Monday, January 29, 2007

Poor choice of words

All year, I've been dealing with students using a particular phrase in class that just drives me crazy: "Shut up." Students say it to each other all the time and, no matter how many times I get on them for it, they continue to use it. Finally, earlier this month, I told them that any time I heard them telling someone to "shut up" in my classroom, they would owe me a one-page paper on why it's disrespectful. If they did it twice, it was two pages, etc. I would refer to this essay as their "shut up paper," as in, "Don't forget to bring me your shut up paper tomorrow." (The "name" of these essays becomes important in just a moment...)

This has significantly cut down on the use of the phrase in my room, so I decided to implement the same strategy for another word that has begun cropping up: "gay" (as in, "that's gay," "you're gay," etc). Now yes, I use this phrase much more than I should, but not in the classroom, at least, and I want THEM to learn early on that using the phrase "gay" as a derogatory term is not acceptable. So today, after hearing a student bust out with that phrase, I told him that he owed me a page.

Towards the end of class, I noticed that this student was talking to a friend insted of working, so I said, "Stop talking and write your gay paper!" They DIED (I wasn't completely successful in keeping a straight face myself, to be honest).

Note to self: find a new name for THAT particular essay.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What do we think?

Blatantly racist or just some stupid college kids having fun?

(You'll have to copy and paste the whole link into the address bar instead of clicking on it. OR, you can click on the link to get the first part of the link in your address bar and then just copy the second half of the address and copy and paste that onto the end.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Um...maybe cuz she's a LESBIAN?

LOS ANGELES - Anne Heche and her husband are separating after five years of marriage, her spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"They have requested that they be allowed their privacy at this time," publicist Lisa Kasteler said in a statement.

Heche, 37, and Coleman Laffoon, a motion picture cameraman, were married in September 2001. The couple have a 4-year-old son, Homer.

They met while working on a documentary about Ellen DeGeneres' return to stand-up comedy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

My heart is absolutely broken

As you all undoubtedly know, I have been involved with Soldiers' Angels for a few years now. I have "adopted" a number of soldiers, sailors and marines in that time, and have grown quite close to a number of them; many of them are included in this email. They all become a part of my family, and have a part of my heart, even after they return home. They become my sisters, my brothers and my friends.

I just found out about 20 minutes ago that, for the first time, I have lost one of my heroes. (It took me about 10 minutes to type that sentence, since I started crying about halfway through.) The level of heartache is so strong that I can only imagine how his family and friends are feeling. His name is, was, Matthew Grimm. He's 21 and from Wisconsin Rapids. He was one of my "unofficial" adoptees, which means he wasn't assigned to me but he got one of my letters and I kind of took him "under my wing," as we Angels say. He sent me an email called "From your soldier" when he got my first letter, and from that moment on, that's exactly what he was--my soldier.

Since then, we've emailed almost every day. I know that he's been going out on some pretty dangerous missions and he always emailed me right when he got back. I hadn't heard from him in a few days and I just sent him a message last night, giving him a hard time, saying, "Hey, did you go out on a mission and forget to tell your Angel?" A few minutes ago, on a hunch, more of an instinct recently, I checked the Department of Defense casualty list and prompty threw up when I saw his name and picture.

The last email I got from him was, it turns out, the morning of the day he died. He was telling me about the mission he just returned from. But you know, he was also glad to be going on these missions. He was proud of it, especially compared to some of the other stuff he was doing there. The funniest email I got from him was just a few days before he died, when he was complaining about one of the sh** jobs his superior had given him. He wrote, "You wouldn't believe what our platoon had to do today for our time off. We had to sweep the mud off of the cement. Not that this cement is important anyways it's just something for us to do. Another thing is how do you sweep mud off when all you end up doing is spreading it around. I swear half of these leaders here have lost it." So of course, I spent the next couple emails teasing him about My Hero the Mud Sweeper.

I"m sending this to everyone on my email list because I want each and every one of you to have at least heard his name. I want you to know who he is, who he was. How much he believed in what he was doing and why they were over there. How he was scared when he went out on missions. And of course he was....HE WAS A DAMN KID.

