Monday, December 29, 2008

An Eventful Holiday

Last week was busy/wonderful all at once! Christmas came and went, with the usual giving and getting of gifts, and spending some fun time with family. It was hubby's and my first Christmas together as a married couple, which was fun...though not completely different from last Christmas, when we were engaged and living together. We did get no less than THREE first Christmas ornaments...we chuckled over that. They're all pretty, and will go on the tree next year. Christmas Eve was at my Nannie and Papa's, Christmas morning at my parents', and Christmas afternoon/evening with the hubby's Papa and Mimi's. It's so nice to have so much family!!!

Friday, I went to the hospital. That sucked. I apparently had a kidney stone, which I passed while I was sitting in the second waiting room. I've never hurt like that before, and with the RA, I sure do know pain. So I spent all day in the ER, and missed the first walk-through of the house. Fortunately, mom and dad were already heading down initially to see the house, but mom ended up switching with the hubby when he and dad had to go to the walk-through. That's ok though...I sent hubby with reminders of all the stuff I noticed previously that needed to be fixed...not that there was much. I went home with plenty of antibiotics (yeah, also have a UTI which means I can't take my RA shots until THAT goes away...grr...) and some hydrocodone (of which I only needed one). So that was my exciting Friday.

This weekend was nice and relaxing. Saturday, the hubby made me take it easy, and brought me plenty of juice, made me toast and eggs, and oatmeal, and basically just took amazing care of me :-). Sunday we went over to dad-in-law's house and hubby and he worked on hubby's truck. I sat with my fuzzy nephew (he's a chihuahua) on the couch and read. That night we went and got dinner with hubby's Papa, Mimi, sister and her boyfriend, cousins, mama and her boyfriend. It was great to see everyone!

Today, we got the amazing news that we close on the house TOMORROW!!! I spent today setting up the electricity for the house, and the gas. Hubby set up the cable, the water, and the garbage. All of it will be "turned on" (i.e. transferred into our names since everything but the cable is already on at the house) by January 2nd at the latest! Tomorrow, we have our last walk-through at noon, and then at three we meet with our AWESOME realtor to sign the papers...for an hour. But that's ok...after that hour, we'll have our VERY OWN HOME!!! We are both soo pumped! Dad's talking about renting a U-Haul and moving us in one load toward the end of this week...which means we've got a crap load of packing to do. But that's moving for you. We still need to submit out 30 days notice to the apartments...but we'll do that tomorrow once the papers are all signed and all parties are locked in ;-).

For now though we have friends coming over to eat pizza, and with Wii it up, or (it two others can come) get going on a game of Diplomacy (which I've never played) and watch a movie. Should be a fun night!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

First Day of Christmas Break!

Well, technically Saturday was the first day, but I'm counting today because I would normally be at hour and 15 minutes from the end of the school day to be precise. It's been a great Christmas Break so far!

Friday, my best friend came in, and she, the hubby and I went and had dinner with my parents and little brother and little brother #2. Then we headed back to our place to chat and drink a bit lol. Saturday, hubby went and got us all kolaches (he's so sweet!). After breakfast she had to leave, but then, we had to pack, so all and all the day kicked off to a busy start. After we had done some laundry and packed, hubby and I headed to one family Christmas up in the hill country. Yay 5 hour drives lol. It was completely worth it. My cousins, with one exception, are all in high school now. They make me feel old! But my age issues aside, it's really interesting to watch the people they are becoming. They're all really good kids, so that's not a problem, but it's still interesting to see them develop their own ideas and opinions about life. Makes me remember when I started coalescing all of my vague ideals and notions into more clearly defined viewpoints on how I saw the world. Of course, that process never ends. Still, it's interesting to see the "kids" embarking on that process.

Yesterday, we headed back home (can we say, turn around trip?) and cleaned house before getting dinner with one of our couple friends. Then they came over and we Wii'd it for a couple of hours: Brawl rocks!

Today, we got up and talked to one of the lenders we're dealing with. Then, we went to the house to meet the inspector. It was SO COLD outside! But, the inspection went wonderfully! The inspector said he was impressed with how "clean" the house was (read, free of problems). Most of the stuff he wrote down was minor in nature, or easily fixed. We met the construction boss today too, and explained to him what we wanted in regards to repainting some of the rooms. He said it shouldn't be a problem and that he was going to try to get the painters in today! So, now, we just have to finish hacking through the whole loan process, schedule our initial walkthrough with our broker, and the final walkthrough once the builder has fixed whatever we find wrong. Then we close on the 30th! I'm actually hoping we'll have everything in place to close by the 29th...that way on the actual day of closing, we just sign the paperwork. AND GET THE KEYS!!!

Anyways, I was just thinking how good life is right now, and how blessed I am in family, friends, my job, and future! Of course, everything's not perfect but I wouldn't want it to be. Perfection is boring.

So, here's to the upcoming holidays (and finishing shopping for them), and to the upcoming new year! May we all be blessed, and even when things don't go our way, may we all remember that happiness is as much a state of mind as a state of circumstance!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Only Half a Day to Go!

And then it's Christmas Break! That's right: two whole weeks without my kids! I'm so HAPPY! Not that I don't love (most of) my students, but they have been as itchy and hyper as monkeys on sugar! They're more than ready for an extended break, and I can't say I disagree! Of course, I am a bit sad...I'm losing some really good kids to families moving, home schooling, and school transfers/dropping out. That's tough. I hope their lives end up being fulfilling and happy, whichever path they have to walk.

But still, I can't believe I've been a teacher for a full semester! It's gone by so quickly! Before I know it, it will be summer, and I'll have taught a full academic year! Of course, I need to buckle down and get my alternative certification paperwork done so that I'll get certified on time...but there's still plenty of time for that.

All in all, I'm really looking forward to the break. Tonight we're going to dinner with some friends, and then I'll only have the kids til 11:30 tomorrow. Since today was the final long day, we had Christmas tomorrow we basically do nothing but finishing watching A Christmas Story. Then, the faculty has a Chili cookoff/mandatory meeting. THEN I get to see my best friend!!! Hubby and I are gonna take her to see the HOUSE! and then we're gonna spend the evening hanging out. THEN Saturday morning, its up early for a long drive for a family Christmas, then back the next day for dinner with some other friends. Next week, we're going through some key HOUSE! closing procedures plus Christmas! I'm thinking that maybe the second week of the break will be more of a true break than the first lol.

I can't wait to close on our house though...for it to truly and officially be ours (and the bank's lol).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Have a HOUSE!!!

And it's a beautiful house!!! It's located only a little bit farther south from where we are right now! It was originally a model home, and they finished building it in 2007, but it's never been lived in! Here's the specs:

approx. 2,200 sq ft
2 stories
4 bdrms, 2.5 baths
a gameroom, living room, kitchen (with an island!), formal dining, and breakfast room AND the utility room is inside!
2 car garage, with an extension
upgraded paint, carpet, tile, there's a sprinkler system

Because it's a model home, they're going to paint over all the random designs in the bedrooms, AND it's already FULLY landscaped!
(...with a magnolia tree in the back yard...sigh...I love magnolia trees...there was one at my grandparents' house growing up and we climbed it all the time...)

All in all, it a wonderful home, basically ideal for us in every way! Granted, there's more room in it than we technically need right at this moment, but it's a house we can grow in to, and still have plenty of space! More, it's a house we can be in for the next 15-20 years +.

We're currently planning on turning one bedroom into a library, one into a guest room, and then the third upstairs room will be a multipurpose/storage room until we have a baby, in around 4-5 years lol. For now, we're give the apartment complex notice for the end of January, giving us a month after our close date (which, by the way, is December 30th...yikes!) to move. But February 1, we'll be in the new place!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Big News!!!

I'm not going to say much until after tomorrow, but suffice it to say I'm REALLY, REALLY EXCITED!

And no, I'm not pregnant. :-P

Monday, December 8, 2008

Life and Perceptions

Whew life has been busy lately! Thanksgiving was wonderful. The hubby and I went up to the Ranch in the Hill Country and pitched our tent. We camped out from Saturday til Wednesday, and then moved into the trailer for the rest of the got cold and rain kept being predicted, even if it never showed up lol. It was great! The tent was fantastic, and us plus the dogs plus a small space heater kept things warm enough at night, and then the trailer was all kinds of cozy! It was great having time to ourselves. During the day we read together and chopped wood and went on a walk or two. In the mornings and evenings, the hubby would go hunt and I'd build up the fire and either get the camp ready for the day or the night, as the case warranted, read and go on hikes. The hunting paid off early--he shot a good-sized 8 point buck on his first morning hunt!!! He saw other deer and critters moving in the subsequent days, but he'd already killed enough meat to fill out pot for the next year. That pattern held til Wednesday night, when family started showing up. Then we spent a lot more time over at the cabin on my aunt's land, catching up.

It's funny how your perception of people changes when you get older. For example, my 3 older second cousins. I used to think they were the coolest people ever! And in some ways, I still do. Growing up, the middle sister was my favorite...she was very go with the flow and had time to spend with me. The older sister was close behind...but she was always busy, and a bit less chill. The youngest sister I loved to death (and still do) but she was always on the go, and we didn't really have a whole lot in common. That part hasn't really changed, though the reason for a lack of things in common has: previously it was because she was a partier, but now it's because she's gone the other extreme. That is to say, she is a highly conservative Christian of the Baptist denomination. There was a time back in high school where I would have been able to be of a similar mindset, but now extreme religiosity grates on my nerves and ostentatious religiosity bothers me. I think that religion is a private, personal issue. That's not to say that I don't agree with living by your religious beliefs or that I don't like discussing my beliefs with others...I'm just not comfortable shoving them up their noses with my every action. That and the "we'll just have faith" attitude towards life, without any visible practical steps or awareness, bothers the pragmatic side of myself.

