Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Good Lord Giveth. And the Good Lord Taketh
So it's been a quiet, sad week in the Jones house. I appreciate all the kind thoughts sent my way. I don't have my fair share of mercy when it comes to people, but I'm absolutely cursed with a pathetic amount of sensitivity when it comes to animals. There's a reason they know me by name at my vet's office.

But God, in his infinite wisdom, looked down, saw me and thought, "That girl needs a little pick-me-up. What would do the trick...yup, snow." Then he crooked his finger and said, "Bring it."

And today I have SNOW!!!!!

Oh, it's FABULOUS! Oh, Snow, I've dreamed of you for so long! Dreams really do come true! And it's still coming down. So pretty. It's not just that I enjoy a day (or two!!!) away from cramming education into young minds. Er, I mean, enlightening the youth of today. It's everything about snow! I love the sounds, the beauty, the way the landscape changes within hours. I love that I can stay home without feeling guilty that I'm not 100 other places. It's like Nature's permission to slow down and take it easy. (I know. I'll stop. I'm about to burst into a Streisand song or something.)

And it's not just because I'm a teacher that I enjoy snow. I've ALWAYS been like this. I walked outside this morning and across the street was the kid I accidentally terrorized some time ago. He was playing in his yard and didn't know I was on my porch. Snow would sail off his roof and he would say, "OH! WOW!" My thoughts exactly. Some of us just never outgrow that. Much like a dislike for green beans.

So as previously mentioned, New Kids on the Block are regrouping. You can learn more HERE. Though I'm not sure why you'd want to. They were popular for like three songs during the late 80s. MANY of us in Arkansas remember them coming to concert. It was an outdoor event and it was hot. I was in the eighth grade I think. (Don't do the math...) We all dressed up in our finest to see Donnie, Joey (my fave), Reggie, and Petie. Okay, not sure about those last two names, but Donnie and Joey sound correct. I was in leggings and a shift-like dress much like girls are wearing these days. We called them baby doll dresses, which is a little weird. And the piece de black hat with a black lacy tail in the back. My grandmother had purchased the whole ensemble for me. (Don't worry, I had picked it out--not her. Else I would've been at the concert in a good pair of SAS's and some Bobbie Brooks sweats.)(Just kidding--my grandma was actually quite the style maven and totally approved the outfit.) And thanks Mom, for pointing out the blog originally said BOOBIE Brooks.

ANYWAY...NKOTB came out. Sang their hit "Hangin' Tough." (We're gonna put you in a trance with a funky song!) (Now I read those lyrics and feel a little queasy at the sheer cheesiness.) Girls stampeded. One fainted and had to be taken away to wherever they take hysterical KNOTB fans who pass out from Joey-overexposure. Then...out came the fire department with their gigantic water hoses. Seriously. They sprayed down the stampede. My Madonna hat got soaked and was never same. I think my cool factor suffered a blow that I never quite recovered from. So, THAT'S what I think of the New Kids. YOU RUINED MY LIFE!!!
I mean my hat.

Okay, back to snow watching. There is a sledding party in the works, and I must confirm the details and find the NEW snow boots I got for Christmas. They've been so lonely in the box. But now is their time to shine! And of course I must locate the customary long johns, which seem to serve no purpose other than giving me a world class wedgie.

  posted at 9:58 AM  

Monday, January 28, 2008
In Memoriam

In a month that has seen such loss as Heather Ledger and that child star I don't even recognize, the world has suffered another loss.

Today Psycho Kitty went to be with the Lord.
Or where ever psycho kitties go.
He loved kibbles, water, and naps.
Enjoyed belly rubs. Was an excellent shedder.
His hobbies included digging toys out of the trash that he hadn't played with in a year. Other past times were watching TV, sitting next to his favorite author during writing time, jumping in boxes, and pretending to do kung-fu with his nonexistent claws.

His final words were, "No, New Kids On the Block, you should NOT get back together!"
Psycho Kitty will be missed.

  posted at 4:10 PM  

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Long Time, No Blog

I'm hoping to finish a book this weekend, so I've been a horrible blogger. And absolutely nothing exciting has happened in my life this week, so when your week is totally unglam, what can a girl say?

First off, rest in peace, Heath Ledger. Shocking or what? And why was an Olsen twin the first person called? Maybe it was in his living will: If something happens to me, do not call 9-1-1. Call Ashley or Mary Kate.
Mother if you're reading this, if you ever find me Bob Saget.

