My Photo
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!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Pre-Emptive Strike

...so, recently a fellow blogger had a crisis in her life that entailed what I had thought--from all descriptions provided--was a great guy. The weirdness of her breakup disturbed me because he did so many of the nice things that Alex does for me, and I always wonder if Alex's for real because he's wonderfully different from all other men I know. It made me stare at Alex and puzzle over if one day he'd flip out for no reason. I worry about that sometimes too because my ex flipped out suddenly, and I never thought it would have ended like that. It took me forever to learn to trust Alex because I kept waiting for the day I'd wake up and he'd be screaming. It never happened. It still hasn't. Alex is very aware that this is a fear of mine, too, because I've brought it up a few times. When are you going to stop being so perfect and not annoying, I've asked him? It usually makes him smile.

So, I brooded about this other man and his actions for a couple of days. Then, as Alex was in the middle of cleaning, I turned to him and said, eyes wide with panic, oh Alex thank you for not...

...and he cut me off! And with a sly grin he said, oh Kira thank you so very much for not doing X, Y, and Z (all the things I was going to say to him, basically, except he turned it on me). Thank you for being wonderful and with me and loving, he finished up, and I stared at him and laughed. He really knows me that well at this point, and he knows how to calm me down. That was nice.


I will never tire of constant massage, bubble baths, flowers, and chocolate. However, the man who vacuums and mops is truly the most sexy.


My nine and a half year old daughter has started to have some chest development. I'm sure one day she'll be thrilled that I just blogged about this and request additional money for therapy. But anyway! I am so confused about it all. I DO NOT want teen years to come soon, and here is the first day of spring so to speak. I mean, I want my children to grow up healthy and happy, but when they do start to grow up, there's so much more to worry about. And then one day they leave. It's all so scary....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Today's Funny

...my Dad sent me this one via email, and I had to share:

The 6th grade science teacher, Mrs. Parks, asked her class, "Which human body part increases to ten times its size when stimulated?"

No one answered until little Mary stood up and said, "You should not be asking sixth-graders a question like that! I'm going to tell my parents, and they will go and tell the principal, who will then fire you!"

Mrs. Parks ignored her and asked the question again, "Which body part increases to 10 times its size when stimulated?"

Little Mary's mouth fell open. Then she said to those around her, "Boy is she going to get in big trouble!"

The teacher continued to ignore her and said to the class, "Anybody?"

Finally, Billy stood up, looked around nervously, and said, "The body part that increases 10 times its size when stimulated is the pupil of the eye." Mrs. Parks said, "Very good, Billy," then turned to Mary and continued. "As for you, young lady, I have three things to say: One, you have a dirty mind. Two, you didn't read your homework. And, three,one day you are going to be very, very disappointed."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What I Learned

I loved being in Louisville for the readings. We happened to be stationed in one location with the French lit/language readers and the statistics readers too. I never really spoke to the statistics readers, but I had a blast meeting some of the French readers. Most of them were Americans who had a passion for France, but I had this facinating hours-long conversation with one French woman who had moved here 30 yrs ago, giving up her country out of love for her husband. 30 years later, she facinated me by how French she remained in so many ways, yet how she had also adapted to the parts of America that appealed to her. She gave me this pep talk about learning French, too...she scolded me for being unwilling to try to say and prounounce words/phrases in conversation because that's the only way I'll learn (she's right). She told me how frustrated she was when she studied in England for a year at first because she was so scared to speak in English, even though she understood a lot, and when she finally decided "this is silly--I need to just speak," she made numerous embarrassing errors. But only through those errors did she become the fluent speaker that she is today. I could only hear a faint hint of her French accent. Her vocabulary and grammar were flawless. It was a message I need to hear a lot, I suppose.

