Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Writer's Strike

This is to notify you that I am going on a writer's strike and I will not be posting anything new until my contract is negotiated, or until next year, which ever is sooner. Sorry for the wait.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Toothpaste, toilets, & technicalities

My mom has this toothpaste at her house made especially for sensitive teeth. Every time I use it, it makes me foam at the mouth like a dog with rabies. I use less than a pea sized drop, but still, it's a foam party in my mouth every time. I wasn't curious enough to compare the ingredients list to that of my regular toothpaste, so I'm not sure what the cause is.

While we are on the topic of toothpaste, which is stored in bathrooms, I'd like to shift to the topic of bathrooms in general, mainly, the point of carpet in bathrooms. I mean, really? Are you serious? Blue shag by the toilet? Who thought of that idea? Not that the bathroom at my parents' house has blue shag. It totally doesn't. It has really cold tile. But my great-grandma's house used to have this really nubby tan carpet in the bathroom. I thought it was weird. Because it is, right? I mean, you wouldn't put carpet in a kitchen, so why the bathroom?

Also, I am fairly certain that there was pink carpet in the bathroom of the Tanner's house on Full House. However, due to the fact that my cable has been cancelled for, oh, six months, I cannot watch a re-run to confirm this suspicion. But I am pretty sure that on the episode where Stephanie dropped her mother's jewelry down the sink, there was carpet in the bathroom. Now, I know it was just a set with a fake bathroom, but why bother to put carpet in a faux bathroom? Why? Because it was cheap. Cheaper than tile. They probably just had it sitting around, so the set designers threw it down and stapled it to the floor.

This may be TMI for you, but while we are on the topic of bathrooms, I'm going to share a toilet story with you. While I was in Mexico (where actual seats are a luxury and toilet paper costs tres pesos) I was at a park that had mini toilets for kids. They were super tiny and I decided to pop a squat over one of these rather than balance myself precariously over a seatless adult sized toilet. It was a lot easier to use the kid sized ones since I have short legs. This is one thing I don't get: Mexico can't afford to outfit their public toilets with seats, yet they have cute mini toilets. Why haven't I seen these in America? I think our parks should have child sized porcelain thrones as well.

This is totally off topic, and you are probably glad for that, considering all the toilet talk, but I just remembered it because of the sentence I just wrote, "I think our..." Two nights ago I was reading Jerry Spinelli's new book Smiles To Go, when I noticed something funny on page 49. It said "It's just that we all have are differences, nothing in common." I was like, excuse me, but that is supposed to be our, not are. I know that when we speak, we often slur the vowel and make it sound like are, but it's not. You would think that in writing, in a published book, someone would have caught this. Maybe I should change my profession to a copy editor.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Insults

If you know anything about my life, then you may know that there is a notorious figure in my life named Aunt Marta. Aunt Marta hides under the guise of many people I know. She's old, she's middle-aged, she's overweight and filled with prodding questions, she's stick thin and points her bony finger at me. Whatever form she takes, her core personality stays the same: rude and pestering. And her question is always the same. Even during Christmas, there is just one thing on her mind. It doesn't help that my sister just got married."So, when's Joelle going to find a man?" she asks, referring to myself in the third person, as if I'm not sitting right there. To which I reply "The same time you lose twenty pounds." Which you know, could be a while. A look of astonishment comes across her face; she can't believe I've been so insulting. Because like her thyroid condition, there's little I can do to help it (getting a guy, I mean, not being insulting). We stare at each other for a while. It's not something I'm going to take back, or laugh jokingly about. What I will do is shift the topic from her impeding obesity to my increased morbidity. “It’s fine though,” I tell her. “I’ve already got my funeral all planned out. It’s going to be very Corpse Bride. I want to be buried in my cream white prom dress, with a bouquet of white roses and a long veil draped over my iridescent, deathly white skin.” She stares even more. Because I really did just share my funeral arrangements over dessert at a Christmas party. Only—not.

Sorry. None of that happened at all. I’m not that exciting. I didn’t even tell her she was fat. Fat people know, just like single people are keenly aware that they are single. Comments do not need to be made. After she said, “So, when’s Joelle getting a husband?” (because unfortunately, that part really did happen), I just sat there and gave a 1/8th of a smile in silence. Because WTF, I’m sorry, but what kind of response am I supposed to give? “Oh, according to my life plan that always goes perfectly, he’s scheduled to arrive on April 21, 2009”? Previous deadlines have passed. Back to the question that Aunt Marta asked. It was a stupid question that no one could answer. Fortunately for me, my mother was sitting right next to me and she rescued me by saying something and then changing the topic, because like I said, I just sat there in silence, staring at the floor.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Midnight Tryst

I am sneaking some time with the computer while my dad is asleep. First off, I have to say that I am hesitant to type as this keyboard is absolutely disgusting. It practically has fur. There are dust and hairs and crumbs and the tab key is jammed down, probably because something fell in between the cracks. I know what I should have gotten my dad for Christmas: canned air. Then maybe he'd clean his keyboard once every three years. I would totally leave and go to the store to buy some, minus the fact that there is six to seven inches of snow on the ground. I actually have not set foot outside of the house since I got here Saturday morning. I have plans to construct a snowman the size of myself, and to get some food dye, water, and spray bottles and graffiti the stark white lawn. You know, bright red letters saying SOS.

I am afraid of starvation. It may be the holidays, but considering the vastly different diet of myself compared to my parents, and the fact that I can't go to the store, I may die. So far I have eaten Doritos for two meals. I was excited to find some carrot sticks and ranch in the fridge, but upon closer inspection the carrots were slimy. I bought orange juice and a tub of vanilla yogurt for my first night at Jess' house because we were making breakfast for dinner. I brought the leftovers with me and have been eating that as well.

Pretty much I have just done some extensive reading, a bit of art (looked through my high school portfolio--who knew I had such talent!), cleaned my closet, watched a movie, and slept in. I woke up to the sound of my dad starting his snow mobile for a quick trip down the road. My mom has two kittens hiding out in the old garage and I plan on smuggling them into the house tomorrow. Heavens knows there are plenty of places to hide them. I could just keep them in my bathtub and no one would know.

During the cleaning of my closet, I found some childhood evidence that may make for an interesting blog. You'll have to wait for that until I get back to my house where I have my computer and scanner.

Oh! I forgot what else I did. I was at the table eating Doritos for lunch when my dad silently puts this printed page in front of my face. Results of an online IQ test, apparently. He smugly pointed out that he was at the very top of the spectrum. He says I should take the test. I was like, what is the URL? Tickle.com he tells me. Sounds very credible. Only because I am utterly bored, and it means he will actually let me use the computer, do I take the test. I log in and start the first page of questions. He's sitting right there, breathing down my neck. "I think I'd do better if you weren't watching me," I say. I get to one question and spend like nine minutes thinking about it, so he leaves. But he comes back periodically to judge my intelligence. I finish question forty, print the page, and give it to him. Ha! Sucker. We got the exact same score. The results just said I was higher in linguistic ability, instead of mathematics, like he was. He thinks this is odd and starts to question the validity of the test. Oh sure, when he was a genius, it was fine, but when he finds out I scored the same, I can't be a genius too. I'm not saying that I am. I think the test was semi-ridiculous. To say I landed in the top three percentile is a bit ludicrous. I don't think I'm that smart. There are zillions of people smarter than me. My dad tries to get my mom to take the test, but she refuses because she knows he'll just make fun of her. Smart choice.

Now I am going to go sanitize my fingers because this keyboard is seriously sick. Oh, btw, I did not fall at all today. But the bruise on my leg has blackened.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Perfect Adventure and Falling on My Face

This is probably the last time I will have access to internet for like, seven days. Once I leave my sister's and go to the great cavernous abyss that is my parent's house, I will likely not have the chance to do anything on-line. I am pretty sure they are still rocking the dial-up like they were in 1998, so frustrations mount and I give up before my e-mail log-in even loads. Additionally, my dad is like a computer Nazi and from past experience I found it hard to even get fifteen minutes with the computer. I would have stayed at my house, but my mother seems to think that if I hadn't made a break for it when I did, I would have been stuck there all next week and miss Christmas.

Pretending like I hadn't been able to drive to Jess' yesterday, I could have executed the perfectly brilliant adventure that Jess had planned for me. I called her, telling her how we had five inches of fresh powder, and she says "Jo, I have the perfect adventure!" She then proceeded to tell me how I had forty minutes to pack my bag and get to the Carts bus that leaves at noon. From there, I would need to take the bus to Salem, and then take bus number eleven, which would deposit me one block from her house. She had checked all the routes and bus times and everything. It sounded like an exciting plan, because I have never ridden any bus in Oregon by myself. The thrill of public transportation! I was already to drag my Adidas duffel bag through the snow to get to the bus stop, but then I called Carts and they said they weren't running on Friday or Saturday, thus, the plan was foiled.

Eventually I was desperate enough and deemed it safe enough to attempt an escape, and I did so. It wasn't snowing when I left, but then fifteen minutes down the road it was like I was taking a ride inside a dryer with a brand new white towel. Snow was flying at me in big chunks like soft lint balls and it made me dizzy. That ended and I got to Jess's house okay. We went shopping because neither of us had done any Christmas shopping, I cooked french toast for her, Travis, and Sara for dinner (Travis made bacon--YUMMY, and Jess made diced potatoes), we went in the hot tub, and that leads me to ridiculous event number three in the past 48 hours.

