Archive | July, 2011

A Conflict of Interest

30 Jul

Those of you who’ve been following me on the blogosphere know that this WordPress blog of mine is a fairly new venture. I started this blog in the hopes that it would be a more “serious” blog where I could discuss my teaching and writing, possibly even sharing some writing samples with people who would give me constructive and honest feedback. The problem I’m encountering now is that it seems like these two areas of my life (my teaching and my writing) a posing a conflict of interest for me.

A couple of days ago, I sat down to type up a vignette I had written awhile back that I had recently unburied from the depths of our garbage heap office. I had it typed up and was about to hit that little blue “publish” button, when I had to stop and reconsider. The piece I had written included some drug use, and while I love the piece, I couldn’t help but think the following: “This is a public blog. I’m searching for teaching jobs. What if someone finds my blog, sees my references to drug use, and thinks it’s inappropriate content for a teacher?” As ridiculous as this seems, especially considering the “fictional writing” tag I was using, this is a legitimate concern for teachers today.

There are countless articles in the newspapers today of teachers being fired for having Facebook photos showing them drinking an alcoholic beverage (like this one, for example), even though the teachers in question are of legal age. I even recall a news story where a teacher was fired for having a picture on her desk in which her neck tattoo was visible. If I’m remembering correctly, the school deemed it inappropriate for a teacher, who is supposed to be a role model, to have tattoos. It pains me to think that my blog and my twitter account, which are deeply personal and in no way reflect my abilities as a teacher, would be enough to prevent a school from hiring me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue lately. What I really want to say is, “Screw ’em. If they are willing to use a piece of fictional writing or my legal and appropriate personal life against me, then they’re not the right fit for me anyway.” But can I really afford to be that picky?

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On Life, Harry Potter and My First Love

17 Jul

I am a fan of routine. I love planning, making lists, checking things off the lists and having things go according to the aforementioned plan. I am, essentially, Rory Gilmore’s soulmate. This is why weeks like the one I have just experienced, while amazingly awesome and fun, always make me feel slightly disoriented and overwhelmed. Allow me to explain…

This past week the state of Minnesota was visited by my brother-in-law Andy, his wife Amber and their two adorable children Aiden and Avery. Marrying into another family can be a tricky business. You’re essentially saying “Yes, now I am one of you! Though I did not grow up with you, I am going to participate in your family traditions and navigate through your family’s complexities, hierarchies and drama. I will do my best not to overstep my boundaries and stomp on toes, but no promises…” Amber played a HUGE role in helping me adjust to life as a Nelson, and I do think of her as an actual sister. [Note: At the time that Dan and I got married, she was my only sister-in-law; since then I have now been blessed with another “sister” whom I also love dearly] Because of this, I am always SUPER excited when she and her family come into town and their visits are always far too short. This particular visit included a giant family gathering and a mid-week cabin trip, which contributed greatly to me feeling thrown-off my game. Who knew the lake was so quiet on Wednesday afternoons?

Top: Sister-in-Law Erika, Brother-in-Law Marty, Me, Dan, Andy
Bottom: Father-in-Law Jeff, Jack, Mother-in-Law DeDe, Aiden, Amber, Avery

While the majority of the Nelson clan stayed up at the cabin until Friday morning, I came home on Thursday for one VERY important reason: Harry Potter. I went with Husband and one of my besties (Brook) to the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter movie. There are not words to describe my love for Harry Potter. They (whoever “they” are), say that the Harry Potter book series got children interested in reading. It would not be wrong to say that it also renewed my own love for reading. I’ve loved reading ever since I knew how to hold a book, but somehow high school and the drama that accompanies high school caused me to put reading on the back burner.

I remember my first encounter with Harry Potter. It wasn’t the book series that first drew my attention, but rather a selfish cry of injustice. My mother had agreed to pull my brother out of school to see the first movie in the theatre (because he and her had, actually, read the book), and there was no way in hell my brother was going to get a “Get Out of School Free” card if I couldn’t have one too. So, my mom agreed to take me to the movie as well. I walked into the theatre that day having no idea what the series was even about. By the time the movie was over, I was spellbound (pun intended). I saw that movie in the theatre five times and began reading the books immediately. Since then, I have been to two midnight book release parties and numerous midnight showings of movies. I even brought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with me on my honeymoon.

Watching the last movie unfold was bittersweet for me. I absolutely loved the movie and I don’t think it could have been any more perfect and true to both the book and movie franchises. But my tears throughout the movie weren’t just caused by the sadness unfolding on the screen. It was because something I had taken part in, something larger than myself, was ending. Harry Potter was what made me realize how much I missed reading. Without it, who knows when I would have realized what the empty hole in my heart was caused by? I owe Harry Potter a great debt, and I’ll never forget it. And seriously, see the movie. It kicks major ass.

I attended the 12:05 a.m. showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two on Friday, July 15th. That night, at 7:30 p.m., I was reunited with another love of mine, and my First Love: Nick Carter. That’s right folks, Friday night was my NKOTBSB concert. It was, in a word, incredible. Both groups sang all the old songs, did some of the old dance moves, and reminded me that First Love lasts a lifetime. For one night, I was 16 again. I am a Backstreet Girl, for now and always, and I’m damn proud of it. I might also, now, be a New Kids fan. I think I have to be now that Donnie Wahlberg touched my finger; it’s like an unspoken boy band law.

Thankfully, after the whirlwind week I’ve had, I’ve slowly caught up on sleep and once again adjusted to a natural circadian rhythm. I’m looking forward to reclaiming more of my routine this upcoming week, mainly in regards to my writing and workout schedule. I haven’t written a word all week, nor have a lifted a hand-weight. Jillian Michaels would not be happy, but as much as it pains me, sometimes the routine just has to be adjusted. This week was one of those weeks, but it was totally worth it.

