Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things I Do Now that I Work at a Desk

I used to be a "classroom teacher" which means my day was like this:

5:45am roll out of bed and stagger in a state of exhausted delirium to the kitchen where I'd make a good deal of noise preparing cereal.  Get dressed in the dark and put my hair away in some sort of frizzy ponytail because I went to bed with it wet.  Go to work.

If it is post winter break, I will have gift cards to coffee establishments and, if I am running early and it is cold, I may get coffee or tea.  

7am: arrive at work and start up computer (Windows XP for the win).  Make tea if I did not already procure a hot beverage.  Usually this tea is throat coat because usually I am either sick, allergic to school, or vocally exhausted. 

7:15 computer is ready.  Kids start arriving for homeroom.  I make copies and generally stagger around with my winter coat on, getting ready for the day and "warming up."  Literally.  I have to go through my emails and permanently delete a bunch because my mailbox is probably full.  I try to respond to the various parent emails and hope there's no "crisis" (kid got a B).

7:45 school starts.  Interact with children.  Tell them to stop doing that.  Tell them to sit.  Tell them this or that anecdote.  Try to get them to look at me and not Fredrick the mouse who lives in my classroom.

9:30 prep/parent meetings/snack/gossip with fellow teachers.  Prep is THE BEST especially when there's a surprise snack of some kind.  It can be LIIIIIIKE one hershey kiss, I'll still be entralled.  My whole world is food.

Teaching and stuff.  We write poems.  Or read books.

12:45 lunch which I eat at my desk while various students wander in and out of my classroom.  I almost always have yogurt and carrot sticks because it was all I could grab at 5:45am.

Teaching and stuff.  We perform Shakespeare.  Or write dramatically ironic fables. We do plays about grammar.  

2:00 advisory: kids do hw while I try to do work such as grading and/or prep and/or administrative stuff one always seems to have to do.  Kids with no hw do my bidding.  This usually involves counting books or making snowflakes out of coffee filters (which are the best material for making snowflakes, fyi.  I'm sure this fact has changed your life).

3:00 rehearsal for the play (Dec-May).  Sometimes I have a snack if I thought of it or if MAGICAL SNACK MOM brings me one.  I yell things at children like "THE WATER LOOKS CLUMPY!"  "SMILE BIGGER!  YOU ARE IN LOVE!"  or "DIE CENTER!!!!"  A play happens.  There's singing and dancing.

5:30 shuffle in the darkness to my car and head home. This is the only time I am alone all day except during my drive in. 

6:00 So tired.  Eat peanut butter and maybe go to the gym.  Grunt to husband about my day when he prods for details and stories about awesome, nerdy children. Sing parodies of whatever play we're doing to Ruby. 

8:00 shower and become one with the couch. Watch TV until I become unconscious (9pm).  Get carried to bed (I love you, Doctor!).

THE END!

Now I have these snippets of jobs scattered throughout the week.  8-16 hours of this involves me, in an empty classroom, at a desk, doing administrative work.  I generally interact with others 1-2 times a week and these others are never children.  So, here's my day:

7:10 am: wake up either because I've set and alarm or Doctor gently (suuure) wakes me after he showers.  Leisurely shower, make coffee, and breakfast, which is almost always oatmeal but, if I didn't preggo hate them so much, might be eggs and toast or something exciting like that.  Drink coffee
(one cup a day oooh livin' on the edge) and read the internet.  Get dressed and run a brush through my hair which looks fine because it's clean and/or recently blow dried.  Sing commercial indie pop to Ruby.  Have a conversation with the Doctor.  Look outside my window (it's LIGHT out).

8:10 leave for work.  Talk to Booberry in the car. Take instagram pics of Mt. Hood if it's a clear day while I'm at stop lights.  If I feel special and/or wealthy today, go to Starbucks and buy myself a tea and muffin.

IF I'M AT MY DESK JOB

9:00 arrive at work.  There is no one waiting at my door.  Children are safely in their own classrooms and not camping outside their lockers. My classroom is sometimes home to meetings or book fair, but generally is uninhabited.

9:05 fire up Macbook which I hate because, as the manual says, "it's just like a PC except everything is slightly the opposite." Read facebook on my phone.

9:06 computer is ready to go and all my emails/docs are open!  Read the one or two emails I have.  Look at the to do list on my google calendar.

9:30  Have completed to do list.  NOW, I have the following options:

1.  read files: there are three file drawers full of various things my predecessor printed out.  Some of it is research on gifted education that EXPLAINS MY CHILDHOOD TO ME (oooooh I was such a cry baby because I was SMAAARRRT) which I kinda like reading.  And also obsolete records of past kids and A LOT of prints outs on none other than Harold Bloom, who wrote about educational philosophy and who most people don't reference any more (with notable exceptions).  Usually this is what I do for most of the day.

2.  Listen to music: I like to listen to my "solo piano" station on Pandora because it makes me feel smart and dramatic, like I'm in a Victorian novel or I'm Emily Dickenson or someone, but I also like to listen to my "John Williams" station which makes me feel like a JEDI.  Sometimes it stresses me out, though, especially when Hans Zimmer starts BROOOOOOOMing.

3.  Try to gather information about my job.  If it's not in the files, this involves emailing various people I've never met.  They are all very friendly and helpful in their responses and I feel guilty for being such a clueless freak who doesn't know anything about this school district.  I also need to do things like count books and don't have any minions to do it for me which makes me sad.  I want to make some snowflakes but there doesn't seem to be an audience for them. 

4.  Eat.  My whole world is food.  Today I had a precious Starbucks muffin which I placed on the heater to keep warm and dutifully waited a full hour before consuming it.   I'm not even hungry!  I'm just bored snacking.  The plus side is I can pack healthy snacks that are good for fetuses.  The negative is that I pack spagetti o's and goldfish crackers along with apples and yogurt and fill up on those awesome orange foods first.  Orange foods are the best foods (orange cheese, orange juice, mac and cheese, those candies that are little orange slices).

5.  Desk Exercises.  So much fun.  The problem is I have this window by my door across from my computer which people are constantly walking past, so when I want to do embarrassing exercises like squatting (butts are never bigger than when they are squatting...and my butt is bigger than usual due to my loose hips and excess snacking), I go over in this little corner where I don't think people can see me.  If someone were to come in, it would be WEIRD.

6.  Internet "research" (#5 took a bit of sleuthing), and general email upkeep.  I used to NEVER answer personal emails or manage my junk mail.  Now, my inbox is SQUEAKY CLEAN!

