Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Sweet Lord

I am a non-practicing Catholic. That means that I was baptized Catholic, raised Catholic, made my First Communion, went to church every Sunday, was married in a Catholic Church, the works. Then, as I got older, I realized that I wasn't really feeling "in tune" with the Catholic religion. There was so much fear and damnation that I felt like I lost sight of why I was there. I haven't set foot in a Catholic church since my wedding (unless you count other people's weddings) and I have found myself exploring other avenues. I found that I am much more spiritual than religious--I believe in the existence of something greater than myself and I know that there are miracles out there, and I know there is more to belief than what I had been taught...

And now I know for sure that I no longer want to be associated with an organized group of Catholics...not after what has happened in New York.

An artist named Cosimo Cavallaro has created an image of Jesus on the cross...and it is made out of 200 pounds of chocolate. That isn't all that has infuriated people. He also made it anatomically correct and he was going to display it during Holy Week. He had a show all set up and it threw people into an uproar. I can't understand it. Jesus was a man, right? So doesn't it stand to reason that he would have all the parts any man would have? If anything, seeing Him as a man instead of a beyond my reach being would make me eel closer to Him. Anyway, I digress...

I was watching MSNBC last night, a man (Bill Donahue, I believe...head of the Catholic League) kept verbally assaulting the artist and saying that the display was an insult to "all Catholics" and that "all Catholics" wanted to see the art removed. He made references to making Swastikas and how the Jesus statue is just as offensive to Catholics as the Swastika was to the Jews. Excuse me? How can anyone make that comparison?

As I watched, I realized immediately that I didn't want that close minded man speaking for me. I was not offended by the chocolate Jesus...I didn't wish ill on the artist (who, by the way, was receiving death threats over the art...very Christian, don't you think?), and I was very sad that this man who was representing Catholics on national television was so close minded, hateful and angry. When the artist asked this man where he should display his art, the man replied "in a dump in Soho." Where is the Christian mentality? Aren't we supposed to treat others how we want to be treated? Or does that "golden rule" have caveats I am not aware of. Should we teach our children: "Love thy neighbor...but, if they piss you off, upset you, offend you or in otherwise go against your general idea what is right, you can badmouth them all you want." What this man from the Catholic League doesn't understand is that he just taught by example...and not in a good way.

I feel for the artist. He didn't do anything wrong. He isn't trying to upset anyone, but, because a select few (labeling themselves as "good Christians") have voiced distaste, his show has been cancelled.

I know that not all Catholics believe what Bill Donahue believes, but he made it appear that he was speaking for the ENTIRE religion. I urge you, if you are a Catholic and are not offended by the display, please find somewhere to voice that. Don't let one close minded man paint a whole group of people in the wrong light.

And, if the image offends you, that's okay, too. I am not saying that it is for everyone, but I am asking that everyone be allowed to voice their own opinions on it...don't let someone else speak for you.

Friday, March 30, 2007

All That Jazz

As I sit here listening to my Sirius radio and its all jazz station, I am reminded how much I love good jazz. And I am not talking about "Kenny G" Jazz. I am talking about real jazz: Coltrain, Parker, Gillespe, Holiday, Basie, Ellington, Goodman, Calloway...the real masters of the art. Jazz is pure emotion. There is no pretension, no rhyme nor reason, no just is. And I pity those who have never taken the opportunity to appreciate it for what it really is. In the same regard, I know that jazz isn't for everyone...but it at least deserves a listen and a chance.

So, you Sirius listeners, tune in to Sirius 72, sit back, close your eyes and just enjoy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring Break?

Why is it that when I was younger, spring break was a relaxing lovely thing thing that I looked forward to, and yet I found myself saying to TJ today: "I would rather be at work?" It seems that things change drastically as we get older. Sure, some things change for the better (like I can eat as much ice cream as I want and no one can tell me I can't have any more), but other things change for the worse (like the fact that no break is ever really a break). It kills me to hear kids talk about how busy they are and that they never find time to do anything for themselves (which is the excuse they use when they don't do homework). If they think their lives are busy now, what will they say when real life hits?