Anyways, back to the other sisters. While I still love the middle sister to death, I find myself able to better relate to the older sister. The middle sister and I are both laid back, but motherhood has made her more of a worrier and more overprotective than I foresee myself to be. Also, she has no problem with just taking things on faith, without questioning anything. As I've said before, questioning is of utmost importance in figuring out what you believe as well as the strength of those beliefs. Beliefs that can't withstand questioning need to be reexamined. Anyway, the self-imposed rose-colored glasses didn't bother me in high school as much as they do now. The older sister has renounced her religion (Christianity). She and her husband learned some things about the origins of the religion that shook their faith. I learned these same things in college, but my faith was already flexible at that point and was able to bend and adjust. Their faith has been built up into this untouchable, incontrovertible thing, and lacked the suppleness to withstand a shattering blow. I don't blame them, and can understand their point of view, even if I still do consider myself a Christian (albeit an atypical one). But that decision, the questioning they are doing, the open mindedness they exhibit, and the search for their truth in which they have engaged speak to me on a deep level, and make me much more comfortable talking with them than with pretty much any other family member on that subject (other than my husband and my little brother).

So maybe favorites is an outgrown term. I love them each for who they are, what they were to me when I was a child, and for what they are to me now. However, I definitely relate to the oldest the most.

Well, moving on from reflection time and on to real life, school has less than two weeks til Christmas Break! This week my kids are working on a project combo: dialogue dealing with customer/employee interactions and poster representing a clothing store. They'll present on Monday, we'll have a review on Tuesday, and then they'll take their Ch. 3 Pt. 2 test on Wednesday. Thursday will be Christmas Party day! And Friday, the kids have early release! So basically, one week of babysitting, half a week of grading, food, then 2 weeks of freedom!!! Whoohoo!
Whoohoo-ing aside, I really do enjoy teaching...I'm just ready for a break.

As far as the house hunting plan goes, we're kinda in a holding pattern. We're definitely going to buy a house by May (because come to find out, our lease is up MAY 31st, not JUNE 30th...heehee), but we're trying to time the buying process so that we don't have to pay a fee...which may or may not be possible. Basically, we need to decide if the chance of paying the full buyout fee is worth taking, when we might only have to pay a reletting fee anyway. Hubby and I have some thinking to do.

Other than that, hubby might be marching in the Inauguration Day parade in January!!! Which is SO EXCITING!!!! Needless to say, work is going well for him too. Oh look he's home! I'm gonna go spend time with him now! Ttyl!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So Close! Only Two Days!

Then Thanksgiving Break is officially here! And let me tell you, I am ready for it. I've been told that there's an emotional curve that goes along with teaching. Emotions start off high, with excitement and optimism, then somewhere around hmm...THANKSGIVING...the cycle reaches an all-time low with stress, being tired, and disillusion (see my last post for evidence lol).

PS: Sons of Anarchy is a great series...but episode 13 is about to FREAKING PISS ME OFF!!!! Aww crap.

So I'm at the low part of the cycle, and am looking forward to the break. And that's all for now. SoA just officially pissed me off. Now I'm going to be mad. Crap. Stupid freaking Sam and Tig. DAMMIT. Arg. OK, I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Frustrations of A First Year Teacher

My students don't care. Literally.

Ok, it's not all of them--I do actually have a few bright, driven, hard-working, diligent kids in my classes. And I thank God every day that I do, otherwise this first year of teaching would be the beginning of the end.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I enjoy teaching the subject matter, and my colleagues kick ass. I'm just sick of the attitude of the majority of my students.

To prove my case with one example: Last Wednesday I gave my students the answer key to the quiz they would take Friday. On Friday, I left the posters that had the answers on them on the wall, uncovered.


Some passed and made good grades. But the MAJORITY, yes the MAJORITY, of my students made Cs and below. And THEN they asked me WHEN (not IF, but WHEN) they could RETAKE the quiz!!!


Gah. It's enough to truly and completely terrify me. THESE KIDS are the future of our country?!?

Ok, so I know this has been said about pretty much every generation to come up through the educational system, including my own. And I realize that there are some in every generation who could fit into the same mold as many of the kids I'm teaching now. That said, in my generation at least, the majority of us still did what we had to to get the job done, to make the grade. These kids do not take notes, do not study, do not ask questions, do not show up for tutoring, FAIL, and THEN ask for RETAKES!!!

Really, I know it's not as dire as it appears. Really, one of two things will happen to these kids. They will either grow up and learn that they have to be accountable for their actions the first time, OR the rest of us will be paying for them for the rest of our lives because we will be funding the welfare programs that they spend their entire lives on. It'll be one or the other.

As for me, I'll go on teaching, approaching my subject matter in as many ways as possible so that as many students as possible can understand, helping those who ask for it, and doing my part to educate these kids. Somehow, I'll have to hold up under the pressures to be everything for these kids from motivator to counselor to the source of motivation for their parents' involvement in their lives. All of which I'm supposed to do in the 50 mins a day the kids are in my classroom. Easy, right? Heh.

I know the cycle will continue. Eventually there will be a re-emphasis on individual accountability FOR THE STUDENTS and a move away from teachers being expected to be everything to these kids. So until then, I'll keep trying. And blogging here whenever I get too pissed off to hold it in anymore :-P.

P.S.> If I ever meet the teacher who put it in these kids' heads that they automatically get a retake when they fail something due to their lack of effort, I will HIT them over the head with a large STICK!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gotta Love Halloween Surprises

After dark on Halloween, I had just finished carving Charlie (my jack-o-lantern), was watching Resident Evil AND it was dark outside. The undead were chasing the group of survivors through the catacombs that was the Hive (which still sounds like a stupid idea to me) and Charlie's pumpkin eyes were glowing eerily (mostly because of the tea light candles I put in his gut). Suddenly a loud, insistent knock sounds on my door. Due to the ambiance, I jumped and then proceeded to walk quickly to the door (hey, I wasn't scared, not even a little bit...nevermind it was too late for trick-or-treaters...and the fact that I hadn't had any all night...). I looked throught the peep hole.

Noone was there.

I start walking away from the door, figuring it was just some kid prank knocking on doors and a bit irritated that I'd just missed some zombies getting their heads blown in.

The knock came again. Louder. More insistent.

I turn back around, this time with a bit more trepidation. I peer through the peep hole a second time, and there stands.....

My husband!!! Lol.

My wonderful hubby, besides giving me a minor case of Halloween heebie geebies, caught a flight 24 hours earlier than planned and surprised me with an early homecoming! It really was a wonderful surprise! He also surprised me a pretty necklace (which just happens to go perfectly with a pair of my favorite earrings!). We got to spend a wonderful evening together, catching up on TV shows and a few other things. It is so good to have him back!

Like I said in my other post, I could definitely manage the whole post-college, single 20-something lifestyle, but I am so thankful to have found my match and be married to my best friend! I really was kinda lonely without him. It is so wonderful to be able to cook him dinner, crawl into bed together, snuggle on the couch, smell his cologne, and feel his arms around me!

Of course, now the challenge of maintaining good eating and excercise habits comes back. The past two weeks, I had gotten into a pretty good routine. Now, that routine is going to change a bit, and I've just gotta figure out a way to merge the "two weeks alone routine" with the "hubby's back routine". By the way, I was down to 160.6 lbs on my bathroom scale this morning! I haven't used the Wii Fit today, so that number will have to suffice.

Anyways, back to my nap on the couch with my wonderful man!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Inmates are Running the Asylum

By this I am referring to my two dogs, and the 7 month old chocolate lab puppy I'm watching for a friend. They have been doing fine...all playing together and being friends. Today for some reason, they all decided that they need my undivided attention and to be in my lap. I think all three of them are having some form of separation anxiety--the pup from his mama, and my two from their daddy. They are clingy and hyper, grumpy and tired simultaneously. All in all, this whole day has brought up the question of who's really in charge--the dogs or the human?

The answer is clearly the canines.

PS: Our pointer is on my shit list tonight. We were running (yes, literally) towards the dumpster in the complex parking lot when she decided to dodge in front of me, spin so that she was perpendicular to my path, and stop. So other than learning that the dogs are really in charge, what else have I learned today?

I still remember how to take a fall. Which soothes my ego a bit, but does nothing for my scraped side. Ah well. They can't all be A+ days.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Battle of the Bulge, II

My Wii Fit is AMAZING! Seriously, I worked out for an hour and 15 mins Tues, 45 mins Weds, an hour Thurs, and an hour and 10 mins yesterday without even realizing where the time went! It has such a great variety of aerobic workouts and combination strength/yoga exercies that I can switch it up whenever I start getting bored, which lets me go longer! I also love the balance games...they're a really great warm-up! My favorites so far: Penguin Slide, Ski Slolam and Ski Jump, Rhythmic Boxing, Super Step, Super Hoolahoop (feel the burn in the abs!), pretty much all of the yoga poses, the leg lift and ab strength exercises, and the Meditation balance exercise! So, as you can see, I have plenty of variety to fill the time. As far as progress on my weight loss goals go, according to my bathroom scale, yesterday I weighed 163.6!!! According to the Wii Fit, it was actually 162.6...and since I'm now using the Wii to track my progress (and the bathroom scale has been dropped and kicked around repeatedly) I'm going to go with the Wii Fit weight. This of course does not mean I've lost an extra just means I was probably a pound lighter when I started lol. Anyway, I am now almost back down to wedding weight...just a couple more pounds to go! I'm hoping to be back down to 145-150 by January/Febuary (my Wii Fit goal based on a good BMI).

