Archive for February, 2010

Honestly

The weekend’s finally here!  Hip, hip hooray!!  Up and at ’em early in the morning to head to Indy.  Hotel shenanigans and great music await me this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m going to try to get around the blog-world tonight to catch up on your lives.  I miss having time to read and comment every night. 

Ms. Dishy Dish passed on the Honest Scrap to me.  I’ve done this one before, but it’s been a while.  The gist of it is that I have to tell you 10 things about myself that you don’t know yet.  That may be hard, since y’all know plenty!  I’m also supposed to pass it along, but I think most everyone has done it or has been tagged, so if you’d like to play along, have at it.  🙂

1.  When I watch movies or tv shows, I can often remember at least one or two lines verbatim.  There are many movies that I could quote pretty much from start to finish.  For instance, right now Big J is watching Austin Powers, and I know every line before they say it.  I wish this gift translated into something more useful than battling boys at quote wars.

2.  My hands and fingers are really long.  I just measured my hand from the bottom of the palm to the tip of my middle finger, and it’s about 6 1/2 inches.  Wow.  While they’re big, I think they’re still feminine.  I don’t have huge knuckles or anything.  Exhibit A (I actually meant to include this photo in an earlier post):

Despite my long fingers, my oldest son’s hands make mine seem dainty.  The boy is a giant.

3.  My favorite flower is the gardenia.  Its snow white petals and thick, dark green leaves and fragrant aroma remind me of home.  Gardenia-scented products (lotion, soap, etc) don’t even come close to the real thing.

4.  While I don’t read comics or pulp fiction, I love the art associated with these two genres.  The colors, the women, the titles, everything just pops out at you.  Fun!

5.  I’m as pale as a ghost.  From the time I was a small child, I wished I had darker skin.  During the winter, it doesn’t bother me too much, but as soon as it’s shorts weather I’m scrambling for the self-tanner. 

6.  When I listen to new music, I pay more attention to the lyrics than to the melody.  While the actual music is important to me, too, the lyrics are what make or break a song for me.

7.  I love the color of my eyes.  My aunt once told me they were the color of green tea.

8.  I miss my boys when they spend the night with friends.  It’s weird when they aren’t around!

9.  I’m not a fan of beer.  I can drink a whole Blue Moon now, the rest I can get about halfway through before I can’t take the taste anymore.

10.  My relationship with The Nerd/Dex is more serious than you probably think.

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Totally Music Tuesday

Finally!  A true totally music Tuesday!

Hope you have a good one!

Tornado of Activity

Disclaimer:  When you haven’t had a chance to write for a week, things pile up and it turns into a long post.

Last week?  I do believe was the longest, roughest weeks I’ve had in a very long time.

What with a huge project to make up, mock up, and present to the 8th graders on Friday, wrestling matches, one sick boy, and two long-since-planned nights out, I was swamped.  I was flat out exhausted by Wednesday, which is usually kind of my day to recoup from Monday and Tuesday.  Not so last week.  Even though the only engagement I had on campus that day was my mentor study group, I was there from 9-4, working on the project for the 8th graders.  My partner?  She had done some work, but most of what she’d given me were things that she’d found online, cut and pasted, and printed off.  She had assured me that she’d make an example book to show the students what we wanted turned in, so I was re-working the outline and step-by-step guide for them to keep.  I also had to spend a little bit of time working on a different project for another class (gotta love group work, eh?), so was in a computer lab for most of the day.  Then came home and worked some more until 11:30 pm.  I didn’t even have time to read. 

By Thursday, I was ready to choke my partner.  After I’d spent all that time working on what we’d agreed upon, she wanted to change “just a few things” before Friday.  It was hard not to come unhinged as she also told me that she hadn’t had time to make the book.  I finally told her that there was no way we could change everything, since I had class till four, then wrestling, then I was going to do something that had been planned for months and wouldn’t be home until Friday morning.  I told her I’d work on the book and have it to the teacher by Tuesday, but was NOT going to do any work on it that day or night.  Seemed to work, she didn’t bother me anymore that day.  Thursday night was great.  The Nerd/Dex (see, I listened, Lola!) and I met up with some of my friends from school and some of his friends from work at our favorite joint to listen to one of his friends play music.  This guy always puts on a great show, and usually calls up other area musicians to play with him.  It turns out, some guy from our program (I didn’t know him, but some of my friends did) got up and started playing reggae music.  He was amazing!  The only dark spot on the night was knowing that I’d have to be up at 5, so we couldn’t stay out as long as we wanted to.

