I Like This:

“And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. Those who can sit in silence with [others], not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken.”

-Henri Nouwen


I spent the last week fully convinced that I had MRSA. You should not be surprised to learn that my primary concern was not imminent doom, but how to get rid of it before my gynecologist appointment on Thursday. Seriously, nobody wants -anything- gross going on that particular day. Especially since a disgusting skin disease is not going to help in my attempt to convince Dr. K that I need some form of permanent (or at least semi-permanent) birth control. In case you're holding your breath, I'll just tell you in advance that this will be a failed attempt. I've tried every year for the past 5 years. You'd think that the fact that I've been consistent in my demands requests would be a good indicator that I won't wake up one day and say "hey, I think I'll have my tubal reversed!"

In any case I do not have MRSA, just some sort of contact dermatitis from either the harsh detergent that they use on my work scrubs or possibly my shaving cream. A little hydrocortisone cream seems to have (mostly) cleared it up. Continued care and I won't feel compelled to wear legwarmers to my doctor's appointment. Or maybe I will. The 80's are coming back, right?

Cheap Date Night

Justin and I are not as broke as we used to be, but still poor enough that occasionally we have to find super cheap entertainment for our date nights. Here's tonight's cheap date:

The supplies:Remember these?We also needed warm water, but that's not a very interesting picture.Nothing's happening....So Justin tried an alternate method:
Finally it "hatched."And now we have a whole flock of monsters.

(This isn't the whole date. The capsules were surprisingly less fun than we remembered from our childhoods. We also have a pile of Netflix movies.)

Life List: Learn to Like Coffee

I've been anti-coffee for years. I don't like bitter flavors and I don't like hot drinks and I don't have the patience to wait around for something to brew. For a short time, I couldn't even stand the smell of the ground beans on the coffee aisle at the grocery store. However, coffee has become a statement in this country, much the same way that tea is an institution in the UK and Ireland. There is nothing that can't be solved with a cup of tea (there) or a cup of coffee (here). There's also the fact that every time someone offered me coffee and I refused, they acted like I was crazy or had an immature palate. Plus, I'm a sucker for accessories, and coffee shops always have great mugs, etc. So I decided that I'd either have to learn to like it, or suck it up and drink it even if I didn't.

Step 1. The coffee make at work makes surprisingly good coffee (for coffee). When I switched to a night schedule, the first few nights I really needed the caffeine boost to get me through, and in the beginning, I never had money for the soda machine. I'd mix half a cup of coffee with half a cup of milk and more sugar than any person has a right to ingest after the age of 10. Every week I upped the coffee and cut down on the milk (and after that first night switched to Splenda). So now my coffee looks (and tastes) more like coffee and less like a milkshake.

Step 2. Justin has wanted a coffee maker for years. We had one for awhile, but I (accidentally, I swear!) broke the pot and we had to throw the whole mess away. A couple of weeks ago, we ordered a Keurig. It makes one cup of coffee at a time, so I don't have to worry about scorched coffee sitting around in the kitchen, and I don't have to wash a pot. As an added bonus, it brews the coffee in individual pods (k cups!), so I never have to clean up coffee grounds. (Bleh.) It brews in about 2 minutes, and is -exactly- the right temperature, so I don't have to wait for the coffee to cool off enough to drink.
There are hundreds of flavors of coffee, and K cups that make hot cocoa and various sorts of teas. It's very fancy. I like Timothy's Donut Blend coffee with Italian cream flavored creamer and I feel just like a grown up.

Gotta Get Outta Here!

The Texas Board of "Education" has voted to remove Neil Armstrong, Caeser Chavez, Thurgood Marshall, Stephen F. Austin (?!), Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Franklin D. Roosevelt (among others) from history and social studies textbooks. They also plan to add references to Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh (among others) because "liberals outnumber references to people that identify themselves as conservative."

There are a lot of reasons why this is ridiculous, but don't they realize that it’s not surprising that a social studies text would tend to focus more on the people who push for social change? (Generally people classified as 'liberals.') You don’t tend to get into the history books by maintaining the status quo unless you fail spectacularly at it. (-cough-RickPerry-cough-)

Another proposed change in the social studies standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, includes referring to the United States as a republic instead of a democracy in order to insinuate that "republican" is better than "democratic." Brainwashing much?

Here are some more great accomplishments that my (and I use that term loosley) state has made:

Texas is ranked
*49th in teacher pay
*1st in the percentage of people over 25 without a high school diploma
*41st in high school graduation rate
*46th in SAT scores
*1st in percentage of uninsured children
*1st in percentage of population uninsured
*1st in percentage of non-elderly uninsured
*3rd in percentage of people living below the poverty level
*49th in average WIC benefit payments
*1st in teenage birth rate (With my very own Lubbock in the lead)
*50th in average credit scores for loan applicants
*1st in air pollution emissions
*1st in volume of volatile organic compounds released into the air
*1st in amount of toxic chemicals released into water
*1st in amount of recognized carcinogens released into air
*1st in amount of carbon dioxide emissions
*50th in homeowners’ insurance affordability
*50th in percentage of voting age population that votes
*1st in annual number of executions

This is a popular bumper sticker here:

Perhaps someone should market one that says "Living in Texas? Get out while you still can!"

