Saturday, February 24, 2007


"American Idol, Season 6" is in full swing and HE and I love to sit on our Throne of Judgement (aka: HIS couch) and point out all the contestants' faults. HE gets props for this one...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Today it was nearly 50 degrees and sunny - an absolute gift - and "my mountain" called.

It's not really MY mountain, but it's a place I have been going for almost twenty years. The first time was on a hike with my church youth group back when I was in middle school, and before I became a heathen. I've been going back ever since, my favorite part of the park being this beautiful overlook.

This is my church. This is where I feel connected to the Earth and to "God." I close my eyes and feel the sun on my face. The breeze blows through my hair and rustles the leaves. The world is silent except for the wind and the calling birds. Today I heard my beloved mourning dove sing its first notes since September. An old friend, it warmed my heart.

When I am on my mountain, I could be anywhere in the world. Trees, rocks and sky. Time ceases to exist and trivial things no longer matter. On my mountain, I am content. I am whole.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I won my very first eBay auction yesterday. I can't wait until it comes!!

Today I'm wearing jeans AND deodorant for the first time in nine days. I miss my sweatpants. Still can't do the bra yet, too many little scabbies. Fortunately, there ain't too much boob to corral and I can get away with layering a few shirts.

About to make my first public appearance at the grocery store. I figure if people look at me funny, I'll just tell them I'm the first known case of bird flu in North America. That should back them right the fuck off.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Good morning, new day
The sun's in the sky
I just ate some toast
And am wondering why

My life's been so lucky
While others' are rough
Me, I want for nothing
I always have enough

My job is a good one
With family, I'm blessed
In health I am solid
(Even pox I did best!)

And the best thing by far
To come along in my life
Is the lovable bald man
Who wants me for a wife

For such a long time
I've felt there should be more
Excitement and challenge
So I'd not start to bore

Flailing 'bout in calm waters
Trying hard to make waves
Stepping off serene pathways
To peer into dark caves

Never happy with "happy"
Just ever annoyed
By not finding SOMETHING
To fill up the void

But what if that SOMETHING'S
Not in one neat box?
What if I stop digging?
Or picking up rocks?

What if SOMETHING'S made up
Of little moments each day?
A wondrous mosaic,
I guess one could say

Tucked in Chinese cookie
That fortune, so wise
My life's big adventure's
Right in front of my eyes.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I know it's been a few days and I figured I'd better send an update, lest ye all think the pox did me in. Actually, I'm feeling better and better. Wednesday was the worst day by far, the Aveeno oatmeal baths my only succor from the relentless itching. Kinda ironic. When we were first Googling chicken pox last weekend we were mocking the recommended oatmeal baths, guffawing about how one could take a bath and then have breakfast in one easy step.

By the way, if you've noticed a significant improvement in my vocabulary, it's a result of playing Scrabble non-stop for the past 120 hours.

Today the poxes are looking better. They started getting crusty on Thursday and I lost a few scabs today - YAY! (and no, I am not picking - they're falling off on their own terms.)

Also exciting on the bodily front is that I was able to shave my left armpit today. There are no longer any poxes there and that little act afforded me a boost of femininity. Imagine the thrill of wearing a bra again!

Yesterday I actually went outside to take a walk. I bundled up in a heavy hooded parka to hide my disfigured face. Every time a car passed by, I swooped my head down and made a "Gaaahhhhh!" sound, à la the Phantom of the Opera. I went out again today and did about 4 miles, running and walking alternately. The fresh air was wonderful.

I ventured over to HIS apartment this afternoon. It felt so weird to drive my car after a week, but first I'd had to clean off the 3" thick sheet of snow/ice. It was my first time cleaning snow off The Bug and was wonderfully easy - I just smacked the snowbrush into the top of the roof and the whole sheet cracked and slid off. God bless the dome!

We sat on the couch and watched TV and ordered Chinese food. We attempted to play an old-school game of Scrabble. I ended up with tiles spelling WIZARDS and, in my greedy quest to Bingo it out on a triple-word score, ended up never being able to play it. So I whined until HE agreed to abort the game. I'm such an asshole.

