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A Selfish Black Friday

Usually on Black Friday, everyone does Christmas shopping for their families.  I guess this truly gives a sense of accomplishment to those who feel the need to complete their Christmas shopping by December.  Make no mistake – I am not that person.

In fact, Joel and I did go Black Friday shopping.  We aren’t opposed to the craziness of shoppers, but we are pretty adamant about not doing the whole “save $10 on a toaster” deal that Walmart and other big box stores put out there.  Believe me when I say that I’d rather pay an extra $20 to not deal with the traffic, parking, lines, and (honestly) the possibility of the item being out of stock.  I worked retail for a few holiday seasons when I was in high school and college and I remember VERY CLEARLY how insane people became.  A woman actually threw her credit card at me, which hit my chest and bounced to the counter.  I was speechless.

ANYWAY, back to the happiness that was this last Black Friday.  Joel and I were in Memphis visiting my family.  While we were there, Joel wanted to go to the Eddie Bauer store.  It’s one of his favorite places to get clothing and whenever we are in Destin, we go a little crazy at the outlet.  It’s where he gets all of his nice work clothes, so it’s definitely a place where I’m totally ok with good money being spent on crazy high quality clothing.  We headed out (with Joel’s brother in tow) around 9 am.  He dropped me off at Anthropologie (which was in the same outdoor shopping center) and then went to Eddie Bauer. 

Y’ALL.  Anthropologie was having a 50% off sale items sale.  Considering all of the items on their sale racks are already 50% off – well this deal just became ludicrous.  **Must admit that when typing that previous word, I spelled it like the rapper spells his name. Sad.**  I have to share some of the beautiful finds I scored.

I found 3 super cute dish towels.  I think getting older makes me a little more lame as to what I get excited about, but whatever.  They are fun, vibrant, and have a lot of personality. 

Then I snatched up 2 metal necklaces (each originally priced at $45).  Truly this was my impulse buy because I was just standing there next to the jewelry when I was waiting in the line.  It would have been a shame not to buy them.

I randomly found a little canvas apron with flowers all on it which would be perfect for a little girl, which conveniently is what I’m having.  SO, I got it.  Seriously though, it was $6 and probably the only thing she’ll ever own from there until she’s old.  Solid justification as far as I’m concerned.

But the prize for best purchase must go to this:

My new favorite coat
with the most gorgeous back

I walked in and immediately grabbed this stunning coat off the sale rack and got REALLY excited when I realized that even though it was originally priced at $200, I was about to buy it for $50.  The corset in the back is beautiful and the front flows perfectly.  Granted, I won’t be able to wear it too much longer (because it has a little trouble buttoning in the front – but it’s not like I’ll always be pregnant so it’s like a gift that give back to me again next winter) but I’m going to try. 

 
All in all, I calculated my savings and figured out that I got $370 of merchandise (granted, YES their clothes are ridiculously expensive to begin with) for $109.60.  Did I mention I had a $100 gift card?  I ran my debit card for $9.60.  Best ten bucks I’ve ever spent.  So my Black Friday was pretty awesome.

 Did anyone out there actually finish all of their shopping needs in the midnight madness?

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Cartoons are scary

Let me start out by saying that I loved reading Sarah’s post on the cartoons of our childhood now coming around full circle and being favorited by her young son.  Thank you Netflix for making this possible.

After I read her post, Joel and I started talking about our own childhood cartoons.  He didn’t watch as many as I did, seeing that he did most of his growing up in 3rd world countries.  He did things like play with sticks and rocks and create games for his younger siblings – one of which was titled “Jump over the generator.”  No joke.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a house with one of those monstrous satellite dishes in the backyard.  Heaven help my parents, because it’s still there.  Thankfully they have almost half an acre between the house and the dish, so it’s not too old school….sorta.

Anyway, we were lying in bed the other night and started searching for videos and images of our favorite shows.  I started mentioning how scary some of the villians were when I was a kid.  For example:

Scary
Scary

SCARIER

SCARIER

OMG, how scary is this to a 5 year old?!  Let’s be honest, it’s still a little scary now.  I mean, this dragon is terrifying.  My parents have a back staircase to the game room upstairs.  To get there, you have to go up winding (ok, so it’s not really winding – it just has a bend in it) steps.  If someone is in the gameroom watching tv, then there is a flickering light that shines down the stairs.  FOR YEARS I was terrified that if I ever saw light coming from that direction, then I would be transfixed into walking up the stairs and pricking my finger on the sewing machine.  It’s not like we had a spindle, so sewing machine was the next best thing.  I didn’t go up those stairs for quite a long time…as in, I finally went up the stairs when I was a teenager.

