Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once upon a time...

Gather round, children, and I'll tell you a tale of a bitter woman and how she came into existence...

A long time ago, when I was in high school, I studied German. One of our first assignments in the first year was to choose a German name. (Everyone who studied a language in American high school probably did this.) We never thought that maybe some of our real names
were German? We kind of liked the idea of picking our own; doing the job our parents did years ago, know...better. I ended up with Anna, which is actually not so different from Amanda. (I guess my parents did alright on that one.)
My German teacher was big on stories and skits. In the beginning, she would dictate a story using us as characters, and we would write each line down. We drew pictures to illustrate each sentence, to help us remember the story later. (We did the same with new vocabulary words. It is a wonder I learned any animals at all, considering that each picture looked the same except the shark. Which was a fin sticking out of waves. Mad drawing skills, right here.) Later, we wrote the stories ourselves or with partners. Some patterns emerged in the class; things that showed up in story after story. (She deeply regretted the day we learned "to throw up.") After writing and illustrating them, actors were selected and these scenes were brought to life.
I got talking with a friend from that class recently at a dinner party. Donning his tux and gesturing with a wine glass, he brought up these fateful stories. And thanks to that conversation and my borderline packrat tendencies, I have unearthed a very important one, featuring a character you might be interested to meet.

Anna Monster.

You may recall that I was Anna. Sometimes...Anna turned into a monster. When she was angry. And what was she usually angry about? Boys. Boys doing stupid things. (Does this sound familiar?)

In an early story our teacher created, a boy in our class under the pseudonym "Axel" received a Jaguar for his birthday and drove from Detroit to San Francisco. There, he met and fell in love with Anna. (
Gross.) They drove to Las Vegas and according to my drawing, went for Chinese food. (In a castle? Damn, I cannot draw.) Axel saw Pamela Anderson and fell in love with her. (Jerk.) Anna got so angry that she turned into a monster and ate Axel for dinner instead of Chinese food. Following her meal, regular Anna came back, took Axel's Jag and drove to Detroit to see a Red Wings game. (I'm not sure why she went back to Detroit, considering she used to live in San Francisco. But here it is, in black and white.) That was Anna Monster's first appearance. A jilted lover getting a bit of revenge.
Fig. A: Anna turns into Anna Monster for the very first time.

From then on, anytime people (mainly boys) did stupid things in skits, Anna Monster came in and ate them. She always looked the same--our teacher had drawn her on the board and we stuck with that image. We eventually decided upon the noise she made--that was a heated debate. (See figure B.) She often had no role other than coming in, turning into Anna Monster, eating people, and exiting. She was the deus ex machina for our German class; plot resolution. Sometimes she got a line or two. But she always got angry. And then she got revenge. I delighted in having such an integral role. Sure, I had been typecast, but I had been typecast with such perfection that who cared?? There are many things in my life I'm proud of, but I am not ashamed to admit that Anna Monster is somewhere on that list.

So boys and girls, even though Bitter Amanda would not emerge in her current state for several years, I believe that is when she got her start. Because Axel fell so quickly out of love with her, in favor of Pamela Anderson.
And that shit is just not ok.

Fig. B: Anna Monster's appearance was refined over the semesters. Note angry noise.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Breaking News.

Last night a man in a tuxedo helped me remember the origins of Bitter Amanda! However, I have some research/fact-checking to do before I can share the story with you.

Stay tuned, kids...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas miracle.

Today is a triumphant day in the Bitter household. Why, you may ask? Because today is the day when good prevails over evil. Today is the day when things make sense; when order is restored. TODAY IS THE DAY I BANISHED THE DEMON.
How, you ask? Oh, sit down, children, and I'll tell you the tale...

Day 209: Friday
Mother home from work. Students have brought gifts. Benevolent 4 year old gives mother reed diffuser. "Fresh Linen." Tell mother what this is. Experience sympathy cough upon seeing word "linen." Tentatively sniff bottle. Breathe normally. Pause. Gag? No. Sniff bottle again. Find it to be tolerable. Begin planning for coup.

Day 213: Tuesday
Suggest that mother might enjoy reed diffuser. Green light. Set on counter for test run.

Day 214: Wednesday
Objections to new clean linen friend total zero. Clean bathroom for guests. Inquire about putting spitting monster away; cite getting rid of bathroom clutter. Lie. Feel no guilt. Green light again.
Carefully pick up gremlin. Move to cupboard under sink. (Feel delightfully like Harry Potter characters who locked him in the cupboard. Remember that Harry Potter came back with a vengeance. Decide against new nickname.) Wash hands, literally and metaphorically.
Use bathroom freely. All day. Breathe easier; walk taller. VICTORY IS MINE.

What's that, air freshener? You're lonely there under the sink? Oh well, that's a shame...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, sure, I know all about that.

Has anyone else seen that commercial for prescription eyedrops--Restasis? (You can watch it here if you haven't: commercial.) I don't know about you, but if I went to my doctor with that information, I would NOT be handed a prescription. She says she's been using eyedrops "several times" each day for "quite some time." She's tried "all kinds." My doctor would say, "....Well.....I'm going to need a little more information here, Amanda. How long, specifically, is "quite some time"? When you say you've tried "all kinds"...can you tell me the brand name of at least one? This cavalier attitude towards eye care might be the reason you're having a problem--which you didn't actually mention. Are there any symptoms? Can you tell me what they are? Also, are you an idiot?" He would use those obnoxious air quotes to show me just how stupid I sounded and I would come home and blog about him.
But this commercial "doctor" (yes I did use air quotes thank you for recognizing that) is all, "Oh hey I know that problem! I'm the psychic doctor! Let me just whip out my prescription pad here and we'll get you sorted out! Have a nice day!"
Not exactly a great ad campaign, Restasis.

Walking past my computer, my mother just asked what I was writing about. Hearing that it was a television commercial, her reaction was, "Well at least you're not writing about the air freshener anymore."

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm a bit tardy in this, but I have to say how spectacular my weekend was. I flew to DC for some much-needed reunions with amazing friends. I laughed for four days, basically.
I wish I could relate it more eloquently for you. You really should have been there. It was quite an adventure, containing:
1 stop by the White House
a handful of perfect friends
2 excellent milkshakes
4 very late nights of wine and conversation
6 hours of intense Apples to Apples
1 heated debate about an allen wrench
3 additions to my wallet
1 giant portrait of LL Cool J
innumerable pep talks and advice sessions
51 license plates that made us stop and stare
2 pieces of free gingerbread cake at Starbucks
3 documented hugs
2 random men in tuxedos
1 fake birthday
countless refills as Christine "fixes a glass"
not enough plans for future reunions.

