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Subject:adventures in dog licensing/beauracracy.
Time:12:49 pm
we adopt a dog from the humane society.

they give us a list of places where dogs are licensed. they ask if we live in ypsilanti or ypsilanti township. i say our address is ypsilanti, but i think technically we live in pittsfield township. they tell us to go to the treasurer in ypsilanti city hall.

i go to ypsi city hall. they're out to lunch. i go home, come back later. they need a rabies vaccination certificate, all i have is two copies of his health records which show he got a rabies vaccination. but i need a certificate. she asks where i live. she tells me i need to go to the ypsilanti township office.

i take him to the vet. i ask them if they can get me a rabies certificate. they say they can. but then i forget, and they forget. a few days later, i realize i still don't have one.

i call the humane society. they tell me they gave me a copy of the certificate when we adopted him (they didn't), but they'll mail me an extra copy.

i get the copy. i go to the ypsilanti township office. she says she'll type it up for me. finally we're getting somewhere. but she asks which side of golfside road we live on. i say the westside. that means we live in pittsfield township. i have to go to the county office in ann arbor.

she tells me i can get the license on-line, though. i go to the website. they are no longer selling 2010 licenses, and don't start selling 2011 licenses until november 16th.

uggggggggh. as if the dog wasn't difficult enough!
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Time:10:27 am
Sex dream about Steve Zahn. Kind of disturbing. But damn if he didn't rock my world.
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Subject:leg hair: part II.
Time:09:29 am
okay, so the whole shaving thing lasted about three weeks. the day after i would shave, when the hair started poking through my skin, my skin would get irritated and my legs would be covered in bumps, which would bleed if i barely scratched them. the result being that even though my legs were void of hair, they were covered in scabs and sores. i thought that looked much worse than hair, so i have again abandoned shaving my legs.

time to make peace with my leg hair again!
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Time:11:03 am
I'm watching the MTV show, "If You Really Knew Me," and I'll admit, I love this show. Maybe it's because I'm a teacher and I see glimpses of what students are really dealing with in their life, and see how they keep it from each other, put up fronts. Or maybe it's because I always felt misunderstood when I was in school. If you haven't seen the show, they go around to different high schools, and have something called "Challenge Day", and there's a bunch of different activities, but it's based around them getting in small groups and finishing the sentence, "If you really knew me...". They focus on a few different students, from different groups/labels, but basically everybody sees that they have a lot in common with people they never thought they would, and they get to see what everyone is dealing with in their lives, and understand them better/become closer. It breaks down barriers.

Something one person said reminded me of this time in 9th grade, my first day back to school after my grandma died. We were playing volleyball in gym class, and it was honestly the last place I wanted to be. I was really distracted/out of it, not really doing too much or really contributing to my team. People on my team were getting mad at me. One girl (I can't even remember who, but I think it might have been the girl who lived across the street from me, who used to be a good friend of mine) was actually yelling at me because I wasn't playing well enough. I didn't even respond, just staring at the ground. (But seriously, it's just a game in gym class, do you need to get that upset?)

Then, when we were walking into the locker room, a girl who I was friendly with, but not actually friends with--I think her name was Brandi--came over and asked me what was up because I didn't seem like myself. I told her my grandmother had just died, and I started to cry a little. And this girl, who could have just said she was sorry to hear that and keep going, because I wasn't really her friend, she had no obligation to take care of me, she stopped and hugged me and just held me for a few minutes while I cried.

Remembering this years later, and tearing up over how great that was of her, and how much it meant to me, I felt the need to honor her and her actions. I want to be that kind of person. I want everyone to be that kind of person.
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Subject:leg hair.
Time:06:00 pm
About 10 years ago I stopped shaving my legs and armpits. Mostly because shaving really aggravated my eczema, it just seemed easier not to do it. Partly because I started becoming disenchanted with the standard beauty ideals which are forced on women. And then became down-right pissed at them. And as time went on, a few of my friends stopped shaving, and I became friends with girls who were also the type of people not to shave. It was normalized in my world.

I've always dressed "weird", since the time my mom let me dress myself (can you say wearing watches on my ankles? Yeah--I was an avant garde fashionista when I was 4), and the official story was that I've never cared what people thought of me. And I supposed I never did. But the real story was that I never realized people thought anything of me. I was always totally oblivious to people looking at me weird. So whenever people thought I dressed weird, or my body hair grossed out or offended (why would it offend someone? who knows, but it does) someone, I never noticed. I remember this girl in a class in 11th grade giving me dirty looks at the beginning of class, and it wasn't until almost the end of class that I realized it was probably because of my leg hair.