Speaking of hot guys, I think I am in love with at least one of our local weather guys. As you may have figured out by now, in the winter I watch the weather. A lot. I watch all three major networks. I know how to perfectly time it where I can see a little bit of each report at any given news time. I'm not proud of that. But we have another system moving in tonight, and though the models show us getting pretty much nothing, one weather guy passionately said, "I just don't buy that. I don't buy it!" Hotter words have never been spoken. I mean, that ranks right up there with, "I just so happen to have twenty pounds of chocolate."

But like Monday night's front, this one--when it does show up--will mostly hit the area below us. So sad. I was really worked up over the ice we missed Tuesday (seriously, almost every school in the area was closed except mine and a few other big ones), but some people got stuck on the interstate in the ice about 45 minutes away from where I live. FOR EIGHT HOURS. Can you imagine? No snow day is worth that. I would die. This is EXACTLY why it's important to have Chips Ahoy, Goldfish, Capri Suns, and Snickers with you at ALL TIMES! People who suffered for eight hours on the interstate, know you did not do so in vain! I have learned from your plight! In your honor, I swear to you now, I WILL always carry high calorie, no-nutritional-value snacks with me. Your sacrifice will not be for naught. And can you imagine it being like 15 degrees and stuck in traffic that long and...having to pee? For those of us cursed with bladders the size of an M&M, that is a huge concern. Maybe I should carry a coffee can in my car too. And a folding screen. Lots of headlights shining on that night, you know? Not good tinkling conditions.

Today I sat down at my desk to eat my breakfast. And it was gross. So I jumped up, grabbed my purse and went to McDonalds. (Yes, I left my students alone. Who cares? Only one of them poked his eye out with a pencil, so I think that's pretty good. KIDDING! They weren't there yet.) I got a yogurt parfait and a sausage burrito (formerly called a breakfast burrito). Then I came back and made the mistake of looking up the nutritional content on the web. That's always a mistake, isn't it? But that burrito was long gone by the time I read the bad news. Oh, well.

But on the Mickey D's site, I found some interesting info.
Did you know in the UK they serve something called Oats-O-Simple Porridge? Doesn't that sound so cute? Or you can have Toasted Rice Burgers in Taiwan (not so cute sounding). Toasted Rice? I wanted fatty, cheesy burgers. And in Brazil you can get coconut water. I'm not sure why you'd want to, but that option is available. And they have an animated nutritional program they sponsor, which is hosted by a cartoon character named Willie Munchright. I don't want anybody called Munchright telling me how to eat my rice burger.

Well, I am hoping for the best right now. Hoping I finish my little book so I can begin making time for the important things like breathing, exercising, and combing my hair. And I am hoping (fervently praying) that the front makes an unexpected jump north and covers my county in white stuff. I've been so good..I deserve it.

Have a good weekend. Next week we resume our regular blog schedule.

  posted at 5:27 PM  

Monday, January 21, 2008
A Girl Can Dream
Once again I have placed all my self-worth on the wrong things and come up short. Snow. Well, actually, this time--ice.
I have tracked this system for DAYS. For nearly a week, in fact.
And it was all a go--until this afternoon. Yes, the school-closing, couch/tv promising ice we were supposed to get Tuesday has been scaled back at the last minute to "a little bit of insignificant sleet." It will only slicken up the bridges and overpasses, if anything. Do you know how this makes me feel? Can you even begin to understand my hurt? I bought a gallon of milk, three boxes of cereal, and two magazines for this event! And then Old Man Weather just KICKS me when I'm down.

It's all so unfair. It's a good thing I have Ben and Jerry's and Chips Ahoy to keep me company in these dark hours.

And then somebody commented on my blog today (in archives) about how dare I say henna stunk. I had no right to do that. Number one, I'm in a deep depression, and I can say anything I want. Number two, apparently using henna on the hair sucks out your sense of humor. And number three, I stuck cotton balls up my schnoz, for crying out loud. For a solid hour. And that was AFTER I went through 15 minutes of dry heaves before I got smart and started plugging up my nose. I think I EARNED the right to say it's a bit stinky. And yes, the right thing to do would've been to let that go and delete the comment, but I'm mad about the ice AND. . . it struck me as really funny. I get in an uproar about important things too--animal abuse, the atrocity of Darfur, child trafficking. But I can't remember the last time I hijacked a blog over a plant. But with the way I feel today with the weather and all, it could be just a matter of time. I kind of understand lashing out at someone over something crazy. So Person Who Posted Yhat Comment, I know your anger over henna (and my disrespect of the reeking plant) was really just you acting out of a deeper, larger hurt that you're not truly ready to share.