So you all know I dislocated my knee cap in the parking lot of Winco, fell into a puddle of black gritty mud, and was quite pissed about it. Well, the next day (yesterday) I was in the bathroom quickly gathering up all my stuff to leave, still wearing bagging PJ pants, when I stepped backwards, tripped on a pantleg, and dislocated my kneecap again. This time I fell directly toward the bathtub. If I had fallen backwards instead of forwards, I would have conked my head, gotten a concussion, and still be lying there until Natalie found me a day later. As fate would have it, I fell forward. This means I had to use my arms to prevent my face from smashing into the hard tub, so I threw out both my arms and landed roughly. My elbow still hurts really badly on my left arm, and my right arm is really sore. I thought I'd have impressive bruises as evidence, but I rolled up my sleeve to show Jess and nothing was there. Not to worry, because I would still have a chance for an additional fall and consequencing bruises. After getting out of the hot tub, I put one foot on the step, which had become dislodged from it's spot (thanks to Jess' Rottweiler who kept coming up on it to visit us). With one leg on unstable ground and the other one in the air, I did an impressive flip, rolled on the steps, and landed on the cement patio in some mud. We got into the house and I checked out my upper leg. Not two minutes had passed and I already had this gross raised bump. I checked on it fifteen minutes later and it had already turned blue. This morning it's kind of purple. It hurts like hell. So here is the gist of it: I dislocated my right knee cap twice within two days, but my knee is not sore at all. Instead, I have two sore arms and a freaking sore leg with an impressive bruise.

I think there may be a mathematical pattern here. I fell once the first day and twice the second day. That means I should fall three times today. Kind of makes me want to sit on the couch the whole day.

I probably should leave my sister's house before my mom calls for the fourth time wondering where I am. I will likely be bored out of my mind considering she has virtually no internet and only three fuzzy TV channels, but I did go to the library before leaving town. I checked out five books and four magazines, so hopefully it will last me. Then I can just sit without the possibility of falling on my face again.

Merry Christmas. I think you're cute ; ) Yeah, that was for you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

F^#@!ng Hell

I told Natalie the other day that I didn't have anything to blog about because I haven't gone anywhere. Well, who knew so much could go wrong in 34 short minutes. I was supposed to get my hair cut today at 4, so at 3:40 I went out to my car to leave. I stuck my key in the ignition and it just made some sort of sick puffing noise at me. I could not get it to start. I held the key for a long while, but it sounded awful so I stopped. I popped the hood and did an inspection. Like I could tell if anything was wrong. I called my mom, who was not really helpful, then I called Natalie. Then I went out to my car to try again. I held the key in the ignition and it made the same sort of sick, rattling noise. Then I watched as the hood began to shake. I thought my whole car might blow up with me inside. Eventually it started with a little cough. I slowly went for a drive around the block to test it out. It kept making a strange ticking sound at me. I had already missed my hair appointment, but figured maybe I could drive to Les Schwab and just have someone take a little peek at it. After a while (when the car started to warm up more) the ticking noise eventually died off. I pulled into a parking lot and turned my car off, then started it again to see if the ticking would come back. I drove to an alternate parking location. All seemed once again normal. It is a really good thing school was cancelled today, because otherwise I would have been very late to work.

Having no food, I got out of my car and trudged across the parking lot to go buy some groceries. I should have just gone home. Halfway to my destination I slip or something and fall into a nasty, gritty, black puddle. Not just any regular friendly puddle, but the crap that is left after it has snowed. And I didn't just slip like normal people. I dislocated a knee cap. I was on my stomach, wriggling around in the mud, trying to pull it back into line with the rest of my bones. I thought I got it, so I just sort of laid there for a while, but then wondered why the hell my hip/leg joint hurt so bad. Turns out I was still quite twisted. I felt for my knee cap and discovered it was still popped out four inches to the right. I grabbed it, shoved it back into place, and then crawled for the curb to try to sit out of the direct water. It's at times like this in your life that you look around and see how many people witnessed the excruciating fall. Some guy parked in his car had gotten a movie theater view. He got out of his car and asked me if I was okay.

Normally I would have been, but at this point my voice was all shaky and cry-like because it hurt effing bad, considering my bone had been sticking out of place for a good two minutes. "Well, sort of. I'll be okay. I just need to sit for about ten minutes." He asked if I was sure. I said I'd survive, so he got back in his car. I sat on the curb, coat and jeans smeared with black mud, as a woman and her daughter walked by. They gave me a weird look and I gave a pathetic smile back. Then a hispanic man and his baby came to ask me if I was okay. I tried to explain that my knee cap had dislocated, and then I would be able to walk in a little while.
In case you were wondering, this is what a dislocated knee-cap looks like. You can see the knobby part has slipped out to the side. This is a picture of some guy I got off of the internet, and I have to say that my dislocated knee cap has looked much more impressive. Had I had a camera at all the times of my falls, I would have snapped a photo of it, because there are only about five people I know who have actually seen my knee cap out of line. Most of the time I shove it back myself before anyone can get a glimpse. But it looks a lot like this, only worse.
Time passed in the cold, as snowflakes speckled my dirty coat, and I finally felt good enough to try to hobble back to my car. I got mud all over the seat, got home, stripped, put all the muddy clothes in the washer, and then was going to sit down to write of all my anger. But I thought I'd call my mom back to tell her I had gotten my car to start. It was then that I could not locate my phone. I looked all around my room, stopped the washer and checked all the soaking wet pockets, went out to my car to check, and then gave up. I do not know where the hell my phone is. You should try to call me, so if it is somewhere in my house, I can find it. Understand if I miss your call. I seriously don't know where it is. I had talked to Natalie three minutes before getting out of my car, so it couldn't have gone far. And that is the story of my effing 34 minutes from hell.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The heart of a blue whale

is as big as a VW bug. Crazy, I know. I am currently enjoying my second day off from work due to blizzard like conditions. While some people are mad that they are snowed in, I am perfectly content to not leave my house until Friday--because that means I won't have to go to work. I finished watching all the Party of Five episodes I got from the library, and in a few hours I need to walk down the street to pay the garbage bill and I will stop in for some more DVDs/books at la biblioteca.

On Friday (or Saturday morning) I am going to be reckless and dye my hair. I haven't told my mom because she'd probably freak. I've never so much as highlighted my hair. She likes to say "God made your hair beautiful as it is." It's not like I hate my hair color, I totally don't. I just figured I'd do something semi-exciting during winter break. I'm not doing it until after Friday on the off-chance I have to go to work. If it's a disaster, I'll have two weeks for it to fade before going back to school.

Some people already know this, but I just want to tell you that my sister received seven crock pots for her wedding. Seven. Because six wasn't enough.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Library Card

Excellent book by Jerry Spinelli, by the way. I've been reading The Library Card to my kids and they love it. Plus, it gives them a clue to how much reading can impact your life. I've had the exact same library card since I was 8 years old. Surprisingly, I have not lost it. I have misplaced it many times, but never lost it. My third grade signature wore off years ago and I had to resign it in black sharpie. Now that one is wearing off, too.

I remember exactly what I was wearing the day I got my library card. It was a very important day, with no photographical evidence except for the image imprinted in my brain. I was wearing green jeans and this flower printed shirt that was made out of kind of an itchy fabric. It had pink, green, and yellow flowers on it, with three little buttons coming down the front. Additionally, I was wearing this incredibly stylish denim hat. You know, where the floppy part is pinned up in the front with this super cute purple flower? I had to wait in line forever to get my card, and there was this 12 year old girl in front of me. She was wearing a pink shirt. My mom filled out all the forms so I could get my card, and then I signed it. Totally official.

I went to the library today and was absolutely thrilled to discover that in the DVD section they have the first season of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman! The best pioneer show from my child hood, with the ever hot Sully. I am totally watching the first episode after I finish this blog. I also found that they have episodes of Party of Five. I never watched Party of Five when I was young, but Matthew Fox is part of the cast. I figured it would be entertaining to watch him when he was young. BTW, totally disappointed by his role in Vantage Point. I thought he'd have more of a leading role. I was wrong. And he ended up being a loser bad guy. I need to watch some episodes of LOST to make up for it.

Lately at the library I have been checking out lots of books on tape. I listen to them in the car during my ungodly long drives home from work, when I am stuck in five o'clock traffic until six o'clock. I discovered a long-cut shortened time route, though. It only took me ten minutes to get over the bridge instead of forty. It's a longer distance, but worth it. I get in the far right lane where nobody wants to be, go up by the mall, turn on a one way street, then go around a block and drive away from the bridge. Then I go down by Liberty Plaza and cruise up the bridge from the other side. But in case this route does not always prove time effective, I've got books to listen to. I think that's what I'm going to miss the most from where I am living now--my extremely close proximity to the library. I will most likely never again live so close to such a wonderful building.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random thoughts from the week

From a distance it looked like some poor, pathetic minimum wage worker wearing a lion costume, only like he had taken the huge head off to take a smoke. Which, you know, was weird considering it was 7:53 in the morning (not the nicotine addiction part, but who wears such a costume so early?) I drove closer and realized it was just some large-ish teenager wearing a tan velour jumpsuit. A guy. Probably trying to look like a pimp. But all he looked like was a furry character out of The Lion King.

During lunch one day this kid got chicken nuggets. I walked past him while he was eating, and discovered he had drawn a smiley face out of ketchup on each individual nugget. Two little red-dotted eyes and a sloppy ketchup grin. I had to smile, despite the fact I wanted to pull my hair out that day.

I was in line at Big Town Hero when this old couple came in, all wrinkly and moth ball smelling with glasses and grayed hair. I watched them and wondered, when is the point that a wife wakes up and is like, "honey, you look old" ? Because obviously the aging process takes a while, but I'm sure the dude looked significantly different than his high school prime. Does she still think he's cute?

