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.


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


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?



Thursday, August 23, 2007


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."

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.


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.


*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


That's how much money I've made freelancing so far. I'm not kidding. That money comes to me via the website, 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 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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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?