Sunday, July 30, 2006

Your dash

My famous-author friend Lori is now blogging ('bout damn time), and she has a great post over there called "Make your dash matter." I hope you don't mind if I post part of it over here, Lori, because as I prepare to begin my first year of teaching, your words on this subject particularly resonate with me right now.

"Imagine your epitaph. Your birth date is right there, followed by the day you died. And in between...there's a dash. All your life is contained in that little symbol. It has nothing to do with math or word division and everything to do with the essence of you." She concludes with, "Everybody's dash is special and utterly unique. It can be a dash filled with adventure or acts of service or creativity or wondrous spine-tingling love. It can be whatever you want, if you're willing to make an effort." Amen, sista friend. Those are the words I will carry with me into this first year of teaching--and, I pray, every year to follow.

I put the link to Lori's blog over on the right...go there and read the rest of what she has to say on this subject. Need I remind you once again that she's a professional author? This woman will really get you thinking. Now git.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My new hair color

Can you even tell the difference? LOL. It didn't come through TOO clearly in this picture; it's a LITTLE darker in person but really, it's not a drastic change. Forgive me, Missy, for I have sinned, but I colored my hair (gasp!) with an over-the-counter product. Yes, I know that stuff is made out of paint thinner or something, but I needed to do SOMETHING. My roots were becoming much more obvious, and since I've lost my all-access pass to my free colorist, I wanted to find a color just dark enough to color the roots I have now and also allow my natural color to grow in undetected. I think this color is the perfect match. Plus, I got it at Family Dollar for like $3! =-)

After helping another teacher move the rest of his furniture (in Florida. At one in the afternoon. In 95 degree temps. Note to self: don't do that again), I retired to the pool to recuperate. Although it was initially really cloudy and thundering, I persevered and sure enough, the skies lightened again and the sun peeked through.

Just to rub it in a bit more: I was laying by the pool, next to a palm tree, in Florida, on a (partly) sunny weekend afternoon. How was YOUR Saturday? =-)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More pictures

The view from one of my windows

Another view, different window
A good day

I got a LOT done in my classroom today (my new, bigger classroom--they moved me, which is good news #2); I was the last teacher in the building but I'm in really good shape now. I have a feeling that will really come in handy next week, when everyone else is rushing to get their room done and I can focus on lesson planning. But best of all, I got a $1500 "raise." Yup, the new principal decided that she wanted to make our starting salaries more competitive, so I got bumped up.

On a less positive note, Mike (one of my team teachers) and I spent an hour and a half creating the middle school schedule, only to be informed by the principal, "Good news! We now have enough 6th graders on the waiting list to add another classroom!" That means, of course, that we have to scrap that schedule and create a new one...but it also means that I don't have to teach reading anymore; it will now be an entirely separate class (Mrs. T has gone back and forth on this about 4 times since I was hired, 2 of those since I've gotten to Florida). But (for now) I have 2 periods of 7th grade language arts and 3 for 6th grade, which means I only have to write two lesson plans each day.

I'm feeling a lot more centered, calm and ready.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


My building. With PALM TREES.

The best roommate ever.

My "bathroom in a box"--thanks, Nik!
Seriously, it's hot.

Other than that, things are moving along. I'm having a hard time adjusting to life in a sunny paradise, that's for sure. ;) I made my infamous taco bake for Frank last night.

Traffic is a bitch. It took about 20 minutes to drive the 5 miles today (yesterday, I moseyed over to the school around 10:30; today was my first taste of morning rush hour traffic and I must say, it sucks ass).Made a couple of wrong turns today but I was able to find my destinations, eventually. These destinations were the school where the training was held, then my school, then lunch (but I went with Mike, one of the teachers on my team, so that doesn't really count cuz I just followed him), my bank (that's a bitch to find, FYI), and then a grocery store. Then back to my apartment.

I also met one of other teachers on my team, Sherry. She's older with lots of experience and has already taken her under my wing. I feel better just having her around.

I think Frank and I are going to the beach tonight when he gets home from work. I keep calling it the "ocean"; he keeps reminding me that it's the Gulf. Whatever. It's a big freakin' body of salt water, alright? Let's not bore ourselves with pesky details.

