January 2008


This is my 100th post.  Woo.  That’s pretty good for a blog that started just over 3 months ago.  Thinking of my 100th post brought to mind kindergarten and how we celebrated the 100th day of school, you know?  Counting 100 Cheerios and marshmallows and doing all sorts of hundredsy things.

So, I tried to come up with something along the same lines.  I thought I could take pictures of things in hundreds (like the hundreds of snowflakes that are supposed to descend in hours—crossing my fingers for a snow day tomorrow—or the hundreds of skittles in the 56 ounce bag my Mom bought me at Costco).  I thought about doing 100 things, or posting 100 times on the 100th day.  Perhaps listening to 100 songs and listing them for you.  I could eat those 100 skittles and blog each bite.  I even thought of giving out one hundred hugs, but I hate to hug, even people I know. So many options—and yet, I settled for the most boring one.

You’re hereby invited to the 100th post edition of 100 things about me!

1.    My name is Nicole
2.    My birthday is in April, meaning my birthstone is diamond and I am a Taurus.
3.    I live in Missouri
4.    I have lived in 4 states (Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska)
5.    My favorite candy is tropical punch Now & Laters
6.    I do not like potatoes (unless they are French fried)
7.    Clowns scare the bejeezus out of me.
8.    I grow vegetables (tomatoes and peppers last summer)
9.    When I was a baby, I enjoyed baby food carrots and sweet potatoes so much that I began to tint orange.
10.    In my 25 (almost 26) years, I have lived in roughly 20 different houses/apartments.
11.    I like to tell people that.
12.    On my first day of 8th grade in a new school, I had to sit in ISS because my old school did not forward my shot records.  I sat in that empty room, crying and trying to read The Sun Also Rises. My Mom later told me she brought my records at 9am—yet I sat there ALL DAY.  I will never forgive that school.
13.    When R. first asked me out—I was totally clueless and invited all of our coworkers on our “date.”  A mutual friend had to explain to me that he was actually asking me out on a date.
14.    I used to be obsessed with the show Friends.  I wore Central Perk and that picture of them eating ice cream T-shirts.  In high school.  It is no wonder that I never had a date.
15.    My favorite book of all time is Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.  It saved my soul.
16.    Speaking of books, I love romance novels—but only those by Nora Roberts.
17.    Speaking of romance novels, I’ve written four completed romance novels and self-published them.
18.    However, I cannot write a sex scene to save my life.
19.    Therefore, I do not send them in to real publishers.
20.    NaNoWriMo ’02 was the first time I’d actually ever finished one of my novels.
21.    I love chocolate cupcakes.
22.    I wish I could go on Jeopardy (I promise I would not tell a lame story!)
23.    My Friends knowledge severely scares my future in-laws.
24.    When I was in elementary school, I named my bike Lightening and pretended he was a horse as I rode through the neighborhood without a helmet.
25.    I played with Barbies… until 7th grade.
26.    For 2 or 3 months, I came home and watched the animated Anastasia every day after school.  I was in high school.  This may also explain the no-date thing.
27.    My Grandpa owns an airport for antique planes.
28.    He also has a dog cemetery around his house.  (One dog has its own stone).
29.    Violas are my favorite flower.
30.    Sweet Valley High was a large writing influence.
31.    I had the Saved by The Bell board game.  It was as awesome as you might imagine.
32.    I also had the Sweet Valley High board game, also awesome.  I was always Elizabeth.
33.    I once pushed my sister into a wall, causing her to crack part of her head open and required a small amount of stitches.  Oops.
34.    I kind of used to be in love with Harrison Ford.  Luckily, I am over it.
35.    Ditto David Schwimmer.
36.    I could watch Band of Brothers over and over and over and over.
37.    The coolest place I’ve ever been is Hawaii.
38.    I have never left the U.S
39.    I have never broken a bone (knock on wood).
40.    I believe in God.
41.    I do not go to church.
42.    I am letting my Mom plan about 95% of my wedding—because I hate planning things.
43.    I used to sell drunk people beer because I was afraid of their reaction otherwise.
44.    I don’t hate cops.
45.    My senior year of high school I was involved in a club called Youth in Government.  I was a lobbyist and managed to kill a pro-gun bill.
46.    I was then voted most likely to beat up the kid with the pro-gun bill.
47.    I currently (and probably for the majority of my future) live with a gun in the apartment/house.  (Because I live with a cop).