I am constantly reminded that I lucked out in the friend department. I may find boyfriends to be stupid and unreliable, but man...I am overwhelmed by friends. It's unfair how many stunning people I get to surround myself with, people who flatter and entertain me. And not just in DC, but all over the place. I can only sit back and hope to live up to the hype. And book another plane ticket.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And not one word about the air freshener...

I promise.

The holidays are approaching much faster than usual, it would seem. Thanksgiving is next week. Madness! And yet...despite the quickly approaching festivities, I have refrained from partaking. Ok, so last night I had a peppermint mocha at Starbucks, but that's miles away from putting up a Christmas tree. It doesn't even count as a holiday celebration. That's coffee--I do that all the time! I know there is a large group of people who think it's way too early in the season. I try to stay away from it until Thanksgiving, but you can't stop progress. Or the holiday juggernaut. Christmas movies are starting to pop up on all the usual networks, though, and who am I to stop them? Television, you do what you have to do--don't worry about those naysayers who think it's too early! (And feel free to play Elf as many times as you find necessary. Thanks.)

Speaking of the holiday frenzy, I saw a commercial for Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes--to help your family celebrate! And while I'm ok with ice cream cake, (BR is inferior to my mother's recipe, though--seriously, ask any of her offspring.) I am NOT ok with a cake shaped like a turkey! Blechhhh. How is that appetizing? It's confusing! Like when you eat a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly...eyes say candy, but brain says popcorn. I do not enjoy taste experiences like that. (Bottom line: if anyone shows up to my Thanksgiving this year bearing a turkey cake, please expect to leave immediately. Seriously, no room at the inn and all that. You'll be asked to go.)

Yesterday, the phone rang. It was a recorded message, and I only got as far as, "Press 1 for a message about capitalism." I hung up because really, I don't have time for that. It did leave questions in my mind, though. Was the message pro-capitalism? Against it? Was it just going to define the term for me? Ask my opinion? The possibilities are endless! Maybe I should have listened? ...Then, I remembered that it was likely going to be really annoying. I felt better in my decision. Maybe next time, whoever you are, you'll get to the point sooner.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Actual phone conversation.

Brother: What's the deal with Lady Gaga?
BitterAmanda: What about Lady Gaga?
Brother: What's the deal?
BA: ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Day 172: Wednesday
Have realized yesterday's Big Plan was folly. Grow bored of setting schedule to pollute earth and home. Feel vaguely pathetic. Back to the drawing board. Curse at air freshener in way that would make sailors and truckers proud. Thought cough was seasonal cold...perhaps is side effect? Have contracted Linen Lung? Resolve to google disease and speak with family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Studying the classics.

Day Something-or-Other: Monday
9am: Wonder if slow motion will sneak by motion detector. Move very, very, slowly whenever in restroom. Success. Briefly. Successful until boredom sets in. Have no patience for this method.

Day Forever: Tuesday
7:45am: Have set off malicious device three times since waking up at 6. New record. Excited for work--decide to use restroom often, relishing in fresh air.
5pm: Not surprised at familiar hissing sound. Swear half-heartedly at box. Remember fondly time when box needed refill. Family was lazy. Refill was slow in coming.
Am reminded of something about keeping enemies close? New. Plan. Will not outsmart box! Will befriend box. Resolve to spend all waking hours in home setting off device. Wave hands in front of box and run every 30 minutes. On. The. Dot. Consider this "taking one for the team" of one. Team Amanda. ...Sentiment stands. Figure that only so much "clean linen" poison can be contained in tiny box. This is far from over.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Notes from the week.

A few things from the classroom this week with my little darlings...

On Thursday, A built a castle out of blocks. "Who lives there?" I asked.
"You do."
"I do? It's beautiful! Who else lives there?"
"I do."
"And what do we do in the castle?"
"We ride bikes." Well, no one ever built me a castle before. I was rather touched. Then, he asked me to sit with him while he did a puzzle. I think he's a bit enchanted with me.

H, however, is not enchanted with me. "Before snack," I said, "we need to line up to wash our hands."
"No." That is all H said to me.
"H, you need to wash your hands."
"You're not my friend!"
"Ok, you still need to wash your hands."
"My mom loves me! You're not my friend!" (I don't know how these are connected. But he really meant it.)
"Moms are good for that. If you don't wash your hands, you don't get snack." (This is not a sweet kid we're dealing with right now. Attitude has reared its ugly head.)
"No. YOU'RE NOT MY FRIEND." (H, I've got plenty of friends. I'm not here to make friends.)
"I don't care. Get in line."

Today, I looked at the dollhouse and noticed Barbie sharing a bed with Prince Charming. It was the absolute height of scandal as far as I was concerned! I know she broke up with Ken a few years ago, but I heard they were together again. Apparently they have something of a modern relationship now? (Facebook status: It's Complicated with Ken.) And Prince Charming! He really ought to know better! Way to further ruin it for gentlemen everywhere, Prince Charming. I am disappointed.

When H came in today, I was prepared for more attitude. When he asked me to help him with a puzzle, I thought we'd turned a corner. So we worked on a puzzle, and that was all well and good. But, apparently H thought we were Exclusive Puzzle Friends--I was unaware of that arrangement. When H got up for another puzzle, I turned to N to see how he was doing. And then H returned. "We're not friends?" Oh. Um, about that...
I explained that we were all friends, and let's check out that puzzle you picked out! Bob the Builder? Awesome choice!
And then it was over. As quickly as I was brought into H's circle of friends, I was unceremoniously shoved out. There I was, helping anyone and everyone with their puzzles with little regard for H's feelings! I hadn't realized how serious H wanted to be. Because of my indiscretion, we battled again over hand washing. In the end, he got in line--and promptly tried to wash his hands in the drinking fountain. Touché, young man. Point taken.

I love my job.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

And so it continues.

Day I Lost Count Months Ago: Saturday
12:30pm: Have renewed confidence in using facilities in own home. Feeling good about self and life.
12:32pm: Use facilities. Hear hissing noise. Assaulted by familiar "clean linen" scent. Gag. Cough. Experience flashback, making ordeal twice as bad as usual. Finish quickly, holding breath. Exit bathroom, breathe. Gag. Resolve to figure out mystery.
12:34pm: Suspicions confirmed: mother has replaced cartridge. (Foiled by own parent?) Feel self-esteem plummet. Question motives. "It's my house" found to be airtight. Walk away with head hung low; lungs itchy. Eyeball tiny air-not-refreshing box--it will know who is in charge this time. (Hint: Not malevolent demon.)