Sadly, lately I have been eating a lot of crap. Kaitlynn knows. She saw the grease ball, fake cheese quesadilla I got from Muchas Gracias the other day. I'm at a point in my sad, pathetic life where food just no longer matters. I shove some crusty old bagel down my throat in the morning not because I feel like eating, but because I know I should consume something to keep me from passing out in front of my students. This is disgusting, but I had (I say had, not have, because I just took care of the problem a half hour ago) all these plastic bags sitting in my room full of the leftovers from my lunches. I'd throw them away at school but typically they are full of silverware and tupperware from home, so I bring them back. Anyway, I was going through these sick-o bags and realized how much food I did not have time/feel like eating at school. And the amount of shitty microwavable frozen dinners I have recently consumed has grown exponentially. Anyone a personal chef?

My sister and brother-in-law (BROTHER-IN-LAW...so weird to see in writing) are coming back from their honeymoon on Sunday. Mostly I am excited for their return because I haven't gotten to go in her hot tub for a few weeks, due to crazy weddingness. But Christmas break starts next Friday at 3:30pm, and I know where I'm going afterwards.

Doesn't the price of gas scare you? Like, how many people got shot to make fuel prices would go down so much over the past two months? It hasn't been down past $1.89 since I graduated from high school. I am not necessarily comforted by the amount of money I have been saving. What's going on?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Fairy God-Pimp

“I don’t think you know what this word really means,” I say to one of my students. We are writing a short story, imagining if we had a fairy godmother/godfather, and what our wishes would be. Keeping it creative, we made our fairy god person into what ever we wanted. For example, I had a secret fairy god-agent who I met in Budapest. Some children chose to have fairy god-puppies, or fairy god-cars, or fairy god-princesses. One kid chose to have a fairy god-pimp, and he wished to go to New York and to learn how to be a hustler.

He tells me he knows what it means. “Someone who’s like, really tight.” I tell him the actual definition and ask him to change it, because I plan on posting these art/writing projects up, and I don’t need the principal seeing that.

Some pimp’n information, courtesy of Wikipedia:

A pimp finds and manages clients for prostitutes and engages them in prostitution in order to profit from their earnings.

At the top there is the pimp who runs the business. Below the pimp is the "bottom girl." She acts in a way like an office manager, keeping tabs on the "track" when the pimp is away, keeping the pimp informed of the law enforcement activity, and collecting money from the prostitutes. The bottom girl can be especially important when the pimp is incarcerated

The pimps recognize a hierarchy among themselves. The least respected, or newer pimps, are the "popcorn pimps", "wanna-bes", and "hustlers". A pimp who uses violence and intimidation to control his prostitutes is called a "gorilla pimp, while those pimps that use psychological trickery to deceive the younger prostitutes into becoming hooked into the system are called "finesse pimps." Lastly, the successful and established pimps are called "players."

Losing one's prostitute to another pimp is known as getting "peeled". Informing a pimp that one of his prostitutes has switched pimps is a professional courtesy.

The pimp business has an internal structure for dealing with rule breakers built around violence. For example, pimps have been known to employ a "pimp stick," which is two coat hangers wrapped together, in order to subdue unruly prostitutes. A variation is a "pimp cane". Another punishment for unruly prostitutes is to "trunk" them. The pimps lock the prostitutes in the trunk of a car to teach them a lesson.

While I did not present all of this information to my 4th grade student, in the end he chose to have a fairy god-rapper. Probably one with a gold grill.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Best Blog Ever, Part 2

Okay, when I left you last I had just finished buying condoms at Wal-mart and had ran into a former student of mine. After getting all of the needed kinky bachelorette supplies, I raced to my sister's house to decorate. I made a big deal out of the posters I had bought to my sister (she lives quite near the Adult Shop and Bob's Adult Books). I joked that she would be quite surprised. I hung up the poster of Zac Efron from High School Musical and the Jonas Brothers. Then we left for dinner at the Roadhouse. While at the Best Little Roadhouse, waiting for a table, I see yet another student and his parents. Perfect. I'm thinking, all I want is to not see any parents at the bars. Because parent teacher conferences are on Monday. I don't need parents to see me doing crazy things at bars. And worse (better?) yet, I don't need parents flirting with me at bars (eew, gross).

Dinner goes fine, then we go back to Jess' house for some games. They were pretty interesting but not nearly as interesting as when we went to the bars, so I will skip over the Condom Relay (my team lost, go figure), Eat My Cherry (Britt won), and Can You Blow. We pretty much died laughing. For the bars, there were two games planned: Suck for a Buck where each girl wore a candy necklace and attempted to get guys to bite off a candy for a dollar, and the scavenger hunt.

We got to Copper John's (which was quite packed) and ordered some drinks. I am quite pissed to report that my drink cost seven bucks and I drank it within ten minutes. We were paired up for the scavenger hunt, instantly looking for guys with mullets, Chinese or dragon tattoos, and condoms. I got three guy's phone numbers (two of whom I already knew--thanks Quinn and Hanus--is that how you spell your name?), and my sister got a guy to go out to his truck and get two gold packaged Magnum condoms. Haha. We also got several guys to write on napkins all the reasons why Jess should marry them and not her fiancee (I'd type it up here but Jess has the napkin and is currently on her honeymoon), we scored some business cars, got some free drinks, and Jess made four bucks off of her candy necklace. We also met this guy who could have been semi-hot in his 32 year old man sort of way. One interesting part was when two friends (both of which must have been 30 something) showed us their matching pirate tattoos. Oh, and I also drew a tattoo on the bouncer. It was of a heart with an arrow through it and the name "Mom."

We also got men to show us their belly button, speak to us in a foreign language, and feel their biceps. One scavenger hunt item that we unfortunately did not fulfill was find a man to perform magic tricks. I saw two teachers while at the bar. I tried to lie low. Eventually we moved to The Six.

We were mad about the $5 cover charge, but Jess still wanted to go dancing, so we coughed up the cash and went in. Upon our entrance, we met another bachelorette who was totally trashed and needed three people to help her out. It was extremely hot inside, but as required, we ripped it up on the dance floor. We saw aforementioned 32 year old man. He asked for the paper back that he had written on and changed his response, leaving Jess his number and a plea to hang out soon. Covered it sweat beads, we went downstairs where it was air conditioned.

I don't know if you've ever been in The Six, but downstairs is all black lights. We ordered some drinks and then sat in the booth with the chairs that like to tip over.

Upon inspection of one another, we decided that we looked like trolls. Jess' white veil glowed in the black light, but our teeth glowed yellow since they are not perfectly white in real life. I had on a black tube top which revealed all sorts of disgusting lint particles in the black light. Added to this, the tips of our nails glowed yellow, and our freckles stood out worse than in the summer time. You could seriously see every dot beneath the skin. It was like one of those UV radiation booths to see sun damage. It was very dark, but we looked like spotted cheetahs (on the prowl, I might add). Yes, I thought we were gross little trolls in the underground cave. We laughed about it, but I guess we must have been cute trolls. Like you know, the ones with the fuzzy sticking up pink hair and the gemstone belly buttons that if you rub, you can make a wish that is unlikely to come true? Because down there in the troll cave, two different guys tried to hit on us.

Britt's nemesis came first. He was some Indian guy who was too old for her and creepy. He slid into the booth next to her like a lubed up banana slipping in the hands of a virgin during a condom relay game. Britt, ever graceful, was polite and talked to him, making herself as boring as possible. He eventually left. We danced some more. Oh! I forgot a traumatic yet disgustingly interesting detail. Brittany witnessed this chick giving a hand job to some fat dude sitting at the table next to us. Totally sick, I know. Glad I didn't see it. I would have puked on the spot. Would have revolted on the ground. We went up stairs, danced some more, then went back downstairs when it got too hot.

I was standing downstairs at the booth, waiting for Jess to order a drink when some slime ball rubbed his hand all over my bare back. He walked in front of me, winked, and then came back to sit next to me in the booth. His only saving grace was that he was semi-cute. At least, better than the Indian guy by comparison. He instantly grabbed my hand. "Oh, you're hands are so warm and so little, I could hold them all night," he said. Like it wasn't 104 degrees upstairs. He didn't let go. It was awkward. I'm not used to letting people I don't know hold my hand. No one ever holds my hand. Not letting go, he started the small talk. He asked me what high school I went to. I'm like, hello? We're in a club. You have to be 21 to get in. Obviously he wasn't the brightest light shining in the neon pink vacancy sign. Was that stuck up of me to say? Probably. Because Donny (that's his name) told me I seemed to be the more stuck up one among the girls. I didn't act offended. I told him he was probably right. And okay, so I'm judgemental, but just because I am drinking in a bar does not mean I'm going to be attracted to smokers and creepers. Utterly single as I am, I still have standards.

Eventually insulting Donny left us, and we were encouraged to go dance by some guy who was decent looking. I had to pee like Seabiscuit, so I went to the trashy bathroom for a whizz. The stall next to me had two sets of legs. Some girl was puking up her guts and her friend was holding her hair (I only guess). Once I got outside I discovered Mr. 32 Year Old was talking with Jess. He paid her another dollar to eat a candy off her necklace, but got slippery with it and licked her neck first.

At two a.m. we called it quits and I drove the crew home. I crashed on my sister's couch then ate Oreo cake for breakfast the next morning. I went to parent teacher conferences the next day and did not see any men I recognized, which was a good thing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Best Blog Ever, Part 1

I can now totally understand why so many teenaged girls get knocked up. It is ridiculously difficult to find condoms for sale in the store. I mean, after twenty minutes of looking, they are probably like “screw it!” Or rather, go screw him. That horny slut doesn’t have enough patience to make a responsible decision and find protection. And okay, yeah, I realize you have to go to the right kind of store in order to buy a condom. Like, the Learning Palace would be a poor choice, as would be The Bath and Body Shop, even though people use bodies to have sex and they often do it in the bath.