7.  Come up with reasons to leave the room.  Technically, this counts as "desk exercise."  But, I try to make sure that I do not combine bathroom, printer, microwave, and trolling for surprise snacks in the teacher's lounge errands.  These are now individual errands to be spaced out throughout the day.

4:00 pm: Congratulations, self!  You have now worked an 8 hour day!  You are now done for the day and are free to go.  No homework, grading, or panicked emails from twelve year olds to answer.  Just go home and live your life.  Like most people do. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Does my new job sound amazing?  I suppose it does to many folk.  But I'm used to NEVER BEING ALONE and never having time to be organized.  As a result, I am highly efficient and tend to either rush through tasks or just plain complete them before my allotted time is up.  And when I get home now, all I want to do is chat and interact with people as opposed to grunt and curl in a ball and sleep, which means that I have to leave my house sometimes or people have to come over and I have to wear pants.  Somehow I'm still tired at the end of the day and look forward to becoming one with the couch.  Funny how that works.  Do I miss my glamorous teacher gig?  Yes, quite.  Even Fredrick.  Do I concede that my life right now is pretty cushy?  Sure, the two peppermint patties I just peacefully ate without any children asking me to give them candy can attest to that if they weren't inanimate and in my belly. 

And that, my friends, is the perfect way to end this post.  DEAD PEPPERMINT PATTY!

Sorry, didn't mean you...


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to Build an Ikea Bedside Table aka I refuse to let this be a metaphor for my life/marriage

So my wonderful mother-in-law bought us a crib.

It's white.  It looks like a crib.  
THANK YOU!

She also was ever so kind as to buy us a bedside table to go in the kid room.  What follows is in no way her fault.  She tried to buy us a fancier table but we opted for a very simple and inexpensive one.  We are awesome (cheap) like that.  

The first (simplest, or so it seemed) task was to put together the bedside table.
It's gonna look like this.

I started out alone (it's easy to see how this could be a metaphor...but don't let it).  On my owwwwwwwn (cue music), I started with THE BOX.  It should be simple.  Open the box.  I did not have scissors.  So then I had to waddle off to find scissors.  Then I returned and realized that the box is GLUED shut on all four sides. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SIGN.  I felt the flash of regret at choosing this table when I could have had one for $5 from my favorite thrift store.  Sure, the thrift store one would have had ridiculously deep scratches and dust of mysterious origin, but it would have been assembled.  

After ripping the various layers of the box into shreds so that I could get my scissors into it and, lo, open the box, I had to tip the whole thing over onto the rug to get all the pieces out.  THUD CLUNK ONOMATOPOEIA.  From the basement, The Doctor yells to inquire if I am okay.  He does not join me upstairs for another ten minutes.

When at last my knight in shining armor arrives, I am still on step one.  The instructions are 30 steps long and read much like the non-verbal IQ tests I have to learn how to administer for work.  You have to make sure that you have a) the right piece of seemingly but not identical wood rectangle b) all the various sized holes facing just the right way c) the appropriate pegs and screws (of which there are three that look alike via the instruction manual but are vastly different sizes).  The Doctor bravely takes over the task while I stretch (lie down) on the floor.  

He made it to step two before rage quitting.  I had the rectangle facing the wrong way, turns out, during step one.  I harangued him for giving up (not a metaphor) and he begrudgingly had me fetch some tools while he took over the very important man-task of RTFM (read the...manual, a classic my dadism).

Soon we were rolling along.  Things were going well.  He felt like the head of household he is and I felt confident in our mutual intelligence.  But it was grueling hard work.  It was tiring.  I know, because I was working really hard (lying on the floor, watching).  And then, the drill ran out of batteries.  

Ugh how long does it take to charge a drillllllll?  Ok long enough that we decide to sleep on it.  I close up the room so cats don't eat any screws and we shuffle off to bed.  

My friend seemed to be surprised that I had such trouble with this project.  
HER:  Didn't you take stagecraft in college?
ME: Yeah.  I got an A.
HER: So you should be good at this.
ME: I also put a nail through the professor's thumb...
HER: Oh.  Yeah.  I remember now.
ME: You know in school how you had to take those little fake tests where it said, "Read all the directions before beginning the test?" and the last direction was "don't take this test?"  Well, I was the kid clucking like a chicken and following all the steps in blind order, thinking I was winning by finishing all the questions first, before feeling like a dummy when I finally made it to the last question.  Turns out, that was life lesson.  

Tuesday: As I sleep in (yay no school this week), and The Doctor kisses me as he heads off to the office, he mentions that perhaps I will have time to finish off the project.  "It'll only take half an hour!"  He insists.  I squint dubiously and then inexplicably burst into tears of overwhelmed emotion at the prospect of doing this ALONE (not a metaphor).

I am so busy Tuesday (so many house projects are more fun than going into that blasted room), that, when The Doctor arrives at 5:30pm, I'm still hanging Christmas lights inside all of our outward facing windows (two days before Thanksgiving is the right time to hang Christmas lights...it was URGENT, I tell you).

They're pretty.

SUPER begrudgingly, The Doctor goes to work on the nightstand ALONE while I sing Christmas songs and make everything merry and VERY bright.  I only hear him yell once.  Then I join him.  The project is almost done.  Ruby seems to like it.   It looks GOOD.  I am impressed.  The last step is the drawer.  

Uh oh.  The Doctor realizes he has done something wrong at some point in the past.  What point?  He can tell me exactly.  Have we all been there?  Yes...well all of us in the room...well not Ruby.  She's a cat.  Can he fix it?  No.  The stupid dowel things are nearly impossible to take out and the floopdydoops are too far inside to get out without splintering the wood (he splintered the wood a little).  As a result, the drawer will not go in...

Side note: sometimes things just work out due to magical thinking.  That's sometimes how things happen to us in my family.  For example, I used to have pretty severe TMJ (clicky jaw).  It was painful, annoying, and persistent, even after I clenched through my mouth guard and tried various behavior therapies.  I had resigned myself to having this cursed condition forever.  Then, on a flight to Hawaii, I fell asleep with my jaw resting on The Doctor's skull.  When I awoke, I surreptitiously wiped the drool from my face and into his hair ("product") and realized I had a horrible jaw ache.  It hurt the whole vacation.  But then I realized, it wasn't clicking any more.  I WAS CURED!  It hasn't clicked since and doesn't hurt.  HE'S A FANTASTIC DENTIST.  

The Doctor stares at the blasted bedside table with a seething fire.  And the does what toddlers and adult men have done for centuries.  He HADOUKENS it onto the rug.  

