Showing posts with label confessional. Show all posts
Showing posts with label confessional. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2013

ghost writer.

Was it really November 2012 when I posted last? I'm surprised I didn't post in February. Usually each February I try to commemorate my dad, who died February 12, 2001, as well as mourn that entire frickin' month. Nothing good ever happens in February, is my personal motto. Besides my birthday, of course. Which I'm considering switching to March simply because of February's reputation.

Thirty-ish days of this school year are left. I am glad. I am also detached. I really, deeply love my class--they are good, sweet children, for the most part, and appear to love me back. But many of them and their families are exhausting me; this school year has exhausted me. This is not something unique to me; I'm not some martyr over here. I have spoken at length with teachers at other schools, in other districts, in all socioeconomic areas. Exhaustion is the Word of the Day for public school teachers all over America.

Can I be very frank and honest for a moment? Do you have a moment?

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Actually, all year long I've been thinking. I've been considering this, and considering that. I've done a little networking. I've had good days and thought: this is all right. I've had bad days and thought: really, wouldn't Barnes & Noble be awesome to work at, even if they are slowly shutting down all their stores? I've spent a lot of time thinking and considering.

I've thought about and considered going back to teach ESOL, except I don't want to go back to teaching that right now...people (other teachers) think I'm crazy, because it has its stresses but hey: no grading! But it is increasingly becoming something I can't agree to do. I do miss teaching it, but only for the relief of not having to be responsible for raising other people's children, and that's no reason to teach something. More and more, I feel that is exactly what is being asked of me, to raise others' children for them. I simply do not feel up to this task. I have a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education and a Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education. I know Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science, and Math. I am not a social worker. I do not possess a psychology or a counselor background. I have taught children for 18 years, and I'm a parent now, and so I try to draw on that experience to help parent other people's children, but because of political correctness often feel my hands are tied to really give them the help they are looking for, on top of the fact I suspect they don't actually want help; they simply want someone else to be responsible. And I am finding I don't want that kind of responsibility. I would just like to teach children how to read, write, and add/subtract. If I could just do that every day, I'd be happy as a pig in mud on a cool Spring day.

I am increasingly frustrated. My house looks like an episode of Hoarders. My husband spends a lot of time worrying (often out loud) about my mental and emotional state. My own child is getting less from me than other people's children, and I will be brutally honest: I am growing resentful.  I have no energy when I get home--I would like to take my child to the gym or the park every day, or read with her or finger paint or teach her sight words or play with play dough or just laugh and have fun. I am too tired--I cook dinner, clean it up, do bath, and then sit on facebook or pinterest because facebook and pinterest are two mindless, numbing things I can do to unwind. I am beginning to suspect classroom teaching is turning into a single, childless person's game.

The easy answer seems to be: just don't do it, Amy. Don't go to school at 7:45 and leave at 5:30/6:00 every day. Do what you can and go home and forget about it. But I don't operate that way. Quality matters to me, and if I don't deal with Project X or Y right now, tomorrow it will eat me alive because I won't have a planning period due to this meeting or that one or I won't get to Project S or T and that will cause even further stress than I already have, and I won't have that, concerned friends. I won't have it.

So I'm slowly and reluctantly starting to wonder if teaching may not be the right career for me. Isn't that crazy sounding? Because it's something I really love. Because I got into teaching because I'm a helper and I wanted to help children. Because people say I'm good at it--I'm never going to win Teacher of the Year, but if you stick your kid in my class? I work my butt off with them. Because I've done it for 18 years. But 10 of those 18 years were in a support teaching role, and support teaching kind of, I don't know, lulls? you into a sort of complacency.

On a positive note, going back into the classroom this year was like having cold ice water thrown on me repeatedly. This was good, because it taught me some important things--about human nature and what poverty and powerlessness--and, yes, maybe a slight touch of psychosis--can make people do to one another. It taught me some things about me, like I genuinely like children in spite of some of their home situations. I mean, God bless them, they've got a lot on their plates and they don't even know it. I am crossing my fingers and sending powerful prayers to all the Universes out there, begging these Universes to pull these children out of their lives, to help them defy their odds and the growing, enormous chasm between the classes I'm watching good people in this country (myself included, because you won't see me at any Occupy Something events) allow to happen.

