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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm Back!

I'm back, I'm better than ever...and I have a chainsaw! Ok, so I have to explain that this particular phrase was what my friends in high school always told each other whenever we were apart for any length of time and then gathered back together.

Alex and I had a very enjoyable time in Charleston. Per Amanda's recommendation, we went to 82 Queen and had a fantastic meal. I really like the she-crab soup; however, I have to say that it was VERY filling. I ate a bowl *cough* and then devoured some delicious crab cakes that were nearly all crab. Alex had a bowl too, and then he tried the jambalaya. We split a peach cobbler for dessert as Alex has yet to try a single "southern" style dessert yet, and I thought this one would be a good start.

We also ate at Hymen's. Hey, I keep staring at the name too. It makes me think that you have to be a virgin to eat there...or makes me think of a particular Roman goddess...or then there's the vulgar tact of HOW you'd eat at a place called Hymen's...anyway, the food there was really good too. Burp.

We arrived in time for a later dinner on Friday night. The hotel room was great--a studio with a queen sized bed at The Residence Inn. We had a full refrigerator to chill the champagne and sodas. We had a stove so I could make Alex his hot tea. It had a nice little porch area, too. We were supposed to arrive earlier in the evening, but when Alex greeted me at his door in Columbia wearing a sexy hot outfit and carrying a half dozen longstem red roses, well, uhhh....let's just say we were "delayed" from leaving USC! We ate out that night and then returned to the hotel for what turned out to be a very pleasant evening. Saturday was cold and a bit damp, but we got out and went about town for a bit anyway. We toured an old southern house along the battery and I toured Alex all through the historical district. The weather wasn't too much of a minus because we found things to do back at the hotel...*whistles innocently* We watched a movie off of the TV and drank champagne. It was another great evening.

So then on Sunday we poked around the shops on King Street. Yes, that's right, Alex willingly poked around the shops with me. Alex LIKES to shop. No, really, I'm not shitting you. He's very male, yet he likes to shop. "Can we go into Banana Republic?" "Yes, of course!" "Oh look, Williams-Sonoma" "Let's go!" No complaining, no whining, no "I'll meet you back here in an hour..." I swear I love this man.

The hardest part is always leaving him behind. When I drove off from Columbia, I got very sad because I think it will be about three weekends before I see him again. Still, it's better than three or four MONTHS, which was what it used to be when he was in France.

Today is my birthday. Up until 21 it's happy birthday; after 21, it's just birthday. However, whenever I feel grumpy about my age, I remember the age old motto of: you are only as old as the man you feel. This makes me 25, 26 in April. So, really, it's not so bad! One of my students remembered that it was my birthday and brought me a big bag of cookies she made. They are banana chocolate chip, and damn are they good. They are half gone.

It's my birthday and I can eat what I want, you see.

Sadly, I realize that those days are coming to a close. I don't have enough money to buy new clothes and so I can't go beyond a size 8. My wardrobe has a lot of 2's, 4's, 6's, and 8's. I even have a few 0's from when I was incredibly depressed AND breastfeeding and couldn't stop losing weight. But this is how it works. I don't own a scale so I have no idea how much I weigh. I only go by how my clothes fit. Right now, I'm wearing the 8's so I have to make sure I don't gain more weight. Otherwise, I will have to go to school nude. I seriously can't afford SQUAT. Food is my passion and my life, however, so I have no idea how to cut back and still be happy. I don't want to give up anything or change my lifestyle in any single way, yet I want to lose weight so I don't go to a size 10 and have nothing to wear. Also, what I've learned in the past is that my body is freakish. When it wants to lose weight, it does, and when it does not want to lose weight, it does not. What I eat has very little to do with it unless I'm really going overboard or just not eating. For instance, eating exactly what I'm eating right now last year I wore a size four at this time of the year. Go figure. When I ate LESS than this in the fall of 2002, I weighed about five pounds more than I weigh currently (a guestimate...I'm a midget so every five pounds is a clothing size). I panicked then because I only fit into the bigger 8's in the wardrobe and had nothing else to wear.

See, not only is food something important to me, but I have food issues stemming back to childhood and the school days. For starters, my mom and my sister are borderline anorexics (my mom thinks that she is fat if she hits 100 pounds...no really, she uses THOSE WORDS: I am fat...and then my sister is only 5', granted, but FUCKIN HELL she weighs 86 pounds!!!!!). So I have always openly rebelled against the idea of being food police nor even caring what my mom tells me. For those of you who have seen me in the last few months, you wouldn't ever look at me and go, wow, she's unhealthily large or somesuch. My mom, however, told me that I'm fat and that if I continue to gain wait, Alex will dump me. Go mom. Ok, so to add to this equation, I had two best friends from high school and one of them almost died from bulimia. She was instituted not once but TWICE due to bulimia/anorexia issues; once she was in the eating disorder mental ward for one month, and the second time she stayed for two months. My mind balks at diets or caring about my weight due to these situations. There you go. You should hear me rant when a slender female student mumbles about being fat or going on a diet...I just can't help it. I have a fit. I'm so sick of American culture revolving around the stick figure woman. GIVE ME CURVES! What the hell is wrong with curves and tits and ass? As Bellybutton used to say, "When I look at women like Gwenyth Paltrow, all I can think is that she is so skinny that if I had sex with her, I would be lacerated by her bones and end up bleeding all over the sheets." Why do I HAVE to worry about weight? Why does any woman? Why do we portray these unhealthily skinny women as the ideal and leave us feeling like we have to do what Tasia (my friend I mentioned) did and barf up all our food? Or stop eating? Or buy lowfat stuff, or...and this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine...or have the goddamn food police stare at you while you eat shaking their heads. Have you ever seen the food police? I have. My best friend here, Shana, is a larger woman due to having polycystic ovary disease. It causes metabolic issues--as in it slows her down impossibly--and losing weight for her is a nightmare. We go places and she eats LESS food than I do, but I see the people glance over at her as if she has no right to eat goddamn food because she is larger. It makes my hair stand on end. But here you go, a part of our culture. Sigh.

Yeah, capsule summary: I hate diets. There :P

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Strange student of the week award!

...so Alex showed up last Friday at Tech. His friend's roommate was going to this area, and he dropped Alex off in the am here at school. Usually, being at school with Alex involves smacking his hands a few times. You see, the French don't have issues with PDA like Americans do. I have been over in France and watched couples all but make love right there in a public park, and nobody blinks. I have no problems doing what I want in public, but I DO have a problem getting fired from my job. The difficulty has been showing Alex the difference between it's ok now, the WC is locked and we are away from the window vs. we are walking down the hall and there is my boss. Anyway, I'm proud of him that he can now, most of the time at least, behave enough that we just hold hands around my students here. I don't want to lose my teaching job.

Now you know the background. Fast forward to 2p on Friday; classes have let out for me. It's a Friday afternoon so the place is a ghost town. We go back to the car, and I look around to see if anybody is in the general area. Nope, nobody was there. So Alex then leans in and gives me a nice, long, delicious "French kiss" before we leave the parking lot. I figured it was our reward for behaving so long.

Well, I go to school this week and one of my students announces TO THE WHOLE CLASS, hey Kira, I saw you making out with your boyfriend in the parking lot! I shook my head and then he added, "I watched!" Ok, the whole class laughed. I asked him, "You watched? What, you watched the whole kiss?" He shook his head vigorously. "Oh yes! I just don't think of my teachers being like that, so I had to watch!" I sighed heavily. "Did you learn anything?" I inquired, and the class laughed and we started to go onwards. However, I just couldn't let go of the idea that a student was sitting there like a voyeur watching me like that. I repeated, "I can't get over the fact that you were watching...," to which a student shouted out, "Yeah, man, that's really creepy...really wierd! Like, freaky, man!" So I suppose I was not alone in feeling that way! He just shrugged and grinned. "Yeah, so what? I watched!" he declared proudly.

I still don't know where he could have been. There was NOBODY around! Was he using his binoculars from his car? Brrr!


This weekend I get to go to Charleston with Alex! Weeeee! I can't wait. Needless to say, the chances of this blog being updated from Friday through Sunday are minimal :D To pack list: champagne, champagne glasses, massage oil, lingerie, "toys", candles...hmmm...let's not pull out the small suitcase!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Law

I was talking to Amanda today, and I formulated into words the exact theory I've been learning from their blogs. I now would like to share it with you.

The Angie and Amanda Theory of Employment: chance of getting a good job decreases in proportion to actual qualifications for said job.