Day After That: Sunday
11:20pm: Have not been in bathroom once all day without setting off fresh wave of chemical blight. Am weary. Wonder if poisonous jack-in-the-box has Gremlin-like and/or Wicked Witch-like qualities; consider dousing with water. Think better of this.
11:47pm: Creep into bathroom. Brush teeth. Exit bathroom. Hear ominous hissing. TOO LATE, BOX. HAVE WON THIS ROUND. Small victory, but important one.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paranormal Decorations

I was on the phone with my BFF the other night when I noticed a new Halloween decoration--some sort of cat. It looked like there was a spring involved. As I listened to a story, I absentmindedly toyed with it.

It's more than a spring. It's awful. I do. Not. Like it. I may have shrieked in surprise. My BFF, who had not been telling a scary story, was concerned. "Um..." was her response.

When I told her what horrors had occurred, she said, "Hey, it's like that air freshener you hate." (Readers may remember my Epic Battle from earlier entries.) I shuddered at the memory. And because misery loves company, I thought you'd like to see just what sinister objects are being brought into my home. (WARNING: Not safe for children. Or the weak-at-heart. Or super lame people like me.)

Not. Ok. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This afternoon I found myself stopped at a red light. Two middle-aged gentlemen were crossing the street, which put them walking directly in front of us. And one of them stared at me. The whole time. I don't mean that he looked at me and I! Am! So! Offended! Please divert your eyes, sir!
No. It wasn't like that. I don't mean he looked at me and thought to himself, "My her hair is shiny. It's captivating!" I mean he stared directly at me the entire time he crossed the street, in a "Where in my backyard should I bury her?" sort of way. I felt unsettled and locked the doors.

By now you're thinking, Why are you telling us this, Amanda? I'm glad you asked that. I think it's a good time to pass along a little pearl of wisdom to my gentlemen readers. Ready? Pens poised over notebooks, prepared to jot this down?

When you're looking at a woman (or really, any human being in any situation) it's really important that you not look like you'll end up on the news. When you're making eye contact, tone it down. If you're looking at a woman, and her eyes are darting around like a scared woodland creature who's been cornered by a're doing it wrong.

Thought you ought to know!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Now really.

Creed has a new song on the radio.

Stop it. Creed, just stop this now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fatherly advice.

"That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."

I love Shit My Dad Says.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For S and CW.

When you think about your best friend getting married, it's scary. Kind of a heart-stopping "Am I having a seizure?" moment. You worry that you won't like her betrothed and you'll cringe your way through the wedding and speak to each other less until gradually you lose contact with her except a yearly card at Christmas.

When S announced her engagement to CW, I didn't have those thoughts. Sure, the basic idea is a little strange--my BFF is going to be married? Weird. But if I took up witchcraft and did some sort of spell to make S the perfect man...CW is pretty much who I'd come up with. From day one he fit into her life so nicely that it seemed they'd always been together. He embraced me with open arms, as few will do. He said all the right things and behaved in such a way as to give me nothing to complain about. (And you know I am a good complainer.) Here is a man who walked into my BFF's life and plays with her cats and loves breakfast for dinner as much as she does and makes sure we have lots of "BFF time" when I visit. I stood back, observing and gaping at him and silently hoping he wouldn't do anything to tarnish this image.

You two are sickeningly, disgustingly adorable together. The saccharine nature of your relationship leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. I am nauseated by the sight of your affection, by the sound of your pet names and endearments. When you go into couple mode in the kitchen while cooking, I find a seat near the restroom because I can actually feel the bile rising in my throat. Your pre-wedding gift to me of a "vom bucket" may have been a joke to you--but it has actually been the most useful thing you could have gotten me.

I don't have to wish you a lifetime of this disappointing, sappy behavior. I know it will happen whether or not I approve. However, in this rare case I do.

Congratulations, S+C.

I can't make this up.

Today, I went into my kindergarten classroom and one of my students took my hand as if to shake it. Did he? No, he did not.

He kissed my hand.

I don't have anything witty to add to this. It was actually a rather precious moment. Particularly since he tends to be a bit of a pain in the ass. So...basically he's taking his cues from the other men I know. Way to go, B!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I will not be watching The Office wedding tonight. I am in Indiana for the real-life wedding of my BFF. So please refrain from telling me any details about said television wedding. We can have a big double wedding recap upon my return.

Just a little wedding tidbit: BFF says she is not doing a bouquet toss. BFF = best bride ever.

Thanks, internet friends. See you Monday!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Forget Kidz Bop. I'm about to mastermind the next big thing in underage cover bands: Kindergarten Rock. I'll go ahead and film my class singing the hits, make a TV commercial, and then I'll prepare for all the paparazzi.

A few days ago, B. started singing "Fire Burning" by Sean Kingston. I put a stop to that, thinking it was inappropriate.

Yesterday, three of my girls were waiting for their parents to pick them up when they started a round of the Numa Numa song, which I assume was them singing the Rihanna and T.I. song that uses it. I left them alone because it's just a preposterous song and I was having a quiet laugh.

And today, one of my more energetic kindergarten friends, M., was singing (and dancing to) "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas. He had to stop because he started singing quite loudly and we were busy finding pictures of things that start with the letter T.

It's really quite the playlist happening in my classroom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Not annoying at all.

You would think that running around roaring loudly like a dinosaur for twenty minutes would wear someone out.

Kindergarten Recess Survey says: Nope. You would be wrong. Roaring and running can easily be sustained for that length of time.**

**+/- the length of time it takes to tie shoes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Of course you do.

Hello, readers.

Do you like art? Do you support the pursuit of individual creativity and self-expression? Do you like the idea of voting for your favorites in something but dislike sitting through American Idol to do so?

Yes? You should check out ArtPrize, an international, privately-funded art competition. It opened today all over Grand Rapids. If you live near Grand Rapids, Michigan, you should check it out in person! Doing that lets you vote! (Why do we only stress the importance of that in November? Voting is always good.) There are venues displaying work all over the city. I can personally recommend San Chez Bistro, which is showing the work of a few artists AND serves delicious food. (And try the sangria. Do yourself a favor.)

Next question: do you like beer? Do you like seeing art that thinks outside the box? Do you think I'm kind of cool but someone with red hair, artistic talent, and the same genes would be even BETTER?

Still yes? Then check out 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, featured at San Chez Bistro. You'll love it.**

**Not guaranteed, because it's art. You can't guarantee art.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We didn't even have a Prom Queen!

I started high school in the fall of 1998 and graduated in 2002. (Yes, this was a long time ago.) During that time, movie theaters were flooded with comedies about life in the American high was madness. Can't Hardly Wait, Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You, She's All That, Drive Me Crazy, American Pie...see what I mean? I saw all those while I was in high school.

