Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thirty Six Years Plus Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Days

Do you think that's too young to have a heart attack? Because after the last 18 hours, I'm a little worried.

Last night around 8:30, Minnie the Biting Wonderdog vomits. This happens sometimes. Dogs vomit. I commence the disgusting clean-up process. Minnie hops around while I eat dinner and I ignore her begging (good instincts on my part). Around 9:30 she vomits again. I think, "Not again!" and clean up disgusting mess. "Stupid-freaking *&^%$#@ cleaning up vomit twice in one night!" Little did I know . . .

It was to be the night that Minnie got something I wouldn't wish on anyone. During the ten minutes or so I was in the bathroom around 11:00-ish, brushing my teeth, washing face, etc., she vomited three times. Actually more, but at that point she was just dry-heaving. Is it only my animals who happen to become violently ill after dark? Anyone? Two hours later - long for me, but I'm sure MUCH longer for Minnie, she finally conked out. I stayed downstairs with her and "slept" on the couch. Of course I didn't really sleep because every time she made the slightest peep or snuffle, I jumped up with the paper towels. (The only good thing to come out of this experience was that by the end of the vomit-fest, Minnie had pretty much learned to vomit directly into a paper towel. She's so dainty.)

This morning, she was her usual spunky (aka "ornery") self and she was able to keep down water, so I figured I would go to work. Plus, I'm new at my job and I don't have any vacation time. Plus plus, do you really want to be the new person who calls the boss and says, "I'm not coming in because my dog has the stomach flu?" Yeah, me neither.

When I got to work I called my regular vet. I love my vet. A lot. It takes a very special vet to not judge or reprimand me for not getting Minnie "straightened out". However she (the vet, not Minnie) does not have emergency hours nor does she have an answering service. At one point last night, I was in Yahoo! Yellow Pages typing (with one hand) every iteration of "Emergency Vet" I could think of while Minnie sat in my lap and quietly puked into the paper towel I was holding.

I have learned recently that this town will never be known for its emergency vet scene. We'll never be on Animal Planet. My regular vet said to feed Minnie boneless boiled chicken breasts and boiled white rice. Apparently this is the canine eqivalent to ginger ale and Saltine crackers. I thanked the vet and said I could do that. Then I hung up the phone and realized: I don't have a kitchen. I have a microwave on a table. (Yes, again. Please don't ask). I call my mom to ask if I can come over after work and "borrow" her stove to make some boiled white rice (because "Minnie must have BOILED white rice - not microwaved - BOILED" was my thought process, if you must know). Why am I switching between past and present tense? I have no idea. But if you continue reading I think you'll allow me this annoying grammatical quirk today.

My mom's voice sounds very strange. She tells me that my 92-year-old grandfather has just fallen and he's on his way to the hospital. I don't know anybody who knows anything about geriatrics - I personally do not - but from what I understand, after a certain age, breaking your hip is bad, bad news. Which is (of course) exactly what he did. (Aside: The paramedics didn't want to take him to the hospital because they said he showed no signs of broken bones and his vital signs were near perfect. Luckily, a few family members were there to insist they take him.) My grandmother (also 92) hates hospitals so she stays home. (Another aside: My grandparents have been married to each other for 66 years. In November it will be 67. I have very big shoes to fill!) The ripple effects of this are big - too big for me to go into now, but the situation is not good. It especially stinks for my mother and my aunts. So there's that. And mostly I'm just trying not to think about it because in some cases I find denial an extremely effective coping mechanism.

I get home and Minnie is in GREAT spirits. Her dog food is gone (I had completely forgotten it was out from the night before.) She's had water. She's so excited to see me. I open the door, she runs over, does her little "hoppy, hoppy, I'm so happy" dance and hops right to the edge of the basement steps and falls. down. the. whole. flight. All I could think was, "My dog is going to be dead in a second." And of course, the whole thing feels like it takes ten minutes while I wave my arms around trying to figure out some way to help her. She lands on the floor at the bottom of the steps, looking at me like, "What?" wags her tail and I go down to get her. Normally I never take Minnie off the leash. Ever. EV-er. But I'm so traumatized and she's so traumatized (not really, but I was "projecting" as they say) I take her outside to see if she can stand/walk/move. I don't put her leash on because this is a twelve-pound dog who has just tumbled down an entire flight of stairs. She may not even be able to stand up. So of course, she takes off running. Into the street. This last episode? Just happened.

Someone get me a drink. Now.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Out of the Loop

My brother is getting married next summer. I am going to be a bridesmaid. Mr. J. kindly pointed out that I will be the oldest bridesmaid in the wedding party by about 10+ years. That's good for the self-esteem, yes? Although I suppose I may be able to hide a bit since I am one of eight bridesmaids.

