Resolutions Revisited

A few months ago, I had a great goal of accomplishing 11 Resolutions for ’11. How have I done? Well, let’s just that if I were a student, I’d probably be searching for some serious extra credit. Here is an update of my resolutions:

1.) Take spontaneous trips. I actually HAVE accomplished this one! This year, I have already visited Minneapolis and Omaha. I will be taking a trip to Kansas next weekend, and going to Daytona Beach in March. This has lead to many interesting encounters, such as speaking to tractor-bound strangers.

2.) Learn to text and talk at the same time. Not even close. I have become pretty skilled at talking to myself while texting though, which I figure is a feat.

3.) Limit my grocery bill to $40/week. I’m pretty sure posting this made my spending actually go up. I told myself that I needed to be on budget, and began putting things into my cart that I wouldn’t otherwise think of. Without taking any fewer trips.

4.) Keep a workout log. This lasted exactly one week.

5.) Apply to be on a TV show. I have watched plenty of ridiculous TV since making this resolution, but am still 15 minutes of fame(less).

6.) Make regular phone calls to relatives/friends to keep in touch. I’ve become better at this! But this is one that I could definitely (and want to!) do better.

7.) Take more pictures. I’ve taken probably 10 pictures since making this resolution. My camera creeping skills need a comeback.

8.) Learn how to sew. The holes in my clothes have gotten bigger. My sewing skills are still those of a six-year old.

9.) Keep track of my spending. I actually accomplished this! Ok, I actually did for the purpose of this post. That counts, right?

10.) Get a full-time coaching and teaching job. This is half-accomplished. I am currently substituting, and have a Maternity Leave position in April until the end of the year. Positions for the Fall are just opening so I will be doing plenty of applying.

11.) Buy a puppy. I have searched the web for puppies far more than I should admit.

And now, from you: What other resolutions should I make? Have you kept your own resolutions? What can I do to prevent myself from looking at pictures of puppies?

Parking Panic

You know by now that my driving skills (and decisions) are far from stellar. However, there is one area of driving where I’m even more dense than directions.

Parking.

No, not parallel parking. I mean the parking that requires you to be in between the two straight yellow lines. I honestly cannot achieve this. This may be excusable if I wore glasses, but my vision is pretty close to perfect [Actually, my left eye is weaker than my right. The eye doctor wanted me to wear a pirate patch to correct this. I already look like a pirate when I smile, since I am completely unable of keeping both eyes open. I’d prefer not to make the resemblance really ridiculous.]

I approach parking spots with extreme focus. I intensely eye the yellow lines, and then lock my door feeling confident that I have finally figured out how to get my car to fit. I get out of the car, and realize that I am actually half-way between two spots, and, also, oddly on a complete diagonal.

I’ve never been spatially savvy. I remember the first time my dad took me driving on a “real” road. There were bushes and trees lining the righthand side of the road. I was driving along, and suddenly started to see little leaves coming up near my car and, shortly after, some branches. I thought that this was maybe because it was a little windy. My dad, clearly, knew otherwise. He continued to say “Stay in your lane! Stay in your lane!” I thought that this meant I needed to get farther over to the right.

As I moved over farther over to the right, the scene became a bit like The Wizard of Oz. There were bits of branches flying everywhere, and leaves were coming into the middle of the road. I had made my car a miniature lawn mower and was destroying all of the road debris.

Lately, I’m realizing that it’s about time to get some spatial skills. However, I have no idea how to do this. Do I ask my friends to practice parking with me? Do I retake Driver’s Ed?

[A Side Note: I have actually never gotten a ticket or been in an accident.]

“Hi(s)!” and Crowds

Hi!” “Hello!” “Hey!” (Hopefully never, everHowdy! or “Hi-ya!”)

We’re all familiar with the greetings. We use them most frequently to greet those that we know or when being introduced to new person. However, there is a time where the greeting is optional, and can, as a result, be a bit awkward: If you’re walking down a hallway, street, sidewalk, or another spot where you’re surrounded by people.

There are 4 categories that people fall into in this situation:

1.) You put your head down and ignore every person that you pass. Anyone who selects this option must have be coordinated enough to avoid collisions.

2.) You pretend that you are so focused on where you’re going that you don’t notice you aren’t alone. Anyone who selects this option is directionally determined and an expert at avoiding eye contact.

3.) You greet only those that you know, and maybe give a friendly smile to those you don’t. Anyone who does this is normal.

4.) You can say “Hi!” to every single person you see. Anyone who selects this option is slightly (in)sane.

