Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Everything you wanted to know about the newest Sam

Stuff about the new Sam (let's call him ITSam):
  • He'll be 40 on his next birthday
  • He has an 11 year old son that he has joint custody of (active parent obviously)
  • He's the Second in command of our IT department for all of Alcatraz and all its subsidiaries all over the Mid West
  • He's bald and wears glasses
  • He plays the drums
  • He's divorced. And it's ironic because he's divorced from a woman what I went to college with and he and I went to high school. Just thought it was odd. All Kevin Bacon degrees of connectivity
  • His favorite TV show is also, like mine, The Big Bang Theory
  • He likes food- eating it and cooking it
  • He doesn't like to read
  • He doesn't smoke, but occasionally drinks
So far we went for tea, for ice cream, Starbucks, and for a walk in the park. We had plans to go for a drive but his car has issues so we rain-checked it, but he did offer to take me for ice cream or drinks again, but I decided to stay home and play Green Day Rock Band. Mac and I played for about 30 minutes and I jammed alone for about an hour. Love me some Billie Joe. And love me some Rock Band. Anyway, he and I are going to Northern Civilization on Monday for the day: book stores, coffee, dinner, museum... sounds nice. So there ya go.

All for now,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can I go outside and play?

When people my age, like me, talk about "playing outside as kids" I find that today's youth look at me like I'm crazy. Kids at Alcatraz equate playing outside as kids as committing acts of vandalism or beating up other kids. My own kid doesn't even have fun memories of going outside to play with all the kids in the neighborhood and using nothing but his imagination. I remember him wrinkling his nose at the idea of going out to play.

Back when I was a kid, oh yes, this is a back in the day story, we were outside all the time. We were outside in all seasons, even in the wintertime.

In the winter we would go sledding, make snow forts, have snowball fights, make snow angels. We would even walk the 4 blocks to the city park so we could shoot down the most awesome hills on our plastic disc sleds.

Spring, summer and fall were a completely different world. Sometimes we would play house or school in the old barn. Or just make believe of some sort since it had a loft which could be a tower in a castle or the surface of the moon or anything else. We played Barbies on the side porch . We played basketball on a slab. We chased each other with sticks fashioned as guns or swords, yes, even us girls. We rode out bikes everywhere for all reasons or no reason, even if we had nowhere to go. Hell, sometimes we just played in the dirt or laid in the shade under the spirea bushes. We climbed the cherry trees in the back yard and ate the sour fruit until we were about sick. We sang songs, did dances and made shows as la Rooney/ Garland style out on the back stoop. We played in the sandbox. We rode our skinny plastic skateboards down hills for speed- tiny boards with no grips and rainbow colored plastic. We put pennies on the train tacks then hunted their squashed flattened selves in the weeds near the tracks. We flattened cardboard boxes and played our boom boxes and we learned then practiced break dancing.

When it rained we still played outside, unless there was lightening. Otherwise we splashed in the puddles, ran through it, stood under rain gutters that flowed like mini Niagara Falls onto our heads, raced drinking straws in the street gutter, and even rode our bikes in the rain to splash each other, enjoying the mud that would flip up our backs due to the fender -less bicycles. We could turn open umbrellas upside down, let it fill with raindrops, and with a friend, the two of us holding each side, would fling the water on an unsuspecting fellow neighborhood kid who happened by.

But as dusk approached, that was when all the action really began. At the gloaming, when the fireflies flashed their lights, when we could hear the misquotes wings humming their night songs, that was the world where we, the kids of the neighborhood, reigned as kings and queens. The Game began.

One porch was Base. Usually it was the neighbor's house rather than mine because they had two porches. We used the east porch so no one inside the house would be bothered by our antics. As the dusk rolled in, we all knew it was time, and came out of our homes, flocking to the porch like homing pigeons. There were about 14-18 kids at any given time. Friends of friends, new kids moving in and the old out, we call came together, the darkness our beacon. The Game continued and evolved, kids out growing the Game, younger ones old enough to finally play. The Game went on for years, different players, but always the same Game.

Someone was declared IT, usually by their own shortcoming. Everyone would scream "not it" and the last person to yell was IT. And if there was a discrepancy, one round of rock/paper/scissors was the final defining factor, no arguments. IT counted to 100 and everyone scattered to a hiding place. The length of the block, only the north side, was fair. The Jones's had the misfortune of living on this side of the street and after a scathing run in with Mrs. Jones we felt it would be in our collective best interests to make their house, yard and property completely off limits. Everything else on that side for one block, was fair game, from the curb to the ally. If you were found across the street, you were automatically made IT.

When IT hit 100, the hunt was on. If you were physically tagged before you got home to base, you were the new IT. If you were IT you couldn't guard the base- you had to go on the hunt. No fair calling "all-ie all-ie in free" unless someone was hurt. A call of "all in" meant someone new was IT. Or we would all make it free to base and we would start again. This went on well into the dark night, for hours- at least until 10pm!!! We hid and then when found, ran for our lives, with IT hot on our heels, feet pounding, the scattering and a flurry of frenzied bodies all racing for safety and freedom. Hot breath on the back of your neck as you were 20 feet, 10 feet, 1 more foot to reach the mecca. Sometimes you made it, other times... the role of IT was bestowed upon you, in your sole possession, your temporary cross to bear. And the only way to shed it was to haul ass during the next round.

We all had our favorite hiding spots. Sometimes we hid alone, sometimes we hid with a friend. But, if you hid together, it was every man for himself if you were found together.

Our parents ended the Game nightly. The sounds of our parents' cries, a cacophony of our names being called blending into music carried on the humidity of the night air, brought the Game to a close each evening. We all just emerged from our spots like spirits rising from the graves and trotted to our homes, calling our "see yous" to each other. If you were in mid chase, then the summons home signified your lucky day: you were no longer running for freedom or you were no longer IT.

The gloaming was gone. The streetlamps were aglow, casting their hazy halos on the dark pavement below. We went home to bathe, to bed, to watch TV, we all went home to do something different except we ALL went home to wait. To wait for the morning sun's first light to free us, so we could take over the outdoors, to go out and play, to do it all over again.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Random tids and bits on a Monday afternoon

I had three dates this weekend. Yup, I know they're dates since you all said so. And so did he. He called to see if I wanted to get a Starbucks coffee last night. Uh, YEAH! And the reason for the "mini dates"? He has an 11 year old son and this is one of the weeks of the summer when he comes to to stay so he doesn't want to take off for an evening and leave his boy with a sitter or with g'rents. So we've had short, dates. But he's asked me to dinner next Monday. Okay, so... dates. Me. Dates. Okay, weird.

And speaking of weird. Next weekend I'm assisting a photographer to shoot a wedding. At a rock quarry. In the middle of no where. But that's not the whole strange part. In talking to the aforementioned Sam with whom I've had three mini dates, I come to find out it's his niece who's getting married whose pictures I'm taking. Irony...

I want this jacket. It's awesome. Wonder if Curley and I could make it?

The third summer session at Alcatraz started today. I was in the home ec. room the last two sessions because they had tables and I didn't want desks, but I got moved because this session someone is teaching a cooking class. I'm in the science room. Why do science rooms always smell gross????

I really want to have a Mad Hatter tea party but I have no one to tea party with. When the Divine Ms K is old enough, we are totally going to do it. I can't convince my friends and Mac that this would be fun. They think I'm nuts. And I am. Maybe I'm slightly mad.

Did you know you're supposed to buy a new scrubbie (loofah thingy) about every 3 months? It's a good place for bacteria to grow. And for misquotes to lay eggs. I was thinking I needed to get one over the weekend, and I forget to pick it up. I had a reminder this morning to do it- I had a big, black beetle in mine this morning. I freaked out! And when I killed the beetle, he "crunched" inside the pink loofah and had guts everywhere. Guess I'm getting a new one. Today.

On Saturday I shopped at Wal-Mart and discovered today that I was missing a bunch of stuff. Looking at the receipt it was the last 4 things on the list. I called Wally World and they had a RECORD of what I forgot and when I was there. I couldn't believe it. They said all I have to do is come out and get my stuff, come to the service desk and it will be taken care of. How cool of them! How stupid of me!

Over the weekend someone broke into my car. Well, I should say, got in my car unbeknownst to me and without my permission. It wasn't locked, so I guess it wasn't technically a break-in. AND, other than throw stuff all over the car, they took nothing but a half a bottle of generic Tylenol. Mac said we're too poor to even be robbed. He said my CDs apparently suck so much they didn't want to take 'em. XRayGirl said she couldn't believe they didn't break my Michael Buble CD on principle. (Um, she's not a fan........)

And finally.............. I heard this song on the movie From Paris with Love (crappy movie, good music). Anyway, what's the genre? French jazz? It sounds like the sort of music in WWII movies as Paris is being liberated. I want more music like this, but I have no idea how to find music with this style. Got any ideas? [and please please PLEASE pardon the video. I didn't want to have video at all, but I wanted this rendition of the song and it's all I could find, for gods sake........ feh!]

Well, that's all for today!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

I think I went on 2 dates this weekend... but I'm not sure

The reason I'm not sure has nothing to do with me being drunk or sober, but more of a "I'm not sure if this counts as a date" or not. Well, dates. Mac says they are dates. As do XRayGirl.