Monday, January 24, 2005

My Life as a Sims

Ok, so I saw my nieces play Sims2 over Christmas and I decided I had to get the game. I have never played any of the other Sims games, so this software was my first delving into the Sims world. I decided to build a "Kira" character and go from there. Folks, she died...LOL Now, she had three children and was pregnant with a fourth when she died, plus she had made it fairly far along the medical path as a doctor in the game, but boom, she died. Why did she die? Well, I just couldn't meet all of her needs. She was tired, bored, needed to use the bathroom, and hungry at the same time (welcome to pregnancy!) and I couldn't meet all of her needs. I put her to bed, but when she woke up she starved to death while being excessively bored and trying to reach the potty. Humorously enough, her husband Alex (cough) ALWAYS had his needs easily met. I barely had to tend to him for him to be happy. But the Kira Sim was impossible to keep happy. She was always tired and worn out no matter what. She was always running around trying to do thirty things at once and not getting enough done in the day. The Alex Sim tried to help out by hiring maids and gardeners, plus he helped out tremendously with the kids. Even when Jared became a teen and chose family as his aspiration and so helped out with the younger kids tremendously, Kira still couldn't get it all together.

Oh, the irony.

I figured out that this IS my life and the Sims Kira is a very realistic model. I'm the type to do too much at once. I'm the type to be more difficult to have my needs met. I push myself anyway because you do what you have to do, and yeah, there's my Sim lying dead on the floor with the Alex Sim and the Jared Sim crying their eyes out over her corpse.

Hey, at least my Sim owned her own house! It was a nice one too! It had a hot tub and three bedrooms, two and a half bath, plus a deluxe wrap-around porch.

I have to laugh every time I see the Sims have sex, though. There is an option on this game called "Woohoo!" which basically means sex. Since this is a game meant for kids to play, what you see is two grinning Sims dive under the sheets...the sheets move all around...a leg sticks out or a head sticks out here or there...and then fireworks go off. Literally. Usually the Sims fall asleep in each other's arms if they are in the bed at that point. What is unrealistic is that the fireworks go off EVERY SINGLE TIME no matter which Sim you woohoo with and no matter what the occasion. Oh, if it were only the case! You also have the "make a baby" option. Hmmm...see, life should be that easy. You should be able to check a box that says, we want to have a baby now or no, just sex please thanks.

Childbirth is easy on the Sims too. Basically the stork comes and drops the baby in your arms. See? Another improvement on life.

Sims2 is like crack. Be warned.

Je ne suis rien sans toi

I had to use a translator to translate that title. I had been talking to Alex and he tossed that off to me before he left. It's funny, but I sometimes think as if I am nothing without HIM, yet he feels the same way. The poor boy had to deal with a very frayed, very irritated, very intense woman for a few minutes this evening, yet he was polite and sweet as per usual. I have no idea how he can always be so patient with me, really. See, he had been around for the weekend, and then on Sunday night I had to drop him off in the Spartanburg area so that he could get his ride back (his ride on the way here dropped him off on Friday at Tri-County). We had agreed that we would be online at 10p last night so we could say good night to each other. However, when I went online he wasn't there. I waited an hour and then totally freaked out. See, if this had been the ex or any other of the guys I had ever dated, I would have shrugged, grunted, and said: well, he just forgot. Then I'd have not given it a second thought and headed to bed. But Alex has a very rare trait: what he says he does, period. There IS no "I forgot." Therefore, I was forced to conclude that either he didn't make it home or his net was down. There's no phone in his apartment and he has no cell phone, so the net being down would mean he had no way of contacting me whatsoever.

Well, I thought about how late at night it was and I wondered if his ride had crashed the car. Fretting more, I barely slept last night. By this morning, I had no word from him still and I panicked. On the way to school I pondered what I would do without him. I tried to picture every other man I knew, and I realized that I wanted NONE of them. Once upon a time I thought there was one man who had captured all of my heart and then crushed it. I believed that if I could have any man, that man would be the one I'd want. I had stated in a short story I had begun but never finished once that a woman has three men in her life: the man she marries, the man she should have married, and the man she can never forget. The man that Amanda has quaintly named "Bellybutton" I always considered the man I could never forget. He's the only man that ever left me. Every other man *I* was the one who left. I don't know if that was a major part of why he was so hard to shake, but we circled each other for quite some time after the breakup. Every girl I know can relate to that issue! You love him, he doesn't love you or at least acts like he doesn't, but he says just enough here....does just enough there...to make it impossible for you to forget him or get him out of your blood. Sigh. I really thought that I would be able to fall in love again but I'd never get the man out of my blood. But then I met Alex...

Alex had me intrigued from the moment we met. He didn't have me interested at all for the year we talked on the phone and on the net. I seriously was groaning when he came to visit because I felt that he would likely chase me around a table and I'd have to smack him down. Then I heard him call out my name in the airport, I turned around and...uuurrrgggggggg....oh god, it was instant. I spent a lot of time running from Alex because I didn't want another relationship so soon after too many nightmares. The final fall came all of the sudden in the summer of 2003, and ever since then I've been so completely smitten that I disgust myself!

