fly high swings

fifty shades of terrible

Instead of working on anything for school, which I promised myself that I would, I am now writing this post about how miserable E.L. James is as a writer. And, of course, why the popularity of this book means that our society is doomed to fail. Ah well, what are you going to do? At least, my calves are feeling better (and my feet!) and I can spend tomorrow morning outdoors. Also known as: NOT reading this book.

Okay, so, my favorite moments of glee / anger / disgust, in no particular order  --

  1. Christian randomly shows up at Ana's work, after meeting her once. Where they did not discuss her work. Or home. Or any thing. By the way, she works in Portland and he lives and works in Seattle. So, yeah, he just happened to end up in her hardware store while looking for some DIY products. Ana's like, GEE WHIZ, WHAT A COINCIDENCE. And I'm like CALL THE COPS, GIRL!
  2. FORESHADOWING! I could basically tell you everything that is going to happen in this book in the first twenty pages. He buys cable ties. She doesn't know why. Eventually, he uses said cable ties on her. Oh my gosh, it comes full circle.
  3. Ana calls Christian's voice "warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel... or something." Mm, baby, gotta get me some of that Christian Sundae. I guess?
  4. British-isms! Ana clearly has read far too many of her favorite British stories, because her inner dialogue includes things like "pram" and "my heart is pounding a frantic tattoo." Okay, so I totally thought Ana was like "geez! I love him so much! It's like a tattoo on my heart!" But, apparently guys, in Enland, a tattoo is a drum line, so her heart is just beating, like, really fast, don't you know?
  5. "With my heart almost strangling me -- because it's in my throat trying to escape my mouth -- I head down one of the aisle to the electrical section." Oh my gosh, cable ties are so hot! I am vomiting up my heart because it is so hot. I will soon die because my heart is in my mouth. I love beating my readers over the head with my picture perfect imagery.
  6. Immediately after this, Ana begins talking about her medulla oblongata. Because she's so smart. And apparently she's also MAGIC! because hers can just stop working and she's still alive. I know this because she tells us something like four times.
  7. Clearly, her medulla oblongata fails her because she almost gets hit by a bicycle. Christian's super fast non-vampire vampire reflexes save her again, though, and then FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER WHOLE LIFE, she wants to be kissed. Yes, guys, Ana is 21 years old AND HAS NEVER WANTED TO BE KISSED BEFORE. Believe it. 
  8. Ana gets mad at Kate, her most perfect beautiful blonde BFF in the whole wide world, by snapping "Don't be ridiculous" and then says: "I very rarely throw my toys out of the pram." Because, I mean, Ana is just so sweet. And British. Without being British.
  9. So Ana has never really drank in her whole life, or at least she's never gotten drunk. And she's just so smart, a real college graduate, that she has champagne and five margaritas and a pitcher of beer, but she doesn't pass out. She just drunk dials Christian, but then WAIT! Her friend Jose totally tries to rape her in the alley next to the bar, and TADA! Stalker Christian to the rescue!! He is SUCH a knight in shining armor, holding her hair back while she vomits and then taking him back to his hotel room without her consent. But it's okay, guys, because he doesn't rape her. He just says this: "Well, if you were mine, you wouldn't be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday."
  10. Much like Bella, because she IS Bella, Ana regularly forgets to breathe. Christian, being all experienced and wiser and older (he's all of 27), is so sweet because he's like "Breathe" and reminds her, lest she die or pass out from his amazing, breathtaking, stunning, gorgeous, magnificent beauty. 
  11. Profligate. This is one of the new words that I've learned while reading this book. It means the same as decadent and extravagant, two much more well-known words. Basically, he's rich. Very rich. Don't forget!
  12. When Christian gets angry because Ana did not blow dry her hair. Just in case I forgot how he's actually an abusive boyfriend, and not just a guy who likes to play Dom.
  13. The one hundred million times Christian reminds Ana to eat. Because he cares. I would be smirking, except, dear God, the girl doesn't really eat. Ever. Is she like a fairy waif? Does she live off air? And champagne?
  14. Is anyone in the world as naive as Ana? She seriously wonders if he's a virgin when he says it was his first time sleeping in the bed with someone. After he bought the ties and the tape and said he would only touch her with her written consent and that he'd like to bite that lip and spank her for getting drunk. My god, girl. 
  15. "I'd probably do anything for this man seated beside me." That she has met all of 3 times? But, I mean, he kidnapped her for one of them, so that counts double, right?
  16. Somehow, somehow, innocent, naive, virgin, never-wanted-to-be-kissed-before Ana enters the SEX DUNGEON with Christian and does not run out screaming. Instead, she describes it as "Christian's version of soft and romantic." Is this girl living in the same world as the rest of us? I mean, yes, sex dungeons are not scary or frightening to those who practice BDSM, and they are not the tools of a psycho. But, this is the same girl who HAS NEVER WANTED TO BE KISSED BEFORE IN HER LIFE. Soft and romantic? Gosh, clearly, I need to re-imagine romantic. Who needs candlelit dinners when you could be introduced to floggers?
