simple and to the point.

This blog entry will be simple and to the point, how I prefer to do things these days. I'm not even going to add a picture to it, though I've managed to tag it. Also, I have to leave for work in 30 minutes, so I can be a team leader. I'm leading a team this year. I'm a leader. I'm leading others. This year. I'm responsible. For leading. (I'm saying this over and over again so you and I and anyone else who accidentally pops in to read this can really, really marinate in both the irony and horror of that.)

So my classroom is (mostly) put together. Until the children come and take it apart. I can't find my 5 personal CD players I use(d) as a listening center for books on CD that donorschoose.org (and my sweet cousins Kathy & Bill donated, hi Kathy & Bill!) bought for me/my students. This is a summertime problem at our school; things going missing over June and July. We've never been able to figure it out. One year, a 3 drawer plastic box thingy of mine was taken. Other people have been missing personal trash cans and other things, the most upsetting items have been things that aren't worth much but have great sentimental value to them. 

I find taking things from teachers (and, thus, children) to be incredibly reprehensible behavior. But it's cool, whatever. Enjoy your school contraband. Have fun being part of the problem not the solution. (In all fairness, I may have packed the CD players up really well and will eventually stumble upon them...and a friend told me to check in the Library. There was a massive retrieval of old media equipment over the summer - no one uses overhead projectors these days - and so they may have been taken by mistake.) (Except for the fact that a very large boombox remained in the room, untouched/unwanted.)

I'd go back to donorschoose.org asking for more stuff, but it was too much work. I had to follow like 10 steps to say thank you, and...jesus christ, I'm teaching the future of the world! I'm playing a part in creating a civilized, educated society. (A) why must I even beg for the things I need to do this, and (B) where are MY thank you's??

I apologize if that sounded really ungrateful. I'm just in a weird mood today. Smarties Candy donated most of the stolen/missing personal CD players. Please go buy some Smarties Candy today, because they're awesome people. And thanks to donorschoose.org. You're great people, too. I'll figure it out.

I'm working on a short story about a family caught between time; every 3 years the mother disappears somewhere to the past for an extended period of time (sometimes a week, sometimes a year) and the dad and children have to cope with never knowing if she'll come back. But every 3 years she does, and when this particular story begins she's come back pregnant. That's as far as I've gotten. Should I add pirates to it? I really feel like swashbuckling pirates should be part of the plot.

One day, I'll find someone to publish my inanity. For now, I just write for me. Ditto this blog. Ditto all my social media status updates. I think that's how we should do everything, all of us. If you're doing it for someone other than yourself, you're doing it wrong. Do it because you love it, or don't do it. 

And STOP taking things that don't belong to you. 

(I'm done now. Carry on.)


angsty wishes.

My credit card situation is dire - I just took a look at it. Will put it away for another (emergency only) day, and live within my means. (Or until I can pay it down enough to start feeling like Daddy Warbucks again.)

I have to go set up my classroom. It is time again. And, because I can't emotionally bear to deal with that right now, I went to clean up my computer files. And look at what I found! A poem. From a time I must have been feeling poetic. Apparently, the last time I was feeling poetic was 2008, since that's when I copyrighted it.

And so this is all I'm sharing today: a poem I wrote a long while ago. (Listen to me: I promise you'd rather read this than anything else I'd write today because anything else I'd write today would be either full of depressive angst about having to go back to work full-time on someone else's strict schedule next week, or it would be full of anxious angst about how fast I can drive up a credit card balance.) 

I'll be back with something meatier when I'm less angst-y.

