Confessions of an educated smart ass

What I think, What I see, What pisses me off, What amuses me....Read it or don't.

Monday, July 19, 2004

I'm a giver, and that's ok...

I tried to write this entry yesterday, and couldn't quite find the right angle. I've been doing a lot of reflecting in the past 24 hours. Reliving small moments, thinking through memories, and re-examining myself. I'm a true believer in self study. I consider myself to be a constant work in progress, and the thinker in me spends a great deal of time questioning myself and my behavior in every situation. I've come to realize a few things as of late. Perhaps it's Dallas (or more specifically Addison), perhaps it's women, or more likely it's the voices of people who have been through pain....but there seems to be a societal push (and acceptance) for selfishness.
      I do understand the root of this theory. We have to protect ourselves. In the end, we are our biggest cheerleader, toughest critic, greatest source of love, and fiercest defender. I get it. The psycho-babble of today exclaims to the consumer "Love yourself!" "Take care of yourself first!!" "You are your own best friend!" and once I even heard "Take a great big swim in lake you!!" (laughed my ass off at that one).  For chrissakes, "Friends" had a whole episode dedicated to the girls reading a book about how to connect with their "inner goddess" - and the show went on to use all sorts of nature metaphors to prove it's point...hilarious and very commonplace in today's society.
     My point is - I just can't seem to get on board with this theory. 
  For those of you that know me well, will agree that this has been a tough emotional year. I found myself in the first few months of 2004 with my family in absolute turmoil. My reaction to the situation was to give of myself wholeheartedly wherever needed - sometimes at the expense of my health, my sleep, my career, or even my emotional well being. I was available for my parents as a shoulder to lean on, a punching bag, a tear wiper, a friend, a happy hour buddy, or simply another person to be with. I'm not adding these details to gain sympathy or the traditional "Oh, I'm so sorry....that sucks." I'm telling you what I did - because that's who I am and what I do. I wish I could say that my rough early months did not come at the expense of others feelings. There are some that would say I gave so much of myself to my family that I pushed them away or acted indifferently and they would be right to an extent. I can only hope to make it up to them....and I will.
    In my 27 years, I have given gifts when I couldn't afford them, called to check on people when I was shouldered with problems, said "I love you" knowing the words would not be reciprocated, offered invitations to people whose company I would not normally seek, thrown get togethers to simply boost someone's self esteem,  spent hours advising acquaintances who seemingly had no one to talk to, and crammed my schedule with events when I knew there was more pressing career work to be done. And I've never regretted one moment of any of it. Here's a brief glimpse of the fruits of my giving. Kind words and wonderful moments from my friends and family.
    "Hey honey!! I"ve missed you so much! My God you look beautiful!"
     "Stephy - are you ok?? You looked kind of stresed out there."
     " ...Because I think you're awesome. Smart and a pain in the ass - but awesome."
     "I want you here. Working here with me. You have the heart and the strength."
     "Because you're stronger and more giving than she is. A better person if you ask me."
     "Don't ever stop being a teacher, because you're a great one, and I'm lucky you were mine."    
      "I respect your opinion on so many things. What do you think?"
      "You are fabulous!"
     "Thank you so much for helping me with this party!! You went above and beyond."
      "I'm lucky to have you in my life."
      " You are good. My heart tells me that - and I can see the wife and mother that you will someday be."
     "Thank you for caring and trying. I always enjoy talking to you."
     "You are so considerate. I've never known anyone to be as considerate as you."
     "I have found a treasure - your friendship."
     "I couldn't have done it without your support."
 
Kids, this is the stuff life is made of. I am lucky, I am blessed, and I'm a giver. Cheers!!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Playing the name game...

OK, kids...here's one that I feel pretty f-ing strongly about. Let me just ask this question? Why is it that the moment perfectly sane, level-headed adults find out that a baby is coming into their lives - they opt to turn the creative juices on....and start dreaming up the perfect name. For those of you wondering, no, I don't have kids (or a husband), but I have definitely come across some absolutely ridiculous-laughing-my-ass-off-rolling-my-eyes-knowing-these-kids-are-going-to-have-their-asses-whipped-in-school names. Personally, I think there should be some rules with the name game, and by God if you're knocked up or the sperm donor - there should be a checks and balances system on your choices for names of your child. Looking back on what I just wrote - rather than continuing my rants and raves, I think I will keep it simple (dumb it down for you expectant parents out there) and just create some rules. Here goes..
1. DO NOT name your child after inanimate objects!! Gwyneth Paltrow fans, you know what I'm talking about....come on, she named her kid APPLE, for God's sake!! Also, under this catgeory would fall names like Rain, Star, Crystal, Snow, Arrow - anything even slightly hippie-esque or names that should be saved for the strippers of our world. DON'T BE TEMPTED. You may think the notion of a beautiful little blonde 3 year old in pigtails named Honey (and, yes I know one of these too..) is precious. However, try to imagine her as a cutting edge district attorney....named Honey. Not quite so cute is it??
2. DO NOT name your child after weather conditions, holidays, dates, or emotions. There are a few exceptions in this category, but not many. For folks with little girls on the way, have you ever watched COPS or Rescue 911?? I'm hear to say (and I have a friend that works for Child Protective Services to back me up), that weather/emotion/date names = rape victims, prositutues, drug addicts, or plain old PWT. Some examples in this category include Misty, November, Rain/y, Tuesday,  Happy (yes, I know someone by this name as well), Thunder, Snow, Bliss, Faith, Rage...and I'm sure you can all think of a dozen more. 
3. DO NOT screw up perfectly good spellings of traditional names!! As a rule, I wouldn't consider myself a consummate purist, but I have to say when it comes to the art of naming....do we really need to stray from traditionalism?? Take my name for instance, Stephanie. I have seen it spelled Stephany, Stefani, Stefanee, Stefaney, etc. Are we not all in agreement, that this name's traditional spelling is much more aestheticly pleasing and falls in line with common sense??!!! Why screw it up?? Alright, alright, I'm sure you males out there are currently noting the lack of examples for boy names - so how about this one. Christopher....simple, elegant, common, traditional. Now let's try the 2004 variations of this classic name....Cristofer, Kristofer, Qurestopher, Crystofre, Kryztopher....and YES, THESE HAVE ALL HAPPENED!! What else do you need to hear?? Come on folks!! If you opt for a strong traditional name.....keep it simple - for the sake of your child and the sake of society - the poor commoners who are going to spend years struggling (and grumbling) about how to spell your kid's name.
           In conclusion, please be kind to your children when naming them. As a society, we are inundated with press about who's pregnant in Hollywood and then eventually the foolish titles they place upon their young.  And note, I said FOOLISH TITLES....just because they have money and celebrity DOES NOT mean they have the gift of naming. Just a few doozies to remind you not to look west for advice: Cocoa (Courtney Cox/David Arquette) , Rocco (Madonna/Guy Ritchie), Indio (Robert Downey, Jr.), Piper Maru (Gillian Anderson), Rumer, Scout, Tallulah Belle (Demi Moore/Bruce Willis)... Need I say more??
   

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Vast Vacancy of Summer Vacation...

Dear God forgive me for the acts of triteness that I am about to commit to!! OK, that's done... 
So, the majority of the world thinks a teacher's schedule is pretty f-ing cool. I mean, come on, we get 2 weeks at Christmas, a week in the Spring, all federal holidays,  these random blow off days (cleverly titled TEACHER INSERVICE - I still don't know what the hell that means.), and of course, the crown jewel.......10 weeks of summer vacation!!  Last night, I was approached by a typical corporate suit who began our conversation (after he opened with the timeless "Whatareya drinkin' there, cutie?!!") by asking me what I did for a living. I replied that I was a teacher, to which Mr. Corporate countered with.."God, you are so lucky!! I'd party it up all summer. It'd be beer, bars, babes, and baseball!" At least I think that's what he said. Truthfully, I was walking away as he was finishing the sentence (I'm not the nicest to guys in bars...but that's the subject of another blog). The point is (and yes, I'm getting there) the general populus views a teacher's calendar as ideal. I'm here to tell you.....I'm not sold. I began the summer in good cheer..caught up with friends, did some shopping, hit a few happy hours, prepared for and attended many nuptials, Then, came July.....and I found myself (after a brief vacation) with a lot of time to kill. Most of you know that I'm AWFUL at being sedentary. I maintain a pretty vigorous life/schedule and I like it that way. As of late, I'm struggling to fill my time. Here's what I did today (well, most of it anyway)....I laid on the couch, read, and played intermittently with the new features of Yahoo messenger. That's it. Today being my rest day from the gym - I didn't even do that. And to be perfectly frank, I'm hard pressed to think of anything that I NEED to do.  I've become sadly familiar with the Discovery Health Channel, online Scrabble, and my daily horoscope. I have cleaned, organized, and arranged everything in my house at least twice. I've filled days downloading music to arrange the perfect work out cd, and my big task for tomorrow is to go to the Hallmark store and buy 4 birthday cards. An outing that I'm pathetically excited about. Get a job you say?? I should have....Look at me, I've even succumbed to the world of blog (sigh).