Sunday, December 27, 2009

why I'm like this 2.0

Sister 1: Not to start a big religious debate, but, don't you ever sometimes wonder what Christmas was all about?

Me: Um, Jesus?

Sister 1: No, but, wasn't Jesus really born in April? So, why do we celebrate it in December?

Sister 2: You just got that from an episode of Bones.

Sister 1: I mean, Christmas is nice because it brings people together, but, what's the big deal?

Me: Well, Jesus was the Messiah, which is kind-of the basis for our faith. Christmas is his birthday.

Sister 1: But, don't you ever wonder sometimes, like, what about the dinosaurs?

It's a good thing we're not on a reality show.

wg

Friday, December 25, 2009

one of the best

This Christmas is one of the best in memory. We played Scrabble. We watched our L-decker family favorite Mel Brooks classic, "Young Frankenstein". We dressed up for church. We sang hymns. My niece and nephew woke us up the next morning - time for presents and breakfast casserole. Sweet.

Church was an interesting experience. As we sang each hymn, I kept debating which line to select for my facebook status update. Meaningful, I know. I'm such a deep thinker.

You see, I try every year not to think about her. I try think about Jesus. He's the reason for the season, right? The babe in the manger, the wise men, the star, the sheperds, etc etc. I think, "It really was nice of God to send us his son." I think, "I probably would've thought Mary was a slutty lunatic," and "Those wise men were crack smokers - who brings a baby gifts like that?"

None of it works. But I don't feel guilty. I just really miss my mom at Christmas. I think about how she died on Christmas Eve, how the life just left her and how I believe, more than anything, that life eternal was waiting. I have faith God planned this. Imagine just being alone on any other day - no family, no hymns, no candles, no choir, no reminder of how much you are loved by God.

So, I don't feel bad that I can't concentrate during church on Christmas. Even if every year I get sad and re circumvent my way back around to the l-o-v-e message, I bet it was His plan all along.

wg

Thursday, December 24, 2009

why I'm like this

During a game of family Scrabble:

Daddy: Don't be intimidated by the fact that I am smart. I can't help it. I just puke intelligence.

Me: You puke intelligence?

Daddy: Yes. Every day. Why, don't you?

wg

Sunday, December 20, 2009

love and the internets

I know a lot of people who use internet dating sites. I used to be one of them. Lately, I just can't find the motivation.

I used to equate my match.com days to "internet shopping for men". Like any other glorious website, I could mix and match my preferences. Size? Color? Delivery? With one click I could place them in a shopping cart. Maybe I'd complete my purchase, maybe I wouldn't. Winks were like carrying the item around the store. I might try it on; I might put it back on the rack. Sometimes I would buy things. Inevitably I would return them.

Not that it wasn't fun. I met nice people. I enjoyed many a free dinner and drinks. One of those guys even stuck around for awhile. In the end, we weren't meant to be. Granted, it took about three breakups to realize it, but I don't regret our foray of dating that began on the internets.

I don't know. Sometimes I want to be with someone and sometimes I just crave my solitude. Do people always expect us singletons to want to be with someone else? Does anyone have success with internet dating beyond the people who look related and star in e-harmony commercials?

The one change I notice in myself is the desire to take care of someone else. For so long, I've been an insufferable victim. "I've been taking care of myself since I was ten, wah, wah, wah!" The exhausting experience of financially putting myself through college coupled with my innate independence has rendered me somewhat useless in the girl-who-needs-rescuing category. If I need rescuing, damn it, I'll do it myself. Later it became, I can't rescue anyone because I'm too busy taking care of me. At some point, this morphed into, I'm so tired of taking care of me! I'm going to die alone! (Ok, that's usually after some alcoholic persuasion and someone drops a wrench in your engine. Literally.)

Now, I kind-of feel like I'm ready to strike that balance of taking care of myself and someone else. I want to be a good wife. I want a good husband. I would like to be with someone who can fix my car and maybe enjoy eating any of the three things I know how to cook. I would like to meet someone who laughs at my jokes and makes me laugh, too. I would just like to be in a relationship that allows me the space I need and the chance to make someone else's life a little better, too.

Oh shit. I'm a grown-up.

wg

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Questions

What's a gift horse?

Why should one not look a gift horse in the mouth?

What am I supposed to think when a parent gives me skin-clearing body wash and cotton balls for a Christmas gift? Merry Christmas to me and my acne??

Really?

wg

Monday, December 14, 2009

aren't you, like, super-religious?

The other day, while the guy who teaches next door to me was explaining his new tattoo design, I told him I could never get another tattoo because of the pain.

He was shocked. "You? A tattoo?"

I get it. I am a walking girl scout. Yes, I curse and drink, but I can sell the crap out of a box of cookies with just my sweet smile. And don't get me started on my merit badges. Plus, I look like a twelve year old.

Regardless, I wasn't really prepared for what he said next.

"I can't believe you have a tattoo. Aren't you, like, super-religious?"

Huh?

My immediate response was an emphatic No, I'm not super-religious. Then he asked why I was always leaving work to go to Montreat Planning Meetings. Isn't that a church camp? Don't you do that every summer?

Well, yeah, I do. I always describe Montreat as "church camp that's not really church camp." I suppose I don't want people to think I'm teaching kids to make bombs for abortion clinics or inviting them to come down to the campfire and witness their salvation. I always emphasize that we are Presbyterian. Decent. In Good Order.

But, what's so wrong with church camp? Why do I assume people view religion as a negative? I suppose some judgment I've run into along the way hasn't helped.

A few years ago, at a friend's birthday party, we were hanging at the bar. Everyone was doing shots and I didn't want one. The bartender offered it free, but I said no.

The reason I said no? Well, I don't do shots. I just can't swallow them, literally. If someone really wants to order me a shot, I get either Patron or Belvedere and then I sip it, just to make them regret not just accepting my 'no' for answer. Also, at this party, they were all doing gross, sugary shots that would most likely make me vomit. Not to mention, I'm a lightweight and one shot is going to put me over the edge. All this aside, this friend's husband looked at me and said, "Stop being so judgmental." Then, he 'crossed' himself.

Huh? Where did that come from?

Was it because I'd just come back from Montreat, and his wife complained to him about things I'd shared with her? Was it because I was wearing a necklace with a cross? Was it because he knew I had a commitment to my church, and he just assumed I didn't want to drink because it was against my religion? I'd never discussed religion with him. I very rarely bring it up unless people ask. Since when is saying, "No, thank you," a judgment?