So while learning that I was going to be a relic on public display didn't exactly make me feel young, nothing has made me feel older than this new phenomenon: Trash the Dress.

Have you heard of this? I had not. And I called myself a wedding planner's assistant!

My brother e-mailed me Friday to tell me that he and his fiancee were in the midst of planning their "Trash the Dress" shoot. I had no clue what he was talking about, so after he explained it, I did some Googling. Here's what I found:

"Amid the posy photos and puffed-up bios that comprise the wedding announcement section of Sunday Times Style Section, there was a fascinating article on the rising trend of so-called Trash the Dress wedding photography.Trash the Dress, you say? It's exactly what it sounds like -- following the blessed event, the bride straps on that gorgeous dress once again for a final farewell photo to the gown she spent a fortune to wear for one day only. Only instead of posing in some predictably idyllic setting, the picture is shot in a scroungy back alley or a mossy lake. These so-called Trash the Dress photos have become all the rage with brides who want to add something unconventional to their wedding albums. And unconventional they are -- particularly the photo at right in which a bride has set her wedding gown aflame, a la Joan of Arc. This shot was taken by a photographer named John Michael Cooper, who coined the phrase Trash the Dress. If you want to see more of his edgy, arty wedding photography, check out his website, which chronicles his collection of Trash the Dress wedding photos. Pretty cool, huh?"

Suddenly, I'm older than someone who lived through the Great Depression. Because, no - this is the opposite of pretty cool. Why would one spend thousands of dollars on a dress, wear it once and then trash it? I'm sure some of my younger readers could enlighten me on this one. For the sake of "art"?

I also suppose it doesn't help that I'm turning 37 on Friday. Whoopee!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

School is Starting Monday

And I have strangely mixed feelings. I really don't want to blog about it, because that means I'd have to think about it.
So, look at some before and after pictures of my bathroom, okay?


During (I should hope so!)

After - ta-daa!!!!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Only Me

Throughout my life, various people have said, "Teacher Lady, that would only happen to you!"

Anyone else have this experience? Do people say that to you a lot? No? I didn't think so.

Get this: Remember this guy?

So I'm less than a month into my new job and my company sends out an e-mail to all 10 million of us that tells us to welcome the newest Vice President of All Things Important and Impressive. As it turns out, my boss' boss' boss' boss' boss reports to her, so she makes the rounds and eventually gets to me. I've already got her life's story because it was in the e-mail. Degrees? Many. Schools? All Ivy League. Looks younger than 30 and pregnant out to here? Clearly.

Guess who her husband is? One guess. Yes, folks, Senor El Cheap Bastard.

As they say, "Only me."

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to Lose Weight without Even Trying

  1. Buy a 70-year-old brick Cape Cod.
  2. Live in a locale where 94 degree days are not uncommon.
  3. Ask husband to disconnect air conditioning ducts (Yes, he did and no, I don't want to discuss it).
  4. Sit and/or sleep in house. Fans optional.
  5. Sweat profusely.
  6. Try to stay hydrated.
  7. Don't let your dog - aka - "My own personal fur coat" sit on your lap as much as she might want to. I mean, we all have our limits. Would you wear a fur coat in this weather? Yeah, I didn't think so.
  8. Repeat every day the temperature goes above 85 degrees.
  9. Ignore everything your trainer has told you and do what you want.
  10. Inexplicably, lose 8 pounds.
  11. Be offended when your trainer tells you it's probably water weight.
  12. The end.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Identity Crisis

Disclaimer: Throughout this post, I talk about blog “categories.” Although I may categorize your blog into some vague topic or subject area, I am not categorizing you. Please do not hate me if I have “miscategorized” you. I realize that we’re all complex and most blogs don’t really fit into one single category. I just plunked you into the first category that popped into my head. I also apologize if you take offense to being “categorized” period, but please don’t take it personally. After all, this is my identity crisis, not yours. My apologies in advance if I my disclaimer does not soothe and you are still offended. If I link to you within a particular category, know that it’s only because I worship you. Seriously. Would I link to someone who makes me puke? End Disclaimer.

The blogosphere is an interesting place. Much like high school, people tend to categorize themselves and each other. Although I don’t think this is bad, it does make those of us who no longer fit in around the blogosphere feel like we’re right back in high school where we (oh, sweet Jeebus) never fit in. High school had the jocks, the cheerleaders, the homecoming queens, the overachievers, the band geeks, the math nerds, the stoners, tech school kids who weren’t going to college but were going straight into heating and cooling repair upon graduation, the scary-slutty girls and any other category of poor unfortunate teenager you can think of.

When I first arrived in the blogosphere a year and a half ago, I found the categorizations comforting. They helped me understand where I fit in – and where everyone else fit in, too. I found folks who “fit” into these categories, fell in love with them and decided that in some form or another, I too “fit” into their categories. In no particular order, I decided that these were the kids who would let me sit with them in the cafeteria:

Grad school bloggers
Professor-type bloggers

K-12 teacher bloggers
Mommy bloggers (No, I don’t have children, but those mommy bloggers are a riot!)
Infertility bloggers (Also not applicable to me, but oh, how I miss Karen at Naked Ovary. I’m glad she and her husband became parents, but man, do I miss her snark!)
Hollywood gossip blogs (guilty pleasure and now that I have a subscription to People magazine, I really don’t need them so much anymore.) And TMZ used to be a blog but now it’s really more just . . . something other than a blog.
Mad grammarians, book worms and other intellectual (and often neurotic) types

But no matter whose table I chose to sit at, everyone knew - and I knew - that I was Teacher Lady. However, like the high school cheerleader who goes off to college and has no idea of where she sits or who she is now that she's not a cheerleader, do I know who am I now in the blogosphere if I can't be (or I'm just plain not) Teacher Lady anymore?

I guess the answer is, “I don’t know.”

Since this pointless rambling identity crisis has really gone nowhere, I will now try to redirect your attention to a picture of Minnie (appropos of nothing), post-much needed bath. Ta-da!!


Monday, August 20, 2007

We're Crazy, Y'all!

One of my favorite moments in that train wreck of the Matt Lauer interview of Britney Spears was when one Mr. Lauer questions Britney's parenting skills because she didn't put poor little "reserve your room in rehab now" Sean Preston in a car seat and instead, drove with him on her lap.

Her response: "We're country, y'all!" And then she proceeded to tell Matt Lauer how by the time he was 15 her younger brother had been life-flighted to the hospital, three - oh, maybe four times. And I wanted to reach through the television screen, hold out my hand so she could spit her gum in it and shake her, hard, saying, "You're not SUPPOSED to get life-flighted to the hospital, ever, really - and especially not when you're a kid! That is NOT normal. Do not use your childhood as a yardstick for acceptable parenting behavior."

But yesterday, that same phrase popped into my head - except instead of "We're country, y'all," it was "We're crazy, y'all!"

Friday, Mr. J. attempted to chop down this hideous shrub-like growth-thing in front of our house. But instead of hitting the root of the shrub-like thing, he hit a yellow jackets’ nest. That was fun. Have you ever seen one of those cartoons where the bees are so mad that they form into a giant arrow and start chasing Yogi Bear (or some other hapless victim?). It was kind of like that. Luckily, he (Mr. J., not Yogi Bear) only got stung twice.

Yesterday, we went to our home-away-from-home (that would be the aptly named Home Depot) and bought some environmentally toxic bee/hornet/wasp killer. We were instructed by both the can and the Home Depot guy to wait until late at night or early in the morning to use it b/c all the yellows would be snoozin’ in their nest.

Of course, Mr. J. - like many men - listens to no one – including me. I told him to follow the directions on the can and listen to what the guy at Home Depot said and wait until dark to get at the nest, but of course – why listen to me, an insect repellent manufacturer or the guy at Home Depot?

He insisted that yesterday, since it was cool and raining, they were all probably “napping.” (This man is one of the most intelligent people I know. Why would he assume that yellow jackets “nap” when it rains? Do insects even nap, period? ) My job was to stand behind him waving a saw (don’t ask) and try to “protect him” from the yellow jackets if they got near him. Because, you know, when a yellow jacket wakes up from a nap, nothing scares it more than a woman waving a saw.

Honestly, we could have been on America ’s Funniest Home videos except I didn't think there was anything funny about it at that moment. And also we forgot to ask anyone to videotape us. We looked like drunk white trash. I’m sure our neighbors were very amused. And at that moment, I thought of Britney and wanted to shout out to our new neighbors, "We're Ka-RA-ZEEE, y'all!"

But I digress. Of COURSE the yellows were NOT napping and OF COURSE they came flying out of the nest, probably saying, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!” And yet -when they first flew out of the nest, Mr. J. actually said, "See? They were napping. See how slow and lethargic they are?" Dude. That is not slow and lethargic. That is pissed the hell off and they were just calling their other yellow jacket friends so they could kick Mr. J.'s ass even more effectively.