I think you probably have a good idea which category I fall in.

I have always been a number 4. When I walk in a crowded area, I typically try my to say “Hi!” to every person I pass. This can cause me to sound as if my voice is a tape playing at warp speed during passing periods. I probably say “Hi” around a hundred times a day.

This can, of course, cause a little bit of awkwardness. The majority of people fall into categories 1, 2, or 3 and don’t necessarily want to be greeted by a total stranger. They may greet you in return, but more frequently will either look at you like you’re slightly crazy, ignore you, or even somehow manage to accomplish both. Or, even worse, they take that “Hi!” not as friendliness, but, rather, as flirtation.

I remember one time when I was walking on campus at Drake and was so excited because I thought that I had met a fellow 4. My voice probably went up 4 octaves as I overexcitedly said “Hi!” in return. The person’s response?

“Oh, er sorry. I was saying “Hi” to someone else. But “Hi’ anyway!”

Luckily, that person was a 3.

Are you a number 1, 2, 3, or 4? Should I try being a 3?

 

 

An I-35 Adventure

I’ve mentioned before that I hate taking long driving trips alone. Mostly, because I get lost everywhere.

So when I do drive alone, each trip has its own source of entertainment. My usual favorite is learning lyrics. I will literally play a song until I’ve accomplished this. I’m pretty sure a passenger wouldn’t appreciate busting out “Bust a Move” for an entire 2 hours as I once did.

Last weekend, I took a road trip to Minnesota for my friend Alyssa’s bachelorette party (which deserves another post!). My personal entertainment for the long drive? To see how long I could travel on the way back without getting gas.

A passenger would have really helped to tell me how terrible this idea was.

I continued to see my gas dwindle and felt increasingly pleased that I had resisted the urge to stop. I was going along and then, suddenly, I realized that I had about 1/8 of a tank and needed to refuel.

I saw a Shell, but decided not to stop. I know that Shell is usually more expensive, and I’d rather not spend more on gas [and clearly I have no idea whether using Shell rather than Kum ‘N’ Go makes any difference…?].

So I drove past the Yellow sign. Then, a few miles later I realized that I was in the middle of Northern Iowa and there wasn’t a single stop for miles. The only golden that I would see were not arches, but rather stalks (and stalks) of corn.

My gas light had already come on. I saw a sign for “Exit (number?)” in 1 mile. I knew that I was sure to be surrounded by farms rather than fast food. I also was, clearly, sure to get lost. I took the mystery exit.

I drove for a few miles in one direction, and my only company were cattle. I was in the ideal scene for a Lifetime Channel Original Movie. Lost girl. Panicked.  Cornfields. Knows no one within 100 miles.

Still, that didn’t stop me from stopping the first stranger I saw. He was, fortunately, a very nice guy around my age in a truck. He, unfortunately, had no idea where the nearest gas station was. He volunteered to drive into the next town and have me follow him.

So we drove through the cornfields and cattle together, and, hooray! We found a gas station. My stranger savior left. Things seemed safe…right?

Wrong.

The gas station looked like it came from about 1920. It had a pump where you had to use manually and type some code in to work. I had absolutely no idea what to do. I stood there for approximately 20 minutes, trying to type in my information, figure out which pump to use, and hoped that this old age of the pump would somehow accidentally give me gas for free.

Wrong.

I finally figured it out. I got back on the road (without getting lost!). I drove a mile back on I-35 and, of course, saw a sign for an Exit that included gas. The gas station, however, was for—I kid you not—”Boondock Truck Stop.”

I know one thing for sure: My source of entertainment will never include something that involves showcasing my directional denseness and could possibly put me as the future face of a Lifetime Original Movie.

Got my lunch packed up, My boots tied tight

I love the movie Billy Madison. Adam Sandler has always been my favorite actor, and I love school. Win, win.

For the past few weeks, I’ve felt as if I’m part of the movie. I’ve headed back to school.  Not necessarily to prove to my dad that I’m not a fool (let’s hope that I never have to give a speech about Geography) but I’ve been back at every grade (Preschool to High School) as a substitute teacher. I’m doing this until I start full-time teaching 9th grade in April.

I’ve loved substitute teaching, and have had many interesting moments. They may not beat Billy’s (nothing can quite trump getting an entire bus to pee their pants), but are extremely awkward. Here is a glimpse of a few moments in my past week as a substitute:

1.) In Preschool, I had to chase a girl who refused to get on the bus. It was below zero. I was wearing heels. The girl was also completely nonverbal but fast.

2.) In 2nd grade, I had a talk with a girl who was still traumatized that a boy tried to kiss her in Kindergarten. On the day I was subbing, that boy also confessed that he was in love with her to the entire class. I have a feeling Billy would have given far different advice than I did.

3.) A 6th grade teacher that I had subbed for earlier in the week said to me (in front of her entire class) “Ooo you’re the sub that they’ve been talking about! The boys think that you are so hot. They asked if they could put Purell in my water bottle to make me sick and get you to come back.” [This is extremely awkward for me to write, but I bring this up for the sheer creativity of that ploy. Who comes up with that?!]

4.) I had an 8th grade student who was named “Phat.” He was Vietnamese. However, he had also taken his namesake a bit too literally and wore pants that would make Eminem uncomfortable. He also addressed me “What up girl?”

5.) I overheard 8th graders in the lunchroom saying that the girl at the concert “had like 9 martinis.” I said a silent thank you that they are naive enough to know that a.) Martinis are never at concerts and b.) If this were true, the girl would no longer be standing.

My highlight of the week? I did not get lost. Not even once!

Disasters in Corking

You all know that I have difficulty with life’s supposedly simple tasks. I have yet another to add to the ever growing list: I will never be able to drink alone.

This has nothing to do with being judged for sipping solo. It’s because I am completely unable to get the cork out of a wine bottle.

Jenn and I have had a bottle of red wine in our fridge for a few months (Trader Joe’s 2-Buck Chuck, which is actually $3. I’d normally be upset about this deception, but I can’t argue with anything that has a rhyme). Neither of us like red wine. However, last night I decided I was going to give it another shot. Jenn is always the one to open any alcohol. Jenn was not home. I was determined to do it on my own.

I know, I know. I should know by now to tackle a new task with support.

I broke out the wine opener. I placed it in the bottle like I’d seen her do plenty of times. I twisted it and popped it up, convinced that I had just accomplished opening a bottle on my very own! I knew I’d see the skinny cork on the bottle opener.

And…I did. Half of it, that is. The other half was still stuck inside the bottle.

The problem? I could not get either piece off. I tried pulling, twisting, and even considered slamming the bottle on the counter to see if that would make the cork come off.

Then, suddenly it came to me! I’ll use a knife. I began stabbing the cork with the knife, which I thought would miraculously make it come off. False. Instead, it left little bits of cork all over the counter and made little bits of cork go to the bottom of the bottle. [I like to think that this upped my $3 bottle of wine’s value by giving it a rustic quality.]

I’d like to say that this process ended with my pulling the cork off and enjoying my hard-earned glass. False. I called Jenn, not necessarily because I was so desperate for a glass but to apologize for ruining her wine opener. I was convinced that taking the parts of cork out of each area was an impossible task.

Jenn opened it in less than 1 second, while taking on the phone.

 

Bacon, Butter, and Blizzards

Nearly the entire United States is experiencing a blizzard right now…which means the second best combination of words (the first being anything that has a second word “Break”): SNOW DAY!

Snowy days are a good conversation starter, but also pretty awful if you share my winter weaknesses. Being snowed in makes me REALLY need summer (I’m anyone who has ever experienced my parking skills would agree that this is essential for the safety of all).

Since traveling anywhere is not advisable (especially when you can’t park inside yellow lines on sunny days), I resort to my all-time favorite activity: Food. I’m usually a pretty healthy eater, but being stuck in makes me ONLY crave foods that are really bad for you.

Two of my favorite things in my formerly picky eating days were bacon and butter. When I was a toddler, I was at a wedding with my parents and ran around to steal (and eat) the butter packets off every table at the wedding.

The wedding guests enjoyed their bread sans butter, and I smiled for my scarfing sneakiness.

I also loved bacon. I would ask my mom for the “cheesy” part only (aka, the fat…SO healthy). This was at least better than the entire summer that I would ONLY eat chocolate cake for breakfast. If I didn’t love sports so much, I would have had a certain spot on an E! True Hollywood story on Childhood Obesity.

Then, suddenly my love for bacon and butter went away.

The snow days have allowed me to reconnect with my long lost loves. My roommate Jenn was making a recipe yesterday that called for bacon, and so I decided to bake some. HUGE mistake. I have now probably eaten close to a 1/2 pound over the past day. And also baked it in brown sugar (I’m telling myself that “brown sugar” means it is automatically healthy…like brown rice).

I’ve also rediscovered that I like butter. ALOT. Especially mixed with bacon.

Are you a snow day snacker? What do you do to avoid eating everything in sight when you can’t step outside without experiencing an avalance?