So far, my spring break has consisted of the following (in no particular order):

  1. Typing a paper for my grad class
  2. Cleaning my house from top to bottom
  3. Washing all sheets in the house
  4. Washing all dog beds
  5. Washing all towels
  6. Washing all slipcovers/blankets from the living room
  7. Shopping with Mom (which included a trip to the grocery. If it weren't for the fact that Mom was with me, this would definitely qualify as unfun. I hate the grocery.)
  8. Cleaning our basement (five hours on Wednesday)
  9. Waking up at 7 am to pick my grandpa up from the body shop
  10. Running the dishwasher
  11. Emptying aforementioned dishwasher (and any of you who know me know that this is one of my least favorite things in the whole world)
  12. Planning lessons for next week
  13. Planting flowers
  14. Empting closet of all clothes I never wear (although I say I will)
  15. Watching The Devil Wears Prada
  16. Reading Ethics for the New Millennium
  17. Gathering up all trash in the house (since tonight is trash night)

Survey says...

Fun things: 3

Unfun things: 14

That can't be right! Seems my list is lacking a balance of power here. I'm going to need a vacation from my vacation!

When to adults get spring break, damn it???

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ramen Noodles

As my husband went off to Skyline for lunch with his mom I stared into my cabinets and wondered what I was going to have for lunch (and before you all judge him, he invited me and I passed...). My eyes scanned soups, rice dishes, and peanut butter and then I stopped on the Ramen. I grabbed the brick and immediately started boiling water.

Ramen Noodles are, quite possibly, the cheapest food around. Heck, you can by 36 of them at Sam's for like $3.50, but that's not what is so special about them. I had a friend I met in elementary school (Stephanie) and whenever we were at her house that is what we had for lunch. I had never had them until she introduced me to that lovely brick-o-noodles. And she never make them according to the package directions. Forget the soup--we just made the noodles, drained them and added the chicken flavor (always chicken--never beef or shrimp or anything remotely not chicken). We ate those things like crazy (ignoring, of course, the fact that they are LOADED with sodium) and, as I stood above my stove today, I wondered where she was and what she was doing.

Stephanie did not have what you would consider an easy life. He older brother had Cerebral Palsy and he dad left when she was in the fourth grade. Her mom remarried, but they never had a lot of money or a lot of things. Steph always made the best of it, though, and she was one of the strongest people I had ever met. Sure, she made mistakes, but we all did, so I never faulted her for it. What I did know was that I trusted her and loved her like she was my own sister. We made up little dances to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and performed them for her mom and brother. We would stay up all night and talk about nothing. We watched movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (singing along, of course) and we never were without something to talk about. She was my number one person for years, but, as we got older, things changed. Her path differed greatly from mine, she became rebellious (as a result if her mom's second marriage) and ended up pregnant right out of high school. We lost touch after that. I saw her a few years ago in Kroger's parking lot. She had three kids in tow and said she was married. She didn't look like the Stephanie I remember--the light was gone from her eyes and she looked tired. I wondered if she ever thought about those carefree days when we danced like idiots and talked about "stupid boys." She said we should get together sometime, but we both walked away without exchanging numbers, knowing that we would never have called anyway.

I envy those of you who have managed to hold on to your friends from the time you were young--those friendships are ones to treasure and hold on to. Those friendships, those people who have stuck by you, supported you, and loved you no matter what are the most important things in the world. Although I have friends now, I do sometimes wax nostalgic about those friends who have vanished into my past...and today all because of Ramen Noodles.

Friday, March 23, 2007

March Madness

And I am not talking about the basketball kind. I am talking about the real madness that always comes to teachers at my school around this time: portfolio scoring fever.

