Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And I leave you with this...

I totally jacked this from Randy's blog, but I feel that it perfectly captures my sentiments as I leave my life in Michigan and return to my life in Florida.


My last week or so

So you may be asking yourself, "We've been getting frequent weather reports, but what has Jen been UP to this last week?" Allow me to catch you up:

* Christmas Eve: after all of our last minute shopping (some of you do Black Friday; we do Christmas Eve), I stopped by Nee's parents house to spend some time with her and my second family. When you've been best friends with someone for 26 years, their casa becomes your casa. Plus, you know, it's always fun to get the "you're a dumbass" love life speech from a whole different group of people. ;) And, Nikki has already mentioned this on her blog, but in case you don't get over there: Renee can bake. I mean, BAKE. Her basket of goodies is my second favorite thing about Christmas, other than Christmas Day (see below). LOL: I'm crazy for Renee's goodies.

* Christmas Day (Thursday): everyone descended on Mom and Steve's house for Christmas-palooza. By "everyone," I mean 9 nieces and nephews, 4 sisters (plus me), and a couple of significant (or not so significant--ha!) others. All told, there were 18 of us. It's absolute chaos--and it's my absolute favorite day of the year for exactly that reason. Plus, the shots of Pucker that have been a part of our stocking for the last 4 years or so don't hurt, either.

* Friday: I saw my daughter, who turns 16 on January 6. (I think by now most of you know that I got pregnant very, very young and gave her up for adoption--but it was an open adoption so I still get to see her and stuff. She found out the truth about who I am just a couple of weeks before I moved to Florida. We're actually very close now and are more like friends or sisters.) Anywho, that visit went well. It was great to see her, and she's becoming a beautiful young woman. I'm very proud of her. I do wish that I was able to have more one on one time with her, instead of her whole family being there, but...you gotta take what you can get. Maybe some day.

* Saturday: Missy, Nik and I tore up the town. HELLZ YEAH!! For example, we went to Steve and Barry's, Target AND Denny's--ALL IN ONE NIGHT. We're crazy, I tell ya. I spent most of Sunday recovering. ;) Word.

* Monday: went to Katey's to see her kids again before I leave. Not seeing her kids and Missy's kids too often is definitely the hardest part about living in Florida. We made tacos, and then I got her kids all riled up right before bedtime and left. You know, typical cool aunt stuff. ;)

* Tonight: in addition to watching out for another snow storm (only 1-4 inches though), I'm heading out to dinner with Kish and another friend from high school. It sucks that I only get to see her for a couple of hours but somehow, we manage to cram a LOT into one dinner. =-) And in the meantime, I'm packing. I want to be pretty much ready to leave before dinner tonight. I'm doing that last bit of laundry, too. Packing to go home will be significantly more difficult than packing to come here, because--of course--I have accumulated a lot more stuff since my arrival. So packing will actually be quite a challenge...perhaps I should actually START, then, instead of just blogging (be-logging) about it. Yes, I'll definitely give that some thought and consideration.

Barring the first few days when I was snowed in and slowly going crazy(-er), this trip home has definitely gone by quickly. I always feel torn at the end of my trips, because on one hand, I'm sad to leave everyone, especially the little ones, and being home reminds me of how much I miss everyone when I'm in Florida (even if it's just acting stupid with my sisters). But at the same time, I'd be lying if I said I'm not excited about getting back to the warm weather in Florida and my friends and my life THERE. (And did I mention the warm weather?)

So...thanks, Michigan, for another great Christmas. I'll see you this summer.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Whoosy Whatsit

As loyal readers of my blog know, I've been snowed in pretty much since arriving in Michigan a week ago by one of the larger snow storms to come through these parts in recent years. The frozen tundra was buried under several feet of snow, which was, in turn, covered by a sheet of ice.

And then today, it all melted.

Don't believe me? Then you must not be a Michigander. Because 'round here, it IS entirely possible to have a 40 degree warmup in one day, and to have winter blizzards give way to spring-like thunderstorms. (Seriously--THUNDERSTORMS.)

See? Grass.

Today: high of 57.
Tomorrow: high of 33. And--oh yes--the snow returns.

Just another weekend in Michigan.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Target rant

Hope everyone's Christmas was jolly. And now that THAT'S out of the way:

I love Target. It's one of my Happy Places, along with Bath and Body Works and Shoeless Joe's. And one of my loyal blog readers happens to be married to someone quite high in the Target chain of command, and I know that the company has been very good to that family. HOWEVER, I am currently bitter with them.