  17. After Ana reads the contract, she basically says he must be insane to want to do this. This starts the long, long rest of the book, where James both thinks BDSM is super-hot / sexually exciting and something that only crazy, perverted, tortured people do. Considering that she also forgets parts of her own story, I am seriously wondering if multiple personalities may have been present when writing it. 
  18. Christian tells Ana to Wikipedia her questions. I wikipedia her questions, because I am also unfamiliar with much of BDSM. I find that most everything in James' knowledge can be summarized in the first few paragraphs of wikipedia and/or Google. Including the contract.
  19. How about when Christian, the super experienced guy who never sleeps with people in his bed nor has any kind of relationship outside of the playroom, is like, oh wait, you're a virgin? My bad, let's have vanilla sex. 
  20. Or, how about when Ana, the super virgin who has seriously never, ever in her life masturbated or even remotely touched herself (WHAT?!) manages to have her very first orgasm EVER by having her boobs kissed. Yes, she does. Clearly, once again, she's magic. Or I'm doing something wrong. I wish it was the latter. 
  21. This sex scene also commences the first of many references to the vaginal area as "down there." I did not add the italics.
  22. Oh, excuse me, I forgot to mention one of my favorite lines: "Finally, after all this time, I'm going to do it, with none other than Christian Grey." I'm not sure what "all this time" means -- she's never wanted to be kissed, never masturbated, who knew that she was dying to have sex? Second, do it? Do it?! I love it when you talk dirty like that, James, it's just so electric, to use one of your own words. 
  23. "He's so freaking hot." Lest we forget, this phrase is used no less than four times. Exact phrase. Also, "Christan Grey's feet... wow..." Also, "How could anyone look this good and still be legal?" Damn, I feel sorry for the actor who has to live up to this.
  24. And the prejudice/over-foreshadowing continues: "I have an indecent proposal to consider from King Misfit himself. Why is he this way? Nature or Nurture?" ANA, WHY ARE YOU THIS WAY? IS YOUR NATURE THIS DUMB, OR DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO YOU AS A BABY?
  25. "I'm so glad Kate insisted I shave." WOMEN AREN'T DESIRABLE UNLESS THEY SHAVE. Also, really, in the 21st century, does any typical female NOT remember to shave before dates?
  26. Okay, things get really good once the inner goodess shows up. Apparently, Ana is actually THREE people. Ana, subconscious, and inner goddess. Ana's inner goddess is actually the opposite of most people's inner goddess and enjoys being in an abusive relationship. In fact, when Christian's jealous rages pop up, her inner goddess "does the merengue with some salsa moves." Wow.
  27. "Running his nose up and down my sex." Now, if that doesn't turn you on, I don't know what possibly could! Noses! Sex! Vagina!
  28. New word/phrase #2: in flagrante delicto. Basically, in the middle of sex. I love that I am expanding my vocabulary! I am using context clues! In an erotic novel! 
  29. New word #3: Quaff. To drink heavily, usually of alcohol. Can I use it in a sentence? Why, yes, yes, I can. This book is going to make me quaff.
  30. Apparently, in Ana's world, fifteen year old boys are not horny. And do not have sex. Also, in James' world, men could only want to be a Dom if they had an EVIL MRS. ROBINSON seduce them and make them be a submissive for six years. Because, I mean, clearly you only enter BDSM because you are seduced. I mean, that's why Ana enters. Christian did learn his manipulation from the best.
  31. Oh, yes, now, my favorite metaphor. Ana, as Icarus. Christian, as the Sun. Perhaps slightly clever, perhaps. Only, it is used no less than four times. And that's only the direct search for Icarus, I'm pretty sure she makes more indirect references about the sun. As I read this metaphor-thing for the third time, I wished desperately that I too could fly close to the sun. And burn up. Or burn all copies of this book that existed. Ever.
  32. How about when Ana graduates, and her dad/step-dad man comes to visit, and she can't forget whether she calls him Ray, or Dad? I'm pretty sure when you call someone Dad, you just call them Dad. 
  33. Ana has a wet dream, which I didn't even really know was possible for women, and manages to have an orgasm because he hits her directly in the clitoris with a riding crop. I told Dan about this, and he said, "Wow. He has great aim." I laughed. A lot. I laughed even more when the real Christian, the non-dream Christian somehow ALSO managed to have great enough aim to hit her precisely on her nipples and her clitoris, with no misses, in a later scene. I mean, that's the kind of guy I want on my side of a fight! BOOYA, one swift kick and you're out!
  34. "I gasp, and I'm Even in the Garden of Eden, and he's the serpent, and I cannot resist." COMMAS! THE BIBLE! SIN! GRAMMAR!