48.    I don’t go 24 hours without a pop.
49.    When I moved to St. Louis, I promised myself I would never call pop soda—I’m about a ½ and ½ -er now.  Sometimes it’s pop—sometimes soda.
50.    I stole 2 books from Truman’s library—I still got my diploma.
51.    When I was in 5th grade, I was determined I would become the first woman major league baseball player—apparently you have to practice a lot and be good, though.
52.    I have a Bo Hart jersey (you are awesome if you know who he is).
53.    I wish I had a Joe McEwing jersey.
54.    I hate Tony Larussa
55.    When I worked at a state park with R. I would bring goldfish everyday in my lunch.  One day, my Mom bought Garfield shaped goldfish.  I took them in my lunch, but didn’t like them.  R. said I was crazy, they were the same thing.  Four years later, R. still brings this up.  I like to think it’s what made me irresistible to him.
56.    When I was in middle school, my sister and I used to watch Oklahoma! Constantly and try to do the “Kansas City” dance.
57.    We also made a “American Gladiator” type obstacle course in our basement and pretended to be on the show.
58.    In 7th grade, I was on the middle school basketball team.  At the end of our season, the morning announcements went through our point stats.  I was last.  Nicole: 1.  Technically, I had made both free throws, but I stepped over the line voiding the second.
59.    My best friend in elementary school and middle school ate grass and sucked on rocks.
60.    She also got me to read Elf Quest (If you know what that is… I’m a little scared).
61.    On my 22nd birthday, a guy followed me and my friends home from the bars and took his pants off in our yard.  He started banging his head on our door and I had to call the cops.  It was the best night ever.
62.    I almost choked to death on a starlight mint… twice.  I coughed it out once in a grocery store parking lot, the other time my aunt had to give me the Heimlich.
63.    For my sixteenth birthday, I asked for (and got) a kerosene lamp.
64.    I would often light it in my room and imagine I was a pioneer.
65.    I used to write historical fiction (romance).
66.    I used to collect unicorns—a collection my Grandma started me on and I haven’t added to since she died.
67.    She also gave me most of her santa collection, which I continue to add to.
68.    My greatest ambition for my future (aside from having kids) is to own a barn.
69.    And grow enough fruits and vegetables to live off of.
70.    As much as I want to go local and organic—I don’t recycle.  (Will in the new house though!)
71.    The most relaxing vacation I ever had was Hilton Head.
72.    I failed my permit test the first time I took it.
73.    I hate hockey.
74.    I hate James Joyce—spawn of Satan
75.    I still hold a grudge against the professor who gave me a B in Contemporary Lit even though I got an A on every assignment.
76.    I have seen every episode of more shows than I can count—Friends, Caroline in the City, Brady Bunch, Petticoat Junction, Hogan’s Heroes, Ed, Early Edition and so on…
77.    I would stalk Kyle Chandler without any qualms.
78.    I own three CDs that are made up solely of Civil War music.
79.    I worked as a waitress for 3 weeks—those were possibly the most miserable 3 weeks ever.
80.    I am a Democrat
81.     If Clinton gets the nod, I’ll vote for her.  It might kill my Grandfather.
82.    In the 2000 election, I originally voted for Al Gore but the ticket thing didn’t work.  I took it as a sign and voted for Ralph Nader.
83.    I hate giving out D’s and F’s—even to students I dislike.
84.    I am always cold.
85.    A perfect Saturday is lying in bed, under the covers, watching bad TV or old movies.
86.    My favorite meal is roast beef and green beans a la my Mom.
87.    My favorite color is purple.
88.    I hate getting my picture taken because the minute a camera is near my neck seems to go into weird convulsions so I look gross.
89.    I haven’t had my hair professionally cut in 2 years.
90.    A teacher, like a parent, is not supposed to have favorites, but I do.  Sometimes I worry I make it very clear.
91.    Overachievers bother the hell out of me.
92.    People who claim to be overachievers bother me even more.
93.    I yell at people when I drive.  And curse.  A lot.
94.    I love Jimmy Stewart.
95.    I am terrible at video games.
96.    I hate calling people on the phone.
97.    Today, I am wearing a sort of brown and black plaid pair of paints and grey striped socks with black shoes.  I look atrocious.  My students laugh
98.    I drive on empty as long as possible because I hate pumping gas.
99.    My favorite alcoholic beverage is a Long Island Iced Tea.
100.    I spent almost my entire lunch break on this.

