Wednesday, February 28, 2007


When you are a teacher, you are expected to moniter hallways and lunchrooms. It never fails when I do this that I overhear some interesting things. A few of my favorites from this week:

"Mr. Page found my underwear in the hall. He asked if they were mine."

"Your pencil fell in that icky stuff."

"I'm not writing on the desk. I'm decorating the classroom."

"I'm not going to the dance. It's a waste of money. I'd rather spend it on alcohol."

"Nobody buys me booze - That's illegal. I steal it."

Keep in mind that I teach high school kids (that should explain at least the alcohol comments). What funny things have you overheard lately?

Monday, February 26, 2007


I didn't post very much last week because I was on February vacation, so was not avoiding work by blogging. Rather, I was enjoying life and being able to sleep in each morning. I didn't do nothing over break (as I sometimes do), however:

I cleaned the entire house. I picked up, organized, dusted, rearranged, vacuumed, washed, dried, folded, neatened and threw away. It was exhausting, but the house looks so much better. It is amazing to me how little housework I do during the week. I think I did more than twenty loads of laundry. Once all of our clothes were clean, Bear and I realized that we didn't have enough room in our dressers for all of our clothes!

Monday the satellite guy came to hook up our new satellite dish (the real reason I felt I had to clean). I think Bear and I watched almost 24 consecutive hours of TV. It was awesome.

Saturday night my brother The Golden Child called me to tell me in a very round about fashion that his wife is pregnant. I'm going to be an aunt again! At least this will keep my parents off of my reproductive back for a while. I hope. I have some serious knitting to do before baby gets here (it's due around Thanksgiving).

Bear is still going through some mysterious illness. His doctor told him to go to the hospital if his pain got any worse. Thursday it did just that, so we went to the emergency room. Seven hours later, we know it is not a tumor, cancer, twisted bowel or a host of other things, but we do not know what his problem is. Bear got a CT scan while he was there. He had to drink this awful metallic contrast stuff for it. He did great (I know I couldn't have done it)! However the contrast was still in his system Friday when he was supposed to have his upper GI series done. They couldn't do it, so he had to take another morning off of work today to get it done. HOPEFULLY this will give us some answers.

I think the best part of this vacation is that Bear and I were able to spend some time together during the day. He took Monday off because he didn't feel well and the satellite guy was coming, and when he left we got to nap. You know that moment when you are cuddling in a sunny bedroom with the man you love and you hover just on the edge of sleep? The moment when you realize life can't possibly get any more perfect? We had one of those. I wrote a poem about that moment. Enjoy:

Breaths commingle,
Become us,
Entangled, entwined.
Tandem breathing,
Out, then in
Like waves gone
Come back again.
Heart's pulse
Fingers trace,
Arms reach out,
Enfold, encase.
Bodies align
Chest, hip, knee
Sent safe into sleep -
You're here with me.

I'm aware that contemporary poetry doesn't rhyme, but Bear likes rhyming poetry and I wrote it for him.


Monday, February 19, 2007

See? I told you I'd do it!

These are pictures of what my save the dates look like. The colors are a bit more vibrant than they appear here, but you get the point. Not bad for doing it myself, don't you think? Wedding gown pictures to follow!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pretty, and Witty, and ... Short!

I came across today that has posted an essay on the prevalence of "chick lit" in bookstores these days (read the essay here ). I thought it was really off base. So I posted a comment (read it at the bottom of the linked page). Did I make a valid point or do you disagree? What are your tohughts on the "chick lit" genre? I have Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner on my myspace friends list (I maintain that does NOT make me a loser or a groupie, damnit!), so I feel kind of defensive. I promise, if you think that the genre is contributing to the moral corruption of America, I won't call you an idiot. Out loud. I am interested, though. What do guys think about it? Have many guys read any of that stuff? Hmmm.

In other news, I talked to the photographer today and she says I can have the coffee table photo album book-thing that I want really bad. Yes!! I LOVE HER!


