Monday, May 30, 2011

Domestic Domination

 I made my students write a short paper last week called "Ten things that are worse than_______." They had to start by picking a daily activity that they did not enjoy, and then describe ten other things that are even more terrible than that. As you can see, I really like to focus on the positive with my students. For my writing example, I wrote "Ten things that are worse than making my bed." Vacuuming made it onto the list. I described to the kids how I absolutely abhor vacuuming, because the vacuum is large and cumbersome, I always get too hot, emptying the vacuum is gross, and it takes forever plus a minute.

I vacuumed my house today [applause]. I was really dragging my heels about it, but then I tricked my brain into believing that I enjoy vacuuming. I realized that the new vacuum I bought over spring break really is quite fabulous, because it actually sucks up dirt with a vengeance. So I cruised around my living room, running over crumbs and clods like a maniac driver trying to hit pedestrians for points. "Got you, you little sucker!" I'd say. "Mwahahaha, you are no more!"

Basically, don't ever come to my house while I am vacuuming, because I will probably frighten you with my tactile plan of capturing the groadies lying on my floor. I'm like a vacuuming ninja.

I had previously thought that I hated emptying the dirt canister, because usually I get all dusty. But as I emptied it (twice) today, I realized what sort of magnificent satisfaction it offered. I had visible proof of my work, and I awed at how much nasty was actually sitting on my mostly-clean-looking carpet. Shaking out that collected dirt was better than popping an overly ripe zit. Both tasks are disgusting, but you know you feel satisfied when it's done.

I marveled at how easily the vacuum glided across the carpet, at how powerful the hose really was. I could suck up a loose hamster with that thing. Not that I ever would. I am against harming cute, cuddly pets. As I observed the air inside the see-through canister spinning rapidly, circulating that dirt and hair round and round with unending speed, I realized that the rapper of "move your body like a cyclone" was actually referring to his stellar Eureka vacuum, and not some slut on a pole.

I've got a cyclone in a canister and it is wreaking havoc on all the dirt in its wake. It's like the equivalent of Joplin, Missouri being spun into confusion. Only, you know, with tortilla chip houses and gray fuzz people.

When I completed my wrath, I dusted off the outside of my vacuum, like a soldier wiping blood from his sword. I put my weapon back in the closet and shut the door, a blade nested back into its sheath.
Google images provided me with this frightening photo of my vacuum.
One battle down, another to fight next week. Or you know, in three, depending on how much I feel like cleaning.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Adventures with Gram

For some reason the draft of this post got forgotten about, and I am just now publishing it. It was from the first part of April, so whoops. But I swear to you, you're gonna love this.

My cousin Grace and I went to visit our Gram during spring break last month. I came back two pounds heavier because of all the food she made me eat, but my abs were also sore due to the side-splitting laughter that ensued every fifteen minutes. I've documented some of the conversations for your entertainment. 

While looking at some of the little rocks Gram keeps in a fancy dish on the table
Grace: Hey Gramma, I remembered to bring you a hand lens (to look at rocks with).
Gram: Oh you did! Then I will share my dental picks with you.
Grace and I look at Gram and pause. Because you know,when someone offers to share their dental hygiene materials with you, there's not a lot you can say.
Gram: They're for cleaning rocks.
Oh, it all makes sense now. Sort of.

The first night that Grace and I were there, we made a list of all the things we wanted to do during our stay. Authentic rock-hounding was out of the picture, as the weather was still way too wet. We didn't want Gram's Jeep to get stuck in the mud while we were off-roading, because Leon (Gram's hubby) already said he wouldn't come save us.
Gram: Okay, well let's see. We can climb Smith Rock.
I add it to the list because I am the record keeper.
Gram: And did you girls want to go see Great Grandpa Pitman?
Grace: Yes.
I add it to the list.
Gram: We could go to the Prineville Forestry Center. They have a real nice case of rocks...
Grace and I lift our eyebrows at each other.
Me: That we could steal?
Gram: Heavens no! To look at!
Me: Good point. I left most of my disguises at home.

My 70 year old grandmother kicked my butt hiking up. She'd climb Smith Rock every day if she had someone to go with her, which is the exact reason I limited my stay to three days.
Here's Gram, Grace, and me in front of Monkey Face. I swear my legs are not as short as they look. It's because our photographer was standing on a hill. I am fully five feet tall.
Later, as we were driving back from our long day at Smith Rock, Gram (who is driving) turns to me and says, "I want you girls to sign the back of our parking pass so I can keep the memento with my box of grandchild adventures." She points to the parking pass that is placed on my side of the dash. I try to reach it but can't since my arms are too short and I'm still buckled up. I figure I'll grab the slip when we park. Gram is at the wheel and she is too impatient for me. While driving, she reaches over towards me, starts to unbuckle herself and says "Oh here, let me get it." I make a terrified expression because at the very beginning of the day Gram told me and Grace that she wasn't going to talk to us very much because she needed to concentrate on her driving (which was true). A second later Gram bursts into laughter and says "Haha! Gotchyou!" She was playing a trick on me. "You should have seen your face! You really thought I was going to do that!" Grace, who is in the back seat, starts to chuckle, and I laugh a bit as well, but part of me still thinks she was seriously going to unbuckle herself while driving and reach for the paper. I think that once she saw my face she just passed it off as a joke. I'm not really sure. But she about died laughing, which caused a bit of swervature in her driving anyway. Good thing we were on the gravel road near her house.

The second day we drove into Prineville. On our way there, Gram points down a remote road. It looks like the sort of place you might go to try a shortcut, but you'll end up thirsty and dying in the desert while rattlesnakes and scorpions poison you instead.
Gram: Did you know Facebook moved out here to the tulies?
Grace is in the front seat and she turns to look at me. We both are surprised because why would Gram know about Facebook? And why in the world would they move to the middle of no-where central Oregon? Surely Gram must not know what she's talking about. Grace plays it off carefully to test Gram's knowledge.
Grace: What's Facebook?
Gram: (peels of laughter plus a snort) Facebook! Surely you girls know what Facebook is!
Grace: But I thought they were located in California. Why would they move here?
Gram: Cheap land? I don't know. But I guess all the people who work there are hip city people who live in Portland and commute.
Me: They drive three hours to work everyday? And then go home?
Gram: I think they stay in a hotel during the week and then go home on the weekends. They're city people, you know? It's hard for them to be out here.
Grace and I ponder a bit more and discuss, but neither one of us really believes the Facebook is moving out to the boondocks.

We got to the pioneer museum, which is located inside an old bank building. I kid you not, on the front of the museum door is a blue flier that reads "Welcome Facebook!" So it has to be true. Grandma is a lot more up-to-date with the world than I thought.

We looked at all of the old-timey stuff that the museum had. When we got upstairs, there was a medical room. It had really terrifying things like a metal cervical dilator. Basically, the medical room supplied all the props needed to film a horror movie targeted at women.
Sorry the picture is blurry, but I was shaking with fear.
This is a vaginal spectrum AKA the most horrifying thing you could ever imagine! Also, another reason to keep your legs clamped shut.
We later went back downstairs and broke into the vault, but the money was already gone.

We stopped at a gas station and Gram bought Grace and me Megabucks tickets. She said that we had to win so that we could take care of her in her old age. After that we had to stop at Safeway for a few things, and Gram backed her Jeep up into a parking spot. Grace and I didn't have to get out to know the vehicle was straddling the white line and hogging two spaces. "Uh, Gram, do you think maybe you should try that again?" But what she does is kind of chuckle and say, "Oh, if they just get a look at me they'll understand!" So what Grace and I do is sort of walk out of the parking lot real fast so that no one can see which vehicle we came from.

Grace captured the evidence on camera.
Later we went to visit my great-grandpa, who is 92 years old. He lives with his wife in a manufactured home community for old people. All the curbs along the sidewalks are sloping, so that way the old people can get their walkers and wheelchairs up easily. It also means it's a lot easier for a car to drive up onto the sidewalk by accident. But it's not like that happened.

As we were pulling into his driveway, my grandma was telling me how a lot of the  land adjacent to his property used to just be barren fields, and my great-grandpa liked to go out with his rifle and shoot rock chucks for sport. I told her that I remembered when it was like that, because my family had visited Grandpa Pitman when he first moved to central Oregon. Gram continued, "Then the housing development came in and spoiled his fun. Now he has to be sneaky and shoot rock chucks out the bathroom window."
This is what a rock chuck looks like. Before Gramps gets to it.
We visited with my Great-Gramps, who was of course wearing his favorite purple western style shirt with black suspenders. I thought I had a picture of it, but I guess not.
This photo is from his birthday two years ago, but I'm pretty sure those are the same suspenders he always wears. That's my Gram (his daughter) standing next to him.
We hugged Grandpa Pitman good-bye and went home to Gram's house. On the way, Gram told us how she worried about Grandpa, because he still thinks he can do whatever he wants. For example, at 92 years old, he recently climbed a ladder to trim a branch of a tree, even though Gram said she'd do it for him. He likes to be independent though. I just hope he doesn't hurt himself.

Our last adventure was driving up to the reservoir so we could dig for rocks. Unfortunately, we didn't find much because the water was up so high. All I ended up finding were two action figures who had their faces buried in the dirt. I rescued them and brought them home. I am pretty sure one of them was meant to be Hulk Hogan. Since we didn't get to go bonafied rock-hounding during spring break, I am hoping to get back over there sometime this summer so that I can spend more time with Gram and dig for precious rocks.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Husband Talk (don't get freaked out)

I don't think I have the Disney princess view of love and marriage in my brain, but I do have some expectations. I was reading The Good Women Project the other day, and guest writer Annie wrote this concerning marriage: "It’s not about just you anymore. It’s waking up and realizing your dreams didn’t die, but now you have someone who can help you achieve them, and you’re responsible for helping them accomplish theirs too." 

I dig that. I don't want some guy to think that by marrying me, all his dreams are going to be crushed. I think a lot of guys believe that's what will happen. I would want my husband to trust me enough and know that I value his dreams enough to help make them happen. I don't have "dream crusher" stamped across my forehead. If you want to make a dream come true, by all means, let's get on it. I'll help you.

In return, I'd expect my husband to be supportive of my dreams and encourage me. I mean, if someone is rooting for you, and pushing you to get where you want to be, how could you not reach your goals? Life's not a one-man show. You need a support system. I mean, if I had someone keeping me accountable for drafting/revising my novels, I probably would have had one published three years ago. Or you know, at least have sent it off to a publishing house for consideration.

On a completely different note, if I ever acquire a better half and we happen to bear children, I totally want my husband to wear sunglasses, a leather jacket, and do this:

Oh. My. Heavens. How hot is a dad wearing a baby in a sling? Sizzling. I kind of want one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things I make

This post is heavily laden with photos. I was rather impatient about it because it definitely took more than ten minutes to put them on here. So appreciate, please.

If you are an in-town friend and have been to my house recently, then you already know this. You might already know this as well if you are a stalker, know where I live, and have peered in through the windows of my house while I was at work. In the past month, here are some things I have made:

These were for the coffee break/sweet treat time we have at church. Quite obviously they are cookie monster cupcakes. The Sesame Street theme had nothing to do with anything, I just thought those blue faces were hilarious, so I had to make them. I got the idea from Pinterest. By far the best part was shoving the cookies into the mouths. Anybody have a children's birthday party you want me to plan?
Remember how I said I was going to make a chalkboard globe during spring break? Yeah, finally got that done.
Step 1: acquire an old globe from Goodwill.
Step 2: Paint in all the water with black chalkboard paint, then outline the continents with white paint, then paint the land masses black with more chalkboard paint. Two coats were necessary. Step 3: Decorate with chalk.    

Of course he lives at the North Pole.
I kind of love Europe and mostly want to go to Africa.
When my friend Liz was over, she drew that picture of a penguin on Antarctica.
 I have this thing for maps, which is odd considering how much I get lost while driving. I made this pennant out of old maps that I bought for $0.79 at St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store. I got an ENTIRE BOOK of maps. Do you know how excited I was to find this book? Incredibly. I am going to craft so many things out of map paper.
I also have a thing for tissue paper pom poms. 

Can I just say that the color of my wall looks very nasty, but it is not that gross in real life. I'm not color blind.

Two Saturdays ago (on the 14th of May) I hosted a birthday party at my house for four of my friends, who were all born in May. I made a lot of cake.
Natalie, Kaitlynn, Leslie, and Casey all got a mini cake with their initial on it.

From left to right: Natalie, Kaitlynn, Leslie, Casey, my pasty arms lighting the candles.
We laughed a lot that night. And you know, ate a lot of sugar.
In addition to the spread you see here, I made a whole other sheet cake. We also had a potluck style meal, and guests brought PLENTY of food. Because we had so much grub, I was left with quite a bit of cake. I may or may not have eaten all or most of it the following week. For dinner.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapture Reflection

I'm still here. The world did not end. While the future coming of Christ is very real, I really couldn't help but have a joking attitude with the whole May 21st thing. I mean, God doesn't need to advertise on a billboard. I was a little bit sad that Jesus didn't whisk me up to heaven on Saturday, because that means I have to go to work this week.

 On Friday I read a Twitter status that said, "I wonder if Ashton Kutcher is behind all this May 21st Rapture business. It would be the greatest episode of Punk'd ever."

And then when I was on the way to Portland with friends, we were joking about Rapture day pranks. Like, maybe we should set out full sets of clothes and shoes and everything out on our yards to make it look like we disappeared. Or we could leave a set of clothes in a car that was left with the engine running. 

I spent most of Saturday with the ever lovely Leslie, Casey, Kaitlynn, and Natalie. All four of them have May birthdays and we celebrated by eating waffles, getting pedicures, and going to the Chinese Garden in Portland. When I got home, I was catching up on episodes of Nikita when my phone rang. I knew from the ring tone that it was Natalie. But Alex was being questioned in the zapper chair by Amanda, so I didn't answer the call. Then Natalie rang again. I decided it must be important so I answered it. She was very relieved to hear my voice. It was 6:03pm and she was calling to see if I was still on Earth. 

"Just making sure you're still here," she said.
"I am."
"Okay, good."

Today at church, my pastor opened up by saying, "Well, I'm sorry we didn't get raptured." He's such a kick in the pants. In fact, if you want to hear his opening, my church puts the audio of the sermons on-line, so here's a link to today. I love this guy. He's a gem.

What I am most wondering right now is: what's God thinking? Is he laughing at human's attempts to uncover the time of his arrival? Cringing that non-believers might think that all Christians are scam artists? Making rapture jokes of his own?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

College Diary Entry: Slacker

If you don't keep a journal, you really should. The oldest one I have dates back to when I was eight years old. I wrote about falling in mud puddles while wearing my new pink jeans.

Every six months or so, I like to bust out my collection and see how I have progressed over the years. Sometimes reading the old stuff makes me cry again, or it makes me laugh, or it makes me smile at how entirely ridiculous I really was.

I have a bit of journal to share with you today, dated 10/5/06, which was my junior year of college. My anger was uncontainable at the time, but now I just have to look back and shake my head at people's stupidity, mine included. I shouldn't have let it get to me.

Here it is:

The most shocking thing of my life happened today. A teacher of mine (Amy Smith) thinks I'm a slacker. She actually asked me to stay afterward so she could ask me what the hell I am doing in her class if I never take notes and don't participate. She actually wasted her time to have this conversation with me, like I'm the bad kid who sleeps in class or something. Me, a valedictorian of my high school class, Honors Program student, academic scholarship winner. Seriously. I hope she feels like shit tonight, because she definitely did not make my day easier. Let me just list everything that I've had to worry about in the past seven days. For real. 

I go on to list ten things that seemed big at the time in my RA (resident assistant) life, such as drug busts, counseling residents, and sexually assaulted victims. Which don't get me wrong, is still a big deal. But it wasn't like I needed to be any one's savior. I put too much stress on myself.

And Amy wants to tell me she's pissed I don't take more notes? What the f---. (I find it humorous that in my own private journal I still didn't have the gall to spell the f word out in it's entirety. Don't worry, I found plenty of audacity later and this word that I hate more than anything appears more than several times throughout the rest of the journal, and in the next one after it, and the next one after that). I'm going to tell you all the related background information: Amy is like 36. She used to work in inner city high schools where she took no crap and whipped people into shape. Her favorite phrase is "I don't have time to dick around." She pretty much prides herself on being a bad A(ss. Yes. I would not even write ass in my journal). She never lets us out early because our classes are jam packed. Which is fine. She likes to tell us stories about the slacker kids she reformed. 

Last Thursday, when I am not writing down everything she says, I am asked "Joelle, are you memorizing this?" I say, "" and jot something down.

This Tuesday, me and two other students map out our imaginary future classroom. I explain it because no one else jumps on it to be the speaker. Amy asks me where the pencil sharpener is located. "Um...on top of the bookshelf." 

Amy says, "Well quit looking at me and draw it in." 

I take a blue pen and place a dot on the paper. As you can see, this is fairly ridiculous. I am asked if the pencil sharpener is electric or not. I say yes, reasoning that electric pencil sharpeners only take five seconds. Amy tells me I'm wrong, because someone could stand in front of the pencil sharpener for a long time bugging me or the rest of the students. She fails to listen to my theory that students should only write in pen in order to help the writing process (A theory that I still believe in, and if you want it explained in full, leave a comment). But she doesn't want to hear about how noisy hand cranked pencil sharpeners can be. 

Today, Thursday, at break Amy asks me if I have a few minutes after class. I am reluctant to say yes because I only have 20 minutes to walk back to my dorm room, go to the dining hall and eat lunch, change for PE, and leave for the gym building. 

I stay afterward, expecting her to ask how I'm doing with the RA thing or something, because she actually fooled me before into thinking that she cared. Instead, this is the conversation we have:
A: What do you plan on doing when you are done with the ed program?
J: Well, my focus area is health and I'm elementary/middle level.
A: So what are you doing in my class?
J: There is no content pedagogy class in health, so they told me to just pick one.
A: Why why aren't you in social studies or something?
J: Umm...because I like English.
A: Do you know why I'm asking you all these questions?
J: No.
A: You never take notes in my class, you don't participate (yadda yadda she mentions other stuff I don't remember because I am going into shock)...
J: I'm sorry if it has appeared that way.
A: Well, it has.
J:.........? I think I am more of a shy person who likes to think more and listen.
A: (glares)....Well, maybe you are more of an auditory learner, but I don't see you writing down anything and you're not going to remember this in 17 years. 
A: What if you're teaching 10th grade health and there are budget cuts and you have to teach 9th grade lit?
J: (I'm thinking this is just fine with me, but just stare, because I have not been planning on teaching only health. I go on to explain how I actually want to teach elementary in a self-contained classroom)
J: I guess I will try to speak up more. 
(Smile nicely and exit.)

What the f----. Here I am, leaning in, listening to every word. I'm two terms ahead for goodness sake, and I didn't get here from being a slacker. I was the valedictorian in high school! In the college Honors Program! And she has the nerve to tell me I never take notes and don't participate? Do you want to look in my effing notebook? What more can I do? I guess I will just have to pretend like lit class is the best thing of my life and I have nothing better to worry about than if I'm writing down Amy's every word. Seriously, WHAT THE F--- DO YOU WANT WITH ME?!

Nearly five years later, I can look back on this and just accept that sometimes profs have sticks up their butts and need to pick on somebody, like the tiniest, youngest person in class. I can go through it again. If you want to call me a shitty student, you can. Go ahead, unload on me. Yes, I am a loser. Yes, I never do anything right. I'll have you know that she tested me the very next week by asking me about something she talked about previously. I was able to answer her question in two seconds. I had written the complex idea down, and I knew exactly where it was in my notebook. I replied politely and I think she was a bit angry that I actually knew. Or maybe she was smug because she thought she had "fixed" my slacker attitude with her ranting, and now I was on the road to success, thanks to her. Whatever. It's all quite laughable now.

I kind of want to track her down and e-mail her to see if she remembers me. And does she look back on it and find it funny? Or have I been added to her success list of "reformed" students she likes to tells others about? Because the interaction I had with her really discredited my faith in her. I bet all those other "reformed" students were actually A plus transfer students whom she had never met.

I just checked. She's on LinkedIn. Wouldn't that be an interesting correspondence?
"Dear Amy, it turns out that I did become a total crap teacher after all...."

Want to know what's most ironic? That term she actually started out my favorite teacher. Well, for about three weeks, until she blew up in my face on October fifth. Then she wasn't.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

how Pinterest is semi-exclusive (like Facebook used to be)

There's this completely stellar website called Pinterest that lets you make digital collage boards of things you love. The day my account was activated, I spent at least five hours on the site.

But first, an introduction that will probably seem unrelated but I swear it is.

Do you remember when Facebook used to be only for college students? You had to have a legit university email in order to get an account. It was exclusive. I think this helped keep the riff-raff off of Facebook. Everybody you were friends with had to be a college student. Now, it's not to say that there are not plenty of intelligent people who didn't go to college. There are many. They are making more money than me right now. But then, let's be honest, there are the not-so-smart people who didn't go to college, either. Because it does take a least a shred of intelligence, commitment, or parental over-bearance in order for a person to get into college. So Facebook helped keep out some of the morons. You know, the ones who send you 45 vampire requests a week? Or the ones who list Farmville as one of their hobbies on a resume?

Well, Pinterest is kind of like that. In order to have your own Pinterest account, you have to be invited. This fact alone makes you sound elite, discounting the fact that you can request an invitation from the Powers That Be.

I think it's pretty safe to say that a large majority of people who have Pinterest accounts are creative/artistic/aesthetically inclined. Because why would you have a pin board if didn't? I have pin boards because I love gazing at beautiful things (like your face), and I enjoy pinning photos of lovely spaces and clever ideas. I am a maker. So I believe that most people on Pinterest are makers too.

It's like men with mustaches. While it's true that there are some very upstanding or distinguished fellows have mustaches, it's also true that most criminals have mustaches. I would venture to say that most clean-shaven men are reputable, while nearly all shady people have mustaches. I mean, how many criminals have you seen printed in the paper who have mustaches? A lot. It's because these crooks think it makes a good disguise, because they can just shave it off after they rob the bank or whatever. I am not saying that most men with mustaches are sketchy. I am saying that a large percentage of dishonest men do indeed have mustaches. If you are a crook, chances are you have a 'stache.

Let's recap this post:
*Old, exclusive, college-only Facebook helped keep the riff-raff out.
*Most shady men have mustaches.
*People who have Pinterest accounts are creative and keep their eyes peeled for beauty.

And now, some lovely things for you to gaze at. I present to you the pin boards I have made via Pinterest. Click on that little red button to go there.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Sue Sylvester Track Suit

When I was in middle school I thought I could fake athleticism. I thought I could wear Adidas stripes down the sides of my pants and look svelte. Like maybe I really could run a ten minute mile, but I did it all the time so why prove it to you now?

Oh good gracious.

I was at the gym last week when the woman in front of me made me grin. She was wearing navy blue athletic pants and a navy blue top. Both had white stripes down the pant legs and shirt sleeves. It immediately launched me back to age 13, when I was trying to fit in. All I did was look like a moron. But that's okay. It built character.
This picture of Sue Sylvester basically is an exact replica of the outfit I had in middle school. Only my jacket was an actual waterproof jacket with a hood. And it was more of a navy blue. No wonder I had no friends.

Let me tell you the extent of my athleticism:
*Off an on again from age 7 to age 12: gymnastics. Only I have a total crap knee cap that likes to dislocate itself quite frequently, so I was out of commission every three weeks or so.

*Age 13: B string softball team. Only I majorly blew out my knee at practice one time and missed most of the playing season, since I was on crutches. It was basically a favor for my teammates. I played outfield and I can't throw.

*Age 9 to age 17: horseback riding. If you count that as athleticism, which I really don't. But boy does riding bareback tone your inner thighs.

*Age 15: I went to tennis camp for two weeks and realized it was all in vain. I have weakling arms, bad aim, and poor hand-eye coordination.

*Age 18-2: I went to the on-campus college "gym" a few times. Like maybe six times per term.

*Age 23-present: I actually have a legit gym membership. I kick ass and take names while I'm there. I went four to five times a week for two years, but the past eight months I have been slacking down to only twice a week. But I am not going to get into the bitter story about that. Chances are, you already know it.

I am hoping to venture in to my childhood dream of learning martial arts this summer. My mother would never let me. But one of my co-workers is actually a tae-kwon-do instructor down town, and she said she'd be glad to have me as an adult student. Chances are I could blend in with the 12 and up crowd. They'd never know I'm twice their age. Just gotta talk about Justin Beiber and wear Silly Bandz. Oh, and not wear a track suit.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

lack of sleep = discovery of Picasa

I am awake at 6:15 on a Saturday morning. I can't even wake up at that time during the week, so how's it possible I am unable to sleep on the ONE DAY I am allowed to sleep in? It's because I did not take my little blue pill. Yes, I, Joelle Jean, have a sleep problem. It started in October last year, just after the stress of my job drove me over the edge. I thought it was all mental, and the reason that I didn't sleep is because I thought I couldn't sleep. Mostly it was because I had a lot on my mind.

So last night I'm all, "It's Saturday tomorrow, I can sleep in till one if I want, my brain's gonna know this and I will sleep like a hundred year old log in a petrified forest." WRONG. Because you know what my brain thought instead at 6:00am? It thought "Oh crap, I've gotta go to work in a few hours." When my consciousness kicked in, I remembered it was Saturday. This did not help. I refused to get out of bed for a while, then figured I should just start my day, make myself tired, and crash at 1:30 in the afternoon for a nap. Hence, I am blogging in the early hours of a Saturday.

Friends, I have to tell you, I have BEEN A MORON! This post is going all cap happy on you, but it's probably just because I only slept for five hours last night. I have finally discovered the glory that is Google's Picasa web albums. Oh. My. Word. Why did no one stress to me the ease of such a thing? I knew about Picasa. I just never checked it out. Moron. Basically, I should just accept the fact that everything on Google is extremely useful. This year I finally started using Google Docs (great for documents I want to work on at work and at home), Google Reader (so I only check the blogs that have new content on them), and Google Calendar (come on Joelle, really?).

Let me tell you about Picasa, in case you have been living in the dark closet of naivety like I have. I've only explored Picasa fifteen minutes ago, but I very quickly found the geniusness in it. Let me list the ways.
1. It's free.
2. It's linked to your Google account.
3. It is super easy to find and upload pictures that are already on your computer.
4. It's speedy quick like a jack rabbit.
5. It's directly linked to Picnik, which is my favorite way to edit the crappy photos I take.
6. You can send your pictures directly to Walgreens (or another place) to get printed. In like, four seconds.
7. A monkey could use it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some chimps living in the New York Zoo have been utilizing Picasa for the past year or whatever, to organize all the photos they take of tourists who act like morons.

I very rarely take photos, because I am not good at it in any way, but every now and then I like to print out the memories on some glossy 5 X 7 paper and stick it behind a window of glass. In my previous life before Picasa, this is all the dumb stuff I had to do in order to get a good picture printed:
1. Upload a photo, one by one, onto Picnik to edit it. Because like I said, I am a crappy photographer. I know I can somewhat fix this by tweaking the lighting and whatnot on Picnik.
2. Save the edited photo from Picnik onto my computer.
3. Upload that photo into an album on Walgreen's photo site.
4. Select the album to be printed from Walgreen's.
5. Order prints, wait an hour or two, then drive five blocks to pick them up.

Now I can eliminate some steps. Life just keeps getting easier. Thank you, Picasa. Sorry I have been ignoring you for so long.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fake weddings and one lashed ladies

When my life gets crazy (or rather, I just don't manage my time well) this is what happens:
I go to bed without taking a shower, even though I went to the gym.
I don't have enough time to comb my hair in the morning before going to work.
I have a comb, but don't have any break at work in which I might comb my hair.
I leave the house, am halfway down the road, and I look in the rear view mirror to notice that I have only applied mascara to one of my eyes.
I start eating breakfast, but leave half of it on my desk after forgetting about it.
I work through my lunch break.
I panic when someone wants three minutes of my time, because I have 23 things to do in those 3 minutes.
Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.

In other news, some of the 5th grade students were trying to hold a marriage ceremony during recess. Most teachers thought they were just playing pretend, but I guess they weren't. The resulting illegal marriage resulted in social backlash for the students involved. New school policy: no weddings on school grounds. My biggest question still remains: which student was acting as the officiant? And did they get licensed on-line?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a lesson on words

After you read this, you are going to think that I am anal retentive. You're right; I am. And in case you were also wondering where the term "anal retentive" comes from, basically it's a Freudian theory that when you were a kid, you struggled to take a dump. Learn more about it here.

The lesson
The word is eavesdropping, not ease dropping. This word comes from the idea that the eavesdropper would be listening at the edge of someone's house, perhaps by a window. Specifically, they would be under the eavesdrop, which is the area around a house or building which receives the rain water dropping from the eaves.

Accept is a verb meaning to receive. "I accept your marriage proposal."
Except is a preposition meaning excluding.  "You are a great boyfriend, except for the fact that you misuse words."

Affect is a verb meaning to influence. "The medicine did not affect me in any way. I was still coughing up my left lung."
Effect is a noun meaning result. "The effect of the medicine was minimal." You cannot have an effect without a cause.

It's prima donna, not pre-Madonna. Prima donna is Italian for leading lady and when used as an insult, it implies the person is egotistical or demanding. Don’t write “pre-Madonna” unless you intend to discuss the era before the singer Madonna became popular.

Than is used in comparisons. "I would rather gouge my eyes out than look at misused words."
Then denotes time. "I read Joelle's anal retentive blog post, and then I stopped making terrible language errors."

Now you will probably scrutinize everything I spell from now on and point out my errors. Please do so immediately. When I read old posts and find spelling errors, I just want to shrivel up and die. It's so embarrassing. I'm like, "how many hundreds of people have read this and now think I am a moron?"

Although I am trying to educate you right now on proper uses of certain words, I will admit to you, I CAN NEVER GET THE FOLLOWING CORRECT:

Lie, Lay:
Lie is an intransitive verb meaning to recline or rest on a surface. Its principal parts are lie, lay, lain. Lay is a transitive verb meaning to put or place. Its principal parts are lay, laid.
Hint: Chickens lay eggs. I lie down when I am tired.

Wait, what? The chicken will lay eggs, the chicken lays eggs, the chicken has lain eggs? Or laid eggs? I never know. I will lie down, I am lying down, I have lain down? It sounds weird to me. I admit I have no idea. I avoid using the different tenses of this word in writing. My parents never use this word correctly, so I never learned it either. Thank heavens I at least learned that "sandwich" is not pronounced "sow-winch" like it was in my native house-hold tongue.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter Aftermath

Maybe you have been wondering how my middle-aged Easter egg hunt went. It was a whole week ago, I know. Sadly, not all my aunts and uncles were able to attend our Easter meal, but I still had four middle-aged folk to send on the hunt. It rained in an un-happy way after we ate, so the cousins and I hid the eggs inside the house. I was blessed that my dear friend Natalie joined my family for Easter this year, and she helped hide the eggs in a stealthy manner. I didn't tell any of the middle-aged people that this hunt was especially designed for them, and I didn't tell them what were in the eggs until afterward. I didn't want them to be offended before they even started.
Here's a photo of my sister Jessamy, me, my cousin Morgan, and my dear friend Natalie. My arm is awkwardly around my sister, like I'm gonna put her in a headlock.
My cousins and I tested our parents' eyesight, agility, and speed with the way we hid those eggs. We hid some eggs in places that we thought were really obvious, because we wanted to see just how good of seekers our parents were. The entire hunt lasted about nine minutes, and then I was pleased to give everyone a Ziploc baggy with a "Guide to your Easter Eggs" inside, so they'd know what the different sorts of pills were. Here is a video for your enjoyment.

In case you were curious, this is what the slip of paper said:

Guide to Your Easter Eggs
An activity specially designed for the middle aged!
 Orange eggs—boost your immune system with some Vitamin C!
 Purple eggs—fiber is important for your age group. Help things along with some raisins. Yum. Raisins also help protect against Macular Degeneration (losing your eyesight).
 Green eggs—here’s your sugar allowance!
 Yellow eggs—Remember sitting on the porch swing and eating a Werther’s original hard candy? Good, because I don’t. Hope this evokes some nostalgia like the commercials say.
 Pink eggs—did you get a tummy ache from your sugar binge? Have a Tums.
 Blue eggs—Aches and pains getting you down? Pop an aspirin. Also, remember to be saving up your pennies for retirement. Do this with the help of coupons.

The hunt was a big hit, and I'm pretty sure we will remember it for a long time. I just wish my Gram and other relatives could have been there.
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