Thursday, May 28, 2009

An open letter

Dear Parents of my Students Absent for their Finals,

I understand that your student receiving a passing grade is important to you. I understand that you will do anything for your child. I also understand that it is of little consequence to you personally if your child does not attend school.

What I do NOT understand, dear parents, is how you can send your child into the world with such a strong message of irresponsibility and unaccountability. These assignments, for which they have had upwards of two weeks to prepare, are their FINAL for the class. Perhaps your child is an exceptional liar. Good for him/her. With the mixed messages you are sending him/her, it will be important for him/her to use that lying skill in his/her future. Maybe there is an epidemic in this community of which I am unaware. Funny, none of my students NOT assigned to go today came down with the illness. Germs work in mysterious ways.

Please, do not worry about the other students and me. We will change our schedules and agendas to suit your child's whims. We here in public education are here to serve you in every way. Maybe you'd like your child to receive a passing grade just for breathing. I'm sure we can find an independent study program to suit his/her needs.

All my best as we near the graduation of your little darlings,
Mrs. Frustrated and Annoyed

EDIT: For those of you who feel I may be too cynical: I was just on the third floor (two away from my own domain), and SAW ONE OF THE STUDENTS who was, "up all night puking, sweating, with a high fever." AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Note to self

Self, you can NOT run around Lake Nokomis when it is 90 degrees.

P.S. You should listen to your husband who said, "Be careful. Don't push yourself."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Watch my smoke

runner (n.): one that runs; pronunciation: \ˈrə-nər\

Today, on this gorgeous day, I continued my awesomeness at Lake Nokomis. It is approximately 2.7 miles. It took me nine Offspring songs (always a kick-ass motivator), which when I added them up on iTunes at home, totaled 32 minutes. Again, I did this without walking or stopping. WHO AM I!?!?!?

Heather, my cheerleader, is going to take me to her special runners' store so we can buy me some better shoes, then we're going to start hitting 5Ks this summer. Why have I not been doing this for the last 10 years?

(Now I'm going to plop my butt on the couch for some reality TV; Survivor finale tonight! Life is all about balance...)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Out of pain, good does come

Okay, so it wasn't really PAIN, but it was a very annoying and stressful situation. The day started cold and windy (which I was forced to experience this morning; more on that another time), but by the time I got home at 4:30, the sun was shining and the temperature had risen to almost 70. I wanted to go for a walk/jog, and really didn't want to bring the dogs. They've been royal pains in the ass on walks lately, and I just wanted peace. But, I figured I would be the worst dog-owner in the entire world if I went out on this beautiful day without them. I called Pat to see if I should wait for him to join us before venturing out, but he was stuck at work. I told him we would walk toward him. Poochy One and Poochy Two started out fairly decently. Then I forgot that Jersey's driving motion toward insanity is bicyclists. We kept walking toward Pat by going over the Marshall Bridge. Bikes galore! Psychotic barking and lunging was scaring every person going by. He is going insane. Truly. (An entirely different issue, of course. I'm open to dog-training suggestions for my dog of 3 years...) My embarrassment, rage, frustration built. I had to call Pat. I got off the bridge, off the beaten path, and found some grass on which to plop my annoyed ass. A school yard. A few minutes passed before my knight in shining Jeep showed up. I asked him just to take the dogs. I needed to walk home on my own. I needed to get rid of the steam.

As I turned away, I started to run. Feel the burn. Release the steam. Then I decided not to stop. Now, this is normal for a LOT of people. I get that. But I have been walk/running since I decided running was even something I could do. Run a couple of blocks. Walk a few to recover. Running more than two was awesome. Once I ran 8! I was very proud. But today, coming from my angry resolve, I ran all the way home. I told myself I wouldn't stop, and I didn't. I pushed. Mind over body is what people usually say. Body over mind is what I employed. Breathe. Put one foot in front of the other. And I ran all the way home.

Perhaps, dear reader, you still do not understand the gravity of my feat. Back in elementary school and high school when they made us run the mile, I was one of the last girls on the track. When I was thin and young, I couldn't run a mile. I was one of those people who said, "I can't run." Not "I don't run," but I CAN'T. Well, guess what? Yes I can! When I got home, I went on to the very handy website,, and found out exactly how far I ran. Guess how far? Come on, guess! Okay, I'll tell you: 1.8 miles!!! That's almost 2! Without stopping! Not even for traffic (the universe was on my side)!