I was really offended. Later, when his wife tried to tell me I was too judgmental for her friendship anymore, I couldn't help but feel so incredibly misunderstood. (Ironically, she also told me she didn't believe in bisexuality and found it difficult to believe my blond bombshell of a co-worker had a master's degree. Ok. Whatever.) Still, I never really stopped to think about judgment he'd encountered earlier in his life in the name of my religion. Maybe I had judged them, but didn't they do the same to me?

I just wish having faith didn't automatically group me in the same category as the pipe-bomb people. My faith in God tells me to love people, to forgive people, to always do what is right and to know that God will forgive me if I do something wrong. My faith tells me that God could care less about tattoos, dancing, body piercings, or alcohol and more about helping your neighbor. My faith tells me that God would want anyone, ANYONE who is in love to get married, or be ordained, or adopt a child. I'm not perfect, I don't claim to be. But I'm motivated by my faith to try and be a good person who loves and accepts others.

I know others say and do heinous things in the name of my same faith. I can't help that. I can't force people to believe the same things as me and I will never, ever do that.

However, I will continue to try and let my actions speak for themselves - to let people see that a girl who loves Jesus can also love really expensive vodka and gay people. One day, maybe that will be the new definition of "super-religious."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

you spin me right round, baby, right round...

My principal's secretary asked for a picture of myself to put on the bulletin board for "Teacher of the Year." Luckily, I had one on my work computer that I used for the yearbook. Click, print.

I love this picture! I look super cute! I get compliments on this picture all the time. Ironically, it's the same one I use for my blogger profile.

Maybe I'm a narcissist who only ever looked at herself in the photograph, but I didn't realize the one thing I'm holding in the picture could be so misconstrued. My students selected this picture for the yearbook. I'm not that mean teacher they want to prank. They looked at the picture and said, "Oh! You're on the merry-go-round!" The girls all said, "You look so pretty in this picture!" Hello, Approval.

Well, some people noticed the interesting detail. One of which happened to be my principal. He took one look at the picture and said, "She's on the pole!"

In the office. In front of everyone.

Then, he very kindly asked me about it at the Christmas party.

"What's this with the stripper picture Ms. L?"

I. Died.

Protesting immediately, I tried every tactic. Nothing worked.

"But I'm wearing my granny shawl in that picture!"

"And nothing under that shawl I assume?"

"No! I was on the merry go-round!"

"I bet it was a merry time for some people who go round."

"It's not like that! I was at a fundraiser!"

"I'll bet you raised more than funds that night."

It was all in good fun. It was also quite possibly the most embarrassing conversation I've ever had with a superior. Not to mention, this is the picture I used in the yearbook and the same picture I sent downtown with my Teacher of the Year application packet.

I think I am a permanent shade of red.

Monday, November 30, 2009

it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

I'd like to lie and say I'm not into material things, but my closet could speak volumes on that subject. Therefore, in the spirit of giving, I'd like to just rid the universe of the following things:

1. People who aspire to be reality tv stars by putting their children in spaceship balloons, crashing parties for Joe Biden photo ops, or giving birth to seven times the normal amount of children. Get a therapist and a life, please.
2. Erectile dysfunction commercials. Old people sex? Ew.
3. Books "written" by "celebrities".
4. People who refer to New York City as "The City". There are other cities, you know.
5. Wife beaters in both shirt and human form.
6. Anyone who "reports" for Fox "News".
7. The need for quotation marks to indicate sarcasm in print. Let's just make a sarcasm font already.
8. Arkansas. In a word? Yawn.
9. The person who poisoned my friend's dog. Can you say 'pure evil'?
10. Sarah Palin.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a "bah humbug" moment. I seriously would love to receive the gift of elimination for any of the above mentioned items. Just an empty space in the much-improved universe. Wrapped up in tinsel. Just for me.

wg

Friday, November 27, 2009

a new tradition

Last night, in between mouthfuls of my second turkey helping, my step-mom walked into the dining room. Handing the phone to my father, she said, "It's your daughter." Translation = my sister who spends the holiday up north with my NJ family. Then, my step-mom walked over to me and gave me a hug.

"Your Grandma Marion died today."

I didn't think it was possible to lose your appetite when you were already on a second helping.

My grandmother (mom's mom) was sick for a long time. Alzheimer's is the ugliest, meanest disease I've ever met. Last time I saw Grandma Marion, she didn't know me. I had to tell her how I was related to her. Then she asked why my mom wasn't with me. When I told her, "Your daugther, my mom, died a long time ago," she said "Wow. That's so sad. Wait, who are you?"

Yeah. Not really an awesome visit.

I wasn't really that close to her in these last years. After Mommy died, we lost touch with that side of the family. Caring for Grandma fell to my cousins and my aunt. Is it bizarre that I feel relieved for them, to not have to worry about her anymore?

Then there's this: she died on Thanksgiving. Is this becoming a family tradition? Mom dies on Christmas Eve, Grandma on Thanksgiving. Hey God - dibs on Valentine's, okay? Or do you think the 4th of July is more appropriate due to my recent Obama Obsession? I'm really only interested in Easter if you're going to throw in the whole "rise from the dead" deal you gave Jesus. Halloween, you say? Hmm. Negotiable.

I know it's not a joke. Obviously, I'm not in the mood to wax poetic about my Gram or death or life in general. Let's face it, that just wasn't her style. My Grandma Marion was never the sugary sweet grandma. She'd never smother you with kisses or read you a bedtime story. But she was funny. She had spunk. She used to hide a $10 bill instead of an Easter basket. She cackled when my cousin and I put a plastic slug in her glass of wine. She'd appreciate my sarcasm if she were here to read this.

I have a funny memory of her breaking the water dispenser on the refrigerator in our new house when we moved to Florida. At the time, my mom told me she was sleep walking. As a kid, I thought it was hilarious. Woo, grandma's crazy! As an adult, I realize she was drunk. Woo, grandma's lit! (Actually, still kind-of funny.)

I remember when she took me - just me - on a shopping trip to JC Penney's. In the dressing room, we couldn't decide which dress to buy so she bought me all three. It is a Big Deal when you're the youngest of three girls to get a shopping trip by yourself. It's a bigger deal to get a new dress that your sister has never worn before. I bet she knew that.

All in all, not the best Thanksgiving in memory. But, I have happy memories to make me thankful. So, if it's okay to be thankful that she's not suffering anymore, I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that.

wg

Monday, November 16, 2009

the man in my life

Ring, ring.

Him: (Sniffle, sniffle, sniffle) Little Meggy? Is that you?

Me: Yes. Are you crying?

Him: I just got done watching 'Bridge to Terabithia'. Don't judge me! This is a sad movie.

