Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Good Dogs Gone Bad

I had a long day at work today, and it was pretty late when I got in. Knowing my pups would be hungry, I stopped to pick up some of those packages of soft food to mix in their regular dry food as a treat. When they saw me coming up the walk, DM started barking and yipping. LB was waiting faithfully at the door, but no SM. I called for him, but he did not come. I went out to the backyard but still no SM. Then I began to panic. Where could he be? I checked to make sure there were no secret passageways dug under the fence. Finally, I went upstairs to grab my phone to call the pound. Surely he had just gotten out, and since he is micro chipped, I knew I could find him somewhere. When I opened my bedroom door, I was highly unprepared for the scene that awaited me. It was a massacre! The folded laundry that I had intended to put away but was still in the basket when I left this morning was strewn from one side of the room to the other, and my favorite bra had been viciously attacked and killed. All of the pillows were off the bed , the candles on both nightstands were under the bed, and the comforter had been mortally wounded, with its white, fluffy guts spilling out of it from one corner. One of the blinds had a chunk missing on one side and was quickly falling apart, and there was a mysterious trickle leading just a few inches from one bedpost. Lying amongst the chaos was a tiny copper-colored criminal (aka The Red Menace), looking very sheepish and wagging his little nub of a tail. As I stood in the doorway and viewed the wreckage, I was caught between relief and disbelief. What should I do? If I give way to anger, I might end up in ASPCA jail. If I didn't, SM might think this was acceptable behavior. It was quite a dilemma. As I composed myself, I opted to begin cleaning up. All the while, he was army crawling down to the edge of the bed, looking far too cute. As I cleaned, I scolded (and I cussed a little too..okay, maybe A LOT). Then I picked him up, took him downstairs, and put him down at the water dish. As I watched him lap up the water like he'd been stuck in the desert for a week, I decided that he wasn't really to blame. I get up for work at 5am, leave by 6am, and this morning I was rushing so much that I had shut him in the bedroom (I close all the doors to minimize the temptation for the pups to search and destroy) by accident. So really, this was my fault... right? An hour or so later when everything was cleaned up, and I had located an old comforter for my bed, I went back downstairs. As I descended the last few steps, I saw all three of them sitting at the foot of the stairs as if they were waiting for the verdict. Then SM barked at me and ran to his food dish. So, I did as I was "told" and fed the little buggers. Tomorrow I'll be sure to round up the inmates before lockdown. I guess sometimes good dogs do bad things....and it's my job to clean up the mess.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Are You Talkin' to Me?

Today was an odd day. It seemed that everyone had their attitude going today. The world was on fire in everyone's part of it. I was punked at every turn, and this was not the time to have that happen. But I kept my PMS in check, and I managed to beat back the flames without beating anyone senseless. But oh how I wanted to! GRRR! It was also stupid questions day. By the way, I have great answers to stupid questions. People walk away scratching their heads. So while I would love to post a longer rambling, I just don't have the energy...or the wit.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Women, Electronics, and Man Jobs

I bought a new tv armoire today, and so I had to unhook and unplug all of my electronics. There's the tv, the surround sound system, and the dvd player/recorder. This may not sound like a lot, but there are SO MANY WIRES! It took me 4 hours to get it working, as I had to plug and unplug and move things around. And still, my dvd recorder does not work! I'm a pretty smart cookie, and I kept all of the manuals that go with my electronic devices. But have you ever looked at those pictures and figured it out? I might as well be working on the Spanish or French directions! One of my rear surround sound speakers had its wire mysteriously disappear in all the uproar, and for the life of me, I cannot find it anywhere. For the love of pete, why can't they make this stuff easier for gals like me?! Grrr! I stopped several times for a crying break, I threw some coaxial cables at the dogs, and I think I might have broken my toe when I kicked the couch. Seriously. This is one of those times where I really need to consider getting a man. These kinds of things are man jobs; feminism be damned! It's like changing the oil or moving furniture. Those are man jobs, and women should not be crossing over into man job territory. It sets a dangerous precedent. I don't care if it makes me look weak, I just want my furniture moved, my oil to be changed properly, and my damn Tivo to work! Is that too much to ask? I gotta go ice my toe...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hell aka Hobby Lobby

