Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the...Beach Body?

Let's hope.

My 2011 could be subtitled "The Year of Work", "The Year No Boys Paid Attention to Me, Which Is Not That Different Than Any Other Year" (too long, no?) or "The Year I Uprooted My Happy Life in Charlotte to Move to the Middle of Nowhere". 

I'll just call it...interesting. Last January I was a teaching assistant living in a fabulous apartment in Charlotte. I blogged religiously, worked out daily, and lived a fabulous life in general. 

Then I accepted a job as a special education teacher in the sticks of Eastern North Carolina. I moved into a big house in a town that would make Nicholas Sparks' mouth water. I work 80 hour weeks, can't remember what I used to blog about so much, and live a pretty boring life in general. 

And I'm happy. Most importantly? I feel like I'm good at it. 

In my first week of teaching, my administration walked in and informed me that two of my students would be self-contained in my classroom all day. (Emphasis on alllllll daaaaaay.) They were so disruptive in the regular classroom that they genuinely prevented others from learning. One of them had previously been suspended for bringing a homemade weapon to school. 

And they were going to be mine. All. Day. Long. 

They were on a kindergarten reading level, which made me think I'd be a pain in the ass too if I was 13 and felt like school had been a waste of my time for the past seven years

But I didn't have time to feel bad for them: these boys needed to learn to read. And fast. I scoured our school library and home library for every kindergarten level book I could find. They resisted. They whined and complained and wasted my time. Some days, I only got 5 or so minutes of reading out of them by the time they'd settled down. 

And we read. We read the Pokey Little Puppy, Arthur Goes to the Dentist, and Home for a Bunny.  They asked me why they had to read baby books, a question that I had no better answer for than "stop talking, keep reading". 

The stories I'd heard about their behavior were no joke. There were days I screamed and cried and conferenced with their parents and wrote referrals to the office. (Sometimes all in one day.) I slammed books on my desk and threw my clipboard against the wall in anger. (Just the one time.) I called every teacher I knew and asked what I needed to do to make it through the day with my mental health intact. There were a few times the boys walked out of my classroom. There were a few times I walked out as well. 

While this was going on, the baby books were slowly turning into Little Bill books. Then, very slowly, we progressed into Magic Treehouse books. Chapter books. 

So there were days I yelled too much and when my patience was too thin. But I did something right. We ended the semester on a second grade reading level. We're nowhere close to where they need to be, but we're better off than when we started.  

Beat that, 2012. (And if you could bring me a boyfriend and a beach body, that would be great too.)

Haughty Resolutions for 2012

I happen to love New Year's Resolutions, mostly because mine are basically the same every year (which to me means having a smaller margin for failure). I like keeping them vague and general, like saying I want to make more money or lose weight. That way, if I find $5 on the sidewalk or get a stomach flu, I'm TOTALLY accomplishing my goals.

This year, I'm upping the ante only slightly. Also, it's possible that I'm getting more and more superficial as the years go by. (What, I have the job I want. Now it's time to focus on looks and gettin' me a man. Oh, and a big, fat paycheck.)

In 2012, I'm going to:

1. Get a beach body. (That means wearing a bikini with confidence. And no fat rolls when I sit down.)

2. Write a book proposal (Haughty by Nature on the NYT bestseller list?)

3. Get published in Skirt! (I love this magazine and it's always been a goal of mine. However, in order to get published I'm pretty sure you have to buckle down and write something, which is going to be the tough part for me.)

4. Have better work/life balance. (Also known as: Managing my time more efficiently so as to not be reduced to stressful tears on a twice-weekly basis.)

5. Blog 5x per week (between this gem and The Preppy Vegan. Wish me luck.)

How do you feel about resolutions? What are yours for 2012?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best. News. Ever.

Ok maybe it's not the best news, like an end to world hunger or something. But The Real Housewives of Orange County are back for a 7th season starting February 7th! While they're no RHO Beverly Hills, the bleached hair, umbrella drinks, and catty drama will certainly bring me warmth and joy in the dead of winter.

Check out the preview:

And the cast discussing the upcoming season (Alexis Bellino wows with her usual wit and intelligence. You'll be wowed by her constant use of third grade words!)

Will you be watching? Who are your favorite Housewives?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things to Do on Solo Car Trips got me.

I did, however pick up the audio version of Mary Kay Andrews' Savannah Breeze for my solo ride to D.C. this past weekend.

I'd always passed over her books, (thinking they were trashy chick lit) until my cousin Royar told me I had, had, HAD (she's very demanding) to read some of her stuff. 

The verdict? I loved it. Yes, it was like a bubble bath for my brain, but for four solid hours I didn't think about school, my students, or the nasty hangover I was still nursing 6 hours into my car ride. 

Have you read any Mary Kay Andrews? What are your favorites? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You're SO Pretty...

There are very few times in my life that I've felt, well, old. The first was when another teacher asked me why I suddenly seemed to be going grey. (Um...maybe because there's not a salon within 100 miles of this trailer park that I'd allow to touch a hair on my head? RUDE.)

The second (and most recent) was when I learned the hard way that I can no longer handle open bars like I used to.

Or at all.

Let me back up. This past weekend, my beautiful sorority sister and former roommate Mal married in the love of her life in a gorgeous winter wedding.

And I? Barfed allllll over a hotel room thanks to my lack of self-control at the open bar.

The gorgeous church
Mind you, on the night before the wedding, my friend Caroline and I had a looooooong discussion about how our friends should totally feel comfortable having open bars now, since all of us were "adults" and could "handle ourselves appropriately".

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Katie and I at the reception
I, the bridal attendant, handed out programs like a fiend at the ceremony. Pomegranate martini in hand, I shmoozed the guests into signing the guest book at the reception. 

Eventually the guest book was full. I danced, drank another martini, and did a couple of laps around the reception. 

Then I drank another martini. And another. There might have been a glass or three of champagne mixed in there somewhere. But hey, it's free, right?

This is when the merriment begins to get a little blurry. I seem to remember someone getting me outside to light sparklers and wish Mal and her new husband off, but I'm not sure how. I distinctly remember hearing someone hiss "Look. At. Ensley", but my eyes were having trouble focusing enough to figure out who it was. 

Eventually, we'd all made it back to the hotel, where I was sitting upright on a bed, silently chanting to myself "You will NOT throw up. You will NOT throw up." (Sort of like a scene out of Eat, Pray, Love, but with vodka coursing through my veins instead of spiritual wisdom.)

Then my friend Caroline blurted out "Does anyone else smell B.O? I smell B.O." To which our other friend decided that I, of everyone in the room, was the one who should check her underarm area for B.O. 

With my nose. 

I think you know where this is going. 

Visions of sweaty, disgusting armpits filled my mind. Before I could stop myself, I was sprinting to the bathroom. The last thing I remember is someone is calling housekeeping and saying "we have a situation...." before I pressed my cheek to the cool, sweet tile and descended into sweet darkness. 

But hey, I'm an adult now, right? I can handle myself. 

*Please do not let the contents of this blog post discourage anyone from inviting me to their open bar reception. The hangover was punishment enough.

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