For Christmas this year, my big gift was the complete Sex and the City series on DVD. Mom bought them from Target back in August, and they've been in storage ever since, waiting for Christmas Day. Mom, though, bought each DVD seperately, which added up to like $180 (without tax). Upon opening them and realizing this, I told Mom that they were available in a box set--which the Target website currently has for $99.

So today, we went to return these UNOPENED DVDs, WITH THE RECEIPT.

And we were de-nied, because the receipt was more than 90 days old. We couldn't even get store credit. Nothing.

Now, is this standard policy elsewhere? There's now a 90-day time limit to return stuff? They were UNOPENED and we could PROVE we bought them there. They could have easily just thrown them back on the shelf. And of COURSE it was past 90 days, because she was holding them for Christmas--but dude, it's not like we were trying to return something a year or two later.

I didn't know there was such a narrow window of opportunity in which to be able to return something. And now Mom is out quite a bit of money because of it.

Receipts expiring after 90 days?! Discuss.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Got this from Lynda's blog

Just watch it. You'll be glad you did. Or not.

So this is Christmas: the ballad of a Floridian stuck in what they're calling the worst storm Michigan has seen since 1976--and by "they," I mean my mom and stepdad, not an actual historian or meteorologist or anything

(Hmmm...I may have to work on that title)

Sung to the tune of "So This is Christmas"

So this is Christmas
Never seen this much snow
My road has not been plowed
So I have nowhere to go

So this is Christmas
Everything's covered in white
The thought of me driving
Gives my mom quite a fright

So this is Christmas
At the house I am stuck
'Cause the 'rents do not trust me
To drive on ice in the truck

So this is Christmas
Got lots of time on my hands
So I'm here writing gay songs
'Stead of lying in sand

So this is Christmas
Hear me as I screech
That all future holidays
Will be on Ft. Myers beach

No, in all seriousness, I'm really happy to be home for the holidays; it's just hard because I haven't gotten to see the sisters and little ones yet and I'm getting kind of restless. But, as I watch the snow fall down in large, fluffy flakes, and look at the trees completely covered in white, and it's so quiet and peaceful because no one's going outside and the snow is completely untouched...I can't help but think, THIS is what Christmas looks like.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And the bullshit continues...

Too bad I didn't have my camera with me when we went to the store earlier, or you could have seen the guy SKIING down the road.

No, seriously.

Our mailbox is almost covered. Also, it appears to be drunk.

Okay, maybe it's a LITTLE pretty....

Fun trivia fact: do you see those tall-ass pine trees on the left (not the first one, but the others behind it)? My dad planted those as little saplings when Mom and he were first married--and NOW look at them. Yes, that house down there is where I actually grew up. My mom and stepdad live just a few houses away now. (Dad no longer lives in the original house.) Long story. Sure made moving easy, though.
This is BULLshit
**Now with photographic proof

You can't really tell, but the snow is falling in blizzard-like sheets

The bush right outside of our front door, which is as far as I've dared to venture out thus far

The snow piled on the side of our driveway (as of last night)

Seriously, these pics don't do it justice. I'll keep working on it.

More to come...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This is BULLshit

I made it to the Winter Wonderland.

My flight from Florida to Detroit was uneventful, other than some slight turbulance as we started to cross over the snowy states. (It was only after being dropped off at the Ft Myers airport that I realized I had forgotten my damn jacket at home, so I called Mom and requested that she meet me with one in Grand Rapids.)

The flight to GR was a little more complicated. First, my flight out of Detroit was delayed due to weather. It was only an hour or so, so it wasn't a huge deal. We finally get on the plane, where I was met with 2 very pleasant surprises: one, I had an exit row seat, which gives you almost as much space as first class; and two, my seat mate was a very single, very handsome lawyer from Tampa. Holla! He was so funny, too. I never got his name, though, so for the purposes of this post, he shall be referred to as New Boyfriend. Anyway, the flight attendant came to speak to those of us in the exit row prior to take off. She talked to those on the other side of the aisle first, asking if they understood the responsibilties of an exit row seat, giving brief instructions for what they would have to do in case of an emergency, etc. Then she turned to New Boyfriend and I.

"Are you aware that you're in an exit row seat?" she pleasantly asked.

"We sure are," New Boyfriend replied. (Awwww...we were already a "we." No commitment issues HERE.)

"And you're willing and able to assist other passengers in case of an emergency?" she followed up.

I fielded this one. "We sure are," I said.