HADOUKEN!

The drawer pops in!  FIXED.  Well done, team!  We high five and it freeze frames as the credits roll...THE END.

Ok.  No.  The drawer now won't open.  The bedside table LOOKS functional...but it's just...not.  I mean.  It's functional as a SURFACE.  And as something that looks fine.  But...hahaha.  No.  

We begin to laugh.  We google the IKEA return policy...yeah that's not happening.  We laugh some more.  We put the stand next to the bed.  It looks....JUST GREAT!  

Things I am thankful for this holiday:
1.  A husband willing to do my bidding...even when it turns out to be beyond both of our skill sets.
2.  A husband super good at tooth carpentry because neither of us can cut it as actual carpenters and we need to have money to buy semi-functional furniture.  
3.  A fetus that, thus far, seems to be more of an Ethan Allen than an Ikea.  Keep kicking, Booberry.  
4.  A holiday weekend in which, hopefully, my dad can team up with The Doctor to put the crib together...
5.  A shared sense of humor with my awesome teammate and fellow stagecraft graduate.  

YAY for family.  Happy Thanksgiving!  

I made dis.  



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I win the internet...

I don't know who brought the glorious Pinterest into my life, but it is an amazing time suck of awesome.  As a result of this website, I've started using a lot of baskets in my home decor and I bake a lot of things in unconventional appliances.  There are wins (energy bites) and losses (do not try to make a regular t-shirt into a sporty tie t-shirt unless it is a GIANT shirt) Here is a list of some of my triumphs and failures.

Dessert
The most important category, of course.

1.  Baking things in mugs: the brownie beats the cookie but only if you have ice cream because the brownie doesn't really cook through but tastes great.  The cookie in a mug I tried tasted weird and rubbery so I gave it to the Doctor who smothered it with milk and was very happy.  WIN!

2.  Brownies in a waffle iron: do not try unless you want to be scraping burned brownie scraps off your waffle iron and sadly, still eating them.  LOSE.

3.  Eggless cookie dough!  There's the healthy hummus one which is very good when you want to rationalize that you're eating healthy.  Super good on apple slices and those fancy graham crackers.  And then there's the delicious one which is just cookie dough without eggs or baking soda.  You can reduce the recipe to single serving.  Good plain or with ice cream.  WIIIIIIN
om nom.

4.  Soft coconut oil sugar cookies.  Because coconut oil is cool.  WIN

5.  Brownies with caramel:
Huge LOSE.  They do not look like the picture and they just become wet, unfinished brownie smush.  So...win? 

Now I'm hungry.

HOME STUFF and entertaining
I have one of those...homes.  And here's what I've learned from the internet!

1.  Use a stand for toiletries:
Lose.  My toiletries aren't so cute and monochromatic and don't really fit on the stand.  Also my stand is silver which tarnishes like crazy.  So I have this stand in my bathroom with one bobby pin on it.  

2.  Wrap canisters in paper for cookies or gift boxes.  SUPER WIN!  These are the ones I made last year:
3.  ALL THE BASKETS!  Baskets are my favorite.  I am so my mother.  

4.  Closet organization.  More baskets.  And:

For cleaning.  Or toys for future child.

5.  Parties!
Two wins: Hang balloons from the ceiling:

Take different sized cookie cutters and make a hanging garland:
From awesome NYE partay.

Food that is not completely sugar based.  

1.  Delicious summer app:  Strawberry bruschetta:
REAL PHOTO:  Baguette.  Goat cheese or mascarpone, basil, strawberries, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.  YUM WIN.  

2.  Crock pottery!
Bolognese: meh
Minestrone: YAY (but Mark Bittman's is the same and just as good and I love him)
Tomato Basil Cheesy Soup: RICH but win 

3.  Baked zucchini salty goodness I ate in one sitting.  For real healthy.  I promise.  Win.


There are so many things I have YET to try.  Is it a waste of time if it's THE MOST FUN EVER?!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Me Want Food

I'm sitting here icing my arm because apparently you're not supposed to workout directly after getting allergy shots because it's speeds up all your BLOOD and stuff and makes you react faster.  So I have a welt on my arm the size of a baseball.  I'm special.

This happened to me a couple years ago when I got shots the day of The Hunger Games midnight premiere and forgot to call my allergist when I had a mild reaction because I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT THE HUNGER GAMES THAT NOTHING ELSE MATTERED.  And then the next week my arm simply couldn't handle the amount of grass serum being injected into and got looking REALLY CUTE just in time for a long day at school.

In general, though.  I feel ever so much better than I have the last few months.

It's the kind of thing where you don't know how bad you felt until you feel better.  My ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor from a few years ago really enlightened me to this phenomenon.  You see, I had a GIANT CYST in my sinus which is an extra attractive attribute of mine.  He took it out for me, and, in my follow up appointment, was gleefully pulling "crusts" (don't ask) from my nose and showing them to me.  I told him, "I'm really glad you like your job, but please stop showing me things that have been in my nose."  He said, "You know that thing you mom tells you: 'you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can't pick your friend's nose?'  Well, I can!  And I get paid for it!"  A joke he probably tells all his patients.  Then he said, "But seriously, I'm just excited because you are going to feel SO MUCH BETTER!  You don't even know!"  And I did.  It's nice to have a clear sinus cavity!  WHO KNEW?!

The thing is, a few weeks ago my friend (I MISS YOU GANGER) and I were doing this cool new thing, google chat, because we are the hippest and coolest ever (it's free) and she, probably sick of me complaining to her about my sleepiness and craziness and carsickness and general lumpiness, asked me, "Is there anything good about being pregnant?"  I thought long and hard.  What I came up with was, "My hair grows really fast and is really shiny!"  And she was impressed.  But then I said, "So is my leg hair, though."  Less impressed.  "My toenails are really strong!" I offered.  She was mildly proud of me. I tried, "I have zits on my boobs?"  No comment.  "I'll think of something.  I'm sure of it."  She waited patiently.  Finally, I said, "I guess the having the baby part is the good part and the rest of it is just fine."  Which is nice and all...but then I took a nap.

