Saturday, December 24, 2005

we're off!

The car is waiting downstairs and we are finishing up putting together snacks.

Off we go!

See you on the other side! Happy Holidays, Friends!

Friday, December 23, 2005

At long last, vacation has begun!

It really doesn't feel like it yet, but it will when I get on that plane tomorrow!

Today went just fine. The getting up at regular time sucked, and the periods felt like they lasted forever and a day. But the kids were an excellent audience for Special Mystery Guest Mom. All the teachers were merry and had treats and games and it was nice.

After school, Mom and I went to Target for some trip stuff, but then, naturally, caught the monstrous Queens Blvd traffic heading east/south. It took nearly an hour to get to the restaurant we were going to. Three teachers and us met up for dinner and drinks and to just chill. It was very pleasant: we talked about traveling, errant students, and growing up with strict parents (or not, in my case; it didn't matter for me because I was such a nerd). I had some yummy nachos and Mom and I shared a strawberry margarita.

I have been getting cards and presents from my students all week, collecting them and saving them til tomorrow morning. There's quite a pile! I was so surprised and touched, and now I'm all giddy about all the gifts I get to open! Hurrah.

And then we have to PACK because we are leaving in less than 24 hours! Holy Crap!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


This week is really fucking long. At least tomorrow's the last day.

Mom got in fine on Wednesday morning, and I was able to pick her up at the airport because of the delayed opening. Last night we went out to eat in my old neighborhood. It was a chain restaurant but everything was very yummy, so we didn't mind the 'inauthenticity'.

Today was a super non-day because a morning-long assembly plus the late start. So to the two periods I had classes, they read a little and then I read them the Grimms' Cinderella. They were very good: they listened raptly but also took notes in their Venn diagrams, as instructed. (Me to the students: Now, just in case anyone comes in and says, hey, why are you having fun instead of working? we say, We ARE working hard on l!stening comprehens!on and note-taking!) They responded quickly to the gore in the story and had some great observations and analyses to make about the tale compared to the Disneyfied version.

The evening was a ridiculous disaster. We had tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. And I had an email final to take. We figured I'd just do the final as quickly as possible and then go into the city. However, with the strike and lack of available cars, driving was the best option. Even still, okay.

Then, Mom called and left a panicked message: our tickets were for the 5.00 show, not the 7 or 7.30 show. Oh, crap. I got home at 3, emailed another late assignment, changed and we got in the car at 3.30. It took the entire hour and a half to get to Rockefeller Center. CRAZY and STUPID traffic.

The show was fine. The bits without the actual Rockettes were kind of silly and dumb--but that's why it's a "family" (meaning kid) show. The Rockettes were cool. I was quickly reminded that live dancing in unison is one of my favorite things. The ending was a huge living Nativity, complete with real camels and sheep. But all the Jesus love was so not up my alley (or my mom's either). Anyway.

The drive home also took an hour and a half. I had had no dinner, I was very tired, and also worried about this stupid final. It was like the universe had conspired to make this the worst, longest day.

Right when I got home, I got to work on the final. Emailed it an hour later with a short apology/explanation note at the top. Who knows what will happen.

Mom's nano iPod finally got the right songs updated.

Tomorrow is Friday and I have to be up all early again. Boo!

However, the kids are excited to meet the Special Mystery Guest. And after school a few of us teachers are going out for food and drinks. That will be an enjoyable way to kick off the vacation.

Holy shit, we have a week off!

I am so glad!

And so, so tired. Goodnight. Happy Friday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


The nail in the coffin: Mr CuteTeacher is planning on proposing to his [real] girlfriend. Sigh.


You go, Transit Workers! I don't really know how to show that I support them, so I'll just say it. When I turned on the tv, some stupid reporter asked a picketing transit guy something like, "People are saying shame on you for doing this. What do you say to that?" The guy responded, "Hey, all the city has to do is give us a fair contract. It's not our fault; we deserve a good contract." Amen!


I swear that I saw on a news update that some transit bigwig said the strike would last at least til Thursday. Any other sightings or confirmations of this, or do we have to do this day-by-day thing?


I went to my school's big show last night (can't give more details than that). A bunch of my students performed in different ways, and it was very cool to see them. I congratulated them all either last night after the show or today at school. A couple quiet and studious girls really blew me away with their stage presence. Awesome.


At first, it seemed like a lot of our students were not here today...but only sorta. We are in a very residential neighborhood and area, so tons of kids walk or are driven. I actually said to them, "Why are so many of y'all here today? This is a free day!" One boy said, "It's boring at home!" So cute. They totally love school.

We'll see what happens tomorrow on a possible second day of strike. I wonder, more or fewer kids?


We actually had an altered schedule today, for the first time ever, when each period was still there, just shortened to accommodate the late start. As much as I like being lazy on the days when they just cut off the missed classes, it is nice to see all the classes. Though I had a "lesson" (really just the group work continuing from the lesson yesterday) ready for today, I was totally planning on doing other educational things. But people kept talking about "Fifteen days before the t@st" and "We are already behind" and "There's so much to do" blah blah that I had the kids actually do the work. But tomorrow I might deviate just a teeny bit: still do l!sten!ng compr@hension, but with either Cinderella or Rumplestilskin.


I got my first mail at my new place: one address-change confirmation from my RothIRA, and two notes from friends. Hurrah, friends! I'm actually saving them for when I snuggle in my nice bed with music and a book.


Mom's flight leaves in a few hours. Wish her a good flight and quiet neighbors. If the strike is continuing, I would be able to get her at the airport and bring her here instead of her taking a cab to the school until I have a prep. The traffic on the westward freeways will probably be a bitch, though, so I need to take that into consideration.


I have a project thingy for grad school due tomorrow, a literacy lesson plan. I finished writing the lesson this evening. However, there's a bunch of other crap to do as well, self evaluations and adaptations and all that nonsense. I figure I did the hard part already and I'll do the rest of it tomorrow night while Mom is resting or watching a movie or something. And of course there's an online final on Thursday...blech. CAN'T STAND semesters of college! Four goddamn months is too stinking long for one term. And ending the week of Christmas? I really miss UW and WWU, with their ten-week quarters and finals in early December. Much more reasonable, if you ask me. We only have three courses left to take, thank god.


We've got a few more teachers galvanized for the next game night. Did I ever mention the first one? It was Thanksgiving weekend, and only five of us. We played Uno and a monster game of Turbo Cranium. It was really fun and we were talking about it this morning. I think we have at least three or four more people for the next one, perhaps the weekend after the B!G SCARY T@ST! And guess what, it is hopefully going to be at my place! Since there's actually a living room/dining room with real furniture, as long as the roommate approves, everyone will come over here with snacks and alcohol and have a grand old-fashioned time.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Ever notice how singledom goes in cycles?

After a relationship, there's obviously the mourning period (even if you were the one that ended it). You miss having the stability, the familiar face, the voice that doesn't need to identify itself, the comfort.

Sooner or later, you get that feeling of relief and freedom. You aren't tied down! You don't have to spend time with the other's family or friends. You can spend the entire Saturday night eating ice cream if you want. And you don't have to run it past anyone! You don't have to do a perfunctory Saturday Night Couples Activity (get your heads out of the gutter; I'm talking about social things like movies, dinner, clubs, whatever).

Eventually, the shine of solidarity wears off a bit and your eyes open up to the multitude of attractive people around you. Ooh, look over there. You flirt, you hope, maybe you start dating again.

Soon enough, that scene gets old and you start looking at those cuties more and more often. You hope that one of them is really great and you start daydreaming about them, but of course you get really disappointed when they don't pay you enough attention. You know they're already taken, but you can't help that little seed of hope that they'll see the light in you.

You start getting lonely. You start feeling extra, truly alone. You long for a familiar face again, for inside jokes, for someone to scratch your back without being asked, for a steady date each weekend. You feel bitter when your friends are in a happy relationship--or in a relationship at all. Romantic comedies make you sigh with hope but glare with disappointment that it's not you being swept away by a handsome, dashing, funny man. You wonder what is wrong with you. Why doesn't anyone see the gorgeous princess you know you are? Ha, yeah right, what a horrible monster you must be; that's why you're single! That must be the reason. You wistfully think about past lovers and paramours and flirtations, and you wonder where it all went wrong with each of them. You wonder why that one cutie three years ago never called you when clearly there was a real connection between you. You might even contemplate calling or emailing your ex, to reassure yourself that at one point, you were both lovable and loved.

So you sit at home on the weekends, being dull and boring and you ache for companionship. You would give anything to have a warm pair of arms to wrap around you at the end of a long and frustrating day, to get out and see all those great movies that keep coming out, to hang out in new and different bars, to go to all the restaurants you've only heard about. You feel like this solitude will imprison you for the rest of time, that nothing can and nobody will rescue you.

You know that it's just part of the cycle, you've been here before and you'll be here again, but still and nonetheless, it feels interminable. And it really and truly and utterly sucks.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


When I got home after school, I took a nap for about an hour. Then I got up and started getting stuff together and cleaning and packing my car. That took until 6.00, when I left and went to the new place. It took til 7.00 to unload the car by myself. I had to go back again, get my laundry and bedding and some kitchen stuff. But then I was back at the new place again, only a couple trips up, and spent the next two hours organizing and stuff.

