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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!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The General News

So I thought you guys would be interested to know the big news:

Alex and I decided to do the civil ceremony NOW, and then do the party in France probably in December of 2007. So, those who want a reason to be in Clermont-Ferrand at that time, you have it! Come on down! Haha!

So, when do I legally become Mrs. Sol?

Sept. 2nd, Saturday. A week from today.

We aren't inviting anybody save the witnesses and the children. It's sort of a "get r done" type of arrangement that will make immigration easier for him later on and our life easier NOW in a variety of ways. Grant had an excellent point earlier: maybe a year and a half of being married will calm me down enough to relax and enjoy the big party later on. I think he's totally right.

It's not like I have any doubts about Alex. Let's review. He loves my kids as his own, gets along with them better than their own father, and loves kids so much he wants more. In addition to loving kids, he loves animals, and he has pretty much taken on my cat Chian as his too (in fact, we sometimes have wars over who gets cat custody for the week...haha!). He listens when I babble, even if it's about stupid stuff. I know he's listening because six months later, he can act upon what I said or repeat back to me word for word what was bothering me. I get flowers, chocolates, and small gifts from time to time for no reason. I get nightly--and I DO mean NIGHTLY--massages of 30 min or more. I finally have a man who has a libido that can stand up to mine (not that you want to know this, but, um, I have problems wearing down men. I tease Alex that it's another reason why I went younger this time! haha!). He is physically gorgeous to me, containing the three major elements I find most physically appealing (jawline, light colored eyes, dark hair). He smells fantastic. He has a huge heart, willing to assist anyone at any time. Although very selfless, he also can put his foot down and have his own needs met when needed so that he doesn't ever get resentful. He's patient. He's considerate. He's smart, and damn does he make me laugh. We share similar passions (for geek things, movies, cuddling, books, travel, food, wine, etc.). He is motivated and works hard, plus knows how to budget and handle money. Additionally, he CLEANS MORE THAN I DO. Damn. The man is always vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, or washing SOMETHING. Alex does not scream when he is upset...ever. Nor get a nasty face. He just quietly lets it be known that things are not making him happy, and then he wants to discuss the situation until we are both happy with the results.

I have never been happier in my life. I have a true partner, and I can't be thankful enough he entered my life. Plus, my family and friends all love him too! Nobody can ever come close to the great fit that is Alex in my life. I especially love how I can be the total bitch that I sometimes am and he just...looks at me with that adoring smile, saying "I love you." He doesn't care that I am a natural flirt, nor does he care that I can be very sharp with my words. He thinks it's great! Wow. Several years have passed, and here we are at this fantastic jumping point to the great beyond.

And hell, if it doesn't work out, Grant has strict orders to shoot me on sight ;) Alex has never screwed up, but I have one marriage behind me. Obviously if things go awry again, it's ME and not him, so Grant has agreed--out of feck off with love for me--to kill me if it doesn't work out. Where are the worries then? None, really.

We have the rings. I love the man in a way I never thought was possible to love another. As this morning unraveled, I marveled how we all just act like a family. Ari and I were talking about her current Man Situation, curled up in a bed and giggling, and Alex was on the floor building bionicles with Jared. So peaceful. So homey. So perfect. What did I ever do to deserve great friends, great family, great kids, and a great husband-to-be??? Whatever it is, I want to keep on doing it because this is just...wow.

Just wow.



So, on the Ariana front, speaking of the man thing:

Last year, her boyfriend was Mark (second grade love!). Mark never contacted Ari over the summer, and when they came back to school he assumed that no matter what, she was still his. He didn't have to say anything or do anything. Ari was his *grunt, club, drag off to lair*. Mark is smart and funny and nice, so it's not like I have an objection here to Ari hanging out with him, but still. That's the set up.

For several years at Ari's school, there has been this darling boy named Andrew who has worshipped her in a way that makes EVERYBODY know that she is adored totally by him. I admit the bias: he reminds me of the way that Alex treats me. Andrew sent Ari a carnation last year for Valentine's Day even though they weren't an item...and it made me sniff. Ari was pleased too. He felt he never had a chance with her. She was his dream girl, and he didn't deserve THAT. But he kept trying...awww, I guess that reminded me of Alex!

So the year starts out, and Andrew remains devoted to her, then asks if she will be his girlfriend. He asked twice when Mark continued to just assume. Now, in a situation that is sure to change by the time she is a teen, Ari said: I can't tell you my answer until I talk it over with my mom. She gives great advice, and I need to talk to her first.

(ok, so when she told me that part, I sniffed a lot...so sue me).

Friday, she told Andrew. Friday I will give you my answer. So, Thursday I pick them up at school and Ari tells me all of that. "What should I do?" she asks, clearly anguished.

"Well, has Mark said he cares for you or anything affectionate since school started? Did he ask you if you'd still be his girlfriend?"


"Ok, do you play with him at least?"

"Yeah, with others, but he seems to just think we're together and never talks to me about anything."

"Ok, so how does Andrew treat you? In contrast?"

"He talks to me a lot, tells me how much he likes me and how great I am, and asks me to be his girlfriend." (remember now we're at third grade....awwww!)

"Ok, so how does that make you feel? Do you like that, or do you prefer the way Mark interacts with you?"

(long pause)

"Mom, I think I need to be with Andrew because he's a better communicator. I think he'll work out better with me. He DOES treat me better for sure."

"Ok, then, so what do you think you should do?"


"Ok, I tell Andrew tomorrow that I'm his girlfriend!"

Andrew died of joy on Friday. It was so sweet. And Ari is happy with her choice. If only adult decisions could be made with such ease........

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My New Life: The Beginnings

Ok, before I detail my first day running around Clemson, let me just share with you a picture a friend sent me. It's Alex holding Jared. Now, you have to understand that my son, Jared, doesn't really like men. He likes girls. It's a long story as to why he doesn't really like men and why his relationship with his father can be, at times, awkward. Regardless, it's always amazing when he decides he loves a guy. Alex is definitely on that list. In fact, Jared has let me know on a number of occasions that no adult male ranks higher than Alex in his life (his best friend who is his age--and only real boy who is a friend--is Jake, and Jake ranks highest total on the boy list...haha!). Anyway, I thought this picture was cute! Since this is a pre-haircut photo for Alex, he will likely kill me for sharing it. I'll have to rely on feminine wiles to save my ass.

So, yesterday I had to run around Clemson. I needed to get as much set up as possible since classes start on Wednesday. Then I found out that because my background check hadn't come back yet--the perils of a new hire--I couldn't do SQUAT as far as getting my email, playing with blackboard, getting an ID, getting my parking tag, etc. I had to get a temporary parking tag to help me out until the rest of the paperwork gets in.

The first thing I noticed about CU is that it's freakin' HUGE. If I needed to go from one end of Premiere Tech to the other, it just didn't take long. This is just not the situation at CU. The best thing to do is cry for joy when you find a parking spot, sacrifice your goat in thanks, and then DO NOT MOVE THE CAR. That will result in parking space lossage. Walking, instead, is the best option. It's part of the health plan: walk, walk, then walk some more. You will not catch me wearing uncomfortable shoes at school. That would be the death of me. Whatever I ate for lunch was burned off by the end of the day. I think I'll be losing weight, something my lazy ass self needs anyway, so eh.

The campus is actually pretty. I was surprised I felt that way since I'm totally biased about Duke having such a gorgeous campus that none other can compare, the end. But yes, actually, CU's campus is lovely. That's a good thing since I will be enjoying a lot of it as I walk here and there daily.

As I walked down the halls and found my office (to be shared with three other lecturers), I realized that if this were either of my alma mater schools, I'd feel rather wierd then being able to teach there. At USC, I had a fellowship so I never had a chance to teach. Of course I never taught as an undergrad at Duke. But what if I went back NOW to teach? To walk in the classes and sit on the desk up front (of course sit ON the desk!) instead of in a desk in the back in the very same rooms would be strange, to say the least.

My first day there, everybody was super nice to me and helpful. I badgered Amanda a lot--something I feel vaguely guilty for because she was SO incredibly busy for a variety of reasons--but that was great to know I had somebody there TO badger. The woman who hired me is fantastic. I sat down and talked to her for about a half hour. I was able to meet one of "my" graduate students--a first year who will be doing two out of the four writing labs for the classes I teach. She seems friendly and individualistic. I think she'll be relieved that I'm the teacher she has to work with. Well, once she figures out how laid-back I am about "whatever it takes" to teach the kids and how I'll support whatever she wants to do in the lab as long as it helps the kids, I think she'll be glad at least.