But it has also taught me this is one goddamn exhausting, thankless job. If I were getting paid 6 figures, I'd probably just deal with it for another decade or two. I mean, there are summers off for the love of all--who wouldn't just go find their happy place when needed, for $100,000 a year and decent health benefits? However, I am not getting paid 6 figures. I am getting paid in the mid 5's. And I am not being respected by the very people I'm attempting to help, and I spend a lot of time confused and frustrated and angry about that. And crying. I cry a LOT when I'm at home, because I'm desperately worried my own child isn't receiving what she needs from me. Realistically, I know she will most likely turn out okay--she is deeply loved and hears that all the time. She has two supportive parents who will gently express concerns to her future teachers, not make angry demands. Melissa doesn't need a teacher to send desperate prayers for her out into the Cosmos. But I'm also painfully aware of what schools are expecting from and doing to children these days (another angry rant for another frustrated day), and I need to help my child meet those expectations, to the best of her ability. I need to serve and protect my own child, as much as I love and want to serve and protect other children. I owe that to Melissa.

I think what I'm saying is: my plate isn't just full, it has become completely overloaded. For some people, this would be A-Okay. For some people, overloaded is a challenge, and dealing with angry people is no biggie and besides they love getting punched in the gut; it builds character. This is not me. I do not do overloaded, angry people, or gut punches. And my plate has been overloaded since August, and I have been talk therapy-ing out the angry people and gut punches as much as possible, all the while continuing to reason that it's just a learning curve and if I just move this roll to this side of the plate and push this pile of potatoes over here and push this angry person under the table for awhile....but the moving and pushing and hiding never seem to end. I mean, it will end: Summer will come, and Melissa and I will read books and visit the library and go to the pool and eat ice cream and paint our horrified HOA neighbors' sidewalks with rainbows and unicorns and giggle ourselves silly as Mr. F glares at us through his window, frantically making notes in his little neighbor spy log.

But eventually August will arrive, and the plate juggling will begin again and I find I am dreading that. Really, really dreading that.

Please know: I am not frustrated about my school--I love my school, and my administrators have been nothing but kind and helpful to me and incredibly supportive with some of the gut punches I've taken this year. I am thankful to and for them. And I am deeply in love with all of my coworkers, and think the Supreme Court ought to pass gay marriage just so we can all marry each other and live in one giant teacher commune together. And I am not frustrated about the students--I love the students, kids are kids and I love helping them work on/work out their ridiculous kid issues, as long as I'm not hormonal or ravenously hungry at the moment. Also, when I shut that door and get on the floor with them and read or write, I am completely in my element. I love that feeling. I love sharing books with them and reading their bad writing and showing them a Youtube video about using periods and then dedicating it to the one boy in class who refuses to acknowledge punctuation but is really good-natured about having a punctuation video dedicated to him because he's the class clown and likes that kind of attention. I love that, and if I could do that all day and have time to make lesson plans and grade and not worry about unhinged parents coming up to the school to sue me or beat me up, I'd practically work for free.

However, this is not Reality for public school teachers anymore, no matter where you are in America. And I am really beginning to wonder if the Universe didn't have A Big Plan for me back in 2011, when I volunteered--sheerly on gut instinct--to leave ESOL teaching and take on a different kind of support teaching which then landed me back in a classroom in the very kind of school I said I'd never (never say "never"!) want to teach in a classroom at. Because sometimes the Universe does stuff like that--takes you over here to get you over there which takes you here so you can land there, which is where you were meant to be at this part of your life all along. I find that's the only consistency the Universe has about it--Its inconsistency.

And it is not lost on me at all that certain emails and events may have been rained down upon me this year in order to jerk my complacent butt out of its chair of comfort and get it moving.

So I will spend this summer getting ready for another school year but also working on changing careers. Having talked to some savvy Corporate America People Who Know (C being their spokesman), it's been suggested to me for every $10,000 you wish to earn per year, it takes 2 months of work and dedication and making contacts and finding leads and etc and so forth to find a job making that. C would like to see me make $75,000 per year, because he thinks I'm worth that (which uh, hello, I think he and I need to talk about--clearly I'm worth $12 million, but at 2 months per $10,000 I just don't have that kind of time. If only Charlie Sheen would read this! I know he'd cut me a check). I'd be pretty happy with far less than $75,000, and at this point I think C would be too--he has said on at least 100 different occasions he'd rather see me happy than continue to witness what he's witnessed this year.