And I made some decent progress; I was pretty proud of myself and relieved, too. First I set up the bed, then the computer. Priorities, people. (The tv was already there and working, so I didn't have to do anything with that. Though I do need to connect the VCR.) Most of the clothes got hung up in the closet right away, so I didn't need to do much with that. I put together the wire box thingies that Mom and I bought this time last year. I set up the big plastic shelf left over from an old roommate. Put things away in the bathroom and a few things away in the kitchen.

I still have a number of boxes to go through and find stuff. I'm going to keep the boxes of books separate and unopened for now; gotta save room for other stuff first.

I was totally going to call in for the Saturday thing and not go; I figured that moving is a pretty damn good excuse for not working. But I got a good amount done last night, and got a fairly good night's sleep, that I couldn't give up the money for three hours' work.

I'm still at school, using the ethernet connection. The online things at my new home work, but my desktop didn't really work last night, and I don't want to chance it, so I'm sitting in the teachers' lounge, tummy rumbling, catching up on email and blogs like the nerd I totally am.

From here I'm going to go shopping, for shelves/dressers and/or groceries. Mm, food. Oh shit, and I should load up a few more things from the old place. Grr! Moving sucks.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Holy crap, I'm tired

YAWN! I hate this week. Or, to put a positive spin, I am THRILLED that today is FRIDAY.

Last night's move only worked about halfway. My friend came over and we packed up both our cars, but then had to wait two hours (after 8.30) until my new roommate was home and could let us in. But we still got a ton of stuff; there's really just the big stuff to go now: a couple shelves, the computer pieces, the stereo, the last of the clothes and bedding. So I will work on that this afternoon, hopefully with some help.

I did end up sleeping at the old (crazy) place last night, as it was so late and I hate having to orient myself to a new place when it's already past my bedtime. And oh my damn, I am plum exhausted. I about fell asleep WHILE teaching my last period class.

Fifteen more minutes and I can get out of here. And take a nap, do laundry, and finish packing.

My lucky mom is going to get to help me get all settled and unpacked, for the second Christmas in a row. She's flying in next Thursday morning, and then of course next Saturday afternoon we leave for our grand holiday adventure!

And I have a whole lot of money with which to play while on said adventure! The AmeriCorps money is in the bank, and the backpay check came yesterday. For only a first year teacher, I am really happy with the amount I got. Especially since because of this situation, I won't be paying rent til the 15th of each month and thus can save up even more. And/or spend it all on trips and gifts and possibly car maintenance (gotta get the brakes checked--always a scary proposition for the old checkbook). But in my bank account is more money than I have ever had in my whole life at one time--like five times more. It is a HUGE relief to know that I do NOT have to worry about everything, at least for the next few months. What freedom!

The kids were great today; we were all quiet and tired, I think. Definitely the numbers are dwindling quickly, what with the strike stuff -- go transit workers! stick it to Bloomie! -- and upcoming vacation. But Ms F did a great lesson this morning with a l!sten!ng pass@ge and ext#nded re$ponse, so I just copied it with my other two classes. The students worked hard and well, and I love them. Even though I was about to tip over from fatigue. They still do their job.

Of course, I very well may be singing a different tune come next week or the last week of January or the entire month of June. But for now, things at school/in the classroom are still going really well. Knock on wood.

Happy hour has to be cancelled this week, I think. I imagine that the rest of the world (or at least the education world) is as tired as I am, plus I gotta move more shit. So...I suppose we have to wait until after the holidays. I know I'll need some margaritas once the real countdown begins to the big bad te$t!

Happy Friday, all, let's all go get some rest!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More Miracles!

I got four boxes (smallish ones for books and all the random shit I have laying around) from school. More packing!

We still have power in our apartment! Two whole days in a row! It's still a lovely, pleasant, luxurious surprise. Getting dark? Just flip the switch! It's magic, I tell you! I love being in at least the twentieth century again, not to mention the twenty-first. As I type, a baked potato is nuking in the microwave, soon to be topped with cool butter-replacement-product. Then I will shred some pepperjack, sprinkle it on chips, and melt them into nacho heaven.

Tonight I will be paying the exiting roommate in the new place so I can have her furniture. And some colleagues told me about great thrift stores for furniture and clothes, that means I can pick up more shelves!

I got a voicemail that my AmeriCorps award is ready! I just have to pick it up!!!!
This means that I have NO FINANCIAL WOES. I can pay for my new place, I can pay my mom back for the Christmas air ticket and hotel, and I can pay off my Prague trip well in advance, AND I can put some into my RothIRA. The DOE backpay will be for savings and for fun on my trip. And probably some gifts for my family and friends. Now I will have no excuse.

Then, I turned on the computer--my faithful desktop, whose full keyboard I am so loving--and the internet works again.

Yay, world! Thank you, universe! At long last, the positive stuff is coming around again, and I am seeing the light; I'm nearing the end of the tunnel. Lord, am I grateful.

I am PUMPED for Happy Hour margaritas and some serious toasts. Whee!

Thank you!

Dear friends (who may or may not actually read this),

THANK YOU for all your support, encouragement, and good thoughts! It really means a lot to me that there is this wonderful network of good-hearted people, even if I haven't met them all in person. So thanks bunches. :)

I am really looking forward to Thursday afternoon. I will be picking up the keys on Wednesday (and may even sneak in a few boxes at that time), then I will take my packed-up car directly to my new home and begin moving. A couple people have offered to help--Tep, if you're in Queens and have a car or truck, I would love to have your help! :)--which should make things go much faster and more fun. I think it will be fairly easy to get all of it on Thursday, which means that happy hour on Friday is ON.

There is one more crazy-as-shit thing that happened on Sunday night, that I sort of heard but decided to ignore (that's why earplugs are worth their weight in gold!). The police had to come out AGAIN and now I am thoroughly convinced of the landlords' psychotic...ness. So, I'm just hoping that Thursday arrives without incident. "Hoping" not "expecting," mind you. Whatever. I just keep telling myself that the nightmare is almost over. Good things will come again very soon.

I'm still exhausted and worn out, so I am glad I stayed home. It was tough coming back to school today, in a Monday mindset, when everyone else had been here yesterday. But the day went fine. We reviewed te$t pr#p stuff and they finally got to use all the questions they and their peers had written. I think that was cool. Sadly, some of the questions were poorly written so there was either a lot of debate or choosing of the wrong answer. I tried not to interfere too much. The students did very well. They all stayed on task and worked hard, even if they forgot to do the steps in the right order, or if they were being bossy or passive. My kids are so good; I'll be totally spoiled for next year.

I have a couple errands to run and I *really* want to take a nap. And I can pack a little more; I gathered four book boxes to fill. Ooh, and guess what--I can watch tv again! I'm sort of excited, though I was glad that I was forced to be away. It made me remember that for the most part I don't care about tv and it doesn't really matter. Some shows, though, I was really upset about missing. Oh well, that's why TWoP is my friend.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Don't hold your breath;

I'm certainly not, but...

the power is back!

It did not come easily, I will tell you that. I returned from a full afternoon of apartment hunting (more on that in a sec), in the dark with some fast food for "dinner", only to find that our inner door was not only locked--which it has never once been--but the security chain was on. That was also very strange. I had a really bad feeling, but first called my roommates to make sure they weren't home. Sure enough, it was the PSYCHO LANDLORDS.

They were waiting for me/us inside their front door. The wife person claimed that she was scared of me because I was a stranger. Seriously, I am coming to believe she is some combination of insane and a pathological liar. Anyway, I reminded her that I have lived here for a year and a half, and they took our rental receipts two months ago (and have not given them back). She said something about asking me for an ID card (nope, she did not), and I said calmly that this was very illegal and I am calling the police. She was eager to see the police.

So I called 311 first, to make sure it was on record, but before I gave more information than "My landlord locked me out", I was connected to 911. Two policemen came out about ten minutes later and took a very aggressive, accusatory tone with *me.* I quickly and calmly explained the situation, and the "leader" asked if I had ID with my name and this address. I said, No, because I'm not from here and I'm a student. "Of course," he said all sarcastically. It was all I could do to not unleash some of my own teacher voice/attitude. They took my keys and at least agreed that yes, I have the keys that unlock the door, but the landlord had pulled the chain.

So we went around to the landlord's door and they started all their bullshit about us being strangers and illegal and maybe doing drugs (HUH?) and damage. On and on, lying and other insane things. I tried to correct a few of their more outrageous claims--that I have lived here for over a year and we only put locks on our bedroom doors to protect ourselves--but the police officer would not let me talk! He totally took their side and did not care a bit what I had to say.

The officer did at least say that clearly I am not a stranger, since I have the keys. He also said they have to take the chain off. But then he said, "I wish I could help you, but in New York the tenants have more rights than the owners. Take them to court tomorrow if you want."

Dude. As if WE are the bad guys here.

Anyway, the chain was taken off and I was able once again to enter my own apartment. A few minutes later, I left, though. When I came back a little after 11, the police were arriving at the same time, and my roommate (D) was standing at the door. Oh, for pete's sake.

The landlord's wife had apparently come upstairs around 11 and waited for our subleaseperson/roommate (Y) to come out of the shower. Remember there are no lights on. So understandably Y got very scared and freaked out and apparently called the police to report this unnecessary harassment. But the wifeperson was wailing and crying--she literally sounded like a five year old.

We all had to wait around while the police (who this time were a little more reasonable and neutral and not assholes) talked to the landlords for awhile. During this time, the police somehow convinced the landlord to turn the lights back on! We were all shocked and relieved but very cautious. We figured that ten minutes later, the power would be off again.

So I got to shower with the lights on for the first time in eleven days! It was kind of weird, actually; it felt a bit obscene since I could see my whole self and not just shadows and candlelight. I also got to turn on my computer! The internet has not worked at home for a couple days (but the connection is fine), which REALLY sucks. But at least we have power!

I didn't go to bed til about 12.30, and I was so exhausted and freaked out by the whole thing, that I called in to school. I decided that I really needed rest and time to begin packing.

In the afternoon, I saw three more apartments. One was in a brand-new place with two friendly Irish guys, but one of them was a smoker. That's kind of a deal-breaker for me. The next one was really nice, in an apartment building near my college and decent street parking, and over $100 less than what I'm paying now. The roommate is a young Indian girl who likes quiet and clean. The last one I saw was an ok, furnished room, a little further from the college, but the other person there was an older white hippie lady--she asked for my sign to check compatability!--and the price was the same as now. All of them are available immediately/the 15th.

So after not much thinking at all, I decided that I wanted to move into the second one.

I called her this morning to say that I wanted to take it, and move in on the 15th instead of over the weekend.

I have a new place to go! And it has just about everything I want or need! There's no closet in the bedroom; it's off the living room. But I'll get a dresser and just deal with it. Nothing too bad for sure. But the utilities are included, there's wireless already, and a bigger TV than I had here. The previous roommate wants to get rid of her bed and desk, so I will call her to work that out. Very nice living room, decent kitchen and bath, and it's on the top floor of a secure building.

What a relief.

I'd still like to do the Friday happy hour, but obviously it will depend on how Thursday goes.

This morning, I continued working on packing. On Saturday, I packed my trunk. So the things I packed up today will probably fill up my back and front seats, and there is still more. I will be calling on my good friends at school with cars to come help me out after school.

I can't wait until Friday.

My friend asked me a few days ago if I was counting down the days. At first I thought she meant til the power back on, then I thought she must mean until school is out, but she actually meant the Christmas trip. I had FORGOTTEN about it. Can you believe it?!

But now I'm remembering a lot and getting ready for the whole vacation mode. And I can't wait for that either!

Nine more school days...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Ms M!

Ms M had her birthday celebration at a Belgian beer and wine bar last night. I was so zombiefied on Saturday morning that I thought I'd never make it.

But I took a nap after Saturday school and ate a little, got my laundry done and eventually arrived at the bar at 11pm. It was a lot of fun! I got to catch up with Ms M and meet a bunch of other, really nice teachers, so we all had lots to talk about. I was awake the whole time and enjoyed myself, even if I was out way past my bedtime.

Bloggers, we need another gathering! I just might need a big FAT drink next weekend. In fact, I'll make you come out to Queens. It's right on the express train, don't worry. :) Let's say Friday evening; I know a place with yummy cheap margaritas from 4-7.30pm. Mm, margaritas!

Argh, decisions!

Last night I saw another apartment, it's a small studio in a building in my same neighborhood. It's within my price range, and it's available this weekend, but it's small and I'd be locked in for at least a year. I'm thinking that if I took the basement, it would be big and hopefully temporary; this is a terrible time to look for places. In the next couple months I bet there'll be a lot more options.

I already saw one place this morning (gorgeous and huge but just a little too expensive) and will see at least two places this afternoon.

But here's my list for the studio (S) vs basement studio (B):

both available next weekend
both broker fees
both meh bathrooms
both crappy street parking
B: close to local train
S: fairly near express train

B: impermanent ok
S: one or two year lease

B: huge bedroom and big living room area
S: one bedroom

B: one closet
S: four closets

B: dingy maroon carpet
S: hardwood floors

B: low ceilings!
S: regular ceilings

B: furnished (bed and desk)
S: empty

B: rent is $50 higher but includes all utilities
S: rent is $50 lower but does not include gas or electricity

See my argh-ness?!

I am visiting two shares this afternoon: wish me luck!! I'll keep updating

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Trying to find some bright spots...

First, that Nancy and my other friend N immediately agreed to help me move if needed. Thank you so much!!

Second, that Mr Tech at my school, who I became friendly with earlier this year, came in as I was struggling, all confused, to make Star pick up the wireless connection in the teacher's lounge. A colleague had his laptop up and running, connected, and I put Star as close to the other one, but she just wouldn't grasp that signal. So Mr Tech comes in and ends up getting me an ethernet cord, uncovering the ethernet outlet in the lounge, and directing me in making it work. And it did, beautifully! I was very grateful.

Third, that I FINALLY got onto the college's wireless network. It took five people in three different places, but it all worked out and now I'm sitting here, recharging, working and listening to music.

Fourth, that I'm proud of myself for getting in the assignment that was due last Thursday/Friday, finally just now. I have my book here to get started on the one that's due today...but we'll see. I'm really exhausted right now.

Fifth, that it's Friday tomorrow. Oh lord, I need it. At this point, though I'm looking forward to the Teachers' Poetry Reading and the Farewell party tomorrow night, I think I'm more excited about the potential naptime on the trainride into the city.

Sixth, that Nancy just posted a comment about Legal Aid. I didn't know about them and now that I do, I will be calling them very soon. Especially if my subleaseperson can't/won't explain just what the hell is going on with the lawsuit against the landlord. I don't even know what it involves, if I'm on it, if I'm expected to pay for something lawyer-related at some point, or what.

Seventh, that even though it seems the Pretty Place will not be mine, there is another studio in my neighborhood that I've been waiting to see. If it's not too bad maybe I'll just take it right away.

Eighth, the Free Stuff category of craigslist. I feel hugely relieved about having to move out with zero furniture. Even if it takes time or is not exactly perfect, free is pretty awesome.

Thanks for the good thoughts, friends. I need help staying positive, because otherwise I'll just cry. :)

My breaking point

So I haven't heard anything from the landlord of the pretty place. I kept my phone in my pocket all day, occasionally double checking I didn't miss something. A few minutes ago I left a message for her.

I went home after school and found a 'final notice' postcard from the post office, that I had a parcel. Strange since I didn't get a first notice, but whatever. I drove there (more on that in a sec) and parked. Of course the line took thirty minutes to get through, and I only put in one quarter--twenty minutes' worth--in the meter. Naturally, I got a ticket. Only $35, but still; just keep piling those sticks into the fire set up under my feet. (As in 'at the stake', not 'the fire in my belly that's encouraging me to persevere.)

Got home and there's a notice about a TRIAL from the Asshole Landlord. What nerve!

Also found out that my roommate/subleaseperson may not give me my deposit back, since I didn't give 30 days' notice. Well well well. First, I never signed a lease with her, so I don't know if that would stand legally. Second, and I replied with this, I would only move because of this unacceptable living situation. Third, this would really screw me up. That's a thousand dollars! We're supposed to be getting December rent back, if her lawyer ever gets off his ass to do anything about this unfuckingbelievably stupid situation we're all stuck in.

On the 16th, we're supposed to get our back pay and first check with the new salary. I heard from older teachers that the backpay may not actually arrive for all of us, or something depressing like that. There's another thousand dollars (or so; knowing the kind of luck I have, it'll be like $500).

Today a letter arrived from AmeriCorps about my education award money. It was sent to my college the week of Thanksgiving. Which means it better be in my hot little hands really soon. I called the bursar's office and she said it was there and with the accountants. So I can possibly hope to get it by next Friday, but who knows.

Oh yeah. Remember how stupid and clumsy I can be? And that everything has to be done by CANDLELIGHT? Well, on Monday night I think, I tried to step out of the shower but caught my last two left toes on the metal track thing. Hoo boy, did it hurt. One bled and ever since then, it's hurt more and more to walk on that foot. I'm getting convinced they're broken or otherwise messed up. There are some other toe issues and it really hurts to walk, in general.

It's really affecting my ability to concentrate or even care about my job. And don't think for a second that I've been grading homework or lesson planning. I can't really get food; nothing can be refrigerated and nothing can be microwaved or baked. And fast food can be fairly cheap, but it adds up and I just can't stop bleeding money. I have no more clean socks. And I'm almost out of moisturizer and floss. That means a trip to Target, where I always spend too much. I'll have to put it on a credit card for certain, and that too is just adding up and up and up. Plus, my mom is coming in two weeks. Where will she stay? Will I still be living here? In the fucking DARK? How can I accurately prepare for the stress of December, and teaching in December, and traveling over the holidays, (shopping for presents is totally out of the question now, so I guess I don't have to worry about that)?

This afternoon when I finally got home for "good", I finally broke down and really cried. I just feel so desperate and confused and pissed off and sad and helpless and no one is or even can help. I don't know what to do! I haven't been able to SEE in my own house for over a WEEK!

I try to remind myself--because I've just gotten that far out there--that adversity and challenges only make us all stronger. But then I wail to myself, how does living without heat and with an unreasonable landlord help me develop character? What could I have possibly done to piss off the universe that it feels the need to retaliate to this extreme? There is NO END IN SIGHT of this ugly, stupid, nonsensical situation, and again, I just don't know what to do.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Please Think Good Thoughts for me!

I found a gorgeous, adorable, perfect apartment. The landlord is showing it all evening and making her decision tomorrow.

It's in the neighborhood next to mine, and one of my teacher friends lives nearby. It's a quiet residential neighborhood but also close to the freeway.

The apartment is third floor. New tiles. Several bright windows. Funky attic-type ceilings, but still high. (What a welcome change from the basements I keep seeing, where I can put my palm flat on the ceiling. Sometimes being not-short has disadvantages, I guess.) Nice big bathroom. Kitchen nook and small dining "room" too. Very cute and bright and I loved it immediately. Please cross your fingers, pray, burn incense, talk to the fairies, or whatever thing you do, to ask the Universe to give me this blessing.