Monday, February 12, 2007


I know my posts have been long lately. I will post only short, witty ones for the rest of the week. I promise.


Wedding Update # 3 (I think)

Finally, at long last, I have booked the rental vendor! I have decided on Brewer Equipment and Party Rental. It is about 100 miles away from where the wedding will be, but it is MUCH closer to me and they have a contract to sign! The guy my mom wanted to use close to her house had no contract - does that seem fishy to anyone else? If I put 50% down, I expect a guarantee that the items I want will be there! The place we chose has a pick-up-yourself option. My dad is going to pick up the stuff the Thursday before the wedding, and will bring it back the Monday after. That way I KNOW the stuff will be where it needs to be!

Plus, Brewer EPR has porta pottys! So Bear and I ordered a 20' by 40' canopy, sidewalls for two sides (all inclement weather comes in from the same direction), 100 chairs, 14 banquet tables and two porta potties for ...

are you ready for this? ...


Can you believe it? I am totally okay with that. The only fly in the ointment (if you can call it that) is that they only ask for 25% down. My parents are paying the deposit, so I kinda wish they had to put more of the total cost down. That's selfish of me, isn't it? Terribly. So sue me.

Here's where the total wedding list stands:
  • Dress - check
  • Rental Vendor - check
  • Cake & cupcakes - check
  • Photographer - 1/2 check (she will do it, but I haven't arranged anything final yet)
  • Porta Pottys - check
  • Bridal Party clothes - no check (I have to wait for spring fashions)
  • Save-the-dates - check (going out today!)
  • Invitations - 1/2 check (idea is set, still need supplies)
  • Vases for tables - 1/2 check (my mom bought 10 blue ones. I have to find red ones)
  • Florist - no check
  • Vows & Officiant - no check

I think I'm doing quite well, all things said. If I could just do without all the "help", though, I'd be doing better. I realize that various family members have gone through this before, and they are trying to give me the benefit of their experience. I appreciate that. Really I do. But sometimes, I feel that people are trying to tell me how to do things THEIR way, instead of letting me do it mine. My mother is a good example of this. Mom, I love you, but seriously - I'm not a crazy person for wanting a contract! I don't CARE about the decorations on my cake! Honestly, do I have to look through twenty cake books?! Bear's sister suggested I get working on the invitations sooner than April vacation. If they go out the last week in April, that is eight weeks before the wedding! How much time do people need?

I realize that was a whole heap of exclamation marks. I apologize. I think I'm not good at the thanks-but-no-thanks aspect of wedding planning. I get frustrated by the avalanche of well-meaning pieces of advice. If I want or need help, I'll ask for it. Just be excited for me, okay? Please?


Friday, February 09, 2007

Tipping the Scales

I'm not sure if today is a good day or a bad day, because a lot has happened on both sides of the fulcrum (notice the lever reference!) in the past twenty-four hours. Maybe you can make sense of it all, because my head is spinning.

