Monday, February 6, 2012

When people find out I'm a writing teacher, they most often respond with something along these lines:

"Ooooh... I could never do your job."

"I hated English! Nothing against you or anything. I'm sure your class is different."

or... my favorite...

"Don't judge my writing/speaking! I'm terrible with grammar!"

This last response is my favorite because, well, I don't do that. I could get into all the purpose, audience, and context of the thing and why I won't "judge" you, but...

Wait a damn minute. This is my blog. I can get into anything I want.

It all comes down to audience.

People who 'find out' that I'm a teacher rarely ever make that discovery while they sit among 20 of their peers all looking in the same direction (at me) as I move about the classroom addressing them, gesticulating wildly, and making sometimes decipherable notes on the board.

To put it another way... these people (you people) are not my students.

It's not my job, nay my calling, to correct you. It's not your young mind that I'm interested in molding. And... as a poor teacher, I am not into pro bono work just yet.

Carry on, friends. And remember... when it really comes down to it, I spell skillz with a "z."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wedgies, flashing, and other romper dangers.

Morning, all.

I know it's not morning, proper, but I'm enjoying that brilliant everything-is-wonderful-because-I-only-require-fun-things-today feeling. So... I'm continuing to think of it as morning.

That... also allows to me have breakfast for dinner, should I so choose, even though I've done brunch.

Anyway, I've dealing with a very serious need to create a style blog again. I say "again" because I've had one. My style wasn't great in 2009, but I tried to maintain a wardrobe blog nonetheless. There is a reason I'm not linking it for you now. But… my previous style blog failures won’t keep me from dabbling now.

Romper: thrifted, vintage Express

Sweater: Mossimo

Braided leather belt: Maurices (on clearance for $3!)

Purple bow flats: $8 at DSW more than five years ago (holla at a serious bargain)

Combat boot pendant: Cato

Now, you should know that this was my first time in public in a romper since, possibly, my 11th birthday when my dad took me to the skating rink. That romper was straight, had a blue kangaroo pocket and hood, and boasted vertical rainbow stripes. It. Was. Brilliant. And I loved it.

But I didn't seek out this second romper. No, no. It found me.

Last fall, while touring Goodwill, I found what I believed to be the most gorgeous little v-necked, button down, summer dress. I carried it around Goodwill while I collected other possible gems. (Secret: There may have been a plaid school uniform skirt that really insisted upon itself in the pile.) Once inside the dressing room, I eagerly grabbed the dress to try on first.



Was something wrong.

Maybe the skirt was caught up... Maybe the thrift store tag had snagged the front AND back of the thing. What... is...

Ooooh... It was a romper.

I'd heard all the romper horror stories. I'm sure you have too. Things like "those ONLY look good on girls who are a size 0" and "no grown adult should be caught dead in a romper."

But... by this point you know that popular opinion holds only so much weight in my court. And where fashion and style is concerned, it holds even less. Most people are too uptight. (Or maybe I'm just extra loose... either way.) So I decided to throw caution to the wind. I've already got it in the dressing room... No one has to know that I'm trying on a romper... It will be my secret, shared only with the individual Goodwill *claims* is watching the dressing room security video.

I felt a little silly stepping into the pleated legs and sliding the sleeveless number up over my shoulders, but I did it. As I pushed the big flat 80's style buttons through their respective holes, I let out a little chuckle before I remembered I was on a mission of utmost sensitivity. I buttoned the last button and looked up.


Surprisingly, the back tie and pleated waist created a nice shape. Nipped in at the waist, falling nicely over hip and thigh, and a nice, short length for a Liliputian like myself. This was getting interesting.

I spun around, made Ellen’s that’s-my-ass face, and decided I didn’t hate how the romper looked from the back.

I mean… shouldn’t I have a wedgie? Shouldn’t it pull at my crotch? I mean… let’s just get real with ourselves. We’re all thinking it.

You guys. It didn’t. It laid nicely.

So after some soul-searching, I decided to gamble on this romper. It was $4. If I didn’t wear it, I’d just give it back to Goodwill, no harm done.  I brought it home, tried it on again, questioned all my life choices, and put it in the closet.

