Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Theater and Tedium

It was no secret that Chris was forced into this weekend.

With arms crossed triumphantly, I declared
, “Chris, Catherine is in a play. We are attending on Sunday. You will go.”
The End. Doggone it, I love it when I actually take charge for a second. Just once in while, it’s nice to have the last word . . . but I didn’t . . .
“What’s the play?”
“The Little Mermaid.”
Chris stops shooting pixelated zombies for just a split second to glare at me. “You’re kidding, right?”“No.”
The computer’s undead hordes don’t stand a chance against his newfound fervor.
“I hate musicals, Sarah.”“Because, apparently, you lack a soul.”
While most people would see this as a wounding insult, moments like these are actually when we show our profound adoration for each other.  We are hardly more loving than when we’re teasing, trying to frown but smiling the whole time.  So, really, my accusation of “You don’t have a soul” is really “Oh, you sexy, sexy beast.” We’re like spies that way: we speak in code.
“Chris, please? It’s Catherine’s first big play at her new high school, and we’re moving, soon.  I know you swore never to go to a play with me again—”
“Oh, yeah, I did, didn’t I?”
Last fall, there was an incident involving The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged.  My sweet and compromising husband agreed to accompany me to the little theater, and, suddenly, there occurred a moment of audience participation . . . and said hubs was on the stage.  He’d rather have his teeth pulled than do anything than draw attention to himself in a crowd.  When he returned to his seat, he grinned, looked me in the eye, and said, “Never. Again.”
And that was that.
But, then again, the theater doesn’t usually have my family members prancing on stage, so this, of course, would qualify as the exception to the rule, right?
“Chris, it’s my sister. Family goes to things like this to show love and support, EVEN if you don’t like it. Please?”

My husband stands in the midst of a mountain of killed-again corpses, and, with a sigh, turns to face me, his next great challenge. I'd like to think I'm more forbidable than a zombie apopcolypse, but who am I kidding?  
“Fine. I’ll go."
"YAY!!! Thank you, honey!"
 What’s Catherine’s part, again?”
“Some sort of sea plant.”
“What? Didn’t you play a wall once?”
“A brick, actually, when I was like six.”
Now, I laugh. “Good Lord! A plant! Catherine is playing a plant!”

Yes, I’m a horrible sister. I really am.  I wanted to support my sixteen-year-old sis because I love her dearly . . . but, I’m sorry, I also REALLY wanted to see her play a plant.  
Ok, so TECHNICALLY she was a sea anenome, but she did a lovely job dancing and twirling on stage during "Under the Sea." Isn't she cute??
I'm not going to lie: I feel a piece of my life is complete having taken this picture
Sadly for Chris, this production did not encourage a new appreciation for musical theater. In fact, he tried to sleep for most of it, but, I'm proud to say, that he was wide awake and grinning for Catherine's bit of glory.

So, the weekend ended, and now I’m struggling through the work week.  My latest major project? Transporting mounds of paper from old file folders into new ones.  Did you know that trying to wade through an overstuffed filing cabinet can feel like wrestling a bear? I worked for six hours and got halfway through the C’s. SIX. HOURS. Working in a drawer almost as tall as I am, squeezed against the wall on my tiptoes to peek into each file, shoving files aside and shoving new ones in, with barely room to move.  Tedium. It infuriates.   
Do you go to any events for family that you wouldn’t normally attend on your own? Do you convince your spouse/significant other to go along?  

Oh, and P.S. Happy 60th birthday to my sweet Daddy! Technically, it was last Wednesday on Talk Like a Pirate Day (Arrrg!), and, since it IS a milestone and I DO love him oh so much, I' thought I'd give a little blog shout out . . . because he's awesome. That, and I can't believe he's sixty! Totally doesn't act or look his age at all! He's the best!

From our Father-Daughter dance at my wedding ("Unfrogettable" by Frank Sinatra)--even though this was three years ago, he still hasn't aged a BIT since his forties . . . maybe even thirties . . . :]

Friday, September 21, 2012

On Being a Hypocrite and Bright Spots of Chaos

Chris has this best buddy that drives me bonkers.
Don’t get me wrong, I think his friend his awesome . . . but he is the definition of “unreliable.” Chris calls it being a “free spirit.”
Yeah, well . . .
See, here’s the thing: this fellow will call and say, “Hey! Let’s get together! I might be over tonight!” and so I panic to tidy up the house while Chris lectures me on my panic, and I just throw things into bins yelling, “I’m a woman! We do this! Get over it!” and then we apologize, and he even helps me wash dishes and fold underwear, and then, when all that panic is over and I’ve made a darn good “we’re having company” meal with all the fixings . . . this friend doesn’t show.  Two days later, he shows up with about an hour’s notice if even that.  So, we have a moderately clean house and takeout because I’m not doing the dance again. Chris’s family have stories of finding this fellow in their kitchen eating mixing bowls (yes, you read that right) of cereal at midnight. He just kind of shows up when you least expect him and disappears when you do. Kind of like an elf . . . or something . . .
All that nonsense to say color me a hypocrite because that’s how I treat this blog.  Unreliable. Slap me on the wrist.
So here’s my question: How do you blog when you have nothing to say? No pictures to post? Some days are so dull and I’m so tired I can hardly find anything to say or the energy to attempt at any wit, but some of you post EVERY DAY. How do you do that when you’re just living life? Nothing special, just the daily grind?
Ha! There! A picture from the everyday! A florida sunset!
The news I had from oh, like two weeks ago, is part of the reason I was absent: I was hired as a substitute for two weeks at my old school. It was AWESOME
Here’s the breakdown: Kids get new teacher. After being there a week, new teacher falls through. I get a text message from my sis-in-law saying that the principal is desperately asking me to sub while they interview for a new teacher.  I get off from office job, and I show up Tuesday morning to the curious glances of the new 7th graders and my students from last year bursting, “OH! MRS. B! YOU REALLY ARE HERE! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!”  and am swallowed in hugs and screams of joy.
This, my friends, is what it is to be adored.  I know what celebrities feel like, what with the waving, and the shouting and all that.  By the time my two weeks were up, I had the new kids screaming, too.  Both 7th and 8th grades composed petitions for the principal asking to let me stay for one semester then teach over the Skype the next.  One girl gave me the petition and told me I could frame it so I don’t forget them.  I almost cried.  
I don’t know if I am a textbook “good” teacher—classroom discipline is not my strong suit, I make mistakes (that I correct), paperwork is a struggle, and I’m terrified of parents.  I’m loud. I’m quirky. I’m overdramatic. I pace the classroom, waving my hands around, losing my eraser and dropping my marker. I’ve even been known to run into walls because I’m so focused on speaking that I forget to watch where I’m going.  I can never remember what time classes get out.  I’m almost always running late, if not barely on time, and my quizzes often have at least ONE typo.  I have obsessions that I manage to relate to lecture in some form or another every week. I drink tea with copious amounts of creamer out of a giant mug with a squid painted on it and sometimes eat lunch while I teach because I was too busy over my lunch break.  I’m a grammar nazi. I pound MLA until they recite it in their sleep.  Last year, I cried once in a lecture because the principal was watching, which terrifies me, and the meaning of our reading—the message that is the cry of my soul—crept up and choked me because I wanted them to get it, to understand that they are not mistakes. That no one is a mistake.  
I love those kids. I love joking with them. I love trying to get them to understand the proper placement of the comma. I love finding pieces of their culture to link to monomyths and reciting Greek myths and the secrets of Gothic literature.  I thrive on showing them that books and writing don’t have to be dull. They’re boring if you make them boring, but, oh the wonders you’ll find. We are the dreamers of dreams . . .
They love it when I read Robert Burns in a Scottish accent or when my marker, by total accident, slips through my fingers and flies through the air. They love it when I teach them words like “holus bolus” and “chiaroscuro”  and that I use words like “dandy.”  They love it that I know video games and have a huge crush on Iron Man.
Just a few of the notes my 8th graders scribbled for me. :]
Another super sweet note from my last day.  She also gave me a drawing of a squid, one of my favorite animals :]
I do not miss the grading and the lesson plans and the late nights trying to manage it all on a feast of frozen dinners.  I do not miss the after school meetings or the training days.  I do not miss the wealth of emails.  The hubs does not miss it.  At all.
 I miss teaching. I miss those kids—those frustrating, brilliant, silly, loud, ridiculous, wonderful kids.  I knew that I missed the classroom, but I didn’t know how much until I was back, until I was home. Then,  a new teacher was hired, and I was no longer needed. 
I went home, curled up on the couch, and hardly moved all weekend. Something hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Finally, it dawned on me: I wasn’t needed any more.  I would never forget those kids, but would they forget me?  Their lives would continue normally with this lovely new person, and I would sit alone in my gray and burgundy cubby feeling lost and lifeless.  The bright little chaos of my world was slowed to a halt.  I was alone in my cubby again, staring at a computer screen and mountains of useless files, and they had moved on. Cue “All By Myself” because this must be what a break-up feels like. No, I'm not at all dramatic, why do you ask?
Still, as much as it hurts now, I had them again. I got to see them before I leave, which was what I wanted.  I made new friends and visited old ones.  I ate lunch with my sis-in-law again and chatted with all the lovely ladies in the offices.  I helped out when they desperately needed a substitute, and helping is my favorite. You know I care for you when I help you. You know I love you when I do it all the time with a smile.  I got to hug those kids and talk about books and geekiness for two weeks. Not one day, not two days, but TWO WEEKS. And it was awesome. 
Tennyson said,'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Boy, he got that one right, didn’t he?
Just because . . . I found this one morning before I left for work . . . My sweet hubs had to wake up at 4 AM to catch a 7 AM flight to Atlanta, and he STILL took the type to clean my glasses for me. Love that man. I just do. It's the little things, right?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nerdish Outbursts