I Remember: An Anniversary Post

9 Jul

I remember the day I fell for you in calc. class. You came in late, fresh from a strength training competition. You were tall, muscular, sweaty and gorgeous. It was that day that Mr. B crumpled up your test and threw it at you, a sure sign that you did well. I learned three things that day: you were fit, you were smart, and I had a crush to beat all crushes.

I remember the day you first asked me out. You came into my work, I flirted shamelessly (thank God I had given up being a blonde by then), and your exact words were “Why don’t you give me your number and we can hang out sometime?” I obsessed for an entire week about what the actual definition of “hang out” was. It wasn’t until the end of our date (during which you ran a stop sign and I got myself stuck in my seat belt) when you kissed me that I knew it was an actual date.

I remember the day that we first exchanged those three magical words. I wrote them on your cheek with my finger, not even sure if you noticed and you turned, looked at me and said, “I love you too, baby.” I was giddy for weeks, and I bought coffee and bagels for my friends the next morning to spread the joy. They say thanks, for that.

I remember the day you proposed, at the same zoo and conservatory where we had our first date. Surrounded by hundreds of flowers and nothing but beauty, we began to plan our own beautiful life together.

And then, I remember the day we became husband and wife. Six years ago today, we stood on the hottest day of the year in a church without air conditioning and exchanged our wedding vows. I remember the way you looked at me, sweat dripping down your face. You whispered, “You’re beautiful,” and my dad whispered “No backs.” If the heat didn’t kill me, I thought the happiness might.

Of course, there are many other days and nights that I remember, too. Our prom. The first night we…you know. Our first night in our new house. The day you took me to the Magic Kingdom and pretended you liked the Peter Pan ride because it was my birthday and not complaining was your gift to me. The day I told you I was pregnant and we laughed and cried together in the bathroom. The day our beautiful son was born and our lives again changed forever.

We’ve been through hurricanes together, literally. Ok maybe just one hurricane, but still. I know that no matter what life brings us we’ll get through it and we’ll come out on the other side better and stronger, because we did it together. I love you more than words can say, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of forever with you.

Happy anniversary!

I Can See It

7 Jul

Note: Part of this is a recycled entry from an old blog, but it’s been heavy on my mind lately.

You have no idea how many times I’ve thought about leaving.  Boxing up my life, packing it in a U-Haul and leaving everything that’s made me who I am.  I can picture it so easily.

I can see myself in California.  Geeking out at movie premieres, adopting a laid-back surfer attitude.  Trips to Santa Monica, Disney Land, the Jelly Belly Outlet store.

I can see myself in Maine.  A house on the beach with the cold and rolling grey-green waves.  Ordering a hamburger at a sea food restaurant because, let’s face it, I’m never going to like lobster.

I can see myself in North Carolina.  A small, forgotten and quiet town.  A house near the coast with a front porch, a swing and endless supplies of Sweet Tea.

I can see myself in Georgia.  Touring and dreaming of giant plantation houses.  Adopting a thick Southern drawl.  Pretending that the South won the war, that men still stand up when a woman enters a room, and that meals with too many forks still exist.

I can see myself in France.  Trying (and failing) to speak French like a native.  Trying (and failing) to dispel the rumor that Americans are stupid.  Strolls to a local cafe.  Ordering a hamburger at a fancy restaurant because, let’s face it, I’m never going to like escargot.

I can see myself in Greece.  Teaching English.  Spending my summers volunteering at archaeological excavations.  Vacations to the islands, soaking in the culture.

But the place that I see myself the most is Connecticut.  It charmed me, once, and the East Coast magic is strong.  Taking the train into the city to catch a Broadway Show.  The Starbucks (ohhh, the sheer number of Starbucks, or is it Starbuckses?).  The old farm houses.  The history.  Spending my evenings watching Jack play in the surf while taking in this view:

I love Minnesota. I love my home, I love my family, I love my friends, and I love this place. There’s something about the stillness of the lakes on hot summer mornings. There’s something about the crisp fall air that fills both your lungs and your spirit. There’s even something about the endless winter and the camaraderie of pushing a neighbor’s car up his icy and thick-with-snow driveway. Minnesota has caught me, tied me and bound me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get restless.

Being Productive at Life

5 Jul

Rejoice, for my summer class is officially over! Because of my (un)fortunate status as “unemployed,” this means that I have the duration of the summer (or until I find a job, whichever comes first) to lounge and play with my son, clean and organize my house, make an indent on my massive “to read” list and WRITE WRITE WRITE. I am pleased to report that thus far, I have been very successful at starting all of the above.

Over the holiday weekend, I was able to finish The Help which, as I mentioned in my last post, is AMAZING. I absolutely loved it and highly, highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a poignant, yet fast, read for the summer. While this (sadly) means that I must return my friend’s Kindle, I am excited about starting the next book on my summer reading list: The Hunger Games. I’ve heard good things about the series and I’m excited to finally get the chance to take a crack at it.

Today while Child was napping I was able to write for a good hour uninterrupted. It felt amazing. While an hour might not seem like much, with my life, my schedule, and my track record, an hour is huge. If I can keep up at least that hour every day, this summer might actually be the summer where I finish my novel. That would be a small miracle, seeing as how that’s been my summer goal for the past three years now, but for once I actually feel like it’s an attainable goal.

We’re planning on having a garage sale at the end of summer this year to help clear out the massive collection of CRAP we’ve accumulated in our house; hence the cleaning and organizing going on. Some people spring clean. I, apparently, summer clean.

I’m hoping that the momentum I’ve built for all of my summer goals is enough to propel me through July and August. I’m tired of being the only thing and/or person that’s holding myself back. This year, rather than sucking at life, I plan to kick life in the metaphorical balls. *Cheers*