Um, is that a bag of beating heartbeats around your neck?Ponies now equal evil dragons

 I LOVED the My Little Pony series.  In fact, my parents started taping the episodes just so I could watch the [same] ones over and over again.  But – HELLO – can we look at the scary centaur with horns and a bag of heartbeats around his neck.  I remember he sat there and just stroked the bag as it sat on the arm of his chair.  Creepy.  After he captured the ponies, he would open the bag and the “darkness” would transform the cute little ponies into those terrifying dragons.  Thankfully, the ponies all ended up alright in the end.  I found this entire episode on youtube and started watching the other day.  I’m a little confused as to how I still remember most of the words and songs and yet, I can’t remember things that happened last week.

Witches

ANYTHING WITH WITCHES.  At my parents house, at the top of the second floor (where all the bedrooms are) is a little hallway leading to two bedrooms and a game room.  My bedroom/bathroom is to the right and the area opens to the foyer below.  My parents’ bedroom is to the right of the staircase.  In order to get to my parents room, I had to run down the hall, past the hall to the game room, and then into my parents’ room.  Mom always put a nightlight at the end of the gameroom hall and there was another lamp that stayed on all night in the foyer.  I was SURE that there were witches living at the end of the hallway at night.  I would run past the hall opening so that I would be too fast for them to catch my little kid self.  My mom always asked if I ever saw a witch down there, and I remember blankly looking at her and informing her no, considering I have never looked down the hall (because if they see you – they get you).

It’s been 20 years since I’ve seen all these movies and I still remember it like it was yesterday.  There’s no telling what this child of mine will end up being scared with.

DST

Sunday I cursed the existence of Daylight Savings Time.  I was so excited to sleep for an extra hour that I ruined everything by waking up feeling oddly rested at 6:30 am.  It figures that the one Sunday we don’t work in the nursery, we both wake up naturally before 7.  Of course, this lead to a nice, hard power nap and a crash on the bed by 8:30 pm.

But today – OH TODAY – was glorious as my alarm rang and the sun was already shining through the windows.  For the past few months I have struggled to get out of bed, get ready, pack a lunch, and get out the door before 7.  In fact, for the past few weeks, I’ve been slipping and leaving later and later.  But when the sun was up?  I was up.  I don’t really understand how I got ready faster but I definitely felt more refreshed and rested – which is exactly what you need when you are about to go deal with teenagers for the rest of the day.

So while many parents griped and complained about their children not adjusting, and even though I felt like one of those kids since I didn’t adjust well either – I am LOVING DST.

Funny joke – when I got home, I thought I would go work out, since I haven’t done that in…oh I don’t know…months or so.  I get dressed and by the time I head out the door, I notice that it’s dark outside.  Getting dressed and ready for the gym was all a joke!  I  actually thought I was going to go work out.  HAHA, joke on me!  Oh, Monday – you are so funny in your cruel ways.

Parental Target

This year has been immensely more stressful than last year, which is a surprise to me.  I always heard that if you can survive your first year of teaching then you are good to go.  My lesson and unit plans are solid; I know (for the most part) what all is coming next as far as my syllabus and course outline.  But what I don’t know is which parent is going to attack next.

In the past 4 months, I have had 4 different parent issues.  One parent freaked out when I caught her child cheating, and refused to believe me when my principal told her that I WATCHED the child cheat.  No matter – her child would never do such a thing.  Speaking of cheating, I had a meeting with another parent who told me that when his child copied and pasted 3 pages of his research paper from articles on the internet, it wasn’t plagiarism.  When I asked what it was, he told me it was his child telling me what direction the paper was going in – because there is no such thing as plagiarism in a rough draft of a research paper.  Another parent had a come-apart when I made her child apologize to her team for lying to them.  She accused me of playing favorites and always choosing being a coach over being a teacher – which if you speak to me for any given time, you’ll know that I will always choose my course over anything else at school.  Another parent has reared his head multiple times this semester because he is angry (at me) because our school system doesn’t give 9 week grades for year-long AP classes.  Apparently this is my fault.

I can only shake my head at the ugliness that hisses from my email account as these parents “defend” their righteous children.

I haven’t been able to forget this article that I read a few months ago:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/06/living/teachers-want-to-tell-parents/index.html

The part where he demands to not be questioned in front of a child (“is this true?”) should be a part of respect that parents have for teachers.  Instead, parents now come to the table insisting that they are smarter than I am.  I admit – I don’t know everything, but damnit, I know 11th grade English.  I actually had a parent tell me they had 8 years of education and is 4 courses short of a Masters degree.  Being the smart ass I am, I wanted to respond that I only had 6 years of college and actually finished my Masters degree – in ENGLISH (aka the subject I’m teaching).  I bit my tongue instead.  I feel like I’ve been doing that a lot this year.

I cannot raise your child.  I should not have to teach them that cheating is wrong.  The kids I teach are hardly kids – they are almost adults.  If they have not learned these major life skills by the time they reach me, well – someone’s failed in the process.  Parents have almost become a bully to teachers.  And I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that I am young, and look younger (for now at least) and possibly parents think they can push me around because I’m new, but they can’t.  They won’t.

I feel badly for the other teachers who endure this year after year.  But ultimately, I hurt for the students who are being taught absolutely zero sense of personal responsibility.  Continue to cripple your children; it makes me hurt for the next generation.  Teachers are a constant punching bag, and WE are the problem with the children.  Even though I only see your kid for a little over an hour a day, it’s my job to change an entire generation and to undo all the of errors instilled in them by their parents.  I believe every parent should have to go volunteer in a classroom for an entire day – maybe that would help the respect issue.

But I doubt it.

The Best Game

Today is practically a state holiday.  LSU has come to the great state of Alabama, which has geared this entire state into a “ROLL TIDE” frenzy.  Everyone, including myself, refers to this as “the big game.”  No other explanation is needed.  It’s funny – Joel and I are neither Alabama nor Auburn fans.  We claim neutral territory with being Vanderbilt fans – always resulting in a sympathetic head tilt and an “aw.”  So when he announced he wanted to go to a cookout with friends, I totally supported it.  HAVE FUN.  As for my plans?  Well I came back into town today from being at an AP English workshop for the past two days, and the thought of driving 35 minutes from my house to hang out with people (some of whom I am NOT fond of) did not sound like a plan.  Instead, I plan to spend my riveting Saturday night, cleaning out the DVR.  Since Joel cleaned up the house and cleared out the leaves, I think it’s only appropriate that I do my part to empty the DVR.

With all that being said, last night I was able to hang out with one of my favorite people ever – Jill.  She and I have been best friends since undergrad.  I find that our relationship was truly preparation for our future spouses since she has so many similarities to Joel and her fiance is my male clone.  Since they are both theatre people and love movies and such, some friends of theirs threw them an Entertainment Shower.  My initial goal was to give a cute platter and a fun cookbook, because the last thing I want to buy the couple who literally owns every movie ever – is a movie.  I kept trying to think of my favorite game and after wandering the Target game section, I immediately thought of the one game Joel will play.  (Just for reference – he HATES all things board games involved and I LOVE them).

best game EVER

Some of our dear friends introduced this game to us a few years ago and since then, it is the only game Joel will play whenever his family visits and we are all in a game mood.  It’s a great game because people can all just sit, hang out, watch the tv in the background (which is necessary during football and basketball seasons), and not have to devote 1000% to paying attention to a game.

The rules:

  • Dole out the dominoes according to however many people are playing (and you need more than 2 players to actually keep the game moving).
  • See who has the highest double domino.  Ideally you would start out by playing the double 12.  If no one has the 12, then you play the next highest number.
  • Now it’s up to each player to arrange their dominoes in their own little strategy to try and get rid of their dominoes first.
  • Everyone has to play during their turn, whether they place a tile or draw one.  You can only play on your own train or on the Mexican train – UNLESS someone draws, cannot play, and then places a (literal plastic) train on their (domino) train.
  • The benefit of this game comes out when one person decides they can start the Mexican Train for the entire group.  This is the freebie train where you can play on your turn.
  • Whoever runs out of dominoes first – wins!
  • The rest have to tally their scores according to whatever tiles they have left.  Then you shuffle them all, dole them out again, and start looking for double domino 11.

This game has become a staple after Thanksgiving and other family holidays where you want to hang out, but do a little bit more than just sit on the couch watching the tv.  Because, after Thanksgiving, every one squeezes into their fat pants and takes a nap.  Don’t even act like I’m the only one who eats myself into oblivion.  Regardless, this is the perfect game to play as you eat pie and get ready for the second round of food.

A little bump

So I was sitting in the dentist’s chair today – which YES, I got an appointment this week.  There was some drama I tweeted about because earlier in the week, they gave away my appointment because I didn’t call and confirm.  I could have SWORN I did confirm, but I also can’t remember what I wore yesterday.  In other words, my memory isn’t great.  It’s amazing that I’ve been on the cancellation list for months, and yet, once I finally get snappy – I get an appointment within days.  The only reason I got snappy is because the dentist keeps saying how important it is to get your teeth cleaned when you are pregnant.  I finally got frustrated and told them I’m TRYING to get an appointment but THEY can’t give me one.  So maybe they should stop giving me grief about something I cannot control.  VOILA!  Appointment.

Back to my point – the extremely nice hygienist is dutifully scraping away,  and all of a sudden I felt something completely foreign.  It was a completely sci-fi moment as I realized that there was this separate little person kicking me from the inside.  I immediately put my hands on my stomach and hoped and prayed the little bean would continue to float around in there.  A KICK!  Eeeek!  Of course, I wanted it to keep dancing, so I’m lying there, terrified to move.  Plus, I didn’t really want to freak out the hygienist since she has sharp, metal tools in my mouth.  The little bean just kept on moving.  It blew my mind.  Sometimes I truly forget that there is a completely different person – INSIDE MY BODY – right now.

Now, I’m sitting on the couch and waiting… go on little baby.  Kick Away.  I’m waiting.

And nothing.  I’m still waiting.

But there’s something really exciting about knowing that it could happen at any moment.

Joel told me tonight as we were visiting a friend and their new baby that he wishes we had started trying having kids a long time ago so that we would already have one by now.  He said, “This pregnancy part is so long.”  Yeah, no kidding, buddy.  This must be so rough for you.   Punk.

I’m experiencing random heartburn, which I’ve only ever had when I’ve eaten cinnamon.  I’ve heard that it means the baby is growing hair, but I seriously doubt this baby will come out with any hair on its head.  I was bald until I was 2 and Joel only had platinum peach fuzz for the first few years.  If it’s a girl, I’m going to be gluing bows to her head.  Being bald is awesome for boys though.

GASP.  I think I just felt it again.  But Joel came and sat by me so it’ll probably go back to sleep in just a minute, I’m sure (haha).

It’s Research Paper Time!

It’s that time of the year again.  The time where I catch all the little cheaters in the many ways they cheat.  That’s right – it’s time for reeeseearuchhhh paaaaapurrrsss!  (Pretend with me that I just said that in an awesome announcer’s voice.  My imagination is all that I have left!)  I teach 11th grade and one of the dreaded months for us all is writing research papers.  Instead of reading 36 incredibly boring (and probably wrongly misinterpreted literature analyses), I allow them to write argumentative papers on any topic they choose (with the exception of abortion, gay rights, and a couple other issues I don’t think high schoolers can actually grasp and argue effectively without  writing an argument for religion.  The world is your oyster!  Choose whatever topic floats your boat, but remember to choose one you will still love in a month when you have read it 100 times.

This semester, I’ve had some…interesting topics.  I like seeing what kids come up with, and I do enjoy seeing their own opinions on them too.  Here are some of the topics:

  • Hunting (I teach in a rural area – they all fight for this topic)
  • Animal Testing
  • Sports (and anything involving steroids or paying atheletes)
  • Dress code (an easy staple)
  • Technology (cell phones) in school
  • Offshore drilling
  • Video games and the effects on children
  • Capital Punishment
  • Illegal immigration

Potentially a great basket of knowledge bursting at the seams.  But, alas, there’s not a lot of original thought going into these papers because over half of my students cheat on them.  When I first spot a plagiarized sentence, I mark it and give the paper a 0, then quit reading.  Why would I continue to waste time reading someone else’s thoughts and articles?  If I wanted to know more, I’d look it up myself.  And let me just add that I WILL catch them all.  It is my goal to make sure that none of them even get close to trying to fool me on these papers. Of course, some slip through the cracks but I just handed out almost half a class full of zero’s for rough drafts.  I do this also to emphasize that they MUST edit the paper before the final copy is due.  If they cheat on the final copy, they will not only fail the 9 weeks but (most of them) will end up failing my class and will be taking it again.  OH and when they repeat the class because of failing it the first time – it makes it so much fun for all of us involved.  So. Much. Fun.

So while, usually the list of “best quote” is quite long…this time it’s pitifully short.

  • “Capital punishment isn’t very cheap, but it gets the job done.”
  • “They should send them back to the other border so the American people should get their jobs back and more money in their wallets so we can pay our bills and fed ourselves.”

I can’t make this stuff up. 

This post is my attempt to try NaBloPoMo, where people try to blog everyday for the month of November.  I like setting myself up for failure (hello- I missed Day 1!).   BUT I hope it’ll get me back into a routine of writing again.