Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Reading List!

I am WILDLY excited.

I just got a job.  Not only do I finally feel legitimated as an adult and a teacher, but I also finally feel like things are turning around a bit for me and my darling hubband.  He got a job too (which is very thrilling) and we're finally getting set up in our new life.  I know it wasn't really that long (it's not even our three month anniversary yet) but boy did it feel like forever.  I hate being unemployed and every day felt like a year.

More than that, I am so very stoked to do what my job actually entails: teaching 5th grade English.  Ohmygoodness there's just so much exciting stuff that goes into it!  We're going to be reading and writing and working with technical literature and grammar and regular literature and poetry and creativity and growing our minds and exploring our world!  Could you ask for anything more?

Currently, I am asking some more of myself.  I made up a reading list for my kiddos just yesterday (so long ago, I know).  Now, I've read about half the books on that list, but I feel that I really should know the material before I ask them to read it.  My challenge, then, is to read the rest of the books before school starts!  First up, The Wind in the Willows!  And next up, Bud, Not Buddy.  It's nice, too, because some of these I'm looking at and thinking "How the hell have I never read this book before?"  Like, for example, Number the Stars.  How on earth did I not read that?

I.   Love.  These.  Books.  I always have.  When I was in upper elementary school, I read A TON.  I know, shocking.  I was even in Battle of the Books so that I could read extra.  Some of my all-time favorite books are from there and from this age-range: There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, Bridge to Terabithia, The View from Saturday, Phoenix Rising, Gregor the Overlander. . .the list goes on and on.   One of the best parts about this job is now I get to TEACH these books!  How awesome is that!  And I have close to 100 kids (or more) all a captive audience for me to gush about Gregor.  I know, it's a bit of abuse of power, but WHATEVER.  It's a fantastic book and I want them to know about it.

But all of these are fantastic books, and I am going to read every last one of them so that I can tell them, with 100% certainty, that they are awesome.  Plus, I need to know if there's violence or nudity or profanity or something else questionable for the age level that we need to be aware of.  There's nothing worse than leading a sensitive young student into a graphically violent novel where they get super grossed out.  That was definitely me and Hatchet.  I so do not want to try to read it again, but at the same time I feel compelled to do so.  Ugh.  Oh well, hip hip hooray for books!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Heebie-Jeebies


That's not really an emotion I like to have coursing through me like the Mississippi in the middle of the night.  Especially when there is no ax murderer hanging over my bed (i.e. no real cause for the panic).

But do you know what I mean?  Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night completely and irrationally freaked out by something?  Or woken up and been wildly happy?  If you have, read on for feelings of familiarity and mutual experiences, and if you haven't, read on for some hilarious-in-the-light-of-day stories.

So I'm a girl who has very vivid, complex dreams that usually include a storyline of epic proportions.  If only Chuck Heston was still alive, they'd use him as the lead and make these into movies.  Every so often, I'll be dreaming about something and not realize I'm dreaming.  Like, for example, BUGS.  And then I FREAK OUT.

This one night, I think I was still in high school, I dreamt that an army of spiders were coming up through my mattress right into the middle of my back.  I freaked out so hardcore that without even being fully cogent and awake, I grabbed my Puppy and all my blankets and rolled completely off the bed.  I was really into the idea of sleeping on the floor for a while.  I had to get up and turn on the light and poke around my bed for five minutes before I was willing to accept the fact that my dream just seemed extra real.

Here's another pro tip: don't read about serial killers right before bed.  Then you dream that they have a luminous green poison that's seeping across your arm and is going to kill you and then they're going to skin you, boil all the flesh off you, rearticulate you, and sell you to a doctor as a classroom skeleton.  Try going back to sleep after that.

It's not always bad, though.  Right after we moved in up here, my husband and I were sleeping and I suddenly woke up.  I just felt so happy to be with him and to be here and not in the Valley and I just couldn't handle it.  So I turned over and went whapwhapwhapwhapwhapwhapwhap. . .whap on his bottom.  In my mind, it was a happy noise, and once I was done, I blissfully turned right back over and went to sleep.  Understandably, my husband did not think that was a happy smack.  He thought there was an intruder or something was wrong.  So the poor guy wakes up all disoriented and concerned, and he comes and leans over me and is all like, "Babe, what's wrong?  What is it?"  Meanwhile, I've already gone back to sleep, so now I'm confused.  Pile a little on top of that because I'm thinking, "Uh, that was a happy noise, clearly there's nothing wrong," and basically tell him so.  Poor guy gets woken up for nothing.

