Saturday, December 31, 2005


I finally got a new keyboard for my laptop!!! Ross's dad gave it to me for Christmas, so now I don't have to wait for Ross to "just check his email" before I can get on the Internet. Not only that, it's set up in my newly purple sunroom/craftroom. That's right, instead of relaxing during my winter break, I decided that the crappy room behind our bedroom needed some sprucing up, basically so I wouldn't want to die whenever I walked into it. So now it's a a lovely, vibrant, eggplant color, complete with flowy curtains and my artwork on the walls. Zapp and I love hanging out in here. I'm tempted to tape a sign like this on the door:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


So I went over to the Home Depot today to pick up some more purple paint for the sunroom (yeah, that's right) AND to purchase some sort of mouse trapping apparatus. Even though I will smush most living things to bits, I can't bring myself to kill a mouse. Consequently, the old-fashioned "snap them in half" variety wasn't going to work for me. As I perused the vermit/pest aisle, all I could find was said mouse-snappers, and pellets that are guaranteed to kill mice and rats when consumed. I figured if they could kill mice and rats, they could probably kill dogs, too. Being that I have two of the dumbest (but sweetest!) dogs in the world, and that these dogs manage to get into everything imaginable, I was convinced that I would have to surrender to the fact that the mice might just be there to stay. That is, until something caught my eye.

Tucked off to the side of the last shelf in the aisle was what looked to be an plug-in air freshener of some kind. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a little plug-in doo-hickey that emits sounds at a frequency that drives mice SO crazy that their nervous systems get all out of whack and they leave your house in efforts to avoid insanity. Now, that's not what the package said, but my summary was much more colorful, and not inaccurate. It claims to have no effect on dogs, but I am a little worried about Gary, the class gerbil, who is visiting for the holidays. Hopefully he won't try to escape-or die. But if he does, I can use the story as a good science review of sound frequency.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


This evening I walked into the kitchen to prepare myself a much anticipated peanut butter sandwich, and I saw a teeny tiny brown mouse scurrying along the edge of our counter and disappearing behind our fridge. I have never come upon an unexpected live mouse. I've come across dead ones at school all the time. They like to hide in the book closet and make superman leaps off of the shelves. They rarely survive this stunt, and I frequently find them lying spread eagle in the middle of the floor. My reaction to this is usually "ew" and then I go get Pyramus, the custodian, and he sweeps them up into the dustbin and does whatever it is you do with dead mice. Anyway, I've always wondered what my reaction would be to a not-dead mouse. Well, it turns out that I simply make a series of unintelligible squeals and whines until I have gotten the icky feeling out of my system. After my semi-fit, I bravely got the flashlight and looked behind the fridge-but to no avail. It seems the critter escaped through one of the many holes tucked away in the corners of our Swiss-cheeseque house. Needless to say, we will be picking up some mouse traps tomorrow. I'm sure there will be many pictures to follow showing the spoils of that adventure.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Hangin Out

I went out with the hubs (don't click there-he never updates his blog) tonight to participate in a mini "going away" party for Jake, who leaves for a 5 week stint Nicaragua tomorrow afternoon. We met up with a bunch of people at Empire, a bar in the VCU area. The people I met up with are ones that I see fairly frequently, or at least I feel like I see them because I know what's going on in their lives, mainly through stalking them via the Internet. But the thing is, I guess I don't hang out enough, because when people saw me, they were all, "Valerie! You're here! That's awesome!" Ross always tells me that when he goes to hang out sans me, people are always demanding to know where I am and for me to hang out more. I never really believed him, but I guess it's true. But here's the thing-I feel like when I go to hang out, I can't stay the whole time because my very thin facade of coolness will crumble after a few precious hours. Therefore, if I leave early, they never know that I'm a loser, and I leave them wanting more. Such a conclusion indicates a mastery of social perceptions and the possible manipulations of such perceptions, or severe insecurities. Or is it both? Have I just blown your mind?!?!?!?!?!?!?111

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Miracle of Sweet, Sweet Justice

After a fab lunch at Perly's this afternoon, the hubs and I decided to brave the wilds of Target to buy A)a keyboard for my laptop that ScottPharr destroyed a year ago by pouring water on it and B) a rug for our upstairs hallway to protect the 90 year old hardwood floors that our dogs' talons are systematically tearing apart. Purchases made, I steered our car out of the jammed parking lot and patiently waited my turn to exit. Being the solid Richmonder that I am, I gave the required go ahead while in a traffic situation, allowing one person to slip in front of me. I let her through, got my "thank you" wave, and gave her the "no problem" wave in return. And that's when the Christmas miracle began.

As I began to scoot forward to claim my place behind the lady I allowed to pass, some jerk-face in an SUV cut in front of me and slipped into my spot in line. Being a Southern lady, I can not allow such rudeness to take place without giving the culprit "the what for." The only appropriate "what for" to give was to honk my horn at him. He then turned to me with his jerk-face and said "Yeeeeessssss???????" followed by a series of jerk-faced "I'm a jerk-face" faces. As he was making said faces, jerk-face failed to notice that he had not completely pushed on his brake, and proceeded to run into the car in front of him. Hearing the two cars connect filled my heart with such joy-a joy that one might call "The Joy of Christmas"-that I could not help but to toss my head back with a gleeful laugh as I drove by jerk-face who had been sufficiently pwn'd by the Christmas Spirit.

Merry Christmas, dear readers. And may you be blessed with a Christmas Miracle of your own this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wanna hear Ross scream like a girl?

Then show him one of these!!!!!!!11111:

We have had an infestation of sorts of these little buggars as of late. I guess they don't like the cold weather either. We've found one on the couch, one on the ceiling, several in the hallway, and one staring at me from the bathroom wall while I was, ahem, otherwise occupied. And not only are they insanely ugly and hard to catch, but they make a huge pile of guts and legs when you smash them. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth even killing them. Oh well, sometimes the dogs help with the clean up process. Gross, I know, but it really gets old after a while. Now I'm sure all of you will be clammering to come over to our house. Not only is it frigid, but now it is crawling with critters with faces like this:

Monday, December 19, 2005

Here's a chance to be really sweet

Who, out of everyone you know, has the best laugh?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Today's inquiry...

What is the best scene from a movie ever? I have three:

The end of Big Fish when the son is carrying the father into the lake and he sees all of the people from his life. I cry every friggin time.

When Will Farrell is in the phone booth in Anchorman. I laugh to the point where I'm not breathing anymore.

When Tom Hanks is stuck in the floor in The Money Pit. One of the best lines in any movie ever is: "My chest is constricted. I can't shout." Whoooooo. Hilarious.

What about you?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Baptismal Update

So Ross and I met with Steve Constable of Stony Point Church, the place we semi-attend. The gist of the meeting was that he can't really baptise me unless I'm a member of the church. Ross and I are not really for church membership, i.e. we don't see the point. But Constable assured me that if I don't ever get baptised I won't go to hell. That's always nice to hear. So now I have to decide what I want to do, if anything. The fact that Constable wasn't like, "Here, let me baptise you right now in Starbuck's," requires me to figure it out. I'm not so good at "planning" so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

TWO IN ONE DAY! But a topic of interest...

As I lay in bed last night, nursing a belly-ache, I started to think of things I could post on my blog that would allow my loyal but often silent readers to be more active in this whole blogger/audience relationship. I came up with this question that I thought would generate some interesting responses:

Out of all the books you have read, who is your favorite character and/or narrator? Here are some of my favorites, as obvious as they may be...

Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. Her narration is authentic and hilarious. I want to have a daughter just like her one day.

Good ol' Holden Caufield from Catcher in the Rye. I love it when he describes cute things that girls do as "killing him." The scene when he describes how pitiful his old teacher is cracks me up, too.

Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series (yeah, that's right). Her justifications for her ridiculous actions remind me of a certain red-headed friend I have.

Esther Greenwood from the Bell Jar. Even though I'm not as crazy as her, I can definitely relate to her breakdowns.

Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The descriptions of her alcoholic father are heartbreaking and moving.

I know, I'm such an English major. But I want to know what you think. Please let me know!

Our house is a very very very cold house

We had the last Potluck of 2k5 this evening, and I assaulted all of our guests with the same question: "Is your house warm?" I even made poor Kate describe the warmth of her house to me, as she now lives in an adorable *one* story house which is much easier to heat. Many of you unfortunately have to hear about our frigid abode anytime you see us. Well, now you get to read about it.

I love love love our house in the summer. It stays nice and cool, even through the melting days of a Richmond August. However, once winter hits, Ross and I are forced to live/dress like paupers, walking around inside with hats and scarves on muttering, "It's so cold." Our house was built in the 1920's and still has all of the orginial windows. I know, I know, 1920's windows sound charming, what with their mouldings and all. But mouldings don't keep you warm. Just come over and put your hand in front of one of those charming windows-it'll seem a lot less cute when you feel the northeasterly blowing into our dining room. Not only do they let all the cold in, but they also let all the heat out. So much heat that our poor furnace just keeps running, racking up a $311 gas bill. I guess it'll be time to seal the windows up with plastic this weekend, a project that requires Ross and I to work together. Ross and I love each other more than words can say, and that love is able to stay strong because of our awareness that we don't work well together when it comes to house projects. Hopefully our love will withstand the stress. And, I mean, it could be worse. As Ross said to me tonight as I was doing the dishes in my coat and scarf, "At least you can't see your breath inside the house. That's something."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I am SO not schmoozable

The hubs and I were invited to this political dinner/drinks/fundraiser thing for Chris Peace, a House of Delegates candidate for the 97th district. Ross and his bidness partner, ScottPharr, are building this guy's web site, so the hubs, the Scott, his wife, and me-self got to go to Julep's for some free food this evening. The food was good (I basically had crab dip for dinner), the wine flowed like wine, and we got to see good ol' Mark and Jamie, friends who we could never get enough of even if they lived in our house. But here's the thing: JERRY EFFING KILGORE WAS THERE. Yeah, that's right. Mr. Not-Our-Governor, the man who has been the subject of much mockery in our household for the last year. Once he walked in the party (which he stayed at *just* long enough to get his picture taken and then skeedaddle), I knew I was out of my league. Rather than discuss issues with the politicos surrounding me, all I wanted to do was scream, "I DIDN'T VOTE FOR YOU!" at Mr. Kilgore, and eat some crab dip with a spoon rather than on a cracker, as is the "appropriate" or "ladylike" way. I had nothing to say to anyone and kept following Ross around, who kept following Mark, who kept following Jamie, who was only there to make business connections in case she decides to quit her job. I am so not a grown up. But I so love free crab dip.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Save some holy water for me!

Sooooooooo a lot of you might not know this, but I was never baptized as a baby. My mom had "issues" with organized religion, so she just never had it done. We were sent to Sunday school to learn "the basics" when we were really small, but then left to our own devices as we trudged our way into adulthood.

Not being baptized was a non-issue when I was a non-Christian. But now that I am "one of those" (Who hearts the quotation marks tonight?), it is a major personal issue for me. I appreciate where my mom was coming from, and I'm excited that it's something I get to choose to do. But it's been in the back of my mind for a while. Ross likes to joke and tell me that I'm going to hell. Atleast I think he's joking. Anyway, I decided when I was around 18 that I did want to get baptized as an outward expression of my faith. However, I was 18 and had no follow through whatsoever. Now, 6 years later (it makes me sick to my stomach to think that was a whole first-grader ago) I have managed to, as I have mentioned, acquire a hubby, a car, 2 dogs, and a house. Now I'm trying to get me a preacher and a baptism. I've already contacted the pastor of the church that Ross and I semi-attend to get the baptismal ball rolling, as they say. Or as I say. Anyway, just wanted to share that. Do with it what you will. But I'm just saying, I fully expect a truckload of those "Congratulations on Your Baptism" money holders stuffed with cash once the occasion is upon us.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Muttled but somewhat meaningful musings

I just looked at my own profile and saw that it said I am 24 years old. Naturally, I knew that I am 24 years old, but there's something about seeing in print that solidifies it for you. I know that 24 is by no means old, but on the day I reached it, I had a minor freak out.

I think when most people turn 24, they have a freak out of the "What am I going to do with my life?" variety. I had one more like the "How did I get to this point already?" sort. I mean think about it. I was married by 21, got a job, got a car, got a dog, got a house, got another dog, all in 2 years. Now I'm left wondering what there is left to do now-I want to move on to the next thing. It's like I have this checklist in my brain where I am just marking things off as I get them done. And being the control-freak that I am, I like to get them done very quickly. Most of you would probably say that the next thing on the list is babies. I would tend to agree with you on that, but I know that the thought of having babies right now sends Ross into a panicky, sweaty-palmed spiral. I know we're not ready for kids. I know this. I just feel like I'm going to be stuck in a rut as I wait for the right time to come. And it pisses me off that I'm going to be like that. Why am I so attached to this constant desire to keep things moving along to the next phase, instead of just loving the amazing life I've been blessed with so early on? I'm seriously going to start trying to mellow out and enjoy the way my life is now. I have a hilarious, loving husband, the sweetest, most loyal friends anyone could ask for, a job I love, two dogs that treat me like a rockstar when I come home from work, and a family that has always supported and encouraged me, despite our dysfunction. That's more than anyone deserves. So I'm gonna shut the mess up and and take it all in while it's here. The rest will come when it's supposed to.

Ok, so I'm a loser.

My post before last, I got all high and mighty talking about how I don't see the point of myspace. But while I was investigating it, I set up my own profile. I keep going back to see if I have any new friends. All I have is Ross and some guy named Tom who wants me to come see his band. Please go here and make comments or ask to be my friend.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Field Trip Day!!!!

Today the entire 5th grade class went to the Virginia Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach. It was quite the eventful day and I thought I'd share it all with you.

I spent my day with 4 kids. Read their names and brief descriptions below:

Kevin-All-American, blue-eyed boy with a charming smile and a "killer fastball." Pretty much guaranteed entry into any fraternity once he enters college on a full athletic scholarship. Very smart and sweet, but, more often than not, a pain in the ass.

Amanda-Very sweet but insecure young lady who wants to please all adults, and to talk about umcomfortable things with them.

Taylor-As ghetto-fabulous as they come and insists on wearing her down-jacket with the fur-lined hood at all times, but just with the hood hanging off of her head.

George-our favorite Egyptian friend who has recently added the phrases, "Come on, man" and "Dude, for real," to his vocabulary.

The rest of my students were passed along to my chaperones, who I must say were WONDERFUL today. I chose each of these kids to be in my group each for their own special reason. Kevin, because he lacks any shred of self-control. Amanda, because she has very little to say to children her own age and tends to have mental breakdowns when she can't communicate with them. Taylor, because she would just boss around anyone in her group, including (or, perhaps, especially) the chaperone. George, because I am one of the few adults who can actually understand what he says. It proved to be an interesting and, eventually, heartwarming day.