I was given an ancient laptop to use. Hey, that's better than nothing!

One of the primary lessons I learned yesterday is that faculty meetings are BORING. Sigh. At Premiere, we never were included in meetings or anything because adjuncts were a lower rung on the totem pole there. Here, lecturers are full staff in how they are included. I'm even supposed to go to a retreat on Friday with the crew. So, anyway, I went to my first meeting. They voted on folks for committees, and I didn't vote because I had NO clue who was what. They also discussed the budget. Amanda had warned me about this, but...let's just say that I wish I had a dollar for every time they mentioned "to meet the goal of being a top 20 school" or some variant thereof. Anyway, the one part I found interesting was the ways that the department had found to raise money to help pay for other things. None of these ways involved "making the students pay a nameless fee," so that was cool. My biggest shock at the meeting? A teacher from Tech was there too as he was hired full-time. This fellow was the last person I expected to see at CU, so I was caught off-guard.

The last big surprise was a fantastic one. See, I was already excited because I was going to work less (I only teach four classes vs. the five to six classes I taught at Tech; no Writing Center hours at CU needed, vs. 10 hrs a week at Tech) for about $5k more a year. They gave the lecturers a raise this summer! So, I just found out yesterday that it's actually less work for $8k a year more than I made before. WOOHOO! Now I can afford to do whatever is necessary for my cat (my kitty is older and was just diagnosed with hyperthyroid...he's a good boy and deserves to be all patched up if I can manage it...at least now I know why he was waking me up for food, hungry, all the time, drinking more water than normal, and yowling a lot more).

So, things are looking up! I need to meet my other lab teacher and do more reading for the classes. I need to tweak the syllabus, email some people, and get everything straight for tomorrow. Most importantly, I need to get INTO the system after my background check comes back. After all that, I think I'll just sit back in awe of my good fortune. When Angie sent me the email about the lecturer positions a few months ago, I honestly had no idea if I could get one of the positions. And now! Here I am. Life is quite good!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Well, That Was Fast!

Thanks to having friends who care about me a LOT and are willing to pester people for me...a LOT...I have....

A JOB!!!!!

Yes, I shall be starting up at Clemson University teaching four classes for the fall, and I will begin next Wednesday.

Note: the job is for more pay for doing less work and actually has health insurance. That's right...for the first time in four years, I shall have health insurance. WOOHOO!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pardon Me While I Puke

I was supposed to start up teaching in my usual adjunct position next Monday at the local community college.

Did you see the words "supposed to"????

I was just told that sessions had to be cancelled, and so therefore they probably won't need me for the fall. Now, I've worked there for three years. I get fantastic evals. I get along great with the staff. They already screwed me over RE: full-time position earlier this summer, but I didn't think it was THIS bad. What did I do? I review in my head over and over and over again...and nothing comes up. The one time I remember a conflict--serious--with a student, I handled it so well the Vice Dean of the school sent me not one but TWO thank you notes.

I've never had a job wherein they didn't beg me to stay when it was time to leave. I've never NOT been promoted and applauded. I am a hard worker, especially when I care about something as much as I do teaching. I'm just....stunned.

Well, stunned and panicking. I have two children to feed. I already was broke. I was relying on starting up next week for income. I might be able to do some hours in the Writing Center as a tutor, but that won't do more than maybe pay my basics.

So...pardon me while I puke. I have no idea what I'm going to do. None.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why My Daughter May Not Be Allowed To Have Friends

Finally! That's one of the lovely pictures Amanda took of my darling children :)

So, here we go...my daughter has a little playmate here at the apartment complex. The girl has been over a few times now. I already had to laugh because the girl, J, said "I had to quit ballet because the outfit showed my shoulders." I looked at her and asked if her bathingsuit covered more or less than her ballet outfit. She said, less, but she was IN THE WATER with the bathingsuit so nobody saw her shoulders. I said, "So, you never stand when you swim? You always are doggy paddling? Is that why nobody sees your shoulders?" Clearly, her brain started to explode and I realized I had best backpedal. "Um, well, if it bothers you of course you shouldn't do it and wear that outfit...." Then she happily told me that clogging required them to wear full shirts. Ok then.

Well, see, my daughter is worse. What happens when you take a smart girl who has been given the facts of life by her mom? Here's what happens....