But now, just about midway through this thing, I came up with something really good!  AND IT'S FOOD!  So, I lived mostly on multigrain cheerios (no milk) for the majority of the summer.  My OB was cool with it, saying, "Whatever gets you through!"  But it's kinda depressing eating only off white foods.  BUT NOW I LOVE FOOD!  I am only nauseated sometimes in the morning and only when I make the Doctor bacon because apparently bacon is my worst enemy now (sad, I know).  Generally, though, I eat like a champ.  I can eat so much more than I thought I could.  I'll be eating and then eat the normal amount and be ready to be done but then I'll kinda rally and be like, "you know what? I CAN DO THIS!" and then eat more stuff.  The thing is.  I have the slowest metabolism on the planet.  Not really.  But I have been told I have a middle-aged-woman metabolism.  And so generally, eating DELICIOUS Tillamook peanut butter ice cream every day would catch up to me.  But this is the magic part.  It's not (yet!).  If this changes, I will sadly bid adieu to my double string cheese a day habit and my "pretend" Starbucks (decaf lattes I pretend are the real deal).  But until then...


In other news I'm still crazy, in case you were wondering.  Just hours ago I screamed at the radio, "I do not want to hear F******* 'Wrecking Ball!'" after changing the station three times and it was ON EVERY ONE.  

One last note from a gchat convo.  My friend asked me about my new nephew (so cute) and asked if he's a good baby.  I said, "Yeah!  He's great.  He eats and sleeps and stuff."  She said, "Isn't it crazy that all it takes to be a good baby are those two things?  So simple"  And I said, "Yeah.  If only all things in life were that simple.  If so, I'M A GREAT BABY!"

Full disclosure, it has come to my attention that I was not that great of a baby...that was then, though.  I got the hang of it...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My left foot....

Sometimes our bodies betray us.  We'd like to think we would survive the Hunger Games (omg November 20th!), but most of us are not Katniss.

But a girl can dream.

Lately, because of my adorable medical condition, my body has betrayed me more than usual.

Last weekend, I did this really cute thing where, two days in a row, I almost passed out while standing.  Once, at a warm, crowded, house warming party.  And once in line at Trader Joes (aka my happy place).  Fortunately, the Doctor was there both times to supervise me putting my head between my legs as I sweated profusely.

Fun fact, this is a very normal symptom.  I know because, in high school, I was not knocked up, but I was kinda tired and singing in a choir concert at the Pleasanton Hotel.  I started to fade.  The world became boiling hot and my vision started looking like, I'm sorry to make this reference, but when your heath is super fading during a first person shooter video game...I began to list to the side, leaning on the itty bitty sophomore next to me.  My mom didn't seem to notice this, but the girl's aunt did, and during the song break, she whisked me away to a bathroom and put me in fetal position on the floor.  When I came back to reality, I realized I was on a public bathroom floor and sat up.  The woman said, "I knew what was wrong with you because it used to happen to me all the time when I was pregnant!  SO it'll happen to you when you're pregnant!"  And I was allllll, "Um....I'm 16....I don't....zzzz."  But that gypsy woman's prophecy has haunted me since (she wasn't a gypsy...I don't think.  She was mysterious and had lustrous, dark, curly locks).

But today, the biggest betrayal in my life is my left foot.


Okay, it's not as bad as whatever was wrong with Daniel Day-Lewis...I didn't see the movie...

It's "hammer toe."  I heard the doc say something about bunion I'm going to forget I heard.   And some plantar fasciitis.  FASCIST FEET!  I know the root doesn't mean that...but it should.  If you look it up on wikipedia, it tells you that it's caused by being a SUPER ATHLETE

I AM KATNISS!


...or gaining weight.  

I went to water aerobics AND prenatal yoga last week...

Okay it's probably the second thing because I eat food now.  

Wikipedia and the doctor actually said it's because I wear shoes that force my feet into the shape of the shoe.  Ironically, I have been praised for my "perfect" looking feet.  I know that's a weird thing to be proud of...or praised for, but it HAPPENED.  This one time, I was at a sleepover and my friend's mom told me I have perfect feet because my toes aren't all splayed apart like hers, which she said was because she was Hawaiian.  I don't know...she maybe had some self-esteem issues.  And, apparently, significantly healthier feet than I have.  I have the American version of bound feet.  

The doc said I have to wear shoes with wider toe sections.  

Me: So I have to wear nerdier shoes?
Dr.: Yep!

She also prescribed me this:
It will cure me.  And, no, I can't just wear the things they give you at the pedicure place...I asked.  

I also have to buy some old lady shoes.

I may have cried at Nordstrom Rack trying on shoes...

Shoes I won't wear:
Mountain climber granola shoes

Too sporty but not for sports.
Shoes for when I'm in a nursing home
No.

I will wear clogs.  But only sometimes.  They don't look good with skinny jeans or leggings.  And burgeoning bump looks good with skinny jeans and leggings.  Dressing oneself is HARD.  When I was four, I decided I would sleep in my clothes because it was efficient.  I don't know that I knew the word "efficient" but I did to save the hassle of getting dressed every day.  

Not to mention that shoes that are good for you are quite spendy.



WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!

Don't get me started on my eyebrows.




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Young Adult Books for Adults

Today's the first blustery, rainy, fall-like day here in beautiful Portland, Oregon.  It makes me want to curl up with a good book.  Yet...

I have a problem with literature right now.  I've always loved reading.  As an eight-year-old, I wanted nothing more than to be Harriet the Spy.  In middle and high school, the world of The Golden Compass made me believe so much that my soul really could live outside my body in the form of an animal that it hurt (read. that. series). And as a twenty-five-year old, Katniss Everdeen encouraged me to...exercise...(you know I would die so fast in the Hunger Games, though.)  Here's the problem.  I'm not sixteen.  I haven't been in a decade and change.  So where's my FUN story?  Where's the twenty-something who can save the world?

I tried.  I forced myself to read the adult fiction bestsellers.  I HATED Gone Girl.  I hated the characters.  I hated how it glorified a woman behaving how she did and called it strong and smart.  I didn't finish IQ84.  I liked the part with the greenhouse and the butterflies but I kept waiting for STORY.  But nothing compares to my hatred for Swamplandia.  Critically acclaimed, I thought it was a slam dunk based on the premise: a teenage girl lives and works in a Florida amusement park in which the main attraction is wresting alligators.  I read the book.  Finished it quickly.  And I THREW THE BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM!  Go ahead.  READ IT.  Everyone else liked it.  But the ending was so unfinished...leaving the teenage protagonist in such a state of crisis.  I don't need happy endings.  I just need ENDINGS.

Side note:  one I did love that is marketed to adults is Where'd Ya Go Bernadette?  Written by a past Arrested Development writer and set in Seattle, it is haunting and hilarious, like really smart Desperate Housewives.  It's almost chick lit except that it's SO GOOD.  Go for it.

So I'm back on YA.  Here's my list of books I'd recommend.  Fast reads, easy reading level, and quality writing, these are books for kids that adults also love.