Me: I've never seen it, but I read the book a long time ago.

Him: It's about this, this girl and boy who...sniff...I don't want to talk about it! (quiet sob)

Me: Oh, Daddy. I love you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

montreat

So happy
just to
be away
in this
special place
of mine
and ours,
but His
of course.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

so gross

Is there anything more barf-inducing than an 'about me' that reads:

I am married to the most wonderful man in the world! He is my light and my life! I love my life! I love my husband! I don't know what I would do without him!!!

Puke, puke, puke.

wg

Thursday, October 29, 2009

and then some

I took 20 of my students to the University of Florida last Saturday. We were invited to a Journalism conference. The kids were great. They sat in the workshops and took notes; they kept calling the presenters "Professor" and asking tons of questions. I was like proud mama duck, watching all her little babies quacking around the college classroom like they belonged there.

Then, we went for the campus tour.

It started on the lawn, or the "Green Banana", which is a long stretch of grass in front of the Reitz Union. There I am, with 20 thirteen-year-olds in tow, and stretched out in front of us is a 20 foot banner screaming:

SEX ON THE LAWN!

Oh. My. God.

As alumni, I know that Sex on the Lawn is a safe-sex health fair put on by Planned Parenthood. I once volunteered for the event and was concidentally hit on by a lesbian during my shift. Ah, memories.

However, I know that all those teenage eyes are zeroing in on the words SEX! Before any questions came come up, I say, "Ok guys, I know you see the sign, and I just want to remind you that this is a school for those eighteen and older. I want you to know that this is an event to promote safe sex, not just sex."

"But, Ms. L? Why did they name it that?"

"Well, why do you think they gave the event that name?"

"To make people come?"

(Stifling giggles) "Exactly. Remember - we just learned about a marketing campaign?"

"Ahh, okay..." they mutter. Still whispering and giggling. But moving on.

I take a deep breath and center myself. Ok. Crisis averted. I am not going to lose my job.

Then we round the corner and see a wall of SEX ON THE LAWN fliers advertising Condom Races and Vagina Coloring Contests!

I didn't know what else to do. I broke into a jog and shouted "Avert your eyes! Just don't look at it! Keep moving!"

Even some things are too awkward for this working girl.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

i am the cure




I did it! I ran the Breast Cancer 5k Race for the Cure with my sister, Janine, this past Saturday. I beat my time from last year by five minutes. I really like doing this event; it's the second year in a row I've participated. Sometimes I think the pink ribbon has become a little too mass marketed, but on the whole, there can't be anything bad about bringing attention to the disease. I wish I had done more of these events when I was younger. There was something overwhelmingly healing about running and seeing all those survivors .
wg

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the eternal student rears her pretty head

I miss school.

You might be thinking: Um, you're a teacher. How can you miss the place you go every day?

But, I do.

I miss thinking, learning. I miss the challenge. I miss discovering something new.

I don't miss eating junk food, being poor, or working full time while taking 17 credit hours. I don't miss wanting to curl up in a ball and die and the end of every semester. I don't miss the lingering adolescent emotions that make you want to curl up in a ball and die, either.

I love learning - shouldn't I want to learn about learning? Shouldn't I get my master's degree in education? But my heart belongs to my words. I want to prove that my talent didn't go to waste. I want to see a book with my name on the cover.

I can't do it without help. I need a push, a deadline, and most importantly, a teacher.

Dilemma: either enroll in a 50K writing program over three years while teaching OR take two years off from teaching and enroll in graduate program.

What ever will I do?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

i'd like to thank god...

In true fashion of things in my life, I thought I was being fired on Friday. Turns out the admin was just swarming me to tell me I'd won Teacher of the Year. Apparently, they don't give you flowers when you're being fired.


I think the best thing about this is the fact that I was nominated by peers and voted for by my peers. I went from being Susan Lucci (always nominated, never winning) to Sally Field (You like me! You really like me!) Here's hoping Mr. West doesn't try to take it away from me.

a hardworking girl

Thursday, October 8, 2009

monthly marathon UPDATE

Well, if you've been tracking my progress to the left (Like Forrest Gump) you can see my goal came and went! I tried to run 26 total miles in 30 days. I did not meet my goal. I am short by 3 miles. However, I did try really hard and in all honesty, I made it further than I expected. So, even though I didn't finish the "marathon" in 30 days, I did...
  • push myself not to stop until I could run almost all the way down Hodges
  • look forward to running
  • stalk a neighbor until I found the community gym
  • sign up to run a breast cancer 5k
  • learn that my body can do a lot more than I thought

I think, more than anything, I'm proud that I didn't give up even though I knew at the end I would not make it. WG + Running = friends. I feel powerful.

So, goal not met...YET! I'm going to give myself until the weekend to get those three miles done, and then it's off to my new goal: NaNoWriMo.

wg

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

scalp FAIL

I was so excited when my girlfriends Erin and Jen decided we should go to the Jags game on Sunday. Woo! Football! Tailgating! Beer! All things I enjoy. Ever the planner, I wanted to buy tickets ahead of time. No, they assured me, we've scalped before. It's so easy and much cheaper. Reluctantly, I agreed.

In my game day gear, I picked up the ladies and we headed downtown to the stadium. Looking super cute in our black, white and teal, we approached the stadium gates to "buy" our tickets.

Well, someone forget to tell the scalpers that the entire purpose of scalping a ticket to a game that isn't sold out is to get it cheaper than what you'd pay at the window. No one would sell for under fifty bucks.

I tried everything: the coy smile, the hair twirl, the low cut shirt, the "I'm a teacher" line. All my best tricks. No results. Those punks were still walking around at the end of the first quarter refusing to go below $50. FAIL.

We ended up chowing down at the Hooters in the Landing and watching other games since, NEWSFLASH SCALPERS, the Jags didn't sell enough tickets in the first place to have a televised game.

It's okay, though. We still had a lot of girly fun. Next time we plan to take advantage of the teacher discount and buy our $30 tix ahead of time!

wg

ps - I realize ticket scalping is illegal. Don't arrest me - we didn't do it! :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

dear danny

There is a reading strategy we use in class called "Say Something." After the kids read a text, we encourage them to say something, say anything about what they read. They can make a prediction, ask a question, clarify something misunderstood, make a comment, or make a connection. If they find they can't do those things, they need to re-read.

I really don't understand what you want. Why do you read my blog at all? Perhaps you want to say something?

wg

Update: Upon confrontation, Danny says he hasn't read my blog since I "accused" him of stealing Piggy back in April. Apparently, something in his RSS feed combined with my blog being one of his 200 favorites causes my LiveFeed to show his address every time he opens a browser window. Okay. Regardless, somethings never change. Watch the boy run when emotion enters the room. I guess no one can blame him.