Maybe I should call 9-1-1 and tell them I have an emergency.They're trained to respond to any problem.
"What is your emergency?" they'll ask.
And I'll say, "I need snow. And ice. Now." I can't think of anything more pressing and urgent than that. Emergencies are sometimes in the eye of the beholder. Take it from this guy, who called them himself. (thanks for reminding me, Christy!)

Have a good week. If a miracle transpires (and of course, I have a bet riding on it), and we get out, you'll hear me shouting from the roof tops.
Okay, you won't. But maybe from my couch.
Under a blanket. With hot chocolate. And my new magazine.
And my stinky hair.

  posted at 5:27 PM  

Friday, January 18, 2008
One school in my general area got cancelled this morning. It wasn't mine. But since I know you're on the edge of your seat, worried about my weather situation (or lack of), let me tell you there is a chance of sleet and a wintery mix Monday, and I'm all over it. Oh, let it be like a water into wine miracle. Turn that barely frozen precip into school closing snow!!! And is "winter mix" weatherman talk for "We don't know what the crap is going to happen?"

On one hand I'm glad to see American Idol back on. On the other, it's four hours a week I'm not working. It's not too productive for me, I'm afraid. But did you notice on the first episode how sappy nice the judges were? They totally got taken to task for their mean behavior last year, you know it. If you go on there, it's permission to be made fun of, but NOT if the contestant is mentally handicapped. But if you're vocally handicapped--open season. Paula is such a nurturer. She should've been a nun or something. Maybe a kindergarten teacher. And so far--she's totally sober. With cute hair! Word is, she's in negeotiations to sing at the Super Bowl. WHY do we get such uninteresting people to sing at the Super Bowl? Paul McCartney? YAWN! The Rolling Stones? Um, the Rolling Bones! Although last year's concert with Prince was fabulous, but my students were like...who was that short guy again? And what was on his head? But Paula Abdul? Straight up, now tell me, why would she sing? I guess it's better than Hannah Montana.

If you're up for a movie this weekend, I can recommend The Bucket List and National Treasure II. Both were good. Not great, but good. I liked the suspense and fast pace of NT II. Also got to see some familiar sites from my summer vacation in Europe. (They were filming right where one of our tours was!) And I enjoyed The Bucket List because it was really cool to see three of the best actors of our time in a movie together (Nicholson, Freeman, and Jack from Will and Grace). I've seen another movie, but I've watched so much weather since then, I can't remember.

Don't forget, all you Jane Austen fans, that PBS is showing new and not so new (hello, Colin Firth) movies of her books for the next five Sunday nights or so. Last Sunday was Persuasion. And if you're like me, and you didn't read Pride and Prejudice like you were supposed to over the summer, it's a really great way to catch up on what Miss Austen wrote. Because I seem to be the only female writer (or English major) in existence who hasn't read her books or tatooed her name on my chest. I'm sorry! But 100 years from now when classic Danielle Steele is all the rage, who will be the literary snob then? Me, that's who. Because I read everything the woman ever wrote when I was in junior high (not advisable actually) and passed on the Austen. But by the end of February, I will be well versed on my Mr. Darcy and...(insert hoity toity British name here). So thank you, Masterpiece Theatre for taking me out of Austen obscurity.

Now, I must proceed to my study, have a spot of tea, tighten my corset, and pen my own tale.

  posted at 6:15 AM  

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I'm Still Standing...Barely
I would've blogged Monday, but I was too distraught. We have a chance of flurries to a light dusting this week. Specifically tonight. Dusting. What a nasty word. I've been riveted to the TV, watching every weather report available. And I'm so blue, I don't know how I've even made it to work. It's all so punishing. Here are some words I don't want to hear any more:
1. The front is heading south.
2. Gonna miss us.
3. Should pose no travel problems.
4. Small amounts of snow. Maybe.
5. Luckily, we're going to dodge this one.

When I hear that negative, unholy talk, it makes me so mad, I want to say my own bad words. Like some of these:

What the French, Toast? That STILL makes me laugh. Great commercial. Super Bowl worthy.