This is the only time I've been happy for a solid week. Last night, sitting in the college library unable to get online, I finally realized that I've actually gone through the Stages of Loss, from Psych 101.

Denial: "This can't be happening. It's too ridiculous."
Anger: I was here for a long time. See: Asshole, Landlord is a.
Bargaining: Skipped this one pretty quickly, as there is no bargaining if a person has no reason whatsoever.
Depression: This really hit me last night. I feel helpless and hopeless; there's no end in sight.
Acceptance: Yeah, right. The only thing that will help me "accept" this situation is having the lights turned back on and then getting the hell out.

The landlord of the pretty apartment wants someone to move in this weekend. And that didn't even stop me or faze me. I was like, "I'll take it!" It would make for a tough weekend, but I would call in on Saturday morning and ask school friends to help.

It's so lovely and perfect for me! I should hear back from her tomorrow. I'll keep you posted, as long as you cross your fingers for me! :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Meet Star

This is my pretty new friend. I decided to name her Star, for several reasons. First, she was christened and set-up in a Starbucks. Second, she is small, shiny and pretty. Third, she is a beacon of light in my dark house--figuratively and literally.

This is Star next to her old-school counterpart: two notebooks, side by side. See how tiny and precious she is? Aw.
Welcome to the family!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Omg, guess what?!

No, still no power here. Boo, hiss!

But, I did something to help me cope--I bought a laptop! I am at home right now, in the candlelight, ONLINE! Squee, whee, woo, hoo!

I had actually decided not to get one; it was too much money, not exactly necessary, blah blah blah. But I went in to Staples to see if they had any good deals, and I see this one for $650. It had all the specs I wanted, it's really light, and I said, I'll take it.

I am so excited. Whee!

More later. From my laptop! Whee!!!

Here you go!

(No word yet: A 311 inspector is supposed to be at our house this morning, but I haven't heard anything yet. Keep your fingers crossed that the lights will come on today!)

My song lesson is as follows:
I started by having the class remind us about how NOT to start one's essay: "Hi, my name is..." or "In this essay I will...." all that nonsense. And I yelled out, "Don't EVER DO THAT. EVER EVER NEVER EVER. NEVER!!"

Then I told them that there were five songs they had to listen to and decipher what strategy the song used to pull in the reader and engage them in the topic.
First up is "The Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog. The first line says (so they have to listen carefully to hear the lyrics) "Why are there so many songs about rainbows?" Which is a question.

The second song is "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" by Simon & Garfunkel. The first line is "I'd rather be a spider than a snail." That is an example of a bold and challenging statement.

Third is "What it feels like for a Girl" by Madonna. It has the talking at the beginning, which means it's an example of using a quotation. On my chart I have the quotation: "You haven't lived until you've lived in London."

Fourth is "Downtown" by Petula Clark. The beginning stanza has a whole bunch of lines describing the scene in the city: the lights are bright, the music of the traffic, the pretty neon signs, etc. It's a Snapshot/Personal experience.

Last is the song from Rent that starts, Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes..." Which is a statistic.

Once we finish the songs, I tell them to practice by rewriting the intro of a recent essay using each of the five strategies. So they end up with five short separate intros. We didn't get to finish, but most of the kids had at least two or three. We'll finish/revisit this later on this week.

Fun lesson, huh? :)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More Irony

It's now four and I've been here nearly four hours.

For at least two of them, this guy has been in the cubicle next to me. And it is extremely irritating; he keeps punching the keyboard and mega-clicking (like, a whole bunch, really fast) the mouse over and over.

The irony?

This whole time he's been at the site

The "Power" of Positive Thinking

Oh, the irony. Sigh.

On Wednesday night, sometime after I went to bed but before midnight, the landlord shut off the power and heat to our apartment (the third floor of his house).

On Thursday evening, I called 311 and filed a report. They couldn't do anything right then (and we have yet to hear anything at all from them). I was cold and it was dark and I was going stir crazy. My awesome friend N let me sleep at her place, which was blessedly full of both heat and light. Unfortunately, I didn't get much sleep and only brought clothes, so I was ill-prepared for Friday, both mentally and physically.

On Friday evening, my other roommates called the police. The landlord refused to cooperate. !! Let me say that again so you may see just how unreasonable this person is, and I don't mean disagreeable or irritating--though he is both of those as well--HE REFUSED TO COOPERATE WITH POLICE.

Happily, the heat did get turned back on sometime between Thursday and Friday, which is a plus. I think he only did it because he KNOWS that is highly illegal here in New York.

But for fuck's sake, no power for now four days.

There is a bad wire in the main light of my roommate's room. He dealt with it by just not turning that one on. This worked just fine for four days and should be easily fixed.

The landlord claims several things (all of which are clearly absurd): first, that we misused the heater. What? That doesn't even make sense. Because he is a jackass, he doesn't always turn on our radiators and we must use small space heaters in order to feel our extremities. Also, that due to a radiator leak, the second floor wall (or something) has damage--and therefore the third floor shouldn't have power? Even though everything was fine for five days? And don't think for a second that any other part of the house--where he lives--is without power. Nope, just us. Because, all together now, he is an asshole. Next, that we are illegal. Well, we are not. There's a sublease oral agreement between the three of us upstairs. In addition, there is a lawsuit pending (because, as I said, he is an asshole and now doesn't even flinch about coming upstairs--which is also illegal--to verbally harass whoever is here), so nothing at all can be done until that is resolved.

On Friday eighth period, my only prep and what a relief, I started looking on craigslist for apartments in my area. On Saturday afternoon, I spent about five hours looking at places. Saw six or seven. A couple were quite dodgy or tiny, a couple were cute, and almost all of them were basement apartments. I'm no giant, but I'm tall enough to be bothered by low ceilings. However, maybe I won't care, as long as I have my own place with light, heat, tv and internet.

This afternoon I found a whole bunch more listings to call about. Wish me luck!!

This whole situation is so ridiculously stupid, and the landlord is such an unreasonable asshole, that I literally can't wrap my head around it. It just doesn't make sense!


School on Friday went well. I did my song lesson about writing intros, and it was so awesome to see the kids bopping around to Simon & Garfunkel and Petula Clark. When it was their turn to try writing engaging intros, I walked around and yelled out, "Boring!" or "Lame!" or "Oh, come on!" Everyone giggled and tried harder. It was pretty fun and I think the kids made good strides in changing their writing habits. Sort of. We'll have to finish up next week.

Going in on Saturday morning, I was totally exhausted, but somehow we all made it through. Ugh. I motivated myself by remembering it's worth a hundred bucks. Pretty efficient motivation, if you ask me.

That afternoon I got my check for October, and the day before we got our Teacher's Choice checks. At first I was really excited about having money to spend on the Christmas trip, or to help pay off the Prague trip, but now some or all may be going to a new place.

I hate moving. I really don't want to move in December, but the beginning of January will be equally a pain in the ass, since I return from Europe on Dec 31 in the evening. There's too much shit going on to worry about packing and moving and buying furniture or whatever.

And now snow is part of the equation! It snowed two inches during the night. It was very pretty and I got to use my snow shovel for the first time. By the time I got in the car to drive around noon, the roads were pretty clear, but I still drove slowly and carefully. It's supposed to snow more tonight and also on Monday night. Makes me nervous a bit. Wish me luck.

I am at the library of my college. I've been here more than an hour already and oh, how I've missed you, internet! Please don't leave me again.

To that effect, I'm thinking about laptops. Funny enough, remember that post about how I wasn't going to start any reckless spending or buy a laptop? But not having a computer at home is KILLING me. Almost more than the power thing. If I had a good battery on a laptop, I could watch movies and stuff and entertain myself even without lights.

Friday night, I went to two bars with teachers. First in my neighborhood with my friend N and my roommate, then into the city for the teacher-blogger fete. It was fun, though I was exhausted. Let's do it again soon! And Nancy, you better not have a date that night, you social butterfly you. :)

Last night I had to go see a movie. Allowed myself popcorn and a slurpee to make a nice treat. I finally saw Harry Potter. It was pretty good, they did a good job of cramming most of the book into a 2 1/2 hour film. All the subplots got taken out, though, like the Rita Skeeter thing, and Hermione's house-elf movement.

No idea how I'll fill this evening. I already got a lot of sleep, nearly twelve hours in fact. I don't think I can afford to keep going out to movies. Maybe I'll sit in the bookstore. Also need to figure out where or what to eat, since of course all our real food has long since gone bad in the powerless refrigerator.

Okay, I've been goofing off for so long. I should really start on the homework assignment that was due on Friday. Bah.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bee Happy

I needed to remind myself of this mental philosophy yesterday. I tend to whine and complain a lot. (You all: "No shit, Sherlock!" Yeah, I know. It's one of my lovable quirks. :)) I don't want to contribute to a negative working environment around me, since I have some really fantastic and smart colleagues, who have become friends. Hurrah!

We reviewed similes a little bit, and did some metaphors too. I used material from one of our skills books to help them "build" metaphors, but it was tricky and tough. I have trouble with them, and so they did too. But they did make a good effort: "His eyes were chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven." "The big elephant was a mountain surrounded by smaller hills." That's about it. On Friday, there will be a quiz for them to identify a simile or metaphor. And I'm pushing them to know the names of all the figlang, as I call it, along with definitions and examples. That way they have the basic information as a foundation, so that they can then create, apply and evaluate that same stuff. See? Look at that Bloom's taxonomy in my planning. Yeah.

