Thursday, November 30, 2006

Would You Like Lyme With That?

About three weeks ago, Bear went hunting with my dad while I went to a craft fair with my mother. That was on a Saturday. The next morning I noticed something on his arm. "Ugh, is that a tick?" I asked. We have both gotten ticks on us before from my parents' house.
"Yeah, it is," he replied. "Get the tweezers and get it out."
I got my tweezers (my good ones, too, because I couldn't find the old crappy ones) and pulled. It took several tries to get the little bastard out, but I did it! I washed my tweezers off in the TOILET and flushed the bugger down. Bear's arm was a little red, but that was to be expected since I really had to yank the tick off. We were concerned at first that we didn't get the whole thing out, but after careful probing with a needle, we decided we had.
Everything was fine and dandy until early this week, when the tick bite got more red and puffy. We decided to keep an eye on things, but didn't want to panic just yet. There was a chance that it was infected with just regular germs, not to mention the irritation his sweatshirt may have caused. Yesterday Bear called me at school and said, "I'm out of work, they gave me the rest of the day off, I'm going to the doctor's." Bear hasn't been to the doctor in FOUR YEARS. Things were getting serious. He ended up having to go to the hospital because his doctor couldn't see him. They haven't called him yet with the results of the bloodwork, but Bear is on antibiotics for the next three weeks (!) and has to watch to see if the redness gets any worse. A week ago the red spot was about the size of a quarter. Now it is about the size of a halved grapefruit. He has been very sleepy (one of the symptoms) but hasn't had too many aches and pains (another of the symptoms). We are fervently hoping that we have caught it before the effects are serious - Lyme Disease can cause neurological problems, sleep disorders, even damage your heart! Poor Bear...
Meanwhile, I have Inigo back from the vets... he still hasn't pooped, but should by Friday morning. If he hasn't, I have to take him back to the vets and drop him off. He has a bladder infection and possibly a partial small bowel obstruction. He feels better than he did, but he is a long way from healed. I feel so helpless... I can't make either of them feel better. I feel fine, but at this point I even feel guilty about that. I'm hoping that the power of positive thinking will work, and I can WISH them back into better health. If you'd like to give either Bear or Inigo your get well soon wishes, I'd be happy to pass them on. Thanks!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Wedding Update - 215 dtg!

I have wedding news!

  • I have been calling different vendors local to my parents' area, trying to get price lists and estimates for the rental equipment we need for the wedding. To date I have gotten several responses, and am within a week or two of putting down a deposit. I'm trying to find a place that will rent me everything I need (canopies, tables, chairs, and porta-potties), although I'm finding that it may be more difficult to do that than originally planned. The only place I know for sure does that is in my current neck of the woods, and it costs more to have the equipment hauled the 100 miles to my parents' house.
  • The table centerpieces are picked out - I'm on the look out for red and blue vases. The flowers are going to be white hydrangeas (they grow in several places all over our property).
  • My father is building the dance floor (cheaper than renting one).
  • We think we have a person to marry us (my cousin Lori).
  • The engagement photo will be taken before Christmas to hit newspapers by January.
  • Bear and I are currently working on picking the perfect wedding vows.
  • I have hired a woman to make our cake and the cupcakes for the reception.
  • I will have fresh flowers on top of my cake instead of a traditional topper.
  • My brother Mark will be the M.C., and my brother John is the Man-of-Honor.

My mom and Bear have been awesome about the planning process, being as involved as any bride could ask for. It was my mom who found the lady to make the cake, and Bear has been comparing rental vendors with a sharp eye. The guest list is coming along splendidly. I removed a bunch of people that I am no longer friends with or that I didn't think needed to be there, and that freed up some space for a couple of people I'd forgotten. I'm inviting about 110 people, and I think 100 will show up. That number includes children.

Christmas is only 28 days away, and I can't wait. Most of the shopping is done (minus some things that must be purchased online), and Saturday night Bear and I wrapped almost everything we have bought so far. The tree is up and decorated (a fake one for this year, with the promise of a real one next year), the stockings are hung, and the Dr. Demento Christmas Album is in full effect each afternoon. I am so on top of Christmas this year it's sick. I love it!