I've taken a couple of pics with my digital camera so far; I'll take it to the beach with me tonight. If Frank is okay with my using his laptop for that, I can post the first bunch of pics soon. Otherwise, I may have to wait till school starts.

Oh, and I officially applied for my temporary Florida teaching license today.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day one

Holy crap, it's hot.

I did find my school with only one wrong turn (which wasn't even my fault, since the lady from the school told me to go right when it should have been left). It's only a few miles from here; I couldn't have gotten much luckier. I go up about a mile to this one road, turn left, go down 4 stop lights, turn right and then down maybe a mile and turn left. (I did that all from memory, thank you very much.) And after I left the school, I even found the Super Target all by myself (I mean, I had directions from Frank but still). It's actually not too hard so far, since my apartment happens to be about a mile from the intersection of the two main streets around here. Most everything you could need is on these streets, so I'm good for a while.

Next up:

1) finding the various schools these trainings are at for the next couple of weeks

2) finding the one Chase bank in the city (I think it's pretty close, though)

3) applying for my Florida license (I can do this online, luckily)

4) getting fingerprinted (I have to drive to a whole different city for that one)

5) finding a DMV license to get a new license, registration, etc

And oh, yeah, preparing lesson plans for the first week of school

Hello from Florida

I made it! Damn, that was a long-ass drive. Pretty boring, too, except for Kentucky. Those mountains and views were incredible. I have a lot I COULD tell you about but I have to get in the shower and try to go find my school, so I'll give you the abridged version instead:

1) We made it 20 miles past Atlanta on the first day. Let's just say that my dad has a serious leadfoot.

2) We left Morrow, GA around 7:30 yesterday and made it to Ft Myers around 5 (we actually crossed into FL a little over 11 am).

3) About 20 minutes into FL, I told Tyson that I had changed my mind and was calling my dad to tell him to turn around and drive back to Michigan. I said, "We can just look at it as a road trip. A mini-vacation. He won't be that pissed, right?" Luckily, Tyson disagreed and talked me out of calling.

4) I passed hundreds (seriously) of Waffle Houses. These Southerners really like their WH's, damn. In GA alone, there was one at every exit. Every. Exit. And GA has lots of exits. We actually had breakfast at one on Sun. morning. I ate grits in GA, so I guess I'm a real Southerner now.

5) The apartment is beautiful. Really, it's nice. I'll post pics at some point, maybe even tonight. The porch is enclosed by a screen, which is pretty cool. We have our own in-unit washer and dryer!!! (For us apartment-dwellers, this is a big deal. On the flip side, though, we have to drive approximately 200 miles to the dumpsters here in the complex. It's a pretty big complex and they only have ONE trash place; and of course, it's nowhere near US.)

6) Most importantly, Frank is freakin' AWESOME. We hit it off immediately (we had had some great talks on the phone and we were pretty sure that would translate to real life as well, but it's still nice to know that for sure). He helped me unload and get settled, talked shit about all the bathroom and "girly" stuff I have and then took me to Bennegins (TWO FOR ONE on the alcohol there). After we got back, we stayed up till like 1:30 talking. I feel very comfortable with him already, so at least ONE of my main worries has been lifted. Now I just have school/work related stuff to stress about (will I suck as a teacher? Am I really ready? Will I get along well with the other teachers? Will I even be able to FIND the school?).

I'll be able to answer that last one for you shorty; I'm jumping in the shower and then heading out to look for it. If you don't hear from me for a while, try Cuba.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Last post for a while (?)

Well, I'm leaving bright and early tomorrow morning. Dad IS going to be driving with me; he'll be here at 6 (!!!!) in the morning, which means I have to be up around 4:30 or 5. We hope to do the drive in two days; if all goes well, we'd like to go at LEAST as far as Atlanta the first day (Atlanta is about 10 hours from Ft. Myers, according to the roommate, which means that WE should hit it in about 11 hours, coming from Michigan).

