Thursday, April 26, 2007

I never thought I'd say this....

...but I miss the snow.

I don't know why it's just hitting me NOW, at the end of April--maybe because winter is really over and I'm realizing, I didn't get to see any and won't until next year--and that's it if happens to snow when I'm home for Christmas, which I missed out on this time around.

In my head, of course, I'm thinking of the pretty, fluffy, white snow that makes everything look beautiful. I'm thinking of sipping hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire place (which I've never actually DONE, LOL). I'm glossing over the crappy parts of snow--how it's great for like the first hour and it just sucks for the next 4 months; how it's cold and miserable; how it turns gray and slushy and freezes your feet and makes driving an absolute bitch. But that's okay--because, chances are, I'll never have to deal with it for more than a week or two at a time again. I'm pretty sure that it'd be impossible to LIVE up north again after having experienced life down here (you were right, John and Fred). Still, having been a Yankee all my life, I'm just struggling with my first snowless winter--just as I had a bout of homesickness in the fall, when I missed out on leaves changing color and apple cider and pumpkin patches and apple orchards.

I'll be fine--but I kind of wish I could look out my window again and see the snow falling down.

I guess I'll just have to settle for palm trees.
Chest eyes

We're reading The Giver in class, and there are a lot of words that my students are unfamiliar with. At one point, I stopped reading and asked the class, "Who can tell me what 'chastise' means?"

One student raised his hand and, dead serious, goes, "Well, it probably means eyes on your chest or something."

The class was like, "HUH?!" and I just stood there dumbfounded for a minute--and then I realized the miscommunication and just DIED.

"No, Brian," I said, wiping the tears from my eyes. "It's CHASTISE, not CHEST EYES."

So that explained the confused look on his face when he answered the question. LOLOL.

Later on at lunch, we were still laughing about it and I said, "I mean, seriously, Brian, that doesn't even make any SENSE. Have you ever heard of 'chest eyes' before?"

"Nope," he replied, "but I've never heard of 'chastise' before, either."


Sunday, April 22, 2007

You mean this wasn't ALREADY a law?

U.S. Congress may act to keep guns from mentally ill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prompted by the Virginia Tech massacre, a U.S. Congress reluctant to tackle gun control may pass limited legislation to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, lawmakers and aides said on Sunday.

"Given the horror that happened at Virginia Tech, I think there's a real chance of passing this," said Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), a New York Democrat, told "Fox News Sunday."

A Republican leadership aide agreed, telling Reuters, "If there is a consensus, and it is in lieu of knee-jerk draconian measures, (the chances are) probably really good."

Congress was initially hesitant to respond to the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech on Monday with any vow to toughen gun-control, a politically divisive issue.

In fact, Democrats, who had earlier championed such measures, including a since expired 1994 ban on assault weapons, effectively abandoned the issue when they won control of Congress last year.

Yet after it was determined that the Virginia Tech killer had been admitted earlier to a psychiatric hospital and deemed "a danger to himself and others," lawmakers dusted off previously rejected legislation.

Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech student, took his own life after fatally shooting 32 others. He had bought two handguns in Virginia but his mental health had not made it to a federal registry.
The proposed bill would provide money to the states to help update the national instant-check background system with mental-health adjudications, which ban firearm purchases.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Charles Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and gun-rights proponent, has teamed up on such legislation with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (news, bio, voting record), a leading gun control advocate.

Appearing with Schumer on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), a Pennsylvania Republican, voiced support.

So did Sarah and Jim Brady, two leading gun-control advocates. They have helped lead the charge since Jim Brady was wounded in the 1981 attempted assassination of President
Ronald Reagan. He was Reagan's press secretary.

"We're not working to take handguns away from people. But what we do believe is that we need to curb the availability of these weapons to prohibited classes: felons, fugitives, and of course in this case, those who have been adjudicated mentally ill," said Sarah Brady who appeared with her husband on CBS's "Face the Nation."

A bill passed by Congress a decade ago and named for Jim Brady, required an instant background check for gun buyers.

"What we had here, unfortunately, as come out in the last day or so, is that the system did break down," Sarah Brady said.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Yellow alert

During first hour, rumors started to circulate among the teaching staff that a shooting may have happened at one of the local schools. This was during our planning, so my team didn't have any students. I checked the local TV station websites for any info, but nothing was being reported. A few minutes later, the principal came on the intercom to announce that we were having a "practice" red alert, which is the code for an intruder in the building. We locked doors, closed blinds, turned off the lights and lined the students up against interior walls where they wouldn't be seen from the doorway. After the drill was over, she came over the PA system and again stressed that the red alert was just a practice; however, we were officially going to a "real" yellow alert, which meant no outside activities, the blinds were to stay closed and we were to be "prepared to go into red alert."

