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.


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.


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!


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."


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.


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!!!


Thursday, August 20, 2009



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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009



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.


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.


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!