When looking, I was certain Wal-Mart carried condoms. I mean, look at all the crusty-faced children getting dragged along by their parents. We know Wal-Mart shoppers have sex, because they sure have a lot of kids. One would assume condoms could be found by the toiletries and pharmaceutical type items. Come on, there is Vagasil for sale right there, where are the freaking condoms? Foot itch cream, and Pepto Bismol, and tampons for sale, but not a condom box in sight.

I must admit, conducting a thorough search was difficult considering I was looking over my back every fifteen seconds, checking to see if any students from the school I teach at were around. While I was looking for balloons for the “Can You Blow?” game, I totally ran into a 5th grade student who knew me. In fact, I had taught her last year at Bush. I said hey and was relieved I didn’t have anything kinky in my basket yet, such as bananas, whipped cream, and condoms. Buying supplies for my sister’s bachelorette party definitely lended itself to an interesting experience. Once I stocked up on party favors, prizes, and Jonas Brothers posters, I went to look for the condoms. Like I said, it was nearly impossible to find them.

After eons of searching, I finally spotted some lube on a top shelf, hidden in the corner right next to the counter where you pick up your prescription. An eye glance down revealed boxes of condoms. That’s right folks, the two foot space reserved for condoms was right next to the prescription counter. Loved it, absolutely loved it. I had to laugh. There was a line of people waiting to get their prescriptions, and I was all “oh sorry, can I squeeze in here?” I needed condoms for the ever-fabulous condom relay game I was going to facilitate at said bachelorette party. From a distance I eyed what to get. I didn’t need a whole box, and I didn’t want to pay $6.52 for condoms I wasn’t going to use. I spotted a tiny box that cost $1.97. I went up to the blue Trojan box and grabbed it. It contained three condoms, perfect for the night’s adventures. After locating the condom boxes, it only took about 30 seconds to pick one. I didn’t read any of the boxes. I didn’t get cherry, or ribbed for her pleasure, or extra large or anything. Just grabbed a box that said it had condoms in it. Once I walked to the check-out line, I eyed the box sitting on top of the cheap girly beads and balloons. They were lubricated condoms. Even better. Loved it even more.

The checker scanned all of my items. Balloons, Jonas Brothers and Zac Efron poster, chick-flick DVDs, plastic medals for the game winners, brightly colored beads, cheese, a can of beans, Styrofoam bowls, and a box of condoms. I wonder what she thought. I seriously wondered if she was thinking anything about the condoms. Like, was she thinking “Oh, this girl’s in love with Disney Channel boys, she eats Mexican cheese, and she’s going to get some tonight.” My favorite part of all time was when she sat the blue Trojan box at the very top of my bag, so that people walking by could see it. Not that they were paying attention. I left in a hurry (not because I was going to have wild, passionate, animalistic sex) but because I had to go to my sister’s house early to set up for the party.

At this point, I would like to remind you that I already saw one student I knew at Wal-Mart. There were more that popped up through out the night. But I’ll get to that in Part 2. I’d like to say that Part 2 will be posted tomorrow, but I have to go help decorate the reception building for the wedding tomorrow after work, so I probably won’t have time to write when I get home. In fact, Thursday’s not looking good either, because I have to pack everything for the wedding. Friday night I will be gone, Saturday’s the wedding, and Sunday is clean-up day. But I’ll try. Because I want you to know what else happened during the bachelorette extravaganza. In the meantime while you don’t have any more blogs to read, I recommend you check out some of Lenay Olsen’s videos on YouTube. She cracks me up. If you are looking for something to read, I recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, anything by Jerry Spinelli (try Loser or Wringer…his are kids’ books, btw), or you should rent Vantage Point and tell me how it is, because I’ve been wanting to see it since it came out. From what I could gather from previews, the movie is fast paced and features Matthew Fox, a reason in itself to spend $3.69 at Hollywood Video. Another movie I have been meaning to see for over a year: The Bourne Ultimatum. I own the Bourne Identity and the Bourne Supremacy, but I have yet to see the third one. Movie fest, anyone? Like maybe next weekend, after this wedding thing is over and my sister is off soaking in hot tubs and sipping martinis with the man who stole her away from me?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The most unacheivable goal, done.

You may have noticed, but after I blogged about hitting the half-way mark for the word count on my novel, I stopped updating you. This is what I had to do from then until now:
1) Implement a bachelorette party for my sister. Said bachelorette party will soon be detailed in "The best blog ever," but for right now, I don't have time to write it. But I have fabulous material for it.

2) Parent-teacher conferences.

3) Thanksgiving.

4) Scan a close 100 baby photos and create a slideshow for my sister's wedding (this took over 8 hrs, btw).

5) Pick up my bridesmaid dress.

6) Write a toast to give at the wedding.

7) Watch The Office.

8) Write another twenty-five thousand words.

It was a crazy week and a half, and if it wasn't for those days off from work due to the holiday, I never would have gotten it all done. But I am pleased to share with you that I FINISHED MY NOVEL. ALL 50,000 WORDS OF IT! Yes, I am a winner for the National Novel Writing Month. Busted that puppy out in 29 days. Once I got to 26,000, and I was ten thousand behind on my schedule, I felt like quitting. But I didn't toil over such a project just to quit. Basically, that is why I participated in NaNoWriMo this year, to prove to myself that during a time in my life where I am feeling like I'm not good at anything, that no one believes in me, I can do it. I am not a quitter. I am good at something.

I finished at 6:11pm last night with 50,038 words and five hours to spare. Many of the hours spent were torturous. But if I hadn't sat in front of that screen with a word count goal to reach, a lot of the stuff that I wrote never would have come into existence. In case you were wondering more about NaNoWriMo (which I know you weren't, but I'm going to share with you any way), the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. You are not allowed to start early and you have to be done by the 30th. Everyone who hits 50k is a winner. 119,301 authors signed up this year and 21,683 won. I am a part of that. Making Oregon proud, Portland came in as the 9th wordiest region in the nation. To check out my winner page (which you totally should, even though it means nothing to you, but it means a lot to me because I worked my butt off for it), you should go to my user profile. I know that purple bar doesn't look like much, but it used to be blue and it filled up little by little. And that stupid bar graph? Damn days 16 and 26. But the worst day was day 28, when I wrote over 9,000 words at a time.
I know this sounds pathetic, but you can only access the above image if you are a winner. Your eyes shouldn't have even seen this, because you have not written 50,000 words.

Now, you might be like "oh, cool. Joelle wrote an entire novel in one month." Maybe you want to read it now. Well, sorry, but I guess I kind of lied. I totally met my 50k goal, but the novel is not done yet. I've written 96 pages (single spaced, size 12 font), but the story isn't complete. I've still got to fill in the missing puzzle pieces and link it all together. And after that: revision. Then editing. I read this analogy (or something along these lines): writing a novel is like making a stone sculpture. Michelangelo chiseled away bit by bit to leave his masterpiece, but we do not see all of the work he put into it. Sure, we see the statue, but the part the sucked up the most time and effort now lays as the dust on the floor. You don't see any of that because it got swept up and thrown out. I'm still chiseling and the dust is still falling away from the masterpiece. You won't see that. But I feel like scooping up that dirt and keeping it in a ziploc baggy to look at, because the amount of time and effort it took was enormous.

This whole process was a thousand times more meaningful to me than to you. In fact, you may not even have gotten to the end of this blog because I bored you. Sorry. But this experience has given me hope. I am not a quitter. I am dedicated. I will reach my goals. With no one left to believe in me, I rediscovered the one person that always will.
P.S. This blog was 802 words. But who's counting?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The halfway mark

I typed a bit more. Checked. 187 left to go. A few more minutes of typing. Some dialogue. Checked again. 25,013 words. I instantly threw my hands up in the air, like I had just made a half-court shot in basketball. I made it tonight! I am halfway there. Only twenty-five thousand more words left to write.

Yesterday I told you the girl, Hollis, and the guy were going to get piercings, and then I might have them go to McDonald's and place a super long order to use up lots of words. Well, they got pierced but never went to the golden arches. This is what happened tonight: I was in a big rut because I had no idea what to write about, (well, I did, but it was just filler stuff), so then I made Hollis and the guy play Fugitive with a group of friends. In case you didn't know, Fugitive is when a group of people go on foot and they have a destination to get to without getting caught. Then there is a group of people in a car riding around trying to find them. I used my own Fugitive playing experience while writing, and I got super creative and even had the destination spot be Burgerville, and the dilemma be that they had to cross Main Street to get there. Where do I come up with these ideas, I know. After they got there, they placed a (reasonably sized) order and sat down to eat burgers and fries. It was after Hollis dipped her fry in ketchup that I hit 25,00 words. Now, I realize it took me over half a month to write 25000 words, and that I have a fraction more than a week left to write another 25000, but I have gotten this far.