The food sucked. Now, even though I can be quite picky about some foods due to my own explorations in the kitchen, on the whole I'm easy to please. Or at least, it's easy to get me to say that the food is "decent" at a minimum. But no--it SUCKED. I started skipping dinner even though it was free and eating fruit and pretzels instead because after breakfast and lunch, I couldn't face the cafeteria again. If they had kept me there for two months, I would have lost all the weight I needed to lose. My problem is that I love good food. But I hate bad food, and I will refuse to eat it even when on the edge of starvation, so all you have to do is make it so that the bad food options are all I get. That will never happen at home...

The AP English lit folks like to make 60% of us college teachers and 40% of us high school teachers. The high school teachers fight for the right to go grade and often wait years to get to go. Obviously, if they teach AP English, this experience can help them immensely as they prepare their kids for the exam. It's harder to convince college teachers to go, so I think that I'll be invited back next year. Even though I missed Alex and the kids like crazy, I liked hanging out with other literary geeks and enjoyed the experience on the whole. The grading pace was insane, and I'm glad I won't be looking at more student essays for the rest of the summer. Here's what I learned:

1) A disabled person is "handied cap."
2) George Orwell apparently wrote a sequel I never read entitled 1985
3) The Great Gatsby is by Oscar Wilde, and the main female character is Ophelia
4) Hamlet and Macbeth are easily mistaken for one another
5) When in doubt, make up a new word. My favorite was "dishoveled" (and apparently, from scanning the net, this is a popular new word--it creates an interesting mental image, so maybe we'll get that one in the dictionary one day! I think it's more interesting than "disheveled")
6) Students really just want to write on Moby Dick so that they can have the opportunity to scribble out the phrase "sperm whale." Or, even better, "Giant Albino Sperm Whale."
7) We had one essay supposedly on The Death of a Salesman that identified the title character as Stanley Lowman. One of my tablemates renamed the work Death of a Streetcar.

Then there were the funny sentences that amused us:

1) In reference to The Sun Also Rises and the main character's inability to get it up, thereby causing problems in the relationship with the woman he loved: "Doesn't he have two hands and a mouth? There are many ways to pleasure a woman!"
2) "I don't know what syntax means; however, that won't stop me from trying to write about it."
3) In reference to The Scarlett Letter: "Too bad Hester didn't live in New York City instead of Boston. No one would have cared there." (IE, about her adulterous affair)
4) "They were badly mistreated; in fact, they were killed." (I'm not sure killing is really THAT bad of a mistreatment....)
5) "Without a past, the future would be impossible" (no, really! ya think?)
6) "Past relationships have caused people to become bitter; high school has driven people insane."
7) About Faust: "The demonic pact was a bad call on Faustus's part, but he was old already."

Some of the essays were, as my table leader said, "mercifully brief," so when I said that I graded over 1000 essays, some of them were just a paragraph or two long (my question was the last one, so sometimes the students ran out of time). Then we occasionally had kids who didn't care about the exam who would draw pictures and write quirky stuff inside the book instead. So, it's not like it was 1000 essays of 6 pages, but damn it was still a lot!

Anyway, I am now glad to have my summer to myself. Life is good right now--for the first time in years, we're ok with money over the summer, and that relief is amazing. I'm used to surviving over the summer on a few thousand dollars less than we have available to us, but since Alex's internship is paid, we're doing ok. I stare at my checkbook and go, "Oh wow, there's still money in there!!!" What a nice feeling. I hope it continues!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Back Again

I had a week plus at the AP English Lit conference in Louisville, KY, and I'll write about it soon. I'm just now recovering. I had thought about contacting SC to see him, but then I realized that this was my first year and I'd be jumping through hoops (plus my 91 yr old grandma lived there and I wanted to visit on my free time). It was busy as hell. I graded over 1000 essays. My brain leaked out of my ears. Yet, I would do it again.... I have to admit that it was the first real conference I've ever been to with tons of English lit folks, and the day a bunch of us rode the elevator and seven of us started reciting the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in middle English, I knew immediately why so many folks went to these things. Wow. I'll blog about it later, but just know this: I was so glad I went!!!! And not just for the paycheck!