Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'll Stick with Jell-O

So my good friend, Kim, has this analogy for dating. She says that dating is much like a restaurant everybody (everybody=married people) has been raving about. Not only are they raving about the restaurant, they're insisting that YOU SIMPLY MUST TRY the creme brulee. So, you, being a fan of creme brulee, head to the restaurant. The service is so-so, you place your dessert order: "I'll have the creme brulee." "Excellent choice," says the waiter. You wait patiently, mouth watering, for this delicacy. The people at the other tables are enjoying the rich flavor and you can hardly wait. Your waiter comes with your plate, you look down, and what do you find?

Brussels Sprouts!

Puke green, slimey brussels sprouts!

And you HATE brussels sprouts.

So your friends (the same "everybody" I referred to earlier) tell you "You just have to go back. Eventually the waiter brings you creme brulee and it is soooo worth it!" So you return again and again, always ordering creme brulee, always receiving brussels sprouts. You waste your money. You waste your time. And to make matters worse, you find out that going to this particular restaurant in hopes of creme brulee is a COMMANDMENT!

That, my friends is dating. And when I shared this particular analogy with my brussels sprouts of a date, he simply asked, "What's creme brulee?"

So many of you are asking me about my date. Well, let me just say that there are some things you just don't say on a date.

Things like (upon the waiter bringing our order) "Whoa...that's a big salad. You're probably going to have to take some of that home, right?" Ummm, noooo. I want to eat it all. That is why I ordered it. Did I say, that's a lot of chicken and rice you ordered? No. Why? you ask. Because I have tact. This is kind of where the whole date started going downhill.

Or there is the whole, "Oh, yeah, I date a lot. My problem is that once a commitment needs to be made, I lose all interest in the person." Okay, dude, if I were interested in you, which I'm not, but if I were...maybe you just shouldn't be waving that red flag just yet. Just a thought.

Like I said: There are some things you simply do not say. Ever.

Then there was the whole "footsy" incident. I had on slip-on shoes, so I was playing with them under the table (out of boredom? perhaps). My shoe happened to bump his so he raised his eyebrows and seductively uttered, "Playing footsies already, are we?"

And in case my polite I'm-just-not-that-interested-dude-vibe wasn't strong enough. Following is the scene as we left the restaurant (eating dinner, by the way, happened to be his only big plan for the evening) to go for a drive which I said I didn't really want to go on (I know better, but my pity somehow kicked in)...

BS ("Brussels Sprouts" and/or "Big Salad"): Brrrr, it is kind of cold out, are you cold without a coat on?

Me: Yep, it is kind of chilly.

BS: Well...(cue awkward reach around my shoulder...and not that I have anything against short people, but let me just say he had to reach UP)

Me: (step aside...sometimes non-verbal says it all)

BS: Oh, not comfortable with the physical touch, are we?

Me: Not really.

BS: Well, you never know. Some people have issues with that kind of thing.

Me: (in my mind) No, some people have issues in their ability to read the please do not touch me vibe.

So we go on our drive (with him singing to the too-loud radio) to look at a townhouse that he probably isn't going to buy because it is too far from his parents' house, but he looked at it and so he thought that was a great place to drive to (random?). And by then I'd given up trying to be polite. Frankly, I just wanted to leave. But I was trapped in his car, listening to him vent about living with his parents.

Finally the date ended, he returned me to my car and drove off into the sunset.

And me? I came home and ate the rest of my salad.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Procrastination" OR "Time Flies Whether You're Having Fun or Not"

Okay, I get it. It has been a while. My sister has started threatening me. So I suppose it is time for another post. I have no excuse beyond the fact that I am busy-ish. Busy-ish in the sense that I always intend to blog but something else gets in the way. And it isn't like I never get on the computer to blog (OH do I get on the computer!). I simply end up looking at many other blogs. And then I've wasted my posting time reading everybody else's posts and by then it is time to do the 12 other things I had on my to do list. So, excuses aside, here is my apology to my faithful readers, wherever you may be. I have just plain been busy with life or looking at your blogs. I am really sorry!

So, here I am trying to sift through ideas of what to blog about and it all feels a bit overwhelming. I really do want to post about these things, just not right now. Ah, procrastination and guilt--they go hand in hand, don't they?

So here is a list of what I might post about...later:

1. I have a date tomorrow night. I want to post about how much I really don't like dating.

2. My mini-vacation to Zion Nat'l Park. I have some great pics to show and I wanted to talk about The Affluent Traveler and other such observations I made about my fellow-tourists.

3. Why is it that Spring Break, weekends, and all time off of work goes so by incredibly fast. Really, why is it that time in general seems to be speeding up?

4. I am amazed by how many people I run into that I know or am acquainted with while blog hopping. It makes me wonder who has bumped into me.

Those are just a few I might get around to. Until then, know that I haven't forgotten this blog of mine. And if I haven't commented on your blog, know that I read it and will get around to commenting eventually.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Time to Party!

Hey all, it's Alice. Today is the Rookie's Birthday, and we are having a party over here. So if you haven't already stopped by for some birthday wishes, please do!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I have a student. Okay, let me rephrase that, I have several students. But I have a particular student that will be my example for this particular post. Said student is brilliant and talented: 3.9 GPA, multiple AP classes under his belt, outstanding SAT and ACT test scores, and he's only a junior. And what adds to his brilliance is that he came to the United States a short five years ago with no knowledge of the English language. One other thing: said student is dead set on heading to Stanford after graduation for an eventual MD. He wants to be a surgeon.