Starry Dreams by Adarhi

Beggar's Wish

Between stories of dragons and knights,
Gnomes and elves, sleeping girls, castles of glass,
I learned of beggars' wishes, those
Most wistful to be horses.
I learned how to dream out loud on
Stars glittering high in steamy night skies.
I learned that were I a beggar,
And could my wishes be horses,
I would ask all that glitters for Arabians and Thoroughbreds and the most Untameable of Wild Mustangs
To gallop away on a thousand dreams
Through forests of Heaven, across beaches of Galaxies,
Where we’d lie on miles of white sands
Crushed from stars, ground from ages of cobalt crashing skies.
I’d wish for you, your body on mine, your breath in my soul.
I would wish for endless summer nights,
Swirling hot skies painted with dark blue inks,
Sparkling wishes from the deepest dreams.
I'd wish for gnomes and elves, sleeping girls in
Glass castles, and I would wish for knights and dragons,
soft wild manes flying scattered over my face.
But at the soul of my wish would be all the stars,
For you to be with me,
that we’d be tossed far into millions of silent depths
Where we'd lie for Eternities,
Dreaming too many impossible dreams.

copyright 2008 by Amy Samson


mucky purposeful kindness. with chili coke.

This blog entry has two parts: 
Part One is about purposeful kindness, why it matters. And Part Two is completely off-topic and full of muck. Might I suggest only reading Part One? It's more uplifting and maybe you'll go help the elderly afterward.

Part One:

The other day, Miss M and I were eating lunch at a fast food place that will remain unnamed, but it starts with W and rhymes with schmendy's and they have fabulous chili even though one time some unscrupulous rednecks put a finger in it and tried to sue the company for a billion dollars and now I have to really focus on not thinking about forefingers in their chili but I still eat it anyway because it's so damn good.

So we were eating lunch there, and an old man walked in looking very confused. He slooowly, sloooowly made his way to the cashier and placed his order. Then he went to the self-serve soda machine to get his drink. You know those machines with touch screens and a gabillion options? Completely confounded him. 

I watched a nice lady in a business suit try to explain it to him and then help him figure out how to get ice. She set him up to pour his drink, but after she walked off he pressed something and his drink choice disappeared, putting him back at start. He was such a sweet old man - he wasn't upset or annoyed, just deeply confused by the whole situation. Bless it, I'm not sure he even knew where he was at or why he was there. And I could tell: this world is a place of frightening pandemonium for him. All these gadgets. The fast cars and too many choices. These fancy tv screens that deliver your drinks. Chaotic magic.

Then, the man across from us sent his 12 year old daughter over to ask if he'd like some help. He gratefully accepted and she patiently walked him through the whole thing. I watched the young teach the old...but he was sort of teaching her as well, yes? Teaching her patience and kindness and how to teach the unteachable. I looked over at the dad who was watching me watch them. I winked at him, he smiled back, and...well look at you, Coca-Cola! You actually DO make the world smile when you're shared.

The kindness of strangers. It made my whole day.

I wrote a story once (that I must find so I can send somewhere) about a high school boy named Nathan who wanted to kill himself after being abandoned by his parents and bullied by schoolmates throughout his life. He gets on his bike to ride 50 miles away to a motel where he intends to hang himself, But he decides to go to sleep instead and, in the morning, he wakes up and decides to have breakfast first. Then he decides to go to the library, where he meets a nice college girl who isn't mean to him, and they spend the afternoon talking and make plans to meet at the local cinema to see a movie the following afternoon.

Nathan goes back to the motel and, instead of hanging himself, he calls his grandparents. He tells them where he is, why he's there, and asks them to come get him. They do, and Nathan and the girl don't go to the movies but they stay in touch and eventually Nathan enlists in the Army and gets his head blown off. The end. (That ending actually didn't screen well in my writers' group, so I ended up changing it to something way more open-ended and uplifting.)

That was a fictionalized true story. Nathan was a real boy I knew, and I was a college girl who saved him from himself. But before you get all: awww, you're so awesome and kind, Amy! let me tell you how it really went down, because I was kind but not on purpose:

I was in college, and spending the summer at my parents' house. I got bored and drove to the library one hot afternoon. As I was looking for books, I noticed a boy stalking me amongst the shelves. Totally creepy. Finally, I asked him if he needed help and he said, "No, I just saw you and thought you were so pretty. I've been trying to find a way to talk to you." 

That was sweet, right? So eventually, I gave up trying to find a book because he wouldn't stop following me and it was creeping me out. Also, it was annoying so I thought: let me talk to him for a little bit and then make an excuse to get the hell out of here and go home, where it's safe.  He was tall and skinny and his skin was pockmarked and sallow. He had dried saliva at the sides of his mouth. His hair hadn't been washed in I don't know how long. 