"Great," she said, and moved on.

New Boyfriend turned to me with a slightly perturbed look on his face. "Wait," he said. "That's all we get? Doesn't it seem like the other side got WAY more information than we did?"

"Maybe we just look more capable," I suggested. "And we're a lawyer and a teacher. We can figure it out."

"Yeah," he agreed. "Plus, I've seen it done in the movies a bunch of time. Doesn't look too hard."

We nodded and sat back, secure in our In Case of Emergency Capabilities.

So anyway, we finally start to back away from the gate and taxi towards the runway--for about 20 seconds. Suddenly, the plane stops and the engines turn off.

"Ladies and gentleman, this is your pilot," comes the announcement. "Unfortunately, during our prepping and loading of passengers, we seem to have gathered a bit of ice on our wings. As a result, we have to bring out the de-icing equipment. The plane needs to be turned off for this process, but we will be on our way shortly." He also said that something was going on UNDER the wings, as well, so the crews would be working down there at the same time, but I can't remember the words he used or exactly what the issue was.

I don't know if you've ever seen a plane de-iced, but NB and I got a front-row view of it. A guy in a big cherry-picking cart thing aims a huge hose at the plane, and what looks like tons of steam shoots out. (NB and I cleverly nicknamed it "Ice Fighting" instead of "Fire Fighting.") It was pretty cool.

So finally, we start to taxi for real. It was actually kind of scary to take off on a snowy and icy runway; I gripped my arm rests and temporarily stopped talking (NB looked on amusedly--"Oh, is this the part where you freak out? Cool, cool. Let me know when you're done. I'll be here reading this scintillating Sky Mall magazine. If you need a marshmallow launcher, I'm your guy. I'll just be over here." Once we leveled off in the sky, I returned to normal: "So what was that about a marshmallow launcher?"--and the convo was back on.)

The flight was actually pretty damn bumpy--luckily, it's also a very short flight (half an hour, including take off and landing, so about 20 minutes of actual flying) and I had NB to distract me. When it was time to land, I gripped the arm rests again (as an added bonus, we had the wind gusts to contend with this time) but I was able to keep up the conversation, at least.

So...that was my journey. As we exited the airport, I uttered the line that is now the title of this post. Seriously, y'all, it's freakin' COLD. I think we need to switch the family Christmas to July or some shit. Anyway, we got home probably around 11 or 11:30. The storm continued all night and now we have even MORE snow on top of the 10 feet or so that was already covering the frozen tundra.

Don't think I'm going anywhere today because the roads are pretty bad, but hopefully I'll get to see the kids and sisters here pretty soon.

I miss Florida.

I'll post some phone pics soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

I mentioned my Teacher 12 Days of Christmas in the break room this morning, and a few of us sat down and busted it out. Then, the 2 music teachers stood up and did a duet for us, and it sounded REALLY good. This is the last stanza, obviously, so I don't have to type all of the repeats, but here's our version, at least as it stands now.

So, for teachers everywhere...

On the 12th day of Christmas my students gave to me
12 students absent
11 pencils tapping
10 parents ranting
9 kids a’pukin
8 in detention
7 bus referrals
6 spitballs launching
5 tests to graaaaaaaade
4 rumors flying
3 students texting
2 boys a’fighting
And a broken arm in PE

And in other news: my voice is gone. It started to go yesterday, I was okay for about an hour this morning after resting it last night, and now it's gone again. I sound, literally, like Minnie Mouse (just ask Mom, who called me to "remind" me that I'd forgotten one of my niece's birthdays and I finally called back and squeeked out, "I can't talk!"). I had to have a "translator" for the second half of the day at school today; I'd whisper to him what I wanted to say and he'd deliver it (complete with my body language and mannerisms, which was hysterical). I used a lot of impromptu sign language, too. By the end of the day, I had signs for:

Line up
Stop talking
Sit down and stop talking
Turn around and stop talking
Seriously, if you don't stop talking I'm going to kick your ass
Turn in your assignment
Take out your books
Clean up

As an added bonus/challenge, I had to take them down in the afternoon for a middle school choir performance--and I was actually very happy with their behavior. Of course, before we left, I wrote this on the board:

"If you don't behave, it will not be pretty when I get my voice back."

(They didn't know this, but I also emailed my team before we left and said, "If my kids act up, you have full permission to lay the smack down.")

2 more days....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

3 more days, 3 more days...

