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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, February 28, 2005

Another Reason Why I Love Chuck

...so I was discussing the whole situation with Chuck, and he's kept me in stitches. However, the classic line so far is this one (stated after Chuck asserted that That Man would screw anything):

Chuck says:
you could toss gabe a doughnut hole and wind up with a custard eclair


Miserable Piece of Doo Doo Teacher

I do my job as an adjunct teaching English at, as Amanda and Angie say, "THE premiere Technical School of the South!" because I love the students. It's not love for the administration, the school itself, the lousy pay, the lack of health benefits, or the stress. Nor, for the record, is it the joy of grading papers. It's the students. Nothing pleases me more to show a student what they CAN do rather than what they can't, and then to watch him or her blossom as the year unfolds. I feel useful that way. It makes me want to get up and go to work.

I don't understand why anybody would teach if the person didn't want to be there for the students. There's nothing else good about this job. I get very protective of my students, and I can't stand it when I hear tales of other teachers being dipshits.

Lo, we had our very own dipshit at the Premiere School, and he just left last week. Why do I call him such a foul name? Let's review!

1) Disorganized classes
2) Teacher had little knowledge of the veracity of anything he taught. To quote what a student told me, "He said, it's not quite MLA, it's MY MLA!" Read: useless to know
3) Doesn't cover most of the materials one should cover
4) Doesn't give a rip about the students despite professing that he does
5) Leaves in the middle of a term (which we all might have to do however....) in such a way that he LIES to the people in charge about what his last hours are with his classes and the Writing Center so as to most severely inconvenience the entirety of campus
6) Does his own thing in the WC and doesn't read stuff Pat gives us/care to follow her leadership

Ok, so his last day was to be last Friday. He told Pat and Robin: they wanted me to start on Thursday, but I said no and that I'd start on Monday. Fine, then don't lie. What actually happened? Writing Center was to be opened by HIM at 9a on Thursday. I arrived at 915 a for my 935a class, only to find students milling about panicked in front of the locked door. Robin wasn't there; Pat was at the high school. I ran down to Bren and she called Robin, finding out from her that we could get Julia when she came out of class to cover the room until Pat could get there. I opened up the center in preparation for Julia coming in. By 925a I had all the computers on and looked at the appointment list. Who was this inconsiderate fool inconveniencing by his irresponsibility???? HIS STUDENTS! I realized that the 9a was a paragraph, so I went ahead and checked it before I went off to my class and before Julia got there. I didn't do a folder, but of course Pat understood. He had told his students they could get 5 pts in his Eng 100 class if they came in to have their paragraph looked at, and they all signed up. He wasn't willing to help his own students and couldn't EVEN BE ASSED to call up Pat so she could have called me to come in to cover until Julia got out of class or something. I could have been there for 9a as I didn't have kids that day. Hell, I was in the parking lot at 9a but I just puttered around because class wasn't until 935.

So, today the saga continued. I have a former student, Kristi, who is in an Eng 102 class That Man abandoned. "IT" covered five short stories and was done. Five? I thought I covered just a few because I cover NINE. Five??? She was frustrated by the incompetency of this teacher, and then in comes Chuck. Poor Chuck--he did nothing other than be himself and stride in, and Chuck is the antigabe (IE, Chuck = competent; former male teacher = incompetent). Kristi complained that he came in and SAID he was an asshole. I was trying to figure out how this was different from me coming in the first day and SAYING, I curse, I make innuendo, and I'm a bitch. Then her friend (also a former student of mine) Greg came up and said, yeah but Chuck couldn't possibly be a perv like you are!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Chuck the pure? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (sorry, Chuck dear, I love you but...you KNOW that's just a hilarious thought hehe)

I talked to her for a while and I think anybody short of me (whom she already knew and liked as an instructor) would have received a poor welcoming from Kristi. She's a girl who likes her security and stability in her life, and her world was turned upside down when she realized That Man was leaving. She told me, we all knew the teacher wasn't that great and was too disorganized, but we also knew we'd all pass. So there it is: Chuck makes it clear that folks might not pass by his brash, blunt manner, and she panicks because sure, she wasn't learning much with That Man, but at least she knew she could pass with him.

So I told her that Chuck was, perhaps, a bit more intense than I was about some things, but on the whole he had my exact temperment: anal retentive about some things, never a surprise as he will tell you....and laid back about the rest. She kept repeating that she thought they might have a personality conflict, even though she realized suddenly and completely that she had erred by how she treated Chuck in class today. She even apologized repeatedly to him for her attitude, and that pleased me.

See, I'm mad at That Man for upsetting Kristi too. You have no idea about Kristi, folks...ultra conservative girl. I actually had to explain to her in excrutiating detail why she COULD argue Pro Prostitution in the arguments/debates without compromising her morality. I had to also argue with her about the concept of homosexuals not having a choice. If homosexuals have a choice, that meant they choose to be gay...so when did YOU choose to be heterosexual? Oh, and you think that people wake up and decide, my god, today I'd love to be persecuted for loving somebody and tortured and not able to even show expression to the one I love in public, and maybe be thrown out of my house or disowned for it? Really, the bible says it's wrong? Leviticus? The same book that tells us how to sacrifice our animals? But she really, really listened to me. I made it clear to her that I didn't disrespect her views but merely held different ones, and that made her listen. And....I swear, she's really a nice girl. She loves geek games and has a good sense of humor. How DARE That Man ruffle a wonderful work in progress like Kristi? I get especially fond of most of my students. Not all, folks--you know, some of them are jackasses, just like in any other realm of Planet Earth. But most of them I just adore. So, I suppose I am protective of them.

Fuck you, That Man. You told your students that you loved them, but you screwed them over by not teaching them what they needed to know (did I mention that he never told them they needed to do the literacy workshop?), and then when you could have helped them you chickened out and just didn't show. You even cancelled class an hour before it started via email. Do you really think the kids saw that? Do you know HOW MANY of your students just drove there for that class only to find it cancelled because you just decided you had no idea what to do that day, the last day of class? Do you care? DO YOU???? *I CARE* and I'm mad as hell.

We won't even get into the Let's-Ask-Kira-Five-Times-In-One-Hour if she's sure she wouldn't cheat on Alex that THAT MAN did to me.

Bah, I'm going back to drinking my merlot. When I have enough wine in me, I won't care any longer that incompetents get hired for good jobs and screw over good people.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

...And That's Good Parenting!

So, I have standard behavior when the kids continuously ask for things when we're in stores. The most embarrassing way is to bust out with, "You can't always get what you want/you can't always get what you want/you can't always get what you want/but if you try sometimes/you just might find/you get what you NEEEEED!"

The second one is what happened in Publix. Unfortunately, it almost caused the woman on the chip and soda aisle to have heart failure from laughing too hard. Hey, it wasn't THAT funny...or maybe it is and I just don't realize how dry I deliver my lines.

My daughter was asking for some brand of chips, and my son was asking for some brand of soda. Now, note: soda is only available to my kids when we GO places. It's the "special treat." Also, I buy a bag of chips a MONTH for all of us to eat at most. And we already had our bag at home. As they continued to beg and whine, I just retorted seriously, "Oh, you want soda and chips? Really? Well, I want a million dollars!" I think the lady was trying not to show she was laughing at that point, but she lost it when the kids repeated their request one more time. "Well, guess what, guys?" was my response, "I think the likelihood right now of you getting soda and chips is about the same as me getting... A MILLION DOLLARS!" That's when she started laughing really hard, and I looked over, confused for a brief moment before I realized she was laughing at me. Oh, well!

