Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Blog Therapy

So, I'm doing that thing where I cheer myself up by writing in my blog. It makes sense: writing is my passion. We should spend time every day on the things we're passionate about, right? Isn't that the key to happiness? Well, it's worth a shot, at least.

I'm sick (with a virus and a fever), so I stayed home from work and went to the doctor. Then, when I got home I wanted to talk to my boyfriend. Now, when I'm sick and menstural (both of which are currently true) I'm more emotional than usual. Anyway, Mr. B. had a rough day...and all of a sudden he started giving me work criticisms/advice. Now, intellectually I realized he was trying to be caring and supportive. It's the whole "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," "Women just want men to listen to their problems, Men want to solve their womens' problems" thing. It's a widespread, hard-wired thing.

Don't take it personally, I told myself, he is trying to be helpful. But it was making me upset, so I told him I wasn't up to it.

"This is your problem," he replied, "You're bad at taking criticism."

"Yeah, I am," I replied, "Especially unsolicited criticism from my boyfriend, who has less teaching experience than I do." Oops. Ouch. That one kind of jumped out of my mouth before I could stop it.

I apologized, and rephrased that it's tough for me to accept criticism from anyone, but that I've gotten better at accepting it from supervisors and people with a lot more experience. "But with my equals..."

"And the emotional component with us probably doesn't help," he replied, thoughtfully.


In the end, he apologized, saying that he was probably transferring his anxiety over his bad day onto me. Then I replied that I knew he was trying to be helpful, and that his advice was a way of showing he cared.

In retrospect: Oy.

I talked it out with Rosa and Gwen, and they both made me feel much better. Hooray for girlfriends! Girlfriends are so wonderful at clearing up boyfriend anxiety. If only they were sufficient for clearing up anxiety over government issues, such as the imminent appointment of Alito to the Supreme Court and the oppression that may well result. Aargh! Ladies, if you value a woman's right to choose, you better speak up now!

I can do this...I can go back to work tomorrow. I can teach well. I can handle my students. I can finish my grad school work. I can get along with my boyfriend.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My man cooks!

It occurs to me that recently I've mostly been posting the trials and tribulations of my relationship with Mr. B. I recently discussed it with my ladies, and we came to the following conclusion: he's probably not "the one," and that's why we fight. However, we have a lot of fun together and are a pretty good couple. I like him a lot. He is smart, funny, has great taste in music (and is a good musician), is athletic and is a wonderful cook. (He's not photogenic, but you can't have everything!)

This is the gorgeous surf and turf dinner created for my dining pleasure by Mr. B: steak, lobster tails, rosemary potatos, green beans and chardonnay. He also makes amazing chicken cutlets, home fries, lemon-garlic salad dressing/marinade, chicken thighs, etc. In short he's a culinary genius. He's also really good at taking prefab-food and spicing it or preparing it differently to make it taste great.

That's a pretty good metiphor for his role in my life right now. He spices up the ordinary stuff and make life more palatable. :) Okay, I don't think I'm an emoticon person, but it was worth a shot.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Poetry

I just realized that most of my family has never seen one of my poems, and what is the first one I gave them on the sister site, Girl Out of the Country? A rather bittersweet one. So, to balance it out, I presented a few that are more approachable:

[Note: I had to remove these poems because I found out lit mags won't publish work that's been published on a blog. Oops.]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Poem Response

Last year, I first read an amazing poem by Philip Booth. A man was teaching his daughter to swim, but he was also teaching her how to approach love without fear. I instantly fell in love with the poem. Then, this week I was inspired to write a responding poem. His is so hopeful and comforting. Mine seems sad and disillusioned, but it's not about giving up. It's about one of those moments when life gives you pause. Here's the original and my response:

First Lesson by Philip Booth

Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

[Note: I had to remove this poem because I found out lit mags won't publish work that's been published on a blog. Oops.]

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sugar High...

Madrid and I went candy shopping today. We spent a good fifteen minutes in the candy isle of a local pharmacy, seriously contemplating which candies to choose. Eventually, I chose Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses, Hershey's Hugs and a Big Kat (I wanted a regular KitKat, but they were sold out). Madrid went with Reese's Peanutbutter Cups and a pack of funsized FastBreaks, I think. Oh, but that's not the point.

The point is, in the midst of our serious quest for calories, I realized something--

"Know what's great about being a grownup? You can buy candy whenever you want. Remember when you were a kid and you wanted candy but you couldn't have any?"

"Oh, I know! That was aweful," Madrid replied.

"I was such a sugarholic! When there was no candy around, I would do disgusting things."

"Like what?"

"I would find tubs of Cool Whip my mom had frozen and eat it by the spoonfulls. I would gnaw on blocks of almond bark. I ate straight brown sugar." I didn't even tell her about the "marshmallow salads" Aunt Helen let me make. If I remember correctly, they were just mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips and maybe a couple of raisins. I'm lucky I still have most of my teeth.

"I've got one," Madrid replied. She's a Southern girl, and Southerners are known for their love of sweet tea. She put a new spin on it: "I used to suck on tea bags dipped in sugar. Oh, and I made Life cereal and margarine sandwiches. I would spread some margarine on the edge of my bowl, dip two squares of cereal in the margarine and stick them together to make a tiny sandwich. It's disgusting to me now, but at the time it made perfect sense."

"When I was desperate for s'mores, I'd improvise by putting semisweet chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows between two vanilla wafers and pop it in the microwave."

"Actually, that sounds kind of good."

"It kind of is, and if you don't have chocolate chips and vanilla wafers, you can lick the filling from an Oreo and put the marshmallows between the chocolate cookies."

"Wow, you were inventive...and starving, apparently."

"I went through this phase where I would make toast with strawberry jam every night at midnight. My parent would come into the kitchen: (grumbling in parent voice) 'What are you doing? Go to bed!'"

"And you were like, 'Mom and Dad, I'm STARVING! I am a GROWING girl, and I need the calories!"

"Heh. Those were the days."

Yes, back then we had the metabolism to eat all the candy we want. Now that we no longer have the super-high metabolism, we finally have the autonomy and cash to buy all the candy we want.

Please share your disgusting childhood sugar-fix stories in the comments section.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Too Perfect:

So I've been in the apartment for 41 hours and I'm all depressed and stir-crazy. Friday my principal treated me (and several other teachers) rather shabbily, and I made the mistake of taking it personally. I was in tears for a while, and I was going to discuss it with her, but in the end decided it was pointless. I'm not going to change her mind, and I would just get more frustrated. I've decided to take it up with my union representative instead.

I usually go out with the girls on Friday and Mr. B. on Saturday, but he and I discussed it and were going to switch it up. That way, I might actually make it to church on Sunday morning (which I didn't due to a particularly annoying "visit from my friend," as my students euphemistically call it. Hee). Well, after I got the girls to agree, Mr. B. begged off, saying he was too tired. Straw. Camel's back. You get the picture. I told him that was fine, but started crying after we hung up the phone. Laura called back asking if I wanted to meet her at La Paella (a fancy tapas restaurant) and then have drinks with her and Carolina at Solas, which is just two doors down.

The food was amazing. Then at Solas, we got our favorite corner table in the Red Room upstairs. Then we had a State of the Relationship summit. Laura asked if it's worth it if things are this tough so early in the relationship. I'm asking myself the same thing. I guess what I'm trying to figure out if this is a normal level of trouble. I don't want to settle, but I also don't want to wait forever for something too perfect. I think Too Perfect is the new name for my novel. Heh. If nothing else, all this silly angst is good book fodder, and blogging has cheered me up yet again.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year!

Must be time to update the blog! I went back and added photos to the Iowa entries. Now for the new info! Thursday I went to Unkie and Helen's house for a sleepover. We had a big pizza dinner. Connor liked his miniature rocket set, and Hannah liked her windowpainting kit. (It's less messy than it sounds.) Connor and I played chess. He beat me, of course, but I got him down to two chess pieces and we were kinda in a stalemate. We were getting bored, so my king committed suicide.

When I think about staying over and Unkie and Helen's house, I automatically think of pretty quilts over electric blankets. I was not let down. Hannah and I bunked together. I woke up with something in my back. What is that? I wondered, An elbow? A knee? No. It was her head! She had twisted around until she was curled up with her head nestled in my spine. Heh. The next morning, Connor made us ham, egg and cheese sandwiches.

Then Mom and I went to see the new house. It's a pre-fab house, and they're buying the model that people tour, so it's got all the bells an whistles. It's a little too airy and modern for me (I like cozy, old-fashioned houses) but it's nice. My favorite thing is the kitchen...I just wish it had walls!

That afternoon, I had supper with Grandpa Russel and Grandma Norie. Then I dropped Mom and Dad of in Woodward and rushed off to Des Moines for drinks with the ladies at Star Bar. I had a chocolate strawberry martini and a slice of white raspberry cheesecake while opening presents. Jennifer got me a book I've been covetting for a while. Jessica knitted me a cunning hat and scarf set and gave me two DVDs (in a gorgeous box that I adore). Kelly got me a pretty pink sweater which my boyfriend assures me makes my breast look huge...so thanks, Kell.

Speaking of the boyfriend, he had told me we weren't going to spend New Years together, but when he picked me up from the airport, he told me he wanted to after all. (Actually he claimed that he's already told me he changed his mind...but that's a topic for a different post.) So he ended up coming out with me and my friends.

For lunch we went to Jackson Hole dinner for enormous burgers. After that, we hung out at my place while I unpacked. We watched some TV, then had Chinese food while flipping back and forth between a movie (Anger Management...meh.) and a football game (meh.) At least the food was really good! Later we joined up with Laura, Madrid and Madrid's luvah, Chris, for an amazing house party. (This was my second New Year's Eve at that party.) Laura's boyfriend, Ryan, showed up before midnight. We had a great time and for the first time in my life, I had a boyfriend to kiss at midnight.

On Tuesday, I had to go back to work, which was kind of painful. The kids have been acting all crazy, and they make me want to quit my job. Some of the kids are great, but right now the obnoxious ones are drowning them out (especially class 705), and I'm just not bad-ass enough to keep them in line. To be fair, only the deans and one math teacher, Mr. P, are bad-ass enough, so I can't blame myself too much. Oh, well. I never thought it would be easy.