We started off in the Bay and Ocean Pavilion where you get to see hissing cockroaches and hermit crabs. While we were at the hermit crab touch tank, anytime Amanda saw two hermit crabs anywhere near each other, she would ask in an exceptionally loud voice, "Are the mating?" or "Where are their genitals?" I obviously could not chide her for those questions because she used the appropriate terminology, but I myself am not mature enough the answer those questions, so I just shoved her over to one of the volunteers and allowed them to stutter over the explanation.

After Amanda learned all about hermit crab reproduction, we made our way over to the sting ray tank where you can actually stroke sting rays when they flap to the surface. Most of the kids were scared, but the sting rays seemed to really like being pet, and they would kind of bump the kids hands and snuggle with them. When George's hand skimmed over the back of one ray he yelled, "Feels like baloney!!!!!!!" I almost died from the cuteness and hilarity of this statement.

After our hands-on encounter with nature, we decided to go outside and walk around on the 1/2 mile trail they had. Here Kevin decided to become a jerk-demon from hell. He would either be running off somewhere, or lying on a bench, refusing to move. After threatening him with an office referral that would be waiting on the principal's desk on Monday, he eventually straightened up. However, he decided he would "pay me back" by climbing all over any display he could find once we were back in the building. And he really got me. Having him make that phone call to his father, explaining for himself how he was acting really stuck it to me.

Lunch seemed to rid Kevin off the demon-possession and any general crabbiness in the group. After eating we went back to look more closely at the animals we hadn't seen. Much to our excitement, we found the sea turtle tank. It's tucked away in this dark hallway with the aquarium taking up an entire wall. We all just sat down right in front of the tank as the turtles came up to us, bumping their noses on the glass. I looked over at one point and saw that George was laying on his back, looking up at the tank. Soon the rest of our group was doing the same thing, just staring at these huge creatures, with their prehistoric feet and smooth bellies. I have never heard a more silent group of children in my life. It was definitely one of those moments that I will never forget. At first I was bummed that I didn't get a picture of all of them spread out on the floor like that, but a photo really wouldn't have done it justice anyway.

After a quick IMAX movie about Sharks that was pretty boring, it was time to go home. Our trip down to the museum only took 1 hour and 45 minutes. However, the other driver (not the driver on my bus, thank you very much) was the leader for the route home and she chose to take some ass-backwards way that ended up taking 4 hours. Taylor was ordered to be silent about 30 minutes into the ride because she is physically unable to speak at a volume less than, like, 300 decibels. We watched "Finding Nemo" for the first hour and a half, thinking that would cover us for the majority of the trip. But no. The kids got so riled up and crabby that for the last 2 hours of the ride we turned off the lights and they were all ordered to go to sleep. They fought it at first, but soon all you could hear on the bus was the sound of 5th graders in a chorus of snores. Oh, and one chaperone's phone ringing every 10 minutes, followed by the following conversation:
Her: Hullo?!??
Other person: mmpmpjhpjpjpjjjppmm
Her: What?!?!?!?
Other person: msdlfkjsdjjjfjsji!!!
Her: Why don't you speak up?!?!?!?
Her: Ok then, bye.

We arrived back at school at 7:15- 2 hours and 15 minutes late, carrying two busloads of hungry children and greeted by 80 angry/worried/annoying parents. Not the best way to start the weekend. But hey, at least I got to gaze at turtle bellies for a while.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm a Blogger-Girl, through and through

Sooooooo, I took a gander at this "Myspace" thing that everyone is so hyped about. I was thinking, "Ok, I've got the multiple blog thing goin' on, so maybe I'm ready to reach even further out into the Internet community. I began my exploration by looking up my hubs to see what his space on the Myspace was all about. What I found totally turned me off to this idea of making friends via a website all about making friends. I would say 97% of the friends he had listed on his profile are people he already knows in meat-space. That's not to say that I don't love each and everyone of the 97% very very much, but I'm just saying, I would rather have them at my house, messing up my kitchen and eating my food than looking at a teensy-weensy picture of them and sending messages back and forth. I much prefer the land of blogger well I selfishly only have to read what people have to say about what I think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

They've successfully chiseled their way into my heart.

This is my third year of teaching. I feel that I now have a pretty realistic view of the profession and the children that accompany it. Consequently, it takes a lot for the kids to get to me now, and it takes even more for them to win me over. I'm not saying that I'm mean to them-it just takes more for me to be blown away by them than it used to.

I automatically fell in love with every single one of my children my first year. By the end of the first day I was convinced that we would be bonded for life, and by the last day of school I honestly thought that I would never have a better or more loveable class.

The students from my second year seemed pretty nondescript to me for a while (except for the crazy one who was in the hallway for the entire 2nd semester). But, by Halloween, I was won over by their desire to behave and please any adult that came their way. At our 5th grade graduation I started crying as soon as my first kid walked up to the podium, and I could barely squeak out anyone else's name as they lined up in front of me.

Yesterday, I left school feeling like this:

I had spent the day trying to reign them back in from the excitement that is 4 days off from school- a prospect about as likely as Paris Hilton wearing underwear. I've often said that teaching is like trying to put puppies into a box: once you get one in, another one jumps out. Except yesterday I was dealing with puppies who had spent the long weekend either in front of the TV or in the car. They all just came in and exploded. Needless to say, I was thrilled to herd them out the door at 3:36 on the dot. This scenario was pretty typical to my 3rd year bunch. They came to me as the chattiest, laziest, nosiest bunch of buggars you ever did see.

However, today had a completely different feeling. Something clicked with us. I was happy to see them and they seemed genuinely excited to be there with me. I had great conversations with most of my kids today, realizing that we've finally gelled and I know what makes them tick. And something great occurred to me: they're growing up and I have the privilege of watching them. In fact, today, I was walking around the room during our silent reading time, really looking at the kids and thinking about how far they've come in just 3 months. For example, in September, Veronica couldn't be quiet for more than 5 minutes. Now she is my superstar in class-I can always look to her to be a leader when it comes to behavior. Brandon started out the year bouncing off the walls with attitude oozing out of every pore. Now he's a model of showing kindness to his classmate. As I walked around, I teared up to the point where I needed to get a tissue. Luckily, none of them saw me. If they had, an explanation as to why I was crying would have been necessary, and that would just start a flow of tears that would keep going through June when they line up to graduate.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Two Turkey Days. What's a girl to do?

Being a child of divorce, I end up having two of every holiday. On Thursday the hubs and I made our way to my brother's house for Thanksgiving with Dad. Today we (along with our friend Chris) trekked out to King William for Thanksgiving with Mom. I must say that the latter is just more fun for several reasons:

1) There is music. I don't mean music on the stereo. I mean live music, courtesy of my uncles, my brother, and their guitars and banjos. Sometime my mom and my aunt will sing.

2) There is a baby. My cousin had a baby in June and we are having so much fun getting to know the newest member of our family. I must say, I think she likes me best.

3) My Uncle Joe is there. Joe likes to lie. And not just fib. He tells complicated lies that could get him in trouble. But once he gets started on a lie, he'll stay with it until the end. For example, he recently called my mother and congratulated her for being a grandmother-to-be. He told her that Ross and I had called and announced we were having a baby. My mother half-believed him. Joe also likes to tell people he's just met that he's a gynecologist, just to see what they will do.