I have a deep sense of sarcasm I suppose. It's like when my son and my daughter were squabbling over and over again all day long, and towards the end of the day my daughter complained that Jared just "RUINED" this toy. I tossed off without thinking, "Well, that's ok because both of you have RUINED my peace and quiet!" Alex was there for that one and he just started laughing at me. Hey, if you can't laugh and joke about it, you just go mad!

One day, though, DSS will come and investigate because my sense of humor is so wack. Periodically Ari will do something and I'll ask her to stop, and then she'll say, "Well, what if I don't?" like a smart ass. And my usual response is something like, "Well, then, I'll KILL YOU and leave your corpse out back on the stack with the other children's bodies!" This usually makes her cackle, so maybe the authorities will understand I'm joking. The ironic part is that neither my four year old son nor my seven year old daughter have ever once been even spanked by me. I use other methods of discipline that seem to be much more effective. Besides, as my mom said to me once, "Sometimes it's best not to spank because you're so mad you're not sure you'll ever stop!" That was in reference to my brother Mark who was a holy hell of a handful. Wow, note that amazing alliteration! I'm an Old English scop! Woohoo!

My daughter began understanding sarcasm at three years old because of my personality. That can't be bad, right?


Ok, so I found out I destroyed a student of mine's diet, but let me state for the record: I am happy I did so. Very, very skinny women should not diet. So there.

Kayla went through Eng 101 with me last term and always--I mean every single class--had food with her. It was never food that was healthy, either. We're talking candy bars, potato chips, doughnuts, cookies, sodas, etc. So, she starts up Eng 102 with me and the first week, out of three classes, she only had food one day. Then for two weeks...no food! I was shocked. I started teasing her about it, and she laughed.

So, Alex was in school with me one day and I had packed him a ton of food. Why, you ask? Well, he had woken up at 3a to catch a ride at 4a and then be driven here and there before arriving at school for me to see him at 730a. I knew he'd have no food and be tired. I brought caffeine and candy and sandwiches and snacks. When I noticed Kayla had no food again, I joked with her about it and told her I was "very concerned" and then tossed her a kit kat bar out of the bag I brought for Alex. The whole class laughed, and so did she. Now, it honestly never occured to me that she was on a diet. Folks, she probably is all of maybe 5'5" and AT MOST wears a size 4. Come on.

So she teased me yesterday. She told me her sister was on a diet and demanded that she join it because her sister couldn't do it alone, so she did. And she said, "I held out a whole week...until you tossed me that kit kat bar!" I shook my head and told her, well, I'm glad I did then, because you're skinny enough as it is! She laughed and took it well...apparently she just wanted to tease me back. We all know my feelings about the stupidity of America's ideal of womanhood being a skeleton with skin thrown on it, right? So yes...I would not normally EVER want to smash a person's diet, but damnit, even to help out her sister she couldn't afford to lose weight, so I suppose it was ok.

What I'm Up To Now

Well, in the last two hours, I've made waffles for kids and cleaned up (from scratch of course! Bite your tongue!); I've taken down the Vday decorations and put up most of the Easter ones; I've sorted my coupons and made a grocery list; I've checked the air filter for the ac/heating unit since I needed to see the size to get a new one today; I've done some dishes, and did a load of wash. Weeeee!

I thought I'd share with those who might care what other thing has occupied my time lately:


Don't feel obligated to read it or post on it. I just thought I'd share. Basically, I came up with this character and I want to use her in a story that I have in the back of my head. I thought it would be cool to do a complete background on her so that when I DO use her, I know exactly what she would always do or not do based on her personality traits. It seems to be unfolding like a soap opera...haha! I wanted to construct a character who was very complex in her motivations and actions. I think a doctor who lives to heal but also will use a sniper rifle to do the reverse is an interesting concept I wanted to keep. Basically, I'm facinated with that whole balance of life and death, or of any polar opposites. Making Shayla Nariz a child genius who could literally do whatever she wanted in life, then having her CHOOSE to also kill people on occasion, made her complex and interesting in my mind. Anyway, I'm having fun doing her complete story. I just toss off each post as it comes, so one day I'll need to go back and correct for grammar and spelling. I'm aware I probably have made a few typos on it, but I'd rather just GET IT OUT. Anybody who writes might understand that essential problem: if you edit and rework too much as you write immediately, you get caught up in making one paragraph perfect rather than finishing the rest of it, and then it never gets done. At least, that's ALWAYS been my problem with writing, so that's why I'm doing it this way.

Why am I starting up writing again? I don't rightly know. I used to write story after story in high school. The kids at school used to ask to read the next chapter the second I finished whatever. I showed my friend Lee my blog (she's been one of my closest friends since I was 13 years of age), and her immediate comment was that I needed to edit my previous stories and try and get things published...and that she'd help out with editing if I would let her. Lee has a double major in mass com and writing, plus does writing and editing as part of her daily job now, so I know she'd be an excellent choice for help. She got me thinking again. Oh well, even if I don't ever publish, I can still write for my own entertainment, yes? And that's where Shayla comes in.

I'm feeling more settled about the divorce thing. I will be cancelling classes that day with the boss' permission. The students will get a minor assignment instead to complete by Monday, and that's that. Alex will be here all that week, but for obvious reasons I will decline to take my boyfriend to my divorce hearing...haha!

Ok, so if you guys were wondering, I've come up with an equation I'd like to share:

4 boxes of Girl Scouts Thin Mints + 5 Animal Treasure cookies + half a box of Godiva truffles = one clothing size

I'm now officially at the max capacity of my wardrobe. In order to gain more weight, I will need a bigger size of clothes. Damnit. Good thing cookie season is now over for the GS. I can't afford to have to get more clothes. I'm starting to wear some of Alex's stuff to school...it's big on me, but it's more comfortable than my tight stuff at this point...

Somebody want to grade my papers? I sure as hell don't.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Double and Triple Ack!

I came home today and had a message on my machine, one I was waiting forever to receive:

Pickens County Court called. The divorce hearing is on March 11th at 11a.

I guess I need to see Robin and tell her about it and try to make arrangements for my classes.

I guess I need to throw up.

Mom and dad, ever mistrustful of The Ex, have insisted I see a lawyer so that I know that the papers (I wrote them up myself, by the way, and a lawyer couldn't have done better if I say so myself) cover my ass in all ways. How can I arrange to see a lawyer before then? Should I? I don't WANT anything but what I listed in the papers already, and he's agreed to everything. Yes, yes, I know you'll all tell me to go see the lawyer because that way I know that I'm ok. I still...don't wanna *sucks thumb and pouts*.

I feel so strange right now. I've wanted to be free for YEARS now, and here it is in front of me, and I feel like crying. I think part of it is that nobody ever gets married with the idea of, oh yeah, and then one day we'll divorce. I feel like a failure...a screwup...somebody who threw in the towel and ran...but honestly, who wanted to stay in the situation I was in for so long? Whenever I see him I am always reminded on why I'm so happy we are no longer together. He drives me bonkers. I want to throttle him, and getting a divorce is way better than sitting in jail for murder. So, there's not even a question that I'm doing the right thing. Why do I feel like sobbing my eyes out and getting drunk, then?

