Showing posts from 2012

A Vote for Love

There are few discussions in this world that get me more heated than that swirling around gay-marriage and rights for GLBTQ people in our country. It is a subject on which I find it hard to be tolerant. I understand that, for many people, it is a religious matter. But I cannot see past the faces of my friends, students, and family members who belong to the GLBTQ community. They are no less deserving of love and respect than any other person, and I refuse to accept any less than that for them.

In the past year,  Michele Bachmann goose-stepped this issue to center stage in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

We are facing this ban despite the fact same-sex marriage is (shamefully, I believe) already illegal in our state (thus making the amendment completely redundant). This brings us to the true challenge Minnesotans face now: to become the first state in the union to defeat a proposed constitutional same-sex marriage ban. Right now the polls are nec…

The Longest Sunday

State Fair commercials began last week. If you've been here before, suffice it to say you know how I feel about the MN State Fair.

August is not my least favorite month--that distinction belongs to the dark, cold months of November and January (sometimes February, too. The promise of presents is the only thing that saves December). But August is a peculiar month in the mind of teachers. Let me explain.

I think all working people understand the dread that accompanies Sundays. It's a joyous day because there's no work--it's technically a weekend--but at about 5pm, it suddenly becomes a "school night." We must go to bed early and behave like adults so we can get up early the next morning and begin the grind of the work week. It's an irritable sort of day.

August is just one long Sunday.

Make no mistakes, I love my job. I truly do. My students are amazing and challenging and make me laugh. My colleagues are the best a girl could possibly ask for and have gotten …

An Ode to Stretchy Pants or Why Metabolism Sucks

Ten years ago, my metabolism kicked ass. I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining a pound. Now, granted my near-constant hangover from the drinking bouts each night probably helped keep the weight off; turns out, you don't gain much when you're vomiting up vodka almost everyday before your 8am class. But still, you get what I mean. For most of my life, I ate what I wanted, sat around as much as I wanted, and still looked pretty damn good.

Now I'm 28. I still eat what I want and sit around a good deal. I still look pretty good. But that look might have to do more with the fact that, during the summer months, when I am off from work, most of my clothing involves pants/shorts with elastic waistbands.

Almost two weeks ago, however, I threw on a pair of jeans to go out with my sister. And gasped in horror.

They fit. But gaining even two more pounds was going to necissitate new clothing, and since I have a lot of clothes, I realized I could ill-afford to replace them all simp…

Feeling the Olympic Spirit

I love the Olympics, irrationally and with wild abandon.  Sports 99% of the world couldn't care less about for 3 years and 50 weeks at a time suddenly have me at the edge of my seat. Fencing? Synchronized swimming? Archery? And oh man, please don't ever let me miss the table tennis, a sport in which, I am utterly convinced, I would be an Olympic athlete if only my parents had provided adequate training when I was a child.

One of my favorite parts is, of course, the opening ceremonies. I wasn't so much disappointed in London's pageantry as totally baffled by it. Why was there a 100 foot tall blow-up doll of Voldemort? And while I respect British history and contributions to the world, Danny Boyle (the director of Slumdog Millionaire and the artistic creator behind the ceremonies) was a little too conceptual for my taste. And it ended up making British history look--frankly--lame. An English meadow that morphs into a weird symbol of London industrialization that inexplica…

Just Your Average-Leader-of-the-Free-World-Type of Guy

There is a question that has been plaguing me since George W. Bush began campaigning for his first presidential term over twelve years ago. I have noticed, during this current presidential campaign, the same issue popping up in a much subtler--but no less annoying--manner, the idea that the best thing our president can be is a "normal" guy.  Why, oh why, in our country do we want our president to be so average? Are we so threatened by our own fear of being "average" that we have to demand our politicians meet us here, in the middle?

Governor Romney has had to battle against President Obama's "everyman" status throughout the election; Obama, as the child of a single parent, with his charming stories of college debt and normal dad-of-two-young-girls-who-still-have-to-make-their-own-beds-even-in-the-white-house image, is hard to fight when you're the son of a former Governor who sent you to one of the toniest private high schools in Michigan. But, ala…

Well Now They Tell Me

It's the end of another school year. Despite my griping about 5am mornings, long drives, and general student ass-hat-ery, I always get a little weepy on the last day of school. As students file out, I am reminded of the first day. I can't help but think how far they've come (hopefully) and the fun I've had (most days). The hardest part of teaching is always the letting go. But I finally have enough experience to know that, as sad as it is, come September I'll have a whole new group of students who will quickly consume my time and replace the old. I'll fall in love with 190 new kids next year. They'll make me laugh (and want to tear my hair out) all over again, and the cycle will continue. It's beautiful.

One of my favorite traditions at my high school is one a science teacher started. On the last day, she gives students the opportunity--it is not required--to write thank you cards to teachers who made a difference in their lives that year. She delivers t…

An Open Letter to the State of North Dakota

Dear North Dakota,

First, my sympathies. I understand your state is a vast wilderness--er...field of...well, whatever the hell is there. I understand that living in the "Flickertail State," the state that ranks 48th in population, with no major cities, tourist attractions, or major sports franchises, has likely made you all a little crazy.  But hey, when the only fact outsiders remember about your state is that "it's the one that doesn't have Mount Rushmore, right?" I can imagine feathers start to get ruffled. 

But alas, North Dakota, you do have a claim to fame. You have a notoriously successful college hockey team, a team that has turned out an astonishing number of talented athletes. It's a tradition any school could be proud of. But unfortunately, North Dakota, your talented team is marred by the controversy surrounding your school mascot: The Fighting Sioux. And if the offensive nickname wasn't enough, when your state was asked to change their …