But then he started to tell me his story, and his story was sad - he told me about his mom dumping him at his grandparents' house when he was 12 so she could run off with her drug-dealer boyfriend. He'd never known his dad, who'd been in jail for something heinous since before Nathan was born. We talked about how he'd just dropped out of high school; it didn't have anything in it for him and he had no friends. He asked me if I liked going to college and I said yes, and I told him there were all kinds of things he could do with himself...don't drop out of high school! 

We ended up going to a fast food place near the library (that started with a W and rhymed with the word schmendys that had great chili) and he asked me if he could be my boyfriend. Horrified, I told him I'd need to think about it and, uh, could we just start with maybe a movie first? 

So we made plans to meet the very next day at 2 pm at the movie theater.

(I bet you're going: oh, Amy...you're so nice! NO! No I am not. I was a shallow, immature college girl who just hadn't learned how to say no to anyone.) (for the record, now I am a shallow, mature professional woman who still hasn't learned how to say no to anyone.)

I left Nathan at the restaurant and drove home, shaking off the whole incident as weird and more evidence I would never marry a Brad Pitt lookalike; the man I was destined to marry would look and smell like feet (fortunately I was wrong...though I did end up marrying a man who has an aversion to feet). And I had absolutely no intention of going to the movie theater at 2 PM to meet Nathan. No intention, totally decided to stand him up and not feel a single bit of guilt about it. I did NOT want to date a boy with dried saliva in his mouth corners, and also he was high school age and a drop out EW, no. I wanted the Wolf of Wall Street, even though he was a douchebag. Back then, I wanted to be with a douchebag. As long as he looked like Brad Pitt. (Later? In my 20s and 30s? I would get my wish. Twice. Which is what would teach me to avoid wolves, at all costs, no matter which street they are from.)

At 3:30 pm, our phone rang and I picked it up, not even thinking. Had completely scrubbed Nathan's existence from my brain. THAT'S how shallow, Internet, exactly how shallow I was.

An old woman's voice on the other end told me her name was Betty, and asked if she could speak with Amy. I said that was me. Then she let me know she was Nathan's grandma..............holy shit! Internet!! I wish I could recreate for  you the look on my face as I stood holding the phone. I wish you could feel the horror gurgling from my bowels to my throat. Nathan's grandma Betty was calling to tell me what an asshole bitch I was for hurting her grandson! Oh god oh god, I totally deserved it. You're going to be so on target, Betty. Go ahead, Nathan's grandma. Beat me up. Leave bruises that scar.

But no. No! She was super sweet like her grandson, and let me know that Nathan asked her to call me. He had stood ME up, and wasn't able to call and tell me why - he was too afraid I'd be mad at him, and he didn't want to hurt my feelings. So he asked his grandmama to call and tell me what happened.

And that's where the story came from - Nathan couldn't meet me at the theater because he'd ridden his bike 50 miles from home, to a motel, with the intention to kill himself. But then he met me and he wanted to (a) impress me because he liked me so much and (b) I inspired him to go back to school and finish. And also, Nathan wanted to know if he could still write to me some times or maybe also call and talk...would I be okay with that, even though he'd flaked on me at the movies?

Nathan's grandma Betty said, "Nathan can be hard to talk to, and he's very impulsive. But I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to talk to him because I don't know what you told him, but it turned him around." 

And all I'd done was be a people pleasing secret bitch, really, who'd agreed to have some chili and a Coke with a sallow-faced, weird boy. 

(The ending to Nathan's real story is happy: we stayed in touch for a long while, via letters and phone calls, and he eventually enlisted in the Army to see the world. He asked, before leaving, if I wanted him to save himself for me so we could get married...choking back my shallow/self-involved horror I told him No, Nathan - you go and see the world, enjoy every bit of it, and if you meet a cute foreign girl who wants to settle down with you then you go do that with all of my blessings. And I hope he did. I don't know what happened to him after that. But I hope he did exactly that.)