I brought it out a couple of times only to put it right back in, but as we all know, outing is complicated. Timing is important.

This morning, when I decided to take myself to brunch, the pieces just fell together. The weather was beautiful. Sunny and 75. My brunch date, Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle, was colorful and slightly floral and just an excellent uhzzezzory. Done and done.

I took myself and my romper to my favorite in town brunch spot. It’s a little divey place that has relocated to an out-of-business coffee shop. The food stayed divey and I appreciate that a lot.

Anyway, I established myself and my book at a little table on the far wall. Tucked into a corner with a sunny glass wall and an inviting (though unlit) fireplace, I was able to calm down and reflect on my morning, my book, and my romper.

And here’s what I came up with.

First, I need to remember to do my mom’s “What happens when you sit down?” test before I leave the house in a new garment. Failure to do this test yesterday landed me at a work conference in a short dress sans stockings or the ability to cross my legs. Luckily one is good at the royal ankle cross. Today though, I didn’t realize until I sat down at my table that the romper gets quite short in the rear and quite long in the front when I sit.

How can this be? I’m not altogether sure, but I think this can be best illustrated through footies. Those of you who’ve worn them recently will understand this best, but the rest of you can refer to your high school babysitting jobs. Or your own babies, I guess. I forget that some of you have/had them. Oops. #childlessbychoice

Ah, right… the short in back, long in front principle. These onefers are all the same. When you sit and create a “C” if you will, the same amount of fabric allowed the outside of the “C” is allowed the inside. The inside bunches and gets roomy. The outside gets tight and either pulls around the neck and shoulders, or as in the case of the romper, rides up high on the leg. It’s not terribly revealing, because like I said, the front grants extra coverage. But… I wouldn’t wear a fitted romper for this reason. There are those who want to see that much of my leg/thigh/butt, but I’ll not share it with the general public. Unless it’s swimsuit season.

Second, each time I stood up, I worried that I had a wedgie. I didn’t. But… the fear was still there. It caused me to do a cursory tug on the back of the romper, just in cases. Wedgephobia. This is new, even for me.

And, third and finally, I faced a serious question once I returned home from my romper outing. Exactly what should I do with my belt and sweater when it comes time to pee?! Think about it.

I was just thanking all that was good that I didn’t make this discovery in a bathroom other than my own.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On Resolutions (v. 2012)

Last year I made the first resolution proper of my adult life. You can find it detailed here.

I was pretty sure of my resolution. Not that I was excited about it so much as I knew I needed it. I knew it was the best thing I could do for myself with 365 days. So, just in case you don’t feel the need to read up on last year’s resolution (even if you did, it’s lengthy), let’s sum it up:

In 2011 I wanted to…
1. Be single and fabulous.
2. Be in the best shape of my life.
3. Find the perfect white gold earrings.
4. Clean the kitchen before bed.
5. Cover firewood before it starts raining.
6. Wear my favorite underwear on a Tuesday.

Now, let’s go through these quickly with the results added, shall we?

1. Be single and fabulous. Oops. One of two isn’t bad. Is it?
2. Be in the best shape of my life. DONE! Thanks, Tony Horton!
3. Find the perfect white gold earrings. Done: Turns out I needed to only mention this one to my mom before going home for Christmas. She considered it her personal mission. Thanks, Mom!
4. Clean the kitchen before bed. I'm going to need you to be more specific about which night.
5. Cover firewood before it starts raining. Definitely not. Same firewood is still outside. Probably wet right now.
6. Wear my favorite underwear on a Tuesday. Done: Check posting date.

So… looking at my year in review, I don’t think I did too poorly. Progress not perfection; isn’t that the saying?

I keep my kitchen clean for the most part; I choose my underwear based on whatever-the-hell-I-want; I’m in damn good shape (Shut up, knee!); and I sport earrings that my tender lobes aren’t allergic to. So what if my firewood is soaked?

And as far as the big, bad resolution that grounded all of these minor resolutions… I think I did alright by that one too. I set out to be single and fabulous and that didn’t quite work.

