Archive for July, 2007

Batten down the hatches

Posted in etcetera, i hate vegetables, Life, School, teaching, you have to be a chick to understand on July 16, 2007 by drbolte

If you read my last post, you’ll recognize that, indeed, the time has come.

In order to pay homage to the beast that is PMS (sorry, guys…it’s just a fact), I submit the following:

Things I’m thinking about WAY too much:

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I’m desperate for some Chinese food, which just seems like a carnival of wrong since, yeah, what I REALLY need now is more sodium, thank you very much. But I also have no willpower, so screw it. Me and my love of deep fried cream cheese wontons will be there after school. Hello, bliss in my mouth.

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My bed looks nothing like this bed, but bed I need and bed I want. I don’t understand why I am so tired for someone who feels like she sleeps, already, entirely too much. Oh well. What do I care? I’m even considering moving the TV in my room. Hello, bed that has never failed to make me feel better. Hello, sweet unaccountability of sleep.

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Except when you start dreaming about mundane things like mail. Come on. If I have to dream, and I guess I do, could it not please feature the luscious Orlando Bloom? Or me wearing a size 2? Or me accomplishing any of the multitude of things I have yet to accomplish and need to (like, perhaps, the completion of plans for the class I am teaching in an hour and a half)?

Sigh.

All in all, my mood, for multiple reasons, is best summed up by this:

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I am all grr…argh. It doesn’t help that the laziest teachers ever born currently are sending their sad, mopey students to me with comments that say “get your grammar issues fixed by the ESL tutors”…and I’m not an ESL tutor and THERE AREN’T ANY GRAMMAR ERRORS TO FIX! It’s style, you nimrod! Just because you don’t like the way it’s phrased doesn’t mean that it’s license for you to stifle the hopes and dreams and confidence of your students! They’re in REMEDIAL ENGLISH! What do you think that means?!?

 

Let me tell you what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that you don’t tell them what they’re doing wrong. It doesn’t mean that you foist them off onto the underpaid tutors in the underresourced fluorescent coffin to fix. It doesn’t mean that you can simply tell a student just here from another FLIPPING COUNTRY that she’s going to fail your class and think that’s okay. Nor can you tell YOUR ENTIRE CLASS to come here for peer review.

 

Uhm, last time I checked, I wasn’t their peer. I have a masters degree and am about to have a flipping doctorate.

 

I’m NOT A FRESHMAN’S PEER.

 

Wow.

 

That felt good.

 

Oh. And, public at large, do not yell at me for things I haven’t done. If I didn’t consult you on something, it’s possible it’s because it didn’t occur to me to READ YOUR MIND and know that you wanted to be. If I didn’t do something on your timetable or in the way that you thought it ought to be done, perhaps it’s because a) I haven’t done it because I’m stuffing my face with oatmeal cookies and General Tso’s chicken and the only thing on my radar right now is sobbing through War and Remembrance and learning how to say the crazy L in Mongolian and grading student papers before I incite a riot or b) I quite possibly don’t care. See A. or c) I DO WHAT I FREAKING WANT! or d) My way is the best way. See D.

 

So, don’t yell at me. For anything, really. This me asking you sort of nicely right now.

And it would also be wise for anyone male to stay away from me unless they’re coming near me to a) kiss me passionately. or b) tell me how beautiful I am. or c) regret the fact that they haven’t done a or b. or d) prostrate themselves before me and recognize that they are, in fact, idiotic, male, and in desperate need of an amazing woman like me.

But I’m not bitter. Really, I’m not. I just have no patience whatsoever right now.

 

So, batten down the hatches, kids. It ought to be a fun few days.  Anyone have a spare broom? It’s time for me to fly off to class.

 

Oh. And if you liked this afternoon’s entertainment, the tip jar’s to your left.  Heck, I’m wryly amused myself.

 

 

 

if they had a contest in diversity in meal planning, I would win…

Posted in ghetto life, i hate vegetables, me, you have to be a chick to understand on July 15, 2007 by drbolte

…for I am a winner!

Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I replace a well-balanced dinner with Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its and excessive amounts of oatmeal cookies. And when I mean excessive, I’m not waxing poetic.

Sigh.

Gosh, me gonna be GOOD mommy someday.

Vegetables, I scoff at thee.

you’re reading this, darn you!

Posted in blogging on July 14, 2007 by drbolte

a friend of mine has a blog that very few people read.  she makes sure of it, and right now i envy that anonymity and closed audience.

i’m an attention addict, so i don’t want you to stop reading. it’s just that i have some things to say (read: a verbal tantrum to throw), and i don’t want everyone (read: the people who actually know me in real life) to read it and know exactly what i’m talking about.

i have a feeling it will blow over soon.  but in the meantime, i am trying to wrestle with a few things that need wrestling.  i’d like to beat these things into submission, actually, and be pronounced the undeniable and unequivocal winner. i would like to be right.

i, however, would like to do this in a private venue.

oh, yeah…that’s what journals are for.

is there a vomit spice?

Posted in celebrities, yet another reason why i don't understand men on July 13, 2007 by drbolte

Are these people really serious?  Why do we CARE?

Hey.  You know me.  I love everything British.  EVERYTHING.  Even the truly stuffy Queen Elizabeth.

But am I really supposed to take him seriously?

I just don’t get it on general principle.

Charity work.  Pfft. Excuse me if I don’t take that quite seriously when the whole site is really focused on Becks and his exposed chest.

Which isn’t a bad chest, but that’s neither here nor there…

straddling the line

Posted in friends, Life, School, The Single Life on July 13, 2007 by drbolte

It’s strange to be in that place where you’re straddling the line between worlds. The blog world makes this even clearer to me (you’ll notice that most of the girls on my blogroll are moms–still close to my age, but with very different lives), but it’s been creeping up on me in my real life too.

I am significantly older than many of the people that I associate with. My best friend, who is 10,000 miles away on a mission, is about nine years younger than me. We are essentially the same person–you know, except that he’s a guy and can drive me nuttier than anyone other than my wonderful mother–so I don’t think age matters much. Except when it does. My favorite girl in G-ville is closer to my age–but she’s still younger. We, however, are kindred spirits and so it matters not.

But most everyone else here is at least five years younger than me. They’re all wonderful and amazing and I am blessed to have them in my life. But they’re younger and just beginning–and I am doing everything I can to finally close this university chapter of my life.

I’m beginning to feel it. It scares me a little–I’m not gonna lie. And realizing that the people that I should have the most in common with have real lives–with kids and playgroups and husbands and all sorts of stable, secure roots–just emphasizes the distinction.

Because, in three weeks, I am will abandon my one-bedroom apartment to live like a real college student, with roommates and silly girl talk and sharing and compromising and strategizing about boys.
I love it. And I mourn it.
I think I had an arrested development. Because I stayed at home for undergrad, I never got to be the 21-year-old that most everyone else got to be. So, while I may be nigh unto the big 3-0, I feel about 22. Sometimes I feel like I should be so much further along–like I should have been ready for real life so much earlier than I was. But I wasn’t–and I know it.

I needed my adventures. I needed my own timetable to figure out who I was and where I wanted to go. I needed to do things on my terms. It’s pretty much how I have to do things in general.

Maybe it’s a good thing to feel like I have a desire for both worlds–maybe it’s me getting ready to leave one and enter another. I think it’s probably time for me to be a big girl with a real life and a real job and eternal responsibilities.

It’s a weird and awkward and difficult place to be, though.

Posted in Life, me, School, teaching on July 13, 2007 by drbolte

I’d like to be here tomorrow, and for weeks on end, and especially on my big ginormous birthday:

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But instead, I am here, in what I affectionately term the dungeon, for at least the next four weeks:

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Welcome to my world! It’s full of chalk dust and funny freshmen and sassy instructor-me, but it’s mine.  And I kind of love it.

Even though I could really use an extended stay outside of the country in October.  Truly.

it’ll sneak right up on you

Posted in Life, me, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on July 12, 2007 by drbolte

Well, kids, it’s happened once more.

I tried to ignore it at first. The little changes that happened, the unexpected moments that, later, I would think back on with a puzzled “eh?”. It was new and different, but nothing that could be attributed to anything important. The little twinge of excitement I would get, the desire to be a little more daring, a little more sure of myself. And of course there was the lip gloss factor, but that’s a whole other blog post in and of itself.

Then I tried to fight it. The classic defensive manuevers: avoid, nitpick, self-deprecation, comparison. They worked for a while. Actually, surprisingly well. I must be pretty good at fighting. I’m a scrappy one, I tell you.

Next step was scrambling to substitute–anything but that. Maybe I’ll concentrate my attention over here–ooh, look at the shiny packing boxes that need my attention. Ooh, wait! Look! It’s papers that need to be graded. Ooh…maybe I’ll dismiss that idea altogether and displace my attention to this situation over here! That’s right! That’s the ticket!

I think I knew it was all over when I started thinking that I had a shot. Not a big shot, but when the thought crossed my mind that maybe it could happen, I should have known the end was nigh.

Yep, I’ve got a crush. He’s dreamy–in all the ways that I need for a guy to be dreamy. I’m not the only one who recognizes it. (Grr. Competition. I so don’t like competition because I don’t like to lose…and lately, I’ve been losing.) I’m not lowballing myself. It’s a good move for me, I think–not that I’m moving anything or doing anything about it right now. I’m just sitting here pondering the fact that, without me even realizing it, I’m crushing on someone. And it might kill me a little. If they didn’t hurt, they’d call them something else, as Samantha’s father so eloquently put it in the epic and underrated Sixteen Candles.

Or, maybe, I’ll just choose to act like I’m absolutely 100% good enough for this guy. And, shock of all, I think I might just believe that. I find it rather ironic that, on the day of this grand realization, I am wearing a t-shirt that says “Maneater” on it.

Ah, blissful sarcasm.

So what do I do now? Consider me the dyslexic, illiterate, anemic, timid redheaded step-child of love and romance.* What do I do to approach the boy without making him bolt like a skittish deer? Suggestions welcomed, begged for, possibly rewarded with cash.

*No offense intended or implied toward anyone dyslexic, illiterate, anemic, timid, redheaded, or a part of a blended family. That was my attempt at humor, sad and pathetic as it may be. Remember my state of mind and panic…and be merciful.

descent into nerddom

Posted in Life, me on July 11, 2007 by drbolte

Well, it’s official.  I am a nerd.

This isn’t alarming news to me.  In fact, I’m rather proud of it.  But the evidence is all there–let me gesture you towards the evidence.

Exhibit A:

I have been spending my nights watching the 30 hour miniseries War and Remembrance, after finishing the something like 15 hour Winds of War last week.  For some reason, I really like it. I like watching things that are both entertaining and educational–although, I’ll tell you, the concentration camp scenes break my heart.  I’m learning a lot, though–and doing that rather than watching Big Brother 8 says tons about my nerdiness.

Exhibit B:

I’m so excited about Harry Potter that I bought tickets online to make sure that I got to see it on Friday night.  I wanted to see it last night, but I didn’t think ahead enough and tickets were sold out until the 3:10 a.m. show.  I’m excited, but I’m not that excited.  Silly, silly me.  And my excitement about the film is NOTHING compared to my excitement about the book.  When it comes, don’t call me, don’t write me, don’t do anything. I’ll be reading until my eyes swell shut.

Well, I guess that’s not overwhelming evidence…but it sure feels like it to me!

Now if I could only find a way to balance all of this with packing and doing my grading, life would be fabulous.  I have so much to do, but rather than do it, I just sit around and freak out about it all of the time.  Ridiculous, yes.  Pretty standard, of course.  Going to cause me some kind of breakdown…absolutely.  But, it will be okay.  I’ll figure it out.

even if i was made of industrial strength steel, this day would be the end of me

Posted in the joys of living in Florida on July 9, 2007 by drbolte

It’s the story of the day.  The Orlando news teaser said something like “even by Florida standards, it’s a scorcher.”

Amen. It’s hot.

Not just hot, where girls glisten a little and fan themselves with whatever’s around.  Not hot like “gosh, it would be a good beach day” because the sun is out and the sky is blue and the heat would make the water feel nice.

It’s so hot that you’re afraid that if you set foot outside on any sort of paved surface in anything other than steel-toed boots, your shoes might melt.  It’s so hot that as I walked, earlier this afternoon, across campus, the newly-cut grass somehow made it hotter–like it was emitting some sort of tropical moisture shield that amped up the heat index.  It’s brace-yourself, as I did at the grocery store a few hours ago, -for-the-heat-to-take-your-breath-away hot.  It’s mirage-inducing, pit-stain sweaty hot.

It’s HOT.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.

And it’s done me in.  I am spent.  I was somewhat productive today, but nothing to warrant this kind of tired.  All I want to do is stay inside, in my dark apartment (open the blinds? are you INSANE?), and pretend that it’s winter because I’ve cranked up the A/C so much.

So when faced with the choice of staying at home and trying to get something done (like comment on my student papers or pack something) or go to a badminton tournament for FHE, guess what I’ll choose?

When it’s back to being healthy to be outside, I’ll be back to having a good attitude.  Until then, my snark factor will rise with the heat index.

Holding hands

Posted in family, flashback friday, shameless blog thievery on July 6, 2007 by drbolte

I’ve been blog perusing–almost addictively–over the past few days. Stems from my deep desire to procrastinate anything related to my dissertation (stupid Pride and Prejudice. stupid need to write brilliantly. stupid getting an education). I found I really liked the flashback friday posts. They’re fabulously interesting and, while I doubt I have nearly the exciting life experience that most of you have (eh, Brillig?), I’m going to give it a whirl. This one came to mind immediately. It was a summer I will never forget.

I’d come home for six weeks that summer of 2005, during the short break I had between spring semester and the summer semester in which I was teaching, for really one reason.

It wasn’t the typical “I will, in fact, eat you out of house, grocery budget, and freezer-stored protein having only consumed cheap carbohydrates affordable on a college student’s budget during the past four months” or the inevitable “I have so much laundry…do I actually own more than one sheet set?!?” reasoning.

It was my Mimi.

In February, she got really sick. REALLY sick. She just didn’t really wake up one day. My grandpa, after spending nigh on to 50 years waking up next to her, couldn’t nudge her lucid. It was then we knew it was serious.

I was hundreds of miles away when it all happened, still in coursework for my PhD and I’d never felt so helpless. There was talk of a stroke, and then an obnoxious cell phone silence all day because Mom didn’t charge her phone before she ran to follow her to the hospital. I cursed her for it. She obviously didn’t plan on having a family emergency, but I don’t think she’s ever been without a charged phone since.

The talk of stroke soon turned to talk of some weird electrolyte imbalance and her digestive system shutting down. I didn’t even know digestive systems DID that. They put her on a series of drugs, one of which basically turned into an extended acid trip. She didn’t know Mom, or my aunt, or my wheelchair-bound grandpa when he could visit. It was not good.

Over the course of several weeks in the hospital, they regulated her meds, got her digestive system up and cranking, and so it seemed like she was on the road to recovery. Mom and the Aunt took care of everything–taking care of grandpa, who was (no offense, but it’s pretty standard in this generation) beyond useless when it came to caring for himself. Mimi had done it all forever. She cooked, she cleaned, she kept up with all of us, she guilt-tripped us into submission as any mom and grandma does–she managed to keep the world together with a coupon book, a smile, and love from her very big heart. I still don’t know how she did it.

Suddenly, my already overworked Mom and working-mom-to-teenagers Aunt were primary caregivers not only for grandpa, who was routinely freaking out with the stress of his bride being in the hospital, but for Mimi, who needed them there too.

So, coming home, I was singleminded in my purpose: to relieve the nearly-broken Mom and Aunt from some of the demands. I could do laundry, I could go grocery shopping, or…as it turned out…I could sit with Mimi. Because, as healthy as Mimi might have gotten physically, she’d seemed to lose her Miminess. She couldn’t walk. She could hardly sit up on her own. The illness just drained her of all of her independence, an independence that had been her crowning characteristic my whole life.

Now, she struggled for words.  She wasn’t sure where she was or how much time had passed.  She couldn’t even worry about her most basic needs.  Once she was discharged to a rehabilitation center, ostensibly to get her ready to return home, she seemed to pull further into herself.

When I got home, though, she was still my Mimi.

Frail, yes.  Confused, sure.  But her hands, so warm and willing to hold mine, were my Mimi’s. Her eyes, amid the clouds of fear and confusion and pain, still held that spark of love that I knew and could claim as my own.  Mimi was more than my grandma.  The longer I spent with her that summer, and the longer I’ve been without her, the more I realized that Mimi was, in many ways, me.  Stubborn.  Loving.  Demanding in good and bad ways.  Smart.  Empathetic.  Afraid.

I decided that my job that summer was to take care of her in any way that I could.

I decided that I would be her handholder for as long as she needed me. It was my calling.  Whatever, whenever, however.  It was me and her–in the fight for as long as the fight was there to be fought.

It was the best decision I made that summer, and the fount of some of my best, most painful, and most faith-increasing moments.