February 25, 2010

Surely we didn't get off THAT easily....

Those of you who know me well (all 5 of you) know that every winter I struggle with seasonal depression and the urge to crawl into a hole and not emerge from about November 1st through the beginning of July sometime.

This year hasn't been as bad as I've come to expect, and I'm not sure whether to credit living in a house with heat for the first winter of the last 8 or so years, or the fact that this winter has so far been extremely mild aside from a cold snap shortly before Christmas. Maybe it was a combination of the two. Either way, my recurring thought is, "Surely we didn't get off THAT easily..."

Because this is Oregon, and we've had deceptively mild winters before... you know, the ones where it is rainy and only moderately cold December through February, then it turns around and snows most of March and into early April. And if there's one thing I hate, it's snow. Take one thing I hate extremely (cold) and combine it with another thing I hate extremely (wet rainyness) and you get snow, a.k.a. "the ultimate evil".

And in other hellish events, we had an inservice today. Meetings are probably #1 on my list of things I hate, though snow is a very close #2. And the first speaker of the day was, I hate to say it, rather useless. He had some very good ideas, yes, provided that you're working with wealthy, upper-middle class children from stable, two-parent families (in the case of his center, most of the children were the children of university faculty). Unfortunately, catering to low-income, high-risk families is kind of what we do and a lot of what he was talking about just really isn't workable in our program, so why was this guy speaking anyway? Much less going on about it for 3 hours. On the plus side, he had some lovely books in Italian that I was reading during the 15 minute break in his 3 hours of drivel. I might look up some of the books later... or I might not. But really, a guy who got his master's degree in French Literature but speaks Italian better than French and still needs an interpreter for Italian is not to be trusted. With that admission when I asked him, he lost all credibility as far as I was concerned.

Also, who gets a master's degree in French Literature?! (Also, who gets a master's degree in French Literature, then goes on to get a doctorate in Early Childhood Ed.? Kind of a stretch, don't you think?) Also he was wearing four rings, none of which were wedding rings, and Wendy thought his shirt was tucked in weird. Nancy and I agreed.

No, I despise meetings (especially meetings disguised as "trainings" - call a spade a spade, people!) and I'm afraid I got up at 6:30 a.m. today only to be bored into a stupor for the better part of the day. TGI(my)F.

Song o' the Day: "Get Out Alive" by Three Days Grace. Because I thought I wasn't going to.

February 16, 2010

It's one of those days...

... in which I entertain wild fantasies about a job that does not in any way involve children.

I don't like children today.

Back in the days of the ELL department at MES, Vickie and I used to go out for a venting session in the parking lot after work. It was nice because we could talk about it and be done with it and for me at least it was a very effective method of leaving work at work, and then going home and thinking about other stuff. And we would always start these sessions with the question, "So, do you like children today?"

I most emphatically do not like children today, thanks for asking. Today was one of those days that makes me question why the heck I work in education. At least 14 of the children I adore on an individual basis, but put all 18 of them together and I don't like children. This is why I could never be a classroom teacher in a regular school. Being in a room with the same 30 children for a year trying to make them learn stuff that by and large they don't care about would make me homicidal, suicidal, or both.

And even on days like today, I still know why God put me where I'm at. Just since September, in the course of working with these kids and trying to help them vocalize their turbulent preschooler emotions (vocalize rather than haul off and smack someone) I myself have learned a lot about coping with my own emotions. I tend to be very reserved emotionally - someone very close to me told me shortly after my husband left me that I did not have the "luxury" of crying because it made me useless, and it left a lasting impression on me - and I tend to ignore my own emotions and shove them out of the way rather than processing them and dealing with them, and it isn't healthy. In the process of helping them recognize and label their feelings, I've learned to recognize and label my own. While teaching them that their emotions are okay and valid, I've learned that my own are okay and valid as well and I'm even beginning to recognize my breaking point before I reach it, which is a huge step for me. Just today (and Nancy probably didn't realize how significant this was), the kids were being awful, my stress levels were rapidly increasing, and it was getting harder and harder to not scream at the children, and finally I told Nancy, "I'm going to step outside for a few minutes before I snap." I went and sat on the front steps away from the kids in the sun for a few minutes, took some deep breaths, and I went back inside a few minutes later when I felt better. Like I said, Nancy probably didn't think a whole lot of it but for me that's a pretty big thing to recognize, vocalize and then deal with my own emotions.