I'm blubbering again.

A kid who was one of the bravest men I'll ever know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

No MS--for now (Abbreviated from email)

So I got a call from the neuro's office today. Based on the results of the spinal tap (LP), he doesn't think it's MS. It's all kinds of technical, but the levels of different things aren't what they would typically be for MS. Now, as we all know, nothing about me is typical (ha ha), but for now he's crossing MS off the list.

So what now? Good question. My next neurologist appt is in a month and we go from there. It's basically a matter of going down his list and testing for the various things that could be causing these spots/lesions on my brain. I don't even know exactly what the various options/possibilities are, to be honest, since there are a ton of diseases that can "mimic" MS.

BROKEN ROAD EXCLUSIVE: NEW INFO THAT WASN'T IN THE GROUP EMAIL: I posted a question about my LP results on this "Ask Yahoo" thing, and this guy who claimed to be an ER doc responded; I asked him what else it could be if it's not MS and he responded, "Apart from MS (demyelination) the spots in the left parietal lobe of the brain could represent: infection, inflammatory changes (eg. vasculitis), migrainous white matter disease, post-traumatic changes (thrombotic changes - multiple small lacunar infarcts)."

Yeah, I have no idea what that means, either.
What stupid holiday is your birthday on?

October 29: Hermit Day. Party on, Wayne!

Monday, January 15, 2007


At least I'm getting on the GOOD spam lists now....just got this email:

Subj: Sexaholics in your area!!

Finally--instead of information about Viagra or penis pumps, some info *I* can use! Whoo hooo!
For my next breakup ('cuz let's face it, it's only a matter of time....)

The “No Contact” Contract:
(Courtesy of Yahoo!)

I hereby pledge that I will not prolong my anguish by attempting to contact my ex or to orchestrate any elaborate “accidental” meeting with him or her. My healing has now begun and I will avoid re-opening those wounds like I would avoid a bear trap in the woods. I promise that, by “contacting my ex”, I mean every single form of communication from IM, to chat boards, to friends passing messages, to sending smoke signals from yonder mountain. I will not call or write, I will not try to reach him/her through the spirit world, and I will not think about my ex. Okay, I probably will think about my ex… quite a bit in fact. But I promise that this phenomenon will diminish over time.

Signed: (Your Name Here) __________________________________
Dated: (Today’s Date Here) _________________________________
Non-answers from LP

Some of you already got the email, but here we go again (with feeling!).

Originally, my follow-up with the neuro was going to be next week. However, when that was rescheduled to Feb. 13, I decided to call the office to try to find out some more information about the LP results (something other than the cryptic "fine" or "okay" result I received on my voicemail last week).

Thanks to my friends on the MS board, I knew exactly what to ask about. I left a message for his assistant, Missy (who is becoming my new best friend), inquiring about the presence of O-bands and my IgG levels. Here's what she reported back:

1) No O-bands were found in my spinal fluid. Remember, that doesn't necessarily mean anything, since they don't always show up right away in MS patients and 10% of patients NEVER develop them. However,

2) My IgG levels were actually BELOW normal; in MS patients, they're typically elevated. Missy said she has a note in to the doc to ask what this means in regards to MS (does it rule it out? Is it indicative of something else?) and she'd let me know.

Shoot, I should have known that this would be a rocky road to diagnosis when the neuro's first words to me, upon seeing the brain spots on the MRI for the very first time, were, "I gotta tell you, I don't know what in the HELL those are."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Your Real Age

This site ( is very eye-opening. My "real age" right now is 39.6 (actual age: 30.3), which is pretty damn scary. A lot of that is due to smoking, but there are other factors that brought my "age" up, too, including my asthma, lack of strength-training and flexibility workouts (I just do cardio), the fact that my normal resting heart rate is "considerably higher than normal" (which could be high blood pressure; in fact, it HAS been a little higher than normal the last couple of times I've measured it at the store, but it's always okay when I go to the doctor--or "excessive alcohol intake," lol), stress, my weight (I could stand to lose another 10 lbs or so), and then some other interesting-yet-surprising factors, like the fact that I've had gingivitis and drive a compact car. Oh--I need to eat fish, they suggested, but we know THAT ain't gonna happen.

