Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The True Confessions of an Out-of-Work, (Pleasantly?) Plump English Teacher

Okay, guess what, friends?

(Are you guessing?)

(Seriously, are you really guessing?)

I've signed up to run a half-marathon in October. (The Baltimore Running Festival Half-Marathon, October 12, 2013).

(Did you even try to guess before reading the next sentence? I bet you didn't. Sheesh. You are such a party-pooper.)

I am telling you because I need accountability. (Mind, accountability does not equal nagging; if you nag me, I will unfriend you on Facebook.) Just knowing that you know will make a difference. Getting back into exercising has been one of the biggest challenges that I've had so far since moving back to the States.

I have NO excuse. None at all.

At. All.

I can't even stress enough how few excuses I have. Zero. Zip. Nada.

It's not like I'm busy. I just can't seem to get back into the exercise routine; partly because I don't seem to have a routine at all, because my life for the past, oh, twenty-three years or so has been centered around a relatively orderly school day, and tons of work. Work coming out of my eyeballs.

And now, I don't have that. You would think my free calendar would make for hours and hours of exercise, but somehow it doesn't. It makes for hours and hours sitting on the couch with a blanket, curled up with good books, some Doctor Who, some sitcoms, some crocheting, a few naps, endless cups of hot tea and scrumptious coffee, and comfy pants.

And, what happens when you pull the rug of twenty-plus years of of routine out from under your plump butt?

Your butt gets plumper.

(I think maybe this is too much information.)

So, I've sign-up for The Baltimore Running Festival half-marathon to give me the motivation that I need to actually get out there and run...err, jog slowly. It's funny, because I actually like to run (err, jog slowly). So, why can't I get my butt out the door (a butt that's probably expanding...okay, too much information again)?

Will power, or lack there of, is a very mysterious thing.

And that's as eloquent as I am going to get today.

Here's hoping my pretty new running shoes will contribute to my will power. I mean, they are purple, titanium, and neon lime green. Who wouldn't be inspired??? (Well, as I got them a month ago, apparently not me.)

By The Way...does anyone want to join me? I'd love someone to run it with. This is an actually serious come to Baltimore on Saturday, October 12, 2013, and run a half-marathon with me. An inevitably slow half-marathon, but a real half-marathon, nonetheless. Having a running buddy (or more! the more the merrier!) to compare notes with while training would be a lot of fun. And, you can totally stay with me (of course!). It would be a sleepover! And, I'll even make you upside-apple biscuits, or cinnamon-pull-apart bread, or gooey cinnamon rolls, or no-nos, or nutella-filled homemade doughnuts, or chocolate crepes. Or all of them. I can make all of them, if you come.

(Do you love that I am trying to entice you with the promise of fattening food to run a half marathon with me?)

Plus, I would get to see you! And you would get to see me! Whoever you are. You wonderful person, you. My hero.

Or persons.

Think about it.

Food + Running + Danielle-inevitably-making-fun-of-herself + a definite shout out in the blog + my lifelong admiration, love, esteem, and respect + a kiss (on the cheek--geez, don't get too excited).

Doesn't get much better than that.

I'd do it just for the kiss, if I were you.

And now: to the gym!

But only after I finish my nap.

[I don't have information yet about being sponsored to run; if/when I do, I'll try to post that information, if you are interested in sponsoring me. (I may have to pick a charity or something--I'll let you know if/when I do.)]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Musings on a Tuesday (3.19.2013)

On my mind this week:

1) Good news--I've (finally) found a (temporary, part-time) job. The job is as a Research Assistant for a literacy study taking place in Baltimore City schools. My job will be (I think?) to administer tests to students, as well as occasionally observe teachers as they teach the curriculum connected to the study. It starts the second week of April, and goes till the end of the school year (first week in June), with the possibility of being able to work a few weeks on the project after school lets out. The hours are not fixed, it's part time--but it pays well for a temp position, and it will be a help financially while I look for a more permanent position (hopefully as a teacher) for the fall. Also, it's a job in education, and it will give me an opportunity to see some of the schools in the area, to possibly network, as I look for a position for the fall. I'm grateful to have found a job, and hope that it will open doors in some way.

2) My parents bought a house last Friday. Well, for all of you who have bought a house, you know that house-buying isn't simply walking into the House Store and buying one. But, for all intents and purposes, last Friday they bought a house, officially settling on a little rowhouse/townhouse here in west Baltimore. It's almost exactly like the house we are living in, actually. It's in great condition, and was priced very low--so low, that my parents were able to pay the full amount for it, with no mortgage. The funny thing is, it is technically my house: the title is in my name. The house is a HUD house (Housing and Urban Development)--a foreclosure. To give priority to individuals over investors, sometimes the HUD houses have a condition that the owner needs to live in the house for one year. Because my parents are headed back to Mali in a few months, they decided to put the house in my name to fulfill that requirement. I'll get to live there--so this wasn't a problem for me (other than the hand-cramps I got from all the signing--good grief!). So, I own a house--sort of. Well, legally and all that stuff. It will be nice to have a real "permanent" home, for now.