So, in case you can't tell, I'm Superwoman! (Methinks this is what they call "runner's high.")

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, my best friend.

She's pretty much totally awesome :-). Love you, Jen!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Or rather, don't. I no longer do. I (okay, we) bought a new car on Saturday. A 2008 VW Passat Wagon, 2.0 Turbo Sport. The fun family car. It has an automatic transmission, something I haven't had in a car since I was 18. I have driven a manual for 10 years. (The VW, it should be noted, does have Tiptronic, an optional manual control offered in the Sport edition; I used it once so far, and it weirded me out a little, as it has no clutch.) I have sporadically driven automatics over the years (most recently, of course, is the ol' Jeep, Pat's die-hard vehicle of choice), but not for more than a trip or so. The clutching and shifting was all-consuming. I had shifting, radio controlling, eating, cell-phone handling down to an artistic fluid movement akin to modern robotics (spare me your lectures; I know I should be doing none of those things while driving...). After a day in traffic, my left thigh seized up in pain from all the depressions. My manuals, the Hyundai Excel (you know you loved it) and my Chevy Tracker (on to greener pastures...most likely Mankato if the mechanic okays its safety; she's had some trouble as of late, hence the new car; don't tell Mom her Mother's Day present might be a "new" car :-)), really, truly, taught me how to drive. Really drive. And enjoy it.

Driving to work this morning (yes, I'm blogging from work's my student teacher's last week in the classroom, so it shan't continue :-)), my third full day in my (our) new ride, I realized how absolutely different the experience is. Now I know how some people can fall asleep at the wheel: the car does all the work. This car in particular has far more features than I even know what to do with. I forget that I can now control my radio (which has optional satellite radio, if we're so inclined to subscribing) from my steering wheel, reaching over to use the knob, a shocking 15 inches away. I never change the display screen from "Consumption" to any of the many other options (because I like to see it change, and then stop when I'm cruising on a flat straightaway at 32 or 33 :-)). I turned on the heated (black leather) seats this morning, just because I can (yes, I know it was 55 degrees). I haven't started to fill up all the crazy hidden storage compartments with cool stuff (there is an umbrella holder in the driver-side door, so you don't have to bring your wet brolly into the car with you). Not to mention the sunroof.... Driving this car is enjoyable in an entirely different way.

But it is TOO nice. Too good for this girl. The previous paragraph certainly implies bragging. "Look at me! Look at my new car!" And this blog is a venue for that. However, it feels also like repentance. Why on earth do I need these features? Power windows were enough to sell me (no, I've never had power windows in a car before). Why do I need this extravagance? It makes me uneasy. Not just because of the luxury, but I'm a "throw-garbage-on-the-floor, who-cares-if-you-spill, it's-only-a-car" kind of girl. But last night, when Pat got in with a soda, I found myself saying (not even remotely kidding), "Be careful. Don't spill that in my car." AHHHH!!!! Who have I become in 3 short days??? Can a car be a catalyst to changing my lazy ways? I definitely check my blindspots more carefully than before (and there are bigger blindspots with this body style), so it has made me a safer driver, I suppose. That's good. But I liken it to firmly believing no one should ever have to take their shoes off in my house. I have dogs. They track more mud and grit and snow in than you ever could. (Of course, I have very smelly feet, so I hate taking my shoes off in others' homes, so maybe that's why I don't ask for it, and never will, in my own home.) But I digress. Shocking. Where is the line between sloppy, old car driver and shiny, new car driver? When there is a toddler in the back throwing Goldfish crackers everywhere, I'm pretty sure I'll have to be over it. So, I have 3-4 years to change? To get used to this vehicle? I hope I can manage.

In short (ha), I love my new car. Okay, hon, OUR new car. I'll work on that. (It IS actually titled in Pat's name...) BUT, I do not want to be a middle-class yuppy with a shiny car. So, I think I'll get my parks sticker renewed, a new MPR decal stuck to the rear window, and maybe even find a place for the HRC and reusable bag stickers I love so much (not the bumper, though, or Pat might kill me). Sigh. I'm basically a head-case who worries too much. But if you know me at all, you already knew that.

Shift on. V Dubyoo in da haus! (Our salesperson, by the way, was Yugoslavian, so he almost had the perfect accent for doing that...)