Monday, December 31, 2007

Post #200!

Today is my 200th post. I wasn't sure what I was going to write - I wanted it to be classy and inspirational. Then again, that's not really me, is it? So I figured I'd just do what came natural and go from there.

For the last several years, I've had the same New Year's resolution: Recognize good advice when I hear it. I have had trouble with this my whole life. However after three or so years of this resolution, I haven't come very far. I am still far too pigheaded and stubborn for my own good. So what should I resolve to do this year? I think I am going to become cliche and do what thousands of Americans do every year - I'm going to lose weight.

It shouldn't be surprising - if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I've been unhappy with my weight for a long time. I'm not huge, and I look okay with my clothes on, but I'm not confident at all. I'd like to be. I know what I really need to do is up my physical activity level. I'm sedentary. That is only going to make me bigger. Ugh. I read somehwere that you only need to have 100 extra calories a day to gain ten pounds in a year. Holy crap! It doesn't seem fair that it's that easy to put on weight, and so frigging difficult to take it off.

So in the next few weeks, my blog will be changing. Nothing major, but I need it to reflect this new resolution. It will still be titled Caring for Bear, and most of my posts will be their regular random bits. However I'd like to add some things to keep me motivated and show my progress. Because there WILL be progress. I'd also like to set some goals - goals are important in anything you do, I think. Here's what I have so far:

Under 170: Dying my hair a rich dark brown, eliminating my grays.
Weight I was when I met Bear: The book "Couch to 5k".
BMI under 24.9: Free weights.
Weight under 160: My car gets detailed.
IF I get back under 160, the prizes will have to get much bigger. But for now, that's what they are. What do you think? I think if I can get under 160 by my birthday (June 22), I deserve a new swimsuit - from Victoria's Secret. A two piece?

To get there, I am doing the following:
  • Food journal: I will write down everything I eat and drink, it's calorie and fat content. I know how many calories I should be eating a day, as well as how much fat.
  • Glamour.com has an awesome calculator for BMI, so I will be testing that, too.
  • I am also going to weigh myself each morning.
  • I will take measurements of my arms, legs, and waist to see where I'm shrinking. When I have all that info, I will post it.
  • I may take pictures, but if I do I'm only going to show them to you when I have the AFTER shots to compare them to.
  • I will start wearing my pedometer again, trying to get to 5,000 steps a day (at least in the beginning).
  • Riding the stationary bike 20 minutes, every day of 2008. No exceptions, no excuses. I'm trying to find a digital calendar I can put in my sidebars to show you. We'll see how that goes.

If you can recommend anything else, please let me know! I need all the help I can get. I'm hoping that 2008 will be the year I finally get my act together. Wish me luck!

~Amalia~

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dear Lynn,

When I joined the staff at Rite Aid last September, you were my trainer. As I navigated the tricky world of cigarette sales and cycle counts, you provided a never-ending supply of support and cheer. The more I got to know you and work with you, the more I was struck by what a genuinely kind, caring person you were. It seemed every time I turned around you were helping me bag, bringing me a copy of next week's schedule, or assisting me with my nightly chores. I remember thinking, could you be real? Could you really be as sweet and caring as you seemed? You were. And what's more, you were a great story teller. Every shift we worked together I had stitches in my sides from laughter. We got in trouble for standing around talking instead of working like we were supposed to. It was so wonderful to have someone to talk to after more than a year of isolation at home. You gave me a connection to this area, a reason to enjoy living here. Without you, I would without doubt still feel very alone. I enjoy working at Rite Aid because Rite Aid means you. And you, my dear, are a rockin' good time.

Now you are leaving Rite Aid. I know you have to take this new job opportunity - it's what's right for you and your family. I admit that I was floored when I heard - to me, Rite Aid will always mean you, even after you leave. I probably haven't handled the news as well as I should - I know I haven't, because every time I think about it, it makes me want to cry. I almost feel as though you are leaving me as much as you are leaving Rite Aid. I know it's silly, but I can't help it. I am afraid that without you there, I'll lose that feeling of connectedness, and I don't want to. I know that I can come visit you, and I hope that I will. It may be selfish, but I don't want to lose you from my life. You make me feel worthy and deserving of good things. Very few people have done that for me - thank you for being one of those few.

Thank you for making me feel as though I've come home.


Yours Truly,
Heather

Friday, December 14, 2007

Secrets and Surprises

At work this year we are doing Secret Santas. A small gift every day this week has found its way into my mailbox - the first day a magnet for my car and Crystal Light To Go packs, the second day a thermos for my coffee (I've been using an old Bob the Builder kids' thermos), yesterday a GIANT Hershey Kiss, and today a photo frame snow globe with two pictures of Bear and I in it. The pictures come from my Myspace page. I had an inkling who was getting me these gifts (I only showed a few people the Bob the Builder Thermos), but wasn't sure until today. I re-use the gift bag I receive to give to the person I have for my Secret Santa. As I was transferring the items in the teachers room, an Ed tech said, "It's a good thing I didn't write on it, then!" And then she realized what she said. She looked crushed, but I couldn't stop laughing. I was not upset at all! She's so funny anyway, I was actually quite glad she had picked my name. I've received great gifts!

Today after lunch, the Adult Ed teacher stopped me in the hall. "Did you still want to teach an Adult Ed class?" she asked. "Heck ya I do!" I replied, in one of my less grammatically correct utterings. She went on to give me the details. I am going to teach a fifteen week English course for High School credit. Most of the students will be juniors and seniors in high school, as well as a few adults. I have complete executive control over what I teach! It will be one day a week after school for about three hours. I have to come up with a course outline and a syllabus. I start at the end of January. The pay is $900, payable upon course completion. I cannot tell you how excited I am! This is what I really want to do - teach kids that want to be there the things I think are important. I will help them become better readers, writers, and thinkers. They will learn, they will experiment, they will have fun. I can't wait. This is also an awesome stepping stone to teaching classes at KaTech, the community college up the road, other adult ed classes and eventually college classes once I have my master's. I am positively giddy today. In the words of Jerry Spinelli, "WAHOO!"

~Amalia~

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tired

Doesn't it seem like everyone is tired? My kids are saying it, I'm saying it, my fellow teachers are saying it... what is it about this time of year that makes us so tired? I am in study hall right now and I'm fighting just to keep my eyes open. I don't know how I'm going to make it home - maybe I will have to buy a coffee for the ride. I have to work at Rite Aid tonight, too, so I'm mentally preparing myself for an incredibly loooong night. Ugh.
On the plus side, Christmas Vacation is only eight days away!!

~Amalia~

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Love Him!

I do the laundry in our house. The laundry basket is in our rather small bathroom. I only have time to do laundry once a week, so it is a struggle to keep the clothes in the basket and not on the floor. I work hard to pile it up so the floor stays free for walking. Ever since I moved in, I have been trying to get Bear to follow my example and stop throwing his clothes on the bathroom floor and leaving them there. I hate stepping on his dirty socks when I get out of the shower! After months and months of "gentle reminders", Bear is finally starting to get it.
Yesterday when I got home I separated the laundry into different piles - light, medium, dark. I wasn't going to shower last night, so I put the piles on the floor. The plan was to pick one pile up at a time and deposit it into the washer. Simple, right?
Then I got an invitation to go to the local high school girls' varsity basketball game. I had to leave the laundry where it was. No big deal, I thought, I'll do it tomorrow. At least it's all sorted! When I returned home, I got ready for bed, putting my dirty clothes in their respective piles. Bear had gone ahead of me, so I looked to see which piles he had put his clothes in.

I found them all in the laundry basket.

:-)

~Amalia~

Friday, December 07, 2007

First Snow




Here are the pics of the first snow storm of the year. We got about twelve inches by the time the storm ended (about 36 hours of snow). Usually we don't get a snow like this until January or February. This year the snow is early and plentiful. Whoopie!

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What do YOU want?

I know what I want for Christmas. It's not a lot, but it is kind of expensive. I want a USB cable and memory card for my phone so I can put mp3s on it. That way whenever someone calls me, I hear a ring tone specific to who they are as a person. Isn't that clever?
Every Christmas, I wonder what other people want. not people I buy for, as I'm pretty sure what they want, and what I'm going to get them (not always the same thing). I want to know what strangers want for Christmas. And what they REALLY want, not just what they are asking for. Most of the time, I tell myself not to get something that catches my eye. Maybe it's too expensive or frivolous. Many times I just feel too guilty getting something for myself and not for someone else. Whenever Bear wants something, I usually encourage him to get it. new clothes? Sure. A CD? Absolutely. Most of the time I don't even mind that he gets those things more often than I do. I think the last shirt I got was a free gift in September for helping out at the Maine Reptile Expo. Before that? A seven dollar Rese's Peanut Butter cup shirt I bought in March or April from Wal Mart. But that's not the point.

