Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some Insight

It's Christmas Eve, Bob is out hiking with his friends, and I'm at home doing what he has termed my "womanly duties" of sorting through wedding presents and trying to get things organized. This post will be short; I just thought I'd share with you a brief thought I had while unpacking our beautiful knife set and block from my New York cousins, Jonathan and Alessia.

It's something like an 18-piece set and includes just about anything you could need for standard preparation of any food you'd actually bring home to cook rather than going out and having somebody else cook it for you.

Among this lovely set of knives is a big ol' meat cleaver. I mean one of those that is like 3 inches wide and 6 inches long, the kind you see in horror movies. And no, I didn't think about cleaving food. This is just a small example of the train of thought of people who regularly experience anxiety, are high strung, or watch too many episodes of "Criminal Minds." (Emily Pair, this is for you.)

As I took it out of the little plastic bag and paper sleeve, I look at it and thought, this is exactly the type of knife you see in horror movies. And to continue in that thread, as I looked at it and placed it in its spot in the block, I thought, "Great. Now if anybody breaks in while we're sleeping, they'll go straight for the meat cleaver and hack us to pieces."

Merry Christmas.

*Cue "Psycho" music....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marriage: Day 3

Me and Bob have been married for three days now, and although it has been good so far, I have even higher hopes for the future because hopefully we will not always be sick. He has had a nasty cough for about a week now, and I am on week 3 of the crud, now with double pink eye to complete the pretty picture. He's snoozing next to me on the couch right now; apparently our first trip to the grocery store was exhausting.

Our actual wedding day was awesome--if anything went wrong, I didn't know it, and I was only seriously stressed for a period of about 30 minutes when I was wondering WHY the guys were not yet dressed when they were supposed to be on their way to the house for pictures. But we all got there in plenty of time, and the rest of the day was perfect. I believe we may be in the running for Shortest Wedding Ceremony Ever, because the time between when my grandmother was seated to "I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Robert Benner" was only 12 minutes. I have the video evidence to prove it. And it was fabulous. If you weren't there, you can read through the ceremony in the United Methodist Hymnal, and that's pretty much it. The same words couples have said for hundreds of years, cause why mess with perfection?

Nobody cried--not that I know of. We both giggled a little bit. Somebody told me afterwards, "I've never seen anybody just so HAPPY to get married before." I think that's the biggest compliment I got all day.

We left for Chattanooga by about 4:15, stopped in Trussville at Olive Garden for dinner, and then went on our way. We stayed at The Chattanoogan, which I thought would be ideal since it was right downtown and less than a mile from the aquarium, but apparently it is in the business downtown section, not the fun downtown section. So there was NOBODY AROUND. It was very quiet, though, and we were able to relax without any loud kids or drunk people wandering through the halls. Food was kind of hard to find, though, especially Sunday morning because everything in the business part is closed during weekends. We eventually found a coffee shop after walking for nearly an hour, and I got a cinnamon croissant and Bob got a double chocolate chip scone, which were both delicious. We walked across the big long bridge (Walnut Bridge I think it's called, something like the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the continental US), walked BACK along the bridge, went to TGIFriday's for lunch (I was high on Mucinex and could barely stand at this point) before going to the aquarium.

Remember how I said there was NOBODY around downtown Chattanooga Sunday morning? Well, that still holds true for Sunday afternoon. It was kind of awesome, though, to have the aquarium be so empty. We could walk at our own pace, didn't have to shove to pet the stingrays or see the penguins, and we could hug and kiss occasionally without getting dirty looks from anybody's parents.

After a much-needed nap, we hiked back down to the river area to find some dinner. We ate at the Big River Grille and Brewery, and ours was one of maybe 5 tables that had people there. It wasn't anything special, but it was a pretty good meal and we enjoyed the quiet and the walk.

Monday we came on home, which was fortunate as my crud was only getting worse. We've spent the last 24 hours moving Bob's stuff into the apartment and trying to get things organized, which is going perhaps a little slower than we'd like, but we're getting there. I've planned out our dinners for the next 2 weeks and we went grocery shopping so tomorrow when I get home I get to fix dinner like a real live house wife.

Here's hoping that we can stop coughing for 6 or so hours tonight to get a normal amount of sleep. It's so nice to have somebody to wake up to in the mornings!