Yesterday was the kids' last day before break. That means that they were all home sleeping, relaxing and basically doing nothing today. What was I doing? I was knee deep in portfolios, sitting in a hard wooden chair, reading the most HEINOUS pieces of writing I have seen in a long time and stuck in a room with 65 other people and not allowed to talk. Now, the portfolios, heinous writing and hard chair I could handle, but I am a very social creature. If there are people around, I want to talk...and asking me not to is not something I do well. So, I plugged my ears with headphones and tried to block out the fact that others were there. I figured if I couldn't hear anyone else moving, breathing or shuffling papers I would think I was alone.

I found out today that it is very hard to be quiet when you are finished and others are still working--especially when you have already been quiet for four hours! I swear, we are just like the kids! Honestly, sometimes after my students finish a test or a quiz they automatically talk to the other kids around them. That always frustrates me, and I am constantly telling them to be quiet--all the while thinking "how hard can this be?" I found out today that it is incredibly difficult! In fact, our table did get called the "bad" table when we were asked to be quiet like 3 times. *blush*

I am glad that the whole scoring thing is over--it was long, tiring, and a tedious process. I would like to thank Eddie Vedder, Eminem, and Ace of Base for helping me through this difficult time. I'm off to de-fry my brain.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Sad State of Affairs

I am lucky enough to work for a school that is a host for a Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. Anything having to do with the Cancer Society is something near and dear to me. I lost my grandma to cancer (after she battled it three different times), my grandpa battled it, my mom and I both had biopsies done (mine when I was only 20) and a few of my friends have suffered through it. So, when it comes to supporting research and rallying others to donate money for research, I am all over it. Last year the school raised over $1000 in three days by selling cards to the kids for a dollar each. These cards were all hung in our cafeteria and we even had a banner go to Washington, DC. The teachers organizing the event were overwhelmed by the generosity of the students and staff, so the same idea was tried this year...

And the result was much, much different...

After nearly a week and a half of selling cards, the committee raised a little over $500...we have 1500 students and 65 faculty members and they only got $500. When I would ask my students to spare a dollar, many acted like I was going to break them--all the while wearing their Abercrombie shirts, texting on their $200 cell phones and listening to their i-pod Nanos. Then it hit me--this is not something that will impact them immediately, so they don't think it matters.

I have found that some kids often have a very shortsighted view--they can't see beyond today. So, by living in the moment, they are abandoning the opportunity to affect the future. It seems that material gratification is all that matters to some people today. When beginning the fundraiser some students even asked what they got if they brought in a dollar. What do you get? The self satisfaction of knowing that you helped a cause that affects the lives of millions of people each year...

But I guess that isn't good enough.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The First Day of Spring (or is it?)

This has been some confusion for me. According to my desk calendar here at home, spring begins tomorrow. According to my calendar at work, spring begins today. I always thought it was the 21st. Like summer begins on June 21st, fall begins on September 21st, and winter begins on December 21st. Logically, spring should begin on March 21st. So why did the news say that Spring began today and why does my wall calendar say that at work? Is it like a date range is the first day of spring or is today like "Spring Eve" or something? This makes little sense. If we can't come up with a solid date, what's next? Moving Christmas?

Now, although moving Christmas is a ridiculous idea, someone decided to move something else that has been in the same spot for years. What? Springing ahead. Yep, three weeks early this year! I was just getting used to it being light when I went off to work, and now it is dark again. Sure, it is lighter longer (like right now it is 7:15 and bright as can be), but was it really worth it? We sprung ahead IN WINTER! Does anyone else see the oddity here or is it just me? If we are going to set out clocks forward that early, we need another name instead of "springing" ahead. Like "creating more light" or "moving the clock" or "affecting every one's sleep cycle because we are bored" or something. But not "springing" ahead--especially if it isn't spring.