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It’s true.  I am not one of those people that knows all the cool bands or the up and comers.  I do get offended when a band I like has a hit single and I do not go around telling people I have been listening to them forever and that makes me so much better than them who heard the song on the radio and now likes it you SELL OUTS.  And, since my Ipod, I don’t listen to the radio very much so I often get stuck listening to  bands and singers that are now ridiculed and, let’s face it, probably were ridiculed when they were mildly popular (yeah, I like Jewel).

Anyway, all this to say I like John Mayer and I think since Continuum his street cred is up, but, really, I have no idea.  I like his music, always have and always will–even if it makes me a music loser.  So, as I was driving the other day this song came on my “pod” and I think it’s from his second album.  I remember listening to it not more than a year ago and feeling the same way.  It’s called “Something’s Missing” and it used to speak to me.

“Something’s missing
And I don’t know how to fix it
Something’s missing
And I don’t know what it is
No I don’t know what it is
At all

And autumn comes
It doesn’t ask
It just walks in
Where it left you last
You never know
When it starts
Until there’s fog inside the glass around your summer heart
Already

Can’t put my finger on
What’s keeping me down
Something’s missing
And I don’t how to fix it
Something’s missing
And I don’t know what it is
No I don’t know what it is
Now

I can’t be sure that this state of mind
Is not of my own design
I Wish there was an over the counter test
For loneliness, for loneliness
Like this

Something’s missing
And I don’t know how to fix it
Something’s missing
And I don’t know what it is
No I don’t know what it is”

I had a boyfriend I loved.  I was working towards my “career.”  I had friends and family around me, and yet something was missing.  I still don’t know what it was.  But, this song just came on and I realized I didn’t feel that way anymore.  I don’t feel like anything is missing.  And I’m not sure what changed, but I like it.

Dear Attitude-Problem Student,

I get it.  You don’t like the assignment.  The angry sighs and rolling of eyes were a pretty big clue.  When you snatched the paper off my desk because I said you weren’t quite there yet, yeah, I think I “get it.”  You don’t like this assignment or me by extension.  I’m okay with that.

I apologize for my lack of concern or sympathy.  Might I suggest putting forth an effort?  Or, perhaps, looking at the mistakes you’ve made and try to learn from them.  Or even, God forbid, ask questions!  You see turning in the same exact thing over and over and hoping it will produce a different result doesn’t exactly work.  In fact, I believe that’s a definition of insanity.

I would also like to point out that I am the giver of the grade.  And, while you earn the majority of your grade, there are areas where a teacher might “bump” a student up, if the appropriate effort and attitude are evident.  Eye rolling, sighing, stomping, and other temper-tantrums do not fall within that “appropriate” category.

Sincerely,

Ms. ____________

I often wonder if the producers of Jeopardy ask the contestants to think up the most boring, mundane, inane stories to tell the audience.  To me, that can be the only explanation.  Surely, people are not this vapidly boring.  Surely not every contestant is the most stereotypical nerd you could possibly put into three dimensions.

Now, let’s say you’ve won ten days in a row.  Then, maybe then, you start with the inane stories.  THEN I could understand because–hey–I am not sure I could come up with ten interesting little anecdotes about myself.  But, it seems to me, on your first trip to Jeopardy you should not be telling stories of how your “girlfriend” is a “gazelle fan” and has a lot of “gazelle memorabilia” and so in New York you bought a life-sized impala and carried it through the subway and bus back to home in Boston.  Surely, SURELY, you have done something of more interest.  Surely, you have written a thesis or grown a flower or watched Jeopardy since you were in diapers.  Maybe you conducted an interesting experiment or did some important research.  Maybe you wrote a book or a poem or went to the World Series.  Maybe you did ANYTHING more interesting than carry a stuffed gazelle around New York City.  I’ve never been to NYC, but I doubt that’s out of the ordinary.

R. is sick with the flu, which means shortly I will be too. A fun little sick rhyme for all of you!

It’s BUTT-LOVIN’ cold in this damn 150 year old building. I like old things, but I prefer my toes to not fall off.

I’m planned through Thursday of next week, totally graded, and just want to go home. Why did I not bring blankets and pillow for a lunch period nap?

Oooh I finally figured out how to put my writing links in the sidebar!!!

One contact is sticking and making my vision all blurry making it hard to read/type.

Imagine if James Joyce chose these topics for his stream of consciousness.

There are certain things I miss about my pre-teacher life.  Mainly, sleeping in and watching daytime television, but those don’t both me on a consistent basis like these do.

First of all, the time and inclination to read.  I used to read ALL the time.  ALL THE TIME.  Books were my sustenance and nothing was better than curling up with one and staying up all night finishing it.  Right now, I don’t have time, but even when I have time–like over Christmas break, I can’t bring myself to do it very often.  I don’t know if it’s teaching or R. who has somehow changed me into someone who doesn’t feel like they’re doing something unless they are moving.  So, every time I sit to read I am instead thinking about all the other things I should be doing.  It’s hard to sit and enjoy, and it’s even harder to pick up new books because I don’t have time to waste on bad ones.

Which is the same exact reason I no longer write very often.  Writing used to be the salve that soothed the savage beast.  I used to get lost in worlds I created, or put important information in coherent sentences.  I seem to have lost the inclination and the talent for this.  In trying to find some examples for class, I was looking through some of my old academic writing.  I miss it.  I miss thinking and analyzing and all that went along with being an English major.  I thought being an English teacher would be an extension of that, but it’s not–at least not with the group of students I’ve had this year.

So, I am actually a little bit excited about the class I am taking this semester.  I have to write part of my thesis (EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT HAVE TO WRITE A THESIS TO GET MY MASTERS).  I am a little irritated that it will basically be a waste, but it will feel good to write again with a purpose and an analytical mind.  Oh, will it feel good.

You get to your class (in which you are a student) early with the specific purpose of grading papers.  As you get out your red pen and your stack of papers, you look around and realize 75% of your class has done the same thing– high school teachers with their red pens, elementary school teachers with their stickers and colorful markers, and middle school teachers drooling (because teaching middle school makes you do that).

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