My roommate does have a laptop, and I am bringing my computer, but I don't know how often I'll be able to hijack his laptop or how long it will take to get MY computer hooked up. I'll get back online as soon as I can (you know me). In the meantime, I can also go to the library for public internet access--assuming I can FIND the library, of course. If nothing else, I'll have regular access again once school begins in a couple of weeks.

So...wish me luck. I'll miss everyone very much. Leaving isn't easy by any means, especially since I've gotten so much closer to my sisters, nieces and nephews in the 7 months or so that I've been home. But as I said, this really won't be that much different than living in Detroit. I'll still come home just as frequently--only this time, my visits will be even longer. Sure, I won't be close enough to pop in for the occcasional impromptu weekend--but hell, I didn't really do that too often even when I WAS across the state.

I'm scared as hell--excited too, of course, but right now my paralyzing fear is pretty much overshadowing that part. Will I get along with the roommate? Will I suck as a teacher? Will I get lost driving to school one day and end up in North Carolina? How many kids will my sister Katey have by the time I come home again?

I'll check in as soon as I can. In the meantime, I expect Anna and Renee to make this blog interesting until I'm back up and running.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Florida sales tax

Damn, I'm chatty this morning, eh?

Anyway, one last thing. I just read online that 10 states (including Florida) are "offering shoppers sales tax holidays" on many back-to-school supplies. However, I thought that Florida already didn't HAVE sales tax.

Rich? Fred?

(PS--Michigan is not included. Neither is Illinois.)
This cracks me up every time

Even if (for some reason) you're a Bush supporter, this is funny as hell.


Why is it that I've been having some of life's significant conversations in the most unlikely of places? First, it was my daughter finding out she's my daughter--at WalMart. Last night, I had a two-hour, very intense and meaningful conversation about God/Jesus/Christian stuff--outside of Denny's. (And I appreciated it very much, Kish, honestly. I'm just saying that in hindsight, the location was a bit funny.) At the rate I'm going, I fully expect Tyson to take me to the Dollar Tree to admit his undying love for me before we go our separate ways.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Part I: How she found out

In later posts, I'll fill you in on "the showdown", but for now I'll skip to the part that I know you're most interested in: how and when she was actually told.

We were in WalMart and Andrea and I, who had been talking privately (ie, the showdown) while Mom occupied Amanda and her younger brother, Abel, called them back over. Amanda (as she had been saying all day) said, "I know what you guys are talking about. That I'm adopted."

"And?" asked Andrea. (Our conversation had included the fact that Andrea didn't know exactly how much of the truth Amanda knew or suspected, so I "encouraged" her to start by finding out what Amanda knew.)

"And what?" Amanda asked, looking genuinely confused.

"Who do you think your birthparents are?" Andrea asked.

"I don't know," said Amanda. "And I don't care."

Now, if Andrea had stopped right there and just left it at that--if she had simply said, "Yes, Amanda, you are adopted," I would have understood. As I've said, I just want what's best for AMANDA. Finding out that you're adopted--even if it's something you've suspected all along--is a lot to take in on its own. So if Amanda genuinely didn't feel the need to know about her birth family yet, then fine.

However, SOMEONE--I thought it was Andrea, but later on Mom said that maybe it WAS her (which clearly would be bad and may screw us, because it was supposed to be ANDREA'S job to tell her, Mother, and not ours. That's overstepping our boundaries and is the exact kind of justification they could use in the future now for stopping the visits...but I digress)--said, "What if it's someone you know?"

I don't remember exactly what Amanda said or did at this point, because this is when I got that "oh shit, this might actually happen RIGHT NOW," and I was just so frozen and panicked and shocked that all I could do was just stare at the floor with a somewhat uneasy smile on my face (yes, this is what I've wanted for the last 13 years, but now that it was happening I was suddenly terrified of Amanda's reaction. Would she be mad? Upset? Sad? Disappointed?).

All I remember next is Andrea pointing at me and saying, "Look next to you, Amanda." This is when I did my dorky Miss Birthmother USA-type wave.

Amanda laughed, because she thought it was a joke. Then she saw that Mom, of course, was crying.

Then she said, "Wait, how do you spell your name?" I was like, WHAT? That was not exactly the question I was expecting at that point.

"Jennifer?" I asked.