Back story:
Last Monday in the cafeteria at Alcatraz, a guy who looked vaguely familiar came over and talked to me: so good to see you, haven't seen you forever, what's new, what have you been up to, take care, see you around here, really good to talk with you type of things. After he walked away, I turned to the table of kids with whom I sat and asked who the heck he was. Oh that's Mr S. Well, for the life of me I couldn't figure out how I knew, if I knew, Mr. S. So I looked in the staff directory and lo and behold I went to HIGH SCHOOL with Mr S. Okay, at least that cleared that up. And I felt bad because now I was sort of rude and sort of standoffish to someone.

I decided I would find him the next day and apologize for being rude. Well, I didn't find him again until Thursday and I did apologize to him for maybe being rude but that I didn't recognize him, blah blah blah. He said no problem because he's changed since HS, and no worries. We chatted for a minute and he went back to his office and I grabbed some lunch.

Friday he found me at lunch and asked if I cared if he joined me and I said no, so we had lunch together. Alcatraz, since it's a private facility, had been given several million dollars about 2 years ago and they built lots of new stuff, so he gave me a tour, which was cool. He also gave me the inside scoop on getting a job there. He offered to email me with internal postings so I could watch for job openings, and we exchanged emails. And somehow he asked for my phone number and I gave it.

Now, here's the 'maybe' part of date one. We texted back and forth for awhile. Then he asked if I wanted to meet him for coffee or something. So I did. We met at the local coffee shop and sat and talked for 2 hours. He paid. Mac said it's a date.

So yesterday we texted back and forth a few times and he invited me to meet him for an ice cream cone; I said yes. He met, he paid and we sat and talked for about an hour.

The "he paid" part is simply FYI. And because Mac said if he paid, it's a date. Are these dates? Did I have 2 dates with the same guy in one weekend? The second time I felt the need to do my hair before I left the house.

He's nice. I like that we can talk about more than just high school. As a matter of fact, we haven't done any, as Springsteen says, "relivin' the glory days" or anything. Just talking. He makes me laugh.

Okay, so... Well, yeah. A guy from high school. Go figure.

This messes with my annual date record. I already had one this year; I think I've had 3 as of today. I think. Did I?

Just wonderin',
Maggie Mae

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pink Saturday presents: Mothers and Sons

There's a special relationship between mothers and sons. The other day Mac said something about when he's an adult he'll be in his own home and he'll think, "what would mom do in this situation" and then he'll go do it, like fix dinner or do laundry. What got me was the whole "I'll do what mom would do" part.

I'm a mom first. I make the tough decisions and hard choices. I ground him when necessary. I make sure he does chores. I nag. I'm often the mom AND the dad. I can't just be the good guy; darn the part of parenting that makes me have to set and enforce rules!

But Mac is a pretty easy kid to parent at age 17. (Should I knock on wood?) So far I've been especially blessed to have very few problems with him. Most of the time I can be the fun mom. The mom who can play video games, share a pizza, see a movie, be silly, go for coffee, giggle over stupid jokes, tease, laugh, talk, debate, and just generally be laid back.

He goes to college next fall. My baby will go to college. I keep looking at my Daytimer, and counting the days. He's my son and sometimes he's a buddy. But no matter what he's my baby. What do people do when their only child goes away to school? Oh I know he's not gone yet, but still it sticks in my head. I'm a single mom, and not prospects to get married or be a couple and my only kid will be doing his own thing. I want him to go, have a great time at school, succeed, live his own life, but how in the world do I let go? Damn that passing time...

What am I going to do with all my time? Can I move to his college town? Okay, I know I can't but it's crossed my mind. I worry when he goes to the movie with a friend. What am i going to do when I go for weeks and not be able to see him, to check on him, to make sure he has clean laundry, does his homework, cleans his room so his roommate doesn't kill him?

Thankfully I have a year to figure it out.

Maggie Mae

(Don't forget to visit Beverly for more Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound. And visit fellow pink blogger and mom Tiffanee at two of her blogs. She author's One Crazy Cookie with fabulous food, great and easy recipes, and fabulous money saving ideas!!! And she chronicles her wonderful family on a positive and heartwarming blog called A Crazy Wonderful Life!)

And on that note...

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Picture Show

I've always loved going to the movies, even as a little kid. I love the movies, period. I waxed poetic about the movies, all the time, so indulge me this again, please.

I remember the fist movie I saw at the drive in with my folks, of course. I remember mom popped a huge batch of popcorn and put it in a big brown grocery bad. We also had a few glass bottles of Pepsi. We wore our jammies. We had a snack and the movies and it was a night of absolute magic. We saw Mary Poppins.

On Sunday nights was the tv show The Wonderful World of Disney. My Grandma F (the GOOD grandma) came to the house one Sunday night and we all watched The Sound of Music together; it was the first time it was ever on television, and the first time I ever saw it. I got to stay up past my bedtime to see the whole thing. It was a big deal. I don't think I moved for three hours. And I probably drove my parents nuts for the next few days as I sang ALL the songs from the movie. Over and over and over again. And over. (though it is their fault for teaching me scores from famous Broadway musicals when I was about 2 years old. And for teaching me how to use the record player so I could play, on vinyl, on my Playskool record player, the sound tracks!)

There was always Sunday afternoons with dad watching Family Classics, hosted by Frazer Thomas. I saw, in black and white the way god intended them to be, movies like The Last of the Mahicans, The Black Swan, and Shenandoah (at least I think that was in B&W...).

My parents always got me a summer movie pass so I could see matinees on the weekend all summer long. The theater was only about 4 blocks from the house so I could walk there, spend $1 and get a drink and a box of popcorn and see a movie. I usually went by myself, which is probably where I got my love of watching movies in the theater alone.

As I got older, I went to the movies with friends. My first car date was to see a movie called Top Gun; anyone remember that? I think I wanted to be a pilot for about a week after that. It left a longer impression than my date (Who I think later came out of the closet when he was in college... hmmmm). One time I tried to break up with my boyfreind DURING Fatal Attraction... Once, I remember a boy named Tim told me he liked me after we all saw Rocky IV. I threw popcorn at him. (Maybe this is why I'm single???)

Most of the time, as a teenager, a bunch of us girls would go. We usually sat in front of a bunch of boys. We were probably 13 or 14, maybe 15 years old. I remember seeing the movie Back to the Future twice because it was so awesome and like nothing else we'd ever seen before. And Michael J Fox was so cute! I also remember going to see The Karate Kid with friends. And at the end, everyone clapped and cheered. I think it was the first time I was at a movie where people cheered! Wax on, wax off!

My town had, well still has, an old time movie theater. One screen. There was something about that sticky floor, the smell of wet dog (wet Naugahyde movie seats), the itchy seats that squeaked when you bounced them that always as a spring that was sprung and poked your hindquarters about half way through the picture, that was special. The smell of greasy popcorn. The thrill of sitting in the balcony and always threatening to pour your drink on an unsuspecting person below, but never really doing it. (But someone always 'knew' someone who did it, allegedly). The reg velvet curtain parting, and watching the concession stand jingle with the dancing hot dog jumping into the dancing bun. The empty box seats, sectioned off with a velvet rope, where no one ever sat. (We always made Abe Lincoln jokes... no it was wasn't funny, but we were kids!). I loved touching the red and gold flocked wallpaper as you went down the grand staircase after a show. It always seemed like a special magical place, that small time theater, with the scratchy sound, and wobbly picture.

Who wouldn't love going to the movies?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's in a name meme

Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following…They must be REAL places, names, things…NOTHING made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question. (Yeah And I know number 4 is missing and I don't know why or where it was left...) And this was hard!

1. Famous Athlete: Mickey Mantle
2. 4 letter word: moon
3. Street name: Main St.
5. Gifts/presents: money
6. Vehicles: Monte Carlo
7. Tropical Locations: Malibu
8. College Majors: Marketing
9. Dairy Products: Milk
10. Things in a Souvenir Shop: mousepad
11. Boy Name: Mark, Mac, Monty, Matt
12. Girl Name: Mary
13. Movie Titles: Monsters, Inc., Mystery Alaska
14. Alcohol: Malibu Rum
15. Occupations: manager
16. Flowers: milkweed, myrtle
17. Celebrities: Matt Dillion, Mark Raffalo, Maggie Gyllenhaal
18. Magazines: Motor Trend, Maxim, McCalls
19. U.S. Cities: Muncie, Indiana; Memphis, Tenn; Minneapolis, MN;
20. Pro Sports Teams: Seattle Mariners, Florida Marlins
21. Something found in a kitchen: microwave oven
22. Reason for Being Late: stuck in the Mud; menstrual cramps;
23. Something You Throw Away: McDonalds wrappers
24. Things You Shout: Mazeltoff!
25. Cartoon Character:Mickey Mouse, Mr. Magoo

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The summer I lived in a frat house

In the summer of 2006, before I moved to the Wild West, I was going to actually move to Anchorage, Alaska with Alaska Sam, which fell through. But while I was waiting for that move, I was commuting 190 miles per day round trip to work.