Friday morning, Big J told me he was too sick to go to school.  My boys have been sicker this winter than they’ve ever been any other year.  Since I had to actually get up in front of the 8th graders to explain their biography project, I had to leave him home alone for a few hours.  I made it to the school a little early to make copies and transperencies and was feeling pretty confident.  I was to do my spiel after my partner gave hers.  Her portion took up a great deal of the time we had alloted, so I felt a little rushed, but it went pretty well.  They actually asked questions and didn’t just stonewall me, so that made me happy.  I think most of them were pretty excited to learn about their chosen person, which didn’t hurt, either.  Right after our lesson, we were called down to attend the Black History Month program.  It was very well done, and three of our students were participants who played African kings or queens.  They had the gospel choir from one of the high schools come in and sing, and oh my was it glorious.  Once it was over, we all headed over to the computer lab to begin their research.  I am happy to report that most of them got right down to work filling out their outlines.  They seemed to be enjoying it, and that is a great reward.  This week, they’ll be doing a little more research and then putting everything together.  I can’t wait to see their presentations next Friday!

I had been looking forward to Saturday, but after Big J began running a fever, I knew I had to take him in to the doctor’s office, which meant half the day would be spent driving, waiting, getting prescriptions, and driving home.  I could tell my mom needed some space anyway, so the boys and I packed up early and headed toward the tiny town our doctor is in.  By the time we got done (he was diagnosed with bronchitis and sinus infection), it was almost noon, and we ended up browsing the pharmacy and their old-timey Wal-Mart.  I swear, I saw a box of hair dye remover from the 80’s, and a bottle of Navy perfume.  Remember that stuff?  I haven’t seen that since I was in jr. high school!  Going to that place was like being in a time warp.  Once we were done in town and had all medications, we headed back to town for game night with The Nerd/Dex.  Little J had a new game to try out, some Japanese version of chess, and Big J had just bought a new poker set.  Despite my children’s astuteness at strategy and card games, I totally suck at them.  I’m more a fan of trivia and word games, but I’m outnumbered!  We had a good time, though, and The Nerd/Dex taught Big J a new game and helped me finish my math work.  Le sigh.

Yesterday was spent trying to keep the boys out of my mother’s hair and finishing the book for the 8th graders.  I also finished one of my lit books and started a paper.  In other words, pretty productive but no fun.  OH YEAH!  I almost forgot!  I also found out last week that I made the Dean’s List for the fall semester, which made all the hard work and stress I had to struggle through last semester paid off.  Then, I got an email telling me that I’d won early admission into the Avett Brothers concert we’re going to this weekend.  Because the venue is general admission, this means we’ll be able to get in and find a good spot without having to wait out in the cold/snow/freezing rain for hours.  SCORE!  Finally, Big J came home from school with his schedule for next year, and it said that he was in the magnet engineering program we applied for.  Happy day!  His father’s response?  “Sweet.”  Scumbag!  This is a very big deal for Big J!

So, I started this week extremely tired, and with a teenager still home sick.  I got my paper finished, and don’t have any huge projects this week, so I’m hoping for a (sort-of at least) quiet week.  I am so looking forward to the weekend, though.  The Nerd/Dex and I are headed down to Indianapolis Saturday, doing some Indy stuff, staying in a nice hotel, then the concert is on Sunday, then headed back home afterward.  We’re going to be exhausted come Monday, but damn, it’s going to be worth it.  Considering I bought the tickets way back in September, I’ve been looking forward to it for a very long time!

*Deep breath.* 

Now, tell me something good that’s happened in your world lately!

Group Work Can Get Bent

Oh.  My.  Lord.

I think group work is of the [insert evil entity here].  Remember my partner I was so frustrated with?  She decided on Monday night that she wasn’t going to do her lesson on Tuesday, but failed to let me know that tidbit.  She sent an email to me with her instructional plans at 11:30 pm, with no mention of the change in schedule.  Imagine my surprise when, 15 minutes late, she strolls into class wearing ratty jeans (I’m wearing stupid khakis, which I hate, because I still think we’re supposed to go to the intermediate center later), and whispers “we aren’t going today.”  My mentor partner told me later that I looked like I was going to jump her.  I was that pissed.  No one makes me wear khakis all day!  NO ONE!

Yes, I was irritated that she hadn’t told me so that I didn’t have to dress up.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are long days for me, and there was no way I could go home and change.  Not only that, I have limited resources for “professional” attire.  If I wear X pants one day, then I have to wear Y pants another.  Ya dig? 

I was also irritated because it was snowing yesterday.  Big time.  And I had parked my car closer to the building rather than in the garage since I had planned on only being on campus for an hour, not all day.  I had left a few necessary class items in the car, too, and would have to go back out and get them now. 

