I kid you not, the second I hit the play button on my DVD player, one of the guidance counselors came running into my room telling me they needed me to proctor after all. Some sort of an "emergency." Whatev. I was fuming mad, but outwardly I kept my cool and politely smiled and said I'd be right over.
They wound up moving me from the comfort of my room to a classroom in the other building, where I had to proctor 14 kids taking the PSAT. Because some teacher missed the training. A teacher who is a sweet, sweet lady, but folks, she's been there years more than me and you betcha (as my "friend" Ms. Palin would say) that she knew how to proctor the fragging test. At least the kids were sweet and well behaved. I left my grading in my class and brought a book to read in between keeping watch over their testing and making sure they weren't cheating or drooling on their testbooks or whatnot. It wasn't so much that I couldn't have graded while proctoring, I was just in full-on rebellion mode after being made to do something I wanted to do. Childish? Yes. That's just how I roll.
But at least I had a good book to read during my limbo. What book, you ask? Ahh... It's my new obsession, The Southern Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris. It's the books that the new HBO series "True Blood" is based upon, and they are awesome so far. I'm reading the first book, Dead Until Dark, and loving the hell out of it so far. I even think it's better than the show, except that it seems to be missing a few characters, like one of my favorites in the show, Sookie's wise-cracking best friend, Tara. But it's early pages yet - hopefully she'll appear in a later chapter.
After the four hour PSAT onslaught was over and done with, we broke for lunch (mercifully on time, a rarity for a test day) and then saw our last block of the day. I wasn't expecting a lot of kids, but I was pleased to see all but three students present, since we were reading the pivotal Act III of The Crucible today. Unfortunately, the student I chose to read for John Proctor decided to skip out on school today apparently (and if you're lurking out there, Abel, I'm disappointed in you, young man!), so I had to get a girl to play his part. Why are Advanced English classes 98% female?! Hmm...
Before that class begun in the afternoon, a strange thing happened. I was getting my stuff together as the kids were walking in, and in comes this student I don't know holding something pinched together between his thumb and index finger. As he comes closer, I'm horrified to realize what it is - a butterfly, wriggling desperately in his grasp. As I watch, mouth agape and fingers itching to press the security button, he holds it out to me and says, "Miss, this is for you."
I should probably back-track now and say that the window display for my clasroom features a beautiful butterfly border and giant cut-out of a blue morpho butterfly. Which perhaps inspired aforementioned creepy young man to present such a lurid gift. After I recovered from the shock, I told him something along the lines of, "No, but thank you. You should really set that free, hon." Very graciously, of course, because I didn't want the kid to snap.
After the kid and his butterfly left, my students curiously asked me if he was one of my students. I replied no. One girl who's very outspoken and honest cried out, "Stalk-er!"
Yech. I hope she's wrong!
Thank goodness this is my planning period and I don't see students for about another ten minutes, because they'd probably want to know why my nose is so red and my eyes so watery. You know those girls in movies who look even prettier when they cry? Yeah, I'm not one of them. :p
If you ever have time to check out ALRO's blog and ficlets page, do so. He's not only the sweetest guy ever (going to have to copyright that for him, heh), but he's a fabulous writer as well, very down-to-earth and funny. So why are you still here? Go check out his pages! :D
We rode all the roller coasters we wanted to ride (I decided the red coaster of the Dueling Dragons is my definite favorite), saw some shows we wanted to see, and were done with both parks by fiveish. We thought briefly about doing Halloween Horror Nights, but we were so tired from having barely slept the night before, plus having drove the four hours there earlier the same day, that we decided to make it an early night. It was just as well we decided to leave early - not long after leaving, the beautiful, sunshiney day became a rainy, wet mess. The weather cooperated the rest of our time in Orlando, really only drizzling for a bit the next day, but overall it was really, really hot. I think I would've preferred it cold, although I was grateful that the rest of the weekend wasn't a wash-out like it was Friday night.
Ricky did something quite sweet that first night for my birthday. Since I was spending my birthday away from home, I would miss out on the traditional cake that my mom always bakes for me. Well, after eating a quick dinner at Boston Market, we went back to our hotel, the Clarion Universal (best pillows EVER!), where Ricky lit a birthday candle for me on a cheesecake we'd bought earlier that evening at Publix (very yummy!). I thought that was just the sweetest thing. :D We were nervous about lighting the candle in the hotel because apparently if you set off the fire detector, it instantaneously begins spraying water into the room -- thereby incurring major water damage, not to mention a $2,000.00 fine (!). But thankfully, we were able to light the candle and I was able to make my wish and blow it out without any mishaps. No, I'm not telling my wish. ;)
It was a good thing that we called it an early night the first day, because the second day was even more tiring. We spent almost 12 hours at Epcot enjoying the Food and Wine festival and experiencing all of the different "countries." Epcot will always be my favorite park, but visiting it during this festival (a first for both of us) was an unforgettable experience.