Today I rewatched 10 Things when it came on tv...and good lord. It's amazing I came out so well adjusted!

Not because they were bad movies...but because they were so misleading! That did NOT reflect my high school experience. Let's examine prom. Movies would lead me to believe that my prom would be filled with beautiful people doing a choreographed dance. It would be at some glamorous hotel! (Ok, fine, so that part was basically prom was in the ballroom of a hotel.) A famous ska band or maybe The Donnas would provide the soundtrack to our evening. There would be major drama and gossip and probably tears in the ladies' room! In the men's room, dreamy athletes would be making bets on who would get laid in the upstairs hotel room they'd managed to procure. In the end, we'd all end up with The Perfect Date and prom would end after we'd all accepted that our lives were changing but we still had each other. We would listen to some Britney and everyone would get what they deserved.

Now, don't get me wrong. My prom was fantastic. I adored my date, had a great dress, danced with my was a great night. But that's no thanks at all, really, to the movie industry! No one tried to teach us some stupid choreography. And I didn't see one single girl crying in the ladies' room. Not one!

Stupid movies.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Chicken! Christmas! Fun!

If you were to drive two hours north of me, you'd hit Frankenmuth, Michigan. The best way, I've found, to experience "Michigan's Little Bavaria" is to follow the directions I found on a flyer recently.
"Chicken! Christmas! Fun!"
This was what the flyer (and attached coupon!) promised. Ok. Seems wise to start with the family-style chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn. Once sufficiently gorged on chicken, mashed potatoes, and noodles, you can check Chicken! off your t0-do list. Time for Christmas! Head to Bronner's...the largest Christmas store in the world. It's a veritable holiday wonderland, full of all the delights that Christmas holds...all year long.
love Christmas, clearly.)
By the time you've wandered the store, you've clearly completed the Christmas! part of your day, so check that off too.

If you cannot check Fun! off your list immediately thereafter, you did something wrong. Because it's more like an equation. "Chicken! + Christmas! = Fun!" It works every time, with no margin of error.

I would like to say, though, that the stuffing with the chicken dinner is the weakest link. It seems to be inconsistent--like they're still tinkering with the recipe. Bavarian Inn, I implore you to continue your tinkering. You'll get it right one day--it'll be able to proudly stand with the rest of your menu. Until then, it's holding its own. You just keep plugging away.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not so much.

At the bar recently I noticed that the Twin's ex was standing near my table, patently ignoring me. I'm not his biggest fan. (Let's call him's a long story.) For close to an hour he and his group stood right next to my table. Really? Find a new place to stand. It's a big bar and this is stupid.
The break-up itself was fairly brutal in my eyes: it came out of nowhere following a long-term relationship. It came with a parting gift. It was bad. It was a couple years ago, and this was the first time I'd seen him since.
I occasionally occupied myself discussing his facial hair with a friend. (You know that episode of Family Guy where Peter grows a beard for birds to live in? Yeah.) And suddenly he turns around and looks at me. "Hey," with a wave. I put my hand up in acknowledgement, stunned at his gall. I was quite relieved that Twin wasn't out with us that particular night.
We were good friends in high school, before The Relationship. I think we were friends before Twin knew him. But as The Relationship developed, PegLeg was not a good friend. He was rude. I grew to loathe him.
(The rest of my night was fantastic, the kind of night you have to recap the next day. Going out was a Good Life Choice.)
And then, he was heading for the door. Walking past us, he spoke again. "Hey." And at this point, I can't believe any of this is happening. How are you so completely lacking the social skills to know that this is a POOR Life Choice? What part of your brain is telling you to proceed here? There is no reason for us to go through these motions. I have no need for you in my life and I am not going to pretend I care. We don't have to like each other! In fact, the statute of limitations on Scorning One's Twin is forever.
Unfortunately, that was all in my head and my friend didn't hear any of it. This friend, far too jovial to be concerned with awkward encounters, responded. PegLeg turned around to try again. Allow me to transcribe our conversation, hm?
PegLeg: "Hey."
Bitter Amanda: *glares*
PL: "....Bye....."
BA: "Bye."
PL: "....That's all I've got."
BA: "Yeah."

Did I mention that he recently broke up with another girl, a dear friend of mine? Yeah. That happened. He's a gem. And I really have nothing to say to someone like that.

Monday, August 17, 2009


That is MESSED UP. My favorite part is the comment from PETA's senior campaigner. "Vegetarians look and feel better than meat eaters." Riiiiight...because PETA interviewed at least a reasonably sized population sample about how they feel? And noticed a correlation between happiness and a vegetarian diet? OH NO WAIT. That's probably not what went down at PETA. (Don't get me started on vegetarians looking better. I guess they look better from up there on PETA's soapbox? Because where I stand, I can't tell the difference.)

Guys, I love animals. But animals don't read billboards and support causes. People do. You know, the ones who volunteer and work for you, PETA? Is it wise to continue the way you're running business?

Excuse me, but I have to go eat meat now so I can continue to look and feel like shit. Later!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I guess it's time to hide in the library?

Today was supposed to be a lazy Sunday. I was all set to be pajama-clad in front of some movies. But the phone rang, and a darling friend of mine invited me out. He was joining a bunch of friends at the park for some outdoor fun and games.
I assured him that I was all about working on my tan and being in the water (which was promised!) so off we went! Once assembled at the park (where there was in fact NO LAKE) we started our afternoon with some volleyball. I tried to get out of it, citing my tan as a reason to not play. But my friend...oh, he would hear nothing of it!

I am not good at sports. I have pretty much zero athletic ability. I've tried! I haven't quite found the sport I'm good at yet. (And that's ok because I'm only 25? Hmm.)

I did my best with volleyball, though! I mean, we were playing for real (everyone took a turn serving! are we being graded here??) so it was a little daunting. I hit the ball a couple times, even! Check me out.
Post-volleyball, we were discussing capture the flag and waiting for the rest of our party. Apparently we decided to pick teams? So two captains were chosen, including my darling friend. (Keep this in mind for later!) I was like, "Oh, why are we PICKING??? I'm having middle school gym flashbacks!!" We then proceeded to joke around about me being picked last, and how I should just do a quick calculation about who would be last and join the team right away. We joked around about how a few kids were coming so having a 9 year old there would balance out my (mad) skills.

Cut to us picking teams. I'm sitting RIGHT NEXT to my previously mentioned friend as he captains it up. And they're building teams, going around the group. I'm sitting quietly, waiting my turn. I'm silently thinking that he can't possibly be picking me last, because we just talked about that! Is he serious?

Other captain: "And then I'll have the 9 year old. So we're good?"

..."Guys, did you forget Amanda?"

