Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Hi. I'm Meg. I didn't go to high school with you."


I used to have this other online diary - an online diary filled with things about booyyyzzzz and whinnnniiinng and Mandy Moore.

And, for a moment, Dear Reader, we need to go back to that earlier iteration of online journaling. Because, let's be serious about this right now: I really love Mandy Moore. A lot a lot. This has got to be the 40 billionth (in real speak: 6th or so) time I've watched Chasing Liberty and I still ADORE it. A.D.O.R.E. Mandy Moore - you GO rebel! You GET out your aggression! You MAKE OUT with that hot British Dude! NO ONE CAN KEEP YOUR SPUNKY ATTITUDE DOWN!

You know what would make this Mandy Moore experience better? If it were followed by that one where she dates the dude who looks like Every Man I've Ever Loved, Ever. I think it's called Get Real or Really Real or Real, A Lot, For Always. Regardless - it's the one where her BFF gets preggers and then her BFF's BF dies suddenly and people learn about true love, with and without matramony.

It's hardcore. I think we'd be friends in real life - we'd girl talk and participate in capers and she'd tell me how she gets her hair to look so cute all the damn time. Seriously, Dear Reader, seriously.

So - winter break's been, for many days, even more hectic than regular workin' days, but I'm digging it.

Waking up in Jared's house, surrounded by people who are similarly trying to make sure they weren't too awkward last night, puts me in a weird mood. Dear Changing Relationships With People I Grew Up With: you confuse me.

True story.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dear Story of my life:

So, story of my life, you're pretty hilarious sometimes. I wound up at a bar with my pre-school best friend where EVERYONE I EVER WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH THAT I HAVEN'T KEPT IN TOUCH WITH WAS ALSO DRINKING. Story of my life (aka: AWKWARDNESS) why do you do this to me?

Couldn't you at least have told me to wear heels, SOML?

Oh well, I came home and Gchatted Charles Harrison because I desperately, DESPERATELY needed to talk to someone who knew and loved college Me.

Story of my life - I am not positive you're a comedy.


Meg who got her mommy to DD her. Meg who is a mess and a half and probably shouldn't be allowed to live in her home town anymore. Meg who will, probs, delete this in the morning.

Lurve, indeed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pass me the denture watch and fig newtons, please.

The newest installment of "Things That Are Cute In My Life:"

- The joy my father gets from my newfound crush on Total Hottie Robert Redford. Dear audience: though he often sports an ill-advised mustache and often plays characters with more-than-questionable gender politics (and has kind of small teeth) - I get it. The cute part, though, is how every time I go over to my Dad's, he's netflixed either a Paul Newman or a Robert Redford. Oh Electric Cowboy, you're such a rascal!

I feel I've reached a new point in my life - the point in my life at which I begin to understand how Totally Old Dudes are also Totally Cute. Newman and Redford were just the tip of the iceberg. Shatner as Kirk as Sex Symbol has always been high on the list of "Things I just don't get." Until today, folks! I flipped on the television, saw some tight-fitting yellow, and was sold. I get it, folks.

It's official: I eat dinner at four, I go to bed at 9, and my heart flutters for Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and William Shatner - I am a very, very old lady.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I can't figure out if I'm using "forebearer" correctly, so I removed it from the body of the post. Darn you - ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

Gentle reader,

I come to you today with a picture. I say no more about this picture than that it is a sign of great and powerful things to come.

Also, it's a menorah hat. HAT.

(And that's my Bannister. Note the white lights - proof of my co-habitation with a one, Miss Mary Ryan.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

This post isn't very funny so I tried to fake it with a youtube video

Oh Arlington - the land of Couch Crashing and Life Lessons. Lessons from this installment of Weekends in the DC-Metro Area include:

- I want to live at Kate's house always. The land of KateJennyAndrewDavid is a land where, according to what I see when I visit, I can always watch Nine to Five and color felt posters while eating delectable baked goods. What's that you say? I could probably do those in my own home, now that I'm "an adult" anyway? True - but it's not the same without Kate, et al.

- I am weak, weak when it comes to Ms. Katz and her sweet-talking, make-up finding wiles. Also the West Coast needs to be closer to this one. Stat.

- I CAN DRIVE IN GEORGETOWN NEAR CHRISTMAS TIME AND NOT DIE. Dear Cities: I hate driving in you. Fix that, por favor. (Side note: I can parallel park in Georgetown near Christmas and not die - take that, mon amie!) (Side, SIDE note: it is annoying that I do not know how to make accent marks in this little bloggymadoodle, so I can not ACTUALLY use any of the 4-5 French words I know! SACREBLEU!)

Kelly is the hottest thing on two legs. Now, for those of you who know my friend Kelly, you were well aware of this fact before I told you. For those of you who don't - let me just reiterate: Kelly is the hottest thing on two legs. This is impressive, coming from me, because I have a lot of attractive friends, guys. You don't even know. My friend circle is, without a doubt, Hot Chick Central - and the ladies I was out with Saturday night were, if I do say so myself, easily the cutest, classiest, most awesome women to walk into any room we deemed worthy of our presence. But...I should see what happens to a room when Kelly walks into it. I'll give you a hint: men melt into piles of simpering mush whose eyes glimmer with hope and adoration. It's AWESOME. It also equates Free Drinks In An Attempt To Distract Meg So All Men, Ever, Can Attempt To Romance Kelly (in a proper-noun sort of way). I would like, again, to reiterate: it's AWESOME.

Finally, even though my Youth Group kids are, for all intents and purposes, being butts I am going to post this video about the true meaning of Hanukkah. The true meaning of Hanukkah is humorous raps - that's right, humorous raps. And a solstice-esque festival of lights, just like every other world relgion.

Oh, and Macabees and the miracle of the oil and family and getting presents at the same time as all the other kids. It's about that, too.

But mostly raps.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The stammering really gets me

Dear Woody Allen:

I do not think you are very funny or entertaining. I'm sorry, but it's true. I wrote a paper once on what you symbolized about the Jewish-American experience's necessity to be self-referential in a sort of paranoid and self-deprecating way. You make me uncomfortable, and I am annoyed that this pegs me as Not Appropriately Quirky OMG2XTREME.

I am a Jewish feminist who doesn't particularly like Woody Allen and has a conflicted relationship with the music and works of Ani DiFranco - oh why can I not get my pop-culture references to match my societal labels?

My life is so seriously difficult, guys. You don't even know. Don't even.

In other news: I didn't know how much I liked Richmond until I spent an evening going to hip coffee shops and cool vegan dives and fun apartment parties featuring hilarious snore-stories. I drove home listening to NPR and basking in the bright, crisp light of a morning of a day that was only going to go down hill in terms of "things that stress Meg out."

In thirdly other news: I am not very good youth group leader and would not like to do it anymore, if that's a-okay with everyone. Oh? It's not? You'd rather be kind of passive aggressive and consistently ask me to organize things the kids don't seem to want to partake in? Cool. I...I guess that's almost the same.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Watchful like a Kung Fu master (preferably of the panda variety)

Dear Aliens-Who-Are-Currently-Inhabiting-My-Body:

For starters, I'm onto you. As a follow up - you are doing a poor job of being subtle. What? Did you think just because you were making healthy choices for me, all of a sudden, I was going to turn a blind eye? Did you think I wouldn't notice? Aliens - you are new to this body, obviously, otherwise you would understand that changes this broad and rapid are not par for the course. Aliens - I am beginning to believe you didn't do your research too well.

I don't know what you are plotting, nefarious or otherwise, but if it involves going to the gym four times this week (two of those times involved waking up and going before work - Aliens, the real Meg would never do these things), taking my vitamins regularly, and flossing I am suspicious.