Of course, this means I will be moving. Again. For the fourth time this year. And not only that, moving my parents again. Alone--with no siblings to help to help this time. 

Now, onto the serious things:

3) Have you noticed that you can predict what major life events are going to happen to people via Pinterest? I'm not that nosy. Okay, I'm pretty nosy. But, I'm not that observant. Well, I'm actually pretty observant, but I'm not necessarily around the people worth observing at the moment. Okay, that came out wrong. Since I've been joined Pinterest and started following various friends, I've been able to predict upcoming pregnancies and marriages with surprising accuracy. Pinterest is basically the best thing for the gossip in you. Join today.

4) Speaking of Pinterest, I saw this little gem the other day:
Photo Credit:
And no, it is not a gem because it references Sherlock, Doctor Who and Harry Potter--as much as I do love all three of these literary and/or television franchises. Surely you've heard the quote before (even though the picture fails to credit the author--tsk, tsk.) It's by a little-known playwright named William Shakespeare. Whenever this quote appears anywhere, it is elevated as this extremely thoughtful, deep, smart, poignant quote. It always makes me laugh whenever I see it or hear it quoted, and I can't take what the person is saying seriously anymore, be it a lofty sermon, weighty valedictorian address, or somber eulogy.

This comes from Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, one of the comedies. It's your typical practically-identical-twins-brother-and-sister-are-shipwrecked-and-separated-by-the-storm-and-presumed-dead-to-each-other-and-the-sister-is-forced-to-dress-as-a-man-to-protect-herself-but-falls-in-love-with-the-duke-who-is-in-love-with-another-woman-who-falls-in-love-with-the-girl-dressed-like-a-boy-but-it-all-works-out-in-the-end-because-the-twin-brother-shows-up-and-all-the-appropriate-gender-roles-are-restored kind of comedy. (Of course.) The line itself is made in jest, and in fact, it actually kind of part of a dirty joke (yes, Shakespeare, the great Bard himself, used dirty jokes frequently in his works--and yet we encourage our children read this trash!). The quote comes from a fake love letter supposedly from the Lady Olivia to her bumptious suitor; in actuality it is written by her mischievous fool as a nasty trick on the rather-despicable suitor. And yet, despite this ribald context, it is never, ever, ever quoted in jest.

And this is the problem with our educational system today.

(It also makes me wonder how many other quotes are misquoted. How often do we recite something that was intended for frivolity--or seriousness?)

I hope that you've appreciated this little literature lesson, and that you will go forward in your lives avoiding the serious use of this quote. Because if you do, I will mock you relentlessly. There is a distinct possibility that I will mock you for something else, but I will definitely mock you if you use this quote. Because that's just who I am.

5) This just in: Thank Goodness--Emma Watson is not going to be the female lead in the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey. I had read that she was, months ago, and I was so, so, so disappointed in Hermion--I mean, Emma. Of course, I know she's not Hermione. But, I like her, and think she's a decent little actress, and if she had accepted that part, well, not that I would ever in a billion years see that film, it would make Harry Potter difficult to stomach. From Hermione to porn star? On not taking the part, Watson tweeted: "Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Gray as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life..." 

I know, I know, she's still 'Hollywood,' and she'll probably take roles that I disapprove of (like some kind of weirdly detached but very concerned big sister--come on, you know exactly what I'm talking about), but at least it's not 50 Shades of Grey. There is still some good in this universe. Even a universe that includes horrific, foul, repulsive, offensive, disgusting (I've run out of non-cussing adjectives, and I generally make it a habit not to cuss) garbage like 50 Shades of Grey. And diving reality TV shows.

6) Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that ABC is creating a reality show--"Splash"--about celebrity divers?

Really, ABC? Celebrity Divers?

Like, diving from diving boards kind of divers?

Basically, it's Dancing with the Stars. Except, With Diving.

Soon, Fox will be creating a show called "So You Think You Can Swim?" It will be about ordinary folk who just want to prove that they can synchronize-swim better than Esther Williams herself, and they will do individual and group synchronized swimming routines in the pool. The winner will win a date with Michael Phelps, as well as a full-spread in Swim magazine, as well as a lifetime supply of swimsuits, sponsored by Speedo (TM), and whatever company makes the chlorine they put in pools.

Just wait--it's going to happen.

It's official: we are out of all the good ideas. It's time to pack up, and head home, folks. Nothing to see here. There are no more good ideas. Just go home, get into bed, put the covers over your head, stuff a corner of the sheet into your mouth, and then scream as loud as you possibly can until you can't scream any more, and you fall asleep into oblivion.

Or, just watch some Downton Abbey to restore your hope in humanity. Except, don't watch the last episode of Season Three, because you'll end up throwing something like a lamp or a chair or a small dog at your TV, and then you'll break it, and then you'll spend the rest of your week utterly dejected and angry with everyone, but mostly, angry with Dan Stevens, only in part for making you destroy your TV. 