At times my inability to let things live in the past trumps my otherwise good judgment. Luckily, my body is bangin' and my wit is endless.

Friday, October 2, 2009

the little things

A perfect Friday night is:

- a cold beer after work with friends
- a quick clean-up around the house
- 20 minute, intense run down Hodges
- watching new episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC
- falling asleep on the couch with zoey

Yay! bliss.

wg

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

daily gripe

Co-workers are annoying.

Today in lunch, one of them was talking about how some teachers make work their life. "You don't ever see WONDERFUL TEACHER on a tombstone," she said. "Mother, yes. Daughter, yes. Wife, yes. Teacher, no."

"Mmhmm," her friend agreed. "I'm working on my tombstone and not my resume. I get paid to do a job, not to go above and beyond."

My question is: what's so wrong with doing both? I don't understand the mentality of only doing what is required. I don't understand how you can come to a job day after day after day and expect children to put in extra effort when you openly admit to never giving an extra ounce yourself. I don't understand the point in doing something if you're not going to do it 100%. Not the minimum - but 100%.

So frustrating.

wg

Monday, September 28, 2009

everything I need to know about life...

I learned from my mom.

  • One day, believe it or not, your sisters will be your best friends.
  • Underwear on your head is a fashion statement.
  • Not letting you eat junk food is how I say I love you.
  • Fear the wooden spoon.
  • There's nothing wrong with a little nudie cazoodie show ... when you're six.
  • It's not a bunny, yaya, foo foo, or cupcake. It's a vagina. Call it your vagina.
  • Don't listen to your father - Tylenol is not a magical cure for anything.
  • Anything boys can do, you can do better.
I love you, Mommy. Wherever you are.

wg

Thursday, September 24, 2009

monthly marathon update

Thus far I've done 12 miles towards my goal of doing one marathon in one month. That's only one mile away from the halfway mark of 13 miles. I've got 12 days left to do it!! Here's hoping I can make it happen!

wg

Sunday, September 20, 2009

no deal

I met someone I like. He happens to be a practicing atheist who doesn't have a car. Seriously - is there anyone out there who doesn't come with a dealbreaker?

Now that I'm single, I'd like to announce the following:

1. If you don't like my dog, you don't like me. Don't pretend to like him and then change your mind after you got in my pants. You don't have to love him, but you better damn well try.
2. I want a husband and kids some day. This does not make me a crazy person. This also does not mean I want you to be that husband.
3. I love my job and I have to take it home at times. I know you may think that teaching isn't very important because I don't make a lot of money, but I care about my students and I will occasionally chose them over you.
4. I make my own money. I own my own home. I don't need you to buy me dinner, but I appreciate it when you do. And let me pay every now and then - it's not an insult to your manhood.
5. I don't discuss it that much, but I am a Christian. My faith is quiet but it is strong. Maybe if you took the time to talk to me, you'd understand why my faith is so important. I wasn't brainwashed. I didn't just believe what my parents told me. Yes, I volunteer at a church camp every summer and no, it's not what you think. If you can't respect that, you can't respect me.

I hope you took notes. I hate repeating myself.

wg

Thursday, September 17, 2009

break up not down

Dear Ex-Boyfriends,

I'm writing to say thank you. No, really. I mean that. I really do want to say thank you.

People always say you learn more about yourself when you're in a relationship. I'm always figuring out new things about myself, either in a relationship or out of one, but this one thing I know to be true: I don't like letting things go. And I'm being relative when I say 'things'. People, ideas, hopes, arguments, lies, promises, places, gifts, underwear...you name it, I'm holding on to it. Ex-boyfriends, that means you, too.

Kind of.

I'm not holding on to you, specifically, but when a break up happens there are just some things you can't take back. And that's why I'm writing you this note of thanks.

Because of you, ex-boyfriends, I'm holding on to a lot of great things. Thanks to you, I gained an understanding of the rules behind football (although I still don't understand pass interference). Thanks to you, I learned to that Playboy actually does have quality writing. Thanks to you, I gained a love of expensive vodka and la lengua espaƱola.

But more importantly, ex-boyfriends, I'm holding on to more than just material things. Thanks to you, Token Ex Who Lied About Everything, I'm never letting go of the knowledge that someone who asks you to sacrifice everything doesn't really love you. I will always appreciate the belief that nothing makes one person better than the other. High-five, Weirdo Ex Who Moved to Korea. I will forever support the belief that someone who won't fight for you isn't worth a fight either. Hats off to you, Ex Who Still Feels the Need to Read This Blog. And, I will always cherish the faith you restored in me that nice guys are still out there. Thank you dearly, My Ex Latin Lover.

Those thoughts might sound bitter, but on the night of my most recent break up, I mean them wholeheartedly. With all sincerity, I want to say thank you. I've been dating since I was fourteen and I've gained so much.

Breakups don't have to be bad. Break up-and-up. Break up, up and away. Break up, never down. Thanks to you guys, I now know that.

Sometimes, never letting go is a good thing.

Love,
wg

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hannah

My heart is bursting with love for Laurie and her new daugther, Hannah. After a long and arduous paperwork process that lasted over two years, Laurie was finally granted her one wish and is bringing home a precious little girl from China! Hannah was delivered right into Laurie's waiting arms this morning (3:30am our time - 3:30pm China time). I love you L McD and can't wait to meet your girl!


You can read their story, too. Have tissues ready.


All my love,

the wg


Thursday, September 10, 2009

hey mr dj

Dear People Who Read My Blog,

I need music suggestions for my monthly marathon playlist. I love cheesy pop music but I'm open to anything. Leave your suggestions in the comments. If you read my blog (or internet stalk me), you can at least suggest a little something. Listening to my reader suggested songs will keep me focused on my goal.

Thanks,
wg

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

today i ...

did the first 2 miles.

Things I need:
- decent running shoes
- a new running playlist
- ears that fit my fancy exercise earphones

24.2 to go!

wg

Monday, September 7, 2009

running on empty

Once again, my older and fabulous sister Levana has inspired me. This weekend she ran a half marathon!!! I'm so proud of you Big Little L!

This helped me chose my new challenge. Since I don't exercise much (much meaning ever) I think that's what I'm going to challenge myself to do. So...introducing:

The Marathon Month Challenge

Basically, I'm going to push myself to run 26.2 miles in one month. I know that some people do this in a day, but for a person who can't even spell exercise let alone bring myself to do it on a regular basis, this is a serious commitment. To run (or run/walk/jog) 26.2 miles in 30 days will require me to run .87 miles every day for a month. Meaning, I will have to give up time doing other things (other things meaning watching tv) and make the time to meet the challenge.

