Cat-Man-Do

Can't remember if I've ever written about it before, but there is a house in my neighborhood that is the local cat morning hangout. If I run early enough, my path is repeatedly crossed by local felines as they meander over for their morning communal.

I always assumed that the house belonged to a Cat Lady, and I secretly noted its existence as a cautionary tale of what I hope to avoid in my life. In addition to my severe cat allergy, I also refuse to get sucked into that particular stereotype.

Several months ago, I caught my first glimpse of Cat Lady, only to learn that she was actually a he: a barrel chested waddler of a man who was wearing a blue velour-ish sweat suit the first time I caught a glimpse.

This morning? He came out in a baseball cap. And a yellow button-down shirt. And a towel. Yep. Cat Man waddled outside in his towel to get the morning paper and put out breakfast for his four-legged neighborhood friends (one of which was lounging on top of Cat Man's old Cadillac giving himself an early bath).

I has to turn away when Cat Man bent over to pick up the paper, for fear that that towel might break free and I might get my second glance of an elderly gentleman's ass in little more than a week. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I don't feel like I'm spoiling anything when I tell you that the hospital scene in The Hangover has scarred me for life. No man will ever get to make cellulite jokes in my presence again now that I know just how other-worldly their asses have the potential to become. Close your eyes ladies. Close. Your. Eyes.


Posted at 8:21 AM
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Friday Night Lights Out

Last night I went to dinner with the Mighty Mime Mafia. Over pasta and sangiovese, myself and Mime 4 were comparing our level of first-week-of-school exhaustion. 4 remembered how our first year teaching one of our mentors had warned us that we would finish each day of the first week by crawling into bed at 6:30pm and passing out. 12 years later, it still surprises me how tired I am this first week.

It's a lot like running. I haven't run in two weeks--mainly because the back-to-school rush makes it uber-difficult for me to pull my butt out of bed early enough in the mornings--and I am dreading my planned run tomorrow because I've lost my momentum, so it's almost like the first run all over again. School is like that. The first week is building up momentum to push you through the rest of the year (or at least until Labor Day weekend in another week).

So I guess I shouldn't feel all that old for having fallen asleep last night at the oh-so-late hour of 8:30 p.m. Nor should I feel old for actually being happy to be sitting on my couch on a Friday night, looking forward to falling asleep while reading.


Posted at 8:14 PM
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Tomorrow

The NaBloPoMo topic for this month is tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. By 8 a.m. 1900+ students and 200 faculty and staff members will all converge on the building, and right about that time, my phone will start to ring.

This past week has been all about preparing for the first day back, and as evidenced by my lack of posting, it pretty much took over my life. I worked late every day this week, answered emails up until 10:00 p.m. some nights, and I even spent 4 hours yesterday and 2 hours this afternoon up at work, trying to finish preparing computers and projection systems for the first day back.

Tomorrow I will be carried along on a wave of adrenaline and panic. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be multiple rooms where sound won't be working for some odd reason, and at least one teacher will somehow mysteriously rewire her document camera so that she can't see her computer displayed on her monitor. And then there will be the teacher who calls me in a panic, and the problem will turn out to be a power plug pulled out of its socket. Those calls are hard to finish without embarrassing someone: They always want to know what was wrong, and when I tell them, they inevitably turn bright red.

Tomorrow I will run myself ragged, I will probably get 10 minutes for lunch, and I will stumble home late for dinner and will fall asleep on the couch before the take-out arrives.

Tomorrow I will know what to expect the rest of the year. The tone will be set, the whiners will be identified, and the heroes will be revealed.

But it's not tomorrow yet. Today, I have a few more hours of "vacation" during which I plan to park my scrawny butt on my recently vacuumed couch, in my recently cleaned living room, to read my not-so-recently downloaded novel on my beloved Kindle, Kipling.

For the moment, the phone is quiet and life is good.


Posted at 5:05 PM
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CSI: The Suburbs

This morning I am lying peacefully in bed, minding my own business, dreaming my little Daisy dreams when I am jolted awake by some woman yelling outside.

Now, I live in a nice neighborhood. Scratch that. I live in a very nice neighborhood. So, we don't have much screaming outside at 4:00 a.m., especially not since the folks who used to live next door to me got divorced and moved away. We also don't get many 4:00 a.m. visits from four police patrol cars like he ones that were camped out in front of my house for an hour and a half (one of which is still there). Makes a girl curious as to what exactly happened on her street at 4:00 a.m. Which explains why this morning I got to play the role of Gladys on Bewitched, peeking out the window for over an hour, watching the police officers as they shined their Maglites up and down the block finally converging on a suspicious car parked in front of my new neighbors' house. (Suspicious, of course, because 5 police officers were all shining flashlights into all the windows while they made notes.)

Now another car has arrived, and the driver (a man wearing an official looking monogrammed golf shirt) has joined the sole remaining officer in shining his much smaller flashlight into the windows of the aforementioned suspicious vehicle.

After all of the NCIS and Law & Order marathons I've been watching with Winged Monkey lately, I have this overwhelming urge to go outside and start "canvasing the neighborhood" for any "leads" on the "perp". Of course, I would probably be more effective if I actually knew what the hell had happened to prompt so much attention from the local five-o. The bad news is, I don't really know my neighbors all that well, so I'm probably going to have to wait until Monday when I can ask the officer assigned to our campus at work to find out the details for me.

In the meantime, I now understand why Gladys was always spying from her kitchen window. The whole nosy neighbor routine makes a girl hungry. Unfortunately, I ate all the leftovers in the fridge for dinner last night, so there's not much available in the way of breakfast. :(

I wonder if they would stop me for questioning if I left my house to make a run to Taco Cabana?


Posted at 5:42 AM
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Sid Caesar Lives

Last night was trivia night again, and our usual group welcomed redheadedali to the ranks. (You can read her wonderful post recently featured on The Enchanted Inkpot here.) Consequently, we kicked some Name That Tune Round ass, since in addition to being generally brilliant, redheadedali is pretty much a walking music encyclopedia.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only round out of 8 in which we fared at all well.

Out of a possible 80 points, we scored a measly 35 1/2. Pathetic. We didn't even manage half of the answers in the Nerd Round. Do you have any idea how demoralizing that is to a table of self-proclaimed uber-nerds?

Even Winged Monkey was shocked at our poor showing, especially when I revealed that I had been unable to remember the name of Crockett's pet alligator in Miami Vice in the Television Round. (WM was apparently a big Miami Vice fan during his teen years and has been making Miami Vice references sporadically ever since the new Psych commercial featuring the Miami Vice theme song started airing.)

The night was not a complete loss, however. I learned that Sid Caesar, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Yogi Berra are all still alive and well; I learned that Lou Gehrig was the first athlete featured on a Wheaties box (our guess, Bruce Jenner, was second); and I learned that people drive on the left side of the road in Malta. Much knowledge was added to my store of useless facts.

At least I can feel secure in the knowledge that I remembered Rose's hometown of St. Olaf on The Golden Girls. Because really, when it comes right down to it, Rose makes just about everyone smile. While Zsa Zsa? Well, she's hit or miss in the smile department.



Posted at 7:37 PM
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Winding Down

Every day the summer winds down a little faster. Last week I spent three days up at work, teaching classes and ordering new computers. The building was still relatively empty of teachers, but the custodial and maintenance crews were out in full force, painting and cleaning carpets. The football and volleyball players have already taken up residence in the gym and stadiums. And the city road crew is scurrying to finish repairs on the main street that runs alongside the high school before the full faculty returns next Monday.

This morning I automatically woke up at 6:00 and was only able to stall my morning run for 30 minutes before my brain wouldn't allow me anymore time in bed. It's almost as if over the years my body has amended my natural circadian rhythm to self-adjust for fall. This time next week I'll be up an hour earlier, and my nose will be firmly planted against the proverbial grindstone.

Part of me is ready to get back to work. A girl can only watch so many episodes of Law and Order and Burn Notice, after all. But another part of me is in no hurry to once again deal with the mechanical minutia of my job. Sometimes, I miss the actual classroom. Not the papers, or the grade grubbing, or the overly-involved parents who haven't yet realized that little Timmy is now old enough to be charged with a felony and therefore needs to be responsible for turning in his homework. I don't miss any of that nonsense, not for half a second. But I do miss the discussions, and the discovery, and the sense of family and purpose I used to have with my students.

I got an email from a former student last week. I had him in class 6 years ago, and last Tuesday, out of the blue, he sends me an email to say thank you for always being in a good mood in his class and for being a good teacher to him and his friends. I have no idea what event in his life made him think of me and my class, or what was so powerful as to make him take the time to sit down, find my new school, and email me, but his note made me think of all the students I've impacted, for better or worse, and how privileged I have been to play some small role in all those lives.

I can think of only a handful of professions that have that kind of perk. Makes me feel lucky that I found my way into this one.


Posted at 7:30 AM
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My Tax Dollars at Work

Dear Senate-

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for voting to continue the Cash for Clunkers program. Because of your foresight and generosity, I am finally able to trade in my 11 year old Jeep Cherokee with its combined mileage rating of 16 MPG for an adorable little MINI Cooper that gets a combined 27 MPG. In addition, I will now be making a monthly car payment, something I haven't done in 6 years, and while that will be somewhat annoying, at least I can take comfort in the fact that I'm once again doing my part in our screwed up, debt-driven economy. Besides, if my money can't earn anything in any of our banks, I might as well be using it to finance my cute little chili red Cooper S, complete with sunroof and white bonnet stripes.

I know that your main aim was to throw me and 749,999 other hard-working Americans back into debt to help bail out the failing auto industry, but at least my giving in to the consumerist culture so ingrained in my being will have the pleasant side effect of cleaning up a small percentage of the greenhouse gases said mindset has caused to be spewed into the atmosphere over the past 100 years. According to CNN Money, the "good for the environment" angle used to help sell the bill to begin with actual has some merit, as the average program trade-in results in a 61% increase in fuel economy.

Perhaps you guys aren't quite as full of shit as most of we lay folk think you are.

Sincerely,
Your (soon to be) MINI-driving Daisy



:)


Posted at 11:35 PM
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"I like living dangerously...heh."

Just got back from a sneak preview of the film Paper Hearts, starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera, and I can honestly say that it was a completely delightful film about the meaning of love.



I have not smiled that much in a movie in years. It was quirky and creative and left me leaving the theater feeling lighter than when I went in. I like that in a movie.


Posted at 10:03 PM
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Not to point out the obvious...

Every year I read at least 25 books. That's been the benchmark for I don't know how long now, and I've managed to meet my "minimum reading requirement" every year since I set the mark. It keeps me thinking, it keeps me happy, it keeps me sane. If I go more than a week or so without reading my head tends to get a bit muddled and my dreams become downright dreary.

Some people drink, some people smoke, some people shop. I read.

Lately, I've been a bit non-committal with the books though. I've been reading a chapter or two every day, but right now I've got three going at the same time: one for it's message, one for it's style, and one for it's fluffy distraction.

It's no surprise then that I'm a bit behind from the month of July, not having finished a one of the three. So, today I decided I would finish The Book Thief, which is honestly one of the most beautifully written novels I've picked up in the last 5 years. Two pages in I was completely taken with the language, but for that same reason, I've been working my way through it at a snail's pace.

Now I'm down to the last 50 pages, and I have a feeling it is going to take a strong will to finish it. In the midst of the staggering imagery and masterful verbal gymnastics, I have also come to love Liesel, and Hans, and Rosa, and Rudy, and I am not ready for all of them to die. And it's not like it isn't expected, since pieces of the end are scattered throughout the novel, and the thing is set in Nazi Germany during WWII, and the narrator is Death, for cryin' out loud. I mean, I knew what I was getting into, but I'm still not looking forward to the how and why of it all.

I mean, I know everyone dies eventually, but that doesn't mean I want to watch all the people I love go, right?

And that's how I know that this was a good book: the fact that I am dreading the ending.

Last week, at the conference I attended in Boston I was told that 75% of all college graduates will never finish another book for the rest of their life after their graduation. I literally dropped my head into my hands and sat there dumbfounded for a minute. I can't imagine not having read anything in the last 11 years, and as a teacher it saddens me to think of all the stories and ideas those people are missing out on.

So, now I am going to allow myself the delusion that all 75% of those graduates had the great luck to pick up a book like The Book Thief, and it's not that they are too lazy, or too busy, or too illiterate, or too uninterested in books that keeps them from finishing one. I'm going to let myself believe that they simply found themselves so invested in whatever they were reading they simply didn't want it to end.

It's all in how you look at it.


Posted at 9:02 PM
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It's Good to Have Goals!

Got home late Friday night because of weather delays (read that as: sat on the end of a runway for 2 hours waiting to take off from Boston, only to have to sit on the end of a runway in Dallas for 40 minutes waiting for them to clear a gate for our plane once we got here, as if they didn't know we were coming) and was unbelievably happy to sleep in my own bed with my own pillow.

There is nothing like a moldy hotel room, no matter how historic, to make you appreciate your very own (albeit rented) home.

Saturday was mostly a couch/nap/I'm-going-to-use-my-late-arrival-as-an-excuse-to-hide-from-the-rest-of-the-world-because-I'm-just-too-lazy-to-deal-with-them-today-and-I'll-be-forced-to-deal-with-them-soon-enough-since-my-summer-is-almost-over day. The one item on the agenda? To post for NaBloPoMo, since it was the first of the month, so that I would be off to a good start on yet another attempt at 30 straight days of posting.

So, I stopped by their website, picked up a nifty badge and posted it in my sidebar. Then I promptly set my computer down to order dinner...and failed to pick it back up again last night. :(

I am going to blame it on Extreme Pizza, as they were extremely disappointing, as in they never showed up...at all...forcing the WM and myself to order Papa John's and wait another 30 minutes on top of the previous 1 1/2 hours we had already waited. My blood sugar was so low, I actually fell asleep on the couch before the replacement pizzas finally got here.

So thanks, Extreme Pizza, for not only charging my credit card and then closing before you sent out my pie so that I now have to call you back today for a refund, but also for contributing to my missing my goal before I had even had a chance to start.

However, in the style of Benjamin Zander, who I had the pleasure of hearing speak this week, I have decided to "create a new framework" and move myself "beyond the f*$% it" (or btfi, if you will) and view my tardiness as a subconscious attempt to internalize the theme NaBloPoMo has selected for the month of August: Tomorrow.

Yesterday I subconsciously decided to start my NaBloPoMo tomorrow.

How's that for justified procrastination? I should be a politician.


Posted at 9:19 AM
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Daisy's Tweets

My Momma Taught Me To Share

Tag, you're it!