4) We hold hands when we say the blessing. Sometimes we have to spread out all over the house to fit everyone in, but I love it. Uncle Joe says grace every time and he's the best blessing-sayer on God's green earth.

5) People say "I love you" and hug each other a lot while we are there. I mean, what more could you ask for when you're around your family?

So there it is. I did what a child of divorce is never supposed to do: I chose a side. But I'm a grown up now, so I guess it's ok.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you felt the love, too.

Monday, November 21, 2005

You have GOT to be kidding me...

As I strolled around the classroom this morning, watching my little darlings dutifully completing their study guides for tomorrow's test, an unpleasant smell whafted by my nose. It was indistinct at first, and still quite subtle. Then Veronica, a very sweet young lady who would rather die than cause a problem, whispers to me, "Mrs. Catrow, do you smell something?"
"Yes, Veronica, I do. Do you?"
"Yes, ma'am, and it's making my stomach hurt."
"Well, don't say anything because the rest of the class will just go crazy."
"OK," she muttered and tucked her nose inside of her shirt collar. I surveyed the room in a panic, checking to see if anyone else had noticed. Some of you may know that things such as bad smells, wasps, farts, and snot, will break a class's concentration for days if not handled immediately. Slowly, but surely, the other kids started looking around, and following Veronica's lead, their little noses hidden from the smell that we all recognized by that point. To give them credit, the kids got into line and changed classes without comment or incident. But suddenly, Charlie, being the narc that he is, rushed up to me in a fury.
"Mrs. Catrow! Makia's got Fart Spray."
"He's got WHAT?!?!?"
"Fart Spray. He just told me that he sprayed it in your room. He was spraying it on the bus, too."
"Well, why didn't you say something ealier, Charlie?!?!?!"
"I couldn't smell it earlier. Now my stomach hurts and I think he should stop."

I walked into Makia's math class and demanded that he come out into the hall. He automatically put on the "What did I do? I'm a perfect angel" face as he shuffled out into the hallway.

"Empty your pockets, Makia," I said in my scariest, monotone voice.
"Wha-why? All I have is lunch money."
"Empty your pockets right now."

He shuffled through his pants, showing me his lunch money in his front left pocket, his house key in his back pocket, all the while I'm noticing a suspicious shape in his front right pocket.

"Now that one," I said, pointing.
"I didn't spray it," he said emphatically.
"Didn't spray what? Show it to me." He reached into his pocket and pulled out this:

"I didn't spray it, I swear!" Makia kept insisting.
"Well, if you didn't do anything wrong, then I guess you have nothing to worry about when you explain to the principal why you even have this in school," I snapped, leading him swiftly up the hallway and into the office. As I presented my culprit to the office staff, I could tell that they all had trouble not laughing. Relieved of my hoodlum, I made my way back to my classroom, wondering, "When in the hell did I sign up to teach on Saved By the Bell?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Eating the Oreos

Many of you know that I am not one to stuff myself full of deserts. I'll pretty much only try something sweet if i heart dorks has made it. In fact, I tend to prefer store-bought goodies over the homemade variety. Thus explains my love for the Oreo. On paper, there is nothing good about Oreos; they are expensive, bad for you, and many people can eat a bag in one sitting. And by many people, I mean me. I love them, deep in my heart of mega-hearts. But the thing is, it's not the crispy chocolate cookie outside, and the creamy...uh..cream center. It's HOW I eat the Oreo.

Throughout much of my childhood, as my body grew, so did my OCD tendencies. One thing that really got under my skin was how when you dunked the Oreos in milk, your glass was soon filled with cookie-bits, making the beverage undrinkable, by my texture-standards. As my brain matured, so did my Oreo eating technique. Below, you will find the steps that make the Oreo-eating experience all it can be. I share this with you because I love you and want to spread this perfection to all those who will listen.

1) Put the entire Oreo in your mouth. Yes, the whole thing. There will be no untwisting and licking of any creamy centers.
2) Take a sip of milk and hold it in your mouth. DO NOT SWALLOW. Yes, it's true. You now have an entire cookie and a mouthful of milk in there.
3) Just sit for a few seconds, allowing the milk to soften the cookie. 5-10 seconds should work.
4) Swallow the milk. Not the cookie, just the milk.
5) Chew up and swallow the cookie.
6) Send me a thank you card for opening up your mind to this bliss.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mama pup's uterus causes public mockery of offspring

A golden retriever gave birth to a Martian-puppy. Ok, the puppy was actually just green. See? It seems less weird when you read that it was an alien first. Anyway, yeah it seems that the California Canine popped out a green one about week ago. Apparently the placenta can cause such things to happen. Ew. Clicky for the story and pics. Be sure to click on the slide show-the last image really shows the contrast between the normal puppies and the freak of nature.

Hormones make you hormonal. AWhaaaahhhhhh?!?!?!?!

The makers of the birth control patch Ortho-Evra issued a warning on Thursday that women taking this Patch get 60% more estrogen than women just taking the Pill. 60 effing percent! Apparently this is because when you take the Pill, most of the estrogen is absorbed into the bloodstream and digestive tract, causing about half of it to be "lost." Women on the Patch are getting a constant dose of estrogen throughout the day, making them more at risk for such side effects and blood clots. Or in my case, craziness.

I went on the Patch the last month of my senior year of college. I was all "I'm too busy to take the Pill and I just don't have time to, blah blah blah." Translation: I'm lazy and don't like having to *bring* them places and having to *remember* to take them. So I went on the Patch. And then I went insane. I would call Ross one minute, being totally in love with him and gushing about our impending nuptials, and the next minute be crying, insisting that he was only marrying me out of convenience. I called my doctor and literally said this, "Ever since I went on the Patch I've been going crazy and I cry a lot. Is that normal?" He said no and told me to take the Patch off. About an hour later I was completely fine. I've been with the good ol' fashioned Pill ever since. Moral of the story: Don't be lazy or you'll be crazy...and dead from blood clots.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Call to action

I must say that I have been very disappointed with the lack of new posts on my friends' blogs. I try very hard to give you delicious morsels of my thoughts almost everyday, and I'm just not getting much back from the rest of you. Also, the whole posting something on 2 blogs, not cool in my book. Not. Cool.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I need a haircut

The time is approaching when it is just before my monthly shearing, and I want to cry every time I look in the mirror. Between Monday and today, my hair has apparently grown just enough to go from being quirky and cute to sans-shape and mom-like. It only could have grown fractions of an inch, but apparently those fractions are very important to the maintenance of my style. Just this weekend, my hair looked much like this:

Or that's what I like to think it looked like. And now, it's looking more like this:

Ok, maybe it's not that bad, but it feels that bad. So, if you are going to Stephanie and Van's rockstar chic dinner party on Friday night, be sure to compliment my hair, as I will be very much on edge in anticipation of my Saturday morning appointment.

Vain Valerie

Little minds are blown so easily

Soooooo, I have like the most boring day ever today because the kiddies are taking their quarterly math assessment. I don't teach math, so I'm simply here to proctor the test for half of the kids. It's a 50 question test and the answer sheet has places for answers to 60 problems. So, the kids reach the end of the test, mark the answer to problem 50, and have one of the two following reactions:

A. They have a complete kuniption (totally made up spelling), demanding to know where the rest of their test is because they are so terrified of failing (thank you, NCLB)

Or, my more favorite and the much more amusing B. They calmly raise their hands and ask me if they should just go back do numbers 1-10 and mark the answers in the spaces for 51-60 on the answer sheet.