Rather than stay with my parents and make the hellacious commute, my office assistant of the time made me a proposition. She and 5 other college students rented a huge 5 bedroom, 3 bath house. Three of those kids (okay they are going to be seniors in college and are all 21 years old, but I still think Kids...) were not going to be there in the summer. She knew I was driving and wanted to know if I wanted to crash there, in one of the empty rooms, for the summer to help them offset the rent. So I said: "Sure, why not?" So, I sublet a room. From 6 college students. (I have no idea why no one made the accommodations for rent and such to cover this problem, but they didn't so there I was.)

I was a resident on the third floor. With Matt. Matt was..oh, I don't know how to describe him...let's just use the word...BEAUTIFUL, shall we? He had longish dark curly hair, surfer style, a goatee, and a totally buff body with a six pack and guns. He was just a stud. Now, you may be asking yourself why does she know he had such a hot body? Well, because he didn't own any shirts. To the best of my abilities, that is all I could discern. He must not have owned any shirts because I never observed him wearing one. In the whole summer I was there, no shirt. Ever. He was a poor college student so maybe he couldn't afford shirts. I was not offended by the shirtless wonder. (at the time when I lived there and blogged, I so dubbed him "He who is without a shirt" and occasionally posted pictures of his fine specimen of manly boy body)

I had the weirdest experience with Matt one night. I was watching Sex and the City DVD's (season 4 if anyone cares) and he was hanging out, not wearing a shirt, and playing Everquest, some computer game on the Internet, I guess. Anyway, he started watching SATC with me and telling me which episodes were is favorite. Matt the buff, hot looking 21 year old college student has favorite episodes of Sex and the City. I thought that was ...Unusual. Matt and I had our own bedrooms, of course, but we shared a bathroom. It was odd to share a bathroom with a guy who is just...A roommate, not a husband or lover or relative. I put up a pink shower curtain- he said cool. He left the seat up- am I allowed to ask him to put it down? He kept the bath mat dry- thank goddess for that. I did hang up his towel every day. We also shared a window unit air conditioner which meant we had to keep our bedroom doors open to we could both get the air. Also odd.

The night I moved out, at the end of the summer, my helper didn't show up. So Matt helped me pack all my stuff and carry it down to my car and load it up for me. He didn't even flinch when I cried because I had no help and he just pitched right in!

I never, ever slept with Matt. I had the chance a few times, but never did. Never even kissed him, though he always claimed he had three addictions: women, work and food. Ah regrets...

None of the kids made jokes that I was like the house mom- they thought I was pretty cool, especially since I didn't ask them to turn down the stereo or bitch about beer cans on the floor. Actually, none of them could believe I was 34. One roomie said I was "cool and laid back," and looked "really young, like 27, dude." Matt said I am hot, "a total MILF." (See American Pie for an explanation!)

Seriously though, those were some pretty cool kids. It was nice to know those young people had goals and aspirations. They were funny, caring and smart. They had great senses of humors- obviously since they let a 34 year old woman crash there for the summer.

I learned lots while living there. I discovered the joys of Easy Mac. I never knew such a thing existed. One of my housemates- Tammy (the only other woman living in this asylum with me!) shared this with me. I was stunned. And it is pretty good, if memory serves. Just add water. I mean, mac and cheese out of a box made even easier. Who cannot just love this?

There was stuff that happened that would just crack me up! The girl I lived with was the aforementioned Tammy and other than Matt, there was Tony- who had a Girlfriend we all called Screamer. Here are some fun memories and things I learned in the frat house summer:
  • Tammy's BF had planters warts and they spent one evening freezing them. In the living room. While the rest of us were eating dinner- in the living room. Oh and a few days later, the planters warts didn't go away after the freezing in the living room. So he had wrapped his feet in duct tap and that allegedly draws them out. I suggested seeing a doctor and they thought I was nuts.
  • I was sitting in the living room and I heard across the house, the Screamer yelled, and I quote: "I thought you couldn't pee with an erection!"
  • We had about 11 pizza boxes and several cardboard containers that formerly held beer- when I say several I mean 47. Per week. But hey, at least they recycled!
  • Rice-a-roni comes in Taco flavor and the odor stayed in the house, oh say, 17 hours or forever, whichever comes first.
  • Boys clean bathrooms.
  • Tony, Screamer, Tammy and her BF were cooking in the kitchen one night and I heard the following comments: "so, you want a smack on the bottom?", "You gonna eat all that?", "are you a slut or a baby girl?" and "Why did they name it chicken?" (I CANNOT make this shit up)
  • Matt thought it was perfectly acceptable to put Tabasco on everything: eggs, cereal (yes you read right), spaghetti, watermelon, and cheesy chicken rice a roni.
  • Eggs don't bounce.
  • One house can have 3 dozen eggs and 12 boxes of cereal with individuals' names written on them and that isn't considered odd.
  • Overnight guests are not a problem even if you run into them naked in hallways.
  • Even really horny guys won't have sex with a girl who is on her period- don't ask please just don't ask.
That was my summer in the frat house. I never had a dorm life so this was an extra special summer for me. I loved it. I was glad when it was over, but it was a great experience.

Reveling in the glory days,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And in this corner...

Well, there was another fight at Alcatraz today! This time it was a very large African American boy and a very large Caucasian boy. Beating the crap outta each other right outside my classroom door during passing period. I point out the race of each boy because the fight was... racial. White kid called black kid a name and BAM!

The problem was that they were big guys and they were really going at it. Classes for the day hadn't yet started. Another teacher and I started to pull them apart but it was obvious this was a fist fight and she and I weren't going to be able to separate them without getting hurt ourselves. Some of the other boys around wanted to get into it as well and I had a hold on two boys and kept elbow checking a third one who was sort of behind me, between me and the door jamb. As the two guys rolled around on the floor beating the hell out of each other, we yelled for help and two house parents and the principal came running. It was just one of those super fluky instances where the only adults in the immediate vicinity were women.

When the 3 adult males got there, everything seemed to happen super fast. They were on top of the boys pinning them down and holding them down, all a tangle of splayed arms and legs. Then a 4th adult showed up and 2 adults took one boy one direction and the other 2 took the other kid the other way. In the middle of it all, one of the adult guys got punched in the eye. When I saw him after school his eye was black and blue, and hugely swollen.

It took awhile to settle the boys for class. They were all fired up, and then were snarky with each other. I didn't have much patience with them, either, which isn't their faults entirely.

Guess it's just another day in the life of teaching at Alcatraz...


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Monday Exhaustions

I have no idea why I am so tired every. single. Monday. I come home from work and can barely keep my eyes open. I might even grab a cat nap but I still can't manage to think straight and want to be in bed by 7:30 pm. What is this? I've been suffering from this ever since I started teaching in the Wild West, even in the summer time, I have the Monday Tireds.

I slept okay last night. It took awhile for me to fall asleep but once I did I wasn't waking up in the night. I slept right until my alarm clock went off. Today wasn't stressful at work; we watched a movie in each class. Big whoot- I just had to make just the kids didn't sleep and that I didn't fall asleep.

After school I had to take mac to the doctor and then we went on a mini road trip (after running errands) and went to the mall and got McDonalds and stuff. I even participated in some stimulating conversations but the whole time I could barely keep my eyes open.

And here I sit thinking I need to blog but I want to sleep... so here's some randomness:
  • Can I wear wigs? Lady Gaga does it so why can't I just wear it right into the public sector? I could have lots of fun with it. And since I hate my hair it would be cool for me. And I could change my color and style with my mood.
  • I think it is one of the coolest thing ever that the new Rock Band 3 is going to come out with a REAL guitar with its game. That's awesome. It'll have strings rather than buttons. I am psyched about it. I secretly have a fetish for the Rock Band games (though I guess as of this post it's no longer a secret). I like to sing and play the guitar, though I'm not talented enough to do both.
  • Today was humorous and stressful because I had to explain the concept and purpose of a suppository use to Mac. He is not impressed.
  • Big Bang Theory is the best show on television and I love to watch even the re-runs.
  • I go with Mac to the Game Stop store and the guys there flirt with me. They are often guys who are my age, but are gamers. It's like talking to a grown up version of a teenage boy. Talking to Mac is more mentally stimulating. And they think they're so "cool." If they were like the guys on the aforementioned Big Bang Theory, then I would be much more impressed.
  • I bought Gerber Daisies this weekend and planted them. Yes, I am attempting to nurture a living thing in plant form. Wish me luck. They're yellow, orange and bright pink (of course!)
  • Waiting for the toilet tank to refill is like waiting for a pot of water to boil. I'm just sayin'...
  • Mac is trying to find a job- still- and everywhere he goes he's told they only hire 18 years old (or older) people. Makes it tough on a kid to find a job.
  • A tree fell down over the weekend. It was in the neighbor's yard. It didn't hurt anything but it did cover the street and the street department had to come out and chop it up enough and move it to the tree lawn so cars could pass. I think it's the first time I ever saw 1 street guy working and doing his job WITHOUT 4 or 7 or 9 other standing around, watching.
  • I bought more books. And... oh hell, this is a long enough thought that I'll save it for a post. But saving bought books is like only using the good china on a holiday. More on that later!
Okay, that's it. That's all I got.