By this time, I had my 2nd hour kids in the room with me. Miss L, one of the aides, and I immediately looked at each other. I went back to my desk and checked the websites again, where I found out what was going on. (The principal later sent out an email.) The story began, "LEE COUNTY: On the anniversary of the Columbine shootings and in light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has increased security at local schools after rumors surfaced something might happen today."

As it turns out, "several" schools in the area had received anonymous calls that there was going to be some type of shooting at one of the schools today. The sheriff's office advised all schools in the district to be on alert, just as a precaution, even though they were relatively sure that there was no "legitimate basis for concern."

By 3rd and 4th hour, the rumors had started to fly among the students. I had several students ask me if there was something going on, if there was somebody on campus, etc. Middle school is a weird age--they were trying to act "cool," but at the same time, they're still kids, too, and you could tell that they were legitimately scared. I figured that in this case, the truth was actually more reassuring than what they were all imagining, so I told them a little bit: "Some schools in Ft. Myers received threats today. Our school wasn't one of them, but it's kind of like when someone pulls the fire alarm--even though we KNOW there's not a real emergency, we still have to evacuate and the fire department still has to come out. So now, although we're pretty sure that the threats were just a sick joke, we're still following certain precautions to keep you guys safe." That seemed to make them feel better.

Still, it was a pretty nerve-racking day. We were all a bit more jumpy than usual. The district cancelled all after-school activities, just in case. I'm glad to say that school is now over and, thank God, there were no incidents of any kind. It was pretty freaky, though--and it's extra hard when you have to be the calm and reassuring presence to the kids, but on the inside YOU kind of need some reassurance, too.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who knew that I've been eating healthy for years?

Fruity cocktails count as health food, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fruity cocktail may not only be fun to drink but may count as health food, U.S. and Thai researchers said on Thursday.

Adding ethanol -- the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits -- boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries, the researchers found.

Any colored fruit might be made even more healthful with the addition of a splash of alcohol, they report in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Dr. Korakot Chanjirakul and colleagues at Kasetsart University in Thailand and scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture stumbled upon their finding unexpectedly.

They were exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage. Treating the berries with alcohol increased in antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity, they found. Any colored fruit or vegetable is rich in antioxidants, which are chemicals that can cancel out the cell-damaging effects of compounds called free radicals.

Berries, for instance, contain compounds known as polyphenols and anthocyanins. People who eat more of these fruits and vegetables have a documented lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases.

The study did not address whether adding a little cocktail umbrella enhanced the effects.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

An actual transcript from last night's phone conversation

Dave: You're so beautiful, Jen. And you're so smart.
Jen: Oh, crap.
Dave: What?
Jen: My shirt's on backwards.
[Turns it around while Dave continues]
Dave: So anyway, you're so pretty, and you're so damn intelligent. That's what I like the most about you. I mean, I can have REAL conversations with you--
Dave: What's wrong, baby girl?
Jen: NOW my shirt's backwards!!
Dave: Huh?
Jen: It was on right the first time. Then I switched it around. And NOW it's backwards.
[Turns shirt around. Again.]
Jen: You were saying?
Dave: You're pretty.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Return of Hot Dad

Remember Hot Dad (from Tutor Time last summer)? I got an email from him today.


Long time no contact. Just thought I'd drop a line to see how you are doing.

Things are still cold here but there is promise of some warm weather soon.

I'm doing well and A**** is doing great. She is getting so big and so smart. Wow that happened fast!!

Not much else going on here.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Rich and A****

Yeah, he still wants me. ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I found a roommate!

(Have you noticed that I've posted every day since I started my Spring Break? Yeah, I have all kinds of time on my hands.) ;)

Anyway, I found a roommate! I had been talking to this guy through (the site through which I originally found Frank, and I figured that since the "male roommate" worked so well the first time, I might as well try it again). We hadn't met yet or anything, though--we were just emailing back and forth.

Then, on Sunday night, I got an email from a girl named Lauren. She's 27 and is moving down here in June from Ohio. She's a trauma nurse or--a trauma something, I'm still figuring it out. Something medical, for sure. =-) Definitely trauma-related. Anyway, from our very first emails, I had that same comfortable, "clicky" feeling I had when Frank and I first started emailing. This other guy, he was nice enough and everything, but we had never moved past the more formal, polite stage. Lauren and I almost immediately slipped into this comfortable, easy--friendship, I guess. I'm really excited, and I can't wait for her to meet my group of teachers. I think she'll fit in well, and I hope it makes her feel a little less nervous about moving down here, knowing she'll already have a group of people to hang out with on her nights off (she works nights).

She's coming down in May for some job stuff, so we'll get to actually meet then. In the meantime, we're sending in our application to an apartment complex we like. (Both of us have somewhat, ah, "less than perfect" credit, so we'll see how it goes. The place said, though, that if our credit was REALLY bad, we may just have to pay more in security deposits or something. As another backup plan, the mom of one of my students is in charge of an apartment complex by my school, so we may have an advantage there, as well.)