In no particular order:

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  
In no particular order except this one.  This book was given to me by a coworker with the daunting endorsement, "This Book Will Change Your Life."  Smash cut to me WEEPING in the teachers' lounge.  It wasn't only because the WWII Germany set book is sad, which it is, but I cried also because the book was OVER.  I missed the characters.  It's really not your typical sweeping Holocaust epic.  It's about Nazi Germany and most of the characters aren't Jewish.  Also it's in first person narration from the perspective of DEATH.  Also, half-way through, Death spoils the ending and, somehow, that makes the eventual ending all the better, all the more bittersweet and inevitable.  It's beautiful.

2.  The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Check out John Green's Vlog  It's hilarious, insightful, and FAST TALKING.  I love it.  John Green wrote several books in the YA genre and they're all smart and not at all condescending to kids.  That makes them more fun to read as an adult.  This one, though, is GOING TO MAKE YOU UPSET. Because it's about kids with cancer.  But somehow it is sometimes funny.  And beautiful.  I wouldn't recommend reading this one on a plane.  BECAUSE YOU WILL CRY.  Otherwise you are inhuman.  A note on the title: taken from Julius Caesar, the original quote says that it's not the stars' fault that "we are underlings," it's our own fault.  This quote of course feels like bull when you think about children with cancer.  Clever twist.

3.  Graceling by Kristen Cashore
The pitch.  X-men set in a fantasy/medieval world.  The main character is "graced" meaning she has two different colored eyes and has special abilities.  Everyone who is graced has different abilities. Some are kinda cool but not too super hero-like such as being a really good cook.  The main gal, though, she is really good at fighting and not getting hurt or sick.  Fantastic action hero.  Boys and girls love this book.  It also has the best bad guy ever.  He is graced, and his power is that you will believe anything he tells you.  Best ever.


4.  Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie (I wish we were on a first name basis) is, in my opinion, the very best YA writer EVER.  She writes beautifully and has a way of making me care about teenagers and their romances.  If you're a female and/or secretly love Twilight, you will love her Shiver series.  It's lovely.  This one, though, it really good for everyone.  The concept is hard to explain.  You see, it's set on this imaginary, Irish (or Scottish) island where, in November, they have a horse race.  Except they don't race regular horses.  They race carnivorous, amphibian...sea horses.

Not:
More like:
I wanna read it again.  Why does this crazy book work?  Because Maggie makes it seem SO REAL that I googled it to make sure a) the island wasn't real and b) the horses weren't real.  They seemed so real I became stupid.  Something about that book really got to me and I also cried when it was over.  I just get upset sometimes when my books end.  

5.  Feed by MT Anderson.
This book is amazing because the concept is something that will probably happen but the book was written even before smart phones.  Basically, the internet is in your HEAD.  And your feed connects you to everyone else who has internet.  There's also a class, I'll call it, of people who are kinda hippies and don't believe in putting in the feed.  Also, like smart phones, there's the highest quality, most expensive version, and the cheaper knockoff.  One character has one of those cheaper models...and it starts to glitch her.  Also your feed can be hacked.  There's a lot of good social commentary in this and the story is just plain exciting.  
6.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman.  Another concept.  In the future, the conservatives and the liberals go to war over abortion.  The compromise: no abortions.  You may abandon your baby on a doorstep if you don't want it ("storking") and the person who finds the baby must keep and raise it.  Lots of kids are wards of the state.  And, if you have a child, you can choose to "unwind" him or her when they are between the ages of 13-18.  Unwinding is full of propaganda, and people believe that it is a good deed.  What they do is take a kid, kill him, and surgically remove every part of him.  Every part of him will be reused.  Instead of wearing a cast for six weeks when you break an arm, you get a brand new unwound arm.  If you need glasses, you get unwound, perfect 20/20 eyes.  People seriously think this is a good idea.  In fact, some religious fanatics tithe one of their kids, letting him get unwound because it's the Christian thing to do.  The three main characters are kids who try to run away from their unwinding fates: a kid whose parents choose to unwind him, a ward of the state who doesn't have enough talent to be kept alive, and a tithe.  Very action packed.  

7.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I read this whole book in one sitting and, subsequently, stayed up way too late.  The premise is a bit dark.  This boy gets some cassette tapes in the mail...from a girl...who killed herself.  The tapes say that if you receive the tapes, you're one of the reasons she killed herself.  The mystery unfolds quickly and somehow this book is not horribly depressing.  Just a little depressing.  
8.  Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker/Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  Two books.  Kinda similar.  In Age, the rotation of the earth slows, causing catastrophic environmental changes.  In Life, the moon is hit by a meteor and gets closer to earth, causing catastrophic environmental changes.  Both have teenage girl protagonists who spend most of the book stuck in their houses with their ailing families.  Age is more literary, with the narration slowing beautifully with the earth itself.  Life is more stressful, and maybe exciting.  Also it has sequels I haven't read because I stopped reading books about the end of the world...but they're good stuff.  

9.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The pitch: Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day.  The mean girl in question goes through a normal day, making bad choices in high school, dating the wrong guy, going to a party, getting in a car with drunk friends, and then dying in a crash.  That's the first chapter.  She then wakes up, and like Bill Murray, has to live the day again, but do it right this time.  Except, unlike Bill, she only has seven tries.  And what happens if she gets it right?  Lauren Oliver also writes the Delirium series which is...a lot like other YA girl books.  This one sat with me, haunted me even.
10.  Divergent by Veronica Roth
Did I call it?  Is it the next Hunger Games? The movie will tell, I suppose.  Also the third book in the series which comes out next month.  If you are hankering for a female teenage protagonist in a dystopian America, this is the series for you.  The concept is cool (different personality types determine where you live in society), and the "dream sequences" (drug induced tests) are fun...like those internet tests you know you still take.  The protagonist doesn't feel as real as Katniss to me, but the twist at the end of the second book is worth it.

Now, someone please write me a book that's just as FUN as these...but with an adult protagonist.  Books aren't Trix.  They aren't just for kids.  





Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crazy Things I Did Today:

1.  PUKED.  If you anything about me, you probably have heard me discuss how I DO NOT THROW UP!  I do not do it.  And don't try to tell me I'll feel better when I throw up.  That is a lie you tell yourself.  You feel TERRIBLE the moment before you throw up, so OF COURSE you feel better after you throw up. But throwing up is NOT NORMAL. So I don't do it.   Times I've thrown up:

1.  Today: I'm supposed to be OVER the whole morning sickness business.  But no.  Apparently the bite of English muffin put me over the edge.  The Doctor dutifully did dishes for me as I sat shaking at the kitchen table afterward.  I love him.  Then he said to me, "Vomit free since...right now."  Which made me feel a sense of shame my psychologist mother-in-law says is not normal.  She says I should throw up more often to get over my phobia.  No thank you, Doctor Mom-in-Law.
2.  August 11th.  Also morning sickness.  I'm not going to go into it...but The Doctor had been in there directly before me.  And that...was not cool.
3.  Post tequila hangover of 2010.
4.  Accidental topical Benadryl overdose of 2006 (IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU)
5.  Migraine of 1997 (toast does not cure migraines...)
6.  Stomach flu of 1989 (I was four).

Before that I was pretty much a toddler and it doesn't count.

2.  Went to water aerobics.  My beautiful new gym has a phenomenal pool which has a WATER SLIDE (which I can't use) and a HOT TUB (which I can't use) and prenatal water aerobics classes.  Turns out it's prenatal and...elderly water aerobics.  The class had three preggos in there including me.  The other two women were exactly nine months pregnant and were friends.  So they weren't very friendly.  It's fine.  I'll be a mean mom someday and will have the power to exclude the random chick who doesn't even look pregnant, she just looks like she ate a big Thanksgiving dinner (which, as mentioned, I did NOT).  There were five elderly ladies also in attendance and I KID YOU NOT, four were wearing the same swim suit.  I tried to find a picture but they all made me feel dirty.  Was it exercise?  Sure, anything in a pool for an hour is exercise.  Was it aerobic?  NO.  Will I go back?  Yeah.  I need to be forced by peer pressure to stay at the gym when I could be sleeping.

3.  Ate a whole box of mac and cheese.  Breakfast of champions.

4.  Loudly, in my house alone, yelled, "OH YEAH" like the Kool Aid man when I saw that Amazon auto delivered the new Maggie Stiefvater book to my kindle.

Maggie is just that good.  Check her out.

5.  Said to Catdome, "OH NO!  You WILL NOT step on Booberry!"  Because he insists on touching me all the time and really likes to step on my uterus to show his love.

6.  Saw two minutes of How I Met Your Mother and cried like little bitch.  Have I seen the ep before?  Yes.  Do I know that Marshall and Lily get back together, get married, and have a baby?  Yes.  This is what got me:
Don't ever get me started on that one Futurama episode...

And it's only mid-day!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Itsy Bitsy Spider...

So I just got all Kevin McCallister in my backyard.

THERE ARE SO MANY SPIDERS!

No one likes spiders except The Doctor.  He LOVES spiders.  He had a pet tarantula named Sunbeam Lynn.  Tarantulas live FOREVER.   When we moved in together and got Ruby, she was kind enough to knock Sunbeam's cage from it's location high atop a shelf and, in the process, brutally mangle the "pet."  The Doctor had to put Sunbeam out of her misery with a biochemistry textbook.  Blissfully, I was not home when this went down.  When I came home, Ruby was cowering in a corner and The Doctor was ragefully playing Xbox.  We went to go see Batman Begins to make him feel better.  RIP Sunbeam (Ruby, I love you).

My backyard has too many spiders.  There are so many spiders that even The Doctor will kill them.  I just did some minimal internet research and discovered that this is the spider:


It's a cross orb weaver.  It makes super pretty webs and the adult female (shown) is really pretty scary looking.  I was just starting to feel guilty about killing so many when I looked up if they're poisonous.  The website (made by a well-meaning naturalist) said these spiders are not dangerous but do bite.  I think he's getting the definition of dangerous confused.  The other thing is that these spiders tend to make their "beautiful" webs at eye level.  That means face level.  That means that whenever I walk into the backyard and I get a spider web SMACK IN MY FACE.  This is annoying when alone and embarrassing when showing people the house.  Also it leaves me with phantom itchiness, sure that a spider is crawling through my hair and will lay eggs in my ears.  

They have to go.

So I just spent half an hour in in the back yard doing battle with spiders.  I won't get within arms' reach of one.  When I discovered Sunbeam, pre-demise, on her back in her cage one morning, I called The Doctor at work.  

Doctor: Is she dead?!
Me: (Taps the cage, spider's legs wiggle)  No...just upside down.
Doctor: You have to tip her back over!
Me: Will she die if I don't?!
D: Maybe...
Me: (long hesitation)
D: Please just take a spatula and tip her over.  
Me: fiiiiiine

I was just googling a picture to show you what Sunbeam looked like but I started getting this weird restless leg syndrome feeling in my legs and scratching my hair even more...so I stopped.  You can use your imagination.  Or look up "tarantula" on google images.  (shutter).

Anyway, I put on yellow rubber gloves, grabbed a spatula and approached the cage.  I was shaking as I approached the cage.  I reached out a hand to open the top of the cage and pictured ANOTHER scene in Home Alone:  


OH NO.  Spiders can jump, right?

So at this point I am crying semi-hysterically.  I put down the spatula. I will leave Sunbeam to die.  But I cannot do this to The Doctor.  He will find out I let Sunbeam DIE.  So I approach the cage one last time.  I pick it up in my two hands.  And I tilt it swiftly back and forth, almost like a snow globe. It takes a few tries, but Sunbeam rights herself.  With adrenaline coursing through me, I do a dance to some Daft Punk, sure my ordeal is over and I will be rewarded.

No.

Turns out tarantulas molt. I'm still too scared to show you a picture.  Look it up.  Basically, they lie on their backs and CLIMB THROUGH their own abdomens, leaving a shell that looks exactly like the original host. I discovered this when telling The Doctor my ordeal that night.  I looked over at the cage and screamed, "THERE ARE TWO SPIDERS!"  In my head, what I was sure had happened is that Sunbeam had somehow split in two and regenerated another self.  That makes perfect sense.  Like a hydra.  But no, just molting.  

And what was my reward???  The Doctor chased me around the house, while I wept uncontrollably, holding the skin of Sunbeam.

I do not like spiders.

So I killed a few today.  They were all lurking in my backyard, full of eggs and webs to walk through.  My method is quite good.  The Doctor uses "The Robot Method" to get through webs.  He does the robot and walks though them.  No.  That results in you getting web and potentially spider on you.  My method is multi step:

1.  Pick up hose.  
2.  Twirl hose in circular motion as you approach nozzle.
3.  Turn on nozzle.  
4.  Find web.  
5.  Spray profusely.
6.  Turns out the webs are nearly indestructible and so you must twirl the hose around it and then wipe the hose on the grass.
7.  If spider is present: Spray with hose until spider is at ground level ("The Itsy Bitsy Spider Technique).  Spiders can TOTALLY SWIM or at least keep their heads above rushing water because I have yet to drown a spider.  So once the spider is at ground level, you may squish with your shoe.
8.  Wipe shoe.
9.  Spray all around for good measure.
10.  Turn off hose.

