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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, June 30, 2008

Accidents Happen

Well, Alex was on his way back from the weekend last Friday when his tire exploded. It didn't go flat; it blew *kerPOW!* Now, one thing you have to keep in mind is that Alex has only been driving for about two years. Why did he need to know how to drive over in France when the public transportation was so good? So, he didn't get his license until he came over here. Last May, I bought a new Mazda 3 and gave him my old Mazda Protege. Our next project is to replace said Protege because it's got 185k miles on it. I didn't think the tires were due to be changed, though...and the guy at the tire place said that the other three were fine, so maybe not. Who knows why it blew? All I know is that I am INCREDIBLY HAPPY that Alex managed to keep control of the car while driving speedily down the interstate as it blew, and he did not get into an accident nor cause an accident. Whew! In many ways, it's just a metaphor for life: there you are, driving down the road, when suddenly something unexpected happens. And how you react to it determines your own path and the path of others.

Anyway, I've decided that Alex must have cooties this weekend because not only did his tire screw up but also his cell phone. The contract expires on his cell phone in September, so I desperately did not want it to die NOW. "Now" means we have to BUY a new phone instead of get one free with a two-year contract. Sigh. But at least I found a place that sells used, refurbished cell phones (with a 30 day warranty) that will be compatable with our current service--just switch out the SIM card and we're good. So, that's better than spending hundreds on a new, great phone. We'll worry about something spiffy rather than functional in Sept.

I'm afraid people will kill me for the last "accident" I'm listing off today. I'm accidentally losing weight. I'm not dieting; I'm eating all the chocolate and drinking all the wine I usually consume. However, there are three factors that have changed in my life. In January, I started eating more fruits and vegetables because I was worried I wasn't getting in enough of them. At the same time, I started drinking more water and cut myself back to one soda a day. Then in May, I started up a job wherein I have to walk, walk, walk...and I gave up sodas entirely because I just decided that there's no value at all to drinking a chemical concoction. To give you an idea of HOW much I have to walk, I took Alex's pedometer to work with me out of curiosity on Saturday. After a 9 and a half hour shift, I had walked 23,014 steps. Basically, you're doing good if you can manage to swing 10,000 steps a day. I'm more than doubling it. I keep wondering what it'll be like after my 12 and a half hour shift on Thursday. Now, it's just a part time job, but I guess every little bit helps. My metabolism has never been bad (although it certainly has slowed over the years--that getting older and giving birth thing), and I guess this is the proof. I still eat insane amounts of food and calories, but these small changes had me go from 134 lbs in December to 123 lbs now. My clothes that were really, really tight now fit comfortably. Amazing. I'll take that and say "thank you."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reading, Reading, Reading

I wish that title were a reference to me reading fun books and magazines, but it's not. I've been at the AP English Lit reading and grading essays for the past week plus. It was frustrating because the question I read upon was harder than the similar question was last year, and so they sucked. SUCKED. I mean, I read for AP last year and it wasn't nearly so bad. This year? Pitiful. On a scale from 0 to 9, most of the essays were 4 or lower. That makes me sad.

The essay I read was based on an exerpt from a book called Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai. It looked very interesting, so I'll look up the novel at the local library sometime this summer. The passage involved a tale about an Indian exchange student named Arun. Unfortunately, the kids would panic so much about the AP exam that frequently they couldn't even spell Arun's name right even though it was right in front of them (Aran, Aurun, Verun, Hrun...you name it). I also had some winner statements that made me laugh out loud, like the student who wrote that Arun was an exchange student from INDIANA. Or that Arun was named Arun not because of his Indian heritage but due to the fact that he wanted to "A-run" away from everything. Or that modest clothing was common in India but not in America...that you couldn't find modest clothing in America unless you went to India to buy it...oh wait, maybe you could get it at Wal-Mart. Man, those moments made my reading so much more humorous!

Then there was a girl who decided to write an essay on her guidance counselor instead of the exerpt. I found that one facinating, actually, even if it was a zero. She mentioned that her guidance counselor told her that she was poop and couldn't succeed in life, let alone go to Virginia Tech. But the girl defied her and applied to VT, and she got in...early decision. Yay! I like stories when the bad guys go down in flames. I hate it when teachers tell kids they can't do X or Y. Yes, I've told students before that their strengths are math instead of English, but that's VERY different. Usually that's followed up with something about how they can certainly still get an A out of an English class if they let me help them because I know that their hard work can get them to their goals. I can't imagine telling a child that he/she/it can't do shit because he/she/it is worthless or incapable. Come on. We can all do amazing things if we just want to, eh?

I need the money from the week of AP readings, but I also enjoy just connecting with rising high school seniors that way--through their essays. I like knowing what skills your average student will have when escaping high school. I also like chatting with the other English lit geeks. We're an odd bunch, but a fun bunch too.


I don't like little dogs. I don't. I don't. I swear I'm a big dog gal. But....

...a woman from the English dept. needed her dog taken care of for six months as she moved out to England. Alex immediately volunteered because he wanted company in Rock Hill during the week. I thought, well that's fine, he needs company. We can help her and make Alex happy at the same time. The dog is a little mini-pin, cute as a button, and as shy and skittish as our Firepaw Mercutio (the orange tabby cat we adopted from Angie's Rescue Mission, Inc., last fall).

Oh, shit, I love this dog. Sigh. So do the kids! We've won her over. We've gotten her to enjoy the cats (and the cats her). We've gotten her to be NOT uncomfortable or shy. She's cuddly, smart, sweet, enthusiastic, and well-behaved.

I think in Nov. when Blackie leaves, we'll have to get ourselves a dog....or at least another cat....