Words I Hate

I love words. I like speaking them. I like writing them. My favorite way to use words? Turning them into a question.

Yet although I love most words, there are a few that I loathe. Deeply. Words that, when I hear, I cringe even worse than when I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair (trust me: you never want to witness this). The following are my most-hated words:

1.) “LOL.” This was not always one of my loathed words. In fact, I used to love this expression. Of course, when I used that expression, that usually didn’t mean that I was actually “Laughing Out Loud.” When I truly laughed out loud, I would type “haha.” I feel as if most people share this sentiment. Which is why there is never, ever a good reason to use “LOL.”

2.) “Panty.” This word reminds me of either A.) A guy that approaches someone at a bar that desperately needs to have the conversational cord cut or B.) An elderly woman referring to her underwear. Sorry, but I don’t want to think about either.

3.) “Scalp.” This one is a little strange. Ever since I was little, it has reminded me of Native Americans being scalped decades ago. I realize that most people are referring simply to a portion of their head when discussing this, rather than the horrific acts ages ago. Still, I avoid conversations about hair specifically to avoid hearing this word.

4.) I also hate the words “moist,” “dirty” and “yummy,” though my feelings of these words aren’t quite as strong as the other three.

What are some words that you hate?



Lost and (not) found

I have confessed earlier that I am severely directionally challenged. But yesterday’s direction disaster may have made its way to the coveted number one spot.

I left my house at 7:30 for an estimated 11-minute, 4 mile long drive. I was supposed to be at the school that I where was subbing at 8:00. However, I always plan for a wrong turn (or four) and usually leave 15 minutes early for anywhere.

Mapquest’s directions seemed so simple. 4 miles. 4 turns total. This supposedly simple trip ended up taking me 1 hr and 15 minutes, and was 50 miles long.

It all started so well. I made the first 3 rights with ease, and was even confident enough to slow down for every red light and smile to my fellow morning commuters as we stopped.

Little did I know the 4th turn was waiting and ready for revenge.

The direction was “Turn Right on Boone Drive.” Although I’ve lived in Iowa (on and off) for the past 6 years, I’ve never heard of such a street. I kept my eyes peeled…and…nothing.

Did I go to a gas station to put me back on track when I had clearly gone farther than the 2 miles it said to go until I hit Boone? Of course not.

Did I do the wise thing and pull over, or even ponder the fact that driving 10 miles in the same direction was not going to make “Boone” magically appear? Of course not.

Did I think, hmm, maybe taking random streets through surrounding cities is not going to all of a sudden make “Boone” appear? Of course not.

The problem? I had no way to call the school to say I was stuck and have worse navigational skills than a five-year old. I eventually called 4-1-1 to get the number. The secretary was really nice about it, and asked where I was. I said “Meredith Dr.” [I actually almost said near “Casey’s General Store,” which appear on nearly every corner.] She explained that I will need to go “North” or “South” on something until I hit something else.

I obviously forgot the directions as soon as she said them.

Did I ask her to repeat them? Of course not.

I ended up in the middle of gravelled, country roads, asking a man riding a small tractor for help. He was kind, and also looked at me as if I was absolutely crazy.

The school was (far too) nice about my 45 minute late arrival. The students had just started to arrive when I came, and I was able to start the day slightly frantic but fine. The use of the word “but” (which the fourth graders thought was you-know-what and caused them to laugh so hard I thought that a few were going to hyperventilate) lessened the mood instantly.

Are you as horrible at directions as I am? How do I learn my North from my South? How can I realize that I will never “find” my way out of a situation without some serious help?

So, So Slow

I may be a runner, but there are some areas where I will ALWAYS be slow. The following weaknesses were revealed to me this week:

1.) I cannot tie a five-year old’s shoes fast enough. I subbed Kindergarten this week, where I was asked to attempt this activity by the same kid more times than his age. He was also the most rambunctious kid in the room, who tried to pull me across the room while making these (many) attempts. This also proves that I am not a proficient shoe tier. [Confession: I still tie shoes using “bunny ears” and have not mastered the single loop.]

2.) I cannot get my car placed in the proper spot for gas on the first try. I also never realize that I’m too far from the gas pump until I have already entered my debit card information, and get the go-ahead to start fueling. This is not fun when it is freezing.

3.) I will never be able to be a server in a restaurant that requires extensive menu memorization. I went to Bonefish Grill last night, where the waiter read off the entire menu and wine list as if he was reciting his ABCs. I’m not even sure I could recite my address with that speed.

4.) I love spelling, but I can’t spell “prairie” for anything. This shouldn’t be a big deal, since I’m certainly not Laura Ingalls. Unfortunately, I live on “Prairie View Drive.” I’m pretty sure that Human Resources wanted to revisit their decision to hire me when I confessed that I struggle with spelling my street as I was filling out my W2s.

What are some areas where you show no speed or skill?

Ode to Awards Shows

As most of you know, I LOVE celebrity gossip. I may get a little confused about where to place small countries on a map, but can recite the names of the small children of celebrities with ease.

