Friday, July 28, 2006


So I know, I've been busy. My old public school didn't make me do a whole lot; at the private school, they really expect you to perform and teach. Thus I've been reading many books, trying to figure out lesson plans, and finding sites that kids might plagiarize papers from so I can catch them at it. It bothers me that there's a growing attitude of, "Oh, well, everybody does it and it's so hard to catch them that we'll just let it go...." Fortunately that is NOT the case where I'm going to be working. I've never understood when or why we all became such defeatists and pushovers when it came to doing what you weren't supposed to. This goes for running red lights as well.

But this weekend my sister M and her nice BF are coming for the weekend so I expect a lot of fun and wedding talk--not that wedding talk can't be fun, but I assume we'll do other things as well. My parents have a great place out in the country complete with a pond, a gorgeous view, and lots of little places to explore. It's a terrific getaway and they're thinking about building a pool to entice future visits from future grandkids (none in the making yet).

So if any of you have any strong opinions or thoughts about the books Fahrenheit 451 or Catcher in the Rye, please let me know. I'm always open to ideas!

Oh yes, Five Senses Friday (thanks again, Ouiser)

Taste- the 5 cent lemonade I bought from little kids down the street
Sight- My own classroom, ready to be organized for the year
Sound- The pounding rain very early this morning
Smell- That slightly chemical "new clothes" smell of my new work skirt
Touch- The feel of a comfortable pair of heels--also for work (Payless! $20!)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Power Struggle

I have to thank Ouiser for this, because I think it was James Bond's Die Another Day in which I heard the quote "There is no such thing as good or evil; there is only power and how you wield it." And I wondered, is that true? Is being good just having the power to say no to bad things and do what's best for yourself and others? And then I wondered, does absolute power corrupt, absolutely? I mean, limitless power usually leads to evil doings, as history has shown us time and again.

I guess I don't think that power denotes whether we're good or evil, but it certainly does influence it. Haven't powerless people done good things? Even if it's something small, it can still be good. And there's always talk in movies and books of how one uses power; to quote another movie, "With great power comes great responsibility." I doubt that that originally came from Spiderman, but hey, it still works. If you want to look at it in the superhero genre, that's the gist of any comic book: two groups or beings have power and have to decide what to do with it. Do they save the world or try to destroy and manipulate it for their own gains? Do you use the Force or turn to the Dark Side? (I had to throw that in.)

With real people, it's a lot more tenuous. I suppose it has to do with who gets power in the first place. It goes right back to seventh grade and the popular kids wielding the power to make everyone's life around them great or hellish and continues for the rest of our lives. I'm not saying that my classmates were evil, but some of the things they did were. I know a lot of those kids haven't changed since then; it seems to me that those who were considered good but weak ended up gaining the most in the end...if they managed to realize that those seventh grade creeps had no power over them or who they were as people.

I didn't mean for this to get so cyclical but that's the nature of the question, I suppose. What do you think? Is it a question of power? Or just good and evil? Or a combination of both?

It really IS the best medicine

I was just talking to my mom on the phone and we ended up laughing so hard neither of us could speak. It's nothing I'll even bother explaining; very much the kind of thing where it gets lost in the telling. It might garner a chuckle from an outsider. Don't you love those moments, when something mildly funny just catches you a certain way and you can't stop laughing? My one sister and I get like that sometimes...and then the one sister's laughing makes the other laugh and it just keeps going until we're exhausted. There's nothing like a really great, gut-busting, asthma-inducing bout of laughter.

This is also why my family doesn't always like going to movies with me: I will guffaw loudly and heartily at anything I think is funny, including pathetic movie previews. I'm proud to say that I got the majority of the theater laughing when we saw Paris Hilton running in slow-mo in her lacy pink bra during the House of Wax preview. I mean, come on. I couldn't help it. This is also why I have always appreciated Julia Roberts' laugh: It is completely unforced and takes over her whole body.

So what makes you laugh? What certain lines or memories always bring up a chuckle? I'm going to have to figure a few foolproof ones out so I don't bawl my way down the aisle as I get married. I'd rather go laughing than crying, but it'll probably be both, which is why they invented waterproof mascara.

As my sister says, the best jokes are the ones not everybody gets.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Come to the Dork Side

I've considered myself a bit of a dork for quite some time now. I think I figured it out in seventh grade when I had that wonderful experience where your best friend dumps you for no good reason and you figure out who you want to be from there. Very life-changing, seventh grade. But honestly, I realized my true friends were ones whom I could count on, who liked me for me, and who I didn't have to pose for. I realized being popular meant I was acting like someone I wasn't, and that it was a stressful waste of time. If my friends were slightly dorky, too, it just meant I was among those who understood me. This was still true at my ten-year high school reunion when I got to see who had moved on and become their true selves and who was still stuck in high school mode.