I told Nancy when I met her that I'm pretty much just an overgrown four year old. But it seems maybe I'm progressing slightly.

So even though I know why I'm in the place I'm in now, there's still the question of "what next?" I don't see me working in my current capacity forever... especially not at only 22 hours a week. I was just telling Nancy today I thought it would be nice to at some point have one job that paid me enough that I didn't need to have three jobs. I don't know where I go from here, but it is abundantly clear to me that God has the plan and he knows what he's doing... I'm just along for the ride.

Song o' the Day: "Check My Brain" by Alice in Chains. Awesome song. Go look it up.

February 14, 2010

Y'know what's depressing?

Valentine's Day is depressing.

Reading Craigslist personal ads is depressing. A whole, polluted sea teeming with retarded sealife. Some of them seem like decent enough guys, aside from the fact that they're dumber than a box of radishes (this is, for me, a deal-breaker). The majority, however, are arrogant jerks going on about what a "hot commodity" they are and how they're a "limited time offer". If that's really the case, why do you need to post on CL? Surely if you're that fantastic of a catch, you could just stand out on a busy street corner and the girls would be all over you. (Though I suppose that's only legal in certain parts of Nevada.) Normally I wouldn't bother depressing myself by reading ads on Craigslist, but I figure on Valentine's Day I'm depressed enough already and it can't very well get much worse.

I think next year maybe I'll just try drinking. I've never been properly drunk before, and Valentine's Day seems like the perfect time...

Next year I may have to swear off social networking entirely for the month of February. So it's the 4 zillionth V-Day you've spent with *insert name here*... fabulous. Why don't you go spend time with that person rather than posting about it on Facebook? Because let me tell you, if I could only get Wong over on this continent, I wouldn't be sitting around posting on Facebook about it.

Come to think of it, if I could get Wong over on this continent, I wouldn't have to get depressed enough to browse Craigslist.

Why is the rum gone?

Song o' the Day: "Dear Agony" by Breaking Benjamin. (lyrics below)

I have nothing left to give
I have found the perfect end
You remain to make it hurt
Disappear into the dirt
Carry me to heaven's arms
Light the way and let me go
Take the time to take my breath
I will end where I began
And I'll find the enemy within
' Cause I can feel it crawl beneath my skin

Dear agony, just let go of me
Suffer slowly, is this the way it's gotta be?
Dear agony...

Suddenly the lights go out
Let forever drag me down
I will fight for one last breath
I will fight until the end
And I'll find the enemy within
'Cause I can feel it crawl beneath my skin

Dear agony, just let go of me
Suffer slowly, is this the way it's gotta be?
Don't bury me, faceless enemy
I'm so sorry... is this the way it's gotta be?
Dear agony

Leave me alone
God let me go
I'm blue and cold
Black sky will burn
Love tore me down
Hate lift me up
Just turn around
There's nothing left

Somewhere far beyond this world...
I feel nothing anymore

Dear agony, just let go of me
Suffer slowly, is this the way it's gotta be?
Don't bury me, faceless enemy
I'm so sorry... is this the way it's gotta be?
Dear agony

I feel nothing anymore

February 12, 2010

Be my anti-Valentine...

If you're in a happy, functional romantic relationship or you just happen to like the upcoming-offensive-holiday-which-shall-not-be-named, you may want to skip reading this blog. You can just scroll down to the bit where there's a big long line of asterisks (*), because that part will be more interesting to you and might not burst your happy bubble.

I'll wait for you to leave.

Still waiting...

Some poetry while we wait....

I don't need your flowers
They'll just go to waste
I don't want your candy
'Cause I don't like the taste

Okay, now that the undesirables have cleared out, the rest of us are going to have a little talk about this holiday, here. First, the history of it is pretty shaky. There were not one, but in fact two "saint Valentines", both of whom according to Catholic tradition were martyred and coincidentally are buried on the same street in Italy. One of them happens to have been buried on February 14th... how romantic. Anything you may have heard about one of them tossing love letters out of his cell window or anything like that is at best unsubstantiated legend and at worst complete fiction. There's nothing to back that up. And there was, in fact, a third Valentine who also got killed, but he died in Africa and nothing else is known about him really. It must have been a popular name back in the day.

