don't feel thin. Maybe I never will again. After having been a "big girl" (not that I was morbidly obese or anything, but I was definitely overweight), I wonder if, no matter how much weight I lose, I'll always see the Old Jen looking back at me in the mirror.
And on a less serious note: if a certain meteorologist ever dares to use the phrases "pleasant" and "36 degrees" together in the same sentence again, I will kick him in the gnads.
Monday, January 23, 2006
First of all, I'm a brunette now. In the first picture, I look like ass because I didn't have any makeup on, but my hair looks fabo--Missy blew it out and stuff. The second picture is me right before I went to work today; my hair doesn't look as "sassy" as it did the day before, but this picture shows the color pretty well).
Note: this is actually phase one of my transformation. She's going to add highlights in the next week or two. This was just the base color.
Anyway, on my first day to work as a brunette, I got asked for my number--by a HOT Hispanic guy (and you know my weakness for Hispanics). And I don't mean "Jen hot" (which, let's face it, is not always all that hot), either--I mean a genuine, FINE-ASS guy. Unfortunately, he's going back to Texas (and you know my weakness for Texas boys) ;) in the next few days...but hey, a hot guy wanted my number. So MAD PROPS TO MISSY FOR HER FANTASTIC COLORING JOB. (Seriously, those of you who live in West Michigan--keep her in mind for future hair-cutting and -coloring needs.)
Here are some other pictures from my day at Missy's. The first two are the goddess herself. I love the first one because it's her "Jen, you're a dumbass" look; the second one captured her in action; I actually shot it blind over my shoulder while she was working and I thought it came out pretty cool. Granted, the pictures are pretty blurry on here. If you want them emailed to you, let me know. (This offer is only good for people I actually know, like Kish or Renee or something. Don't worry, Mis, I'm not emailing your picture to random strangers....just putting it up on my blog.) ;)
Finally, here are some pictures of Donovan and Anthony (in that order). How handsome are THEY?
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Not the most flattering quiz I've ever taken....
...but damn if it isn't accuarate.
You fall in love quickly and easily. And very often.
You tend to take more than give in relationships.
You tend to get very attached when you're with someone. You want to see your love all the time.
You love your partner unconditionally and don't try to make them change.
You stay in love for a long time, even if you aren't loved back. When you fall, you fall hard.
And now, compare the story below, of Renee's 100-year-old, mentally alert grandmother, to THIS little gem.
I received a call from my mother (my 50-something-year-old mother) this afternoon. She was quite emotionally distressed. "I'm at the mall and I can't find my car," she said in her voicemail. "I've been walking around the parking lot for an hour. Call your sister and have her come get me." (Mom was at the Mall From Hell, otherwise known as the Grandville Mall, which is about 5 minutes from Katey's house but a good half hour from Holland.)
When she called back half an hour later, I still hadn't heard back from Katey and she was still wandering aimlessly around the parking lot. "I'll take a shower and come get you," I told her. "Thanks, " she answered, sniffling.
Mind you, this mall is so gigantically huge that it took us ANOTHER 30 minutes or so to find each other once I got there. "Oh, you're INSIDE the mall? I was on the OUTSIDE," she said during one payphone call.
My patience was already wearing thin as we got in the car and began slowly driving up and down every aisle, looking for her car. She claimed to know the general area she had parked in ("by Penney's and Chili's," she kept insisting, although my faith in her mental recollection was quickly fading). After almost an hour of driving around the parking lot, we were getting ready to call mall security and report it stolen (which would have been complicated by the fact that she didn't know her license plate number)...when we finally found it. It WAS in the area she had remembered...parked approximately 2.5 feet from the mall, in an aisle she had no doubt covered several times already. (It was an aisle the two of us had already driven down ourselves, actually, but I was too busy trying to navigate the Parking Lot of Death; HER job was to look for her car. Plus, I was looking further down the aisle, since she thought she had remembered having to park farther away. I didn't expect to find it practically valet-parked smack-dab in front of the mall, especially on this busy Saturday.)