When I cast my mind back to think about the last thing I really wanted (besides the phone stuff), I find myself thinking about a pair of jeans. They were CarHart jeans, triple stitched, boot cut, and low rise. I didn't even try them on because they were thirty dollars, and I didn't have that kind of money to spend on myself. Bear and I were at Reny's, a discount store that specializes in work clothes. Bear had received a clothing allowance from his work and that was the money we were spending. I knew if I tried them on, I would want them, so I didn't. I also knew that they would be gone a couple of days later, so there was no way I was going to get them. I sighed, gave them a last pat, and walked away. I'm not sorry I did that - I really didn't have the money. but when I think about what I really, truly, honestly want - those jeans are it.

Commercials tell me that I want jewelry. Maybe I'm supposed to want that, but I really don't. It's too expensive and I'll probably just lose or break it anyway. Plus, I'm really not a jewelry kind of girl. Or a make up kind of girl, or a manicure kind of girl. I do enjoy the occasional pedicure (I've had one in my life, and it was for a wedding), but that doesn't really make a good Christmas gift. "Here, honey, I bought you some time to have a complete stranger fix your toenails. No one will see them because it's winter in Maine, but enjoy! Don't forget to shave your legs before you go... you're getting kind of hairy." Yeah, right. I'll pass. I don't want any of the "traditional" female gifts that the media says I should want. There's a future post there about how un-womanly I am, but I'll save it for another day.

Because I don't bow to the edicts of the media, I am curious if other people do. What do you really want for Christmas? Tell me in the comments... I'd really like to know.

~Amalia~

Monday, December 03, 2007

Snow Day!

Today is the first official snow day of the year. At 5:12 this morning, my principal called me to tell me that there was no school. After I hung up the phone, I rolled into the warmth on Bear's side of the bed and snuggled him. Soon he would have to get up and snowblow the driveway before he left for work. In the predawn darkness, we held each other, my head tucked under his chin and our fingers entwined. Half an hour later, when the alarm went off, Bear sat up to look out the window. "It hasn't even started to snow!" he exclaimed. "Look, the cars are bare, the streets are bare... I thought I was going to have to get up early, but I don't have to." With that, he tucked himself back into bed and held me for another half-hour.

It was heaven.

When he did finally get up, I got up with him and made him breakfast. We watched the news. The weatherman said we are going to get 12-18 inches of snow today, so Bear gave me instructions to snowblow the driveway before he comes home. "And don't forget to cover the heating oil pipes," he cautioned me. I smiled and kissed him, and he stepped out the door. "It's starting to snow!" he called back to me as I shut the door behind him.

So now here I sit, blogging while fresh biscuits bake in the oven. I will use one to make a breakfast sandwich (something I never have time for), the rest I will put in the fridge to be used later this week. I have presents to wrap, cleaning to do, a sweater to knit, cats to cuddle, Christmas music to listen to and goodies to bake. I love the feeling a snow day creates - a day out of time, a bonus day... a day where ther are no "must-dos," only "feel-like-doings". And this snow day is before Christmas, so I'm filled with holiday cheer.

This is a great day.

~Amalia~

Friday, November 30, 2007

As Promised








Here are some pics of my new nephew, T-Rex. His father is my brother, The Golden Child. I think he's vaguely odd-looking, butt all new babies are, I'm told. He's a month old as of yesterday. The green blanket in a couple of the pics is what I knit him for his "coming out" party. Eww, that image was gross. Anyway. The black as night cat in two of the pics is my brother's tempermental, moody cat named Scratchy who for some reason, ADORES T-Rex. But then, he adores the Golden Child, too... guess there's no accounting for taste!

~Amalia~

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Amalgom

Sometimes I have days where I can't think of what to post. It's not that I don't have ideas; rather, it is because I have too many thoughts in my head to focus on just one. Usually I wait until one thought rises to the surface and concentrate on that one. Lately, however, I've been too busy for much introspection. So here are my stream-of-conscious thoughts for today. I separated them by paragraph for ease of reading, but they overlap in my mind.

I had another weird dream last night. This one was a complete story... a sad story. I wonder if I should write it down as a short story? I'd hate to lose it, but at the same time it kind of disturbs me to think about. Dreams are supposed to have deep meanings, aren't they?

So I made lasagna for my friends L-Unit and J-Dogg on Tuesday. They said they liked it. Did they really? Why am I so self-conscious about my cooking? Why do I not believe people when they say that something is good? Is it because I lie to people when I eat something bad? Is there any way to overcome this insecurity? I'm not sure. I don't like that I am so desperate for positive food praise. It's sad. Really, why even cook if I'm not confident about it?

Gas prices suck. I paid $3.32 a gallon today for Mid-Grade gas for my car. I have to fill up every four days, and I have one of the most fuel-efficient cars out there. When am I ever going to be able to afford a new car? I want a pickup truck, so the most I'm going to get for gas mileage is 20mpg. Right now I get 34 mpg. Add a car payment and full coverage insurance and I'm not going to be able to do it!

"He's the only one with enough of me to break my heart." That was a song lyric I heard this morning. I wonder - does Bear have enough of me to break my heart? Do I even give that much of me away anymore? Or did Chad cure me of that years ago? What does that mean if my heart doesn't break? Does that mean I didn't truly love him? That thought is almost too difficult to think. but seriously... do I hold back my love? What event COULD break my heart? Could anything? If I can't think of something, does that mean I'm cold? Heartless?

I love my Rite Aid job more than my teaching job. That sucks. I paid so much money to become a teacher, and I'm good at it. Well, the teaching part. I suck at the paperwork/administrative parts. I voted today to go forward with a "no confidence" vote about the superintendent. I don't even know what that will do. I just know that I don't like her or the policies she creates. If I'm honest with myself, I know that I'm also pissed that she screwed me out of a step on the payscale. I can't wait for her to be gone.

Why is a fireman walking past my classroom windows? Doesn't he know what a distraction he is to my kids? Kind of fitting, though, as we just talked about the fire in chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird. Still. That's really random.

I'm so hungry! It's only 10:30, and I already can't wait for lunch. I hate how school messes with my biological clock. Normal people don't eat lunch that early! But I've done it for so long, now my body is accustomed to that. It's not right.

Christmas, Christmas, what is Christmas going to be like this year? Am I going to get the things I want? Am I going to be able to buy the things I want? How much money can I realistically spend? Do I spend too much? Not enough? What am I going to get my cousins? Is the farm Monopoly game insulting? I wouldn't have thought it was, except Bear asked me, and now I wonder.

I keep forgetting to tell people I saw another moose yesterday! It was a bull moose with a nice rack... but he was facing away from the road so all I got a good view of was his butt. That made me giggle. It still does.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Seeing the forest

I am often guilty of "not seeing the forest for the trees." Quite often a solution to a problem is so obvious and simple, I don't see it. My mind works hard to see complex patterns and so at times totally bypasses the simple ones. If I'm lucky, someone will show me an easier way or I will have an epiphany. Most of the time I'm not that lucky.
Yesterday, however, I did have an epiphany. Let me explain my problem first. I have huge trapezius muscles. I look a little like the Incredible Hulk. Thank God I don't work out or they would be monstrous. It's just the way I'm built. As a consequence, I can't keep anything on my shoulders. Purses? No way. Bra straps? Forget about it. I'm constantly jerking my bra straps back on to my shoulders. Several times an hour at least. No matter how tight I pull them or how wide they are, they don't stay up. Ever. I tried to solve the problem by buying an expensive racer back bra. I was told that they couldn't fall. Well, normally they don't, but the bra is a front-close variety, and the sucker pops open several times a day, and once unhooked, the straps fall down. I hate strapless bras (they don't stay up), so I didn't know what to do.
I was contemplating this wardrobe travesty yesterday on my drive home. I was trying to pull up one of my straps with my mittens on (I was in the car). It was impossible. Frustrated, I gave up. I might as well just take the straps off, I thought to myself. Falling straps are worse than no straps and these are designed to be taken off, anyway. That was when the lightbulb came on. Most of my bras are those five-way convertible bras - why couldn't I just criss cross the straps in the back so that they would stay up?! EUREKA! Of course when I got home that afternoon, I forgot to try it and had to work at Rite Aid that night with the falling straps. But this morning, I did it. It took just a minute and poof! Bra straps that won't fall down. I've been strapfall-free for the entire day.
I shouldn't be proud of this discovery. I've had these bras for two years, and only yesterday thought about moving the straps. But I am. I am so thrilled with myself that I had to tell someone. That someone is you. But now that I shared, I am feeling like I've exposed my inner airhead. Have you ever done something similar? Telling me would make me feel a whole lot better. Please?