YEAH, THEY FORGOT ABOUT ME. I didn't even get picked LAST! I just didn't get picked at all. Is that better or worse? Thanks, friend. **

Don't worry, it's just self-esteem. It'll grow back.

**I still love you. It's cool. Today was a really good day, and you redeemed yourself during zombie tag.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Movie, book, television.

1. MOVIE: We went and saw The Goods tonight. (This afternoon, I received a text from a friend saying "Do you want to see the goods tonight?" He's lucky I knew it was the title of a movie.) I was skeptical, but decided to tag along anyway. And the movie was pretty much what I expected...fairly entertaining, a few funny bits, and kind of stupid. No more and no less. Oh and Jeremy Piven is, I'm unashamed to say, looking really good in this one. Is that weird? Because seriously, he's looking better than I had previously remembered.

2. BOOK: I just finished reading Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan. She is a fellow Smithie, and her book is about four women during their time at Smith College and the few years following. Since its release, I've been getting tons of phone calls from my college friends. And now I totally get it. It brings on waves of nostalgia, to see in print the places and things that I hold so dear to my heart. So now, despite it being a cliche, I suppose now is the time to add a Commencement quote to my facebook page.

3. TELEVISION: Glee returns to Fox on 9.9.09. Who is excited?? (Besides this girl, of course.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's just science.

Let's talk about this video for a second, ok? It's the newest thing to be passed around among my friends. It has appeared in my inbox several times, so clearly I need to discuss it publicly.

It is ridiculous. I cannot believe that this exists. I can only imagine the road that led to this commercial showing up in my email. Some guy (CLEARLY this came from a male mind) was bummed about not getting enough action from his lady. "Hmm," he thought to himself, "how can I convince her of this?....."
And then a little cartoon lightbulb appeared over his head, illuminating his pathetic idea. "I will incorporate science! I will appeal to her feminine vanity and poke at her already fragile self-esteem, weak from years of beauty magazines and Victoria's Secret models!"
Feeling deprived, he threw himself into research, trying to tackle this issue. Using the idea that "scientists say THIS PARTICULAR MOTION WHICH DOES NOT AT ALL RESEMBLE SOMETHING A WOMAN MIGHT DO TO PLEASE A MAN is good for you! Builds muscle! It's better than going to the gym!" he sold the idea. He put on his suit and presented it to a room full of more suits and convinced them of its merit. And then it was manufactured and put on television.
It's almost poetic, if you frame it with The American Dream. We live in a place where a man** can invent this ridiculous product and suddenly it's being sold on the internet. Pathetic, of course, but a little poetic at the same time.

**purely speculation on the part of Bitter Amanda, of course

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rock it out.

If you're familiar with Rock Band, you may have heard about MTV and Pepsi teaming up for a contest. The challenge is to create a Rock Band music video. The winning band actually wins a moonman at the VMAs this year. (Ridiculous, right? I thought that was fictional.) Anyway, some of they are fairly entertaining, including the following:

That is by The Candy Thieves, a band that I occasionally jam with. I'm not part of the video, being only a sometimes player. Twin, however, is an integral part of the video. So you should have a look. You can vote for more than one video, but you should definitely log into your yahoo account and vote for The Candy Thieves. You have until August 7th to vote.

I'm counting on you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lucky you.

I've been absent for longer than I intended, readers. I apologize for that...things got out of hand in real life here.

It's funny...we share with the internet all the weird, quirky things about ourselves. I write about my nights at the bar, about the freakshows I meet in airports...but when things get too real I shut it off. I type all day about boys farting but can't tell you that I broke down in a public bathroom in Ohio on the way to a funeral. So let me fill you in on the past month.

Camp was amazing. I feel like people, myself included, overuse the word 'amazing' but sometimes it's entirely appropriate. The young adults I was surrounded by are truly fantastic, capable, smart, funny people. I hope they all know that--I know I tried to impress it upon them for three weeks. 17 and 18 is a good's this great dichotomy of being impressed by their world views and the advice they give each other to announcing that, "No, we are not doing the Pen 15 club right now, so stop asking!!" We had some good activities, some great conversations, one pizza night, many late nights, four boys dared to wax their legs, and too much laughter to quantify. I can't complain. We spent a day in Detroit, working with refugees at Freedom House. I cannot say enough good things about this place and all the people we met and worked with. It's a stark reminder that the world isn't always a good place. Luckily, places like FH are contradicting that idea.

Leaving camp was harder than usual. My real life was much different than how I'd left it. I lost my godmother to breast cancer, which she has been fighting for over ten years. She was wonderful, much too beautiful to be taken so early by something as ugly as cancer. I left camp abruptly. I celebrated the end with my staff, and got right into the car with my family, heading for Massachusetts. Hungover and still wearing last night's makeup, I prepared myself for a different goodbye.

I'm sorry I was gone so long...I hope you're still out there. I have a bunch of advice letters to answer, so I hope this real moment for us won't make you think I've gone soft. Because let me guys have some serious (and seriously weird) problems. I can't wait to tell you about them. Let's get started, huh?

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I am currently sitting in a campsite in the middle of the woods. Tomorrow will see the arrival of more than twenty teenagers to this site, to be corralled by myself and four other adults for the next few weeks. If the past few days are any indication, it will be an amazing time, and I will hardly miss you.

You might miss me, but I'm used to that. I'm trying to toughen you up for the future, kids. Life is hard. You can thank me later.

On a more positive note, because I'm in a great mood, enjoy your summer and I'll get around to your emails after camp.

Solitarily yours with mosquito bites,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Nom nom nom...

Camp can't start soon enough, because I CLEARLY need more to fill my time.

In case you missed them, our witnesses are horrified!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Final Countdown.

Day 28: Saturday
11am:Have grown accustomed to irritations in bathroom due to air freshener. Anxiety level still high, but slowly returning to normal. Now use restroom with face turned away from box, in case perfumed air pops out.
Pee. Hear hissing. Not normal hissing. Wait. Smell nothing. Hissing sounded pathetic. No odor? Is demon box conceding defeat?
2pm: Pee. Same sad hissing. LIGHTBULB. Evil contraption needs new cartridge. Emphatically refuse to do its bidding. Laugh as box sounds like fish out of water, gasping for breath, dying. Begging for clean linen life support. Feel no guilt.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I pointed, too.

I spent Friday night at the bar with some friends watching game 7. (I do not want to talk about it.) The whole bar was clad in red and white, cheering on our boys. In walks this couple, he in a bright green polo shirt (don't even ask if the collar was popped because you know it was) she in a bright pink tank top that allowed us a good look at her cleavage. They went up to the bar and ordered drinks, then remained there due to the prime location--right in front of the largest television in the place. She stood with her arms around him, back to the TV. He, clearly, stood with his eyes glued to the TV. She tried oh so hard to distract him, and he obliged her, as they were kissing and snuggling and all manner of things inappropriate for public. However, no matter how hard she tried--and this lady was putting in some serious effort--he would not yield and give her his undivided attention. He was all about the game. And I? Readers, I laughed out loud.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Opera glasses are stumping me.

The other night, after arriving home from cocktails with my sister, I was praising the bartender's gin and tonic abilities. He made a damn fine drink. (Or several. Whatever.) It was at this point that I captured the twin for a long chat. (She was a less-than-willing participant, but listened dutifully.) I began pontificating on the term "beer goggles." A fine term, if you ask me, certainly there is some grain of truth to it, but what of other beverages? Myself that evening, for example, I asked in my gin-soaked state. I wouldn't dare suggest that I was wearing "beer goggles." I hadn't been drinking beer! It just didn't make sense! Then, a proverbial lightbulb went off above my head.

"Amy!" I shouted, though she was quite near and is not hard of hearing. "It's GIN MONOCLE. That's what I'll call it! It makes it seem old-timey and I like the sound of it. Gin goggles sounds strange, and I don't like the way the hard g and soft g go together there. But monocle...that fits."

Twin approved. But what else? Beer goggles is defined on
Urban Dictionary as a "phenomenon in which one's consumption of alcohol makes physically unattractive persons appear beautiful." Alternative definitions suggest that the term does not only pertain to getting laid, but to impaired vision of some sort. Well, Twin decided, it seemed quite natural to suggest that the consumption of rum would give eyepatch. Rum eyepatch.
I shall spare you the details of our conversation, as it was complex and arguments got heated at times. However, allow me to share with you the fruits of our debate.

Tequila would give one x-ray specs.
Whiskey shades seemed appropriate.
Though not terribly common, I was adamant that drinking absinthe ought to lead to absinthe 3D glasses.

There are some things I'm still pondering. But I want your thoughts...think this over and get back to me!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Day 5: Thursday
11am: Sister bored of freakouts. Sympathy waning quickly. (Four days ago.) Turns evil box around. (Better luck next time, hellspawn!) Pee in peace.
2pm: Shower. Relax for first time in days, knowing motion-activated demon cannot hiss if no motion is sensed. (You have met your match.)
6pm: Pee. Hissing. Lulled into false sense of security. Mother did not pay for box to sit on counter, turned box right way. Gag.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rough week.

Day 1: Sunday
7pm: Home from Massachusetts. Notice new air freshener in bathroom. Hmm. Upon using facilities, learn that new air freshener is motion-activated. Learn this while trapped, for lack of more delicate terminology. Also learn that “Clean Linen” scent not so much like clean linen. Gag.
9pm: Forget about new air freshener. Unpack. Put toothbrush away, hear hissing/popping noise. Jump because noise is scary. Senses once again assaulted by heavily air-quoted clean linen. Gag.
11:30: Prepare for bed. Remember motion will activate demon’s breath hissing machine. Dance around and then jump out of bathroom. Nothing. Wait. Nothing. Determine room to be safe. Proceed with contact lens and makeup removal. While face is in under-sink cupboard searching for cotton ball, hear much-feared noise heralding arrival of a “fresher” room. Scream and try to escape from room, running into cupboard door. This results in a cut and bruise combo which will surely be a painful reminder of stupidity. Hear laughter emanating from basement. Resolve to punch sister in face.

Day 2: Monday
Try to ignore feeling that air freshener has personal vendetta. Rely heavily on new method of dance in front of air freshener, flee from room, and wait 5 minutes. Adjust to going in bathroom before it becomes a necessity. Expect arrival of nicer, non-punched sister, put on makeup. Hear car. Look out bathroom window. Hear hissing noise as face is pressed to glass. Face now fresh like Clean Linen. Gag. Gag again. Hope chemicals do not result in permanent damage. Truly feel that air freshener has it out for me.

Day 3: Tuesday
Figure out system of lights on device. Blinking will result in hissing and air pollution. No blinking is safe, but for unknown amount of time. Learn from sister that device will only go off every 30 minutes. File information away. Spend remainder of day using bathroom only after another person has set off tiny hellion.

Day 4: Wednesday
Discuss hissing box with mother. Matriarch insists she has never seen it hiss. Stand outside bathroom door and listen for her reaction. Feel vaguely creepy, but all in the name of research. (Research and proving that tiny demon box hates me. See no difference.) Hear nothing. Confused. Wait for mother. Barge in upon seeing open door. Nothing. Dance around. Nothing. Hmm. Mother bored, exits. TINY BOX HISSES. BOX HATES ME. Gag.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saved by the Bell reruns start at 7.

Scene: living room, 6:45am.

I stumble out, bleary-eyed. "Taking a shower."

Dad: "Are you working today?"

Mom and Amanda: "..."

Dad: "Well?"

Amanda: "No, just hanging out."

Dad: "Why can't I ever get a straight damn answer in this house??"

Amanda: "It's 6:45."

Mom: "What else would she be doing?"

Dad: "Well, I don't know!"

Amanda: "...Right, shower."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thomas Wolfe--not a Smithie.

I spent this weekend at my alma mater, for reunion weekend. Technically it wasn't a reunion year for me, but enough friends registered to go that it became a necessity to fly out. They make me whole again, with their clever, engaging conversations and endlessly amusing stories. We bask in the glow of our former home, benefiting from the restorative powers of Herrell's ice cream.

Alums from 1934 all the way to present walked together in the alumnae parade. We cheered the women who are nearly 100 for so long the college president had to stop speaking and wait. They kick ass, and I'm proud to come from the same place as them.

I had the kind of absurd and wonderful adventures that only my alma mater mixed with my group of friends can produce. I laughed until I hurt and I remembered exactly why I care about that place, those people so dearly. So while it's true, perhaps, that you can't go home again, you can most definitely visit.

"Life is not worth living if you have to explain the joke." --a '94 alum, overheard at breakfast

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Includes MySpace and Twitter.