This was a most awesome birthday, and the best part is that the fun continues this weekend -- I'm planning a night out with some friends beginning at Taverna Opa and finishing at Ricky's family's apartment on the beach. Hey, you only turn 30 once, right? The funny thing is, I don't feel 30. Not really.
Here are some pictures from our trip:
Chinese acrobat show in Epcot -
this girl could hula like nobody's business. And I thought I was good!
You are fast asleep in my arms
Wings Waiting to Color the Sky
Beyond the Pale Irises
I sleep without dreaming,
Willing my thoughts blank as paper,
Waiting for solace to become oblivion—
But these mental photographs don’t fade easy.
A weight in my chest like a stone.
A lightness in my head like a cloud.
I drift, tethered to the stone-heavy promise of your smile.
Days come and go without season or reason.
Sometimes I see you and wonder
Whether I did not fashion you out of my reverie,
Wrought you from a fantasy,
But then you open your mouth and shatter the illusion.
Beyond the pale irises of these eyes
Exists the who you are meant to become,
The me I am destined to be,
But in between us there is only a void—
Deep as death, and just as precise.
Oh well. At least I published my "first" ficlet tonight:
Fragments of what she used to be sometimes flash in her eyes. but then she’ll look away, leaving me wondering if I imagined it.
I miss her smile.
The day he left (for good this time), she showed up on my doorstep with vacant eyes and ten dollars to her name.
“I need a place to crash,” she said simply, and then proceeded to fall asleep on my couch for three days straight.
This is when I realized there is a way to die while still living. Even though the heart still beats its relentless pulse and the brain still fires off its messages, there exists a disconnect. A bridge left intact, though burning, hanging threads of possibility and regret.
Today I mustered up my courage and invited her for a picnic. Just us two. She’d recently moved back to the city and had gotten a place of her own.
Possibility was soaring high in me, high enough to risk regret. But before I could say a word, she stopped me. Wordlessly. Irrevocably.
It was her smile.
I've been a fair weather fan of the show for years, watching it from time to time, but never religiously like some people. But I still wanted to see the film. I'm glad I did.
It's the kind of film that will make a girl wish she had three gal pals the same way Carrie does. I've had bad luck with girl-friends, better luck with boy-friends, truth be told. Don't know why.
Well anyways, the film is great. It's even better than the episodes, and best of all, it perfectly ties up every plot-line the show left hanging with a nice big pink bow. I already hear whispers of a SATC sequel, and I dearly hope that doesn't happen. Why mess up a good thing?
Another side effect of this film? A longing to go shopping. Better go hide the plastic!
Thursday night was the Vice Presidential debate between Sen. Joseph Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin. Ricky was hesitant to watch it, but I insisted. It was to be the only debate between the V.P.'s, one that McCain had wanted to cancel, so yeah, I was going to watch it. This election simply means too much for me not to have watched it.
Reader, I must be upfront with you now and say I am a proud Democrat, but please know that the reasons why I support Obama for president go beyond my political affiliation. I truly believe he is the only one, with Biden's help, that will help lead our country in the right direction. Were he the Republican candidate, I would still vote for him, because I vote according to what's right for my country, not by what my voter's card says. It will not be easy, and I do not pretend that Obama will be able to fix every problem our great nation is currently facing, but I know this - if McCain wins the election, it will only be more of the same, if not worse.
But back to Thursday's debates. I want to talk about about Sarah Palin for a moment. I saw the interviews Palin did with Katie Couric - and could not believe my ears. Here was a woman who not only was ill prepared to answer honestly simple questions during an interview (e.g. When Couric asked Palin what newspapers or magazines she reads, Palin responded, "All of them."), but quite frankly ill prepared to help run the country. Even when Sarah Palin appeared in an interview with Charlie Gibson, an interview I expected to go in her favor since it's no secret Gibson supports the conservative base, she did poorly there, too. But don't take me at my word, watch the interviews for yourself:
The video below contains clips from the series of interviews Sarah Palin did with Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric and Sean Hannity.
I'm sure you've heard of the spoof Saturday Night Live did of the Couric-Palin interview. From the moment Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate, the comparisons between Palin and Tina Fey were numerous, so it was only a matter of time before SNL brought Fey back. The skit is something to be seen:
This is the famous SNL skit featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin in a comedic recreation of the Katie Couric interview. NOTE: A large portion of Tina Fey's lines are word-for-word Sarah Palin's own replies to Katie Couric.