Meanwhile, I've got 4 ESL children in here who can't even read the test. Pulic education, it's a magical mystical world of nonsense.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Another laugh

My first 2 conferences for this morning were cancelled, so I spent my time finding different pictures of my new favorite animal. After trying several variations of its name, I found that calling it the "Shoebill Stork" lead to some tasty discoveries, such as this:


Monday, November 07, 2005

Apparently I am 2 years old

My ears hurt like none other and it has put me in a horrible mood. I keep rubbing and pulling on them, just like a big, ol' baby. That's weird that we use the term "old baby." It doesn't make any sense. And that just makes me angrier. If you could see my face right now, it would look much like this:

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Good for a belly laugh

Last night, the hubs and I drifted off into dreamland while watching something on Animal Planet that counted down the ugliest animals ever. Topping the list was this guy:

Meet the Shoe-billed stork. If you look closely at this thing, it seems to belong more in Labyrinth than on our planet. Go ahead. Keep looking. The laughs will keep coming.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A little Taco Bell, and everything is ok

I left work (at 6:00pm, mind you) in quite a fluster today. As lead tech teacher at my school, report card time is pretty hectic for me. Last year we switch over to a report card system that is strictly done online. It's an incredibly easy program to use if you're of my generation, i.e. capable of basically just opening up a program and being able to figure it out. The thing is though, I work with ladies who are, on average, 25 years older than me. There is a constant flow of frustrated teachers in and out of my room all day, asking me questions that I have either answered a million times or have just addressed in a meticulously crafted email to the school. And yet through it all, by the grace of God, my patience stays with me and I manage to greet them all with a smile and a calming voice. Unfortunately though, my willingness to work with them caused my car to be the last one to leave the parking lot this evening. The recent time change has caused it to be very dark at 6:00 now, so Estelle the night custodian walked me out to my car, carrying her broom in a very formidable way.

The whole way home all I could think about was all of the crap I needed to get done tonight and all of the looming junk of tomorrow. I shlumped my way inside the house and was greeted by my husband, all handsome in his white T-shirt, bearing not only a Taco Bell dinner (and, no, he didn't forget the Fiesta Potatoes), but also my prescription that he selflessly picked up for me. Needless to say, I now feel a million times better and will enthusiastically recommend marriage to anyone who asks me. Especially marriage to someone like my guy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oh, George

I think the best part of teaching in my school is that we have a very high ESL population. A lot of teachers look at this as a drawback when it comes to SOL scores, but the sheer joy of being around these kids dramatically outweighs the struggles. My school has very high Hispanic and Asian populations, and the number of Middle Eastern students is going up substantially every year. Most of the time, when these kids come through our doors they are "right off the boat" as we inappropriately put it. This basically means they know how to say "hello," "goodbye," and "Where is the bathroom?" That's pretty much it.

This year I am blessed to have a young man named George in my room. George is 11 years old and from Egypt. Funny enough, that was all he could say to me the first week of school. I would ask, "George do you have your lunch money?" And he would respond each time, without fail, "I am George. I am from Egypt." The sad thing is, the reason why he probably just said that is when someone finds out that a kid is in the ESL program, they just ask them their name and where they are from, that's about it. But George made it through his first week beautifully, smiling the whole time. We found a way to communicate through a lot of nodding, pointing, and repeating things very loudly. I only have George for homeroom, Science, and Social Studies, two subjects that he doesn't get a grade in because of his limited English proficiency. He goes to another teacher for Math and Reading, so his time with me is intended basically as a way for him to just absorb as much English as possible within a context different from reading books and writing sentences.

Teaching George has been a challenge. Everyday I am left with no choice but to stretch my teaching abilities to the limit, looking for ways to make information accessible for him, to present it in a way that helps his language skills and knowledge of the material grow. And I love it so much. We have so much fun together and his smile is one of those that makes you belive in God.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with George's parents. They speak no English whatsoever, but we were able to secure an interpreter for our meeting. In my time teaching I have sat in on several conferences with our ESL parents, but never have I been part of a meeting where I truly realized what these parents and children go through when they decide to come to this country. First, the majority of the conference was conducted in Arabic which has a cadence and tone that bares no resemblance to English whatsoever, so I had no clue what was being said. Not only that, I found out that these parents left their own successful businesses in Egypt to come work factory graveyard shifts in the U.S. so their kids would be able to have an American education. Meanwhile, they are unable to even help their kids with their homework because they don't understand the language it's written in, or even how the grading system works. But the thing that really got to me was that never once did it seem like they were complaining. All they wanted to know was if there was anything more that they could be doing at home and if we needed anything here at school. One of the few phrases these parents knew was "thank you" and they kept turning to me and saying it over and over again, knowing that I would understand how much they appreciate the work I do with and for their son. I was completely blown away.

I really don't know the point of this post, except to just explain how lucky I am to be where I am. Within our county, my school is definitely one of the "have nots" as we call them. Parental involvement is almost nonexistent and, consequently, our kids have to go without a lot of the time. But, I'm just sayin', I'd rather have a kid like George than a new computer any day.

Monday, October 31, 2005

First the Branch Davidians, now this...

I'm TOTALLY going to hell for mocking this in anyway, but I can't resist. And anyway, I've never claimed to be perfect, so I'll just pray for forgiveness tonight. Apparently last Sunday, Rev. Kyle Lake of University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, died after adjusting a microphone while partially submerged in a baptismal pool. The charismatic leader was describe by one church member as being "really smart." Hmmmmmmm. I mean, I'm sure it was just a reflex thing, ya know, you see the congregation straining to hear you and you naturally reach out to make a technical adjustment. But come on. Water + Wires = Death and you don't need to go to no church to figure that out, I tell you what. Just read the little tag wrapped around your hair dryer cord and you're pretty much set. Ok, I'm done. I'm a jerk.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Too ridiculous to even talk about. But I'm going to.

WARNING: I'm going to say the word "nipple" and its variations a lot in this post. Take a lookie here:

Poor Giselle. It seems that in signing her contract with Victoria's Secret, she accidentally signed away her nipples. Now, I'm not suggesting that nipples should be displayed in the catalog for all the world to see, but it just confirms that fact that in no way can you believe that models actually look anything like their pictures. They could have airbrushed away a full-grown beard for all we know! Millions of young girls across the world will now think that having nipples is gross!!!! We will see a swarm of barely-legals on "Dr. 90210" asking for nipple-removal surgery, and knowing how sleazy this guy is...

...HE'LL DO IT! I can just imagine him saying, "Oh yes, Sally, that little snip-snip we gave you reeeeeaaaaly took care of the problem. You look so hot. Candy, come and look how hot she is. Stand real close to her and tell her she is hot." But I digress.

Not only that, this lovely "undergarment" will cost you a reasonable $12.5 million. That's right, $12.5 million to cover your nipples in freezing cold, sharp-cornered metal that actually looks like DOZENS OF DIAMOND AND RUBY ENCRUSTED NIPPLES. Oh please, please, please, let that be waiting under the Christmas tree for me.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Busy Girl's Guide to a Quality Nap

Step One: Go to the bathroom. Nothing is worse than interrupting a long, autumn's nap with the call of nature.

Step Two: Brush your teeth. I'm serious. By ridding your mouth of any residue of the day you will reduce the likelihood of waking up with kickin' breath.

Step Three: Remove earrings, watches, and rings. We want you to be comfortable in any position you might end up in.

Step Four: If you are wearing skimpy underthings, change into the old, worn-out, backups that you typically save for laundry day. We all know those are the most comfortable anyway.