One of my favorite celebrity fests? Award Shows. I started watching the Oscars in Elementary School. I’m not sure why. Oscar award winners are not selected for five-year olds. The scariest movie that I had probably seen at that time was Home Alone (hey, the brick scene really got to me!) The most “designer” item that I owned came from Limited Too. I probably really only understood about 7 minutes of the entire show. Try explaining what a “producer” or “cinematography” is to someone who has recently learned the alphabet.

But regardless, I would stay awake until the “Best Picture” award was won. This was in the days before DVR. I braved the boring speeches because I simply had to see who won Best Picture, Actor, and Actress, which, of course, always came in the last fifteen minutes of the show.

I am not such an avid watcher that I will argue with anyone who finds my watching ridiculous. Awards shows are not exciting. Most people are not on the edge of their seat awaiting the outcome. The music options are far from upbeat. There isn’t a last minute game breaking decision that the celebrities can chose to change the outcome. No one ever falls.

Yet I still tune in. Luckily, DVR makes the 3.5 hour watch of any awards show less daunting. Sorry, foreign films, but you’re always going to be fast-forwarded.

Are you an avid award show watcher or would you rather do about ANYTHING else?

Sharing Food With Strangers

Today, I shared food with a complete stranger.

This situation was not planned. I was supposed to substitute teach for half of the day, but then the principal asked if I could possibly stay all day. This posed a problem. I did not bring a lunch.

All who know me know I never ever, ever, ever miss a meal.

I mentioned this casually to another substitute, who I had met for a total of five seconds (we hadn’t even made it to each other’s names yet). She had a solution: I brought a meal; we’ll share!

I didn’t even deliberate this.

I know. This probably wasn’t the smart solution. For one, I had no idea what food she actually brought. Two, well, for obvious reasons.

So we shared a homemade chow mein. I have no idea whether her dad used utensils when preparing the food, or if there were samples taken when serving. I do know that it was delicious, and saved me from potential starvation.

I have rarely eaten a meal where I haven’t tried a taste of someone else’s food. There are, of course, multiple foods that I have “tried” many, many times. Sometimes, I can curb my temptation to taste. I can typically spot food sharers, and limit my tasting to those who I am sure fall in the sharing category. But otherwise, my request is only restricted to the rare occurence that I don’t like the food or when I am at an all-you-can-eat-buffet. I’m not that lazy.

I do have exceptions. I will not share food with the sidewalk. I oddly don’t believe in the five second rule. I once saw someone eat a slice of pepperoni pizza off of the school cafeteria floor after it had been sitting there for a solid five minutes. I am permanently scarred.

The ironic thing about my stranger sharing? I didn’t even end up having to stay the whole day.

Do you frequently “try” food from your friends and family? Are you a strong supporter of the five second rule?

AOL Instant Messenger

I used to be obsessed with AOL Instant Messenger. My screen name was “Looner15.” I remember that this took careful thought.

My friends and I would spend an entire together, and then return to our house to rehash the night on AIM. It was like an instant Rerun of the night, and the rerun ran regardless of what we did. Yes, even when we watched a movie (and then talked about it afterward while together) we would discuss it in detail again.

Clearly, those reruns were ridiculous for others but somehow riveting for us.

At the time, my house had one computer. This was extremely problematic for three pre-teen girls who couldn’t bear the thought of missing an instant of Instant Messaging with their friends. This was particularly problematic because my parents thought it was “easier” to have my sisters and I receive the same curfew.

I also had a few fights with a friends via AIM. At the time, I thought that these AIM fights were important enough to bribe my sisters with nearly every single item I owned to let me stay online.

They also were critical enough for me to save the contents on my e-mail. I still have these conversations. I cannot delete them. They are hilarious.

When I was in college, I was suddenly rewarded with an incredible gift: AIM access at all times! I had about 5,000 away messages that all ended with “Leave some!!” I remember feeling as if I had to specify where I was every second of the day. If I came back from Cross-Country practice and went to dinner, my away message had to change. I’m sure others were carefully keeping tabs of my time.

I eventually had enough of AIM…which was probably because the rest of my friends gave it up far before I did.

I may have given it up for good, but, no, I still can’t delete the AIM icon from my computer.

Did you use AIM obsessively growing up?



Extreme Couponer Envy

I watched a potentially life changing episode of TV yesterday. It was called “Extreme Couponing.”

Sure, this episode probably intended for people to scoff at these super savers. One woman had her pregnant friend and toddler son dumpster dive with her for coupons to add to her 8 lb coupon binder. Another woman said her stockpile of 3,000 rolls of toliet paper—enough to last the average couple 40 years!—brought her “great joy.”

Although their stories are absurd—is there really any need to buy 1,100 boxes of cereal?!—I couldn’t help but admire their skill. The dumpster diver’s bill was $638.64. With coupons, it was $2.64! Don’t believe it? Check it out.

$2.64? Buying a beverage at that price is a bargain.

I’m not down for dumpster diving, and clearly lack the organizational skills for stockpiling. However, I do have a slight (grocery) shopping addiction that could sure use a coupon cure.

I have used coupons in the past. However, I can’t say I’ve saved any cents by clipping. Instead, I clip coupons for things I wouldn’t usually buy because I can’t pass up a bargain.

Are you a coupon clipper? Should I steer clear of these so-called “savings” or join the Krazy Coupon Lady’s fan club?