Life List

I'm taking a cue from Maggie and putting together my life list. This isn't everything that I want to do, but it's a good start at getting it down on paper. I tried to only list things that I think I'm actually capable of accomplishing, eventually, and a few things that I already have. (It's encouraging if you can mark a few things off from the start.) Here goes:

Learn to speak French
Crochet an afghanVisit India
Live in a home I'm proud of 
Decorate said home perfectly
Learn to walk safely in heels
Assist in surgery

Develop a signature style
Go to a fancy spa and get the works
Visit the Winchester Mystery House
Get perfect porcelain veneers
Work on a political campaign
Find just the right perfume
Learn to like coffee
Live through a moment when real history is made
Take my nieces to Europe
See Willie Nelson in concert
Win a hand of Blackjack in Vegas
Learn to make activated charcoal soap
Live in a blue state
Attend Carnaval in Brazil
Bask in the sun on a beautiful beach
Have a drink named after me
Direct a musical
Own a professional grade camera
Learn to take really good pictures
Learn to make Nan's cherry cobbler
Have a llama and a donkey as pets
Grow a vegetable garden
Learn to make margaritas from scratch
Go on a real honeymoon
Throw a rockin' Halloween party
Personalize my own nail polish color
Go to Disneyland
Go to the Tony awards
Hit 50 thousand visitors on my blog
Sing karaoke
Ice skate in Rockefeller Center
Go one full year without falling down
Develop my digital photos
Own a mac, see what the fuss is about
Get a professional bikini wax 
Read all of Ovid's Metamorphoses
Own a hybrid (or fully electric) vehicle
Visit Monaco
Hold hands with Neil Patrick Harris 
Purchase designer sunglasses
Avoid losing designer sunglasses
Learn about my great-grandparents
Visit Salem at Halloween
Live in France for a year
Learn to make a really fancy dessert
Host a holiday dinner at my house

  • The Best Thing Out of England

    If you aren't listening to Florence & The Machine, you should be.

    The music makes me want to dance around in a really primal way, which may not be attractive, but -feels- amazing. Better than chocolate. Better than sex. Better than drugs. (Just guessing on that last one.)

    Speaking of drugs, there's a PSA playing here that says "7 out of 10 high school students say they've been offered illegal drugs." How much of a loser was I in high school, that nobody offered me drugs? In fact, no one has -ever- offered me drugs. 7 out of 10? Clearly I hung out with the wrong crowd. (Or the right one...)

    Nightmares Coming True!!

    So, the first time I taught a class by myself, it was 3rd grade. Throughout the morning a little girl complained of an earache, so when the nurse finally arrived (they only work something like an hour a day at each school!) I sent her to be looked at. About 30 minutes later, the nurse came in and told me that she was sending the child home because there was a bug in her ear and she needed to see a doctor. A. Bug. In. Her. Ear!!!!! From that moment forward, this has been my very worst fear. It's the primary reason that I refuse to go camping.

    Right now, we have these bugs in our house.

    They're called cucumber beetles, and they're tiny. I'm not sure why they're in our house, since I'm not growing cucumbers, but whatever. It's not an infestation or anything, just a few that sneak in when we open the door at night. For some reason, they're really drawn to my bedroom, and I'll find one my bed occasionally. (You know, as I'm turning back the sheets.) I get rid of them and it's all fine. (Do you see how calm I am? Not having a nervous breakdown at all...) Except it's -not- fine, because if there's a bug on my pillow, chances are it's going to end up on me somewhere. Or worse, in my ear. Auggggh!

    Then, quite suddenly, the bugs were gone. Every year, this area gets some sort of plague, beetles or crows or locusts, and they always disappear as quickly as they arrived. I thought that was the end of it. I stopped checking my bed. TERRIBLE MISTAKE.

    Then it happened. I woke up a few days ago, unsure of what had startled me. And then I felt it. A tickle in my ear. I thought it was my hair (the new short layers are always tickling my face) so I moved to brush it away and there it was. A. BUG. IN. MY. EAR. Auggggggggghhhhhh!!!! I screamed and jumped around and got it out, but now I'm a total basket case at bedtime. I wake up a thousand times a night (day) to check my pillows and my ears and it's a total nightmare. FAAAAhh!!

    I can't wait 'til winter.

    In a completely unrelated note, Wonka Gummy Puckerooms are a very naughty candy: