Thursday, December 24, 2009

Time for an update

So, I've been crap about updating this lately, because my life has become a ball of insanity. In September I started my student teaching, which was fabulous and time consuming and exhausting all at once. That was in addition to buying a house and painting pretty much the whole thing from top to bottom (see previous post), working part time at Borders Express (which is now closing its doors), helping out with Seussical the Musical and a variety of other things. So, suffice it to say I've been busy. Somehow I seemed to get even more busy after my student teaching ended, which makes no sense to me. I think it was being scheduled a ton of mid-shifts at the store that ate up the majority of my day, and then coming home and trying to clean up for the graduation party Jason decided to throw for me. Oh yeah, I graduated btw. With honors.

So, recap of student teaching is that I loved the kids, my cooperating teacher was crazy but in a good way, and I sort of miss being at the school every day. I hated my university coordinator, who gave me a hard time CONSTANTLY because nothing I did was ever good enough for her, so we butted heads a lot. She just has a very different idea about teaching than I do. Sometimes, you have to let kids figure stuff out on their own instead of just telling them exactly what they're supposed to be learning. So, yes. That was rough. But I passed, so that's all that matters. Teaching in the district I was placed in was a different experience for me, since the kids were primarily wealthy, white and privileged. It was very strange to see students who were so sheltered from cultural differences, as well as from the world at large. Some of my 8th graders weren't even allowed to use the internet at all, and the parents weren't happy when we gave internet based homework. It was eye opening, but probably good for me to see.

The whole house thing is going well. Most of it is now painted, except the downstairs bath, but I can live with that. It's finally starting to look and feel like home, which makes me happy. Of course, we made a billion cookies last night so it looks like someone drove through the kitchen with a wrecking ball, but over all, it's been pretty easy to keep clean.

I'm working a 6 month temp job right now for a large global corporation that I will not name in this blog in case there's some conflict of interest clause I haven't read. Not loving it. It's in accounts receiveable and I hated accounting the first time I did it at Borders, so I'm not loving it any more here. I hate being a bill collector. I also hate the schedule and the mandatory overtime and the low pay, but it's what I have to do for now until I find something better. But I'm on the search for something better, for sure. I have potential for something, but I don't want to talk too much about it and jinx it. Let's just say it would probably be better. Like, a lot better. Like pay more than Jason makes better. Oh yeah.

Uhh...Jason starts student teaching in like 2 weeks, which is ca-razy, and means he's leaving his job at Borders which means no more discount. Sad. But, I'm glad he's student teaching, and while money will be tight (like...really tight) I'm hoping it will be worth it in the end. If only some teaching jobs would open in Michigan. That would be great. Old teachers, please retire kthanxbai.

I think that's everything. I'll try to update this more, if possible. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Holy Crap! I have a blog?!

Soo....long time no see huh? I certainly hope I have a good excuse for being gone so long!

Ok, I don't. I mean, I sort of do. I started student teaching in September, which sucked up a bunch of my time because I no longer have the luxury of sitting in front of a computer at work all day being bored and filling my free time with blogging. Student teaching is going well though, the kids are kind of a trip. On any given day they do something crazy that makes me shake my head and wonder if I was just like that when I was in 8th grade. Plus, on top of the whole teaching all day thing, I'm working a few nights a week at the Borders Express store in the mall, which takes more time out of my life. Oh, and I'm working with the drama department, as always, so you might see why my free time might be a bit lacking.

But, probably the most time consuming thing that has caused me to fall off the face of the earth is that we bought a house on the 18th of September and that took a TON of time to get in order before we could move in. We'll officially have been living in the house for two weeks as of tomorrow, so that's fun. Not everything that needs to be done in here has been done, but we're working on things still, just much more slowly. And unpacking isn't totally done yet either, because that takes time too. But, here are some before and after pictures to show our progress, and what a difference paint can make.

This is the front of the house, which will be getting some work done in the spring. The ugly purple-ish limestone is going away, and it might get some new trees planted.

The day we closed on the house, this is what the family room looked like. Very orange, and if you can't quite tell, the ceiling is the same color as the fireplace mantle. They even painted the stupid light switch and outlet covers.
This is the after effect of a lot of paint, new carpet, and the addition of our furniture and artwork. I feel like this is a lot more comfortable and calm looking.
Purple and yellow dining room. VERY purple, and again, the ceiling is hte same yellow as the chair rail and crown molding.
So, I went red and white. We're not using the room as a dining room, we're actually making it into a library, so I feel like the red was not too terribly shocking. And, again, new carpet.
The kitchen stressed me out to no end. It was so "blah" and we couldn't figure out what color to paint it. (Everyone say hi to my dad there in the background of this photo)
The solution was actually...more red! To tie the rooms all together, I painted a lighter brown than the living room, and the same red we had in the "library" so that everything sort of flows. I think this was the best solution to the boring kitchen problem.
White bedroom. Ick. It's a lot of space though, so we had to figure out how to break that up.
The solution was actually a very dark blue accent wall, and the rest of the room is a warm chocolate color. It is actually really cozy. (You can see a peek of the chocolate color in the corner of the photo)

So that's what we've been up to here in Berry-land. We're still working on projects, so maybe I'll update as we get some more things done. Jason's office is the next on my list. It looks like he's trying to make a fort out of boxes right now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Places Your Kids Shouldn't Go

I'm sure that the mommies out there are going to get pissed off at me about this blog, but that's ok. It's not the first time I'll have been on someone's bad side. I went to a 4:45 showing of the new Transformers movie with Jason and his uncle. We got in after the previews had started due to the slowest concessions line EVER, so we didn't get to sit in the very back like we usually do. We ended up taking a seat near the back of the theater, but because it was dark, we couldn't see who was sitting behind us. Unfortunately, we chose the seats directly in front of two women and the 4 year old kid they brought with them. Joy. I knew we had trouble when the kid sat there talking all the way through the previews without being asked to be quiet. I turned my head a little to see out of the corner of my eye whether his mother was even with him, which she was, and then turned my face back to the screen and immediately heard "That girl just shook her head at us!" exclaimed to the other woman who was with her. Ok, 1) No I didn't and 2) I wouldn't have turned at all if your kid had SHUT THE HELL UP!