Tomorrow we're going back to the book for short response writing, and Friday will be about writing engaging introductions. And I'll finally get to do my fun lesson with the mix CD! Can't wait. Hope they do well.

We had class tonight, but I was sleepy enough beforehand that I lay down for about forty minutes. Ooh, and earlier, for the last 12 minutes of my second prep, I put my head down at the table in the teacher's lounge. Dang, I'm tired a lot lately.

I got my paper all finished and printed out, and it was good. I mean, that it was done, not like the quality or anything. Cause most of the time I don't care about that, just as long as it's done. Anyway, I also had to do a "presentation" of half of a chapter.

Well, I got there to class, and found out the assignment got pushed back to next week. Sweet! I got it done early! Gotta love that. Also, I got three assignments back, all with A or A+. Excellent!

I think I shall get meself to bed now. Adieu!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Boo, school

Still having trouble sleeping, so the return to schooldays is especially rough.

Mondays are my lightest-teaching days, but somehow yesterday was insane. Perhaps because I worked like crazy on all my free time. I made charts, wrote overheads, corrected papers, and transferred data into my teacher's notebook. PD was pointless as usual. Oh, get this. This one teacher, new to the school but not to teaching, brought up how one class's scores are abysmal, and she's done everything she can but is still not seeing results. The AP starts off by saying, "Well, if it were me, I'd start by holding up the mirror...." completely implying that it's the teacher's fault. The teacher was apparently oblivious to the insult and said cheerfully that however the kids do, "it's not [her] fault." I thought that was a cool comeback, and it certainly stopped the AP from being totally rude and unprofessional.

I mean, seriously. Can you believe this? The level of unprofessionalism (is that a word?) is absolutely RIDICULOUS. We had a bunch of "Important Visitors" at the school today. Did we hear about it last week? Ha, please. Did we hear about it yesterday afternoon as a department? Come on, now. No, the AP forgot and told a few of us AFTER PD. I was in my room, trying to get some damn work done after the relentless droning of the "meeting," when the AP came in and chatted with me. The visitor thing was a nearly-forgotten afterword.

So then, this morning, you would think teachers would see a schedule, to see when the VIPs would be visiting, and whom. You would be wrong, of course. Two of my colleagues and I did end up seeing the schedule at the near end of 1st period, only because it was common planning and we were on the same floor as where the VIPs were for their intro stuff. And we stole looks to see who was on the schedule. For second and third period.

Yeah, lots of professional notice. Mm-hmm.

When I finally got home yesterday, it wasx nearly five and I busily fixed "dinner" and checked email. During the lull of 7.30-8.30, I half-watched tv and transcribed the tape from Sunday morning (a follow-up observation; the write-up is due Weds night). I was very proud of myself for getting that done, since I'd already procrastinated for one night.

Today was only marginally less crazy than yesterday. I still did stuff on my breaks, but I did take one prep to go downstairs to hang out. I intended to eat something and grade homework, but that didn't happen. As a result, I was hit by a wave of fatigue. See: sleep, not getting much of.

Today I introduced similes (we didn't get to metaphors yet). My last class came up with some really great ones after we did shared and guided practice. "When I'm happy my eyes light up like the lights on a Christmas tree." "My blanket is as soft as sleeping kittens." "It's as warm as Barbados in the winter." "When I'm angry, I bubble like pot of water on the stove." "When I'm tired, my eyelids are heavy like thick batter being poured into a pan."

I was really excited and proud. Is that sad?

It's gonna take a couple more days to finish similes and do metaphors. Not sure if I'll do hyperbole this week or save it til later. I know we really need to work on engaging intros, so that's the end of this week.

Anyway, when I got home this afternoon, nice and early, the connection wasn't really working. So after a snack and catching up on TV from last night--omg, Prison Break is awesome and I can't believe we have to wait three months to see what happens!--I watched an episode of Popular (hurrah, Netflix). But, I decided that when it was over, I would spend an hour working on my paper.

And you know what? I totally did. Except for the hour part. I worked for a solid half-hour and got most of it done. Since I'm lazy and hate doing homework, I will polish it up tomorrow before class and all will be good. Phew! Yay, me.

Look at this, it's only 6.00 and I've been all productive already. Time for more tv!

I am really looking forward to Friday's Teacher-Blogger Happy Hour! I am sad that Friday still seems like three weeks away, instead of three days. (See that hyperbole there? I gotta teach that to my kids. Think of all the "Yo' Mama" jokes!)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Sunday


Man, I'm tired.

I was out late on both Friday and Saturday night. Fun times, but now tired ones. Can't seem to get through a single hour without yawning.

For over two weeks, I was unable to sleep through the night, like some colicky baby. Last Saturday, I slept a full eight hours, which was fantastic. On Wednesay afternoon, I got a little migraine. Nothing completely debilitating, but consistent ache and nausea. So I went to bed at 8.30pm. Ah, that was really nice. The migraine wasn't gone until Friday morning, however.

I was beginning to feel well-rested, for the first time in weeks. And now being social and having fun is making me regress....that sucks.

I took a two-hour nap this afternoon, instead of getting to work on the assignments I have due this week. Oh well.

The month of December is a full one: all regular days at school. Four weeks straight without a break. All test prep, too. Whee!

This week I need to cover a lot of stuff. I think tomorrow, my slowest day, I will do words in context. Tuesday and Wednesday, we need to cover figurative language--similes, metaphors, hyperbole and personification. Thursday perhaps we can do short response and use some of the prompts written by the students. Friday, we'll work on writing introductions for essays.

And of course, there's the extra Saturday thing: one fewer day to have to myself to rest and recuperate.


Friday, November 25, 2005


Yesterday was the day for giving thanks. Since people usually do that with family and turkey, and I have no access to the former and only repulsion for the latter, I took the opportunity to take a mini-road trip.

I left around ten a.m., first gathering CDs, snacks, and maps, then getting cash and filling up my gas tank.

What a perfect day to travel: not many cars on the road, no sun glare, good music on the stereo.

I was shocked when I got the Stratford, Connecticut area, because there was snow on the ground. It was very pretty, for sure, but it felt weird. Like, it's not snow season yet, is it? I suppose it is, now.

I was cheerfully driving along I-95, lalala, hit Bridgeport, thought about seeing if I could find anything familiar, but thought better and continued on. A few minutes later, I checked my directions and saw that I had missed the exit. Whoops. Only by a few miles though; it was an easy fix.

Once on 15 North, I took a small detour into New Haven, thinking it would be fun to find Yale, walk around a bit, and call people, saying, "Happy Thanksgiving from Yale!"

But, um, I couldn't find it. I figured there would be signs and stuff, pointing hapless visitors like myself in the right direction. And there were two signs, but none after that. I drove around a bit, and found the Yale hospital. But it was raining and sleeting, and I was frustrated and my bum was getting numb.

So I looped my way back to 15 and continued onward to Wallingford. I got all excited when I saw the first signs.

Even though it had been over three years since I was even in the vicinity of this place, I actually remembered exactly where to go. I knew it wasn't the first Wallingford exit, and I knew it was right off of the next one. I exited, saw the sign for Quinnipiac River Linear Trail, and pulled into the parking lot.

Where I immediately choked up.
I couldn't believe it was still there, and I was now there again too, and that my team was nowhere to be found.

I gathered my things together, as well as myself, and walked into the park, down the paved path toward our labyrinth.

Before losing it completely, I politely asked the man behind me, walking his dog, to take a picture of me with the labyrinth. I couldn't help telling him, "I helped build this, three years ago!" He politely replied, "Oh, really?"

After he took the picture and moved on, I turned to look at the labyrinth and cried in earnest. It was still there! There because of our own hands and feet: shoveling and raking the dirt and gravel dust, placing and measuring the bricks just so. The very things we carefully put into place, it's all still there.

But we are not. I was, but the rest of the team wasn't. It felt like seeing a ghost, or reading a letter written by a loved one passed on.

In my mind's eye, I saw the whole team. I saw someone digging for the silt fence and discovering four baby turtles, only an inch in diamater. I saw Jess, Jep and Brodie sitting on the bench, drinking juice boxes and taking a quick break. I saw Seth transferring gravel dust from the pile to the wheelbarrow. I saw Ashley and Dez arranging the bricks, and I saw Shannon and Geo raking the dust in between the rows. I saw Mandi playing the Tibetan musical bowls over on the side.

I tearfully walking the labyrinth as best I could, it being under a few inches of snow. Though, as you can see, the bricks left a pattern that was pretty easy to follow.

Like I said, in New Haven half an hour earlier, it was rainy and gloomy. But here in Wallingford, the sun came out, the sky completely cleared up, and it warmed my hands and heart. It felt like it was just for me, like I was meant to be there, and though it was horribly sad, it was also beautiful.

I dug into the snow in the center of the labyrinth. And of course, there were those bricks, and the tears began anew.

I had to call a few of my teammates and say, "Guess where I am right now!"

After what must have been over an hour, I tore myself away from the labyrinth and all of the memories, and went in search of more memories.

To my surprise, I found the shelter immediately. It was just as close as I remembered; less than a five-minute drive. We used to pile into the van at noon, sweaty and tired, go to the shelter for lunch, then pile back in and return to work on the labyrinth.