Dear Friends,
I have learned from facebook that our age bracket appears to be in a big reproductive swing right now. It's Babyville over there, and I'm...coping. People I remember from elementary school are now very specifically fat. And so far you all, my inner circle, haven't caught the bug yet. Way to go! Proud of you.
I know, however, that it's only a matter of time. You'll catch Baby Fever and want all that, and then I'll have to go to (ugh) baby showers and buy cutesy little outfits so tiny I'll be tempted to check if Barbie has heels to match. I accept that. My friends will be parents and I'll freak out but learn to live with it, as I did when you all started to get married.
But listen up. I'm saying this now and I don't want to have to repeat myself later because even this brief blog post is making me uncomfortable. It's hugely important that you understand this now:

I don't care how joyous the little bundle growing inside you is, or what a huge occasion this is for you. If you post ultrasound pictures on facebook, I hereby reserve the right to a.) mock you for the rest of time, including any haunting I decide to do posthumously, and b.) WILL tell your children that they were prenatally on facebook, once they're old enough to be sufficiently embarrassed and angsty. It's WEIRD, guys. Really weird.

Just thought you ought to know.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I draw the line at the bouquet toss.

Well, it has finally happened. I knew it would come sooner or later. That cruel, dark mistress has knocked on my door and she will not be denied.

I'm embarking on the voyage that is Being a Bridesmaid.

My BFF is getting married, whoohoo for her and her enamored fiancé and the inevitable hearts and doves which will be spewing out of them. I am, as you probably figured out, standing up as one of her bridesmaids, so I am privileged to be front row for all the (aforementioned) projectile hearts and doves. I can deal with that. No problem. I teach first grade, so I deal with things a lot more disgusting than that. But did you know how many things a bridesmaid is responsible for?? I mean, there are WHOLE BOOKS written on the topic! This is new territory for me, so you can imagine my concern. I mean, I don't know what I'm doing! And this is for my BFF, who has seen me at my worst and puts up with me, and I'd like to do her wedding justice by not being the bridesmaid that should probably be hidden in the back. You know, the one that gets talked about in hushed tones throughout the wedding. (Shut up, you do it too.) There are showers and bachelorette parties and then of course the bride probably needs a lot of help with stuff on the big day. I need to find a flask that is both tasteful and small enough to fit in my handbag. And I have to campaign for a tall groomsman because I don't want to be the lopsided pair. And also I should probably check to see how tacky that last one is.

I have a lot of research to do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Probably Ryan Seacrest.

Before I even begin, I want you to know that this isn't a criticism. (Seriously. Ok, a little bit mocking. But that's it!)

Last night I was made aware of Fake or Real? on E! Electro advised me to watch, and I must say it was quite an experience. Just as it sounds, judges are presented with three contestants all claiming to have had the same surgical procedure. (Well, in the episode I watched it was all surgical, but it might encompass other things. Can't be sure.) The contestants try to convince the judges it was them, vying for a big check suited to lottery winners and giants.

And that's it. For real. They have to pretend they were born a man, or have had multiple plastic surgeries, or whatever. And then they go home.

The big question here isn't what you're possibly thinking, "Why is this on TV?" Oh no. It's, "WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS?" It's one of those ridiculous things that you only think of after someone else gets paid. Like Twister or all those fake how-to books. Dammit. Who are all these people stealing my unborn ideas out of my head before I make money off of them???

By the way, I totally called which one was the man. FYI.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Relay for Life of Dearborn was a huge success. (And, if you're curious, loads of fun.) It was a day so full of awesome things and equally bizarre things that put together, you'd have a barely believable story. Sadly, fears of google-stalking prevent me from sharing the details until I can lower the Unwanted Friend Threat Level to yellow.
Regardless of how I spent the 24 hours, the event was amazing, and I cannot even begin to tell you what an experience it is. If you have never been to an ACS Relay for Life, I highly recommend it. Even though I tend to walk around with the attitude that people suck, it really makes me put that on hold for a day. (Except for when cantankerous neighbors who aren't even in close proximity to the event complain to the police about your kickass sound system, causing the police to shut you down at 2:30am.** Thanks, community members! You know who you are.)
And now, exhausted even after a short nap, I am off to finish some work for Monday (grr) and not move for a while.

**Well, try to shut you down. Cancer doesn't sleep, and neither did we.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roughing It

"Does that sound alright, miss?"

That's actually what tech support asks you when they tell you your laptop will have to be sent in. And that it will take 7-9 business days because you've baffled the team with your problem. They go through a bunch of troubleshooting until they break the bad news that you'll have to part with it; you just can't fix it on your own. Then they ask if that's ok.

No. No, it is not ok. 7-9 BUSINESS DAYS? I must have a laptop time machine and it's 1998 all over again to be going over a week without my laptop.** (Would you like a list of my favorite AOL keywords? Time to troll Hanson websites for new pictures, I guess! Meet me on AIM to discuss the finer points of Leonardo DiCaprio, ok?) Saying "no, as a matter of fact, 7-9 days is unacceptable" won't actually change the facts. It's really more of a gesture. It'll take as long as they need in order to fix my laptop. I'll be excited about it regardless of the time.

The laptop has been sick since Friday night, the poor thing. I've been checking my email on my family's desktop, so it's tolerable. The first solution was a new cord, which arrived today. I figured, hey, I can make it until Wednesday! But then..the replacement cord didn't breathe new life into my friend. That was when I got the news.

I resisted. I glanced at my first laptop, 8 years old. Ancient and sad, I still have it because I recently realized a bunch of music never made it to my new laptop. But it's pathetic, so I only gave it a fleeting look. Until I heard the fateful words "seven to nine business days."

So here I sit, fingers crossed that my dinosaur friend here can handle all this activity. All so I could log on to twitter. This, my friends, is a new low.

Regular letters and blog posts will be sporadic at best until I get things sorted. In the meantime, I'm keeping a list of things I meant to tweet. Get excited!!

**I didn't get a laptop until 2002 when I went to college. Coincidentally that very laptop happens to be the one I'm typing on right now.

The ponytail should have been a clue...

A couple days ago, I was walking around Barnes and Noble. I walked past a group of armchairs, where a middle-aged man, a girl of maybe 11, and a single** man roughly my age sat with books. The middle-aged man, presumably the girl's father, was reading, and the girl had a copy of Twilight poised to read, but was being interrupted. By Ponytail, her new friend in the other chair. This ass was trying to tell her why Twilight is ridiculous. (Are you kidding me??) He was going on and on and on about what a travesty it is that Twilight doesn't explain vampire mythology. And does it even explain why they like blood?? No, it doesn't. Do you know why, he asked the girl? " tastes good?" Oh, wrong answer! Then he was off and running. She was getting a History of Vampires with a side helping of Edward Cullen Belittling. I sort of wandered around in earshot, trying frantically to think of a plan to get her out that didn't look like...well, a Plan to Get Her Out. You know. Of the sketchy "I drive a van" variety. I heard him say something about Vlad the Impaler and she caught my eye. I tried to smile reassuringly, but I feel certain it did little to alleviate her pain. OH AND THEN. He turned around to rail on the movie. And dragged Dad into the conversation. It was revealed to me that Ponytail but No Shampoo didn't see the movie, but "read some reviews." Which clearly meant he knew what he was talking about.
I could not think of a way to stop the madness. I wanted to tell him that she was a kid. And reading. Do you know how hard it is to get some kids to read?? If they'll read the adventures of Edward Cullen, Dreamy Vampire Boyfriend, then by all means hand them a freaking copy! When Harry Potter came out, it got kids reading. It was a gateway book. They finished that book and picked up more! If Twilight stands to be the predecessor for that, I'm all for it.