For those of you on myspace, she's in my top 12 now, so check her out.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Fire chasers

In the midwest, they have tornado chasers. Here in Florida, they have "fire chasers." Well, they do now that Joelle and I are down here, anyway. =-)

In Florida, during dry season, it's not at all uncommon for huge wildfires to sprout up. Today, while Joelle and I were at Bennigans, we looked out the window and saw a WALL of thick, black smoke in the distance. Our server put on the news, and we saw that yet another brush fire had started off of 75--but unlike the other fires this season, this one was just a few miles down the road. The newscasters informed us that emergency officials were urging everyone to "avoid the area" due to the severity of this particular fire.

So, of course, we hopped in my car and started driving TOWARDS the fire.

We didn't get very far, though, because traffic was just HORRIBLE. They had closed down a big stretch of 75 and, of course, all that traffic was being rerouted onto the surface streets. We just wanted to be able to get close enough to take some pictures for our friends and family back home.

This is the only one she sent me so far and it doesn't even do it justice, but here you go. Mind you, the fire itself was still miles away at this point. (And yes, I know it's sideways, but I don't know how to fix it on here.)

Here's another picture from one of the station's websites. (Copyright infringement, I'm sure, so I'm hereby crediting it to I'm also posting a brief little write-up on it. For the record, the affected stretch of 75 that they're talking about is like FIVE MILES long. It covered *40* acres. It's actually still burning now (10 pm) but they say it's "100% contained."




Sunday, April 08, 2007

Frank found this on Myspace...

...we laughed our asses off, but I fear it may end up being somewhat prophetic (the Sanjaya winning part, not the glock part, LOL)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This is funny (and amazingly true, LOL)

You're Nevada!

People are constantly mispronouncing your name, and this has provided you with a lot of frustration over the years. You prefer silver to gold, sagebrush to trees, and cards to sporting events. There is almost nothing you aren't willing to lay down a wager on, and others seek you out for advice on their own wagers. You don't take marriage terribly seriously, though you are one of its biggest proponents. Far too often these days, others are mistaking you for an industrial-strength garbage bag.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ask me what I'm doing this weekend!

Dave and I are going to the beach on Saturday!!

I'll be thinking of all you poor bastards in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota. ;)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sniff sniff


I just bawled at Scrubs; one of the (relatively) major characters died (I won't say who, just in case someone didn't watch it yet and chose to ignore my spoiler above). She was in a car accident in last week's episode, but I didn't think they'd actually kill her off, simply because she WAS a fairly major player on the show (she's been on since the start, in just about every episode, to varying degrees of "centrality"--ooh good word). Anyway, the episode ended with Carla saying a very emotional goodbye at her bedside and then the voiceover said something to the effect of: "Somehow, patients sometimes know to hang on just long enough to make sure everyone has a chance to say goodbye"--and then you hear the monitors flat-lining and you see her hand holding her rosary and I'm just BLUBBERING (I am PMSing, though, which makes me particularly susceptible right now).

Anyway, it was just a really sad show and I'm really sad to see her go. (I'll say who it was in the comments.)
The coolest site EVER.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pure Romance update

After receiving my kit in early March, I had my "coming out" party this past weekend. I invited a bunch of teachers and had a dry run at doing the PR Consultant thing again. I told them that the night wasn't so much about selling stuff, it was to give me a chance to go through my demo again and get in some practice before doing "real" parties. I had a great turn-out, though: it was probably about 12 altogether. Total sales at the party were only about $130, but then the orders started flowing in on Monday: my final amount was over $400. At first I was feeling like my demo sucked and that's why no one wanted anything, but since so many of them ordered afterwards, I think it probably had more to do with them not wanting their coworkers to know they were ordering, period. =-) (Although the most "prim and proper" teacher was the first one into my ordering room on Saturday night, which was funny. As she was leaving, I casually called out, "Okay, Amy, so I'll get that double-headed dildo in for you as soon as I can," and I thought she was just going to DIE.)

However, I didn't get any parties booked that night: mostly because--sadly--most of us don't really HAVE a lot of outside friends, because so many of us are relatively new to the area. So I need to start rustling up more "cold" parties, which is hard. After reading the PR message boards, though, I came across an idea that I never would have thought of. Many consultants said that they had a LOT of luck by setting up a Myspace page for their business to reach women in their area. I set mine up on Sunday night (complete with a false testimonial from Nee, LOL), starting contacting ladies--and I have 3 women interested in having a party in the immediate future and a few others interested a bit down the road (one is moving right now, for example, but wants to have one in May). Not a bad start. I don't have them OFFICIALLY booked yet, but I think they were sincere when they said that they had to talk to friends, check schedules and get back to me.

Check out my page at and tell me what you think!