Now, a bit more about burgers. The students at school are doing this fundraiser selling cookie dough and pies, and if they sell X amount of items, they get a certain prize. There is this pamphlet of prizes, and I took one from a kid and was looking at it. If a child sells 40 items, they get a hamburger phone! Like the one on Juno! I totally want it, but I am not a 4th grader and thus do not get to participate. And even if I did, we all know what would happen. I'd sell like 5 pies and then end up buying 35 buckets of cookie dough myself just so I could get the hamburger phone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sorry, I'm on my hamburger phone

I just found out some exciting news that brightened my boring day. I was reading Samantha's blog and she mentioned that The Bachelor starts in January. I don't have TV, so I haven't seen any previews, so of course I had to google it and see who the bachelor would be. I wanted it to be Jason, the guy I was rooting for in The Bachelorette. He was in the final two, down on one knee to propose, and DeAnna broke his heart. And guess what. HE IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT BACHELOR! I will get to watch him in every episode now. Just when I thought I'd never watch that stupid show again, ABC sucked me in.

Now for the finale to my boring day (minus the part where a kid got hit in the head with a Webster's dictionary), I'm going to do laundry.

Oh, and I need to write two-thousand words before I go to sleep. And this blog doesn't count. Here's what's going to happen in the next scene I'm going to write: the protagonist and the drug addict (but no one knows he's an addict yet) are going to go get piercings during Christmas break. They have already played a horse racing game on the Wii (hey, don't judge, I needed more words and I used dialogue there), and the protagonist has already hurled three insults at the addict. In case you were wondering what they are going to get pierced, he's going to get a lip ring and she....well, I haven't decided if she's going to get a piercing or not. Then maybe they will go to McDonald's and place a very long order so that I can use dialogue and use up a lot of words. Sounds boring but I have had a lot of fun writing it so far since this girl is really edgy and the guy is really clever and together they make you wish you had more pages to read because it's funny.

P.S. Sorry the word choice and sentence structure of this blog was such CRAP, but I am saving my intelligent words for the novel I haven't written.

P.S.S I guess I will have to write about the namesake of this blog tomorrow, because it's already 7:52 and I haven't done laundry or written 2,000 words.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Class Photo Special!

I was going to give you a real treat (or horror, depending on how you look at it). I was going to post a photo that was taken during 8th grade and I was also going to post my first teacher classroom photo. I was a bit apprehensive about posting the 8th grade shot because of the following reasons: braces with missing teeth, 70% hair taking up the space, acne, dumb necklace. But I figured for your entertainment, I would post it, if only to show you how much I have improved over the years. I went digging in my photo box, and it was then that I remembered.

I shredded all the left over 8th grade class pictures. Yes, I still have one in a scrapbook, but it is at my parents' house. So I am sorry (you should actually be grateful), but you will not get to see a photo of me in said awkward adolescent pose.

Instead, let's talk about this picture:
The pose was a bit goofy because the photographer made me lean my elbow on one of my knees. It wasn't my choice. But the hair's pretty good, right? And no braces. No visible acne. I think it turned out all right. It's the photo that is going to haunt 27 children for the rest of their lives, because my face will be stuck on their 4th grade classroom picture.

Here is another photo I would like to talk about: The day I got my nameplate (approximately three weeks ago), I felt pretty legit. It is hanging on the wall outside of my door. My name is engraved on a piece of plastic, a sign that I am a real teacher. I have to say, I started off the beginning of the year kind of jealous because all of the other teachers already had their nameplates. (Danny, if you are reading this--which you said you always do, but I'm not sure if I believe you--the woman who used to teach in my classroom was named T. Lehman. Any relation? I hope not, because she had a very poor taste in wall color (not shown here). If, by chance, she is an aunt, and if, by chance, you hate visiting her house, I can understand why. And I feel bad for your eyes.) But now I have an engraved nameplate and children take me more seriously because of it.

Here is the last photo I would like to mention:

Mmmmm. I miss LOST.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My 100th Blog

What a great announcement for my 100th blog. Complete victory. I made it past twenty thousand words this weekend. As in 20,000 words. As in, I now have 43 pages typed single space, in size 12 font. As in, I MADE IT. Well, for my weekend goal, anyway. I still have 30 thousand words left to write to win for NaNoWriMo. But you have no idea how hard it was this weekend. I kept updating my word count on my profile, watching that little blue bar move up. I thought I would stop at fifteen thousand, but then I was like, why not go for it? Get to 20. I might not have any lesson plans for tomorrow, and I never did my laundry, but I have 20,418 words. Such torture it was, but I think I got some really good scenes out of it.

For those of you who are coming into this late, I am attempting to write an entire novel during the month of November. Me and thousands of other people.

There is a countdown on the NaNoWriMo homepage. As of now, 14 days, 3 hours, and 45 minutes until the deadline. It's enough to make you go crazy.

P.S. Look for tomorrow's blog. I got my class picture back! Haha!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hot Tub Poker

It’s Friday night. My sister, Jess, is supposed to take me to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I get to her house, look at her veil and wedding shoes, and we talk about where we should go.
“I can’t decide between Panda Express or IHOP,” I tell her.
“Ooooh, pancakes!” she exclaims.
“But the thing is, if we go to Panda, then I won’t feel like I have to eat everything and I can just take the leftovers home. If we go to IHOP, then I’ll have hot pancakes and they will get soggy if I save them, so I will feel like I have to eat everything, and then I’ll just be fat, with no leftovers.”
She somehow convinces me to go to IHOP, even though I like fried rice better than waffles. We get in her car, go about four blocks, and then she swerves into the driveway of Taco Bell.
“I said I wanted waffles, not tacos.”
“I know, but I have to mail these.” She points to the big mail truck stopped near the parking lot of Taco Bell.
“You just saw a mail truck, so you decided to pull over and give him your letters?”
“No, there’s a blue drop off box.” Which is true, but it is currently being blocked by the mail truck since he is picking up the mail. My sister gets out of the car, runs up to the side of the mail truck because it is about to pull away, and says, “Hey, do you have room for a few more?” From my position in the passenger seat of the car I can see the mailman’s eyebrows furrow. He takes the letters. My sister gets back in the car.
“You just handed your wedding invitations to the man driving away in a mail truck. Why didn’t you just put them in the box by your house?”
“Because this box gets picked up at 5:30, and the one by my house doesn’t get picked up till 2:30.”
I point to the clock in her car. It’s 5:47. “But Jess, it’s past 5:30. If you had put those invitations in the blue drop off box, they wouldn’t have gotten picked up till 5:30 tomorrow. If you had put them in the mail box by your house, they would’ve gotten picked up at 2:30.”
“I know, that’s why I wanted to take them here.”
I am utterly confused. “2:30 comes before 5:30. If you wanted to get them in the mail sooner, you should have put them in by your house.”
“But I didn’t. I mailed them here, and they already got picked up.”
“Because you gave them to the MAIL TRUCK! Did you know the mail truck was going to be here? If we had stopped just one minute later, you would’ve put the invitations in the blue box, and they would’ve gotten picked up at 5:30, instead of 2:30 if you had put them in the box at your house.” She makes no sense sometimes. “The ONLY reason they are in the mail now is because you caught the mailman in his mail truck as he was driving away.”
“ I know. I don’t like walking to the mail box by my house. The neighbors look at me.” So the truth comes out. I give up, and sit quietly until we get to IHOP.

The hour spent at IHOP was incredibly funny, but I’m not going to write about all of it. These are the important parts: I go to the bathroom and when I come back, Jess is on the phone. After I sit down, I ask her, “Is that my fake brother?” She nods and tells Travis what I said. He says something about me being his imaginary sister. Without talking to each other, we both tell Jess something along the lines of “We’ll just pretend like the other person doesn’t exist.”
When choosing off of the menu, we notice some holiday pancakes with red and green sprinkles. This causes us to invent “Party Pancakes,” which are like funfetti cake. You would mix sprinkles in the batter so that they are all polka-dotty, and then you put whip cream and more sprinkles on top. Yum, right?
I leave some of my pancakes on my plate, because I could not fit them in my stomach. Our waitress comes back to see if we were done, and my sister surprises me by pointing to the sad looking eggs and mushed pancake on my plate and saying “Could we get a box, I think I could feed that to a critter.” The waitress nods, a bit confused, then leaves.
“Feed it to a critter?” I ask.
“Yeah, my dog would like that.”
“You’re going to get a to go box for your dog?”
“Yes,” she says, like that’s normal. I pester her about it some more.
“A lot of people get to go boxes for their dogs. At work, I have people ask me all the time to box up the fat from their steak to take home.”
“You have people ask you to wrap up the fat from their food so they can take it home?” I cannot believe this. Such things I never knew.
What happens is, we wait for a long time for a box that never arrives. I get impatient and we go to pay, leaving the disgusting remains of my eggs and pancakes on the table, denying “a critter” of a tasty morsel.

We leave IHOP and go back to Jess’s house to go in the hot tub. We put on our swimsuits. It’s incredibly cold both in her house and outside, so I change in the bathroom then zip my coat up on over my swimsuit. I go to the kitchen and look out the window to watch Jess get the hot tub ready. When I know I cannot possibly stall any longer, I run outside in my coat and flip flops. I take off my coat and start to get in the hot tub, but as soon as I stick a toe in, I am conflicted. The contrast between the heat and the cold makes my foot seem as though it is on fire.
“It’ll sting a little at first, then it’s fine.”
“AAAHHHH. UAHHHHH.” I scream. Eventually I suffer and get all the way in. After about five minutes we settle in to play cards, because Jess has waterproof playing cards. I watch as she lays out atop the water a sheet of pink bubble wrap . It’s going to act as our floating card table. She shuffles the cards underwater, and then I deal them out so we can play Screw Your Neighbor. I win. Next we play Egyptian Rat Screw, or Rats Crew, depending on who you are. I win at that, too. Jess whines because she always loses.
“Hey, if you want to come up with the game to play, just tell me. But you don’t know any games.” She tries to construct a house of cards on the floating bubble wrap.
“Let’s make up a game,” she says, so she shuffles the cards underwater again and deals them out. “It’ll be like Indian Poker.” It takes some working out to decide how to play since we don’t have chips, but in the end we decide that you can bet your cards, and whoever collects the most cards wins.
We hold the wet cards up to our foreheads, then find that they will stick there. She never seems to have a card lower than a 6. I always have 3s or 5s. At first, I always make the initial bet, but then I decide maybe I can figure out what my card is my gauging the reaction on her face. She bets first from then on, and seems to win a lot.
“Don’t you feel like we’re in some sort of tribal ritual?” I ask. Because we’ve got these peacock type cards stuck to our foreheads, we’re sitting in steaming water in the dark of night, and this light from the hot tub is shining up from the floor.
“Ooooh, oooh, eee ha ha, ooooh oooh, eee ha ha,” I imitate from that scene in Finding Nemo where the fish in the tank initiate Nemo into their little club. We keep playing, and then I seem to run out of cards. Jess still has a stack.
“Hey, where’d my chips go?” I look around on the bubble wrap table. I look in the water to see if they’d sunk.
Jess says to me, very gravely, “Jo, you haven’t won any.” It’s the funniest line of the entire night. As soon as she says it, we burst into silent laughter. We’re laughing so hard we’re not making a sound. I clutch my side and move to the edge of the hot tub to breathe. I look over at her. She’s dying. Eventually we calm down.
“Seriously, I didn’t know I hadn’t won even one time until you said that. I seriously thought I had some chips.” I was having so much fun that I was oblivious to the fact that I was losing. Yeah, I knew she had better cards than me, but I thought I had won a hand at least a few times.
To start on a more even playing ground, we decide to divide the cards out equally so we get the same amount of Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, tens, and so on. We play a game of Go Fish to sort the cards. I win with 14 pairs. Then we separate the cards, saying, “pick up a pair of twos, pick up a pair of threes, and so on.”
“We’re being incredibly methodical, here,” I say to her. She laughs. “No really, we are exhibiting higher level thinking.” I say this because I’m thinking of my 4th grade students and how they don’t seem to have a pattern or a plan when solving math problems.
We shuffle our pairs, then continue playing Indian Poker. Halfway through the came we notice two dark figures come out of the house next to us. They go to their truck, which is parked in a way so that when the headlights turn on, they will shine right on us, like critters about to become road kill.
“Hide! Hide!” my sister says. She sinks low into the hot tub. The engine has revyed up. Where am I supposed to go? It’s a hot tub. I don’t want to get my head wet, so I’m not going to go underwater. Desperately, I flatten my body against one of the sides and turn my head so my face is away from the truck. The headlights turn on. It’s like there is a spot light directly on the hot tub.
“This is awkward,” I whisper. It takes about two minutes for the person to drive off. “Geez,” I say when they’re gone, “What if you and your boyfriend were having a make out session? No privacy there.”
We reposition the floating coffee table and continue playing. The most amazing thing happens, because I WIN THE GAME OF INDIAN POKER! I splash up out of the water, stand on the highest level of the hot tub, hold my arms up in the air, and yell “I WON!” It is a triumphant moment. I wish you could have been there to see me.
We stayed in the hot tub for about another 40 minutes, talking about random things. I decided that Jess and I will jointly hold a “Party Pancake Poker Soak” in which we will prepare pancakes with brightly colored sprinkles and whip cream for dinner, then we will get in the hot tub and play card games. Anybody reading this right now is invited, unless your name is Melvin or you have a burly amount of chest hair. I don’t know when such a glorious night will once again be held, but you should start to be like me and keep your swimsuit/trunks in a bag in the back of your car so you can do things on a moment’s notice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fantastic Experience for $31.96

I got my bridesmaid dress fitted today. It's going to cost an additional 35 bucks just because I'm not seven feet tall. But whatever. While the Ukrainian seamstress was poking pins in the hemline, I thought about the fact that my sister is going to commit her life to one person in less than 25 days. Commit her entire life. But I've never committed myself to anyone, so maybe it's easier than I think.

After getting my dress measured, I went to Rite Aid to pick up some drugs. The experience was more, yet still less, than I had imagined. My total came to $31.96. The cashier scanned my debit card, bagged my goods, then said "have a good night." After $31.96, you'd think she could be nice and say "I hope you feel better." I mean, the sniffling was apparent.

And okay, maybe $16.99 of my total was for my new pink hair dryer, but still. I bought three different kinds of medicine. Let me get on a tangent for a moment, but then we are going to get back to the pharmacy experience. Tangent: I absolutely hate blow drying my hair. I almost never actually dry my entire head. My arm gets too tired. I have too much hair. When I was in junior high, my friend Melissa and I did a report on sea otters. One astounding fact that I still remember today is that sea otters have one million hairs per square inch. I think my head is like that. I cannot possibly sacrifice the hour that it takes to blow dry all of my hair. Usually I give up after the first eight minutes and say "good enough," even though the under layers are still wet. Off tangent.

While buying my three types of medicine and pink hair dryer, and while observing the actions of the drug store cashier, I decided it would be exceedingly surreal to be a Rite Aid employee for a week. I would love it. I could wear the blue cotton vest and plastic nametag, super matte foundation, pink pearl lipstick, and blue eyeshadow. I could develop people's pictures, restock the Depends, sweep the floor, and scan customer purchases.

Imagine the people that would come in. The white haired granny buying stocking stuffers for her grandchildren, the mortified middle school girl buying tampons, the elementary school kids paying a dollar for a mini bag of hot Cheetos, the overly confident high school male buying his first box of condoms, the 30 year old going through a mid-life crisis and purchasing hair dye, the PTA president secretly buying a 24 ounce bottle of cough syrup even though she's not sick, the college age girl buying a pink hair dryer.

You'd know everything about everybody, but your response to all of them would be the same. Take their money and say "have a nice day."

I would love it, just for a week. As it is, I have to take my NyQuil and go to bed since I have to teach in the morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dirty Words

Seriously, people need to start harassing me about my word count. Peer pressure, people. I am trying to write a novel by November 29. I am bringing this up again, so that way I won’t want to look stupid in front of you and I will get it done. Ask me on December first if I hit 50,000 words. Or if I am just lame and never got past twelve thousand.

This is ironic considering the title of the novel is Clean, but I have used more curse words in my first 11,000 words than I have said aloud in my life. Shocking, right? But I am writing about a drug addict and a girl with a snotty attitude. What else are they going to say?

Still haven’t decided how it’s going to end. Basically, when you read the last page I want you to feel pissed. What would do that for you?

P.S. On my way home today it was raining, and at a red light the driver in the car next to me rolled down his window and stuck out this long handled wiper thing and wiped the rain off of his windshield. Like he didn't have window wipers or something. Bad time of year and bad state to live in with that situation, I think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Totally Inappropriate

I can’t really believe that I am sharing this with you, but whatever. Think of all of the people you’ve ever had inappropriate thoughts about. I’ll give you some time to think about it, but not long enough to imaginably make out with them.

Got it? Good. For some bizarro reason, I was thinking about this when I was at school yesterday in the book room, picking out readers for my kiddos. Don’t ask me what sparked my mind to think about this. It certainly wasn’t Beezus and Ramona.

So here is my partial list: James Franco from Tristan and Isolde, Jack from LOST even though he is kind of old, Michael Vartan of course, that hot construction worker doing work on Capitol Street right now, that one guy from that one ED class who looked like Jack from LOST, only a lot younger, and maybe a few others that I’m not listing.

Stay with me here, we are not dwelling on what your imagination has conjured. I know you were starting to think about that hot guy/girl at school/work/bar/airport/laundrymat/ restaurant.

Here is the part that will freak you out. Think of all the people you never want thinking inappropriate thoughts about YOU. That creeper in the library. The old guy at Les Schwab helping you buy tires. Someone you work with. Go through your mental list. Now, you don’t know what they were thinking, or when they were thinking it, but aren’t you pretty sure that at least one of those people has thought something about you? And now you’re grossed out by it? Wish you never read this disturbing blog? I know, I should’ve warned you.

I was going through my mental list when I left the book room and started walking down the hallway. Suddenly my deeply private intrusive thoughts come to an abrupt halt, because the bathroom door swings open and someone comes out. The person says hi to me, and I talk back, but the whole time I cannot help but wonder, what about this person? I swear, it’s like this person knew what I was thinking about. Their timing coming out of the bathroom just as I was walking down the hall deep in thought is uncanny.

So the next time your mind starts to drift, remember all the people you wish would never think about you, and stop. Besides, he never has as many ab muscles in real life as you imagined.

P.S. My NaNoWriMo word count got updated to 11,133 but I am fairly certain that the blue bar shrunk backwards, instead of moving toward the 50k word mark. I almost posted an excerpt from my novel, but I fear judgement too much, and after this blog, who knows what you are thinking.

P.P.S I am going to be very old tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dull Party? Add Gasoline and Cocaine!

Only the best party games make you wonder 1) will I live? and 2) is this legal?

Party #1
Halloween night. Kaitlynn's house. We decide to play hide and go seek. Kaitlynn and Aaron had a fog machine, strobe light, and utterly eerie soundtrack. After setting up for a creepy atmosphere, we disperse into the darkness to find hiding spots. BTW, I removed my Juno belly prior to this so that I could fit into smaller spaces.

Kaitlynn tells me to follow her into the garage. We scramble to hide before the seeker comes. Kaitlynn decides to hide in the back of her car, and I think about stowing away in the back of Aaron's Jetta. Then I get an ingenious idea. I'll hide in the trunk! No one will find me there! So I pop the trunk lid and get inside. Kaitlynn tucks inside her car.

I'm in the trunk, but it's not closed all the way so the trunk light is still on. I don't want the light to give me away, so I make a hasty decision. I pull the trunk lid down. All the way. It slams. Instantly my nostrils fill with the smell of gasoline and I regret my actions. I think: I will never be able to get out. Someone must find me in order for me to get out of this trunk. They will never find me because I've just hidden in the best spot of all time. All these noxious fumes are going to go to my head. I'll pass out before anyone finds me. I bring up the front of my sweatshirt and cover my nose with it. I feel around the inside of the trunk, hoping for a light. Nothing. I hold my hand five inches from my face and look at, hoping I will be able to make out its outline. I can't see anything. I am panicked, but decide I must relax. I lay down my head for a nap.

Two minutes later I start to count, eyes closed. I count slowly, ticking off the minutes on my fingers. I get to ten and figure it's been awhile. This is hide and go seek, but more than anything I want to be found. If any one opens this trunk I will be curled up, smiling at them. Seek me. How long does it take to find a house full of people? Should I yell now? I remind myself that at least Kaitlynn knows where I am. I won't die. Unless the fumes get to me. I think about the headlines in tomorrow's papers. "College age student hides in trunk at Halloween party and perishes." I need to take a more proactive approach. I open my eyes even though I can't see anything. I think, maybe I'm like a cat and my night vision will adjust.

I think I start to imagine things, because it seems like something is glowing faintly from the inside of the trunk. The gas fumes must be affecting me. I reach out and touch the spot that I see. Wouldn't you know, it actually is something! I feel out a handle. A handle, people! There is a handle on the inside of this trunk. I don't turn it, I don't have to. I know what it must be for. I rub my fingers on it, can't let go of it--like a dying Catholic clutching the rosary. It will save me. Relief washes over me. I can get out whenever I want.

I hear laughing. The seeker must have found everybody. Everybody but me. I hear Kaitlynn call "Joelle, you can come out now!" I turn the handle instantly and jump out of the trunk. I suck in some fresh air. I have lived.

Party #2
Saturday afternoon. My sister's second bridal shower, this one hosted by her fiance's side of the family. We have already played a word jumble that was quite taxing to my brain. The hosting aunt hands out paper and pens and instructs us to write "Name the white powder" at the top of the paper. She shows us twelve zip lock baggies filled with various white substances. I know right? You're thinking is this legal? Are we going to get raided? Will I lose my job?

I number my paper. They pass me baggy number six. We are allowed to touch and smell the substance, but we cannot taste it. I open the bag up. It smells weird. It's more yellow than white. I write down "Parmesan cheese" as my guess. The next bag I receive looks like baking soda. I open all of the bags, and touch and smell all of the powders. Most of them smell like plastic bag. It's hard to tell. I figure, if there's anthrax I'm dead, but if there's cocaine, I'll know, because all I have to do is snort a little and see how I feel afterwards. I start to wonder if my sister should've done a criminal background check on all the members of the family she's marrying into.

The woman next to me cheats and tastes one of the powders. I tell her, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. One of these might be borax or some sort of cleaning detergent."

When I'm done inspecting all of the substances, my paper looks like this:

Name the White Powder
1) baking soda
2) sugar
3) parmesan cheese
4) powdered sugar
5) salt
6) cocaine
7) baking powder
8) salt
9) flour
10) baking soda
11) powdered sugar
12) flour

Yes, I realize I listed several things twice. I figure I'll get at least one of them right. In the end, #1 is Splenda, #3 is not parmesan cheese but powdered milk, #4 is cornstarch, #5 is alum, and #12 is Bisquick mix. Number six is not cocaine (I only wrote that because I had no idea), but is something called "fruit fresh," which I have never heard of. The other ones I got right. But still, it makes you wonder if there is a #13 bag hiding out in Aunt Jan's car.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Your Child is a Monster

Dear Parent,
Today your child disrupted the class 23 times. Yes, it was only him. The class was being perfectly quiet but your child persistently yelled out inappropriate and rude comments.

After clean-up time when all of the other students were sitting in the chairs, ready to go, your child was laying on the floor. When I asked him to have a seat, he replied "Oh my freakin' gosh!" quite rudely. As if sitting in a chair was a difficult task.

During reading time, your child likes to accuse other students of bothering him, when if fact, he is the only one not reading. I have a video if you'd like to watch it. On said video, you will see your child sneakily making disgusting faces at other children.

Even though it is November, your child consistently does not line up in the correct order. We have been lining up in alphabetical order since September 3rd, but your child apparently cannot remember which two students he is supposed to be in between. Has he suffered from any brain trauma that may have caused amnesia?

I will be calling you next week to set up a meeting to discuss your child's behavior. It is likely I will recommend: anger management, meds, and homeschooling.

Thank you, and I am sure finally meeting you will be a pleasure.

Sincerely,
Ms. Grossen

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Death in the Classroom

I know I am a liar. I told you last week that on Halloween I would tell you about the spirit of the dead child that haunts my place of work. In the classroom opposite the hallway from me, a child once died. This was back in the late 70s, so I've been told. The kid perished at school.

How did he die? I am just as eager to find out as you. I haven't interviewed enough old teachers to know. However, Susan, who is the teacher in this classroom, often hears weird things coming from the vent in the ceiling above her classroom. It could be squirrels, but maybe not. The custodians have up and said that they have seen, yes SEEN and heard weirdo things late at night. They say they hear someone coming up the ramp, even though there is no one else in the building.

I made the suggestion of having a sleepover with a video tape, camera, and/or EVP equipment to record spooky sounds. I've been told the spirit is friendly. It doesn't pull chairs out from under children or anything. But it is a bit eerie to think about, because on Monday night I fully was the only one in the building (besides the custodian) at 6:45 pm. I think I might take my camera and see if I can catch some orbs tomorrow night.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I still have 9,373 words on my NaNoWriMo account. No time to write since I've been getting home later than 7 all this week. Plus, I have no idea how to end the story. I mean, happily ever after is always nice, but I am pretty sure I want this novel to have an unsettling end. The girl can't always get the guy, and drug addicts don't always recover, and separated siblings aren't always reunited. Maybe I should just kill a character off. Then they could haunt a classroom.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NaNoWriMo

Despite the fact that my teaching life leads few moments for free time, despite the fact that my sister is getting married in less than 40 days, despite the fact that I've been working on the same book for five years, I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. Basically, National Novel Writing Month encourages writers to throw all procrastination into the wind and just get it done. Output is the most important thing. It can be all crap. That's fine. As long as you write. National Novel Writing Month is this November. It started on the first and it ends on the 30th at midnight. The goal is to write a 175 page (50,000 word) novel by the deadline.

The book that I've been working on for eons has 46,000 words, so I could totally cheat and just finish that, but procrastinator that I am, I've started a new book. I will finish the other one, assured. Some day. It was supposed to be last summer. I feel kind of good about the new book because it's only November 2nd and I have 9,373 words. That's 22 pages single spaced in size 12 font on Microsoft Word. I figured if I busted that out over the weekend, I could get maybe reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month. If I write ten thousand words every weekend, I'm golden.

The working title of my new project is called Clean, and it's about this girl who meets this boy and they hate each other's guts. He has a drug addiction and she has a shopping addiction, and eventually they put their animosity behind them but still go through turmoil. You can check out my NaNoWriMo user profile to find out more about it. I'll probably update it more and maybe upload a few excerpts. Plus, there is this blue bar that shows how much more I have left to write, so if I am slacking you can totally write me a comment and tell me to get to work or I won't meet my deadline.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh my god!! (a haunting story)

I'm already in the most vulnerable position I can be in, which is: naked and alone. I'm in the shower washing my hair on the evening before Halloween, unaware that there is a pair of eyes watching me. Attached to the head holding that pair of eyes are a pair of fangs. And fur. I am not alone. I am just wetting my hair when I turn and see something at eye level that is absolutely horrific. My heart jumps to the ceiling and I plaster myself to the opposite side of the shower because, there, creeping on the plastic ducky shower curtain is the most gigantic hobo spider you have ever seen.

I am naked in the shower and there is a furry spider that wants to land on my head. Oh. my. god. I see its little eyes move at the end of its tentacles. What am I supposed to do? I contemplate attempting to take a shower while the spider is there, but the steam is rising and the shower curtain is getting wetter. That nasty spider will likely slip and land in my hair. I look around in the shower for something to attack the horrible creature with. I could slice it with my razor. Stomp it with a shampoo bottle. Drown it in vanilla scented body wash.

I grab the item with the most length, which happens to be a four sided foot scrubber thingy. I carefully move to the end of the shower, away from the drain. I attempt to flick the spider off of the curtain, but it sticks since there is a string of web coming out of its butt. I try again and manage to get the spider to land on the tub floor.

I am jumping barefooted, holding my breath as I watch the spider slide down to the drain. Yes! The water pours, and the spider goes down the black abyss. For the rest of my shower I do not feel as though I can take my eyes off of the drain, in fear that the hobo spider will come crawling back up from the crypt.

I am not sure if I can go to sleep now. The adrenaline is still pumping.

Tomorrow: a Halloween story of how the school I work at is HAUNTED. With the spirit of a DEAD CHILD.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Missed Connections Project

The next time I need to buy stamps, I am going to the Independence post office. Apparently there is a real hunk working there. As some of you know, every once in a while I like to read the missed connection ads on Craigslist for entertainment value. A certain mailman made it in there twice.

