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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!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Once A Week Blogger!

Yes, it seems that I can manage about once a week. Oh well.

So, the anxiety is much more managable this last week. I know it's temporary, though. I need to ask my doc about it, and I will eventually. Just not this week.

Last weekend, I took my good friend Shana--the woman who used to be married to my ex's brother--and her son Harvest with me and the kids to Columbia to visit Alex. How did life get so complex? Technically, I am Harvest's aunt because when he was born, I was married to his father's brother. But I'm not married to that man anymore. Still, I don't want to NOT be an aunt, so I am. He's my nephew. That won't change. But then what about Alex? Is he uncle number two? Shana navigated that one after she saw how stellarly Alex treated Harvest: definitely that's Uncle Alex. My kids have no desire to stop calling Shana "Aunt Shana" because she's always been their aunt, and the separation just happened in Sept. anyway. Harvest is their cousin forever regardless. Ug. What a pain to figure out what each of us is to the other now! I guess it all boils down to that we love each other. And that's that.

Alex has a good sense of what women need. He realized before Shana came to visit that, as a newly scarred woman in a just-crushed long term relationship, she would need to vent. He also realized she needed to vent away from her son. So, he shipped us off to Gervais and Vine to have wine and tapas while he tended all three children. There was little I could do to make up for that gallantry other than make his favorite chocolate pie and bring it to him as a reward. Well...there's obviously other stuff, but since Shana had to sleep in our room, that didn't really work out :)We had a blast, and Operation Spoil Shana worked out splendidly. It's funny to me how Alex gets even more excited than I do that we are making her feel relaxed and happy. I mean, she's MY close friend since 1993! He didn't meet her that long ago. Yet, he's grinning as he makes her sit down and fetches her son what he needs. God I love that man.

See, he's not spineless. He's not a weak man who lets others walk all over him, nor a slave. He just...is selfless. There's a huge difference. He LOVES helping other people. This is the man who listened carefully to my stories of how I felt one of my neighbors was overwhelmed as a very, very young single mother of two small children. Then, as a result of knowing her situation, he started carrying her garbage to the dumpster (a bit of a walk from our building) whenever she left it outside her door. She has no idea it's my husband who does that for her. All she knows is that some kind soul takes her trash for her and helps her out. He doesn't do it for the attention...he does it because he genuinely loves feeling needed. It's been really weird--but the good kind of weird--to adjust to a man like Alex. I'll never take him for granted.

So we did tag-team spoiling of Shana, and it worked. It's been a long time since I've seen her so together, happy, and whole.

Classes are going well, although I'm already slammed with papers to review this week. Bleh. After hearing about lecturers who are not being reappointed or are having some secondary evaluations being made to see if they should be evaluated, I am feeling much more blessed to have my reappointment letters.

iPods rock. Just for the record.

Oh, and the last bit of news: Radioactive Cat is 100% better! YAY! We just got the thyroid test results back this week. Indeed, what is there to feel anxiety about? Life is good.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I don't like to complain, but the truth of the matter is that my anxiety issues are expanding. I am guessing they are related to the birth control pill because they seem to be hormone based, so I will just have to discuss this with my gyn this month. Sigh. I do NOT enjoy having my heart thud all day long and feeling like sudden doom will come upon me at any moment. Alcohol dulls it, but I'm not a very good alcoholic. It's too bad, really, because I had a great example that way. I've had the best show me his stuff. But I just can't swing it. Oh well. Let's hope the doc has a more constructive suggestion. I suspect step one is to switch off my birth control pill...AGAIN!!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!


I received my reappointment letter. It generally says nice stuff. For those of you who are going, "What the heck is a reappointment letter?", I can tell you that at Clemson, when you are hired in the lecturer capacity, you are hired each year. You're evaluated, and after the materials you provide and the evaluator sees your teaching style, he or she makes the recommendation that you either should get lost or you should stay on. The letter--well, letters since there are two of them--are both good. There was only one part that made me scream:

My evaluator wants me to take Practicum with the grad students. WHY??? I can tell you why...because I MADE THE MISTAKE of telling him that I never have taken any education classes or been given instruction on teaching since I had a fellowship at USC instead of a TA, and I never had teaching/education classes at Tech either. So, he thinks it might be of benefit to me. I'm in year four of my teaching career, and...now I take the Practicum? Well, it's not offered in the spring, just the fall. SO! They want me to take the Practicum...in my FIFTH year of teaching? ARRGGHH! I'm going to see if I can just take some of the interesting, vaguely helpful classes that are offered in one session here and there on specific topics. I would MUCH rather do that (and it would be of actual value to me since I could pick out useful topics).