The only fly in my ointment right now is that my cat, Inigo, is not feeling well. I don't know if it is the de-wormer I gave him Friday or if he got into something he shouldn't have, but he has been listless and lethargic for a couple of days now. He isn't sneezing and doesn't have any discharge from eyes or nose, so I don't think he's sick. If he ate or drank something he shouldn't have, all I can do is wait for it to pass. If he isn't better by Wednesday, I will have to call the vet. Poor little guy. Wish him well!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bad Girl!

I have been a bad girl recently. I have not been blogging! I don't have any excuse, either. Well, my life is boring and I've been busy, but I don't think those qualify as excuses. As I write this I am in my classroom, waiting for parents to arrive for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Ugh. I hate talking to parents about their children. For one, I feel as though I'm betraying my students' trust by talking about them. I feel that by high school, you're entitled to a little bit of freedom away from your parents. I also hate conferences because I get the feeling that parents are testing me. Does she know what she's talking about (how would they know), why did you give my kid a bad grade (I don't give grades, they earn them), and how come you didn't tell me about the missing work before now (if I had to call each parent whenever there was an assignment not completed, I'd spend hours on the phone each evening). I guess I still feel that my age (25) is a bit of a liability. Parents see me as too young to know what I'm doing. Not true, of course, but they don't see me every day like their kids do.
Enough of school. Vacation starts officially at 10:30 today, and I won't have to go back until Monday. Hooray!
If you noticed the title to my last blog, you know that my anniversary was Friday. I know, I know, I'm not married yet, but it is the anniversary of our first date so it counts, damnit! Bear and I went to Bangor for a nice dinner out. It's a sign of how destitute we are that the most expensive thing we could do was eat dinner at Olive Garden, and even then I had to use my credit card. It was fabulous, don't get me wrong, but I think it was more because of the company than the atmosphere. One thing I did learn: Don't eat the after-dinner mints and then take a last sip of your berry sangria - it makes your mouth taste like Robitussun.
I've been hooked on a book this last week, too. It's called Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (look inside the book here). The first hundred pages or so was kind of dull, but after that it picked right up. I'm almost done and can't wait to start the next one!

I guess that's all from my end of the universe. I probably won't post on Thanksgiving, but I will try to post at least twice more this week. Happy Thanksgiving every one!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Anniversary Bear

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess named Amalia. She was a modern princess; she rented her own castle, did all the chores her maidservants should have done, and even had a regular job to better understand what it was like to be one of her subjects. To many, it seemed that the princess had all anyone could wish for.
Amalia didn't always agree with them. Sure, she had a terrific life, but she was missing a prince to share it with. At 24, Amalia was begining to think that Prince Charming was a myth and she was going to have to settle for a Prince-Somestimes-Leaves-The-Toilet-Seat-Up. She had tried to find Charming, she really had, but the last relationship she had was with a prince that refused to work for a living as she did and treated her more as a maidservant than the rockin' princess she knew she was. She moved out of his castle, taking only the couch, her personal belongings and her royal cat. She was discouraged, but refused to give up.
At her new castle, Amalia lived just as she wanted. Chrismas lights were strung up year round and Zedd (the royal cat) had his own bed. Her office looked out on the courtyard and she had the comfiest reading chair nextled into a corner of her bedroom. Amalia came home from work most nights and cooked Zedd's and her dinner and then they watched a movie before bed.
After about a month of this life, Amalia realized that Prince Charming wasn't going to just appear. Although she wasn't ready for another castle move just yet, she'd like to have some princely company once in a while. Her new rented castle was kind of isolated.
With this in mind, Amalia created a profile on, a place where other lords and ladies could find company of all sorts - jesters, companions, even new loves. There were many men claiming to be Charmings, but Amalia knew better than that. She decided to look for some new friends first, and hopefully a prince would come along soon after that. To her surprise, she got several new messages a day. Most were not people she'd want to hang out with, but one message caught her attention. It said,
"Hi, my name's PC. I was looking at your profile and it seems like we have some things in common. If you'd like to chat sometime, message me and we'll talk."
The photo attached to the message was of a man with a terrific smile, a goatee and a twinkle in his eyes that hinted he could be trouble, in a good way. Amalia sat back in her chair, thinking. Her first instinct was to write back immediately, but she held off. After all, her taste in princes hadn't gotten her very far before, and so she didn't trust herself. She logged off that night without replying, determined to think about it logically before replying (if she did at all).
The next day at work, Amalia's mind kept wandering back to the mysterious PC. Who was he? Where was his castle? What did he do for fun? Did he like cats? The last was very important to Amalia, Zedd being the world's best royal cat. She thought and thought and thought, finally deciding to let Zedd decide. He hadn't liked the last prince Amalia had been involved in (which should have been a red flag), so maybe he was a better jodge of character than she was.
After work, Zedd rested comfortably in Amalia's lap as she logged back on to The message was still there, PC's smile still in place. She read the message and PC's profile aloud to Zedd, who listened intently, a soft purr rolling through his chest. As she finished, she looked in Zedd's eyes and said, "What do you think? Should I message him or not?" Zedd looked back at the screen, stood with both paws on the keyboard and mewed plaintively once, his eyes level with the man in the picture. Then he rubbed both cheeks on the computer monitor and hopped down. He wandered off to his bed where he curled up and promptly fell asleep.
Amalia thought some more. What did Zedd mean? If she had to guess, she'd say that he liked this PC. But was she just interpreting Zedd's response the way she wanted?
"Mrrow!" From behind her, Zedd gave his most imperial meow, as if to say just do it already!
"Okay, I'll message him," she said, clicking the blue 'reply' button at the bottom of the message. Please let this be the right choice she thought to herself as she composed her reply.
"Dear PC, it was nice hearing from you. I'd love to chat sometime. Perhaps we could chat on RIM (Royal Instant Messenger service is so much faster than couriers!)? My screen name is PrincessAmalia. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Amalia

She sent the message before she could second guess herself again. She heard a conspiculously loud purring from behind her, but she ignored it. She loaded her RIM program and went to make dinner. A part of her wanted to wait and see if she'd get a message, but the rest of her knew that she was no longer the kind of princess that waited around for a man. She was the kind of princess that went and made dinner as though she wasn't waiting for a message at all.
All through dinner Amalia didn't wait for a message. She didn't wait for it through the movie, either. Still, as soon as the chime sounded that she had a message, she jumped up from the couch and ran to the computer to see who was talking to her. It was PC! Not even bothering to pause the rest of the movie, she sat down at her computer to talk to this man whose smile she couldn't stop thinking about.

After a long evening of chatting (she stayed up a full two hours past her bedtime!), Amalia signed off and went to bed. She and PC had had a terrific conversation ranging from topics like literature (his favorite author was Poe) to the costs and benefits of renting vs. owning a cstle ( he owned his, but hated the taxes, she rented hers, but hated the neighbors). Everything he said made him appear even better in her eyes. He was articulate, kind, had a great sense of humor and most important - he loved cats (he didn't have any, but was suitably impressed with Zedd's magnificence)! Amalia was cautiously optomistic that here she had found a prince who would be someone worth spending time with. They had arranged to meet in town in a couple of weeks to further their acquaintance. As Amalia tugged the blankets up to her chin that night she sighed deeply, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Maybe, she thought, there is a Prince Charming for me after all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Blah

It is drizzling here today. Again. In fact, over the last three weeks, we have had only two sunny days. I'm not exaggerating - the weather here is miserable. It is so difficult to get up in the morning when it is still dark out due to cloud cover. It is even more difficult to listen to our apologetic weather man pronounce another day of clouds, drizzle and fog. The grass in Maine is still green. I'm 25, and I've never seen that happen. Usually by mid-September it is burnt to an orange crisp that doesn't recover until May. The seagulls marching back and forth searching for lunch outside my window are wearing gum rubbers and little yellow rain caps. They are tired of their diet of watered-down worms.

