Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why does she always get to be Trini just because she's Korean?

Emily's coming home today!!! I'm so excited. Here we are in 2005, which is the last time we were together. (No, not really, but she really should come home more often. We have meat! (She doesn't get a lot of meat in Charleston, cause it's rather costy and she's got bills to pay.)) Sadly, our hair doesn't curl quite like that anymore. Or, mine doesn't. She straightens hers a lot, plus I haven't seen her in five years, so I can't speak for hers. But other than that, even now, I think we pretty much still look the same as in that picture. Not the same as each other. We're easy enough to tell apart, I think. Particularly these days, since if you see one of us in Columbia, it's a safe bet that it's me. If you see one of us in Charleston, it's not me. And in case that's not enough, if one of us looks like the secret footage of a fashion makeover show, it's me. If one of us looks hungry for steak, it's Emily. Simple, right?

In school, people who didn't know us well would have to know that Emily had the longer hair and the longer name in order to tell us apart. Except for Ryan Mercer, who told us apart because I "looked more like a clown." Thanks, pal! He tried to explain once that he just meant that my lips were more red (?), but why not just say that? He put his foot in his mouth a lot, so I didn't really take it personally. At least he knew who was whom. But that long hair long name trick doesn't really work anymore, because we both have long hair, so now when I run into somebody I haven't seen in a while, I think they just blurt out one of our names and raise their eyebrows like "did I get it?"
Once, in elementary school, one of the assistant principals wanted to split us up into different classes, maybe so the teacher wouldn't have to try and tell us apart? Or maybe because she just wanted to see how we'd do separated from each other? So she put me in a dumber class than I should have been in, where I got in trouble for answering the other kids' questions and had to stay in at recess with my head down on my desk. Really the only punishment there was the shame of having all the other first graders walk past knowing I was staying behind. While Emily got to be in the smart class and romp around at recess playing Horsey Court with her friend. She says Horsey Court wasn't a real game; they just ran around laughing and called it Horsey Court. For this and many other reasons, I am very glad she's my sister. I can't imagine being twins with somebody who just played Power Rangers at recess like every other kid.

Incidentally, if you'd asked either of us what our favorite movie was at the time that picture was taken, we would have said Uncorked, due in large part to this scene (not so much the last 20 seconds or so). It's an odd little movie but that song is so beautiful. Like Emily!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I mean, I have zero qualifications, but you have a dvd player right? So if you could just point me to my classroom...

I don't think it's a secret to anybody I know that I don't love my job. I don't understand much of anything about our state government, so I usually have no idea what anybody's talking about. I rarely get to interact with my coworkers (or anybody else, for that matter). The coworkers closest in age to me have all had babies since I started, so I'm usually the odd man out in group discussions. People with kids just love to talk about kids! And worst of all, I just don't feel like anything I do helps anyone or makes any difference. I really like my coworkers. When we DO go out to lunch together or talk about non-work things, it's always the highlight of my work week. But overall, it's a pretty lonely, unsatisfying, unfulfilling place. For now, quitting isn't a feasible option. But when I can quit, I want whatever I do next to be as far removed from this kind of work as it can possibly be. I have no idea what lease purchase means. I don't understand tax deductions, tax credits or sales tax exemptions. Weighted pupil units? CPI? School operating millage? Nope, nope, and nope. And even if I did know, I don't believe I would care. Maybe I'm asking a lot, but I want to feel like I'm knowledgable about, and interested in, my work.

One of the things I think I might enjoy is teaching. It's certain to be rewarding, and I doubt I'll ever have a minute to think "I am bored" or "man, I wish somebody would talk to me today." I always wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. But then I wonder if I'm mostly imagining the field trips and Magic School Bus episodes and field days and Charlotte's Web county fair and holiday parties and summers off, and ignoring the part about making lesson plans and being observed and dealing with all the problems students and their parents can have. Every job has its downsides, of course, and I suspect the good would outweigh the bad, but part of me thinks that maybe I'm just incredibly lazy and won't be happy in any job because I don't want to work at all. And unlike waitressing, teaching isn't exactly a job you can 'try out' for a while to see if you like it. Once they hire you, they're banking on you sticking it out for (at least) 9 months. Which might feel a lot longer if you realize kids are the worst and who needs language arts and why aren't there more Wishbones, thanks for nothing you lazy dog.

So! Who wants to hire me to teach some children?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fitness is nice but can we talk about how good cheese is?

So the walking group was wonderful. It was hella cold, but the trail was really nice and by the time we made our way through the whole thing we'd walked about 2 miles (then we walked a little extra so it ended up being 2.5ish). The club only meets once a month, so in the meantime I've got to find a way to get in some exercise on my own. So I've gone walking a few times at the indoor walking track at my church, which is free after you pay the one-time $5 membership fee, and there's always a cute old man working the front desk and he doesn't know that I haven't been through the "equipment use and care" session so I can even use the treadmills and eliptical machines in the workout area. I'm not one to skirt authority, but come on. I can work a treadmill and an eliptical machine without a 45-minute seminar. I haven't made use of those machines yet, because they've been in use when I've been. I've just used the walking track. It's pretty short- it only takes me about a minute or 90 seconds to make a lap around it, so that's not awesome, but it's indoors, and that's infintely preferable to having to be outside. I don't know how people go running outside in the winter. I don't know how they do it in any other season either, but don't your lungs and your nasal passages burn like fire? Maybe I can get past the exhaustion and the runny nose and the agonizing pain in my legs, but seriously folks, how am I supposed to BREATHE?