At the end of the month, I'm going to reward myself by participating for the Race for the Cure 5k in Jacksonville on October 17th.

So - who's with me?

wg

Saturday, September 5, 2009

a funny thing happened...

There I was, yesterday morning, walking the Puckers before leaving for work. Puck, having assumed the position, was dropping a huge load when suddenly I noticed a fat man in a Honda circling the parking lot.

My paranoia meter was going off full force. I'd never seen this car or this fat man before. Why was he circling? What is he looking for? Who does this m-effer think he is fooling?

We haven't had break-ins for a few years, but after having my car broken into three summers ago, I don't take any chances. I watch enough episodes of Law & Order to know what a serial killer does before he attacks his prey. I wasn't going down without a fight.

I said, "C'mon Brutus!" as loudly as inconspicuously possible and tried to confidently walk away with Puck. Now, if you know the Puckers, you know he is at the state where he just hobbles along behind me on the leash. Actually, his legs are getting worse and he slightly drags his back left leg when he walks. Not immensely scary.

"Yeah - the old fight injury won't stop you, my monster! Heh!" I said, fearing that the potential rapist was watching and trying to size up Puck's attack skills.

I took a longer route and ducked behind some cars to get a glimpse at the fat man, who had now pulled into a parking spot and was undoubtedly watching my every move. As I glanced over the side mirror of my neighbor's Excursion, I noticed Fat Man was writing something on a small notebook!

A killer's notes! He was writing down where I lived and what kind of car I drove and that my dog was old and feeble and could easily be taken out by a murderer who broke into my house looking to BTK me.

Suddenly, I felt a surge of anger. (See my previous post about rage.) Hell no! I wasn't going to let this fat bastard get the best of me!!!!!

I let Puckers back inside and grabbed my keys. I hopped into my car and threw a withering stare in the direction of Sir Fatty McRapist. I drove around the parking lot and pulled up directly behind him. I made a note of his license plate and sat directly behind him for a minute, making sure he knew I was watching. I circled the parking lot two more times to really send home the message that I was not going down without a fight.

Once out of sight, I quickly dialed my condo office and told the property manager all about. I gave her every detail, from what he was wearing, to the color of his dirty rapist beard, to his license plate number and the scratches on the back of his dirty rapist car.

She was quiet for a moment. I waited patiently for her to thank me profusely for my expert detective skills in catching a killer and preventing a senseless murder.

"Well, Lindsay, it seems that you've spotted the undercover detective from JSO who's investigating one of your neighbors. I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention this to anyone else."

Nice.


wg

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

damn it, kim

So, I read Kim's comment to my challenge request. Maybe I will take up one of these, too???

wg

the write stuff

Maybe you know, maybe you don't know, but in the confines of "My Documents" lies a novel the WG has slowly, slowly been plugging away at for some time. Some time being...since 2004.

It's not much, just a Young Adult novel I began as a project in my Ad Lit class at UF. I love the story, I love the characters. I think I actually love the setting more than anything. I just don't love how I can't seem to finish it.

So...my September goal is to write 30 more pages. Let's see how it goes.

wg

Saturday, August 29, 2009

i need ...

a challenge for the month of September.

Remember the cash-cook-challenge of Oct 08? Or the no-gratuitous-spending of May 07? I love to make little goals and post about it for my awesum readers.

In fact, that's how my whole blog began. It was my goal to get out of debt in one year. Well, that didn't happen, but I'm proud to say that in 2.5 years of blogging, I did pay down 80% of my credit card debt.

So, awesum readers (all three of you) ... what would you like to see the WG do in the month of September? Relive an old classic - no eating at restaurants or one month? Perhaps you'd like to see me go without tv? (Ok, that's harsh. Maybe I should have to limit my tv.) What about reading 30 books in 30 days?

Be creative, be awesum, be suggestive. But most of all, be quick, because September is 3 days away.

wg

Thursday, August 27, 2009

who gonna check me, boo?

Confession: This summer, my anger level reached a pinnacle. We're talking summit. Top of the mountain, ready to plummet. It's been like a full-on-over-the-edge sense of rage. Correction: RAGE!

I don't get it.

Usually, I'm a crier. I get mad? I cry. I get frustrated? I cry. I cry ? I cry. However, lately I've just been getting SO ANGRY. Repeatedly punch my fist into a pillow angry.

Here's the thing: I can't quite figure out why. It's always a little thing that sets me off. For example, upon leaving a restaurant last month, MLL reached over and pinched my butt. I didn't think it was cute; in fact, it really hurt. My reaction? I swung around and smacked him on the arm so hard it left a mark. Then I couldn't even apologize! I just kept thinking, He should know better. He should know I hate that. That's what he gets!!!!

Normal, right?

I guess I'm posting this to warn people not to mess with me. I don't really know what's behind this anger. It's actually a little worrisome.

wg

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

how awesum is:

my local library?

My recent obsession is young adult fiction. After many years of waffling, I finally decided to go with my heart and get an MFA in Creative Writing. I'd really like to write professionally, but I need more training. Also, I need to be pushed. I found a program in Vermont that specializes in Writing for Young Adults. Ergo (don't you just love that word), my reading habits became overtly teen-oriented in the past few weeks.

Luckily, my local library carries an amazing selection. I read six in the past two weeks, and I highly recommend Catalyst by Laurie Halse Andersen. (She also wrote Speak, which was amazing, which was also turned into a less-amazing Lifetime movie.)

Also, my library has a myriad of CDs (remember those?) for card holders. In the teen spirit, I checked out something from my dad's teenage years (The Beatles "Revolution") and my teen years (Madonna "Ray of Light"). I wanted something from today's teenagers, but the only thing I found that remotely fit that category was the Jonas Brothers. I couldn't bring myself to stoop. However, I'm downloading the music onto my computer, resulting in a lower itunes bill this month.

With the help of my local library, I finally found a way to justify my YA reading habits. Awesum!

wg

Monday, August 24, 2009

thoughts on teaching...

It's very hard NOT to punch a kid in the face when he comments, "I bet he dies this year," after you say, "I have a dog, whom I love very much, and he is fourteen just like you."

wg

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

back, back, back to school again

Ok. I just got through a really rough week. It wasn't supposed to be like this. We have a new principal (yay!) who seems to have some semblance of a personality (yay!) and I'm teaching journalism (yay!) so everything was supposed to be very yay! this week.

ha.

Basically, I got screwed with the yearbook thing. It was the one thing I asked for in return for not getting paid to do the yearbook. All I wanted was control of who was in the yearbook class. This is one of my classes out of six. I didn't care who was in the other classes; I just wanted to control who was in this class.

They dumped a bunch of kids who failed 8th grade into my class. Also, they scheduled lunch during this class. So, I teach for 35 minutes, then take the kids to lunch for 30 minutes, then we come back to class for 10 minutes. Please tell me how anything constructive is going to happen??

When I asked for help from my AP in charge of scheduling, I got yelled at and told she had bigger problems. When I asked for help from another teacher, he told me he didn't have time for my shit and to get out of his classroom. I've never been anything but nice to these people - I don't deserve to be yelled at by colleagues and superiors.

But, they still yelled. I lost it. I sat in my car in the parking lot and just cried. Not only did my dream about this little yearbook class get taken away, but I was treated like dirt in the process. All of this because I'm trying to save the school money by not taking the supplement. To make it worse, all the coaches saw me crying and I feel like a fool.

There's no hope for the class now, I'm just going to have to find a way to make it work. I'm going to print out a picture of Tim Gunn, frame it, and put it on my desk to remind me to make it work.

I'm just so disappointed. I really had high hopes for this year and now I don't know what to think. I'm ready for the kids to come back, though, because they always cheer me up. Also, they are way nicer than the adults!!!

wg

Thursday, August 20, 2009

boo

Boo Mean People! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

check out dem apples

So, I'm sitting in my classroom right now (I'm also off the clock, should anyone from DCPS be investigating me). I'm staring at the mountain of tasks that Must Be Accomplished before the students arrive.

I'm not teaching Language Arts this year; I'm teaching journalism. I'm really excited! And nervous!

Is it bad that I kind of don't want the kids to show up next week?

Sigh. I'm back in action.
WG

Sunday, August 16, 2009

enough

woot.

I don't know what that means, but people on the internets sure do say it a lot. I think it's supposed to induce joy. Or, Joy!

So, enough. Enough feeling sorry for myself. Enough moping. As established in the prior post, I am much too old for this. Well, maybe not established. Perhaps glaringly obvious.

So: woot. Woot! Once more with feeling: WOOT!

There! Much better.

wg

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I mean, seriously...

Why do people use the phrase, "I feel like a teenager" in reference to being in love? Doesn't anyone remember the heart ache? Doesn't anyone remember the devastation when the one you loved decided not to love you anymore? Doesn't anyone remember the hopelessness?

Well, shit. I do.

I wish I didn't care about you. I wish I could just shrug you off, place you as one among the many, forget you entirely. I don't know why I give you the power to hold on to a tiny piece of my heart. But I do.

Sometimes I do wish I was a teenager. As a teenager, I'd of done anything for you. I never would've broken up with you because I knew our relationship wasn't right. As a teenager, I never would've pushed you away and tried to make it work with someone who was much better for me. I'd of clung to you with a desire to prove just how great a girlfriend I could be.

But I'm not seventeen anymore. I'm twenty-seven. I make grown up choices. It sucks and it hurts and it feels as bad as it did back then. Being twenty-seven leaves me no other choice. I know what happens when you love like teenagers do. It aint pretty.

You seem happy with her. You didn't hesitate to tell me all about it. After all, we're not even friends. I put a stop to that awhile ago. Still, my heart broke into little pieces when I heard you say her name.

I should've known. You never could master the art of being alone quite like me. Conquering the singular science is my triumph, and mine alone. Look how far it got me.

I don't know if you ever really knew how to love me. Maybe you wanted to love me, maybe you wanted to try. I doubt you would've done what it takes, and that's why I have no other choice. The little pieces of my heart that jump when I hear your name deserve a lot more than broken promises and half-hearted attempts at winning them over.

Geez. I mean, seriously? How ironic that you study chemistry. How unceasingly ironic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

did I mention????

We learned about Aboriginal "culture". It was kind of a Disney version, but I appreciated the enthusiasm from the Aborigine people who were trying to preserve their culture. I then preceded to bastardize it with this picture.

Are we home yet?

I don't remember the ride home, except being delayed in LAX. It took a lot of stern talking with the airline reps, but we managed to get everyone home. We had to split up and take three different flights, but we managed to get everyone home. My group landed at 1 am, but we managed to get everyone home.

Did I mention that we got everyone home?

Steve and Sally picked me up at the airport at one a.m. My dad looked like the walking dead. You would've thought he just took thirty teenagers halfway across the globe for twenty days or something.

So, I went home to Ocala and slept, slept, slept. It took awhile for the jet lag to wear off (by the way, there is NOTHING on tv at 3am) and a few days to readjust to not eating dinner with thirty-three people, but I was happy to be back in the USA.

WG

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Stop: Cairns (pronounced Cannes)

The next morning we boarded a plane and were off to Cairns. We had to deal with some unpleasantness (students sneaking out of hotel rooms) but it was to be expected. Not so shockingly, the culprits were the two students who did not attend any of the orientation meetings and the two students I did not want to go on the trip. People to People basically told me that since they had already paid, there was little we could do. (Well, they didn't say it like that, but I knew it's what they meant.) It was one of those, "Why didn't anyone listen to me in the first place??" moments.

Regardless, it was worth the frustration to finally be in the warm weather! The first stop was the zoo. I'd been looking forward to this the entire trip. The zoo promised us a snuggle with a koala. After scarfing down my lunch, I ran to the koala stop and was at the front of the line for my koala hug. Yes, I pushed people out of my way.

At the zoo, I really wanted to see a crocodile. It was the one Aussie critter I hadn't laid eyes on yet. Finally, I found the croc habitat. Looking at the beast, I thought to myself, "This looks just like an alligator! I don't see the difference at all. No wonder people get confused."

Then I saw the sign that read, 'American Alligator. Native to Southeastern United States.' Yep, I came halfway across the world to see the same reptile who lives in the pond behind my house. I began to fear that they didn't have any crocodiles at this zoo, that maybe Steve Irwin had such a powerful influence that they had released all the crocs back into the wild at his funeral in some ceremonial crocodilac salute.

But then I turned the corner and saw this:


What else was one to exclaim besides, "CRIKEY!"

After the zoo, we headed to the "lagoon" at Cairns. Cairns wasn't the most cultural city (read: backpackers and military men haven) but the views were beautiful.


