Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dear Police Officer

Thank you. You pulled me over for speeding. It was the cherry on top of my "suck it up, cupcake" kind of day. I worked late. Not by a little. By a lot. I sat through a 3 and half hour staff meeting. I had been disrespected, figuratively walked on, openly lied to, etc. It was just one of those days.

And then, when I was finally on my way home, I saw the flashing lights. My heart sank. My head hurt. And this was completely my fault. I couldn't blame the people who disrespected me. I couldn't blame the rudeness of others that was directed at me earlier that day. I couldn't blame the lies I had been told. I certainly couldn't blame you. You were just doing your job. It was me. I was the driver. I was the one who broke the speed limit. I was the one behind the wheel with my foot on the gas. All me.

You came up to my window and asked for my license and insurance. I might have been berating myself in my head, but I knew better than to be mad at you. You had probably had a worse day than me. You catch people at their worst. All day long. God bless you. As I thought about that I tried to be respectful and to give you a smile. You could probably use a break, too, after all.

And then it happened. You told me to slow down. You gave me a warning. You didn't ticket me. You gave me the break I had been praying for all day. You forgave me for what I had done wrong, where I had not forgiven those who had wronged me earlier that day. And then? You pulled out in traffic and let me pull out in front of you so I didn't have to wait for the next 15 minutes for a break in the line of cars.

It might seem like something small, but to me it was big. You were the answer to a prayer. You were actually the highlight of my day (at least until I got home and could spend time with my family, it is super hard to compete with that). No, really.

This happened several days ago. I still think of you with a smile. Not a smirk. Not a smug, "I got away with it" attitude. I think of you with gratitude. You don't know me personally and will probably never read this, but this is my chance to say thanks. Thank you, for making my day better.

You're awesome.

Thanks,

Me

Things Teachers Hate to Hear

There are certain things that ever teacher hates to hear. We can't usually respond how we would like to, because blatant sarcasm to a student is usually frowned upon by the administration. Everybody probably already knows the usual suspects for this list, but this is a cathartic exercise for me so I'm going through them anyway.

"I was absent yesterday, did I miss anything?" No, of course not. You know the entire world revolves around your specific presence. Without you here, I couldn't have class at all. We just had to stare at your empty chair and miss you.

"Can I go to Mr./Mrs. _______________'s room? I need to finish an assignment for her." Sure, my class doesn't matter at all. And there is no way your presences in a class she is trying to teach to a group of students to whom you do not belong will disrupt her lesson plan at all. The counselor assigned your schedule all willy nilly and there is no reason for that to actually serve as a list of where you are supposed to be and when.

"Are we doing anything in here today?" Nope. I thought we would just sit around and stare at each other and see if just being in the same room as my lesson plans would help you to learn anything.

"Should we be writing this down?" Nope, I am going over it solely for my own benefit. I need to review the information, after all, even though I already have a college degree in this.

"Is this going to be on the test?" Don't be silly. I thought we would spend an entire class day talking about it just for kicks and giggles.

"How many points is each question worth?" Study the material I give you and it won't matter because you will get all of them right.

"How many questions will be on the test?" 2,568.

"That doesn't even make sense. That's stupid." Of course it doesn't make sense yet. I haven't explained it to you. Give me a friggin' second. And just because YOU don't understand something doesn't mean it is stupid. Whether or not YOU are is still yet to be seen.

"Are you mad?" No, but if you continue to ask me that I will be.

"How do you do x?" I explain and then two seconds later, "How do you do x?" Is there an echo? I could have sworn I just heard that question and already answered it. But no worries, there is no need to listen to what I have to say. I'm just like the teacher voice from Charlie Brown to you anyway.

"Do we have to turn this in?" No, I thought I would randomly assign a grade for you. I don't need to know whether or not you did it, or if you got any of them correct.

"Do we have to sit in our assigned seats?" No. I just assigned you a specific seat for completely arbitrary reasons. No need to stay in them beyond a day.