Step Five: Find something on TV that you have either seen before so you won't get wrapped up in the show, or watch anything with Martha Stewart on it. Her voice will gently rock you to sleep.

Step Six: Make sure a glass of water is by your bed. Not a big glass, just enough to refresh you when you wake up.

Step Seven: Place your cell phone next to that glass of water. This way, if your phone rings you can easily screen or cut of the ringer if you decided to continue your peaceful slumber, rather than stumbling across the room to find the blasted thing.

Step Eight: If you have a big snuggly dog like mine, make sure he is on the bed with you. He aboslutely canNOT be touching you in any way, but he must be on the bed.

Step Nine: Go to the bathroom again, just to make sure.

Step Ten: Roll over on your belly and off you go into napland. I'm telling you, this position will put you to sleep the fastest. I think it's something about getting your belly all warm that makes it so effective. It takes a while to get your arms and legs positioned correctly, but it's completely worth it.

By following these steps, not only do you get a great nap, but it also makes you feel like you've really invested some time in taking care of yourself. Let me know how it works out, or if you have any steps I may have left out due to the rare nature of these quality naps in my life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Call me Mrs. Glover

Ross took me out on Monday night as the last hoooorah of my birthday celebrations. We went to a nice dinner at The Hard Shell and then made our way to the University of Richmond's Modlin Center to see Mr. Savion (sounds like "Evian") Glover perform. Savion is best known for his work in Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk on Broadway, and has now begun a new adventure of combining classical music with tap dancing. But by tap dancing, I don't mean top hat, tuxedo-wearing tap dancing. We're talking wife-beater, rough-wood, sweaty-face tap dancing. He tapped to Vivaldi, Bach, and some other composers I can't pronounce, backed by a 10 piece orchestra, as well as a pianist, flutist, drummer, and upright bassist. The juxtaposition of classical compositions and a smiling, sweaty, dread-locked, hot as anything man was a feast for the eyes and ears alike. And I must say, I am now a little bit in love.

Please don't think my affection is purely based on Savion's appearance. It's more about how he, and other artists like him, are able to get to a mental place where they can be that free and controlled at the same time. As he tapped, I could see him go to a somewhere in his mind where he was totally turned inside and focused on the movement of his feet, but also completely aware of the audience's reaction to what he was doing, working them, interacting with them, pulling them in. And for duration of the show, he had the most peaceful smile on his face, even when he was slamming his feet down so hard I was sure the floor was going to crack. I guess I'm just envious of having something like that, of being so confident in the fact that the love for what I'm doing will make me successful at it. Maybe I'll find it eventually. But for now, I'll settle for being pretend-married to someone who has it figured out. So now, please feast your eyes on my new, imaginary husband:

Can you move like that? I don't think so.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Don't come to my neighborhood between 4 and 11pm

I live 2 streets south of Carytown in a neighborhood where the majority of our homeowners are very old. However, with these old people come their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews who are mostly under the age of 21. Consequently, anytime that these young people aren't in school or asleep, they are out in front of my house screaming, fighting, and standing in the middle of the street. I really don't have anything else to say about this except a) They kind of make me want to move because I feel like they will get more obnoxious with age, and b) I can't wait until winter when it's too cold for them to be outside. I'm officially old and pissed off. GET A JOB, YOU HOODLUMS!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


You'd think after spending the entire day with 5th graders that the last way I would want to spend my evening would be watching a documentary about them. WRONG-O. Last night the huuby and I watched the much anticipated (by me) film Mad Hot Ballroom. This documentary tracks three New York Public Schools as they prepare for a ballroom dancing competition. It's full of humor, underdogs, and minors shaking what their mamas gave 'em. And it is mad good.

We have three schools: the self-depricating and awkward bunch from Queens, the creepily self-aware kids from Manhattan, and the spunky, poor, and endearing group of Dominicans from Washington Heights. Queens and Manhattan were out at the quarterfinals. Queens attributed their short-lived efforts to their desire to "just have fun and not try very hard." Manhattan chalked it up to the "subjectivity of dance" and decided that the judges just decided not to notice how good they were.

Meanwhile, the Dominicans made it all the way to the Grand Finals, competing against last year's winners, the evil P.S. 144 and its stiff, plaster-smiled dancers. We Americans love the underdog, so of course I was filled with nervous jitters as I watched the dramatically disadvantaged, but amazingly determined Dominicans shake their groove things in the finals. We'll just say that I was yelling "Dominicans!!!!!!" for the last 40 minutes of the movie. I won't tell you who wins, but I was jumping up and down on the couch.

All in all, a great movie that makes you feel like there is justice in the world. And makes you realize that white people really can't dance. GO DOMINICANS!!!!!!!!

Rating: ****/4

Monday, October 17, 2005

Babies, babies, babies

Just to start off on the right foot (and to prevent Midas from spreading any rumors), no, I do not currently have a bun in the oven.

Yesterday, the hubs and I went to Patrick and Megan's house to celebrate P's 27th birthday in style. And by in style I mean with a swarm of children under the age of 2. Being that Patrick is so OLD, he and most of his friends are welcoming little bundles of joy into the world like nobody's business. Most people who read this know that I have baby fever like none other, but I must admit that the throngs of children eventually wore me out so much that we had to leave.

Upon our arrival, Ross and I ooooohed and ahhhhhhed over little Joshua Creehan, who is hands down the cutest little buggar out there. I mean seriously, take a look:

He wasn't in the bathtub when we saw him, but you get the point. Anyway, we played with Joshua for a little while. "Playing" consisted off Ross dangling a coaster in front of Joshua's face, just far enough away so that the little guy couldn't reach it. The game ended when Josh started screaming and his mother saying, "Well, maybe he should cry less."' My kind of lady.

Anyway, so this was all pleasant and relatively mellow until suddenly the door bursts open and the continuous influx of diaper-clad guests began. All objects had to be removed from any low-lying tables; adults had to be on constant alert for jelly-coated hands grazing their thighs; Baby Eisten was frantically shoved into the DVD player; and all of the nonparent guests huddled together around the pizza dip, clenching our margaritas, and praising the sweet Lord that we were only responsible for bathing ourselves that night.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My crazy-a** dream

After a lovely breakfast at CanCan with the hubs and the in-laws, settled down for a long autumn's nap before our schedule trip to FXburg. Apparently I was in dire need for such a rest because I passed out for multiple hours and had one effing crazy dream.

It all started with a very loud fight between my mother and my brother. They were yelling and screaming and Ross and I were just sitting there very awkwardly. Suddenly, my brother looked outside and said, "Hey, look! There's a rabbit!" My mother and brother then decided that the best way for them to reconnect and stop fighting would be to kill the rabbit together. So my mother grabbed a pillowcase and they stalked outside to catch the little guy. They trapped him in the pillowcase AND THEN BROKE HIS NECK. Stunned, Ross and I went home and found one of my students, Makia, sitting on our porch with a suitcase. He said he came to live with us because Anson (someone from high school who obviously has no connection to this child) wouldn't let him play video games anymore. To this we just nodded and welcomed him inside for a nice dinner and started our life together as a new, interracial family.

This dream could mean several things:
a) I subconsciously think my mother and brother are capable of killing small mammals with their bare hands.

b) Deep down, I want Makia to come and be part of our family.

c) I need to not be such a whacko.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Pal Sid

On June 30th of this year, my cousin Jennifer and her husband Steve welcomed their first child into the world: Sidney Paige Walters. This is the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents, and Jen was the first of the cousins to have a kid, so naturally Sidney is spoiled beyond belief. But, I think after you look at these pictures you will understand why she has us all under her spell.