On a personal note, I'm really glad the Wii Fit game in when it did...I'm not sure how I'd be filling the hours with the hubby gone without it! He comes home this coming Saturday evening...I can't wait! Granted, some alone time is always nice...but almost two weeks of it is a bit much! I want my husband back :-P. He's having a great time out in Flagstaff though and so far the testing's going well.

If anything this whole time with him being gone has served as a great time of self-evaluation. I have never and will never forget the lessons I learned in college concerning maintaining a sense of self and the ability to function independently. This past week has really been the first time since the hubby and I got married that we've been completely apart. Granted, for a few weeks before the testing run he was working 60-70 hrs a week so I didn't see him much, but he was still there when I woke up in the mornings (mostly). I'm pretty proud of myself for how I've done this last week. I miss him, of course, but I've been able to be ok with the brief phone calls we were able to have this last week (except for phone call then). There's no cell phone reception at the testing site, so we make do with what we can get. I've been an independent working woman...taking care of the dogs in the morning, going to teach, coming home and taking an hour to unwind, then taking care of the dogs, fixing myself dinner, eating, working out, showering, taking care of the dogs again, talking to the boy when possible and then going to bed. It's been peculiarly satisfying, knowing that I am fully capable of keeping my life going when the hubby's gone.

That said, it's pretty lonely even with the dogs. Cooking dinner (I love my Skillet Meals!) only to put 2/3 of it in a storage container for the next two nights, sitting down to eat dinner alone, and then crawling into a bed by makes me very grateful and thankful for my husband and the life we've built together. I could definitely pull off the life of a single 20-something, but I'm glad that my path was something altogether different--a wonderful life shared with my best friend, the love of my life, my husband.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Amazing How Attached We Get...

Well hubby flew out for Flagstaff this morning. I'm super excited for him, but I'm going to miss him for the next 10 days. He texted me when he landed and called me while he was driving from Phoenix to Flagstaff. We talked for a bit until he went through a dead zone in the Arizona hills. I'll call him tonite before I go to bed, but he's going to be working 16 hour shifts for the next 10 days, so I probably won't get to talk to him long. Sigh. Oh well...I'll just pretend we're back to him working on a coop tour and I'm in school in CS...oh wait, I still got to talk to him then so that analogy doesn't really work...gah. Oh well.

So what did I do today since he's not home? Well, I cleaned the kitchen, watched some TV, sat with the dogs, and worked out for 1 hr and 10 mins on my brand new Wii Fit! That's right, I know have a Wii Fit and it ROCKS! The hoolahooping basic and advanced and the step basic and advanced are my favorites, and I love the yoga too. The balance games are fun, and helped me to warm up and get used to the balance board. It was so easy to keep working out b/c it was fun! I was playing a video game, and getting exercise at the same time! Later, I might play Zelda for a bit, but right now Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi is on, so I'm indulging my inner nerd/geek. I should have gone to the store tonite to buy more apples, but I think I'll survive one day without an apple in my lunch.

On a completely unrelated note, I found a foster home for a lost puppy yesterday! The foster lady named her Dobie, after my high school, because that's where I/we found her. She came into the school yesterday morning, and I was the only one to actually try to get her back outside--repeatedly might I add! I actually had to pick her up and carry her out three times, as high school students apparently don't know how to NOT let a dog back into the school. She was two or three years old, and a beautiful brindle (read tiger-stripped) pit mix, and just the sweetest thing! She curled up in my lap for 10 mins and licked my chin while my principal went to find a substitute leash for her. Then one of the APs and I stashed her in the coaches' dressing room, and I spent the rest of the day (b/c we only had yesterday) trying to find her a shelter or foster home. She must have been someone's pet--she did great on a leash, is quite obviously house trained (no accidents in the dressing room, but she waited until I had her out in the grass!), and is only slightly thin with great physical composition and skin (minus the inevitable fleas of course). She needed to be "fixed" but the foster mom said she'd take care of that...I'm trying to get a donation for the vet this network of foster homes uses to help with costs (the vet does the work on the fosters for free!).

I adamantly did not want to call the pound...because of her pit blood they would have simply put her down. At the very end of the day (7th period to be exact) my last lead panned out, and a foster mom was contacted! I sped through the 30 minute drive to meet her, and handed the pup off (I'd been calling her Honey...more as a nickname than anything, and the lady's grandson liked Dobie better...I can't say I disagree!). I was so glad to not have to just turn her lose into the street, or worse! to call the pound! Seeing her go to her death would have broken my heart, but we couldn't have taken her in...we already have 2 dogs in our 1 bedroom apartment! It was still hard to see her go though. The AP and I had jerry-rigged a leash for her, and when I handed the lady the leash, Dobie leaned against my leg and didn't want to go with her. So, I walked her to the lady's truck, and had to actually pick her up to put her in the vehicle. She cocked her head at me, confused as to why I wasn't getting in the car with her, and watched me out the window as they drove off.

I got a phone call last night saying that she had settled in fine, with the exception of being terrified of the lady's other pups and trying to climb the fence to get away. That said, she's reported to have shown no aggression and to have been wonderful with people in general...all of which I already knew about her character after caring for her all day inbetween classes.

The foster mom said something as she was about to drive off and Dobie was staring at me out the window: "It's amazing how attached they get after such a short period of time."

I had to wipe away a tear as I replied: "It's amazing how attached WE get."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

RIP Rurouni

Note: This post will probably sound somewhat silly to some, but hey, it's my storage site, so I don't really care.

Rurouni was my beta fish. He was a beautiful red-maroon color, with graceful sweeping fins and a really cool neck rough that he flared whenever he was startled or angry. Hubby got him for my for our second Valentine's day together, back during our sophomore year of college. He pulled beautiful peach-pink roses out of the fridge and handed them to me along with a fish scooper. He then handed me a sack of rocks and set a bowl on the counter, and then pulled out Rurouni. This was months before we broke up for a while. During that break up time, I still had Rurouni (obviously) and he got to hear me unburden myself when my friends were tired of hearing it (not that I blame them...I talk through things, its how I cope, so sometimes my friends need a break from listening to me and I still just need to talk, even when the only one listening is a fish). Yes I know he was just a fish, but I tend towards anthropomorphizing things and critters. So to me, Rurouni was a good friend-fish and was a constant during a turbulent time. Not to mention he always watched me whenever I was talking to him...kinda creepy at first, but I got used to it, and it made me feel like I actually was talking to someone.

Anyways, he died this weekend while we were away. I'm not sure what to do with him (yes, he's still in his bowl) because I had hoped he'd make it to our first house with us, so that I could bury him in our garden when he died. I don't want to just flush him, but I don't have a potted plant big enough to bury him in.

So why all this fuss over a fish? Because he was a pet who meant more to me than just something to take care of. Because pets become family, even when they're only concerned with getting fresh water, food, and pooping. Because the little deaths in life prepare us for the bigger deaths in live.

And because for the past 3 years and 9 months Rurouni has been a constant in my life, and now he's gone.

And I Think to Myself

what a wonderful world.

Or at least, what a wonderful weekend! As predicted, the Aggies lost, BUT we were winning at half time and we played right with Tech for most of the game! Our two friends enjoyed the game, and so did we! Even though the hubby spilled my Skittles lol. We went back to their apartment and took all four of the dogs for a walk, on which we ran into another friend and her Border Collie. She joined us for our walk, and then we all went out to Mama Rosa's for dinner...yum! We drove around for a bit, and then dropped the friend back off at her car. The four of us then went to Wal Mart and bought some movies and the Battle of the Sexes board game.

At the apartment, we put in Tokyo Drift, opened up the game and the booze, and had a rip roaring good time! The boys polished off basically a 12 pack of beer, and we girls had about 3 BIG glasses of Arbor Mist a piece! Yeah, good times. Though I must say, the questions the girls have to answer in that game are WAY harder than the questions for boys. Example: Girls, what was the date and show on which the Beatles first appeared in America? Boys, finish this advertisement: "Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's _________ ." Yeah. Oh well, we girls at least won one!

My only sad face was that we didn't ever tag up with my other friend in CS...though she was probably in Waco this weekend anyway. But still, I miss her, and will have to call this week. All in all, it was a good time. And it was nice to feel like young 20-somethings again, instead of feeling like old married full-time employees!

Today we went to my Nannie's 71st birthday party, where everyone from dad's side attended, except for my new girl step-cousin and her boyfriend. She was sick though, so I guess that's ok :-P lol. It was a lot of fun, and little brother's new girlfriend came too. I really like her a lot...she fits in with us, she gives as good as she gets, and she seems to be adventurous and rough-and-tough enough for little well as having the girly side he likes too. So far, she's my favorite of the girls he's dated, so we'll see where that goes.

Now, I'm killing time before my shower. I watched the ending montage from our wedding video on the videographer's website (ours is an example of his best work! SO COOL!) and have been piddling around on the internet. Hubby is at his dad's shop, getting the rest of the data he needs to finish the shop's website. While I know it's important, and am glad that particular project is almost successfully completed AND I can't wait to see the shop's site, hubby leaves for Flagstaff on Tuesday, and I'm a little bummed that I don't get him to myself tonight. Granted, we've spent all weekend together, but wasn't what I'd call alone time, and tomorrow I go to work. Of course, I'll get to spend tomorrow night with him so that will be nice. I'm excited for him, really and truly. This will be his first field test, and will be a great adventure for him...and he might get to see the Grand Canyon on his day off! That said, I'm a little bummed he's going to be gone until November 1st. Bleck. Oh well. Off to the shower, and the start of another week!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just A Quickie

Hubby and I are heading to College Station to watch the Aggies lose to...sorry, I mean play Texas Tech. This season has been singularly unimpressive...but I'm optimistic about next fall. This weekend though, we're going to hang out with some friends that we haven't seen since this summer. Or at least, not since the Astros game at the very beginning of the school year. Then Sunday it's my Nannie's 71st birthday, so there will be family fun to be had by all.