So, the movie begins and rugrat behind me decides that the fun thing to do is kick my seat. Again, no one stops him. Then, he's talking. Loudly. He keeps jumping up and saying "Look! Look! Bumblebee!" and after about 5 minutes, when someone (not me) would glare at her, she'd lean over and say "You have to whisper" to her kid. Finally, near the end of the movie, rugrat stops talking (I think he fell asleep) but then his mother would loudly exclaim "WOW!" during the action sequences and I did want to turn around and shove her large diet coke down her throat. Then, after the movie, the lights came up and they left before we did. I turned around to see their trash strewn ALL OVER the seats they were sitting in. Nacho trays, popcorn bags, drink cups, candy packaging, half a hotdog, all left sitting on the floor, seats and armrests. I was appalled. Not only were they rudely loud through the movie, then they were just flat out rude to leave all of that trash lying there. UGH!

So, my point to this is, why do parents think it's ok to let their kids behave like this in a movie theater? If you know your kid can't behave or sit still, DON'T TAKE THEM TO THE MOVIE! Yes, I understand your rugrat really likes the Transformers and really wants to see it, but so does everyone else in the theater and you're ruining their experience. Wait for the freaking DVD and let your kid yak all the way through that in the comfort of your own home. Don't ruin my moviegoing experience, which I paid nearly $10 for, by letting your kid be a monster. If your kid can't be quiet, leave them at home!

Oh, and pick up your trash, because that's just ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Quarter Life Crisis....2 years late

This might be one of those rare posts that make readers go "OMG Becky shut up!" but I'm writing it anyway. I finished the very last class of my undergrad work at 9:00 p.m. Monday night. YAY! I still have my student teaching before I can graduate, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. Here's my problem, I'm doing this at age 27. Yeah. A little late don't ya think? I do. I am fully aware that some challenges in my life, and a huge case of the "what do I do with my life?!" bug have contributed to this, but it just seems like I've wasted YEARS. All of my high school classmates are doctors, or lawyers, or successful nurses, teachers etc. and they're all buying houses and having kids and I'm sitting here going "Yeah, that's at least another 2 to 3 years off..." and it's making me feel kind of crappy. I've got some immensely talented friends who are seeing their artistic careers really take off and they're talking about being flown to Martha's Vinyard by music producers, or having their work professionally recorded and I sit here thinking "Yeah.....I placed some orders today". You can see where that might be less exciting.

I just feel like I've wasted my 20's by being indecisive and not having the opportunities that some other people had. It's no one's fault, it's just how things are. But it sucks. I've never been West of the Mississippi, I've never been out of the country except for Canada, which I firmly believe does not count, I've never seen the Grand Canyon, I've never watched the sun rise over the desert, I've never gone snorkling in the ocean, I've never taken a cruise, I've never been to Bermuda. These are things that most people do when they're young in their 20's and have the time and opportunity to do, but I haven't. I hold myself back a lot. Hell, I've never been drunk because I'm such a control freak. I stop at 2 glasses of wine, or one margarita. I never went out for my 21st birthday with friends. I didn't have a bachelorette party. Both of those are actually because no one actually planned anything for me, which I find annoying, but that's another topic for another blog. The rest of it is because I just stop myself from having fun, because I'm afraid that if I let go and have a little less control for a while, people will think less of me. I spend a LOT of time trying to be what other people expect me to be, or think I should be, or what I think I should be myself. *sigh* I'm not the fun friend, I'm the downer. Now I feel like it's starting to be career time, and time to settle down and have kids and do the responsible things that people my age do, which is kind of exactly like what I've been doing since I was 18, except for that whole kids part. But that kids part is big, it's a deal breaker for Jason and I want to have kids too, but it's like...when? Seriously. I mean, all of the stuff I want to do can't be done while toting a toddler along with you, and if I wait too long then it becomes one of those "Well, I'll be 70 when the kid graduates high school" situations and I'd like to be alive to see my grandkids. Blah. And I live with my mother-in-law which makes me feel like I'm a huge loser on a daily basis, because I hate having to live there. I feel like a freeloader, and I really really hate that. Plus, I've never lived one day alone with Jason since we got married. It's going on 5 years of living with someone else, and I'm ready to have my own life and my own space. I just feel like I should have accomplished so much more by now, and that I'll have to give some things up to accomplish others, and I hate having to choose.

That's not to say I haven't done anything though, because I have. I mean, I got married in Disney World, which was amazing. I have been all up and down the East Coast and seen most of the historical sites there, I've been swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. I've been swimming with a Dolphin! I've finished a degree without help from anyone. I've worked in several jobs and always gotten promoted. I just haven't done any of those big things that I really wanted to do. And, maybe I will some day. I think it's just that I always find myself wanting more, and being stopped by the limitations of time and money. Does anyone ever stop wanting more? Does anyone ever reach the point in their life where they look around and go "This is enough, this is exactly where I want to be"? Or is it just me who thinks about stuff like this?


Sometimes I just think I need a little bit of change. Maybe that's why I want to paint my house all the time....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Start at Home....

So, after mentioning in my last blog that I want to paint our hideous kitchen cabinets, it got me thinking about all the other stuff Jason and I have done in the house that has made it look less yucky. Just a quick reminder, we don't own this house. Nope. Don't even want to buy it either, but I'm a firm believer that when you REALLY hate looking at the space you live in, it makes you never want to be there, so we decided to do some updates and make it a bit less bare and unattractive. Now, I've decided I'd share some photos of the work we've done, because I'm bored and I feel like it. So, here we go:

Upstairs Bathroom
I don't have a before shot of our full bath, but it was gross. The old metal tub leaked and rotted the subflooring in the room, which peeled up the dingy linoleum, so we had originally just planned to tile and replace the tub, but the tub was an insert with a surround and the decision was made to get a big jetted tub, so that meant doing the tub surround, and when we pulled down the paneling in the room (yes, ugly floral paneling) it ripped out chunks of drywall so we ended up taking the room down to the studs and starting from scratch. We also replaced the vanity and sink, because those were cheap builder grade particle board with oak veneer and I hated them. Here are the photos I took of the *nearly* finished product. Ignore the painters tape.

Our kitchen was previously beige, just like the rest of the house. No joke, the whole house was beige and I couldn't stand it. Also, it had pig wallpaper. I hated it. Jason thought the pigs were funny, I thought they were country and gross. So, I decided it needed to become a no pig zone.



Oh, and if you're looking at the floor in the above picture, you'll notice it's dark brown linoleum. Gross. It was also covered in cigarette burns, so we decided to lay down some laminte wood flooring like so:
The refrigerator and dishwasher also got replaced, though that was out of necessity, not for asthetics.
Living Room
Our living room is TINY, and since the house is a bi-level it's got this awful railing going across one side of it. It was really boring and blank so we decided to change it up.


Again, ignore the painters tape. Also, if you notice in the above pictures, the blue carries through into our kitchen on one wall. That's because there's no good way to break it up.

This is after we bought some new furniture, and a new rug that I LOVE and scored for $99 when it was supposed to be $299 because of a price sticker error at the store. EXCELLENT! Also, you can't see the railing in this picture, but it's new and black like the furniture.

Our upstairs hallway was pretty blah and had a practically unuseable closet at the top of the stairs. You can see it on the right in the "before" picture. It's got huge mirrored doors on it, but it was too shallow to really put much into and still get the doors shut, and the shelves were too close together, so it wasn't good for much other than hiding junk when company comes over, and I hate wasted space. Also, we painted it the most fabulous yellow in the history of ever. It's called "Honeypot" and is from the Waverly Home Classics collection at Lowes. I love it!


We bought 3 Ikea book cases because the closet was a vast hole of wasted space, and we were in desperate need of book storage space, so we took the 3 pre-fabbed book cases and pushed them into the closet space to create a built in bookcase look. We affectionetly call it our "crammed in" because we literally had to cram the smallest bookcase into the space, but I think it ended up looking pretty awesome, plus it's functional. Although, as you can see, it's already full, and I've got 3 more boxes of books with no home. *sigh*
So yeah, that's what we've done so far, and we'll never see any real payoff from it except that it's more pleasant to look whenever we're home, and we enjoy that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Things I Want to Do This Summer

Since I’m used to being busy constantly, I have a slight amount of fear that I’ll be horribly bored when I am out of school for a little more than a week. Don’t get me wrong, I really need the time off, but I’m also going to need things to do to keep myself from just being lazy, and I go stir crazy when I don’t have much to do for a lot of the time. So, here’s my personal to-do list:

Finish reading books I’ve started

I started reading this one a couple of weeks ago and started getting really sucked in, so I had to put it down and walk away or else I wouldn’t get any homework done, and that’s not good.

I started reading this one on vacation and then never got to finish it because I was busy going out and doing things every day that we were on vacation, and then I got home and started school immediately, so I need to finish it.

Read The Books on my Book List
I have SO MANY books on my list of things I want to read, so I figure I should probably knock some of those out while I can.

This is one that was given to me at work as a “you must read this” young adult novel. Come to think of it, a lot of the stuff on this list is young adult literature, because I never read any as a young adult and I’m told I should know the stuff my students like reading.

I’m hoping to finish this whole series, because I’ve heard really good things about them, and they’re quick reads, so hopefully they’ll just be silly and fun.

I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but the buying team for this one told me I HAD to read it because it was freaking amazing. They also said I’d hate them later because there are 11 volumes to it. Way to suck me in guys!

I haven’t read a Rushdie novel in a while, and I’ve heard great things about this one, so I’d like to break up the onslaught of teen angst with this one.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this book lately for some reason, so I think I might need to read it again

Paint the Kitchen Cabinets

This is an old picture of our kitchen from right after we painted it green (a color I’m told should NEVER be in a kitchen, but I don’t care because I like it) but if you will notice, those cabinets are ugly. The house isn’t even mine, but I have to think that eventually when Jason’s mom wants to sell it, people are going to look at those cabinets and go “Yeah…those are hideous”. You can’t see it in the picture, but the finish is wearing off of them, and they are actually more orange in color than they look in the picture. They matched the railing that used to be in the living room and on the banister, but we switched that out for a really nice black finish instead, so I think we need to change the cabinets. I want to paint them white, because in my head white means clean and bright, and well…..that kitchen is anything but bright and the cabinets make it look anything but clean. Seriously, the room grosses me out, so if dropping $40 on a few cans of paint is what it takes to give myself some peace of mind and make it so that I don’t HATE walking in there, so be it. Now, if only we could do something about the cracking and hideous laminate countertop…

Go to the Harry Potter Exhibit in Chicago

Chicago’s museum of Science and Industry is hosting an exhibit of Harry Potter movie props, costumes, and set pieces which is open until November. MUST GO!

So that’s about it, so far. I’m sure I’ll add things to the list, but that looks like a decent amount for the time being. Wish me luck on accomplishing all of it!

People in the South are Nuts!

So, now that I have a quick minute to make a real update, I should mention some interesting things that happened on our vacation back at the end of APRIL!  I know!! I am soooo behind.  But, these are so classic that they have to be entered into the blogosphere.  We went down to Disney World during the height of the Swine Flu scare, so that means that we were apparently destined to catch Swine Flu because we were at a tourist attraction where swine flu was running rampant I guess.  The Asian tourists wearing the friggin' surgical masks sure seemed to think so.

