Friday, June 08, 2007

I'm Just Thinkin' Here

Forgive me if this post is a bit incoherent, but I just finished up my 26th year of teaching today and celebrated the end of another successful year by having a couple of Cape Codders with a group of colleagues at Harry Buffalo's. Uncharacteristically, I nibbled at a snack and drank outdoors, something which I unequivocally detest. But, for my fellow teachers, I will do just about anything. We drank, we chatted, we got incredibly silly and philosophical, depending upon the level of alcohol in our glasses and beer tubes.

Oh, not eating outdoors? No, I'm not a fan. I find it horrid. I hate the whole idea of it. What's the point? You battle wind, bugs, paper plates, sun in your eyes, uncomfortable weather conditions, hot food that isn't optimally hot and cold food that isn't optimally cold. You hope that the wasps circling your open can of soda don't actually go inside, forcing you to accidentally get stung on the lips or tongue. Sometimes you have to sit at picnic tables and be vigilant that too many people don't get up from the other side of the bench, causing your side to teeter-totter downward. How embarrassing! Nope, eating outdoors is too much like work or punishment for me.

There are a few other things I am not, at age 48, ever going to do ever again. Here they are:

1. Be forced into stupid party games or outdoor family reunion games. I don't do sackraces or big softball games or contests. These are just plain ridiculous. I am 48 years old and have earned the right to say NO when I don't feel like doing something.
2. Go to every relative's party or event or send money in my stead. Nor do I expect them at mine. I don't have a lot of cousins, thank goodness. I don't see them often. So, if one of their kids gets married, I don't expect an invitation. If I get one, I don't see why I should feel obligated to go. I haven't seen this kid since he was born, if then. I don't see why I should send a gift, either. Who is this person to me? More importantly, who am I to him or her? Am I part of his or her life? Obviously, this is a ploy for a gift or cash. I'm not falling for it.
3. Send cards all the time. I find greeting cards to be a huge waste of money and time. Let's face it: yes, the thought is nice. Yes, it's pleasant to get mail. But, greeting cards, unless you get generic, awful ones at the Dollar Store, are grossly inflated in price. And, what do you do with them? You look at them, smile, perhaps put them on the mantel for a week or so, then you toss them out. For me, that's not a good return on my investment. I'd rather get and send an e-card, really. I can look at it, save it indefinitely with no clutter, even save it as my desktop wallpaper if it's particularly clever. I realize that the argument can be made that it takes more effort to remember in advance the person's special day, then select the card, stamp it, and send it in plenty of time. But, so what? Do I love my sister less because I call her or send her an e-card? Sometimes belatedly? I think not.
This summer will perhaps be a time of reflection for me. I may rethink these positions. But I doubt it. Perhaps I will, instead, ponder my many obsessions. Like:
1. Brian Williams's ties. Maybe I need to stop perseverating over them and just learn to accept.
2. Lay's Potato Chips. I eat the folded ones and make Rick give me his folded ones.
3. My search for the perfect brown leather slip-on sandal. Where is it? So far, nowhere.
4. My hair. Why isn't Aussie Real Volume shampoo working for me anymore? Or Pantene?
5. Omar Avila. He was on the finale episode of House. Oh my God. He is making me rethink my anti-Latino man position in so many ways. Seriously. So many ways. So many.
6. Breaking up with TravisCat. He is exhibiting rebellious litterbox habits that are ruining my life. I am trying to freeze him out by not speaking to him and making my lap off-limits.
7. Squirrels. They are constantly on my birdfeeder, but I cannot keep shooting them with the bb gun. My aim is not what it used to be, and we have new neighbors behind us. 'Nuff said.
This list should keep me busy through June...perhaps July, if I take weekends off. Naturally, I will consider all propositions/helpful hints offered in comments. But honestly, it's summer. And the livin' is supposed to be easy. Especially for us teachers on vacation.


  1. Anonymous6:29 PM

    Yaaaayyyy! We're on vacation. I have been for 2 days so far, and I am so gobsmacked by all this freedom, I don't know whether to s*** or wind my watch. Of course I have Summer II in Grad School and another AP Institute Course, but... that ain't the same as lesson plans, grading papers, etc. etc.

    On Things You Are Never Going To Do Again: 100% with you on all points, and I turned 48 a long time ago.

    On your reflections:

    #1. Fit to be tied, eh? It’s your call, Nance.

    #2. I LOVE the folded ones, too.

    #3. Where is the perfect slip-on sandal in ANY color and MY size?

    #4. I am afraid to tell you why that is true.

    #5. You are usually against Latino men? Guess I won’t ever introduce you to the Husband if you are ever in my neck of the woods, LOL. (He is a far cry from Omar Ávila, at least in the looks dept.)

    #6. Cats cannot be frozen out. Ever. For anything. Unless you put him outside in January. With his
    litterbox. That might work. But it won't help you in the summer, of course.

    #7. Have you tried this?