She has an amazing sense of humor.

Her hair (and spirit) will not be tamed by a little pink bow.

She is friend to those of the 4-legged variety.

And last, but certainly not least.....

Well, I have no idea what to say about this, other than that it's hilarious.

Quite honestly, I'm quite nervous about having a child now. But not because of the pain and unfathomable responsibility, but rather that my kid will never be able to meet Sid's cuteness. I mean, he/she is pretty much guaranteed to have infinitely lamer hair.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Garth Brooks, Friendly Homeless People, and a little College Reunion

This weekend Ross, Van, and myself trucked it down to Hotlanta for the wedding of my college friend Amanda to MJ, the boy with whom she's been "living in sin" for the past 2 years. We picked Van up at 7:00am and began what turned out to be our 101/2 journey to the land of Coca-Cola and Peaches. A rain cloud lurked over us for the length of the trip, but was unable to obscure our view of the Adult-themed billboards that dot the shoulders of route 85 South. Meanwhile, Van and I belted out Garth Brooks classics, much to the dismay of Ross, and I spent a lot of time sleeping with my mouth hanging wide open.

After a quickie-lunch at Wendy's, I was behind the wheel for the remainder of the trip. We were slow going once we hit Atlanta around 4 and didn't reach our hotel until 5:30. During the last legs of the trip I had to pee really badly and Van had to sing "Blackhole Sun" really loudly. Not the best combination. But we made it to the hotel unscathed and Stephanie quickly whisked Van off the the rehearsal dinner, leaving Ross and I to take a nap and then hunt down dinner. We eventually arrived at Varsity (a burger joint much loved by those who go to Georgia Tech) looking like drowned rats. We timidly ordered our meal, taken aback by the abruptness of our server (you would think they'd be nice in Atlanta-they weren't), and then headed back to the hotel, still in the rain. As we trecked through puddles along one of the 5486797 Peachtree Streets criss-crossing Atlanta Proper, we were approached by a friendly, umbrella-carrying man named Anthony who asked us to buy him dinner. We lied and said we had no cash, and then he said that God loves us. Then we felt guilty. But just a little.

Saturday morning/afternoon was the wedding. Weddings are old hat for Ross and I, but this was new because it was actually one of my college friends getting married and we would be spending time with people I went to college with. Now I see Stephanie all the time so that was no biggie. However, Ross and I were seated at a table with people that I spent 4 of my most formative years with, but to whom I really had nothing to say. Luckily half of them were engaged so we could talk about weddings while at a wedding, but that was pretty much it. I spent the remainder of the time looking longingly at Stephanie who sitting at the head table because she was actually in the wedding.

All in all, I learned a lot this weekend. I learned that I love Van very much, but spending 10 hours in a car with him again might be damaging to our relationship. I learned that the deep South really isn't as square as it's made out to be, what with the porn propaganda lining its section of the interstate. I learned that it's really ok to lose touch with people, especially with people that you had nothing in common with in the first place. I learned that I never want to leave Richmond ever. Ever. And, perhaps most importantly, I learned that it's ok to not give a homeless man cash if you're walking in the rain and he has an umbrella. It all balances out in the end.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Oh my, the funniest thing ever.

Ross and I have been talking about this SNL skit for about 3 years. Now you can finally make it a part of your life. Just to give you a snippit of the hilariousness to come:

"The entire crew of the Nautilus - all 20,000 leagues of them - searched for Captain Nemo for over 20,000 leagues and nights. 20,000 leagues later, they still hadn't found a trace of Captain Nemo, the man they called.. Ol' 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea!"


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yet another place to witness my wit.

FYI: I heart dorks and I have now set up another blog in which all of our celebrity commentary/bashing will be documented. For juicy gossip visit The Shallow End.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Birthday countdown

In just 20 days I will be 24! While the day of my birth is reason enough to celebrate, I consulted this place to find out if there were any other special occasions to make my day oh so much sweeter. Here are some hilights of that fabulous 23rd day in October:

42 B.C. Brutus commits suicide. Not sure how they know this or if it is appropriate to celebrate it, but I'll take it.

1925: Johnny Carson is born. Uh hello. I win.

1942: Michael Crichton is born. Where would dinosaurs be without him?

1971: Disney World opened. It is a small world afterall.

So there you have it. A Roman did away with himself, a pop-icon and a literary geeeeeeeenius were born, and the wonderful world of over-priced theme parks blossomed, all on the day of my birth. But seriously, do any of those events even come close to that heavenly day in 1981 here in Richmond, VA. I think not, my friends. I think not.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hilarity ensues.

Click here to see how awesome the hubs and I are.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Oh, my job isn't so bad.

Today my school kicked off it's anual Fall Reading Celebration. This means that the kids are epxected to read aloud 20 minutes every night and if they do they get to participate in a party at the end of the month. We got everything started by having the teachers go around to different rooms and read aloud to the kids. I read the first chapter of Roald Dahl's The Witches. This is an excellent choice because part of it warns children that even their lovely teacher who's reading to them at that moment could be a witch. For the rest of the day the kids were looking at me with slit eyes and whispering about me as I passed. I think this will work to my advantage for a while.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Warning: Sappiness Ahead.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. A lot of you know that my hubs and I don't get to see each other a whole lot because we're both really busy, what with our jobs, bible studies, beer drinking, and lateral thigh training. Consequently, I feel like I get more butterflies in my belly over my husband than a lot of marrieds do. So I just thought I'd share some reasons why, in no particular order.

1) He announces to the household (meaning me and our 2 dogs) when he has woken up. Seriously, he sits up and shouts, "I'm awake!"

2) He likes to hold his feet like they are hands with his fingers snuggled between his toes. He likes it even better when *I* hold his feet like that.

3) I mean, have you seen eyes prettier than his? If you think you have, shut up, cause you haven't.

4) He puts a pillow next to his face while we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition so I can't see him cry.

5) He once chewed a hole in his remote control.

6) He cooks me dinner.

7) He makes sure that we're always hugging when we pray together.

8) He tells me I look hot when he walks up to the house as I am digging in the dirt, covered in sweat, with my hair sticking up in a rather butch-like fashion.

9) He takes off his button up shirts over his head instead of unbuttoning them. This makes it easier for me when I do the laundry because I can just stick them on a hanger when I'm putting clothes away. Buttons can be quite difficult when you've got hands as small as mine.

10) He always has good intentions. Always.

11) He loves Richmond.

12) Whenever we go to a restaurant and I see something on the menu that I think sounds disGUSTing, 9 out of 10 times he will order that exact dish. It's strange but comforting.

13) He freely admits that he loves our first dog more than our second. I appreciate the honesty, although I feel bad for our new puppy.

14) Whenever I have a question, he usually has an answer for it, or will find me the answer in under 5 minutes.

15) He understands that you are not late for movies, you do not talk in movies, and you do not allow your screaming children to stay in the theater.

16) He hides when I vaccuum.

17) He loves hanging out with his boys and he is excited for me when I get to hang out with my girls.

18) He's good at making friends. I'm not good at making friends so this works out really well for me. I've met some of the best people in my life because he has set up situations for me to be around them.

19) He loves his parents like none other.

20) He loves me like none other, too.

Hearts to my hubs and to everyone else who knows and loves these things about him, too.

Oh help.