I went to Hell, otherwise known as Hobby Lobby today. I had dropped off some framing about three weeks ago, and since I hadn't heard back from them I decided a visit was in order. It was packed! There was evidently some big sale happening, with a big red sign screaming, "1/2 Off Clearance!" Not really interested in fake flowers and scrapbooking supplies, I headed to the back of the store towards the custom framing area. When I got back there, no one was waiting to help me, so I rang this little bell. After a few minutes, I still had no service, so I hit the bell again. I waited a few more minutes (5 minutes to be exact), but the framing guru still didn't show. Now before I tell you what I did next, I feel the need to offer an explanation as to why I reacted the way I did. It's been raining here, and I had to drive 15 minutes over to Hell amongst the NASCAR wannabes who seem to not understand that hydroplaning is a bad idea. Next, I admit it, I might have a touch of the PMS. So after I had rang the desk bell twice within 10 minutes and gotten nowhere, I started banging away....I mean I really went to town on that sucker. In my head, I was working the synth chords in that Usher song, "Yeah!" Anywho, a very tall man with very little personality finally walked up to tell me to, "Stop that! Can I help you?" I said, "Sure, Lurch, what took you so long?" No, I didn't really say that. My grandmother would have rolled over in her grave. But I was thinking it. So, I brought out my paperwork and explained that I was told when I turned in this framing order that it would be ready by January 25th, and since today is January 28th and no calls had come, I was wondering if my stuff was ready. Lurch disappeared in the back to investigate. No joke, he was gone for 15 minutes! So, I left a little sticky note at the counter there, explaining that Lurch could page me over the PA when he got back from the fiery pits or wherever he disappeared to, and I decided to browse the big sale. As I walked up and down the aisles, I started to look at various figurines they had on different islands outside the aisles. On each one was the screaming red sign. Then I noticed that most of them were cracked, missing limbs (like the angels and the frogs), and were otherwise damaged. Evidently, being useless junk was worth a 50% markdown! After about 15 minutes of browsing, a voice came over the PA: "Will the customer who left a note in custom framing please return?" So I raced to the back, full of hope and optimism to see my framing items ready to go. Instead, Lurch is waiting for me and looking impatiently at his watch. When I arrived, he frowned and said that he was leaving for the day, but Judy would help me out in just a few minutes. I frowned back and said, "Fine, but is she faster than you?" (I know that's rude, but I'd been at the store for over half an hour and still had no idea where my freaking framed diplomas were!) I watched as that little vein at his temple began to bulge, but he held his composure and nodded curtly. As he stalked off, he took the bell with him. After another 10 minutes, I was ready to give this Judy person a piece of my mind. Finally, a woman in her 60s came out with a big smile and a "Hi dear, how can I help you?" This immediately took the wind out of my sails because I couldn't really yell at Grandma Moses, could I? She was the cutest thing with her beauty shop hair and glasses around her neck on one of those little chains. I showed her my paperwork and went through my story again, and she floated off to the back. In about a minute, she returned with a sad face to tell me that my items were not ready. At this point, I felt that Hell was holding my college diplomas hostage and demanded (ever so gently) to know why. GM sweetly explained that they are backed up, and my order will be ready to go February 9th. I sweetly inquired if this meant I would receive some discount for my trouble, and she sadly shook her head no and gave me her regrets and a nice little pat on my shoulder. Having no recourse, I resigned myself to waiting another 2 weeks. As I made my way back towards the exit, I was met again with the screaming red sign. So Hell sells broken crap for half off but dubious deadlines you pay full price for...who knew? As I got to the parking lot, I noticed Lurch leaning on his car smoking a cigarette and looking quite relaxed. Our eyes met, and though I could've just been imagining it because of the swirling smoke and red glow from the cigarette, I could swear as I was leaving Hell that I met the devil himself. Ok, ok...so that's a bit dramatic. It must be the PMS.

Friday, January 27, 2006

If You Lay Down With Dogs...