  2. I'm not a big fan of eating outdoors at restaurants because I've had particularly bad service that way. And I'm always always always petrified of the bees and wasps in my soda can that WILL sting me.

    As for #3--where are the shoes I like in my size?! I need to buy another pair of these sneakers that fit really well because it's rare for me.

    Re #7--we have crazy black squirrels. In fact, at times we have black, reddish-brown, and gray squirrels cavorting in our yard simultaneously.

  3. Anonymous3:40 AM

    As a person who used to spend lots of time finding the PERFECT cards for my amigos at Hallmark and now spends time designing and making my own, I'm crushed by your lack of greeting card respect. However, I admire your correct usage of the word "mantel." Even professional editors often get mixed up and call a mantel a mantle. That you got this right while under the influence of alcohol is impressive.

    In Europe, people eat outdoors all year round. Some of the sidewalk cafes have heaters to keep your feet warm in the winter. In Belgium, the worst table at a restaurant is the one that's indoors. Still, unless the weather is perfect, I prefer indoor dining too.

    I'm proud to come from a family that never plays stupid party games. We do like croquet and bocce though.

    And litter box issues? Oy. TravisCat is a fool to play litterbox games with a woman who thinks $3 for a card at Hallmark is too much. He should be afraid. Very afraid.

    So should the squirrels....

  4. Anonymous11:11 AM

    I like a funny card...a really, really gut-bustingly funny card. I usually save them. But the sappy ones I toss out. And eating outside? I'm right there with you. Did it last night and regretted it enormously due to the Biblical plague of flies.

  5. I personally am a fan of greeting cards. They are so unexpected when mailed now. The moment of surprise and happiness that it gives a person makes it worth it to me.

    I wholeheartedly agree about eating outdoors though. I have been attacked by wasps eating IN a restaurant, but too close to the wide-open door to the patio. No thanks. I think meals should be an enjoyable experience- not an outright battle with nature at her most mischievous.

  6. 1. Is this your way of telling me I'm not getting a birthday card????

    2. Leave the squirrels alone. You know they are God's little creatures....and they don't taste like chicken.

  7. No one should EVER have to feel guilty about playing those damn games.

    I have a "cousin's picnic" coming up in a few weeks. I'll just file this event under weird things my in-laws do. I'm still not sure if I can get out of it though.

    I hate cards. If I open one and it is too long I just put it down. Sometimes even if it's one I've received.

    Scrappy Dog can take care of TravisCat and your squirrel problems in one shot if you'd like to borrow him.

  8. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Hi Nance,

    Here is the answer to the bees attacking you or your food outdoors.

    When you order, simply pretend there is another person eating with you and that person would like a hot dog with mustard and pickle, and a diet coke.

    When the order arrives, place the imaginary person's food about 5 feet away from you and leave it alone. Soon enough the bees will discover it and swarm around in delight at finding such a feast and no one swatting at them to go away.

    You and your friends are then left alone to enjoy your meal, and discuss BW's purple ties to your heart's content!

  9. Again we are at odds, dear lady. I like to eat outdoors and love to send and receive and card in the mail. But I do love e-cards just as much, maybe even a little more because they usually involve some music and a little singing dog.

    But I agree with you whole-heartedly about the distant family and their ever graduating and getting married kids. I don't know these people! If I have to call my mom and ask who so-and-so is, then I'm certainly not cutting you a check just because you accomplished something like sticking out school or scoring a mate. Could I pick these people out of a police line-up? Probably not! And being on the Christmas Card list does not equal my showing up at you anniversary party three counties away!

  10. Anonymous5:23 PM

    June 8th tie: I can get on board with that. I would even throw in "debonair." Just plain debonair, of course. We don't want Brian to get a swelled head. And speaking of heads... where do you find all of these cartoons of lovely walnut-like heads, cracked open with all the grey (pink, blue, etc.) matter exposed?

  11. Anonymous8:42 AM

    2. Lay's Potato Chips. I didn't know anyone else shared my obsession w/folded potato chips.

    4. My hair. The answer: hormones deary.

    7. Squirrels. A friend of mine bought a "squirrel-proof" bird feeder and of course the squirrels would go right inside the little cage and eat their fill.

    Enjoy the summer you lucky gal.

  12. ortizzle--My friend is all gaga over Antonio Banderas, but I don't see it. I just don't find the Latin thing appealing. Maybe because I grew up in an area with a huge Latin population and am kind of inured to it all. On another note, went to your suggested URL--forget that stuff. I already got the Sonic MoleChaser on that page. What a ripoff. I'm looking into the bird feeder that spins then flings off the squirrels. Might as well get entertained.

    jenomena--I do not own a pair of tennis shoes/sneakers. I have no use for them. And I love looking at the black squirrels. There are a couple around here. When I attended BGSU, there was a mythical white squirrel there. Never saw him.