Anyway, go see what you guys are! I'm going to go walking now--gotta bring that age down. ;)

I was rudely awakened from a deep, alcohol-induced sleep on Friday night/Saturday morning by a leg cramp. YOU KNOW the ones, the kind that bring on agonizing waves of pain, that leave you rolling around on the floor, crying and swearing and praying for death, sweet death, since that's the only thing to free you from the pain. It felt like it lasted for about 4 hours, although in reality it was probably about 90 seconds. Two days later, my calf muscle is STILL hurting and screams when even remotely touched or jostled.

I had a good time on Friday night, though. I'd say that we all go out every couple of weeks or so (most of us go out in our individual groups a little more often than that, but we usually get a bigger group together bimonthly or so). We usually go to this place named Dwyers, which looks like a big castle and has a patio out on the roof; it's pretty cool. Anyway, I got quite fucked on this particular outing, as I opened a tab when there was only about 5 of us and kept it open all night, even after our numbers continued to grow. (It was kind of funny, though: I'd be outside on the roof with a couple of other teachers and the waitress would stick her head out and be like, "Hey, you might want to come back in here. They just ordered another round of shots." One round was like $50, since there were so many people by that time.) Anyway, we were up to about $300 when I went to close out the tab around 11 pm (which sounds early but we had started at 4). After everyone had chipped in "their parts," I was left with a little over $100, including the tip (which had automatically been added on, due to the size of the group). So that sucks, since, although I drank quite a bit, I'm pretty sure I didn't drink $100 worth (then again, I may have come pretty close....). Oh, well. I'll just have to eat out a little less the next couple of weeks and skip my monthly sojourn to Bath and Body Works and Penney's.

We have a 3-day weekend due to Martin Luther King Jr Day. I've actually been laying low since Friday night. Most of it is due to the money part, but I'm also just feeling....TIRED. Nights like Friday sure take a lot out of me, and I require the rest of the weekend to recover. My weekends of partying like a rock star are clearly kaput. (I can do one night, sure--but to get up and do it again the NEXT night? Yeah, not so much.) Plus, my stomach was queasy for a good part of the day on Saturday. I tried to go grocery shopping yesterday but NOTHING was sounding good to me; plus, certain scents (especially fish) made my eyes water and my head spin. I didn't FEEL hungover (no headaches, etc) but my tummy was definitely paying the price. I ended up buying a lot of fruit, some "staples" like bread and milk, a couple cans of spaghetti and a key-lime pie (and some carpet cleaner for my car, but I'll spare you the details on that one).

I rented some movies at Blockbuster (I'm once again allowed back in the store, after sending them a check for the movie that I am SURE Justin stole from me. Yes, I ended up paying $28 for Nacho Libre--which I never even got to watch): Clerks 2 (watched it last night), The Groomsmen (with Ed Burns and Matthew Lilliard) and You, Me and Dupree. I'll watch the last 2 later this evening.

I wanted to go get Chinese tonight but, due to cost-cutting, I fear that it'll be canned spaghetti again tonight. And a pear. And a slice of key-lime pie.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good news?

Well the unofficial report from the doc's office is that the LP came back okay (which, I'm assuming, means no MS bands). The lady from the neuro's made this sound like good news in her voicemail, but I'm left feeling strangely disappointed. I just really don't want any more tests; I don't want to be in "limbo" anymore; I want to know what it IS.

It could still be MS; I go to the neuro in about 10 days to figure out the next step. There are more tests he may still want to do to help determine if it's MS or not, including something called "Evoked Potentials", which is basically measuring the length of time it takes for sensations to travel the nerve pathways, to check for MS-related damage.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's a train wreck...

and yet...I can't...stop....watching...

Armed and Famous
Wednesdays at 8 pm
Debut: Five celebrities (Erik Estrada, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna and Trish Stratus) undergo police training and become reserve officers in the Muncie, Ind., police department. In the opener, their regimen begins.

