Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Scare Tactics

So...walked outside this morning.

Saw this in my driveway:

Um...happy Halloween?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Facebook is Ruining Everything.

I love facebook. I stalk the heck out of people and I have no problem admitting it.

In college, I hated social networking sites. Then as I started traveling and moving around, facebook became the best way to stay connected, share pictures with my family, or hear what was going on in my friends' lives back home. Now I'm addicted.

HOWEVER. I think facebook is a tool of the Devil.

Example #1

There is no such thing as common decency anymore. Seriously, I have seen more body parts of people I went to high school with than I should really have access to without having to pay an online monthly membership fee.

I'm fine with a little flirtation, some sexy messages...that's totally fine. A public love note to your significant other? Great!

But honestly? I don't want to see how you get in on. Yick. I guess I'm just an old-fashioned kind of girl- I appreciate a little mystery.

Almost worse than the amateur porn? When people post about their illnesses/surgeries/bodily functions. I'm not talking about when people ask for support while fighting cancer or anything like that. I'm talking about hourly updates on how they have pea green-colored phlegm they keep hacking up and how sick they feel because they have watery bowel movements.

Ugh, I feel ill just writing that and I would NEVER put that up on public display.

Example #2

In the past year, I have seen a lot of sh*t go down between military wives, FRG leaders, and between military spouses. At the beginning of J's deployment, one milwife wrote something on her status about having a drink with a friend. Immediately the FRG leader, the commander's wife, sent her a message basically telling her it was immature and irresponsible since she had children to be/put up anything about drinking. The milwife fired back, on her STATUS, which is very PUBLIC, a thinly veiled threat (pretty sure the phrase "cut a bitch up" was somewhere in there).

Next thing you know? Her husband is moved to another company and it is assumed he will be demoted.

J just told me about one of the soldiers sending a message to another soldier's wife, telling her that the husband has been fooling around while on deployment. Immediately everyone was called in for a formation where they were screamed at for the whole incident.

(In all honesty, it's like a freakin' telenovela over there.)

Example #3

"Idle hands are the Devil's workshop." -I can spend hours on facebook, almost trance-like, and at the end of it not have any clue how I just spent my time.

Conclusion: Facebook is the sign of the Last Judgement Day, and God will not be friend requesting anybody.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I hate this feeling. That feeling where you know you just feel awful and worried but can't exactly put your finger on what's making you feel this way? (I also get excited sometimes and, when asked when I'm so happy, get really deflated realizing there is actually no good reason for me to be pleased as punch with everything.)

Anyway, so I just had that feeling and it turns out that I'm really doubting my ability to be a good teacher.

Maybe that sounds like not a big deal, but it kills me. I want so much to help students learn and actually get excited about what we talk about. I know not every kid is going to be pumped in every class, but you know what I mean.

My biggest issue is the fact that I loathe confrontation. I am a pale-skinned chicky of Irish descent, so believe me when I say that it is very clear when I am frustrated beyond reason. Redness creeps up my neck and settles all over my face until I'm magenta and sweating in irritation. Luckily I'm not quick to getting pissed off, but I like to avoid it regardless.

So today was the one day of the week I'm in the 8th grade learning center, where students work on homework/past due work/make up tests, etc. I only know the students from my one day a week with them and do not know any of their homework, projects, how they're doing in class, what they have or have not done, etc. So anyway, the woman that runs the center went into a side room with a student who came in to re-take a math test so I was supposed to help/babysit the 8 students remaining. We were fine at first, but it all kind of went to hell in a handbasket once a few of the students had finished all their homework and had nothing else to do.

The problem I have here is, if I don't know what they're doing in class, how do I effectively make students do work that may be due in a few weeks or something when I don't know what it is?

Anyway, so it ended up the other woman had to come out and yell at them and I felt like a huge jerk because I hadn't forced them to do the extra work but let them go on the computer and play on Google Earth once they had finished their daily homework.

This seems like such a small thing, but I honestly worry if I'm investing too much (time, money, my entire life) on a career path I don't know if I'm fit to be in.

Ugh. Help?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Culture Shock: Massachusetts

Warning: I will, for the sake of authenticity, have to curse a lot. Heads up.

I was born in raised in Massachusetts, and therefore, I am a masshole.

Massachusetts + asshole+road rage= masshole.

It's all very scientific.

I think Massachusetts is a beautiful state with a lot to offer the curious traveler. Since I had been away for years, I find that I am experiencing some culture shock, and I think a quick sum-up might be beneficial to any adventurous tourist looking to explore New England culture.

1: Language

People in Massachusetts are assholes, plain and simple. We pretty much offend everyone we don't know but it really (for the most part) isn't intentional. It's just how we speak.

For example: (setting: a local bar)

Guy 1: (discussing football) "The Pats (New England Patriots) have gone all to shit since Bledsoe left."

Guy 2: "What the fuck are you talking about, you pansy fuck? Brady carried this goddamn team on his back."

Guy 1: "Brady's a bitch."

Guy 2: "Go fuck yourself!"

Guy 1: "You better sleep with one eye open, motherfucker. Hey! Guy, can I get a goddamn beer? What's it take to get a fucking beer around here?"

Guy 2: "This bartender's fucked."

See? All in good fun.

2: Recreation

In Massachusetts, you are by birth a sports fan. Predominantly, you will be instilled with a pride that verges on insanity regarding the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Every boy will have his own dark navy Patriots sweatshirt, which he will wear with a crimson Red Sox hat. Girls have a little more flexibility in wardrobe choices (either dark navy or pink, depending on how frilly you decide to be) but will still be expected to have such a wardrobe available for any outdoors event.

(my father and cousin-in-law at a recent, non football-related, party)

Regarding football: You will tailgate or watch the game at home in order to discuss it the next day. Tom Brady, the quarterback, will be your God.

REAL LIFE example: Recently, Justin Bieber put out a rap song on YouTube that briefly mentions the New England footballer.

"Call up Mr. Brady, tell him leave his hair to the guy who sings 'Baby.'"

My cousins, who are in 3rd grade, came home from school the other day telling me and their mother all about how so-and-so told them that Justin Bieber made fun of Brady so now everyone they know in their class hates Justin Bieber, and Mommy, is Justin Bieber going to Hell?

True story.

3. Education

Massachusetts prides itself on being a strong state in terms of education. Children grow up constantly aware that a black mark on a report card could damage their chances of getting into an Ivy League school and that anyone who's anyone goes to college.

Example: Me, helping my 7th graders during Learning Center.

12-year-old: How old are you?

Me: I'm 25.

12-year-old: Then how are you here?

Me: What? What does that even mean?

12-year-old: Well, you graduate high school at 18. Then you go to college for 4 years, so then you'd be like, 23 maybe? And then you have to go for your Master's before you can get a job. How are you working?

I was totally schooled by a preteen and made to feel like a complete jerk because I only just started my Master's.

4. Regionalism

There are two parts to this:

a. Anyone east or south of Boston will say they are from Boston, regardless if it is even close to being true. Often, people from the northern part of Rhode Island will claim to outsiders that they are from Boston. (I have actually caught a few of J's fellow soldiers in this lie, because a practiced ear can totally hear the difference between nasal Rhode Island v. nasal Boston accents in a heartbeat. And yes I called them out. Because I'm from Massachusetts, and that's what we do.)

b. We still f-ing hate the redcoats. Where in the South I have seen that the Civil War is still on people's minds, people in New England hold onto grudges from the Revolution. In fact, I just went (and brought small children-gotta start 'em young) to a Revolutionary War reenactment. Everyone clapped when the British scampered away while the Patriots heralded in victory! This does not mean we dislike people from the UK; just that we really feel strongly about sticking it to King George III. Fuck that guy.

5. Dining

These are lobstahs. You go to the grocery store to the deli section. There, they will have an aquarium full of lobsters so you can choose your own. They bag them up for you, live. My dad used to think it was hilarious to chase me around the kitchen with them while I screamed bloody murder. Tough love, right there.

In Which I'm Controversial: Religion

2 + 2 = 4.


Pretty much everyone can agree with that. You learn it from an early age and it's drilled into you by seemingly "all-knowing" adults pretty consistently.

Ok, so that seems pretty basic. If you asked someone on the street, "Hey, lady! What's 2+2?" There's a solid chance she'll answer "4" (and then give you a suspicious look, like maybe you're off whatever meds you should be taking.)

So what happens if you ask someone the same question and they come back with "5"? Or "7"? Or they try to get all existential and say there is no answer?

If it were me, I'd be a little pissed that these people were not part of the universal knowledge that everyone has had to learn. Annoyed, I would try to explain to them what 4 has to be the answer. Patiently (at least at first) I would try to help this person see the light so they don't walk around screwed for the rest of his or her life because they don't understand the fundamentals.

This is how I think religious zealots must feel- and, why I actually feel kinda bad for them.

I mean, these people know there is a God/Allah/(insert deity here). It's not a possibility, it's a basic truth. When people tell them to be tolerant of various beliefs, I can see where things get psycho. (If someone told me 2+2= squid tentacle, tolerance would probably not be my first reaction.)

Don't get me wrong- I don't think it should dissolve into violence.

I'm just saying...I feel bad for nicely dressed Jehovah's Witnesses that just want to help me see the light.

I feel pretty certain there is a God. I do not necessarily think he's dressed in white robes and wearing Birkenstocks, but I can't wrap my brain around the idea that there isn't something awesome in everyday miracles. Even still, I still don't try to talk atheists out of not believing.

I wonder, if there is a Heaven and I'm allowed in some day, if I'm going to be sitting there on my puffy little cloud saying to myself, "Damn! I shoulda persuaded that guy! And now he's in Hell."

And this is why I sympathize with zealots. I think they think they're just trying to help.

P.S. Read a romance novel today and I could feel brain cells dying. I think they're my drug of choice if I want to get all self-destructive.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Special Education, Laser Hair Removal, and Flammable Power Lines.


I'm not sure if I've really mentioned this before, but I absolutely love working in education. I don't want to be cheesy and say "I love working with kids" because honestly, I'm really not the most enthusiastic babysitter. (Actually I am, but only once I'm already there. The several days before when I get the call? Not thrilled and I always feel like somehow I've been tricked into signing myself up, and then I'm pretty annoyed with those parents and hate them, but then I remember they're actually my cousins so I can't because it would be awkward at parties.)

Teaching is totally different. I love watching kids think, hearing them express themselves and try out ideas, stretch their brains in uncomfortable ways because they're on the verge of a comprehension breakthrough. I get excited, and while I'm normally pretty lethargic, I am a psychopath of frantic, joyous energy in front of a classroom.

Since moving up to Massachusetts, I've been working in special education, which I've never done before. I work with small groups in private classrooms, observe and help out in inclusion classes, and have at least one period per day where I'm working in the learning center helping kids understand and complete assignments.

Really, the two skills I found to be the most important are patience and flexibility. I repeat myself, the teacher, the directions, etc. constantly to kids that have trouble focusing on the work or their teacher, or struggle just to be able to meet eyes with another person.

One of the students I see everyday has autism. You know what he said to me today, in the middle of a crowded, chaotic, and very loud hallway? All by himself, without anyone prompting him?

He said, "Hi Mrs. D!"

And he looked directly at me.

That felt pretty awesome.

I have absolutely no transition for this, other than the fact that it, too, will be happening today.

I am getting laser hair removal today. I have been stalking the Living Social website for years and occasionally find some good deals. A couple months ago they had laser hair removal (3 sessions!) for $99, which was just too good a bargain to pass up. So I'm going tonight for my first appointment and I'm a little nervous. Is this going to be painful? I did extensive research on YouTube but I think I blocked everything out because now I can't remember what exactly they're going to do. (TMI: I wouldn't be so concerned, but I opted for the "Brazilian", which is something in itself I don't totally understand as I've never actually had one. Or known anyone who [admitted they] had one.)

In the meantime, we have a scanner in our kitchen because my dad's a volunteer firefighter so we need to hear the police/fire/ambulance calls. Anyway, that loud as Hell harbinger of bad news has been squawking about the road I live on being closed down at some point soon. Apparently, the power lines have gone up in flames somewhere close by. Or maybe they lit something else on fire? Not sure.

I'll guess I'll find out when I have to brave that circle of flames to go and get tortured (?) in the name of modern beauty.

Update: Laser Hair Removal: easy as all get-out. It feels like a few bug bites, and that ranges from mosquito (meh) to horsefly (fucking ouch) but it's all within that area of pain. Also, takes 10-15 minutes and you're done! I'll check back in once I'm halfway through the treatments (generally you need about 6) to let you know if it works!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I don't get it.


I just wrote a big post and then my computer died. Um...oops!

On the bright side, I think I'll just take everything I was ranting on and on about and simplify real quick: I'm a little upset with the military, which is just par for the course in our love/hate relationship.

#1: Recently, rumors have been flying that they are taking away combat pay, so basically, all of those soldiers who are stuck on a small little patch of desert, baking away, will make exactly what they made right here in the 'ol USA. Frankly, I think that's a little crazy that they would do that, but I've seen them do similar things during deployments, so we'll see. Those poor milwives with babies.

#2: In the first month of deployment, they relocated J from one country to another. Somehow, his bags have yet to arrive (we're in our fourth month.) There are two things that are bugging me about this-first, they have told him it was HIS fault the items are missing and have been trying to tell him that WE owe THEM for everything that was in there. (Example: sleeping system=$400) That's frustrating.

Now, I just found out that all the bed clothes were in his luggage as well and they have not supplied anything in the new location. Meaning, poor J has been without sheets/blankets, etc. for 3 MONTHS. As soon as he told me I was really angry and then called around the family to pick up some odd jobs so I could buy the man a frickin' pillowcase.

I just feel so helpless because I want to cheer him up but he just seems so sad.

Does anyone else run into these kinds of issues? Sometimes I can't tell if it's the Army, his Unit, or if it's just me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bugs are Effing Disgusting and I Hate Them.

I just woke myself up out of a semi-conscious sleep. You know that nightmare where there are thousands of bugs crawling all over you? Yeah, it was that one.


Ok, I am not particularly outdoorsy. I'm outdoorsy in that way where you hop in your car, grab a cup of French Vanilla-flavored something, and go to a designated beautiful nature area and wander around with my little camera and (most likely) my little dog.

I do not like actual real nature. In fact, I have been known to use the word hate when dealing with either one of two things: chickens or bugs. Chickens are the devil's work. I have had some traumatic episodes with chickens.

Bugs terrify me.

They're gross and sneaky as hell. At least with a chicken there's a pretty big likelihood that I will know when a chicken is on me and have an opportunity to battle it off. With bugs, they're little ninjas and I never even know when I've been attacked.

And this is why I'm freaking out and, instead of sleeping so I can be a functioning human being for work tomorrow, I'm deliriously awake because it has been discovered that my little, lovable, fur baby has FLEAS.

I did not know anything about fleas prior to this little pup. My husband had to talk me off the ledge and let me know that I'm not about to become infested (though they CAN jump onto me-I'm gagging) but make sure to give him several baths, flea medicine, etc. etc.

What did this translate into? The dog has been given a military buzz cut and I have nightmares that fleas are jumping all over me and living in my eyebrows or something.

Eww, ew, ew, yick, so gross.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Puerto Rico & Justin Nozuka

This post shall be known as the "one with all the photos"*. Seriously, there are a lot.

A couple days into our trip, J and I got into conversation about what we thought Puerto Rico was going to be like and what it actually ended up being like. We had both had a weird idea that it was, honestly, kind of slum-like and that it had a lot of gangs. (We watch a lot of movies and are apparently all-around misinformed.)

Actually, it was like this:

Our hotel is that tall, fat building back there. This is what the place looks like just wandering around!

He was so excited to be in the water!

We decided to wander around and see what tourist-y things we could find. We scaled Fort San Cristóbal and found this amazing view of the city. I think it's so cool because it has this giant historic structure surrounded by plush greenery with a modern backdrop. It was just a cool place.

Oh we totally went on a Bacardi Tour. Instead of booking a trip through our hotel (for $60 per person! highway robbery!), we decided to wander around, get lost, find help, get on a $0.50 ferry ride that was extremely sketchy, hop in a taxi where the driver HOTWIRED HIS VEHICLE, and arrive at the Bacardi factory to take a FREE tour including two free drinks!

It was an adventure, and a total scene. My favorite way to travel!

Look how happy this man of mine is with his bottle of rum he drank by himself! Lol, he's so crazy. It was right around this point he told me his thoughts on modern religion, lost his prescription sunglasses in the ocean, and weighed the pros and cons of digging himself a puke pit.

He's such a scene- totally love him. <3


Ok, so I had one other major surprise for him. We both love this singer/songwriter, Justin Nozuka. He was going to be playing in Boston while Josh was here, so of course it was a sign that God thought we should go see him live. I really wanted to do one more special thing for him, so I contacted any email/number I could find in connection to him and sent them this note:

Dear Mr. X,

I don't know who to reach regarding this request; if there is another person I should have contacted please let me know!

My husband and I will be going to see Justin Nozuka in Boston on September 28th. We are both huge fans of Justin's and my husband will be so excited to see his concert.

Once he knows.

My husband, J, is an active duty soldier in an "undisclosed location" for the year. All I can say is that it is VERY hot where he is! He is coming home for mid-tour leave on September 20th and I am surprising him with tickets to Justin's show. He has no idea we're going.

I met my husband during his first deployment to South Korea; he was stationed at Osan while I was teaching English for the year. The first time we saw one another was in a busy train station in Seoul. As soon as I saw him, it was like something from a movie scene; time stood still. On our first date he stopped in the middle of an antiques street market, looked down at my hand in his and said, "You know we're in a relationship, right?"

At the beginning of our relationship I introduced him to Justin Nozuka's music. (I had found it while browsing I absolutely loved "After Tonight" and then he loved it, too. A month later, he had found the album and we played it constantly when we were together. When he returned to the US while I still had a few months left on my contract, he sent me the link to "Be Back Soon".

Now that he's deployed again, we're back to sending each other love songs. He just sent me "My Heart is Yours".

So I am asking, is there any way Justin could dedicate this song to J, my husband, at his concert next month? Since we could not have the wedding we were planning because of the deployment, we have never had the first dance as husband and wife.

I can't tell you how much it would mean to me.

Thank you so much for your time.

Very sincerely,


Ok, now this is so crazy I still can't believe it happened: not only did he dedicate our song to us, he wanted to meet us backstage before the show! I was such a psychopath trying to keep it secret this whole time, but it was worth it when all of a sudden someone came up to us and led us to the backstage area. J had no idea what was going on until we were ushered into the room and Justin Nozuka was reaching out his hand, saying hello, and asking J if he'd like a beer.

It was amazing!

Justin Nozuka= most fantastic musician in the planet and a super nice person

I love J and I'm so thankful to so many people who came together to make his two weeks so great for him. It was a gift beyond any words I could conjure up.

*= also referred to as "longest post known to man"

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Well, I completely fell off the planet there! I have no regrets though- I was in perfect marital bliss.

I just got to see my husband for 2 weeks! And I love him, and it was amazing, and the dog was so excited, and I love him, and...

It was amazing. All the worrying and freaking out was completely worth it, because I got to
see him, but not only that, somehow all my plans actually came together and I got to surprise him with a few things!

So the first night I got a hotel for us right on the water close to the city, so we didn't have a big trip coming from the airport and, since he's been stuck in a very hot and dry desert, I thought
he would like to see the water.

(This was the view from outside our little inn!)

It was just so good to actually see him. I know that I love him all the time, but to actually see him in person and touch him and hear him say all his crazy things- love just hits me like a ton of bricks.

Ok, so then the next night we went back to my parents' house and he got to see our little pup Q:

I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but that little dog's paws are barely touching the ground he's so excited!

And then...the BIG surprise.

I'm talking, pack your bags, this is something that had to have been blessed by the grace of God because I really don't know how this actually got pulled together so perfectly, BIG surprise...

Me: "So hun, where was it that you said that you always wanted to go again?"
Him: (wild-eyed) "Baby, where are we going?"
Me: "Where did you say you wanted to go?"
Him: (child-going-to-Disney-face) "Where are we going?!"
Me: "Where did you say?"
Him: "Oh my God. Are we...are we going to the Caribbean?!"

Yes! I love giving surprise gifts, and his excited reaction was adorable!

So my husband has never been, and he had said it in this "one day when we're rich we'll go" kind of way...but I really wanted something nice for him while he got a break. The major issue was (besides the money, obviously) was the fact that he does not have an available passport. HOWEVER, as PUERTO RICO is a US TERRITORY, you don't need one!

YES! And it is amazing. Absolutely so romantic, best vacation ever.

Our hotel room at the Marriott was beautiful, and the view...

absolute perfection.

So of course we got into a plush little hotel robes and immediately took glamor shots!