  35. It's also great when Christian says no to Ana's hard limits. Like, she says I don't want to have anal sex. And he's like, I will claim your ass. Yes, he says that. Yes, he ignores her no. I've decided that Christian's nickname is Rapey McRapey-Rape. Because, I mean, the whole thing about BDSM and hard limits is that there is CONSENT. Even if it's consent to not give consent (I know, it's confusing), there's still consent. 
  36. "Holy Moses!" Is this something Bella says? Even so, I cannot forgive.
  37. "My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream." I'm reminded of that Jello commercial. J-E-L-L-O... It's alliiiiiiiive! Apparently, the inner goddess is now too. Sex is like lightning, it can bring any monster to life. 
  38. Oh, we've been waiting all book for this one -- "Because I'm fifty shades of fucked-up, Anastasia."
  39. "Oh, how demeaning is this, demeaning and scary and hot." I always love my sex with a side of debasement. I also love when I say NO! NO SPANKING! and I DIDN'T SIGN YOUR CONTRACT! And my guy says, oh well, I warned you. And so then he spanks me anyways. It's great when my ability to give consent is taken from me. That's what I look for in all my men. 
  40. New word #4: Priapic monster. Priapic apparently means phallic. Christian says he is not one. I beg to disagree. In fact, I say, do away with the fancy words, let's stick with DICK. 
  41. All romances need more beguilement. That's what is wrong with the world. That's why the divorce rate is so high. We're not sitting around, beguiling and bewildering each other. And arguing over who beguiles whom more. And, let's not forget about the bewitching! Clearly, we need more bewitching.
  42. Oh, let me be sure to include one of my favorite Icarus/sun/light/burning references: "The candle flame is too hot. It flickers and dances in the over-warm breeze, a breeze that brings no respite from the heat. Soft gossamer wings flutter to and fro in the dark, sprinkling dusty scales in the circle of light. I'm struggling to resist..."
  43. Oooooh! BODY WASH! I forgot to tell you how delectable the scent of body wash is. It's so amazing that it is mentioned no less than nine -- yes, nine -- times. I am clearly shopping at the wrong store.
  44. Not new, but unnecessary word: Loquacious. To describe an email? 
  45. Oh, I almost forgot to mention when he gives Ana wine by drinking it and then spitting it in her mouth. I don't know about the rest of you, but I actually spend energy trying to avoid people spitting in my mouth. I also try to avoid people giving me their backwash. But, Ana, no, not Ana. She almost has an orgasm. Okay, I might be exaggerating on the orgasm, but not by much.
  46. New Word #1,000,000: Conupiscent. Relating to sex.
  47. Ana asks Christian: "Have you been playing with the thesaurus again?" I wonder why it's okay for James to make love to her thesaurus, but not Christian. I wonder why it's okay for James to write a book that is about 1350 pages longer than it needs to be, thanks to the thesaurus, but Christian cannot write a 2 sentence email.
  48. Best sex scene: Ana is on period. Christian wants sex. Christian takes Ana to bathroom. Christian spreads legs. Christian rips out tampon and puts it in the toilet. WHY WAS THIS NOT INCLUDED IN THE DISCUSSION OF HARD LIMITS? I'm pretty sure EVERY WOMAN EVER would say this is one. Not the sex on a period thing. Lots of people get over that. BUT NO ONE HAD BETTER EVER RIP MY TAMPON OUT OF MY VAGINA FOR ME, UNLESS I'VE BEEN IN A SERIOUS CAR CRASH AND AM IN A COMA!
  49. Oh, I have neglected to talk about Ana's awesome subconscious. At one point, it gets its "Edvard Munch face on." Sweet.
  50. BSDM prejudice strikes again! Christian: "Because it satisfies a need in me that wasn't met in my formative years."
  51. Speaking of which, Christian's trauma occurred before he was four. He was then adopted by an awesome family. With lots of money. In real life, I'm pretty sure that 90% of adopted kids in that situation would overcome any trauma, since most children also remember NOTHING from before four. Even if that were not the case, LIKING BDSM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT YOU DID OR DID NOT GET IN YOUR FORMATIVE YEARS. Okay, I may be overusing the caps, but my other choice would be to stab myself in the eye, so I'll go with caps.
  52. Oh, the inner goddess again: "My inner goddess has back flipped off the podium and is doing cartwheels around the stadium." And "my inner goddess - she's under a blanket behind the sofa." 
  53. New word #SEVEN BILLION: Avuncular. Of, or relating to an uncle. Apparently, that is the way the driver smiles at her?
  54. Abusive relationship sign number infinity: "I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs."
  55. And, then, then, the final scene. Where abusive boyfriend (real world) / traumatized lover (Ana's imagination) beats the shit out of Ana with a belt. While she screams. And cries. A lot. Because she rolled her eyes at him and ran away when he said he wanted to spank her. So, she tries to negotiate. She wants to touch him. He doesn't want to be touched. She, being the emotionally abused near-virgin that she is, says "Bring it, baby" in hopes of being able to touch him. She has no idea what she is saying bring it to. He doesn't tell her. He just, I repeat, beats the shit out of her. And then lays with her in bed, sad and hurt, because he was just doing what she asked, right?!?
fly high swings