All I wanted at that point was for her to not talk to me.  Our class is really long, and when we got our break, she pounced right on me.  This is a girl who rarely isn’t talking ninety miles a minute.  It’s hard to get a word in edgewise, and when you do speak, it’s like you’re talking to a wall.  She already knows what she is going to say next, so no matter what you have to say, it’s not going to get through.  Even when I told her, “I’ll be right back, I need to use the restroom,” she just followed me in there.  Can you say, “back the fuck off?”  Maybe I should have. 

After hearing her ideas and having mine shot down, she asked if I had time to work on some stuff after class.  I had never been so happy to have another class right after than I was just then.  Then, she wanted me to leave class early.  Um, no.  I try to be respectful of my professors and not come in late/leave early.  It’s just rude!  I told her that I would be on campus pretty much all day today, and she could meet me if she wanted to.

Here’s the thing – I like this girl normally.  She is extremely smart and creative.  I want to encourage her so that she can finish school with confidence.  However, if she can’t get along in small group projects, how is she going to work with a teaching team on cirriculum?  My mentor partner had to do a project with her for another class, and he said it was the same thing with him.  He and the third partner presented their ideas, which were then scrapped in favor of hers.  Her personality is so strong that there’s very little room for anyone else.

Last night before I left for the show, I sent an email to the teacher (at the intermediate center) letting her know that I was sorry for the miscommunication and detailing what I understood the plan to be for Friday.  I copied in my partner, so that we would all be on the same page (obviously, we hadn’t been before).  I received a message back from the teacher saying that yes, that was what she’d thought, too.  Then when I woke up this morning, there was a text from my partner sent at midnight that said, “I feel like you’ve been annoyed with me lately.”  Grrrr. 

Like I said, I’ll be on campus all day.  I have a feeling that she and I are going to have to have a serious conversation, which I was hoping to put off until after Friday at least.  I also have a feeling that she is going to push me and then be upset when I tell her the truth.  I have to work with this person for the rest of the semester, so I’m hoping we can get through this with some sense of at least cordiality, though I imagine she’s one to hold a grudge.

And that, my dear children, is why group work can get bent.

Totally Music Tuesday

I suppose I might ought to change the title of my Tuesday posts to “some music and words.”  Ah well.  It’s been a busy weekend, and this week is going to be even more so.

Saturday night, my oldest son went to his first school dance.  Oy.  He and I have had quite a few “TALKS” lately, and I was worried about letting him go, but he had a good time and The Nerd, Little J and I ended up going out for dinner and then playing some games while he was out.  Yesterday was spent doing school work.  Yes, the whole day, up until about 5:30.  The boys ended up both spending the night at friends’ houses (the first time I can remember that ever happening), so I was able to spend some more time with my lovah without having to drive home in the wee hours of the morning.  It was a nice bonus, since we weren’t planning anything.  The boys had today off from school, so they ended up staying out of the house until about 5:30, which is about the time I finally finished all my homework.  God, I’m tired of homework, but it still is better than last semester.

I’m presenting my first lesson to the 8th graders on Friday over how to do research.  They’re doing biographies of African Americans, which I think they’ll have fun with.  The original plan was for us to present everything tomorrow and then help them in the computer lab Friday, but now my partner is presenting tomorrow (on what a biography is) and I’m doing mine later in the week, then taking them to the lab.  I’m frustrated by the lack of technology in the classroom, it makes it hard to be creative!  Speaking of frustrated…

I’m completely frustrated with my partner!  I have one partner for the entire semester, and she was my student last semester.  I thought she was smart, but scatterbrained and not always dependable.  Well, know I know it for sure.  For our first lesson, we are collaborating, so I’ve kept her up on what I’m presenting.  I have not gotten one scrap of a plan on what she’s doing tomorrow.  I have no idea if we are going to be doing some of the same things, and that worries me.  Also, when I had an idea that didn’t match up with what she wanted to do, it was quickly dismissed in favor of hers.  We were able to come to a compromise, but it’s like dealing with a child.  I guess to be fair, she is only 19.  Here’s hoping things get better, since I was ready to scream this afternoon when she called for the THIRD time today.  While I was trying to write a paper.  BAH!

Tonight I’m going to see Kyle Dunnigan do a stand up show on campus with The Superhero.  If anyone watched Reno 911!, he was Craig, the serial killer (I loved that character).  I’m actually embarassed by how excited I am over it.  Also, it’s Mardi Gras!  Make sure you eat your pancakes, and if you see someone holding a bunch of beads, yell, “throw me somethin’, mister!”

Here’s a Mardi Gras song for ya (I love this music, makes me wanna throw off my shoes and dance in the grass), and also a clip of Kyle Dunnigan doing the Craig character.  Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Totally Music Tuesday

So, the problem with not having classes on Monday is that now Tuesday is Monday, and I forget to post music.  Oy!  Came home early today with a migraine which is better now but still clawing at my brain.  Hoping I’ll feel more like writing tomorrow.