Yet another night, I turned to him, frantic, and said, "WHERE DID ALL THE PEOPLE GO?"

Yeah, can't explain that one.

Last night (and sort of why I bring all this up), I woke up, all snuggled up with my Puppy, and I could have sworn I felt an extra heartbeat.  Now this was like the freakout of all freakouts.  Stuffed animals do not have heartbeats.  Clearly.  So my mind went immediately to bugs.  I don't know why, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to feel bug heartbeats either.  So I fa-reak out and roll over and snuggle up reeeeeeeeeeal close to my husband.  Being the kind person he is, he sort of wakes up and asks me what's wrong, so I ask him if there could be anything in my Puppy.  Dutifully (and truthfully), he says no, and then turns over to spoon me.  Unfortunately, I'm already freaked out, so this was helpful and detrimental all at the same time.  He is a heavy guy sometimes, and it got a little hard for me to breathe, and then I started feeling his heartbeat.  And it was going THUBATHUBATHUBATHUBATHUBA  at breaknight lightspeed.  Naturally, I felt concerned over this, and started hyperventilating.  Then, concerned that I was hyperventilating, he asked me what was wrong, and I go, "Your heartbeat is so fast!  Have you ever had that checked out??"

The long and short of these stories is:  I am waaaaaaaay too easily freaked out and messed with by my dreams, and my husband is a saint for putting up with these shenanigans.  So if you get the heebie-jeebies, remember -- you can sleep when you're dead.

Pro tip #2.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Here it is and we are fast approaching the one-month mark of moving up from the insanity of the Valley.


All in all, I think we're having a good time.  It is so nice to be living on our own.  We have the most adorable little apartment.  The crown jewel of our little living space is our couch -- a Lovesac giant that takes up all the space in our tiny living room but is just the best couch ever!  The first week up here, every afternoon I would do nothing but nap on that thing.  We have our beautiful new, classy black slipcovers and our homemade purple afghan (courtesy of Rose's Crochet Creations) which compliments it perfectly. It's finally feeling very homey -- I put up all my pictures and my books and my knicknacks.  The boy has set up all his games and technology and connected up the Internet, so he's pretty happy.  I love our bedset, too. . .when I get it with all the big pillows on their it feels so nice and comfy!  It's nice to have a snuggle buddy, too, hee hee hee.

Perhaps my favorite thing about our apartment, in terms of decorating, is our bathroom.  We got kiddy-themed decorations and they really put a smile on my face.  We have this cute shower curtain that has cartoon, brightly colored sea animals all over it with matching soap and toothbrush holders and curtain hangers.  It just makes me so happy!  I love it!  Coming home is so nice, I hardly want to leave.

The weather up here is absolutely gorgeous, too.  I do keep forgetting that it's easy to get sunburned up here, but I think I'm finally getting a nice even tan (even if it is accidental).  For like eight years I've had a farmer's tan and I might actually have evened out my shoulders with the rest of my arms.  Woot!  Sometimes it can get a bit warm, but then the gale-force wind kicks in and it gets nice and cool again.  I am waiting patiently for the clouds, however.  They'll probably come in July or August, but I'm missing them right now.  The other thing that's nice is that I get to walk so much more -- I feel like I'm actually getting a little natural exercise.  I could still use a little more, but hey.

The other exciting thing (ha) is that we spent our first month here watching the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I had tried to start watching it with my mom, but we thought it was too campy.  Philip was all excited about it, so I decided to try it again with someone who had an already positive attitude towards it.  And I was well rewarded!  It was so much fun!  I really love that Joss Whedon sense of humor.  My favorite type of humor is the little slip-ins.  You know, like something hilarious going on in the background.  The funny lines that are said really dead-pan and quiet so that they're easy to miss but if you catch them you're well-rewarded.  That's kinda Buffy all over.  So it was enjoyable -- just what to watch next.  I guess it will have to be Angel.