And here it is.

A Prologue.

I decided to go with a "111 Things To Do in 2011" list. With a little bit of a twist --- I am only putting things on this list that will make me happy. I am not putting things that I "need" to do, or "resolutions" of things that I "should" do. I am only putting things that will bring more happiness and joy into my life, or things that I know will lighten my soul and free my heart. Things that align with my intentions for the year. It is a journey of continual growth. 

So here, we go, one hundred and eleven joyously amazing things to do in 2011.

Three (Inter-related) Intentions.

  • Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu. May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the words, thoughts, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all. My intention is to dive deeply into this blessing, always returning to that question -- is this contributing to the happiness and freedom for all? Is this lunchtime gossip contributing to happiness and freedom? This milkshake that I feed myself? The way I spend my money? How is this freeing me? Others? Is there some way that my life can contribute even more? How can I serve? How can I love?
  • Be, as Amy Ippoliti says, a powerhouse of love. An explosion of pure love, a love muffin, a totally fierce and compassionate lovebug. I want to be a tsunami this year, and leave dozens of ripples and waves of love, of joy, of laughter in my wake. I want to marvel at the millions of incarnations of the Universe that we cross paths with each day. I want to fall in love with each and every one of them. When faced with the choice, to live in love or live in fear, I want to choose love. Over and over and over, I will choose love.  
  • Commit to life, and commit fiercely, fully. Commit to experiencing the high's and low's, both, without seeking to numb myself with technology, with food, with television shows and arguments. Commit to taking changes, trying new experiences, and just jumping in completely. Our lives can be gone in a flash, and there will be so many opportunities lost. I am choosing to live, to live fully, to dive in, to love my life, to be passionately in love with the angst and the laughter. I am remembering the light and life of the 2 year old, before society's condition sets in... The wonder, the awe, the pure luscious love for everything around you. It is an amazing experience, to be human, and I am blessed in so many ways. I will say yes! to life this year, to all the crazy manifestations of the universe that I get to encounter. 

The List.

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day 01: introduce yourself, in great detail.

Warning: I am very good at "great detail." As evidenced by the long entry below. 