**I didn't ask for confirmation, of course. But I feel confident about this one.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

No way.

One of my first graders walked into the classroom and handed me an orange. "I brought this for you."

Did anyone know that students legitimately bring fruit to their teachers?? I was astonished. How cute is that?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Message received.

I don't pay much attention to the text message templates stored in my phone. I've had a new phone for a few months now and decided today to check out what templates the new model offered. "What time are we meeting?" "I'm running late." Pretty standard. "Sorry I missed your call. What's up?" "Where are you?" Yeah, alright. Nothing I'll use. "Talk to you soon." Well, sure I might use that, but I can type it in less time than it takes to find the template. "I love you." "I'm in a meeting." Bori--wait. I love you??

I understand that templates are there for convenience. Generic things that you can send quickly without much thought. Do we really want to promote "I love you" as one of those sentiments? I don't feel good about that. I'm sure that when the decision was made to include that, it wasn't malicious. The Template Team probably envisioned people sending a nice message to their wives in the middle of boring meetings, or a quick text on the way to work to your boyfriend.

It will not remain that way, I fear. Men are going to notice this template, a landmine surrounded by innocuous messages about meetings. They are going to think that it is acceptable to drop the L bomb via TEXT. This will be on their list of Chickenshit Ways to Express Your Feelings, alongside email date invites and letting her know she is your girlfriend by changing your facebook relationship status.

I encourage you to delete this template from your phones, or at least to add, "but not enough to tell you in person or even type it out myself." to the end. (Let's be honest with each other here.)

**PS--My sister's phone, a different model, does not offer the I love you template. It DOES, however, offer "I love you too." Coincidence? Or meant to be? You decide.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Dear Rihanna,
Are you kidding me? Please tell me that all these news reports are false and you're not back together with Chris Brown. We all saw the picture and heard the stories when he "allegedly" beat you. (That's the tricky thing with the word allegedly. It leaves room for "no, he didn't, I fell down some stairs." But most of us still think he did, and will continue to think so. Sorry, but that's the truth.) And now you're BACK with him?? Are you an idiot? Do you even realize that as a public figure, you're a role model? And young girls look up to you? You could do so many positive things with that! But this, THIS is what you show them?
I hope you figure things out.
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Is your person missing any teeth?

I love my first grade class. They make me laugh, even when they’re a little loud or a little bizarre. They’re wonderful. But right now I have a bit of a problem. A Secret Whistler. Now, I have a Whistler, who is a bit (lot) disruptive and wanders around from time to time. He sometimes whistles…not a particular tune, but just for the noise. It’s annoying, to say the least, but usually it’s easy to contain.
When my class is being loud, one of the super fun things we do is put our heads down on our desks. They know that until they’re quiet, I will continue to sit at my desk and wait them out. At the start of last week, during one such time, we heard a whistle. I told A. to stop. It happened again. And again. The class, frustrated, told A. to “stooooop!” A. denied all involvement. So I watched. AND IT WASN’T HIM.
Which means I have a Secret Whistler. I watched my class, hoping to catch someone. No go. But it kept happening and the class kept blaming A. I feel badly for him! But more than that, I am losing my mind over this copycat.
I’m going to have to out-sneak my class. I WILL figure out who it is. It’ll be like Guess Who? but with first graders. I’m going to keep a class list handy and cross off students when I deduce that they are not the culprit. If things get worse, I may ask the music teacher to test them on whistling—see who has the ability.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Best of both worlds?

My first grade classroom is right down the hall from three of our kindergarten classrooms. (We have four.) I love the teachers, and I know most of the kindergarteners fairly well. (I've spent a lot of time with them.) Yesterday, my class was in music and I had a question for...well, anyone on staff who was able to answer it, really. I found a student's record folder in my mailbox without any note or anything...which is odd. Report cards were just turned in, so it's not unusual for it to be out, but I really didn't know what to do with it. Folder in hand, I headed across the hall to a kindergarten class.
I expected to interrupt an activity, as I usually do when I enter that room, but what I found was beyond expectation. Three classes were crammed in there, all sitting around tables having a hot cocoa and cookie snack!
"....Heyyyyyy....." I said as I entered and surveyed the landscape of 60 five year olds. The three teachers said hi, but the reception I got from my tiny audience was totally unexpected. "BITTER AMANDA!" they yelled as they saw me, waving frantically. Some darted out of their seats to get a hug. You'd think Hannah Montana had walked in, the way they shouted my name. If they had cell phones, they'd have been pulling them out to get my picture.

It was awesome.

But actually quite disruptive, and I almost felt guilty. (Almost. I totally recommend this for one in need of a self-esteem boost. Not gonna lie.) One of the teachers, S, laid down the law, telling all the students that I had done nothing wrong that day, so there was no reason to yell at me! The kindergarten was informed that they could wave, wink, and smile at me, but yelling was out of the question. I even behaved like an adult and backed her up on this, discouraging all attempts to get a hug. I will, however, stop in at random intervals to ensure my popularity stays at rockstar-worthy levels.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Welcome back!

You made it! I'm home and you're still ok. I knew you could do it.

Well, I hoped you could do it. I had some doubts. But well done!

My homecoming to the US was an interesting one. Landing in Houston, I was still able to enjoy warm weather and my flip-flops. Going through customs, I had one form filled out for me and the 3 teenagers I was in charge of. (Scary? Yes.) The customs officer told me that I probably should have filled out a separate form for each of us, since technically we aren't related. At my offer to fill out new ones for each of them, he said it "should be ok," and started his next sentence with, "If anyone gives you a hard time..."

I assumed he was about to give me some sound advice on what to do in this event. I figured, being a customs official, he would have something helpful to say. I waited with anticipation and more than a little anxiety.
"If anyone gives you a hard time, just tell them that they're all from different fathers."


"Say that you've been with 5 or 6 guys."

Yeahhhh, I did hear him correctly. The customs official not only told me to lie, but promoted promiscuity. Awesome. I did not think that US customs officers joked around. (Or maybe he was serious?)

"Well, ok..." I said.

"Welcome home," he added as I rounded up my kids and walked away, laughing.