"You have the crazy eyes right now." There is no response for this really, except for me to admit that if they keep it up, it won't just be my eyes that are crazy.


This is by no means a comprehensive list. And not every student is guilty of asking these questions. Some students are so spectacular about behaving properly and not asking these questions that teachers want to give their parents gifts of thanks and praise. For the kids that do ask these questions, though, (and the ones who do are usually guilty of asking them repeatedly), you are shaving years off of your teacher's life. Every time you ask one of these questions and your teacher takes a deep breath, smiles and responds in calm manner that is not laced with sarcasm, the restraint that took just shaved several hours off of his/her life span.

Having said all this, I would like to say that I love my job. I enjoy what I do. And I have only laughed in their faces for asking any one of these questions once. Okay, maybe twice. Three times, MAX.....I'll try to stop.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer! Vacation?

This summer I did not write a single blog post. I realize that is no surprise to any of you, but it was quite the blog break for me. I assure you it is not because I had no opinions all summer. It was more because, well, I didn't have the time.

Don't get me wrong, it is not like I NEVER had five minutes to myself. It is just that when I did have five minutes, I didn't want to halfheartedly write a blog when I could have a few minutes to just rest my brain.

So what is it that kept me so busy all summer long? Well, first I actually took a legitimate vacation. My husband and I went to the Florida coast to spend some time with my family and some time on the beach. Success.

After our return, we had to (and wanted to!) go to a wedding. After that, a final baby shower for my sister-in-law. Upon that return, I had a month's worth of teacher training. It was great training and great fun, but it was most definitely quite time consuming. It paid off, though, because I also got a new job, which of course meant a lot of resum├ęs, cover letter writing, phone calls, pavement pounding, and interviews before the goal was achieved.

The new job also meant a lot of paperwork (and I do mean A LOT), and classroom preparation. In fact, I now have not one, but two classrooms to set up before school starts. Which may not sound like much, but it is more demanding than you might think.

Thanks to my new job, and some weight loss, I had to buy almost all new professional clothes, so that was no small order.

And to make it all even more like an emotional roller coaster, between getting the job and finishing the paperwork, I welcomed a new nephew into the world! I also broke a sewing machine, but that wasn't exactly exciting.

So, for now, I'm back. Although, fair warning, with my new job, I probably won't be posting on any kind of a schedule in the coming months. I will work on it, but I make no promises or guarantees. Your patience is a wonderful gift. Thanks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hand Me Downs

I have been noticeably absent lately. I had other things going on. I got a little busy. I didn't have much to share. All in all, I just didn't feel like it. That is really the beauty of blogging. It only happens when I feel like it and have time to do it. Otherwise, I just skip it. It is a truly wonderful kind of freedom and a I love it. But, today I have come back to share something with you once more. Why? Honestly, because it helps me process it.

My eldest sister sent me a couple of picture messages on my cell phone today with a brief explanation. I had to blink away tears the moment I saw it all. And no, she wasn't being mean to me. She was actually sharing something wonderful. And now I will share the story with you. Disclaimer: You might not find it as sweet as I do, because this isn't your family. It's not your history. It's mine. My history. My family. A piece of the childhood I shared with my siblings. In short, it's my life.

I don't know if you have siblings, but if you do, I would be willing to bet that you, at some point, found yourself on either the giving or the receiving end of hand-me-downs. Clothes, toys, books, bikes, etc. From a parent's standpoint, this is really the way to go. It's economical and it helps justify the ridiculous prices you paid for those items in the first place. From a child's standpoint, however, especially on the receiving end, it can be fantastic or a disaster. You want new jeans? Why. Your sister's old ones fit you fine. That toy you always wanted but she would never let you play with? It's yours now. There are definitely ups and downs. This is a story about one of the ups.