That's all for now, and thanks to everyone who made our wedding so special!

Monday, December 12, 2011

5 days to go....

There are five days to go until my wedding and I am fairly sure my brain is slowly leaking out through my ears during the night, for the following reasons:

1. I can hardly finish a sentence. My mother, father, sister, future in-laws, co-workers, and lovely fiance can attest to this. More often than not, I start talking and then say, "....Wait, what was I telling you?"

2. I am having the Stress Dreams. These often resemble nightmares, some more gruesome than others. Last night's was not too bad, just creepy--before I had gone to bed, I realized I had been sitting in the apartment with the door unlocked for a couple of hours, which is highly unusual but understandable as I had had an armful of crap when I walked in. So I made a mental note to check all the closets before I went to bed. In the dream, I was lying in bed staring at the wall when I realized that I had not checked the bedroom closet, which was facing me. I was terrified that somebody was in there, staring at me, waiting for me to fall asleep. So of course I couldn't sleep. When I woke up I realized that I actually HAD been sleeping because the closet is in a different spot, but I didn't feel any more rested.

3. I LOST a pair of tennis shoes in a one-bedroom apartment. WHO DOES THAT? I looked in my closets, in my car, even called my mother to see if they were at her house--no. I eventually found them behind the couch--no idea how they got there.

4. I spent almost 10 minutes looking for my watch this morning before deciding to give up because I had to get to work--and I realized I was wearing it. I have no recollection at all of picking it up, putting it on, or where it was.

The wedding can't get here soon enough; I don't know if it will help at all, being finished with it, but at least I won't have so many things on my to-do list.

Friday, November 25, 2011

He loves me anyway

There has been a LOT going on in the past month. While Bob and I had wanted to get moved into an apartment before Thanksgiving (or have me moved in and gradually truck his stuff up here) to avoid Christmas traffic around 280, we did not expect to be signing a lease on Halloween. It was a surprise, but a good surprise, and for the past 26 days there have been a lot of revelations.
1. People try to be honest, but they make mistakes, and sometimes you have to pay for their mistakes. We ended up having to pay an additional $100 deposit AFTER signing the lease because our leasing agent made a mistake. Now, I normally would have been extremely upset about this but he had told us in previous conversations that he worked 2 jobs and had a newborn at home, so I understand that brains don't always work at full capacity. But it was still an aggravating situation, and I still don't think it was fair.
2. When you make $8.50 an hour, you can practically feel your money crawling out of your pockets on an hourly basis. As Bob and I still have separate checking accounts, mine is going to take a BIG hit on Dec. 1 due to rent payment. Every time I go to the grocery store or check the mail, I feel the pain of my bank account. However, while I have not been able to contribute much to my savings account lately (and by "much" I mean "any") I have also not taken anything out, and that feels good.
3. If you have warm pajamas and a coffee-maker, you can be perfectly comfortable with the thermostat set on 65.
4. Having a couch makes a huge difference in the comfort level and completeness of your living room. Sitting on a pillow in front of the coffee table makes you look like a broke college student--which is fine when that's what you are, and you're the only person who lives there.
5. If you work 9-6 with two-year-olds, no matter what, you will NOT come home and say to yourself, "I think I'll spend the next 45 minutes fixing dinner from multiple raw ingredients." You're going to say, "What's the fastest, easiest-to-clean thing I can fix?" even if that thing is bagel bites or oatmeal, and you had the same thing for breakfast.

And the revelations just keep coming. I have eaten a LOT of noodles with butter, Kraft macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, oatmeal, and chips for meals lately. Part of the exhaustion may come from the stress of wedding planning, which has gotten better now that I've almost finished my thank-you notes and I finally downloaded the music for the ceremony and reception. We have just three weeks until the wedding and I'm so ready to be done with it all. Bob has been sick, which has not made it easier, but he's getting better and that has helped. He's been able to spend some time at the apartment the past couple of weekends, which brings me to the reason I titled this post "He loves me anyway."

Bob came over Wednesday evening as I was preparing the sweet potato casserole for our Thanksgiving meal with my grandparents in St. Clair county. I had to start with ACTUAL SWEET POTATOES, NOT canned ones, which is a big thing for my family. So I had a lot more to do that I am used to, even though I like to cook and bake. I will typically turn some music on when I'm in the kitchen, and because I'm usually alone, I have no problem dancing and singing along when I'm working. But I've never let Bob see me at this because I didn't want to scare him away. Well, Wednesday night, "Circle of Life" comes on my Pandora station and he looked at me, shook his head, said something to the effect of "You're special." And he left at that.

This is one of the very, VERY few things I have kept from him in the years leading to our marriage (like my blanket. It's still here, just inside my pillowcase.) But the gloves are coming off, and apparently he still wants to hold my hand. This is good.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Hi guys, I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the lovely changes in our Alabama weather here lately. Since coming home from Ireland I hate Alabama summer weather more than any other--I'd rather stand in cold rain than in the sun and humidity of an August morning in Birmingham.

And now on to more interesting things than weather. First of all, I have a job! It isn't my dream job, but it's related to my field and it's full time. I am a teaching assistant at Covenant Classical School in the two-year-old class. We have NINETEEN kids: Makenzye, Price, Landon, Neel, Chloe, Harris, Anna Lilia, Rhys, Taylor, Gabe, Kinzey, Laylan, Hudson, Kyra, Connor, Lorelei, Cal, Olivia, and Cole. Every single one makes me laugh, roll my eyes, and question my sanity each and every day, and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to work with them.

The other assistant teacher, Stephanie, and lead teacher, Charla, are awesome people to work with every day, too. They make me laugh more than the kids do, and we have so much fun organizing the room, planning lessons, ranting about the kids, and making fun of each other. Stephanie is about 5 years older than me and a mother of two, and Charla is more like 20 years older than me, so we're an interesting crew. I'm totally exhausted when I get home, but it's so much better to be tired from work rather than tired from stress about not working.

On the wedding front, I have now gotten us a photographer, florist, preacher, invitations, and rings. We are down to 67 days. It's time to start addressing invitations and getting my dress altered. It's time to start combining finances, working out living arrangements, finding furniture, and planning for a move. I'm also trying to get used to having almost no free time, whereas before I had almost nothing BUT free time. It's different, but good different.

That's all for now, because I am so tired that I usually go to bed around 9:30 during the week now. So goodnight.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Not really that funny

Hey guys, as promised, I didn't abandon the blog, I was just overwhelmed with other things. And here's the thing, I like my posts to be funny. Like really funny, not just make you smile but hopefully get a chuckle and if I'm having a good night, make you snort just a bit. But being that funny is rarely a natural thing. I had never thought about it much until I read some of the FAQ on Hyperbole and a Half (one of the best blogs I've ever read). Allie shares that yes, her entries are hilarious, and she works HARD to make them that way. I'm sure she's really funny in real life, too, but when she's telling a story to her friends, I imagine it probably doesn't come out the way it does when she's spent a month or more going from idea nugget to full comedic wonder. And now that I think about it, most humor writers are probably the same.

Take Dave Barry. He's awesome. True, some of his humor is a little dumb (which is what makes it funny), and he relies a lot on booger, fart, and sex jokes. Those are fairly easy to make, but sometimes it takes revision to decide where to put them. When I write a post, I usually revise it two to three times before I post it. Those jokes don't just happen. It takes careful thought, and involves more editing than I typically put into my college essays.

I say all this so that you understand that when I'm not posting, it's because I am waiting for an idea good enough to spend that kind of time and effort on. I haven't forgotten; in fact, I have a running list of ideas that are just waiting for me to throw a little more exaggeration on top. But work and wedding plans are sucking up much of the ocean that was my creativity, so that now in my free time it's actually more of a creek. I promise I'll be back. Ooh, The Lion King!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I promise I haven't abandoned this blog!

To those of you who check my blog on occasion (probably not many unless I share the post on Facebook) I promise I haven't abandoned or forgotten it. I actually have a list of things to write about, as well as a graphic organizer listing subtopics and specific anecdotes to share. The thing is, I have to really be in a blogging mood. I apologize if I spoiled you in the beginning by posting almost every day. That, however, is just my personality. I get obsessive over things for short bursts of time (one of the blog topics on my list) and then completely abandon them until the urge strikes again. There has also been quite a lot of adjustment lately with Bob moving home, because that means I'm spending the majority of the free time we have in common with him. My free time, which takes up most of my days, is spent alternating between moping and being depressed over being jobless, and being so overzealously excited about a new listing that it doesn't occur to me that I might not get the job--until I don't, and then I get depressed again. I don't want to think about how many wonderful teachers out there are doubting both their career choice and their ability due to the {expletive} economy and the fact that the people in charge of budgeting and rule-making in education have no idea what education really is.