I'm Audra, and I'm about to turn 25. I don't have a problem with aging; when people lament the age of 40, it seems a little bit silly to me. This is probably because my mother has turned 40 with grace and pizzazz, energy and life, and I look forward to losing all the insecurities and questions that come with your 20's. Nonetheless, I tend to have existential crises, even at this age, due to my flair for the dramatic, and that I rarely stop thinking. So when you say, "in great detail," you generally don't have to worry about that with me --- I will likely give you more detail, with more drama, than you could ever ask for. Not soap opera drama, which I try to avoid like the plague, but the intense inner drama that comes with the never-ending inner monologue. A little Hamlet-esque, perhaps.

Anyways, I'm about to turn 25, and live in Brooklyn. I am originally from a completely different environment, and I don't mean the suburbs. I grew up on 27 acres of land. The next houses over, when those acres ended, were my nanny (grandmother) and aunt/uncles on my father's side. My sisters and I ran wild through the woods, barefeet in the grass, building forts and bridges over creeks, pretending that we could move through the forests without making a sound "like Indians." Our TV had four channels, and so I didn't watch much TV other than Jeopardy and the Simpsons. My mainstream television treats were Saturday morning cartoons (Smurfs!) with my grandfather when I was very small and we still lived in Ashland (I have no memory really of this) and the TGIF shows when I was older (Step by Step! Sabrina! Boy Meets World!). My grandfather remains one of the most pivotal people in my life; it is because of his presence (and my grandmother, but especially my grandfather) that I think I was able to be who I am and be supported by my mother and family, despite the craziness of my father.

I read. A lot. The library was always one of my favorite places, although now it has (sadly, for my wallet) been replaced oftentimes by bookstores, which I find hard to leave without a book.

I was poor. I never realized how poor we were, because we had a house and land. We didn't need a lot of things to entertain ourselves; trying to sneak pet frogs into the house was enough, and our vacations always consisted of camping with the family. But we were under poverty level for a while, with my mom making around $20,000/year during my elementary school years, while supporting myself, two sisters, and my father. My father worked, but all of his money was used for alcohol and drugs. In middle school, she got bumped into the $30ks, and we were able to buy "cool" clothes from Rugged Wearhouse for the first time. My mom going to work for Capital One when I was in 8th grade really transformed our life; her salary went up to $40,000 and we were able to leave my dad (albeit temporarily). 

I was never popular, and often overweight. I remember struggling to break 10 minutes on the mile in 5th grade, and lamenting the fact of being 115 lbs at ten years old with a friend, wishing desperately to lose weight. But being poor, and in a house with physical/emotional abuse, I think that I was set up for that kind of struggle. It is sad, to me, though, that society has created such a standard that I would even KNOW at ten years old that I was "overweight." 

In general, elementary school was tough for me in relation to friends; my circle changed frequently, and my best friends were never steady, for a wide variety of reasons. In middle school, when our four elementary schools merged, I was able to make friends that lasted the duration of my time in Hanover County. I was a nerd, for sure, but well-liked and friendly with most people. We had cliques, but not the kind of cliques that most had --- we all talked, laughed, and shared extracurriculars, we just didn't really go to the movies together on Saturday nights. I found my time consumed by extracurricular activities, and work once I was old enough: Model United Nations, Science, Latin Club, marching band, theater (costumes & make-up), youth group (at a Southern Baptist church, no less). I was into computer science, lobbying Congress to put the constitution on the back of the dollar bill, and working at Jersey Mike's. 

I didn't date much; I attempted to have several serious relationships, but they were long distance and silly when I look back. I had a fling with a coworker at Jersey Mike's while on the clock, dated a couple of people several years younger than me, and had numerous unrequited crushes. I took a fling to Junior Prom, and went solo to Senior Prom. I think I actually bought the 2nd ticket and gave it to a 10th grade friend from theater, but maybe that was Stephanie (which of us did that?) Stephanie, Jonathan, and I were the Harry Potter trio, one of my strongest and longest-lasting obsessions. Teachers thought that Jonathan and I would date, and yet we're not even friends anymore. 