Ready to count some sheep,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This one time, at a festival

In Northern Civilization, the parks department is busy. Well, of course it is since it's a city of more than a quarter of a million people, the parks' departments hold one festival after another all summer long. And for some reason I just haven't gotten my act together to get to any of them. There's always three I LOVE to go to: a German Festival (all things German, including polka bands, food and a BEER tent), a Greek Festival (including all things Greek like food, entertainment, Greek men in droves, and a BEER tent selling Greek booze) and a Rib festival that sells about a 100 different sorts of ribs and side dishes, as well as having entertainment and a BEER tent. Hmmmm, one commonality here....

When I lived in Northern Civ I went to all these festivals, never missing a one. Sometimes I went with GFs, Sams, family, students, or alone. It was just part of my summer time ritual. One night during Greek Festival week, I went with a bunch of teachers. Then the next night I went with 'the girls' and another time I went with my landlord; we rode down on his motorcycle and he and I went and just sat and listened to music and drank beer and then biked back. It was a super nice evening and that was an awesome night. All the nights and times were awesome. I had a large group of acquaintances and some friends. There was always someone around and up to doing something like this. I loved that time in my life.

Today is the last day for the Ribs, and I missed the Germans. And if I don't write it down, I'll miss the Greeks next weekend. As I was looking through the schedule of events, I found myself thinking of 2006, specifically, when I went to the German Festival.

My group had shifted and changed, as is want to happen with nomadic climbers in their late 20s and early 30s. This time, I had a guy friend, Sam, who was a friend with benefits... and that year, at German Festival, he went with me. At the time I had a friend Lisa and we met her and her boyfriend of the day, and some other people she knew well and that I knew peripherally. Then there were some folks that she and I both used to work with who were there. We were a group of about 15 and it was hot out that weekend. We all drank beer like it was water, and we danced. and laughed. Oh my goodness, did we laugh. And drink. And we tried to learn to polka when the "German" songs were playing. Some old guys in lederhosen came to the table and grabbed all us 'girls' (we were in our 30s and 40s; they were in theirs 70s. We were girls) and they tried to teach us the steps. One of the fellas in our group kept buying rounds of beer. Someone got hold of a St. Paulie Girl's wig, and he was wearing it around- we all did. Some older ladies (partners of the older men in l'hosen) got in the act and got the guys from our group to dance. People were circling around us and clapping and laughing while we tried to polka. Then a bunch of us got on stage and accompanied the band to "Danke Schoen" which turned into a Ferris Bueller style dance off. It was a great night.

Sam and I left and were driving back to the frat house where I was living that summer (Yes, I was living in a frat house- now there's a story for another day!). It was in a summer lake town and after all the dancing and laughing, we got back to town, parked and went for a walk on the beach and watched the stars. We lay there in the sand, watching the stars, holding hands, and our breathing even synced.

It was a good night. That was a good time. He was perfect, so was I, so were my friends, the weather, the timing... it was all just good. Makes me miss him just a little bit, for that moment that summer. Ah, happy memories.

remembering that once upon a time I was lovable,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Do these shoes match this purse? You betcha!

Curley and I made a dress for me! Isn't that material wild? And you can't have a zingy new dress without matching shoes and purse! Otherwise, I would be false advertising here at my blog! Ummm, and I added the boa for fun! So, here I am modeling our creation! thank you Curley for my beauty! Can't wait to see the purple one! (and I wasn't sure if I wanted to be in the picture of not, but the dress didn't look the same on the hanger... and this picture sure looked funny when I decapitated myself!)

Thanks to our Pink Saturday hostess Beverly at How Sweet the Sound! And please visit Nancy, fellow pink blogger who always has something wonderful and creative and clever for PS and all the time! And I love the comments she leaves me, and her "attitude" in her writings! She rocks. And lucky her- she's moving back to civilization- California! Go Nancy at La Chambre Rose (Linens and Laurel).

And as always, In shoes we trust,
Maggie Mae

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ghost Stories

Mac thinks this is hocus-pocus and nonsense and that we're all making it up. But as far as I know, this is all true.

I do believe in ghosts, spirits and haunted houses. I do. I didn't used to, but I do now. I don't believe in them in a Ghostbusters movies style but I do think they exist. I don't know much about ghosts or the paranormal, but hey, we all have our reasons for what we believe.

I lived in a house where a murder and suicide happened. When I moved into the old country house everyone knew it was the site of a grisly crime but no one told me. So I lived there with a former Sam and with Mac. Sam traveled lots for his job so Mac and I were there alone. Often. It was in the country, in the middle of nowhere with no near neighbors. No one to hear you scream in the night.

Mac was about 4 or 5 years old when we lived in this place. Weird things happened at this house that couldn't be explained. I would complain to Sam about stuff and he would get a weird look on his face and tell me I was crazy. But often, when he was gone on a trip, I would get up in the morning and every kitchen cabinet door was opened. This happened on more than one occasion. Mac was way t0o little to get them open and I was the only adult there. This happened all the time. It was creepy and weird. It would happen when Sam was home but he usually found them open and would get them closed before I saw and wouldn't say anything about it.

There was a mudroom off the kitchen and we cleaned and cleaned it. We put in new carpets and Daddy-O painted a mural on it and I turned it into a playroom. Mac refused to play there; he thought it was scary. And it had a weird smell. It didn't matter how much I cleaned, it still smelled and Mac was still scared to even go in there.

There were spots in the house that were cold. All the time. This old house didn't have central air conditioning and there was spots where frost formed at time. In the middle of July in the Midwest. It was creepy and weird. And scary.

And everyone knew what happened there but me. My friends and family managed to keep it a secret from me for almost a year. I kept talking about all these weird things that happened and people would exchange looks and then tell me I was imagining things. I swear, after almost a year there I was scared of my own shadow and would jump at the strangest sound. I was wrung out and jumpy and it was terrible. I thought I was going mad. I was scared of the house, to be in it alone, with just Mac, scared to be there alone.

Then one day some guys were doing some roof work and I was inside washing walls and I heard them talking through the open window about how they weren't supposed to talk about the house to me. Then one guy said no one could pay him enough to live in this place, after what happened.

I went outside and threw a monster hissy fit until they told me. A man murdered his wife in the kitchen. He killed himself in the mudroom. And their little girl hid in the kitchen cupboards while it all happened, until people found her. She was only 4 or 5 years old when it happened. It had happened just 14 years before I moved in. When the cops got there, all the cupboard doors were open and flies and the bodies and the smell... oh god.

Well, you can imagine I was furious and relieved all at the same time. I finally knew the house was haunted and I had believed the house was haunted; now I felt like I had some proof. And I think people around me thought so too. I didn't know the house history so I couldn't make stuff up or have an "over active" imagination. I think my friends and family were freaked out but didn't know how to tell me. And we had looked for a house to rent for a long time and this was just what we wanted, and the rent was cheap.

I moved OUT within a week of finding out what happened there. And I don't think I slept a night there once I found out. It was awful.

I thought of this story again because my Bro said Ms. K sees a ghost called Debbie. She's 20 months old and hardly speaks words yet, but she sees a Debbie. They don't know if it's an imaginary friend or what, but Bro thinks it's a ghost or a spirit. I made a "she sees dead people" joke and no one but Mac- the non believer- thought it was funny.

Those are my ghost stories, as I know it. My friends and family always sort of joke when I move and I want to know if the place I'm renting housed a dead person or not. I lived above a funeral home for almost a year and never really batted an eye about it (it was the greatest apartment of my life!) but after living in the murder/ suicide house, I now ask the death questions of my landlords. Some of my friends should realize they are responsible for this curiosity.

So when people kid around about being afraid of things that go bump in the night, I don't usually take that too lightly.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sometimes all it takes is a little girlie time

Last night XRay Girl and I went out for a girlie night. We needed to get the heck outta dodge because we were both pretty tired of Dodge.

We went to Northern Civilization and hit the Half Price Books. I found Mac an SAT study book because he wants to boost his score by 200 points (good luck, Mac! Yeah, right!) but he wasn't nearly that thrilled with it when I gave it to him. I also found some almost new magazines for 50 cents- goooooooo me!

After the book store visit we visited the girlie version of Mecca. We went to a place to get pedicures. It's the place I used to go, 4 years ago, before I moved to the Wild West. And it was heavenly. Not only do they have foot spas with massage chair, but they also got a hot towel leg wrap, they take care of callouses and rough spots, and they do a 20 minute foot and left massage. Oh My God, it's about the most wonderful think on Earth. It was perfection, just amazing. Oh and I got my toes painted. The name of the color: Ruby Slipper Red. Because it has sparkles in the polish! Oh yeah, baby! I swear I almost fell asleep sitting in the chair because the massage felt so wonderful. I could just feel the stress trickling out my toes.

Of course we topped the evening off with some fabulous Italian food (which is only better in Italy) and a walk around the Target.