Oh my God, as I wrote that heading, I was struck with an idea so brilliant that I can't believe no one's come up with it yet. Actually, maybe someone has. I'm going to rewrite the "12 days of Christmas", but teacher-style. Like, "4 kids a' fightin' ", etc. Give me some time and I'll come up with something really good.

If you have any suggestions, based on things I've been bitching about, please post them! They don't have to be in "lyric" form yet--I can play around with them--just give me some ideas.

In other news:

I accidentally took nighttime cold pills instead of daytime ones around lunchtime today. At first, I couldn't figure out what happened--I thought someone had slipped Roofies into my soda or something. I didn't just get a "little drowsy"; for a while there, I was pretty sure that someone had shot me with a elephant tranquilizer dart. The rest of the day was actually pretty funny, considering that these were actual comments and conversations:

--"Miss K, what are you staring at?"

--[After a student stood at my desk and talked for about 7 minutes] "I'm sorry, what? Can you start again, please?"

--"Miss K, do you want us to turn this into the math folder or put it on your desk?"
"Yes, please, that'd be great."
[Imagine a very confused 5th grader] "Wait...yes to which one?"
[Pause] "....What was the question again?"

--"...So who ACTUALLY wrote the Declaration of Independence? Who was the guy they roped into writing that first draft? Jason?"
"I'm not Jason. I'm Danny."
"Close enough. Danny?"

I am not making any of this up. (And actually, that last one often happens even when I'm NOT doped up on meds, LOL. I feel so sorry for my future kids.)

And last (for now): I saw my crazy doc yesterday, and after my slipup over the summer, I have officially recovered and am back to "normal". In fact, I have once again been "promoted" to appointments every 3 months (instead of every month). Now, this doesn't mean that I haven't struggled with it. There have been many times when I feel that manic-ness bubbling under the surface, or when I've been angry and have wanted to hit someone or throw something or just let all hell break loose. The difference, though, is that I'm able to control it now. I recognize the signs and I do something about it before I progress to "Bad Jen." That's not to say that it's all "mind over matter" and that I can just wish away any future episodes. I know it's not that easy or simple, and I also know that meds don't "cure" the BP, they just slow down the frequency and intensity of the highs and/or lows. But overall, I'm in a pretty good place. (LOL--she started me on a new antidepressant about a month ago, and I mentioned to her that I've been feeling kind of bitchy and cranky and wondered if maybe I needed to try something new. She just gave me that over-the-glasses look and said, "Jen, you're a teacher and it's 4 days before Christmas break. I'd be more worried if you WEREN'T cranky."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wrong Present

Thanks, Anna, for this video. Maybe you have to be a woman to appreciate it (because often, men don't even REALIZE how off-base they are)...but it's funny.

And in the financial world...

As you may recall, my roommate works in the financial industry by day (and blazes up at night, but that's a whole 'nother post). Apparently, a rumor has been going around for a while now and the institution of a new form of currency: called the Amero, it would be a uniform currency for Canada, the U.S and Mexico. From what he says, this was initially thought to be a "conspiracy theory"-type rumor (and even now, if you research it online, there's no definite proof or verification of this Amero). However, he says that, in fact, there IS something going on with the Amero and there's certainly more credence to those rumors than most people know.* So just tuck it away in the corner of your mind and remember: when/if it does come to fruition, you heard it here first.

*Disclaimer: his eyes happened to be quite red and blood-shot as he was imparting this wisdom tonight (see first sentence.) ;)
The bane of my existance

I hope that there's a special place in hell reserved for the evil bastard who invented THESE:

They're called Bakugans, and my classroom is INFESTED with them.

They start out in the closed position, so they look like a small, harmless ball. As soon as you attach them to a magnetic object, however (like, oh, I don't know, a DESK OR DESK CHAIR), they shoot open (see above). If you're old school, they're kind of like magnetic Transformers.

I thought they were pretty cool at first--for about 5 seconds. Now, they're just a giant pain in my teaching ass. The above picture show just ONE DAY'S worth of intercepted Bakugans. And I plan to keep them in my Toy Drawer (not THAT one, you freaks) until the last day of school. If I'm lucky, the owners will forget I have them and I can sell them on eBay.

And while we're on the subject, the Second Most Annoying Thing to a Fifth Grade Teacher are THESE:

They're called Tech Decks and apparently, they are infinitely more interesting than Lowest Common Denominators (that's LCDs to you).
4 more days, 4 more days....

(FYI: I've tried for 20 minutes now to fix the spacing on this post and it's still screwed up...I give up.)