So I have these three precious little dogs, all of them rescues, and I love them all to pieces. However, for such small quadrupeds, they sure take up a lot of space. I can confidently say that they are spoiled, but as time goes by, they seem to be taking over. Because they love me so much (or more likely because I'm a big softy), they all three insist on sleeping in the bed. Now I have a nice queen-size bed, but they each have their own little spots. Sometimes I feel as if I have to play Twister just to find some space in my own bed: Right leg blue! Left leg yellow! LB is the one I've had the longest, so she insists on sleeping under the covers right up against my torso. DM snores like a freight train, but at least she sleeps at the foot of the bed. Just don't try to move her once she's claimed her spot. SM is the youngest and most mischievous of the group. He's also the king of the couch, the chair, the chaise, and the bed. He tends to want to sleep under the covers at my feet...right in between them. So I'm basically stuck in the position I started in once I hit the sheets, as they all hunker down for a deep snooze. I imagine this is why doctors advise letting your children sleep in your bed with you. It's not that you might roll over and squish them, and it's not because it necessarily forms bad habits. It's because it is directly linked to back and neck pain and very little restful sleep! I think it's the same for dogs and letting them sleep in the bed. They've taken over, and I feel staging a coup this late in the game could lead to my imminent peril and destruction (or at the very least some destructive behavior). It does save me a bundle on my heating bills, however. My cat people friends keep saying I need to get a cat, but I had a cat once, and she peed in my shoes. I had a bird once too...it bit the hell out of me every time I got near the cage. My hamster went on a hunger strike back in my college days, so I returned from my American Military History class one day to find him in the early stages of rigor mortis. The next week my fish was taking a nap at the top of the tank. So LB, DM, and SM have taken over. I guess the real saying should be, "If you lay down with dogs, you'll get no sleep." It's their world now, and I suspect that the only reason I'm allowed to live in it is because I buy the food and my ability to throw a tennis ball repeatedly. Dogs rule...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ball Bustin' Girls Always Have a Boyfriend

So I have this great friend who is also 30 something and looking to meet the right guy. She's taking the internet dating route as well, and she asked me to rewrite her profile message. A new friend had written for her, and she wasn't sure it was the right introduction to potential dates. So she gave me her login information, and I logged in last night to read it. Evidently, the woman who penned this 5000 character masterpiece is quite a "ball bustin' girl" or BBG. The language was aggressive, many times harsh, and it was one of those pieces that constantly asked smartass questions in a know-it-all fashion. Now I know my friend well, and NOTHING about that profile hinted at the person I have called my friend for the past 5 years. She's awesome, and she's truly someone most people would want to get to know better. I know you might be thinking that I am threatened by the arrival of the new friend and my status in the old guard. However, as I reread the piece, I started to think about girls like this NF. Why is it that women like that always have a boyfriend? What is it that men see in the in your face attitude and constant ball busting? And come on guys, you know those are the women you pick over us GNDs (Girl Next Doors) every time. I have read all the studies and seen all the specials about how men love a challenge, but my question is what are they hoping to find at the end of that rainbow? Don't get me wrong, I don't think any man or woman is attractive if they have no backbone. Who wants to be with a perpetual victim? But how is a BBG worth all the trouble? I have to wonder if it's the same attraction as the "bad boy" syndrome many women have. Of course, I feel I was cured of that disease the minute I decided I wanted something more permanent and satisfying in a relationship...and gained some solid self-esteem. So, being a woman, I can only question as to whether there is a bigger crisis in the male population in terms of self-esteem than I would have ever believed. Of course, this is just my own rambling speculation. Maybe in the end, it's just me those BBG-chasing guys just don't like, and it has nothing to do with BBGs or GNDs. I think I can live with that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm in love with a stripper?