Everything was just as we had left it three years ago. The shelter on the corner, where we ate only organic food (stored in the basement), and slept, all in one room like the big family we were. The Old Dublin, not half a block away, where the under-agers were able to slip in with the rest of us, and we'd hang out, relaxing on the plush couches. The other tavern across the street, where I conferenced with Ashley about being assistant team leader (but it never happened because I got called to disaster in Mississippi). The pizza restaurant where Mandi, Geo and I would go to eat and play Boggle. The shops along the rest of the main drag, one of which was a "front" for the local cable access show, on which we were guests one night. The bar up the road where a few of us went one night and sat by the window next to the door.

It was all so surreal. We worked so hard, bonded or fought so much, given so much of ourselves during the few weeks we were in this place, that our spirits are still there, just waiting to be rediscovered.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Funny holiday

In the last forty minutes, five different people have come here because they agree with me on the suckiness of this particular day. Awesome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Be Proud of Me! :)

Guess what: my students brought in one actual box and enough stuff to fill nearly two. Since I had one box mostly filled already, we finished that one, filled a second, and began a third. About twenty-five students brought in pen pal letters, too.

And, AND, I went to UPS straight after school and shipped them.


I just called and left a message to let my contact person know that two boxes are on their way. .


I feel so much better about this. Plus, a bunch of kids were like, "uh...can I bring it on Monday?" So there should be easily one more box ready by the end of Monday, maybe even two. Hurrah again!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thank god it's almost...Wednesday

Hello, my name is Julie, and I am lazy. And a procrastinator.

This is not a revelation, to me or anyone who knows me. However, it's starting to get to me.

From the beginning:
Last year, as you may know, loyal readers (all ten of you), I often put off homework grading, because it was long and tedious and I just didn't want to do it. On my preps, I would sit and chat with friends and colleagues, to decompress and relax. Also, for one whole semester's class of grad school, nearly half of my own assignments were turned in late. Because I just didn't care and I was tired of everything, beginning in March or April.

Anyway, this summer, I was determined to lick this laziness thing. So I was a nearly model student for my summer classes, going to class every day and doing my homework on time and paying attention, all that good stuff. Not only that, I worked actively to prepare for this year, starting back in July.

In late August, the real rush was on. I shopped, in stores and online, for school supplies. I typed out ideas for and samples of lessons, letters, and homework. All kinds of stuff.

I know that when school started in September, I really worked my ass off, at school and at home. I marked the homework on my preps. I found resources and planned things at home. I continued to do well with grad school classes, staying on top of the assignments and classes.

About three weeks ago, I got hit. Hit by what some fans of The Amazing Race call 'the Killer Fatigue.' I just lost my motivation to do anything--outside of school. I still worked like a crazed bunny during school hours, but some of the homework started to pile up a bit. My rationale was/is that after school, I need the detox and relaxation time, for me. After a full-to-the-brim day, who wants to come home and work some more, when you could just sit and do nothing?

Also, remember all my hats? Or all the things on my plate? Yeah, that's what's really getting me down. To somehow be a full-time teacher, and 'be responsible' for five other things during school hours, is just beyond the scope of my abilities at this time.

For instance: the donations that I was supposed to be responsible for...about three weeks ago, I talked to my contact in Mississippi, promising I would get a couple boxes out in a few days. Cut to last Thursday, when I enter the room where the many donations had already been sitting for a good month: all of it was gone.

Oh, shit.

Now, my concern is not really for the donations themselves. I'm kind of scared to ask anyone what happened to it all, but I will assume that someone either arranged to have it all picked up and brought to one of the hotels housing the displaced families, or that some of the families came and got it all.

My concern is the woman in Mississippi, and the people in her community who have been expecting the fruits of strangers' goodwill. There was plenty of goodwill, there just wasn't enough of me or time, or even boxes, so that I could get down to the room and sort it and pack it.

I just feel awful, because my procrastination and laziness is now going to affect other people, strangers even, and people who've already been robbed of their possessions or dignity. We were supposed to help. The students and some faculty did their job and donated items; I just couldn't figure out how to deal with all of it. (And really, there was a whole lot. It was far too overwhelming to contemplate sorting/packing it all on my own. That's why I always brought a group of my students during their/my lunch hour. They were more than happy to help me out and it was mostly productive. Anyway.)

So, in the spirit of fighting back against the aforementioned laziness, I have done several things to combat it.

First, I finally, just ten minutes ago, emailed the homework assignment that was due a week and a half ago. I also read the first few pages of the next chapter, which is now late as well. I plan to finish that by the weekend, and then get back on track with the next one, due at the end of next weekend.

Next, I worked out again on Sunday. In the week prior to that, I had not worked out at all. It felt good to try to work those muscles again.

Third, and most importantly, I gave an unusual homework to my own classes tonight: bring in one item to donate. Just one. A piece of clothing, a kitchen tool (no food though), anything as long as it's clean and in good condition. I told them that they will not be penalized for not donating, but that the point was to help them see that even though they are kids, they can still help make the world a better place. And also, if each person gives only one thing, which is so easy, and 100 people participate, that will add up very quickly and make a large difference.

The Mississippi lady also wants to start a penpal exchange with her students and ours, so I included that in tonight's "homework."

The kids responded very well. Shouldn't be too surprising, because they're great about regular homework; they're probably just excited to not have to write a damn four square essay. But they asked about what to bring or not, and a few agreed to bring in boxes. I told them I will just have them drop their donations into a box, and I'll tape them up and bring them to UPS at the end of the day.

And then, if that actually happens, I can call the lady tomorrow evening, with a clear conscience and relief, and tell her that some things are on the way.

Hi, I'm Julie, and I'm a fighter of laziness!

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Green Monster (Not baseball or even jealousy)

Guess what I'm putting in the mail tomorrow:

A check to pay off my car loan!

It's less than $600, and only about eight months early, but I am very excited and proud that I actually own a car. A car that needs the brakes checked, but whee! nonetheless. I have the money in my savings account, so it's not going to hurt anything. And the rest of the money in the account should totally cover the cost of my Christmas trip.

We are getting some extra money in a few weeks. Our salaries are going up and we should be getting back pay. My take-home will increase by $100 per paycheck, and I am hoping the back pay will be about $1000. Along with the money for the Saturday program, plus coverages and NOT having to make a car payment, my financial life should get much easier.

The AmeriCorps money should be coming anytime too. And that's a ton of money. Too much to know what to do with, honestly.

I have put the Prague ticket on one credit card, the one that I will just have paid off. The other card is nearly empty too. I should easily be able to make payments to get the trip paid off before I even go. Which means more money to play with!

I dream of getting a new computer, but I'm not going to. The computer I have is just fine; it's the connection that sucks ass. I've got an entire year of digital photos on here, plus 1300 songs. (Don't worry, all the pics are saved on CD and/or in Snapfish; they're not going anywhere. As for the music, much of it is from my own CDs and I could always download stuff again, should something happen.) Someday prices will drop some more and I won't be quite so strapped, and I might even get a laptop. Someday.

If I were rich, I would buy an iPod. But my three-year-old Discman and ten rechargeable batteries are working just fine for me right now. No need to go all fancy for little old me.

I know that I have to remember to budget money for the car, which is tough to do. I tend to ignore problems and hope they go away, which is absolutely the worst thing with a vehicle, so I'll have to work on that. Again, must get brakes checked this weekend. Prevention, yay!

This sounds so silly and mundane, but it's kind of exciting to me: I can go to Costco more often. You know that it's nearly impossible to walk out of there without spending more than $100, which is quite a lot for a struggling NYC teacher, especially in the first half of the month. But now, I'll have a little more discretionary income, and I've also toned down on all the impulse, extravagant buys. Like, I don't need to get the four-pound bag of pistachios. I love them and they're tasty, but I've got half of the last bag left and am slowing down on the need. So that saves me thirteen bucks on my next trip. Each time I go, I get better at resisting other treats like frozen pizza and cake and stuff.

Now that I have all the bodyflow tapes at home, I'm actually working out on my own, and for free. No need for the $80-a-month fancy-ass gym-that-I-never-go-to.

Ooh, and you know what? I could actually go to movies. I resubscribed to Netflix, so I can still watch stuff at home, but I haven't been to a movie theater in months, and now I can! Talk about whee!

Only one and a half semesters left in my Master's, and I'm going to only buy used or discounted books for them, because I'm tired of paying off credit cards just in time to load up on expensive-as-all-hell textbooks from the campus bookstore. This semester I saved over a hundred dollars by shopping online and buying a previous edition. Score!

I will obviously save some money, adding to my Roth IRA and to my savings/travel account.

But I will also try to save some and earmark it for my own apartment next year. Assuming I stay in New York to teach a third year, I will reward myself with my very own place to live. Out here in Queens, it won't be too crazy expensive, I hope. It will be bigger than my tiny room and it will all be mine, to be messy or to workout in or just do nothing. Mm, exciting!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

AmeriCorps, Chapter the Last: Farewell, Fire 4

from my journal after graduation in November 2002....often choppy, silly writing, but raw and certainly heartfelt.

Thursday, November 21, 2002:

Well, today was the big day! It's all just about over now, it's way late and I'm sorta out of it.

Last night Geo and I walked to the Rendez-Vous (for the last time!). The bar was almost empty and all locals. [The team etc] sat around talking, it was pleasant. The group moved into the bar because Seth got up to jam with the band. He was great, as usual. God, the last night! Then the shuffleboard challenge--Joe and Shannon teamed up with, then against, their moms. It was fun.