Friday, December 12, 2008


My day (at least my "work" day) started with me rear-ending a guy in the Mickey D's drive-thru (really, "rear-ending" is too strong a word. I started digging in my purse for change and didn't realize that my foot was sloooowly coming off of the brake--until WHACK. I just kissed the guy's bumper and there were no marks--but he was quite the dick about it, to be honest. A true accident with no damage whatsoever, not even a paint scratch? Is that REALLY worth getting all shitty over? But I digress). It ended with part of my tooth chipping off (got emergency appointment with dentist at 3--large cavity, will need filling and cap, no root canal). However, I'm going to dinner tonight with my 5th grade team so I'm really excited about that. It's become a Christmas tradition of sorts. The husband of one of my coworkers is the manager of a restaurant out on Sanibel Island (a very nice, rather ritzy island off of Ft Myers), and every year they invite L's fellow teachers (which, for 2 years now, has included yours truly) out for dinner on them (including drinks--holla!). Last year it was OBSCENE, with the husband just bringing out food by the tray full; since everyone is watching their budget a bit more carefully this year, I don't expect it to be quite as grand, but it still promises to be a great time.

And by the way: remember how last time I had teeth issues, I had had a DREAM about it just a few days prior? Well, it happened again this time. I shit you not, and I WISH I had posted about it so I had proof. It was maybe a week ago that I dreamt a tooth fell out and now, here we are again. Now last time, the dream was VERY specific--it was the exact tooth that later broke off and everything. This time, my dream wasn't that clear and I don't recall what tooth actually came out. Still, this is my 2nd "tooth premonition" in the last year or so. Next time I have a dream like that, I'm going to the dentist BEFORE my teeth start falling out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pray for me

Today was the kind of day that makes me wonder why I went into teaching.

I can't even explain to you the horrible-ness of it. Seriously, they were awful. Not listening, arguing with each other (AND me) and tattling. I got THREE "Miss K, I'm mad at you and here's why" notes dropped on my desk (it's something I set up at the beginning of the year but rarely has it been invoked). (One of them was really funny, though: "Miss K, I'm EXTREMELY mad at you because you gave me a check and everyone else was talking and you didn't do anything to them. Are they specialer than me or something? I am VERY MAD. You are usually fair and nice and pretty but I am mad today. You were my favorite teacher but now I might go back to Mrs. L from fourth grade." We were dying over that one in the break room.) I had to give 5 detentions, one kid busted another over the head with a water bottle ("but he called me a fat ass, Miss K! I'm sorry to say a bad word but he did!") AND--wait for it--I had to break up a fight at lunch (which is not as easy as it sounds, since one of them was my "big boy," who's got a good 5 inches and 50 lbs on me). And don't even get me STARTED on the kids all the other teahers sent into my room (that's what happens when you're the team lead--but at least it helped me to see that it wasn't just my kids). And there's still SEVEN more days till Christmas break.

The only good part of the day was at the very beginning. While they were working on some math problems, one of my boys was singing the chorus of Rihanna's Disturbia (the part that goes "Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum"). As I was walking around checking work, I joined in (I love that song). They stared at me, shocked (because to them, I might as well be 90. A grown up is a grown up, and actual age doesn't matter). "You KNOW that song??" Seriously, they were flabberghasted, totally blown away. So then they started testing me. One kid broke into "So What" by Pink and I belted it out like I was on American Idol (an Expo marker was my microphone), which earned me a lot of applause. Then, for the final round, one girl was like, "I got her, I got her," and started singing Beyonce's new one, Put a Ring on It. Now, I JUST heard that for the first time this week, but I've heard it enough in the last few days that I was able to bluff my way through it pretty accurately (there may have been some dancing involved). And THAT made them fall out of their chairs. So that part was fun. And to their credit, they went back to working on their math problems pretty easily after that. So I was thinking, Sweet! This is going to be one of those GOOD days!

But it was all downhill from there and I swear, I'm researching other careers online right now. At the moment, long-distance trucking has a pretty major edge.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Karate Klutz

I just learned a particular section of a new kata that Sensei thought would take me at least 2 classes; I have it down pretty well after 1. So I come home and immediately practice that section (any time I learn something new, I need to run through it right away at home, even if it's just a few times, that very same night--because for some reason, it's sometimes hard for me to transfer the moves from the dojo to my own living room floor). Anyway, I'm spinning around, looking very karate-like, nailing these 180-degree turns...until I back into and trip over my roommate's reclined Laz-E-Boy.

Ooh! I found this clip online. The gentleman here is actually in my direct lineage: he's my sensei's sensei's sensei's sensei (draw pictures if you have to). I actually recommend watching this with the sound OFF, as he does this breathing thing that may distract you (it's for focus and inner strength; we do it, too, but not nearly like that). Anyway, this will help you see what a "kata" is, first of all (this is the 2nd one I'm learning, to get to green belt). Beginning around :33 is the section I learned tonight (MUCH harder than it looks, FYI)--and :45-ish is where I had the run-in with the chair at home just now (literally, just now--it was so funny that I stopped practicing and came in here to tell all of you about it).

And FYI, here's the one I had to learn for my first promotion. Mind you, he's a master and again, it looks WAAAYYYYY easier when HE does it than it actually is (I'll still be working on this for years and years, although I know the basic steps), so you may not appreciate the amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into this...but here you go:

Christmas Spirit--thanks, Nik!

Most of you who read this blog also visit Nikki's but I figured that I might reach a couple more people who, at the very least, could possibly pass this on to a couple more (and so on). There's a man in my hometown of Holland, MI who, for almost the last 20 years, has been bringing Christmas to the kids of the area homeless shelter. Well, due to the economy and changing times, even Santa needs some help this year. You can help to bring Christmas to these kids by donating here. Please, at the very least, visit the auction site and think about it. And if you can't, maybe you know someone who can.

Times are tough for EVERYONE, but I don't know too many people who have it worse than these children, especially at the holiday season.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Well, it's not quite what I was looking for....

I went onto You Tube because I was looking for the best Hallmark commercial I've ever seen (the tactless brother who gives the toast at his sister's wedding reception); it's not up there yet, but this was. Every woman alive loves that scene in Top Gun--combine it with a marriage proposal, and you have the best clip EVER.

(Note: before playing, you'll have to scroll down to my music player on the right hand side and click on the pause button, or it'll feel like you have schizophrenia.)

And how was YOUR Sunday?

Just another typical December evening here in Florida.

Yeah, I know. I'm a bitch and you all hate me. But with sunsets like this--who cares?


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas, teacher style

Last night, we had our school Christmas party.

Imagine a group of teachers (anywhere from 3-7 of us) who regularly go out for after-school "meetings" to vent and decompress.

Now take those same teachers--and add about 40 more, some significant others and a variety of drinks.


Some highlights:

As some of you know, earlier in the day, I'd had a bit of a run-in with a verbally abusive parent who'd been berating a sub. By the time I showed up at the party about an hour later, that story had spread like wildfire, and I had to repeat it--including my "Well, perhaps your child was acting up in class because THIS is the behavior they're learning at home" punchline--no less than 15 times. Once we'd had some drinks in us, some of the teachers decided it would be fun to reenact the confrontation. One volunteered to play the role of the parent, and another one said, "Okay, and I'll do Jen."

At which point, A., one of the hottest male teachers--no, one of the hottest men ANYWHERE--and a member of the "after school club," shouted out from the back of the room, "Why not? Everyone else has!!"

As the room just fell apart, I tried to put on a shocked and indignant face. But come on--that zinger was WAY too good.

Another highlight was the raffle drawings--I won a gift certificate for a $100 tattoo!! I was initially pretty geeked, because this was the prize that I had thrown all of my raffle tickets in for. Surprisingly, so had a LOT of other teachers. Next to the day of pampering at a spa, this was the most sought-after prize of the evening. L., a tiny, curly-haired 65-year-old teacher (who, by the way, is actually a regular attendee of our "meetings," as well) even threw a ticket into the tattoo drawing (granted, there was a lot of peer-pressure and goading from us). And she made the solemn vow that if she won, she'd follow through with the tattoo. (She was also on her second scotch at the time, but whatever.)

By the time the various drawings were held, L. had had to leave. However, she was there in spirit as we all started chanting her name as they drew the winning ticket. They announced that I was the winner, and everyone still hooted and hollared for me. As the clapping died down, though, I stood up and made an announcement:

"Listen up! Shut up, A. [He was shouting random comments.] Dude, I said SHUT UP. L. promised me that if she won, she'd get a tattoo. SO, I need your help here. As far as we're concerned, L. won the drawing tonight. Okay?"


(Side note: I called L. today to give her the good news that she'd "won" the tattoo. Her response? "Awww, fuck." LOLOL.)