Of course we laughed and talked and giggled and just had a great time together, doing all those girlie things. Sometimes it just takes a night with a girlfriend to take the edge off!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More tales of summer school

Well, a kid told me to "fuck off." He's met me for a grand total of 6 minutes in our entire lives and he's already swearing at me- talking about timing. And all I asked of him was to please not lay his head on the table. People usually tell me to "fuck off" after they've known me longer, and typically for far worse offenses. I mean, I made it through the entire first summer session and I don't think anyone even rolled their eyes at me, so this was an impressive first impression, I would say. Oooooo, see how influential I am?

This kid did NOT want to be in my class. I did NOT want this kid in my class after that. I asked him to please leave. Which I suppose was rather redundant of me since he was walking out the door and slamming it in my face as I was nicely asking him to go. And apparently my "mad" voice isn't a good one, because the remaining students said it was like watching Snow White get mad. Is that a compliment?

Summer session is starting out with... some color!

Did I mention the same kid walked out of my class yesterday after saying, "I don't want to be in here with junior high brats." (There were 2 seventh graders in this class) I was thinking, "Exactly WHO is the brat here?" but I didn't say it. And then I said "Oh give it a chance, it might be fun." He said, "I don't even get credit for this class" and he got up and walked out. I was offering to write him a pass but he didn't feel the need to wait. Wonder if he'll be back today- third time's a charm?

Now, my afternoon class is good. I have 5 kids I had last session and they are AWESOME as I knew they would be. Then I have five new ones; two of them are pretty good and the other three roll their eyes at me and whisper to each other that "she's not that cool." Well, EXCUSE me! And I am so!

No, seriously, I certainly don't take it personally and I hate to admit I sort of laughed when the kid told me to "f*** off" because I do think that's a first for me. And the boys who don't think I'm cool-- well, at least I CHOSE to be at Alcatraz, the court didn't send here, thank you very much!

The morning study skills class covered "muscle reading" and practiced it on Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"-- which they all through was a freakin' awesome story- and it is! We also covered some "dos and don'ts" of good note taking. In the film class we watched Hitchcock's Psycho and started Avatar, which isn't bad and we should finish it today (this movie's a 162 minutes- Cameron is insane!).

So, that's the start of my new school summer session 2... could make for an interesting week.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Keeping the alligators fed

Stephen King once wrote an article about why people crave horror movies. In summary, and a summary that doesn't do the article justice, is that people need to keep the 'alligators' fed-- we need to watch horror movies so we don't turn into chainsaw welding, hockey mask wearing killers. He thinks we all have this "sick" side to us, sorry Mr. King for the poor paraphrasing, and if we watch horror movies we don't act on these urges; hence, we keep the gators fed.

Okay, I like the premise and I like Mr. King's article insomuch I use it in teaching any time I have the opportunity. Sometimes I even create lesson plans just so I can use this essay of his. Of course, I use it at my film class at Alcatraz. But this time, my thoughts went a different direction.

What happens when the gators are fed but people still do unspeakable horrors to others? Oh, I don't mean killers like in slasher movies type of horrors, the Jack the Rippers and Son of Sams. Yes, they are horrific, but that's not the group I'm referring to. It's the other unspeakable acts of horror people perpetrate on each other.

Sorry for the scattering of thought processes here... stay with me if you will, please.

The kids who are sentenced to Alcatraz all live in houses. They are grouped by their offenses. So for example, if you have kids who were kleptomaniacs, performed B&E, or who are car thieves, they all get put in the same house. Druggies are all housed together. And the kids who are sex offenders are all grouped together. Some of the kids have crossover crimes: he was a druggie who stole stuff to pay for his habit- so where does he go type of issues, but you get the gist.

My problem is my students told me which group of kids live in what house. And the kids who live in houses C and G are the sex offenders: child molesters, rapists, sexual offenses that don't fit into one of these two groups.

Now, I have a problem. A personal problem.

I personally do not think child molesters or sex offenders can be rehabilitated. I just don't believe it. I also think child molesters and rapists are some of the most vile people on Earth because of the acts they've committed. I don't care about the BS that molesters were molested themselves; even a worse argument if you ask be because they know how HORRIBLE it is so why make someone else feel that way? I think child molesters and rapists deserve the death penalty, after a public flogging on the courthouse square, after having been covered in honey and fire ants, after having bamboo chutes shoved under their nails and Chinese water torture for nine days. I'm just sayin'.

Herein lies my problem: I have kids from houses C and G in my classes. Okay. There they sit, every day. I have to treat them like I would any other kid. I have to be as nice to them as I would anyone else. That is very, very hard for me. Very. I even find myself watching the way I do treat the kids, because I don't want to be extra mean to them if they misbehave in my classroom because I think they are the scum of the Earth. Yeah, guess I'm having one of those professional roadblocks. I think it goes a little more than a "personal problem."

Those kids in houses C and G would never know how I feel about them. I find myself watching myself to make sure I smile at them like I do any other kid, that I call on them the same amount, and that I give them the same 'leeway' in discipline as I do any other kid. But it's hard. Oh so very hard.

And to top it off? To make matters worse... my second favorite Alcatraz student lives in house C...

Damn alligators...


Monday, June 14, 2010

Obessive Compulsive much?

I think all people are a little ADD, a little bit on the spectrum, and little bit OCD. I think it's all part of human nature. I think people just get these labels attached to them when these things can't be controlled.

And I sure do think I'm certainly suffering from a little OCD- obsessive compulsive disorder. Sometimes to the point of where maybe it's not so little. I often find I have to give myself a little pep talk about... things. For example, I used to subscribe to a bunch of magazines, like 9 to be specific. Now, when a person subscribes to nine magazines and lives with other people, those other people are bound to pick one of those magazines up and read it. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind sharing. As long as I read it first. Seriously, if a magazine came in the mail and some previous Sam or Mac or a friend read it, opened it even, merely flipped through it, before I did, I totally flipped out. Totally. It had MY name on it, and I wanted to read it first, and enjoy the new magazine smell, pull out the annoying cards, and such, rather than have someone else's fingerprints all over it!

But I'm better now. First, I don't subscribe to any magazines right now; it's because of money and the lack thereof, rather than because of my OCD. But the other day, as I mentioned, I bought USED magazines and read them. However, I did keep them in my bag until I read them. So, maybe old habits die hard?

I'm not so extreme that I feel the need to wash my hands five or six times in a row or flip a light switch 10 times in a row. But I have a thing about locks. I can be sitting in the living room and watch Daddy-O or Mac check the door locks before they go to bed. I can see from where I'm sitting that the doors are locked. But I still have to check them myself before I got to bed. Hey, it is what it is.

My OCDs are a bit better now. I used to have several of them. And here's the strange thing. I like change. I usually embrace change. I go with the flow. Having my routine interrupted doesn't usually bother me. Moving across the country into the unknown is a good thing. Ah, aren't I just the conundrum?

One thing I've done is when I feel the OCD prickly feeling, I have to have a mental pep talk with myself. I have to let myself know it's okay to NOT do something, or to let something go. I have to mentally tell myself every single morning that I don't have to collect the three remote controls and line them up in a certain order, on a certain table. Mac leaves them in disarray and when I get up the next morning and see them scattered, I have to concentrate on something else or reason with myself that it's okay to leave them where they are. Unless one of them is on the floor and then I have to pick it up. And if I'm going to pick up one, I might as well do all three. I find myself giving my psyche a pep talk to just 'let it go'. And most of the time I can.

This month I had good idea. I was looking at the books I've read this month:
  • The Sharper the knife, the less you cry
  • 1000 White Women
  • What French Women Know
  • The House at the end of the road
I was choosing my next book and I had home (from the library) a book called A 1000 Days in Venice and a book called The Likeness.

Here's what went on in my head: Oooooooooo, I should read all non-fiction in the month of June! Three books I had already read were non- fiction and the only fiction I read was like non-fiction since it was sort of historical based. Well, I thought, I can't do the all non-fiction thing because 1000 White Women was fiction; honesty counts when arguing with my sub -conscious. Then I looked at what I had to read. Oooooooooooooo, I thought to myself, I could read either all non-fiction books or books with numbers in the title. I then proceeded to look at my Goodreads "to- read' list to see if I had any number title books on it that I could quickly get my hands on. And what other non-fiction I wanted to read. Then I fretted that if I decided to do that and I couldn't find something to read, I would break the rule. The rule I just arbitrarily set for myself. And what would happen if I broke it? Well, I would've let myself down. Do you see this mental argument? So I thought I would trick myself and read 1000 Days in Venice and then if I found another number book or another non-fiction then cool and if not, no big deal. I thought I would just decide after the Venice book. Then I felt like that was cheating. So, I forced myself to put 1000 Days in Venice book down and read The likeness so I didn't OCD myself into a moment of panic.

This is what goes on inside my head.

Did I mention sometimes it's like the inmate is in charge of the asylum?
Maggie Mae

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Damn Sp@m

Okay, this is to anyone who reads my blog and also receives personal emails from me.

I somehow got a virus or spam or some sort of crap via my hotmail that went out to who knows who with a link, thinking you all had my email blocked. I have no idea what this is. I'm gathering it's like an invisible email virus thingy.

So, if you received a weird email from me with the text something like:

know what? i had been noticing something... seems its true :s

Oh, and the subject line is "Hiya".

And then there's a link that takes you to a web page to see if you've blocked my email address, I DID NOT SEND THAT TO YOU! I have no idea how you got it or why or where it came from, but it wasn't from me!

bastard sp@mers.

An Angry Maggie

Summer session 1 over and out; gearing up for number 2!

My first summer session at Alcatraz is over. Each summer session is 10 days long and I finished the first one last Friday, and start the second one tomorrow.

I taught the School of Rock (AM class) and in the afternoons I taught Hollywood 101. Rock was the history of rock music. As anyone who has ever taught a class knows, it doesn't always go according to plan. And that class didn't. I think it was mainly because of my issue with technology and I felt like my re-done lesson plans weren't as fun as the first set I did. I have to say, I LOVED the kids in that class. They were all boys and they were awesome and funny. They participated, even when they didn't want to. I don't care that it's a reform school; no one is standing over them making them raise a hand and answer a question. They don't eve get grades for the summer classes, but these guys did everything I asked and gave me ZERO trouble.

As a reward, I enlisted Mac's help. We brought in his "Rock Band" video game set- 2 guitars, a drum set, and a mic to sing- on the last day and they could play it for 2 hours. They thought that was the coolest thing ever. I just reminded them to take turns and they did- they had a blast! I also rewarded them additionally with sodas and popcorn. This was a great group!

My afternoon film class was a little different. Half way through the session, one kid got kicked out of reform school so that meant he went into the prison system. The kid never gave me any problems at all, so I was really surprised. They say it's the quiet ones who get ya every time. Then another kid got released. He was allowed to go home, which was a good thing for him. So during a ten day period, I lost 2 kids, bringing my class of 7 down to 5. Then on the next to last day, I had to toss a kid out of my classroom. He went from zero to idiot really quickly and I just booted him; that's what we're supposed to do but I like to handle my own discipline. In this case, though, I followed the rules. The rest of the kids were also awesome and fun. We had a good time, so on the last day, the 4 remaining got soda and popcorn as well.

With this second session, I'm going to continue teaching the film class. I'm going to show all different films for three reasons: I don't want to see the same ones over again, I might have some of the same students again, and we might study different genres. I'm going to list genres on the board and let the kids vote on which one they want to learn about; I did that last time and it worked well and they had a high interest level. (We did war and history [The Patriot], sci -fi [Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the e1956 B&W original], kids [Jumanji], horror [The Birds, by Hitchcock], mafia [Public Enemies], parody [Spaceballs], and comedy [Monty Python and the Holy Grail] If you want to see my reviews of these films, go here.)

I decided to lose the music class and am going to teach study skills, which is more up my alley anyway. And to add a twist, all the study skills will be practiced on materials I give them- which will all be about American Gothic Horror. That way they won't seem so bored when I give them a study skills task to complete because it will be over horror stories.

Summer session 2 starts tomorrow and I am excited! So far, so good!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Food, books, women

So, I'm thinking about a "reading theme" for myself for the summer. I'll read other stuff, but I was thinking of trying to read several books of a particular type.

I really enjoyed the book Julie and Julia: 356 Days, 524 recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment (and I also loved the movie!) last year. Another one of my favorite books I read last year was I Loved I Lost I Made Spaghetti. And earlier this week I finished The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry and enjoyed it immensely. What do all these have in common? They're memoirs of women who have made some life changes that usually revolve around food, cooking, eating, or all three. For some reason, this particular genre has hugely interested me. I don't know if it's the journeys these women take, if it's all the food, if it's their writing styles, their voices.... I don't know, but I do know that I really like this particular style. I usually enjoy a memoir by a woman (Eat Pray Love seems to be the exception to that rule since I hated that book- yeah, I'm the only woman in the world who hates that book, it seems. So, shoot me!) and I've read several. But the one's about food/ cooking and the woman searching for something in life really speak to me.

I have no desire to go to a cooking school but I do love food. I love to cook and I LOVE to eat. I like to be creative in the kitchen when time and resources allow for such. The food part is always interesting. And life and food always generate some wonderful metaphors and analogies from "Life is like a box of chocolates" to "people are like onions. Keep peeling back the layers.." sort of thinking.

The women who've written the three books I've read so far are pretty smart women, too. I like how they've written their stories, and they don't seem to take themselves too seriously. I also like that all these start at the adult point in their lives. Food may been important to them since they were children or someone in their childhood might have influenced their food love, but these are memoirs not biographies so I like forgoing the long drawn out family stories about food- blah blah blah. I like the here and now, "I am woman, hear me cook" sort of stories.

The one thought that gives me pause is that if I read several more of these books, will I burn myself out? Will I feel as if I've over indulged in this decadent dessert type of reading to the point where I'll be sick? (I said I like food metaphors and analogies.)

I've made a list of titles:
  • Garlic and Sapphires: The secret life of a food critic in disguise
  • Cakewalk: A Memoir
  • Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life
  • Spiced: A Pastry Chef's true stories of Trials by Fire, After Hours Exploits, and What really Goes on on the Kitchen
  • Under the Table: Saucy tales from Culinary School
  • Lunch in Paris: A love story, with recipes
I've always enjoyed books about food. I read several fiction writers who incorporate food in their story lines and characters. It just seems to be something I'm drawn to.

Now I just have to see what the local library has, what Half Price Books has and what I can get ILL and from Amazon. And if anyone here has any of these and wants to share, please let me know!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Small Pleasures

  • Long hot showers
  • Quiet time
  • Air conditioning
  • I found out that if I go to Half Price books, I can get magazines for 50 cents!!!! I can't buy the current issue, but if I don't mind waiting a WEEK for weeklys or merely a few weeks for a monthly, I can get them for 50 cents. That so rocks! I've let all my magazine subscriptions expire so this was an awesome find.
  • Being able to take Rock Band to Alcatraz so the kids can play to celebrate their last day since they've had perfect behavior for me!
  • Money from teaching summer school
  • The nice guy who works at my local video store who lets me get free movies if I'm going to show them at Alcatraz
  • Books
  • libraries
  • my niece and nephew
Hey, it's a start...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pity Party for One, please

The plan was to move back here to Civilization in December 2008 and have a full time job with benefits in or very near my hometown in about three months. I would then rent an apartment or a house and stay here until Mac graduated from high school. Then I would either continue, or I would see where my wanderlust took me next.

Well, as the title implies, things didn't go according to plan.

I have applied for at least 200 plus jobs in the last 18 months and none have come to full time fruition. I receive lash praise from colleagues and students each time I enter the teaching arena but I have no teaching license in my home state and need money to afford school to do this, which is a Catch 22= I can't afford school since I don't have a full time job and I can't get a full time job in teaching without a license. And, apparently, I can't seem to get a full time job OUT of education because everyone and their brother is still unemployed. Fuck that the experts say about employment being back on the rise; anyone unemployed in the Midwest will tell you otherwise.

And of that over 200 jobs I've applied for, about 90% are outside of education, so yes, I'm apply all over the place, trying just about anything as one might be known to do when one is desperate.

This summer I'm teaching at Alcatraz and I've applied for a job at a local mental health center, still having not heard anything. I was given a sterling recommendation so I hope that will at least merit an interview, IF they decide to look at people externally. But when the summer ends, it seems I'm back on the substitute teaching list if nothing else comes along.

This summer I had high hopes of living and working in Ireland, but that fell through; I was having help on that end to find a job and a place to live but to no avail. I would've been happy as a live in au pair or a house sitter and a bartender, but the person who was helping didn't seemed to inclined to really "help" so it just became another dream, another disappointment.

I hate it when nothing goes according to plan.

I'm trying to find work and it's not working. I'm stressed to the point of breaking. I'm on the verge of tears all the time. I get home from school and want nothing more than to sleep from 3pm until I have to get up the next day. My uncle (and aunt) where here a short time ago and my uncle adds to my stress... because I don't have a job. Well, duh. If I could get one, at this point, don't ya think I would? It's always on my mind and having it in my face doesn't help.

I worry about EVERYTHING. ALL the time. Sometimes I think it would be easier to crawl into the deep dark recesses of my mind and think about what it would be like to not have to worry about it all, and what I could do to make life easier for everyone, self included, eventually. Those thoughts aren't usually good. I feel like an inmate who's been left in charge of the asylum.

This isn't where I wanted to be or who I want to be. Sometimes, though, a person just doesn't have any means to control... anything.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday meme since I can't think straight right now

Wednesday meme stealing... I have a bunch of stuff inside my head and I need some time to sort it out, and get it from my head to paper- or blog. So, since I can't skip a day posting, though sometimes I wonder if it would be better to skip than post memes... oh who knows? But here's a meme until I figure that one out! Honor among thieves.... thanks to Sunday Stealing!

1. It's 2AM and you are not home. You are more than likely:
home. I don't have much of a social life.

2. What's the last thing you spent more than $100 on?
I got Mac an iPod touch for Christmas.

3. What do your bank checks look like?
the free ones that come with the account. Brown I think?

4. Where did the shirt you are currently wearing come from?

5. Name something that will be on your Christmas wish list:

6. What color is your toothbrush?

7. Name something you collect and tell us about it.
I collect teacups with matching saucers. I like dainty ones that have pink flowers on them.