Other than that, I am not really reading anything anybody who wants to stay conscious wants to hear about, so I will close with this:

It's adventure time!  Summer fun is just around the corner!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Snow Whatever and the Random People

I love movies.  I mean, who doesn't, right?  Well, some people, like how there are some people who don't like chocolate.  I don't get them, but they're out there.  Anyhow, with movies, I have certain things I really enjoy.  Good acting, a great script, fun special effects. . .and when they all come together, you have perfect movie magic.

Sometimes, none of these things come together and all we can do is gleefully mock it to our heart's content.

This blog posting will contain spoilers for Snow White and the Huntsman.  Because Kristen Stewart has the right blend of blah mojo to ruin any major motion picture.

I mean, seriously, I genuinely don't get her appeal.  She's fine but not super pretty, and she can't act her way out of a paper bag.  Her only real draw is that she's Bella and that draws huge crowds of tweenyboppers which translates into cash elsewhere.  Like in pointless reimaginings of fairy tales.

My first problem with this movie was that there was hardly any background or dialogue.  I think they were scared of giving Kristen Stewart more to do than look scared.  Either that, or her character was actually mentally traumatized by years of imprisonment in a dark tower like she would be in real life.  When I read that biography of Catherine the Great recently, there was mention of several princes and noblepeople who got imprisoned in horrible, dank cells for quite a few years.  Inevitably, their minds were broken and they were insane shells of people when they were finally released, and no one to rally behind at all.  When you think of it that way, you really have to pity the regular joe schmoe townspeople.

Kristen Stewart's lack of ability to manage scripts more complex than a Dick and Jane picture book or the Twilight series severely impinges on the quality of this movie.  There is no real character development.  There's some background from the other actors, but for some reason it just doesn't sink in.  It never really makes the movie richer.  And nothing is quite explained enough.  Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman is all depressed because the queen sucked his wife dry for her youth and he's all salty and cool, but then suddenly he's so impressed with Snow White he's the one who can give her the kiss of true love, bringing her back to life.  What?  When did that happen?  There could have been an awesome love story, maybe a decent triangle, but no.  There was no real working up to it.  It just sort of was.  Plus, he definitely makes reference to fighting in a war that happened when she was like 9.  He's like twice her age.  And she's probably still a minor.  Ewwwwwwwww.  Then, the queen's powers come from the blood of the fairest, but it's not really explained, so Snow White kills her using blood?  Not really sure how that happened and I don't think she does either.  There's no real conflict, either.  At the end, after she kills the big bad queen, Snow White stares at her reflection in the Mirror Mirror on the Wall, but that's it.  There's no moment of seduction, there's no moral dilemma about whether or not to use the mirror for her own powers, there's no grand refusal where she hurls it to the ground, it's just "well ain't I pretty and now it's time to be crowned".  The same goes for the dwarves.  It's all like, "we used to mine for gold but now we're all sad," but that's about it.  There's no real attachment.  Which is a shame, because they could've been something really great about the movie.  I guess if I want enjoyable dwarf fun I'll have to wait for The Hobbit.  Errrrghhhhhh, I'm not a patient person!  Gah.

When there's no real attachment to the characters or their story, then everything else is just kind of pointless.  The special effects were fine.  But what's the point of making Charlize Theron turn into a bunch of crows if we have no idea why?  It's just like, "well that looks cool".  And, truth be told, it was kind of a bit much.  In the magical fairy land, EVERYTHING MOVES.  It's overstimulating.  It would be more powerful if only some things moved.  But when the ground writhes, it doesn't seem beautiful, it just seems creepy.

The last thing that was really awful about this movie was that it dragged on forever.  Sort of like this blog posting, I know.  The pace was slow and disjointed, and even the action didn't feel like anything was really happening.  Those movies are the absolute worst.  You're just begging for a reason to enjoy them and they just can't give you one.

All in all, don't go see this movie unless you want a good giggle.  I've really enjoyed ripping it to pieces in this blog.  But it's not good for anything else.

Go see The Pirates, instead.  It was hilarious and super British and inventive.