So the history of it is pretty iffy anyway, and then you see what we've done with it... it's gone the way of Christmas - pure commercialization. It was a nice idea to start with, I suppose, but I know many people - men in particular - who dread the day because they know if they don't find just the right gift for their wife/girlfriend, it's gonna be hell. I was more impressed last year by one of my few female friends who on V-day posted on her longtime boyfriend's MySpace page, "F*** Valentine's Day... I love you all year!" That was really the best thing I've ever seen, and I'm about to explain to you why.

I'm stealing a bit from a Foamy rant here, but what V-day boils down to in these times is basically legalized prostitution. (Among non-married couples, naturally.) A guy who is pretty much a jerk the other 364 days of the year will buy girlfriend a gift on this one day and be nice, with the expectation that she will put out on that day. "Here's some chocolate... sleep with me." "Here's some flowers... sleep with me." And even presuming that the guy isn't a jerk the other 364 days of the year, why do we need one day in particular in which we are to express our love? Shouldn't we be doing it all year? If we reserve it for just one day, basically we're doing what we did to Christmas. (Celebrating Jesus only on December 25th rather than all year as was intended, and by "we" I mean society collectively.)

And yes, I am single and slightly bitter about that. But even when I have been in relationships on said holiday in the past, I have been pretty content to let the day slide under my radar (in so much as you can when all the world is red and pink and swarming with winged naked babies and all your friends have changed their Facebook statuses to pictures of them and their significant other - usually a wedding pic, but sometimes just a cutesy couple pic - proudly proclaiming "This is the ___th Valentine's day that ______ and I have celebrated together!"). If I love someone, I'm going to do it every day. I don't need a special holiday for it.

And if you needed further proof that this is a purely commercial holiday, Kmart already has moved the V-day crap aside so they can stock the shelves with Easter stuff.

On to other topics now, I have recently become enamored of a new band - Halestorm. Some of you may have heard of them but been put off by their current single which is getting way too much airplay on KUFO and is sort of obnoxious  and repetitive.... a little ditty called "I Get Off", which may in fact just plain be too racy for some.

If you go digging back in their archives a little (and there's not very far to dig, since their album just came out in late 2009) you can find a much better song that I've had stuck in my head for several days now called "It's Not You." Other fabulous tracks from them are "Better Sorry than Safe" and "Innocence".

Song o' the Day will obviously be "It's Not You" by Halestorm, but just for something different I'm going to put the lyrics down here so you can read how fantastically catty it is, and then go listen to it because it sounds even better.

I'm in love with somebody
Found someone who completes me
I'm in love with somebody, oh yeah
And it's not you

Read my finger, whatcha gonna do?
See these lips? They're all done talkin' to you
I don't mean to bruise your ego
But I've had you nailed down for so long
And I don't see your name on my tattoo

Hope you understand
It's been a long time coming
It's for the best
No offense

I'm in love with somebody
Found someone who completes me
I'm in love with somebody, oh yeah
And it's not you!

I know who you think you are
Sorry I've turned you on but I'm kissing you off
Your lines and whiskey and cigarettes
They're not enough to make me forget
I've got someone who has raised the bar

I've heard it all before
Stop spinning your wheels
I'll show you the door
No hard feelings

I'm in love with somebody
Found someone who completes me
I'm in love with somebody, oh yeah
And it's not you!

You've probably never been shot down before
I'll try and make it easier...

I'm in love with somebody
Found someone who completes me
I'm in love with somebody, oh yeah
And it's not you!
It's not you!

And as if that wasn't cool enough, here's a little poem I committed to memory years ago. I forget where I heard it, so my apologies to whoever I may have stolen it from.

I hold your hand in mine, dear
I press it to my lips
I take a healthy bite from
Your dainty fingertips
My joy would be complete, dear
If only you were here
But I still keep your hand
As a precious souvenir
The night you died, I cut it off
I really don't know why
For now each time I kiss it
I get bloodstains on my tie
I'm sorry now I killed you
I really don't know why
And 'til they come to get me
I shall hold your hand in mine

February 9, 2010

Forecast: February blahs fading into spring freakout...