I think I may have found someone to marry Bear and I (finally). It was the one detail I was starting to get nervous about. I'm going to officially ask her in a bit, but she seemed amenable to the idea and is someone who will be at the wedding anyway. I'm cautiously optomistic.

There isn't much else to report today... my students are reading a Shakespearian play this week. Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

TGIF - a day early

I don't have to work tomorrow because it is Veteran's Day (observed). Hooray! I couldn't be more excited to have a short workweek. School has been crazy lately as I'm proctoring a computerized test that all English students must take. Scheduling is a nightmare, plus I must factor in absent students, times for students who don't finish to finish, all on top of teaching four classes. My stress level has been very high this week.

On a positive note, my mother, aunt and I are going to the annual Livermore Craft Fair. It is a huge event comprising crafts in not one but THREE separate buildings. My mother is a die-hard shopper, so much of the day is spent trying to keep up with her. The rest of the time I spend trying to find her after she's scampered off somewhere. She is only 5'0", so I lose her behind tall shelves all the time. The craft fair is really quite lovely, though, with handmade windchimes, knitted and crocheted goods, quilts, and best of all - FOOD! Jellys, fudge, cakes, cookies, you name it, they've got it. I think that's why I'm such a fan of the fair. The only down side to the craft fair is how crowded it gets about mid-morning. It is so packed in some of the buildings you can't get from one side of the path to the other. If you want to see a booth on the other side, you have to go all the way to the end of the room and then switch directions. Old ladies get really pissed if you try to pull a U-turn in the middle of the aisle.

Bear and I are doing well (as always). While I'm at the craft fair, he will be out deer hunting with my father. It should be an interesting situation. Luckily my dad thinks Bear is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It must be a family thing, because I do, too. ;)


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

To Have Children, or Not to Have Children

I've been putting off this post because I want to be articulate, and for that to happen ideas need to percolate for days or even weeks. I first thought about blogging on this topic three weeks ago, so perhaps I'm finally ready.

My entire life I have known that I don't want children. It may seem illogical that a teacher has no desire for her own children, but it's true. I have had not one maternal feeling in my 25 (& a half) years. Do I enjoy children? Absolutely. My family produces some beautiful and brilliant chilren, all of whom are terrific. I wouldn't trade any of my cousins, nieces and nephews for any amount of money. That being said, I don't feel the need or urge to add to my family's already substantial numbers.

So if I like kids enough to work with them every day, why not want some of my own? Well, that's kind of hard to explain. If you know me at all, you know that I adore being the center of attention. I don't have stage fright, I have no problems speaking up, and I can't get enough of "all eyes on me." That is one of the reasons I'm a teacher. Having a child means one can't be selfish like that any more. Suddenly it's not all about you, and won't be ever again. That sucks. I believe that I would grow to resent the person responsible for shifting all of that attention away from me - my child. Eek! That wouldn't be pretty.

Further, I love my life just the way it is. Granted, I'm too busy (who isn't?), but I can travel when I want, stay out late if I'd like to, even drive a pickup truck or sports car if I want to. I can walk around my house in only my underwear, leave sharp knitting needles on the coffee table, even have cold pizza and Pepsi for breakfast. Is there anything else in life greater than that? Maybe, but I doubt it. The point is, I love the freedom I have. I grew up in a pretty strict household so it took me years to give myself permission to live my life the way I want to. A child would change all that.