Last night as my eldest sister's youngest son (try saying that ten times fast) was getting ready for bed, he picked out a book for her to read to him for his bedtime story. She opened the front cover of the book and saw something that, to most people, would seem unremarkable, but to her meant something. It was our mother's handwriting. Our biological mother, who passed away many years ago had written our middle sister's name in the book. But that wasn't all. She also saw that I, as a still small child, had crossed out my sister's name, that had been written in my mother's beautiful script like hand, and written my own name in large, only somewhat legible, very childlike cursive writing.

She sent me a picture of the inside cover of this book today. And when I saw it, I almost began to cry. She sent me a picture of another book I had managed to graffiti the inside of in the same fashion, only in this one, I had added my age. Which immediately told me two things: My handwriting has always been bad, and that I know I waited a long while before officially claiming this book as mine, because my memories of that book begin long before the age written in the cover. And I do have so many memories of these books. They were books that I knew well enough to know if the person reading them to me at bedtime had skipped a line or not. And the memories rushed upon me like a flood. Wave after wave I could only smile and feel the tears well up in my eyes. They just kept coming.

I am a bookworm. I have loved many books in my time. I have gotten lost in places of literary fiction, places that were born of someone else's imagination. I have made those places my own by recreating every moment in my own head as I read through the story, gripping every word. I love to read. But the books in the pictures my sister sent me were special. They were different. They were some of the first. They were two of, truthfully, many books that started my love affair with fiction. With imagined worlds and talking creatures. With reading. Even more than that, the pictures of these books brought back memories. Memories of my siblings reading me to sleep sometimes (even when they really didn't want to), memories of my father reading to me, and memories of my mother, whose voice I sometimes struggle to be able to hear even in my memory. I hear her. I hear her reading the story. I hear her laughing along with me. I hear her. I hear her.

I love that my nephew is asking to hear the same stories that I heard, that my sister heard, that all of us read, as children. I love that on some level the same characters and stories that I loved as a child are still being enjoyed. I love that even though I feel like time is rushing past faster and faster each year, and that everything is changing, that there are some things that time hasn't stolen away. Some things are the same. This is why hand-me-downs are a good thing. Not just because they save money, but because they create a shared memory. It's not just yours. It's not just mine. It's ours.

And, by the way, this is also why e-books will never be as amazing as the real thing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Newest Creation

So my last post was about how Pinterest is killing my productivity because the only thing it makes me productive in doing is creating things that I didn't REALLY need in the first place. Well, now that the "new" of it all has started to run it's course, I still check in when I feel like it, and I still try to make a couple of things I think I might be able to handle, but I'm starting to get back to normal and get, for lack of a better way to put it, real things done.

Like I said, though, I still try to make some things I see on the site. Well, over the last couple of days I tried to make something I saw that was cute. I was making new straps for flip flops that looked really cute. Well, they looked cute in the pictures. What I made? Yeah, not so much. Meaning I was a miserable failure at that particular craft. I didn't want to give up though, I mean, I would LIVE in flip flops if it was acceptable to wear them on all occasions, so the more cute options you have the better. Well, I didn't want to ruin a pair that I already had, so I bought a cheap pair at the local Dollar General to try this new trick on. When it didn't work out, it seemed quite a shame to let a perfectly good pair of flip flops go to waste, but the straps were covered in hot pink flowers, and pink is not my color. Mostly because I'm not crazy about it. So what to do?




Well, you might not know this about me, but I crochet. Not always incredibly well, mind you, but I do. It has been a few years, but I am starting to do more of it again and I had just purchased a ball of camo yarn at Hobby Lobby. That's right, camo. Don't judge me. I live in Mississippi and that's how I roll. Anyway, I had a thought and decided to give it a try.



I started by crocheting a long chain (just a run of the mill chain, nothing special). I didn't count the stitches, but you need a lot of them. The chain needs to be quite long. The good news is that making a crochet chain is simple and quick.



Next I wrapped the the chain around the flip flop straps, securing it with a glue gun as I went.



I used one of those inexpensive mini-glue guns from Hobby Lobby.



And Voila! Cute, camo, crocheted flip flop straps.