For the last two hours, I've been meaning to enter some grades into the computer...

and then I started reading this blog about a woman and her wedding preparations and, well....time flies.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Walk of America 2007!

Thanks for the reminder, Nik!

I won't be able to walk with The Best Team Ever from last year (damn, I can't believe that was a YEAR ago), but I'm starting a school team here in Ft Myers (lol, I just haven't told THEM yet...) My goal is $125 (I'm going for that tshirt again!) , and I set the Six Mile goal for $500 (hopefully, that will prove to be waayyy too low).

I know that some of you are already walking, are sponsoring others or have already determined the charities that you'll be donating to this year. However, if you'd like to help out, here you go:

And if you can't donate but would still like to donate, consider signing up for a walk near you at

Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy Birthday!

In a little over an hour, it is my daughter's 14th birthday.

I'll just let you sit on that one for a while.


I don't know what's scarier; the fact that she's 14 or the fact that in another year, she'll be the age I was when I got pregnant with her.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Movies that make me bawl

Stepmom is on TV right now, and that's one of the movies that just leaves me HYSTERICAL. Steel Magnolias is another one.

How about you? And I don't mean movies that leave you misty-eyed or even that cause you to shed a few tears; I'm talking about ones that just leave you a big sobbing mess.

(Mom, you can't play this game, since you have that reaction to just about every movie ever made.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This is Spinal Tap (like I could name this post anything else)

Going back to the hospital in a few for my spinal tap (otherwise known as lumbar puncture, or LP). I was there earlier for some blood tests and ran home because I had a little over an hour to kill. Was going to take a shot or two while I'm here to help relax me but I don't know if that can affect anything, namely my blood thickness or thinness (the blood tests were to determine said "density" of my blood, which I guess they need to know before they go in).

I am so nervous that I'm dizzy, shaking and nauseous. People on the MS message board I've been reading all assure me that it's not nearly as bad as I'm anticipating, that it USED to be a lot worse before they started numbing you and stuff. However, last night was the worst night of sleep I've had EVER, and that includes the night I went into labor.

So: LP at 1; I'll be in recovery from 2 to 3 or so, at which point some teacher friends will be coming to drive me home (the numbing works basically like an epidural, which will then affect my ability to drive). I have to lay down the rest of the day and night to prevent some kind of horrible side effect called a spinal headache or something, but from what I understand I CAN go to work tomorrow, although I'll double check when I go back.

Cannot remember the last time I was this terrified.


Oh--to add insult to injury, I had to pay **$250** to have this thing done, since it's a new year and therefore a new insurance deductible. Bastards.

Monday, January 01, 2007

An awesome New Years Eve

So if you were jealous about the beautiful Florida weather, you're REALLY going to hate this little story.

Since so many teachers weren't coming back into town until today, my plan of ringing in the new year with them was derailed. So I made alternate plans--a first date with someone I had been talking to on We had actually been "talking" most of the 2 weeks I was back in Michigan and were pretty excited about hanging out in person. Yes, it was pretty ballsy to make our first date on NYE--if we didn't get along, we'd have to a) either find a graceful way to bow out of the rest of the evening or b) spend it with someone we didn't really like. However, we were pretty sure that, at the very least, we'd hit it off as friends.

We had dinner at Outback (we started at 5), went to the movies, had some drinks--and then decided to go to the beach. Yes, my friends, I rang in the new year sitting on the beach, looking out over the Gulf. We had a bottle of champage and a couple of wine glasses. Yes, there was a kiss at midnight (and many before that, actually) and right as we pulled apart the fireworks starting going off over the water. It was like a freakin' movie.

Anyway, it was my favorite NYE ever. Chris was a part of that, obviously, but mostly cuz it was just such a perfect way to start my first full year in Florida, you know? The weather was perfect, the sky was was SO different from a cold night in Michigan. I had on just jeans and a sweatshirt (there was a breeze coming off of the water) and I was very comfortable.

Oh--he's 33, a principal (not mine) ;) , recently divorced, a former language arts teacher, loves 80s music and The yeah, we have a few things in common. ;) We hung out again tonight.

We'll see if anything comes of it. In the meantime: HAPPY NEW YEAR!