So here I am visualizing that Alex is dead. I sniffed, hoping I was wrong. I wondered if anybody would know to contact me if he were dead. Then I thought about what I'd do. First, I entertained in my brain what I'd tell the kids. Ari and Jared would both sob. They consider Alex to be the "Bonus Dad," basically, so they'd be crushed. After soothing them, I just couldn't think of what else I'd ever do. I wondered what would happen to me with dating and I realized that even if Bellybutton came up and said, well, since you are available now, I want you, I'd turn him down. This feeling surprised me. I knew I was over him enough to have a good, healthy relationship with Alex, but I always thought that I'd never be able to shake him completely. It was in this moment, when I was projecting how I'd feel if Alex died, that I realized that I'd just go back to being a mom and that'd be that. I tried to visualize Bellybutton somewhere in my life, and I thought, nope...Alex's shoes are too big to fill. He can't do it. No man has ever hit my full list of criteria out of a man, and Alex fits MORE than my list. My sister laughed at Alex and told him, your plan is to make the bar so high that no man can ever jump it! And Alex had laughed and said, you have seen through me! It was funny at the time, but as I drove to school, I realized that it was the truth. HE DOES NOT ANNOY ME. I can't tell you how that is a big one alone. I've never dated a man for an extended period of time without him annoying me, but Alex is annoyance free. How could any man ever even come close?

Alex tells me he is younger than me because he was made especially FOR me. I think he's right...

Ok, so then I get to talk to Alex for a few minutes this evening because that's all he has in the computer center on the msn before it shuts down, and he knew this was a late day for me from school. Apparently his net service is down. The phone company did some work on the phone lines near his apartment and downed the cable modem accidentally. This means no internet is available in his apartment or in the other French girls' apartments either. He has no net access except at school until tomorrow night. Obviously, when he arrived late last night he couldn't hunt up a payphone nor use the net, and he had no phone. So, I'm glad he's not dead in a car wreck. I can't leave well enough alone, however. Instead of just relaxing instantly because I knew he was fine, I had to tense up and get snappish when talking to Alex. I couldn't just instantly be all right. By the time I calmed down, he had to leave the computer center because it was closing due to the time. Not only did he just blow off my irritated attitude, knowing it would pass and why it was there, but when it DID pass he instantly tried to squeeze in just how much he cared for me before he left the room. The lights were shutting down on him as he typed that last bit:

Je ne suis rien sans toi

Yes, Alex, and as much as it scares me, I believe the two of us DO make a whole...in the same way that my mom and dad, happily married for 44 (almost 45!) years--hey, they still hold hands and my dad gets my mom off the phone by pinching her ass--make a whole. Without each other, we are not as much. The sum is greater than the parts.

My daughter has a thousand talents, but reading is not one of them. I'm mystified. By seven (Ari's current age), I was reading H.G. Wells' Food of the Gods, The Invisible Man, and The Time Machine. I WANTED to read at a very early age. I still remember that moment when I was three and my mom had shut out the light without reading to me the new book she had bought (oh, the horror!) and how I turned the light back on and realized I knew what it said: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. That was the beginning of my love affair with reading. I consumed everything. I was four when my mom saw me sitting down with a copy of The Reader's Digest, thinking I was looking at the pictures. She knew I could read, but she assumed I was still on the primary books or somesuch. Then I started laughing out loud and read to my mom what I thought was particularly funny and she stopped in her tracks. I was made to skip a grade because the third day of Kindergarten, my teacher wrote the word "underwear" on the board, and this word made me giggle incessantly. She pulled me out of class; I thought I was in trouble. Nope, she just used that as a test of who could read! So she tested me herself and determined that she wanted me in second grade. My mom said no, but that I could be put in first grade. She felt two grades were too much. Anyway, my point of bringing this all up is to state: I knew how to read instantly and it was no effort. I never learned phonetics so I DO pronounce more words incorrectly than your typical woman who has had my level of education. Because it came to me so instantly, I have been clueless on how to help my daughter. She is a singularly average reader. She struggles with words and I have no idea what to do. My daughter is WAY more emotionally aware than I was at her age--the girl has a sixth sense about people. She's good at math (that'd be the blood of my math major mom, orthodontist dad, and three engineer siblings kicking in I suppose). But this reading thing is so hard for her to get, and she'd just prefer for me to read to her. She loves those moments, and so do I, all curled up on the sofa with something like Narnia that we both enjoy. These moments may be well and good, but I still feel like a Crap Parent. I keep having this sensation that my child is really smart, so it must be ME unable to figure out what to do to help her get where she needs to be! Sigh.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

It wasn't me!