Which all brings me to my point: upon examining my educational background and current set of skills, I think I'm good at a handful of things (besides eating chocolate at night and googling Jason Isaacs and Gerard Butler and Clive Owen). I love children and story telling. I like to write. I like to read. I like to do research. I like coffee houses and singing birds and waking up with the sun, not before it.

So this is where I've decided to start: I'm exploring freelance writing, which can be slightly lucrative (though far less now, with all the blogs permeating the atmosphere and bad journalism being the rule of the day) but take awhile to break into. Ditto getting a novel/short story published. JK Rowling did not happen overnight--JK Rowling had talent and also timing and luck and Jason Isaacs in the wildly successful movies based on her books. I just want to be able to afford to eat out once in awhile, not sit on piles of Potter-like money. So I'm exploring writing articles and children's books and story telling and writing a novel and short stories on the side. It sounds like a lot, but compared to the enormous stresses I've been dealing with this year, that's a cakewalk in the park.

If anyone knows anyone, please point me in their direction. If anyone needs a storytelling researcher willing to freelance write with children while Jason Isaacs, Gerard Butler, and Clive Owen are in the audience, let me know that, too. If anyone wants to write me a check for $75,000, I will write an entire novel about why it's a travesty you are not Emperor of the World (Charlie Sheen, I'm looking in your general direction).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Best & Worst

Around this time of year, I like to take stock. I like to take stock of how my year went, I shaking my fists at it and stomping around, cussing like a crusty old sailor? Or just giving it the middle finger raised defiantly up high, in a really indignant manner? I'm certainly never hugging it. I don't think I've hugged an old year going out and a new year coming in since 1982. There's usually something in the past year that has really made me put my hands on my hips in a very annoyed manner and say out loud to no one in particular, "Really, Insert name of year here? Really?? What the freaking heck."(Full disclosure: I might--or might not--use much swarthier words than freaking and heck. It would just depend on the issue, and the year.)

Another thing I do is come up with Un-Resolutions. This is a very Alice in Wonderland thing to do, and I prefer it because I know I'll be 100% successful at these. For example, in 2012, I unresolve to spend less time on And, in 2012, I unresolve to spend half of each Saturday lying around staring at the ceiling feeling guilty about all the things I really should be accomplishing. Also, in 2012, I unresolve to clean my toilets more (though I did find a really earth-friendly, economical, most awesome solution of part vinegar/part water/Dawn dishwashing liquid you can make at home that can supposedly scrub blood stains off the inside of a person's body).

But I also like to review my personal year's Best & Worst. Just like they do in People magazine and on E! News, except without the paparazzi pictures:

Best Kid Moment: Potty training accomplished! No more poopy diapers, no more diaper bills, no more worrying about contributing to the land fill diaper problem in America but being too 21st century lazy and harried to actually switch to cloth diapers and do something about plus that would involve more laundry and I'm really anti-more laundry....woohoo! No more diapers!

Worst Kid Moment: Realizing potty training isn't (1) fool proof or (2) consistent. Most embarrassing example of this: the infamous McDonald's Poop Explosion of 2011.

Worst Job Moment: Volunteering to leave the dream teaching job I adored to venture forth into unknown waters. Teaching (the Education field in general, actually) seems to be in a bit of a scary and massive upheaval these days, and so who knows where I'll be at this time next year? Upheavals can be both bad and good, but I am never a fan of change. Even and especially when I instigate it.

Best Job Moment: Finding out teaching 3rd graders is surprisingly a breeze. Jolly Ranchers and lead pencils and the ability to place a "I Actually Don't Find You Funny At All" look on my face in a mere 1.5 seconds really helped that. And the change in focus turned out to be fairly good for me...after teaching 1st grade ESOL for about 10 years, I could pretty much do that with my eyes closed. It's stressful to have to locate, plan, and coordinate new lessons, and I wish I didn't end up staying until 5:00 pm most days. But it keeps me on my toes. And that's a good thing, because I'm the kind of person who really needs to be kept on her toes. Otherwise, I spend way too much time staring at a ceiling for half a day feeling guilty about all the stuff I could be accomplishing.

Best Health Moment: C got a new knee. It's a lot of work right now, and his body is still adjusting. But in about 6-8 weeks, I predict he'll be walking around like Melissa does when she gets a new bouncy ball: "Mommy! Look at meeeee! Look at me and my new bouncy ball! Look at how good I am with my bouncy ball! I can bounce my bouncy ball really, really high! No! You can't have my bouncy ball! It's MINE!" (C, of course, will not be bouncing as high as he can, but I do suspect he won't share his new knee with anyone.)