"No, Jenny," she said. I spelled it for her and she said, "Oh, okay. Because once I found a card to my mom asking her to take care of 'someone I love very much,' but it was from a Jenni with an i."

"That's how I used to spell my name when I was younger," I said quietly.

"Shut UP," she said.

That's when Mom says HER thing that I can't tell you about yet because I have to tell you the backstory on it first, but needless to say I could tell that it didn't make Andrea very happy. Come to think of it, this whole damn thing would have gone a lot more smoothly if Mom wasn't there. I was just standing there, not saying anything, letting Andrea handle everything, and Mom was the one who kept butting in. Nice, Mom.

Anyway, Mom then goes on to say, "And I'm the one who made her do it. I just didn't think that you could have the kind of life you deserved if Jenny had kept you."

(Um, HELLO? That was part of MY speech! Mind you, *I*, the BIRTHMOTHER, still hadn't said anything.)

Then Mom gave Amanda a hug (when they pulled apart, Amanda was crying a little but she was also smiling. Then she gave me a hug, too, and then Mom hugged Andrea (who by now was bawling).

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, we're still IN THE MIDDLE OF WALMART. (We were at WalMart because Andrea had taken some pictures on her digital camera, and she wanted to make some prints for us before we went home. This is just where everything happened to go down. It SHOULD have happened at the Chinese place, for reasons you'll understand later.)

As Mom was hugging Andrea, I kind of sidled next to Amanda and whispered, "Make sure to give your mom a hug. She's been really scared to tell you the truth."

(Side note: sometime in the middle of all of this, Abel--who, even though Andrea had asked him to look at a nearby display, had overhead some of this and was TOTALLY confused, exclaimed, "Man, how many grandmas do we HAVE?", which made everyone laugh.)

It may have been here that I asked her what she thought about all this, which is when she answered, "I think it's awesome!"

Amanda, who was clearly shocked about this Jenny-as-birthmother twist, said (at some point) "But I don't look like you at all!" I said that I didn't really think so, either, but that some people thought we did. I also said, later, that we were alike in a lot of other ways, including some of our mannerisms and interests.

So that was basically it. We asked her if she had any questions, but you could tell the poor girl's head was spinning and she said no--although, during the rest of our visit, she'd periodically pop out with a couple. Once, she said, "So if I don't look like YOU, does that mean I look like my birthfather?" I told her yes, she most definitely took after him. She asked if she had ever met him, and I told her no. Andrea popped in with some derogatory comment about him, which kind of pissed me off, but whatever. I told Amanda briefly the history with M. and I--that he left when I got pregnant, came back, we dated on and off for a while, he proposed when I was in college but by then it was too late, and that we still kept in touch now. She asked if I had a picture of him and I said that I could get her one, but then hastily added, "But you'll have to talk to your mom about that," since Andrea was absolutely vehement in assisting that Amanda would have NO contact with him or his family until she turned 18. I didn't know if that included pictures. The only other comment about him during the evening was prior to that, when Amanda held her arm next to mine to compare skin tones and she commented that she was darker than I was, and I told her, "Yes, but I'm white and your birthfather is Hispanic, which is why you're darker."

We kept shopping (there were some more items that Andrea had to get, including--at this point--alcohol, LOL). Later on, while we were walking around (Andrea was shopping and we were entertaining the kids), I asked Amanda if she truly understood why I did it and she said, "Yeah, cuz you were really young." (When she first heard how old I was at the time, she said, "That's only a few years older than ME!") At another point, she said, "I feel kind of weird calling you guys Jenny and Deb now!"

So...that's about it. Amanda did ask a few more questions and make a couple other comments As I told Anna in an email (when she commented that I didn't seem as happy as she thought I'd be), I told her that I was concerned about the possible fallout/aftermath. First of all, if Mom WAS the one who pushed the issue by saying "What if it's someone you know?", that could come back to bite us in the ass, since 1) it was ANDREA'S job to tell her and 2) if Amanda had said she didn't care, it should have been left alone--or at least left up to Andrea as to how to proceed. (Once Amanda found out that *I* was the birthmom, though, I really think she's glad she was told everything, though.)

Secondly, Juan, the adoptive father, wasn't there, and he had made it clear (via phone call earlier in the evening) that he didn't want her to know yet, either, and that he wanted to be there when she WAS told. So depending on how angry he is about that (although in the end it WAS Andrea who told her), and depending on how Andrea retells the story (if she makes it sound like we pushed the issue until she had no choice BUT to tell her), Juan and Andrea could get so angry that they decide, "Okay, the overstepped their boundaries, they went too far, no more visits." That's what I'm most worried about right now, which is why I told Mom to LEAVE THEM ALONE. That's what we usually do after a visit--we just go back to our lives, they go back to theirs and we contact them again a few months later (usually when I'm in town or when Christmas/her birthday is coming up). This is a critical point and after I spent so much time assuring Andrea that nothing would change once Amanda knew the truth, we HAVE to live up to that. We can't act any differently than we did before. We need to step aside and let THEM be a family now.

I'm going to email her now with my Florida address and some more pictures from our visit, so when/if I hear back from her, I'll let you know how she "sounded." She seemed fine--shocked but almost HAPPY--when we said goodbye last night, but I could tell that a lot of it really hadn't sunk in yet. I really, really hope that this is good news to her--that, if she has to be adopted, at least she knows her birthmom already.....but we'll see how she takes it once she has time to process everything.
My daughter knows

Today, at age 13 (and 6 months and 10 days, but who's counting), my daughter Amanda found out not only that she's adopted, but that I'm actually her birthmother. For those of you who have been following the story, Amanda has pretty much known for quite a while that she was adopted, but today was the first time that Andrea, her mother, actually admitted the truth. And suprisingly, Amanda really DIDN'T suspect, after all, the fact that I might be more than just a "family friend"--but more on that later.

I really hate to leave you all hanging, since I'm sure you're dying to hear how all of this went down, but it's almost one in the morning (UPDATE: 1:40 by the time I was finished writing the post, resizing/posting pictures, etc) and I really have to get to bed. I'll begin telling the story tomorrow--although honestly, there was so much involved that I'll probably have to tell the story over two or three posts. Some highlights:

1) Amanda really seemed to take the news pretty well, although like I said, she was pretty blown away to hear that I was her birthmom. Later on, when I asked her what she thought about all this, she said, "I think it's awesome!"

2) I finally came out and told Andrea everything that I've been holding inside for the last 13 years--a lot more tactfully then I've said it to many of you, of course, but we finally had "the showdown" today.

3) My daughter found out the truth in the middle of WalMart. I think that officially makes us more white trash than Britney Spears.

4) Andrea IS the one who told her. I just stood there frozen. In fact, I'll only be able to tell you bits and pieces of the story, because I had such a "deer in the headlights" reaction that I honestly don't remember a lot of it. It was all such a blur, a shock--because I didn't know that she was going to tell her WHEN she did. Needless to say, the well-prepared speech that I've been crafting over the last 13 years completely went out the window. In fact, when Amanda turned to me, in shock, looking at me as her birthmother for the first time, I stood there, grinned--AND WAVED AT HER. (However, that's still better than what my MOTHER ended up doing, but that's a whole different story. You're going to have to wait for that one, but trust me, it'll be well worth it.)

5) Everyone cried--except me.

So that's the overview. Here are a couple of pictures of the two of us together (FI, these were all taken pre-revelation).

And in a sidenote, thanks to everyone who has been asking how I'm doing with regards to my grandpa. I called Dad today (I hadn't heard from him since he left on Friday--I actually last talked to him on Thursday night). Grandpa was cremated and the memorial service is tomorrow. No, Dad had no intention of calling to tell me and had I not called HIM today, I wouldn't have found out. I told him I wanted to go down for it and he told me not to "bother," it was only going to be like a 20-minute service. I told him that it was still my grandpa, but he said I couldn't afford it. He let me know, without coming out and saying it, that he REALLY didn't want me coming down there for it. But that's how my dad is. That side of my family doesn't "do emotion" very well (see #5 above). Dad would rather not have me there at all then to see him showing any outward type of emotion. (Yeah, I know.)

He also said that he hopes to be back in time to help me move down to FL this weekend, since he has to go back with his truck anyway to bring back several boxes of files, some of Grandpa's personal belongings, etc. Of course, I also got an email from him today that said, "...but have a plan B ready just in case. Mom's condition is so bad that I wonder if a second funeral isn't far behind." And by the way, when I talked to him this morning, I asked him how Grandma was, as far as her mental condition, her memory and how much she realizes/understands. He said it fluctuates quite a bit--sometimes she doesn't remember anything, but sometimes she DOES. Sometimes she's fully aware of what happened and that Grandpa is gone--and those moments, he said, are "pretty bad." So please continue to keep both Grandpa and Dad in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, July 14, 2006

My grandpa died

I got an email from my dad late this afternoon, telling me that my grandpa had suddenly taken a turn for the worse (he's had heart problems, among other health issues, for quite a while now. In fact, both he and my grandma have been in a nursing home for the past several months). Dad was going to go down there in the morning. That's all the email said. That's all he KNEW at the time.

Well, unbeknownst to any of us, at the time my dad sent that email, Grandpa had already passed. The home, apparently, only had Dad's cell and home numbers--not his work one. My dad works at a large factory, and he doesn't get cell phone reception while he's inside. Grandpa died this afternoon, but Dad didn't get the message till he left work this evening (he works 2nd shift). He emailed me (yes, emailed, but if you know my dad you won't find that surprising at all) right after he found out, around 10 tonight. My grandma has very advanced Alzheimer's and, by this evening, she had already forgotten that he was gone. Dad said he doesn't even know if they're going to have a funeral, per se--they might just have a short graveside ceremony. (Again, you'd have to know Dad to understand this. But really, all Grandpa had left was Dad, Grandma, two other sons and then Katey and I. He was always kind of a mean old man, but from what Dad tells me, that has gotten significantly worse as he's gotten older and sicker, to the point where he was just downright heartless and cruel.)

And how am *I*? Guilt-ridden, I guess. I haven't seen them in--well, longer than I care to even admit. 10 years, maybe. It was always so hard, with them being in FL and me being Michigan, and I never had the time (vacation time, that is) or money to go see them. It's ironic that I was going to move down to Florida in a week; I was actually going to visit them my first full weekend in Florida, which would have been two weeks from now. I knew I didn't have a lot of time left and I wanted to take full advantage of being able to finally do so. But I waited too long and now it's too late.

So that's where I am, I guess. Not sad in the traditional sense, because I certainly wasn't close to him, but I definitely feel like the world's most uncaring granddaughter. I should have written more. I should have called. I should have gone down there. And I didn't. I find myself just kind of aimlessly wandering around the house, actually. I feel shell-shocked. This is the first grandparent I've lost; the first close relative, in fact. So yes, I've been very lucky, but it's also left me unprepared for how it feels or what to do. It just happened so fast. He was fine (well, as fine as he could could be, considering his health problems) and then he was gone. The nursing home still isn't even exactly sure WHAT happened. His blood pressure just started dropping and he died before they could really even do anything.

Not to mention, of course, the move. I'm starting to wonder if God's trying to give me a sign that I SHOULDN'T go. This morning, I took my car into the shop for a pre-trip inspection; I needed to make sure my little Escort could withstand the drive. They told me that I needed almost $900 worth of work just for my car to physically be able to get down there. (And I believe them, too, because these are all things I've heard about from other mechanics when I've had other recent work done on my car. Apparently, things like worn brake pads--my front pads are now operating at 5%, which they say is bad ;) --and a loose tie rod are things that you REALLY have to address, eventually. "Ignoring them and hoping they go away" are not really effective strategies in this case. And those are just TWO of the things on their list.) So needless to say, THAT unexpected cost almost derailed my move right there, until I was able to obtain temporary financing from my other grandparents. And then, later that same day, I lose my grandpa--and now, of course, Dad probably won't be able to help me move next weekend as planned. So now I have no idea how to get my stuff down there. I may have to go down there with just my clothes, after all (and, of course, Nikki's Christmas present, my "bathroom in a box." Is God putting obstacles in my way as a way of telling me that this isn't the right move (literally) for me? And how do I know?

