Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Okay. I finally did it. After literally years of being told how wonderful this book is (it was published in 2005), I have read Twilight. And honestly, it wasn't as good as everyone claims...it's better. (Totally trite, right? :-)) I am amazed at how much I was sucked in to this story line. I am eager to get started on the second book, but I've been told it's the worst of the four. I shall muster through in order to get to books three and four, which apparently live up to the standards of the first book.

Here's the thing: although, the suspense and intrigue kept my attention well, as did Meyer's easy prose (easy, because it's a young adult book, but also because you are swept up into every situation), I was most absorbed by her perfect portrayal of not just first love or teen love, but of real, sacrificing love. Forget the vampires, people, this is a love story above all else, and a really, really good one. Very Romeo and Juliet-esque with its "no, we simply can't be together" thesis (I'm not revealing anything that's not on the book jacket, by the way, as I know you'll all go out tomorrow and pick up a copy at Target for $8.79 as I did), and that is unoriginal, I admit. But the ferocity with which Meyer writes is flawless. As I read, I could 100% feel the energies of falling and then being in true love. The anxiety she feels, I felt. I had literal tension and butterflies in my stomach. I blushed along with Bella when Edward entered a room. It was intense, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Further, the renewal of those initial passions, the first meeting, the first real conversation, the first kiss, the long hours of chatter learning about each other, reminded me so completely of the experience of falling in love with my husband, that it was reassuring that this is normal. This marriage, this love. This feeling of complete abandon toward another person. It's not uncommon; it's the norm for people who truly would sacrifice anything for their love. And that's a good thing. Not because I want to be "normal" or I thought my feelings were "weird" but because it feels so damn good, I wish every day that every other person I know is as happy in their relationship as I am in mine.

This has drifted from book review to love letter, but I really enjoyed the book that much. I'm not a literary snob by any means, though. I judge a book based on its ability to make me feel something. Whatever the emotion they want me to feel, the stronger it is within me, the more I like the book. Twilight made me feel great :-).

By this weekend, a follow-up on book two, no doubt. (I bought Twilight just yesterday...)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Utterly Random Thoughts

One: Sometimes, I am a terrible teacher. I expect my students to know things, when, in fact, they may have little to no reason to have the prior knowledge. I get annoyed when they can’t follow the simplest of instructions. Can’t follow the blatant examples I display for them. I take for granted my own ability to follow directions and catch on quickly. Why can’t they be more like me?

We’re researching and working on works cited pages. I spent half a class period last week (30 minutes) going over the format, showing them examples, explaining why we need them (which should all be review for them, as they covered this in middle school). Today, putting it into action, I have had to sit with no fewer than half my students and walk them through it step by tedious step. They have directions. They have examples. Why are they so incapable of understanding? They range in age from 14-18. I could understand if they were third-graders, but come on!

Two: Despite this, I am having a good day. It’s odd when we have time off (MEA Madness this past four days), and I find I have missed my students and colleagues.

Three: Tonight, it will freeze. Cover those tomato plants; pluck your apples from their branches (me, I have only one small oregano plant to protect; perhaps next year a real garden). Just yesterday it was over 70. Shorts and bare feet while painting the window trim. Fall in Minnesota is gloriously unpredictable.

Four: Update-- I did give Patrick more than a poem for his birthday. Much to his surprise and delight, I broke down and gave him the PS3 he’s been chattering about for months. He is rather selfless, my husband, and definitely wouldn’t buy this luxury item for himself. When I wanted a Wii, he tried for months to get me one and managed to succeed (between Thanksgiving and Christmas, no less!). He works hard and spoils me, so it’s only fair. Also, it was one of those situations where the giving is as satisfying as the getting, as previously I had all but banned the system from the house. He was very shocked to see it and I was delighted to watch him enjoy it.

Five: Only two weeks and one day until the election. I will spare you my current detailed thoughts, but I do believe things are looking better and better every day. God willing and the creek don’t rise…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Husband

Yesterday, on a beautiful, wonderful, unexpectedly warm autumn Sunday, my husband "completed another trip around the sun." This is his sentiment toward birthdays as an adult (read: no big deal). Consequently, we had a very low-key day. Because he doesn't put much stock in the birthday tradition, he didn't mind that we traveled to my hometown for brunch with my family (Les, dear sister, found her way to MN on this gorgeous weekend, and yesterday was the only iota of time we could spare her and vice versa. In her words, "Coming one day and leaving the next sucks." Thirteen hours each way is a haul for two days, but, as I said, "It's better than nothing.") And brunch was good.

After that, all Patrick wanted was to go home, put on sweatpants, and watch football. Yes, easy to please, that one. We did make a stop on the drive home at a roadside apple farm, buying half a peck of apples, two pumpkins, and a caramel apple pie, still hot from the oven (and I pride myself on baking tasty pies, but this pie was delightful). But get home we did, and watch football we did (watched my fantasy team suffer their first loss of the season as well...tear). No fanfare, no going out. Just "my woman and football". And the pie. And the dinner I made. But you get the idea. Simple things.

Because I have not yet bought him a gift ("I don't need presents," he says, but I think a birthday's not a birthday without at least a little something; but unlike me, who told him precisely what to get me for MY birthday, he is entirely unhelpful), I am giving him this:

To My Husband on His Birthday, 2008

The rickety brown couch we both wish
we would not have purchased
is not a suitable perch for our love.

The mismatched sweatpants and t-shirt
I wore are not the costume of a woman
trying to impress a man.

The sounds of sports on tv and
dogs barking in the yard are not
music to an average ear.

The almost scorched pork chop and
potatoes mashed with slightly sour milk
do not describe a perfect meal.


You are not suitable.
You are not to be impressed.
You are not average.
You are not perfect.
You are mine.

And you are everything to me.

Happy birthday, dear one. May every day we have together be as perfect as yesterday was.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today I wore socks

I avoid socks usually until it snows. The exception being socks with sneakers when I work out, but even then, I take them off immediately. But after yesterday's chilling rain (wearing a coat for the first time), I woke up this morning feeling socksy. My toes are warm, my ankles are cuddled, and fall has officially begun for me.

But we still haven't turned on the heat :-).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The suits are here

Okay, so I know the content of my blog has been lacking in substance lately, save my occasional political rants. Give me one more month and I'll move on (hopefully). Political ranting continues:

There are secret service patrolling my work place. Scary looking men in suits and earpieces. Inspectors. Inspecting the next site of the next republican campaign stop. That's right: McCain is coming. Here. Alone, thank God, or I might bust. (I have more issue with Little Miss I Can See Russia From My House than with McHero.) Here are some random thoughts on this occurrence, both good and bad:
1. I'm pissed I can't go. At first I was on the fence about going, but as soon as I found out I couldn't, I want nothing more than to be there. Because they are renting the space, we have no claim over this public building in which we work. In fact, even if you're on their side, you need to volunteer to get tickets. Not that I would heckle or anything, but it would be an experience either way. "I saw McCain speak," I could say one day. And my grandkids would say, "Who's that?" and I would reply, "He's the man that lost the election to President Obama in 2008." "Ohhhhhhh," they would say knowingly. Instead, I'm going to stay in the building as close to 4:00 (school gets out at 2:37, my work day technically ends at 3) as they'll let me. Perhaps I can catch a glimpse, of the hero himself, of the swarms of people, of the media, of something worth telling my grandkids. I am becoming a story collector. Maybe I'll try to get in and have SS stop me, "Excuse me, miss (too young still to be ma'am in my opinion). Do you have a ticket?" I'll stand defiant, "NO! But I'm a tax-paying citizen and employee of this building and I want to be a part of the process. Let me in!" I will try to step past him and we will fight. Perhaps I shall be tasered.

2. I'm excited for my school to get some more publicity. Despite my many concerns with the district and the community at large, I love my students and am lucky to work here. In complete contradiction...

3. I am extremely discontent with this school being used as the backdrop for this campaign. THIS school is everything that's right with education. I'm not tooting my horn here, but this school was not chosen by accident. We are a rapidly growing community with a brand new high school. It's gorgeous. We want for nothing here, despite our budgetary concerns. We are not Title I, so NCLB means very little to us. And though we haven't met AYP in the past 3 years, it is a matter of 25 special ed students that keep us below the bar. We have the highest ACT average in the state, and MN has the highest average in the nation. Use the gymnasium at a metro high school, where they want for everything. Show the peeling paint and broken bleachers. Explain why that district closed and boarded up schools this year. Using this beautiful, bountiful school as an example of an American school is, excuse me, a complete crock of shit.

4. My students say the darnedest things:
"Is he the black one?"
"Why is he coming here? Did we win a contest or something?"
"Why can't I go?"
"Secret service agents are hot."

5. Ironic: this week the AP Government class is sponsoring a voter registration table at lunch for students 18+. At this age, the students rallying for their rights, are more likely than not rallying for the other side. But this community is overwhelmingly Republican, so I'm sure that's why it was chosen.

6. Blast. Is it November 4th yet?????