Worst Health Moment: Well, I got skin cancer. That was the worst. But it was a fortunately/unfortunately kind of thing: Unfortunately, I got skin cancer. Fortunately, it turned out to be the unscary kind, harmless little Basal Cell that can sit on your skin for years and years and never make a peep (except you should get Basal Cell off of there ASAP if you do find him sitting there, because occasionally he can turn into his big older brother, Malignant, Scary Carcinoma. Scary  Carcinoma is a really crappy bastard, and even his own mother ignores him on his birthday). Fortunately, it was an easy procedure to remove. Unfortunately, I'll be at a dermatologist's office annually for the rest of my life. Fortunately, this will quickly help us meet our insurance's out of pocket maximum so C can get another new knee next year and we don't have to pay a thing. See? Fortunately/Unfortunately.

Worst Celebrity News: The Kardashians are really getting on my nerves. I don't understand them, and I don't understand the nation's love/hate relationship and fascination with them. I'm just glad they're in cahoots with Sears. If I had to see them and their sweat shop clothing line every time I bought contact lens cleaner at Target or Wal-Mart, I really think I'd lose my mind.

...Except I have to say, I do begrudgingly like Khloe. Khloe seems like someone I could have over for dinner and laugh with. Oh, okay...and Kourtney, too. Her little boy is too, too cute. As long as she left the icky boyfriend/father at home, I think we could hang out and talk.

Fine, fine, fine. It's really just Kim I'm having an issue with. But I think everyone in America is too, and so. Good.

Best Celebrity News: Apparently, Atlanta is quickly becoming the new Hollywood. This increases my chances of bumping into Gerard Butler at Target or Wal-Mart or Kroger or Publix  by 1,000%. Obviously, in 2012, I'm going to have to never leave the house without full make up and hair, and I'll clearly have to hire a personal stylist. Oh, and the gym. I guess I'll have to bump up my gym schedule from 0 times a week to at least 1 or 2. Man. That's going to be a lot of work. I may need to set my standards a little lower and hope to bump into one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta's ex-boyfriends.

This is not what my chicken avocado parmigiana looked like.
Worst Cooking Moment: The avocado/parmigiana chicken dish I got off It seemed like a good idea in theory. I mean, who the heck doesn't love chicken parmigiana? And avocados are just healthy for you--full of good vitamins and the type of fat your body doesn't use to make you look 6 months pregnant. But in actual practice? It did not execute well, and I apologize to all who came into contact with it (namely, C and Melissa) (C took 3 bites and Melissa declared hers "icky," dumped it in the trash can, and proceeded to demand chicken nuggets instead).

Best Cooking Moment: The fact that I cooked most nights of the week. The week right before Winter Break and the week of Knee Replacement surgery were pretty rough and full of McDonald's happy meals. But other than that, I've been a cooking fool throughout 2011. Please note: I do not enjoy cooking. Slow cookers make it a tad easier. Unless you have someone who doesn't enjoy slow cooker food, like I do, who (after 3 slow cooker meals) asks you to lighten up on the slow cooker meals. That can really throw off your whole game plan, if you have that. I also don't enjoy the following: menu planning, grocery shopping, food prep, cooking clean up, dishwasher put away, and pantry organization. But the point is, I have learned to overcome all of that, in a very Chariots of Fire kind of way. And I like looking up recipes and conducting recipe experiments. I'm a Chariots of Fire Kitchen Scientist is what I am. And C and Melissa are my lab rats.

Worst Gift of 2011: There were none. Every gift is awesome. If you give me a gift of any kind, you are permanently on my Favorite People list forever. Unless your gift is the flu or a cold. And then you're on my People to Avoid at All Costs list.

Best Gift of 2011: The Keurig. Do you know about them? Next to the Internets, these are one of humanity's most helpful and evil-at-the-same-time inventions ever. You put some water in the holder. You stick your coffee cup under the thingy. You stick a Keurig coffee cup thingy ($9 per box, more expensive at Bed Bath & Beyond) in the thingy. You press a button. Sixty seconds later? You have a coffee (in a variety of flavors, including but not limited to hazelnut, french vanilla, and fair trade decaf) or tea or hot chocolate or espresso or cappucino. It's technology magic. The evil part comes into play because the coffee maker is always right there. On your counter. And if there is water in the water compartment, in a mere 60 seconds you can have your 1,000th cup of coffee (or tea or espresso or hot chocolate or cappucino) of the day. For example, as I type this, it is 10:00 am and I'm enjoying my 6th cup of coffee (an Italian Donut Shop bold that is clearing out my sinuses in a most effective way...I predict the caffeine in this thing will keep me up well past 1:00 am).

