Thursday, July 31, 2008

10 Years Older...and a Self Portrait

Today I spent some time reading this post and this post by the Pioneer Woman (I know these were posted a while back but it seems I'm always lagging behind on her blog). For those of you who won't link up to see what was said I'll give you the low-down: basically she talked about where we end up in life compared to where we thought we'd be 10 or 20 years ago. Her story was interesting, but honestly, the comments in the second post captured my attention most--how uniquely similar we all are. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting topic of discussion and it got me thinking about a topic I brush over every now and again.

10 years ago I was ready for my senior year of high school at Kodiak High (woo. go bears.). I thought that in ten years I'd be married (after completing my degree at a college "back East" and perhaps a mission somewhere exotic and incredible) for two years to my oh-so-perfect husband and my first child (Emma) would be brand new or possibly on her way (I was a timeline planner, what can I say?). I figured I'd live somewhere other than Utah and I'd work as a stage actress and possibly appear in a commercial or two. But that, because of kids, I'd maybe step away from my great career for a while. Yes, I actually thought this would be my life in my heart of hearts. At 17, I recall now, I was oh-so-naive.

Fast forward 10 years and I'm single and childless and living in Utah with a roommate, my best friend, and the thought of performing on a stage or appearing on camera makes me sweat a bit under my arms. College happened in my hometown while I lived in my parents basement (because anyone with a brain could tell you that financially this would be the wisest decision). I'm not sure if my 17-year-old self would be crushed by this news or not. What I know is that I am very happy with where I am at.

I can't imagine what career I would prefer to teaching because, though I complain about it and it exhausts me, performing in the classroom is my life's work, my niche . I feel I get better at it every year and when it is good in that room, wow! how it feels to know you made a kid think about their world! And when it is bad in that room you always have a good story to share.

The past few years of single-hood have been a blessing. I know myself. I know what is important. And while a good marriage would be nice, I know that I am very content to keep busy until a good marriage presents itself. What doesn't appeal to me: a mediocre marriage for the sake of being married and no longer "alone."

And the thing about this supposed loneliness is, that I'm not. I'm lucky enough to live with my best friend who is like-minded and witty and good. I have a wonderfully mixed up, dysfunctional, and loving family that I get to live not far from because I'm living in Utah. And while I'm not a mom yet, have you seen the pictures of my nieces and nephews? C'mon--that is more than most could hope for!

So, 10 years later I can say that I'm nowhere near that place I thought I'd be. And it is fine by me.

Oh, and here's my squinting self-portrait challenge submission for this week:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Spelling" by Margaret Atwood

It has been far too long since I've posted a poem. I thought I'd share the poem where "A Word After a Word" was really born--what can I say? Is any idea ever actually original? Atwood was one of my first approachable contemporary poets. This poem speaks to me about the significance of words and language in my own life, in a human life. About what it means to be a woman. About power.

by Margaret Atwood

My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.

I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.

A child is not a poem,
a poem is not a child.
there is no either/or.

I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
together by the enemy
so she could not give birth.

Ancestress: the burning witch,
her mouth covered by leather
to strangle words.

A word after a word
after a word is power.

At the point where language falls away
from the hot bones, at the point
where the rock breaks open and darkness
flows out of it like blood, at
the melting point of granite
when the bones know
they are hollow & the word
splits & doubles & speaks
the truth & the body
itself becomes a mouth.

This is a metaphor.

How do you learn to spell?
Blood, sky & the sun,
your own name first,
your first naming, your first name,
your first word.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pioneer Day & Update

In my attempt to impress (because really, what else is a blog for but to fish for compliments), I worked diligently for the past two hours to post my fabulous technological savvy in the form of a Photostory movie I created. I made it both at home and in a professional development class I've been in for a couple of days over the past week. But, alas, it won't attach (of course not). The class was "Digital Cameras in the Classroom" and it was, by far, one of the best professional development classes I've taken. I received plenty of great photography/projects tips and fun ideas and I still have the Part II to go to in a couple of weeks.