Eventually, I met Aaron, online, and started "dating" him as much as we could be said to be dating. I was itching to get out of that town, and to see the world. NYU was my dream, but it cost too much, and so I ended up at Stony Brook. I never attended any class more than 30% of the time, with the exception of WRT 102 where two absences meant that you would be failed. Most of my classes I only attended for exams and turning in papers. It was a good experience, and I don't regret going, but I didn't find any part of it to really be challenging. Yet, being there and reading the things that I did, continued to help change and expand my mind; I don't think the 10th grade me and the current me would even be friends, and we certainly would never be able to discuss a hot button political issue. Aaron and I were together all the time, and we had plenty of laughs. We'd hang out with Grace & Steve, go to Dave & Buster's, see a LOT of movies, and do a lot of cooking. Eventually, we got engaged, but we were fighting all the time. Aaron had a thing for cyber-relationships, lots and lots and lots of porn (videos, magazines, online), and so on... I became a person I would never want to be, screeching and screaming and nearly physically violent with anger. Friends of mine told me that it was no big deal, because cybersex wasn't real sex, but it was just continuously downhill from there. I still sometimes become frustrated with the fact that this relationship went so seriously downhill, and yet none of my friends were able to speak up about it. Well, minus Jen, who is always honest, but we didn't REALLY become friends until the very end. We decided to take a break, and after just a week or two, I was ready for the break to be permanent.  Things got worse from there; he stole money from me, made it difficult for me to get the car signed to my mom, and just a lot of things. He has contacted me several times over the years, and said nothing but nice things, but it's still strange to me.

I also had one of the best things in my  life happen to me during this time: I began working at YAI. The people there --- both the individuals we supported and my fellow co-workers --- were exactly what I needed during this time, reminding me that I had the strength and capability to stand. I fell in love with my job, and often worked 100+ hours per week. I will never forget the love and memories from my year at the Setauket house, and will always be eternally grateful, for they have put me on the path I am today. I also met Nick during this time, who -- despite sometimes being a jerk --- really was a changing force in my life. He brought me further into the music that I like, the values that I have, and was the one who pushed me to apply for the Teaching Fellows. Although things did not and could never have worked for us romantically, he was a huge force in shaping who I am today. Other than that, most of that year was spent solo, reading, shopping, going for long drives to Orient Beach. The solitude was what I needed to heal and become stronger; my mom says that I lost myself in my relationship with Aaron, that I was not Audra, and I don't doubt it for a second. The year after, though, was where I was able to really grow my wings as an adult, single person, not near her family, not relying on a significant other, but just relying on herself and her own capabilities and dreams. 

And then there was Dan, and the Teaching Fellows, which have really been what I've been doing for the past four years, with other stuff (yoga! eating healthy!) thrown in. I have not made any new friends here, no one that I would stay in touch with long-term, with the exception of one person that I work with. My only NYC friends, really, are the SBU ones that I already had --- Grace, Jessica. It seems like the past four years have been one big year, rather than four. I mean, huge things happened --- meeting Dan, getting married, going to Vegas, going to CA, going to Disney World, becoming a transition coordinator, getting my first Master's, starting at NYU for my second Master's, becoming an aunt. But I guess it's hard to write too much about that leg of the journey, because I feel like that leg is still going on. I don't really know where that leg is going to take me yet, and it's too soon to see too much of how it has shaped me. I do know that the past four years have meant that Kaitlin, my middle sister, and I have been able to become friends, and that seems to me more of an accomplishment than any of the other things, strangely. 

That's a rather rambling overview of my life, but I guess it's as good a baseline as any for the upcoming days and entries. It's hard, other than the facts of my life, to describe who I am. I feel like I've learned a lot about myself this summer, through my spiritual journeys and solitude, but I cannot say that there really is a static person. One second, I'm serious and discussing the nature of reality and psychological states of well-being, and in the next, I'm making up ridiculous songs that go nowhere and don't make any sense. I like Disney, being outdoors, the mountains, the beach, the flowers, the clouds in the sky. I like to read books and to experiment with watercolors and laugh with friends. I am mostly disconnected from mainstream culture; we don't have television, I don't read the news (or any blogs), or listen to the radio. I would have no idea of what movies are out, or what they're about, what the latest fashions are, or the coolest places to go. I'm happiest if I have a picnic blanket and a great swath of grass to myself, or perusing my wide range of interests and search for knowledge in a bookstore. I'm sure there's more, but considering there are thirty days of this ahead... 
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Save-the-Date Prototype Front:

(Gold will be a background frame for a picture of us holding hands, focusing on the hands.)

