Friday, May 30, 2008


(Yes, I just used emoticons as my title. Despite my English teacher status, I have a peculiar fondness for those punctuated emotional expressions. How ever did we convey our feelings before their brilliant creation?)

Students who impress me, singing in the hallway with fellow teachers, the much anticipated movie version of SATC, enjoying it with friends after dinner, five days of school left, students turning in extra credit the day it is due to bring their grades up to passing, fresh flowers, cool rains, great sex, joining the HRC, playing DDR instead of treadmilling, no papers to grade, cranberry-orange scones, flip-flop Friday, dinners at the table with my husband every night this week, the conversations we have during and after, Bed Bath & Beyond gift certificates spent on kitchen luxuries (do you have a mandoline slicer?), browsing the racks at Dick's sporting goods just for fun, stopping at Target to buy a 3 lb. bag of gummy bears, loving the little moments together that make life fabulous.

Students who annoy me, the start of the hurricane season, a failed recipe*, forgetting an appointment, a plateau in my weight loss, 12 weeks until school starts, hair that is still wet two and a half hours after my shower, Lisa going to the finale in Top Chef, the inevitable end of Hillary's campaign, missing faraway friends, tornadoes, car accidents, high gas prices, and all the other depressing news stories that make me feel lucky to be alive and well.

*Quick story about failed recipe: A while back I bought some swordfish. Granted it was frozen, but it was still a little spendy. I thawed it and planned Wednesday's meal around it: Mango salsa cous cous, caesar salad, season the fish with lemon juice, olive oil, a variety of spices. The cous cous was yummy ummy, but then I bit into my fish. Hmmm. Perhaps it was just that bite, or just my fish. "Have you tried your fish yet, dear?" "No [takes a bite, makes a face]. Have you?" We struggle as to who will say it first. Since I cooked it, I better say it, "It's not good." "No, it's not." "Gross, in fact." "Fishy." "Chewy." "Yuck." I tell my husband I feel bad (I always feel bad when I try something new and he doesn't like it, but this time it was a disaster). He says, "It's not your fault. It's the fish. Stupid swordfish. Maybe it ate some bad clams." Maybe you had to be there, but I laughed enough to make myself tear up. We throw it away, the stupid swordfish, and make sandwiches instead. Him: turkey and cheddar; me: peanut butter and grape jelly. Then I read an article saying mercury levels in swordfish are ridiculous and to avoid it altogether. I guess we dodged a bullet there:-)

Happy Summer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


They say “Don’t sweat the small stuff” (and by “they” I, of course, mean that one author who wrote that one book, stealing the concept from standard use). Today, however, I am going insane with the small stuff. We have officially reached the countdown to days left of school (officially, because you can use only your fingers to count them), and senior slide has become everyone slide. Fellow teachers included (this does NOT exclude me, obviously, as I am blogging instead of working). I allow the laziness, stupidity, ambivalence, apathy of others to annoy me to the point of headache.

This is not always the case. Sometimes I am loosey-goosey, easy-going, don’t-let-anyone-rain-on-my-parade content and happy. Today is not one of those days. Today, I want to strangle people. But I won’t.

Here’s the skinny on the irritation: we are using the laptop carts in two of my classes today, equaling four of the five periods I teach. Courtesy has become bringing the laptop cart to the next person on the list. My colleague neglected to do this, AND had the wrong laptops on the wrong cart. But to him I say, “that’s okay; thanks!” when what I want to say is, “how hard is it to follow the directions!?!?!?!”. My students then do the same thing. Five minutes before the end of the class period I yell, “When you put your computer away, make sure it’s on the correct cart, in the correct slot, and plugged in!” at least 3 times. Then they don’t. NEVER have I had the carts and had them put away perfectly. Match the numbers, plug it in. To them I say, “How hard is this? A kindergartner could do it!!!”, and thus, they now probably do it just to annoy me. And you know what? It works.


Instead, looking forward to tonight. After school, a quick department meeting, and then my literary arts magazine students are coming in for our end-of-the-year party. We are snacking and watching a literary movie (we are voting between Finding Forrester, Dead Poets Society, With Honors, and another one I can’t remember). I baked cupcakes. They are darlings.

Then, to Suzanne’s for Book Club Reborn, Part II. We read Dubliners by James Joyce, and it was quite good. I look forward not only to discussing good literature with good friends, but also to dining, laughing, gossiping, and the like. Friends are God’s gift to stressed people.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Gospel of Consumption

I stole this from Molly's blog. It's long, but good, so make sure you have time to read it. The comments are also insightful. Like this link that one posted; driving 55 mph on 35 might get me honked at, but it's something to consider.

Really, every time I read or hear about some great effort of change, I feel lazy, responsible, guilty, so so sad. But I try to make some small changes; step by step I'm trying to be a better citizen (one commenter on the article notes we are no longer referred to as "citizens" but instead as "consumers"). After I read Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last year, I wanted to do everything possible to buy only local and organic. That lasted about a week. The only thing I regularly buy organic now is milk, and even that is because it tastes better. On this website, they say though, that even if everyone ate only one meal a week consisting of all local foods, it would make a tremendous difference. Baby steps.

Oh, and this, found also on Molly's blog (she is an excellent finder of cool things), will leave you open-mouthed with wonder, but thoroughly amused and educated (sound required, so don't watch it at work).

Friday, May 16, 2008

2 down; 48 and a district to go...

I cried this morning on my way to work listening to the live coverage of the verdict being read to the supporters waiting on the courthouse steps. Goosebumps and happiness. Progress.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


1. May 14 is the day the average temp. in MN reaches 70; a shift
2. Dinner with fellow speech coaches to celebrate our season
3. Achieving job security in the form of tenure
4. Jeans that can be pulled off without unbuttoning
5. New sundresses (and sandals and earrings to match)
6. More time with friends
7. More time with husband
8. More time with dogs
9. Grilling fresh vegetables
10. Making salad dressing from scratch and getting compliments
11. Getting up in time to make coffee; perpetual exhaustion wanes
12. A return to the Minnehaha dog park, mud and all
13. Season finales of favorite shows (though it seems too soon)
14. Beating Angie at Scrabble (high plays: 68, 45, 36, 32)
15. Watching tulips bloom in my garden
16. Book clubs (currently: The Dubliners, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
17. 15 days of school left (not counting today)
18. National Ride Your Bike to Work Day (not participating myself for obvious reasons)
19. Hotel booked for NYC
20. Successes of friends
21. Weekends "up North" with friends
22. Stimulating the economy at REI
23. Love

Cheers, friends.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth: One big city

Last weekend I took my personal days and flew to Texas for a weekend of fun in the south. My best friend Jen lives there now, so I guess it is the first of many trips. It was very, very fun. Enjoy the highlights in pictures: Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, JFK assassination highlights in Dallas (morbid or historical: you decide), Dallas Farmers' Market (best line of the weekend: "free Mexican with every purchase"), Twins/Rangers games at The Ballpark (both Friday and Saturday nights; Saturday, I got Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer's autographs on my "Circle-Me-Bert" sign), Cowboys (the bar where I rode a mechanical bull), the Fort Worth Stockyards (and the cheesy, yet amazing, restaurant where I had a real Texas steak), Jen's new puppy Thug (yes, that's really his name), and the Twins boarding their plane home one gate away from mine (notice Mauer and Morneau, looking just as good out of their unis). I really needed the vacation, and this one was amazing. (After posting, I realized vertical pictures are horizontal. I changed those on the computer, but it didn't transfer. It took me over an hour to post them the way they are, so I'm not going to take the time to figure out how to fix it. Turn your head. Deal :-).)