The next day was what we'd all been waiting for: snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef! We boarded the boat and took a long, windy ride out past Green Island to the snorkeling spot. I'd never been snorkeling before, so Jess and I stuck together with the "beginner" swimmers. It was a little difficult for me, due to the cold I was battling. Sneezing and coughing into a snorkel mask while drifting in the Pacific Ocean is not the most pleasant experience. However, nothing would keep me from this once in a lifetime opportunity! I think the story is best told in pictures:


Snorkeling trip = AWESUM!

almost forgot

I forgot to talk about our visit to the sheep ranch. We learned about sheep farming and how to throw a real boomerang.

Question: What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?
Answer: A stick.

Question: What do you think this Working Girl threw a lot of in Australia?
Answer: Sticks.

I was better with the sheep.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What day is it? Melbourne Updates

Melbourne was amazing. It's supposedly the "San Francisco Down Under". Although they took us to a strip filled with touristy shops, there was still plenty to see. The architecture is amazing, but mainly because of all the different styles. You'll see a traditional building, with long window, large doors and grand columns next door to some crazy geometric design. This is most noticeable in Federation Square.

The next day it was off to Phillips Island. Phillips Island is a wildlife preserve with amazing scenery. They have a koala preserve, where I learned a lot about koalas. Here are some fun koala facts:

1. Koala's brain cavities are four times larger than their brains. This is part of the reason they move so slow. Jumping or fast movement can slosh their brain around and cause damage.
2. Koala stomachs process very slowly, so Koalas only eat small amount every day. Their daily diet is similar to one bowl of cereal for us. This also maintains their "sluggish" behavior.
3. Koala sex is really awful. The male violently grabs the female, who screams the entire time, and the whole thing is over in two minutes.
4. Koalas are prone to STDs. This is no joke. There was an outbreak of syphilis on Phillips Island during our visit. Almost doesn't seem fair after such terrible sex.

I still loved the Koalas. They were my definite favorite of all the Aussie creatures.

We took a tour on Phil Isle of a working farm, complete with all kinds of beautiful farm animals (sadly, no pigs). We went through the koala preserve and then went to the research building. The research building was filled with animals ... stuffed animals. And not the kind that kids love. The students help conduct experiments on dead penguins. It was a little creepy.

It was very rainy and cold on the Island, but nothing was going to keep us from the Penguin Parade! We climbed into bleachers on the shoreline and patiently waited for the sun to set. Finally, the teeny tiny little penguins popped up from the ocean waves and plopped onto the sand. This is their nightly ritual after a long day out fishing. They travel in packs. It was really adorable how they would sit and wait for the last of the bunch of wiggle out of the water before they took off toward their homes. It was definitely worth the chilly, saturating wait to see these little guys march off to their happy houses.

The next day was our last. For dinner, we went to the Rialto tower and gazed out on Melbourne at night. The top of the tower was extremely windy. Jess and I braved the wind; then we made a pact to come back to Melbourne minus high school students and plus pub stops.

That night we had to pack our bags because it was off to our last stop!

wg

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day Something...Inappropriate Awesumness

On the way to Melbourne, we stopped at Sovereign Hill. Our guide said it was an "amusement park", but it was more of a "living museum". I think for younger kids it would've been more entertaining, but we made the best of it. It's an old-fashioned gold mining town. The Aussie gold rush took place about the same time as ours. However, as leaders, we found plenty of adult entertainment.

We tried our hand at gold mining. Lu, our guide, saw me trying to awkwardly mine for gold and tried to give me some advice. Apparently, you have to hold the bowl at a tilting angle and dip it in and out of the water. After watching me splash around for a minute or two, look put her hands on mine and said, "Not so rough, dear. Gentle, like this, you see? It's a bit like sex."

Oh. My. Goodness. The inner giggling was too much for me to control. "I've never really been on this side of things, Lu," I explained. "Usually I'm the river."

Lu's response. "You might like it rough in the bedroom but gold mining requires a more intimate approach."

Inner giggling erupted into full on guffawing. I knew I liked Lu.


After gold mining, it was off to candle making. We couldn't help but notice these candles looked a bit like ... like ... well, like dildos. I'm sorry I can't find a euphemism, but there's no way around it. We made ours "rainbow colored". Then Tonya, whom everyone assumed is extremely conservative and straight-laced, kept sneaking up behind me and humming "Somewhere over the Rainbow." I knew she was my mentor for a reason!

After spending a night in this creepy camp-like structure, we made our way to Melbourne. On the way, we stopped to do volunteer work with a conservatory group. We planted 480 trees in two hours. It was so awesum to see some of the students really get into the planting and working as a team. This was one of my favorite activities, although riding up the mountain in the back of the jeep left little to be desired.


Finally, Melboure! We gave the students some free time to wander around the city to shop (souvenir overload) and it was nice to just have some adult-only moments. Melbourne was my turn to room with Jess. I didn't know Jess before this trip, but she's my age and originally from Michigan. I seem to have this attraction to people from Michigan. Jess was no exception; we were instant buddies. Here's a great picture from our "candle" photo shoot. Yes, that's a candle.


The next few days would prove to be awesum!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Days 4-6

After my exhausting trip to the hospital, we drove to Manly Beach. There is actually a ferry that goes to Manly Beach. The irony was not lost on me.

One thing that wasn't lost on me either was the sight of old Aussie men in Speedos. They sure do rock a banana hammock down-under. Our guide informed me that one nickname for Speedos in Australia is "budgie smugglers". Oh, laugh laugh, smile.

The students went surfing in the icy cold weather. As beautiful as the surf instructors... I mean, the ocean waves were, I was too tired to attempt any type of water sport. I sipped a hot chocolate with Tonya while the others hit the beach.


We drove onward to Canberra, Australia's capital. The highlights included a stop to the war memorial, which was breathtakingly beautiful. I could have spent hours there. The tomb of the unknown soldier is one of the world's largest mosaics. Constructed entirely by hand, it took six million tiles and ten years to build. The other war memorials were decorated with red poppies (read: Flanders Field) and it was a sight to see.

The not so great part about Canberra was yet another trip to the hospital for throat swelling. Also, my shower flooded and the steam set off the fire alarm in my hotel room. The hotel manager yelled at me and made me cry. All the boys on the trip saw me sobbing and packing up my things to move to another room. It was, um, slightly embarrassing.

After Canberra, we drove to Aubury-Wodonga for the homestay! The students stayed with real Aussie families (not fake ones) for a family experience. They had an amazing time. We all met up for a family BBQ at a wild life reserve where we fed kangaroos! Crikey!!!!

Next Stop: Melbourne!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sydney: Days 3 and beyond

Day 3 started off with a long coach ride up to the Blue Mountains. We went to a camp facility run by a program called "Full-On". It's all about getting young people to focus on being positive and overcoming challenges. We walked in to a large room where they were blasting music and letting the kids dance around. As a professional Energizer, I lent my hand to helping the quieter kids bust a move. Some of them, however, needed no help from me.