The point to all of this is that (1) you don't know what battles other people are fighting, and we are ALL fighting battles; (2) be nice to people around you even when you're not feeling them - one day you may run into someone who's about to hurt themselves in a disastrous manner and one word or one sentence from you could make them see their situation different; (3) don't hurt yourself in a disastrous manner...at least not before you try sleeping on it, eating breakfast, and taking a trip to the public library; and (4) W/schmendys chili and Coca-Cola are powerful, powerful healers. 

That's the end of the purposeful kindness portion. Now on to the muck. 

Part Two:

...yesterday was a hard day for me. It was my wedding anniversary. Last year, I completely forgot the day and C shock-surprised me with a dinner outing. When we got to the restaurant, I asked what the special occasion was and he said, "It's July 22." And then I said, "Okay, what's July 22?" And he said, "The day we got married." 

And I spent the whole rest of the time in and out of the bathroom in tears. That wasn't the beginning of the end; it was sort of the half-way to the middle big reveal that There's A Very Insurmountable Problem Here. 

This year, it was all I could think about all day. And when I talked to C about it late in the afternoon he said he'd felt like something was important about the day, but hadn't remembered until I said something. (Do you buy that? I'm not sure I buy that. Never try to bullshit a bullshitter is my policy on stuff like this, but some people operate different.) 

I watched Extant, which has an overwhelming theme of loss and longing running through it. I drank wine and I cried. I spent a lot of time in tears - I hadn't been sure what would happen on July 22, 2015, and that's what happened. Some margaritas, some wine, and a lot of tears while watching a robot child struggle with longings for his human mom who's infected with alien spores. 

And I thought about Nathan. And how very kind some people are. And why kindness matters. But that sometimes we have to be cruel to each other to be where we need to be, because they can't come with us. But it's important to find a way to mask the cruelty some, so we don't break anyone in the process because maybe they've rented a motel room to do something hurtfully unspeakable. I am, and always have been and always will be, reluctant to be a wolf of wall street; it is not in my nature to break other humans for any reason. And so two things often happen around me: (1) I get broken a lot and (2) I end up breaking other people because of my reluctance to break others. One time, with a boy named Nathan, it all worked out in the end and nobody was broken; everybody won. 

It usually doesn't end up like that, I've found over the years. 

What I should have done yesterday was gone back to the place that starts with a W and rhymes with schmendys and had some chili and a Coca-Cola, then hit the public library afterward. I may try this later today, and if it magically solves anything, I'll let you know.


in between anger and commitment(phobia).

I apologize for my last post. l was a tad angry, I don't know if you noticed. I made some people nervous. I promise I'm a sweetheart. Had you actually interacted with me that day, I would have been nothing but sugar...just a little spice. And I promise I like men. I really like you, men! I just...stop with the puppy dog tails.

The very next day was a sad, quiet day during which I spent at least 8 hours mourning my life. Wondering how I'd make it from that day, that moment, all the way through to whenever. It was an interminably long day, and I questioned every single thing about myself - my standards, my character, my stability, my ability to stick to a plan...my ability to make a plan, everything. (Although I will confess: I typically try not to make too many plans, as I find that as soon as I've put my plan in place that's precisely the moment the Universe comes sweeping through with the dust buster and I have to start all over. While shaking my fists at the sky.)

Now I'm pretty even-keeled. I hate to say this, partly because I've GOT to get a handle on spending money and partly because I wish I could fill my voids with gym workouts instead, but...retail therapy helps. There, I said it out loud. If I'm down and out, going to Target rejuvenates me. Even if it's shopping for someone else (we got Miss M school clothes yesterday). I am a money mess.

Speaking of money and school, I saw an article on Facebook about Georgia teachers maybe losing all their advanced degree and experience pay and being paid solely on student performance. I ask you: what other profession deals with crap like this? For real, Georgia?! In a Fortune 500 company, if you go in with a bachelor's and 6 months' internship experience, I think they pay you a lot less than if you come in with a PhD and 15 years' experience. Yes, I'm pretty sure that's how it works. Why have higher education then? Why gain experience, if not to increase your salary and worth? Dumb.

