Monday, July 26, 2004

ME HULK (aka the Intimidator)

On top of the fact that I'm an Angry New Yorker, apparently, I'm also intimidating.  This is what I was told by my ex. Let me set the story.

At the house, some people had stopped over, one of them being a friend of the ex that we'll call "R". Well, "R" had too much to drink coupled with the fact that she was tired so as she reached for her beer, she spilled the last bit of it on an envelope with some documents in it.

NO BIGGIE (in caps for a reason). I got up, carefully picked up the envelope as I could move faster at this point, and was envisioning beer hitting the hardwood floors that I am installing myself, yes, REAL hardwoods that you have to nail to the floor, none of that glue crap for me(flex) and took the envelope to the sink, dumped in the remaining pool of beer, grabbed a paper towel and wiped the envelope off.

Okay, so maybe my stress level did elevate slightly, but that's because blatant carelessness bothers the hell out of me, always has.   Then I was asked by "R", "oh was that yours?" and I said "no, but no biggie, it was so and so's" to which "R" responded, "oh, then she won't mind."  Yea, like I'm going to take your damn head off over an envelope with spilled beer.  Now, if you spilled it on my term paper, then I'd take your damn head off down to you knee caps.

So, after everyone left, I asked my ex (yea will still live together, separate bedrooms, don't ask), I wonder what "R" meant by that, asking if it were my envelope. To which I was told, "because you're intimidating."  So, when I returned from reeling, yep, it's on the corner of "you've got to be kidding me and what the hell", I said, "no, I'm not." Assertive? yes, stand up for myself?, yes, not put up with stupid bs?, yes, I'm all that.

Intimidating? no way.   I even had to ask my friends to validate this because I am that much of a pushover.  I took a deep breath upon hearing that, shook my head and walked back upstairs to go to bed.  The whole time thinking, if not cowering to others and and not giving in to others, and not being afraid to speak your mind makes me intimidating, then so be it. But I will not travel down that road labeled "too sensitive" again and be pushed back into my shell like so many times before.

If "R" can't handle that, that's her problem, not mine.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Faith in Humanity

This morning as I was pulling into my parking spot under the ONLY tree in the parking lot, I saw a site that restored my faith in humanity.

An elderly couple, both still very mobile were holding hands as they walked to their car and they were smiling. Clearly they were still very much in love and as the man opened the car door for his wife (or maybe it was his girlfriend), he kissed her on the cheek and she smiled even more. Then he closed the door for her and went around to the driver side and got in.

This man was beaming from ear to ear. Clearly he loved her today as much as he did the same day that they first met. He knew he was blessed, lucky, whatever you'd like to call it, to have her. And, I'll assume she felt the same about him.

That's the kind of love everyone should have. Holding hands until the end.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Things That Chap My Hide

Also known as things that annoy the ever loving day lights out of me, but who wants to read about that? 

Now that I have your attention, I just have to let loose with things that bother me or chap my hide.  Can't you almost see John Wayne saying, "well son, that just chaps my hide." Or Clint Eastwood perhaps?

Here's a list
 1. People who pronounce things wrong then get offended when you correct them.  It's I E DUH for Aida, NOT A DUH.  This is someone's life work, blood, sweat and tears. At least be courteous enough to make an effort and not brush it off as whatever.

2.  When someone asks you if you like something, they are probably searching for a compliment. GIVE THEM ONE.  Do not say, "well, it's not trendy if that's what you're going for." Maybe they weren't trying for trendy, who knows. You should say, "That looks nice or I really think this color is better." Be honest, but be nice.
Side note, this doesn't apply if your friend/significant other says, "do I look fat in this?" That's a loaded question and should be banished anyway.

3.  When an accomplishment is made, say congratulations. What? it takes like 2 seconds to say that, then you can get on with your self.

4.  Be nice to the elderly. You'll be one someday and they can always tell when you are losing patience with them. Besides that, there are some elderly at my gym that could probably kick your ass in no time flat AND feel good about it.

5. Be sympathetic to others as you might be the one in need of a shoulder to cry on one day. Don't be jaded, mean, stand off-ish or the next Ice Queen. Just be human.

Okay, so now that I've vented that and feel 10 pounds lighter, here are some things I really really like,

A Few of My Favorite Things (insert music and words here)
1.  The Fall, yes the season. What, you thought I meant actually falling??? No
2. The crunch of leaves and freshly fallen snow under my feet.
3. The smell of leaves and freshly fallen snow.
4. Comfortable silence.
5. Freshly shaved legs. YUM
6. My Westies - if there were kids, they'd need prozac, ritalin, hell a pill salad to calm them down.
7. Dying my hair.
8. The smell of babies. OOOOO, I just LOVE that smell.
9. Watching kids make complete fools of their parents, not because they are bad, but because they can. Damn, some parents will act stoooopid to get Susie into the stroller, lol.
10. The smell of Yardleys of London - Lavender soap.

I have a TON of things I like, those are just a few.  Perhaps I'll add more later, perhaps not.  Oh, one thing I forgot to add to my "Muse" blog.  Just this snippet from a country song:

Somebody in the next car
Somebody on the morning train 
Somebody in the coffee shop
That you walk right by everyday
Somebody that you look at
But never really see
Somewhere out there
Oh somewhere out there is somebody

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Below the Surface

We've all had our hearts broken at one point in our lives for many different reasons.  And, like the individuals we are, we deal with it differently.  This is how I dealt with mine and I've never shared it before. But, it is time.

One Time 
One Time
Your smile
My eye
And stole
My breath
One Time
With reckless abandon
I threw open
The door
To my heart
One Time
We danced
And I
Was overjoyed
One Time
We shared
A drink
And spoke
Old(e) English
One Time
You said yes
And we
A life
One Time
We found
A new home
It was cold
And I felt
One Time
We were apart
But found
Each other
One Time
“I’ll tell when”
But it never
One Time
Often feeling
Like a
Dirty secret
Crying alone
“What’s wrong”
That can’t
Be fixed
One Time
Excitement about
A career
“listen to this”
“work is not for home”
The door starts
To close
One Time
I asked
“join my friends”
“it’s too far”
Late coming home
“I had drinks”
You said
I swallow hard
The door
And I don’t
Know how to
Stop it
One Time
I didn’t go
To your friends
I felt
And the door
One Time
Always spent
The door
One Time
“did you read”
I lied
Said “no”
But had
And felt
In my own
I heard
“you’re too fat”
The door
One Time
Spent solitary nights
On the couch
World’s away
Separated by
A wall
The door
One Time
Left behind
Oceans apart
Not you
I never knew
Still loved you
The door
Doesn’t move
Time stands still
One Time
Wry smile
Those words
“I’m not in
love with you
The door
Time races by
I am
This Time
Is for real
The silence
The lies
The door is
Sealed shut
The world
Has exploded
My head
This Time
I am
From the
This Time
I forget
And scent

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Calling

I began my career in teaching in the Bronx at a high school that I literally mistook for a factory on the day I went to interview for the position that would later become mine.  Feeling every bit like J.Lo as I was "on the 6" after all, I stepped off the subway, followed the directions that were given to me and thought "there is no way that building is a school, I must be going in the wrong direction", so I turned and walked the other way.  Stopping into a Foot Locker to ask directions, I was told, "that's it" as the sales associate lifted a skinny, mocha colored arm to point in the direction of "the Factory".  So back toward the "factory" I went in hopes of winning a chance to teach in "Da Bronx".
Climbing to the 4th floor (and the building only had 4 floors), I reached the AP's office and the interview quickly began.  I must have answered everything right because the next thing I knew, I was doing a demo in a real live classroom full of summer school students and I had nothing prepared. I wasn't told to bring a lesson, you said, "Interview" I-n-t-e-r-v-i-e-w, to me that means one person not a class full of kids you've never seen before.
After what I thought was a devastating attempt at teaching, I went back home and waited for the phone call. Good or bad, I waited and in the meantime took a job at a bookstore.
I got the call in October, yes October, one month after the school year had begun and was asked "are you still interested, the teacher we hired never showed up, never called, nothing and we need a teacher".  Well, hell yes I was interested, is the Pope Catholic? Is a bullfrog waterproof?  "When do I start?" "Tomorrow, bring what you have", the voice said "and report to room 441".  I was elated and petrified at the same time. Tomorrow???? I slept with both eyes wide open the whole night.
Tomorrow came, I got to room 441, I was handed a list of students, a list of rooms and told, "you're new, you don't have your own room, you have to move from place to place".  This of course also meant, I'd be schlepping all my materials with me from the 4th floor to the 2nd floor back to the 4th floor until the end of the year.  I didn't just get thrown in the deep end of the pool, I got dropped like a ton of bricks into the deepest part of the ocean.
But (take a deep breath), I made it(exhale).  My first year in the Bronx, I cried everyday for 4 months but I got up every morning to battle with those kids. Some battles were bigger than others but at the end, we both won. I taught them something, they learned something and in the end taught me something as well.
I left teaching after teaching for one year in Georgia as the administration and I didn't quite agree on certain matters and well "we don't care how they do it in NY" to which I replied, "that may be true, but at least NY isn't 50th in the nation".  Don't worry, dear reader, it was my last day.  So, I decided I needed a break and went into the wonderful world of web work and project management. I'm smarter than the average bear and my interests don't stop outside the classroom.  I'm doing okay for myself in that line of work but then I got an email from a student that went something like this:
 Dear Miss ( I was always Miss, no last name)
        I finally graduated, not that it wasn't hard and not that I hated it, but thanks for believing in me, it meant alot.
I was speechless and it takes quite a bit to make me speechless.  So, I've decided to go back to teaching. Yes, it's hard, yes it gives me migraines on a daily basis, but it's rewarding and you're appreciated.  Sure, I won't be rolling in the dough and at times, my life may be at risk, but being a teacher is a pretty powerful job.  You laugh, you scoff, but I alone can make or break your child.  Chances are, during the school year, I see them more in one day than you, the parent does. I can build them up and make them believe in themselves, or I can tear them down. All of this in the blink of an eye.  I am a mother, father, caregiver, fashion critic, romance advisor, psychologist and friend.
But above all, I AM a teacher