The official party was over around 7:30--a nice, respectable time. Some of us, though, hung around for a bit longer. ;) There may have been some shots involved, too. Okay, there may have been a LOT of shots. (Don't worry, Mom: I waited for a loooonnng time before I drove home. We didn't leave until almost midnight.) And the coolest part is that I bonded with some people that I don't normally associate with outside of work. (For example, I discovered that both the office manager and the registrar are both dirty, dirty people.)

And the FUNNIEST part of the evening: apparently, the place had planned to surprise us with a cake (the mother of a student runs this restuarant and had arranged it). So while the group of 10 of us were sitting in the bar doing shots, the owner came out and said, "We completely forgot about this, but we have a HUGE cake back there waiting for you. If you want, we can drop it off at the school for you on Monday. Or we can bring it out now."

Hmmm. Now we were in quite the pickle. I mean, this cake was meant for the whole school to enjoy. And there were only like 10 of us left.

So we did the only reasonable thing, of course.

We told them to bring out the motherf*cking cake. (Hey. We were HUNGRY.)

I know you can't tell here, because it turned out kind of blurry (which is appropriate, as it looked pretty damn blurry that night, too, LOL), but this cake was ginormous. Here's the before pic.

And here's what it looked like after we had hacked into it.

Never in my life has a cake tasted so good.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

For the record

I love me some Britney Spears. I always have. And I remember, when she first started acting weird (shaving her head and stuff), I turned to my mom and announced, with absolute certainty, "She's bipolar." This was after I had finally sucked it up and started treatmnet but before she was officially diagnosed, mind you--and sure enough, a few months after that, the news of her diagnosis hit the press.

Now, she has a documentary out called "For the Record" that's been playing on MTV. I have to tell you, I know that a lot of people might think it's cheesy, but watching it makes me cry. I can absolutely relate to her. You see the Britney when she's genuinely happy; the Britney when she just puts on a "happy face" so that people won't see how badly she's struggling and drowning and feeling alone but God forbid you let people actually SEE it; and the Britney when she finally gives up pretending because she's SO far down and she can't keep up the facade anymore and it feels like looking up from the bottom of a pit and the light is so distant that it seems like you'll never see it again.

And even though some people may watch this and roll their eyes and write her off as another spoiled, rich celebrity, I have to tell you that it was actually hard for me to watch this documentary. Because even though the word "bipolar" never comes up, she does talk about "going from one extreme to the next," and that "the cool part is SO cool, and even though the heaven part is like HEAVEN, I've been to both places." To which I say: Amen, my crazy sista! And while I do think that yes, as it becomes more socially acceptable, the "bipolar" label is going to become overused, much as the "ADD" label has been slapped on every kid in schools today who doesn't want to sit still and listen. As I often say--and I saw this on a tshirt once--"I was bipolar before it was cool." Because even though those closest to me accepted the diagnosis--hell, WELCOMED it--and loved me anyway, there was (is) still a definite stigma out there about BP.

And that's the thing: pretty soon, you'll be able to announce that you're bipolar and people will look at you like, "Yeah, who isn't?" without even batting an eyelash. But it isn't going to take people like me coming out of the BP closet to change the status quo. It's going to take those in the public eye to step up and admit to the diagnosis for it to become more mainstream and accepted.

So....yeah. It bothers me that even now, in this documentary, she doesn't come out and use the dreaded "b" word. But there's a select group of us out there who truly understand what she's talking about when she says that these days, she no longer feels like her life is out of control. In fact, she says, "it's too IN control. There's no passion anymore, there's no excitement." Roll your eyes all you want to, but if that doesn't express how it feels to go from a hypermanic state to being on the very medication that is supposed to "fix" you and, instead, takes so much of the joy and creativity and happiness OUT of your life, then I don't know what does.

I can go through this entire documentary and point out each and every line that is a veiled reference to bipolar disorder. Am I reading too much into it? Am I looking for shit that isn't really there? Is she, when it comes down to it, just another spoiled, messed-up celeb? Sure, there are people out there--maybe even some of you--who think so.

But then again, being bipolar is something that you can't possibly understand from the outside looking in.
Please, sir, may I have another?

The good news: I've recovered from the flu, as evidenced by the fact that I ate--and kept down--chicken wings at my post-work "meeting" today (which, by the way, lasted for a record 5 hours--yeah, we had a lot to talk about). Whoo hoo! However, now that I'm over THAT, I have an ear infection (which could explain my recent dizziness and light-headedness). LOL--Brandi, are you adding this to the book?