Opens to:

(Pictures of us photo booth style with a sign that says "Save the", "Date", "August 22, 2009")

The purple insert doubles as a magnet, and will haev information printed on the back about hotels where we block out rooms and attractions to check out in the area.
fly high swings

108 Things To Do in 2008 -- 78 of 109 Complete, Not So Bad!

I kind of sucked at doing my list this past year, so I'm trying to make it more doable. I did about half, but I like to shoot for 70% or better. I also tried to make more of them things that are measurable, which usually makes it a little easier to do them, rather than generic "Be less _____" or "Do more ________" goals.

Anyways, here's the list!

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Also, this journal is friends-only, so comment to be added.
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another list...

- My neighbor had my RAM. They brought it over. I don't know why they signed for it when I was home. At least I got it. However, Apple overcharges and does a really dumb thing (sends you 2 chips of half the size instead of 1 chip of the full size.) I am thus mailing back the Apple RAM, and bought RAM through Best Buy for about $130 less. Best Buy was the worst customer service experience I've had in a very long time. Do not get me started.

- Installation was ridiculous. Really, I Mean, it was me AND Dan BOTH pressing down with the maximum force possible. I really mean maximum force possible; my fingers are slightly numb and dented still 24 hours later.

- That being said, SO WORTH ALL OF THAT. 2GB of RAM is awesome, and my computer can do so much more without a hitch, and I already had a pretty damn awesome computer with an awesome processor, and now I have 2 GB of RAM.

- School is going well. My students are still absolute hellions but cuter while being hellions and completely growing on me. I like this age far more than I originally thought that I would. I mean, I like teaching autism, period, but I never, in any of my thoughts of teaching, pictured myself teaching middle schoolers. Teaching middle schoolers is HARD, and far far far less people decide to teach middle school, even statistically speaking.

- Mercy NOT going so well. HATE HATE HATE towards everything that is Mercy. And especially towards people who have no effing clue what they are talking about, and yet are trying to tell me that I don't know. AKA teachers who have bad ratings telling me that I don't know about our autism kids; teachers who have never taught autism saying I don't know what is a best practice. STFU.

- I WANT to clean my apartment tonight, Monica-clean my apartment, because it needs it, and because I like doing that. But my energy levels are flagging far more than they should ---

- Probably because I have not remembered to take my vitamin for the past week. Bad me, bad me.

- It's a three day weekend. And that's awesome.

- I am SO playing WoW this weekend.
fly high swings

(no subject)

People are dumb. Someone stole my $200 package including 1GB of new RAM. They signed for it, but they are not me, nor do they live at my address. My RAM is off floating somewhere in the open world and I don't know where :(
fly high swings

(no subject)

exhausted and thus cranky, but a few things to say:

A) I've totally gone off my healthy-eating kick this month. Starting tomorrow, I'm going back on. High protein (well, normal protein, really... I've been eating low protein which is no good) and good carbs and veggies and fruit and fiber.

B) I need to also get back to the gym, or get that punching bag that I want, becuase I need WAY better stress management than "get cranky" or "eat tons of ice cream."

C) My kids are still crazy, but they're growing on me.

D) I'm ALMOST back to a normal life. I just have a crapload of stuff to laminate and velrcro tomorrow/Friday, and then I'm back to a normal life, where I only do schoolwork for maybe an hour outside of school each day, rather than an extra 25 hours a week (or more.)

E) I'll be able to play WoW again! I haven't played in weeks :( Dan bought it, and now we can play together! Except that I'm not sure when our characters will be in the same place and able to communicate, I might have to play one of my other characters.

F) My first Leadship Institute is this Saturday. Woohoo. The agenda is PACKED, but the post office is my friend. They lost the textbook I am supposed to read by Saturday, and so now I don't have to read it until after they give it to me. I love the Post Office (for losing stuff.) Did you ever think you'd hear someone say that??

G) Dan is awesome. I've been major stressed, snappish, cranky, and pretty much not myself, and probably not that much fun to be around, but he makes me smile and feel non-snappish, or at least nto feel too bad when I do snap (such as when my stupid printer kept interrupting Heroes, which was awesomely good.)

H) The new HOUSE was awesome. Without Cameron, Foreman, etc... House is why HOUSE is House. You will know what that means if you watch the show.

I) I'm $80 away from getting yoga mats for my students. If you want to donate (even $5 helps!) or know someone who might, pass along the link, it's tax-deductible: