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.