Today you get a Ben Folds song called The Luckiest.  Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the ridiculous video.  Rather, just listen and enjoy.  🙂

Oooh, I Love to Dance a Little Sidestep

Ah, Saturday.  A day for rest and relaxation.  Er, at least in some people’s worlds, certainly not in mine today.

Waking up at 6:15 on a Saturday morning is not my idea of a good time, or even of an okay time.  However, Big J has a super dual today for wrestling, so I had to get him to the host school (on the other side of town) by 7:45.  He’ll be there all day, so Little J and I will probably head over to try to catch the last one or two matches before coming home for game night.  I. am. so. tired.

It’s not just waking up early this morning, either.  I feel as if I haven’t been home for a month, what with classes, mentoring, and running around to and from wrestling matches.  I had planned to catch up on my blogroll last night and then read some of the required novels for classes.  I didn’t even make it to the end of my list of blogs.  I will try to finish that at some point today, so if you haven’t seen me around, it’s not because I don’t want to be, I just haven’t been able to keep up like I want to.  Even though my classes aren’t super challenging this time around, I’m spending loads of time on campus – working on projects, trying to figure out what to do with students, planning my lessons for the 8th grade class (we have to teach 3 over the semester), and keeping up with all the reading – and that eats into my “fun” time.  Wah, wah, wah.

The Nerd and I went to our first dance class on Thursday.  The night before, he let me know that we were supposed to dress up for it, i.e. I was expected to wear a skirt or dress.  Something you should know about me:  I love dressing up, I love wearing skirts and heels.  I don’t, however, have many, and what I do have is all summer-weight.  It’s winter.  In northern Indiana.  Yeah.  So, I rifled through my closet to see what could work, and ended up with pretty much what I wore for Halloween (minus the apron, plus a cardigan).  I did have to buy pantyhose, though.  Barf.  Pantyhose are so gross!  Stockings, ok, pantyhose, not ok.  I was worried that if I wore stockings/garters, I’d have some sort of wardrobe malfuntion whilst boogie-ing.  Luckily, I have a younger sister who has more dressy clothes and is willing to share, so I won’t have to wear the same outfit every week.

We were completely nervous before class started.  Neither one of us has ever taken a dance class, and we felt like the others who had been there before would know more.  Once we got going, though, it was a lot of fun.  This week, we did the foxtrot and swing, which was the most fun dance EVER.  I mean, hel-LO!  The instructor moved things pretty quickly, but also made us swap partners every round so that we could dance with some more experienced folks.  Everyone I danced with was pretty nice.  One gentleman seemed a little miffed when I’d make a mistake, but the others were very forgiving.  As a sidenote, when I wear heels, I’m about 6′.  There was one man who was probably 5’5″, and one who was 6’4″.  Those were odd pairings.  When I danced with the shorter fellow, I was looking over his head, and with the taller one, I pretty much stared at his shirt the whole time.  There was one other young(ish) couple there, and the rest were older folks.  After the class, there’s a big dance party in the ballroom upstairs.  I was surprised at how many people were there, but glad we stuck around for a while, even though we only danced twice.  It was a really fun date night, and I’m looking forward to the next class.

We did notice that all of the ladies who worked there seemed really…vapid.  At first, it was just noticing how uber happy they all seemed, like Stepford people.  Then, we wanted to find out about the private lessons they offer and a little bit more about how things worked, and we got a lot of information, but not really the information we had asked for.  All with a huge smile, though!  We were given a little brochure with a calendar, so on the way home I started reading it.  It was so silly, I had to read it out loud for The Nerd, who told me it sounded like something from the ’50s.  I’m just going to go ahead and share a little bit of it with y’all (my comments are italicized)…

A woman’s role in partner dancing might be compared to a car ride where the man drives and the lady sits next to him.  Women shouldn’t drive anyway, right?  Partner dancing works best when the lady simply gives up control and lets him have the wheel, avoiding the urge to be a backseat driver.  Normally the journey is pleasant, but of course the ride is no fun if she fears for her life.  Am I the only one who thinks this reads like an old-school metaphor for sex?  The journey, the ride…anyone?

Another secret is you might be thinking to (sic) muchWhoever wrote this wasn’t, obviously.  If you try to “think” what to do rather than trust your instincts, you are not “following.”

Trying to “think” or “guess” delays your reaction time.  Why is think in quotations?  Is it really that abstract?

Although very few people think it is funny, intelligence is a handicap when learning to dance, but it can be overcome.  You hear that ladies?  You, too, can overcome intelligence!  Don’t let it handicap you!

At this point, I stopped and realized, heeeeeeeeeey, that’s why those women were so happy, they’ve overcome their intelligence!  🙂 

Hope you’re having a great weekend.