The yarn is soft on my feet and I dig 'em. You may not be a camouflage kind of person, but this could work with really any color or color patterned yarn, really. It's a quick craft that you can finish in one afternoon, and if you don't secure it with hot glue, but with something else, theoretically you could swap about the strap covers depending on what you wanted that day.

Take THAT Pinterest!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Productivity, I Have Met Thy Killer and Its Name is Pinterest

Recently, I got an invitation to join Pinterest. I like to do easy crafts and to try new recipes on occasion, so I thought it would be pretty fun. I wasn't wrong. It is definitely fun to try the new things I see on the site, the only problem is it's a little too fun. I could spend hours on the site going through all the ideas that other people have posted, not to mention adding my own internet finds to share with others.

And by, "I could spend hours," what I really mean is "I have already spent hours." Just so we're clear. My only problem now is that I have way more recipes and craft ideas than I'm really ever likely to try. But does that mean I have stopped looking? Absolutely not. Seriously, I know I should, but the site is addictive.

Seriously, if you haven't become a part of it yet, I don't know whether to tell you to try it because it is so fun, or tell you to stay away because it is such a time suck. I will sign on at night after dinner just to see if there are any new cute ideas that have been posted and before I know it, over an hour has passed. And it's worse than being addicted to a TV show, because I don't have to wait for a certain night of the week, because it is available 24/7.

I guess, on the flip side, it may take up a lot of my time, but at least it also gives me an incentive to be productive. Unfortunately, it only motivates me to be productive regarding projects on the site, and not projects I already have that are unrelated to Pinterest. I have already tried a few things that I liked on the site and they have turned out pretty well so far. Of course, all the things I have tried have been beyond simple. I am half excited about and half dreading the more difficult projects because of the higher percentage chance of a complete fail, but also one of something really cute to put in my house.

So you see my dilemma. The site makes me lose track of time and my addiction to it grows every day. On the other hand, I have learned a couple of useful things and even made some successful tries at cute crafty things. I don't know whether it is good or bad. I do know that the following is true though: "There is no limit to the things you can accomplish when you are supposed to be doing something else." By the way, I saw that on Pinterest.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"I" Before "E" Except After "C"

I've mentioned before that I teach an ESL class. I really enjoy doing it. My students are great. They are eager to learn, they are patient, and they are so grateful. Often, though, when they come to class they are nervous, they are discouraged, and they are afraid to ask questions because they are afraid of not being able to clearly express themselves. The more they come to class, though, the braver they get. Slowly, they become more comfortable trying to speak in English in front of native English speakers. Very slowly.

There are a lot of people out there who would say they should have learned English already, especially since they are living in the U.S. But my students are from varied backgrounds. Many of them (my class is mostly women) came to this country when their husband was transferred here through the company he works for, or when one of them took a new job. They are far away from everything familiar to them and they didn't have time to properly study English before the move took place. They came here and they feel alone. They are nervous about trying to get to know people in this new place because it is hard enough to make friends when you move to a new city, imagine how it feels to move to a new country and have trouble communicating with people, much less just getting to know them. But they don't give up. They keep trying.

Many might ask just what is so hard and scary about it all. To those who would pose such a question, I can assure you, learning English is plenty difficult. We don't follow our own grammar rules most of the time, we speak in slang more often than not, words are hardly spelled like they sound, we have a plethora of idiomatic expressions that, when taken literally, don't make ANY sense, and when you add text speak into the mix (and while I don't teach it - frankly, because I hate it and wish it would stop - you have to consider their struggles with it, because my students aren't computer illiterate and do send emails and use facebook like the rest of us) it is BEYOND complicated.