Starbucks is also pissed at the Keurig guys. My yearly $25,000 donation to them is probably going to be reduced by about $24,990.

Worst Book of 2011: Did Kim Kardashian write a tell-all book about her 72 hour marriage yet? If not, get ready to put that on your "Worst Book" list for whatever year she writes it.

Best Book of 2011: Tina Fey's book Bossypants. I would like to be Tina Fey's friend and confidante. I would like to start a religious cult that worships all that Tina Fey says, writes, and does. (That sounds a bit stalkerish, I know. But honestly, the fastest way to become a billionaire is (a) invent the computer or facebook, or (b) start a religion and get Tom Cruise on board). I have many, many new worldviews because of Tina Fey, and many, many new awesome quotes to throw at people haphazardly when they least expect. Here's one:

But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—BeyoncĂ© brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.

See? Ladies, wouldn't you like to be friends with Tina, too? Let's get together every Friday and pray to her. (Please bring $25 as a Fey Love "donation.")

And last (but not least):

Worst Overall Moment of 2011: The angry, judgmental Target employee and my emotional breakdown about her (including tears) in front of a store manager while standing in front of Target Cafe's pretzel machine. I've finally managed to successfully shop (tear-free) in this Target again. I've gone back to placing Melissa (in a really defiant way I must add) in the back of the cart (minus the seat belt AND allowing her to stand up). I've also managed to once run into that same angry, judgmental Target employee while Melissa is standing up in the back of the cart (mihnus cart seat belt) and look at that chick with pointy, dangerous daggers shooting out of my eyes in her general direction in a really passive aggressive way. I'm sure she senses when I've entered the store and becomes very nervous. Obviously, I've clearly won.

...Really, this experience has kind of turned into a it was the best of times/it was the worst of times sort of thing. But I'm still shell shocked about the initial experience, and so I'm making it my Worst Moment of 2011 (there could have been a worse worst moment of 2011, but my memory only goes back to about July of each year, and nothing worse happened to me from July-December than that).

Best Overall Moment of 2011:  We are all still alive. C and I both have satisfying jobs, a roof over our heads, nice clothes (Old Navy recently had a 70% off sale that I hit just right), good food in our bellies (as long as it doesn't involve chicken, parmigiana, and avocados), a sweet girl who only goes to time out 3 times a day, and we are cancer-free (knock on wood), surrounded by family we are on talking terms with who we actually find amusing and fun to be around. Is there any kind of a moment that would be better than that? I don't think so, and I'm positive Tina Fey (blessed be her name) will agree.

Happy 2012, everyone!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

the internet: it's an issue.

I have one last confession. I meant to put this in my confessional blog post last time, but my other other confession (this means I actually have two last confessions) is that I have small dash of adult onset ADD and I can't remember what I told myself I would be doing from one second to the next. Which is why the internet is so perfect for someone like me. While on the internet, I can completely stay focused (translation: eyes glued to a computer like a zombie taking a nap) yet jump around like a complete maniac. I am a completely insane maniac while on the computer, and to look at me, you'd never know; on the outside I'm certain I exude pure zen.

A typical hour (that turns into 3, sometimes an entire afternoon if I'm on vacation and M is at school) looks like this: I'll hop over to facebook, then to a news site, then to some blogs, then another news site, then I'll do a google search on some random topic I thought of 2 weeks ago but suddenly just remembered, then I'll spend 40 minutes looking up some teaching ideas, I'll head back to facebook, back to another news site, remember another thing I was curious about and google, back to facebook.....

The internet. Such a wonderful tool, yet such a source of great evil and large piles of unfolded laundry.

Now that I've made that confession, my other other confession is that I'm addicted to this website called pinterest. Do you know about it? You have to have an invitation to join, but it's not exclusive; if you ask, they let you in (the complete opposite of my brief flirtation with sororities in college from which I still have PTSD).