My seventh period class is doing better...slowly accepting the loss of their privileges and acting like the young adults they are instead of the three year olds they wish they were. Seriously, I'm beginning to wonder if some of my kids have EVER had to think or figure out ANYTHING for themselves. Some truly expect to be spoon-fed every bite of information. And then there are my angel babies and brain children (mostly in 3rd period) who I actually enjoy teaching and talking with. I feel closer to a couple of the girls in 3rd, beyond the average teacher-student. It's more like a mentor relationship...which I'm trying to figure out if its a good thing or a bad thing. Since I'm 23 (which several students have assured me is not THAT old...thanks guys...) it's very easy to treat some of the more mature students as though they are older than they are. That's not to say I see them as "peers" or "equals"...more that I can relate to them in the same way I relate to my oldest cousin who's a junior in high school going on 25 lol. As a young and first year teacher (though my kids only know I'm a first year teacher AT DOBIE...not first year teacher period) I know I have to be extremely careful about maintain authority in the classroom. And I know there are times I react more as a grad assistant might react (tho I never was one :-P) than a teacher maybe should react.

That said, I had similar relationships with some of MY teachers in high school...particularly my freshman Spanish and English teachers, and my AP Spanish teacher. And those relationships did me much more good than harm...those teachers encouraged me to be myself and I knew I could trust them if I needed help or advice. Granted, nowadays, I have to be very careful about giving "advice" to today we talked about tattoos as a cultural trend and the perspectives or "whys" of said trend. I told them my father-in-law owns a tattoo shop (he does, by the's pretty neat) and went on to caution them against several of the most basic "tattoo mistakes"--boy/girlfriend names, tramp stamps, etc. I also strongly encouraged them, if they were to ever get a tattoo, to go someplace CLEAN with STERILIZED equipment.

I also made it clear that I was neither condemning nor promoting tattoos...nor was I encouraging anyone to go to the father-in-law's shop (strangely enough, several students already had heard of it or knew where it was, and one or two had actually BEEN there...that was a little weird...I'm kinda hoping I don't run into any of them at the shop at some point...that would be a bit (again) weird). Of course, the hubby worried about whether or not that was a "school appropriate" topic for me to be discussing with high schooler...but the truth is prolly about 1/3 of my kids already have a tattoo, or are planning to get one before this school year ends. Also, the majority of the conversation was concerned with the "whys" behind tattoos. I don't think giving some good advice while neither condoning nor promoting the practice itself was out of line. And maybe it will keep someone from getting an unfortunate tattoo or Hepatitis.

Anyway, today was supposed to be the first day of La Madrastra (The Stepmother), an award-winning telenovela muder-mystery. But my order from a seller on still isn't here, despite arriving in North Houston on Wednesday :-P. So today was cultural perspectives day, and a free day for the kids. Which meant a grading day for me...I'm ALMOST caught up! One and a half classes to go! Oh, and did I mention I'm getting formally observed on Monday...yeah I'm nervous. At least its my mentor, not the principal...yet. Though he did do a walk-through during 7th on I was dressing them down for their behavior and explaining what privileges they had lost. I talked to him later and apologized for THAT being what he observed...but he was actually complimentary and said I reminded him of himself when he taught! Score!

Other than school stuff, life is pretty good. I found a Wii Fit through and, even though the price was higher than in stores, bought it! After all, the store price is irrelevant when I can't FIND the product in ANY store! Anyway, my Wii Fit arrives on MONDAY!!! If the delivery isn't delayed that is. The only damper on the goodness is that hubby leaves for Flagstaff for testing on Tuesday, and won't be back til Nov. 1. Sigh. So, I'll get super-caught up on school stuff, play a TON of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Brawl (which ROCK by the way!) and work out with Wii Fit. I'll have a Dia de los Muertos party for my classes, and I'll buy and carve a pumpkin for the back porch. I'll prolly get candy just in case any kiddos swing by. I'll hang out with friends when I can...but pretty much, it'll be me and the pups. Shit it's gonna be lonely. But hey, lonely can be good, once you get used to it. And hubby will be back in just under two weeks!

For now, I'm going to go spend some time with the aforementioned love of my life...and enjoy every minute!

PS: Funny how the quickie turned into quite the long it when that happens!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:
Hubby and I now own a Wii, with Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Super Mario Brothers Brawl, and two "normal" controllers.
I weighed myself a day early (yesterday, b/c this week is pre-period week which equals water gain) and I was 166 lbs! Woohoo!
I've gotten to see hubby more this weekend.

The Bad:
Still no Wii Fit...the store was out, and now I have to wait til I get paid again and then find one.
Pre-period week.
Hubby still had to work this weekend, both days, and he flies out for work stuff on the 21st. And no, I don't get to take him to the airport.

The Ugly:
My 7th period Spanish I class. I had to yell at them on Tues, after a horrible day Monday, and then they were ok Weds and Thurs. THEN they were absolute cretins to the sub on Friday (I had jury duty). So tomorrow they get Mean Me. No group seating, no bathroom passes, no tardy leniency, no games, and no Dia de los Muertos party unless they earn it back. They are going to hate me and be mad for prolly a week or two, and think I'm a complete bitch. And I don't even care. I'm not even mad anymore...just done, which is the worst possible thing for me to be as far as their concerned.

Anyway, that's an update in a nutshell. Now hubby is home from work, and he, to quote, "loves me, and wants to kiss me and take me out for dinner". So, I'm off to enjoy a wonderful weekend evening with my love :-D.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Or rather, Wii!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow my wonderful husband and I are going to buy a Wii and Wii Fit. I'm hoping we can find a bundle deal. If the store doesn't have what we're looking for, then we'll order one online. All in all, I'll have my long-wished for gaming system within the next couple of weeks at most, and a great way to work out that will give me variety, unlike the static (both literally and figuratively) workout that I get from the bike in the gym.

I'm so excited!!!

PS: I will also be buying Zelda, Mario Party, and Soul Calibur (I don't remember which number). Not all at once, mind you. Definitely Zelda will be first of the three, but right now the priority is the Wii Fit. Woohoo!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Battle of the Bulge, I

Well, last week wasn't as successful in terms of an exercise schedule as I had hoped it would be. Why? I got a fever blister. And not just one...the initial morphed into three big bubbly blister clusters on my upper lip. Which means I spent the week with a mixture of various OTC salves spread on them, and got to listen to my students ask constantly "What happened to your lip, Ms.?"

Yes, they call me Ms. I apparently don't rate a name.

Anyway, I might write a rant blog about the educational profession later this week, but for now I'm going to keep the focus on my right? So, I didn't exercise consistently last week because sweat tends to irritate and encourage the spread of fever blisters. And in my humble opinion three clusters on my face at a time is MORE than enough. So, instead, I focused on watching what I ate. I must admit, I'm pretty proud of myself for how I managed that! Here's my general menu:

A granola bar or light yoplait yogurt for breakfast (YUM boston cream pie and double cherry! OH! and the pineapple upside down cake! Yes, I know...I sound like the commercial:-P).

For lunch, I pack myself half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a cut up apple, and sometimes another granola bar. I also throw in a Fresca: all the carbonationy goodness of a soda with 0 calories, sugar, or carbs and only 35 mg of salt! I generally drink the Fresca during my 6th period conference's relaxing and makes me feel as if I might possibly be ready to take on my seventh period class (heh).

After school, I go one of two ways. Either I get home by 4 and have a yogurt or apple for a snack (because my standing goal is to leave school by 3:30 at the lastest) OR (like today) I don't get home until 5 and figure I can wait til dinner.

For dinner, if the hubby comes home from work, I make a Skillet meal (surprisingly healthy frozen food) or we go grab a quick bite (and I try to make a healthy choice...or at least not force myself to finish all the food once I'm full). If hubby doesn't make it home in time for dinner (a common occurrence of late, since they're on cruch time at work with testing in almost 2 weeks) I either wrangle up a salad, make a Skillet and put most of it up as leftovers, or do what I'm doing tonite and go get dinner with a friend!!! There may or may not be drinks involved ;-).

All in all, I've been watching what I eat very closely, and trying to make healthy choices. So, what's the result?

I now weigh 168.2!

That's right! Almost 2 pounds in a week! Yes, I know it is a lot of water weight, but hey, it's still weight! I haven't been weighing myself in the research indicated that the time wasn't as important as consistent timing. So, I generally weigh myself upon getting home from school, which means between four and five pm. Once the fever blister finishes healing (SO CLOSE!!!) I will start working out again, and I can't WAIT to see the results! My weighing time will also be before I go work out, and is now before any snack I might have.

All in all, I'm highly encouraged by this last week, and am hoping to see continued progress this next week. Oh, and I'm hoping to soon buy a Wii for both gaming purposes and for the Wii Fit application, which from what I've seen is pretty snazzy! I would really enjoy the ability to work out in my living room with a variety of exercise options rather than going to the gym to ride the same bike for the same amount of time every day. Don't get me wrong, the bike is awesome, but a girl likes some variety.