I often think about all of this when I prepare the weekly lessons. My lessons usually have several parts. I usually begin with either new vocabulary, or a new set of grammar rules. I then usually include the real definition of commonly used idiomatic expressions. After that we will either have conversation practice (and if time allows I usually make them change conversation partners more than once, and try to get them to speak to a student who does not share their native language so that they MUST practice in English and can't slip into their native tongue, which they can do without even really realizing it sometimes), or writing practice. Then the class ends with a short Bible lesson, that also serves as reading practice (I only get an hour and a half, once a week, I have to make every minute count for all it's worth, so I do). During last week's lesson, after our writing exercise, one of my students asked me if I could help her with her spelling. She speaks English very well, but is quiet and reserved because she gets so nervous sometimes, and most of what she had learned before coming to my class, she learned by listening. So, she knows the words to use, but has trouble with written communications because she never learned how to spell the words correctly. So, this week, I set out to do a lesson on spelling.

It seemed simple enough at first. I could teach them the old school rules that most of us learned in elementary school. I intended to start with the ever popular "I before E except after C" which works when you use words like "receive" and "piece", but the exceptions seem endless. That little mnemonic device actually has three parts.

Part One:

"I" Before "E" Except After "C"

Part Two:

Unless It Sounds Like "A"
As in "Sleigh", "Freight", And "Weigh".

Part Three:

Or If The "C" Sounds Like "Ch" or "Sh"
Like in "Ancient" And "Sufficient".

The full rule explains away some exceptions to the simplified rule, but not others, like: Caffeine, Protein, Science, Weird, Seize, etc. After trying to figure out how to explain the rule and the exceptions I was almost ready to throw my hands in the air and give up. I didn't want to make their heads spin, or confuse them so much they got discouraged and gave up trying. I have to thank God for the small miracle that any of us native English speakers ever learned how to read or properly spell anything. It's enough to make you crazy.

So I put that lesson on the back burner for now, so I can have some more time to figure out how to make it clear. Don't worry, I found an appropriate lesson for this week. Of course, I also found a new respect for early elementary school teachers everywhere. God Bless All of You. It is hard enough to teach this stuff to adults, teaching it to a large room of small children with no end to their energy and with short attention spans, and all with endless patience and a constant smile on your face ought to get you nominated for sainthood.

And to all the middle and high school English teachers who have to remind their students things like there is "a rat" in separate, or it is significant that you can "Sign If I Can't", and any other number of endless mnemonics that you use or create to help your students remember things, when they have reached that age when they think they know everything and basically tune you out every chance they get, your next in line on the sainthood list.

And just for the record I don't mean to say that math, science, or history teachers don't also deserve a lot of respect for what they do. But just for the sake of making my point, when 2 and 2 equals 5 sometimes, or when Newton's laws start changing regularly, or when The Revolutionary War changes dates, get back to me and we'll talk about the saint thing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Love of a Good Dog is a Gift From God

I heard a song recently that I thought was just hilarious. It's called "Like My Dog" by Billy Currington. The whole song is about the way he wants his girlfriend to love him like his dog loves him, which, in essence, is unconditionally. It's funny because it's true and anyone who has ever had a dog knows it.

Dogs love you no matter who you are and what you do. If you beat them (although, I personally believe there is a special place in Hell for anyone who abuses their dog) and they will still love you. You can be gone all day, or just for five minutes, and when you come home they act like getting to see you is the best thing EVER. A dog just loves you for exactly who you are. The more I thought about this, the more I thought about how this is a great example of how God love us. It is pretty much the closest thing on Earth that I can think of right now. You may know of better examples, but I like this one.

My dog is always excited to spend time with me. He would never leave my side and spend every waking moment with me if I would let him. All I have to do is say his name and I have his full and complete attention. When I ask him questions (which, granted, consist mostly of whether or not he wants a treat, his dinner, to go outside, or to go to bed), he doesn't speak to me in plain English, but I never have to doubt his answer, He is very clear. All I have to do is pay attention. Even when I am tired and have had a rough day, he is content just to sit at my feet and be with me. When I do have energy, he acts like going for a walk with me, or even just playing tug o' war with is toy is the most important and exciting part of his day.