  1. I was told by another teacher yesterday that my principal "has the perception that [I] do nothing" each afternoon while I'm ed-teching. She has the assumption that because I'm not seeing students, I'm doing no work. Not true.
  2. I was told by that same teacher that next year there will be two fewer English classes due to dropping enrollment. I teach three classes, so basically I'm probably going to be downsized next year. Back to the job hunt, anyone?
  3. I got my save-the-dates printed last night (finally). They all came out great! I'm addressing them tonight and will save one to scan and show you.
  4. After printing all of the save-the-dates, I realized I didn't put Bear's or my last name on them - I wonder if people will not know who it is from?
  5. Bear has a deeply pulled pectoral muscle. This actually is a good thing, since he has been complaining of chest pains for two weeks. At least we know it is muscular and not heart-related.
  6. We broke our bed last night. You know the frame that has the little wheels on it? Well, one of the wheels snapped off just as things were getting interesting, which of course broke the mood. Damnit!
  7. I am reading a new book that so far I enjoy. It's called Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. It's a YA novel with folk/fairy tale underpinnings. So far, so good.
  8. The battery is going in my car. It's at least six years old, so that's not a huge deal, but this same car is also having some sort of exhaust crisis (I think the pipe is broken), not to mention the Great Tire Fiasco (my right front tire is bald due to a desperately needed alignment). The tire is only halfway through the warranty! Luckily, it shouldn't be too espensive to fix.
  9. I still have not gotten either of my tax returns back yet.
  10. I have an appointment on Saturday to meet with a rental vendor. If I like them, we're signing them, and Mom can deal with the fact that I'm not hiring someone local to her.
  11. My spleen is still enlarged. It doesn't hurt, really, but it is uncomfortable when I am sitting. They took more blood on Wednesday, and the stupid, bovine, phlebotomist scraped a vein so it still kills TWO DAYS LATER!
  12. I tried to make chocolate mousse yesterday using my magic bullet. The damn thing is so powerful that it OVER whipped the cream! It looked like it broke down the cream's chemical composition... what a mess.
So there you have it - twelve things that have happened in the last day or two. I could go on, but the bell just rang so I'm going home! See you all on Monday. If I get the save-the-dates scanned, I will post them. Ditto for the wedding dress pics.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

And Now, for the Rest of the Story

Do you remember that radio show? Some guy named Harvey something, or maybe something Harvey. I think it was Andy-Rooney-esque news commentary. I was too young when it was on to understand what he was talking about, but I always enjoyed the sound of his voice. It was much better than Andy Rooney's voice.

I went back to the doctor's yesterday - more blood drawn. I am so tired of giving away blood and not getting a t-shirt or even a fruit juice to show for it! On top of that, my voice is going AGAIN. I can't believe it. What a pain in the ass! I feel okay otherwise, but still. I'll be really glad when I beat this bug.

While I was in Bangor yesterday I got the groceries, per the usual Wednesday ritual. I dropped the car off at the Wal Mart service center because I had a leaky tire. Turns out they glued it on badly, and it had to be re-glued. That was free. I mention this because they noticed that another of my tires is almost completely bald. I have to get a new tire. DAMN! More money gone. I can't even get the new tire until I get a front-end alignment, as that is what made the tire bald. No wonder I've been sliding all over the road this winter!

Below is part three of the essay. It's all I have written. I'm not sure where to go from here - any ideas? What do you want to hear more about? Is it too much already? I think the whole How-Disney-Relates-To-My-Life analogy is muddy and needs to be clarified. What do you think?


After two failed relationships, I returned to the stories of my childhood searching for answers. Where did I go wrong? I hadn’t waited for my prince; I’d gone out to find him. Granted, I was 0 for 2, but at least I wasn’t just waiting around in a tower somewhere singing sad sappy songs about dreams and wishes. I’d given up on the lie of “the One” and “happy ever after,” so what was the issue? I shut off Jiminy Cricket in the middle of his “When you Wish upon a Star” spiel, disgusted with myself and with every animated character who had found love by some fortuitous circumstance just in the nick of time.

I was twenty-four, a college grad with my own car and apartment, and I should have been happy. I was happy mostly; I had a job I enjoyed and was free from the strain of bad relationships that weren’t working no matter how many of my dreams I gave up. But sometimes, when I was trying to fall asleep on my twin bed mattress on the floor in an apartment too quiet, I did secretly wish for my own happy ever after. I knew that in real life my story wouldn’t follow the plot lines of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, but they were the stories I’d grown up on. I didn’t have much else to use as a basis for comparison. I’d try to picture what my prince would look like, if he ever did show up one day. He’d have messy hair, some crooked teeth, maybe, and a smile to melt my heart. I wanted him to be strong, as I was not a petite damsel (at 5’9” and 165 lbs, “petite” really wasn’t in my vocabulary). More than anything else, I wanted him to be warm. Body heat is nice, but that’s not what I was wishing for. Rather it was a personality trait, an inability to be mean and cold as the previous “princes” were. I wanted someone whose heart was warm. Disney princes were all six feet tall with perfect smiles and military bearings, but all I wanted was warm.