I have a bit of commute to my new job (which I LOVE..see earlier post), so I listen to the radio a lot more than usual these days. Do you ever find yourself singing along to a song and not even realize what you are saying? I began to worry a bit when yesterday I found myself singing, "I'm in love with a stripper". Now, I think we can all agree that I'm not in love with any stripper (at least I hope we can all agree on that!), so I started to wonder how I came about knowing all the words to such a stupid and blatantly sexual song. What has happened to subtlety and tastefulness in music? I'm not completely out of touch, as I sample all kinds of music and have a rather eclectic taste. It just seems that variety has left the building at many radio stations. The human brain requires quite a bit of repetition to commit something to memory. As I professed my love for this stripper rolling at 75mph on the LBJ Freeway, it is obvious that I had heard the song far too many times in the short span of about 2.5 weeks. Now, KISS FM is billed as a Top 40 type of station. Why does it seem we aren't getting the whole Top 40? And if we are, why is it full of songs with blatantly sexual speech and bleeped out expletives? I'm no stranger to innuendo when it comes to music. But when did someone saying, "Hold your head steady so I can milk the cow" or "You know I like it from behind" become acceptable? I'd rather hear curse words than filthy bedroom talk on my radio any day. I'm not a prude, but how is something like that considered worthy of every hour on the hour airplay? It's like porn without the pictures, which is disappointing and uninteresting. Then I had what Oprah calls an "ah hah!" moment. It's the beats behind the words that hypnotize the brain. The filthy words are just thrown in to attract the puberty and promiscuous set. After having this epiphany, I counted the number of times I heard my stripper song within the space of 4 hours. Are you ready for this? I heard it 7 times! No wonder I'm brainwashed! But not to worry....I have yet to hit the bank for some singles. That must mean I'm going to be okay, but just in case, I made an appointment with a therapist. I may need reprogramming.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Love My Job

So I got this new job that started right after the new year. It is a big deal, as it meant leaving my old job and taking a promotion of sorts. Leaving the classroom has been easier than I thought but not because I was unhappy. It's because I love my new job. Have you ever thought that someday you would find a job that was perfect for you, even though you had previously thought your current job was the same? I was thinking about the some $30K I spent for my graduate degree, and I admit that I began to wonder if it was really worth the time and expense. In education, you jump through more hoops just to get a few extra duties next to your name on a pretty piece of paper that costs you an arm and part of a leg to obtain from the state. This seems even more true in the state of Texas. So anyway, I thought that maybe, just maybe in a couple of years, someone might take a looksie at my credentials and think, "Yea, she might work out." Little did I know that it would happen in the short space of 5 months. Not to sound as if I'm tootin' my own horn here, but that's pretty incredible. Even more incredible is that the learning curve for my new job has not been quite as steep. It's often nonstop learning, but I don't feel overwhelmed. Everyone is for the most part very nice, and it's been quite a study in finding out who the crazies are in the building. Now, I don't mean to use crazies in offense. Every job, whether it be in an office or in the field has its crazies that add flavor and humor to the day to day. There's one lady who offers me advice at every turn, yet she's never done the job I'm doing. And sometimes she really has some quality stuff. Most of the time, I sit with a half smile, nod every few minutes, and think about all the work I have piled up and waiting for me while she's talking. Now don't get me wrong. I love this crazie. She's colorful and bit irreverant. She's got moxie. I like that because I like to think I've got a bit of the moxie going on too.

I love my job. It's validation that I might be as smart as I think I am, or more so that I might be as smart as others seem to think I am. I love my job....