But I'm on my way and it's been a very educational and much-needed week. More on that tomorrow though. Right now I have a rousing bout of "Aluminum Foil Ball" to tend to with the cat. He's beating me 4-2 and I have a title to regain.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

WHY I LOVE HIM: REASON #3,794,687,433,432

For telling me that I'm not ugly, I'm "bejeweled."

Thank you.

And thank you for being my Valentine, 365 days a year.

You may think you've stolen my heart, but I'd already given it away to you on the day we met.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "You Are What You Eat."

I knew the Indian food had something to do with this.

They're showing a ton of 'Growing Pains' on Nick At Night and I am in my glory. What a ridiculous and wonderful show. I remember watching this as a kid and being absolutely obsessed with Kirk Cameron and the Seaver family.

How I wished I'd had a dad like Jason: the giant, bouffant hairdo and Members Only jacket. I loved their house. I loved that the show revolved around Mike's devilish little grin. I loved their perfect family and the fact that there was a moral at the end of each episode that usually culminated in two or more of the family members hugging and everything being okay.

Watching it now and comparing it to today's TV shows, it dawns on me that even though the Seavers are as far from reality as you can get, at least the producers were TRYING to get a good message across. Kids are impressionable. They're gonna watch the show for Kirk Cameron, so there may as well be a good lesson behind each show. And I loved being taken from my reality, if only for 30 minutes each week.

TV sitcoms these days usually consist of model-beautiful kids being mean to one another. The meaner they are, the more laughs. The humor is a lot less wholesome. They freely use 'crap' and 'suck' as if they weren't the slightest bit derogatory. And yeah, I certainly used those words and worse when I was a kid, but they weren't so blasé.

I guess I'm officially old now, blaming the media for what's wrong with the world. Things just feel out of control. The other day, one of my students asked what I used to do in my free time when I was in middle school.

"Ride my bike... play with my friends. Remember, we didn't have the Internet back then," I replied.

The kid's jaw dropped to the floor, "NO INTERNET?" The HORROR!

Weird as it may sound, if given the chance to grow up with the Internet or 'Growing Pains', I'd still take the Seavers any day.

Monday, February 12, 2007


This has been the longest day ever. I think it may be the first day I have not left the house since I moved back here nearly two years ago. Even when I'm sick with a cold or something, I have a really hard time not going out to do something - run an errand, take a walk, SOMETHING.

But today I am a freak and my freakiness is highly contagious. So not only will the small children shriek and cry, they will also wake up in a week or so to discover that they too have morphed into scaly monsters. I will spare them the horror and stay holed up in my lair, hoping someone will toss me a live chicken to gnaw on.

Being the fatalist that I am, I can't help but wonder if the pox came about to kind of stop me in my tracks. I've been having a mental debate the past couple weeks - wondering if I should change careers. Now that I've got all this time on my hands, I can sit down and really be introspective.

For as long as I can remember, I've always had these feelings of wanting more out of life. I get these grand-scheme ideas in my head and tend to plunge in without thinking. Sometimes they end up being great experiences (Sedona, for instance and the Chicago Marathon) Other times, the outcomes are not so good. I get antsy in my life and I want change - RIGHTNOW!

And while this job prospect in intriguing, I am not sure it's the answer to my feelings of stagnation. It would mean working 12 months of the year instead of 9, and I'd be making a significantly smaller income. As a teacher in my district, I feel a tremendous sense of job security (if there is such a thing) and don't think I'd get quite the same safety in the business world.

But that's just it: SAFETY. Am I going to live the rest of my life in a safe little bubble? If I do, am I really "living" at all? Are there other ways for me to feel challenged in life that don't mean throwing away what is possibly the sweetest teaching gig in New Jersey?

Fortunately, I have plenty of time to think about these things. I can't even believe it's been just one day. Thank God for blogging and internet Scrabble. If not for them, I might actually have to work on solving world peace or something.

The doubts I had yesterday
I can now erase.
I woke up with poxes
All over my face.

There's some on my shoulders
And lots on my neck.
My back is disgusting
My tummy's a wreck.