Basically, it's like a picture version of all your internet bookmarked sites. See something you like while surfing? Pin it from your toolbar (they give you a pin tool for this when you join), pick a board (you create as many different themed "boards"as you want), and then as you surf the net, if you see something you like, click "Pin It" and some picture choices will pop up for you to pin along with your boards so you can choose where to pin it...and pow! Now you have the picture (a visual reminder) on a board in one easy to remember location that directly links you back to the page on the website you wanted to remember while surfing.

Too lazy to surf? Go to pinterest's "Everybody" page and start looking around--you'll find stuff that you didn't even know you wanted on there. You can spend (if you're crazy, like I am) hours finding things to pin and/or ogling what other people in the world think is really rad (and please know: some people have extremely questionable taste).

Here's the issue: because of all that, I'm on on that site all the time, and if you're one of my board followers, I deeply apologize to you. I'm sure on more than one occasion you've logged onto pinterest, taken a quick look at what your followers/those you follow have pinned in the last 5 minutes, seen my recent 1,000 pictures and thought: Wow, that girl has a problem. I do! It's true, I do. And I also apologize for all of the inspirational quotes plastered with profanities that I love to pin to my ::inspirations:: board. I do try to make up for it with some gooey, chocolate-y desert ideas for you.

I'm not sure what it is about that place, because half of the stuff I see when I head over to the "Everything" link so I can see what the rest of the world finds funny, interesting, yummy, sweet, cute, awesome, cool, etc., makes me roll my eyes. Just judging from what I've seen, there are an awful lot of overly princess-y weddings being planned, with way too many cutesy wedding poses that far too many unsuspecting bridesmaids are forced to be a part of. And there is simply too much country for my taste out there in America. Sorry country fans, but I think there should be a limit on how much distressed hillbilly one is allowed to decorate a house with. I'm also getting ready to blast that place with some Islamic, Hindu, and other world religions sayings that insinuate anyone who doesn't agree with those religious doctrines can kiss my Islamic and/or Hindu butt. (I am neither Islamic or Hindu, of course; it's just I don't like it when I feel I'm somewhere the playing field is uneven, and I have a tremendous, natural inclination to try to balance that out in the most passive aggressive way possible.)

And then there are the fitness freaks. The fitness freaks on that place are a real point of contention for me. (Full disclosure: I have a fitness board at pinterest. I call it ::health mania:: but I really should call it ::health mania daydreams:: because I pin a bunch of stuff to it but never do a single thing on it. No, not a single thing. I figure eventually I'll put it to some type of use...some time. Maybe. I say if you're going to dream, dream BIG.)

It just seems there are so many (so many!) women out there who also have their own versions of ::health mania:: but instead of just sticking in pictures of green fat-burning smoothies and treadmill workouts they have absolutely no intentions of ever completing, so many of them fill up their fitness-themed boards with images like this to aspire to:

Whereas I would be quite happy with this:

A perfectly healthy person, with muscle tone, who can still eat a plate of spaghetti and not feel as though she needs to punish herself by finding pictures like the other one to aspire to.

I think what I'm trying to get at is that pinterest seems to be one gigantic issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, the 1960's version, and somehow I've managed to get myself hooked to it. This feels very similar to my secret, in-the-closet readings and viewings of the Twilight series. (See last post, toward the end.)

On the upside, I've gotten some good recipes out of it. And some really cute crafty things. For when I decide to be crafty. Some day. Maybe when I'm 80. And I've found that many women spend a lot (a LOT) of time on some fashion website putting whole outfits (complete with accessories) together and then pinning it on to pinterest. I have more wardrobe options in my ::stylin':: board than I do in my own closet. Yes, yes. It's very sad.

But then there are the teaching ideas (desperately needed some days), inspirational quotes peppered with the F word, and this one time? I found out how to clean an entire microfiber sofa using just a little bit of rubbing alcohol, water, and some white sponges. It does have its breathtaking moments.

So I don't know. I'm just spewing right now; I have absolutely no intentions of trying to curb or eliminate this particular addiction (which I lovingly prefer to call a distraction) (plus, my television is tuned into Nick Jr. whenever it's on...every time The Fresh Beat Band comes on, I ponder how bad it would really hurt if I poked my eyes out with a fork and/or poured acid into my ears--anything but that Go Bananas song again...pinterest is a much safer option, I say). I mean, I've discovered how I'll renovate my bathroom (after I win the lottery):

In January, we'll be studying fossils in 3rd grade, and pinterest has helped me find a plethora (plethora) of useful and cute tools to use:

 And apparently, if you get a bunch of rocks and paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint? And then line them up along your sidewalk so they can soak up the sun? Voila! At night you have glow in the dark rocks! (I can hear Mr. F down the street in my neighborhood furiously typing up a complaint letter to the HOA right now, woo!):

And then, of course, I make finds on pinterest that pretty much validate the entire reason I exist. And/or give me some good ideas. Like this one:

Friday, November 25, 2011

shopping confessions for a black friday

Confession #1: I have embarrassingly crude thoughts about fellow shoppers at grocery stores. I have yet to find a grocery store to shop at that has aisles big enough. Big enough for what, you ask? Big enough for everything, I say. I think mostly it's that I just don't get why, in a world consisting of a billion people, 999 million of them don't seem to understand that (1) when parking a cart in an aisle to make food purchase decisions, a cart should (a) not be parked smack dab in the middle of the aisle or (b) parked horizontally at the end of an aisle, as both choices not only completely trap one's fellow shoppers in an aisle, both choices also cause an elevation in blood pressure of certain fellow shoppers (ie, me), causing her to imagine taking a cart blocking her way and slamming it repeatedly into, say, some egg cartons, thereby officially losing her mind and possibly getting arrested. Most definitely getting strange, horrified stares. At the grocery store. Usually in the cereal and canned foods aisles, but often in the dairy section. Because her fellow grocery store shoppers seem to be completely unaware of the fact they are not the only ones who are trying to buy food and exist in the world.

The other grocery store pissed off confession I have is having to wait for a fellow shopper standing, sometimes for a full 10 minutes, in front of the very area I also need to grab something from, and having to wait for them to make a decision and watching them do so in a most oblivious manner. If I had to think hard for 10 minutes, or even had 10 minutes just to stand and wait patiently for their thinking processes to reach conclusion, this would only be a minor irritation. But this is not the case. I want to grab their shoulders, shake them, and scream into their faces: "YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE!! YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE!!"  And then run away, leaving them shocked, confused, and (most likely) still oblivious. Most often in the produce section, but sometimes in the frozen food area.

Confession #2: About 6 weeks ago, I totally lost my mind at my local Target. I've been shopping at this Target for going on a decade now, with nary a single emotionally crazy peep. But 6 weeks ago, I'd had a really frickin' long day at work, was dealing with an outrageous amount of hormones, and on top of all that was generally in a big hurry. I'd plopped Melissa in the back of the cart (not properly seat belted and not in the proper front seat not like the properly behaved angel the Target employee I'm about to tell you about apparently demands all strange children who are none of her business be) and was swinging through (in a general, hormonal hurry) to get what I needed from the office product section.

Target Employee with a Terrific Need to Condemn and Control sees us, and says in a haughty tone of voice: "You better put that baby in the front seat like you're supposed to. She needs to be sitting down." I looked at her long and hard and said, "Excuse me?" And she repeated what she'd said again, this time in (what was clearly) a nastier tone of voice. And so I looked at her even longer and harder and then said slowly (because I was so enraged I couldn't even see straight and was convinced if a brick happened to be nearby I would throw it at her head), "Ooookaaaay. Well. She's not a baby and I think I can manage my own child." And then I stomped off. Target didn't have what I needed anyway. What kind of a stupid Target was this?? With their rude, control-y employees and not having what a person needs anyway.

So I was furious and in a bad mood for the rest of my time in Target. And at check out, I think I scared the quiet, sweet cashier wearing a headscarf when I abruptly asked to speak to a manager. And when the manager came, I told her what had happened, apologized by saying I never do stuff like huffily demand to speak to managers, but I'd had a really long day and what was said and the tone it was said in was an incredibly inappropriate way to speak to a customer and I'd like to know that the manager was going to let the employee know that. And then before she could even lay out her action plan for me, I burst into tears and left.

Here's the confession part: I avoided going back to that Target for 4 weeks straight and when I did go back (on a Wednesday, around 5 pm-ish), and ran into both the nasty employee and the manager I'd had a psychotic melt down on? I glared at both of those chicks in a very "You think you want a piece of this?? Bring it." kind of way. And now I only go to that Target if it's the weekend and/or before 4 pm. And every time Melissa is with me now, I put her in the front seat and tell her she has to sit there in case we run into the "mean lady" again. Which means now I'm passing on my hormonal imbalance-y thinking to my daughter, and when she's in talk therapy years later as an adult, she'll spend so much time working out her strange, irrational fear and belief that female Target employees are all "mean ladies."

But mostly, every time I sit her in the front seat and buckle her in, I feel like I'm letting the mean Target lady win. And this is Christmastime, when mean Target ladies should not be allowed to win.

Which is precisely why I've decided the next time I have to go to that Target, I'll go (a) at 5 pm on a weekday and (b) let Melissa ride in the back of the cart, standing up, possibly holding a sign that says "You think you want a piece of this?? Bring it."

Confession #3: I've also started frequenting (please make sure you're sitting down before continuing)........................... Wal-Mart. Anyone who knows me well should be sitting with a really stunned look on their face after reading that, because historically I'm very anti-Wal-Mart. I'm not convinced they treat all of their employees fairly, and also the aisles are too narrow (see confession #1). And the other customers freak me out occasionally. I will note, though, I haven't run into one inappropriately condescending employee. And they have an organic section. Who knew?!

Confession #4: This has nothing to do with shopping, and I tagged it on at the end in the hopes you'd get bored and stop reading before hitting Confession #4. Confession #4 is that not only have I read all of the Twilight books, I have consistently taken myself (alone, in secret, hidden in the dark recesses of my skeletons' closet) to see each Twilight movie as they come out.

I read the first book while on bed rest and pregnant. It was horribly written, but I could tell: if I was a teenage girl with angst and social acceptance issues (ie, if I were 14 all over again), I would be on these sparkly vampire people who don't hurt people like white on rice. And then I read the 2nd book, which was written even worse than the 1st. But I couldn't stop. I had to know what happened next! Each book, in succession, was plotted, conceived, and written worse than the last.

But that's not the worst part of it all. Liking poorly written, gushy romance novels about vampires is one thing. Liking poorly written, gushy vampire romance novels involving helpless heroines is something else. I feel about myself like I feel about my child loving pink and Disney princesses: Oh, Amy. No no no. Where did I fail you?? (Bella, the female protagonist, spends every book pining for a boy and begging for rescue). I feel like someone who accidentally changed the tv channel and landed on a perverse reality show (that is so obviously scripted and simply put there to control and then destroy the very soul of America) but after 15 minutes has to keep watching because now I've invested 15 minutes of my time and have to see what happens at the end. Even if the end is sort of like, "That's it?"

Confession #5: I go see the movies because (a) the quality is always questionable, but (b) I still really want to see the books put into action, and (c) I'm on Team Edward. Because he has really red lips and nice amber eyes (after slurping down deer blood, of course) and sparkly skin and when he's not in the Twilight movies he has a British accent and I love those. I was a high school freshman when the actor who plays Edward was born and so it's just incredibly inappropriate but not really, since Edward is technically 110 years old or something. Imagination and reality get blurry for me when Twilight is involved.

Not to mention very weird, since I'll be a 40 year old woman on my next birthday with a lot on her plate to worry about right now: a new job, maintaining a household, raising an independent girl who hopefully will trend toward Harry Potter rather than glittery vampires...which may be precisely why I'm drawn toward being rescued by the undead. As long as they sparkle and won't munch on me (at least not in ways I don't like), it's a release from the day to day reality of crazy.

I think a lot of the people in the audience with me on Tuesday morning I went to see Breaking Dawn are in this for similar reasons. There were 10 other people in the theater with me and the audience make up looked like this: 4 ladies in their 40-50's, 4 teenagers, 1 lone man who looked like he was in his 70's, and a couple (I suspect the husband was dragged there) in their 60's. And me. Dressed head to toe in black, like I was channeling a stealth ninja. A stealth ninja weakened by an irrational love for imaginary spangly vampires to rescue her, completely forgetting that, yo, she's a frickin' ninja. A stealth ninja.

Confession #6 (another non-shopping confession): I think only about 6 people regularly read this blog (hi Michele, hi Mom!), so I'm feeling fairly good about this Twilight secret staying securely in the back of my closet. (I also think it's pretty telling that I'm more comfortable with many in the general public knowing about my irrational rage thoughts toward other shoppers in grocery stores and outlandish emotional breakdowns in Target than admitting--out loud--that I'm on, you know, Team Edward.) (Although Team Jacob can be fairly stunning in his shirtless moments.) (No no! I can't, mustn't, betray Edward!)

I'll be so glad when they release Breaking Dawn part 2 and I can shove this Twilight nonsense into my basement, right next to my Hello Kitty collection.
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