I've also been stretching more, and doing some ab work to try and shape up so that it's like a double surprise when I lose the weight. I'm skinnier AND I've got muscles. Out of my way! Erin e-mailed me an 8-minute ab workout, which seems right up my alley (8 minutes a day, and you can lay on the floor the whole time), but you've got to have a computer nearby to go through the workout and we are a 1-laptop household, so whenever Mike is gone or working, I just have to kind of improvise. I took an abs class at PC and there are ab workouts from the 30 Day Shred that I try to pull from, so I'm hoping to look just like my abs instructor Mellette or Jillian Michaels in a few days. I actually kind of like ab work. But it's not going to mean much without some (extensive amounts of) cardio to firm up the (really) jiggly bits.

In a mealtime story that doesn't further my fitness cause at all, last night I made a chicken pot pie. It required a great deal of chopping and stirring so I was anticipating some stellar results to match the effort. Unfortunately, it turned out more like soup with a little crust blanket on top. It tasted fine, but it was nothing to look at and there was definitely not enough crust. It seemed like way too much filling to fit in a little pie dish, so I put it in a big rectangular 2-quart pyrex and it was impossible to get the crust thin enough to cover the whole thing. It looked sorta pitiful. Imagine a murky brownish puddle with a grocery bag in the middle. Next time I'll just use two pie pans and it should be better. Except nobody will eat it because all they'll be able to think about is a wet trash bag. More for me! That's probably something Jillian has never said.

Tonight I'm going to do lasagna, and I've got higher hopes for it since I've made one before. And as long as there are noodles and cheese, you've got a winner in my book. Maybe I'll skip the trip to the grocery store altogether and just put noodles and cheese in a bowl. Lately I've been going to the grocery store just to get the things I need for one or two meals at a time. I can't decide if this is better than one big trip every couple of weeks. I feel like I'm spending a lot of money, but I don't buy things unless I already know precisely how and when I'm going to use them. How do you grocery shop?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Exercising in Winter: For when you want to be sweaty AND cold

This morning I woke up a little excited about the possibility of a two-hour delay for state government employees due to a forecasted "wintery mix," but when I turned on the tv, the meteorologist said there was barely even any rain, so "good news, the roads are clear and you should have a normal commute." Thanks so much Ken Aucoin, you faulty weather liason. It was such a letdown. Throw us a bone, weather gods! It hasn't snowed since that one night last January, and even then it wasn't enough to stick. Living in South Carolina certainly has its perks, but winter here is generally a dull, snowless affair. We're lucky to get one "snow" a year, and I can pretty well guarantee that no snowman has ever laid his charcoal eyes on the palmetto state. When Mike gets a job and we have to move away, one thing I'm praying for is that we go somewhere that gets some snow. (But not a lot, Lord; you know I'm not cut out for the bitter cold.)

Ultimately I guess it worked out in my favor, though, because tomorrow morning (forecasted high 42ยบ) I'm going walking with my mom and some of her coworkers who started a walking club. Evidently the man in charge is called First Sergeant Pelley. I'm hoping this means there'll be a whistle. I really don't mind walking, so it's super-easy exercise, and I like being out in the sunshine in the mornings, which is something I very rarely get to do. So I'm going to wear my thanks-for-interviewing-for-that-scholarship-and-accidentally-throwing-one-of-your-rings-across-the-room-while-doing-so-but-we've-chosen-some-actual-smart-people-instead Presbyterian College hoodie with the pouch pocket stuffed full of kleenex, and I'll be sporting my new sneakers that are meant to help correct my (apparent) tendancy to walk a little crooked. Something about my right leg going too far to the center...? I forget. But it's sure to be good cold fun, and Sergeant Pelley is even bringing hot water for everyone, so we can have cider or cocoa when the walk is over. Or maybe he plans to throw it on us to get us to move faster. I'm not clear on that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reason #12 I'm glad I married Mike

(For clarity's sake, let me just say there are way more than 12 reasons why I'm glad I married you, Mike. Like how you always try out new nicknames. For example cookie sheet or tractor beam.)

The other night we went to see Sherlock Holmes with Mike's parents and his brother. After the movie we stopped at Barnes and Noble(s, as his family sometimes calls it) to kill some time before dinner. I was looking at cookbooks, and Mike came to get me because he wanted to show me something he liked. He took me over to the sci-fi/comic book/manga section, and when we got there (there were like 5 rather dorky kids sitting on the floor in the middle of all the shelves, reading various books from that section) he pointed to a book on display smack dab in the middle of the manga section. Asthma for Dummies.