My friend L and I figured out in college that we were about three very important steps away from being grade-A, five-star dorks: We liked that nerdy stuff but had enough social skills to move amongst regular people. As I put it, I like the occasional witty "Weird Al" Yankovic song... but I wouldn't go to a concert. I was psyched to see the LOTR (Lord of the Rings, for you cool kids) trilogy on opening night...but I didn't go to the midnight showing dressed in costume. There's a fine but important distinction. It's the reason I think I connected so well with Drew Barrymore's character in Never Been Kissed: I'd kind of been there.

We've all been there, on one side or another. The big question is, How do you live your life from there? Do you get enough self-confidence to embrace your inner dork, being true to yourself, or do you run with the cool crowd and live in the pressure-cooker? This doesn't actually change over time; it just rearranges itself into new patterns. Even my mother, about five years ago, was at a conference with her husband and the other wives ditched her to go shopping without her. Now, I can say that my mom is a terrific person and someone who would never do that to someone else, and those women were just spiteful and mean and immature. But it still didn't make her feel any better at that moment. What you have to remember is that if you're true to yourself, you can't go wrong. You'll have friends who love you for you, who are dorky themselves and know those Monty Python lines, too. It's also easier to say no when someone tries pressuring you to do something you don't want to.

I'm saying this partly to myself because right now it's 11pm on a Saturday night and I'm home alone, DF having met friends for drinks after dinner (which I said was perfectly OK). I opted to come home: I was tired and didn't plan to have any more to drink, so I figured I'd head back and get comfy. But I worry: Should I try to be more social? Wouldn't it be nice if I made the effort to stay out and chat and not head home to the confines of my house? DF, ever a wonderful man, told me that he admired that I have the strength to know when I want to stay and when I want to leave, and that I don't feel pressured to stay out just to stay out. I worry that I'm boring and don't try hard enough--which he vehemently denies being true. I've never been one to stay out late: In college I always got violently ill if I drank too much, and I just get to a point where I think, "OK, I've talked as much I want to talk, I've drunk as much as I want to drink, and this is no longer interesting." I can push myself if I want, but a lot of the time, I don't. When I'm done, I'm done. I just have to remember that this doesn't make me any less fun up to that point, and if anyone's going to condemn me for leaving before 4am, screw 'em.

I guess what I'm saying is that you should embrace your inner dork and bring it out to the surface, if it's who you are. Don't be afraid to be who you are. Again, I'm telling this to myself as well, because I'm going to wind up this post and still feel a little bad about being here and not being out. We all just have to remember that we make our own choices, and they should be our choices, not what someone else wants or thinks we should do.

Bring out your dork!

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Good Taste

Well, it turns out my wedding woes weren't as bad as I thought. This is usually the case: I have a flair for the dramatic that sometimes gets me a leetle more overwrought than I need to be. Long story short, DF looked over the prices with me of each place I had looked at and we realized the one place was waaay better than the others. I would say the name but I don't want anyone who reads this blog to know my business. No offense. So, that's decided. We may even be able to have shrimp--and don't worry, lactose-intolerant sister, we'll have something dairy-free for you (in response to her response to my last post). And probably sit-down buffet, so everyone can get what they want and there are fewer complaints. I'm all about no complaints. I had to laugh to realize that, while all the women are almost completely attired, neither the groom nor the groomsmen have anything ready. So typical. Now the decision is, DJ or band? I've heard good things about both and been at wedding with both and enjoyed them. Decisions, decisions....

This weekend was the Taste of Buffalo. It happens every year and it is a gastronomical paradise. A large number of restaurants in the area get to have tents with little tastes of their best wares. And let me tell you, Buffalo doesn't have the highest percentage of obesity and heart disease in the country for nothing. That may be because our most famous food is the Buffalo wing (no, buffaloes don't have wings--you are so funny), with pizza and Polish sausage running a close second. However, Buffalo is also filled with many hole-in-the-wall restaurants that have amazing food. Our Taste of Buffalo is one of the most successful in the country, so I've heard. This year was no exception. Even DF, with his fantastic weight loss, managed to find delicious little tidbits that were on his menu...and a few that weren't. The best part is that each portion they give you is probably no bigger than your hand, so you have more tastes of more places. Hence the name, I suppose. It's a great part of my summer and I suggest all of you to come next year. Sorry, Sommer, no Pronto Pups, but I bet we could find you something almost as yummy.