So today was the six week anniversary of my aspartame ban. And how did I celebrate? I bought a Diet Dr. Pepper.
It was a weak, weak moment! I caved! I was tired (woke up late), sad (I hate you, Weather Channel!), and I missed the burn of Diet Dr. Pepper, you know when you take a drink and it's like your esophagus is being acidically burned away. Love it!

But my guilt got the best of me. I placed it on my desk. And stared at it for ten minutes. Finally students filtered into my classroom, and I forced the drink on one of them and made her promise not to let me see it, no matter how much I begged.

So yeah, rough week. But nothing a little snow and ice wouldn't help.
Please keep me and a blizzard in your prayers.

  posted at 6:36 PM  

Friday, January 11, 2008
Finally Friday!
It's been a wild week of Britney watching, tornado ducking, and of snow.

I know you're dying for an update, so I wanted to let you know that I've made no progress in my yoga and my quest to balance myself on my elbows while upside down. But I bet when I get there, I can also do this:

But apparently roller skating under cars is much like yoga--you have to practice. And that's not my strength. Just ask my mom, who paid for five years of piano lessons. (But I do play a mean Mary Had a Little Lamb.)

You know in teaching, we often don't get the old parental support. A lot of people like to believe they have the perfect child (you don't). That their angel wouldn't do anything wrong (he would). And that it's all my fault (Actually I'm the one who's perfect). We love, love, love our parents who believe in discipline and accountability. I think I would really like the mom from Iowa who recently took out this ad after she found alcohol in her son's car.

OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.

Another reason to love her? She makes her son drive a '99 Oldsmobile. Not only does mom believe in discipline, but she believes in humility. Your first car should always be an old, outdated piece. You haven't lived until the ___________ (insert automotive technical term here) goes out on your car that Chevy no longer makes and you're doing 35 miles an hour on the interstate in falling snow, and with the remaining life your car has, you pull over to the truck stop on top of a mountain and wait for your mother, who's over an hour away and also doesn't drive in snow, to come and get you. That builds character! (And it could've built a healthy smoking habit, but I resisted.) My car, Poopster, gave me lots of memories. And lots of repair bills. Some of her problems I fixed myself. Like I fixed the radio, which I found wouldn't work unless you stuck an eye glass holder up in the back of it. And the many times I locked myself out of the car? No problem, I could just crawl into the back hatch (which couldn't lock for mysterious and unexplainable reasons) and over the seats.
The Poopster and I went to high school and college together, and she taught me all about faith. Because every morning the only thing that started her was prayer. And promises to never give her up.
Obviously one of us was a liar.

Have a great weekend.

  posted at 6:48 AM  

Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Tornadoes Make Me Sleepy
Seventy degree weather in the winter doesn't just make Al Gore angry. It makes Mother Nature totally freak out. Ugh. last night was cray-zay! It all started about seven. Then continued through two a.m. Funnel clouds, rotations, get to your safe place (really? I should take cover from a tornado in a vat of Ben and Jerry's?), all is safe, no, cancel that, take cover again! Etc. EXHAUSTING.

A lot of things go through your mind when twisters show up.
1. Should this be my last night on earth, I am really going to regret not eating a high calorie dinner.

2. If all this torrential rain was frozen, I'd be out of school for like a week!

3. Should I risk the hail and drive down the street to hang out in my friend's cellar? Yes, I think so. What kind of snacks should I pack for that?

4. Should wind sound like that?

5. If I take cover in my bathroom, the most interior room, my car could crash in on me. I think that would hurt.

6. Is it irresponsible to sleep through a tornado?

7. Who are these freak storm chasers who keep calling into Channel 5? "Um. . . yeah, it's uh, raining here. That's all." You're a disgrace to true storm chasing!

8. And why don't they have winter storm chasers? Snow seekers? I would totally sign up for that.

9. Why do true storm chasers get in the most dangerous places? "I'm calling from the top of the overpass, looking right into the eye of a funnel cloud. I think I just saw my house fly overhead..."

10. And my final thought at 2:15, as I woke up to screaming winds,my house shaking like it was going to collapse, and the electricity going off. . . Should I put pants on?

  posted at 9:37 AM  

Monday, January 07, 2008
YouTube and Al Gore
I need a vacation. The lack of snow in my 68 degree world is about to do me in. I'm about to go all Britney and call Dr. Phil.

And when I get stressed, I like to think about. . . otters. You can't look at these two and not get a peacful, easy feeling.

You know those otters are like,
"Ugh. They're staring. Again."
"I know, like watch the flash, lady!"