Got a ride home, took a shower and went to Mandi's to sleep on the couch. Jen's team was at our house having a sleepover, so. Got to bed around 12. Mini Mort came downstairs and slept on the couch with me! Yay, that made me happy.

Saturday, November 23, 2002:

Back to Thursday: At 5, woke up, played with baby Frankie, went back to my house, in the cold, gray, predawn light, and got ready. Got all my shit put together and swept my room. Joe Cook did our inspection and hardly checked anything, it was way easy and a relief.

Soon got in the shuttle van to the gym for breakfast/outprocessing. We sat around for two hours and did nothing. We took a few team pictures. Sat around. Some people played around or said goodbye. I did neither.

Finally it was 9am and we all drove to the community center. Waited around for awhile, taped some teammates, then the ceremony was starting before we knew it. Jen S welcomed everyone and introduced the Bix. He spoke, introducing people and addressing us a little too. We all served over 300,000 hours, an average of 1907 hours per person. Just about everyone got the President Service award with over 1800 hours (remember, 1700 are required to complete the program). The next speaker was the acting national director of NCCC. He talked about the three C's, and then introduced the guest speaker, the new inspector general at CNCS. Then we all walked across the stage by team. That took awhile, and there were awards given out. Dez was nominated our Team Motivator. Ty from Ice was the Corps Member Speaker, he talked about the pledge and how our year fulfilled its tenets.

Finally, we were presented--Northeast Region Class 8 Graduates! and recessional. That's what really made me tear up--"graduates"--it hit me that it was really all over, the year was finished and my world was about to be uprooted and tossed in the wind. I was sobbing as quietly and controlled as I could. Once outside, some of us cried in earnest and hugged. A last team picture--Fire 4 Schmire 4.

Four of our team were leaving on shuttles at 11.45 and we had like half an hour to grab some hors d'oevres, see the quilt, pick up programs and corps directories, and of course say our farewells. I found a few non-team friends, and then it was time. Had to say goodbye to my team! It was really hard. I cried because I couldn't imagine not seeing them again. I mean, I'm sure parts of the group will be in touch and visit others, but the "team" is gone, we'll never be Fire 4 again, we won't be living together or doing any work together or hanging out at Perry Point or those lame houses (who knew we'd come to love them so much?). We're just regular people, another group of has-beens who don't have much in common except for the most intense ten months any of us will ever experience--together.

A quiet, introspective journey to BWI. Dez and I stuck together. There were 13 of us in the shuttle. Brodie was there too. We said bye to Ashley, that was just surreal. Thankfully boarding began relatively soon, we didn't have to sit around waiting forever. The flight was long and there was no video. I read a little but my eyes burned and I dozed when I could.

In Denver, Dez and I got a bite to eat and talked about the year. Then the three hour flight to Seattle. Finally arrived. Mom was there to meet me. Had to say goodbye to the remaining members of Fire 4.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002:

Have I mentioned that I feel like I've lost a limb, like sometime vital was ripped from my person when I left my team? Lots of members have sent out messages, mass emails of hey, I miss you guys, how're you doing. Mandi mentioned in one email that AmeriCorps feels like a dream. And it so does! Life at home is exactly the same even as it is utterly different, you know? It is so lonely here without my team nearby.

When I was looking at these newest pictures, everything felt current, not in the past already. Like I would still be seeing these people again every day. How can the year be over already? I don't understand. Though January 24 seems eight million years ago, it seems like it should be just last week. It can't be over already. I can't believe it's over, that we survived it, that we all had such an indescribable year. I should feel lucky that I have wonderful people who remember it with me. I know I could have never done it without them.

Man, I remember those times when if I could have, I woulda been outta there so fast. But I had no choice--well, I allowed myself no choice--none of us did--I had to stay there and stick it out, grit my teeth til the tough times faded. Wow, talk about challenges! Holy cow. We got through some amazingly unbelievable things, our little team. Wow.

My heart is numb yet, but I can feel how it will ache when I fully grasp the permanence of the past and our new separate lives. But we will forever be connected, even if no one ever spoke to each other again. And that's what counts, I think.


Back to the present: Saturday, November 20, 2005:

I miss you, Fire 4.

I continue to treasure the time we spent together, good and bad, and look forward to keeping in touch, continuing on our own paths, growing as individuals, but also as friends. I can't believe it's been three years since we've been all together. And I can't wait until either the five-year reunion we talked about, or someone's wedding. Who will be first??

Love, bunches of love, to all of you.

For the newest graduates of NCCC Class XI, best of luck assimilating back into the "real world," and may the lessons learned in AmeriCorps leave a lasting impression on your hearts.



All of Class 1 turned in their homework yesterday! Hurrah!

Gas is way cheap now: less than $2.50!

The radiator works, sort of, sometimes!

My old mouse was like walking the Mayan pyramids: dangerous and impossible to go directly up or down, so you have to carefully veer sideways.
And today I finally installed an optic mouse. It's like buttah!

Duh, Prague!

I'm going to...


I leave Saturday, February 18 and return on Friday, February 24, flying Northwest/KLM.

My total ticket price was a measly $454.


First, when I went back to BA, their price had gone up nearly a hundred dollars to $660. That is a lot of I went to Travelocity and found this price. What a steal! And it stops in Amsterdam, where I've never been. Another place to get a keychain!

I had already looked up hostels, and they'll be less than $20 a night. A very inexpensive yet impressive trip, indeed!

I am very, very excited. Also in disbelief. It is four months away, which is a long-ass time. Though that will give me plenty of time to pick the brains of all my friends who have been to Prague.

In the meantime, FIVE WEEKS until our Christmas European vacation. Yay!

Friday, November 18, 2005

TGIF, man

Damn, I am worn out.

Skipped class on Weds night because I am lazy. Thursday night were conferences. They went very well, more of the same good things. After 7.05, I only had about three parents, and an hour and a half to do some grading of those durned short stories. Sweet! I finished up the second class of those. I just may get them done by the end of the year yet.

I didn't change out of my school clothes (a new pale/mint green sweater and gray slacks) for the conferences, but I did put my glasses on and have my hair down. TWO people--one of my students and a teacher on my floor--didn't recognize me at first. I love that! Also, I got several compliments during the conferences; one girl's mom said, "You're so pretty, I don't know why you're a teacher instead of a model." I just giggled, because really.

Today, we did some gr@phic org@nizer practice. The students are doing well with staying on task, and hell, staying awake, working out of books like we are. So I do my part, by modulating my voice, occasionally yelling an important word like so: "Remember, you should always follow the DIRECTIONS" just to shake them up a little bit. I have fun where I can, people.

Again, I feel all exhausted and stuff. Haven't been eating anything during the day except a big granola bar and some junk food. Not even any water. That's porbably why, huh.

So this afternoon, I had to drag myself to the UFT workshop about teaching writing. I motivate myself for these by saying, "fifty bucks a night!" In this particular series, a bunch of teachers at my school are signed up. So I got to hang out and chat with two teachers I already know, plus a friendly first year teacher too. They even give us dinner and resource books. Being like I am, all I ate was bread, cookies and soda, but hey, free food. Don't look a gift snack in the mouth!

When we were talking about ana!yzing ch@racter in class, I had an outloud idea that had been percolating in my brain lately. I remembered that my FA last summer mentioned she did an unofficial field trip: having her students meet up for a movie on the weekend. I suggested to Class 1 at the end of the day to do that with the Harry Potter weekend. Well, you'd think I suggested I give them each a hundred dollars. They were all atwitter. So perhaps I can work it out, with a day and time. They'd come with ticket money and perhaps I'd pay for a few popcorns or something. Could be fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Pretending that I don't know anything about traveling except the trip that is in less than six weeks, lalala....and getting anxious and excited for christmas to get here already.

On Monday, I was out of the building all day long, with two other teacher friends, at a seminar in the city (related to one of the things I agreed to do, extracurricular-like). It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and we got to be out and about, between the sunny blue sky and the...dirty sidewalks. Heh. I really love when the day has something different, like a meeting and especially like a field trip! Whee! What a way to spend a Monday, eh?

Sadly, that made for an awkward Tuesday. It felt like Monday to me, and only one of my classes had actually done the lesson that I plastered all over the damn place (the other two classes went to different places, so I guess I can't get mad at a lazy sub this time; nevertheless, it's frustrating). Plus, it was a half day because of afternoon conferences.

I had a double period with Class 3, who were behind anyway. We spent the entire time going over the book's practice t*est, reviewing the steps to answering questions, identifying skills in questions, and even summarizing paragraphs. It was not exciting, but I was really proud and happy with the students: they hung in there, lots of participation, and they were actually into it. They showed a lot of comprehension and it really seems like it will help them and change their strategies. What a relief! What a great class!

I spent the two hours off quickly setting up my room and then working on grading papers. I didn't go out to lunch or hang out with my teacher friends; I got some work done. Hurrah, me!

The conferences went very smoothly. I saw perhaps 25 parents, and there was no rushing or chaos or backups. And, since this quarter all the students passed, most with 3s and 4s, the conferences were pleasant and quick. I tell you, what a difference a year and two honors classes make!

I left school at 2.30, and went home to do...nothing, as usual. I really don't know how I waste seven hours a day at home and have nothing to show for it. But the television and computer are nearly totally responsible. Tee hee. Obviously I don't really care, because I *still* have not caught up on homework for one of my classes.

In fact, since I was so lazy yesterday, I told myself that I would come home today and get to work. .... Yeah, right. Not so much. See the post below for the main distraction.