I like to be on top of my emotions, but I can't even control them right now. I WANT this. I want it already over...the divorce should have gone through no later than May 2003 according to my original plan that received no familial support (versus the timespan that followed Rob's Angry Outburst for No Reason at My Mom in April of 2003...got full support then! it was ok if he yelled at me, but NOT ok if he yelled at mom....). I've never doubted for a second I need to be free of my ex. What's my problem????? Why am I so depressed...worried...nervous...emotional...frayed....disturbed...angry? It will pass, right?


Tuesday, February 22, 2005


The 'wow' is for 'wow, I'm actually walking funny, just like all those jokes Amanda and I have made!' Good job, Alex, is all I can say ;) I hope the students don't pick up on it tomorrow because they all know where I was over break...doesn't take too much brain to piece that one together!

Alex and I celebrated Vday on Saturday as we weren't together last Monday. I was very proud of the presents I got him (all gotten with a good deal or else my broke ass would not be able to afford it, I might add!): the Star Wars DVD collection, a nice robe, and a really spiffy brown suede jacket from Banana Republic. He took me to The Melting Pot, sent me Godiva, made sure I had 18 longstem red roses, and gave me presents I would really, really want: a set of heart shapped dessert plates with matching mugs. Many women would think, oh crap, that's just NOT a vday present at all! But see, Alex actually KNOWS me. He knows what I drool over and think of as a pampering gift. I love to cook, so there are many items at Williams-Sonoma that I love (and those plates and mugs were from W-S). He knows I can't typically afford them, and he knows I WANT them. Therefore, Alex--by understanding fully what makes Kira tick--got me a gift I love. Yay! Jumper cables are not, to me, a romantic gift, even if you need them. But fun cooking/kitchen items ARE! Weeee!

After our Saturday and Sunday together, I drove him back to USC. I stayed there until Tuesday night because of my two day break. Wow, what perfect days we had...it was truly bliss. We went to Carraba's for the first time--I had always wanted to eat there, but never had done so. Great Italian food! We wandered around the mall and Alex found a few more items at W-S he had to get for me: chocolate handcrafted marshmellows, eight vday glasses with romantic french phrases on them, and eight heart shapped taper candle holders. I can't believe that he loves to shop. I can drag him into any store at any time, and he happily joins me and carries the bags. I swear this man rocks. It amused me that the lady at Gymboree asked us if we had just started dating. I guess she assumed that because Alex was so attentive to me (he went to the sales clerk to ask her about a sweater that was unmarked in price that I was considering for Jared, then promptly returned to start playing with my hair as I scoped out the sales rack), we must be a new couple. I told her with a grin that we had been together for a year and a half, but that as Alex was French, I didn't expect him to change. She laughed and mused over an Austrian guy she had dated once...hmmm I'm thinking European men just may be the way to go period! Except...

When we went over to Severine's apartment to see her brother the other night, I told Severine and her bro how Alex and I had met. I was explaining to them how I had told Alex to go home to France and forget about us being ever a couple because he was stuck in France and I was here. Then Alex had said he would apply to this business school and get a dual MBA in America and France as a way to get over here, and I just blew him off. I truly didn't believe he'd do it because so many men had told me in their lives how they would do X, Y, or Z and it never got done. As I explained this to Severine, she nodded WAY too vigorously...as if to say, yes, Kira, you are right, men rarely do what they say or promise they will do. This forces me to conclude that Sev has had experiences similiar to mine and that perhaps I have just been romanticising French men on the whole. Note to self: talk to Sev about her dating experiences with French men to determine if Alex is just rare, period, regardless of nationality!

I never did get to finish off my story of how we got together. See, Alex considered we were an item--or that I was worth waiting for--from the second that I met him in person. I was very, very insistant that he date others because I sure as hell was going to do so...well, I thought he wouldn't be able to come over here, plus I was a bitter woman. But for me, until I SAW that he was determined to have me and would make good on his promises, I couldn't say we were really an item. I stared at him under the microscope and waited for him to screw up. Imagine my surprise when he didn't. I clearly remember the day that I found out that he had done so well on the entrance exams for his business school. My heart raced. I thought, oh shit, a man who says he'll do it AND THEN DOES IT!!! I gotta keep this one! And I lept upon the poor, defenseless Alex as a lioness might leap upon the wounded gizelle. I think he was stunned when he realized how much of myself I had been holding back for the previous year. I had one last checkmark to make before I considered it a one-on-one monogamous relationship: his visit to my parent's house in Tampa.

He greeted me that fateful night in a suit with a half dozen red roses. I remember looking up and seeing him coming down the escalator at the airport and thinking, holy hell, that's it. TAKE ME!!!!! Alex looks really, really fine in a suit. And with flowers too? Ok, you don't want details so I will leave it to your imagination. But let's just say he was properly greeted to the USA and that he understood fully my intent at that point to keep him forever.

How many people out here wonder when that "romance" stage of a relationship ends? Raise your hands! I wonder that as well. Does it HAVE to end? I'd rather it not. I see my parents as an example as how it doesn't have to end...can I accomplish that with Alex? Can any person, or is that just a freakish case that can never be repeated?

On another rambling note, I feel yucky. What I mean by that is, well, my body feels yucky. I keep stuffing it full of food lately and usually it feels really content that I've fed it what it prefers, but lately I feel....bleck. Like a bloated whale, beached, unable to roll itself back into the water. I don't mean that I LOOK like one--I don't--I just feel like one. Please dear god don't let me come to the conclusion that it's lack of exercise. I don't want to exercise. It just seems so...unhealthy ;)

And other notes: the cookie sales are ALMOST DONE!!!! WOOHOO! It's this Friday that we have to have all the boxes sold. We're close to it as far as I know. Still, I can't buy the slack if we need it bought. I'm broke. We mostly have Peanut Butter Patties and Peanut Butter Sandwiches left to sell. I don't know why...if 10% of the world were as enthusiastic about PB sandwich cookies as Amanda, we'd not have a box left!

And on another note: MY COLLEGE/JOB IS NOW BORING AND IT IS AMANDA AND CHUCK'S FAULT!!!! There. I said it. The WC used to be so much fun when I got to joke around with Amanda about rabbits and such. And then when Chuck came last term, he'd actually play with my hair while making the most hilarious comments...damn, they both made my hours there pass so speedily! But now it's all very, very slow....*sobs* Oh well. I will mill about as the only pervert there in the morning hours. Sigh.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Why Now?

I'm trying to figure out why, suddenly, after not thinking of this one fellow from my past for years and years, I had a dream about Scott. I knew Scott from my Duke days--a fellow geek, and a funny and attractive one at that. However, he had one fatal flaw that made him unattractive as time went by: he kept hitting on me when he was engaged to a good friend of mine, and then hit on me even more after he got married. If I had been the type to not care if a man were married or not, I would have probably dated him because he had a lot of the qualities I find intriguing. But there is one thing that is an unwaverable truth here: if the guy can cheat on his gf, fiance, wife...the guy can cheat on you. I always keep that in mind as one of my main (yes, I admit selfish) reasons why never to get involved with a man who is involved.

I remember when I first met Scott, I had no idea he had a live-in girlfriend. He liked all the same things I liked and I flirted with him here and there. When I gamed for a while with a couple of guys at Duke, he was in the group. We talked more after that, but he seemed more interested in my friend Kelly at the time. He loved blondes with huge breasts. Kelly was such a gal, and he couldn't stop staring at her. Oh well, I thought, and that was that. We became friends and he eventually told me all about his live-in girlfriend, Sharon. Woah, I thought, why hadn't I heard of her before? And why is he flirting with Kelly then? I met Sharon and I liked her a lot. Sharon and I started to hang out together a fair bit, and then it became a threesome (not what you think you kinky bastards you!). Scott would DM for Sharon and myself, or we'd play board games, or we'd go out and play putt putt golf...anything, really. We got together twice a week and just had a blast. This beautiful state lasted a few months. He stopped hanging out with my other friends entirely and stopped even glancing at Kelly. Then Sharon and Scott got engaged.

When Sharon excitedly told me the news, I was perplexed. Marry Scott? Why would you want to do that? I just thought he'd be the kind to cheat on a gal, even though in every other way I found Scott to be marvelous. Then both Sharon and Scott admitted seperately to me later on that Sharon had pressured Scott into marrying her. She had said she had enough with the living without a ring bit, and either he married her or she moved out. Stupid, stupid move to deliver this kind of ultimatum. You can't "ultimatum" a man into marrying you and ever expect it to work out right, girls. Scott didn't want to lose Sharon, but he didn't want to get married. What followed was a recipe for disaster.

As they prepared for the wedding, Scott proceeded to dump on me more and more about how he didn't want to get married. I kept telling him he needed to tell SHARON this, and not me, but he kept moaning about how he didn't want her to break things off with him. They both were being stupid: Sharon for forcing Scott to propose; Scott for being a pussy and not willing to stand up for what he felt and face the consequences. Two weeks before the marriage took place, he flat out tried to kiss me and talked about how badly he wanted to be with me instead. Long story on how that came about and how I handed it, but the short version is that he didn't get to finish that kiss and I told him that I would never hurt a friend by doing ANYTHING with her significant other. Awkward.

I was to take care of their cats while they were on their honeymoon to England. So, when Scott called me the second they returned, I thought foolishly that it was due to him wanting to tell me they were back so I'd know the cats were ok. But no, that's not why Scott called. Sharon was in the shower and he had to tell me all about how he thought of ME while they were on their honeymoon. My god. I reminded him he was married now and so he had to think of Sharon, not other women, but that seemed to have no effect. The folks at work had to check on me right after that phone call (he had called me at work!) because I was in the bathroom sobbing. I know I'm a flirt, so I wondered, did I encourage him? How do I stop this without hurting Sharon, all while keeping Scott's friendship too which I valued? How does one remove oneself from a situation like this but keep everything "the way it was?" The answer, of course, is that you can't. I tried all manner of things for the next few months to try to keep our little threesome going because I LOVED our times together and I didn't want to lose them.

However, Scott left me flowers. Love notes on my car. Balloons. All the things no guy I actually dated ever did to me (until now Alex hehe). It was hard for me to tell him to stop because I had never GOTTEN that kind of attention before. Sharon started confessing to me that she was foolish to pressure Scott into marrying her because she knew he wanted to wander and had no idea what to do. What was I supposed to tell her? Yes, you're right, and he wants ME? I can't even describe how I felt there.

Then Sharon did something that I guess she felt she 'had' to do, but something I've never forgiven her for. She told Scott that she'd 'allow' him to have one affair with one person just to 'get it out of his system', but that it HAD to be me or nobody else or she'd break things off with him and leave him. She did this deliberately because she KNEW how I felt about running off with a married/taken man. She KNEW I'd feel obligated to resist, but this way *I* got to be the bad guy and *SHE* got to be the good guy. She didn't tell me she did this directly--Scott did--but when I did some gentle queries in her direction about what she told Scott, she confirmed it. Sigh.

The second incident that happened--an event which sealed the fate of our friendships--was the day I called in sick to work. I had a bad cold, and so I had not only stayed home but called up my friend Rick and whined at him that I was ill. Rick came over to keep me company, so he was present when Scott showed up. See, Scott had been expected to drop off a friend of his at the airport, and when he was done doing just that, he decided to drop in at my workplace to see me. He realized when he arrived that my car was not in the parking lot, so he asked them where I was. They told him I was sick. He bought a dozen longstem red roses, four get well balloons, and had another long love note he had written (complete with drawn out cartoons...ok, I'll admit that his cartoons were always entertaining). I hear a knock; I answer the door, and there is Scott standing there with all his items. I turned pale and went speechless to such an extent that Rick, seeing me from his angle on the sofa, lept up and ran to the door to see what was the matter. Rick and Scott knew each other, and Rick was just as surprised to see Scott as the opposite.

Scott was jealous Rick was there. Rick was amused that Scott was there. I fussed at Scott and told him to take the roses back to his WIFE and to tell her that they were from him, and to never do this again. He didn't want to do that. The phone rang. It was Sharon, sobbing because Scott was THREE HOURS LATE from his trip back from the airport and she didn't know where he was. "Oh, I bet he's just hung up somewhere, Sharon," I replied in a mysterious yet tightly controlled voice. "If he's not home within a half hour, call me and I'll help you search for him." I hung up the phone and snarled at Scott, "You worried her! Take the damn flowers and go back home to her and apologize for being so late. Be romantic. Take her out to eat, do whatever, but don't EVER put me in this position again as LONG as you live!" He left the balloons because "get well" was not an appropriate message to give his wife. Sharon called me up later to say he arrived, then added in a confused tone, "He bought me flowers...he never buys me flowers anymore, but he DOES know that I don't like roses...why did he get me roses?"


So, the friendship ended. And I dreamed of both of them last night...then woke up suddenly. It wasn't a significant dream, really. Just...they were there, and sleeping, and I accidentally woke them up. Why? Why do we dream of that long buried sometimes? Hmmm....

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Doing It All

I read an interesting article today on the net about mothers who, basically, do too much and feel like they are losing their minds. These moms--a large portion of American women--do not have the luxury of hiring a nanny or a maid or other help to assist with life, and are also too broke to NOT work when they have kids. Yet, they want to be the perfect moms and sacrifice sleep and sanity in order to do Way Too Much. For some reason, the article struck a chord with me. The paragraph that amused me the most, however, was about how the author had been living in France and had to see a French doctor about the awful splitting headaches she was getting constantly. The doctor prescribed a painkiller for her, but he shook his head at her and told her he wasn't sure it would help. He added, If you keep pounding your head against the wall, you can expect to have headaches.

You know, that is both funny and hellaciously on target. How often do we persist in doing too much just to make sure that we do things right? Well, in my family it's a way of life. I think sometimes that I'm pushing myself too hard, but then I look at my sister and I realize I'm living life in the slow lane. My mom used to "do it all" with four kids. Granted, she didn't have to work outside the home, but still! She had FOUR kids and there was ALWAYS a homemade meal on the table at night plus a fresh baked goody for dessert. I wish I had that kind of energy. I used to do that when I just had Ariana and myself at home...we always had dinner, the house was fairly tidy, I baked goodies often, I did little crafts projects with her, I read to her often...I felt like supermom. Of course, that was before the days of being pregnant with Jared and all that happened with my ex.

See, within a few weeks of giving birth to Jared, a rift opened up in our backyard. Satan leaped out of said rift in the ground and then dove into my ex's body. If folks want to know where Satan was in 2000, I can answer that question: Pumpkintown, SC. Being married to satan was rough, I tell you! It drained all the life out of me and made me unable to do for Jared what I did for Ariana. It was all about survival at that point.

Oh, and if you are wondering where Satan is TODAY, well, I can only tell you where his ASS is...at least, I know Amanda is aware of its location. The rest of Satan is back down in hell.

I sometimes fantasize about returning to that point. I like teaching, but I hate missing out on time with Jared that I got to spend with Ari at the same age. Ari lucked out: she got me all the way until she went to kindergarten. Jared just got me until two and a half years, and what he had of me was distracted and depressed half the time. I know life isn't fair, but I really feel Jared was totally cheated out of what he deserved. I fantasize about getting remarried to a great man, having another child, being able to stay home with said child for a few years and doing all sorts of wife and mom things, and THEN returning to teaching again after I felt that I had given my children more of their mother....more of their mother to keep them warm even long after I was gone, cloaked in the memories of our time together and the love that I gave them. In the most perfect of worlds, when I returned to teaching I'd teach three classes a semester because then I could still do lots of mommy things with my children. I LOVE cooking. At the very least, I want to return to making a meal nearly every night for my family...FROM SCRATCH. Screw that mix shit! I buy my bread and sometimes pizza crust, but everything else is made from the beginnings in this house. I'd rather have a little of something that tasted GREAT than a lot that tastes like cardboard.

Anyway, I understand what that article meant. Sometimes we try so hard to be perfect that we lose sight of what is really important and what is even POSSIBLE to do. If I take headache medicine for a headache, I want it to be from allergies or a cold, NOT from banging my head against a wall. And that's that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Frog Analogy

A while back, I was in therapy with one of the best therapists you can find in SC (that is, she actually worked!). I loved Marla. She knew exactly what to say and how to say it so I'd understand what I needed to do or how to fix my life. I started to see her after I had already told Rob that we would divorce and was trying to get out of the house. I think that she was, on occasion, afraid I'd never make the leap out of the house. She'd have NEVER told me to leave (that's not the role of a good therapist...to tell you what to do, that is), but she always was quick to point out a few things here and there to strengthen my resolve to finish my actions.

One of the most intense analogies she ever gave me was the Frog Analogy. This example so profoundly impacted me that I have shared it with several people at critical places in their lives so that they, too, could see the wisdom of it. Just yesterday, a former student came up to me and told me for quite a while how happy he was that I talked to him last spring of 2004 because that frog analogy saved his mother. You see, this student was complaining to me that his mom was dating a loser guy who was half her age. The guy treated her like shit, was unemployed and leeching off of her, and generally used her. The student was frustrated because his mom seemed to feel she somehow deserved it...or just put up with it...or couldn't get better. It affected their relationship and had put a huge strain upon it. I told him the frog analogy and explained that was how his mom got herself into the situation...and how if she continued, she'd boil to death like I almost did. Shook up, the boy went home and shared our talk with his mother. His mother burst into tears and cried for a while. For three months it burned in her head, and she kicked Loser Boy out of her house and became an independant woman again. She told my student: I couldn't shake the image of the frog out of my brain. I just couldn't. Now, the student told me with a grin, she's doing great! And I have my mom back! And she's happy, and she's able to buy things for herself because she isn't spending it all on the loser! I was delighted to hear it and felt rather good that it had the effect it did.

What is the frog analogy, you ask?

No woman picks out what appears to be a Shithead and says, ok, I want to date a shithead. It starts out and develops. So, take a frog. Put the frog in a pan of room temperature water. Does it jump out? Nope! Put a frog in a pan of boiling water....does it jump out? YES! So take that frog in the room temperature water and move the pan to a burner on the stove. Turn the heat to low. Does the frog move? No. It feels warm, but its body adjusts to the temperature and it doesn't move. Turn up the heat a teensy bit more. Does the frog move? Nope. Body temperature adjusts, frog stays. If you continue this pattern with the frog over time, it will slowly boil to death, unaware that suddenly NOW the temperature is too hot for its body to handle.

Do you see the similarities? How many people do I know (usually women, but shoot I know a few men who have done it too) who place themselves in that pan and let that heat rise, not jumping, letting their true selves die--boiled out of them? I had a boyfriend once who was a shit from the near beginning. I got out within three months. Why? Well, the heat on the water was turned up too fast! Sure it was room temp when I leaped in, but he didn't give me time to adjust to his new levels of abuse, so I jumped out of the boiling water. Why did I stay with the ex in three years of hell? Because he expertly turned up that water slowly until I didn't notice the heat. Other people started to point it out to me, and my heart sank. So I jumped.

It's a vivid image. This former student's mom is the second person who got out of a bad situation due to hearing that analogy. Sometimes just saying it in the RIGHT words makes a person think in the way he or she needs to...I know that it was why I loved Marla...she always knew how to say it so I could see what I needed to see...


I have another Jared story I want to share. I almost forgot this one! For shame! It's a good one!

My son Jared was not even two years of age (approx. 22 months) when he had his fixation on stop signs. Whenever he saw one, he'd shout out STOP SIGN! and get all excited.

One day, while driving in rural nowhere SC with Jared in the backseat of my car, I did what is called a "california stop." That is when you treat a stop sign more like a yield sign and just slow down considerably while checking both ways, THEN driving on without fully stopping. After I did it, I realized....uh oh...Jared just saw that and he's a stop sign nazi. What now?

There was silence.

Then, a tiny voice from the back seat pipes up: "MOMMY! Stop sign....BROKEN! Stop sign...BROKEN!"

HAHAHAHA! Yes, that one was broken, dear, and that's why mommy couldn't stop all the way *coughs*

Monday, February 14, 2005

My Valentine's Salute to Mom and Dad

If my parents knew all the stuff I was about to dump into this log, they'd probably shoot me. They are just not as "open" as I am about, well, everything! Still, on this Valentine's Day, I'd like to tell you about the relationship I consider to be idyllic and what I want for myself: my parent's marriage.

My dad went to the University of Notre Dame, back when it was an all guy's school. My mom went to St. Mary's, an all girl's school that is still an all girl's school as far as I know. Every girl from St. Mary's had as an ambition to snag one of those ND guys. Humorous to the modern woman, I know, but hey, that was just the times!

The story that mom told for years on how they met was the following:

ND had a lousy football year. Even though they were not their usual good stuff, they managed to defeat the #1 team in the nation at a home game at ND. The males were so excited that, to express their joy, they stormed the St. Mary's campus. My mom and her friends ran down to the doors of the dorm lobby so they could meet the rampaging menfolk. However, there were nuns at the bottom of the stairs clapping and shouting to the girls, "Remember you are ladies! Go back to your rooms!"

Many of the women went back to their rooms. My mom and her friends, however, went out the back door...LOL

What should happen when my mom walked out the back door but SLAM! she banged right into my father! He started chatting to her as they apologized and that was that.

Now, let me tell you what my dad added after they had been married for FOURTY (40) years!

While my mom was telling this story to a friend of mine at the dinner table, my dad quietly said, well, not quite, dear. There was stunned silence. My mom asked: what do you mean, not quite?

Apparently, my dad HAD SEEN my mom. My dad ran over TO HER DORM ROOM. Then he planted himself near the back door, waited for her to come out, and then RAN INTO HER ON PURPOSE. HAHAHAHAHA! Go dad! He seemed kind of embarrassed to admit this after all this time, which I guess is the explanation as to why we didn't find out earlier!

My mom's excellent advice on marrying, as related to my father (advice I didn't take btw!): "Marry the man you don't want to change. Never marry the men you think would be perfect if you just tweaked this or that. Marry the one, the only one you find, who is just the way you want him." Apparently she had wanted to change every man she met until she dated my father. That doesn't mean she didn't realize his downsides and irritating quirks...it just means that she decided his combination of pros and cons was just the way she liked it.