Also went to see The Devil Wears Prada. I really did think it was fun and cute, and Meryl Streep was fantastic, although the ending confused me a little. I haven't yet read the book. Definite chick flick, especially with Anne Hathaway continually dressed in awesome-looking high fashion. That part of the movie was almost totally wasted on me, as I have as much knowledge of fashion designers and styles as her character did in the beginning of the movie. I have neither the time nor the budget to wear any of it, but I have to admit she did look stunning and I kind of wished I could do a little Pretty Woman thing where I had unlimited cash to go to the high-name, high-end, high-price stores and make myself look all knock-out. I buy things very carefully and mainly from Target. Hey, Tar-zhay's Isaac Mizrahi collection has some very nice things, and most people I hang around with are none the wiser, or they shop there, too.

There is something intrinsically comforting about a chick flick, a girl movie, if you will, at least to most females. I have memorized lines from When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Love Actually, and others. I think most of us know what that most famous line is in Dirty Dancing. Oh yeah, you know which one. I think they appeal to the romantic in us, the one who knows it's all going to turn out all right but still gets excited when it does. A good chick flick, to me, is funny and sends a decent message. I can't deal with the one who have idiotic women doing idiotic things looking all cute and helpless. This is why I actually thought Legally Blonde sent out a good message to the younger set: Don't be boxed in, don't be afraid to show you have a brain, and you're more than your looks. OK, and I think Luke Wilson is hot in that slightly funny-looking way that I also think Ben Stiller is attractive. Gorgeous eyes. I'm a sucker for eyes. If AFI ever did a Top 100 Chick Flicks of All Time, what would be the top ten? Ponder that as an aside from the daily grind.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Testing/Ode to My Dog

Just checking to see if I could finally get a picture from my computer on here. This is Boo. Boo is now in doggie heaven after almost sixteen years of life. The picture was taken the day before we put her down.
She was weird and paranoid and never got along with my mom and even tried to bite me a few times, and she trusted me more than anyone. She only got mean when she didn't feel like getting out of her dog bed to go out. She was an ornery little pill and gave me lots of kisses and played chase with me around the apartment. She was a great little guard dog and tried once to take down a burglar who attempted to break into our house. Not that she could've done much, but she would have made a valiant attempt and at least gotten his ankles or lower calves. She didn't really know she was a small dog...unless she need to hide under chairs from bigger dogs. When she was fifteen she killed a mouse that got into our apartment and we were so proud (her first mouse! as a geriatric!) that we didn't even mind that we found it two days later after playing the "What's that smell?" game.

Boo was my little pal and was there for me even when I was feeling my most alone. She was always happy to see me and hid under the bed during thunderstorms. She loved pretzels and peanut butter and carrots. Any scrap of sunshine was hers to lie in, my little solar-powered girl. She loved chasing her "squeaky" and tennis balls, and hated the rain. Jack Russells are extremely smart and Boo was no exception. For years she slept on my sister's bed, waiting patiently until M. was settled in before getting the command to "come up" and jumping on the bed to cuddle in. I took her after she went into doggie depression after I moved to VA and M. went to college. Mom says she would've died of a broken heart if I hadn't taken her. Boonie liked VA and would watch me leave for work in the morning. I loved seeing her sweet face in the window.

Boo also knew that suitcases meant you were leaving, and would cry when she saw them. We had to distract her and hustle our suitcases into the car because we felt like abandoners seeing her get upset. Once she didn't know I was still there and was crying at the door, and when she turned and saw me, I swear she gave a huge sigh of relief and wouldn't leave my side for the rest of the evening. She loved tummy rubs...but only if she trusted you. When she was a puppy she would try to kill our Koosh ball by snapping its neck. I taught her how to go down the back stairs by putting her Pound Puppy toy on a lower step. She was about the same size as the smaller Pound Puppy.

My sweet girl was the first pet I could ever have, since I'm technically allergic. I don't think I'll ever get another Jack Russell because 1) Boo's irreplaceable and 2) you never know if you'll get a really yippy one who chews the rug. No matter how many dogs I have in my life, Boo will be the first and the most special.

I didn't mean to write this little eulogy, honestly. I was just testing picture posting capability. I guess it needed to come out. I guess I just miss her, still. But she had a happy life and now she gets to run around and eat all the peanut butter she wants.