Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Yesterday I had a unique experience at school. Now, understand that I try to keep my posts about work to a minimum--not because I have nothing fascinating to say, or out of some profound need to be respectful, but because I'd like to keep from becoming a statistic--you know--those people that get fired for blogging about their jobs.
Nevertheless, being a teacher doesn't define me, but it is certainly a part of me, so every once in a while I gotta say something. Here's my something:
A poor unfortunate young man totally lost it yesterday and went into a wild and woolly expletive-filled diatribe in one of the study centers. Let's just say, if it wasn't so offensive, he'd be congratulated on a superb and flawless conjugation of a particular anglo-saxon word. The sheer creative force behind the rant was eclipsed by the incredible speed of release. I mean, I suppose I could create a verbal bomb like his, but I don't think I could do it extemporaneously. He really needs to be recruited by one of those debate groups.
Naturally, the reaction was utter apoplexy on the part of everyone present, which soon gave way to fear. I mean, who wasn't expecting a shotgun after that rage? Michael Richards (Kramer) has nothing on this poor kid. Unlike Richards, though, it turns out the kid has tourettes syndrome. How wacky is that? Case closed.
Having recovered from that, I proceeded to move through my day today in a drone-like state. It's the end of the grading period, and tensions are running high, so I try to stay out of the way. Let's just say my exit after the last class is quick, and generally uneventful. Cue today's weirdness: I'm walking through the courtyard behind a very loud chick talking at the air in a very loud voice, which of course means she's a) crazy like a bat outta hell, or b) using a bluetooth.*
I vote for option b) the bluetooth, because it's better for my mental health.
I figure that since she was broadcasting her conversation for everyone in the courtyard, it's ok to talk about it here. She was arguing with her friend for leaving her behind for going to the bathroom. It was an amazing conversation, filled with accusations of abandonment and paranoid conspiracy implications--including demands for knowing who the abandoning friend was with at that very moment at the bus stop.
It ended on an unpleasant note, with a loud lamentation: "How long do you think it take fo' me to do number two?"
I couldn't make this up.
*A rant for another day--I am fascinated by people who use the hands-free devices in an effort to get the offending loose phone full of radioactive waves away from themselves--and stuck right into their ears for maximum exposure to their brains. Darwinism. Just sayin'.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I started saying "no" a few years ago, but it really takes a lot of practice for it to really come out naturally. I guess that we complicate our lives by taking on more than we can do well. So many times we say "yes" because it's something that we'd like to do, or want to do because someone has asked. More often than not, at least in my case, that new obligation creates a level of stress that was unnecessary, but now because of the commitment, is impinging on quality of life because there really isn't enough time in my schedule to complete the task well, or worse, the completion of that task puts a drain on family obligations that should have taken precedence.
Sounds dramatic? Maybe not, but every meeting, every committee, every activity that I take on becomes a drain on my time, which I don't really have much of since I went back to work full-time last spring. It's just made me a bit more selective in what I do, but the benefits for me have been great. I have a bit better control of the home front, although there are still days where I fall short of my expectations. Nevertheless, I think my mental health is way better, and indeed, less stressful. My blood pressure is doing way better, too, and that's the big bonus there.
So today, I was scheduled to ring the bells for the Salvation Army at a local mall. Believe me, it wasn't something that I sought, but it's one of those things that I have to do as part of my employment obligation--that is, we are expected to complete a certain amount of community service. My roomdog, Mary, as John calls the woman I temporarily share an office with, gave me an out today. Someone else was going to the ringing of the bells, so I didn't have to go. Woo-hoo!
I was prepared, with my camera in the car, to take many pictures and mock the experience here, but alas, reason and practicality kicked in--I have a lot of grading to do, and I have a class to teach, so I said, No!
Too bad for those of you expecting to see me playing Santa! A part of me is sorry, too, but a greater part of me is very relieved to be sitting in my office, getting ready to grade an ever growing stack of papers.
Nevertheless, I'll ring the bell from here. There are many organizations that need your support at this time of year to set their budgets for next year. Consider making a charitable contribution today. Check out my favorite organization and send them a check!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Mostly, I haven't been able to write a word, not even a thank you card, or directions to the bank. Not writer's block, more like, time block, or really, no time blocked for writing.