~Amalia~

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On Giving Thanks

Those who know me know that I am a gifted complainer. I can find a cloud on the sunniest day, a fly in the purest of ointments. But since Thursday is Thanksgiving, I thought I'd make a list of all of the things I am thankful for, without a single complaint. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1. My commute. Not only do I get forty-five uninterrupted minutes of alone time, I also get so see the very best of Maine - its wildlife. Last year I saw thirty-three moose, a coyote, several fox, crows, ravens, squirrels and chipmunks, a bald eagle, hawks, falcons, turkeys, and deer. This morning a large and beautiful owl flew across the road and landed on a tree branch as I drove by. He looked at me, and we shared a moment in the wilderness together.

2. My jobs. I am a teacher; it's my calling in life. I guide fifty human beings to become better readers, writers, and thinkers. My former students come back to tell me how much I helped them both in class and out of it. At Rite Aid, I competently and efficiently do the tasks required of me. I work with wonderful people and have made good friends. I also am content with the knowledge that I don't have to be perfect - I'm still learning, and am at the bottom of the responsibility pyramid. After a day of teaching, that is a great feeling.

3. My home life. When I get home, I am enveloped in warmth. My cats run to the door in welcome, crying for attention and showing me how much I was missed. I pick them up and walk around the house, noticing all the places they have been and things they have changed while I've been gone. If it's early, my husband will arrive home from work smelling of fresh cut lumber and cold. If it's late, he will be home when I get there and show me the chores he's done or the dinner he's cooked. Sometimes, if I'm very lucky, he will be asleep with the cats on the couch and they will all be snuggled and warm. They welcome me home, finding a place for me among them, my husband tucking my body along his, the cats resettling on top of me, too.

Amalia~

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaNoWriMo, L-Unit, and Date Night

1. I am so behind on my novel, but I got a "pep talk" from an author today who is behind on her words, too. I hope to catch up during last block today, or maybe tomorrow, or maybe the weekend. It's not that I don't have words to write, but that I don't have time to write them. I feel better after the pep talk.

2. L-Unit wrote me a thoughtful, insightful email yesterday. I'd showed her this blog, and she wrote to me about one of my posts. The best part? She didn't judge me. In fact, she's never judged me. She could have, as I know I have shared some eyebrow-raising information with her, but she never told me I should or shouldn't have done something, or that I should feel bad or guilty for it, either. She is a pillar of support and warmth. I haven't replied to her email yet, but I will - as soon as I can give the response the quality she deserves.

3. Depending on the weather, either Friday or Saturday night Bear and I are going out to celebrate our two year anniversary. It was two years ago this Saturday (11/17) that I met Bear in person for the first time at 99 Restaurant and Grill in Bangor, Maine. He was interesting, intriguing, and he made me blush (something few people can do). I was hooked from that very first night. Happy Anniversary, Bear! And thanks for two wonderful years.

~Amalia~

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Courting Friendship


I never thought about how I make friends until recently. Friendship has always evolved naturally from circumstances I found myself in - high school, college, work, etc. So when Bear told me I needed to make some friends in the town we live in, I was a bit at a loss. How do you make new friends as an adult? I couldn't just cold call people ("Hi, my name's Heather. I like knitting and sleeping in. I have two cats. Want to be my friend?"), my husband's friends were all either single or married to women I had no desire to know, and I'm not involved in any charitable organizations or churches (and don't plan to be). So how, then? How does one make a new friend? I was embarassed that I didn't know the answer to that question.
Thankfully, Bear unwittingly came to the rescue. One of his friends at work is his age and has a wife and two kids who seem pretty cool. They came to our wedding (L-Unit, as I'll call her, was over eight months pregnant with baby number two). At the wedding, L-Unit said that we should all get together for dinner sometime. I said sure, but proptly forgot all about it. Months later, Bear was talking to J-Dogg (L-Unit's husband) about how lonely I was. J-Dogg reminded Bear about the dinner offer and told him to message L-Unit on Myspace to set something up. J-Dogg reminded L-Unit, too, so she messaged Bear to set something up. Unforturnately, Bear isn't the best planner. So taking my need for a friend firmly by the neck, I wrote to L-Unit myself. she knew who I was, so I told her that I would like to set up dinner (since I knew Bear wouldn't ever get around to it).
About a week later, Bear and I went over to L-Unit and J-Dogg's house for dinner. We had good food and better conversation. They were funny and entertaining, and we had a great time. Since then, L-Unit and I have messaged almost daily - we make each other laugh and both kind of need someone local to hang out with. I have been trying to nurture this friendship, to help it grow without suffocating it. It's a lot like a new romantic relationship, really. I make sure that my emails don't come on too strong, I wait a while before emailing her back, I try not to bug her with too many demands on her time. When I got called into work on a night we were supposed to go walking, I worried that I'd "caused irreprable damage to a fledgling friendship" (that is what I said to the girl whose shift I covered, who is L-Unit's sister-in-law). I was kind of joking. I'm hoping that L-Unit and I are becomming true friends - honestly, it's been so long since someone new has come into my life that I'm not even sure I'm doing it right.

~Amalia~

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I think I'm going to be sick...


... but I'm going to try it anyway. Yesterday I signed up for NaNoWriMo. For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo is an organization that promotes Nation Novel Writing Month (November). The task: write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's an average of 1,667 words a day! I first heard about NaNoWriMo last year, but scoffed at the idea of writing a novel. The idea was intriguing, though, and the website is very supportive. This year, when I heard rumblings about NaNoWriMo again, I decided to sign up. I've had a novel idea in my head for two years now! Although I am petrified at the idea of someone seeing my novel, I think it's time to write it down. It's a romance novel (my secret dream job is writing romance novels for a living), and it takes place in Maine. I will keep you updated as I begin this journey - writing 1,667 words a day while working two jobs and preparing for the holiday season is NOT going to be easy. I hope you'll send me words of encouragement this month (and maybe provide a digital kick-in-the-pants).

~Amalia~

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Four Months (but who's counting?)

Bear and I have been married exactly four months today. Before we got married, I was so supremely confident that we would (will?) turn out fine. I had no idea that the first four months of marriage were going to be as difficult as they were. I've already written about this, so I won't bore you with the details again, but I will say that although things are better now, I have lost the cockiness that I had pre-wedding. I lost that surety that everything was (is?) going to be fine. Bear and I are still negotiating the tricky marriage waters, but at least now we know that there are creatures below.

An example of this happened just the other day. Bear and I were in the car coming back from grocery shopping when I mentioned again how I can't wait until I get a new car. Bear paused and said, "I'm still not convinced that you won't get a car I hate just to spite me."
Wounded, I replied, "Why would you think that?"
"I don't know... something just makes me think that."
"Babe, I'm not going to buy a car you completely hate. Unless the car I want is pink. I'd definitely buy the pink one."
"You both have to agree on the car anyway, so I guess it's not a big deal," he said, sidestepping the pink issue.
I looked at him, confused. "Why do we have to agree on the car I'm buying?"
"Because. I'm going to be there with you. I'm even going to test drive it."
*At this point it should be noted that I began to get impatient and confrontational. He is such a dear to put up with me.*
"Why are you going to test drive my car? You can sit in it to see if you fit, but you don't need to drive it. I'm the one that will be driving it every day... it will be MY car."
"No, it will be OUR car. There is no more yours or mine."
"Screw that! I have my own car now and I intend to always have my own car."
"Why?"
"Because that way if something happens and we break up, I need to be able to rely on having my own vehicle."
"What about our next house? Is that going to be in just your name too?"
I thought about that. "No, because if we break up, we'd have to split the money or cost of the house. It's better if both our names are on it."

That was the jist of the argument/conversation. I still maintain I need my own car. It doesn't mean he can't drive it, just that he has no claim on it. He still argues that we should share everything in this marriage. I don't agree. I wonder what other married people do about this sort of stuff. I know my own parents have their own vehicles, but my parents aren't the best example of a great marriage. All I know is that some piece of me must remain independent. I need to know that if I have to leave, I have the right to leave (without "stealing" the car). I'm in no way expecting this to happen, but who can tell the future? I can't, and until I can I want some insurance. My car is that.

In other news, my brother's wife had her baby yesterday - 7lbs, 1oz, 19 inches long. Thomas Lloyd is his name. I don't know how well everyone is doing, but I'm sure all is well. I'm supposed to get the details tonight. I will post pictures as soon as I get them!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kitten Drama

I love our new kitten Briggs. Really I do. As I type this, she's trying to engage the must more reserved Zedd in a wrestling match. He's just sitting there, letting her do her thing, then getting up and walking away so she can do it again. She's cute and cuddly and all the things I love about kittens.
She's also infested.
She arrived at our home with fleas, tapeworm, and earmites. It took quite a while to rid her of the various parasites hitching a ride on or in her body. Zedd, luckily, didn't catch any of her bugs. Then I find out that her littermate has something called "coxcidia" (I'm not sure of the spelling), a single-celled organism that lives in the stomach and replicates without check until the poor thing can't eat. I called my vet to ask if Briggs needed to be tested for this, but the vet wasn't in and I had to leave a voice mail. I got a voicemail back an hour later saying that the medicine would be in the vets' office mailbox, and I could pick it up and send a check for it later. The vet knows that I live sixty miles away from her office. I guess that means it's serious - they didn't even test to see if she has it! So now she is being treated for her FOURTH parasite. I love her, but this is getting ridiculous!

I hope to write again Monday about my experiences at the Breaking Benjamin, Seether, and Three Days Grace concert I'm attending with Bear and Snake Sunday night. I am so RIDICULOUSLY excited about it! I do a mental dance every time I think about it.

~Amalia~

Monday, October 22, 2007

Awards, Writing, Living my Life, Concert, and Shout Outs


1. FINALLY, I got an award! Shari gave me the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. I know I'm far from the best blogger out there, but it feels really good to be recognized. Really good. Especially because several other bloggers I read have been receiving a lot of awards lately. Thanks Shari!
2. Although I haven't been writing a lot on my blog lately, I have been writing. Check out some of my posts on www.thisisby.us, a writing website I've been contributing to. I just wrote a post called "The First 100 Days" that describes how marriage is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. One of the reasons I haven't written here lately is becaue that post took a lot of soul searching to get out, and I chose to release it into the world there instead of here. I don't know why, really... maybe I'll post it here too someday. I also wrote a post about 20 things I do that I won't apologize for. It's pretty funny - read it here.
3. I've been woring at school and Rite Aid for two weeks now. I'm tired, I'm sore... and I'm loving it. The people at Rite Aid are super nice and the job is uncomplicated and fairly rewarding. My first check was more than I thought it would be; I'm hoping the trend continues. Some days I prefer Rite Aid to teaching! Teaching has been sucking my ass lately (I'll post soon on the most outrageous pile of bullshit I've ever experienced).
4. On Sunday night, Bear, Snake and I are going to a concert to see Breaking Benjamin, Seether, and Three Days Grace! Bear and Snake went to a Korn concert early in the month and got to stand in the front row! I'm not expecting such great seats for this show, but I AM expecting a kick ass show. I'm taking Monday off so that I can recover. WOO HOO!
5. A few people have been doing things in the blogosphere that I think deserve some recognition.
  • Sue has been doing the difficult work of saying goodbye to a friend that hasn't been much of one lately. I've gone through that myself, so I know what it's like. Sue, trust in yourself! You know what's best for you. I take strength from reading yours. You rock!
  • Jenny has been doing everything, it seems, changing her life for the better on all fronts. Through set backs and complications, she remains upbeat and hopeful. Jenny - all your hard work and determination WILL be rewarded. And soon. I can feel it.
  • Lindsay has been taking on the world of country stars, angry soccer parents and agressive newscasters. She is ever humorous, literate, eloquent and poised. I admire her strength and tenacity. Above all, she makes me laugh! Lindsay: I hope you realize what a service you do for women all over the country (and probably the world). By showing us the lighter side, you keep us from making the mistake of taking ourselves and the bad in our lives too seriously. THANK YOU!

Did I forget you? Let me know!

~Amalia~

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Aid is exactly right

I officially started a second job today. I am the newest cashier/clerk at the local Rite Aid. I will be paid $7.15 an hour to ring people's purchases up and stock shelves. I've been out of the retail world for several years and am dreading and anticipating the return in equal parts. The thing is, I need this job so I can buy heating oil for the winter. I'm going to have to pay cash price as it is, since I can't afford to pre-buy it. Once the winter is over, I'm hoping to save up for a new car. Have I posted a picture of my car? It's on it's last legs. I'm not even sure if it will last the winter. But what can I do? I'm broke!

This week has been a busy one (when is it otherwise?), and I'm very tired. I'm off to the shower and then bed. I'm looking forward to the weekend!

~Amalia~

PS my older brother called me tonight to inform me that he is now engaged to a wonderful woman named Tara. I met her at my wedding and fell instantly in love. Congratulations to you both!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Laying if Bare

Okay, I know I haven't been posting much lately. I'm sorry. Really. There are two decisions I've been wrestling with, and I wanted to wait to write until I'd actually made up my mind.
The first decision is in my private life. Bear and I have talked, and he's agreed that we can switch our birth control method from the pill back to condoms. We aren't having enough sex for the cost of the condoms to be prohibitive, and after eleven years of taking a pill every day, I'm ready to be done. I'm twenty-six and am growing fat and hairy because of my pill. Who knows what long-term side effects I'm going to have because I'm screwing around with my hormones? I've never been someone who enjoys taking a pill every day. It takes an act of God (almost) to get me to take even an ibuprofen if I'm in pain. I admit that I'm a bit nervous about relying solely on condoms, but as long as we exercise a little willpower, all should be fine. It will just be a relief to finally feel as though I'm living life completely as myself, with no additives. I'll keep you posted on how that goes (I have another week and a half of pills to take before I quit).

The other decision was a tougher one, as it deals with my professional life. In talking with fellow teachers, it has come to my attention that I am not being paid for the work I am doing. I am a half-time teacher and a half-time ed tech. This year I am doing teacher duties for ed tech pay, including teaching classes and monitoring study halls. Basically, they are using my teacher qualifications to bypass what a normal ed tech could be asked to do. They also failed to give me my yearly pay increase based on my work experience. They can't do what they have done, but they've done it. So what can I do? I'm working my second year at my district, which means I am up for tenure at the end of the year. If they rehire me, I have a job for the rest of my career if I want it. However they can choose not to rehire me at the end of this year and not even give me a reason why. So that begs the question: Do I let them screw me to offer myself a better chance at tenure, or do I speak up for myself and possibly lose my job?

I've decided to speak up. What they are doing to me is wrong, and if they are screwing me, they are probably screwing other people, too. People who are too afraid to speak up. People who could benefit if I am successful. I am beginning the grievance process this week at school. This could create a MAJOR shit storm, and it makes me a little sick to my stomach to think about it. But in the long run, I can't let them walk all over me because if they do it now, they will think they can do it whenever they want. I just can't let that happen.

Years ago, I came across a quote that stuck me as profound, and has given my life some kind of direction:
"Expose your ideas to that dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost."

I'm trying to lead my life by these words. Wish me luck. If you do that kind of thing, say a prayer for me. Please?

~Amalia~

Friday, September 21, 2007

Weekend Update

I am sorry that I haven't updated all week - my school installed a new web filter and I can't get this site (among others). I just woke up from my Friday night nap so I can be ready to play video games with Bear and Snake tonight. Since he became single, Snake has been over much more lately. We love him dearly, but at times it seems like he will never go home!
Briggs, the new kitten is doing well. Like most kittens, she gets into everything and is driving us crazy, but we love her. She's a real cuddle bug, too, and sleeps with us at night. I took a few pictures of her this week that I will try to post. She has the most amazing eyes - you'll see what I mean when you see the pics.

Bear and I are doing awesome! It turns out that I am much more satisfied with my relationship when I'm not sitting in this house all. day. long. We are staying home for the second weekend in a row... it's awesome.

I feel so woefully out of touch with you all (I can't read your blogs while at school, either)... how are you doing?

~Amalia~

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Addition


Please say hello to our newest family member, Briggs. She is a three month old short-haired gray kitten with eyes that peer into your soul and energy that doesn't quit. I haven't gotten any sleep this week because she spends the hours between sunset and sunrise trying to cuddle. I can't stay mad. Look at that face!


More details to come...

~Amalia~

Monday, September 10, 2007

Naming

Do you remember in high school, there was at least one teacher who had a name that could be easily transformed into something different? I learned what my name has become today: Mrs. Kinne (kin-nee) has become Mrs. Kinky. It was said as a joke, but I'm sure I'm going to hear that one again. I had to laugh. If they only knew, I thought in my mind. :) It's a lot better than the last name I had - Ms. Monroe became Ms. Man-roe. Eek. Guess I should have bleached my facial hair better!

I am supposed to get a kitten this afternoon - the mom of one my students is supposed to stop by at two o'clock with the litter so I can pick the one I want. I'm excited to give Zedd a new sibling to play with! The poor thing has been so lonely since Inigo died. These kittens all have both eyes (unlike the one I thought I was going to get a few weeks ago), but I'm trying not to be disappointed. This will probably be better in the long run. I will post pictures as soon as I can.

~Amalia~

Overheard student comment of the day: "Oh, look, there's a deer out in the field! Oh, no wait - that's a seagull."

Friday, September 07, 2007

[Read-Only]

A new post called [Read-Only] is up on www.thisisby.us. Check it out!