Today was a confusing day for me. I can't remember what day it is. Other than that, I proceeded with the lesson I'd planned for Monday. Of course we didn't finish it, so we'll continue tomorrow. It involves further question skill identification, then reading stories and passages (a random shipment of H!ghlights magazines came in a few weeks ago, and they had some good stuff in there), and then creating mult!ple-cho!ce AND short-response questions, using the skills. Bwa-ha!

When we finish that tomorrow, the groups will trade questions and answer them, and we will discuss good and bad things in short-response answers.

On Friday, I will hand back one of the recent assignments that I graded as an long-answer, we will discuss how to do things, and I'll probably have them compare/contrast or otherwise analyze some stories from the magazines.

And then it will be the weekend, hallelujah. Then we have yet another unusual week and an extra-long weekend. My teacher friends and I are hoping to have a game night! I'm excited because I love games and my teacher friends are a lot of fun.

Lately, I've been getting a little antsy (uh, see the post below?) and I have been missing my little one-day mini-road trip adventures. I think I only did them a few times, but I would pick a direction and a possible destination and then start driving. Only a few hours, but I got to see some new places.

The first time, I wanted to drive to Leavenworth, because it's a cute town and I hadn't been there since a brief stop in freshman year of college (1997-1998; damn!). However, I drove for what felt like forever and wasn't even in Index yet, and I saw a turnoff for some park. I stopped there and took a wee hike to a lovely stream in the middle of the forest. I had lunch at a picnic bench and it was pretty and relaxing and I wished I could have stayed longer. But I drove home.

Another time I drove to Mt Rainier, or somewhere near there...and it was closed. Oops. But still, an adventure. I walked a couple paths near the closed-off gates at least.

My last day jaunt, at least that I remember, was when I decided to drive south. I think I was going to head for Portland or something, but I saw the exit for Aberdeen and Ocean Shores. I thought, "hey, I haven't been there before! Ooh, let's go there!" So I did.

When I finally got there, the sky was gray and stormy (it was March or some other unflattering, off-season month) and I had no idea what to do. First I went to the beach, since that's the big thing out there. It was pleasantly windy and kind of yucky, but I found a spot to sit and just hang out a bit. Watched the other beachgoers dig for clams and ride fourwheelers, and I remember watching a tiny bird running along the sand, fascinated by its roadrunner legs going a million miles an hour, yet leaving perfectly patterned tracks behind it.

I uncertainly drove around a little bit and decided that I was quite hungry. So I went to this old-school pretend-fifties diner and had a lovely plate of french fries and a chocolate milkshake.

After that, I was bored and I went home. Because I'm unimaginative like that. Though honestly, there's not much to do in a tiny beach town in the middle of nowhere, in the winter.

But just taking an afternoon for myself and telling myself that I get to go on a little adventure, was freeing, and it was exciting, in a silly, small way.

I miss that little excitement.

So Thanksgiving weekend I hope to find it again. I'll probably visit Wallingford and Fire 4's labyrinth, and I'm not sure what else. Staying overnight somewhere would be a new and exciting twist. We'll see.


Oh my god! I'm watching ANTM (because I'm silly like that) and my dream came back to me! I was at work (my old office job again, but like I'd left and come back again), and everyone hated me. They talked and complained about me when I wasn't there. In fact, someone forwarded me an email of these people bitching about me and my horrible personality! It was just awful and humiliating and I had no idea what to do. However, since I'd already left before, I didn't really care too much. Hmm.

WANTED: Bloggers with Wanderlust for Midwinter Break!

Okay people, there are some seriously fantastic fare sales going on.

Here are two that are making me drool, AND that end very quickly.

The best one:
Six nights, air and hotel and rail to: Budapest, Prague, and Vienna=only $749 per person, double occuapancy, from NYC/JFK. For a single person, like me, it's $949. Which is still a good deal, but come on: less than $800 for a full six-night Central European vacation! I have never been to any of these cities and I have heard only wonderful things about them and oh lord is this a fantastic deal. Here's the site.

And you have to book by TOMORROW.

Total price with taxes etc is roughly $1050. But again, six nights. Hotel, airfare, railtickets, and continental breakfasts. If it's just me, then it costs $1250.

Please, friends, somebody come with me. Things like this are what credit cards were invented for. Plus, by the time this happens, us teachers should have gotten a little backpay.

A pretty damn good one:
London is massively cheap at the moment. They are doing free/discounted hotel nights, which, if there is more than one person, would make it still extremely cheap. Since I don't need to be in London for five or six days, I think it would be superfun to drive around and visit other places. Or take a train up to Scotland and hang around there, see Edinburgh and Glasgow and whatever else.

Airfare is about $450, including taxes, from JFK.

Email or comment IMMEDIATELY!! Come on, let's go have fun in Europe!!

Okay, now I'm feeling like the 3-city thing is a little much for a single American gal. So I went back to British Airways (they are the best airline in the world, I must say), and looked at Prague for five or six nights=$576 including taxes. Looked up hostels and found an apparently good one for $13-17 a night (no lockout, internet access, continental breakfast). So that means the entire thing would cost less than $700! And I could meet people in the hostel. And go see other places around Prague, by train, if I felt like it.

Hm, this one is sounding better and better.
This booking doesn't end until Monday.

Still, let me know if someone wants to come along!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Today is my friend Kristin's birthday. She's 27.

We met in the fall of 1999, when I moved into an apartment in the U district of Seattle. The building was a little run-down, with appliances with the look and performance of the 1970s. Each apartment had six rooms, and being a half block from the university, they rented out the rooms individually, to mostly students. My rent was $450 or so, I think, which included utilities. Anyway. Kristin moved in soon after I did, though she wasn't a student, she was just a young person who worked in an office downtown.

We hit it off pretty well right away, and hung out at home, watching tv and eating junk food. We played Boggle nearly every night and cried when Doyle died on Angel. We complained about Nora, our Hungarian roommate who said that Americans are stupid. We complained about her boyfriend Scott, a frat boy who crashed at our apartment all the time. Poor Kristin had to share a wall with their room. Glad it wasn't me!

We had a view of the frat house next door. Since we were on the fourth and top floor of our building, we could see down into a bedroom on the second floor of the frat house. We watched the boys hang out and play on the computer. Kristin used to throw candy and cookies from our window to see if it would attract their attention. It never did! They had no idea we were always spying on them. Ha.

A couple times, we snuck into the house; the front door was open and we took some cereal from their living room.

One night, the frat boys finally noticed us. We were throwing things at their window again, and for once I gave it a try. Our latest weapons were a stockpile of Chupa Chups lollipops. I lobbed one at the window...and it hit the window and broke it. Oops. We ended up chatting from our respective windows, the frat boys and us. They mooned us and we flashed them. Awhile later, we went over there and toured the house and got to know the boys we'd been spying on.

There were also some cute boys in the apartment below us. I don't remember how we met them, but there were two Irish boys and a French guy, and a few Americans too. Oh, those Irish boys were so adorable! We both had crushes on them. Later we found out the French guy had a thing for Kristin, and they had a little pretend fling.

One of our favorite things to do was go to Wizards of the Coast, order nacho fries, as we called them, and "iced spiced chider", and play Boggle. We were total nerds and it was awesome.

We also used to go hang out at the QFC in the University Village shopping center. It was open all night, and had a cafe area with tables and a fireplace. There were always interesting people hanging out there. I remember three girls one night, all wearing the same outfit. Another night these two high school boys insisted that we were lesbian librarians, of all the random things. The store had a good day-old bakery shelf, and we could amuse ourselves with the store directory signs. "I see you have some baby supplies; where do you supply the babies?" and other such giggly, twenty-year-old humor.

After I moved out, back home with my mom, and she moved into another apartment in the U District, and I was 21, we frequented Dante's, a bar in the district. We played foosball with boys, flirted, and drank fruity cocktails. When we didn't need to have alcohol, we would go to the Ram in the Village, always ending with the Mile-High Mud Pie. We always fought over the cookie crust on the bottom.

I'd drop her off at her building, but we'd sit in the car for sometimes an hour or more, still talking and giggling. We would tape record our stupid conversations and take weird pictures.

I'd visit her at her office in the Smith Tower, right downtown, and we'd hang out at her reception desk and then go out to lunch or out to dinner.

One February, we went to Las Vegas together. We played some video slot machines and visited other casinos and flirted with cute boys.

When I went away to AmeriCorps in early 2002, we talked on the phone once or twice a week, catching up on things. When she moved to New York in mid 2002, we kept in touch and I visited her a handful of times. We played Boggle at her place, and went out to bars in Brooklyn or Manhattan.

I moved to New York last June. We talked sometimes, and hung out a few times, not as much as we used to, but that's okay.

In February, she moved to Boston, which she'd been talking about for a few years. The week before she left, we met up at an Irish pub in Woodside. We had some food and drinks and took a few silly pictures and it was fun, like the old days.

I haven't heard from her since then.

I've left voicemails and sent a couple emails, but no response.

Six years of friendship, and apparently it was worth nothing.

Happy Birthday, Kristin.

Sunday memes

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!

Ms Frizzle, you better get 100% on this one! :)

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 9 out of 10 correct!

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

I disagree with the percentage, but the tidbit is eerily spot on! Heh.

You Are Midtown

You love so many things, you don't fit into any one label.
Your city girl persona goes to a fancy restaurant one night and a dive bar the next.

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

One of the questions was: You assume that most people have a viscous streak that could come out at any time. Ha! "Viscous" instead of "vicious!" Tee hee! Rather changes the question, doesn't it?