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.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Christmas Meme

If Mrs. T. is doing it, then it must be cool! (However, I do feel rather uncool for "tagging myself" but my lack of bloggable topics has made me get over it.)
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags! Gift bags are the best thing to happen to the terminally lazy (read: Me) since Lean Cuisines.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. I do love the smell of real ones, but since it's taken me a few years to talk Mr. J. into any tree period, I'll take what I can get.
3. When do you put up the tree? Um, I haven't had one long enough to really establish that. This year it was the first weekend in December.
4. When do you take the tree down? If Mr. J. had his druthers, it would be taken down Christmas night. As it is, last year I think we kept it up until New Year.
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes! I love it, love it, love it. Although Starbucks Eggnog latte is a big fat disappointment.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I'm embarrassed to admit this, but it was Merlin, the electronic wizard. Now I don't even remember how it worked or what I liked about it.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I don't know why. Am I even allowed to celebrate Christmas now?
8. Hardest person to buy for? It depends on your logic. You could probably say Mr. J. is easy to buy for since the only thing he ever asks for is Diet Pepsi and M&Ms. (Yes, I know. This is all kinds of pathetic.) Although this year he did come up with the oven mitt request. (See previous post.) How hard can it be to go out and buy some Diet Pepsi and M&Ms? It's not hard, but it sure is lame and kind of depressing. One year I gave him a sterling silver monogrammed key chain. He asked if I had included his middle initial. Well, of course I did. Too bad, because now he couldn't give it to his dad. He just doesn't like "stuff."
9. Easiest person to buy for? This is awful and selfish and hateful and probably not how one is supposed to answer this question but . . . . myself!! Everyone else - very difficult!!
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever got? Did I get a Chia Pet? I can't remember. Something that you could only order from a television commercial.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Real, old-fashioned, snail-mail with stamp Christmas cards. I hope that is one thing technology never ruins completely.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I do love Elf, but Love, Actually is a very close second.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I absolutely have to. This year I started before Thanksgiving (online only) which is very rare for me. I think I actually said, "I'm going to try and be someone else this year."
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I know I have, but I don't know what. (Wow. I'm really sucking at this meme. Sorry.)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Oh, gosh. This is another tough one. You know what? I'm going to say "The thing I don't like to eat at Christmas", because that's easier. I don't like "office Christmas cookies" that everyone seems to bring to the office. You know the kind -you get them in a giant tin, and they're all the same exact dough and flavor, but in different shapes - sometimes they have sprinkles and sometimes they don't, but they are just about the dumbest thing ever on which to waste your holiday calories.
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Can I say both? I'm going to say both. Together. At the same time. All crazy-like.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Traditional: O Holy Night. Modern: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Least favorite? I have to copy Mrs. T.'s answer for this one: That damn Christmas Shoes song. I can't think of another song I hate more - not just at Christmas but all year long!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I don't think I've ever really had to "travel" at Christmas unless you count a 3 hour drive, which I don't. For this I am truly grateful.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Why, yes. Isn't that a requirement for third grade graduation?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We have a cream-colored ceramic star with the word Believe spelled out in gold lettering. Very tasteful and much too classy for the likes of us.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both. Christmas Eve was always for my mom's side of the family (and now it is for Mr. J's). Christmas morning was for my dad's side of the family (and now it's for mine!) Really the best of both worlds, I think.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not having willpower to say no to cookies and treats 24/7 and knowing that by January 1 none of your jeans will fit.
23. What I love most about Christmas? This Christmas is a little bittersweet, as many of the traditions I had growing up are winding down as our families grow and change. While I look forward to starting new traditions, right now what I love most about Christmas is remembering past Christmases.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

That's What I Want for Christmas

Mr. J. hates Christmas more than anyone I have ever met. He’s the bastard love child of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch if a literary character and a cartoon (both male) could actually reproduce. In the almost 5 years we’ve been married, I’ve managed to campaign for Christmas a little at a time. Last year we had a tree. This year we have stocking hangers and stockings. When I told Mr. J. I had purchased some lovely Christmas decorations from Pottery Barn, he said, “How are they going to stay up? You’re not using nails or duct tape after we've just painted all these walls.”

First of all, what the hell kind of Christmas did you have growing up?!? Maybe it makes sense that you hate it if duct tape was involved. I explained that all I had in mind was stocking holders and stockings for the mantle. He wasn’t convinced. “How are they going to stay up there?” he asked skeptically. What do you say to that? Stay up, where? Good gob what you are talking about? I said, “Um, gravity. You know, they like, just sit there.” Until he actually saw them sitting (nail and duct-tape free!) he was very concerned and didn’t believe me. He’s not what I would call a Christmas convert, but “baby steps” and “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” clichés ad nauseum.

The positive note? We don’t really spend much on Christmas gifts for each other. We do stocking stuffers and have a limit of $50 each. (Total. Not per individual stocking stuffer.) Mr. J. requires so little to be happy in life it’s really hard to buy him anything. Last night I asked for suggestions. After thinking for a moment he said, “I could really use a new oven mitt.” An oven mitt? Are you serious? “Yeah, or you know – those pads or things you use to put a hot plate on. It doesn’t have to be a mitt, per se.” So that’s it? An oven mitt. Anything else? “Nope. I just really need an oven mitt.” Uh, okay. Well, I guess I’d better run out to Target before they run out of oven mitts . . . keep your fingers crossed because this time of year they're so popular!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gob, I Love America!

Have you seen this?

It brings back fond (okay, not exactly fond) memories of my students and their idiocy: You remember - the whole "Where am I supposed to find a stapler?" crowd. Kind of like that.

Ah, education in America.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chock Full O' Rants

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I haven't been writing. No - not just not writing, I've felt like I can't write - like it's physically impossible for me to sit down and bang out anything - even what I ate for lunch - on the keyboard.

First I decided that it's because (sadly) my writing is rage-driven. Take me out of the classroom and you take away my rage and then: I got nothin' to say. But then I realized: I'm a very anxious, easily agitated person and I always have rage. Since I stopped teaching, the rage has become more widely dispersed. Instead of rage with all the focus of a laser beam, which is what I had when I was teaching, I have rage that is more like a goopy fog - sort of settling on everything in a thin layer. I can write about that. Who doesn't like to hear a crazy lady rant about every little thing that bugs her? (Wait, don't answer that.) Lately so much has been irritating me (big and small) that I think I've gotten to the point where I can't not write. It's a matter of preserving what little sanity I have left. Hence, I give you what I hope is the first small rant of many: The absolutely ridiculous fuckwits who came up with this list:

A preface: Mr. J. and I have both been on edge a bit lately about money – who knew insulation was so expensive? (Listen folks - if you live in a seventy-plus year old house, you think insulation in the attic is a luxury. And then you have your first night that's below 25 degrees and you realize it's about as much of a luxury as air. At least if you intend to climb out of bed from under two down comforters. And if you don't enjoy sleeping in a long sleeve shirt, a sweater and a hoodie with the hood pulled up. Not that I don't enjoy it, but the first time you wake up because you're suffocating it's kind of a buzz kill.) Plus, with the holidays, blah, blah, blah. Nothing that anybody else isn’t going through right now who isn’t named Rockefeller or Kennedy. That’s not what irritated me. Yesterday I was on the Internet looking for “cost-saving tips” and things like that. The first one I found was from Yahoo! Finance (I think. Or some financial magazine that links to Yahoo!). Who in GOB’s name is writing these and who is their audience? On the one hand, I never pay any attention to those “Make your own clothes”-type lists, because that ain’t gonna happen. It’s just not. This one was obnoxious and annoying in the opposite extreme:

Just a few little lifestyle changes and you’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save!!! Here are our fabulous tips:

  1. Instead of getting your massage every week, get it every other week. Who is reading this? If you’re getting massages every week, do you really NEED cost-cutting tips? Me thinks not.
  2. Buy a used car instead of a new one! Done. Done, done, done. Is seven years old “used” enough for you people? Perhaps I should just build my own car out of old orange juice cans and sticks.
  3. Do your own landscaping or mow your own lawn instead of paying someone. Yeah, okay. I guess I’ll have to fire the lawn boy. Too bad because he was hot - just like that kid from Desperate Housewives.
  4. Go to matinees instead of evening movies. Let’s see . . . the last time I actually went to the movie theatre would have to be . . . I think I saw a movie in the theatre this summer, largely because I wanted to get out of the un-air conditioned house. Before that, I think I saw The Devil Wears Prada in the theatre. We rent DVDs and half the time I borrow them from the library.
  5. Keep your thermostat just a few degrees cooler in the winter and just a few degrees warmer in the summer. Well, we keep ours at 67 degrees. Is that “cool enough” for you, asshats? Did I mention that when we did have A/C we kept it at 80 degrees? That’s right, eighty degrees. As in, “What’s the point of having A/C” eighty degrees.
  6. Oh – and one that is not going to happen anytime soon: Stop coloring your hair! Gray is in. Yeah. I want to see the massage-getting, movie-theater-attending, new car driving woman who is also going to let herself go gray to save a few bucks. I’m guessing this list was written by a man.
  7. Don’t go to Starbucks every morning: Bring your own coffee. Who in the hell goes to Starbucks every morning?? If you go to Starbucks every morning, I am happy for you. As much as I love, love, LOVE my Pumpkin Spice latte, can't do it every day of the week.
  8. And one of my personal favorites: When you go out to dinner, eat dessert at home. Also, when going out to dinner have your first glass of wine at home. Well, considering Mr. J. and I usually go to places called “Bruce's Roadside Grill” or “The Corner Diner”, there’s not a whole lot of dessert-eating going on, period. Besides, other than never leaving our house, can we really save on a $20 dinner for two? (Mr. J. doesn’t drink.) Do we want to?
  9. Trade in your gas-guzzling SUV for a smaller more fuel-efficient car. Listen, peeps: I could not drive a smaller car unless I bought the McJunior Volkswagon Beetle/clown car you see at the circus. I am currently blessed enough to have a 12 mile commute to work and allowed to work from home 1-2 days a week. Although it might make sense for me to trade in my clown car for a bicycle and pedal to work in the freezing rain/ice/sleet/wintry mix, I do have to draw frugal the line somewhere. When I start using leaves I find in the backyard as a reasonable and free substitute for toilet paper maybe I'll think about it.

Who are these people? Is this how most Americans live? I’m mystified. Do you have any cost-saving tips I could actually, I don't know, use!??!?!!?

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