Sample dialogue while I did this (I hope my neighbors couldn't hear me).

"DIE SPIDER!  WHY WON'T YOU DIE!"
"I will destroy you!  You cannot escape the hose!"
"You thought you could get away.  But I killed your sister.  And now I'm going to itsy bitsy fucking spider you!"

I'm concerned that the survivors are going to make an example of me like in Arachnophobia.  

I'm psychosomatically scratching my hair just in case.  


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Friend the Television
            I watch an inordinate amount of TV.  I LOVE TV.  And TV loves me.  None of my recommendations should come as a surprise to you because EVERYONE says these shows are amazing.  But I have recommended them to you and will tell you if you will like it.  Here are shows you should watch:

If you have FREE TIME because you broke your leg and your neighbors aren’t murdering people and/or you do not have a rear window: LOST.  Because it is addictive and mind bending and high budget and you know you want to!  BONUS GAME: Watching with a buddy, the first person to scream, “I’M LOST” when the screen goes to black at the beginning before it says “LOST” WINS the game.  The game can be tied if the other watcher says “I’M LOST” first at the blackout before each commercial break.  If the winner says it, though, her victory is sealed.  I don’t think I really have to sell you on Lost because you’re gonna watch it someday.  So why not today?  And then continuously for about a week until the show is over.  Side note: both Ruby and Catdome have collars with their names and our phone numbers on them.  They also both say, “I’M LOST!” 

If you are okay with crying sometimes: Six Feet Under.  True story: I was at a funeral home arranging a funeral for my mother, and my dad, who is good at breaking tension, told the undertaker, “My daughter watches Six Feet Under so she knows the ropes around here.”  The undertaker, completely deadpan, with no humor whatsoever, gently looks me in the eye and says, “Well, it’s not quite like the show here.  The deceased people don’t talk to us.”   So…yeah he thought I was crazy.  The show is phenomenally written and each episode begins with a client’s death.  The finale made me so hysterical I cried for like four hours and then listened to Sia’s “Breathe Me” on repeat for like three weeks.  Then I rewatched the whole series from the beginning with the Doctor. 

If you have a serious commitment to nerdiness: Doctor Who.  Start in 2005.  POWER THOUGH.  Once you hit 2006 and you see the glory that is David Tennant quoting The Lion King and wielding a sword, if you still hate it…fine.  I understand that you are cooler than I am.  I have recommended this show to people who are going to be breastfeeding and need to kill some time.  Also to everyone else.  It is like sci fi Peter Pan and it is truly a magical show.  Always family friendly, it has some of the most ingenious world building I’ve ever witnessed.  Usually it is episodic and the crazy shenanigans they come up with in such a short time is impressive.  Neil Gaiman writes for it occasionally.  My favorite Tennant arc is probably the ones with “The Family.”  My favorite Smith one is “Vincent and the Doctor” which is about Van Gogh (which the Brits pronounce “Van Goth” and then cough a little at the end).  My favorite companion is DONNA.   Bonus for true nerds: Tennant and Catherine Tate (Donna) in Much Ado About Nothing.  Delightful.

If you love Jane Austen and are okay with crying A LOT this one time: Downton Abbey.  Why haven’t you watched this show yet?  My favorite thing about this show (besides Maggie Smith who is A TREASURE) is that DUDES totally love it (secretly).  When a told a group of friends I had started watching it, this one dude was like, “Is Mary your favorite yet?”  Another, totally separate dude, started referring to his pet as Her Ladyship.  THE THING IS, and no spoilers if I can help it, but SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS.  I mean, it’s tv.  I know it’s not real.  I know…it’s…not.  BUT THE PRODUCITON VALUES ARE SO GOOD I THINK IT’S REAL.  So something bad happens at one point (if you’ve seen the show you knooooow what it is).  And it upset me a great deal.  Because I identify with these people (I am a British aristocrat during The Great War, you know).  And I was very upset that something bad would happen to my loved ones.  The Doctor told me I could no longer talk about what I affectionately call “My Creepy Crawleys.”  So, buyer beware. 

If you want to continue to be my friend: Arrested Development.  If you started watching it and then you tell me, “Yeah I watched a few but I just don’t get it.”  I’m going to nod and then say something diplomatic like, “That’s fine.  To each his own…” but what I’m thinking is, “We have nothing in common.  Time to end it now.”  Best show ever.

If you have white people problems or like to make fun of white people problems: Orange is the New Black.  Blonde girl goes to jail.  Interacts with hilarious and sometimes depressing prisoners.  Has lesbian sex.  Something for everyone!  Seriously, this show has been recommended to me by super disparate groups of people.  Everyone loves it. 

If you like to be on the edge of your seat: Orphan Black.  The concept: Girl A sees Girl B kill herself.  THE TWIST: the Girl B LOOKS JUST LIKE Girl A.  Turns out THEY’RE CLONES.  That’s all I’m telling you.  Enjoy.  Ok one more thing: the one girl plays all the parts and has different accents and mannerisms for each one and is seriously amazing at it.  It is mystifying how she makes everyone seem like a different person.  
If you don’t know why Joss Whedon is such a big deal: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Late 90’s goodness.  Twilight plot done correctly and with a little humor.  Girl heroine.  A MUSICAL EPISODE (Bonus Joss Whedon is Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog).  BONUS GAME: At the end of the episode (can be applied to anything in the Whedonverse including movies), yell, “JOSS WHEDON!” before his name appears on screen.  The prize, as with all TV games, is pride. 

If you have a thing for redheads and crazy people and think you could be a spy: Homeland.  Like 24, but even blonder! No.  It’s super addictive.  And, side note, my dad will not confirm or deny that he has the same job as Saul.  It’s about the CIA, sure, but it’s also somehow romantic…?  I don’t know why this show works so well but I watched every possible episode with the Doctor as quickly as humanly possible.  Not very PC Bonus game: cluck like a chicken every time the ginger prays to Allah. 