A dog doesn't care what you have done in the past. They don't care what mistakes you have made. They don't care what kind of house or apartment you live in. They just love you. They don't care if you are rich or poor. Just love them back, that's all they want from you. I see God's love like that. It doesn't matter who you have been, or what you have done. It doesn't matter how long you have been angry, bitter, sad, lonely, or any plethora of emotions that have been holding you back. Your life might be plagued by mistakes, bad choices, struggles of every kind, it doesn't matter. The Lord already loves you and cares about you, all you have to do is accept Him as your Savior and allow Him into your heart to know His love.

He will be happy to have you accept Him as your Heavenly Father. He will desire that you spend every waking moment together. All you have to do is say His name and you will have His full and complete attention. When you are tired and weary, He actually wants you to give your cares to Him. And when you ask Him questions, even if He doesn't answer you in plain English, He will speak to your heart and all you have to do is learn to listen (which, yes, can be hard, but so very worth it). God's love is more amazing than words could ever really express.

Now does being a Christian mean that you will never make another mistake, never experience another sorrow, and never feel anything but ecstatic ever again? No. Let me be very clear about that. But that is really the beauty of it all. Give it your best, try, love the Lord with all your heart. He will forgive your mistakes. When you are full of sorrow, you have the comfort of knowing He will NEVER abandon you, but will remain by your side. You will never be truly alone. He will be with you always.

I once had the privilege of seeing Switchfoot in concert. Don't judge my taste in music, I still dig them. And Jon Foreman, the lead singer, said something that I still remember and love. He said, "Thrift stores are the closest thing we have to redemption. Everything gets a second chance." I loved it because it painted a great picture. It doesn't matter if one person no longer sees the beauty in you, God does and has already paid the price for you. I think (to reverse roles in the main analogy of this post) to rescue a dog is like that. A dog that someone else decided not to love anymore, for whatever reason, you take home and love. We are like that. The rest of the world make have walked out on us, but God will welcome us with open arms. He wants us to come home to Him. He wants us to love Him. He wants us to feel His love for us.

Maybe this analogy doesn't make sense to you. Maybe I didn't express myself as well as I had hoped. So let me just end by saying that God loves you. He wants you to come home to Him. He wants you to accept Him as your Lord and Savior. He does not promise that the road ahead will be easy. But He will walk each step with you, if you will let Him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Rant is Not in 3D

Because not EVERYTHING should be.


I love, Love, LOVE Beauty and the Beast. It is a fantastic movie and if you don't agree, that's fine, just shut your mouth and let me finish. No matter how much I truly love that movie, I'm not excited that it is returning to theaters this weekend. Why? Because it is not returning to theaters in its original animated musical production glory, it is coming back in 3D. IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE IN 3D. It was a perfectly wonderful film to begin with. It doesn't need this gimmick.

I feel like everything is being made in 3D these days. And it doesn't need to be. Some movies just don't need to be in 3D. And if 3D doesn't add anything to the movie experience, then all it amounts to is a waste of money. I don't want to pay $3 extra above the already astronomical ticket price to see a movie that would have been just as awesome in a regular format.

Don't get me wrong, I know that every now and then a movie comes along that the 3D special effects turn into a truly amazing cinematic event. However, when everything is in 3D, including movies that are only being brought back so they can be turned into 3D, it becomes a little less special and a little more annoying. I mean, if EVERYTHING is in 3D, then 3D isn't anything to get excited about anymore.

And frankly, I never cared for 3D anyway. It doesn't do anything for me. But bringing back classics and overcharging just because they are now in 3D is low. Even for Hollywood. Especially for Disney.

And that's my soap box.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Things I'm Thinking About 10 Days into 2012

As you can see, I took a little blog vacation for Christmas, New Year's, and my birthday. And during that time I officially transitioned to be closer to 30 than I am to 20. Where has the time gone? How come when you're 15 waiting on 16 so you can get a driver's license, it feels like every day is a whole year in itself, but when you hit your mid to late twenties every year that goes by feels like it was just a couple of months? I'm not digging it. I mean, I love my family, I love my home, I have no super major complaints about my life, other than I think I'm leaking time. Like a faucet sometimes drips water, time is slowly dripping away and I don't notice until it is the middle of the night and all I can hear while I try to sleep is the figurative drip, drip, drip. I don't like this game.

