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!


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?


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.


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.


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.


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).