This morning, while showering
And washing my hair,
I found pox on my scalp -
Think they like it up there.

I don't feel much fever
As of yet, I ain't itching.
More than anything, I'm bored
So forgive all my bitching.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Friday night I went out to dinner with my good friend, PMcQ. We went to a new Indian restaurant and the food was fantastic. I had some sort of spicy vegetable curry and this incredible minted whole wheat naan. In the middle of the night, somewhere around 1:30 am, I awoke with the chills and that horrible, firey churning in my stomach that could only mean one thing...

I hate throwing up. I would rather be stricken with fifty bouts of diarrhea in one hour than to throw up just once. And as if puking isn't bad enough in and of itself, try puking up spicy Indian curry. I was grateful for not having ordered the vindaloo.

I figured it was because I hadn't eaten Indian food since last winter (I'm a little weird like that - it just seems like a cold-weather food) or perhaps something that I'd eaten was rancid. I cursed the Indians while blowing chunks of stinging vegetables out my nose. I felt like Tony Soprano in the episode where he got food-poisoning from "the goddamn clarified buttah."

After a good four or five bouts of puking, I cleaned up and climbed into bed. And that's when the chills started. I put on three layers of clothes and climbed under a mountain of blankets, and still I could not stop shivering. At 2:30, I sent HIM a text message:

"I'm so sick."

Awakened by the beep, HE quickly replied, "What is it? Are you OK? What's going on?"

I called HIM to tell HIM that I felt like shit and just needed someone to whine to. I layed there shivering until finally dozed off around 4:30.

I felt a little better Saturday, as if I were just running a low-grade fever. We had plans to drive down to HIS parents' for dinner and I figured sitting a car wasn't very taxing. While we were sitting around the table, I made mention of the few itchy, little bumps I had on my stomach and neck. Mr. Sensitivity apologized to HIS parents for bringing a leper to dinner. It was great seeing them. HIS Mom loaded me up with Tylenol, tea and lots of hugs.

When we got in to bed, we started talking about chicken pox. I told HIM I'd never had them as a child, even though my Mom tried exposing me to my infected friends. HE Googled the symptoms and wondered out loud if perhaps I'd come down with them.

After a 10-hour, Advil PM-induced night's sleep, I awoke to find many more little bumps. We took a ride to the Urgent Care center where they treated me as if I had bird flu - immediately rushing me into an exam room so I wouldn't breathe my plague on the innocent.

The doctor, a small Indian woman, came in and asked how it had started.

"Well, initially I thought I'd had food poisoning. I was throwing up Friday night and running a fever."
"What had you eaten?" she asked.
"Umm... Indian food?" I barely whispered, feeling ashamed. She kind of blushed and smiled.
"Yes well, it can be tough to digest sometimes if you're not used to it."

She looked at my spots and confirmed that they did indeed look like chicken pox. I told her I'd never had them as a kid and that I am a teacher. I also mentioned that five of my students came down with chicken pox back in December - even though they'd been vaccinated. She told me that they probably had mild cases and that they were probably passing it around to other vaccinated kids who, in turn, gave it to me.

Part of me still wonders if I caught it from the Indian food and she's just trying to save her culture's image.

Fortunately, HE'd had it when HE was 10. We went back home and watched a few episodes of "Six Feet Under," and then I went out to the store. I figured I may as well stock up on stuff before I become too hideous to leave the house. And now I'm home and I am watching new little bumps erupt. The bulk of them are on my stomach and back, but they're migrating to my shoulders and just noticed two on my left bicep.

I guess "teaching" got the last laugh after all.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Life's been different lately. Maybe it's cause I'm getting older, but I feel like I'm seeing things from a new perspective. I'm realizing that if I wait around for life to happen, it probably won't. And if life DOES happen to happen, I need to take a chance on it.

Did that make sense?

Without saying too much (for fear of jinxing anything... God I hate being superstitious!) I am hoping for a change in my job situation.

I've been teaching at the same middle school for eight years now. It was my first job out of college and it's been 99.9% ideal. I'd never anticipated teaching middle school - EVER. I hated being that age and I was pretty sure I hated all kids between the ages of 11 and 14. Ick.