The trip to Miami was a trip, dammit, as it didn't quite go as planned. Again, not a bad thing, since the car broke down in my parent's driveway, and not on the turnpike. Everything after that was wonderful, as really there was no where to go but up after that little escapade. I will add the bonus picture, which includes all the old Cuban men from the neighborhood staring at my engine--as if their incredible powers of concentration could fix the problem. It was classic, and I did what any red-blooded daughter would do--I gave my Dad a peck on the cheek, said, "Thank you, Daddy," borrowed his car and had perhaps the best Martini of my life at my mother-in-law's house (She of the Emily Gilmore ilk, no kidding).
To her husband's dismay, they were out of olives, so I had cocktail onions, which are now my favorite. The rest of that visit was a bit Twilight Zonish, but Emily behaved.
The rest of the weekend went swimmingly well, and we had a lovely surprise visit by my brother and his tribe of little gorgeous monkeys, including my godson who is a giant cutie-pie.
So, to quote Dr. Frankenstein, "It's alive!"
Stay tuned for more...whenever.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
He of the On-Line Purchase disagrees heartily, believing that Mame, starring Lucille Ball, is a better film. Whatever. I like the black and white one best, although I do enjoy the one with Lucille Ball. They both have strengths, after all. I love Robert Preston and Bea Arthur in Mame, but it just happens that I saw Auntie Mame first, and so, definitively, that's the best one. It's my blog, so I said so.
Anyway, that got me thinking about crazy aunts. We all have them, right? I guess I have the potential to be one, too, and let me just go on record that I know I have the weird quirks to qualify. But I digress, this is about the quirky behavior that one of my aunts exhibits, namely, that she says what's on her mind--unedited. Let's just say, she speaks Truths, capital "T."
Once, she stated matter of factly to my brother and me, that she thinks everyone secretly enjoys the smell of their own farts. That's probably the champion of all statements coming from her. I think it gives you an idea. Another time, she announced that if she could, she would strip out her backbone, and clean it with a toothbrush and some WD40. To be honest, I can totally relate with that. It would be great to be able to give myself a little touch up like that.
So, tonight I'll settle in to watch the classic Auntie Mame, hopefully picking up some tips for endearing myself to the nieces and nephews. I'll try and remember to avoid conversations about bodily functions.
I can always leave that up to my brother: Peo.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Yes. It happened; I need bifocals. If you saw my outrage a couple of weeks ago about a lady begging for mine, then you'll know that this, above all else that my body has decided to betray me with, is the thing that makes me crazy.
Anyway, enjoy it. And if you like my Monday columns, or feel sorry for me for posting without getting any attention, why don't you jump on over to Rosary Army and give a donation to keep the apostolate alive?
You know you want to do it. It will make you feel sooooo good.
And we could sure use the money to keep making, praying, and giving away rosaries.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Why am I up at this hour? Math Team competition in Athens.
Who told me to have a geeky kid.
Amendment: Did I say Athens? Maybe I wasn't specific enough: The University of Georgia. I drop him off at the high school where the team is gathering, and I see that he's wearing a Georgia Tech cap. Yeah.
Friday, November 17, 2006
So, believe it: 4, 972 words.
My total is merely 14, 172 and it should be 25,000 but I've also totally slacked off this past week. I got into a good zone this morning, went to lunch at Chik-fil-A and was feeling sooooo pleased with myself that I came back with a strawberry milkshake and kept writing for another couple of hours.
Let's hope I can keep up with this momentum. At this rate I just might be able to catch up.
And for the record, I'm still feeling a bit weird about the story, but I'll worry about that later when I get into the revision. For now, still just vomiting words onto the page, um, monitor.
Pathetic, given the name of the blog, right? Well, that's how it goes. I'll stop at Mickey D's on the way into the office, and I fully intend to work on my novel until lunchtime. It's so sad to see those levels at NaNoWriMo not move anywhere, so I'll have to either catch up, or pack it in.