Yay! It wasn't me! Let me explain...

A while back, everybody in the English department got an email from the boss that said: I've had complaints about cursing in the classrooms, particularly the use of the F word. It's got to stop. Act like professionals. Although every single person in the department got the email, all I could think was: shoot, I'm the ONLY person who curses in the classroom. But I knew I hadn't said "Fuck" in the classroom. Well, ok, not recently. I can recall one incident when I said it last spring, and one time last fall when I told one class a really funny joke towards the end of the term (when everybody was used to me and didn't care, you know?) that had the word fuck in it, but typically I don't say "fuck" in the classroom. Hell, crap, and damn are staples. I use the word ass or jackass. I try to avoid asshole or shit, although if pressed I know I've used them. But the F word? Surely that couldn't be ME! But who the hell else would curse? Chuck's awful like me, but he has better control over his mouth than I have. Pat WILL curse, but she'd NEVER curse in the classroom. Julia? hah! Mark? haha! Joanne? You must be kidding me! So I fretted about my impending firing over my potty mouth, wondering why some student told Robin falsely that I said fuck in the classroom...

But then today I was chatting with one class and I mentioned how I was the only person in the English department who cursed. They all vigorously said NO!!!! You're one of many! I was surprised. I told them about the warning email the department got and how I wondered why we ALL got it when I thought it was directed at me. Then one of the girls said, oh, the F word, that'd be Art Sheck. Art is one of the new guys. If you ever meet him and talk to him, you'd think he was just as likely to cuss as...well, Mark or Joanne. I was surprised. Another of his students or two reinforced the same thing: Art loves to cuss and he uses the F word. I started to dance in front of the classroom and sang, It's not me, it's not me! Well, at least it's not JUST me! And they all laughed! Weeeee!

Today I also found out that Tucker--the Tucker mentioned in the Nov 2004 blog entry related to how men sucker me into feeding them--has been directed to my blog site. It was pretty funny--I was scanning my head immediately after he announced that he had the link to my blog, trying to recall if there were anything on here a student shouldn't read. Then I realized that I pretty much tell my students everything anyway, so what the hell? Hi Tucker, if you have come back to read more! *waves*

On another note, I'm glad nobody noticed that I smelled like kid's melon bubble bath today. I wanted to take a bubble bath, you see, but I had no "adult" products. Therefore I had to resort to snatching my children's bubble bath. It's "Yummo Melon Flavor!" or somesuch, so I suppose I smell like I'd be delicious with a few strawberries and banana slices in a fruit bowl. I need to get some better smelling bubble bath and a few other pampering bath products. Maybe I should get a bath pillow or something fun like that....oohhh or a back scrubber. No wait, I don't need a back scrubber...I got Alex! He might come up this weekend. If he does, he'll be here Friday through Sunday. Then the weekend afterwards, we get to go to Charleston! Now I just have to remember where Amanda said had the best she-crab soup...I think it was Queens something or other...hmmm... My brother Ken was super nice and used two frequent points nights from his hotel points for us, so the hotel will be FREE. Gotta love that word: free. We'll be staying at the Marriott Residence Inn. They have little kitchenettes so Alex can actually have his hot tea with milk and sugar! Haha! He's so cute about that tea. He may be French by his father and French by culture, but he's got that Brit blood in him from his mum, so that's where he gets the tea addiction!

Monday, January 17, 2005

A Big Mix of Everything

This blog will be a series of random musings. Follow if you dare!

Sometimes my children amuse me way too much. I guess that's why I'd love to have more. I don't know what folks do at my age who don't have kids; truly, there are many mornings when I wake up and tumble out of bed realizing that my purpose is to raise my kids. I don't know what I'd do without that sense of direction.

When Jared was not even two, I showed him a picture of himself surrounded by two other children from his mommy's morning out program. He stared at the picture and correctly identified all members of the photo. They were as follows: Not Jared, Jared, and Not Jared. Haha! Yes, his self-esteem is firm and solid.

I believe in teaching children the medically correct terms for their body parts. Sometimes, however, this backfires. For instance, once upon a time when Ariana was two she decided to announce in a screamingly loud voice in a restaurant: "Mommy! Did you know I have a HOLE in my VAGINA???" This astounding news of great import caused many folks there in the restaurant to drop their silverware. I couldn't stop laughing.

But then there was the time that Ariana and I were in the public restroom and she was three. "Mommy, you have HAIR on your vagina and I don't have hair on MINE!" she shrieked gleefully. I could hear the snickers all up and down the bathroom area. I'm pretty sure that was the incident that had me contemplating for the first time just shaving it all off...