Generally March is, for me at least, the interminable month of rainy, soggy longness. So I guess it's fittingly ironic and well in accordance with my life that this year, it seems February has taken over as the interminable month of rainy, soggy longness - and February only has 28 days.

Don't know what it is lately, but my hibernation drive is whining at me a lot for not staying in bed and, well, hibernating.

In general I still like the people I work with, but the interminable month of rainy, soggy longness seems to be having adverse effects on the children... so far this week at work has been a small, soggy slice of hell. I don't know if it's just early spring freakout or what. The daffodils behind the center have certainly been confused by this unusually mild winter we're having (not that I'm complaining about that)... maybe the kids' little biological clocks have been confused also.

Spring freakout, for those of you who don't work in education, generally happens right around spring break. It's why spring break was invented... so the kids could go cause havok somewhere else for a week. This probably used to work, but nowadays when kids are home from school Mom plunks them down in front of a TV with a DVD and tells them to shut up, thus burning off exactly no excess energy and coming back to school even worse than they started. From spring break on, teachers count the days until summer vacation, because the kids just get crazier. (Prime teachable time is considered to be that space in between New Year's and spring break... no major holidays to interfere with things, and hopefully the spring freakout doesn't set in too early.)

March had just better not last as long as February seems to be lasting... I'm rather looking forward to the latter part of March, and I'd hate to see the whole first part drag.

Song o' the Day: "It's Not You" by Halestorm.

February 6, 2010

DDR, how I've missed thee....

I did two things yesterday. The first was to dye my hair fire engine red, but most of you probably are used to me doing that sort of thing and did not just bat any eyelashes. The second thing I did, however, was to buy DDR (Dance Dance Revolution, for you uneducated types) for the Wii.

This second thing could have long-ranging consequences.

DDR and I have a long history together. Back in the days of my first (and so far only) marriage my then-husband and I purchased the Disney version of the game for Playstation - the original Playstation... 2 hadn't been invented yet. I don't remember why we did it, but I remember getting hooked pretty quickly. It was my first brush with the genre of rhythm gaming that would later spawn Guitar Hero/Rock Band. Also, and perhaps more importantly, it's one heck of a workout. Back in those far-flung days of, oh, 2003 or so, the Spineless Worm and I would have DDR competitions. I had actually fashioned an elaborate scoresheet, we would both do every song on the game and record our scores, and the winner got bragging rights. It was fantastic.... we both usually wound up sweaty and gasping (and in his case, partially dressed), his then-wife would laugh at us a lot because she was too prissy to engage in that sort of thing, and we were probably in much better shape then than we are now.

Then my brother borrowed my Playstation. And failed to give it back. Ever.

I sort of forgot about the game. Forgetting it was a lot easier with the advent of Guitar Hero and Rock Band to satisfy my rhythm gaming needs. Those games, however, are mostly finger work (arm and right leg work if you're playing drums) and my poor left leg was getting neglected. Wii Fit has helped somewhat with that, but I still suck at any yoga poses that involve balancing on my left leg.

Fast forward to yesterday, February 5th, 2010. I was browsing Wal-Mart just for kicks because it was my day off and my son was at school and I could, and I just happened to stumble across DDR for Wii. No cutesy Disney songs this time... this version has Lady Gaga and Black-Eyed Peas and even Weezer. Still horribly addictive, however. I put in mucho tiempo yesterday, though I'm not sure how much, got mostly E's and D's (DDR has no F, it has E) and sorta felt like I was gonna have a heart attack. At that point I realized how little cardio I actually do anymore... lots of balance/strength stuff, but virtually zero cardio. :( Today was much better, however. I did about an hour, did not feel like I was going to die, and got lots of C's and B's, a couple of A's, and even one AA. I had a little conversation with the Spineless Worm about this earlier and mentioned the fact that it has been about 7 years since I played the game. He said he last played at an arcade less than a year ago, and he plays anytime he gets the chance. So probably we are not ready for another elaborate competition just yet (at least I'm not), but I'm strangely glad to have the game back.

DDR and I need to not break up again. 7 years of separation is too long. And if Quinn tries to steal my Wii, I will kill him. :)

Song o' the Day: "Just Dance"  by Lady Gaga (because I've played it on DDR so many times today that it's stuck in my head)