First we had the baggy pants law. Now this. No wonder people think Southerners are idiots.*

*As per Ross's request, I will tip my hat to him in thanks for making me aware of this ridiculous situation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Celeb splits

This week has been a tough one in Hollywood. The disease of divorce (or the more convenient anullment) is running rampant through those beautiful hills and splashing the personal lives of our favorite people all over the news. And me, being the person that I am, read every detail of their personal pain that is accessible to the public. In doing so I am able to do two things for you: a) Let you know what happened and b) declare a winner.

Let's start with the most short-lived of them all: Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney. Met in April, married in May, seeking annullment in September. One of them is known for having a puffy face that is permanently stuck in a "I just sucked on a lemon" contortion, while the other is known for wearing "second skin" jeans and a cowboy hat. He also has a big head. Maybe for the sake of procreation, it is better that this one is splitsville. WINNER: Gotta go with Renee on this one. The legal papers claim she is seeking the annullment due to fraud. That can never be good.

Next we have Chad Murray and Sophia Bush divorcing after 5 months. Who? Yeah I don't care either. I hear they're on some show on the WB. We don't get that in Richmond so, so what?

Moving on to Tori Spelling and her husband Mr. Tori Spelling, divorcing after 14 months. Met doing a play together and Daddy forked over $1 million + for the star studded nuptials. WINNER: Tie. Tori won't have to keep explaining to people why she married someone who wasn't a bazillionaire and Mr. Tori Spelling won't have to keep looking at her big ol' head anymore.

Now let's discuss Jamie-Lynn "It's a double name" Discala (formerly Siegler) and her hubby/manager A.J., separating after 2 years. First of all, she's celebrity who took her husband's name. That's pretty much a sign that it's not gonna work out: e.g. Susan Sarandon (no longer married to Chris Sarandon but in a relationship with Tim Robbins), Faith Hill (no longer married to whoever it was that had the last name Hill but currently married to Tim McGraw), and Rebecca Romijin-Stamos who had to go through all of the hoopla of adding and then removing the Stamos after her marriage had "run its course." Second of all, Jamie-Lynn's married to her boss. Girls dont' really like that. The couple has hinted at the possibility of a reconcilliation, so no winner can be declared yet. And beside, they seem pretty cute and normal, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

Perhaps the most shocking recent split is "comediene/red carpet correspondent" Kathy Griffin's decision to file for divorce from her husband of 4 years, Matt Moline, a software engineer. I call it shocking because , I mean, Kathy Griffin is pretty annoying so I would think she'd wanna hang on to anyone who likes hanging out with her. WINNER: Another tie. She gets more publicity and he doesn't have to be married to Kathy Griffin anymore.

That's all for now. But it's only Tuesday and I'm sure new stories of shocking celebrity splits will pop up on or imdb by tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Something that's never nice to hear...

I walked into school today feeling less crappy than usual for several reasons: I had a new green sweater on, my hair was looking especially stylish, and my pointy black shoes had been sufficiently broken in, almost to the point of comfort. However, this good mood was only to be damaged by the following conversation with our new male (ewww) fifth grade teacher:

Him: Hey, Val.
Me: Hey there. How was your weekend?
Him: Good, yours?
Me: It was ok, but I didn't get much rest. But it was fun.
Him: Yeah, you look tired.
Me: What?
Him: I mean, no offense, but you're not looking so good today. Are you ok?
Me: (hmmmming and hawing, trying to act like I feel as bad as I apparently look) I'm ok, but I think I might be coming down with something. You know these kids, they're really germie.

He exits. I stand there mortified. I know I shouldn't be so effected (or affected, I never know which one it is) by his inocuous and ultimately good-intentioned comment, but I ultimately ended the day feeling like crap. So, as rule, friends, don't mention that someone looks like crap unless they say they feel that way.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Can we talk about Hillary Duff?

I have spent many a Wednesday night with my good friend i heart dorks scouring the pages of U.S. Weekly and People magazine, judging celebs and watching MTV. Looking back, I realized that while our conversations tended to be heavy on the Britney Spears speculations (i.e., why is her hair so gross, why is she gestating in her arms, and how has she descended so rapidly into white trashdom?) a lot of our time was spent talking about Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff. It was decided early that since Lindsay Lohan looked like she smells like hotdogs that the Duffster was the front runner in the race for our sought-after support and endorsement. However, I must admit that my opinions have changed and I've swayed the other way. Case in point:

Hillary Duff circa winter, early 2005:

Here she is in all her All-American glory. Cute, unassuming, and sweet.

Cut to September 2005 and we have this:

"I've got these, like, brand new teeth and I just might eat you with them."

Now I don't wanna be mean or judgemental (even though those are two things I am very good at) but seriously, did she think we weren't gonna notice? So, I'm left with no choice but to declare my support for the Lohan side.

Party on, Sweaty Hot Dog Girl. Party on.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Energy Vampires at the Fall Equinox

Today I made my students sit with their heads down in the dark while I went out into the hallway and threw a silent but frantic fit. Throughout the halls of my school today you probably would have seen several other teachers doing the same thing. With the changing of the seasons, or the moon, or really just the wind speed, young children can change from being perfect little angels to these high maintenance, verbal vomitting, absurd life suckers. Allow me to give you a glimpse of what I encountered today:

a. Two boys screaming at each other over whether it was, in fact, a "u" or an "a" written on one of their spelling tests
b. A girl falling out of her chair, underneath her desk, and flipping over the chair of the person in front of her
c. A young man with blood dripping from his nose and onto his desk, sitting calmly with his head held back and his hand raised stoically in the air. This wasn't particularly annoying but amazingly ridiculous in the fact that he, the child bleeding from the head, was the only one being quiet
d. A lad systematically pulling apart and eating last night's grammar worksheet
e. Another friend getting glitter on his face and in his eye during music class WHERE NO GLITTER WAS BEING USED

By the end of the day I was convinced that I was the problem, that I had lost complete control and should quit on the spot. I went to the teacher next door to me to apologize for having to hear me yell a day. To that she replied, "Oh, honey, I couldn't hear a thing because I was too busy yelling at these little idiots." Once we got all of the munchkins on their buses, all of the teachers convened in the hallway looking substantially haggard and in need of a stiff magarita. Just by looking at each other we realized that it must have been something in the air that made all of our children insane. Then I went home, ate French Bread Pizza with the Hubs, and graded some papers under my comforter. Somehow that made it better. But I'm not gonna lie; I'm kinda scared to go into work tomorrow, what with the hurricane coming. The change in air pressure might send them even further over the edge. Sigh.

Call 12, please help me!

So yeah , I've been thinking about this whole Taylor Behl thing going on in Richmond. Being that I am a selfish, self-centered twenty-something, I automatically assume what I would do if I were ever abducted. My optimistic side is clearly convinced that I would escape and quickly find a pay phone. But that's where I'm really screwed. Due to the luxuries of cell phone technology, I actually only know 5 phone numbers. They include the following:

a. My parents' old house that they don't live in anymore
b. My friend Matt's parents' house
c. My friend Matthew's parents' house
d. My hair salon
e. The Call 12 hotline to get information about school closings.

Hopefully if something happens to me, my friends' parents will be able to help me out. Naturally of course you're asking, "Well, Valeree Lynn, why don't you just call the police?" That of course would be the logical thing to do, but it doesn't play well into my dramatic scenario. So now I'm going to write down any important numbers I need and keep it in my wallet. I'm sure my kidnappers will be nice enough to let me fish it out before they carry me off in a burlap sack. Thank you and good night!