Mr. J. looked over his shoulder at me, said, "Do I have any on me?" and when I responded, "No", he advanced toward the shrub and all the yellow jackets swarming around it, trying to spray the poisonous liquid/gas directly at individual yellow jackets. They (as you might have anticipated) did not appreciate this. I said, “I’m out of here”, and started running for the back of the house. So much for standing by my man.

The shrub and the yellow jackets? All perfectly fine and exactly where nature put them many months (or years) ago. Mr. J. and Teacher Lady? Jury's still out.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Baby Steps

I feel very unsure of myself now, back in the blogosphere. So until I get my footing and figure out who I am if I'm no longer Teacher Lady, I'll just try to do little mini-rants each day. Just enough to keep the wonderful, lovely and talented Veronica Mitchell coming back. If you don't know who she is, you must go and visit her. She is who I want to be when I grow up. She is the sophisticated version of my snarky self. She is my gauge - if she's visiting, I must be doing something right.

Tonight, it will be a short movie "review."

Last night Mr. J. and I rented The Good Shepherd. Um, What. The. F*ck, people? Has anyone else seen this? If so, can someone explain it to me?

Here's my take: CIA = bad. Men in the CIA and/or Skull & Bones (because apparently, they're the same thing) = very, very bad, yet, secretly running the country.

I gotta tell ya, I was sucked in by the Oscar nominations and the cast - Robert DeNiro? William Hurt? Joe Pesci? These are some heavy hitters in my tiny pea-brain. However, all the heavy hitters in the world were not enough to make me like a film that was 2 hours and 40+ minutes of Matt Damon acting like a complete and total emotional fuckwit (to borrow a phrase from one Ms. Bridget Jones). At the end of the long slog, I looked at Mr. J. and asked, "What was that?" He shrugged. "Who knows. And really, who cares?" Who cares, indeed. I have to like a character - or at least find him remotely compelling to want to stick around long enough to see what happens to him. Matt Damon - or the character he plays - is about as compelling as a wet paper towel. And that's an insult to wet paper towels everywhere.

Even though it was nearly 1:00 a.m., I had to hop onto Yahoo! Movies and find out if I was the only ignorant slob who was too stupid to like this movie. The BEST quote I found in the user reviews? This:

This was the worst movie I have ever seen. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, except people I hate.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

As It Turns Out . . .

I'm really quite boring.

I never intended to abandon my blog, suddenly and without warning. But stuff just happened.

  • I started my fancy-schmancy job.
  • We moved.
  • Did I mention we moved into our 70-year-old house that was still partially gutted and had. no. air conditioning!?!?!?!?
  • And also? My computer is now in the "upstairs office." When you come upstairs after a long day in a refrigeration unit masquerading as a cubicle and see on the office digital thermometer the current temperature is 96 degrees, blogging does not appeal. Nothing does.
  • I joined NutriSystem. I hate it, but I lost 8 pounds. (Whoopee! My trainer told me I need to lose 16.)
  • Oh. I joined a gym and hired a trainer. I hate him. I think the feeling is mutual.
  • I have purchased several pairs of Steve Madden shoes with my fancy-scmancy new paycheck. You know what? Steve Madden shoes don't really fit my giant, flat Fred Flintstone feet all that well.
  • You know what else? When you have to keep a large box of Band-Aids in your desk at work, your new co-workers think you're an idiot for wearing gorgeous shoes that have the capacity to turn your feet into bloody stumps.
  • I got subscriptions to intellectually questionable magazines like People, Oprah and Real Living. (Are you sensing a theme here with the crazy-mad-spending? I gotta tell you, after 3 years of living on a teaching fellow's salary when I got my first "real" paycheck, I felt like a woman who had been wandering in the desert for 40 years and then, um, wandered out of the desert? Okay, bad analogy, but I'm rusty people!)
  • I got my first speeding ticket in 7 years. When I called Mr. J. in tears, he said, "It's okay. It's been a long time since you've gotten a speeding ticket." Yes, it was. I hadn't gotten one since I met him. I sniffled, feeling a bit better. "When was the last time you've gotten one?" I asked, hoping for more sympathy and commiseration. "I've never gotten one because I don't speed." I hung up on him.

SO much more excitement around here, but what I've discovered is this:

The last year+, my blog has been largely driven by rage at my students. No rage? No blog? But I'm trying to be a better human being and I'm now going to attempt to blog without the rage. We shall see.

If you're still reading after 3 months of silence, all I can say is that you're a better human being than I am. I apologize for abandoning my readers and I will do my best to make it up to you.

Here's to better days!! (Oh - and the grammar is rusty, too. Be kind!)

Teacher Lady