Know this, Aliens, for now I'm putting up with these changes and seeing where they take us, but the moment I find myself thinking "you know, I always did like lettuce more than chocolate cake, anyway" you will be out faster than you can say "low-budget Sci-Fi channel exorcism."

Host Body.

In other news: Mary and I made a Wal-Mart run tonight which involved two key purchases. Key purchase one: The Last Holiday with Queen Latifah. Let's just say: we love Queen Latifah for a reason - and that reason now involves how hot LL Cool J is.

Key purchase two: a pair of fun reindeer antlers for Mary, which she wore on the way to the car. Why didn't she wear them all the way home? Because a guy in the parking lot said, I kid you not, "Hey baby - you can pull my sleigh...heh heh heh."

Ooooooh creepy dudes - do these approach tactics ever work for you?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I can't think of William S. Burroughs without thinking of that Moxy Fruvous song

So here's a story about one of my kids and why I have mixed feelings about the gonzo journalists of the 1960s:

Once upon a time I had this totally sweet kid in my office and he told me to speak to his friend who had OD-ed at school the past year about planning for college. So, I called in the other kid and found myself with this this totally cool and erudite and hip-seemin' kid in my office and we were all talking about his hopes and dreams for the future (of which he has many) and then he was all, "hey, yeah, also last year I got really into reading Timothy Leary."

Well, let me tell you, being a product of the DARE generation, my drug-dar was already up so when he Timothy-Leary name dropped, I was ontop of that. Because, here's the thing: I kind of get it. I more than kind of get it, I feel it. I understand what's sexy about Leary it's the same thing that's painfully sexy about Burroughs and Ginsburg - I understand that pull towards a shattering of the self, fully expressed only throught the further shattering of the conciousness. I also undersatnd that, kidding aside, I am a product of the DARE generation - my ideas about drugs are culturally influenced in the extreme.

But I also understand that this kid is sixfuckingteen and he's already ODed and LSD is not something you play around with when you could be dedicating the rest of your life to bad flashbacks. Yeah, I'm supremely uncool, I get that. Go forth and talk about how I'm a huge Square or whatever the appropriate terminology is but I just get in a panic every time I think about this beautiful mind getting into bad, drug-related trouble. I knew the kids who were druggies in high school and I knew a fair number who were druggies in college. Most of the high schoolers probably didn't know I knew (I did, SoRo crowd. I knew you more than I knew my fellow theater kids, if you'd believe it) and no, none of them died horrible fiery deaths. Really, I have no anecdotal proof that DugzRBad, but I know substance-related coping mechanisms in general are bad, and I know ODing is bad, and I know LSD scares the shit out of me at the end of the day.

And that's my life. I am not very cool. But, you know, who was pretending on that one, really?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The best part is the part about the blue shell. Wait for it, you'll see.

So, I know this "blog" is just code for, "Meg posts youtube videos. Lots of them." But take a few things into consideration.

1. I'm still really excited that I know how to use this technology. You don't even know, dudes, you don't even know.
2. My life isn't really THAT interesting.
3. Sure, I never talk about the semi-important stuff in my life, like my LSD using, Hitler-essay-writing, bawling-in-my-office kids or Thanksgiving, or how cyber boys are totally lame, okay. But that's just...because I'm saving it up for when I feel more like a good writer, okay? Okay? Also, I feel nervous about this blog being So Public, OMG, and I don't want to know...spreadin' other people's buis-nass on the interwebz.
4. THIS VIDEO IS SO ADORABLE AND AWESOME OMG. Truth: it is not as cute as the sleepy monkey. Other truth: it is WAY more awesome than any of the Beyonce/Brittney/HDuff videos posted in the last youtube splurge.

(He's feels so deeply! And so mustacheo-edly!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So, this is...pre-Christmas.

So, here's the thing: I really love Christmas music. Look, I'd love Hanukkah music if there were a significant body of it out there, I'm sure I would, but as it stands, I really love Christmas tunes.

I get all excited when it's time to break out Snowed In. I tune into the All-Christmas-All-The-Time stations when December hits and I squeel with glee every time "All I Want For Christmas is You" comes on the radio anywhere. I really love that song.

But, here's the real thing: not one but two radio stations in Roanoke have already gone All-Christmas-All-The-Time. The first one changed over 2 weeks ago. There...there just aren't enough Christmas songs to sustain this pace for more than the post-Thanksgiving push. I'm not kidding folks, I really love Christmas music and there are really only so many times I can handle Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Furthermore, ABC Family Channel - telling me we haven't started the "25 Days of Chirstmas" but are merely in the "countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas" confuses me when I am watching Christmas movies. know...if you want to play that one with Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez more often, I'm cool with that. (Guys, you don't even know: IT'S MELISSA JOAN HART AND MARIO LOPEZ!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oooooh youtube.

Since I spend my days with high schoolers and am now spending at least one evening a week with a pair of seventh graders, I think it is important that I have an opinion about pop music. That's right, my "Fall Out Boy" Pandora radio station is totally legit. I'm just trying to understand these kids, alright? YOU COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND MY PAIN LIKE THEY DO. Etc.

Thus I present to you my discoveries about pop culture, complete with youtube videos.

1. Every time I hear Britney Spears' new song, "Womanizer" I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Seriously, I had no idea, but I am legitimately emotionally invested in how Britney is doing. I care. It makes me feel really good that she's got a New Hot Single out there, and that it's inhumanly catchy, and that I'm pretty sure from the first moment it hit the airwaves it was destined to be the anthem of really fabulous sorority girls and gay men everywhere.

2. HilDuff, on the other hand, does not please me quite so much. HilDuff, in fact, DISPLEASES me. Greatly. You may notice, if you choose to click this video that it is (1)really sadly trashy. In a sad way. A sad trashy way. (2) Basically a really weird cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus." Now, seriously, do you need to make almost anything by Depeche Mode wierder? Oh Hilary Duff - this is not edgy, it just makes me feel like one of those moms who needs to censor which teen queens her daughters want to emulate. Hilary Duff - I bought one of your songs off of iTunes, where's "Wake Up" Hilary?

3. I know you hate Beyonce, Cor, but I just don't. I like you, Beyonce, even though I suspect we would not be friends in real life. In fact, I suspect Beyonce of being TERRIFYING in real life, which makes me even happier that "If I Were A Boy" features, prominently, the subjunctive. The subjunctive may be in danger in the English language, but it's not dying on Beyonce's watch. Not today, evolution of the language towards a simplified vernacular, not today.
However, as much as I applaud Beyonce's semi-forward thinking, I also happened to stumble across the video for "Put A Ring On It" the other day. By "stumbled across" I mean "I watch a helluva lot of MTV, people, it's becoming an addiction." So anyway, first of all, the possible (anti?) feminist things going on here are interesting to me. Especially when taken along side "If I Were A Boy" and Beyonce's current proclivity for Black And White I kind of don't know how to make sense of either the sentiment or the aesthetic of "Single Ladies." Anyone feel like they're getting a little Josephine Baker/Exoticised other vibe?

...Maybe you can't tell, but I REALLY miss American Studies. Really, really.

I've run out of steam to write much more but I leave you with this, the video youtube just recommended for me. Youtube knows me well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cosmic Coincidence?

Twice in the last 12 hours, allusions to The Toxic Avenger have popped up in exceedingly unlikely places. Dear Universe - WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME ABOUT MY SORDID, HIGH SCHOOL PAST?!

I'm back in Roanoke. I'm working with the little siblings of the boys I grew up with. Their cult favorites are now haunting me. Alright already, I sent Brian a facebook message the other day - what more do you want from me?!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holy hell - this is history

There are so many things I want to write about. I want to talk about being a picnic for Halloween and about my qualms with boys and digital diaries.