~Amalia~

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Just a Wednesday

A few observations:

  • I saw my first moose of the school year today. It was a fat, complacent cow contentedly munching on bog weeds. She paid me no mind as I drove by.
  • I made my lunch from scratch this morning (a turkey and bacon wrap, yogurt, a pluot, and two cookies). I dropped my bacon on the floor. Instead of cooking more, I patted the pieces off on a paper towel and stuck them in my wrap.
  • I have more chores to do than hours to do them. That's about par for the course.
Tonight is grocery night. I hate this night more than any other. Lately I've been having to do the shopping without Bear and I find that without him, I'm not as efficient or as thrifty as I am with him. Who knew grocery shopping is better as a team sport?

~Amalia~

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ha!

Me: Let's name our next cat Gershwin.
Bear: I'm not naming our cat after a pickle!
Me: ...
Me: You're thinking GERKHIN! Not Gershwin!
Bear: Oh.
Me: MUAH HA HA HA HA HA HA (continues for several minutes)!

I love him!!

Interest Survey

One of the first things I do with my students each year is have them fill out an interest survey. It allows me to get to know them as individuals instead of just a sea of indistinguishable faces. I've posted the interest survey below for you to take a peek at. Feel free to post the answers in a comment - I'd love to get to know you better!


Name:

  1. Biggest flaw (not physical):
  2. Greatest accomplishment:
  3. Favorite type of music:
  4. Best thing you ever read:
  5. Most common excuse used:
  6. Biggest pet peeve:
  7. Favorite
    1. Food:
    2. Movie:
    3. TV show:
    4. Saying:
    5. Person:
    6. Pastime:
    7. Subject:
  1. One goal for the school year (personal or academic):
  2. Question I’d like to ask Mrs. Kinne:
  3. Concern I have about English class:
  4. Something Mrs. Kinne should know about me:
  5. Other:

Friday, August 31, 2007

First Week

The first week of school is almost over. I can't believe how tired I am already! I had so much energy all summer, but all week I've been exhausted as soon as I got home. I'm hoping that the fact that it's Friday will be enough to keep me going. Bear and I are going to my parents' house tomorrow to babysit their dogs while they are visiting relatives. We weren't looking forward to it... in fact I was kind of dreading it (I hate two of their three dogs). But Bear learned that his godsister K has moved to that area and we can visit every time we go south. Bear is pleased. So am I. There isn't really much to do at my parents' except visit them, and I can only take so much of that.
I've met about half of my students so far (I will meet the rest on Tuesday). I like them. I'm predicting a better year than last year. The only fly in the ointment, if you can call it that, is that I can't seem to remember my name. I keep calling myself Ms. Monroe, not Mrs. Kinne. It may be pertinent to know that it is necessary at times to refer yourself in the third person. I can't seem to remember my married name! Last year's kids can't remember, either. Some of them have flat out refused to call me by other than my maiden name. I don't really care.... is that a problem? I'm just glad that they all seemed to miss me.

The weather is cooler, apples are almost ripe... it is definitely back to school time.

~Amalia~

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm not ready!


Tomorrow is the first official day of school. I'm not ready. My classroom is still a mess, I have mounds of paperwork to file in the appropriate places, I have photocopying to do, posters to put up, etc. etc. etc. Do I care? Not as much as I thought I would. I guess I'm learning not to "sweat the small stuff" and just get things done as they can be. I am lucky in that tomorrow is only freshmen, and I only have six of them so most of my day is free. I'm looking forward to the year in many ways, although grading is going to be a nightmare. The state government insists on telling teachers what and how to teach as well as how to assess student work. They (the State) have no idea what they are talking about. *sigh* Not much you can do, really. I make it standard practice to teach what I want and then fudge the reports to the state if I have to.

Don't tell on me!

In other news, today is Bear's birthday. He's twenty-four today. Money being as tight as it is, I wasn't able to get him much. I feel horribly guilty about that. I am going to make it up to him in a month or so once my raise takes effect. We're going out to dinner with his sister tonight so at least he'll get a nice meal. I was going to make him a cake but he got one at work today so I didn't. I'll make it this weekend instead.
Bear doesn't think his birthday is a big deal. He doesn't understand why I make such a big deal out of the day. If you know me at all, you know that I insist on making my birthday a big deal. Does anyone else? Or am I the only grownup that thinks birthdays are still a big deal? Are there more Bears out there than Amalias? What a sad thought. Birthdays are the one day you should be guaranteed to feel special. In honor of Bear's birthday, here is a list of twenty-four things that are special about him:

  • He has one perfectly formed dimple. Just one.
  • He lets me sleep in on the weekends.
  • He drives on all the long car trips (letting me sleep).
  • He is incredibly hard-working.
  • He has a poet's soul.
  • He keeps me on my toes.
  • He can find the humor in almost any situation.
  • He never belittles me.
  • He is the most comfortable thing to lay on while watching t.v.
  • He Laughs at my attempts to be funny.
  • He writes me awesome stories.
  • He makes me sturdy bookcases for my plethora of books.
  • He loves my cat.
  • He showed me how much fun camping can be.
  • He's an excellent back scratcher.
  • He enjoys a good book.
  • He treats me to special things when I need them.
  • He insists I treat myself occasionally, too.
  • He lets me have most of the water in the shower.
  • He tries every day to make me happy.
  • He takes me to new and exciting places.
  • He makes me feel beautiful.
  • He can always be counted on for a rescue (from in-laws and from moose).
  • He pushes himself to be a better person, and he pushes me to be one, too.
Happy Birthday Bear!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Revisit


Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize something about yourself that should have been totally obvious but somehow you never saw it? That happened to me a few weeks ago.

Quite some time ago, I blogged about how I don't want to have children. In the post I mentioned that I am an attention whore and that I love my life exactly as it is. Those reasons haven't changed, but I learned that I have a deeper reason for wanting to remain childless. I was talking with Bear's childhood friend K and she asked if I ever wanted to have kids. I looked at her, and something clicked in my head. I said, "No, I don't want kids. Growing up, I was always made to feel that I had ruined my mom's life, that I was a consequence of an ill-thought out action. My mom put up with me because she'd behaved irresponsibly. So I guess to me, I equate children with burdens that ruin lives." As soon as I said it I knew it was true. My mom was trapped in a bad marriage, so she had an affair with my dad. They didn't take the appropriate precautions, and I came into the world. My parents did get married (and still are), but their lives didn't turn out as they had planned. I guess I have always felt responsible.

I was in college before I ever realized I felt guilty about the circumstances surrounding my birth. I have no doubt that my parents would have chosen a different path if it were an option to them. Why I took the guilt of their choices onto me was a mystery, but I have been working on letting the guilt go for years. At least I had a reason for why I'd felt uncomfortable in my own home for as long as I can remember. I'm twenty-six now, and this new revelation just made itself known. I'm not sure I know what to do with it. On the one hand, I know I don't want kids so I'm tempted to just leave that assumption alone. Kids = burden. Got it. On the other hand, I wonder if I could ever want one if I didn't view children in that light anymore. That thought scares the shit out of me.

This is nothing I can ever discuss with my parents, and Bear just shrugs and says he doesn't care one way or the other. I'm on my own with this (except for you, of course!). I guess what I'm wondering is this: is the fear of a child ruining my life an acceptable reason not to have children, if added to my pre-existing reasons? Or should I deal with this idea as I did with my guilt and re-evaluate my position?

Help!

~Amalia~

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Huh.

It's been an interesting twenty-four hours. Do you remember Blondie, Snake's ex-girlfriend? The one I was worried was going to cause drama at our wedding? Well, she didn't, which I was pleased with, but she has continued to exhibit some pretty note-worthy behavior. First, she had a new boyfriend by the fourth of July. That was less than two weeks after she and Snake broke up. They'd been together for over four years. It definitely raised my eyebrow, but since I met Bear only a month and a half after leaving my boyfriend of five years, I figured I wasn't going to cast the first stone. Very soon after that her myspace profile became clogged with pictures of him, of the two of them, etc. Fine. Whatever. Then I hear that he has been sleeping at her house every night since they first got together (she still lives with her parents and just graduated high school). Again, it was out of character for her, but I knew she was leaving for Connecticut in a few weeks to go to a culinary institute for six months, so I just figured things would work themselves out. It did seem, though, that this relationship (which anyone else would term "rebound") was moving fast. Like lightning speed fast. I did a lot of head shaking whenever I heard something more. And I did:
  1. His sister lives in Connecticut, so he is going to live with her for a few months to be closer to Blondie while she is in school.
  2. She will be coming home every few weeks (and someone will drive from ME to CT to pick her up and drive her back).
Bear knows this guy and says he's a nice guy, so on one level I guess I'm happy for her. I have some EXTREME doubts about the timing of this though - her family is not big on education, Blondie has never been by herself, she still has a lot of growing up to do, etc. It seems to me like she isn't giving herself the best chance to succeed at this school in CT.

I'd just about decided to stop thinking about her, since she is now in CT, supposedly going to school. But because I can't help myself, I looked at her myspace one more time. And now she has these pictures of her boyfriend with the word "husband" underneath! I shoot her a message that says, "hey, how're things going, you're not MARRIED, are you?!?"

A few minutes later she calls me. I should mention that Snake is at our house, and he is listening to my conversation. He's over her, but like me thinks she is moving WAY too fast in her new relationship.
"No, I'm not married yet, but I'm homing home Labor Day weekend and we are getting married at the town hall then. We were going to wait until I got out of school, but we decided not to. I'll have my dream wedding after I graduate."

WHAT?!
Somehow I say the appropriate things and soon hang up the phone. Snake and I shake our heads and try to fathom why she would be doing this now. She'll lose her health insurance, her financial aid will probably change... why? Then it hits me - this is an out for her. If she can't hack it in college/CT, she has a perfect excuse now to drop out. Snake nods when I say this, and adds, "Plus, if she gets pregnant, that'll be a good excuse, too." Good point.

I notice that Bear hasn't said much, but I don't really worry about it. Later in bed I ask him what he thinks. "I don't know why you and Snake are so worked up about this. If she's happy enough to find the right guy and wants to marry him, it's her decision. And until something does happen and she leaves school, I think you should just be happy for her."

Good point.

Duly chastened, I am going to write to Blondie again and wish her some genuine congratulations. Bear's right - instead of expecting the worst, I'm going to try hoping for the best.

~Amalia~

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So how are you, really?




This is the last week of my summer vacation, and I have to admit, I'm looking forward to going back to school. I am learning that being in this house all day working on endless home improvement projects is detrimental to my mental well-being. I am at least making progress on some of those projects - I've included pictures for your enjoyment* - but I can't wait to be back in an environment that not only uses my brain, but appreciates it. Teaching can be thankless and exhausting, but at least it's what I enjoy doing.

It's also been almost two months since I got married. I still don't feel any different, but thankfully people aren't asking me as often. With this damn house I sometimes feel like I've done Cinderella in reverse, though... I started out with the fancy dress and dancing and ended up scrubbing floors. Or painting them, in my case. I know I should be glad that Bear and I have remained the same since our wedding day, but lately I'm almost... disappointed. I was so focused on the wedding for so long (Bear first asked me to marry him about seven weeks after I met him), I chose to ignore certain things. Now that I don't have the wedding taking up space in my brain, those things I ignored are becoming harder to.

I know you want examples, and I'm going to try to give you some. Everything is kind of jumbled up in my head and confused, so no guarantees that this will make sense.

I guess what I'm most disappointed about is that I no longer feel "special." This has very little to do with the wedding, believe it or not. When Bear and I first started dating, he constantly expressed shock and awe that I chose to be with him. He was amazed at how clever, funny, and sexy I was and told me that on a regular basis. As with all relationships, that has fizzled out - to the point where he doesn't find me amusing all that often. I feel like such a selfish hoebag writing this, but there you have it. The thing is, Bear was the first person other than my father who made me feel valuable. I guess this girl got used to it, and misses it. I'm still aware of my fabulousness (no worries there), but I guess now the total number of people who agree with me is back down to one. Daddy. I realized this morning that this is why I want a dog so desperately. Dogs are thrilled by you every day - and that never changes. A dog is so appreciative you chose him, he showers you with love the rest of his life. A larger part of me misses that than I realized.

Secondary to all of this (but still important) is sex. Don't read any further if you're afraid of getting too much information! I have always enjoyed sex, and a large measure of my self-worth is based on how good I perceive I am at it. Don't laugh; I'm damn good. I don't "make love," insisting on all that emotion and candles and crap. Sex with me is like an amusement park. I'm fun, full of surprises, and leave you tired but happy at the end of the day. What's not to love? Right?? I'd have thought I'd just described most men's perfect scenario. Bear begs to differ, though. I don't want to say we're going through a rut, but I'm learning that we operate on different schedules, and mine runs much faster than his. And the more I try to entice him, the less interested he gets. I'm learning it is impossible not to take this personally. How can I not, regardless of the "It's got nothing to do with you" speech I get almost daily? I never thought of myself as highly sexed, but it turns out I must be because this situation has reached the ridiculous at times. Imagine a husband literally fighting off the lascivious advances of his wife, to the point where he has to pin both of her hands to the bed to keep them off him. Then imagine him shaking his head as she winks and says, "this works for me, too."

So how am I really? I'm not sure. Life is still good, I guess. I think I'm just alone too much during the day, which gives me too much time to ruminate over every minor detail in my life. I keep hoping that if I go back to work, these issues will work themselves all out and I'll be embarrassed that I shared this much with you.
Especially as I've barely discussed it with Bear.

~Amalia~

*A note about the pictures: The first one is of the "butterfly bush" paint job I finished on the walls yesterday (primer plus three coats of paint) and the ceiling (primer plus ceiling paint), the second is the "natural bark" paint I started yesterday on the floor (pulled up carpet, sanded subfloor, primer and two coats of paint), and the third is what the floor looked like before I began painting, but after I'd ripped up the carpet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

$0.51

That's how much money I've made freelancing so far. I'm not kidding. That money comes to me via the website thisisby.us, where anyone can write and post and the community votes for the writing it likes best. While I'm a bit disappointed at how slowly the money is coming in (I am going to have to write a LOT of content on that site to make money), I was surprised to find that my first post was listed as a "best post." People were very positive in their comments... it gave me great warm and fuzzies.

The same story I submitted there I also submitted to commonties.com and - brace yourself - the Chicken Soup for the Soul people. The former will pay $100-200 for a story it prints (I'll know if I got accepted on the 16th), and the latter pays $300 a story (who knows when/if I'll hear from them). I'm not a fan of the chicken soup books, but I am most definitely a fan of $300.

In lighter news, Bear said we can get a new kitten! He explained very gently that he isn't ready for a dog yet, and he knows how badly I want one. I have to admit, that broke my hear a little bit. But I found the wherewithal to ask him if that meant I could at LEAST get a cat. Zedd needs company, I pouted. He agreed, grudgingly. It was rather fortuitous that when we visited his friend Kelly this weekend, she had three kittens that needed homes. One of them has only one eye - she is adorable. As soon as I saw her I turned to Bear, and he groaned, but didn't say no.

She comes home on the 16th of September.

I've much to do to prep the house for a precocious little kitten, but I'm thrilled. They one eye worries me a bit, but it doesn't seem to bother her and my vet will check her out as soon as I get her home.

~Amalia~

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ask and ye shall receive

I know that I was a bit whiny in my last post, and for that I apologize. But things have a way of working themselves out. I was cruising through my favorite blogs and again came across Jenny Rough. She is a lawyer turned freelance writer. I've noticed that I enjoy reading more than one freelance writer's blog (I like Lindsay Ferrier's, too) and it got me thinking.

I'm an English teacher - could I try freelance writing? Is it possible that people would pay me to write things? Hmmm. I did some research and while it doesn't look easy, it does look possible. So, I'm going to try it. First I need to get something, anything, accepted so I can start building a body of work. There's a webiste that you can post anything and you get paid if enough people vote on it. That's the first place I tried. You can view the story I wrote here. If you like it, please vote for it... if not, I'm all ears for suggestions!

At this point I am looking for direction. What is the first step in the freelance writing process? What are some reputable places to send unsolicited work? Until I get some of that published, I'm not going to get any solicitations (hehe) at all.

At least I'm not bored!

~Amalia~

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer Vacation

It's the second week of August, which means I have two more weeks of vacation before I go back to school. Usually by this time I am missing my students and my coworkers, and I'm looking forward to going back.

This time I'm just bored.

There are so many chores to be done around the house, there is just so much free time in front of me, that I don't want to do much of anything. I hate chores, but there's nothing to fill my time with unless I do them. So what do I do? I'm not much of a tv watcher, so that's out. I'd like to read in bed all day, but the one time I tried it Bear came home unexpectedly and caught me. I won't way that he was mad, exactly, but he definitely wasn't impressed, either.

I need something to do!

I've been baking a lot lately - everything from muffins, biscuits and shortcakes to oatmeal/raisin cookies and fruit smoothies. But cooking leads to dishes, and I hate doing those.

I think the worst part is that I'm alone - all day. I have no one to talk to but the cat, and he doesn't want to hear my problems. The neighbors have their own stuff going on (not that I know them well enough to hang out anyway). I love my alone time as much as the next girl, but ten weeks of it? I think I'll go mad.

~Amalia~

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Caring(?) for Bear

Bear had an appointment for a physical this morning. It's his first physical in over four years and he only made the appointment because I made it a condition of marrying me. I want him to live a long time, and he can't do that if he doesn't know what state he's currently in, right?

I'd also half-expected to go along to his appointment with him. In my last relationship, I went to every doctor and specialist appointment, going right into the exam room with my ex. He wanted me there for moral support, I guess, as well as to remember everything the doctor told him. He could never remember on his own. I didn't consider it my right or an obligation - it was just something I did. There were times I wished I hadn't gone - every prostate exam he had, for example - but overall, I was just glad to be included.