Somebody out there is going to say something about how Fortune 500 companies are there to turn a profit, and state governments are not and so the two aren't comparable, and these are always the same people who turn around and talk out of the other side of their mouths about how education should be run on a business model. The people who like to have their cake and eat it too. 

Stop trying to run schools like businesses; they are not businesses. They are non-profit service organizations. We are not churning out product; we are educating and elevating the masses. Our tired, our hungry, our poor. We are keeping society civilized and from wallowing in its own excrement. You want to reduce the pay of the people who do that? Well, then, let's head for the surgeons and doctors next - why do they need to be paid so much? Base their pay on how well their clients take the prescriptions they prescribe them and follow their diet plans and how many bounce back from major, invasive surgery with a survival rate of only 25%. Then we can have the kind of country we'd deserve: a great land of sick, illiterate people who behave like cave rats. Dumb.

Alrighty...I can feel my anger surging up again, so let's switch gears and go back to happy (feeling like you're on a roller coaster or at least in a very fast car making twisty turns? Welcome to my world). 

So today I'm going to go buy a washer and a dryer. I've been putting it off and putting it off, because I guess buying something like that makes this whole thing feel very, very permanent. Like, I could easily reconcile with C and move back in with the furniture and stuff I've accumulated this summer...but a washer and a dryer make it all very permanent because what the hell will I do with THOSE? Later, I'm going to buy M a bed and a couple of bedroom furniture pieces...that will feel extremely permanent. So, I guess what I'm saying is: I'm not good with permanent, really. (This goes back to my commitment-phobe issues, I think.)

Speaking of commitment-phobe issues, you know what I find most fascinating about me? The fact that as I get older, the less I want to commit to anything or anyone. There are certain things I'll always commit to - like Miss M, because I love her most of all...and teaching, because for now it's all I know how to and can do...and being facetiously irreverent because I gotta be me. I can commit to being a sporadic worker outer, I can commit to a few extra responsibilities at work not because I volunteered but because it's something I can stick on a resume, I can commit to buying really really good wine. But beyond that? I guess it just depends on what day you catch me, and what mood I happen to be in. After that it'll depend on what kind of commitment you requested of me - helping you move? I'll show up. Marriage? Bye. 

I'm in a very weird place right now. I like this space I've created. When M is with me, it's messy and chaotic (and Dog with a Blog is on in the background), when she's with her dad, it's calm and peaceful. I so need calm and peace right now; I find it keeps me focused. 

...how I can I tie all this together? It's all over the place, like me. Okay, here: I'm much calmer and not angry now, but I have to go back to work next week (I don't HAVE to go back to work actually; I choose to go back to work - and work for free, just like Congress wants me to - so I can set up my classroom...trying to set up a classroom during Teacher Back to School meeting week is like trying to balance oneself on one foot on top of a moving roller coaster) and this is sort of raising my angry hackles again (not at my lovely school or students, just at the state of public education in general which I literally have not thought of or cared about for well over 6 weeks now), but I'm committed to doing my very best this year and staying focused even if they are trying to pay me less because that's what a-holes do. And so to deal with all of those feelings I'm going to go buy a washer and a dryer. And maybe a new outfit. And some earrings. 

The end.


anger management, xxl.

Forewarning: there are many angry swears in this - sorry mom. 

This scene is what the press junkets SHOULD have
focused on.
I saw Magic Mike XXL last night. I don't know if I should publicly admit this, because I almost feel like it's admitting I read 50 Shades of Grey cover to cover and had favorite sentences in it that I highlighted and return to whenever I need writing inspiration (I have never read 50 Shades of Grey). However, in my (and many other women's) defense, may I just say that I think there are all kinds of movies for all kinds of situations. Books, too. Just like taking a mindless/garbage-y/trashy romance to the beach to read and leaving War and Peace at home? Thus shall movies like Magic Mike  and Magic Mike XXL serve their purpose for (Wo)Man. It is a trashy beach read, on film.