OH WAIT ALSO I WANT TO TALK ABOUT POLITICS OMFG. As I sat in my mother's den, obsessively refreshing while watching CNN on her television I got to scream, "Virginia turned blue! THEY TURNED VIRGINIA BLUE!" Mere seconds before the announcer told us to hail our new President Elect, Barack Obama.

Maybe, one day, I will tell my kids I lived to see the first African American President of the United States like my parents tell me they lived through integration. I know, mentally, that there was a time before school integration, but I can't really fit that sort of belief system into my world view. Similarly, I hope that my children can know that, yes, as recently as in their mother's lifetime, we didn't have African American (or women?) Presidents - but that's a thing of the misguided past.

Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we will.

Just for your viewing pleasure, these were some of my favorite ads during the campaign. Dear Celebrities: I don't care what Carrie Underwood says*, I'm all about your opinions. I'm all about their entertaining little ways.

(Watch all the way to the END of this one - THAT'S THE BEST PART!)

(I less-than-three you, Leo! I always have! ALWAYS.)

(I also less-than-three you, Snoop, but it's more in that, "I like to pretend you're actually sweet and cuddly in person and that'd be our little joke" way.)

*That's a total lie. I do care about what Carrie Underwood says. I don't know why I care, but I know that I most certainly do.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Okay, I'm sorry, I don't even watch these things to fuel my stupid brain,

So, I am mad at my brain right now. I'm not mad because I'm awake at 6:30 on a Saturday, that's my own fault, I'm mad because it keeps having nightmares with horror movie plots.

Last night is a great example, I woke up at 3:30 with a very full bladder and was unable to DO anything about it because, you know, if you leave the safety of the covers then you're vulnerable to the baddies. In this case "the baddies" were, in fact, a dude stalking my friend Veronika who then tried to kidnap/kill/something her such that they found themselves in the woods with him perusing her. He, in desperation, grabbed an axe. She, being a bad-ass, grabs an axe-intended-for-fires (just go with it) and summarily kicks his ass then runs away. So really, my damn brain has the nerve to dream up a horror movie (bad) but the sense to make Veronkia the unequivocal heroine/winner (good). There was even some part where I (the Meg character in my stupid horror movie dream) said something like, "that guy sure picked the wrong girl to mess with" and acknowledged that If I, real-world-or-dream-Meg, were placed in the same situation, I would definitely loose an axe fight.

Also, you know how your friends aren't usually very realistic in your dreams? How they have the names but not really the attributes you associate with your friends? Well, axe-killer-ass-kicker Veronika (and her spunky dream-roommate, Lauren T.) were exactly like they are in real life. Except, you know, persued by a deranged dude with an axe.


Well, I'll have the whole early morning drive to c'ville to ponder it, I suppose. Whee for rainy pledge-project weekends!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What can I say, I'm a hussy.

A day in my life:

"Well, hello Ten P.M.! What's that? You'd like to take me to bed now? Oh well I...I...I mean...a nice girl...oh Ten P.M. I cannot resist your wiles! I'm yours!"

Why yes, yes, there are little old ladies who routinely stay up later than I want to. Thank you for asking.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

They didn't even play any 90s throwbacks

There are some things in life which appear to be way, way better the second time around. The second time you listen to a fantastic piece of music you are better able to appreciate its subtle complexity as well as the overall musical arc. The second bite of delicious, delicious cake is sometimes even better than the first because you know what to expect - also, it's delicious, delicious cake. There are probably other examples, since the rule of threes is a good writing technique.

So far, I think high school might be another of these phenomena. I like high schoolers now waaayyyy more than I think I did as a high schooler myself. They're just so darn cute. Sure, they do all sorts of mean things to each other - but they're 16, can we really expect much better behavior from them, really? Methinks not. Methinks they're adorable, just as they are.

In other, related news, we chaperoned Patrick Henry High School's homecoming dance this weekend. Hilarity. Ensued. My feministy free-expression-of-sexuality-esque sensibilities make me a particularly poor choice of dance chaperon, it seems, since grindydancing doesn't really seem that unnecessarily scandalous to me. I mean, sure, I'll do a lot of head-wagging at what seems unclassy behavior but...neither Mary nor I could muster quite the unrepentant disgust and ire that many of our colleagues carried through the dance floor like a shield. The thing that bothered us both most, really, was that we could only come down on girls for dance-scandal, since the boys job in The Grindydance was usually just to stand there and get ground allupons. Also, boys were rarely flashing their panties while grinding in microminis.

Since "dance rules" were up to the discretion of the chaperon, ours developed as such:
  1. Her hands can't touch the floor
  2. Both her feet can't leave the floor
  3. No crotch shots
  4. No crowd surfing
  5. No touching, with your hands, the bikini regions of your dance partner

We did NOT make "no makeyouty" a rule. I don't know what Mary's rationale was, but mine was definitely that hilarity factor coupled with shame will probably squelch the problem before it gets out of hand. And really, if you've never seen a 16-17 year old boy pull his ladylove in for an "I'm grabbing the back of your head like I'm trying to suck your brains out, fo' real I'm a zombie I forgot to tell you" kiss - you haven't known how hard you could laugh.

I know, in a few years, these feelings of "hey, children, you should know about BEDROOM STYLE DANCING" that are sort of bubbling around in my brain will probably take over and I'll be all horrified and scandalized by The GrindyDance as well (and really - it isn't particularly classy... but neither are frat parties or dance clubs, the two types of dance floor these children appear desperately to want to approximate). Some day, these kids will look a lot younger than they do now. But I don't really want to expend a grand amount of my energy being scandalized at awkward, adolescent expressions of exploratory sexuality, really. It seems like kind of a waste of time, as well as a puritan sex ethic I'm fairly positive I don't want to buy into, implications about the death of childhood be damned. Childhood as we now know it is a Victorian ideal anyway - perhaps it's time we let it exist in a more complex realm.

Ms. R - the Principal of our high school, perhaps shares my opinion. She, too, shook her head at a lot of the dance, but it was a head-shake-accompanied-by-chuckle. She's a Running-A-Tight-Ship esque woman to begin with. Maybe Grindydancing doesn't bother her that much because she, too, is a sexually liberated feministy woman. Maybe it's because she's the one the seriously bad behavior goes to, so the grindydance isn't that big of a deal. Who knows?

It just seems like a lot of energy to expend over a little good, clean dirty dancing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

OMGz, my family is teh awesomz

If you see any film coverage of the Obama rally in Roanoke, and you see a DASHINGLY HANDSOME boy who looks like he's probably from southern India standing behind Obama on stage, THAT'S MY BROTHER.

So. Cool. Oh Benjam, always out there, bein' the coolest.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's an adventure - OF YOUR CHOOSING!

Hello four loyal readers, I blog to you today from a wonderful Hampton Inn in Sterling, VA after attending my friend-since-kindergarten Megan's wedding-reception. I blog to you today with a new and innovative type of entry: Choose your own Blogventure! It's like choose your own adventure...but using the internetz so slang is required! Lol 2damax. Here's the story, morning glory:

You are a Pretty Cute Dude attending the totally alternative and delightfully vegan wedding reception of two of your closest friends from college. You become aware that Some Chick Who Grew Up With The Bride is all trying to talk to you 'n stuff. She's pretty friendly. And Loud. And, if you do say so yourself, she looks kind of fierce and her mask is tres snappy (it is a Masquerade themed wedding gathering -which is way more fun and classier sounding than it suddenly seems right now. I promise). This chick, should you give yourself the opportunity to get to know her, is probably a Cool Dude. Do you:

1. Talk to her like a normal person. Engage her in the totally normal-person conversation that she's attempting to initiate and see if you two can be Normal Friends on a Normal Friendly level. Hey - no one ever died of a 20 minute conversation, right? If it's awkward and you don't enjoy one another, it's cool. She'll probably get it too, then you never have to speak again. If you choose this option, go to paragraph FOUR (4).