That's all for now, but rest assured, I WILL blog again. Maybe one day I will even have a blogging schedule, with topics mapped out ahead of time! Ooh, that means I get to make a chart.... *scurries off to make a schedule which will get buried under other desk junk and unearthed in a frenzy, then thrown away in a fit of self-loathing for never following through on creative projects*

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Problem with Bathing

Bathing is a necessity, and there are two common methods to go about doing it: Baths or showers.

The image of a bath is typically quite a calming one, especially to women. We picture a large tub, possibly marble, in a large but cozy room lit by candles. There may be a large quantity of bubbles seductively obscuring the woman's naughty bits, or there might be rose petals floating in the water. There will be some sort of fragrance wafting through the room (typically floral), large fluffy towels folded neatly near the tub, and soft music playing gently in the background. The woman (it is always a woman) is reclined in her luxurious bath with her head resting on a soft cushion or towel, eyes closed but not sleeping, enjoying hours upon hours of warmth and relaxation.

News flash: This is not a real bath. Not even a bath in my sister's enormous bathroom with the marble jetted tub is like this. Part of the reason might be that I only have access to this tub when she's away at work, which is during the day when the sun is shining directly onto the tub, horning right in on my private time. So there go the candles. Also, if you've ever used a jetted tub, they advise that you not pour bubble bath in there if you do not want to make the room look and smell like the Bath & Body Works factory exploded in there. And only ridiculously rich people with maids and butlers have rose petals floating in the tub, because they are the only ones who can afford plumbers to keep getting the soggy rose petals out of the jets.

Now, you always see people enjoying baths by reclining their heads and closing their eyes. When I do this, I invariably fall asleep and wake up 45 minutes to an hour later in cold water, and usually very unhappy, which destroys the purpose of taking a bath in the first place. (The purpose of taking a bath is NOT to get clean unless you are under age 5. More on this later.) My sister maintains that the way to remedy this is to sit in the warm bath until it starts to get less than a comfortable temperature, and then you turn on the jets--which, in her tub, are also fitted with handy little heaters that re-heat the water before shooting it up your bum. That sounds great at first. But then you have the issue of having to wait for the bath to get almost chilly. And then, once you heat the water back up, it gets too freaking HOT! I cannot be the only person who notices this. If a bath is hot enough to be worth taking, then it makes me sweaty. I don't want to be sweaty in the bath. I want to be able to read a book in peace without dropping it in the water because I had a bead of sweat roll into my eye and make it burn.

So now I'm in the bath, probably too hot because I'd rather have a hot bath than a cold one. And I've gotten sweaty because of the heat. Now I have to wash myself whether that was initially on the agenda or not. Well, this sucks because of several things:
1. It is incredibly difficult to wash your hair in a bathtub, assuming you have more hair than Humpty Dumpty. So it swirls around, enjoying the pool party and apparently drinking a little much Suave because it gets so rowdy that it stirs up a whole bunch of suds, which continue to cling to your hair even after you have rinsed it 4 times. And now you must use conditioner to de-tangle, leading me to....
2. All your soaps mix. Most of us use one or two products on our hair, and a different type of soap for our bodies, and another for our faces, and possibly something else to shave with. So you've got three to five different scents and sudsy mixes floating around in the water, creating some sort of disorganized local militia of smell which would be bombarding your nose if you weren't stuffy due to the humidity you have created. So now you've got facial-exfoliating microbeads on your feet and shampoo bubbles running down your back from your hair because you couldn't rinse it all out, and your hands are slippery from the conditioner and it won't rinse off because there are too many other soaps in the water. What do you do next? You....
3. Shave. Most women use shaving cream or gel. This stuff does not dissolve in water unless you squeeze it into little shaving-cream-molecules too small to see, and even then it still floats and clings to your skin, keeping you from stepping from tub to bath mat without slipping and landing on the side of the tub, injuring your personal regions. Hopefully you are done washing and rinsing your hair at this point, because if not you will end up with fruity shaving stuff in your hair, and also possibly bits of leg hair on your face (plus water in your ears). And by this point you're sick of the whole thing so you decide to get out, which is just as frustrating because....
4. Drying off after a bath can take FOREVER because you are so waterlogged. It's like your pores soak up all this water, and as soon as you get out of the tub they start realizing, one by one, that hey, they feel a little bloated. So just as soon as you finish drying off the first time, you realize that you are still wet. So you dry off again. Just after you put on your underpants you will feel a trickle running down your back from your hair, which you did not towel-dry first because if you did there would be no dry space on the towel left for your body. So now you are having to wipe up the water on your back before it seeps its way down to your panties and makes you feel and look like you did that time in kindergarten you wish people would stop talking about. And then you have to start wringing your hair through the towel to get the excess water out, which is no good because each strand is capable of producing up to a gallon of water per hour. (Nobody knows why this is so, it is one of the great mysteries of the female body. Males do not have this problem.) You do this, and then realize that the backs of your knees/armpits/feet are still wet, so you go back to them with a now-nearly-sopping towel. By the time you are done with that and about to put more clothes on, your hair starts dripping again and you start over.

Eventually, you may or may not end up semi-dry, mostly clean, with clothes on. About this time, with your clothes probably just a little damp in places from the water (or sweat) still materializing, you'll realize that your skin is magically both damp and dehydrated simultaneously. So what you have to do is rub lotion onto your skin and hope that, as promised on the bottle, it "seals in the moisture" so tightly that those annoying little drops of water couldn't blast their way out of your pores with a cannon. (Although the cannon might help vaporize some of the excess liquid.)

And let's face it, showers are just a pain cause you have to stand up the whole time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Weddings. There are several parts to a wedding: the bride, the groom, the other people, the clothes, the food, the flowers, and the place to name a few. These are the issues I’m going to address today.

The Bride: This is the lady that is getting married. Hopefully by the time she begins referring to herself as “bride,” she has actually been proposed to by another consenting adult, though this is not always the case. This woman usually undergoes some drastic changes once the ring is placed on her finger; for one, suddenly every other person in her life exists solely to help her plan her wedding. They have no other life other than to see that EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of the Bride’s wedding day is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT OR ELSE. Also, even if she is six-foot-four and weighs only 87 pounds, it is a wedding commandment that the Bride Must Lose Weight. Everyone involved in the wedding is expected to a) tell her that she is crazy, she is not fat and she should NOT lose weight but also b) be supportive of her efforts, because otherwise they are just Being Mean. After all, the wedding is all about HER; she just happens to have a guy standing beside her, hopefully the consenting adult who gave her the ring, but again this is not always the case.

The Groom: This guy decided that he loves his female counterpart enough to spend too much money on a present that will become more important than he is. At least we hope he decided this, sometimes the female (now called the Bride, see above) uses tactics such as threats or blackmail to make this happen. Once the proposal is over, any control the Groom has had in this relationship is gone, so he might as well get used to it.

The Other People: These people, as stated previously, exist only to Make the Bride’s Day Perfect. They do this by staying quiet, taking extensive notes, and drinking a lot of adult beverages.

The Clothes: These include the groom’s and groomsmen’s attire (which will be a black tuxedo), the bridesmaids’ dresses (which will be a lurid color that does not exist in the natural world, is not appropriate for any season, and does not go with any neutral color so shoes are impossible to find. Also these dresses must have some bizarre detail, like a green-and-orange leopard-print peacock feather on the butt), and the Bride’s Wedding Dress. The Wedding Dress’s job is to make the Bride look like a cross between a wedding cake and the world’s most holy prostitute, because it must be white, it must be poofy, it must be elegant, but it also must be sexy. We will not go into what the Bride must wear UNDER the dress, because it might make some readers feel faint.

The Food: The type and amount of food offered at a wedding reception varies according to the Bride’s taste and the formality of the event. Caterers will tell you that at the bare minimum, though, your menu should include Cocktails, Appetizers, Soup, Salad, Main Course, Dessert, and After-Dinner Drinks. Oh, and your Wedding Cake which must be a minimum of four tiers, each being frosted with at least 2 inches of buttercream underneath a half-inch of fondant, which tastes disgusting but is a Must for an Elegant Cake, which will not taste as good as the Duncan Hines boxed mix despite the fact that it cost more than your college education.

The Flowers: All of the bridesmaids will be allergic to them, and Aunt Bertha will have an asthma attack because of the fumes.

The Place: This is one of the first things the Bride and Groom must secure in planning a wedding, because in the United States there are approximately fourteen venues appropriate for weddings, and eight of them are beaches in Hawaii. The remaining six have been booked since the Reagan administration, so you need to get your name on the list as soon as possible, unless you are getting married in a month other than January, February, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, or December. In that case you should probably call the morning of, just to be sure.

So far, this has been my experience with weddings, or at least this is what TLC tells me. Quite honestly, if I had my way, we’d elope and then spend two weeks in Switzerland. We aren’t, but I think we’ll make do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Nutcase Animals

The two animals I live with are truly bonkers. The cat lived at the vet for a couple of years before I adopted her. The dog was picked up from the side of the interstate, along with a bag of puppy chow, at about 12 weeks old. (Note: This dog was dehydrated, severely malnourished, and already FORTY POUNDS.) So I'm not saying they don't have good reason to be wacko, I'm just telling you that they are.

The cat is my best forecast of when we're going to have a full moon. She's a hefty thing, and as such she usually displays all the enthusiasm of a sloth on Valium. Until it's time to eat, then I try to just aim the food at the general direction of her head from inside an armored car. Food is really important to her. In fact, if she lived in 18th century France and got the guillotine, I'm fully confident that she'd keep her head rolling until she found something worth eating before she finally gave up. If she and the dog were left alone in the house for too long and couldn't find food, and it came to a fight, she'd win, and then she'd eat the dog. No contest.

That's because the dog has some major psychological issues and I don't think you'll find a single person who disagrees. My mother will tell you how smart he is, but there's a difference between being smart and being trainable. And it has taken a LOT of training to get him to sit, shake, and lay down at a 50% success rate. This is not to say I don't appreciate him. He's very pretty. When people see him for the first time, they usually say these two things: 1. Wow, he's BIG! 2. He's so pretty!
He's a golden retriever-German shepherd mix, and you'd think he'd be a little more secure. But no, he has all the confidence of a paranoid-schizophrenic with claustrophobia who's been buried alive. Seriously, he got barely nudged with a chair leg one time and tried to climb over the kitchen counter and out the window. Then he wouldn't come back inside for three days, and he's still terrified of chairs. This dog weights about 80 pounds, and is as tall as I am when we're both sitting.

He also will not go for a walk further than about three houses. He'll go until he gets tired of sniffing, and he'll sit. Let me tell you, you can't make an 80 pound dog do something he doesn't want to do even if you're luring him along with raw hot dogs. He is the laziest dog I have ever seen. Again, he's not that bright, either. You can look into an animal's eyes and tell if it's thinking. I'm not saying the cat is smart, but when you look into her sinus-infection-snot-colored eyes, you can tell she's plotting something and it probably involved bloodshed. You look into the dog's Hershey-brown eyes and can practically hear the flies buzzing around in the empty space in his head.

Suffice it to say that it's a blessing I have anything resembling sanity, or free time after calming down the dog from the door slamming or chasing the cat off my computer which is NOT, by the way, a $1200 investment in butt-warming.

Next blog topic: Weddings

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why "Ambiguously Ambitious"?

You may have noticed that the title of my blog is "Ambiguously Ambitious." Well, when you look at the definitions of the words, it makes pretty good sense. According to
1. open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning
2. unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made
1. having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed
2. a plan intended to satisfy high aspirations and therefore difficult to achieve

So anyway, the layman's explanation is that I have a lot of ideas about what I want to accomplish, but I am going to have to pick and choose because I can't do them all and I don't know what I want to do most yet. This mostly applies to work and grad school.

I have a bachelor's in elementary education, and so far based on substituting and college work I've really liked that. But eventually people expect you to get a master's degree, which I'm fine with because I loved college and I like choosing classes based on where my interests are. Trouble is I have a lot of interests even within the field of education. I've considered early childhood, early childhood special ed, special ed severe disabilities, secondary ed English, secondary ed history, and (my latest idea) library and information sciences.

One by one I've started striking them off the list.
I love babies, but one day I plan to have my own babies, and I'm not sure I want to come home from cleaning up barf and poop.... to clean up barf and poop.
I love special education, but it can be so heartbreaking, and there is so much legal mess to go through that it can get in the way of actually doing any good.

I love reading and writing, but I have a problem with early British and American lit. See, they don't make sense. And I hate symbolism, themes, foreshadowing, etc. I take everything very literally. (Which is funny since I am also very sarcastic. Whatever. Don't judge me.) I also don't like things like gerunds. I don't even remember what a gerund IS. And the thing about public school is there's a curriculum you have to follow, and you have to teach the stuff you don't like. So English is out.

History gives me the same problem. I don't have much interest in politics or economics. My main interests are in the domestic side of history, and the lifestyle people lived. I'm not super excited about anything that's happened in the last hundred years (before you get your panties in a wad, I'm not saying it isn't important, I just think ancient and medieval history is more interesting.) But regardless of my interests, if the state course of study says I have to teach it, well then I have to teach it if I want to get paid even if I don't think the reasons for the stock market crash of 1929 were all that interesting.

So far library science is the one that's really sticking around. It'll let me help kids do research on different stuff, and find more books I would enjoy reading. I definitely want to stay in public education for now, and preferably with elementary or middle school students. Library science can also get me what I need to work in a law, medical, or college library, and apparently you can make pretty good money doing that. I could work in a public library, too, which could be fun.

Anyway, that's why the title of my blog is what it is. In middle school I had wanted to be an astronaut. (I still do, but because of my eyesight, I can't. Can't be in the military, can't be a pilot.) I have always kind of wanted to be an actress, too, but I'm too shy to really be any good at it, and I'm not a good singer so musicals are out. The point is, I have tons of things I want to do, want to try, want to see, but I don't always know where to start or how to do it. Fortunately I think a lot of other people are in the same situation and that makes life a little more comforting.

Next blog post:
The ridiculous animals I live with

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, or, Why My Childhood is Over

First of all I have to say that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was the best movie of them all in my opinion. It's the only movie that has completely exceeded my expectations. Sure, there are parts that I might have changed, but as far as movie interpretations go, it was amazing. There was constant action, but it didn't get boring. They were good about showing all the characters and what was going on. The death scenes were sad, but not so much that it distracted from the rest of the movie. There were some funny parts. It was amazing, and it's one of the only movies ever that I have been willing to pay again to see in theaters.

This post is not just gushing about HP 7.2, though. This is about the role the Harry Potter books played in my own life. I read the first book when I was eleven, almost twelve. My sixth grade reading teacher decided that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would be a good read for us, and I will forever be thankful to her for that. I don't know where she is or what she's doing, but Ms. Bee, I owe you one.

Anyway, around chapter 3 or 4 I was fully invested in Harry and his future. I got annoyed when people mispronounced the characters' names. I was personally offended when somebody belittled Harry or hurt his feelings. I was nervous and excited for him, I was happy when he made new friends, I was relieved when he got Sorted into Gryffindor.

I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Starting with Goblet of Fire, I was at every midnight showing of every movie and every midnight launch of every new book. I read the books as soon as I got home and didn't stop until I finished, sometimes as long as 30 hours later with no sleep and little food. I was devoted to Harry because he could be there for me in a way only a fictional character can. Fictional characters are solid and unchanging. Every time I open Sorcerer's Stone to page 148, there he is, hopping on a broom and figuring out for the first time that there IS something he was naturally good at, there was actually a place he fit in after all. Harry's dependable and honest. He doesn't always make rational decisions, he gets angry, he gets embarrassed. That's life. He's misunderstood, but not as much as he thinks he is.

When I started reading those books, I was a kid in every way. I went from kid to adult pretty quickly, because while most kids use middle school as the transition period, I pretty much stayed a child until I got to high school. I watched cartoons, enjoyed "Overall Day" and inside jokes involving Cheerios with my friends. We made food sculptures in the cafeteria at school. We didn't care about our hair, makeup, or being popular. Then came high school, and new friends who were older, and a whole lot more responsibility. My sister left, I got my driver's license, I had a boyfriend (the one I'm going to marry in just a few months). Then in college, my grandmother died, my sister got married, I picked a new major, I got back with my old high school boyfriend. Things changed a lot, but Harry stayed the same. New books and movies were still coming out, so I still had things to look forward to the way a little kid looks forward to Christmas. I felt like a 6-year-old every time something new came out.

That's over now. No more new Harry Potter books or movies. The days of staying up for 30 straight hours to read an 800-page book in one sitting are done. The days of waiting an hour in line to get into a theater for a midnight showing are done. Friday morning, at about 2:15 a.m., when the credits started rolling, I said goodbye for good to that excitement, the innocence, and the childlike wonder that only Harry could give me. My only comfort comes from the fact that he's not gone; he just won't change with me anymore. Harry is stuck in time, and I keep going on. But when I need him, I just have to pick up a book or put on a DVD and he'll be there, solid as always, just like he always has been.

Topic for next post: Why the title, "Ambiguously Ambitious."

Friday, July 15, 2011


Almost anybody who gets online on a regular basis has at least one website that they're addicted to. I happen to have a few, though typically when a new one comes along an old one gets pushed out. So far the sites I'm addicted to most are....

1. Pinterest
2. Polyvore
3. Facebook (yeah, still)
4. Teach in Alabama

1. Pinterest: This website is cool for almost anybody who loves looking at pictures of good ideas and wants to keep track of them all without having a Favorites list that, were you to copy and paste it into a Word document, would be longer than the Great Wall of China. It lets you surf the Internet at your leisure, and when you find a picture you think is pretty, or interesting, or shows a good idea, you just pin it to one of your virtual bulletin boards according to category. Some of my categories are cooking and baking, fashion, organization, and school. But you can create just about any category you want and pin any picture you want, and then other people on the site can look at your pictures and share new ideas. I've gotten so many cool organizing and classroom ideas in the last couple of weeks just from these pictures.

2. Polyvore: This particular site (which apparently I found a bit late in life) is all about fashion. I haven't spent much time exploring all the different options other than the one that lets you browse through thousands of clothing items and accessories and put outfits together, which you can then save to your account (it's free) and then pin to your Pinterest boards. Whatever your style is, you can search for items you like and make whatever crazy or elegant or work-appropriate outfits you like. It shows items from places like Target all the way up to high-end, couture, expensive stuff. So you can find stuff you could actually afford, or just dream.

3. Facebook: I know, I know. Facebook is "so high school." But hear me out. Most of my Facebook friends are in college or working now, and many are scattered across the country, some across the world. And let's face it, we don't always have enough time (sad as it is) to send a personal email to every person we ever knew. Also, there are people who you might not realize are interested in what you're up to, but through Facebook you can still let them know. My friends and I regularly post funny pictures, links, and quotes that we think others will enjoy, and we can easily invite a bunch of people to cool events we think they'd like. Yeah, it's easier, and it might make things a little less personal, but it doesn't offend me, and it lets me keep up with my friends I would have otherwise completely lost touch with.

4. Teach in Alabama: This is the state website that posts (almost) all of the job listings for teachers, aides, custodians, lunchroom workers, and administrators throughout Alabama. You fill out your online application and post it, and then you browse through the listings and click "apply" for however many jobs you want. It changes almost hourly during the summer, so I check it usually at a minimum of three times a day on weekdays. This is an addiction of necessity, not of boredom, though.

Well, there you have it: My top 4 addictive websites. We've all got our favorites, and these are mine. Not much else to say about those.

Next blog post: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm a terrible blogger....

Okay, here's the thing. This is like the third or fourth blog I've started, and none has lasted more than a few months at most. That's because as much as I like to write, weirdly, I'm a terrible blogger. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don't like writing about myself. I mean, come on, I spend all day in my own head and my brain gets bored, so it wants to be more creative and talk about things like dragons and unicorns and ancient forests with trees the size of the Empire State Building. It wants to have adventures with zombies and pirates, take trips into the past and imagine what it was like to live in Roanoke or Imperial China. Cause that's way more interesting than what I'm doing now, which is mainly being told, "No, we don't have any open teaching positions."

Cause that's what I do. I teach. Or I would, if somebody would give me a classroom and some students and a paycheck. But when you have 400 people applying for every open position (this is not an exaggeration) it's hard to get noticed.

Anyway, this serves as the introduction to my blog for now. I actually wrote a lot more, but then I realized I could actually cut it into 3 or 4 separate posts and elaborate a lot more on each subject. So for now I'll leave you to ponder the subject of my next blog post:

Addictive websites.

Time-wasters unite! Or we would, if we weren't busy playing Angry Birds.