Beyond that, it was a state holiday last Thursday, so Alice and I headed up to a fun resort town not too far from here and spent the night in my parent's timeshare condo. We walked around on mainstreet, played at the park with my niece and nephew, watched the parade on TV--which, by the way, made me cry twice because I'm becoming one of those weird and overly-sentimental old maids--and played around with our blossoming* photography skills. Enjoy these collages:

*Don't rip on my old-maid-ish-ness (that is its technical term) in using words such as "blossoming."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Memory Maker...A Meme of Sorts

I've seen this on the blogs of a few other people and thought it was kind of fun. Reading the comments is the exceptionally entertaining bit. Here's what you do:

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge...Reinstated

I've been a slacker with this, so here (finally) is another Self Portrait.

Monday, July 14, 2008

One of Many Geeky Talents Which English Teachers Possess

(With my deepest apologies to the Bard himself)

I hear iambic pentameter's out
I should leave it to that Willy Shakespeare
(if you even know what I'm talkin' about).
If you don't see any news this week, don't fear--
I shall be half a fortnight on the road
for a three act adventure with me mum.
In future blogs, great stories shall be told:
"I made it alive" or "Cyrano got some!"
Things like, "That shrew Kate, does P-troosh beat her?"
Until then I will be out, off and gone
Wait for news from the City of Cedar
and Les Miserable (whoop) at Tuacahn!

The Bard's swift words which offer fun for all
(at) The Utah Shakespearean Festival!

See you in a few days. I'm heading to the Utah Shakespearean Festival and onto the Tuacahn Amphitheater with my mom (let us all pray that I survive the ride in the car). Oh, and please forgive my lame attempts at a Shakespearean Sonnet with shady iambic pentameter at best. I simply couldn't resist.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Are You Ready to Rock?

Back when Barbie was my vicarious-living-experience of choice so many, many years ago, she had herself a Rock & Roll band (one of her many multi-faceted career choices). "Barbie and the Rockers" was a strategically launched mixture of MTV culture and the every-so-cool toy industry and I, along with several other friends on the block, had multiple members of this metallic-clad, glam-rock-haired, neon-sock-wearing musicians in my Barbie collection. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the closest I ever got to being a Rock Goddess (excluding my friggen' awesome solos whilst driving in the car, naturally).

That is until now...

Alice's dear Papa received this little baby for his Wii recently and I must say that I never knew I had such tendencies for video game addiction in me. I play a pretty mean drum set and I'm honing my guitar skills (set on EASY mode, of course--no reason to get too far ahead of myself).

I am still uncertain whether I am exponentially cooler holding a guitar or not. (Does it count if said guitar happens to be a fake?)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Further Proof that Summer Turns Me Lazy

and add "Absent Minded" to that title. This (late) morning I worked out before hopping in the shower. While raising my arms with my free-weights to tone whatever arm-muscle that little action tones (or never does in my case), I caught wind of a strange odor I'm just not accustomed to smelling on a regular basis. Upon further inspection I discovered, much to my dismay, that I had horrible B.O. in only one armpit. What the!?! How'd that happen? Do I sweat more under that arm? Did I touch something gross? My most accurate theory: I'm thinking that perhaps only one armpit received the deodorant treatment. Oopsy!

On a positive note, I didn't procrastinate showering today. And I applied deodorant liberally to both armpits, thank you very much.

Why I'm Not Blogging Much Lately

I blame summer. Summer is busy and chaotic with travel, family in town, conferences, holidays and birthdays and things to do outside...its also that special time of year when my schedule is completely shot to hell I waste a lot of time doing not much of anything in my spare time. And I've enjoyed every minute of it.

Here are a few favorite highlights and photos from my sister's visit (along with her most adorable cuties).