Deciding not to have children is not a decision I make lightly. Both Bear and I are the last members of our family; our lines will die out with us. He and I have discussed my no-children policy. He says he is fine with it and I believe him, but I also know that problems may arise down the road. The urge to procreate is one of the oldest imperatives of human nature, after all. So what will we do then? I don't know to be honest, but I can tell you the answer isn't 'have children.'
What bugs me about my decision even more than potentially causing conflict in my relationship is that other people are SO convinced that things will change. I can't tell you the number of times I've told someone of my choice only to be told, "You wait. Once you're older and your clock starts ticking, you'll change your mind." ARGH! STOP PRETENDING YOU KNOW ME BETTER THAN I KNOW MYSELF!!! I realize I'm still young. I realize that I'm not married yet. I also realize that I am a confident, college educated woman who knows her mind and isn't at the mercy of some out-dated evolutionary impulse. Why won't people just accept my decision? My parents bug me every time I see them, "When are you going to give us some grandbabies?" "Pregnant yet?" "You know, if you hurry, you could have a baby before you're married and still get back into your dress!" "We are only asking for one. You have to give us one, then you can be done." SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! They mentioned me having babies in front of Bear the FIRST time I brought him home! Can you imagine how mortified I was?

I guess in the end, I'm asking for a little understanding. I'm not wrong, I'm not unAmerican or inHuman just because I don't want a baby. I'm just like everyone else. I don't question your desire to have children, so what gives you the right to question my desire not to?


PS My students are working on a relationship unit, and when I mentioned to them that I didn't want kids, they all said it was "sad" and "weird." They actually pitied me because I choose to remain childless! WHY is this such a difficult concept for people to understand?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tying it Together

In my English class, my students are starting a new unit. I use it to expose students to various nonfiction texts as well as the research process. The unit is called, "What makes a good relationship?" None of us have the answer to this question completely, so it is interesting to hear what everyone thinks. I start the unit with a ranking sheet. I give them four examples of relationships and they tell me which is the best and worst and why. I'm giving you the same assignment. You'll notice in the top left corner of my blog is a poll. Please read the vignettes below and vote on who you think has the best relationship. If you'd like, you may also post a comment stating why you feel the way you do. I'm interested to see the results. Happy voting!


Relationship Ranking Sheet

A. Ross is so in love that he wasn't eaten, slept, or worked in days, and he couldn't be happier. And it is all because of Judy. Ross met Judy at a party two nights ago. Ross almost didn't go; he only went after his best friend dragged him there, saying that it was time for Ross to get over his last girlfriend, Rina. Boy, did he ever! Rina was only a dim memory once Ross saw Judy. She was standing quietly across the room, the lamplight caressing her face, making her look angelic, etheral. Nearly in a trance, Ross worked his way across the room to her. The two started talking, and very rapidly the two developed strong feelings for each other. They have to keep their relationship a secret for now, because Judy's family would object to her dating a kid from "the wrong side of the tracks." Ross spends his days thinking about her, dreaming of her beauty, and devising ways for them to be together. If he thought they couldn't be together, it would kill him. He needs to have her, to hold her, forever.

B. Samantha is in love. So what if Mike isn't the man her parents would have picked for her, if they were still alive? So he doesn't come from old money, have fancy cars and fot yahting every summer. He is a good man who treats her like a woman. He doesn't mince words; he tells her just what he likes (and what he doesn't) and tells her often how lucky she is to have a man who has a steady job and his own place. She didn't tell him that her family was once wealthy. After all, what good would it have done? The money is all gone, and they do alright on their own. However, occasionally Samantha does remember her childhood, and wistfully recalls the freedom that money can bring. If they had more money, maybe Mike would spend less time out bowling and playing poker with his friends and more time home with her. Maybe then he would rediscover the things that made him fall in love with her in the first place - her laughter, how hard she has tried to become an efficient housewife, and the grace and beauty in her character.

C. Alex is a self-labeled genius. After months of research and experiement, he has discovered a chemical that enhances the emotion centers of a woman's brain. Specifically, the emotions of romance, longing, and love are affected. Alex has done what no man has done before - he has developed a way to make women fall in love with him. He knows just who to use it on, too. Alex has been in love with Heidi since the third grade. He knows what she does for fun, what she wants to do with her life, even what her favorite desserts are. Once Heidi loves him as much as he loves her, he knows that they will have the perfect relarionship. Each of them will be madly in love with the other, and they will live hapily ever after. There will be no messy break-ups, no drawn- out arguments, just love and caring for the rest of their lives. As he puts on his coat to go meet her, he can hardly contain his excitement.