In summation, go me for having lost 1.8 pounds this last week, and please keep thinking happy thoughts for me as I continue trying to get back down to 160 (the current goal...I'll reset that number once I reach it!). On that thought, I'm going to go play with the pups and get ready for a Girls' Night Out!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Battle of the Bulge: It Begins

So, right after the hubby and I got back from our honeymoon, I read an article about the "Newlywed 10". This is the theory, similar to the "Freshman 15" college theory, that within the first six months to year of marriage, women tend to gain 10 lbs (or more). The reasoning behind this is that after marriage when both spouses are working, most of the social time they spend together revolves around food: eating dinner together, going for coffee/dessert, going out with friends for food/drinks, family gatherings, etc. Of course, all the wonderful food during the honeymoon doesn't particularly help either lol.

The other reasoning is that, before marriage, women tend to eat with each other, and feel bad if they get a large, fattening meal when their friend is getting a salad. But, when a woman sees her husband get a larger, more fattening meal, she doesn't feel as guilty about getting the large, fattening meal. Personally, I have noticed it's easier for me to eat a larger meal when I go out with Bryan than when I'm with others.

Upon reading the article, I thought "Hmm, that's interesting. I think I'll avoid that", closed the magazine, and went on about my business. I did fairly well, watching what I ate, and even had a workout routine for a while. Then, I stopped working out...I hadn't figured out that while the ellipticals I have access to hurt my knees, the exercise bike does not. And then the hurricane came, and I had nothing to do for two weeks but sit on my behind and eat. Long story short, I got on the scale this morning, about 4 1/2 months after W-day, and went "I weigh WHAT?!? Gah. I've proven that dadgum theory."

I hate doing that. DISproving theories is much more fun.

Now, the question is, what to do about it? Well, I have a PLAN! (Smart of me, right? The better PLAN! was not to gain the weight in the first place, but since I well and truly bungled THAT...) This last week I started a workout routine again, and shall continue this week. The plan for now is to ride the bike 30 mins a day, Mon-Fri. This last week I only rode Mon, Tues, and Thurs...I hadn't taken my shots the weekend before, so I was achier than normal, and starting the workout routine didn't exactly help. I also do a bit of an abdominal workout and, of course, am trying to eat better.

Anyway, on the the PLAN! I will continue the daily 30 mins on the bike plus abs this week. Plus, on Tues/Thurs I'm going to try to start some light weight lifting...arms on Tues, legs on Thurs. With the RA, I haven't been able to figure out a weight regimen that doesn't cause my elbows to lock or my knees stage a mutiny. So, this time, I'm going to start slowly, with the absolute minimum and hopefully be able to get some muscle tone back. Yes, that would be nice. I know not to expect to actually SEE any results in the mirror for 4-6 weeks, but I am hoping to see the scale numbers start to decrease a bit sooner.

So. To lay out the ugly part: as of this morning, I weigh 170 lbs. NOT what I'd call my ideal weight :-P. When hubby and I got married, I weighed 155-160 lbs(closer to the 160). My short-term goal is to get back down to my wedding weight. That means, if I lose 1/2 lb a week, I'll have lost the 10 lbs by March. Obviously, I'm hoping to do it a bit faster than that. It would be nice to lose 1 lb a week, which means I'll have lost the weight by Dec/Jan. That's a much happier thought.

My ultimate goal is to down to 145-150, or 150-155 with good muscle tone. Obviously, I've got a lot of work to do.

The question remains: Why am I posting all this on the internet? Well, I want some sort of accountability, I guess. I'm saving up for a gym membership, and hope to have a few appointments with a personal trainer to help with the weight lifting dilemma, but until I accomplish that, I'm on my own at the workout room here at our apartment complex. So, my goal is to track my progress, honestly, once a week. Since I'm starting on a Sunday, I'm going to try to update on Sundays. Whoever is reading this, y'all are my "accountability". Not that I expect any's more the actual act of recording this journey in a place where others can bear witness that will hold me accountable. Or so I hope lol.

Anyways, I was just thinking....and deciding to do something tangible instead of simply a mental exercise.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hurricanes Blow

No pun intended.

So Hurricane Ike hit the Galveston area (and thus the Houston area) two weeks ago as of this coming Saturday morning. Hubby and I were in a mandatory evac zone, so we went up to my parents' house (Dad has a generator, had boarded up the house, and they have a gas stove and water heater=cooked food and hot showers!). I left school early on Thursday (b/c for some reason my district thought it would be a great idea to only call school on Friday...stupidity), because of the whole mandatory evac thing, and headed home to help Bryan finish packing up the essentials and getting the apartment as secured as possible. Then, we loaded up the pups and everything important we could fit in my car (pics, important papers, etc) and left. Little did we know it would be a full week before we brought it all back. Really though we were among the fortunate.

The power was out until Tuesday/Wednesday at my parents house, and until Friday here at home. The neighbor's tree fell over my parents' fence, but that part of the fence held up...of course, the side fence blew down, but whatcha gonna do? There's already a replacement. Hubby and I went walking around the neighborhood after the storm, and saw more of the same: trees down, fences demolished. The neighborhood as a whole was lucky too: only a few houses had trees actually fall ON them. Our apartment was completely fine...well the complex's fence fell down, but our apartment was fine. Of course, when we got back we realized we had forgotten something very important:

We left the fish in the freezer.

Yep, the freezer that had no power for a week. Mmmm did our apartment smell GREAT! (please, please note the sarcasm)

So for the past week, we've been using coffee grinds to absorb the smell...actually works pretty well. The fish smell is gone, but now we're trying to get the slightly funky old-coffee-mixing-with cooked-meals smell gone. At least now we might be able to light the candle and get coffee-vanilla scent instead of fishy coffee or vanilla fish, both of which are deeply disturbing not to mention icky. Hubby started back to work on Monday (they're superbusy and he actually has to work all night tonite :-( ), and I went back today. Granted, today and tomorrow are "cleaning/planning days" for teachers, and the kids don't come back til Monday, but it is nice to get back into a routine. Oh! And I've gotten back into a workout routine this week! Mon, Tues, and today I rode the stationary bike at workload 5, over 100 rpms for 30 mins., and then did my crunch routines! It's nice to have that routine back into my overall routine.

Well, that's my update on life. I'd like to ask those of y'all who read this to keep the folks who lost everything in y'all's thoughts over the next months...the devastation down here is fairly overwhelming and extensive. Like I said, we were lucky, both here and at my parents' house. It's actually pretty sobering, seeing the footage of places we've been within the last year totally torn apart or even completely gone. Kemah is in shambles, Bolivar is more or less wiped out (thankfully our friend's parents' beach house is still standing, though noone has actually been down to see it in person), and there are still many, many people without power or a place to live. Places filled with memories--pleasant and otherwise--are now forever changed and that leaves me feeling disconcerted. All of the memories have made me who I am, and for that I mourn the loss of these places and the very physical connection to these memories that they embody. At the same time, with the unpleasant memories, a small part of me is glad those places will never look exactly as they did.

Don't misunderstand me: I hope for the quick rebuilding and healing of this entire area, so that people's lives may resume and new memories can be made. But that part of me feels relieved that there is no longer the exact physical connection with the negative memories, even as I mourn the physical connection with the positive memories.

Like I said...disconcerting.

I know I'm not the only one feeling disconcerted, and that my own inner queasiness will settle in time...mostly, I think, by accepting the conflict for what it is and acknowledging the validity of both feelings, even though the relief is undoubtedly a selfish relief. One thing I've learned, feelings can be many, many things, but they are all valid.

For those others who are feeling disconcerted, and who's imbalance arises from a deep pain and sense of loss, I hope for nothing more nor less than peace. I hope they find their balance again, and that their lives continue the journey towards healing and rebuilding. If anyone badly affected by Hurricane Ike ever reads this, you're in my thoughts and prayers.

On that note, I'm gonna go to bed! I get to go back to work tomorrow! And then to the Aggie game this weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Still Alive!

I'm still alive I promise! I started teaching school two and a half weeks ago, and the majority of my time has been wrapped up in lesson plans, grading papers, and thinking of new ways to wrangle the attention of 150ish high school freshmen and sophomores. It's been exciting, that's for sure! Basically this is my day:
Up at 5:30 am. Get dressed, put on makeup and jewelry. Make lunch for me and for the hubby. Reset alarm clock for hubby, kiss hubby, and leave by 6-6:10 am.
Drive to school. Get to school at 6:20-6:30 am depending on traffic and what time I left home.
Scramble to make sure everything is ready for students/stand at my duty station (on wednesdays).
Spend 1st period observing the floating teacher in my room/hurriedly getting done what I couldn't get done before school.
2nd&3rd periods: teach the lesson, give assignments, review assignments.
4th period: the school's news programs come on, and nothing much gets done for the first 20 mins. Then kids go to lunch, and I have 20 mins to scarf food, go to the bathroom, and either relax or (more often) work on things STILL not done from this morning. Kids come back:teach, assign, explain, review.
5th&7th periods: Repeat. And TRY to get them to focus and listen.
6th period: My "free period" as one kid called it today: during which I go to staff development/grade papers/take and pick up copies/check my box/meet with my mentor/meet with parents if necessary/and hope that my feet are only hurting because I've been on the ALL DAMN DAY and not because the RA is going to flare.
After school, I leave anywhere from 3:30 to 4:30, depending on if there's a meeting/kids need tutoring (on tuesdays and thursdays mostly)/Spanish Club meeting (wednesdays)/how long it takes me to input attendance, grade stuff, and get the room ready for the next day.
I get home between 4 and 5, depending on when I left and how bad the traffic was at that point. I take the dogs out, figure out when hubby will be home, and SIT THE HELL DOWN!!! YAY! Then, I read for a bit (if I'm lucky), the hubby gets home and we figure out dinner, and I grade papers. I also try to clean the place up a bit, do laundry, take out the trash, clean up the kitchen, and straighten the bedroom (damn beagle chewed a hole in our BRAND NEW comforter this morning...grrr) and bathroom.
9pm roles around and I get in the shower. Out of the shower, dry the hair, go to bed by hopefully 9:30 pm, more often 10 or 10:30.