I didn’t turn down dates and I let myself get attached. A couple of times. But I also listened to myself. My heart, yes, sure. But more importantly, I listened to myself. The part of me that thinks a few steps ahead. The part of me that knows who I am and what I want. The part of me that sees myself and everyone around me as flawed beings. The realist who remains a reluctant, yet hopeless romantic. And, because I listened to myself, I was able to navigate more than a few relationships in 2011. Some of them romantic, most of them platonic.

Now, just a few days into 2012, I can boast possibly the best relationships I’ve ever had with my family. Built on honesty, trust, love, and so much laughter, our bonds haven’t ever been so strong.

I can tell you all about dear friends who’ve opened up their homes and their lives to me and my craziness, becoming chosen family. Give me a minute and I’ll pull out baby pictures and tell you about recent milestones with more pride than I thought possible for me to feel about someone else's child.

I can tell you about my career and how having confidence in myself has allowed me to reach students in ways I hadn’t before.

Thanks to my willingness to engage, to feel, to try, and to communicate, I can tell you about my boyfriend. About the woman who is everything I wanted but didn’t know I could have.

When I found last year’s resolution post accidentally tonight I thought, “Ha! Didn’t keep any of those!” But that’s not true at all, is it? I may not be single, and I guess some might consider that the main event of the resolution… but I sure don’t. What I read in last year’s resolution post is a desire for confidence, independence, and happiness.

Have I achieved those things? Certainly. In ways, at least. I’ll not pretend that I’m perfectly confident, independent, and happy all days and in all ways. But… I’ve come a long way.

It’s now less about what comes at me and more about what I give out. Shoot. Maybe I’m growing up.

Anyway… my resolution for 2012 is similar to 2011’s with one adjustment.

In 2012 I want to be healthy and fabulous.

This means… seeing about getting this damn knee fixed.

Keep me honest, friends. I’m already dreading the appointment. That I have yet to make.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Weekend I...

Videochatted. A lot.

I had coffee on my friends' porch. I introduced my sister to some friends and her boyfriend to mine. I learned that my great grandfather was a lifeguard with Ronald Reagan. I watched my boyfriend cut the dickens out of her finger (see bandaid in above picture).

It all made for a lovely Saturday.

Did Ab Ripper X.

And the 10 Minute Trainer Ab workout. Back to back. I needed the stress relief or, as my friend Kaitlin would say, the medicinal benefits of exercise. It worked, to an extent. And... just now I sneezed and felt the confirmation of all that hard work.


16 papers today. And 16 papers every day through Thursday to finish them up. I can do that, right?

Made (and ate) this sammich.

Peanut butter, bacon, green apple, honey. Mmph.

And now I'm going to watch TV and work on my Thanksgiving week menu. Get excited! I'll share some of it with you, if you're good.

How were your weekends, peaches?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The post and my very tender thoughts on it.

Last night I was caught off guard by this commercial:

I went from happily sipping whiskey and watching Chopped to the wanting to curl up under a quilt and cry.

This little thirty second ad said only one thing to me: The Post is in danger.

Now... you might have seen me around on the internet. I spend a lot of time there. Facebook, twitter, tumblr, this blog, your inbox, your mom's inbox. I get around online. I'm not ashamed of it. I've met friends, enemies, girlfriends, experts, celebrities, and probably your mom online that I likely would not ever have bumped into in any other way. The internet is my medium. I get it. I use it.

But. It's not the post.

The post is dreamy and romantic and personal and requires effort.

I can sit in my office and write you an email that says, "I'm thinking about you today."

You'll get the email in seconds. You'll smile, maybe, then it's done.

If I, on the other hand, write the very same message, "I'm thinking about you today." in a card or on a piece of stationery, seal it in an envelope, hunt down your address and a stamp, drive the whole lot to the post office (because my apartment pick-up is unreliable), and send it off in your direction, then you'll receive it in a very different way.

You'll get my card, open it, and know that for at least a bit of one day, I was thinking only about you and the piece of mail that would literally travel from my hands to yours. And then for weeks when you see it on your fridge or maybe a year later when it shows up in a junk drawer, you'll know that I was thinking about you then and just might be thinking about you again.

And... if the piece of mail is from me... then you might be able to tell that instead of spending minutes on your mail, I actually spent hours. Gluing paper, revising wording, baking treats, compiling songs, what have you.

