Friday, October 31, 2008


My 32nd birthday has come and gone. Sorry it took me a few days to get this post up, but in addition to my birthday revelry, I'm also coming off of two days of conferences. Thanks to all for the well wishes. Some highlights from the last couple of days:

1) The day began with the traditional "ha, you're old as hell" phone call from my sister. This year's version was a friendly reminder that in 8 years I'll be 40. Nice.

2) My kids presented me with a homemade card that they all signed. I knew it was coming, of course, because they're 5th graders and apparently thought that I DIDN'T see it being passed around for the last 3 days. =-) But they were so proud of themselves that I pretended to be surprised and totally caught off-guard. I also got various individual cards and some presents, 5th-grade style (ie, a Hershey's candy bar, a sparkly pen from the book fair, etc).

3) Mom sent me New Kids's new CD--whoo hoo!

4) Renee sent me a box of her famous Chex Mix, some fall leaves (another yearly tradition) and one of those over-the-door bathroom organizers that I was coveting at her house this summer.

5) I spent the actual birthday evening with LCB. Yeah, I know. We had dinner at my favorite place (Outback).

6) The following night, the birthday fun continued as I celebrated with my friends from work. About 10 of my nearest and dearest showed up. A good time was had by all. (A special shout out to Mike, the only one who has been there for all 3 of my Florida birthdays. He's now at a different school, but he still came out to keep the tradition alive.)

And I still have one more thing to look forward to:

7) I'm going to a psychic tomorrow (Saturday!). Anna took me for my 29th birthday (or was it my 28th?), and it was such a great experience that I figure I'm due for another psychic tuneup. I'm sure my spirit guides and angels will have some very choice words for me regarding some of my latest dumbass moves. =-) Expect a full recap.

And in unrelated-birthday news, I had my first field trip as a team lead today--and I'm pleased to announce that it was a success. It was more of a mini-trip--3rd, 4th and 5th grades attended a play at the high school right down the road (it was so close that we were able to walk). All the kids behaved quite well and represented our school very well, I think. (The coolest part was that the cast was outside to greet the kids as we left, which they really got a kick out of.) It was nerve-wracking, though, being responsible for 100 kids (all of 5th grade) instead of just my own class, and it gave me a preview of the stress-fest that will be our trip to Busch Gardens (really, there's a big difference between going on a field trip as a team lead and going as a regular teacher). LOL--you should have seen me prowling up and down the aisles in the auditorium, on the lookout for bad behavior.

So...yeah. Now I'm 32. Whoo freakin' hoo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

American Idol, 5th grade style

On a lighter note (see post below):

While my kids work, they often absentmindedly sing or hum various songs that get stuck in their head. Two big ones right now are Pink's "So What" and Britney Spears's "Womanizer" (and, for some reason, the "Indiana Jones" theme song, which has been "going around" the room like the damn musical flu for a good week--we just can't shake it). I hate it because then, of course, the songs are stuck in MY head (which I inevitably pass on to other teachers in the break room, at lunch, etc)--but it's damn funny to hear a 10 year old quietly singing

You're a womanizer
Oh Womanizer
Oh You're a Womanizer
Baby You, You You Are You,
You You Are Womanizer,
Womanizer, Womanizer


So so what?
I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don't need you
And guess what
I'm having more fun
And now that we're done
I'm gonna show you tonight
I'm alright, I'm just fine
And you're a tool
Jennifer Hudson

I've been following (as I'm sure a lot of you have), horrified, the tragedy that has struck her family. It was bad enough when I read that her mom had been murdered. Then when news broke that the "male" victim who had been discovered along with her mother was actually her BROTHER, the horror deepened. Along with all of that, we found out that her nephew was missing--which is enough of a blow by itself. But then, when his body was found yesterday....I don't even have the words.

Can you imagine losing a parent, sibling AND nephew all in one fell swoop, especially to those causes? I mean, a car accident, for example, would have been a nightmare, to be sure. But to have that many family members MURDERED--and a child to boot--good God. It's incomprehensible.

I just read this today in one of the news articles:

"Hudson said, "Yes, that's him," when she was shown the face of Julian King on a wall-mounted video screen. She entered the room with her head bowed but "remained strong for her family," said the spokesman. "It was very clear that she was the leader. She held hands with her family. It was obviously a very emotional moment." "

Jesus. After everything she'd already gone through...I can only speculate that at that point, she was simply numb, beaten down. At a certain point, I think, your mind and your heart just kind of shut down, if only to spare you that additional pain. I wouldn't be surprised if she were to get through the funerals and grieving with very little outside emotion--only to break down in the weeks and months to come, as it slowly begins to sink in. The enormity of it, I don't think, can even be grasped. It's like a nightmare from which you never wake up. How can one person even take in that kind of suffering all at once?

If this isn't an example of "money doesn't buy you happiness," then I don't know what is. It's also a glaring reminder that tragedy can strike anyone, at any time. So be grateful for every day, and appreciate those around you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scary Movies

The upcoming holiday has got me thinking, not surprisingly, of scary movies (and by "holiday," I mean Halloween, not my birthday--although, when you're about to turn 32 and are still single, that's pretty damn scary, too). It also helps that I'm currently watching Panic Room--a psychological thriller that still freaks me out. I know that there are a lot of great scary movies out there that I've never seen (case in point: Psycho. Is it really as scary as they say?). So, I'm asking all of you to post your favorite scary movies. Classic or more recent, which movies scare the shit out of you?

When submitting your picks, I ask you to keep the following guidelines in mind:

1) They should be movies that scare you as an adult. For example, Freddy may have given you nightmares when you were at sleepovers as a 12-year-old, but maybe now you realize that Nightmare on Elm Street is more cheesy than scary. (Then again, maybe not. If it still scares the crap out of you, then by all means, submit it.) Which brings me to point #2

2) I'm looking for scary, not campy (case in point: Night of the Living Dead, etc).

3) There is a difference between "suspenseful" and "scary." The Sixth Sense had me on the edge of my seat, but it wasn't necessary SCARY. (Then again, maybe some would disagree.)

And last:

4) They should be universally scary. Maybe you have a phobia of traveling, and so Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants freaked you out. Or maybe your name is LCB, and therefore any movie about commitment, fidelty, or being a non-shithead terrifies you. (LOL.) You get the point here.

To get us started, I submit:

Panic Room
Arachnophobia (this does violate guideline #4, because even if you're At One with spiders, this one is still scary)

Now it's your turn: what scary movies do I HAVE to put on my Netflix list?
Celebrity baby names

Amy Poehler from SNL had her baby yesterday.

She named it (him) ARCHIE.

That's it. Celebrities are officially no longer allowed to name their own kids.* I mean, you expect weird shit out of certain celebs (Gwenyth Paltrow, anyone?), but when someone like Amy Poehler suddenly loses her damn mind, drastic action needs to be taken.

* (No offense to the many Archies out there who undoubtedly read this blog.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sometimes genius comes at 4 am

My eyes popped open in the middle of the night with the beginnings of a damn good poem, if I do say so myself (I'd call it a song but, as you all know, I have no musical talent whatsoever). At first it was just a few random lines that I quickly jotted down, but I was kind of surprised at how quickly they came together once I really sat down and tried (I didn't want to go back to sleep until I was done, in case I lost it). Move over, Alannis Morisette--there's a new Queen of the Bitter Breakup Song in town.

I might adjust the wording and rhythm somewhat, but this is the rough draft. I think it very effectively sums up the course of our relationship, otherwise known as Clusterfuck 2008. And now, I present to you: I Could've Been the One.

You say you want it all
And now you’re running scared
You went and turned your back
On the one who truly cared
‘Cause when I looked you in the eye
And offered you my hand
You turned and walked away
And I just don’t understand

I could’ve been the one
To make your dreams come true
I could’ve been the one
It should be me and you
I could’ve been the one
Deep inside you know it’s true
Baby don’t you see
I could’ve been the one

I was giving you my heart
With the lock and key
But when push came to shove
You decided to be free
You just took my love
And threw it all away
My “could have been” is gone
And I just want to say

I could’ve been the one
To make your dreams come true
I could’ve been the one
It should be me and you
I could’ve been the one
Deep inside you know it’s true
Baby don’t you see
I could’ve been the one

I waited for so long
I tried to make you see
That everything you wanted
You could find it all in me
Now I’m looking for someone
Who can keep it in his pants
It’s my turn to walk away
And you can kiss my ass *

I could’ve been the one
To make your dreams come true
I could’ve been the one
It should be me and you
I could’ve been the one
Deep inside you know it’s true
Baby don’t you see
I could’ve been the one

Sweetheart you messed up
Because I could’ve been the one

*I realize that that last part doesn't strictly rhyme, but it made me laugh so hard when I thought of it that I had to put it in. Besides, you bitches know that I couldn't stay serious through the WHOLE thing; that's just not my style. My alternate ending (which also made me giggle) is:

I waited for so long
I tried to make you see
That everything you wanted
You could find it all in me
Now I’m looking for someone
Who can keep it in his pants
And when I get my black belt
I'm gunnin' for your ass


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coming out of the closet

More than a year after my crazy-girl diagnosis, I finally told some of my work friends (previously, K., my school-BFF, has been the only one who knew).

