Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back-to-school shopping

Well, I am back to work next week. And, I have once again made my resolution to dress more professionally this year. You know, jeans only on Fridays, but still dressed up. Don't wear flip-flops. The usual. I think I did a better job overall last year than in the two years prior. And right now, I am very gung-ho to dress well at work. It is because I haven't worn my "work clothes" in three months, so I am excited about them right now-and totally ready for my fall wardrobe as well. But then come January, when I've worn every sweater and every pair of slacks 8 million times...

Being a teacher is strange, because it's not an office job-you need to be able to move around, be on your feet all day, and be around dirty, sweaty kids. But, you are also expected to dress somewhat professionally. I've heard two main theories on this:

1. Teachers want to be respected as professionals, just like any other dignified job, but then they don't dress the part. They show up in jeans and t-shirts and wonder why they're not taken seriously.
2. Teaching is a tough job with not too many perks-the fact that you can get away with more casual dress is a perk, so take advantage of it.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I don't wear t-shirts and try to look nice on the days I do wear jeans. But, I have been known to throw on my converse and a Carnegie Drill Team sweatshirt every couple of months. But, I always admire the female teachers who dress professionally everyday. In the same way I admire people who blow-dry their hair everyday: I'd like to be like them, but it's probably not going to happen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When will I learn...

...that I should really bring a notebook or journal on the airplane? Something about being on a plane turns me into a writer. If I ever take writing up as a career I plan on just flying back and forth between cities. I would be incredibly prolific.

I have notes galore for an essay on break-up music (inspired by This American Life, and of course, my life.) All were written on the back of my boarding pass while on the airplane from Minnesota. Coming soon to a blog near you.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cindy's Wedding...

...was a blast! My personal highlight was catching the bouquet! As you may know I am a seasoned wedding guest, but this is the first time I've ever caught the bouquet. This may explain this picture (I am in the pink):

But, I like this one. :)

And, this one makes me smile...I love these roomies!

My grueling Mexico schedule...

7:00-Be woken up by dogs. Mumble "go away Buddy/Davis." Go back to sleep.
9:00ish-Get up and eat breakfast
10:00-Go for a walk on the beach with the dogs.
11:00-Lay out/swim in ocean/read/iPod
2:00-Play games/read/veg
8:00-campfire, s'more it up
9:00-board/card games

Lather, rinse, repeat. It was fabulous and relaxing. No TV, internet, or anything to do but hang out and have fun.

So, I am still learning to put pictures in here. Please don't judge my lack of captions or proper spacing!

Mexico Books

While in Mexico on vacation I read the following books...

1. The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
This was actually a reread-I read it the first time all in one sitting (403 pages) while on the flight back from London. So, I was excited to read it again and savor it a little more (this time over two days). I think my favorite story is The Harvest, which breaks form to tell the reader how the narrator changes a story when it is written down. The ending of The Uninvited is perfect. And if you don't tear up at "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried," then we might not be able to be friends anymore. I know this is not interesting unless you know these maybe you should go and read this book.

2. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Okay, I confess this is also a reread. I just read this one like a month ago too, but as the great literary critic Erin Fletcher says, "You know, he's funny." I love reading David Sedaris because I actually laugh out loud, garnering strange looks from those around me. I love the story about looking for dingos at the zoo.

3. Unless by Carol Shields
Becca brought this one, and I really enjoyed it. Basically it's about a woman whose daughter has become homeless. The narrator is a feminist writer, which is pretty much the author. There was some great stuff about reading in there-she responds to a woman who says, "I love reading cookbooks more than anything else" by saying, "Maybe if you read novels you'd be more interesting." This, however, is my favorite quote from the book:
"She had become conscious of the lifelong dialogue that goes on in a person's head, the longest conversation any of us has. Oh hello, it's me again. And again. The most interesting conversation we'll ever know and the most circular and repetitive and insane. Please, not that woman again! Doesn't she ever shut up? (This is why I read novels: so I can escape my own unrelenting monologue.)
Oh, that is so me.

4. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Erin gave me this one for Christmas and I could never get into it, until I started over in Mexico-then I couldn't put it down. It's written as a long, rambling letter from an elderly pastor to his young son, who he knows he will not live to see grow up. I was amazed at Ms. Robinson's ability to write from the point of view of a 76 year old man in the 1950's midwest. I kept forgetting that it wasn't a real letter. The novel has a slow, rambling feel, but it's beautifully written, and has some great thoughts on religion and spirituality, etc. Two of my favorite quotes:
"Adulthood is a wonderful thing, and brief. You must be sure to enjoy it while it lasts."
How great is that? You always hear that about childhood, but our adult lives are also fleeting-value your life.
"It is one of the best traits of good people that they love where they pity. And this is truer of women than of men. So they get themselves drawn into situations that are harmful to them. I have seen this happen many, many times. I have always had trouble finding a way to caution against it. Since it is, in a word, Christlike."

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Okay, to be honest I'm only about halfway through this one. I brought it because I've never read it and I bought it like two years ago, hoping to cross it off the "Books Someone Should Have Made Me Read In School" list. I figured the lack of TV in Mexico might force me to read it. But, as Erin pointed out, the fact that I reread a book I just read a month ago before this one should tell you something. It's good. But it's so not my genre. And I kind of feel like I know where it's going. I think it's interesting and probably has good things to say about society. It would be good to discuss the symbolism of it in class. But, eh. I am going to try to finish it this weekend. Also, it's about a big group of thirteen year old boys left to their own devices. I can pretty much tell you how that's going to go, and I don't enjoy reading it any more than I like seeing it at work.

Thank you for indulging me, blog readers. Or skimmers, as the case may be for this one. Coming soon, my Mexico trip, with pictures!