    V-grrrl--the fact that you craft handmade cards really would put me in a panic: how long do I keep it? How could I ever throw it away? But where would I put it? The guilt would be crushing. Oh, and I threaten Travis and his technical owner Sam with "The Needle" every single day.

    WG--but where do you save them? how often do you then look at them? and why? how much room do you have for all that stuff? i guess i'm just not that sentimental. i hate clutter and don't have a lot of space.

    princess--i almost don't put an olive in my martini if i am drinking outside on my own patio. such is my distaste for outdoor eating.

    moheckie--welcome back to the Dept.! and thanks for the reminder. i guess i'll send you a birthday card through snail mail since you're so needy. but my war on squirrels continues.

    nina--just don't go. if someone calls and asks why you weren't there, simply say, "oh, i had things i had to do." it's none of their business. if they press the issue, get frosty and say, "why do you need to know?" thanks for the offer of a loan of the pup, but believe me, we have plenty of dogs around here. too many, and i'm sick of them all...the barking is killing me.

    annie lou--thanks for the tip, but i'll stick to my rule: DON'T EAT OUTDOORS. PERIOD. It's foolproof.
    So nice to see you at the Dept!

    j.--i gave up Christmas cards ages ago. i mean, i get it and all, but when my next-door neighbor MAILED me one, i just thought 'what the heck is this, a contest?' then when i got sick and couldn't do it all, it was a natural time to just stop. for me, it was obligation and not pleasure. so it got taken off the list.

    ortizzle--re: my post'd be surprised what a google image search comes up with when you type in certain terms. i can't remember what i typed in for this one. probably something like "brain organization" or "contents of my brain".

    plain jane--good to see you again, pj! don't say the dreaded "H" word! why now, all of a sudden? my hair had been looking fantastic for weeks. I prefer to think it's a cut issue. Or humidity. OR lack thereof. Or stress. Can't you work with me on this?

  13. Nance, try looking at for sandals. Huge selection. They have never yet failed me--great almost-instant service. They pretty reliably have my difficult size. Re: squirrels: I am completely with you. We have a Thwarted Squirrel Posse here and deliberately set out to booby-trap them. They fall for it (literally). What we need is a scoreboard. The entertainment factor is much better than that of tv. Happy summer!

  14. Nance, I have to agree with you on the greeting cards!!! When I think of how many I throw away over the years, and then look at the is such a waste!

    Looking forward to the summer blog!!

  15. Eating outdoors is nice when you're at The Bistro at the Pueblo Bonito resort in Cabo San Lucas, where there are no bugs to deal with, the architecture blocks the wind and sun, and the food is at the very least enjoyable.

    More details will follow when I have time to blog about it, although I don't know when that will be because I have four days to prepare for my next trip, which will leave me out of the country for 26 days. Way too much crap to do right now.

  16. Anonymous10:58 AM

    June 11th tie: Saw it on the podcast. I just see pulsating purple with diamond shapes. Maybe I need those new glasses more than I thought. (See latest post). It's always more fun to read your description, in any case.

  17. I'm still amazed that you have no sneakers/tennis shoes. Since I walk across campus everyday they're pretty much necessary to avoid hurting feet/legs. Especially in the winter when flip flops just don't cut it.

  18. sputnik--i'm loathe to order shoes online. i am sometimes an 8 1/2, sometimes a 9. i don't like the bother of return shipping. but i will look; who knows?

    tera--i always plan to be more prolific in summer and it never happens. my summer blogging is just as iffy as my regular blogging, usually. i'm thinking of a gimmick, though.

    i.h.--i am going to call you the Traipsing Gallivanter.

    ortizzle--i am headed over to your place in a minute. time for the big screen!! tell L. you need it for "research". (for backup for my tie report!!)

    jenomena--i just don't have any use for them. and i hate the way they look. i am not sporty.

  19. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Oh, Nance, that's brilliant! I can just hear the voice of approval as I beg in my sugar-coated voice: "Dear, we simply must have a big-ass plasma screen T.V. Nance needs back-up on the tie report. And of course, you do want to see Paulina Rubio in all of her pixelated glory, don't you?" LOL. Yup, that should do it.

  20. Anonymous10:06 PM

    Totally missed the new tie report. Absolutely fabulous, and the shirt color also went so perfectly with it. A tie worthy of Lord Byron. Worthy of a big-screen TV. Worthy of... a poem. I think the next time B. wears a really superb tie, you should try your hand at "Ode to a ... Tie." Whaddaya think?

  21. Congratulations on finishing another year!

    I guess we differ on a few things on your list. I love to eat outdoors! That's one of the best things about the warm weather, even though I hate bugs.

    I'm a big stationery and card person too. I always get something interesting and I'm kind of known for it. And I actually keep most cards and letters that I receive. I have cards and letters from when I was a kid. They really do hold you and your family's history when you can look at them over time.

    And anti-Latino men? What's up with that??!!

  22. Did you ever know that you're my hero? And everything I would like to be?


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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