Whatever the case... mailing something to someone means a lot more to me than sending them a text, a message on Facebook, a tweet. Those are daily. Those are tired.

The post. The post is where it's at.

It's no secret that this love of the post was passed down to me by my mom. My mom sends me roughly one card per week. Some weeks there's more than one. Some weeks (very rare) there isn't one at all.

Her cards range from the sincere to the bizarre.

Some of my favorites include the congratulations on my ballet recital and the mazel tov on my son's bris. Also the "Love being your sister" and the countless "Happy Birthday"s covered up with hearts and flowers and swirlies.

The common thread woven through these often silly cards is the fact the my mom loves me and that she thinks about me in a deliberate, focused way at least once a week.

Even so... I'm not the only person who benefits from my mom's postal expressions of love.

My brother, sister, boyfriend, and even some friends benefit from the occasional card. She recently sent one to a close friend of mine that featured a hotdog on the front and the inscription, "Bet you didn't think you'd get a wiener today!"

Don't you wish you were on her list now?

What I'm saying is... I love the post. Always have.

As a kid, I thought having a British pen pal was the best thing I could ever want out of life. As an adult, I've only slightly revised that idea.

My mom fuels my love for the post through her regular mailings. And I do my best to send notes and packages around as often as possible.

The thought that the USPS might be in such dire straights that they need to convince us to use paper in a world that begs us to go paperless is upsetting.

I've long thought of the post as the government's polite, "I'm going that way, would you like me to take that?" and I'd hate to see it waste away.

So... today I'm going to write letters. And buy stamps. And drop mail into the box knowing full well it will reach its destination and make one person feel good. Or better. Or something. Because that's what I do with the power of the post.

What do you mail?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween Regrets

I didn't do anything for Halloween this year.

Really. Not a damn thing. I sat at home. I might have even had cereal for dinner; I don't remember.

This, for me, has been difficult. I love the hell out of Halloween. Usually I spend several months planning and perfecting my costume.

Since I didn't have the excitement of planning and executing the perfect costume for the day, I've had a hard time letting go of the costumes I'd considered. So... I'm blogging them in an attempt to set them aflame and push them out to see.

A Viking funeral for the costumes that didn't happen.

Now... this year I also have a boyfriend. A boyfriend who is more than willing to play along with my costume excitement. You'll see that reflected in my choices. Let's start with the classics...

JFK and Marilyn Monroe:

I could be his Jackie, sure. But... I'm more Marilyn, dontcha think?

Johnny Cash and June Carter:

But only if I can carry around a dulcimer and tell all our friends we can't stay long because he's goin' to Jackson.

Now... a quick jump to...

Joan and Roger:

Any day. Any time. As long as I get to smirk, speak softly, and walk around the office like I own the damn place. Because... I do.

Which leads us to our topical couples...

Prince William and Kate Middleton:

Quick! While people will still recognize us!

DaveCat and Sidore:

Clear winner. Hands down. Amirite?!

Incidentally, "hands down" refers both to the DaveCat/Sidore win and the pose I'll be assuming for the entirety of the evening: Hands down, eyes blank, mouth slightly open. I've been practicing. It's spectacular.

So... I think this has helped.

I'll let these costumes go for this year. Knowing full well that I've catalogued them here and can revisit next October.

Who would you be if Halloween were this week and you had all the money and time to costume?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crimson Tide Cupcakes

Today is the big Alabama/LSU game. ROLL TIDE!

I doubt you're surprised about the game, it's kind of a big deal. But you may be surprised to see me blogging about it.

I'm a little surprised myself. Just weeks ago I uttered this sentence: "What's a Bear Bryant?"

And look at me today.

Crimson velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

And that, there on the left, is my attempt at Bear Bryant's iconic houndstooth hat. Use your imaginations, please. Houndstooth is not an easy pattern to reproduce. Tiny. On gum paste.

What I'm saying is, I've come a long way. I know who Bear Bryant is. I know which way they run on the football field. On a good day, I can even explain downs to you.

But... I'm still me. Take a look at this:

Uh huh.

I prefer to think that instead of being runny, my icing is just being spirited. Roll icing, roll.

Who's watching with me tonight?