Now that you've seen Sarah Palin in action, watch Joe Biden in the following speech he gave in a campaign stop in Langhorne, PA:
Considering the fact that 1 in 5 V.P.'s in history have become presidents themselves, due to their president's death or some other factor that calls for the V.P. to step up, this is a serious matter. I refuse to support Sarah Palin simply because she's a woman (and I say this as a woman who has always believed females are male's equals in all arenas, political or otherwise) or because she's a so-called "maverick." I refuse to support her because she's "cute" or a "darn tootin" governor. Our country is failing and we need someone who will lead our nation in the right direction, not just look good in suits and have a great smile.
The debate on Thursday only underscored the fact that Obama and Biden are the right choice to lead our country. When asked important questions about the economy and foregin affairs, Biden was able to call upon his multiple years working as a senator to answer thoughtfully and intelligently. Palin meanwhile floundered and talked in circles, refusing to let go of her pet-topic, energy, and occasionally throwing in some "folksy" comments and winking at the camera to show how she relates better to the average American, or "Joe Six-Pack," as she would call him. Palin even went so far as to give the only "shout-out" in Vice Presidential debate history when she mentioned how her brother is a third grade teacher, and she gave a "shout-out" to those third-graders, saying they get extra credit for watching the debate.
Please. I wanted to hug the mediator, Ifill, when she said we should all get extra credit.
So I think that Biden came out the clear winner of that debate. In comparison to the first presidential debate that Obama gave with McCain, I truly think Biden did even better than Obama. I watched the whole presidential debate but honestly found myself bored halfway through, because both candidates waxed a wee bit too eloquently on the issues. Biden was more concise and succint with his answers, getting right to the point while still managing to sound eloquent, so I thought he did better. Or maybe it was Palin's spasmic winking or obsessive mantra of the word "maverick" that had me in thrall, I don't know. All I know was that my attention did not waver once during the Vice Presidential debate.
The NY Times wrote a great article about the VP debate that you should read. I hope you read the article and see the videos above, even the SNL skit. While the SNL skit may be a parody, it still accentuates the fact, in my humble opinion, that Sarah Palin and John McCain are the wrong choice for our country.
Le sigh. Anyways, here's my sweet/stinky story. (Mostly stinky.)
Ammonia, Iodine, Dust, and Death
Gene shrugged into his coat and eyed the clock. It was two minutes before five AM, two minutes before his shift started. It promised to be a long one. He grabbed his clipboard and walked briskly into the hallway, his steps echoing on the marble floor. Today marked his 30th day as a resident doctor at Blessed Cross Hospital.
As he opened the door to his first patient’s room, the familiar scent accosted his nostrils. He breathed it in with a sharp sigh. It had always simultaneously bothered and tantalized him that he could never identify the smell. What was it? Ammonia? Iodine? Dust? Death?
It bothered Gene, too, that his wife would never truly understand what pulled him here. To say that she was displeased with his new work schedule would be the grossest understatement.
“I don’t know how you could be happy working like a slave. I’ve barely seen you all month!” she’d shouted last night before grabbing her bag and leaving the house.
She didn’t stay to hear his reply: “I just love the smell of hospitals.”
You have to write a what-if scenario based upon the inscription found on Shakespeare's grave:
and cursed be he who moves my bones.
Cree-py! So I went and wrote my own entry. Let me know what you think of it!
In the Dead of Night
One of the perks of living in Stratford is being able to regularly visit Shakespeare’s grave. My wife thinks me daft, but I honestly find inspiration from visiting it.
Visiting his grave on this sunny Sunday, I trace my fingers over the inscription for the thousandth time and reflect anew upon the mysterious words:
“Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
and cursed be he who moves my bones.”
“I wonder what would happen if – “
I actually said those words aloud. I would come to regret them soon enough.
They led me to open his grave later, in the dead of night. They led me to poke through the withering remnants of his corpse, curiosity leading me where angels fear to tread. Hidden amongst the threadbare folds of his cravat, I found a strange amulet with a large pendant in its center. It glowed greenly in the dark of midnight, lit from within as if it were the eye of a daemon.
Whilst I was staring into its murky depths, I heard an unearthly chuckle.
“To be or not to be? That is the question…”
1. I am attending a thesis workshop at my university next Thursday that will help me figure out the ins and outs of thesis writing. Apparently if you don't use the specified font and follow their margin instructions, they will not accept your thesis. Yikes!
2. I found out what I need to accomplish in order to attain my permanent teaching certificate, and it's not as bad as I'd feared. I need to pass the Subject Area and Professional Educator's exams, both of which I'll be taking on October 25, plus I need to take 12 semester hours of education courses, which I plan on signing up for in the spring. If I need to take four classes in one semester, so be it.
As guilty as I feel for not completing my thesis yet, I need to focus on my job first right now. I can't afford to lose my job, not with the way this economy is going. My temporary certificate expires on June 30, 2009, so I need to get all of this done in time.