On the way to Florida, we stopped in the suburbs of Atlanta for a few days to visit Sara and Jef-f, and while we were there we decided to go to the zoo.  I have no idea why that sounded like a good idea, because it was about 9 million degrees outside and the heat mixing with wonderful aroma of large zoo animals does not make for the most amazing day imaginable, but we went anyway.  One thing we learned very quickly is that 9 million degree weather doesn't just make the animals stink.  Noooo sir, it makes the people stink too, particularly the VERY large man who unwisely decided to wear all black to the zoo on a 9 million degree day.  Seriously, homeboy was pungent.  To the point where school children walked past him and were gagging and holding their noses.  What's worse, when we left the area and moved on to another exhibit and we could smell him approaching before we actually saw him.  It was enough to make you choke, so we ran as far away as possible.  AND, when we ended up at the Lemur exhibit, I got to hear a classic piece of Southern People Crazy.  There were two lemurs cuddled together on a tree facing each other in a hug position as they slept.  This crazy ass woman looks at them and gasps as if it's her job to suck all of the air out of the world and says "I can't believe they're letting those animals live in sin like that!  There are children looking at this and they're just letting them live in sin!  Someone should file a complaint!"  No, I'm not joking.  Crazy bible thumping bitch couldn't handle seeing some lemurs cuddling while they slept.  Personally, I think that if she's worried about them living in sin, she should lobby for lemur marriage rights.  Also, she should be pushed out of a moving car.

So those were some fun stories.  I think that's all I have for right now.  There are other things to blog about, but I should save them for their own blog.  Hopefully, now that I'm almost done with school for the summer, I'll have more time to update.  Keep your fingers crossed, I know you missed me.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today is my Birthday

I will be spending (or have already spent) my birthday doing the following

  • Getting up at o'dark-thirty
  • Going to the high school to observe classes
  • Going to work and staying there until 5
  • Going straight from work to my 5:30 class
  • Staying in class until at least 8:00, but likely later
  • Going home and grabbing things that need to be dropped off at the drama department
  • Going to the high school to drop things off for the show tomorrow, and probably being stuck there until the end of rehearsal trying to make sure everything is in order
  • Going home (likely around 10:00) and trying to find something to eat since dinner is just not going to happen
  • Eating crappy cereal because we have nothing in the house that's quick to make
  • Going to bed
Amended:  We didn't have enough cereal for an actual bowl of cereal, so I had no dinner.  Even better.  I hate birthdays.

Birthdays suck when you're an adult.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Call me Ted Kaczynski

I had to write a manifesto for my avant garde lit class, so this is what I wrote. There's something lost in the whole blogging process, because there are tons of different fonts and sizes and the layout is all crazy in the one I actually put together to hand in, but you'll get the general idea.

We do not reform
We replicate
$7,000 a year to educate a person
$30,000 a year to punish them when the $7,000 education wasn’t adequate
How backwards is that?
?haht si sdrawkcab woH
Cut the arts
Cut yourself
Resign to a drab gray concrete existence
Without imagination there is no discovery
Without art there is no imagination
Silence the music
Hack off your arm
The play is the thing
Its legs are chopped off
And there is no longer a reason to break them
Create a world with no hope
Then be surprised when we are left with indifference
We create prisoners and feign shock when the prisons overflow
Spend $1 to teach and $100 to punish
The system is down
Kill the system
Fall so far behind that you think you’re ahead
No child is left behind
[When they all are]
Lock them up to begin with
It saves time
Time is money
The rich become immortal
The poor wink out in an instant
Turn a blind eye
It doesn’t see beauty anymore anyway
That was cut out with the last budget
Fuck your budget
[From now on, all books will be written in mathematical equations. Shakespeare will now be known as 2x+y=17. Please solve for the meaning of Shakespeare.]
Only scientific discovery will merit praise
We will no longer hear America singing.
Sorry Walt Whitman
The vocal chords are frozen now.
Move to the future [forget the past]
Make the painter a physicist.
Make the actor an architect.
Make the cellist a chemist.
Break a leg.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A New Reason To Avoid Florida

Jason and I find ourselves in an ever-constant quest lately to figure out where we would be willing to live if we were to have to move out of state for jobs. We've nixed most of the South because we're crazy liberals and don't really want to hang around the Bible Belt too much. We've also decided against Arizona and New Mexico because neither of us speaks Spanish, neither of us thinks 106 degree weather sounds appealing, and neither of us are really in love with the idea of having to shake our shoes out every morning to make sure there are no scorpions inside. No thanks. We also said no to Florida. When I tell people this, I often get "WHY? It's so nice down there!". Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Florida as much as the next person, but for visiting, not for living there. It's fine for a vacation spot, and it houses Disney World which everyone knows I love, but it's not somewhere I want to live. Again, people always say "But WHY?". Ok, here's why:
1. Hurricanes
2. No winter, so bugs grow to be the size of Buicks.
3. Hurricanes
4. 'Gators

And now we can add a new item to that list. #5 is now BURMESE PYTHONS!! ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME?!

Apparently, during the last hurricane season, a pet shop was blown over and some of the reptiles escaped. Well now they have been breeding at an alarming rate and Florida is now overrun with 30,000 Burmese Pythons. I would post a picture, but I'm HORRIBLY afraid of snakes. No joke. To the point where I can't look at the most recent Buns Eye View post because it's all about how Buns had an encounter with a snake, complete with Buns Eye Pictures. *Side note: Amy, if you're reading this, I'd have FREAKED OUT if Jason brought a snake into the house for the cats to play with. You are a stronger woman than I.* I have an irrational fear of snakes, and in case you were wondering, Burmese Pythons aren't the small Garter Snake variety. They're the giant squeeze you to death and can eat an entire full sized deer variety. WHAT?! HOLY F*CKING ASS CRACKERS! It's making my skin crawl just thinking about it. I can't even handle pictures of snakes, or snakes in the pet store behind glass (they can break out, they're just lulling you into a false sense of security, I know it) let alone walking out of my hotel room to see an 18 foot (yes, they grow to 18 feet long) 200 lb snake slithering across the lawn to scarf the poor bunny who is just minding his own business. *shudder* And these bitches travel like a mile and a half a day sometimes, which means they're going to get bored with munching on all of the Poodles in the retirement communities and start moving North. They like warm weather, which means pretty much anywhere up to Tennessee is their happy playground, and all the way up the coast into Southern Virginia. Yet another reason to rule out the South thankyouverymuch.

And I want to know how the state of Florida plans to round up 30,000 pythons, which they're trying to do, and what the hell they plan to do with them when they do catch some. I guess they've been picking up pythons found in people's yards etc. for a few weeks now, but 30,000? What the hell are they going to do with 30,000 snakes? Make an Indiana Jones movie?


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going Green

I'm a big fan of the "Green Movement" that is sweeping the country. I really like that people are being more environmentally conscious and thinking about the impact they personally have on the Earth. I love that there are companies out there like Seventh Generation who are making concious effort to create products that are safe for both people and for the planet. That being said, I've never used anything these guys make, primarily because I bought cleaning supplies in bulk at Sam's Club 3 years ago and still haven't managed to go through all of them, and while I love being environmentally conscious, I also don't want to waste stuff by tossing it in the trash when it's still perfectly good. So, I'll probably look into buying some Seventh Generation stuff when my supplies run out because I like their philosophy (and if anyone has used any of their stuff, please tell me how well it works!). Jason and I aren't exactly hippies about our environmental activism.  We aren't the "shower once a week, eat only what you can grow" type, but we do what we can.  We use energy efficient light bulbs, we recycle, we have energy star appliances, we carpool to work and school whenever possible.  We would compost our waste, but we're not really in a situation where we can do that at the moment.  We would also grow veggies in the back yard over the summer if we had the ability to do that.  Those are goals for when we live in our own house...some day.  But, my point is that we try.  No, neither of us has gone to buying all organic and earth friendly products, because some don't work as well as the ones that ruin the earth and that's sad but true.  We also haven't gone to mowing the lawn with one of those motorless push mowers.  

My point in all of this, is that I get so annoyed by the people who have suddenly started using their "going green" as a status symbol.  Like, "I'm so much greener than you!" as if we're in some sort of competition.  I thought we were all in this for the greater good, to help clean up the messes we've made in the past, not to compete for who can be "greener" than their friends.  I think that's really just missing the point.  Ok, so I don't use recycled toilet paper, because it's one-ply which means you're just going to use more of it in the long run anyway, so that's not helping much, but you do so that makes you somehow more elevated in conservation status?  Why do people even care about this?  Isn't it enough to just do your part and improve what you can in whatever ways possible?  Maybe everyone isn't able to afford eco-friendly household products or organic produce, because unfortunately those things are still at a premium price, but they change out all of their light bulbs and carpool.  Isn't that something to be commended?  I think it's about helping where you can.

Oh, and someone recently pointed out that they order most of their eco-friendly products from, and that left me scratching my head.  These products are shipped to grocery stores and drug stores all over the country in large quantities, which means that by shipping in bulk, he carbon footprint of the shipping is reduced.  Then you can take your small, hopefully, fuel efficient car to the store and pick up the eco-friendly products.  But, instead, for the sake of convenience, fleets of these guys...

...are going out to your house, each one using up a ton of fuel to bring your small packages to you and leave them on your doorstep so you don't have to be bothered to go out anywhere?  That seems more damaging than not using the recycled toilet paper the truck is bringing to your house. 

That makes no sense.

But hey, what do I know?  You're probably greener than me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meet Grover

This is Grover. Ok, not really, it's a picture of someone else's car that I found online that happens to look exactly like my car, so for the sake of this blog, that is Grover. Grover is my car. I got him about 2 months after Jason and I got married, after the two of us got fed up with my other car breaking all of the time. Grover is my first NEW car, as in new and never owned before. I've had several new to me cars, and none of those worked out so well. My green Dodge Neon was horrible and broke every 10 minutes. The head gasket blew 3 days after I got it, the radio completely died in it, the gas gauge didn't work, the gas tank had a hole in the top so that, while it was not leaking gas, it was taking in mud that was constantly clogging the fuel filters. The calipers locked up on it a million times and the brakes went out every 2 or 3 months because the calipers kept locking up. I did not love that car. Then I spent a while driving around in the Intrepid that my parents bought for my sister but she decided she didn't want, so they bought her a Cavalier and when the Neon crapped out for the millionth time, they let me drive the Intrepid. That one was nice, because it smelled like smoke from the previous owner being a smoker, and then my mom driving it around and smoking in it. It was the size of a bus, it didn't manuver very well, it was dirty inside beyond the point of being able to clean it, in the winter you had to start it and let it run for about 15 minutes before you could drive it if you wanted to avoid it stalling on you the minute you made it to the end of the street, the repairs it needed were actually going to cost more than the car was worth at one point, and it was kind of a hoopdie. So, needless to say, when Jason told me he had crunched some numbers and we were able to afford a new car, I did the most enthusiastic happy dance EVER.

I got Grover because I like the way the Vibe looks, I love having a hatch back and the seats lay down so that you can haul stuff (which has come in handy like you wouldn't believe), it gets awesome gas mileage, and it's super roomy. I am going to drive this car until the wheels fall off. I'm in love with it. I have never been so happy with a car in my life! And, now Grover is completely and totally mine. That's right, no more loan on it. Through some pretty crafty saving, Jason and I have managed to put together enough money to pay off the car loan 16 months early. Heck yeah! I'm sure GM is going to be VERY sad to lose my interest payments for the next 16 months, but life is full of disappointments and I'm sure they'll get over it. So now, Grover belongs entirely to me. I think that as a reward for paying him off early, I'm going to have the car detailed when the weather breaks and I don't have to worry about dragging salt into it anymore. Then he will be pretty and shiney and smell all fresh and clean. HOORAY!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I named the car Grover because he's blue and also because he takes me Neeeeeeaaaarrrrr and Faaaaaaaaarrrrr. Yes, I know I'm lame.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Things I Love and Things I Hate

I've been thinking about stuff lately that I absolutely love, and then also things that drive me batty and I seriously hate. So, because it's in my head, that means it gets to be shared with you. Here we go!