D. Doris and Boris are very much in love. They have been together since middle school, and both are in their thirties now. They have many of the same interests; books, theater and art. They know each other so well they can finish each others' sentences. Their relationship even survived a terrible accident Boris had that left him a paraplegic two years ago. He is bound to his wheelchair now and can feel nothing from his waist down. Boris tried to get Doris to leave him after that, saying he didn't want to tie her down. After all, they could never have children now, which was something Doris really wanted. However Doris stayed with him, insisting that as long as she had him she was the luckiest woman alive and she believed it (and still does). Boris was relieved and thankful that he had such a wonderful wife. He has noticed, though, that every once in a while, Doris will come home late from work, often distracted and quiet. at first Boris though tshe was coming down with something, but she appears to be healthy. On these infrequent days (it happens every other month or so), Doris comes home and showers, then spends the rest of the evening spending quality time with her husband. These evenings are some of the best the two have shared. Boris has nagging suspicions about Doris' activities, but he has decided not to say anything. He knows he is lucky to have her, and it is obvious to him that she loves him. He tells himself that is enough.

There you have it. Which relationship is the best? Which is the worst? Why?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Speaking of Christmas...

I am working on a number of sewing/knitting projects for people for Christmas this year. I have a new sewing machine that sounds like a jet engine and is just as fast. Just tonight I completed a gift for my brother and sister-in-law. STart to finish in just one evening! Of course, the mitten I am knitting my father is about two inches too big and will have to be begun again. *sigh*.

I thought you'd like to see one more picture of Bear and I, so I posted it, even though it has nothing to do with gifts or Christmas. Do you think I should make it my default picture?


Friday, November 03, 2006

Some Pictures for You

Happy Halloween! Err... Happy BELATED Halloween!

Zeddicus (Zedd), the best cat on the planet! Admit it, he melts your heart, doesn't he?

I can't tell who's hornier...

Bear and I waiting to see the pandas at the San Diego Zoo.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

And I'm SO EXCITED! This morning on my way to work I drove into a flurry. The ground was covered (actually, it made the road wicked slippery) and all the trees had a dusting of flakes. It was gorgeous! Christmas is my all-time favorite time of year. The food, the family, the beautiful outdoor vistas... it all warms my heart. My fingers are itching to pull out my Christmas CDs - the Muppets, Andy Williams, even Dr. Demento. It's not too soon to be excited about Christmas, is it?

PS Pictures to be posted tonight! I PROMISE

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

That's a favorite saying of my dad's. It means that whatever you call it, things seem to even out. I was very frustrated by this yesterday.
The day started out so wonderfully! It was "challenge day" for the sophomore class. The Army National Guard created an elaborate series of challenges for small groups of sophomores to navigate through. The goal is to build teamwork and communication skills. I was "chaperoning" a great group of kids. The whole day was pretty terrific. I even got a t-shirt! Fabulous.
I got my car back Monday night from the garage, and was thrilled to be driving MY car again. Unfortunately, the original problem was repaired, but a new one cropped up - my automatic seatbelt isn't working. The cord it runs on jumped the track, so it is stuck in the car-door-is-open position. I didn't try to frig with it, thinking Bear would be able to fix it later.
When I got back to Brownville that afternoon, I got the mail and then went straight to Bear's work, as we had to go to the garage to pay the repair bill on my car once he got out for the day. I knew the bill was going to be big, because I'd had four new struts, new strut mounting plates and a new tie rod end put in my car. The total? SIX HUNDRED FORTY-EIGHT DOLLARS! And change. That's more than HALF what I paid for my car five and a half years ago!! Whatever. I can't afford a new car, so I just slapped my credit card down on the desk and cringed. I drove home that night poor, with a car that was fixed but somehow still broken. Now my credit cards are both almost maxed, I have no money to fix this new problem or pay for my wedding or buy Christmas presents. Life pretty much SUCKS right now.