Bear didn't want me to go to his physical. He reasoned that he didn't need me there for anything ("all they're doing is taking some blood and getting my blood pressure,") and the rooms are apparently too small for three people. I understood the logic, truly I did, but I guess I was still kind of... hurt. No, that's not the right word. I felt left out. A small part of me worried that he was going to "forget" to tell me something, like that the doctor wants to put him on a diet or exercise plan (he's overweight). How would I ever know? I was also worried that he might mention a problem to the doctor that he hadn't mentioned to me. Didn't I deserve to know? I am his WIFE, for crying out loud!

Eventually, I had to let it go. I had to remember that Bear isn't my ex; he's capable of managing his own life without my interfere-- I mean, help. And really, turn about is fair play - do I want him to invite himself along to my pap smears? *shudder* (and before you ask, yes, my ex did - I made him sit by my head.) I just needed to trust Bear, to remember that he is different from men in my past.

That's why I married him.

~Amalia~

Monday, August 06, 2007

You know what I realized today?

The time of day when I feel best about myself - the one time I have my head up and shoulders back - is when I take my daily walk. It may just be a mile and it may just be to get the mail, but for those fifteen minutes, I feel great.

It makes me wonder why I don't walk more.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Well?

Yesterday I practiced yoga for the first time in several years. The instructor was a man named Brian Kest who has crazy hair and an interesting accent. He is also very good. I have to admit that I couldn't hold the poses for very long and I had to take several breaks, but I did it. I liked some of the things that Mr. Kest said:

1. There is no such thing as the perfect pose. If you feel it, if you're stretching and flexing but not hurting, you're doing it right. Don't worry about "perfect".

2. Everyone has a unique genetic make up and series of life events that create a person's own level of ability. You can't be somewhere you're not. While practicing yoga, concentrate on where you are right now.

3. Throughout the session, your breathing should remain calm, your face relaxed. If you find your breath is stuggling or your face is clenched, you're straining. Take a break, slow your breath, and return to the pose.

That last comment helped me from pushing myself too hard. I'm often too concentrated on getting it right, on doing everything just as the instructor does. But just as I'd push, I'd remember my breathing and back off. When the hour was done, I lay on my mat, relaxed, refreshed, and tired as hell. I'd forgotten the utter sense of calm and peace that comes from completing a yoga series. I'm a little sore today from being so stretched out, but it's a good feeling, not a bad one.

The verdict? I'll do yoga again. In fact, I think I'll do it tomorrow.

What will you do for yourself this week?

~Amalia~

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dear Jenny Rough,

I've been reading your "Roughly Speaking" blog for several months now. I love the honesty and insight in your writing. When you started your "EatWasaFeelGood" blog, I wandered over to take a look. Two things struck me - one, I can relate to wanting to eat "clean", and two, I know the health benefits of yoga, too. I took a class years ago, and have been a fan ever since.

But while your blog catalogs the steps you make in your clean eating/yoga journey, it does something else. It beckons. It calls. It whispers, "come, take part. Do these things for yourself - you can do it. You know you can. Come, take part." Until know, I've been resisting the siren's call with reasons why I can't. I live too far away from the natural foods store, I'd think. I'm too poor to eat organic, I'd complain. There isn't room in my house or my schedule to practice yoga again, I'd sigh. But the more I read, the more I realized that these weren't reasons, they were excuses. And not very good ones, either.

Today that ends.

As soon as I finish here, I'm digging out my yoga mat, slipping into something a little more comfortable, and I'm going to pop in my yoga DVD. I've had it a year and never played it. I'm sipping a fruit smoothie to give me the wholesome fuel I'll need today.

Thank you, Jenny Rough. Thank you for showing me that it's time to take part.

Yours,
Amalia

Monday, July 30, 2007

Damn it, I'm it!

Shari tagged me a couple of weeks ago. The tag (the rules of which I'm not going to repost here as I don't have seven readers to tag) says I must reveal three truths about myself. Here goes:

1. I cannot take cold showers. Even on the hottest days, the water must be at least medium-warm. If it's not too hot out, I insist on scalding hot water.

2. I rarely wear make up and do not own hairspray. I only put eyeshadow on maybe twice a year, and you can forget about concealer or foundation. I don't even know how to use it! It's not that I'm a tomboy or that I have an Eve Ensler - like aversion to it, either. It's simply because (and I hope you'll forgive the audacity of this next comment) I don't think I need it. I look fine without it. Honest. When I do wear makeup, I hardly recognize myself.

3. I yearn for two things: to become a writer (of chick lit and an awesome blog) and to play the fiddle. Every time I hear SheDAISY or the Dixie Chicks, I wish I knew how to play! I don't want violin lessons, either. Fiddling is different, more exhuberant ... better.

~Amalia~

Feel free to post your own truths in the comments - and no lurking! ;)

A change will do us good


Bear and I spent this last weekend rearranging the furniture in our living rooms and office. I say living rooms because instead of one big living room, this house has two smaller ones - 10ft by 10ft, roughly. When I first moved in, I hated how close the couch was to the bathroom - anyone with lactose intolerance will understand why I didn't want someone sitting almost literally on the other side of the door. The couch was then in what I call the big living room (it is marginally larger than the other). The "office" was in the red livingroom (so named because of the red carpet). The "office" consisted of a giant metal teacher's desk and an equally huge wooden chair. The other room I wasn't impressed with was the bedroom, which was an awkwardly long and narrow room with no insulation in the floor (this was especially rough during the long Maine winters). I so hated the arrangement that I insited we move things around when my stuff became part of the equation. I have an enormous couch and chair that I absolutely adore, so when we started cohabitating, the couch, chair, and tv all moved into the red living room, the desk and chair moved into the bedroom (creating an actual office), the bedroom stuff we moved upstairs and the big living room became kind of a catch all that housed our DVD collection, a gun case, the exercise bike and an old chair I didn't really like. It wasn't really a useable room, but it did a good job holding my crap.


This weekend we totally rearranged things. The office is now the gun room, the red living room is the office again but with a much smaller desk and the exercise bike and the big living room again houses the couch, chair and tv. This time, though, the tv is by the bathroom - not the couch. There is still a lot to be done, but I think it looks much better. Now every room is functional, I can finally blog while watching tv and exercise while watching tv, too. An added bonus is that now I have enough physical space to put my yoga mat in front of the tv and do one of my yoga DVDs. In the red living room, there wasn't enough space to do that.


Proof reading this, I see that unless you've been in my house, it is difficult to visualize things. As soon as my camera returns from the repair shop I will post some pics for you to enjoy.


~Amalia~


PS I haven't forgotten about creating a chart for my exercising/weight loss progress. I'm working on it!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Married Life...

... is really no different from the life I led before. Since I got married, everyone's been asking me, "Do you feel any different?" This question confuses me - am I supposed to? Different how? Bear and I lived together before we were married, my paperwork hasn't gone through so I can't legally change my name yet, and aside from the rearranging of some of my rings, my life isn't any different. What I can't figure out is if life is supposed to be different somehow. Did I miss something here? Does marriage make people cognizant fo some kind of change in their lives, their relationships? Am I the only one who feels totally the same?

Summer is progressing well for me otherwise. Until yesterday it really hasn't been hot at all - I think it's only been in the 90's once in the past two months. Yesterday and today it has been noth hot and muggy, so I think Bear is planning to take us to the lake tonight for a swim. Schoodic lake is a spring-fed lake, making it one of the coldest lakes around. It'll be the first time this year we've been really swimming.

I've been trying to lose weight again. After the honeymoon I weighed myself and discovered I have gained almost all of the weight that I lost last fall back. I weighed in at 180.8. I was kind of disgusted with myself. I thought about trying to make small changes, do one thing at a time, but that hasn't been working for me. I need to set a big goal in a short time frame - otherwise, it's too esay to make excuses. So my new goal is ten pounds in six weeks. That sounds like a llot, and it is. If I lose six pounds, I think I'll be happy. I set this goal two days ago, and have done more excercising in those two days than I have all summer. Bear has agreed that if I make it to 167.6 I can buy a new good pair of sneakers. That's thirteen pounds away. Hopefully by October I'll be back there. 167.6 is what I weighed when I met Bear. I am looking for a way to track my progress and post it here in a graph format - any ideas?

That's all I've got for now, I guess. The proofs came back from the photographer, but they were too small for me to really get a feel for them. She's sending them to me in a CD, and when she does I will post my favorites.

~Amalia~

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Good and the Bleh

I talked with my photographer today - she is sending me my proofs this week. Not as a packet of individual photos - oh, no - as a magazine with all the photos digitally printed on the pages! All of the proofs are in it (over 300!), and I can show it to family and friends as a catalog - they can pick the prints they want and order from her directly. How cool is that? I can't wait to see it. I have to look over all the photos and decide what I want in the digital coffee table album that I'm getting. Every photo can be broken down into parts, too ... if I want just part of each pic, I can use that. So really the number of possible pics is infinite. I will show you as many as I can as soon as I can. I'm really chomping at the bit to see what she took for pictures, because the guests that were there took some awesome ones.