I think it is admirable that he is so accomplished and has set such a high standard for himself. You hear "Stanford" and, without fail, whispered oooh's and ahhh's will follow. And Stanford is, of course, impressive. And Stanford is, of course, expensive. And because of this Stanford is, of course, tough to get into. The competition is fierce, so I hear.

So Alice heard about this kid (because she hears all about my student names mentioned, of course) when I was helping this particular student with his application process to a summer institute held at Stanford. And when she heard about this kid, and my concerns that his heart was so set on this school and what if he just didn't get in?, we got to talking about disappointment and and decisions and college and student loan debt and brand names and learning. We like conversations like this, Alice and me.

And so here I am, thinking about seventeen year olds and major decisions like choosing a college, career and future. Big, life-altering decisions. And it all has me thinking about the lies we tell kids. Lies like "Harvard is one of the best colleges in the United States" or "if you don't take at least X amount of AP classes or participate in X number of extracurricular activities, you can kiss college goodbye." Lies that, if you think about it, just aren't true.

Now, is Harvard a good school. I'm sure it is. It is well-reputed, has impressive law and business schools and a beautiful campus. But the question at hand remains: is it the best school for this particular student? Is it affordable? Are the class sizes too small, too big? What is the student population like and will this kid find a niche there? And will this kid be paying back tuition plus interest on student loans until their 80th birthday? And, while colleges expect a certain level of academic ability, is it realistic to believe that if one bombs one's AP US History exam then one is automatically doomed for life? And is there anything all that wrong with going local?

I guess I'm asking all of this because I think that at 17 or 18, with no real exposure to the college experience, we're using some pretty nasty scare tactics on some very vulnerable victims. I'm sayin' it like it is and the emperor is nekked, people. I say that maybe, just maybe, parents and guidance counselors and schools are pushing kids in this direction because it, dare I say makes THEM look good. Not because it is best for that student. Not because it is the best fit for that individual, but because we all believe that Harvard is impressive and the State school is, well, average to mediocre. And if I taught/guided/raised a Harvard student than that says something about me. Yes, yes, I'm so happy for them, but look what I did!

Lies like these kind of tick me off. On the other side of these lies we tell, there are kids. Impressionable, overworked, and overtired children. Yes, they're adolescents who lean toward the obnoxious at times. But they are children, nonetheless. And on the other side of these lies are high school kids who walk through life like zombies. They lack social lives (unless it involves an activity that looks good on a resume). They lack sleep. They lack family time. They lack balance. Life is a thing lived to get oneself into a "good" college in order to live the "good" life. And I don't think many of them are all that happy. And I'm not sure if this kind of pressure is healthy for anyone.

I'm not saying some pressure is a bad thing, but I worry that we have invented a generation of Super Students rather than Super Human Beings. And that, friends and brethren, bodes well for none of us. (Plus, I think it is bad paying back my student loans...there are worse things, folks, far worse!).

Them are me thoughts.

Signing out,
The Rookie (who happened to attend and graduate from a local state college and had a college experience she wouldn't trade for any ivy-infested leagues)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Rock Star Boyfriend

Meet Dave.

Dave says "Hi everyone."

Ah, Dave: genius behind the Foo Fighters, tattoo-marked, shaggy-haired, sexy in his waif-like/starving artist frame. Dave: My Rock Star Boyfriend.

Yes, I said "rock star boyfriend." We all have one, or have had one. The rock star boyfriend, of course, is nowhere near the same as a movie star boyfriend. The rock star boyfriend is that special brand of bad boy that is always safe in his unattainability. And while some melt over Eddie Van Halen and others over Justin Timberlake, I have always been partial to Dave.

I don't know what it is. Is it his sense of humor (have you seen the Foo Fighters' music videos, folks)? The gruffness in his voice when he's ripping out an acoustic "Everlong"? The way his greasy hair falls in his face? His ability to play any and every instrument which defines the rock star? I don't know. He's a bit odd-looking, to be sure. Not a pretty boy at all. But he has that extra something that for whatever reason has allowed me to engage in a mature, adult, committed, one-sided rock star relationship. Don't worry, in this rock star relationship there are no posters on my walls or false fantasies of Dave writing a song for me one day. There is merely a deep appreciation for everything he does...and that he is male and I am female. Yes, Dave and I, were we to ever meet, would certainly have chemistry.

Dave says "Ah, honey, that's sweet of you!"

Anytime, Dave. Anytime.

So what about you. Who is your rock star boyfriend? And why?

Oh, and, don't tell Dave, but that deep appreciation can only exist because of his safe distance. See, I once dated a wanna-be rock star. He seemed as close as I would get to my dangerous rock star dreams: shady past, his bed was the floor of his barren apartment located in the scary part of town, a whopping two t-shirts to his name, calloused fingers, the sweep of hair in his face. It all felt so ALTERNATIVE, so DANGEROUS, so MYSTERIOUS. One session of him playing a pitiful acoustic version of the great Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" (directed, of course, at me, and yes it was as uncomfortable as you might think it would be and yes, I did manage to hold a straight face with much concentration) and the image was gone. Poof. That's all it took. Just like that my dreams of dating an edgy, starving musician disappeared. He became just one more dorky, awkward guy with a guitar. And the bad boy reputation: not so attractive up close.