But I'm so much more aware of it now, now that I have to cover it up. Now that I have to have a "professional" appearance as a teacher. Now, all the explanations of what a professional appearance entails never include any mention of body hair--precisely because shaving is so standard, that nobody thinks it needs mentioning, it's assumed every woman shaves. And so, I have assumed that I need to cover it up at all times. I built a work wardrobe with 3/4 length sleeve shirts, so no armpit hair peeks out when I raise my arms. And in warm weather, stuck inside classrooms that feel like hot boxes with lots of bodies, I have to wear pants or solid tights with my dresses. Capri pants are not even an option. And I greatly resent that. But having to be so aware of covering up, has made me more sensitive and aware when it is showing (in non-professional settings). I'm noticing more when people are staring at me because of it. I notice, when, for instance, I'm at the water park with my brother and my mom and I hear a group of boys behind me pointing out my body hair to each other and laughing, and then staring at me when they walk by. Part of me wants to yell fuck you, because beauty norms are bullshit. And part of me wants to cry because I feel shitty having my body laughed at. And in the past few years, my leg hair has gotten curlier, whereas it used to lay flatter, and I personally don't like the look of it as much, especially with a dress and heels. Also, my boyfriend--who claims not to care physically about my body hair, whether or not that is true--confided that lately the looks I've been getting for my hair when we're out have started to get to him.

So I'm going to start shaving my legs. I still won't shave my armpits, because I find the itching and irritation that accompanies armpit stubble to be something akin to torture (especially with my eczema). It'll be easier for work, and I'll feel freer to wear whatever I want in the summer. I resent that I feel like there isn't a choice about this issue. Society makes it so that there isn't a choice. But for the last decade I had made it into a choice for myself, and I was proud of that. But it's hard to feel proud when I feel insecure and nervous and stared at.

I feel like a failure.
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Subject:subbing.
Time:11:42 pm
i am on spring break this week, from subbing. i am so happy to have the break, to spend time writing and creating and working on my portfolio and job searching. but i'm so tired from and of subbing. i worked the most i've worked so far last week. the only day i took off was to work on my job search/portfolio. and i think a lot of the students' attitudes came from being ramped up for spring break--very anxious and antsy and definitely not interested in the woman who is giving them busy work. one of the days was okay, but the rest were trying, and certainly annoying.

i find that i have a much harder time gaining the respect of students when i'm subbing in a class where the regular teacher is male. i think it's a difference in classroom management styles. i hope it's that, and not them seeing a female as less of an authority in a position usually occupied by a male. the half day at the middle school was the worst. the first class was so out of control that a teacher next door came in and lectured them, AND the assistant principal had to come sit in the class for awhile to get them to calm down. it made me feel kind of like a failure, that i couldn't get the class under control. i got the next class to do their work completely silently for the first part of class and rewarded them with allowing for groupwork at the end. i hoped that the assistant principal would come by the class to make sure i was okay and see that i was capable of managing a class. the rest of the week at the high school i had to deal with a lot of attitude from students who got mad, really MAD at me because i wouldn't let them leave the room whenever they wanted, or expected them to actually be quiet while taking a test! i was called a bitch multiple times, and on friday a student told me that a student from the day before had called me a cunt, which i didn't hear. and of course, i overheard multiple groups of students trying to decide if i was a lesbian.

i'm sick of it! i shouldn't have to put up with being treated like this. i always leave very detailed notes for the teachers, so they know just what their students think they can get away with. i never hear what happens. except i got an e-mail the other day from a teacher thanking me for grading all the tests, and that he would deal with all the students that gave me problems. one of them told me the next day (in a different class) that he had gotten in a bunch of trouble. good! i'm so sick of these teenagers thinking they can be so disrespectful to substitutes just because they're not their regular teacher, and that they can get away with it! i was in an 8th grade class for three days, and it wasn't until the third day when students that had gotten in trouble with me were like, "yr not going to tell Mr. H about this, are you?" uh...YEAH I AM.

it's exhausting. i have to keep reminding myself that it will not be like this when i have my own class. next week i'm going back to marquette to the history department's awards dinner, to get recognition as their student teacher of the year, and i don't feel deserving, because i feel like so ineffective as a substitute. but maybe it will serve to remind me that i AM a good teacher, that i really DID have a lot of fun teaching. that this is really what i am MEANT to do.

*sigh*
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Time:10:38 pm
I don't write in here very much anymore. I haven't been journalling as much in my paper journal, either. Life is just going along. I guess I don't have much to say. I have random thoughts about becoming an adult, but I haven't formulated them into a piece of writing, yet. I started at one point, but I was comparing how I felt about things 5-10 years ago, and I couldn't help but feel like a sellout and a disappointment to myself, and I know that's not true, things have just changed. So I put that piece of writing aside and I haven't put any more on paper about it yet. But, it's weird, y'know?