So yeah, it's been busy. Thank God above for the weekends...though I find it sad that 9am is now "sleeping in" for does the hubby lol. This last weekend was wonderful: we relaxed, went on a motorcycle ride, had dinner with friends, and spent Sunday with my in-laws. There was a bit of a stressout over budget stuff, and where to find money to play with, and my high potassium reading, but everything has been worked out so far...I find the results of the re-blood test tomorrow.

In other words, life is INCREDIBLY hectic, and I'm exhausted...but life is also very, very good at the moment! I really do enjoy the TEACHING part of being a is all the "other" stuff that is wearisome. The hubby has been wonderful helping me adjust to the transition (witness this morning when he woke me up b/c the alarm apparently didn't) and I sure do love that man :-). Anyway, I've got about 30 mins before I'm gonna go play with the pups!
Hasta luego!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't, Teach.

I HATE this quote! I'm going to be a teacher, but I can DO a lot of things. I'm good at customer service, I'm good at keeping ledgers (or at least, I am at keeping my own), I'm good at being organized (when I have to be), I'm good at communicating in English OR Spanish. There are a lot of different things I could do. But I CHOOSE to be a teacher. Or rather, I will, starting tomorrow, which is my first day of training--it's a curriculum class for new teachers in the district's Languages Other Than English Department (LOTE Dept.).

This quote kinda pisses me off in that it undermines the abilities of teachers. And that some TEACHERS actually buy into it! I know not many are mentally deficient enough to actually buy into that load of dung, but there are some that are...some who think "oh, you chose to ONLY be a must not have been good at anything else". Which is malarkey. Plain and simple. Teachers are everything from skilled organizers to disciplinarians to amateur psychologists to motivators to subject-masters, the list goes on. That's because you have 30-35 (average) relative novices of varying ages and ability levels and ONE you. Ask any other professional to do this, and they'd look at you like you were crazy. Especially because all of the age groups are 18 years old and under. For me, make that number 30-35 students in each of five 45 minute periods, equaling 150 to 175 students in my entire day. Like I said, ask any other professional--and yes, teachers are degreed and trained professionals--to undertake such a task (especially for the salary a teacher receives!) and they would laugh at you.

The fact is, teachers aren't in it for the recognition or the money. We couldn't be. I've watched my mom and her sisters, my grandmother and her sisters, serve as teachers...we get some of the most thankless jobs out there. That said, we're in it to help kids learn, and not just to learn our subject matter, but to learn how to grow into the type of person they want to be. We try to teach them, in-between state-mandated lesson goals, how to think critically, to develop sympathy and understanding for those around them regardless of and differences, to realize their actions have direct and indirect consequences for themselves and others, to have self-confidence, and many, many more life lessons. All in the space of time we're allotted.

In reflecting on all of this over the past few days, I realized something about myself. I have no real AMBITION, but I have a hell of a lot of DRIVE. And I realized what I hadn't before--though admittedly I should have long ago. These are two very different things. I don't care about the low salary. Sure, it's inconvenient and annoying at times, but if it really irked me, I'd find a different job. I don't care that I'm not in charge of a department or other group of people--1) I'm a first year teacher, and 2) I don't think I ever really want to be. The only "in charge" position I could ever see me liking is curriculum specialist. And that's more over the curriculum, not people. I would be perfectly content to spend the remainder of my teaching career as a high school Spanish I teacher. So, no ambition.

Oh, but drive! I desperately want to be the best teacher that I can. I'm reading books on the subject, asking advice, trying to hack out my classroom procedures, and am completely psyched to go to my training. I want to succeed in helping my students to succeed. I don't want to let them, my coworkers, or myself down. If I fail, it's not just myself that suffers--it's potentially 150-175 kids that go down with me...and that's an enormous responsibility. It's hard waiting for training to start, waiting for people to return my emails so that I have the information I need to start making use of the district's resources. I am so nervous and excited that I'm having a hard time focusing on anything else...heck, I'm even DREAMING about teaching!!! Right now, I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I know that feeling will let up tomorrow, once I've actually had the opportunity to talk with other teachers and ask for their advice and help.

In short, I have drive without ambition. You know, I've actually heard this talked about. It's always with an edge of pity or concern. I suppose that's because, for most in our society, being your best means getting to the highest position you can, or making the most money. To do that requires drive AND ambition. So when someone has ambition-less drive, they are somehow seen as handicapped in their search for being the best. Well, I disagree. My definition of "my best" does not line up with society's definition. I want to help people, I want to give people an appreciation for the Spanish language and the various cultures that speak it, and I want to make a difference in at least a few lives (I know I won't make a difference in every student's life...but if I can reach at least one or two a semester, then I'll be happy). So, my definition of "my best" is fulfilling that desire. It won't elevate me in position or pay, but it will (I hope) enable me to become the best me that I can. In a way, that is ambition...but in a very different light, a light for which most people don't bother looking.

So I will endeavor to employ my drive in pursuit of these goals, these ambitions, and always remember that my abilities are many, regardless of what some stupid platitude may have to say.

Anyways, I was just thinking.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Nice Ramble

I just feel like typing what is crossing my mind in this very moment. It's a beautiful Saturday, even if it is typically-Texas August hot outside. I have the blinds open and the sun is shining through...the trees just beyond our porch are swaying in a gentle breeze. I'm lounging on the couch, feet propped up on the coffee table, watching Sydney White, with one dog curled up at my hip and the other sprawled out at my feet chewing on her bone. My wonderful husband is napping in our bedroom, with some jazz music playing on his computer. I can hear it as it filters through the walls, and though it adds a quirky counterpoint to my movie, it perfectly accentuates the peaceful atmosphere of our apartment. I love the weekend.

Tonight one of our friends is coming over for dinner, so I'll start cooking in about another hour. His wife-to-be will move down in another month, and I'm hoping we will become good friends. Another friend is back in town now, and we've already gotten lunch. It was wonderful! I finished my graduate work this last week, and start work in another two. Students come in three weeks. Life is really starting to pick up here.

On that note, I think I'm going to go read my copy the Tao Teh Ching. The poetry of Lao Tzu's teachings really is amazing, and the principles of Taoism are very much centered on being aligned with the Tao, and thus finding inner peace. Now, interpret the Tao to be what you will, but I can't think of a better read for a day like today. I think I'm going to try to make a sort of study of the Tao Teh Ching to try and truly understand the core of Taoist philosophy. I might start meditating again...I do miss having that time each day where I empty my mind of everything but one thought, and then just hold that thought in my mental hands. After my workout will probably be the best time...that way both my body and mind will be fit.

I have such an abiding feeling of peace and happiness right really is amazing. It's one of those feelings that you can really get lost in...your mind can successfully fill with nothing but a sense of peace and a sense of how blessed is your life.

Anyways, I was just thinking.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shooting Up

No, not like THAT. Tonight's shot night. I know I mentioned in another post that I have health issues. Well, to be specific, I have A health issue: rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I was diagnosed one month short of two years ago. It's almost my anniversary lol. RA is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system goes a bit nuts and attacks the joints and the tissues around the joints, primarily. No known cause, no known cure. Lol, my body sure can pick 'em huh? My causal theory is genetic predisposition (which come to find out there is...waaay back in my family tree) triggered by some sort of physical stress (for me, losing 60 lbs in 3 mths MIGHT have done the trick...silly emotional turmoil affecting the physical!) If left untreated, RA can progress to a system-wide chronic inflammatory disorder. Lucky for me, I'm getting great treatments! Two of which are injectable in form: Enbrel and methotrexate. The combination of these wonderful drugs is what has me in remission.

Enbrel is what they call a biologic: it targets a specific response of my immune system and shuts it down. Which means it's easier for me to catch colds and stuff, supposedly. I haven't had any issue with it yet (knock on wood), but I try to be careful anyway. Methotrexate is actually a drug they use in chemotherapy with cancer patients. I take a much MUCH lower dose than that, but the drug is the same.

To be clear, remission in RA does not mean the disease goes away...just that it is successfully managed so as to cause the least amount of pain/discomfort. My joints are still stiff for 5-10 minutes in the morning, and my elbows will never be the same...especially the right one, which doesn't straighten all the way anymore. Good thing I'm tall...I can still reach things on high shelves! Lol. My ankles and my knees don't do very well with high impact...walking's ok, but for exercise I use a stationary bike: absolute lowest impact of any cardio machine I've found yet! All in all, there are so many diseases that could be and are a load worse than the one I've got. Yes, it's still a pain in the ass, and yes sometimes it still frustrates the hell out of me when I can't do something I used to be able to do...but the other day I opened a new jar of jelly all by myself, and the week before that, a new jar of pickles! When at one point I couldn't even pull socks on my feet because it hurt both my feet and my hands/wrists too badly, every accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how small, and no matter how long I've been in remission. At least, that's what I have to keep reminding myself when I start getting truly frustrated and, yes, occasionally depressed about the whole thing. But that doesn't happen as often as it did! I'm slowly coming to terms with my new limits...but that doesn't mean I'm giving in! I still push the envelope, so to speak, and sometimes that works out fine, and other times I have a flare.

A flare means the remission is over, temporarily. Then I do whatever I can to undo the reason for the flair--take it easy for a day, relieve some stress, cut salt waaay down in my diet, use heat packs, whatever! Then the medicine kicks back in and does its job.