8. Last restaurant you ate at. Who were you with? How was it?
at a hot dog stand. I was alone, sat in my car, listened to music and read a book. Had 2 Spanish dogs with a small root beer- good stuff!

9. Who was the last person you bought a birthday card for?

10. What is your worst bad habit?
I have several. I can't list them all here, or even any, lest you think I'm perfect

11. Name a magazine you subscribe to?
Vanity Fair

12. Your favorite pizza toppings?
cheese and mushroom

13. Whose number were you looking up the last time you used a phone book?
a funeral home

14. Other than family, who is the person that you love most?
I dunno

15. What is the last thing you cooked?
homemade veggie beef soup

16. Name something you wouldn't want to buy used?

17. Which shoe do you put on first?
which ever I grab first. Usually right

18. What is the last thing you remember losing?
my mind

19. What is the ugliest piece of furniture in your house?
I live with Daddy-O and his furniture is awesome

20. Last thing you bought and ended up returning?
I can't remember... it happened at Wal-Mart, though

21. What perfume/cologne do you wear? If none, why?
Chanel No. 5, when I can afford it

22. Your favorite board game?
Scrabble or Monopoly

23. What was the last board game you played?

24. Where did your vehicle come from?
A lady and her husband

25. If a movie was made about your life what would the theme song be?
"She's a Rebel" by Green Day

26. You're sad, who can cheer you up easily?
no one, really

27. What was the color of the bridesmaid dresses of the last wedding you went to?
Funny, I can't remember the last time I even went to a wedding. My friends have either been married for awhile or are single

28. What house cleaning chore do you hate to do the most?
emptying the dishwasher and dusting and vacuuming are all equally tied for first place

29. What is your favorite way to eat chicken?
with a fork

30. It is your birthday. You hope the cake is?
this year I would love a flashback to my childhood when my cousin who I think of as an aunt, Aunt R made a cherry chip 2 layer cake and them frosted it with cream cheese frosting and then covered it in cherry pie filling. I want that

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Add it to the list of icky sounds

So, yesterday at lunch, I was was sitting with some faculty. Notice, I said I was sitting with them, not having lunch with them. It was all men, they've all known each other for a LONG time so I was just eating near them so I didn't look pathetic sitting at a table alone. AND they did ask me to join them, so I did. But teacher"cliques" is a post for another day.

Oh, and I should also say that the kids at this "prison school" where I'm teaching eat with their house parents and the other kids in their house, each house assigned to one table area. The kids can't mix with other kids. Furthermore, boys and girls are separated. So the cafeteria is gigantic with the north end full of boy tables, the middle with staff and faculty, and the south end full of the girl's tables. And houses can have anywhere from 6-15 kids. So the ratio is about that many kids to two house parents per table.

So I'm sitting there in the middle, when a boy's table, straight across from me, I don't even have to turn my head to see anything, it's right IN FRONT OF ME, has a "situation". What I see is one boy abruptly stand up, with his chair flying out behind him as he yells at another kid sitting across from him, "You fucking want a piece of me?"

Apparently the kid being yelled at, must have made a remark that made the standing kid even more angry because he drew back his fist and PUNCHED the sitting kid in the face.

It made a loud thwacking sound, like punching a watermelon really hard. (Like the dude who used to kick watermelons in the Ginsu knife commercials? You remember that sound?) And sickening flesh upon flesh smacking smushy icky sound. The kid hit him. Really, he just punched him right in the face, reaching over the dinner table full of tray of ribs and scalloped potatoes, he smucked the other boy in the face!! At lunch! Damn heathens.

And know what? Most kids didn't even see it happen, most adults didn't pay attention, the kids at that table scooted back from the table, holding their food trays and eating and watching. Kids at the surrounding tables were watching and still carrying on conversations. The house parents were moving and holding back the hitter and the nurse came over to collect the hitee, who had blood gushing down his face. Did I mention lunch was BBQ rib sandwiches?

I don't think I've heard seen and heard someone hit someone else like that. Or at least make that sort of sound when it happened. And to have a room full of people barely flinch. It's scary to find out what can become "the norm".

Oh, and I didn't finish my lunch,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Almost ready to be nominated for a Darwin Award

Sometimes I am an idiot. Really. It's true. I can offer recent proof.

Right now in the Midwest it's very, very hot and very, very humid and very, very damp and rainy and just, well, icky all the way around. We have big black ants in the house right now. It doesn't matter how clean you are, in this sort of weather, this time of year, the big black ants are a fact of life.

Since there aren't any small kids or any pets around, I keep putting down ant poison called Tarro. Then I wipe off every available surface (and rinse dishes, etc) before I cook since the ants walked through and eat the Tarro and then walk across the counters to their nest/ home where ever that may be.

The other day I opened the dishwasher to put in the last of the dirty supper dishes and there were about 50 big black ants everywhere. It was so nasty and gross. So I thought I'd show them! Bwahahahaha- I filled the dishwasher with soap and sent them to their watery deaths!


There's always a but...

But what I didn't quite think all the way through is... where are the dead ants going to go since they were trapped in the running dishwasher?

The answer is: ALL OVER THE DISHES. That's right, they died, they got blown apart and there were little pieces of dead ants all over the clean dishes. Where in the hell was my brain? To make matters worse, (Oh yes, worse) I had the heating element turned on to dry the dishes, so not only did I have dead ant body parts ON the dishes, they were BAKED on the dishes.

I ran that load of dishes through about 4 times and then finally washed about 3/4 of the stuff as I emptied it.

Sometimes I just don't have two brain cells to rub together. I should be the author of "The idiot's guide on how to dispose ants".

Maggie Mae

Oh, and... Mac emptied the dishwasher without being asked on the second load of dishes, post dead ant body parts, and he asked me later what the black stuff was on the dishes. Instead of just NOT putting them away, he put them away "dirty". So we had to wash and rinse everything we took out of the cupboards for the next few days because of STRAY leftover body parts. Good goddess!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not exactly an "Officer and a Gentleman"

On Friday I was blogging about my shoes and I digressed into a story about a sprained ankle and a Sam. I don't know what it was about this particular Sam but while I dated him I also suffered from an Achilles Heel tear.

I was coming home one night in December or January. It was cold, as it is known to be in the Midwest in those winter months, but it was one of those clear and no snow type of nights. My driveway was clear of snow and it was dry. Except, I learned the hard way, one tiny little spot. There was one damn spot of ice about 6 inches wide on the whole freaking driveway and of course, I stepped on that tiny spot. And slipped. And fell. And I really really really hurt my ankle-leg-foot part of my body. I was laying on the driveway crying my head off at 1 am.

I sort of crawled and dragged myself into the house and sat on the floor. I then called some friends of mine to come get me (the Sam was working as a DJ at a gig and there was no way he could come get me so I didn't even bother to impose) to take me to the hospital. I hurt hurt hurt. And I had no idea what was wrong. I thought I broke my leg or foot or ankle or all three.

So I went to the ER and learned I had a torn Achilles. I got a temp cast thingy on it and then the next day I got a boot thingy on it.

When all this happened I was teaching at the college level. The day after the incident I had a morning class to teach and an evening one. So, my friends of the ER trip gave me a ride to the school and the Dean of students took me to the doc that afternoon and back to the school. Sam and I were supposed to have a date and he was going to pick me up at school when class was over. But with all the running around and teaching and stuff, I sort of forgot to mention to Sam I screwed up my ankle/ foot.

So he shows up to get me and comes to my room. I was sitting at my desk with my leg propped up and was chatting with some students. Sam comes in and takes one look and asks what happened. I told him and he chuckled. I grab my crutches and ask him if he'll carry my bag. He takes one look at my giant pink bag and says no way.

What he does instead is hand me my bag and picks ME up, one shoulder fireman carry style, and grabs my crutches and off we go. As he went through the hallways with me hanging ass up over his shoulder, my casted/booted foot dangling, people in the hallway step aside and applaud. They laugh. They clap and cheer. I raised my head and waved at everyone as we paraded passed them.

We arrive at his pick-up truck where he so carefully and gently deposits me on the passenger seat, kisses me, smiles and asks what I want for dinner. As we pull out of the parking lot, everyone who is still around cheers. We wave.

Not Richard Gere and Debra Winger, but still.... it was good. Oh so good.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Put on my Pink Dancing shoes

I bought some new pink shoes. Much needed for summer, I thought. And they were on SALE! I just couldn't resist!

Here they are; I referred to them in yesterday's post....

Thanks to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting a wonderful Pink Saturday! And please go visit Nicki at An American in Berlin. She's a great voice; and a cute pink pink bag that I just covet!

In Shoes We Trust,
Maggie Mae

Friday, June 4, 2010

I planned around shoes

Okay, I planned what I wanted to wear this week around my shoes. This is a very big deal for me. When I was working at the middle school last school year, I resorted to wearing flats because I went from room to room to room as an aide. I traveled with my kids. And wearing my heels in that atmosphere was not healthy. Oh, not that my feet hurt, but it was rough on my shoes! I was in the hallway during passing period and kids don't watch where they are going so my shoes would get scuffed as THEY tripped over MY feet. Also wearing 3-4 inch heels is treacherous on wet linoleum school floors. It just screams out: BREAK YOUR LEG HERE! So I wore flats, loafers and other practical shoes.