The leaders gave a brief keynote about positive thinking. Then we went outside to do a team-building activity. The students had to figure out a path across this maze without talking. I thought they did aMAZEingly well, heh heh. It was great to see them work together and build bonds. The energizing, mini-keynoting, and rec event combo taking place in the mountains, made me feel very much at home. It was a definite comfort zone. It was like Aussie Montreat, minus the whole God thing.

Then they began passing out equipment to go abseiling, which I thought meant sliding down a mountain on your belly. Turns out it's more like repelling. I pretended not to be freaked out about the prospect of climbing down the side of a mountain, and decided to concentrate more on how awesum my ass looked in this harness.

We finally climbed into the mountains to our first abseiling site. After waiting in line, and waiting in line, and waiting in line, Jess and I finally stepped up to go after all 33 of our students took the dive. I was really proud of the kids; none of them chickened out. At first I thought I wouldn't be too scared, but after getting strapped in and looking over the edge, I began to panic. This was about an three story drop, and there I was, strapped in with two pieces of rope on a skinny metal pole. Putting my feet on the edge was the scariest part. As I began to go further over the edge, I couldn't help cursing in fear, then apologizing to the students, then cursing for cursing, then apologizing for cursing at myself for cursing, and before I knew it, I was at the bottom being unstrapped and patted on the back.

After that, we hiked up to an even higher spot, where I abseiling a 20 story rock face! This was even scarier, but I was so proud of myself for doing it. The scenery was amazing and the overall experience was awesum. The hike back up to the top, however....less than awesum.



The students were pretty much exhausted, so I thought they'd all go straight to bed when we got back to the hotel that night. WRONG! One of them came up to me and told me she couldn't breathe due to a swelling in her throat. Um, okay. After a bit of confusion, we finally jumped in a cab and headed to the hospital. The cab driver pointed out that we were in the red-light district of Sydney. I mean, Aussie Montreat in the daytime and the Red Light district at night - could this trip get any better???

Basically, we entered the hospital around 10pm and came home around 3am. It was a long, arduous process. I was proud of myself for not vomiting, especially when the man in the bed next to us projectile vomitted onto the curtain separator. The next day it was off to Canberra, the capital of Australia for our homestay!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 2: Come Sail Away

After a much needed shower and good night ( or was it morning's?) sleep, we headed off to sail Sydney Harbor. Oh, excuse me, Harbour. Interesting how both Australia and the US were established by Brits, yet we managed to develop our own type of spelling and they are still stuck on ways of old. (USA, in yo' face!!!)

We divided into groups and piled into three sailboats. My group quickly titled itself "Group Awesome" - so appropriate! Our sea captain then helped us board the "Blue Moon" (again, appropriate). When I told him there was a beer in the states called Blue Moon, he seemed intrigued. But when I then asked for an authentic Aussie sea shanty, he seemed confused.


The students had a great time getting to steer and help raise the sails. We cruised around and spotted some famous Aussie scenery (i.e. The Opera House). The weather was a bit misty, but it provided for some awesum rainbows! (Can you spot the second rainbow?)

After sailing, we took a walking tour of Chinatown. Until the 1970s, Australia had a "White's Only" Immigration policy. Basically, you could only come live in Australia if you were White European, or of White European descent. Once this law was repealed, millions of Asians were finally allowed to move into Australia. The Aussie government built gardens, like this one, to help establish friendship between the people of Australia and its new citizen. I found the gardens very relaxing.

Then it was off to the Opera House for a inside tour. If you think the outside is a bit funky, wait until you set foot indoors. Since the building was finished in the 1970s, the decor was designed to match. Furthermore, in 2008 the Opera House received World Heritage Status, which means any renovations made must reflect the original design concept. I'm talking bright purple carpets, orange padding on the seats, and pink curtains. After going on an interior tour, we played around on the steps to let off some steam.

Off to dinner (chicken or fish?) and then a little shopping before bed. Tomorrow would prove to be much more than I expected.

WG

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 1: Sydney

After 24+ trip across the globe in THE WORLD'S MOST AWESUM PLANE we arrive tired, stinky yet excited to Sydney, Australia.

We met our delegation manager, Lu. We found our baggage (all but one, not bad for a group of 37) and spend 2.5 hours in customs. Note: Do not ever try to sneak beef jerky into Australia.

Onward! We arrive at the ...

the ...

I don't know what it was. It was a big gorge with a circular bridge and lots of information about frogs. Strange but stimulating. We didn't care too much - we were FINALLY in Australia!


Then we headed to the ANZ Stadium. They kept mentioning AFL (Australian Football League) and saying "Aussie Rules!" when describing the sport. I thought it was some Australian custom to support your country by proclaiming its awesumness mid-sentence. I was two seconds away from saying "USA! In yo' face!" when one of the kids asked if "Aussie Rules" and "AFL" meant the same thing. Apparently, they are synonymous. Awkwardness adverted.


Outside ANZ Stadium was Stripper Heaven. Check out all the poles!!! (Kidding, this was some type of thank you memorial to the volunteers of the 2000 Sydney Games.)


We stopped to take a picture on the Olympic Podium used during the 2000 games. After examining the picture, we discovered my hand was in this strange position. Someone said, "You look like a gay retard!" but after a stern look from me, they changed it to, "Um, a dinosaur? Maybe a kangaroo?" Hence, it became a joke to see if I would inadvertently make that hand in my pictures. Exhibit A:


Then it was off to the Sydney Tower, which is a tall, creatively named tower in Sydney. We took a skywalk. This basically meant we strapped ourselves to a pole and walked on a Lucite railing around the outside of the building, 260 meters in the air. I can't tell you what the conversion from meters to feet is, because unlike the other people on the trip, my phone is not that smart. However, I was jazzed by the awesum suits we were given to wear. The beginning was somewhat terrifying, not to mention the thought of having to call a parent and explain the death of their student due to a 260 meter drop off a tower in a Power Ranger-esque jumpsuit was racing around in my head. I decided to risk it. Paid off. The view + our super-hero poses? Awesum.

We had dinner at a fancy restaurant and were offered chicken or fish with chips (fries). This would become a common theme and the students would begin to grumble about the chicken or fish option. Luckily, it did not lead to mutiny. We went to our hotel in downtown Sydney and crashed.

Highlight of the Day: Watching the students make fast friendships.
Disappointment: 42 Wallaby Way is not an actual address in Sydney.

WG