If you want to know exactly what my life is like: How I Met Your Mother.  It’s my life.  But I don’t have a Barney.  Does anyone?  But I have the rest of the gang at one time or another.  One guess as to who I am…
If you miss The West Wing but are too cynical about government to enjoy it now: House of Cards.  Oscar-quality TV all around.  A-list actors doing what they do best.  Writing that’s like a modernized Macbeth.  Cinematography that is too good to be TV.  Netflix, baby.  They are the way of the future. 

Shows everyone likes but that I don’t watch:

Mad Men.  I just dislike all the characters so much.  They are so awful.  I need a moral center!  PS: I totally watch Dexter and have no problem liking him, so this is saying something.  Yes, the Mad Men costumes are incredible.  Yes, it’s fascinating history.  DON’T CARE.  NEXT THING.

Breaking Bad.  I gave it a shot.  But it was TOO INTENSE FOR ME.  I’m not at all squeamish about TV violence or drug stuff.  But this show is too much for me.  I let everyone else watch it and then I can follow cultural trends from their facebook updates regarding it.

Game of Thrones.  The Doctor loves GOT.  I watch it with him periodically.  I like Aria.  Why can’t the whole thing be Aria and dragons?  But there are not nearly enough dragons and the nudity is…sorry men…boring to me at a point because it gets in the way of actual storytelling so I find myself confused constantly and then The Doctor calls me “Donny” and refuses to explain any more.  Also some of the family members look CRAZY like each other and some don’t so I get really confused as to who is related to whom. 

Okay that’s it.  Really there are a lot more shows I watch (Sherlock, Community, So You Think You Can Dance) but those will have to come in volume two.  This is a good list for when the apocalypse happens and we use our remaining generator energy to power the TV. 


Once upon a time there was a 7th grade English and drama teacher in Philadelphia.  Every day she woke up at dawn and hung out with 12 year old delightful nerds all day.  She loved it.  She was also very sleepy.  One day, dahling hubs graduated from dental school and the two moved to Portland, Oregon, the happiest place on earth (it’s nice here).  They got a house with a two car garage and WAY TOO MANY rooms to furnish (can we say house poor?).  Since they loved each other very much as your mother always said, they also decided to have a human child.  Because of this, she decided to only work part time and thus begins our story.

8/28/13

            Today is the first day of school for everyone else except me.  Well, clearly some people besides me don’t go to school, but most people I know do.  And this is my first year in a GENERATION (if you count preschool) that I haven’t gone to the first day of school. 

Things I don’t miss on the first day of school:

1.       Dressing myself: for some reason this was harder as a teacher than a student.  You want to dress up for the other teachers so you look nice and they will talk about you behind your back in a positive way.  Teachers are all mean girls…even…nay, especially the dude teachers.  You want them on your side.  I inevitably under dress in every way except shoes.  When it comes to shoes I always manage to wear ones that hurt so terribly I spend the afternoon barefoot, picking up allllll the germs off my classroom floor. 
2.      Being awake: the first day of summer, as a kid or adult, I always slept craaaazy late.  Like 14 hours.  Then, it was a slow progression of slothiness until the day before you have to go back to school.  My mom always made me get up progressively earlier in the weeks before back to school, but as an adult, I don’t have to do what anyone says!  So the first day back, I was always up about four to five hours before usual, barely dressed, and decaffeinated (no coffee breath the first day!).
3.      Boredom: kids, here’s a secret, when you have days off for “inservice,” it means your teachers have to go to school and learn how to be better teachers.  They DO NOT prefer this to actually teaching you.  Turns out, they actually like teaching you.  They certainly don’t do it for the money.  The first few days back at school for teachers is ALL DAY INSERVICE.  I have literally fallen asleep during one of these.  And it happened to be my first year when I had not only the normal first day sleep deprivation, but, as an added bonus, had just come back from a Vegas vacation.  In Vegas, nothing starts until 9pm and nothing starts back up again until after noon.  So I was on west coast + vacation sleep schedule on crack.  Also, at this inservice, I was sitting directly behind my principal.  It was brutal.
4.      The crippling fear: I still am managing to have back to school nightmares this week even though I know I’m not back at school.  You know the ones: you’re unprepared for class, everyone else knows what’s going on, you’re late, and you’re not wearing pants.  Those jitters you got the first day of kindergarten never go away…until this morning as I watched BBC well past 9am.
5.      The temperature fluctuations.  Because schools are run by THE GOVERNMENT, they have no money for things like climate control.  Thus, the main office is always FREEZING because it houses the only air conditioner in the school.  Anywhere else you go is DISGUSTINGLY BALMY.  This is another reason why dressing oneself is difficult.

Things I will miss:

1.       Everything else.  Damn it…I liked teaching.  I like other teachers…I like being a mean girl about so and so’s weird tan line (in between neck fat folds…I don’t want to be cruel, but that’s the reason I wear sunscreen).  I like my nerds.  I like having a CAPTIVE AUDIENCE (they all laugh at your jokes on the first day.  It’s fear laughter, but I’ll take it).  I like doing plays.  I like bitching about how early I wake up.  I like knowing that, even if my day was horrible, I was at least attempting to do something good with myself.  FOR THE CHILDREN.

But here’s the thing:

            Every year, kids with no filter ask me, “DO YOU HAVE KIDS?”  “No.”  I reply.  “WHY NOT?” They ask.  “I have you.” I reply.  They roll their eyes or fake an “awww.”  But I mean it.  I could not have done my job last year and also had a kid.  Case and point: at the end of the year, the Doctor’s car, a 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora, died.  This was fine as we were not going to take it with us back to Oregon.  But it meant that he came to pick me up from school most days.  In the car, he’d ask, “How was your day, dear?” and I’d grunt, my forehead against the window, somehow suddenly dying of hunger and desperately needing to pee (teacher bladder only turns on outside of the school building).  I was literally unable to muster the energy to speak after being surrounded by energetic geniuses for the last ten hours.  I needed at least half an hour, a snack, and some television before I’d suddenly come to life, spouting out, “TODAY TWO KIDS GOT INTO A SINGING FIGHT BETWEEN PHANTOM AND LES MIS AND LES MIS WON!”  The Doctor by this time would have moved on, leaving me for dead, and no longer wanted to hear about my day.  That’s because he’s quite nearly adult-like.  A child needs your attention…NOW.  And it’s always NOW. 
            So I decided to have one kid that I was in charge of all day every day instead of 100 that I see for an hour at a time.  And that kid is currently the size of a plum and will only let me eat pudding today.  Have I made a huge mistake?  No.  I am living the American Dream: house, kid, Doctor, lawn.  I am literally in my fuzzy bathrobe right now doing laundry.  I have time to write.  And read. 
            But I miss my nerds today.