I better not pack it in. Thus a caffeine infusion this morning.
Perhaps I'll check in later with a grand total for the day. Adios!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I drank a Sierra Nevada, and it's an OK beer, um, ale, of the pale variety.
I prefer cellar beer, which is a tasty German beer that most gasthauses sell on tap as the local brew, as in, the house brew. It has a warm caramel color, and is not bitter like a pilsner. Actually, I'm surprised that I didn't enjoy the Sierra Nevada more, because I do tend to like ales. I used to drink Samuel Adams Boston Ale, and here's a pretty cool link to their site, but you might have to register your age before entering. It occurs to me that maybe the cellar beer is an ale, and I'm just using the German name for it.
John is partial to hefeweizen, which is yeasty, and I call it liquid bread. Very tasty, but terribly filling. And it has a high alcohol content, so one half liter is more than enough for a buzz to end all buzzes.
I immediately came up with like 40 different ways to respond to this, and be clever, and express my outrage. It's what I do--pretend to be amazingly clever.
Well, I sit down at my computer at home this afternoon, check some e-mail, moderate some goofiness at a forum, and then, figuring I'm going to impress my readers with a psychotic rail against that master criminal with the big brass ones, I decide to check in at Chad's blog to see if he added any more 12 of 12 people. I know it's weird--I don't know the man--he's got an interesting blog--he's got some interesting links to other interesting blogs. I read them--they amuse me or make me think, and here's the thing--I think that's what blogging is about, so forgive me with my total familiarity with this guy I don't know, and allow me to continue to refer to him as just Chad, some blogger in California.
ANYWAY, having discovered that he beat me to the punch about O.J., and having published a rather impressive rant himself, I bow to his post and suggest you read it here. That way I can rationalize that the whole bit in the previous paragraph about Chad's blog was just me having to spew something in response to O.J.'s audacity.
Have a nice day.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Isn't this the baseball annotation for three strikes--yer out?
But, no! I am in a tomb with no windows, listening to a priest on the other side of the world ramble about technology. It's a good thing he's gonna be talking about the Simpson's in a minute.
So, because I am in a bitter mood about being stuck in my office instead of playing outside, I post a list of pet peeves. Maybe it will make my bitchy mood go away.
Bego's pet peeves (today--tomorrow I could theoretically have a different list):
Monday, November 13, 2006
Who could get excited about the full story, here.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Since we were up we decided to go out for breakfast at one of those all-you-can-eat buffets. This is Jonathan's third or fourth plate. Or rather, what's left of it.
We went for a drive and found this guy flying a gigantic kite (it looks like a parachute) and he was on this skateboard-looking thing coasting along like he was windsurfing. Very cool.
Those of you who read my blog regularly, know that I am scandalized by the insane numbers of people driving their electric wheelchairs on the road and risking their lives, plus mine in a crazy endeavor. When I saw this sign I made John turn around and park so I could take the picture. He was mumbling something about spending extra time in purgatory for being an accessory, but I ignored him (as usual).
The kids raked the yard, but really, all they did was play in the leaves.
I did some laundry. Again. There's something satisfying about folding towels. Who knew that was a zen of towel-folding?
Meanwhile, the guys cleaned up the basement. This is the before picture. I didn't post the after because blogger was having a cow, but I'll put it up later. It actually looks like a room now.
I celebrated with a delicious Australian merlot, but didn't have any cheese or crackers worthy of such a fine wine. Bugles worked in a pinch. Actually, Bugles are pretty good with wine. Perhaps it's gauche, but it was an Aussie wine--they're mavericks, right?
After dinner Christy and I had our asses handed to us AGAIN. Those boys cheat.
Here I am working on my novel for NaNoWriMo. You can see the fist of frustration. At least it wasn't the finger.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The text of the message went something like this:
My personal opinion, Snape is good and will be redeemed in the next book, but that's neither here nor there. The point is he woke our butts up to pose the stupid question.
Vicky, of course, is tremendously agitated by the experience, I'm sure. I'm with my brother--a chuckle, and I rolled back to sleep.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I get a lttle creeped out by them, in a weird, science-fiction B-movie kinda way. The Stepford Wife quality of the chick in the picture doesn't help. I don't know about you, but I look like that in the morning when I warm up some water for tea.