Things I hate:

The terms "Wifey" and "Hubby". Not only does referring to your spouse as your "hubby" or "wifey" conjure up images like the one to the left here, it also sounds completely demeaning. Why do we feel the need to cutesify (it's a word if I say it's a word!) everything? How lazy have we become that the words "husband" and "wife" are too cumbersome to put into regular speech? I also feel like constantly referring to your spouse as your "wifey" or "hubby" to friends who know that person, and who know that the person has an actual name is sort of taking away the person's actual identity and replacing it with one of possession. I know that's not how it's intended, but it's kind of how it sounds. Like, if I'm talking to friends and I am referring to Jason I just call him Jason. I don't say "my husband" as in "I'd love to have more time to spend with my husband". Nope, I just say "I'd love to have more time to spend with Jason" because he is my spouse, yes, but that is not the entirety of who he is and he does have an identity outside of me so why should I define him by the fact that we're married? Sure, if I'm talking to someone who doesn't know Jason, I refer to him as my husband, because if I just dropped the name into the conversation, that person might get confused, but in general, he's Jason. And, in general when he talks about me I'm Becky, not "his wife". Sometimes I think people who drop words like "wifey" and "hubby" into conversations are just trying to emphasize the fact that they have a spouse, which I think is silly.

I also hate Wall Street. Not the actual street, of course, because I'm sure the concrete never did anything to me, but the actual stock market pisses me off. There is no rhyme or reason to what happens with it, and people hear "The economy is bad" so they sell their stock and make the economy worse. Fabulous! Thank you so much investment banker man! I just think that if we weren't so worked up over how bad things are, they would stop being bad. People hear that money is tight, so they don't spend because they're afraid they'll lose their jobs, but because we're a nation of service industries and manufacture very little on our own soil, the minute people stop spending, they lose their jobs. So, by not spending because you're afraid you'll lose your job, you then cause companies to lose money and lose your job. Maybe what everyone should do is chill the hell out and go about their lives as normal for a few weeks and see where that gets us. I also say we should ignore Wall Street because those jackasses are the people who got us into this mess in the first place, so why on Earth are we listening to them about anything? They just want to make a buck so they can go on their elaborate vacations and own six houses.

Now, for some things that I love!
Whole Foods. Yes folks, I LOVE Whole Foods. For someone who doesn't generally enjoy cooking or eating, it's weird for me to seriously love a grocery store, but I do. In my area there are tons of shopping choices, the most popular of which is probably Meijer, whose runner up would be Kroger. I don't shop at Meijer anymore, because half of the time we'd end up getting produce that was on the verge of going bad, and for the longest time they didn't carry any humanely raised chicken, and also whenever we went there it was like Ghetto Fabulous day and Jason and I decided we had seen far too many g-strings peeking out of the tops of too many pairs of too-tight jeans on overweight girls. Plus, they put a Kroger in around the corner from our house. So, we spent a lot of time shopping there. But here's the thing, I would go shopping at Kroger and buy food and I was never excited to go home and actually cook any of it. When Jason gave up red meat a year ago, he started worrying about buying caged chicken due to the abuse, so we went to Whole Foods where they carry both barn roaming chicken, which is antibiotic free, and free range chicken. Score! Then we started going there for just about everything, because we did the math and we weren't really spending that much more per week to buy our produce and stuff from them, and in some cases they had things priced better than Kroger (Rice, for example). So, now we go to Whole Foods every Sunday with our eco-friendly tote, our yuppie grocery list and we buy tons of things that are fresh and always really delicious (produce was still iffy at Kroger, we've never had a bad experience with produce from Whole Foods) and I line it all up on the conveyer belt and get seriously excited to go home and cook. That feeling is soooo worth the extra $6 every week.

I also love when people get my obscure literary (or not so literary) references. Last week I was walking through a row of cubicles at work stirring my tea on my way back to my desk and one of my co-workers stopped at the end of the row and watched me for a second, which made me stand still and say "What?" and he said "I don't know, you just looked kind of ghostly, like all you needed was some crazy hair and a white dress" and I said "That's funny. How very Miss Havisham of me" and he didn't get it, but another co-worker did and started laughing. I love when that happens! It makes me feel like I'm in some weird epsiode of Gilmore Girls or something (Have I mentioned I LOVE Gilmore Girls?) and I think it's awesome. I made another comment a couple of weeks ago at work when someone said that I talk a lot and I said "That's how people communicate" and she said "Well there is non-verbal communication" and I said "Who do I look like? Marcel Marceau?" and she got that reference. See, you can be smart and still relatively entertaining. YAY!

So there we go, an update that has something interesting or entertaining, or at least a little bit ranty for you. Enjoy folks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Am Not Yet Dead

In case you were wondering. Nope. Still here. Just haven't really had anything interesting to blog about lately. I've been going through this phase where I have been frustrated with uhh....everything in the world and when that happens I kind of shut myself off. I don't want to talk to people about the state of the world, I don't want to update on what's going on in my life when it's just frustrating stuff, and I don't want to make small talk. So, that meant no blogging. But hey, you can't be frustrated all the time so here I am, making an update.

On the happy note, I didn't get "shitcanned" (Jason's phrase) last week when they laid 136 people off in my office. Jason didn't either. That was pretty exciting, since we'd have been screwed if we had been let go, but we weren't. Unfortunately Jason's boss, who he really liked, was let go and now he's been assigned under a new boss and it's looking like he's going to start hating his job pretty quickly because he's going from being useful to being the department's event coordinator and secretary for his new boss. That makes me kind of sad, since the last time he hated his job (what, Discovery Channel store?) life was pretty difficult. He always came home angry or unhappy and we fought a lot for no real reason. So, I'm not looking forward to him not liking this job because we could be going back down that road. He only has to stick it out until December though, so hopefully it won't all become too much for him. As for me, I'm still under the same boss, still doing the same job and might even have the opportunity to stay on for a few hours a week after I start student teaching so that I can get some work done that the team won't be able to do if they're not able to fill my position. That would be nice, because then I could come in on the weekends or in the evenings and just do a few hours of work and still make some cash. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that to work out.

Uhh.....Spring break this week, which is a stupid name because it feels nothing like spring outside, but we have a break and that's pretty nice. Too bad it's only a week, and too bad I still have to go to work during break. Could be worse though.