Anyway, regardless of what day you think spring begins, the fact is that winter is over and we can look forward to nicer weather in our future (which is great). No more snow days (we hope) and no more winter coats (fingers crossed). I am ready for some sandal weather. After all, Old Navy has their flip-flops out and it is time I wear a pair.

Happy Spring Eve!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pet Food Scare

I can't believe how big this pet food recall is. As a dog owner, I was freaked out. Luckily we don't feed our dogs anything that is on the list (thank God). Unfortunately, though, others have not been so lucky. I watched teh news tonight and they did a big story on it and interviewed pet owners who lost their dogs as a result of all of this. I am wondering what will happen to the companies? I mean, a recall is all well and good, but what about the pets who have already ingested this food? What happens to them? I know that vets are going to be slammed with concerned pet owners, but what do they do if their dog is affected? Just wait it out and watch them die? Spend thousands of dollars on treatment? This should never have happened. Some people may think that just because they are dogs it doesn't matter. For some people it matters more. I know if this were my dog or cat, I would be suing the pants off someone. I also know that wouldn't really make me feel any better because I would have lost my pet.

Here is the really horrible thing: my dad thinks he has been feed their cat some of the recalled food. So, I am rushing off here to take him this list so that we can find out if we should worry r not.

Please, check your pet food and keep an eye on your pets. For a complete listing of recalled foods, please click here. I hope none of you are affected by this, but you can never be too careful when it comes to your pet.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

It's that time excuse for people to add green food coloring to their beer and claim that they are Irish. Don't you just love it? Oddly enough, as I comment on the fact that so many people claim to be Irish only on March 17th, I recently dropped my non-Irish husband at an faux Irish Pub in Newport to meet my brother (who is, in his defense, part Irish) and his non-Irish friend to drink imported Irish beer.

That means I have the house to myself to watch whatever I want. On the list: Last Holiday (I heard it was okay, but it is soooo not a TJ movie),Casablanca (another movie that he will NEVER watch because it is in black and white and he thinks that is just wrong), and The Last Unicorn (I dare you to say anything) I LOVED that movie when I was a kid. It scared the crap out of me in parts (remember the Harpy and the talking skeleton?), but it was classic. They just released the 25th anniversary edition which means I am officially getting up there in years.

I am still celebrating from the Duke lost. I thank Toni for making her "anti-Duke" chili. I credit her with the loss (the only time anyone wants to hear that, I think, is when it involves a Duke loss). I also LOVE the fact that UK won in the first round. This means that Duke fans need to sit down and shut up about the damned Christian Laetner shot. It was over a decade ago...isn't it time to fixate on something else? Like the fact that you all lost in the first round and UK didn't? (I'm just saying). Too bad about, Xavier, though. Would have been nice to see an upset.. Then Ohio State (sorry, THE Ohio State) could be pissy about basketball and football all at the same time. I guess you can't have everything, but you can have a DUKE LOSS!!!!

So it is getting to be tax season, which I dread because, somehow, we always owe a crapload of money to the government at the end of the whole process. I can never figure out why, but it always happens. This is why we wait until the last possible minute to do taxes. TJ decides last week that we were going to have someone else do them this year. So, at 1:00 on a SATURDAY (and St, Patty's day, no less), we go to a CPA to have him do our taxes. I thought it was ridiculous because we always do our own taxes, so I went into this meeting today with a rather large chip on my shoulder. I thought it was just TJ being TJ again (which he does often). Turns out that this time, he was right (someone mark down the fact that I admitted that). We were filing wrong or something, so we are getting a REFUND! (yippy). Not only that, but we have been filing wrong for the last few years, so this guy is going to amend or taxes for (drum roll, please) the last four years so we can get some of our money back! Looks like the luck o' the Irish was with us today! After that fantastic news, we had a celebratory lunch at Cheddar's (Pointless note: If you ever go to Cheddar's for lunch or dinner, try their Buffalo Chicken Wrap. It is an amazing amount of food and it is quite tasty, plus there is always plenty leftover for lunch the next day.)