First of all, I can't just put something in it and walk away. I am compelled to stand in front of it and wait. At some point I realize maybe that's not a good thing, so I take a step or two back.
By then I feel like all the cells in my body are cooking, and my scalp starts to tingle. Again, I move further away, only by then I am feeling totally stupid and embarrassed by my neurosis.
So of course, I publish my idiotic behavior here. I'm a loser.
Today is a glorious Indian Summer day. The sun is shining so brightly, and so warmly that I had to go outside and bask in its glow. Who knew I could be so romantic? About nature, no less?
I'll treasure the moment, because it isn't going to last. Tomorrow, we'll return to the damp gray dullness that is Atlanta in the fall.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
So the world is conspiring to keep me from writing. Jonathan busted out some brackets, so they went ahead and removed the whole thing. He celebrated by eating a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon.
I celebrated by taking a picture of his $4k mouth. He better wear his retainer.
Meanwhile, the run to the orthodontist cost me precious writing time (I love inventing reasons for not being able to write--it's part of the game).
Christy had a fantastical audition for the Governor's Honors Program for drama. She worked very hard on her monologue, and then the guy directed her differently. Ha! That's how it goes. She felt like she did her best, so now we wait to hear from them.
Meanwhile, she brings home these headshots, and so I tried to take a picture of her so I could say something clever, like "All right, Mr. Deville. I'm ready for my close up."
But, she was uncooperative, citing some goofy excuse like she was in her pj's and not in the mood for a picture. She's just grumpy. But cute.
And what news of Vicky? After spending all day at the polls yesterday, I took her home for some TLC and John's potato soup. She was feeling really crappy and spent the day at the university health clinic, where they first had to determine she didn't have mono (thanks, I'd like not to explore that one further) and determined that she had strep throat. I'd post a picture, but I'm feeling charitable.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
It's raining so everybody is going to make excuses.
Can't get to the polls cuz it's raining.
Can't get to class cuz it's election day.
I voted. Early. I also did something I never thought I'd do on purpose. For the first time in my life, I voted a straight ticket down partisan lines. Out of spite. Perhaps not the most patriotic thing to do, but hey, it's one of those you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't kind of things. I'm yearning for a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment.
I'm joing the anti-party party. I'm officially done with hyphenated Americanism. I'm American. Period.
We get the government we deserve.
Wow, that looks like some freaky drug-induced found poem or something. Perhaps the rain has put me in a foul mood. Or maybe the politicians did it. Who knows. It occurs to me, however, that I really don't have a great deal of interest in hearing the results tonight. Nevertheless, I will dutifully tune in. Maybe by tonight I will have drop kicked this cynical mood. Or maybe not, in which case I will watch The Distinguished Gentleman instead.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Figuratively speaking of course.
I think I may have blogged about it, but I'm in no mood to find the link, so I'll give the Reader's Digest version. I took the kids to school in John's old pick-up (the one that was burning oil and has since died a horrible death involving broken rods). We were running a bit late, so I wore: a Star Trek Starfleet Academy T-Shirt--complete with cadet on the sleeve, a pair of red bermuda shorts with paint stains, no socks, and brown hiking boots. I don't think I brushed my hair, I just tied a loose pony tail. Anyway, I stopped at a gas station to get gas after dropping off the kiddos, and I was approached by the poster-babe for Who's White Trash in America. She, of the 2-inch black roots and unnatural straw-colored hair, toting a 12-pack of Colt 45 in one arm, and a cartoon of Lucky Strikes under the other, asked me for a ride "back to the trailer park." I guess I deserved it.
That's the kind of experience one has once in a lifetime. I mean, I've never, ever, left the house looking like that again. In fact, I threw away the shorts, and only held on to the Starfleet Academy t-shirt for sentimental reasons. So, confident that I could never possibly attract anyone as weird as that ever again, I went on living my life while keeping a safe distance from those women who seem to be a "little on the trashy side."
As uncharitable as the next statement will be, there is a woman like that who tends to sit in front of me at mass. Let's face it, we are territorial, even in our seating at worship, so I sit in the same place, and she sits in the same place, maybe a pew or two ahead of me. She's a little bit...odd. Crazy died blonde hair, clothes a bit too young for her apparently advanced age (um, lest anyone accuse me of throwing stones, I'm no spring chicken, and really not against the tasteful approach to youthful clothes, ok?). She exhibits other bizarre behaviors, too, such as eating candy during the homily. Very weird. And very noisy, she tends to bring things that are wrapped tightly in hard cellophane, so we have to listen to the crinkling.
Tonight, after 5 or 6 years of exchanging pleasant nods, she decides to speak to us. It was worth the wait. NOT.
Here's the request, in the middle of the consecration, which is the most solemn part of the mass: "Do you have bi-focals? Can I borrow your bi-focals? There's something I gotta read."
Ok, so there are now several things going through my mind. First, what? Clearly, I must have looked at her funny, because she repeated the question. Second, what the heck does she need to read with such urgency during the consecration? I guess she used that time to catch up on her reading. I dunno, maybe listening to prayers and responding at the appropriate time was too much for her. Finally, and this one was the blow to my ego, do I look like I need bi-focals? I can't deny the passage of time.
If I was in a better mood I'd look up a suitable line of poetry about graceful aging or something. Really, though, I'm not in the mood.
But back to the chick. Whatever it was that she had to read was really bugging her, because a little while later she turns around and taps on John's arm, like he was asleep instead of, oh, I dunno, reverently waiting for his turn to go up to communion. "Excuse me, can I borrow your bi-focals? There's something I have to read."
John shot her a look of incredulity that could melt an iceberg. She became agitated and starting waving, WAVING! at Barb to get her attention. It was unsuccessful, because Barb, being of sound mind, chose to not see a hysterical chick waving at her during communion. I wish we could have done that.
We never did see what was so urgent--we ducked out before the blessing to set up dinner for the teens. You can bet I'm going to be sitting in a different spot next week.
Oh, yeah. Not much. Only 1,500 words or so. That's less than half what I needed to do for yesterday and today. That, plus the fact that what I am writing is totally stupid, has somehow oddly spurred me on to continue. Go figure.
I think when I finish I'll even upload it. For grins and giggles. At least it will serve as an example of how necessary revision is. I've already caught myself in a major plot inconsistancy. Thank goodness the book is scrambled and only the words count.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Frick and Frack will be in worse shape, as those cross country uniforms barely qualify as underwear (unless you are a boy--then it Is the underwear).
It's currently 34 degrees, but feels like 29. That's nice. NOT!
Friday, November 03, 2006
I think eBay is very cool. It's a great way to get rid of stuff you don't want, or a great place to get hard to find, unusual, or cheap stuff. But, I think it's also a source of crazy, inappropriate, and sometimes just plain wrong merchandising.
Why can't this guy just take those letters to a church, where they can end up in an offering as they were intended? We all know that the intent to pray is the prayer, so those letters served their purpose for the writers, but it just seems plain tacky to sell those folks' pain.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This is my favorite time of year. Ok, well, I like spring, too. And winter. Maybe it's just that I don't like summer, so anything that isn't summer is my favorite time of year. Yeah.
But, I really do like fall.
This afternoon I went to move my car at work. I parked at the end of the lot, which isn't a bad thing during the day, but since I leave at night and it's dark at 8 pm, I like to move closer to the building, where the security people are huddling because they are afraid to patrol the parking lot in the dark.
It was the kind of fall day that made me regret not having my camera. The sun was shining brightly, so you could feel the heat on your face in spite of the cold crisp air. And there was enough of a breeze to make the leaves flutter and rustle about. It was a Great Pumpkin day.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Feverish planning: that doesn't count for the words
Resisting revision: priceless!
Stupid avoidance behavior for the day: I wrote longhand while giving midterms. I counted the words manually. I'm a loser.
Little engine that could moment: I can do this!
Incidentally, for those of you wondering what this means, it's National Novel Writing Month. Check out the website.