Monday, January 23, 2006

30 Something and the Single Life

As a member of the 30 Somethings, I often wonder about my peers. Many more of us are unmarried than 30 years ago. What does that say about us when compared to the "Swingin' 70s"? Is it really that we are far more career oriented? Or is it that we are, as the experts tell us, in love with our independence and feel no need to engage in the outdated institution called marriage? Frankly, most of the single people I know that are of the 30 something variety (like myself) have been serial monogamists. We've spent our single years with men we have loved but somehow never got the "I do" nod. We go out for drinks and pretend for the first couple of rounds that we are living it up being unattached and free to fly off to parts unknown at a moment's notice. Once that third dirty martini makes its appearance, we begin to lament that we are really more lonely than not, and we work too much to fly off with any real spontaneity. Most of my peers want the marriage motherload of a house in the burbs with a wonderful mate and 2.5 children. Inevitably, the conversation turns to biological clocks, horrible blind dates, and the lack of men our age that are unattached or willing to commit if they are unattached. If more of us are single than 30 years ago, why aren't we all meeting up somewhere? Why are the internet matching sites that tout the scientific approach to personality matching getting bigger and better, yet we still aren't married? Is it that we are unattractive to every other single of the opposite sex and therefore destined to be stuck in the land of Singleton (nod to Bridget Jones)? It's an endless downward spiral that leads to faking true happiness and pints of Ben & Jerry's. Remember that dream where you arrive naked to an important event? That's what being single is today when you arrive alone at an event sans your plus one. Despite what the gals on Sex and the City told us (that is our all-time favorite show), single life isn't quite so fabulous. No one I know has $600 stilettos practically busting out of her closet, wears couture, or can afford a 5 room apartment on the Lower East or Upper West Side. We are attractive (maybe not Miss America but not the Elephant Man either), educated, may own our own dwelling, and a damn good time. Is that truly intimidating, or is it the appearance that we don't need someone to sometimes take care of us? In terms of baggage, we have a lot less than divorcees. No exes, no children (for the majority), and an established career to add to the financial health of a relationship. As a matter of fact, shouldn't that be the glaring attribute rather than the fact that we are 30 something and never been married? Do 30 something men have to deal with the endless questions about, "When are you going to get married?" and "Don't you want to have children before you are too old?" And then there is the smugness and condescension of those who are married that throw us a bone now and again by whining about the litany of things wrong with their mate/married life? In my opinion, those comments cover their relief that they don't have to be out in the dating world at their age. What's promising is that we still have the hope of finding our soulmate (or at least a man whom we love and loves us in return). Does anyone else find this rambling to sound familiar? If so, I'm sending you good vibes and a prayer to St. Jude. And by the way, I know someone I think you might like....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stupid in American Journalism

This is new for me...actually writing down my opinions. I believe teaching is the final frontier for the chronically caring. Did you see the 20/20 report on "Stupid in America"? Although I have been a fan of John Stossel in the past, what I saw of this report was the end of my fanship. As a person in education, I was completely incensed by the biased, one-sided view taken by Big John (who shall forever be referred to as BJ from here on out), and his crack reporters there at 20/200. BJ and his condescension about a teacher doing "nothing" when a high schooler got up in class and danced around was almost too much for me to take. I had to switch to my Tivo list to keep my television safe from a violent incident. What was the teacher supposed to do? You can't yell at them, punish them, or otherwise crush their fragile self-esteem. So how to handle such a situation? Counsel them on the inappropriateness of their behavior. What if they laugh in your face? Ask them to stop. What if they don't? Tell them to leave. What if they don't? If there is an education crisis in this country, where is the evidence that shows these teachers raise the students who darken the doors of their classrooms every day? How about we ask about a parenting crisis in this country? It seems in other countries, respect for authority and the value of education is alive and well. That's not always the case here in the greatest country in the world. If we are so stupid and our educational system so deplorable and inadequate, how is it that most of the medical and technical innovation comes from here? Why is it that immigrants flood into this country to attend our schools? I don't give a flying flip about Belgium...I don't see much of a powerhouse there. Japan's culture is one that values family and education, they should be more ahead of the game than they are already. But I'm not thinking I'll be moving to Europe because I'll be much smarter for it. They survive because of the United States, so they can look down their noses all they want. Those same noses are permanently lodged in Uncle Sam's ass behind closed doors. Not every country even allows the entire populace to get an education! Enough! Yes, we have some reform that needs to happen in our educational system. Here's hoping that with such a report, the push for true reform intensifies. However, putting more tests on the school calendar will not make us smarter as a nation. Hey BJ, were you a child prodigy who taught yourself and awarded yourself college degrees? I'm sure in your designer suit smugness you would never have thought to train and prepare for a job where you are shamefully underpaid, underappreciated, and touted as the root of all evil when things go wrong in our culture. Yet teachers get up and go to work everyday so that they can make a difference.

So tell me, did anyone watch the entire show? Please tell me BJ turned things around to what's good about education in this country. I need to know, damn it! But then again, I'm just a lowly, inadequate educator. I deserve less than the BJs of the world. I think we know that "Those who can't" are reporters.