Please pray for my grandma and Dad. Dad doesn't show a lot of emotion (to say the least) but I know that this is tearing him up inside. When I finally talked to him this evening, I asked how he was doing. He paused and said, "Well, right now I'm okay, because I'm so busy planning everything. But in a few days, I probably won't be."

And for my dad, that's saying a LOT.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pop quiz

I heard this on the radio this morning. Post your guesses here; I'll post the correct answer on Friday. (And don't cheat by trying to find the answer online or some shit.)

What do 80% of all bikinis have in common?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


My scale is telling me that I've gained 3-5 pounds in the last few weeks. It's probably a combination of the stress of moving (I HAVE been eating more) and the mass amounts of alcohol consumed this past weekend (alcohol has a shitload of calories, especially that hard liquor. But I distinctly remember drinking healthy; I mean, were there NOT strawberries in my daquiri AND lemon slices with my lemon drop?!).

I know that a few pounds may not seem like a lot, but if I've learned anything over the last almost-30 years, it's this: boys lie. Wait, sorry, wrong life lesson. If I've learned anything, it's that it's surprisingly easy to go from 5 lbs here and there to being forklifted out of your house through a knocked-out wall.

Guess it's back to the Lean Cuisine for a week or two.

Monday, July 10, 2006

How well do you know me?

I'm trying out the scoreboard thing again to see if it's working yet...

Create your own friendquiz here

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another girls' night out

This time, I went out with my sisters, Renee, Lisa (my old college roommate) and some of Missy and Nikki's friends. There was quite a few of us--9, I think. This was my last time out with my sisters, and probably the last time I'd see Renee and Lisa at all before I leave, so we had to do it up right.

Lisa, Renee and I went to Ruby Tuesdays for drinks and some light food (to absorb the copious amounts of alcohol we were about to consume) before meeting up with the other girls at this martini bar-type place. It turned out to be a pretty snooty, upscale restaurant and needless to say, our kind did not exactly feel comfortable in that type of setting. We stayed for one drink (well, Nikki had like 5, because she had to finish the drinks for the people who ended up not liking theirs) before heading out to what turned out to be our main stop for the evening: a club.

Now mind you, ever since the topic of this particular girls' night was introduced, I was very adamant about one thing: I'm not going to a club, period. I hate clubs. I hate dancing, I hate the loud music, I hate the "meat market" type atmosphere. I did clubs when I was younger and, as far as I was concerned, I didn't need to do them anymore. Been there, done that, ya know? Renee and Lisa backed me up on that. We were fine with meeting the other girls for the initial drink, but after that we were just going to have to split up and let them go have their fun while we did something old and boring, like bingo or bowling. NO CLUBS FOR US, DAMMIT.

Well luckily, the girls finally managed to talk us into going with them. We didn't go so much for the actual clubbing aspect as for the company--these girls are really a lot of fun, and we figured we'd have fun with them no matter where we were, even if that placed happened to be my personal version of Hell on Earth. Plus, we said, if it REALLY sucked we could just leave early and go knitting or whatever our old asses wanted to do.

As it turns out, we had a GREAT time. Lisa (a.k.a Deja Vu) started dancing once we walked in the doors and pretty much didn't sit down until we left, other than to perform the occasional lap dance on one of us. Renee and I, once we had a few shots in us, even got out on the dance floor. (Once Nik helpfully pointed out that dancing was just like another particular act, we immediately knew what to do.) ;)

I can't provide you with a lot of the details, namely because I don't really remember a lot of them, but here were the highlights, at least from my point of view. I'm sure Missy, Nikki, Lynda and Renee will all provide their own personal favorite moments.

1) Shooting pool when we first got there. I love me some pool.
2) Shots. Lots of shots. In fact, that's pretty much all I drank last night, period. There was one shot in particular that turned out to be delicious: Sexy Alligator or something like that. Don't know what was in it and I don't really care. It was good.
3) Itching for a "bar fight" with those skinny bitches who tried to take over the VIP sectional couch thing we had staked out at the beginning of the evening (I was really pretty disappointed when they gave up as quickly as they did. I'm not a fighter, but DAMN, last night I was ready to throw down).
4) The hot guy who wanted to dance with me (although I suspect someone paid him or something).
5) Nachos at the gas station at 3:30 am. I do believe that those were the best things I've ever eaten. EVER.

All in all, I'm really glad they made us go out with them last night. I had a blast, and it was definitely one hell of a last night out on the town.

Thanks, girls. I'm REALLY going to miss the hell out of you.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Frank the Tank

I finally got to talk to my new roommate on the phone tonight. I think it's safe to say that we're going to get along just fine. We talked for over an hour and a half and only hung up because he had to get up early for work tomorrow. We had a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to getting down there and hanging out with him.

Which, by the way, may be occuring a few days earlier than I originally planned. At first, I was going to work through July 21 (a Friday), take the weekend to finish up last-minute packing (which, for me, is generally "all of it") and see the family one last time before I headed out on Monday. However, for a variety of reasons, I maybe now be leaving on July 22 (Saturday), to arrive there on Sunday night--which means I'd have to make my last day at work a few days earlier, but whatever. That way, I can get into my new school a few days sooner; my dad won't have to take QUITE as many vacation days since we'll be starting on the weekend; and my mom will have an entire weekend to have "an episode" before returning to work on Monday. Plus, we'll have weekend traffic instead of weekday traffic (on second thought, I'm not sure if that's a plus or a minus). However, the motel rates (for the overnight stay) will be somewhat higher on the weekend--plus I'll lose an entire weekend at home. That means I'll only have two weekends left before I leave--this weekend and next. Holy shit.

So I'm not for SURE yet, but with my original plan, I wouldn't actually be making it into my new school till Thursday, so I'd be losing almost the whole week. This way, I'll only miss Monday (because let's face it, after two 11-hour driving days, getting there on Sunday evening and staying up for a while to talk to/meet my new roommate--not to mention unpacking and getting settled--I don't think I'll be making it into the work the morning after I arrive). And plus, this weekend travel might work better for Dad's schedule, so....

Monday, July 03, 2006

An impossible task

I am currently going through my 300 books and attempting to put them into one of three categories:

1) Books I definitely want to take with me
2) Books I want to keep but have to stay behind for now
3) Books I'm going to sell/donate/etc (notice I said "going to," not "want to")

It has proven to be extremely difficult for an avid--some would say obsessed--reader like me to assign any book into one of the three categories. In fact, one bout of vomiting has already occured (although I think that was due more to my choking on dust molecules.)

Mind you, I already got rid of the "definitely don't want" books before I moved back home, so the books I had left were books that, in theory, I definitely wanted in my possession. However, I'm really trying to "clean house," make a fresh start, etc. It's silly to keep books in storage, that realistically, I am never going to read. (I have quite a few books that look good on my shelf--Hemmingway, for example, or Toni Morrison--that I've tried to get into and just COULDN'T. I've kept them more to impress anyone who might happen to scan the titles on my bookshelves.)

I've been a reader for as long as I can remember. I don't mean that I've known HOW to read. Just knowing how to read doesn't make one a "reader." I mean, I've possessed a genuine love of reading and books. So much so that when Missy asked me (sarcasticly, smart-assedly and rhetorically, not REALLY expecting an answer, how far the library was from my new apartment, I immediately answered, "8.2 miles." It's fitting, therefore, that my first teaching job is a language arts and reading position. I'm thrilled to be able to teach a subject that I care so much about. I know that not all students love to read; in fact, I'm aware that some outright hate it. And those are the students I'm eager to have, because if I can make THEM like my class, then I know I'm doing something right.
My new best friend

My 2nd Florida friend (the first is my roommate, Frank, in case you're counting) went to the Daytona NASCAR race this past weekend and got some great pictures....INCLUDING THESE. I tell you, when he sent the first one to me, my heart about freakin' stopped. So Shane, thanks for letting me get so close to my #1 favorite driver.

I know they're blurry on here but the ones he actually sent me are crystal clear....I think I might have the first one made into a poster. Or a sex toy.