2. Talk to her like a person who is very frightened and has been cornered here, in the bathroom line, by someone who is about to attack him with venomous snakes. How do you like your job as a paralegal? SHIT! THIS IS PROBABLY A TRAP OF THE MOST NEFARIOUS NATURE! If you choose this option, go to paragraph FIVE (5).


4. Alright, so you're talking, you have many things in common, you are funny, she is funny, the funny is just rolling along at lightning speed. Wow - it's almost like girls are people too - not just scary monsters! You start thinking to yourself, hey, this girl may be flirting with me. Ooh la-la and tres extreme. You can't possibly be that surprised because, as anyone with any sense knows, floppy hair, a scruffy beard, and an obvious terror of women are total turn ons for some people. Some people who may be associated with this blog in some ways or other. Anyway - that chick is totally thinking about digging you. Do you (A) decide that some makey-outy wouldn't be the worst thing in the world? If so, go to paragraph SIX (6). Or do you (B) decide that "just friends" is probably best, all things considered? If so, go to paragraph SEVEN (7).

5. Shit. She continues to be at this party despite your not wanting to talk to her. Sometimes, you're even in the same room. This is clearly a trap. RUN AWAY. OH SHIT, GIRLS!

6. You, your floppy hair, and this foxy lady find yourselves "accidentally" alone outside. She says, "oh, I making you uncomfortable?" during an awkward silence, "you say's just that...I can't stop myself from thinking about kissing you..." She says, " that a problem?" MAKEY-OUTY OF THE BEST ROMANCE NOVEL TYPE ENSUES. Then she gets all attached to you, probably, and stalks you on facebook like a million times a day. She's not a creeper...just a specific type of romantic? Regardless it was probably a good wedding-time makey-outy, right? Sucess! You win!

7. Hey, this friends thing works out pretty well, probably! You two have a lovely time chatting and keep loosely in touch for years to come, especially when the chick visits your mutual friends. Congratulations - you made a new friend! Success! You win!


Quick summary of my life, for me, so that when I look back on my blog, I'll remember that I do things:
- I visited C'ville 2 weeks ago and had a fabulous time and stayed with my fabulous little and played a fabulous kareoke game. Then I met Mary at a fabulous wine festival where we tasted fabulous wines and saw crafts. FABULOUS!
- Jobz = nothing too new to report, except that I adore the kids (still) and don't always adore the bureaucracy.
- Megan and Nathan's wedding reception was beyond beautiful, and super fun, and I love them immensely and am so honored to have been included in this terrific festivity.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pile, I tell you! Pile!

Remiss on the posts, this I know, I know! There is much to say and little time to say it in, so instead, I give you Today's Pile Of Excuses I Don't Update My Blog Enough:

1. We don't have internet in the apartment right now. Fo' realz yo'. It's rough.
2. JDate e-mails me all the time. I am not even kidding, dudes. All the time. It's gotten to the point where I become moderately wary of opening my inbox every time I do enter an internet zone (aka: work) because I know there are goign to be a lot of e-mails there, from JDate. Judging me.
2b. I knew I wouldn't be able to contain my BlogSelf and would, invariably, mention JDate within approximately 4 secons of opening the blog screen. Then I'd have to be all like, "no, it's not what you think!" and then I'd feel like a creeper. A sad, sad, sad creeper.
3. Work is exhaustingly busy most days, which is a positive in the long run, but leaves no time con los internet-os for blogging.

If those don't constitute as a pile-o-excuses, I don't know what do.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This is why they don't let me out in public.

The hazards of coming back to your Small City are numerous. Many of these hazards can really be boiled down, for me, to "YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S EYES ARE EVERYWHERE" or, for the goy, "why aren't you married yet? I CAN SEE YOU! I CAN SEE YOU WILLFULLY NOT BEING MARRIED OVER THERE."

Other hazardous situations: running into old high school teachers in the grocery store but not being sure if they remember you. Not being as motivated to find Cool Things To Do because you're already So Over This Town. Feeling like you're 12.

Or, as tonight illustrated: going out and seeing random people you grew up with but with whom you now have a murky and difficult to define relationship that you feel should maybe be a friendship but it's not like you know each other or anything it's more, "Holy crap! We did high school theater together!" or, you know, "holy crap - I HAD A CRUSH ON YOU IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! You were so rebellious!" or even, "holy crap - I had a crush on YOU, TOO in elementary seriously. I think I dooodled your name with a heart around it. I hope you cannot see that in my expression. This one time, I took YOUR school picture and ANDY'S school picture and I taped them to different soccer statues and pretended that they were you guys and you were my boyfriends which, REALLY, was kind of creative for a second grader...and also sort of like I built a freaky shrine to you.'s that tattoo coming along now...buddy?"

These, my friends, are the hazards of moving back to your small town.

In other news, when we accidentally ended up at this hole-in-the-wall-barbecue-resturaunt-turned-bar tonight, I was pleased. I was doubly pleased because the dude playing SOULFUL ACCOUSTIC GUITAR was totally square-jaw-perfect-teeth-ed and smiled at us. Then he played some more. Soulfully. I bought his CD and we talked about how he met his girlfriend at a college hypnotist's show and then his shirt was a Shakespeare reference and we are totally going to be friends, you don't even know, guys! You don't even know.

Soulful. Acoustic. Guitar.

So, sometimes when my friend Will plays guitar while sitting under trees in quads and things, I go up to him and say stuff like, "Oh, hello ladies. I did not even notice you standing there, ladies, listening to my soulful guitar. I suppose, ladies, if you so choose you can, like, you know, stay and listen. Whatever. I don't care, it's all about the music. I was certainly not playing for you - but more for my soul. You may notice I play the acoustic guitar - I feel it expresses me...soulfully."

This is not exactly the emotion I feel towards Adorable Russell Howard. ARH does not appear to be a douche at all, really.

I think we should, you know, hold hands and talk about our feelings.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jacket weather, AHOY!

I never know how to write electrified posts - posts that I sort of want to just...emit. Virginia's been smelling like fall off and on since a few days before the last time I went up to visit Kate and talked with that guy, Rick, on their back porch. I can't remember exactly which weekend it was, some time in August and we, being good party guests, were attempting to talk about the weather. It was just starting to get chilly at night - the way Virginia can tease you with fall weeks before you're ready for summer to be over, charging the nights with something that only dances around the subject in late afternoons. I love these seasons.

Happy first day of fall is, in essence, the moral of that story.

Mary and I began meeting with students last week and so far it's an exercise in hoping I actually know as much as I pretend to know. While there's part of me which says, "honey - you're doing your best, and you've been through this process, and you're reading. You know as much as you can, don't fret." There's this other part of me that can't shake the feeling that I'm playing ball with these kids lives. And that's the thing - they're kids, they're four years younger than I am and kids. I just want to wrap them all up in hugs and say, "don't you dare forget a minute of the next few years of your life - you're growing so much faster than you realize. Don't you dare take the hardship and the heartache for granted. It's pretty rad, all things considered."

The first kid who came to see us, all of his own accord, (let's call him "Matt" - and understand from here on out, all students will receive pseudonyms) will still probably always be my favorite. His enthusiasm and his complete trust that we knew something he didn't, he couldn't, were just so enchanting - he is the reason I'm in this job, in so many ways. He's also (one of) the (many) reasons this job petrifies me. What do I know, really? I still have huge doubts about my own college choice, delighted as I was with the experience. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I have no 5 year plans. Matt has a plan up through the PhD - and, yes, I know his Sparkly Little Plan (full of life and twinkle guys - you have no idea. These kids twinkle like none others, they all do - just full of sparkle in this mischievous and excited way) will probably change between know and the English PhD + masters in teaching but, geez, at least the kid has a goal!

My life plans include:
- Being happy
- Maybe writing along the way
- Interacting with people
- Never aging because I cannot fathom this kind of indecision in anyone much older than I, but can also not fathom any sort of decisive action. Also I don't like that the pop icons keep getting younger. WHIPPERSNAPPRERS!

Just FYI: I also need to write an entry about TEENAGE VAMPIRES IN LOVE but, you know, I'm getting tired. And I can really only listen to that one deadlines song a few hundred times a day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The rumors are true!

Yes, Dear Readers, the rumors are true. It is safe to say that I spend a good 10-20% of my life with this song stuck in my head.

No. Joke. Any time you seen me, there's a greater chance that I'm secretly singing this song than almost anything else. (With my carrots, and my celery!)

In other news, I was just remembering this time my good friend "Fauxarly" "lost" this submission to a publication she was working on. At the time, I was upset by these actions - but just the other day I was thinking about it, and I was suddenly filled with the Warmth Of Being Loved. In other news, I was just remembering that Fauxarly is pretty much a Rad Friend, 2damax.

There are lots of updates about The Job - which is auspicious sounding indeed, but I am exhausted 24/7 these days, and haven't really made topical-and-relevant blogposts the number 1 priority.

(Captain Vegetable, however, IS always with me. Always. You don't even understand, dudes and dudettes. You don't even understand.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Did you know those "shake it" boys are (1)boys (2)in some way related to Miley Cyrus?

I'm hesitant to write this entry because I kind of like the last one, and I don't want it to be overlooked. It is full of ire! Serious ire! It's not that well written or insightful or anything - but it's full of ire! So, yes. There you go.

You know what else I like? Love, even? Country and pop-punk songs written for teenagers.

L.O.V.E. I am a sucker for unadulterated emotion. I will make fun of it 'till the cows come home, but I love it with a part of my heart reserved for closet-unconditional-love. I love songs that sound like the accompanying music video should feature Young People Just Like You riding in a car at night with the windows down. I love that Taylor Swift song, "Our Song." I love that Boys Like Girls song, "The Great Escape." I love much of the Guster, Better than Ezra, and Eve 6 canons. [For the record, my father fussed at me the other day for this use of the word "canon." First and foremost, I think it's technically a grammatically acceptable use of the word - I am talking about the entire collection of an artist's work. Secondly, I know that it's not a traditional use of the word - helloooooooo iiiirrroooonnnyyyyyyyyyy. Le duuuuuhhhhhhhhhh.]

I love these songs for the same reason I love many things - their heartfelt passion. Of course it's cliche, that's why it's so damn good. Cliches get a bad rap, all things considered, the reason that they're cliche is that they're true. Cliches don't develop around things we don't all individually (secretly) feel we Feel More Truly Than Anyone Else In The History Of Ever. Cliches develop around things that are, time after time, essentially real and true to all of us.

I challenge the most mature, zen, Above It All person to tell me that teenage love wasn't a roller-coaster of a bitch that they hated but probably wouldn't give up for the world. Pop punk and sweet little country songs just hit that nail on the head - the "oh shit, teenage" nail.

It's cute. I like it. It means something real, even if it doesn't mean something original.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dudes who think cat-calling is funny, listen up.

Dear Dudes of the Universe,

I am displeased with you. For realz, yo. Sure, Dudes, I guess it's a little lame to blame you all for the actions of One Dude (or One Dude and ACCOMPLICE) but - dems da breaks. The way we culture you is exceedingly displeasing to me right now.

Dudes, you may be asking yourselves, "what did one of our number do?" I will gladly illuminate. As I was walking Georgia today, one of your number pulled up to a large intersection where I, too, was waiting to cross. He rolled down his window and yelled (across three lanes of traffic), "hey sexy!"

I was kind of freaked out. Cat calling is weird - I used to find it kind of flattering, but now I just find it degrading and like it's mocking me. I am always positive the Cat Calling Dude was triple-dog-dared right before he yelled at me, and THAT doesn't make me feel awesome. It's alarming, it's intimidating, and it makes me feel like by merely existing in the world I am somehow being Too Provocative. It also makes me feel unsafe and like you're really super duper making fun of me. Dudes -Cat Calling is not my favorite. Just, keep that one in mind.

Well, I rolled my eyes and turned to cross the road in the other direction, and Cat Calling Dude shouts, "Don't roll your eyes at me - all you have to do is say 'hi' or something." I, feeling guilty (and threatened! Dudes Who Cat Call - you have loud voices and cars! You have the position of power!) said "hey!"

Cat Calling Dude, "Now was that so hard? You know if I had been a white guy, you would've loved me to say something to you."

Let's pause here for a collective W.T.F.!? For starters, I think you should know - Cat Calling Dude was BY FAR the cutest guy to ever cat call me - except for his jerkitude, he was an attractive guy. So, really, if we're talking about guys I'd respond well to - this guy is topping the list. I responded badly not because there was something empirically physically that I responded poorly to - BUT BECAUSE HE WAS FUCKING HARASSING ME WHILE I WAS TRYING TO WALK MY DOG.

Just because I DO NOT WANT YOU YELLING AT ME ON THE STREET does not make me racist! I want to drop the jokey tone for a second because I'm really fucking offended. The more I think about this, the more offended I become. I cannot control the global gaze as it pertains to my body - I accept this. I can, however, control how I respond to that gaze, and I don't have to love it. To assert that there's NO way I would want to respond positively to any guy who sexualizes me on the street unless I had some more nefarious rationale is positively sickening.

I yelled back, "No. Sorry. I have a boyfriend."

He said, "Oh. Sorry."

1. What the fuck was I supposed to say "Hey - wanna fuck? You just yelled at me on the street, so I'd like to hop in your car and have sex with you now." Huh? What would he have accepted as the "proper" response to something like that?

2. I should not need a make believe boyfriend in order to deflect creepazoids on the street. How the fuck do you make me feel so frightened and guilty?

Gah. GAAAHHH. So freaking obnoxious.

Dudes - do not be like the dude who yelled at me today. You're better than that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day three of Actual Time In The Classroom (not sitting in training meetings or visiting colleges) and the to-do lists are starting to look pathetic.

By noon we're struggling to stretch our last few activities into hour-long ordeals and surfing the College Board and ACT websites for New And Exciting Information for Students that we didn't know we needed to know.

There is a cricket living in the far corner of our office here at Fleming and the melancholy call of an insect who has come inside at the first brush with fall to die here in the warmth is the ideal soundtrack to our activities. That sentence is in desperate need of more punctuation but the depths of my despair are such that I cannot even think about semicolons or commas right now; the writing, it must flow from my despairing fingers! (That semicolon was okay because it was an organic semicolon, not one imposed after the fact. That semicolon was okay, because I am fickle with my punctuation - like I am fickle with my use of the word "despair.")

We want to be productive. We want to be helpful. We want to do this job about which we are so excited. We are, however, but two young women - we can create but so many tasks for ourselves before we're finally allowed to meet students and speak in classrooms and actually talk to our advisers. I know that the beginning of the school year is incredibly stressful for the heads of guidance - it seems like every third student needs his or her schedule changed - but it's also stressful for us if we can't do anything because everyone else is too busy.

Some day...some day we'll have a real job with students and everything.

In the mean time...we wait. We take online assessment tests we will (hypothetically) one day offer to our students. We learn that when we're paid, it's going to be a very small sum and sent to our schools where no one knows who we are or that we have post boxes.

Our cricket chimes in with the sounds of a Spanish I class being taught down the hall. The bell rings so loudly we jump involuntarily. The school day goes on, despite us.

Here's some clip art!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spread the word, this is Big Time News

If there was any doubt before about my status as A Person Who Works In The Schools it is now official.

I, School-Faring Woman that I am, just created a document with clip-art to jazz it up. There's a woman with a big question mark and a dude with a graduation cap and EVERYTHING.

I even searched the online clip-art data-base for "question mark" and almost used a stick-figure silhouette doing triumph arms.

Check back - in a few days I bet I'll be super into power-point slide transitions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Read this entry with a Bye Bye Birdie-esque voice in mind.

Dear Diary,

Wow! It's been a wild time, this last week! Diary - there's so much going on, I haven't even been sure what to write in you (no! don't worry! I haven't forgotten about you!)! I just don't know where to start, Diary! Since I know how much you love pop-culturally-relevant organizational structures, let's categorize this entry into the good, the bad, and the ugly, shall we?

The Good:

Well, Diary, there's been a lot of good this past week! For starters Mary and I met up with some of my friends from Arlington and trucked down to the beach for Labor Day weekend. Oh, Diary, you would have loved it - there was taboo, and ill-advised-night-swimming, and a hot tub and EVERYTHING. Diary - it was an x-treme slumber party, only...with 20 people in a house many of whom I didn't know and one of whom I accidentally got nicknamed "Hot Kevin." I...I don't believe "Hot Kevin" and I ever actually exchanged words. Diary, trust me, that story is nowhere near as interesting as it sounds - but I like to pretend anyway.

Anyhoo, Diary, after the Fun Times And Constant Adventures of our Totally Radical Beach Bonanza, Mary and I returned to the 'noke for the official First Day Of School. We sat in our office and told kids we weren't the math department and EVERYTHING. The first day was a littel scary, Diary, I'll admit (wait for "the bad"), but we survived. Yesterday and today we spent in training related to our job - we've now got more concrete goals in place, as well as access to student records and official passwords and such. Before long I think we're going to be rolling along at a good clip here, Diary. Before long, we're actually going to feel like we are Real Employees with Real Jobs. Maybe they'll even actually send us a pay check, one of these days. Diary - a girl can dream.

The Bad:
Diary, I have a confession to make: this label is deceptive! I'm just going to talk about things I already mentioned in "the good" but show their flip sides. Diary, I am not good at artificially imposed organizational structures.

While, at the end of the day, I think we were able to make pretty good use of Tuesday at Fleming, amongst the student hoards, things were looking pretty rocky there for a little while. After we spent a good hour cleaning and organizing our office, Mary and I looked around and tried to figure out what our next step should be upon which we came to a series of realizations. In short no one:
  • Knew who we were
  • Knew what we were doing there
  • Knew where we were supposed to be
  • Knew when we were supposed to be there
  • Knew what we needed from them
  • Knew what they needed from us
  • Knew that we really really really aren't interns
This, Diary, could have been scary timez. Similarly, but differently, this could have been Slacker Timez. Thwarting both the scary and the slacker, Miss Mary and I cooly, calmly, and collectedly compiled a to-do list, and went about to-doing it. Furthermore we discovered several of our direct allies on the Fleming campus, the college and carreers sections of the library, that we are in love with everyone we've met so far, and that the class-change bell rings unnecessarily loudly. Diary, it could have been The Bad, but instead, it was The Productive.

Diary, you may feel a bit as if I am tooting our own horn. To that I say merely: toot-toot.

The Ugly:
Diary, I got a little extra sun on my face, and it's lightly peeling these days. This is not metaphorically ugly - but literally so!

Also, Mary and I convinced ourselves that we wanted to watch Drew Barrymore and Eric "There is nothing interesting, compelling, or talented about me - but I do have very nice hair" Bana in Lucky You last night. This, Diary, was a poor choice of great magintude.

Now, Mary and I knew that Lucky You probably wasn't going to be great, and we also have fairly high standards when it comes to our Chick Flicks. We don't like to boast but, well, I'd consider us Chick Flick connosiours. But, Diary, much as even a seasoned fancy-resturaunt-reviewer (those people have job titles, but I can't be bothered to look it up) still probably likes chicken nuggets and jell-o salad from time to time, we can appreciate a truely bad flick of the chick variety. Lucky You wasn't bad in the, "so bad it's good" way, was just bad. Really bad. Drew Barrymore was cute, but also her wardrobe was often brought to you by The Nineties. And, while I know my feelings on Eric Bana are so difficult to decipher, I just do not get why people find him interesting, compelling, or talented. (Dear Cor: I know I haven't seen Munich. BUT I HAVE SEEN Troy, The Hulk, and Lucky You. THREE STRIKES!) Also the writing wasn't great. Also I think they cut out all the scenes where relationships were built believably. Also I do not understand poker well enough to get it as a detailed metaphoric structure. Also, I was too busy whining about how I didn't like the movie to enjoy the good parts, I am betting.

Finally, and non-relatedly, my need to be A Real Grown Up Who Is Older And More Mature Than High School Students during the day has led me to drastic, drastic measures in my off time. Today, I wrote out this phrase: "kute boiz." Yes, Diary, it was in irony - but "kute"?! That's...that's not even actual teen slang. That's just dumb.

Friday, August 29, 2008

We keep visiting these technical colleges

...and I keep thinking to myself, "HEY SELF! YOU COULD TOTALLY DO A COMPUTER-BASED JOB IT WOULD BE RAD YOU WOULD BE THE RADDEST WEB-DESIGNER TO EVER WEB DESIGN." (My inner self, you may note, is prone to shouting.)

I've been trying to type up notes from our college visits and format them with pictures so we can make nice little hand-outs for our students since about 8:30am.


Perhaps I should reconsider my job future job-o-awesome in web design. It was a nice pipe-dream while it lasted. By "while it lasted" I think I mean "since Tuesday."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A whole new world

Truth about blogging: the more days you go without blogging, the harder the blogging becomes.

Truth about life: the more you put ANYTHING off, the harder it becomes…unless we’re talking, like, eating a fruit. In the case of fruit-eating, the fruit might become SOFTER, due to rotting and nefarious invasion by THE REALLY ANNOYING FRUIT FLIES THAT LIVE IN MY KITCHEN SOMETIMES. I guess that still makes “eating the fruit” harder, because now it is the picture of gross and disgusting things, but the fruit itself has, in fact, softened. MY ANALOGY IS PRICELESS AND WORKABLE.

Other truth about blogging: "blogging" is a stupid word and I feel sort of dirty whenever I write it. I do. Dirty. Drrrrrty, Xtina style, even. That reference will never get old.

Despite the fact that the students don't arrive until Tuesday, this past week has been an exercise in things that are harder than they seem like they'll be. I can only imagine how hard our job, which we already anticipate rating fairly high on the difficulty scale, will prove to be.

Examples of things with unexpected difficulty levels:
  • Visiting Colleges: For the last week or so, Mary and I have been spending our days traipsing around the Roanoke Valley area visiting local colleges and universities. Our mission - introduce ourselves and make solid contacts, tell schools what we're all about, learn what schools are all about. Learn where to send our students, and how we can get our students into these institutions. This is difficult and exhausting for several reasons. Firstly, this requires Being On All The Time for lots of hours, with travel time in between. Also, despite it seeming like an organic relationship to form, the relationship we're aiming for is actually a weird one. It's hard to not seem like we're some how either in an adversarial relationship or making a business deal. Lastly, absorbing facts and figures, along with "soft factors" quickly, efficiently, and while also trying to think of relevant questions to ask just becomes exhausting sooner than anticipated. By "sooner than anticipated" I mean "within moments." Dear College Guides: HOW I ENVY YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK.
  • Telling People What Our Job Is: Under this category, really, fall several things. Thing one: convincing people that we do, in fact, work at their school. Thing two: convincing people that we are full-time employees, not interns. Thing three: convincing people that we do, indeed, have a niche distinct from (or, rather, taking over one of the burdens of) a normal guidance counselor. Thing four: convincing people that we work for Roanoke City, not any college. No, no, we graduated from UVa, but we're not with UVa., see, we're working for Roanoke City so that means we really report to the Central Administration office - but we're on-site to work directly with the students. Um, actually, we're not so much interns...
  • Painting cinderblock walls: Our office/hole of despair and no return at one of the high schools we're working with, William Fleming, is a little dreary. Basically, Fleming is slated to be torn down in a year, and they've already started construction on the New, Shiny, Fancy School, so the Old Not Shiny School is being allowed to fall into even greater disrepair than might otherwise be the case. Our office is a rectangle with no windows and cinderblock walls and water leaking through the roof and the smell of mold and despair. Mary, being industrious, suggested that we paint the room (an action we got permission from the principal to undertake). Now, if you know Mary, you know "Mary blue" and you also know that the girl is the most understanding, amazing, loving, caring person you'll ever meet - but she's a stickler when it comes to room colors. Let's...let's just say that our room is now bright turquoise with some darker turquoise accent walls. Really, we had brightening, calming ideas in mind. Instead, managed to decorate our room MERMAID. Fo' serious. Also, painting cinderblock is HATEFUL AND DIFFICULT. We're planning on painting inspriational quotations on top of the darker green accent walls, in an effort to cover up the fact that it is impossible to get an even coat of that darn stuff. We, darlings, are obviously professionals. We're also going to sponge some of the darker turquoise over the lighter, in an effort to counteract the feeling of a 90s TV special.
As with most clouds, our painting not-exactly-debauchal has a few silverlinings. First of all - pretty much anything is better than drab cinder block, and once we stalk enough sales at Wal-Mart, we are confident we can get a $5 floor lamp or two into that room, too and we'll be in business. Also, as far as the people at Fleming are concerned, we're spunky. We're those girls with ideals too big for our britches who just came in an PAINTED THE WALLS, gosh darnit. We've also now begun the valauable process of making friends with the maitence crew. I think they think we're crazy, but in the cute way. If there's one thing that seems like a useful life-skill, it's most certainly making friends with the maitence crew - good job, us.

In short: this whole dealy has a few speed-bumps, but we do not intend to become deterred. We are strong. We are UVa women. We don't take no for an answer! We, yes we are the kind of women who can make mermaid walls work for us. Look out, students - we're getting ready to infuse you with idealism and energy.

Ready or not, difficult and exhausting tasks - we conquored hateful cinderblock walls already, we can take anything else down in our path too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

They gave us nametags and everything


Warning: this post contains lots of information about my new job, but very little of it is snarky or humorous! There are almost no exclamation marks after the third paragraph! Read warily and forewarned-ly!

It’s official – we are working in the school system. How do I know? There is a small gift bag sitting on my desk right now. Said small gift bag is decorated with pictures of pencils, rulers, stars, and apples and says “Teachers RULE” and inside has a bunch of small, symbolic, inspirational things.

I imagine my writing voice sounds like it’s dripping with “so over it” style sarcasm. It is. But, if you know me, you know this is all a front. I love “teachers RULE” and symbolic inspirational things and power points with high-fiving stick figures. I love “move around the room” activities and learning about the power of small groups. I have, in short, loved the past two days of new teacher orientation.

Simple - and perhaps hyperbolic - love aside, these past two days were the beginning of Actually Having A Job In The Real World. Roanoke City requires all new teachers (new to teaching and new to the school system) attend the New Teacher Orientation in order to be…oriented. After only two days, I feel that we’ve been given an interesting and clear look at the administrative attitude within Roanoke City: energized, focused, and in crisis mode.

Day one consisted, in large part, of training based on and around Ruby Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty – basically “class diversity” training. Now, this is interesting for several reasons. First and foremost, it drives home the attitude that the Roanoke City school system is an “urban” system, versus a suburban or rural system, which faces issues of class differentiation and poverty in a very urban sense of the terms. I just spent the last chunk of my life googling Payne reviews and while I think that there may be some deeply flawed assumptions her theory asks the educator to accept in a large Cultural Studies sense, I actually think the practical aspects of the theory seem sound. (Interestingly, a huge criticism of Payne's work, a work explicitly ON class, is that it is classist.) The basic rules that our training wanted to impart upon us seem to be these:

  • Do not assume that all students come from similar backgrounds - either to each other, or to you. Furthermore, do not assume that they come from a background in which the school paradigms are universal norms.
  • All effective teaching/counseling is based on effective relationships with students.
  • All effective relationships with students are based on mutual respect.
    • Respect is something a teacher must give in order to receive, but must also expect.
  • School systems are based on middle class norms and values. If a student does not arrive with middle class norms or values from the home, the educator should do the best to both understand and teach that there can be multiple "languages" or sets of rules for multiple different settings. (This is, understandably, the piece with which reviewers have the most difficulty.)
I think I'd like more time to really think about the Payne work before I make any concrete decisions in regards to my feelings. Regardless, though, I think explicitly stating and reinforcing the importance of both respect and relationships is a good strategy to employ during orientation lessons.

Our presentations today focused mostly around reinforcing reading ("Reading is Everyone's Responsibility") and understanding/dealing with mainstreamed learning disabled children in classrooms. Now, as the product of mainstreaming, I have some pretty strong feelings about LD students and mainstreaming - but those are probably for another day. All this training really reinforces one major point: you are the first and last line of defense.

Like I said: crisis mode. Roanoke City Schools is really trying to pull itself up by its bootstraps, and the tactic it appears to be employing is this: everyone needs to think they're fighting for the system's life.

Starting a new program within this sort of battle zone is certainly going to be an interesting experience - especially our kind of program. We're focusing, hopefully, on retention (keeping kids in high school because they have post-high school options) but also on elevating the system nationally (as we elevate our college stats) and providing for students AFTER they leave a system which identifies itself as in crisis. Ultimately, while I think we're going to be up against some unique challenges, I'm excited. I love the energy everyone from the Central Administration Office carries with her (or him). I love the loyalty you can feel for the superintendent. I love feeling like we're gearing up for war - because I think we're going to win.

We're also making friends with all manner of Sassy Young Teachers (SYTs) and the like. Hopefully we're going to host a SYT dinner party on Friday.

Tomorrow we start visiting colleges. Adventure!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bad Guys: this post is for you!

Attention Bad Guys who planned on kidnapping me, in order to make me participate in nefarious capers: I am about to “go on the record!"

Truth: I do not know if “on the record” is actually slang for anything!

Other truth: I’m about to get finger-printed for my job! Now, to the best of my knowledge, my finger prints will be in the system FOR EVER.

Hear that, Bad Guys? If you kidnap me, assuming you will use my DASHING GOOD LOOKS and YOUTHFUL NIEVATE to commit your crimes because there is NO WAY a girl this DASHINGLY GOOD LOOKING AND YOUTHFULLY NAIEVE could possibly have her prints in the system, thus, your scene will be clean – think again!

Finger prints, ID badges, and lots of official paper work: an auspicious beginning to the job, indeed!

In other news, Mary arrived yesterday afternoon with our third half, Corelyn, in tow. (Three halves work, I promise – our math is just a little TOO advanced for most.) My life is no longer craigslist-readingly boring! It’s amazing, really. I…I actually can’t think of a way to appropriately describe how astronomically my quality of life just rose – just take my word for it?

In third, and other OTHER news, Georgia (the puppers) went in yesterday to be spayed. And I hate my vet. And I get to pick her up today. And I feel like a HORRIBLE PERSON for sending her under the knife but – let’s be honest – it’s the better option. I hadn’t realized how intensely bonded to that dog I am, though. Not having her around for 24 hours, even with the arrival of Mary and Corelyn has been cause for intense distress, let me tell you.

Now - off to Official Administrative Business!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When they find me dead in a ditch

...I want everyone to know, "Nick told me so."

My job does not start until August 19 (so close, yet so far) and, while many might see this as a "priceless opportunity" or "time to be wisely spent"  I've chosen to see it as "proof that I flounder without structure."  Yeah - go ahead, say I told you so Mr. Smuggysmug - you go enjoy your time alone, and I'll pine for my structure.  

Weekend jaunts to the DC and Charlottesville areas, while hilarious, haven't quite been enough to keep me sane during the work week and a girl can go on but SO MANY hikes with her adorable dog before she gets tired of being sweaty all the time.   So, after a lot of pacing, several hours of catching up on almost the entire dinosaur comics archive, and infinite youtube surfing I finally found myself sinking to the lowest level of entertainment.  No, not pornography folks - I wrote a whole thesis on that junk, it's way better than this - I've become an avid reader of the cragislist personals. 

I'm new to the personals business, so I don't think I've quite figured out how to decode them yet - but they provide a heck of a lot of entertainment.  I might not know what "bmi" stands for - but I DO know that picture of you in a bathing suit has a 1997 date on it.  I'm on to you, Mister! However, as all hilarity in my life,  good-natured hilarity slowly leads to Very Bad Ideas.  

Very Bad Idea associated with reading the cragislist personals: answering a craigslist personal.  

Here is the personal ad in question: 

I know when to use two, too, to or 2... amazing, right? - 32 (Roanoke)
Yep, I know all about to and too, I'm fluent that way. 

So anyway, I'm white, into film, well traveled, about 5,9 but sometimes my hair, which is thick and brown, gets a little wavy (70's style) and makes me taller! No kids, no ex wives or anything, and I don't smell weird. 

I assume you are bored with eating out with your parents or that one friend that talks about her bf/husband non-stop. Maybe you are a student but want something more than just books to spend time with. Whatever, just be sane please... no more than two cats. 

If you don't go out much, that's fine with me. I'm really easy to talk to and specialize in shy people, or at least they gravitate toward me for some reason... so maybe I've got a niche!"

Now - this person sounds adorable.  His pick-up line is, in essence, "I can properly manipulate homonyms!"  And he says he doesn't smell weird!  And...and he acknowledges the existence of cat ladies!  How cute!  How appropriately adorable and witty!  How perfect a match!

The women in my life, namely my mother, best buds, and other consulted female friends, all feel that contacting this dude would be a good idea.  His age, we all feel, should not stop OUR POSSIBLE LOVE (or friendship).   However, my loving and caring care-taker, Nick feels differently.  Emphatically differently.  He echoed the fears I will now outline:

- Dude might ax-murder me.  Sure, we'd meet in a public place and talk about adorable things, but then he could be an ax murder.  And ax murder me later.  It could happen.  Sure, maybe I can' ACTUALLY live my life in fear of being serial-killed (killed!  multiple times!  in similar ways!) but...I feel personal ads have an extra high "ax murder fear" attached to them.
- Answering personal ads is creepy.  Maybe I've got latent ax-murdering tendencies which will never be realized unless I start doing creepy things like answering craigslist personal ads.
- Dude could be creepy in non-ax murdering ways.  And then we live in the same, not exactly large, area.  And that could be unfortunate for all sorts of reasons.
- Answering a personal ad makes me feel like I'm very desperate.  I don't even really WANT to be dating someone right now - it's not like I'm dying for Male Relationships such that I've resorted to personal ads.  I DO want friends, I want the personal ads kind?


Certainly not - then what would there to be for me to have all kinds of drama over? 

The time has come, the Walrus Said...

... to superfluously drop quotations into blog posts. 

The time has also come (with or without the Walrus' explicit prediction) to face the fact that I have officially Graduated From College and, as such, am expected to Face The Real World.  This prospect is a frightening one, one which reeks of "abandoning the bubble," "facing up," and "needing to become a neat and clean person."  A few months ago, I could assure myself that things were going to be alright because I, in my infinite wisdom (dumb luck) had secured Real Life Employment in this time of economic depression.  However, by this point, so have many (thankfully, most) of my peers.  My false sense of potential security has left me, and doubts about my position are creeping in.

Daily, I get e-mails about people's blogs from the wilds of Africa, the heat of Latin America, the hilariously-accented British Isles, and sassy New York.  People are flocking to big cities, far away states, and exotic foreign countries.  I, on the other hand, am working in Roanoke, Virginia.  Excited as I am about my job, I am beginning to worry I signed on for a bum deal here.  

Out of these creeping fears was born the idea for this blog.  Sure,  it's easy to blog about your WACKY ADVENTURES when those adventures are taking place in, say, Malawi, but what about when they're happening in Little 'Ole Roanoke? I'm positive that, around every turn, hilarity is just waiting to ensue - so why not document it?  Take that, people who live in intrinsically exciting places - I'm challenging you to an Interesting Things blog war.

Thus, the purpose of this blog is as follows:
- Chronicle the Trials and Tribulations of setting up a new position within the Roanoke City School System (more details to follow).
- Make sure I seize the note-worthy moments in my life by upping the ante from just "note-worthy" to "blog worthy."
- Feed my inflated sense of self worth.
- Keep writing, even though college is over.

To this end I  hope to post witty anecdotes, hilarious photographs, and un-whiny rants about the world around me.  That third thing probably won't happen - they'll almost certainly be whiny, but you can skip over those.  

For those of you who don't know how we got to Roanoke in the first place, let me briefly outline what the next 1-3 years of my life are slated to hold.  My college roommate/best friend, Mary, and I signed contracts with the Roanoke City School System to be, officially, "College Counselor Liaisons."   In short this means we'll be doing several things:
- Advising kids who know they want to go to college on how to write essays, getting good letters of recommendation, choosing good schools, etc. 
- Helping kids who didn't really think college was an option for them, but who want to go to college, figure out what their options are.
- Helping kids of all descriptions find money for college.
- Finding kids who haven't been traditionally "tracked" for college (placed in the advanced classes, etc) but look like they could go and encouraging them to make college-minded choices/consider college as an option, etc. 
- Various and sundry tasks I'm sure we'll discover along the way. 

I'm excited about the program for a number of reasons.  First of all, we essentially get to create this position within the Roanoke City School System which, while also terrifying, is incredibly exciting.  Trail blazing, 2themax!  Secondly, I feel that this is the sort of position in which we're REALLY going to be helping people, not just ourselves.  As much as this will be a learning experience, I think we're going to actually get to make demonstrable changes in people's lives.  Thirdly, this is one of the few jobs I looked at in which it truly behooves us to be right out of college.  We're full of ideals and vigor...and we can also speak from experience.  Lastly, it was about time I faced my Roanoke demons.  I've spent far too much time and energy over the past few years hating on a place which actually has a lot going for it - and it's time to give credit where credit is due.  I was offered the opportunity to do the exact kind of position I was looking seriously into, in a town I haven't given a fair chance, while allowing my relationship with my parents to grow and mature (via living in my home town but not at home).  Sure, it's not Portland, but it's not a bad gig either. 

So that's that - what I'm doing in life, what I'm doing online, and what I hope to get out of both.  Hopefully this will be the kind of journey we're both glad we signed on for.  

Let the shenanigans begin.