Well, I am going to start my "all alone" movie night. Hope you all had a great "Irish" day.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Friday to All!

Friday is finally here. Normally, I would be beside myself with joy, but, alas, I have to chaperone our Freshman/Sophmore Dance tonight which means little rest for the weary. I don't mind chaperoning dances, but (and I am not ashamed to admit this) my bedtime on Fridays tends to be a little after nine. I guess the stress of the week gets to me and I just can't stay awake. Problem: the dance is from 7-11. It will be seriously bad (and embarrassing) if I fall asleep in the middle of this thing. The kids are excited, so that's all that really matters, I guess. They went with an Oscar party theme. It's very cool and original. We even have "Oscar" statues to present instead of tiaras and such.

American Idol: What the HECK is everone thinking? I think that about sums it up.

I am also glad that Grey's Anatamy is back. I am not a Callie fan. She is too insecure for my liking, so I wouldn't mind her to go. But, at the same time, I am not a fan of the Izzy/George thing. They are friends and should leave it at that. Izzy needs to be with Alex (but that's just my opinion).

Random thought: I joined a Saint's message board to see what they are saying about their newly acquired safety. You know what they are saying: "How the heck do you pronounce his name?" Memo: if you can't pronounce your players' names, you don't deserve them. Come back, Kaesviharn! Come Back! We can pronounce your name!

Last (but not least): DUKE LOST! HAHAHAHAHA. I can't believe it. Now, if UK loses in the first round there will be nothing really to celebrate about. But, if UK pulls off a win, Duke fans will have to live with that for a long, long time. I am sure that they will make some excuses about the refs or the crowd or something, but THEY LOST!

That's all for now. I must ramble off to work (or to pretend like I'm working)...whichever comes first.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Sad Day for Cincinnati

It's official. Kevin Kaesviharn, my one and only favorite Bengal, is now a Saint. And not the "oh, he's such a good guy" kind of saint. New Orleans snagged him in free agency. *SOB* Not only was he a key character person on the team (as in he hasn't been arrested), but he was a key defensive guy, too. The man led the league in interceptions for a time. Not bad for a guy who is technically a back-up, you know. I guess his positive season was bad for Cincy--if he hadn't been so high profile no one would have wanted him. I am glad that he has the deal that he wanted and that he should get the playing time that he deserves, but it STINKS that we lost him. It also stinks that I have an AMAZING #34 Bengals Kaesviharn jersey. Time to buy a Saint's jersey. (did that just come out of my mouth? I don't like the Saints. Yikes. Look what Kaesviharn has done to me!)

Fortunately, all football hope is not lost. Brett Favre is coming back for another season. For this die-hard Packer fan that is a great thing. I just hope that he has the team he needs to have a great year. He can be the greatest quarterback in the land (and he practically is), but, if he doesn't have people to throw to it won't matter. Let's hope they are smart in the draft and in their choice of players to release (as in: let's not release another Gado!).

American Idol: yikes. Can we just get rid of the boys? I mean, Phil is okay, but the others were painful to listen to. And PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, let SANJAYA go home! How can you mess up THAT Diana Ross song? It is the one everyone knows, it has been in every movie ever made (or so it seems) and you butcher it on stage. Painful, I tell you, just painful. If it were up to me (and it obviously isn't) we would just fast forward to the final four: Melinda, Lakisha, Jordin, and Phil. Save America the anguish of having to listen to the others for the next three months.

Plus, it's raining. I guess it's fitting weather for my mood (*sigh*)...

Until next time. Ramble on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Beautiful Weather We're Having

Wow. As of now it is 75 and sunny here in good ol' Kentucky. This is amazing for this time of year, and I am enjoying every minute of it. It is hard to believe it isn't even spring yet (so winter has 75 degree weather?) I have a feeling we'll pay for it later though. I wouldn't even put another snow passed Mother Nature. I hope not based on the fact that our school year has been extended to June 5th already. The students LOVED the fact we had snow, but now they are hating the fact we have to go that late. Guess what? Teachers hate that, too.