Watched the Oscars, loved Hugh Jackman. That was good. Trying not to be frustrated with certain people in my life, which I may very well be failing miserably at, but I'm still trying. We'll see how that goes. Gotta make it until at least next April without making Jason want to kill me, so I'm trying to be sunshine and happiness. That's harder than it sounds. Never thought I'd spend the first 4 years of my marriage living with another person who neither of us want to live with. *sigh* But hey, if we make it through this, we can make it through anything. Other people have been pissing me off too, but it's easier to ignore them. I've been ignoring people a lot, because it's easier than telling them I'm frustrated and feeling like they don't really care. Why waste the time right? Right. Besides, I've been accused of being "high pressure" in the past and wouldn't want someone else to think that.

Wow.....this was kind of all over the place. But it's here. And so am I. Hopefully I'll think of something funny in the next few days and post it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Time for Another Good Idea, Bad Idea

Good Idea:Going with your super awesome drama kids to their theater festival in Bay City which has been named "Love Fest" because any school can attend and it's for departments to be able to display their love of theater through performance of various one act plays. Jason and I had never gone with the kids to this event, mostly because we usually have Saturday classes, but this semester we had no Saturday classes so we decided to chaperone. It was fabulous to see the kids having fun the entire time they were there. They get to mingle with other schools and they have a lot of fun.....some of them have too much fun and have to be detached at the tonsils from whatever girl or boy from another school has attracted their attention, but over all there are not usually any major problems. The kids were pretty well behaved and they performed really well despite some technical problems, so I was pretty happy with the weekend.

Bad Idea:

Accidentally locking your most cuddly and chubby cat in your bedroom the morning that you leave for the weekend trip to Bay City. I'm not entirely sure how he got into the room. We usually close the door behind us whenever we enter or exit the bedroom, but for a 20 lb. ball of lard, he's pretty wiley. He managed to slip into the room without us noticing and I guess he must have gone straight under the bed, because we never saw him. Now, there is no litter box in my bedroom, and he wasn't discovered as being trapped until Jason's mom heard him meowing sometime on Saturday. We left at 7:40 a.m. on Friday, so that's a long time to go without a potty. So, what did my ever-resourceful kitty do? He made himself a potty.....on my bed. Yeah. We came home and didn't know he'd been locked in the room until Jason's mom mentioned it around 10, but at that time we hadn't noticed anything in the bedroom so we thought he had been able to hold it. Guess not. Jason crawled into bed around 11:00 and was like "It smells like cat pee!" because chubbs had apparently made quite a puddle in our mattress that had dried over the course of the weekend. That Except that it was no fun at all. So, at 11:10 at night, I'm soaking my mattress in Nature's Miracle (this stuff is a lifesaver) and trying to figure out how we're going to sleep on the soaked mattress, washing the comforter and sheets and trying to evacuate the smell from my room. And here's the thing, it's not like this is the first time a pet has peed in my bed. No, it's happened 3 times!!! First time was Sam sitting on our bed and peeing the night before we went on vacation....WHILE WE WERE IN IT! He has separation anxiety problems. He's an idiot. Second time was Jason's sister's cat, Pig, running into our room while we were getting ready for work one morning, sitting on the bed and just peeing. No, I have no idea why. So, what I want to know is, what is it about my bed that makes it so appealing to pee in?

Those pets are lucky I love them, or I'd kill them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Narrowing the Gap

So I had to read this article for class and do a Genre reflection on it, and a blog is a Genre so I'm doing it here.  Regular readers, you may want to skip this one as it has nothing to do with wondering who was the first to eat a pineapple, or weird things I think about when I can't sleep at night.  Or read it, if you're interested in education type stuff.

So I'm reading this article called "Narrowing the Gap between Readers and Books", which was...surprisingly short.  No, really, for an educational article, really short.  Anyway, the article talks about how getting students to read, and to want to read, narrows the achievement gap because it helps them perform well in other areas of their education.  Fair enough, I'm on board with that.  Then it goes on to talk about how multi-cultural literature actually helps students, particularly middle-school aged students who are on the verge of losing interest in reading, to maintain their focus and their desire to read.  Now, I can get on board with that too, to an extent.  Part of me wonders if it's the fact that the literature is multi-cultural that is getting students to want to read it, or if it's just because it's different from everything else school has been cramming into their heads for seven or eight years.  I guess I question whether this literature is grabbing kids from other cultures who have not been able to identify with any literature until they discovered books written by people from their culture, or if this is more wide spread and even the non-minority kids are jumping on board with African American lit and saying "Yeah, this is freakin' sweet".  I can see the merit of teaching literature from other cultures, but at some point I have to stop and look at things and say "You know....I'm still going to have to cover the standard literary canon because the school says so", and I wonder if that means I'm going to lose students by having them pay attention to that.  But, then I think that if I can get kids interested in reading literature from various cultures for fun, isn't that still narrowing the gap in a way?  I mean, the article talks about how reading just because you want to is as effective as any other form of reading, even if the kid is just reading comic books or graphic novels.  And to that point, does that make Manga multi-cultural?  No...really, I'm curious.  Do kids see Manga as a multi-cultural piece of of literature, and is that possibly why it's so popular?  Kids eat that stuff up like it's candy.  

I didn't like that the article mentioned lots of cultures, but it seemed to be slanted toward African American literature.  There's nothing wrong with that, but having come out of a high school and (almost) out of a college recently, there's a HUGE push to understand and appreciate African American literature in the classroom.  I think it's great, because it's been neglected for so long, but I think the heavy focus on it makes us forget that there are Asian, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern students in our classrooms, and while they can appreciate African American literature, they can't relate to it.  The study of African American lit was a great move toward inclusion when classrooms were basically either "black kids" or "white kids".  It covered all of your bases, but now our classrooms are so much more diverse and in some places they have become little microcosms of the globe, so we have to be careful to avoid excluding those kids too.  And then, of course, there is a part of me that says "Ok...but if we try to please everyone, does it end in us pleasing no one?" because inevitably some group is going to get left out, and that's just going to cause problems.  

I don't know, those were just the things I was thinking about when I read the article.  It was interesting and gave me some food for thought.

Future entries will resume talking about crazy things.  Perhaps next time I will blog about why you should NOT accidentally lock your cat in your room when you go out of town for 3 days, or why I feel weird when people don't get my obscure references in conversation.  But, that's for another day.