Bear went back to work today as the mill's annual two-week shutdown is over. This day has creeped by and I am SO LONELY! I really enjoyed having him around all day, every day. Maybe it's a newlywed thing, maybe it's not. All I know is I miss him!

~Amalia~

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mrs. Kinne

That's me! I'm officially married. There's just so much to blog about, I'm not sure where to begin. The day went perfectly, I looked awesome, Bear and I had a marvelous time on our honeymoon ... in short, everything went swimmingly. I thought I'd share some pictures that friends and family have given us so far (I don't have the photographer's pics back yet).






The first pic is of the bridal party - my brothers are in red, Bear's best friends are in navy.
The above pic is the "you may kiss the bride" moment.















This one is right before we cut the cake.


No worries - more to come!

~Amalia~

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hooray!

I had an awesome weekend. My bridal shower and bachelorette party were Sunday. I had the most amazing lunch buffet at The Sentor inn and spa. I didn't know Augusta even had a place with food that good! Lots of people were there (minus my aunt's family, as they had a birthday party to attend), and I got two of the things I've been hoping for - an electric mixer and an electric skillet! Okay I realize it's not that exciting sounding, but kitchen gadgets are something of an obscession with me.

After that my friend Caity J brought me back to her house, where the bachelorette party was. We had a great time with the consultant from Passion Parties. It turns out that I am the most sexually experienced of my friends - by about 100 times! I was a bit embarassed that I was the only person in the room who knew what Ben-Wa balls are and already has a rabbit. I overcame it, though, and bought three new things to add to my (somewhat vast) collection. I won't be able to get them beore the honeymoon, which kind of sucks, but I'll live.

Bear and Snake worked hard and y parents' house again, landscaping and doing general clean up. It seems like there is still a lot to be done before Saturday. I try to remind myself that everything will work out, that I need to have faith. I'm trying. We are headed back down there on Wednesday night, and will stay for the duration.

Hmm, let me see... what else is going on? Oh, I got my hair highlighted - it looks awesome! I got a lot of the dead ends cut off, too, and she straightened my hair before I left. It took almsot three and a half hours, but it was totally worth it. My grays are still there, but they are much less visible. I will try to get a picture today if I get a chance. I also decide against the mani/pedi due to time and financial reasons, but I did buy some good quality press-on nails. Did you know they make press on nails for your TOES? I didn't, but when I saw them, I had to buy them. I also bought some subtle false eyelashes to make my eyes pop in pictures. They aren't the all the way across ones, but the individual ones you can put where you want.

In other news, Snake broke up with his girlfriend! Many of you will remember Blondie, and how at times (okay, most of the time), I can't STAND her. Well Snake finally got sick of dealing with her crap and dumped her. Am I relieved? Absolutely. Do I now have to deal with the drama of whether or not Blondie can/will/should come to the wedding? Yup. She asked me what I thought, and I kind of danced around the issue. I personally don't care if she comes, but Snake is the best man and I don't want drama to upset him. An upset Snake is an upset Bear and I DON'T NEED THAT on our wedding day. Does that make sense?

Today is Tuesday and I am in charge of downloading all the songs I want played at the wedding and getting the music in some kind of order. Any idea what should play when Bear dances with his older sisters? His mom has passed away, so this is taking the place of the groom&his mom dance. I have to say I'm out of ideas.

~Amalia~

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Birthday ...

... to me! I'm 26 today. Usually my birthday is a huge deal - I have a party and cake, presents, the whole nine yards. This year I'm not, because the wedding is taking up so much energy from so many people. Bear got me two perfect gifts, though - a new pair of Columbia hiking boots and a battery-operated air mattress pump, so I don't have to pump it up by hand any more. I'm as excited by that as I am the hiking boots! I had never been camping before I met Bear, and since he introduced me to it I've come to love it. There's something so peaceful about "living" outside, even for a few days. You can almost feel the rythm of your body change, slow down, relax. I think more people should go camping, really.

Oh, and don't forget the S'mores!

There's not much else going on today... I'm going to buy stuff to make a cake when I get out of here so that I can celebrate both my birthday and the official start to my summer vacation. The weekend will be spent at my parents', Sunday is my bridal shower & bachelorette party, Monday I get my hair highlighted and trimmed (I can't WAIT for that!), and then I wait for Friday and Saturday's festivities. I will try to post as I get a chance. Wish me luck!

~Amalia~

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

10 Days to go (or so)

Monday I clicked on our wedding web page hosted by theknot.com. It looks like theknot had updated their website and made some major changes. As a consequence, I couldn't access my specific page. Less than two weeks from my wedding, and my page wouldn't load! It had all the directions for how to get to the site, important information on what to bring with you and even a place for people to RSVP. And I couldn't open it!! I was livid. I immediately shot them a nasty email telling them that the problem needed to be fixed immediately. It's probably as close to becomming a Bridezilla as I've come. It must have worked, though, because today it's back up. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out!

This week is just some last minute teacher stuff... I took down the thingd on the walls of my classroom, I'm working on curriculum stuff the rest of the week. Saturday morning we head back down to my parents' house to work on wedding stuff. I finally got a hair dresser booked to do my hair... we'll be doing a run-through on saturday. I still have to make a nail appointment, but that shouldn't be too tough. After that, I think it's mostly hurry up and wait. I can't believe the date is so close! It seems like I've been planning this damn thing forever... in a way I can't wait for it to be over. I just want the day to get here so I can stop stressing and just enjoy. Does that make sense?

Our honey moon is going to be in Bar Harbor. We're leaving right after the reception and will stay at a wonderful little bed and breakfast until the 3rd. Then we will be home for a few days, and then the weekend we are spending at Jo-Mary Campground about 15 miles away. Three days of camping, swimming, hanging out. It's going to be great. I can feel it.

~Amalia~

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wow.

Today was the last student day at school. To celebrate, there was a huge luncheon in the teachers' room. Halfway through the lunch, one of the other English teachers walked in with a money tree LOADED DOWN with cash! It had $250 on it. We also had cake that said, "Congratulations Heather! Good luck"

How sweet was that?

Everyone is probably sick of hearing how poor I am and how strapped for cash this wedding has made me. I am so overwhelmed. The people here are so generous! And to think I was considering leaving this place to teach full time in the next town. What was I thinking?! I'm totally staying here. Not forever - but when I do leave, it will be for the perfect fit. I really like the people here, and while the money is crap, at least it comes to me drama free.

So now I have some wedding money that I wasn't anticipating - I'll have to talk to Bear to see what we can do with it. Honeymoon? Scratch off tickets? Nicer gifts for the wedding party? What would you do?

I will post pics of the cake and tree when I get back from my parents' house this weekend. Snake is coming with us this time... it should be interesting!

~Amalia~

Monday, June 11, 2007

Phew.

at the end of last week, I was as stressed out as I've ever been in my life. I cried three times just at school, and that night Bear and I talked, and I said that I have reached the point where I'm not looking forward to the wedding. At all. All I want is for it to be over. Trying to figure out how to pay for the photographer has been driving us crazy! We talked about how it was going to happen at least ten times a day. It seemed everyone was freaking out about the [very] few things I really want. Bear was shocked when I told him it will cost about $100 to have my hair highlighted. Scroll down to the pictures below to see how much hair I have. I called around, and $100 is the lowest bidder. I want to have a manicure and pedicure, too. I don't feel like I should feel ashamed or guilty about it. But I did, and I felt terribuly guilty about the amount of money the photographer is costing us, too. You see, Bear and I don't have any money - our savings account has exactly 0.22 in it right now. Everything we have bought or are buying is on credit. The only thing we are paying cash for is Corrine (photographer). Bear has worked fourteen days straight, pulling fifty-five hour weeks to make extra money. I agreed to work the week school vacation starts to have an extra $400. I don't think I'll get it until after the wedding, but that money will still come in handy.

I was at the end of my rope. But then, Snake (Bear's best friend) came through for us. He is going to loan us the $800 we still need to get Corinne paid for. He's getting us the money this week! Hallelujah! We will be able to pay him back with the money we make at the wedding. But finally, after weeks and weeks of freaking out, there is a solution. Bear feels a thousand times better than he did and was able to sleep for the first time in a long time. How am I? I'm still not all starry eyed, but at least I'm not crying any more. There's a lot still to be done, but they are smaller in cost and importance. I will still be glad when it's over, but at least I'm not dreading the day like I was. Did anyone else feel this way? Last Friday I was thinking to myself, "If I could do it all over again, NO WAY would I EVER choose this route." Now I'm back on the fence about it. That's an improvement, right?

~Amalia~