Firstly, I love that these two girlies asked me to sing them a goodnight song. My sister has a tradition of this with her kids, but whenever I am nearby my sangin' skills are requested. So, of course, we had a jammies shot:

Then there is this girl, my bookworm of a niece who spent the majority of the time enjoying my library. Her mother, of course, wasn't too happy to discover I'd not only supplied her with her fix of books, but also a book light late one night (hey, a girl's gotta support her own kind)...ain't she a know-it-all:

And this little bugga-boo is addicted to his mother. He was too funny and his cheeser face for the camera cracks me up:

And, of course, we can't leave out "Theo," my pain-in-the-behind bro-in-law (whom I love dearly--don't tell him). He finally decided to show his stanky keester a week into their visit...p'shaw, like Boise is cool!

This girlie cracks me up and I miss her like you wouldn't believe. This is evidence of her newest funny face stage:

And there must be something about kids this age and posing for the camera...she loved every minute of it...toothless cutie-pants:

And, finally, another of my smarty-pants 13-year-old niece, because I just love this photo of her:

It was so much fun having them all here. I miss them and hate that they always live far, far away (I blame the pesky brother-in-law). However, I find myself thanking my lucky stars that I'm still single and childless...because those kiddos wear a girl out! :)

Since they've been gone I've spent a lot of time sitting right here:

(Don't you just love those sheets...THANK YOU Target). I put a fan in front of me and read...but mostly I sleep. I can't seem to get enough sleep these days, perhaps I am hoping my body is storing it somewhere for the sleep famine that is teaching.

And, I've discovered a new love/hate relationship this week:

So, that's just a small look into what I've been up to instead of posting blogs.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Read and Not to Read

May I vent a moment? Because I am going to vent. You see, earlier this summer I picked up two books and because summer is awfully busy sometimes, I finally finished both of them (and started a couple more in between because that's just my style), and one was okay and one really, really ticks me off.

I liked this book:

It was fairly well-written, the characters were developed quite nicely, the plot was simple enough, but the writer understood the complexities that can spring from that simplicity. I didn't appreciate the sexual content, but then, I never appreciate the sexual content because, frankly--who needs to read that? It wasn't grocery-store-paper-back-romance-novel-graphic or anything, but I think it could have left more off the page in that regard. I would recommend it with that warning to you all.

Then, there was this book:

Let me be honest, I finished this book for the mere purpose of writing this seething review. I picked this number up thinking, oh, that could be good, the inside flap made it sound like it could be intriguing. Wrong! All wrong. I felt insulted as a reader. James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet co-wrote this monstrosity of a book. So, Jim, Gabby here are a few words of wisdom for your mass-produced crap: People come in many different categories, as do characters. But the good or bad, black or white, flat, stagnant, boring characters you've created (and I use that term loosely) in Sunday's at Tiffany's don't seem to fit in any categories familiar to me--write some more complexity into them and I might feel slightly more connected. Also, the female psyche is not as cut and dried--"in order to be happy I need ice cream and somebody to love me" as you make it out to be. As I feel that your book was marketed to a female readership, I must ask you, What in the SAM HAM HILL were you thinking in creating women as either the bitch or the ice-cream eating victim? Seriously, Gabby, Jim, terrible, terrible novel.

And I won't even get started on the Junie B. Jones-sized font, margins, spaces, etc. (And Junie, honey, I love you, you are great and fantastic and more complex than any of the characters in this book I'm discussing--I'm sorry I made reference to your 2nd grade reading level sized font, but I needed to prove a point).

I only tell you all this to say don't waste your hard-earned money as I did. And if you liked it, okay, I'm glad you liked it. Frankly, I think there probably is a readership for this book, but it sure as heck wasn't me.

Oh, and I think James Patterson is an ego-maniac. First clue--his photo covered the entirety of the back cover of the book. Big, fat-headed Jimmy on the back cover of the book! HELLO--I should have known the minute I picked the blasted thing up that it wasn't for me. That is NOT my kind of author.