I saw the first Magic Mike, yet preferred this Magic Mike to the first Magic Mike. (Which, just expressing that opinion out loud, I think officially makes me a connoisseur of trashy films). It makes fun of itself, and I like people/books/film/music/art that can make fun of themselves. Life's short, let's mock It. 

I loved Jada Pinkett Smith as the girl version of Matthew McConaughey--I'm sorry, Matthew McConaughey, I normally love you, but you were far too oily in the other one. But Jada! Jada was bad. ass. And she knows women and knew exactly what to do with this character (which totally makes sense, since she is one) - I want a Girls Night Out with Jada Pinkett Smith. And can we talk about Joe Manganiello for a couple of seconds? Oh my. Oh my! I know most women go for the Channing Tatum scenes, but Joe just looks like he has a secret obsession for Shakespeare sonnets. People are all talking about his gas station mini-market dance, but I am in love with the wedding/honeymoon dance scene. Minus the swing; let's not get crazy (because that was crazy).

What I most liked about this movie is it knew who'd be watching it (me...I'm saying I think Channing Tatum & Co. personally tailored it for me: "How can we make Amy in Georgia happy?" was a constant refrain heard at every table read). Best scene/stole-the-show character: Andie MacDowell. Oh, how I understood her - not her divorce situation; I am separating from a nice man. Just her anger. If you've seen or do see the movie, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Because I'm pretty angry at the moment. A stew-y type of anger. A stew-y, soup-y, highly controlled kind of anger that's actually hard to explain unless you're inside of me. (Please don't make inappropriate jokes about how that came out because I started off rave-salivating over a male stripper movie. You'll just add to the swirling bog of turbulent vexation.)

Here are some examples of things that make me angry right now:

1. People, specifically men, telling me what to do/who I am/how I feel. Are you me? Do you have exclusive access to the thoughts in my brain? That's right, you don't, so. Fuck you.

2. People, specifically men, who make assumptions about what I need or what I want. Oh, why? Because I'm in a bad spot right now, and vulnerable, and so I don't really know what I need or want? Fuck you.

3. People, specifically men, who think because I'm separated now that I'm easier to take advantage of. Oh, you sense my vulnerability and think it'll make me less discerning? Fuck you. 

I continue processing where I'm at right now - this will take an enormously long time to wade through if I want to do it properly, and I want to do it properly. My summer is ending, I have to get back to work next week, and I have to engage and be present there. I've accepted that this is where I'm supposed to be right now, in terms of career, for whatever reason, and so it's really important to me now to stay engaged and focused. Yet I also know now that, particularly at work, I need to keep protective walls of immunity from the Crazy built around me. I need to tend to these walls, adding layers whenever necessary. 

And I'm still adjusting to my new home situation, and I am worried about me, about C, about Miss M. And so you know what? This IS all making me vulnerable, goddammit. And that's what's making me angry, I bet. Each interaction I have with a new human being right now, specifically the male of the species, leaves me generally suspicious: what do you really want from me? I am here for me and my family, full stop. If you are not in my family, I'm not here for you - I am not responsible for how you feel or what you think, and what you want is...sorry to be rude, but that's your problem not mine. You do you; I'll do me. And so I have nothing for you and I am a mess right now; please don't say or do anything to make it worse. 

Generally, I'm a ridiculously over the top nice person, an extreme people pleaser of the worst kind. I try very hard to keep my interactions with others - online and off - kind and pleasant. I prefer to spread love, not anger. But I'm finding I may have to start being a bit more assertive. Less nice. More Jada Pinkett Smith-y. If you will. 

Most of all, I need to be surrounded by healers and people who just want to laugh and have fun right now. Go see Magic Mike XXL, and you'll get a good idea of who I want to hang out with right now (and NO I am not saying I want to be surrounded by male entertainers...you seriously haven't even read a thing I just wrote, have you? Focus, or we can't be friends: I mean people who don't take themselves seriously, people who are interested in smiling and laughter and fun and goodness and kindness and authenticity. I want to be around people who know this planet is hard to live on and so let's not create any more messes than we absolutely positively have to. And I want to be with people - specifically men - who know sometimes women just want to be a queen, not a thing to be manipulated and used and taken advantage of). 

Ending side note: This would be one of those roller coaster emotions a friend of mine told me about. This week's roller coaster was anger; last week's was sadness. I'm cycling through, so happiness is right around the corner; I just know it.


movie rules.

Cinema ninjas: brilliant! It should be a high-paying
career option.
Source: whenonearth.net
Yesterday, Miss M and I went to the movies. (Side note: I love my child, but I'm tired of doing everything SHE wants and never getting to do what I want. I remain desperate to see adult movies...if it's a child-oriented movie, I promise I've seen it. But movies for grown ups are elusive to me, and I still need a date with a movie professional.) We saw Minions, which I thought had some issues - mainly with keeping my attention - but had its ridiculously cute and funny moments. Also: I would like to have a minion for a pet now, please. 

But mostly what weirded me out was the quality of human in the theater with us. We go to this theater a lot, but never on a Saturday evening to see a highly anticipated movie right after its release. (It was crowded, is what I'm trying to say. It was ridiculously crowded, and we had to sit in the break-your-neck-looking-up-at-the-screen area.) 

I try not to judge other people. I really, really do. This is a hard planet to live on, the Supreme Court and Congress are making the divide between the haves and have-nots even worse, and Donald Trump is running for president...AGAIN, jesus god. We are all fighting hard battles, some harder than others, and I genuinely believe that makes it important for us to be gentle with one another.

Having said all that, please indulge me a moment while I judge some of my fellow human beings. I'm going to judge these people and then I promise I'll go back to being a really open, loving, accepting person:

1. The lady directly in front of us sat on her cell phone for almost TWO HOURS, playing on Facebook. From my vantage point, what she was doing was working on pictures depicting herself and her sweet children having a great time at the mall, in the car, all of them just one big ol' smile-y, happy, aren't-we-a-really-awesomely-cute-and-sweet-totally-have-our-shit-together-kind-of-family-don't-you-wish-you-were-us?! sort of pictures. I watched her, off and on, for two hours do the following: tag the pictures, adjust the pictures, repeatedly go back to check for comments and likes under the pictures. 

Meanwhile, her family sat next to her while she totally ignored the movie and the two sweet children in the pictures she was obsessed over. She was far too busy looking at pictures of herself being an awesome mom than, you know, actually BEING an awesome mom. (Pictures lie, is the moral of this tale, I think.) 

I find the 21st century to be totally ironic in this way. Thanks so much for mucking humanity up, social media.

2. I really wanted to take a picture as evidence of this, but then that would have made me part of the problem and not the solution.

3. Ladies. Ladies! If you are over 300 lbs, you are NOT allowed to wear halter tops with leggings. I know it's hot. I know that outfit is comfy. But please. This was an area with very small children. One of whom turned to me and said, "Mom! Mom! Why is that lady's huge boobs coming out of her shirt!" 

4. If you are standing in line, waiting to buy tickets and your entire party is not with you yet and you do not have the money to purchase the tickets for them, then you may NOT tell the lady with the antsy kid behind you they're not allowed to go in front of you. You may not tell them this. Because that makes you a stodgy line-holder-upper. 

And then, when you've put yourself in the situation you have put yourself in and so now you're forced to move forward to purchase a group of tickets of which you can only afford one, and the ticket seller kid tells you you can't do that? And then the lady and her kid move up to buy their tickets like they should have been able to do in the first effing place? You may NOT stand there stewing and grumpy and put out about the whole thing. You may not do this. Because that makes you an asshole.

5. If you are buying tickets as a very, very large group of teenage boys and there's a long line waiting to be, you know, where you are so they can also buy tickets, please (a) know exactly which movie you want to see and (b) have enough money to buy your ticket. Standing around, discussing your options and saying things like, "Yo, bro! You got another dollar?" will just cause the lady with her 6 year old standing ten people behind you to wish you death threats and utter a million swear words about you in her head.

6. All babies should be outlawed from cinemas.

The End.

Kermode & Mayo's Cinema Rules: also brilliant, and should be posted in every
cinema on Earth. Standards, fellow planetary citizens. Standards.


debt, wine, and curtains: an update.

Don't get close to what happened to the
drywall - you'll burn your eyes.
I realized the other day I haven't updated this blog in awhile. Egads! I'm sorry if you're a regular reader. Or even if you're an irregular reader (try laxatives).

Here's what's been happening with me:

1- Debt. Up to my eyeballs. I find something else to buy and just think: ah, screw it. What's one more $250 charge? I am a credit card company's wet dream.

2-Curtains. I drilled some big holes above my windows and so the curtain rod in that picture to the left is holding up curtains and doing a fairly good job, but not really. One strong gust of wind, and BLAM! I think there may be steel behind the windows is why. The kit gave me anchors to put in, but the anchors wouldn't go in, and a hammer just made the situation worse. Ten billion swear words and 2 gallons of sweat later, I created what you see in the picture then went for a strong drink.

The process taught me the following: I need a step ladder. And a dry wall expert when I move out. And longer curtains (I eventually bought longer curtains than the first pair I hung up, but they're still not long enough--my high concept was graceful curtains spilling into elegant pools of soft fabric on the floor...instead I got nerdy high water capris that mock me every time I look at them. I need a better tape measure. And math skills).

This area of the apartment is the part I'm calling my window Monet--looks great from afar but when you get up close, it's one big ol' mess.

3-Overflowing commode. Miss M decided to use half a roll of toilet paper before leaving for a week at her dad's, and I didn't find out until a loo run at 3 AM. I had to call the emergency line, and a really sweet man came over and unclogged my toilet. At 3 o' clock in the morning. He showed up with exactly one toilet fixin' tool: a big plunger. I offered him exactly 10,000 sincere apologies and thank yous for getting out of bed at 3 AM and sticking a plunger into my toilet, with a million promises I'd go to Home Depot for a stronger plunger immediately. (Which I did do. The plunger was like $5.99 but I walked out with $100 of other things.)

4-Thick skin. I've never had very thick skin, but lately it's been paper thin. I'm sorry if I've ever interacted with you on a paper-thin skin day.

5-Chromebook picture cropping. I know how to crop pictures, and I know how to crop pictures using a Chromebook, but I don't know how to see what size I've cropped them to. Please talk to me if you know how to do this. I'm serious. I'll come over and hang curtains for you, and after 60 minutes of dropping the F bomb in creative ways and sweating til our shirts stick to our bodies, we'll swear and say, "Screw THIS shit," and go have drinks. I'll buy. With my credit card.

6-Religious wine. I bought ten bottles of wine at Trader Joe's the other day, so I could fill up my wine rack. The sweet older gentleman at the cash register looked at me really hard as he rang up my wine. Just as I was about to say something nervous like, "Well, uh. You know: I'm having a big party. A party for some winos! Hahaha!", he asked, "Is that a Star of David necklace you're wearing?" And then I told him no, it's a starfish. And then he told me he was curious if I was Jewish because he's Jewish and there just aren't many Jews in this area (I'm so glad he didn't think I was Jewish because I bought so much wine). And then I joked about how I'm kind of the most Jewish Gentile he'll ever meet. And then he asked if I'd married a Jew, was that why, and so I told him about the show DIG, and how much Judaic research I'd done because of it, and then I convinced him to go look for it online and watch it. Also, my wine collection is AMAZING now.

Still drinking wine and talking about the show DIG and its religion theme, even after all this time. Comforting.

7-Writing. I wrote my first real article for a non-self-published website! You can go read it HERE.

It's got amazing Dave Morrissey in it, and information about how Jeffrey Dean Morgan is going to make me all gaga-eyed, every Wednesday night.

8-Back to Reality. In less than a month, I'll be back to teaching. I'm currently working on where to place that emotionally. But I'll welcome the distraction. And the lack of free time to shop. (Although there's online shopping, I suppose.) (Somebody please help me.)

If you can ignore the stray fingerprints on the TV,
the quote is there to remind you about what
matters. Unless the TV is on, and then you should focus
on what's on that. While continuing to ignore the fingerprints.