As beautiful as the weather is, I will admit that I played X-Box 360 when I got home today. Why? Because I am addicted to this blasted game called Oblivion. I had to beat this guy in Paradise and I couldn't rest until I did. This game has consumed me for months. I'm not ashamed to admit it, but I will be glad when I have finished it. I have never had a game so involved before. My husband (TJ) actually bought it for himself because the guy at the game store said the graphics were amazing. They are, but the game is too much role play for him, so I tried it out. I thought I was going to hate it, so I named my character Ima Weenie. I never thought I would get as into the game as I did (and now I am regretting the fact that I am called "Ima Weenie").

I am not sure if I am looking forward to American Idol tonight or not. Honestly, as I said before, the guys stink and the girls aren't much better, so I am not sure I can force myself to watch. It depends on how much time I want to waste tonight I suppose.

Lastly, I can't believe Rob and Amber got eliminated from The Amazing Race on Sunday night. They had dominated that game from the beginning, but it just goes to show you that you can't get cocky--you may be eliminated! I really wanted Charla and Myrna to go. They drive me nuts with their double standard attitudes, but I guess it wasn't their time. Shucks.

Until next time, ya'll enjoy your night!

Friday, March 9, 2007

American Idol is a let down this year...

I guess you could say I am a reality TV person. Or at least I was. It is all starting to lose its appeal with me, and American Idol is the latest to tick me off. I can't believe Sanjaya (or however you spell his name) is still on there. He is horrible (and that is being nice). I can't even bring myself to watch anymore. I remember a time when I never used to miss it, but now it's almost like a chore. TV shouldn't be that way. I guess it's because I don't think they hav eany real talent on the guys side. Harsh, I know, but true. The only guy that even comes close to being good for me is Phil (the bald guy). The rest of the guys can hit the road. Ever since the producers decided that there had to be an equal number of boys and girls in the top twelve, they seriously limited the talent. If you went by talent alone, there would be ten girls in the top twelve.

Plus, Sundance...what were you thinking? Taking on a PEARL JAM song? Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam because they have a unique sound and you RUINED IT! Pearl Jam is not country rock or whatever you tried to do with it. Sure, maybe the guy has a strong voice, but that performance was horrible.

Needless to say, it looks like I am checking out of Idol. I may watch it if nothing else is on or if I am looking to torture my dogs into howling for an hour, but I am not clearing off time in my night for it anymore. What else is on, anyway? Anyone seen the TV guide?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

My First Ramble

Hello to anyone who stumbles upon this blog. There really is no rhyme or reason to it...just a place for me to be me and say what I feel, I guess (but isn't that why we're all here?).

Tonight's rambling: Survivor. Yes, I know. Lame, but I watch it...and this season I am HATING it. That Moto tribe's arrogance is getting on my last nerve. The strutting, cocky attitude has to go. And Ravu had their chance but ROCKY blew it...big time! Honestly, your have six boards to choose from , the 9 was just out, and you go to the wrong friggin' row? What the heck were you thinking? Maybe they deserve to lose because they are so ignorant that they don't deserve to win. Who knows? All I know is that the show's creators had better do something soon to peak interest again. I know that the show has lost it's novelty. I didn't even watch the last fifteen minutes tonight--it bored me that badly. I actually chose to vacuum my house instead of watching it, and that is the saddest thing ever. What happened to the Survivor of old? The one everyone had to see and everyone talked about Friday at work? I miss that Survivor. Hell, I even miss Richard and his stupid desire to be naked all the time. I would say I miss Rob and Amber, but they're on The Amazing Race (again), so who has time to miss them?

Anywho, end of first ramble. Enjoy the rest of your night.