Did you ever take the online quiz, “Which Disney Princess Are You?” I did. The quiz asked several questions about what you like to do, what you thought about certain situations, etc. When you finished answering the questions, the quiz popped out the name of the princess you were most like. It turns out that if I were a Disney princess, I’d be Belle. That makes sense, considering I’m a brunette, I love books and am a total Daddy’s girl. It made me think, too – had I been dating beasts all these years in hopes of turning them back into princes?

It was at that point in my life that I met Paul. I logged on to one night to message my brother (it was how we kept in touch), and there was a new message awaiting me. The picture was of a guy in a sweatshirt and a backwards baseball cap. He had a dimple in one cheek. The message said, “Hi, my name’s PJ. I saw your profile and thought you looked interesting. Message me sometime if you’d like to chat.” He gave his yahoo screen name and signed it, “Talk to you Soon, PJ.” Intrigued by the mix of forwardness and sweetness, I clicked on his photo to look at his profile. I was both pleased and disappointed with what I saw. About himself he had written that he loved the outdoors, photography, and camping (all terrific things). About his music interests, he’d written that he loved Godsmack, Shinedown, and other rock bands. That, to me, spelled trouble – either he was a rocker (read: did drugs and drank alcohol) or he had narrow minded views of “good” music. My own musical taste is incredibly varied. In his pictures he had photos of himself with his nephew (plus) and his female best friend (minus). He didn’t have too many friends (plus) but many of the friends he had were girls (minus). Too many friends meant stuck in high school days, too many girls as friends meant he was a player, or at the very least that he messaged girls randomly often (minus minus). I clicked back to his message, thinking. Should I message him back? Ignore him? He didn’t seem to be my type, but then how well had my type worked out in the past? In the end, I saved the message without replying. I’d think about it for a few days, make a decision later.

Over the next few days, my mind kept returning to Paul. I was flattered by his attention in me, but I was unsure whether or not he was someone I could have a conversation with. It was time to turn to Disney for help. When I got home from work one day three days after Paul had emailed me, I made a list of Disney princesses. Of those, I put a check next to any princess who took the prince that came into her path (instead of her going out to look for one). Belle? Check. Jasmine? Check. Aurora? Check. Snow White? Check. Pocahontas? Check. Cinderella? Hmm. Here I was stumped. She had gone out to the ball and had gone to some considerable trouble to get there, but the prince asked her to dance, not the other way around. In the end, I gave her a ½ check. It didn’t matter though, because every other princess had fallen in love with the prince who approached her, not the other way around. I sat back in my papa san, pondering this new information. I didn’t believe in happy ever after, I told myself, so this means nothing. But what if? What if there was some small kernel of truth to the stories of my childhood? Was I flouting fate to ignore it? In the end, I wasn’t brave enough to go against the grain in this instance. After all, Beast didn’t appear to be all that great when Belle met him, either, did he? And look how well that turned out! I was conveniently ignoring that I had likened my past boyfriends to Beast, too. I logged on to, messaged Paul back and gave him my Yahoo screen name. Now all that was required was that I wait to see what would happen next. As I checked my other email and puttered around the internet, I cautioned myself that I was doing the very thing that I said years ago I would never do – using fairy tales and the Disney Empire to gauge a potential “prince.” Damn! It was harder that I thought to avoid comparing my life to those of the animated women of my childhood.

