Monday, March 29, 2010


Well, yes, I had a birthday last week. It was lovely and fun and I totally forgot to take any pictures except one of my mom and T, so when he gives me back the camera, I'll post it. But I had a great dinner the Sunday before, cooked specially by T.: a buffalo steak, Israeli couscous, and asparagus; the last two being special favorites. We also had a delicious bottle of wine, the name of which escapes me now, but I will get it. Promise. Wow, no pics and no wine--this post is not informationally sound.... He also got me a gift that's really for both of us, an iPod nano. This means we don't have to argue when we go to the gym about who gets the iPod, so it's the gift that keeps on giving. I had great extended birthday with a delicious dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (The Left Bank, for those who know it) with our parents--just a very nice, low-key time. I even had a colleague bake me cookies, even tastier because they were unexpected. There's something about unexpected cookies. Basically, so many wonderful calls, texts, cards, and e-mails and other acknowledgments of my birthday really made it a great one.

For about 90 seconds, I got a little...negatively pensive this birthday. I'm not where I thought I'd be at this age--I think I figured I'd be a little further along in the whole family path and more secure in my job. And then I thought, Let's see...I am fortunate enough to have an excellent, secure marriage, a nice house, a sweet dog, a fulfilling job, loving family and friends, health, and so much more... so I think that I'm doing quite well. To think anything else is foolish and ignoring all the wonderful parts I have in my life.

So happy birthday, me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Play Nice

I've been reading a few of my usual blogs lately and have stumbled upon the mommyblog difficulties that have arisen between a blogger called Chicken Liver and various other bloggers. I realize that I've seen some of her negative comments on blogs before and I always vaguely wondered why she would bother. I now understand she had an entire blog devoted to bashing certain women whom she felt were abusing their power as writers, neglecting their children or families in some way, etc. While I recognize that in this country, everyone has a right to her (or his) own opinion, in reading some of her prior posts, I personally found them to be vitriolic and hateful on an unnecessary level. She verbally attacked these people's children, posted home addresses, and wrote commentary on a level I find unnecessary--and growing.

I just don't understand it. While anyone who posts writing on the Internet has the right to express her feelings because it's all opinion and personal experience, and that person may well have detractors who vehemently disagree with said opinion and personal experience, why make a point of spending time and energy writing down mean comments about other people whom you don't know? I also see this constantly in reading comments on news articles. People are so quick to judge without knowing a whole situation, so quick to put their two cents in in a negative way, writing about how someone is stupid or wrong or racist or Socialist or what-have-you.

Why do it? Perhaps I'm naive, but when did we become so mean? What purpose does it serve?

I think this has come to mind as well because we've had more fights in my school than in times past, and I asked the kids why they thought this was happening. I got a whole host of answers ranging from "they're just being stupid; the fights are pointless" to "he was defending his cousin because someone said bad stuff about her" to "because it stops that person from talking trash about you" to "because they're new and being picked on". (People still pick on the new kid? How cliche'. How lame.) As T said, "I have to respect you for you to be able to offend me." So why bother? When I pointed out T's position, they said, "Yeah, but if you walk away, then you're weak/wimping out". It doesn't surprise me, but it saddens me to hear that perspective.

I never got into fights when I was younger. I didn't see the point, and I stuck to people who were nice and liked me and whom I liked. My rationale is that if you're nice to people, it creates a ripple effect and everyone benefits from it. Finslippy posted about this recently in the vein that we need to recognize that when people act snarky, there may be a reason for it. Perhaps that person's having a bad day and chooses to take it out on the other guy. Perhaps she's just found out some terrible news. Or stayed up all night sick. Who knows? That's the question, isn't it?

I try--I really, really try--to not react too quickly when confronted with meanness or rude people, and I try not to snap at others when I'm in a bad mood myself. When a student snaps at me, it takes a lot for me not to have a knee-jerk response; I've tried to train myself to ask, "Are you ok today? Because the only reason I can think of that you would talk to me that way is that you're having a bad day." Admittedly, my tone of voice ranges from genuine concern to I'm giving you a chance to apologize for acting like a twerp, so be smart and shape up, kid. It tends to work. I've used it on non-students as well, usually taking the less confrontational tone. It still works pretty well. I'm not perfect; I've definitely snapped at folks, but I don't make it my M.O.

I guess what I'm trying to point out is that if we act nice to each other and treat each other kindly, it will continue, just as negativity breeds more of the same. So be kind and reap the benefits. You'll live longer. There's just no point living an angry, bitter, constantly-on-edge life.

Now I'm going to go hug the dog and give my husband a kiss.

Friday, March 19, 2010

So the reason I haven't blogged in a while is because 1) I don't like blogging at work because I shouldn't and I try to get work done, and 2) when I get home, I want to spend time with DH and Penny, so I forget to update this thing. Whoops. I'll try to be better, 'kay?

Spring is here, and I couldn't be happier. Usually around my area we have 40s and slop, about two-three weeks of actual spring, and then it's May, so this whole sunny and 50s gig is lovely and wonderful. I don't even care about the mud--it means everything's growing, so if I have to keep a towel at the door to wipe off Penny's little paws, so be it. I love to watch her run around unencumbered by crusted-over snow (although watching her fall through to the bottom every few steps as she tried to cross the snowy yard was fairly comical). I especially love the light in the evenings--even if we still had tons of snow, the light would remind me that spring was coming! I prefer to get excited over the little things--they make life so worthwhile and it gives me a lot more happiness overall. I never could understand the point of acting jaded all the time. Where's the pleasure in that?

On a totally different note, my birthday's coming up and I think the only indication that I feel old is that I really do think a lot of the music on the radio these days is noise. I never thought I'd think that, but come on. I won't even share any YouTube videos with you because it's too cruel. I occasionally listen to the songs so if my students reference them and they're inappropriate, I can tell them not to mention the song, but the lyrics most of the time are absolute rot. I do like some of it, I admit, but half the time I think, "I could do this. If I get a beat and some extremely repetitive lyrics or some that make absolutely no sense except that they rhyme, will someone pay me, please?" Silliness, I tell you. Just pure silliness. Now I have to go secretly rock out to Beyonce because I like her.

It's Friday, so enjoy the day. Hopefully I will see my new little niece and nephew soon--born five days before their daddy's birthday, no less! Enjoy the weekend, my dears.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Funny yet thoughtful

Click to see the whole thing

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


When you live where I live, winter is long. L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-N-G. We get used to March coming in like a lion and going out like...a lion. Covered in wet slush and the occasional extra foot of snow. Poor lion. This past weekend we got an extra foot or so of the wet, heavy snow. Notice how I toss this off ever so casually because, hey, I'm from WNY. No biggie. Mind you, if it still looks like this 28 days from now, I may weep. Considering once when I was 11 or 12 it snowed IN MAY, I can prepare myself for anything. Or take a side trip to Florida.

Thus I have begun to concentrate on what will not go back: light. I have become a huge fan of the earth's rotation because that makes it so I can still see at 6pm. Let the storms come (please, please go away, winter weather. I am so sick of my boots.)! At least I will be able to use sunlight when stepping into knee-high drifts! (That's not an exaggeration, by the way. Knee. High. Yeah.) When I let the dog out in the morning, I no longer have to turn on the floodlights! Today I even needed sunglasses. Spring is coming.

Then, today as I walked home, I listened to sounds I hadn't heard in a long while: heavy snow falling off the trees as it melted. I haven't yet felt that breeze that really tells me we're done for another year, but I know it's on its way. As an aside, this reminds me of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book The Long Winter, where they all almost froze or starved to death out on the prairies and then, finally, one night, Laura hears the spring wind that means the thaw is coming, and calls out to Pa, "Pa! The Chinook is blowing! The Chinook is blowing! Winter is over!" and they all rejoiced and Pa pulled out his fiddle, which he couldn't play for so long because his fingers were too cold and stiff, and they sang and made merry and baked pies and sewed calico aprons or something like that. Thank you, Grammie, for sending me those books so long ago. How well I remember! In all seriousness, I loved them. And I like having that Long Winter link with Laura.

Every little sign helps, whether it's a few minutes of daylight here or the actual sound of snow melting elsewhere. So in a few weeks, when I put into my Facebook comment, "PA! THE CHINOOK IS BLOWING!", some of you will know what I mean.