I’ve decided I may start a project, if I ever get any free time. I’ve selected several ads where the person’s place of work is identified, so with some searching, I could find them. I think it would be interesting to take their picture, interview them, and let them know someone who didn’t have a lot of guts was pining for them. My adventures would take me to the Independence post office, or course, the Chemeketa campus, Union Gospel Mission, and the Lancaster Mall. I will for sure check out the mailman, and I’ll let you know what I find. If I decide to search for the others, I’ll let you know. This has the potential to be interesting.

Independence Post Office - w4m - 26 (Independence)
I see you all the time around town. Are you single? You are tall, dark hair, work at the post office, drive an explorer(I think) and super cute! Send me an email if you see this. I would really like to get know you.


INDEPENDENCE MAILMAN - w4m - 37 (INDEPENDENCE)
you are just about the most attractive man i have ever seen, i came in to mail a package, a woman helped me, but you came around the corner behind her, our eyes met for a moment and you smiled at me, you are tall, unshaven, black hair and beautiful brown eyes, i am tall, 5'11" shoulder length blond hair, brown eyes, i cant imagine a man as attractive as you isnt married or has a girlfriend, but even so if you are interested in getting to know me, please reply


ccc - w4m - 20 (chemeketa )
You=cashier at ccc convience store.
Me=thinks you're extremely cute!

UGM.....warehouse manager BRUCE..... - w4m - 39 (salem oregon)
I have seen you many times now and dont know if you are single or even if your intrested....talking to you today in the parking lot was AWESOME, I think about you all the time, I see your smile in my mind daily....I feel like a schoolgirl writting this and thats a cool feeling, you know who I am, if you read this or if anyone else knows him that is reading this and knows if he is single....??? PS...I look alot diff when I am not a wreck! ha ha


You work at Journeys shoe store in Lancaster Mall - w4m - 23 (Salem)
I was spending the day with my mom and we wandered into your store. You inquired about my tattoos and told me you were working on a full suit. I'd like to see wha t you have done so far. :) It's too bad I live in Portland. On the off-chance you see this, maybe I can show you around my city and take you to some of the phenomenal artists we have here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pros & cons of marrying a dentist

I used my dental insurance last week. So adult, right? Plus, I am the first person in my family who has dental insurance. Give me a gold star, I know. I’ve been going to the same dentist since the day I had my first tooth. This loyalty is due to the fact that my mother used to work at the dentist office. Through out the 22 years I’ve had teeth, my dentist office location has changed once (they upgraded to this posh place overlooking a golf course). While I have my mouth worked on, I get to look out and see men in argyle socks and pom pom hats whap things with iron sticks.

When I went to the dentist on Thursday, I had to sit in the waiting room, and all of a sudden my childhood was staring right back at me. I was looking in a corner of the room at a tiny table that had a Lego board for a table top. It was yellow, red, blue, and green. In the center of the table top there is a hole where a bag full of large sized Legos are stored. I stared at the table and the tiny chair, trying to imagine myself sitting it in. Because I had before. It was the exact same Lego table that I had played with every time I came to the dentist as a tot. The table was only about a foot and a half tall, but in my mind, I feel like I had played at that table until I was at least ten. How did I ever fit? I shook my elementary memories from my mind when the dental hygienist came out and called my name.

While in the chair, looking out upon the golf course, sunglasses on my face, polishing grit in my mouth, I thought about a text book I had once read for my Drugs and Alcohol college class. It said that dentists are the number one professionals who commit suicide. I was told this is because they have access to all those gasses, like nitrous oxide, and that they abuse them. Makes you wonder how being a dentist could lead to a crappy life. I mean, you know that elf from that Christmas TV special who wants to grow up to be a dentist? And he goes to the island of misfit toys? I guess he was kind of upset, but it was mostly because he wasn’t a dentist. I’m not gonna lie, I think marrying a dentist would be a good choice for two reasons: 1) They’re rich, and 2) They’re guaranteed to have nice teeth. But if they’re going to go all suicidal on me, I think I’ll stay away.

After I was done, instead of choosing a birthstone ring or sticker out of the prize door like I did when I was little, I handed over my insurance card to pay for my bill. However, one thing has remained the same over 22 years—still no cavities! I called my mom to tell her, because I knew she’d be proud.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Breathless Reality

Imagine this: you are ten years old and backed up to the side of a house, hands clutching the gutter. Your chest is heaving because you are nearly breathless. You have to breathe, you must, but you know that every inhalation you make could give you away. She might find you. And when the witch catches you, she will whap you over the head with a bamboo stick. Game over.

It's all pretend. It's all imaginary, but it is so, so real. It's the greatest game ever played. Welcome to my childhood.

When I was young, my sister and I would get babysat at our grandma's house. Our gram is no white-haired old lady knitting on a rocking chair. No, she keeps it real. Lives it up. Our favorite game to play at Gram's was "Wicked Witch." Gram would uproot a bamboo shoot from her garden and then chase us all over her yard. If we got hit by the stick, we lost. We would be absolutely terrified. She was sneaky. The adrenaline pumped through our veins as we escaped the clutches of the witch.

My favorite memory was when she was chasing us around one of her flower beds. It was probably 5 feet by 20 feet, quite a long thing. She would chase us around, and we thought we were safe on the other side. Rule of Life #489: nothing is ever safe. Gram surprised us by leaping through her own garden bed. She didn't care if she smashed her tulips. She was going to get us no matter what. I swear that stick got longer and longer every time, and the length that she had to reach us by shortened drastically.

It was like we were fugitives. What made the game even better was the possibility of actual criminal escapees. This is because my Grandma lived right next to McLaren, a juvy center. Her husband worked at the jail whipping no-goods into shape. Every time we visited, we entertained the idea of a dangerous teenaged gangster lurking in the trees among the squirrels.

This was babysitting at its best. Going to Grandma's was an adventure every time. It was the pretend real, when imagination shaped every aspect of our lives, when making it up mattered. Much better than the real pretend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jesus wears Abercrombie

Right now I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are in heaven, shaking the hand of Jesus. I’ll give you a minute. What does it look like? You’re floating on clouds, aren’t you? And Jesus is wearing a glorified white bath robe with a golden rope tied around the waist as a belt. He’s got brown hair and a brown beard, and he looks Caucasian, even though he was born in the Middle East. Am I right?

I don’t know why we picture Jesus dressed up in old school Bible garb. It’s not like we ever actually saw him this way. In fact, the only time I have ever seen anyone wear a “robe” was during my church’s Christmas play. For this reason, I seem to have an artificial image of him stuck in my mind like this. You know, this picture. It was a picture my great-grandma had hanging in the hallway outside of her bathroom. Etched in my mind. Probably yours, too.

My Jesus is pretty boss, which is why I am currently trying to picture him in more contemporary clothing. I’m fairly certain he’s up on the times. He know what’s going down on planet Earth. Sudden image: Jesus on the set of What Not to Wear. Stacey and Clinton are like, “Hey, JC, we’ve got some secret footage of you. It seems you’ve been wearing the same outfit for the past 2000 years or so.”

This is what I think Jesus will be wearing when I shake his hand: some jeans, Converse sneakers, and a t-shirt from one of his favorite bands, which could be anybody since he loves everyone the same. But you know, no tees made by kids in sweatshops. Plus, the beard is gone. It’s 2008, we’ve got Gillette.
Big paradigm shift coming up. He’s not a white boy. I’m thinking he looks more like Sayid from LOST, or something. Minus the torturing experience from the Republican Guard. Maybe you’re wondering what’s the same between the Jesus wearing the robe and sandals and the Jesus in Levis and sneakers. Scars in his hands, scars on his feet. Because he still died for you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

English for the Children is a load of crap

I was driving through town today and saw this blue sign that said "English for the Children." For 1.2 seconds I thought it was like an advertisement for a place that taught English for a good cause, such as so that people can get jobs. Upon a closer view, I saw smaller text saying "vote yes on measure 58."

I say, vote hell no on measure 58.

I half wanted to either pull the sign out or go up and knock on the person's door and ask them why the heck they think measure 58 is a good idea. Oh, sure "English for the Children" sounds like you're helping people out, but you're not. I'm a teacher, I should know. In case you have a very low IQ, you should know that it takes longer than 2 years to become fluent in a language. How many people do you know took their required 2 years of foreign language in high school and are now fluent? If measure 58 passes, then teachers won't be allowed to offer the support to their students that those kids need.

I have worked in several different classrooms, and believe me, there is a big difference between kids who were taught to read and write in their native language and those who did English only. English only is a load of crap. You may think it would lead to them speaking fluent English quicker, but it doesn't. As a TEACHER, I say vote no on measure 58. Don't let people who do not have a degree in education or who have not taught actual students convince you otherwise. I know my case here is very brief, but I am quite hungry for dinner after a long day of teaching. So, you know, more later most likely. Perhaps on measure 60 as well. Plus, tomorrow is picture day and I have to pick out my outfit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Twister Box Kid

While at Danny and Shoes' house playing not-at-all drunken Twister (because when have I ever been drunk? Minus that one time on Monday Funday....Zach Crowe if you are reading this I would like my cowboy hat back), we were poking fun at the Twister box. Even though the game of Twister was brand new, it still had the original Twister kids on it. From the 90s. In their bright, stripey outfits. Gotta love it. It was then that I decided to mention that I used to have a crush on the kid with the yellow hood. Yeah, I went there. I had a crush on Twister box kid. I had middle school birthday parties and we girls would play Twister and ogle over the hottie on the box. Just like JTT. Imagine if I had married Twister Box Kid. We could have had a polka dotted wedding and played Milton Bradley games. Alas, it was not so. Instead, my box of Twister is sitting in my sister's garage. And that kid probably married the red-headed chick dressed as a bumble bee.
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