J: Well, I KNOW that people have to be married to make babies.

Ariana, looking amazed: Who told you that nonsense? It's a good IDEA to be married first, but the way to make one is the same if you're married or not.

Oh yeah. My children will be banned from associating with the pure. That's all I can say. First I show them humping ducks...and then I tell her the stork did NOT bring them to me. You have to understand that this is also the girl who told me that she figured out that Santa didn't exist because he used our wrapping paper and had my handwriting, "But don't worry I won't tell Jared." Apparently, there was no such promise to not tell other kids about sex. Ok, so let's look on the bright side: at least now J won't be having sex with her bf at 14 thinking it was ok because they weren't married and so she'd never get pregnant!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fecking Ducks

Yesterday, Amanda wanted to take pictures of my kids. So, we met at the Clemson botanical gardens, and she snapped a few good ones.

EDIT: blogger won't let me upload the fecking picture of the kids. I removed the tiny one to put in the bigger one, and asshole blogger won't let me. I'll try later.

Nothing could have been better than seeing the ducks, however.

As the kids watched, one all white, rather large duck ran away from a smaller male mallard. We were making jokes about it, unaware that what we were about to see was a duck orgy!

No, that one is not her picture. We had the unfortunate occurance that by the time the ducks went at it, she was out of film. See, the big white duck running off was prime for makin' baby ducks, and the male mallard--who cares if he's another species?--figured it out. Another big white duck joined in the chase, and I couldn't stop laughing as the two males piled it on, trying to get at the girl duck. DUCK ORGY TIME! I could barely get out the explanation to my kids that they were having sex, trying to make baby duckies, because I was laughing so hard.

Of course that alone reminded me that I'm not a normal mom that way. I remember being at the zoo once and this rhino let loose his manhood right there, and this woman--rather than answer her daughter's innocent question about "what was THAT?", instead gave a small screech and dragged her daughter off, telling her to hush and never mind. Ari was maybe two at that time. She pointed at it and looked at me and asked what it was. I just shrugged. "It's the Rhino's penis," I answered, and she went, "Ooohhh. Ok!" then went off to stare at the giraffes. I'm apparently not supposed to explain these things because it will somehow pollute my kids' minds. Oh well. They're MY kids. Their minds were polluted when they were born. It's ok :)

Now, because my mind doesn't work right, I went ahead and searched the net for duck sex pictures. I wanted to see how common it is for them to have this little orgy. It seems it's QUITE common, and it's always a bunch of guys jumping on one girl. I haven't found any pictures of one male duck going at it with all these females waiting in line. I can't decide if that is MORE intriguing to me than a pig's 30 minute orgasm or not.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Well, our weekend went like this: drive from Columbia to the upstate with two children in the car, drop them off at their father's office so he could have them for the weekend, then drive three hours to Grant's apartment in Atlanta. Along the way, it took longer than three hours because there was a spectacular accident...in the other freakin' lane. I wish I could blow up the car of anybody who holds up traffic just because they can't afford theatre tickets and so they want to stop in the middle of a busy interstate and stare at the wreck on the other side. There was seriously nothing wrong with anybody inbound for Atlanta on I-85. It was the outbound lane. But, every yahoo had to stop and stare, trolling his or her car along at 2 mph.

When we arrived, I had a need to consume alcohol and rapidly because, damnit, we were to watch Suicide Club and Battle Royale. I am SO glad I drank a bottle of wine. I handled it all very well after that point. I am not desensitized to violence enough to watch J-horror without being intoxicated. The alcohol also helped the pain. See, this whole last week I've been helping Alex move from one apartment to the other, all while watching the kids. I was SORE, especially after then being in the car for five hours on Friday. I woke up with a mild headache. SURPRISE!

You know, I hate the traffic in Atlanta, but the weekend on the whole reminded me of exactly why it'd be cool to live there for a while. First of all, Grant had no problem finding a place nearby that accomodated working schedules that taught languages, so he is able to go off on Sat. mornings to Japanese class. THAT is probably what I need for French if I ever want to get up to speed. Then there's all the great food right around the place...we ate at Umezono's (good Japanese food) twice, then also Pappasito's (good Mexican food), and finally Papadeux (good cajun food). I HAD OYSTERS!!!! Sorry. That was very exciting because you can't find them very many locations where I live (unless you want them raw or fried, which is not my preference). Next, Marietta has the big chicken, and the lack of said chicken in MY town makes me sad. They also have the hugest Whole Foods I've ever seen: Harry's Farmer's Market. I could live in that store.

On Saturday, we hung out with Angie (not to be confused with Jadedprimadonna) and Tim along with our host. Tim and Angie let me babble at them about wine when we were in Harry's; Grant wisely ran off with Alex to the beer section instead. Eventually, when we were back at Grant's place, we ended up spending half the time in the kitchen talking. Everybody got along fantastically! It was like a mini bloggercon in Atlanta, and we definitely have to do it again. I've had terrific luck meeting folks off the net so far in my life, honestly.

On Sunday, Grant and I watched Shaun of the Dead while Alex worked on some of his homework (Alex's MBA program has a rough week this week what with stuff due and tests, but he wanted to go to Atlanta anyway, so this was how he did some of his work and still managed to go). Towards the beginning of the movie, Shaun's girlfriend makes it clear what they need to do for their anniversary and that they are to do it and he has to like it. Grant made a comment about how he hated that...not only were you expected to do something you didn't want to do, but that you had to like it as well. I laughed. We talked about it for a while as the movie continued, and then the whole incident sat at the back of my head until this morning when, for whatever reason, I started thinking about it again.

Compromise. We all know that relationships require compromise, but how much? You DO have to occasionally do something you don't really want to do just because it's so important to the other person, but when half of your experiences with that person (or more!) are compromises of doing what you don't want to do, then I say run. Why, you ask? Well, to me that indicates that you don't have enough in common anyway to make it in the long haul! If everything I want to do he doesn't and vice-versa, then whenever we walk out of the bedroom we're going to be miserable. With Alex, we just have a fair bit in common, so when we want to go out to eat it's at the same types of places (I had to train him on Mexican food as it's not common in France, but he got there! haha!). Even though I'm the female in the universe who likes to shop the least, Alex likes to shop so whenever I DO have the urge to go to the mall, he's there and happy about it. We like the same types of movies. We like many of the same types of games and such too. Most of our music tastes accomodate the other's. That really makes it a LOT easier. However, we do have to compromise on occasion. For instance, the other weekend when my kids wanted all of us to go to the lake together, this was definitely a compromise for Alex because he's not into nature at all. He's a city boy. If he's going to swim, he'd prefer a water park or somewhere with no bugs and lots of chlorine. But, he did it and he did it with a smile on his face...and in the end, he found he enjoyed himself too.

You know, I DO think that if you agree to compromise and do something for the other person, you shouldn't be a wet blanket about it. If you can't be happy about it, then don't DO it. Say no. And if your woman or man keeps asking you to do shit that you'd rather gnaw off your right arm than do, I think you need to find a new significant other who is more compatable to your tastes. OR! Find other people to do these activities with. I would never dream of asking Alex to go camping for a weekend. If I wanted to do that with the kids yet wanted another adult around, I have several friends who could step up for me. Why make Alex miserable just because I want him there? Compromise goes from both sides. Sometimes it means that you do what the other wants, and you do it with love in your heart. Sometimes it means you don't even ASK the other to do it because you know he or she would really hate it, and you get somebody else to do it with you. Of course, then we have to get into another issue: jealousy. Sometimes a guy might like, say, hockey and his girlfriend doesn't. He should be able to go out, unpestered, to hang with his guy friends at bars to watch the hockey game or to go to one without the girl getting pissed because he's not spending more time with her. If you can't trust him to behave himself when he's out without you, then you've got the wrong guy...let him go. For pete's sake! Don't be a fecking babysitter! People can do things without each other, you know? Couplehood does not mean blending into one being and never separating.

So there you have it: my levels of compromise. I think you shouldn't ask a sig other very often to do something you know that he or she won't like. You should try to find other ways around that. If there are too many things you want to do that he or she doesn't, you don't have enough in common. If you have to always ask, even if the person does it, eventually there will be resentment. BUT! If you agree to do it, don't be an asshole. I can't imagine it would be fun for a man who loves hockey to take a woman with him who doesn't...and instead of trying to follow the game and what is going on, she whines all the way through and looks bored. Stay home, dumb ass. Wet blanket syndrome sucks. Ok, that's my two cents!