Which brings me back to the prompt for this blog. Tonight is shot night. I have a sure-click (think like an epi-pen) of Enbrel, and a syringe and vial of methotrexate. The Enbrel I push a button and endure while it dispenses the medicine into my leg with a highly painful burning sensation. Four deep, slow breaths, and generally it's over. Then I get to measure out the methotrexate into the syringe and inject it into my leg. I HATE that part. I will never understand how people can shoot up for recreational drug use...the action of sticking a needle into your own flesh is sooo counterintuitive that even now, after almost a full year of this medication, I still take AT LEAST 5 counts of 1-2-3 to inject. Gah. My stomach's always in knots for the hour that I let the Enbrel reach room temp (it has to be kept refrigerated), not because I'm afraid of the shots, but because I know they're going to hurt and there's not a damn thing I can do. Then comes the day or two of low-level nausea and bone-deep weariness. I attribute the nausea to the methotrexate, and the weariness to the Enbrel...but I can't tell for sure. I take them both on the same night, at the recommendation of my rheumatologist, to get it all over with on the same day. The positive thing is when we decide to have a kid I have to go off all of my medication...which means any nausea then could be a pregnancy sign! Lol. Oh, and RA goes into remission during pregnancy, though it often comes back worse after the baby's born...but that's ok...we're gonna risk it at least once!

Anyway, all of that said, these drugs truly are wonderful. Within 2 months of starting Enbrel (almost a year and a half ago) I could walk normally, put on my socks and shoes by myself, and handle buttons with ease! After 3 months on the methotrexate (it took a bit longer to kick in) I was just about up to the level of remission I'm in now! Which is to say, the disease is still there, but I can function pretty much normally. Granted, I'll never be able to work out like I did in high school again--with my elbows, lifting weights is problematic and I'll be hard-pressed to ever do a push-up again, and my knees and ankles pretty much rule out bleachers and even regular running. But that won't keep me from living my life to the fullest, getting back in shape (I am DETERMINED!!! lol), and being the best me I can be! As corny as that last sounds, I am determined to find out what that means, on all levels--because that, friends, is self-knowledge.

Throughout this whole process, my family has been supersupportive and loving. However, noone has done quite as much for me as my husband. He was the one to help me put on socks and shoes the holiday season after I got diagnosed. He pushes me when I'm giving in too easily--physically and emotionally--and holds me when I've done all I can, and when it all gets to be just that much too much. He has helped me see all the ways in which I can still be useful, helped me find my new definition of useful, and just basically has been so all-around wonderful with all of this that I don't know how I would have gotten through it without him. I'd have gotten through, but the journey would have been much more hellish. I sure do love that man! :-)

On that uplifting and positive note, it's time for me to go "shoot up". I realize this post was not quite in the same vein as my other just thinking posts, but it's what was on my mind tonight. Nor should this blog be read as a definitive definition or description of RA...that's why I included the link to the Arthritis Center's Disease Center RA page ;-). This is just what was running through my mind tonight.

Anyways, I was just thinking.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Age of Unbelieving

AMC is showing Bedknobs and Broomsticks tonite. I loved this movie when I was a kid, and watching it now, I realize how good it really is! There's a lot of history, some mythology, and all around fun all thrown together. The animation reminds me a GREAT deal of the Jungle Book and Robin Hood...which is one of my FAVORITE movies of all time. There was one point in particular in Bedknobs and Broomsticks that made me start thinking.

There's a song, towards the beginning of the movie, that talks about the Age of Unbelieving. For some reason, that struck a cord with me. In today's world, children are encouraged to grow up (in my opinion) way too soon. Their imaginary friends are discouraged, their daydreams torn down, and their creativity put into boxes that are "acceptable". I think this is a shame. Granted, the Age of Unbelieving comes to each child at a different point. But why the insistence on it coming soon?

I remember believing with all my heart that all I had to do was stumble across the right wardrobe, hidden door, secret room, etc., and I would be transported to another world. I would make plans as to what I would do once I found myself I would blend in, who I would talk to, what my course of action would be, and the like. I also never doubted the existence of dragons, fairies, magic, talking animals, or mental abilities (telepathy, telekinesis, and so forth). I listened to fairy tales with the utmost attention and intensity. When I could read, I devoured science fiction and fantasy stories, the one that finally engulfed me (and does to this day) the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey.

Of course, with time, I reached the Age of Unbelieving. Except, I didn't. I realized that the fantastical things I read about were confined to the pages of my books and to the realm of my imagination, but part of me to this day will not give up on their existence. In the back of my mind, beyond logic and education, I still believe in dragons, magic, and all the rest. How can I not? The world would be a much less satisfying and mysterious place, if therein did not exist magic and its creatures! And so, though I'm way past the Age of Unbelieving, I choose to believe.

Yes, I know they're not real. But why can't they be? At least in the realm of belief. After all, belief doesn't always reflect reality. So, why should children be discouraged from believing? Eventually they'll reach the Age of Unbelieving, and realize their daydreams aren't real in the traditional sense. That the dragons, fairies, magic, other worlds, all of it, exist only in their heads. But, in the incredibly potent and apt words of Dumbledore (via J.K. Rowling), "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry (substitute your name for Harry's), but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Anyways, I was just thinking.

***Note: I realize there might be some confusion regarding my "Dumbledore via J.K. Rowling". If you see the character as the product of the author, then technically it should be J.K. Rowling via Dumbledore. However, if you see the author as giving life to a character that was simply waiting for their pen stroke, then truly the author is the medium through which the character's words are delivered. Guess which point of view I ascribe to? :-)***

One of Those Moments of Clarity

It's interesting how the past interacts with the present, and how the past can show up in the present. It makes you think.

In a previous post, I mentioned a former friend. I heard something about them the other day--life is funny sometimes--and from all accounts, their life seems like it is going to be a very difficult one. Upon hearing this, I realized something. I no longer feel any pain, anger, or hurt from their past actions. When I think about the past, about that former friend, I actually pity them...they don't understand so much about life, the right things to do, or healthy relationships/friendships. When I heard about them and their life the other day, I felt sad for them. Sad! After so much time of feeling hurt and angry! I've finally moved beyond all of it, am so far removed that it feels like another life. In realizing all of this, I realized I actually wish them well. I never wished for ill to happen--I'd never wish that for anyone--but now, I actually hope that this former friend will come to understand that they have the ability to be a better person, and I hope that realization will lead them into healthy relationships and a better, happier life. I know I'll probably never know if this comes about or not, but that doesn't matter. I don't need to. In my moment of clarity, I found a deep-seated peace about all of it that's been coming on for awhile now. In a twisted way, I'm actually grateful for what happened--not that they showed themselves to be a bad person/friend--but that through the whole experience, I became a stronger person, and my relationship with my husband became so much stronger and closer.

Speaking of my wonderful man, he surprised me by coming home early today! It was such a wonderful surprise. I'll wake him up from his nap soon. Poor guy's worked 50-60 hours a week for the past couple of weeks--big project at work just kicked off! After I wake him up, I'll make us dinner, and then we'll spend the evening reading together, playing with the pups, maybe watch a movie...who knows? It's Friday night after all!

Another thing I'm at peace about--I start school in a month! A month from this very day, I will be helping challenge and shape the minds of young students! I'm so excited. I'll be helping add to the family coffers, so to speak, and finally be starting the next stage of life. Grad school wraps up this next week, and I should have my degree conferred by the beginning of August.

My classes are going well, my career is about to start, and my marriage is incredibly happy and so much fun! I feel very blessed. My life is wonderful, and the future is bright!

Anyways, I was just thinking!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Strawberries and Blackberries

To me, no other fruit means summer quite like these two fruits. Except maybe dewberries/raspberries. Watermelon also has its place. But strawberries and blackberries seem to carry all the sweetness of summertime, with the tartness that (to me) mirrors the sting of the sun during a Texas summer. What brought that up?
I just ate a plate of strawberries and blackberries for lunch...and it was wonderful! Driscol fruits are amazing.

It made me remember when I was a kid, and my little brother and I would go pick blackberries and dewberries from the vines that grew on the back of our fence. Now, behind our fence is a neighborhood--manicured lawns, beautiful houses. The wild berry vines don't grow there anymore. And the trees we used to picnic under so we could get out of the house have pretty much all been cut down. Some still stand, but they are no longer part of the woods we'd ride our bikes through on exploratory trips to the bayou. Now, our childhood summers weren't the summers of our parents and grandparents...but they were pretty neat. We'd stay outside all day. We'd hang out together, but little brother would also go play with his friends and I would go up in our backyard fort with a book. Not a whole lot has changed in that respect lol...I'd still rather go hole up somewhere with a book!

It's nostalgic, thinking about how much has changed where we grew up. And how much has changed in the world in general...parents today wouldn't dare let their kids go for an unattended bike ride through some woods leading to the bank of a bayou! I hope our kids will be able to have a childhood that incorporates the outdoors and summertime. That said, I'm glad it was another time when we grew gave us lots of great memories.

They are fun memories. I guess the combination of the blackberries and the fact that my little brother rolled his car this morning in Colorado brought them back. He's fine, the car's not. He's mad at himself, but only bruised up a bit with one cut. Thank God. I believe everything happens for a reason, and that what's meant to be will be. I'm just glad little brother walked away. It's funny how much we've grown up, and how much he will always be the little brother I want to protect and take care of...even when I know I have to let him make his own decisions and mistakes. But I'll always love him.

Later today I think I'll go buy some more strawberries and blackberries...that way I can still taste summer even if all the rain is keeping us indoors.