Stupid, stupid Dan Stevens. I hate him. I HATE him. I HATE HIM.

Okay, I'm quite finished. Mostly.

Until another Tuesday's musings.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Musings on a Tuesday (3.5.2013)

On my mind this week:

1) March, déjà? It's almost a week into March. This is testament to the fact that time flies, whether you are having fun, or not. Unless you are a senior. Then time goes slowly. True story.

2) A Literary Pet Peeve: I absolutely cannot understand why it is so difficult for publishers to list, in order, by series, the books written by an author at the front of a book. It aggravates me so much when I am trying to read a series in order, and I cannot get the information for the series from the books themselves. So, I have to go to flippin' Wikipedia to figure out the order and make sure I don't grab the wrong one. I understand that older copies wouldn't include later books (obviously!), and even sort of understand if an author has published under several different publishing houses that all their books may not be listed, but when I pick up the latest book in a series, and flip to the front to see what books I've missed, I don't see why they can't just merrily list, in order, the books that an author has written. Separated by series.

Oh, and the worst thing of all time (in this category) is when they actually do list the books in order, and by series, but don't include the title of the book itself in the list, so you don't know where it falls the series.

Why, oh, why, oh why?


Look at me being all hash-tag saavy. Or, as my mother says "Hash-mark"...Well, it could be worse. She could call it the "pound-sign." Like that's a thing. Sheesh.

3) Adventures with my phone (number): Everyone gets wrong numbers every once in a while. I get them almost daily, as well as misdirected texts. And always for Chris. Stupid Chris. Sometimes I get calls for "Alicia" as well. So, Chris may also be a woman. I'm not sure.

I know a lot about Chris these days:
1. He has a hard time paying credit card bills.
2. He was in prison. Or is in prison. I'm not sure.
3. The women in his life call him late at night. I never thought I would ever write this phrase in my life, but Chris gets occasional booty calls.

I'm not even kidding. Fine, maybe I'm kidding a little bit about the booty calls...but I'm not kidding about the prison thing.

Chris needs to pay his bills, call his girlfriends, and let his peeps know that he has a new number because he probably couldn't pay his AT&T bill.

Get it together, Chris.

I will say that all of his friends seem nice when I let them know they've called a wrong number. I really, really, really want to do a variation of Eli's Snuggie texts the next time I get a "Hey, baby, what's up?" text at around 11:45 at night, just as I am drifting off to sleep, but, I am not quite so gutsy--or frustrated--yet. Or, mostly I'm afraid that most of Chris's friends are gangstas with just enough technical saavy to be able to figure out where I live. Even if they are nice when I tell them they've dialed a wrong number.

4) Doctor Who. I've recently been watching Doctor Who in earnest, a show that for most of my life I assumed was pretty horrifically campy and cheesy (that my dad liked to watch). And it was. (The old versions of Doctor Who used to air on Malian television. I honestly have no idea why.)

I didn't even know they had created a new series a few years ago, and so whenever I've heard people recently talking about Doctor Who, I thought: "Wow, there are an awful lot of people who like really low-budget science fiction. Am I missing something? Or is this just an ironic, hipster thing?"

All I have to say now, after watching the first few seasons of the new Doctor Who is: "Doctor Who? Where have you been all of my life?"

I'm seriously ready to totally and completely geek out on Doctor Who.

I may need an intervention.

I'm looking at things and saying to myself: "I wonder if I could make that look like a TARDIS?" and asking "What would I do if Doctor Who appeared and wanted to take me on an adventure?" (Um, duh, I'd totally go with him. Geez. No question there.)

I'm this close to sewing costumes, folks, and running away to Who Con. (Which is a thing, according to the Big Bang Theory.)

(It's hard to say that statement without actually showing how close. Just imagine very, very close. Sewing machine in hand. Well, you know what I mean. Gosh. Let a girl mix her metaphors or something.)

I'm partway between wanting to voraciously consume all eighty-six episodes of Doctor Who  in one sitting, or, ration myself to fifteen minute increments of Doctor Who a day to make it last f o r e v e r.

I really need a job.


A Nascent Whovian

Monday, March 4, 2013


Surely there is a Thomas Hardy poem to be found in this photo?

"Geese grazing on grassy graves in grey winter."

I don't know what it says about me I that I thought instantly of Thomas Hardy when I saw these geese munching in the cemetery across the from the library?

I don't know what it says about me that Hardy's "Ah, are you digging on my grave" is one of my favorite poems?

Oh, well. I'm not too worried. Yet.

Friday, March 1, 2013

NIDO Nostalgia

Walmart-Induced Nostalgia:

Who knew that pursuing the "Hispanic & Asian" food aisle looking for Soy Sauce could make me miss Africa?

Especially since I've never even bought NIDO or KLIM?

Okay, time for some true confessions: Who would eat powdered milk as a snack as a kid? I know you're out there, bush babies.

Okay, Okay, I confess...I would eat powdered milk as a snack as a kid. Bush Babies unite!

Except, I wasn't really a bush baby...darn it.

Weird Kids unite!