Otters aren't always that calm though. I may have shown this one before, but I like it so much.

"I am otter. I like to get my groove on. Shake it...Shake it..."

My friend Andrea, a world traveling composer (initially I typed composter. Ha! She travels the world, searching for that perfect combination of manure and corn husks...) sent me a website that sell these:

My cats would scratch my face off if I tried to put one of those things on them. And what's with the electric blue color? Cats have taste. What about some nice highlights and lowlights?

Not only do my cats not want any wigs, but they also don't want to play any musical instruments, like this one:

I like the one hand moves. And I wouldn't recommend watching it that long, but after the first minute, he starts banging on the cabinet. So talented! Mine just stare at me like, "Gimme something to eat!"

So more heatwave weather on tap for this week. It hurts my heart. Al Gore, you were right all along. We do need to stop this insanity. I mean, I wasn't too concerned when Al said our excessive lifestyles would affect future generations (yawn), but if it's going to deplete me of my greatest natural resource--snow days--then, I'm all ears. I will buy those swirly lightbulbs. I will take canvas bags to Wal-Mart. I will cut my bathing frequency by half. ANYTHING!!! It's time to reclaim snow days, er, the environment.

Call me, Al Gore. Call me.
(No, actually have Leonardo DiCaprio call me. He seems to know just as much and he's a little easier on the eyes.)

Have a great week!

  posted at 7:52 AM  

Thursday, January 03, 2008
Hello, Weekend!
Wow, lots going on in the world. Trouble in Pakistan, chaos in Kenya, the hustle and bustle of Iowa, my former governor on Jay Leno.Lindsey Lohan boozing it up on New Year's, Brit's lawyers quitting (the third set), and Brit finally sitting down to her deposition (a whole whopping 14 minutes--what's that about?).

And a story that also came out this past week--the poor girl whose essay won her four tickets to see Hannah Montana, only get them snatched out of her hands because her little essay apparently wasn't all true. I guess she wrote about her military dad dying in Iraq...and then she won the tickets...then the truth came out and she lost her expense paid trip to see Hannah M.

A few people I know brought this story to my attention. See when I was in the eighth grade there was this contest in our local paper. You were to write a STORY about the best Christmas you ever had. That's totally what our English teacher said to do. And she said if we won the contest, the prize was a frozen turkey. But if we didn't want the turkey she'd give us ten bucks. Well, I saw dollar signs and wrote myself a little story about a girl and her brother who lost their dad, but found the true meaning of Christmas. It's okay, you can shed a tear. I know it's heart-tugging already, isn't it? And I won the contest. The story was published and then the calls started coming in. People we knew wanted to pass on their condolences over the loss of my father--seems they hadn't even known he was sick, let alone bought the farm.

Apparently the story was supposed to have been true--not fictional. But in my defense, I never saw a rule sheet--that I recall anyway. And our teacher never said it had to be true. So I kind of feel for the girl who wrote the made up story about her not-so-dead father. Sometimes a girl just needs to fake a father's death, okay?
But I do have a friend (and her mother) who will NEVER let me forget my subterfuge. My accidental trickery. My shenanigans in the name of free poultry. But I still contend (Sheila, if you're reading this!) that I won that bird fair and square. Plus my dad probably needed to reconnect with some of those old high school friends anyway.

For 2008 I would love to really do yoga on a regular basis. I do it about once every two months. You know, often enough to pull something. This week I watched Gelman, the Regis and Kelly producer show off his yoga skills. The guy is in his 50s and he can do this.

So this really inspired me. I am always amazed what these yogis can do, lifting their own body weight and basically making themselves all pretzely. So I tuned into FitTV (love that channel) for Namaste Yoga and did some yoga myself. Then they broke out the advanced moves. And I thought...I'm gonna try this. It looked like this:
Tripod Handstand Pose: Tips for Mastering Advanced Yoga Techniques
I thought, how hard can it be?
I nearly fell into the TV.
And I didn't feel any too relaxed afterwards.
I think I forgot to "ommm." I'm sure that will make all the difference.
Well, that and the fact that only silly putty should be twisted like that.

Have a good weekend.

  posted at 6:39 PM  

About Me

Jenny B. Jones

Arkansas, US

I am a teacher in one of the largest high schools in the state. I'm also a writer of Young Adult novels and am currently working on a brand new series. Book three in the Katie Parker Production series, The Big Picture, will hit shelves in April 2008. Stay tuned!

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