My mom and dad haven't had it easy. When my parents just got married, they (being good Catholics) didn't know where babies came from. In a very short period of time--like 4 years or so--they had three children. My dad was in orthodontics school then. They had a tiny two bedroom apartment, one room for them and one for three children to share (one in a bassinette, one in a crib, one in a toddler bed...). My mom had both of her parents and her grandmother, who had lived with my mom too for nearly my mom's entire life, all die within three years (and before child #3 was ever born...long before I came along). Then, when things started to look good and money was plentiful, my very healthy father had a stroke at 39 years of age. I was 9 when it happened. I still remember my dad being in the hospital for a month and the doctors telling my mom that my dad wasn't going to walk again. Then I remember my mom basically telling the doctors "fuck you!" and doing her own additional physical therapy with my dad to what he was already doing. The stroke happened because my dad had been skiing and slipped on some ice; the fall chipped a bone, and the bone chip lodged in an artery. That's why we never saw it coming. But my mom knew dad was in really good health, so she figured she'd get him to walk. He walks with a limp now, and his left hand, although useless for fine motor skills, can at least be used for a vice grip if the weather doesn't lock his hand. My dad never practiced orthodontics again, and money was back to being tight.

My mom and dad are accutely aware of the other's faults. How can you NOT be after almost 45 years of marriage? Yet, I watch them and how they lovingly interact, and I just can't help but feel: damn, that's what I want. They hold hands constantly and snuggle on the sofa. My dad spontaneously buys my mom flowers for no reason (note: that trait didn't kick in until the last ten years! who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?). Even though my dad is an older generation guy, he believes in doing his part in the household. He unloads the dishwasher, loads it up, does laundry, vacuums, etc. My dad tries to take into account my mom's feelings, and my mom does the same for my dad. Hell, not too long ago I almost caught them having too much fun on the downstairs living room sofa! haha! I know a lot of kids would go "ewwww" at seeing their parents in a frisky moment, but I just cracked up and thought, wow, that SO rocks! Go mom, go dad!

Two years ago, my mom had some female problems and went to the doctor's office. One of the questions he asked her was about frequency of sex between her and dad. Mom thought about it and replied, well, hmmm...at least five times a week I suppose on average...not only was this TRUE, but poor mom got the crap embarrassed out of her by the doctor's reaction. "HOW long have you been married??? FIVE TIMES a week?" HAHAHAHA! Who says the sex has to die out after 42, 43 years?

But the best part is how they treat each other. My mom told my dad when they got married that there was much she could abide, but she wouldn't tolerate screaming. My dad took this seriously. I was 18 before I ever saw those two raise voices at each other and have a fuss. I've never seen it again.

Amazing, yes? But I know it can be done because I SEE it done every year with those two. I won't settle for less. It's that or I NEVER get married again, you hear me world????

Go mom and dad! Screw Romeo and Juliet! They aren't anything compared to YOU TWO! R and J had that "new love" thing going off. In twenty years, Juliet would be fussing that Romeo left her at home with the baby to go drinking with some Capulet males and watch a sporting event, while Romeo would gripe to his friends that Juliet is such a nag. They can't survive the test of time so they had to die! But you guys, mom and dad, you guys HAVE done it.

Mom, dad: I salute you!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Another Weekend Away

I drove down to Columbia this weekend to be with Alex. I didn't have the kids because Ariana (for god knows what reason) wasn't in school on Friday or Monday of this weekend time, and rather than take her to work with me, Rob took the kids. Since I didn't have them for the weekend, I figured what the hell?

On Saturday night, I went to my first USC basketball game ever. Yes, yes, I know: how on earth was it my first game when college basketball is the only sport I like? Well, it just wasn't a burning ambition of the ex to go to a game when I was there, so we never went. We were there for three years, and two of those years I could have got a student ticket...three years Rob could have...but we never bothered. Oh well! I really enjoyed it.

Six of us crammed into François' car (which seats five) so that we could go to the game. That would be five French folks and ME crammed into said car. I sat on Alex's lap. We're both midgets, so both of us together take up the space of one normal person...haha! Unfortunately, I once again became aware of how horridly ignorant I am. Since the languages in the car weren't Latin, Old English, or English, I was lost. Poor Alex tried so hard to make me feel included by translating for me, but I was accutely aware of how out of place I was. They must have thought I was rude for being so quiet, but I honestly COULD NOT participate in the conversation! Except for the occasional curse word, I recognize nothing in French. Sigh.

François turns out to be a nut. I admit fully that he cracked me up. He was crazy as shit. He drove like a maniac and was very outgoing and funny. Apparently, he was intoxicated the other night and almost picked up an American girl. They kissed and stuff, but since he was drunk, his exact recollection of her was limited. For a while he was pointing out random women as he drove by and shouted out to us things like, "Cela pourrait être elle!" (that could be her!)...LOL When we got out of the game, there was an attractive woman handing out pamphlets for some bar and encouraging everybody to go. François grabbed one and asked her, "Does this have your number on it?" The man wasn't even drunk...that's just his regular personality! Quite funny.

After the game, the crew wanted to go out to eat. All I could think was, no wait, Alex and I only went at it three times today and I need a fourth before bed or I won't sleep well...but I decided to be polite! If I could have figured out a way to say it in French, I think I would have said it because that gang didn't seem to mind boisterous behavior. Anyway, let's just leave it at: Alex and I had a nice time when we returned even though we were alone.

The USC game was vs. Auburn. Auburn supposedly sucks more than USC, but yay for us, we lost to Auburn anyway. The Auburn players just seemed to care more even though it was our home court. USC cut it to 2 with a minute to spare, but that was as close as it got. I was happy to explain the rules of basketball to Alex. I may not know the difference between all the fouls, but I DO know a lot more than just the basics. Made me feel good to explain SPORTS to a MAN...haha! Next time I want to take him to a Duke game so he can watch my favorite team play. Even when Duke has a bad team, Coach K makes them look like pros. A former student of mine has told me he might be able to get me tickets to a Duke vs Clemson game sometime. I sure hope he can because I think Alex'd find it interesting!

No, no plans for Vday tomorrow, folks, except to spend it with my kids. I always get them little baskets of vday candy and a small toy because...well, there's nobody I love better than my kids, so of course a day to celebrate love is spent with them! I am getting them right after school. I already have their little baskets and toy set up on the table. They'll be so excited! I can't wait. I told Alex to hold off on things until next weekend since I had to leave Columbia today and we won't be together tomorrow. No biggie. Things will be less crowded and cheaper by waiting a few days afterwards anyway :D I'm just now coming down with a cold, so even if he were here, I'm not sure we'd be going anywhere tomorrow night. I feel crappy.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Buy My Girl Scout Cookies...Or I'll Kill You

My daughter Ariana is seven years old. There are several things that she decided she wanted to do this year: join the girl scouts, play soccer, and take ballet lessons. Well, the last one on the list can't be done due to financial reasons, but we immediately signed her up for the girl scouts as that one wasn't too expensive. Unfortunately, the local soccer stuff seems to take place at the same time as the girl scouts, so for now, she's just doing the girl scouts.