But enough of my melodramatic metaphors. What I am really trying to say here is that 2012 sort of sneaked up on me. Which explains why we are 10 days in and I have yet to post something. Anyway, now that I'm out of my holiday stupor and back to reality, I thought the best way to jump back into things was with a list. You know how I love lists. I have to start the year off right.

1. One of my relatives gave me Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii for Christmas and I'm totally digging it. I try to do it when nobody else is home, because I am quite sure that I look like an idiot since I possess only the minimal of dancing skills, but it's fun. And it keeps track of the calories I burn with every workout, which, by the way, is a lot. The only complaint I would have is that it needs a better tutorial or instruction manual. Other than that, this is a really fun way to exercise. It sure beats running on the fun scale anyway.

2. Some friends of ours recently went with my husband and I to the Memphis Zoo. It was crazy fun. Sometimes I forget just how fun the activities and places we enjoyed as children can still be when we are adults.

3. I had a birthday cake that had my name written on it in icing. I haven't had one of those in years. I may have turned a year older, but my inner child was beside itself with happiness. It's the little things in life, after all.

4. My husband and I finally jumped on the smartphone bandwagon recently. When we did so, we switched carriers. I have paid my last bill to AT&T. It feels good.

5. Along those same lines, now that I have a smartphone and can download any number of apps, I have found that the ones I use the most are A)one that helps me track calories consumed and calories burned so that maybe, just maybe, I will be more successful this year than in the past at reaching my fitness goals and B) Words with Friends. The latter is a productivity killer, but I can't help it, it's addictive and I love it. And if it would just take words in both English AND Spanish, I would be unstoppable.

6. Now that 2012 is here, a lot of people are starting to wonder about the old Mayan prophecy. I have a few things to say on the matter. 1 - the prophecy does not say the world will end, it basically states that the world as we know it will end, 2 - That means the world as the Maya knew it, which, let's face, was gone a long time ago, 3 - The reason for this is because that is when their calendar runs out, and they kept a calendar different from ours, so really this could just mean the seasons are going to be a lot different than before, and 4 - From a Christian perspective, nobody knows God's designs and I doubt that he whispered his game plan into the ears of the Maya just for kicks and giggles. So everybody just calm down and go about your business. If you are really that worried about it, make peace with your Maker and get your life right. Which you should do anyway.

7. I finished reading Out of Oz (the end of the Wicked Series), which I also got for Christmas, recently. I felt like it left a lot of questions unanswered. I also felt like it wasn't so much ending a series, as it was preparing for a spin-off. I'm one of those people that once I start something, I have to know how it ends, and I feel like if there is a spin-off, it will take a lot of will power for me not to start it, but I refuse to let Gregory Maguire hold my literary attention hostage.

8. The National Championship was last night. I have been waiting on an all SEC National Championship for a while, but now that it finally happened, it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, either one of those teams would have blown out the alternative options during a match-up, but I expected a really different game than the one I saw.

9. I need to drink more water. It's a random thought (haha, like any of the previous points weren't random), but it's true. It's not even that I drink a lot of other drinks. I just don't drink enough. I can drink out of the same 12 oz glass pretty much all day some days. That shouldn't be true. I need to work on that.

10. 2011 Certainly had ups and downs, but I wasn't happy or sad to see it go (other than the fact that is meant I am another year older, which I was ill prepared for, I think), but now that 2012 is here, I am a little anxious to see what it has to offer.

That's it. That is the random gathering of thoughts racing through my brain right now. It may not be Earth shattering, but it's me. Take it or leave it. And also,...

Welcome to 2012. Soap Box style.