Wednesday, November 29, 2006


One of my 6th grade trumpet students told me about this today.
There is no way I will ever be able to convey my gratitude to him.



Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Way back in March, I went to my general doctor for a checkup. I had been feeling sluggish, exhausted, and kind of 'brain foggy' for a long time. He ordered some blood tests to check my thyroid, etc. and things came back normal.

He asked if I was on The Pill, and I said "Yes, for the past eight years."
He asked, "How long have you been feeling crappy?"
"For about eight years," I replied.

So I decided, back in March, to go off The Pill - to see if I'd feel better, and to give my body a break. To my relief, I quickly began feeling normal again. The tiredness went away and the fog lifted.

But alas, no period came [remember gentlemen, you were warned.]

As usual, I turned to a reliable, informed source for my medical advice: the internet. And while some sites warned I'd be dead from cancer in weeks, the majority told me to relax, assuring that it usually takes a couple months for your body to regulate itself. So I did not panic.

Until August.

After five months without a period, I started to get a little nervous. I went to see my gynecologist. She told me not to panic, that sometimes it can take six months or more for things to get back on track. Plus, she said that training for a marathon probably also had something to do with it. She ordered blood tests and everything came back normal.

After the marathon, she put me on ten days worth of estrogen to try and kickstart my girls.


Then a couple weeks ago, she had me start back up on The Pill. And now I am starting to feel fatigued, exhausted and brain foggy. And it sucks. Hard. And once again, I've sought counsel from the all-knowing internet which informed me that going back on The Pill to regulate is not necessarily a good idea.

So tonight I have made an executive decision: I'm not going to take The Pill anymore. If my period never comes back it will be a blessing. I don't want kids (I'm not a breeder) so it's not like I really NEED to have a period.

And yeah, they say you can develop bone loss in old age with low levels of estrogen, but doesn't EVERYONE develop bone loss in old age? Besides, my blood tests showed that my levels are fine.

My body - my choice. I'm done fucking around with Mother Nature. And I've saved a hell of a lot on tampons this year [again boys, you were warned.]

Monday, November 27, 2006


Wow - it's been so long since I've posted that Blogger is all upgraded and shit. I haven't switched. I fear change. I'm such a luddite.

Things have been chugging along. Thanksgiving was nice this year. Mom and I were supposed to have dinner with HIS family - the first "big official meeting" - but she ended up with a fever of 102 and stayed home. I had a great time with HIS family. It was my first Thanksgiving away, and while I missed my relatives, HIS were more than awesome.

Mom felt worse on Friday and since no doctors were working, I took her to the emergency room. I guess everyone else had the same idea cause it took us three fucking hours to learn she had strep throat. Ah well. We got her pumped with antibiotics and she's been feeling better.

I've developed this annoying habit. It seems like every time I try and stay over HIS apartment lately, I end up waking up around 2 AM and am unable to fall back to sleep. So I lie there getting angry at myself for not being able to sleep. And I start worrying that I'll feel crappy all the next day for not having slept. And then I REALLY can't sleep 'cause now I'm angry AND anxious. So I end up going home in the middle of the night. And as soon as I'm back in my own bed, I'm out cold.

So I don't know what the hell is going on. Everything between us is so frigging good. I have never been as happy with anyone as I am with HIM. But I know this weirdness must be freaking HIM out ever so slightly (even if HE claims it's not.)

I think I'm a mental patient. Too bad I don't know any hot psychologists who work with mental patients.*

*For those of you who don't know, HE's a hot psychologist who works with mental patients.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This past week marked our second annual Band-Aid: a recent endeavor wherein the kids bring items for the local food pantry's Thanksgiving drive. I set it up as a contest between sections, the prize being a pizza party on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break. The clarinets won by a landslide.

I teach in one of the wealthiest communities in New Jersey where the annual median household income is up near $200G. It's pretty safe to say that my students don't want for much, and they really have no concept of what it's like to be needy. It felt good to get them involved in a volunteer project - even if their motivation was pizza.

After school yesterday, my friend PMcQ and I dropped off about 10 crates full of donations at the food pantry. The volunteers were rushing around like mad intercepting and dispersing, and I asked if they were still in need of volunteers.

"Can you come in tomorrow?" asked one of the ladies. So I went in from 12-3 today and helped to assemble baskets. They had over 900 families due in during the upcoming week - not counting the 1,300 families who come every month for food. Hearing those numbers and actually seeing the people coming in really made an impact on me...

The elderly couples who probably worked hard all their lives and have had their security robbed by our government. The young mothers with their broods of kids dressed in secondhand clothes. The better-dressed woman in tears, swallowing her pride as she accepted her first round of handouts.

I considered how lucky I am. Although I wasn't rich growing up, we always had food and a big house. We had toys on Christmas, and new clothes every September. I went to college, I got a stable, good-paying job and am now able to afford a comfortable life. Most of the time, I take it all for granted. And while I'm not a very high-maintenance person, I do like little luxuries: dinners out, manicures, the occasional $100 pair of sneakers.

I wonder how many of these people were once in a better place? Who never imagined having to depend on the generosity of others in order to survive? If it could happen to them, why not to me?

It felt really good to help today. It was better than sitting around whining about my own life being boring. It made me realize how fucking lucky I am to be healthy and in a good place. So at the end of my shift, I signed on as a permanent volunteer.

Slowly, I think I may be learning what life is really all about.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Do people actually like Tony Bennett's singing?
Or do they just feel sorry for him?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Today turned out better than the past few days had been going. I was in a little bit of a rut. Maybe it's the looming gray skies and knowing that winter is around the corner (curse you, S.A.D.!!)

Or maybe it's the ongoing drama in my workplace: struggling to model ethical behaviour and strong character for kids while the bureaucracy in charge is anything BUT ethical. Sucks. Morale is at an all-time low and the negativity is as contagious as bird flu. I dunno. I had a quasi meltdown this morning and vented to the gym teacher. I found odd comfort in the fact that he's been feeling the same way these days. Maybe I'm not a depressive basket case after all? Maybe.

One of the kids cracked me up in lessons today. I asked the flutes, "Any of you know what 'syncopation' means in music?" And one girl replied, "No... but it sounds like 'constipation'. Is it like being constipated?" She then proceeded to demonstrate what a constipated flute might sound like. It's moments like these that remind me why I love my job.

After school, I went to the movies with my Mom. They just opened a HUUUGE 16-theatre mega-plex in my town and were showing movies for free today, so we saw "The Devil Wears Prada."

It's so great to have a theatre again. We used to have two: the "Inner 6" (inside our mall) and the "Outer 6" (outside the mall). When I was in high school, all of us band geeks worked at the Outer 6. We had so much fun, but I always thought the managers were a little stupid in hiring us. Whenever we had a football game, band competition or trip - no one could work. Then they'd get mad.

I went into the bathroom during the movie today and as I was sitting in one of the 25 toilet stalls, I thought back to the days of our crappy little Outer 6 and all the fun we had. Being a kid was so much fun. I find myself constantly telling my students to "enjoy these days - make the most of them," and wishing - if only for a few days - to be there again myself.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


My four-day weekend is coming to a screeching halt. Remember when you were a kid and Sunday evenings were the most depressing time of the week because you knew you had to get up and go to school the next day?

Welcome to my world.

All in all, I must say that it was a tremendously good weekend. On Thursday night I caught up with my best girlfriend over some ass-kickingly spicy Thai food. Nothing clears a sinus like some Pad Gra Prow.

On Friday, HE and I took a ride out to Pennsylvania because we'd both received letters in the mail inviting us to come check out this time-share resort. The draw was we'd get a FREE FLAT-SCREEN T.V. just for listening to their 90 minute spiel. It was a beautiful day for a drive to the country so we figured, what the heck? Not like we were going to buy anything, right? And how cool will it be to get a free flat-screen T.V.??

Well, we're holding off on plans for the home theatre...

But, um, did I mention we're now the proud owners of a time-share?

Spent most of yesterday on HIS couch watching NetFlixed episodes of "Six Feet Under" and eating pretzel chips with hummus. We may as well have been shooting up heroin. Have you TRIED these? Don't. Once you pop - you can't stop.

In the evening, we went and saw Borat. If you haven't yet seen this movie, SEE IT NOW! It is one of the most unique, most hilarious movies I have seen in years. Sheer brilliance, laugh-out-loud, funny shit!

Today I took a run and then did some errands which I NEVER do on weekends. Did you know that New Jersey has the highest population density in the U.S. - an average 1,030 people per sqare mile, which is 13 times the national average? And each of these people owns at least two automobiles - one of which is an SUV - and they were all out doing errands today.

I'm finally back in my lair with my glass of wine. Been trying to switch to red since I've heard how beneficial it is to lab mice. I'm content. Life's good. Bring it, Monday -- I'm ready for your worst.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Wow - I can't believe I've been a "blog cog" for a whole year already. Looking back, I'd say I've made some pretty significant gains since last November...

> I've moved up in the world - I am no longer a Cellar Dweller. I have not had any encounters with crickets in over six months.

> I've lost a dear relative, and gained a new one.

> I spent six months training for - and completed - the Chicago Marathon . Who woulda thought?

> Best of all, I met the love of my life. I can't remember what life felt like without HIM, and I can't imagine a future without HIM in it.

I'd say it's been a fine year in my life - certainly one of the best. And I think it's great that I can relieve it with just one click. And hey, so can you!