But I discovered that middle school kids are fun as hell. They're old enough to joke around with and [some of them] are really quite intellectual, but they are still young enough that they don't think they know everything. And I have to say, I've had a great experience building a program there.

The past couple years, however, I have felt my enthusiasm die off. It just seems like I'm living in that horrible Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day" where every friggin' day is exactly like the last. And though every year I try to do different things with each class to mix things up, it's still the same scene.

Burned-out teachers suck. I've known quite a few in my lifetime, and I swore that if I myself ever started to burn out, I would not continue to teach. I think I have reached that point. And I feel like I suck.

So here I am at a bit of a crossroads. There are prospects, but nothing I want to say out loud just yet. I'm scared that if I take a chance, I'll fail. But I think it's a far greater crime to fail my students than to fail myself.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


At my school, teachers are required to do "Lunch Duty" once a week, meaning we pair up to supervise the kids in the cafeteria and on the playground (we're one of the few remaining middle schools in which our kids still get to have recess every day).

It's really not a bad deal, having "Dooty" once a week. In many schools, teachers are assigned a daily duty period wherein they are planted in a hallway or something - just sitting there - every single day. So I don't complain. Besides, I have 6th grade lunch duty on Fridays with my dear friend, P.McQ. And we have lots of fun.

Our cafeteria staff consists of three people: an ancient husband and wife team, Frank & Connie, and a 40-something Russian lady named Eva.

Frank wears a very bad toupee. He has more than one, and I like to note when he has on "a new hat." Connie is a miserable woman whose greatest pleasure in life comes from yelling at Frank. Eva likes to swear.

A couple weeks ago, Connie complained to our school principal that the kids in the lunch line get too rowdy and that the teachers on duty should stand there and supervise the line. So the other day, I stood near Connie and the cash register to make sure the kids didn't act up. And man, I was like The Lunch Nazi.

"Single file! Unfold your money! All the bills should face the same way!" I ordered. Connie loved it. And I think she loved having someone there next to her so she could complain about her sciatica every time she had to get up to pour a kid a slushy.

A couple weeks ago, Connie came out into the main part of the cafeteria to find the supervising teachers.

"Where's the kid who lost the dollar?" she growled.

Naturally, we had no idea what she was talking about. We learned that one of the kids had put a dollar in the soda machine the day before and had gotten nothing in return. P.McQ and I started asking around. The kids ID'ed one of the boys, and I approached him.

"Johnny, did you lose a dollar in the machine yesterday?"
"Are you sure?"
"Cause all the kids are saying it was you."
"Did you lose a dollar yesterday?"
"I'm afraid the lunch lady is going to hurt me."

Johnny got his dollar back. And after the kids went out for recess, Connie took her anger out on Frank. She berated him for caving and giving the kid the dollar back. She had him make a sign that read: 'No crumpled dollar bills' and he put it on the soda machine.

"Focking keedz," Eva added.

And it was clear that neither Frank nor his Friday toupee would be getting any loving that night.

Thursday, February 01, 2007



I've been doing some pretty grown-up things lately, hence this year's above-mentioned, aptly named theme. I got engaged. Last weekend I went to an investment seminar. Today I spent two hours with a mortgage loan officer and a real estate agent.

A friend of mine is the personal assistant to a huge-wig east-coast real estate mogul, and she hooked me up with two great contacts so I could get an idea for what kind of mortgage I could qualify. I found out I have an excellent credit score (in the 800s) and being a prospective first-time home buyer, I have all kinds of options.

I also learned that, having spent the past two years living back here with Mom (and paying an extreeeemely small amount of rent per month) I should have scads of moolah mounting up in my bank account.

Guess what...? I don't.

I have not been a thrifty girl. And although I am not some obsessive spender, I must admit that the expensive dinners out and the occasional spendy gadget here and there have taken their toll. So with all two of you as my witnesses, I am hereby dubbing 2007: "Turtle's Year of Saving." I am vowing to be smarter so I can do bigger, better things.

Also know that if I should falter, I'm blaming YOU, blog readers, for not stepping in to remind me of this post.