Friday, July 16, 2004

You Can Learn a LOT from a Grandma

Yes, as you have probably guessed by now, I am quite fond of my grandparents and rightly so, I learned alot from them and use that knowledge in my every day life.  My grandparents have all passed away now, with the last one being on October 12th, 2002.  Very vividly, I recall that, because I was, not to brag, her favorite, hands down. It wasn't a secret, it was well known throughout the family and thus, even though 2 years has gone by, I still haven't quite accepted it.
Maybe it's because she was my last grandparent or maybe it's because Alzheimers took her slowly, but took her nevertheless.  There's only one thing to say about Alzheimers, it SUCKS in a huge way. It SUCKS in that "you suck chrome off a bumper hitch" way and that's sucking in a big way.  Then again, there's only one thing to say about my grandma, she ROCKED. Sure, I thought the things she did were weird, crazy when she did them, but damn, it all makes sense now.  Some people call it oddness, but this, yes this is were eccentricity comes from. It all depends on how you look at it.
Here's a list of what my grandma taught me. When you're a kid it's weird. When you're an adult you laugh and say "no shit."
1.  Tofu is good for you, even if it looks like a sponge.
2. You CAN eat dandelions, but you have to pick them young and boil them with salt.
3. If you have to, baking soda is a good toothpaste substitute, but not all the time.  Add a little hydrogen peroxide and BA-DOW instant whitening. (SCREW COLGATE)
4. Alcohol is a laxative (you didn't need to know that, did you????)
5. White vinegar and water can be used to bleach your floors instead of Clorox
6. Fish is GOOD for you, I don't care if it smells up the whole house
7. When you're sick and have to stay home from school, it's okay to sit in the yard, because the sun makes you feel better.
8. 3 words Oil of Olay.
9. Smart women observe more and talk less.
10. You can reuse styrofoam meat trays for just about anything.
Yes, my grandma taught me many things, but these were the ones that stick out in my mind the most.  She was many things to me, a mother, a grandmother, a protector, but most of all she was the type of grandmother that any kid would love to have but she was mine, all mine.
I learned many things about her after she passed away, much more than when she was alive and at some other time, I'll bore you with that.  But for now, I'd like to thank my grandmother for blessing me with a good gene pool as all the time, I get asked "how old are you" and when I respond 32, I get answers such as "no way, uh uh, you're joking".  Nope, I'm 32, I look in my mid 20's (I think) and get compliments as such.  She was 84 when she died, but I'll be damned if she didn't look a day over 30.  Beautfiul, elegant and refind.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ah, The Summer Heat

Today was an ordinary day in the south, I drove to work with the windows down as it wasn't quite hot enough to have the a/c on in the car and as I drove, this immensely huge produce truck went careening by me ready to topple with the weight of the water melons in the back.

This was not your average semi of produce, oh no, this was an open air, slat backed pickup that someone clearly used to haul things with, it was a "work" truck. As it went by, you could smell the water melons, almost taste them and with that, a rush of memories came flooding back to me. Memories of a grandfather, a garden and a veggie/fruit stand.