It was funny, because a few (and by "a few," I mean 10 or so) of us went out after work today (it's already been a tough week, with TWO teachers very suddenly and mysteriously being put on "administrative leave" and a near school-wide lockdown due to a very hostile and bitter non-custodial parent). The subject of J., my former friend from That Night, came up. "Is she still seeing that cop?" I innocently and casually asked.

"Yeah, as far as I know," V. said.

"It's been a while," A. added. "How long has it been?"

"Since last July," I said immediately and very matter-of-factly.

"That's right!" A. said. "Who was it that she got in that fight with?" Then, with a horrified look, she clapped her hand over her mouth. "Oh shit, it was YOU," she said to me. She glared at her drink. "Stupid alcohol."

So at this point, of course, I knew that J. had shared at least some of That Night with our coworkers.

"Jen," V. said to me. "I've been DYING to ask. We heard the story, but that SO doesn't sound like you. What's your side?"

(Note: I know that some of you may find this hard to believe, but here in Florida, I'm known as the easy-going, joke-cracking, laid-back, always-smiling one. Tears of a clown, bitches. Tears of a clown.)

I sighed and decided, To hell with it. I've been in treatment long enough that while I sure don't want to share it with everyone I meet, I'm also done being ashamed of it.

"Well," I started. "The events themselves are probably true enough. But there's more to it." So I pulled my chair over to their part of the table (I mean, I didn't want to broadcast it to EVERYONE) and told them everything.

"Wow," V. said. " that you're on the medicine, how do you FEEL?"

"Oh my God," I said. "It's like night and day. I can't believe I waited so long."

"Well there you go," she told me. "And plus, if it makes you feel any better....J. doesn't hang out with ANYONE anymore. So don't take it personally. We invite her out all the time and she never comes out."

And you know, it DID make me feel better. After trying to lay low last year, I've tried to reach out more to J. this year, making casual "hey, you want to join us after work?" invitations, and she never takes me up on it. I felt, of course, like she was specifically rebuffing me, but apparently she does that to EVERYONE now.

I just hope my revelation doesn't come back to bite me in the ass (we do have a rather gossipy school). But I felt comfortable enough to tell them--plus, I had to defend my honor. Yes, I got drunk, tried to beat up my boyfriend and best friend and ended up in the back of a cop car--but dammit, I had a GOOD REASON!! LOL. And even though A. and V. had heard about the incident, they never treated ME any differently, which is cool. So hopefully, telling them the "why" of everything will only further clarify things in their minds. We'll see.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Tonight was my first class wearing my pretty yellow belt. =-) Already they're treating me differently. For example, in my first kata, they're now making me focus more on doing it with "power"--instead of just going through the motions as I did when I was learning it, I have to do each move with power and strength. In other words, instead of just raising my hand in a block or extending my arm into a punch, I have to do it like I mean it. I don't know if I'm explaining it in any way that makes sense, but it basically means that I'm not getting away with certain things I did as a white belt.

The other thing that was cool is that I started learning my second kata (the one I'll be working on for the next 4 months as I train for my green belt). I've already picked up the (albeit small) section they taught me tonight. Before, when I was first learning my first kata, since I was new to karate, it took me a long time to master even the basic moves--but now, I'm able to catch on a bit more quickly.

All in all, I'm very excited right now.

PS--right now, throw a punch straight in front of you. Then freeze and look at your first. If you're like most people, your fist is vertical, with your knuckles on top. Now turn your first sideways into a "vertical fist," with your thumb on top. This is how we punch in Isshinryu. Throw a punch this way. Does it feel totally unnatural? Yeah. I know.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ya gotta have faith

Some of you may have seen a post that I (briefly) had posted here. After recent events, I decided that it didn't really say what I wanted it to say.

The hallmark of a true friendship, I think, is having faith in someone and believing in them, even when they don't have faith or believe in themselves. As you know, there's someone in my life who has caused me unmeasureable stress, pain and frustration. But more than ever, I truly believe that this person, at his core, is good. He may have his head so far up his ass that daylight is nothing but a distant memory, and he's certainly made mistakes, but I believe that every single one of those has led him to the point at which he currently finds himself. My wish for him is that he figures out what he wants and then gets out of his own way long enough to go GET IT. When all is said and done, I still see the good in him, and that's why I love him. (Hell, with all of his flaws and chinks in his armor, I think I love him more.) Maybe that's a flaw in ME--a character trait that does nothing but allow me to get hurt over and over again (not just by him, but by others, as well)--but the thing is, once I love someone, I stand by them...even when they make mistakes. More so than ever before, I think, because God knows that I've made some pretty major f-ups in my life, and I've been let down by people I always thought would be there for me. By anyone's definition, I have some pretty major flaws, issues and challenges of my own--but those who love me still see through that to the heart of me, the core of who I really am.

So I guess what I'm saying is this: I have faith that he'll find his way, that he'll sort out who he is and what he REALLY wants in life...and I have faith that things will work out the way they're meant to (whatever the hell that may be). Whether he stays in my life or not (and in what capacity) remains to be seen--but I hope he knows that he has someone on his side, no matter what. He knows what *I* want, and I hope he remembers our conversations over the last couple of days--now he's gotta see what HE wants, and if I, if WE, fit into that in any kind of way.

And before you all have freakin' heart attacks, please know that I'm not putting my life on hold or "waiting around." Quite the opposite, in fact. I'm going to move forward, and as hard as it is, I have to have faith that we'll each find our own happiness. Whether that's with each other is anybody's guess.

So this is for my "beef" (and no, that's not dirty in any way).

Rihanna, Umbrella
You have my heart
And we'll never be worlds apart
May be in magazines
But you'll still be my star
Baby cause in the dark
You can't see shiny cars
And that's when you need me there
With you I'll always share

When the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella

These fancy things, will never come in between
You're part of my entity, here for Infinity
When the war has took it's part
When the world has dealt it's cards
If the hand is hard, together we'll mend your heart

When the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella

You can run into my arms
It's OK don't be alarmed
Come here to me
There's no distance in between our love
So go on and let the rain pour
I'll be all you need and more

When the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nervous and excited
Now with updates

Today at 1:30, I'm testing in karate and (hopefully) getting promoted to my white stripe. Now, in the realm of all things karate, this is not the most significant of promotions--but it's significant to ME, for reasons I've discussed before (namely, that I've stuck with it the last few months and have actually worked at it pretty damn hard). I didn't THINK I was nervous till I woke up this morning (at TEN O'CLOCK ON A SATURDAY, which for other people is roughly equal to 3 am). Holy hell, am *I* a ball of nerves. I'm going to try to stay busy (and I still have to get ready, which should kill another 45 minutes or so) but man. Sensei has told me that she wouldn't test me if she didn't believe that I was good enough to be promoted--but what if I, like, totally choke?


PS--I learned some new stuff on Thursday, and once again, my T-rex arms impeded me from doing it the traditional way. LOL. Hearing her preface a new move with "--and Jen, you may not be able to do it this way because of your arms--" has become relatively commonplace. How could I get through 31 years of life without realizing that my arms fell short? (Pun intended)

UPDATE (3:30):

I did it!! And, to my surprise, I actually received a yellow belt. She said that some Isshinryu schools DO issue a yellow belt instead of the white stripe, and she decided that T. (the 9 year old kid who was also beng promoted at my level) and I would get yellow belts instead today. So that IS pretty cool, to have an actual colored belt now.

There were a ton of people there, since T. brought his whole street with him. I had to perform my kata first (which I was a bit bitter about, because Sensei had promised me that I wouldn't have to do anything solo). I did get nervous and get stuck on one part (which PISSED ME OFF because I was doing it perfectly at home), but with a little prompting I was back on track. Then the others being promoted did their katas (it was a lot of fun to watch the black belt, B., do HIS kata--SO powerful).

Then we went outside to break boards.

The wooden boards were placed horizontally across two cement blocks. We white belts had to break it with out foot. T. went first and powered through it, and I was thinking, Crap, now if I CAN'T do it, I'm going to look like a total ass. As a result, I actually overestimated how much power it would take, kicked my foot through the board and slammed it onto the blacktop underneath. Son of a bitch. Still, I did it. Next, the green (going to brown) and black belts had to break the board with their hands (the traditional sideways karate chop). I was really impressed because it looked really hard. When they were done, Sensei said, "Hey, we have a couple of boards left." Then she looked at me and grinned. "Jen-san, you wanna give it a try?"

"With my hand?" I clarified. When she confirmed what I was AFRAID she was going to confirm, I respectfully let her know that I was just fine where I was. Then I thought, you know what? Screw it. So I stood up and told her that I was going to try it, after all. Everyone was suitably impressed, as this is a more advanced manuever. I kneeled down and she showed me the part of my hand to use and where on the board to aim for. I started to chicken out.

"Will it hurt?" I asked her.

"Only if you use the wrong part of your hand," she helpfully said.

"Or hit the wrong spot on the board," Sempai added.


Well, with all those people watching, I couldn't back out now. So I took a few practice swings, "breathed into it" like she told me (I still don't really know what that means, LOL--I just blew out really hard when my hand came down)--and holy shit, I brought that hand down with everything I had.

And I'll be damned if the bitch didn't break.


So we all signed each other's boards (the one I had signed was the one I broke with my hand, since that's obviously the one I was most proud of), and then we all went back inside to receive our belts.

Oh, and there may have been some sake for the adults. ;)

All in all, a GREAT day. I am SO PSYCHED. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get ready for a barbeque being held exclusively in my honor (okay, it's a birthday barbeque for someone else totally--but in MY mind, it's to celebrate my mad board-breaking skills).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Congrats to Anna!

I didn't want to say anything on here yet until I know she was officially "out of the closet," but Anna is pregnant and expecting in April!!!!! (I just read your comment referencing your maternity wear.) Whoo hooo!!!!! Congrats to Anna and Tim!!! We expect frequent and entertaining posts. If you send me your ultrasound again, I'll post that on here, too.
True Crime

A particular trial just started this week, and it's making big news (nationally, even). The crime happened about 6 months before I moved here, so this is the first I've heard about it. It's really an incredibly sad story--and for some reason, I'm fascinated by it.

A young couple (in their 20s, with a 2 year old--at the time--son) was murdered in their home. At first, all the news stories were, of course, focused on the they-were-so-in-love-and-happy-and-isn't-it-tragic angle. However, it wasn't long before the truth came out--the husband (Steven) had been having an affair with his coworker (Kellie). Eventually, they narrowed in on a suspect--Kellie's boyfriend, with whom she had recently ended her relationship so she could be with Steven, who was planning on leaving his wife, as well.

Steven was shot, and his wife was suffocated and beaten. (The wife had apparently cheated on her husband at some point in the past, which, according to Steven's emails to Kellie, was when he felt the relationship start to fall apart--he was never really able to trust her again. She, from what it sounds like, knew about Steven's affair with Kellie and was desperately trying to make the marriage work, but at that point Steven felt like it was too late.) It doesn't sound like Kellie's ex-boyfriend had any particular grudge against her--she was just murdered to eliminate witnesses to his (alleged) crime.

The 2-year-old son was in the house at the time but was unharmed (at least physically--who knows what he saw and heard, which to me, is the most heartbreaking part of all). There were initial reports that he was the one to call 911.'s a tragic story, like I said, but for some reason I'm just entralled by the case. If you're interested, you can go to and read old stories about the case, Kellie and Steven's emails back and forth, including on the day he was murdered (in fact, they had just met up that night at their office to get it on--he went back home around 10 that night and was murdered sometime after that), sworn statements by the girlfriend, etc--and follow the trial itself. It certainly doesn't look good for the ex-boyfriend so far, but who knows what could still come out.

The little boy now lives with his (paternal?) grandparents, btw.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Throughout the last couple of months, I have discovered that I have abnormally short arms--so short, in fact, that I can't do some of the traditional karate moves. There's one in particular that requires to me to kind of cross my left arm over and hold it at my right side (and vice versa)--and between my T-rex-like arms and my large chestal area, it's become clear that this will never happen for me. So we finally had to modify the moves a bit (for example, I hold my arms just off-center rather than to my actual side). The good part about this, Sensei told me, is that in an actual battle (cuz, you know, I get into so many of those), I can move a lot quicker and strike a lot faster, before my opponent even knows what's happening (as opposed to someone with longer arms, when you can see the strike coming). Luckily, Isshinryu is all about fighting up-close (it's one of our signature characteristics, actually)--so this style is especially appropriate for me.
I'm still alive

Highlights from this past week:

1) Passed that exam, as you know. Realized, after struggling the rest of the week, that I will NEVER finish one particular class in time, so I'm going to skip that class for now, start working full-tilt on the next one, and then pick up that first class next semester.

2) I haven't said much recently, but my first promotion ceremoney for karate is this weekend. I'm (hopefully) getting a stripe on my white belt on Saturday afternoon (which, in other types of karate, would be like a yellow belt). It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things--my promotion in February, when I actually progress to a new belt color (green), is much more significant--but this one is significant to ME, simply because it reflects that I've stuck with it. You'd be surprised how many white belts never even make it this far.

3) Um....I'm a dumbass in love with a dumbass. (Does that make me a dumbass squared?) Let's just leave it at that.

4) We have a site visit on Wednesday, when corporate comes to observe and rate us. They come several times a year but it's always pretty stressful and there's a lot of prep work involved.

That's about all. What's up with youse? ;)