I do want to write about the Chicago Zine Fest last weekend. I went on a bit of a last-minute whim, when Emilja told me I should come, because it would be awesome, and we hadn't seen each other since she moved out of Grand Rapids...three years ago? So, I went by myself, and I'm so glad I did. It was nice to travel on my own again, I've always enjoyed doing that. I even made a friend in my hostel! The zine readings were great, the zine exhibition itself was great. I saw people I hadn't seen in a long time, people I've known for years through the mail and zines but had never met in person, people I just met! I had so many great conversations with people. And it's funny how so many people know each other! The zine community really is a community. And I feel so glad to be a part of it. I really did feel a part of it, I really connected to people. It was very comforting to be around people who just...get me, get where I'm coming from. It is a stark contrast from this life I'm living up here, in small town, u.s.a., living among strangers, living the life of a professional educator. It really felt like I came home. It was fantastic.

And I got dinner with one of my cousins while I was there. He's from North Carolina, I have met him...twice? The last time I saw him was...15 years ago? I thought it was going to be awkward and weird, but it was really great! He's a nice guy, I had a lot of fun having dinner and chatting with him. It was nice to talk to someone about my family, about my grandparents, and have them know exactly what I mean, and be trying to overcome the same family traits that I am.
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Subject:dying.
Time:07:06 pm
my grandmother is "actively dying". this is a phrase which a friend of my mom's who works at a retirement home used to describe the state my grandmother is in. I saw her on Christmas, it is likely the last time I will see her.

I feel guilty. I feel guilty that it didn't really matter to me one way or another whether I saw her on Christmas. I feel guilty that I don't feel worse about what is happening to this grandmother--when I can hardly talk about my other grandmother without crying, almost 10 years after she died. I feel guilty that the only part of this that makes me sad is what a burden it is on my mom. She's the closest of the three daughters so she's the one that has to go over and bathe her, read her her mail, make sure she's eating, make sure she's not driving. she had the secretary of state take her driver's license away because she has macular degeneration of her eyes, and since her second stroke she has trouble lifting her feet. my grandma told her cousin she was still going to drive, so my mom has to go to her house to make sure she's not.

I feel bad for my mom because she has never had the best relationship with her mother, but she is obligated to take care of her now. My grandmother is stubborn in all the worst ways, manipulative and jealous. Throughout the years she gave away any money she saved to the family, hinting that she knew we wouldn't leave her on her own when she was no longer healthy enough to take care of herself--no one wanted the money because it seemed like a bribe.

This is the story that I always use to illustrate my grandmother to people: she had a heart attack, did not tell anyone. she had another the next morning, and went to work. at work they told her she looked like crap and that she need to go to the hospital immediately, and made her leave. she left, went to the salon, got her hair done, went home, changed her clothes, and then called 911. She has diabetes, does not take her insulin, and seems surprised whenever she feels better after she eats.

Also, on a completely selfish note, it makes me realize that I do want to have kids/a family, because no matter what our relationship is like (though, I hope to never be like my grandmother, but you never know), I won't have to be alone in my old age.
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Time:04:42 pm
I found an old list I made of things I wanted to do in my life. I hadn't looked at it in a few years, but here's all the things I checked off today:

-learn to do gynecological self exams
-become a teacher
-travel to Sweden
-go on vacation on my bike
-make my own menstrual pads
-learn how to maintain my bicycles myself
-learn spanish
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Time:01:29 pm
I think I feel the most healthy, mentally, that I have in a long time. I feel independent, productive, balanced. I've had the greatest summer, enjoying the U.P., traveling a lot, having a lot of visitors and visiting a lot of people. I had been mentally frayed from such a long, cold, winter. Overwhelmed by school, and lonely due to only having one friend in the city who i rarely saw (been spending more time with her during the summer, though!) and my boyfriend moving away. I remember when I visited home in June, I felt like such a party pooper (una aguasfiestas--one of my favorite spanish words) because whenever anyone asked me about how things were going up north, all I could do was complain about how lonely I was. So getting to spend time with all of my friends and family has really revived me, in a way I desperately needed. And to top it all off, my sister and Kevin's visit last weekend put me over the top happy. They got in at 2am, we stayed up til almost five, woke up early to spend time together. We went to Black Rocks, she brought me presents, they visited me at work, and I hung out on the beach with her stepsister and her friends. Amanda is one of the greatest people I know. She's kind and funny and thoughtful and generous. And getting to spend so much time with her (Robert, Blair and I also visited her in Ann Arbor when we were in the Detroit-area) was so good for me.

I'm spending more time at the lake. I've almost finished my first issue of checkered past in three years. And I'm so mentally prepared to face the looming challenge/adventure in front of me: student teaching. I start in 2 1/2 weeks. Bring it on.
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[icon] took mystery as her lover
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