A fine year indeed. Here's to many more...

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I could really get used to this. Got up around 8:00, had a leisurely cup of coffee (with pumpkin spice creamer ...mmmmm), and took a 5-mile run in gorgeous weather. Yes, this is a life I could get used to.

Just got back from the podiatrist. Was very excited to get an appointment with him, and feel much better now that he scraped off 3 inches of marathon calluses. I'm shorter now, but maybe my shoes will fit better.

My friend sent me this photo she took Sunday as Dean ran past. Funny how everyone made such a huge deal when Lance Armstrong and his entourage went by, but no one even knew who Dean was, or that he was running his 50th consecutive marathon in the 50th consecutive state.

Maybe cause he was running alone? I dunno. I cheered for him. And I loved that he finished just 36 seconds behind Lance (2:59:36 and 3:00:30) - even without a big posse and thousands of fans screaming his name. Way to go, Dean.

What's truly insane is that 50 consecutive marathons were not enough for him. That's right, HE'S STILL GOING, and wants to try to go all the way back to California. Kind of makes you wonder - not just how - but WHY someone would do that? Maybe so people like me will have something to blog about. Thanks, Dean.

Whew - all this writing is making me drowsy. I think I'll take a nap... just because I can.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


That's right, folks. It's a big, ol' four-day weekend for yours truly. The annual NJEA teachers convention - held in scenic Atlantic City - is tomorrow and Friday, and that means NO SCHOOL!

I have to wonder if anyone actually attends the convention. I mean, "actual" teachers. I remember when I was in college, our student chapter of MENC (that's Music Educators National Conference for all you non-geeks) would go down to the convention. We'd get a few cheap hotel rooms, drink ourselves silly for two days, then drag our sorry asses to the collegiate meeting, where we'd sit on the floor in a corner and try not to throw up on each other. Good times.

But I've never gone as a teacher. And I don't know of any other teachers in my school who go. Mostly it's just a great excuse to get away from the kids for a few days. After all, we've been in school now for a whole two months, and there's still two long weeks to go before Thanksgiving.

Speaking of kids, today we had our first official lockdown drill at school. In the wake of all the crazy school shootings, most districts across the country have had to come up with plans - just in case. And while it's hard for me to imagine one of our own kids capable of such a thing, I guess you never can tell.

The principal had sent letters home to each kid's parents, explaining when and how the drill would work, and we had an assembly on Monday where she explained the procedure to the kids. And this morning at 9:25 AM, she got on the PA and announced, "Attention faculty and students: we have a Code Red."

At that signal, we had to get the kids down on the floor and against the wall farthest out of view; close and lock the classroom door, putting paper on its window; turn off the lights and keep the kids quiet. Four police officers (in quad formation with pistols drawn) searched the school. We could hear their walkie-talkies buzzing as they passed by. We were instructed never to open a locked door unless we heard the code word (which I can't tell you, just in case you decide to come shoot up my school.)

I'll say this - even though we were prepared for the drill, there was still something very disturbing about it all. Today was a bleak, rainy day. Sitting huddled in the dark for twenty minutes with the kids, I started to think about how awful it would be if something ever did really happen. I thought about the horrors of Columbine, Michigan and the Amish schoolhouse - shuddering as I looked at my own students.

I guess lockdown drills are no worse than the air raid drills of the 1940's. I guess we're as fucked up as we've always been. At least we're consistent.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


This morning, my friend and I took the train into New York to watch the marathon. She is also a runner and had done Chicago back in 1996, so she could relate to my fever (which is still burning pretty hot.)

What a perfect day it was! Crisp and sunny, fantastic running weather. We walked up to Central Park from Penn Station - about 70 blocks - and watched from our first spot - mile 18 - on 1st Ave. After we saw the wheelchairs, elite females & males, Lance and Dean go by, we headed over to mile 23 (stopping first at Starbucks, of course) and caught them again. And after that, we wound our way over to mile 25 - right where all the runners entered Central Park - and hung out there for a while.

It was so amazing being on the other side of the curb! By cheering everyone on, I felt like I was repaying the thousands of people in Chicago who kept me going. I liked yelling out names, high-fiving people and feeling the tremendous energy all around me. I loved watching the people - every age, color, size and shape - coming together to share the experience.

Seeing this mother/daughter team go by really touched a nerve. My own Mom spends a lot of time in a wheelchair these days, and she’s one of my biggest inspirations to run. I bet the memory of being able to do this together will last them a lifetime.

I truly believe that running is unlike any other activity. It's the purest, most bare-bones thing a human being can do, and there are simply no words that can describe the feelings it evokes; physically, mentally, emotionally... and spiritually.

So I'm thinking... New York ... 2008.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


The void is now filled.
With HIM by my side, I'm whole.
My heart is peaceful.