Teaching this summer gig, I thought would be the perfect time to take my heels out for a spin. All the rooms and hallways are carpeted. I'm in the same room from 9am until 230 pm. The only walking I have to do is from my car to my classroom or from my classroom to the cafeteria, if I want to go eat there. But I had to plan outfits that went with the shoes and also meshed well with our HOT weather. I won't bore you with what I wore as far as my clothes, but the shoes... well... that's another story.

So earlier this week I took my new pink satin heels out for a spin (I'm not showing those here because they are my choice for my pink Saturday picture tomorrow!). And then yesterday I wore my red plaid 4 inch ones, and today I dared to wear a pair of shoes that I have a serious past with. My black spongy high soled flip-flops. Insert *bum bum bum* here!

The infamous black spongy flip-flops and I have history. I was dating a Sam many moons ago. We were in his apartment and listening to music. We were dancing. We were fooling around. And the people in the upstairs from us we "makin' whoopee". We were laughing and making fun of them. And then they were getting louder and louder. This Sam was a pretty tall guy and he was tapping or knocking on his ceiling which was their floor, which made the two of us laugh hysterically. So I tried to be funny and jump up to tap the ceiling, too but I'm short Even in these shoes. And when I came down... I landed... wrong... and twisted my ankle. Because the heel was so tall on the shoes.

I landed in a heap on the floor, and my ankle was throbbing and swelling. We were both laughing and crying because I was being so stupid. But Sam ended up having to drive me home and then carry me in the house. And the next couple days I had a wrap and ice bags on it and had to use crutches. All because I was being a dumbass in my big shoes. That was also the weekend I was supposed to meet Sam's kids but I couldn't move around too well, so he brought me roses and a peach smoothie and some kisses. He and I laughed about this for years! He said I didn't have to go to that extreme to NOT meet his kids.

Over the next few years I've worn these shoes rarely. I'm usually careful and respectful of the shoes. I don't want to them to retaliate again. And I try to not be stupid when I wear these shoes.

Gotta respect the soles.

Anyway, I went ahead and wore those to school today. I was careful and didn't do anything crazy. I mostly sat. And the boys in my class thought they were hilarious. They were impressed with how tall these shoes made me. They do have a 3 inch sole...

And I always remember that night with Sam when I wear these! Ah, good times!

In Shoes We Trust,
Maggie Mae

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bunch of random stuff about me meme

This is a crazy week with the first week of summer school. I keep re-prepping my classes to fit their knowledge and interests. And I'm tired. And I'm applying for full time jobs. And recovering from the relatives. So, today I'm cheating with a meme. And of course, with honor among thieves, thanks to Sunday Stealing for the questions! Enjoy!

1. Make a list of 5 things you can see without getting up.
front door, the tv, a coffee cup, a video game system, Daddy-O's desk

2. How do you style your hair? How often do you cut it?
I hate my hair. Right now I'm pulling it back with clips and scarves and hairbands while I'm going it out. And I'm never cutting it again

3. What are you wearing now?
black trousers, white silk shirt, red silk scarf, red plaid 4 inch heels

4. What's your occupation? Do you like it?
temp. summer school teacher and yes I like it

5. When was the last time that you took a nap? Was there a special reason?
I actually took one yesterday and before that, I couldn't remember the last time I napped. And I took a nap because I was exhausted

6. Who was the last person you hugged romantically?
A Sam in March 2009

8. What was the last full meal that you ate? (I don't know where question 7 has gone)
lunch- pears, chicken salad sandwich, mixed veggies

9. What was the last email that you received?
junk mail

10. What one website do you always visit when you go online?
my email

11. What was the last significant thing you bought?
pink satin 4 inch heels

12. What musical artist did you not get at first, but then became a fan?

13. What did you think about before you went to bed last night?
about what I wanted to wear to school today

14. What was the last CD you bought?
I can't remember... I got the new Michael Buble for a gift, though

15. What is your favorite weather, and why? What's the weather like today?
I like cool weather, no snow, wear long sleeves and jeans weather, with a little overcast. Today it's terrible- it's about 86 degrees with 75% humidity. Ick

16. If you could have a special artistic talent, what would it be?
being able to sketch or draw or paint

17. Did you watch the Idol 9 finale? If yes, what are your thoughts?

18. What's something you'd like to say to someone right now?
"Leave me alone"

19. Any special plans for this (holiday in the States) weekend?
well, since I'm a little late on the holiday weekend, I was at home with my family, saw some movies, went shopping

20. Besides your current S/O, who was the last person that you loved romantically?
I'm single. I don't love romantically- it's easier on the heart that way

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer School

Okay, so summer school wasn't that bad! I enjoyed it.

I had 6 boys in my "School of Rock" class. I think they thought it was boring but it's all the background of how rock-n-roll became... well, became. I didn't get to Elvis, but we had lots of discussion questions and I played lots of song clips. I also did a "conformity" activity. After the history of rock and roll and then listening to clips, I asked them to write in journals what the advantages and disadvantages were of conforming to society were. Then we looked at lyrics (and listened to) of The Who's "My Generation", "Baba O Reilly" and Pearl Jam's "Who You Are." We talked about what each of these songs were about. Then they had to pick a lyric from one of those songs that "spoke" to them and explain why and make a mini poster, which we hung on the wall. Then I asked them what conformity had to do with rock-n- roll to tie it all together. Get them thinking about themselves in the world, and music. Hey, if they can learn something in the process, then bonus, right?

My second group was also boys, 7 of them, and right after lunch. They were much more talkative and wound up. They were in my Hollywood 101 class- how to watch movies with a focus on the classics as a genre. Basically it means, I picked a genre, talked about it, and used handouts for about 10 minutes. We did an activity using a Stephen King essay called "Why we crave Horror Films", and then got to watch Hitchcock's The Birds, which we didn't finish today, but will tomorrow.

It's odd because of several reasons. First, and this was cool, there were NO cell phones or headphones. Kids weren't trying to sneak text messages or listen to headphones. (Yes, I realize the irony of that since I am teaching a rock music class). That was totally awesome. And it's a totally incredible setting to have just a class of boys without the girl drama. I LIKED that. It was also hard for me to remember that 98% of all the kids in the building are hardened criminals, that this place is the last stop for them before going to Boy's State Prison. They were all in uniforms of khaki pants, collared shirts with an undershirt, belts, shirts tucked in, no sagging/ baggy pants, and nice shoes. Hair was combed and kids were clean. They were polite. Yes, I know WHY they are this way, but regardless of the circumstances, it was a really nice change of pace. I was impressed. They were kind and good. If this keeps up, it will be a good 10 days.

Okay, and I have to tattle on myself. I was preparing my lesson plans Monday night and I wanted to make sure I talked about the influence of rockabilly music. In all my research, I found that Johnny Cash "Cocaine Blues" or "Folsom Prison Blues" were the genre's best examples. Well, Sunday night, my thought process was that there was no way I could play "Cocaine Blues" to these kids because of the DRUGS! Oh NO! *gasp* Uh, but, uh, yeah... I know you're sitting there saying, "Oh no way. She so didn't..." Uh, yes way, she so did. I actually played, without thinking of the irony, "Folsom Prison Blues." Some of the boys thought that was a riot, and even suggested it be the class theme song. Yup- go me. I was so embarrassed!

Well, anyway... other than that little incident, it could be a great 2 weeks!

Keeping my fingers crossed,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When it rains, it pours

A funny thing happened yesterday when I went to the movie theater. I went to see Just Wright. It was about 10 minutes from the ending when the power in the theater went out due to the thunderstorms. So we all just sat there, me alone, with all the other couples, waiting. When the power came on about 5 minutes later the credits were rolling. Some guy in our theater went to talk to a manager so we sat a bit longer and the credits stopped and the movie started over again from the beginning. When the manager figured that out and got it reset for the third time, the power went out again!!!

So the deal was that everyone would get a rain check (no pun intended, I think) ticket if we show our ticket stubs. Only when I got to the theater I paid for my ticket and the ticket taker's machine ran out of paper so they gave me a receipt rather than a ticket. So when I gave the ticket agent my receipt instead of a stub, he gave me my cash back instead of a rain check ticket to see any show I wanted. But I still don't know how the movie ends!!!!!!!! If you saw it, can you tell me? Is that crazy or what?

And I think I went a little crazy to do what I did next. I was standing in the lobby of the movie theater with about 100 other people who were trying to decide if they should make a run for it or just stand there and wait for the rain to subside. Well, I thought, "WTF". I started walking and... well, the rain was warm and it was warm outside, like falling bathwater and I just stopped and turned in circles with my arms out and face upturned to the sky. I was jumping in the puddles and hooting and hollering and all the people in the theater started clapping and cheering me, laughing and pointing, and suddenly a couple guys ran out and then a few more people ran out and started doing the same thing! I led a mini revolution: man verses nature! It was awesome!

Gotta make my own fun, right?

On another note...