But, other than that, the situation is good. I have my contract renewed. Generally positive things were said about my teaching style relaxing the students and encouraging good discussion. So, at least I have a job next year. Woohoo!


And speaking of teaching...I had one new student this term come up to me because she wanted me to know she was taking the class specifically because her good friend, a student I had last term, insisted she would love me as an instructor. Apparently, her sense of humor and intense sarcasm is similar to mine. That cracked me up. I also had another guy come up to me after the first day and get very excited over my geek references during class. "I've NEVER had a teacher just admit that she liked this stuff before!" he bubbled, and that also made me laugh. I need moments like that to remind me that I'm appreciated for the quirkiness that I have as an instructor.


I feel wierd without Alex around me now. He started up classes today. I will see him Friday, but it just....doesn't feel right that he's not here. I became used to his presence over Christmas break.

It should be a fun four or five months without him, and I mean that sarcastically. The financial burden to pay for both households just increased dramatically because his student loan money is no more. I have to find a way to stretch my income to his place in Columbia, and I really don't make a load to begin with. BUT!!!! I am not panicking over this one. I refuse. It's temporary. At a minimum, even if he doesn't get a job right away, the problem will be lessened when he moves back here and we don't have to pay extra living expenses that way. And family will help if I need them to do so. Yes, it totally sucks. I turn 37 at the end of the month, and mommy and daddy (and big brother) still have to keep an eye out for me just in case. Damnit. But I also know that it's a big, big blessing to have that option. So, I am grateful, too.


I started a diet today. I give myself three days before I bolt, steal a box of Godivas, eat them all and then keep going. I have no willpower with food. None.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Go Cocks!

Ariana has to do a scrapbooking project for school. There are several different sections, all related to South Carolina. The current section that she must do is to find three South Carolina songs and write something personal about each one. Ari and I puzzled over which songs we could have her do that she'd be able to cover. Finally, I figured out two of them: the SC fight song and the Clemson fight song. I figured she could write about how both her parents have degrees from SC, yet her mother currently works at Clemson, and how she's been to both campuses, etc. Ari loved this idea, so we decided to head to the scrapbooking store here in our small town to find some USC and Clemson stickers. No problem. In SC, school rivalries are taken seriously, so you can pretty much find anything USC or Clemson anywhere in the state.

After leaving the store, Ariana and Jared started talking about the mascots. It was inevitable, I suppose. Ariana started saying in the loudest voice possible, "It's COCKS! Cocks. It's not a rooster, Jared, it's a COCK! COCK! DO YOU HEAR ME??? COCK!"


How does one explain this situation to a child? Additionally, how does one explain this to a child...without laughing one's arse off???

So, clearing my voice, I explained to Ariana that she should be careful about using that word because it has two meanings. "One is a type of fowl, called the gamecock. The other...well, it's slang for a man's penis. So, if you are just shouting out 'cock' all over the place, people might think you're a very rude little girl."

Ariana was horrified. Changing her previous stance, she pleaded, "Can't we just say rooster then?"

"No," I started to explain, "A rooster isn't very fierce. A gamecock, however, IS. They are especially trained for fighting. In fact, even though in many states it's illegal, there's cockfighting all over the place..."

Alex tried to keep a straight face. He failed. Laughing, then the kids did too as they had a visual image of...well, not the fowl type of cock, fighting. "AHAHAHAHA! Oh Mommy, that's so funny...cockfighting...AHAHAHA!"

Sigh. There's really no hope for any offspring of mine, is there?


So, my cat has only woken me up one (1) time in the middle of the night since we returned from Grant's over a week ago. I still can't figure out why Chian was so determined that Grant never sleep. Oh well. Maybe he just loves creepy ones more than me and hence needs to play with them all night long.


Classes start tomorrow for me. I was trying to get organized for the first day of classes. I am getting tired of the repetative opening intro lecture that I've now given for the last four years, even though each time I tweak it and change it. I know that part of it is just that first day, too, wherein you see the personality of each class. I'll have two classes to meet tomorrow, then two on Thursday. Tonight, I have to set up my courses on Blackboard. Even though I became quite comfortable working on Blackboard this last semester, Angie was the one who set up my courses on there the first time, so I will have to muddle through it tonight to figure out how to do it. At least this term I start out with a) paychecks immediately and b) in the system for email and Blackboard. That should make life easier.


I'm used to Alex being around me. It's been around four weeks since we've spent a night apart. I could get used to this. I am NOT looking forward to him disappearing this weekend for his classes next week. Sigh. Just a few more months, though, and he's here for good...just a few more months...

It's easier on the kids to have him here too. Jared and Ari will be very upset when he leaves. Five months is a long time to small children...eternity, almost.