Becky: Live and on the Interwebs

So I did a discussion panel with Christopher Moore a couple of weeks ago, as I mentioned in a previous entry. Well now it's streaming live for all to see. Check it out here. There is very little of my actual face in the video, which is kind of fine 'cause I look like ick, but there's lots of my back, and lots of my friend British Jeff. You'll be able to figure out which one he is, since he's the British one. I thought there was only one video but they broke it down into chapters so you can click the menu on the right of the video window and see the other segments. I think they cut out some pretty funny stuff, but over all it's a nifty video. And it was fun to make!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ye Olde "HOLY CRAP"!

Working in the book industry, you tend to get a lot of exposure to different authors you might not otherwise pick up and read. When I worked at Waldenbooks, I got to check books out on a library style system so that employees could gain more product knowledge without actually having to spend all of their money on all of the books they were reading. It was pretty genius, especially for someone like me who was really only familiar with the authors I really liked and was reluctant to spend cash on books I wasn't sure I'd enjoy. So, since I was in charge of our fiction section, I spent day after day after day shelving books with interesting titles or by authors I hadn't heard of before. One day I was shelving books and I came across a title that immediately sparked my interest. It was called Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. I did a quick read of the synopsis on the back of the book and thought it sounded funny. I picked up a copy and took it into the break room with me when I went on my lunch break and read the prologue. I laughed like crazy and decided I had to read this book. So, I did. I read that one and the other two we had in stock by this guy and thought "This is some seriously funny stuff". So, when I finished the book I saw that he puts his e-mail in the "about the author" section of his books and I decided to send him an e-mail saying that I worked for a bookstore and I really enjoyed his books. This sounds creepy, but I should also add in that I e-mail restaurants whenever they give good service, stores when I have received good service from them, so basically whenever anyone goes above and beyond my expectations and I have an opportunity to thank them, I send along a little thank-you note. Anyway, I experienced the unexpected when he actually e-mailed me back and started a conversation. I did not expect that. So, I spent some time on his fan message boards, where there were not a ton of fans at the time, and when he was doing a signing at a Borders in Ann Arbor I asked if he'd mind stopping by my Walden store. So he did. Seriously, coolest guy ever right?

Fast forward to a few years later when I'm working in the corporate offices for Borders and get an e-mail from a co-worker saying Chris is going to be in the office one afternoon. Although having a written dialogue with him for years, I am still a bit reluctant for face to face contact with people I admire and think are totally awesome, so I walk past the room where he's signing books for buyers and inventory analysts and I hear "Fine Becky, just pretend I'm not here. I hate you now" as I walk past the room. So...I go in and we have a chat, which kind of bewildered the buyers in the room because we had pre-existing rapport, and then I got my book signed, left and went to the public signing with some other local people from the message boards that night. We had a good time, and that was that.

Fast forward again to two days ago when I check my Facebook and get a message from my friend British Jeff (I mention that he's British because I know several Jeff's and want to specify which one I'm talking about) saying to check the message boards because I'm needed. What? Right. So, I check the boards and see that Chris is doing a Live at 01 Borders book club taping here in Michigan on the 30th and there's a call out to me, Jeff and Steve (lives in the area as well) specifically to come do this book club discussion, so I'm like "Cool, I'm in!" because it sounds like fun. Well then I check my private messages on Myspace and Chris had sent me a request to attend this and I'm like "Wow, cool, I was specifically requested. I'm all flattered and stuff!" so now I'm going to go to Store 01 on the 30th and chat about his new book (see picture above) with some friends of mine and with Chris and have it taped to stream on the website. How freaking cool is that?!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

I can't really lie folks, whenever there's nothing on television worth watching, my TV is always set to HGTV. It's sad, but very very true. Plus, since there hasn't been anything new on TV since before Thanksgiving, that means I've been watching a LOT of HGTV. This wouldn't be a problem, except that it makes me want to do all kinds of crazy interior design junk. I've done renovations and painting etc. in the house we live in now, but I don't really want to do anything else to it because we'll NEVER see any return on it since we're not buying this house and also because there's not really a whole lot you can do to this place to make it not suck. In general, the house is crappy and has the worst layout ever so it's always going to be sucky. So, this of course makes me sit around wanting my own house like...A LOT. Although, there are a lot other reasons I want my own house at the moment, but HGTV isn't helping. I want to go in and like...paint stuff or arrange furniture and actually have some space to have more than 3 or 4 friends over at one time. But, since I don't have that, watching HGTV makes me want to go to other people's houses and paint their stuff for them, which probably wouldn't go over so well since not everyone has my taste. But makes me want to make people's ugly stuff pretty.

Damn you HGTV.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

80's Television

So I was sitting around last night when I couldn't sleep because my brain wouldn't shut off (this happens a lot) and I experienced the usual mind wandering that happens when my brain refuses to be quiet and go to sleep. So, while I was lying in bed, I started thinking about telelvision in the 1980's and how weird some of it was. For example, who was in a room pitching Doogie Howser, M.D.? I imagine the pitch going something like this:

"Ok we want to make a show for families, but it's geared mostly toward pre-teen and teen audiences. It's a show about a 14 year old kid, but he's a genius. Not only is he a genius, he's a doctor! That's right, he's a child prodigy who survived childhood lukemia and decided to become a doctor so he graduated from med school when he was 14 and now he works as a doctor in the same hospital as his dad. The brains and responsibility of this kid will be offset by his idiot best friend who will also serve as the comic relief of the show. What do you think?"

Exec: Nah, not interested.

"Did I mention that at the end of each episode he makes a profound and moral statement in a computer journal that will promote values and good morality?"

Exec: SOLD!

I think that might be how a lot of 80's tv shows were pitched. They probably had weird and basically crappy setups and the premise was usually not fantastic, but the minute you threw in "positive moral message" television studios ate it up like it was a snack cake. I think this is particularly true for shows that were aimed at younger audiences. That's probably how we ended up with Doogie. And what the hell kind of a name is Doogie anyway? I'd have changed that crap.

Thank goodness Neil Patrick Harris has been able to move on from his roots in bad 80's television. And admit he's gay. And do another tv show. And do Broadway. And be Dr. Horrible.