Some of you will remember the OTown concert Katey, Mom and I went to a few years back (I'll pause as you laugh at us for going to an OTown concert in the first place). After the show, the three of us wandered the dark, deserted streets of Pontiac (one of Detroit's most dangerous suburbs, mind you--it's no Bloomfield Hills) looking for our car. We finally had to call the police....who drove us around for approximately 15 seconds before we found it in a parking lot RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. (Yes, I ended up in the back of a cop car with my mother and sister after an OTown concert....but really, who hasn't?)
So while Renee's grandma is out riding Harleys, my mom is aimlessly wandering around mall parking lots, swearing to herself like The Little Old Lady with Tourette's.
Hence my new nickname for her, revealed for the first time in the title of this post. I think it has quite a catchy ring to it, don't you?
(I'm sure MG will be along to comment on this post very shortly...if she can remember her Blogger password.)
Friday, January 20, 2006
Happy Birthday, Grandma
Yesterday was John's grandma's 100th birthday, and she got her wish- a ride on my father-in-law's Harley! I was verklempt all day yesterday, thinking about what a wonderful, active, fulfilling life she's had and what a truly incredible woman she is. Last summer, at 99, she was still playing on the floor with Brent. Crawling around furniture, playing hide-and-seek with him. She challenged him to a "foot race", and played soccer with him in the yard. She's so full of laughter and smiles and she enjoys life to the fullest. She's an inspiration to anyone who meets her. Below is a newspaper article and picture of her motorcycle ride. Okay, the picture is right here, cuz I'm challenged and can't get it in the right spot :-)
Jan 20, 2006
Born To Be WildBy MICAH DYALmdyal@highlandstoday.com
Photo by: KATHY WATERS
Brick MacLaren said he would take his mother-in-law, Bertha Hendershot, for a ride on his Harley when she turned 100 years old. He went through with his promise on Thursday.SEBRING — Bertha Hendershot got the ride of her life on her 100th birthday.
Instead of celebrating her newfound centenarian status eating cake or having a birthday party, “Big Mama Bertha” spent it in fashion – on a Harley-Davidson.
“I hope it doesn’t spoil my hair-do,” Hendershot quipped, as her son-in-law, Brick MacLaren, helped her onto the back of his motorcycle.
After taking a few minutes to get adjusted, she gave her son-in-law the thumbs up. He then proceeded to hop in front of her, yelling aloud, “Now hold onto my love handles.”
About 30 friends and family members were on hand to witness the spectacle in Spring Lake on Thursday.
During her cruise around the neighborhood, Hendershot wore a present her son-in-law’s family sent her for the big ride. A T-shirt that read: “Big Mama Bertha 100” and a hat that said, “Life is Good.”
But the big birthday present – the chance to ride the motorcycle – came from a promise her son-in-law made a few years back.
“Every time I went golfing, she would tease me about taking my motorcycle for a drive when I was gone,” Brick MacLaren said. “I told her that when she turned 100, I would take her for a ride.”
“I didn’t expect her to remember,” he added.
But most family members weren’t surprised when Hendershot agreed to ride the motorcycle. They said Hendershot has always remained active in her older years.
Her daughter, Jane MacLaren, said when her mother was 96 she walked on stilts and even shot a bow and arrow when she was 98.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Jane MacLaren said. “I hope to pick up my mom’s traits.”
She said her mother is a resilient, vivid person, always game to try anything new.
Her mother even maintained her driver’s license until she was 94 years old. She said it was taken away after she received a second speeding ticket for going 10 mph over the speed limit.
“That was a sad day,” Hendershot remembered.
Hendershot grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she was the oldest of 10 children in her family.
“I can remember hitching a ride on a hay truck, which would save me from walking about a mile and a half to school,” Hendershot said.
After high school, Hendershot got a job teaching. She said it upset her when she had to retire from teaching about 40 years later.
Hendershot remained in Michigan until 2003, when she decided to move into a retirement home in Sebring to be closer to family.
“Some days I feel like I am 100. No I don’t really,” Hendershot said. “I can still walk around and enjoy things. I definitely enjoy eating chocolate chip cookies.”
As Hendershot celebrates her centennial birthday, her family members cherish her presence and recognize her as a hard-working, strong-willed, excellent mother of two, grandmother to two and great-grandmother to four. Her daughter sums up her mother’s best quality in two words: staying active.
Her daughter said the only difficulty was finding a birthday card that said “Happy 100th birthday.” She said the next birthday will be even more challenging.
Hendershot said her next milestone is to be 105 years old. And who knows what’s in store at that party? One suggestion by her son-in-law: skydiving.
I also want to add that Brick's sisters put an article in the Alma newspaper (where Grandma lived all of her adult life and taught for so many years) about her birthday and an address for people to send cards. She got over 100 cards; 70 of them were from former students, telling her what an impact she had on their lives. How absolutely wonderful is that? Happy Birthday, Grandma! We love you very much.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I first posted my starting stats on July 16....so it's been almost exactly six months since I started working out hardcore and eating better (I don't want to call it "dieting," since it's something I'll need to keep up for the rest of my life). Here, again, are those initial numbers:
Weight: 170 (I actually never posted this starting weight before, but if the people on The Biggest Loser can do it, then so can I)
Weight: 140 (5 lbs past my initial goal and 5 lbs away from my new goal)
Note that there's still only a few-inch difference between my waist and my hips. That's just the way I'm built; I do not have much of a defined waist, no matter how thin I get.
Here are some more pictures of me. I like them only because my face looks thin (see July 20 for those "before" pictures again). And I'm really not vain, I promise. I actually HATE, HATE, HATE having my picture taken, and I have to go through 40-50 bad ones (seriously) for every "good" one that I release publicly.
How YOU doin'?
This is my "come hither" look.
Look! Actual cheekbones! A defined jaw! One (albeit Leno-like) chin!
Seriously, I'm loving the new digital cam.
Here are some miscellaneous pictures. And for the record, they're perfectly clear when I view them on the computer. It's only when I post or email them that they get all distorted.
Where is that damn cat?
Here's Savannah, 2. She doesn't always look this stoned.
This is my nephew Tyler, now 3. Man, I hope he outgrows that shyness of his.
This is The Baby Machine and Paige, 8.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
M. and I have been kind of writing back and forth. I just sent him some pictures of Amanda and he wrote back to tell me how "pertty" she is, "just like you." Whatever, playa. He also told me where he works and asked me to stop by sometime to see him.
For the record (since both my mom AND Andrea, the adoptive mom, have said something about it): I have NO INTENTION, whatsoever, of getting back together with my baby daddy. That train has done left the station. However, I do like to keep in contact with him because, SOMEDAY, Amanda will know the truth, and I want to be able to tell her about her biological father--who he is, where is he, what he's doing, etc. Hell, someday he might have the chance to see her again, so I'd like to be able to know how to find him. Plus--and here's the main thing--I don't even harbor any ill will towards him anymore. Yes, he wasn't around a whole lot during the pregnancy, but he never wanted me to give her up at all. That must have been hard for him to deal with, having the mother of his child doing something regardless of what HE wanted. (And yes, I'm well aware that he didn't have a right to say ANYTHING for a plethora of reasons, but I'm just looking at his side of things.) Also, he went through that whole adoption thing on his own, without any counseling or anything. Hell, I HAD counseling and I almost went crazy my damn self--I can't imagine how hard that whole thing must have been without it. He is far from perfect and he did so many things wrong that I don't have time to list them all here, but at the same time, enough time has passed for me to acknowledge that that whole period must have been hell on him. (And hey, he DID come back to propose--ring and all--when I was in college.)
LOL, and I think I got him in trouble with his latest girlfriend or fiancee or whatever, because he asked me to write him back at his mom's address or at his work--because he "got some problum's at home," you see. (I am going to hell for making fun of his spelling, I really am, but damn if this latest letter doesn't provide me with ample material.)
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
This is from one of those "thoughts to ponder" emails. It cracked me up because I am a Pollack living in Holland, MI.
If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?
So I guess that makes me a Pole Hole. (That sounds dirty.)
Monday, January 16, 2006
How do we feel about the death penalty? Do you feel that its justified per the Bible's "an eye for an eye" argument, or do you believe that killing is NEVER okay--than if it's wrong for the convict to do it, then it's still wrong for the government to respond in kind?
There's a 76-year-old man in California who is scheduled to be executed tonight. He's "legally blind, nearly deaf and in a wheelchair," according to the Yahoo article. Then again, he's also in prison "for having his teenage son's 17-year-old girlfriend murdered for fear she would tell police about a grocery-store burglary. While behind bars, he tried to have witnesses in the case wiped out, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to death in 1982 for hiring a hit man who killed a witness and two bystanders."
So I guess I'm kind of torn about the whole thing. Yes, what he did is abominable, and he should never be allowed to walk free again. But...to execute an old man? I don't know. After reading John Grisham's "The Chamber," I'm not sure I'll ever quite like at the death penalty quite the same again.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
I had a truly horrible weekend at work--as in, half-hour-long-breakdown-in-the-backroom horrible. I'll spare you the details, but I had one run-in with a screaming customer on Friday (because we wouldn't let her access her elderly father's account)...which was bad enough (I had Saturday off, and I just carried that around with me all damn weekend; it REALLY bothered me). But then today, within an hour of starting my day, I had ANOTHER woman scream--SCREAM--at me, with true rage, because of a heated mattress pad that was cheaper online than in the store.
In both cases, I was able to both stand up for myself (variations of "I don't know why you're talking to me this way when I'm trying to help you") while also remaining relatively calm (i.e., not yelling back or jumping over the counter to kick their asses), but the 1-2 punch just really took its toll, physically. After politely smiling and wishing the second Bitch From Hell a nice day, I calmly walked to the back, where I proceeded to cry and tell my manager that "I don't think I can do this anymore."
I understand being mad, being frustrated, etc. But I just DON'T UNDERSTAND how some people seem to think it's okay to treat other people like this. I just don't. And I CANNOT go to a job every day where I have to be treated like that. I know myself too well, and it's only a matter of time before I really pop off at the mouth and get Penney's sued or something (and that's of you who have seen Angry Jen know exactly what I'm talking about). The good news is, I'm able to stand up for myself. The bad side of that is, I do have quite a temper and find it hard to bite my tongue in emotionally-heated situations.
I know this is "part of retail." But you know what? Then retail isn't for me, not even as a temporary thing. Because I just CAN'T work in a job and then have to hear, "It's just part of the job" as an explanation/excuse. (My managers are very nice, and I like the all, but you know what? That should NEVER EVER EVER be "part of the job," to take that kind of abuse--literally, verbal abuse--from another person, and just write it off as "some customers are like that. It's part of working in retail."
I told my mom that stores everywhere should compile a master Asshole List, and that bouncers should be posted at every door. ("I'm sorry, ma'am, but it appears that you're an Asshole. I can't let you in. Come back when you act like a civilized human being.")
Still, there is a positive side, I guess. As I wrote in a letter to my boys tonight, "It’s a kick in the butt from a higher power, keeping me from getting too comfortable where I am and losing focus of where I really need to be."
Which, after today, is in a strait jacket.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
I just went walking in MID JANUARY in MICHIGAN in just a tshirt and a sweatshirt. (Well, pants too, but you know what I mean.) It's like 50 degrees outside tomorrow...the sun is shining....HELL YEAH!!
I know spring is a long way off and we're bound to be hit with another blast of winter before then--but for today, it's pretty nice.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I had my interview today...and while it certainly didn't go BADLY, I have a feeling I didn't get it (no particular reason, just a gut feeling). Like I told several of you, it's pretty rare to get the first teaching job you interview for, since the interviews are REALLY tough and you need to go through a few to get a handle on the questions, scenarios, etc.
Also, as it turns out, this IS just a long-term sub position for the rest of the semester (there's a CHANCE it could turn into a permanent thing next year, but not too likely, since this school has had to cut staff the last few years in a row)....so although it would have been nice to have, at least I'm not loosing a PERMANENT job.
Dearborn, the district I student taught in, will be hiring a lot of teachers next year due to a buy out, so perhaps that's where I'm meant to end up and this was just meant to be a practice interview to prepare me for my "real" opportunity somewhere down the road.
Anyway, I'll let you know when I hear something definitive (and if I got it, that should be in the next day or so, since this person is to start on Monday already).
SPECIAL PS TO FRED AND ANY OTHER TEACHERS WHO MAY BE READING THIS:
What are some suggested answers to the following?
- How do you deal with difficult parents/
- How do you deal with the student who just doesn't want to work?
- How do you deal with the "bully"? (Either the student who is being bullied or the student who is doing the harrassment.)
Friday, January 06, 2006
I GOT A CALL FOR A TEACHING INTERVIEW!!!!!
It's for my old district, the age level I love (middle school, 7th grade) and my subject area (language arts)...and the fact that the position is opening up halfway through the school year is even more miraculous.
PLEASE pray, light candles, do whatever you have to do. The interview is Tuesday at 2. I want this job very badly (even though it would mean staying in this area....sorry, Anna). ;) I'm going to sell the HELL out of myself.
The good news is that this job doesn't appear to have been publicly posted...at least, I never saw it on the APS website. And there's only two days of interviews, so hopefully I'm not up against, like, 50 candidates. (I have my interview towards the end of the day on the 2nd day...I hope that works for me--you know, gives me a chance to leave a final impression).
I'm normally pretty good in interviews (actually, I've gotten every job I've interviewed for, but I hate to brag)--but this is my first TEACHING interview, and the odds of getting the very first teaching job I interview for, especially in Michigan--well, it's a long shot. You usually have to look for a job for a while around here, particularly halfway through the school year. But, I'm trying to be spiritual/philosophical and remember that if this is the job I'm meant to have, I'll get it...and if not, then that just means there's a different, better opportunity for me down the road.
I'll update everyone on Tuesday night (I have to go to work at Penny's right after the interview).
And no matter what....at least I got the interview!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!
...to my daughter.
Amanda is 13 years old today. A teenager.
(Oh, wait. For those who don't know, I had a daughter when I was 16 and gave her up for adoption. Okay, now you're all caught up to speed.)
And she still doesn't know the truth about who I am, which sucks. The older she gets, the harder it is to be around her without her knowing the real, full connection between the two of us. (For the record, she was supposed to have been told that she was adopted YEARS ago...but her adopted mother keeps backing out. She, the mom, has readily admitted that SHE isn't ready for Amanda to know the truth...mind you, Amanda herself has come right out before and asked if she was adopted. But I digress, only because talking about it just makes me angrier.) Anyway, it's very hard for me to be around this woman and even fake "niceness" to her, because I'm so damn bitter that she still hasn't told Amanda who I am--or that she's adopted at all.
So all I can do is continue to sit back and wait not-so-patiently, and watch Amanda grow up into this wonderful young woman (which I realize that I'm incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do, even if it DOES hurt sometimes--at least I've been able to be a part of her life)...and reflect on the fact that, holy shit, I'm old enough to have a TEENAGE DAUGHTER. (Like I wasn't ALREADY feeling old.)