My mom never let me be a girl scout when I was little. I'm not entirely sure why. I love my parents dearly, but throughout my childhood it was my MOM who decided what I got to do with my free time. If I came up with an idea she liked, I could do it. If I came up with an idea she didn't like, she found excuses to not let me do it. I already figured out why she evaded letting me do the plays at my high school (she always claimed it would interfere with grades...huh???? I could join the NFL and go all weekend to speech events because that was an approved activity, but I couldn't go twice a week to theatre rehearsals? I only got to join my senior year after I was accepted to Duke). Basically, she admitted it under pressure once: I don't want you to be an actress when you grow up. Thanks, mom! So, for some reason she didn't want me to join the girl scouts and I couldn't beg enough to change her mind. When I was in high school, my mentor-teacher, Mrs. Perrella, wanted me to join her girl scout troop with my Lifesaving certificate so I could go with her girls to events and be a lifesaver/guard. My mom was agitated, but when I reminded her that it would count for volunteer work and look good on my college applications, she relented. There you go: girl scout at 15. I had a blast with the younger kids at the campsites, and I looked forward to having a daughter enjoy these types of moments one day.

Fast forward to now. For two months the troop meets--a new troop to the area, with a troop leader who has no girl scout experience--and the girls had a blast. Then came cookie time. None of the troop knew what an event this would be.

Now I know the dirt. Just like baseball dads and soccer moms fist fight in the stands over their kids' sporting events, girl scout moms fist fight over cookies. I'm here to share with you this amazing piece of information! See, the cookie sales are SERIOUS business. It's how a troop has the funds to do activities for the rest of the year. Some moms take this to extremes. Last year, a cookie booth was set up at Easley's Lowes by *gasp* a SENECA mom and the troop, and THEY were not supposed to do this because they are not one of the troops in this jurisdiction! An Easley girl scout mom "caught" them and lo, a brawl followed. Lowe's was very upset and almost wouldn't let the girl scouts sell cookies there in the future. I think Lowe's looked at this fight the wrong way. Men love to go to Lowe's...men love to see catfights...hell, put out a mudpit, put the girl scout moms in bikinis, and let 'em have at it! Price of admission: two boxes of cookies and one random tool of your choosing from Lowe's! They could have made a killing.

I thought to myself, damn, a fistfight can't be that common...can it? Our new troop leader stated that apparently it IS common as the cookie meeting she went to specified how important it was for folks to not squabble. Weeee! Also, we learned that usually the troop gets 50 to 60 cents a box profit per box sold (depending on how many sold total), but that it gets cut back to 17 cents if we fight. Hahaha! Provisions made for Girl Scout Mom Warfare! Damn!

So then I told the troop parents that we needed tazer guns and we'd show those freaking Seneca moms who was the boss. Unfortunately, only two of the moms there seemed to catch my sense of humor. I couldn't let go, however. It was just too much. Wholesome girl scouts, selling cookies...beating the tar out of each other for a prime spot cookie booth? I was way too amused. The troop leader brought up umbrellas that would be sold with the girl scout logo on it if any of us were interested in buying them. I suggested we all buy one to use as a weapon against other girl scout moms. We'd be a regular gang! Nobody would be in doubt over who ruled THIS turf!

It's actually been fairly peaceful so far. I've found out how stupidly competative people are, however. EVERYBODY wins when a box is sold. Some of the proceeds go to the national headquarters to run things like the camps the kids go to. WHO CARES if Troop X sold $500 more than Troop Y? Lighten up! So, you have some moms who sold cookies before they were supposed to sell cookies...who brought cookies to the customers before they were supposed to...who cut the price of the cookies in an effort to make folks buy bulk and hence sell more boxes...wtf? CUTTHROAT COOKIE SELLING. My god. Buy my cookies....or I'll kill you!

The sales supposedly stop on the 20th. I will weigh about 40 lbs more by that date because, you see, Thin Mints are legalized crack. You've heard of the "no one can have just one" saying, right? Well, try, "no Kiras can have just one box!" I eat a box per sitting. No, really, I do. If I show "control," I will eat only one of the two columns of cookies found in the boxes. I'm addicted. My only hope is that I bring cookies to school and students will buy some so that I won't crack open another box when I get home. Mmmmm....Thin Mints....

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Misery of My French Lessons

....wah, wah, wah...I must get over my mental block and just throw myself into this, right?


The Future Mrs. Sol says:
ok, so je suis = i am. tu es, you are. il es, he is/elle es, she is. what the fuck is "on"??? on es? but if on is really like a we, how can it be singular tense? your language is fucked. I'm never going to get this
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
on is used when it isn't precise
The Future Mrs. Sol says:
give me an example.
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
On est tous des hommes
We are all men
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
On va rigoler
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
We are going to laugh
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
It's used for generalities
The Future Mrs. Sol says:
so it's est instead of es? on est, not on es?
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
Je suis
Tu es
Il, Elle, on est
Nous sommes
Vous etes
Ils, elles sont
The Future Mrs. Sol says:
bah, you have too many irregular verbs too!
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
lol as bad as the english yes
The Future Mrs. Sol says:
this is what we get when we let languages evolve *cries*
Alex's are happy on Thursdays and ecstatic on Fridays says:
sorry dearest


Poor Alex got to hear yet ANOTHER story from ANOTHER one of my friends about the shitty man in her life, and he just sat there, confused. At first his response was: isn't there anybody in America with a happy relationship? I pointed out my parents quickly as an example, plus some friends of mine from high school (Rob and Madella...she's fourteen years older than him. They've been married for 12 years and are absolutely the happiest couple I know...Rob was a year older than me and an Incredibly Tall, Incredibly Hot, Very Intelligent Man with a Sense of Humor...we were really good friends...and when he was 19, he met Madella at his job. Woohoo!). I then pondered for the longest time and realized I had nobody else to really point out. All the rest of my friends were single after suffering, married and currently suffering, or divorcing and suffering.

Then he told me that in all the cases he had heard of amongst my friends, it was always the man who was doing the crappy things in the relationship. I replied that I knew several men who had been jerked around by chicks so it wasn't exclusive about the gender. He said he knew that to be true, of course, but that he had noted one pattern amongst all the men mentioned. I had to laugh at his conclusions.

Basically, Alex's revelation is as follows: American culture differs from French culture in relationships in one critical way. In America, men seem to base some of their masculinity on "I'm no pussy, man!" What he means is that men here seem to not want to give in to the woman or please the woman "too much" or else he's not a real man. His friends will make fun of him if he, say, goes shopping with his wife or gf rather than hangs out and drinks beer with his guy friends. Or they'll make fun of a guy who tries to please the girl by being romantic or courtly in his behavior. I remember when Alex and I were having a conversation with two other guys who were insisting that Alex was basically lacking testosterone because he was so considerate and sweet with me. I thought, oh god, now Alex is going to have to make some sort of manly show in front of the other Wolves so that he won't lose his pack standing. However, that was NOT what happened. Alex laughed at them. Then he reminded them that HE was getting regular sex and THEY did not have girlfriends, and perhaps they needed lessons from HIM. HAHAHAHAHA! Ok, so I really enjoyed that one.

One of my students told me--after he heard some of the things that Alex did for me--that he needed to have a "talk" with Alex because that's not how real men acted in America. I told him, calmly, that he would be missing two testicles if he did so. The fellow laughed (we were on great terms so we both knew we were joking), but the fact that he even joked about it tells me something. Men who are reading this blog, American men specifically: tell me! I WANT to know! Why do men get so concerned about how other men perceive them to be acting around their woman? I know not all of you are like that, but even those who aren't sometimes buckle to that peer pressure. Why?

Alex does things to Ari sometimes like point out to her that she should never date a man who doesn't send her flowers and chocolates regularly, who doesn't open up her doors, who doesn't kiss her hand and give her back massages. I told Alex: if you don't stop it, you're going to make my child dateless for many years! He laughed. I'm glad my daughter has Alex for a male role model, but on the other hand, he IS just so damned French. I asked him if all his friends were like him as far as how he treated women goes. He said no, but that most of his male friends were very good to their gf's/wives/etc. Flowers? Romance? Why don't AMERICAN men get a day in art class wherein they learn how to kiss a woman's hand (like Alex did in his school!)? Do you know that Alex was told by folks in France that if he were to be polite and open up doors and such for women in America, he might get smacked because our women don't like that??? Wow! Not in the South, buddy! We're dying for it! Open away!

My ex was very concerned about what other males thought of his conduct in our relationship (IE, who wears the pants in your household?). So were just about every other male that I've ever dated. WHY is that? What is so "unmanly" about being nice to your sig other and taking her feelings into consideration? Even my brother Ken really seems to care about that issue. However, I have to say that my brother Mark has a different perspective, closer to Alex's. After he got married, he told us that he learned the key to a happy marriage. It was, "Avoid the pouty face at all times." Haha! Mark certainly doesn't let Julie walk all over him, nor does he give in if he thinks it's really important for him not to do so. But he has no reduction of testicular size if he just indulges Julie and lets her have her way here and there. Out of the four of us, Ken got a divorce...Rose's marriage goes in waves...I've got my ex so there's another failed marriage...and then there's Mark, who seems to have a fantastic marriage. No mere coincidence? I think not! Here's to men who ignore men who feel the need to tell them they are pussies just because they want to please their sig other! Here's to men who DO know when to stand firm, but also understand that being romantic and sweet does not rip away their Y chromosome! Cheers!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

F You Too!

Well, although I understand that I can't please all people all the time as a teacher, I always get a wee bit grumpy when anybody has negative feedback about me anyway! Usually my success rate as a teacher is pretty high. For instance, I had to talk six of my former students out of walking out of their 102 teacher's class this term because "she's not you, Kira." I was unsuccessful with the seventh one; he dropped and then demanded to Robin that she then add him into one of my (very full) classes. She declined. He was pissed. The end.

I had another student two days ago stop me in the hallway and ask me if he could transfer into my 102 class as he finds the new teacher incredibly boring. No, dear, sorry...not in the middle of the term like that. Still, it was very flattering.

Ran into another student who adores me today. She is pissed that she is not in my class although she finds the one she is in "ok."

Hell, the ONLY reason why Brit Lit I made the cut this term with 15 folks at registration is that five of those students are my former students. Last spring the department had to drop it because not enough people signed up. You have a better shot of that class "making" in the fall. This past fall, the class had 22 folks on Tuesday when I showed up to teach. By the next class I had my 30 maximum...word of mouth passed that I was the teacher. Ok, so, I know that I am a good teacher to most folks and on the whole I have a good rep. Yet, I find out that there are two negative comments and poof! I'm hurt. I know I'll get over it soon, but still, it bothers me. Y'all know how it is.

Comment #1: She SEEMS like she's cool, but she's not. She'll drop you if you go over your absences and makes it sound like it's the department head who makes her, but that's not true. And she hates men unless you kiss her ass.

Why is it, then, dear sir, that most of the former students who really like me are MALE??? Could it be that they "kiss my ass" by actually showing up to class? *GASP* And look, buddy, the absentee policy is clearly stated in the syllabus. I didn't make that muther up. I just follow it because I'd like my job, thanks.

Comment #2: She is ****ed up and immature. I was embarrassed in her class. She spent more time talking about the male anatomy than English. If you are clean, don't take her class.

Fucked up...check! Immature...no. Not really. I don't think that being sarcastic is immature. It's just, apparently, a sense of humor. I can buy you one if you like. I'm sorry you are embarrassed. Did mommy and daddy not inform you that girls have a vagina and boys have a penis? Surely this was not news to you! I am confused as to why you thought I talked about male anatomy so much. You see, the other student said I hated males. Surely, then, I don't talk about penises in class. In all actuality, although I will make a vulgar comment here and there, I don't talk about men's crotches in class. Imagine that. And I cover ALL the syllabus in ALL of my classes. My students do well on the whole after they leave my classes because I teach them to write. If you weren't so busy being embarrassed because somebody said "crap" in your classroom, you probably would have been able to pay attention and learn a hell of a lot. And what the heck does it mean that if you are clean don't take my class? What you mean to say is: if you are easily offended, don't take her class. Quaintly, I warn folks about that in EVERY class on the FIRST day: "If you are easily offended, don't take this class. I'm not the teacher for you." Did you have cotton in your ears? Or did you realize you'd be offended by anybody there at the school save maybe Emery who whites out offensive parts to poems and stories so the tender student eyes do not see the sexual organ words or damn or hell or crap words in all literature, so you just went ahead and stayed in my class??? I'm also wondering what specifically "if you are clean" means. I'm dirty, then? No, actually, I shower very regularly and I use soap! Did you mean clean-minded? Who the hell knows, you were too busy being embarrassed to pay attention to the important parts of class on how to write...so I can't expect to learn much from your writing!

So, over 20 students went independently to the administration this summer and said I rocked and needed to be made full time. I didn't know about ANY of them until afterwards. I had something blow up with a student at the end of last term that I got an ulcer over, but I handled it so well that the student and the student's mom both told the administration how terrific I was in the end (after all that bitching...sheesh...and for the record, he still got that F on his research paper...am I good or what?). The vice-dean of the school wrote me not one but TWO thank you notes about how I handled it, and Robin wrote me one too. I have students begging to get my classes. I had one student in my brit lit class state how she had me for 101, 102, and now brit lit and that she did this deliberately because I was her most favorite teacher ever. She decided to just announce this on the first day of class because she wanted to make sure everybody knew how lucky they were to get me! I have Brenda...well, you read that blog. Scroll down ;) Am I going to let these two fuckwits get to me? HELL NO! F YOU TOO!

Ok, that made me feel better. Ahhhhh.... :D


All right. Only because Amanda made me....

Random top 5 CD's: (If Amanda can do five, so can I. Oh wait, that sounds wrong...fun, but wrong!)

The Soundtrack from Bend It Like Beckham
U2: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
John Mayer: Heavier Things
Matchbox 20: Yourself or Someone Like You
Led Zepplin: Led Zepplin II

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer? Uhhhh well, I think about 200.

2. The last CD you bought is: Bought? As in, nobody gave me and I didn't "acquire"? Hmmm...Poe's Haunted? No, wait, that was Joe giving that to me. Uhhh...ok, Billy Joel's Glass House. I think.

3. What is the last song you listened to before this message: Clandestino by Manu Chao

4. Write down five songs you listen to a lot or mean a lot to you.

Your Body is a Wonderland: John Mayer
Memories: Cats
She's So High: Tal Bachman
Bitch: Meridith Brooks (my damn theme song!)
Closer: Nine Inch Nails

5. Who are you gonna pass this stick to (three persons and why)?

I'll pass it to Toss My Salad so that he has a first entry to write into his blog! Go Chuckie baby!

Alex. Because I want to see if I can guess some of his choices accurately.

Angie: I'm guessing some heavier metal there, but I'd just like to know. Besides, I read her blog regularly so I'd actually be able to find out rapidly hehe :D