So then I decide, wouldn't it be better to shave off the bottom part anyway? During that time of the month, wouldn't it be far less messy? After doing just that, I head over to my GYN for my pap. "Well," I tell her, "It looks like a freaking mustache now. I think I need to either let it all grow back or shave it all off." It was the 'freaking mustache' part that made her lose it. The nurse slapped a hand over her mouth and started to laugh too. Oh well!

My son also has a facination with his penis. This situation is normal for a boy, I know. However, he publically has periodic announcements related to it just like Ariana. Once, I had to take him with me to school. After class, he starts clutching at his crotch. My son at the time was just three, so of course I asked him, "Do you need to go to the bathroom?" like any good mom would. My son shook his head no. "No! I just like holding my penis!" he shouts out with glee. The kids howled, thinking that was just plain hilarious.

And over Christmas, at four years of age, he is taking a bath and talking to himself. He has a small bucket that he likes to fill and pour out, fill and pour out. He is pouring it out and he says, "It's raining!" I smile and nod. Then he takes the washcloth and places it over his lap, covering his crotch. Pouring the water over his legs at that point, he says solemnly, "Penis needs an umbrella!" I couldn't help but laugh. He glared at me. Apparently, this was a very serious matter!

One of my ultra conservative students, Will, jokes around with me constantly. We have a mutual adoration for each other even though he's just right of attila the hun and I have some "shocking" views to him such as wanting there to be at least a civil union allowed for same sex relationships. I had told him some of these tales, and he told me, "That's what you get for teaching your children the proper names for their genitalia!" I laughed and responded, "What? You think it would have been BETTER for Jared to shout out in class, "I just like holding my pee pee?" I asked. He laughed, agreeing that perhaps that actually would not be much better.

And now, thinking of Will....makes me think of politics and the huge political debates we constantly have. I'm pondering now something I read yesterday that perplexed me. An independent journalist organization that has no ties to either liberals or conservatives released percentages on positive versus negative news coverage for Bush vs. Kerry. This same group released a while back the same stats on Bush vs. Gore. What confuses me is that there was more positive press about Kerry than Bush, and more negative stuff put out about Bush than Kerry. However, for the 2000 elections, there was more positive stuff put out for Bush, and more negative stuff put out for Gore. This last time, conservatives can just whine, look it's the liberal media! But what about that first time? Why on EARTH would the press favor Kerry over Gore? Why would the media want Bush to beat Gore, but not Kerry? If I had to choose for one of those two (Kerry vs. Gore) to be president, it'd be Gore. Sure, he has the personality of a piece of stale bread, but he has beliefs that he stands up for and doesn't waffle like Kerry. I dunno. I find that the less I worry about politics, the happier I am. So why can't I just be another dumb ass american who doesn't vote and doesn't read up on this stuff? Ignorance is bliss, after all. It's like after that time I read about the push polls that Karl Rove did in SC to get Bush over McCain elected in the Republican primaries for 2000. I have never registered as either a republican or a democrat because I prefer to look at the individual and not the party (plus, let's face it, both the republicans and the democrats plain suck...). However, if I had voted in the republican primaries, I'd have voted for McCain over Bush in a heartbeat. But... Rove and his push polls...he had his minions call up voters in SC and ask them things like (no I'm not making this up): "Would you be more or less likely to vote for McCain if you found out that he was a homosexual?" "Would you be more or less likely to vote for McCain if you found out he had an illegitimate child?" Ok, for the record, McCain is heterosexual and has fathered no known illegitimate children. Since the pollsters weren't SAYING he was homosexual, etc, they can get away with it. The defense: "We just were asking if that sort of info would affect their choices." Great. But it leaves those polled with the idea that McCain had things hiding in his closet...Rove used this technique after McCain won New Hampshire. I guess he couldn't have McCain win anymore. Bleh. Pardon me while I barf. I'm trying SO HARD to stay away from political books and sites now as I can't stand to learn anymore. I want to be dumb. I want to be ignorant. It's just easier that way. I know so many people who never read a paper or look for information about the world on the net, and they just are plain happier than I am! What is it about me that can't stop from opening up Pandora's Box? And all that was left was hope...well, that I've got aplenty at least.

Hope. And see, we switch topics once again.

When you have crap relationships ONLY in your whole life, some part of you still thinks there's hope for a good one. I hoped and hoped and hoped, and lo, it looks like I have one. So perhaps Pandora shut that box just in time. I have a second chance at life. Let's hope I don't blow it.

Classic Alex lines: "Here's all you need to know: men are stupid and women are crazy. But the main reason why women are crazy is that men are stupid."

Or my other favorite...

"Yes, all men are assholes. That's why I'm a lesbian."

And another good one...when we were at a water theme park, I asked him, "Why aren't you staring at all these tiny bikini 19 and 20 year olds who haven't had children and hence have flat stomachs?"

His response, after blinking in amazement, "You mean....there are other WOMEN here?" The best part was that he meant it! hahahaha! God I love Alex.

And last night...while I made dinner he got the bedroom all set up...rosepetals and candles and Fun Toys and the works....two hours later, everybody happy...my god...I was so sad to see him back off to USC this am!

Ok, rambling mode off!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

My Perverse Pride

After a few days of classes at USC's IMBA program, I got the full report from Alex and the two French girls on the work at the school: damn is it hard! They all feel ill-prepared for the classwork and know that this term will be a struggle. The schools are supposed to be comparable, but ours is harder than theirs. I am supposed to nod sympathetically, but...ok, now, here's where I admit I'm evil: I laughed.

See, I KNOW that their high school classes are better than ours. It's not called grade school, middle school, or high school there; it's Primaire (5 years, from 6 to 11) --> College --> (4 years) --> Lycée (3 years). Their students come out of all of that education better equipped than ours. And that first year of uni (what the Europeans call it, as college is something different to the English too--for them that'll be the 16-18 years part of high school) is really just what they already know, too. However, after that, our schools catch up. I had told Alex that USC's IMBA program was the best America had to offer. It's been either number one or number two (and usually number one) for something ridiculous like 15 years now. It's 36th in the world, too. It's one of those things my alma mater does right, and I WANTED them to arrive and go, holy shit, it's hard. And they did! Pardon me while I laugh more!

Yes, I know it's rude to laugh, but I can't help it. One thing that you should understand about the French in particular is that intellectualism and being an intellectual snot is part of their cultural identity...much like Americans abroad are pretty darn obnoxious. Therefore, I just KNOW they couldn't conceptualize before arriving here that we had something educationally better than they had. Alex's business school is one of the better ones in France, yet it can't stack up to USC's IMBA program. HAHAHA! Ok, I'll try to stop being such a fucking bitch now. I will take deep breaths and stop. No really. I swear. Let me just whisper one more thing, though, in a low, tiny voice: go america!

I'm proud of Alex's attitude when confronted with the challenge of work beyond what he has done. Alex is taking a class with a notorious hard grader in a subject he apparently knows less about than others in the class, but damnit, he's going to keep that class and do well in it, period! I really respect that approach. He knows that he'll do tons and tons of work; he knows that other IMBA students told him not to take the class because of the difficulty of the teacher (teacher's good, just super hard!); he knows he could take another class that would be much easier. However, none of that matters. He's not going to do it. He's going to take the challenge. You know what? The boy's brilliant and a hard worker. I don't care if he's missing a few blocks of knowledge here and there that the others in his class have. He WILL make it up and he WILL do well. I've been continuously impressed with how he's done so far. I can't see that changing now!

Monday, January 10, 2005

An Ignorant American

Last Friday, I dropped off Alex at USC in Columbia so that he could go to the IMBA program for the spring. I'm really proud of him; that program has been ranked number one or number two in the country for the last 14 or so years, and I know he will do well there. However...

While we were there, I drove around the other two French students from his school. I like Severine and Raphaelle--particularly Severine who is full of life, fun, and oh-so-entertainingly French. Taking her to a grocery store was totally amusing. The look of horror when she saw our sliced sandwich bread and processed American cheese was priceless! She bounded over happily to the Brie until she saw how expensive it is over here. She asked me where the Creme Fraiche was, and I had to inform her that we'd have to go to a specialty shop like The Fresh Market in order to get her a container. Oh, the gaping astonishment she showed me then! As we wandered around the grocery store, Alex, Severine, and Raphaelle tried to speak in English for me so I could be included. However, there were many times that they all spoke in French. In the car: French. In the grocery: French. In Target: French. My heart kept sinking and sinking and sinking...why am I a typical ignorant American who doesn't know a language other than English? WHY? I feel so freak frakin' stupid.

My mother is Mexican. She spoke Spanish before she spoke English. For whatever reason--shame of her culture? marriage to a husband who only spoke English?--mom never taught any of her four children to speak Spanish. All FOUR of us are ignorant Americans. She'd sing songs around the house in Spanish, so I DO know I can "hear" the language. I can hear the differences in words and nuances in speech of that language because at least I've heard it enough being raised in Florida to process the variations in tone and rhythm. I wanted to take Spanish in high school; mom got mad at me and made me take Latin. "Latin is the root of all languages! Knowing Latin is the key!" Key to WHAT??? Hell, sometimes I think I went into Medieval Literature just to justify the Latin knowledge! Do you know how many dead Romans I run into? Oh, and my language for my Master's...Old English. Yeah, running into those dead vikings has never been a problem for me either.

I broke out into hives when I took Spanish at Duke. Hives!!! They withdrew me for medical reasons. I kid you not. I was so used to doing well, insanely well, in all my classes (except certain math classes) that I couldn't process struggling with Spanish so much. I eventually made it through that year, and it was horrid. I felt so embarrassed. Like...I can't ever tell them that my grandma came straight from Mexico and settled in Chicago because they will all wonder why I speak like a gringo.

So, irony of ironies...I fall in love with a Frenchman. There is nothing more romantic and sensual than Alex whispering into my ear all manner of beautiful things in his language. I go wet instantly. He never has made me feel like an idiot for not knowing how to speak back in his language. Not ONCE. Yet, I want so desperately to learn his language so I can talk to his friends. I want to learn so I can speak back and forth with him in front of my children so THEY learn and never have to feel like crappola over being so damned ignorant. Alex has spoken to Jared in French and taught him a few words. There is nothing cuter than my son pointing to his bathwater and going "Eau! That was easy!" I want them to learn now when their minds are so easily accepting. I want them to be multilingual.

But...I want to be multilingual too. And I listen to French, but I can't hear it. I can't! Alex has to repeat words over and over and over again for me to strain and pronounce it awkwardly. He says my accent is "cute." RE: cute means, "very American and noticeable." The girls and Alex chatter happily back and forth and I listen. I want to cry because I just don't know what they are saying. And I'm afraid I can't learn. Should I just show up on Angie's doorstep and throw myself at her feet and beg? I know just a few phrases. Alex taught me je t'aime...je t'adore...fais moi l'amoure. For my bad moods: merde...rien a foutre...putain de dieu...sale pute (hey, dirty whore could be better in French than dirty heifer is in English, you know? haha!). But do you know how long, for instance, it took me to learn rien a foutre as far as pronunciation goes? Alex had to repeat that about 25 times before I could scream out the equivalent of "I don't give a fuck!" and be intelligible. I think I might be able to learn how to read and write it way better than I could ever speak it...which makes me even more worked up because I don't WANT to read it! I want to SPEAK IT!!!!

I cannot do this to my children. I must, I must, I MUST give them a better foundation of other languages so they are not so ignorant as their mommy...I just don't want them to go abroad one day and be thought of as yet another ignorant American...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Is This What Happiness Feels Like?

Alex has been staying with me for two and a half weeks now. When he's around, I have a partner who helps me out with all the work around the house, with the kids, and who also throws me to the ground for sex several times a day. He likes shopping with me. We have similar interests and whenever we have a disagreement, nobody screams. We discuss issues like calm adults until it's resolved. Usually I can sense happiness as a fleeting moment or a sensation that I can enjoy for an hour or so before it disappears. I realized a few days ago that this settled feeling in my heart seems to stay and only go away when there's a reason to go away, but then quickly returns. Is this what happiness really feels like? It's been so long. I can't remember. I remember the tension in my neck, the anxiety, the tears. I remember struggling after I moved out to keep my act together while teaching full time and juggling my children. If I try, I can vaguely remember a time when I laughed just as often but it came from the bottom recesses of my soul rather than from my lips. It just seems like...so long ago.

So now the fears whimper at the back of my mind. When does he leave? When does he hurt you? When does he show his "real" self? You'd think that after knowing a man for three and a half years that I'd know this IS his real self, but I just can't hope. I just can't believe. If I believe, then what happens when it falls apart?

The kids love him. My family loves him, even my sister who is impossible to please. Sometimes I turn around to look at him only to see him staring at me as if I were the most beautiful of angels come to earth just to delight him. I can see in his eyes every time he looks at me a sort of adoration and love that I've never had a man give me before now. Do I deserve this? Can I stand to ever let him go? Why does it feel so strange and wrong to be happy and to have a man be good and kind to me on a regular, consistent basis? Have I broken the woman's curse? The woman's curse is to be attracted strongly and passionately only to men who are assholes, who are taken, or who are gay. Sometimes I stare at him sleep, his chest gently rising and falling, his lips barely parted, his black lashes fluttering from time to time...creamy shoulders protruding barely over the sheets...and I just freeze. Why is it so unusual to feel happy?