I had just about talked myself out of ever talking to Paul when he messaged me. Figuring I had to at least be polite long enough to explain how I’d only messaged him out of some vain hope that he was a Disney prince somehow magically come to life, I IMed him back. It wasn’t long before I forgot all about brushing him off, caught up in one of the most interesting conversations I’d ever had. Paul was funny, articulate, and best of all, he kept me guessing. I couldn’t tell what he was going to type next, a heretofore unheard of thing in my world. I was kept on my toes the entire conversation. I even blushed in a few spots, and I’d been blush-free for years. As much as I told myself that I didn’t believe in the whole Prince Charming nonsense, as much as I repeated over and over that there was no such thing as “happy ever after,” I have to admit that after that conversation with Paul, a tiny spark of something was lit within me. Maybe I wasn’t quite ready to let go of my hopes for a fairy tale after all.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bear, the Bears, and Baring it

Bear was supposed to have his ultrasound today, but when he got to the hospital, they toldhim they had misscheduled him! They wanted to schedule him for March 4, but (understandably) he asked for something closer. His new appointment is on Wednesday - hopefully this time they won't fuck it up. It makes me so mad. He lost over an hour of work today and will miss more on Wednesday. Grrr! Does no one but me care that he's in pain?!?!

My Bears lost the Superbowl last night. I'm so depressed. I can't even say that Indy won it, because the Bears had a lot of great chances they didn't capitalize on and they made several stupid mistakes. They definitely LOST the game. The fist visit to the Superbowl in twenty-one years and they LOST it! I slept in my Urlacher jersey last night... you know how when you break up with a guy so you wear his clothes because it makes you feel both better and worse? That's what it was like. *sigh* Now there's no more football until September...

Below I am posting part two of my essay. The responses to the first part were favorable (thanks Sue and Shari), so I'm going to continue with it. I think the Disney metaphor gets a bit stretched here, but see what you think. It's just a draft, remember!

Also, if you get a chance, check out postsecret this week. There is a postcard about a wedding that sounds just like something my ex-best friend would have written. Can you guess which one it is?


I was soon to learn that his looks were the only charming part about him. He was a master of the verbal put down, of condescension and derision. Truly, he was Gaston, Druesella, Anastasia and Millificent put together. Cocky and arrogant but also convinced of how wonderful he was. He convinced me after a while that I was lucky to have him, being the dowdy girl I was. It was four years before I came to the conclusion that while I didn’t have to have the love a Disney Princess was entitled to, I was in fact entitled to more than I was getting from Chad. My mother must have known that I was unhappy, because she pulled an act worthy of any fairy godmother. She didn’t create a chariot out of a pumpkin, but she did give me her old Jeep – a mechanism of rescue if ever there was one. With my own wheels I didn’t have to rely on Chad anymore for transportation to and from college, so it was easy to tell him to hit the road. Actually, I told him I was hitting the road, and that he wasn’t invited. I made sure to take all of my slippers (glass and otherwise) with me so there could be no second encounters.

Free for the first time as an adult, I told myself that I must be thankful for what lessons I had learned – the most important one being that there is no such thing as a one true love. Chad had told me that I would love him forever, and that we’d never be with anyone else - ever. Not just the rest of our lives, but forever. Three days after I broke up with him I discovered what a lie that was. Kurt was a short fling, a short scene after act two that was mostly just a pleasant distraction. He cemented this new idea I had that “happily ever after” existed only in Disney and had no place in my world.

At the start of my second year of college, I met Dan. I was very careful never to promise him forever or to say that he was “the One.” I know he was offended by that, but I knew better; I couldn’t just say words that weren’t true. Dan helped me realize what a bum deal Cinderella and Snow White got. Dan worked for the first fourteen months we were together. After that he developed a chronic medical condition that kept him from working. He couldn’t stand or sit very long comfortably, so he took a lot of pain killers and played video games for the next four years. As a senior in college, I was student teaching and working two jobs to pay the bills and keep him supplied in video games. I cooked, cleaned, washed his clothes and stayed out of his way when he was “having a bad day.” It never occurred to me to object, because how can you argue with someone who’s sick? I tried not to resent him for getting all of the meds and toys that he wanted while I was still wearing clothes from high school because I couldn’t afford anything new. Dan could be sweet, but he could also have black moods that would cast a pall over everything around. When Dan was upset, the whole sky seemed darker, and even the walls seemed to be holding their breaths, waiting for the inevitable explosion to come. I never asked to go to the ball, I wouldn’t dream of sticking up for myself like Cinderella did. I kept the house as clean as I could on eighty hour weeks, doing laundry and dishes whenever I had a spare moment, usually with a textbook or lesson plan in my hands. I definitely did not whistle while I worked like Snow White did. I swear all seven of the dwarves couldn’t have been more difficult than one Dan.

After five years of being the poor, underappreciated, misunderstood heroine I left Dan. I knew no one was going to rescue me, that I’d stay the maid/depressed maiden forever if I didn’t leave.

After two failed relationships, I returned to the stories of my childhood searching for answers. Where did I go wrong?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Labels and an Essay

I talk to my students from time to time about labels. The words they use to describe themselves and each other. There are obvious ones like jock and prep, but there are other ones, too. If you could only use three words to label yourself, what would you choose? What order do they come in? My labels have changed over the years, but right now they are: fiancé, teacher, and writer. Writer is a word that I almost don't type, because it is still a fragile label for me to be using. I've never been published, I probably never will be, and ... that's okay. In my mind, I see myself as someone who writes down words to express things. To me, that's a writer.
I find it interesting that I put fiancé before teacher, though. In my past relationships labels like student or teacher always came first. For the first time I'm seeing myself as a woman in love first, a person who works second. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

What labels do you give yourself? What things do you believe to be true about yourself? I am finding that as I age the things I believe about myself are changing. Being afraid of the dark remains a constant, but thinking I'm not worthy of being loved has changed. I used to think that I didn't care what people thought of me, but I am finding (thanks to Bear, who really doesn't), that I do. I always thought I hated my childhood home, that I'd never go back there. Now I'm gettied married in the landscape of that past.

I think it's time to post the first part of the essay I told you about a few weeks ago. The essay is about another childhood struggle - the reconciling between the Disney fairy tales I grew up on and the Real World. If you read it and like it and want me to post the rest, I will. I will assume if I hear nothing that it wasn't riveting reading and try again. I hope you enjoy.


I am a child of the Disney generation, and as such I was fed fairy tales as often as I was fed red hot dogs, which was pretty often. I knew each Disney princess’ story by heart, could sing along with each young woman as she wished for books, legs, and the inevitable prince. It was always the prince that ruined the story for me. I’d watch the movie, entranced, until Aurora was caught dancing with the prince’s cloak and boots, Cinderella waltzed at the ball or Ariel bobbed in the water like a buoy gazing at the sailor that somehow was the man of her dreams. Even at seven years old, I knew there were precious few Prince Charmings. I’d ask my mom, “What happens to Sleeping Beauty if Prince Charming doesn’t show up?”

“She sleeps forever.”

“What happens if someone NOT charming kisses her? What if there’s a Duke Discourteous or Viscount Vapid?” (even at seven I had an impressive vocabulary). At my incessant and mildly offended questions, my mother would shake her head and say, “In fairy tales, that just doesn’t happen. There’s always a Prince Charming, and he always shows up when he’s supposed to.”

What a crock.

The truth, as I saw it, was that there were no more Prince Charmings. There were only boys that pulled your pigtails and pushed you off the merry-go-round while it was spinning so that you scraped your knees and ruined another pair of knee-high stockings. I decided that if I ever needed rescuing, I’d better do it myself, because if I waited for the perfect guy to come along and fix everything for me, I’d be waiting for a very long time.

When I grew older and began dating I knew not to look for Charming; I was content to settle for Doesn’t-Fart-in-Public. That’s when I met Chad. He had a bit of the Fairy-Tale-Prince look to him – dark complexion, big white teeth, perfectly coiffed hair. I was soon to learn that his looks were the only charming part about him.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Look at What I Made!

So I came across this web site yesterday that lets you use a photo of your own to create a romance novel cover. It was so much fun, I think I want someone to take a picture of us in one of the stereotypical romance-novel pose just so it will look like a real cover. What do you think? I think it looks good! I did it a couple of times... I think it looks fabulous.