First off, thank you SO MUCH all you lovely ladies who commented with great encouragement on my last post.  It really brightened my day and helped put on a new perspective.  Life's a journey, and it can only be a great one with a few detours and bumps on the road, right? Thank you so, so much! You're awesome!

And, now, on with the blog . . .

Some days, life is pretty slow. 
When you’re a cubicle minion oft forgotten, it’s REALLY slow . . . but that’s ok because I like slow, and, really, I now know about 300 different ways to prepare chicken and spray paint the living daylights out of any and all inanimate objects—thank you, Pinterest.
Then, you stop, and go, huh, maybe it’s not so slow . . . or maybe it is and the little things get that much cooler.
Friday featured the first time since Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (don’t judge—that movie was epic, Avengers worthy even, I’m not even kidding) that I chilled with the “English Department.” I might not be currently employed as one, but I will always be an English teacher, and my other literary pals totally get it.  Once you’re in, you’re in.  Your brain never quite gets out of that education-book-lover-must-love-and-share-all-the-literary-goodness mode.
Shelly, Jessica, and I all decked-out in Who shirts for the premiere . . . thanks, Jess, for the picture!
Oh, and we’re all Harry Potter, Tolkien, Lewis, Star Wars, superhero, and Dr. Who nerds. WORD. (That’s right, I said “WORD”).  We actually gathered, their hubs and kiddo included, to watch BBC America’s premiere of the new Dr. Who season.

Holy freakin’ crap from heaven.

If you’re not on the Dr. Who fan train, I don’t know how . . . I just don’t.  The hubs shrugs and says, “I COULD like it—I mean, what I’ve seen is ok—but I’m just not going to invest the time in it right now.”
As far as I’m concerned, the man doesn’t have a choice. Not really.  I’ve won him over to Supernatural, Firefly, and LOST, I WILL bring him to the Who Side.

Anyways, highlight of the evening, being asked, “So, where are you and Chris going to be living again?”
“Well, he’ll be working in Salinas—“
And everyone in the room simultaneously burst out, “OOOH!!! STEINBECK!!!”
Are we book nerds or are we book nerds?
Speaking of nerds, I have to say that Guild Wars 2 is pretty much living up to all the hype. I’ve waited four years for this sucker to hatch onto the interwebs, and, now, here it is in all its pixelated glory. 
Yeah, I'm kind of loving the Sylvari Ranger . . . Such a super nerd . . .
Sure, like any game, it has its downsides, but I’m loving it. In fact, I’ll probably never touch WoW again, sorry, Chris . . . though they will have Kung Fu Pandas in a month . . . seriously, kung-fu-fighting bloody pandas . . . who ride turtles . . .
I have been a nerd for far too long because think that this is just too cool.  I mean, seriously, it’s a PANDA on a TURTLE!!! How can this not be AWESOME?!?!
Still . . . I’ll let Chris have that one and I’ll just watch.  WoW is just too repetitive for me—it feels like a variety of random acts of violence with little to no plot. I know there’s a plot . . . but I can’t find it, so I’m kind of “meh” with it.

Chris sent me this pic . . . he swears that the "Gamer Girl" looks EXACTLY like me when I'm playing--coloring, expression, hair, the works--I'm simultaneously flattered and kind of bewildered . . . mostly because I only play after showering, geeze . . . dinner may take a backseat, but I'm gonna save Hyrule clean, thank you very much . . . now that I think about it, I'm not sure that that's much better . . .

Could I be any more of a nerd? Why, YES, I could. For Labor Day, the hubs and I spent the day watching the ORIGINAL Special Edition (the ONLY edition, really) on VHS (we're THAT hardcore--Blu-Ray Lucas edits? Gimme a break, LAME) Star Wars Trilogy and eating Han-Burgers while drinking Yoda Soda. Are you embarrassed for me yet?
So that’s my nerd-overload. 
If you can still stand me, props to you, I'll be normal again this weekend when there are no more premieres or time to revel in sci-fi masterpieces.
It’s been a fun week as something new has come up--no house yet, but life continues to develop.   More to share later!

And, no, it's not a baby.
Why do I feel like I have to clarify that?