It's not official yet, but I've been tugging on my left ear like a little kid since Sunday night (after a not-so-smart weekend swim in relatively cold weather). Finally, during our planning period at the end of the day, one of the moms on my team noticed what I was doing ("Uh-oh, I know what THAT means. Let's go"), marched me down to the nurse's office (never mind that, technically, I'm their supervisor--when it comes to stuff like this, they TOTALLY baby me; it's kind of cute) and told her to check out my ear. While I indignantly informed them that I was fine and that this whole thing was "gay," Nurse K. put her light-stick-thing down my left ear and actually WHISTLED before announcing, "Dude, there's some shit going on in there" (no kids were around, obviously) and telling me to go to the doctor for some medicine.

I protested, "But I haven't had an ear infection in YEARS."

(Sidebar: since the COLIN RAYE CONCERT, Mother. Remember that? When I had a fever of 105, an asthma attack, malaria, the Eboli virus, leprosy AND a double ear infection and you were all like, "Bitch, sit down and suck it up, I ain't leaving Colin Raye"? Remember that? But I digress.)

And Nurse K. said, "Well, you're making up for it now. You got a situation in your ear."

"You got a situation in your ear"????? THAT'S a diagnosis now?

As it happens, I have an appointment to see my doctor either this week or next; I have to call to find out for sure. I'm hoping it's sooner rather than later because apparently, I have a situation in my left ear.

But other than THAT, I feel pretty damn good. I had a 5-hour talk with The Girls (and one Very Hot Guy) today, and I'll tell you what, it sure as hell opened my eyes. I LOVE my Florida friends. Don't worry, Girl Tribunal--when you can't be here to physically slap the shit out of me, they do it for you. =-)

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm kind of digging this song these days...

Hot N Cold
Katy Perry

You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes
Yeah you PMS
Like a bitch
I would know
And you overthink
Always speak crypticly
I should know
That you're no good for me

Cause you're hot then you're cold
You're yes then you're no
You're in then you're out
You're up then you're down
You're wrong when it's right
It's black and it's white
We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up
(You) You don't really want to stay, no
(But you) But you don't really want to go-o
You're hot then you're cold
You're yes then you're no
You're in and you're out
You're up and you're down

We used to be
Just like twins
So in sync
The same energy
Now's a dead battery
Used to laugh bout nothing
Now you're plain boring
I should know that
You're not gonna change


Someone call the doctor
Got a case of a love bipolar
Stuck on a roller coaster
Can't get off this ride

You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes

Checking in
Now updated with pics!

I figured I should throw something up since it's been a while. I don't have much to say, really. Thanksgiving was good; the 5 day break was even better. Of course, per tradition, I got sick right at the end of it (I often get sick around holidays), so I came home from work early today. I'm feeling pretty crappy--and freakin' HUNGRY because nothing has stayed down since Saturday night.

So with Thanksgiving done, this is the time of year to look ahead to Christmas break (about 3 weeks!) and my return to the arctic tundra of Michigan. I'll be there for about 10 days--arriving around the 20th and leaving sometime before New Years'. As many of you know, Christmas with my crazy-ass family is DEFINITELY my favorite time of year, and I'm really looking forward to it, especially now. I'm not really feeling the holiday spirit this year and I'm definitely feeling "down", so seeing the family and friends back home should help.

Oh, here's a random thing that was still rather note-worthy, at least for me. One of my friends (well, a friend of a friend, but I think that maybe they could become my friend, too) has a dog--and I WASN'T ALLERGIC TO IT. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't be around any type of dog, even little ones, for more than 30 minutes or so without starting to feel pretty miserable. Well, this dog was a schnauzer (I probably jacked up the spelling of that one), which has HAIR and not fur. (It doesn't shed or anything, even--you just cut the hair every so often, like you do for people.)

Update: here are a couple of pics of mini-schnauzers, the kind this friend had, so that you can fully appreciate the cuteness:

I spent several hours around this dog (not THIS dog, but one like it) and I was totally fine. It was pretty amazing for me, actually. My friend had told me ahead of time about this magical Hair Dog and that I shouldn't have any problems around it, but I was still skeptical--hell, I'm the girl who's allergic to ELEPHANTS. (No, seriously. I rode one when I was a kid, at a circus or something when it came to town, and I was promptly taken to the ER for an asthma attack...LOL. Only me, right?) So, yeah. Maybe I COULD have a dog someday...after all, the psychic DID see a dog in my future (she was pretty definite about this particular point, actually).