My grandfather's name was Elijah and ironically enough, in many different translations, it always comes back to "the meaning of the name Elijah is strong" and they couldn't have been closer to the truth. My grandfather arose everyday "before the birds" as he liked to put it, which must have been pretty early considering the birds were awake before I was, and at 13 I thought 10a.m. was early, and he would walk(sometimes he drove his tractor) down the road in his blue Dickie pants and green Dickie shirt paired with green, knee high waterproof boots(the same ones he fished in) to his garden, which was easily the size of a football field and do what gardeners do. Weed, plant, water, chase the vermin out, all the things that make the good things grow. Then he'd be back at the house before noon and be done for the day. So, he spent about 8 hours a day down there making magic. I say magic because his veggies and fruit were sought after by all the "city people" who would come to their summer homes on the lake.

And talk about prime real estate, we(my grandfather and I, sometimes my Dad and cousin) would set that veggie stand up on Route 9N that lead from Saratoga Springs, NY to Lake George, NY but had to wind through the small town of Corinth first. We had it all, from Silver Queen corn(the best) to bright green watermelons,(if you tap it and it's hollow sounding it's good) to sunflowers(big as dinner plates)and even herbs, all there, all fresh. Ours for the taking.

We sold that food, hand over fist, new people stopped, regulars stopped and regulars got a deal because, well they were regulars and bought so much anyway, that we both made out. As summer drew to a close, we even started giving the food away because "I'd rather give it away than watch it rot." And yet, quite a bit of it did rot or get eaten by the animals, because it's pretty difficult if not impossible for one person, or even 3 to tend to a garden that large.

As the years wore on, my grandfather drove his tractor more and walked less. My grandmother had since passed on and the garden became smaller and smaller until it finally was overgrown with weeds and proved far too much for one man to handle. Grandpa sort of forgot about the land and it was eventually sold, excavated and perpared for some houses that never appeared.

To the best of my recollection, the land is still empty, waiting for someone to make use of it. Yet, I swear everytime I see a watermelon truck on the highway, I can almost see that old man, in that garden, before the birds.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Angry New Yorker

It was recently pointed out to me that I am an angry New Yorker to which I replied, “well, aren’t we all”?? Of course, this didn’t come out of the blue as apparently I was speaking with someone from another North Eastern state and tended to pretty much say what was on my mind. Yes, this included profanity, but no more than usual.

It must be that hard edge to my voice when I become engrossed in conversation or maybe it’s the fact that living in the South (which is more North anyway) hasn’t done one damn thing to curb my otherwise outspoken self. I’d rather not be one of the “ladies who lunch” but rather the “lady who makes her own lunch” as this assures me that I don’t have to choke down and choke on an incredible mass of BS sandwiches.

Sure, I could go on and on about how many things in the North are better than the South but then, I’m not only an Angry New Yorker, I’m also a (insert favorite “angry” word here). It wasn’t as if I was bad mouthing the South in my supposed “anger”, I mean I live here right, so I must like some aspect of it, aside from the month of rain we received.

Trying to validate my point that New Yorkers aren’t angry, (well all of us aren’t), I was told that people in the southern states are just more “mellow”. Of course I laughed audibly and loudly at this as I thought “hmm, in all my years of living in various New England states and New York, no one flipped me the bird on the highway, cut me off while going 90 miles an hour or yelled out the window a cornucopia of expletives that gave away a negative IQ”.

At any rate, this “Angry New Yorker” would like to recommend a very non angry website so you can work off some of that stress that us “Yankees” and everyone else carry with us forever. So, strap on those hiking shoes that offer superb comfort at Merrell and work off some of that steam.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Random Jumpers

I'm new to this whole idea of blogging in the sense that I'm actually doing a blog for myself but I may as well jump right in. Sink, swim or drown, that's my motto.
Apparently the new trend to offing oneself in Atlanta is to jump from overpasses onto the highway below as cars are streaming by. That's fine, you want to end it, you end it, but for hells sake can you people pick times other than RUSH HOUR for this to happen?
Don't get me wrong, I am very aware of the fact that there are people who think that life totally sucks, etc etc. HOWEVER, I don't feel the need to share it with you by spending 3-4 hours in my car on a 100 degree day with humidity so that you can have your 15, 20, however long it takes minutes of fame to tell the world how shitty your life is. Well, listen up, you're not the only one. Meanwhile 3/4 of Atlanta is wasting gas and getting pissed off. For the record hell hath no fury like a mom in a gas guzzling SUV that can hold a soccer team who is forced to put everything on hold temporarily for you, yes you, the Jumper. Now, I feel so much better and I will turn my attention to figuring out how to make a frisbee out of the phone on my desk. Hey, it beats hanging out on a bridge.