Anyways, I was just thinking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


One of the graduate classes I'm in right now is a philosophy course. It's focus is philosophy of education, but my professor (who I've had before and LOVE) is never content to stay only within the focus. He challenges us to explore all aspects of our class. With this in mind, our first book this semester--Sophie's World--was an introductory philosophy text couched within a fictional story. It was amazing, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in philosophy, loves to read fiction, and doesn't want to take a philosophy class.

In this class, we discuss books after reading them via an online discussion board. The two books that followed--Nel Noddings' Philosophy of Education and Dr. Slattery's Curriculum Development in the Postmodern Era--were equally engaging, if more academic than the first.

One statement that I made apparently kicked off a side discussion. In my essay, I emphasized the questioning part of the philosophical process, and how that aspect can be applied to every aspect of our lives. My position was that questioning can only strengthen things in our lives, and aide in our pursuit of self-knowledge, which to me is one of the most important things to achieve.

Well, did that generate some feedback! I had questions asking what it was ok to question, what it was appropriate/useful to question, what I was questioning currently, etc. All of these questions I answered, clarifying my position.

In regards to what it is ok to question: EVERYTHING. From personal perception, to relationships, to religion, nothing should be held above being questioned. Too many times, the hesitancy to question comes from a fear that finding what we believe is either wrong, or built upon misconceptions. This only serves to perpetuate a lack of self-knowledge. Questioning things reveals inconsistencies and fallacies, and once those are revealed, they can be confronted and corrected. I'm not saying it's a comfortable or easy process...but it is a very worthwhile and rewarding one to go through.

In regards to what is appropriate/profitable to question: This is a bit more complicated. I'll deal with appropriate first. To answer a question with a question: Who defines what is appropriate? Society? Our background? How we were raised? I don't think it is ok to allow any of that to determine whether or not we question something. What is appropriate to question is whatever the individual feels needs to be questioned. Allowing other influences to determine what is appropriate is allowing other people to dictate the direction of your life journey, which I feel is a dangerous thing to allow to happen. As far as what is profitable, again, who determines that? My answer is the same...that choice is up to the individual.

Yes, I realize that saying it is up to the individual that it opens the door to people choosing not to question anything, ever. Or to conform to society's expectations in regards in what to question. But that's the right of the individual to choose. That said, I do wish more people would undertake the challenge to challenge their beliefs about their lives.

Another note about questioning that one of my classmates brought up: the motive behind questioning. This point made me pause, because for me, questioning has always had the purpose of strengthening. He pointed out that some people use questioning to destroy or to create division and bad feelings. I honestly hadn't considered that. That motivation turns questioning into something harmful. Basically, questioning is a tool and a process...and as such, can be used for the aforementioned negative reasons or for good and healthy reasons--growth, strengthening, self-knowledge. It's also important to figure out the right questions to ask in a given situation.

As for the question as to what I'm questioning now, I didn't answer that on the discussion board. Partly because I think the person meant as far as my educational philosophy, and since that's in a constant state of flux, I didn't really have an answer. In regards to what I'm questioning personally, I didn't feel like sharing that with my philosophy class! Lol. But this, this is a good forum for it.

I'll start with what I'm NOT questioning. Who I am. Who my friends are. My relationship with my wonderful, loving husband. My family relationships. Basically, my relationships with the people in my life, and with myself, are sound and strong. :-)

What I AM questioning: my religion. Ok, be careful with how you read that! I am NOT questioning my FAITH--I am a Christian. I believe in God, and that Jesus died for my sins. That said, I'm questioning quite a bit about how Christianity is practiced today. I haven't been able to find a church home for several years, either because the preacher does not meet my expectation (I like preachers that put things in historical context and delve into the original meanings of words) or the general atmosphere does not encourage any questioning or deviation from the group mindset. If this post tells you anything about me, it's that I don't like environments that stifle questions or insist on blind acceptance.
I was also a Religious Studies minor in college, and learned a great deal about the history of Christianity. I know that many things that churches claim are "Biblical doctrine" are actually tradition that formed because of the choices made at the First Council of Nicea. Which isn't a bad thing at just makes me wary of accepting "doctrine" blindly. And it also makes me question how much of that is applicable to today. That said, I do believe in the Bible...I just believe that it was a product of man, inspired by God, and as such is not infallible. (See what I mean? My questions can get me into trouble!) I do think that what I call the "red text"...that is the words of Jesus/God...are the core of instruction on faith and how a Christian should live. Not that I'm perfect and always manage that, but hey, the only one who ever did was the Son of I'm ok with not being perfect.
I also really like certain Eastern religious traditions and philosophies. Taoism has aspects that I really enjoy, in particular. So, I'm in the process of trying to reconcile my faith with my religious questions and inclinations, and trying to find a church home where I can be a part of a community who is open to new ideas and to questions.
Should be easy, right? :-P

Well, that's about it for tonight I think. I'm going to go finish laundry, make sure the dogs are good to go for the night, and spend some time with my hubby before we crawl into bed! I do hope, if anyone's reading this, that you won't be afraid to question things in your life as you feel the need.

Anyways, I was just thinking.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Girls, Guys, and Friendship

The past couple of days, I keep getting questions regarding whether or not guys and girls can be just friends. At first, I just ignored it as one of those questions that inevitably pops up from time to time. After all, I can't count how many times my mom and I have had this conversation since I was literally in junior high. So, when the first instance arose, I passed over it as just another occurrence in the line of occurrences of this question. But then the question came up again today. And I started thinking about how my answer to it has progressed over the years.

As I attempt to formulate my answer, I would like to be clear: when I say "relationship" I mean a committed relationship, not a casual dating relationship.

Originally, I thought that girls and guys could be friends without any problem. That train of thought lasted up until college. By that time I started realizing that they guy-girl friendship dynamic was way more complicated than I had imagined. At least, it is when one or both of the people in question are in a relationship. When a single guy and a single girl are friends, then there aren't any complicating factors, other than potential feelings that might develop...but then both of them are free to pursue those if they choose. And after all, the best relationships start out as friendships.

However, when a romantic relationship exists on the part of one or both outside of the friendship, there is the potential for problems. Some may ask, why? I mean, presumably if the individuals in question are in a relationship, then they are committed to that relationship and won't let a friendship interfere. That's what I used to think. Now I know it's nowhere near that simple.

What could I possibly mean? Well, let's set up a scenario. John and Mary are in a relationship. John has a friend, Marcy, with whom he hangs out fairly often. Now, to examine the potential problems. Mary and John are in a fight/rough spot/long distance relationship/whatever. John talks with Marcy about the situation. Marcy gives John advice. John leaves this exchange feeling better. Not a problem at first glance. However, it happens a second time. And then a third. Gradually, Marcy becomes John's sounding board...a position that should by Mary's. In a relationship, it is important for the people to communicate their frustrations and feelings to one another, to keep that connection there. What John has done is take that connection Marcy. This makes him feel even more distant from Mary, and Mary probably senses this. If Mary is aware of Marcy, and knows that John is investing more time in their friendship than in Mary and his relationship, feelings of jealousy and hurt may surface. That can damage John and Mary's relationship more, and if left unresolved, can turn the whole thing into a downward spiral.

Another situation, same cast. John and Mary have a great relationship, but do not share many interests. Marcy and John share quite a few interests. So, Marcy and John pursue these interests together, leaving Mary to do her thing. The shared interests create a bond between Marcy and John that John and Mary do not have. They spend a great deal of time together pursuing these interests, and Mary spends more time alone. This can lead to John and starting to enjoy Marcy's company more than Mary's, and lead to him feeling more of a connection with Marcy. Mary can feel left out, hurt and resentful that John shares this bond with another girl instead of her. Either way, a sense of distance may once again enter into the relationship between Mary and John.

To be clear, John could easily be a Jill, Mary a Mark, and Marcy a Matt. I simply chose the cast I did because, in my experience with this question, it seems that it is more often the friendship between a girl and a guy that causes issues in the relationship between said guy and his girlfriend rather than vice versa.

Basically, the problem with having friends of the opposite sex when you're in a relationship is the potential for your significant other to take the back seat to those friends (not just once or twice, but repeatedly and often), both emotionally and in time spent. When you're in a relationship your significant other should be your relational priority when compared to your friendships (obviously, I'm not talking about familial relationships here...just friendships).

In a guy-girl friendship, the person in the relationship needs to be extremely careful not to cross the emotional intimacy line with the friend (or the physical...but that should go without saying) and to be very aware of the feelings of that friend. If you're in a relationship and your friend of the opposite sex starts developing feelings for you, you need to be paying attention in order to be aware of that. And then, for the sake of your relationship, you need to back off of that friendship. Also, if the person is a true friend, they will watch themselves as well, and give the advice of a true friend when asked about relationship issues: you should talk to your significant other about this.

If they don't give this advice, they are probably not as good a friend as they pretend to be. Members of both genders are sometimes only out for what they want, and have no issues with interfering with someone else's relationship in order to attain their desires. Personally, I think this character trait is much more common in girls than guys, and the guys I've talked to don't seem to realize that girls can be so devious.

All that said, issues of all kinds arise in relationships, both from the inside and the outside. Those arising from the inside can be just as dangerous--lack of communication, lack of listening, etc.--as outside factors. Issues are normal...every relationship deals with them. The big thing to remember is that issues need to be talked about in order to find resolution. Not every relationship is meant to last, but good issue resolution can help give relationships their best shot, and can help those relationships that are meant to be to stay healthy and happy.

Now, I don't intend for all of this to imply that I don't think guy-girl friendships can exist and be healthy. I have guy friends, and my husband has friends that are girls. The whole point of my thought-ramble is that these friendships can be more complicated than they first appear, and can endanger a couple's relationship if care is not taken.

Anyways, I was just thinking.


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