28 January 2010

Tumbling along ....

Well, I've done the unthinkable and started a tumblr (and for the life of me, I cannot type tumbler correctly at least three times). I haven't decided what exactly I'm going to use it for but I'll keep everybody posted!



27 January 2010

Your glands are on the adventure of their LIVES!!!

In high school, I had a math teacher, Ms. F, who was pretty much pure awesome on a cracker. She was as passionate about math as I was about anime at the time*, and it was almost comical to see her get visibly excited when trying to explain complex higher math theories to a room full of ninth graders, most of whom had no idea that math could get any more difficult than algebra.

Anyway, Ms. F was probably the only teacher who could get away with using teenage jargon** because she was actually only about 5 - 7 years older than we were. The other teachers who tried generally received eye rolls, even when they were trying to be ironic. The only thing worse than that was when they referenced "cool" TV shows, songs, etc., which were usually already outdated by the time the adults heard about them. One of my teachers consistently used MTV as a resource on all things kid-approved and I don't think he ever knew he was mercilessly mocked.

If you are in education, sure, try to make the content relateable to your students. Keep it interesting, but don't try too hard, or else you come out looking like a doofus. And an outdated doofus, at that.

Take the opening to the chapter in my anatomy and physiology textbook on the endocrine system: "You don't have to watch 'CSI' to experience action-packed drama."

... Um ... what? This is a chapter on glands. Glands. The cells in my body aren't going on "dynamic adventures on microscopic levels." It does not make studying more fun by imagining my hormones as tiny Indiana Joneses, boldly crossing invisible neurological bridges to stimulate my pancreas. Granted, I find the endocrine system fascinating in and of itself, anyway, so the extra attempt just comes off as goofy and not particularly inventive. Maybe someone else is drawn in by that intro, but I don't think that anyone entering in the medical field would find the human body boring. Of course, I loathe cytology (the study of cells), but I doubt that an author inserting a reference to "Speed" would make me actually want to read about the Golgi apparatus.

Now, I'm not offering any alternatives to this approach because I don't have a great desire to pen a textbook anytime soon. But when "CSI" is no longer on the air, the authors/publishers are going to have to update this to another "action-packed" show. This just reminds me of when they update period-specific items, like something that was obviously from a certain era and should remain there. Case in point: Babysitter's Club. Apparently, someone is working on updating the series, which just chaps my ass. And "Fame." The scene where the girl pays for an abortion with a credit card was very shocking at the time; now, it's passe, so they have to come up with something equally shocking, and this trend will just continue until someone realizes that, hey, you know, let's let it be.

Blah, this is turning into a rant, and I have to get a few things done before lunch, so tata, friends!

* I never had to actually sign my name on any of my assignments because I used to draw anime-style eyes on them. It got to the point where this was common practice in all of my classes but only she was the one who didn't really care.

** Funny story: for the longest time, Ms. F would say, "My bag" instead of "My bad" whenever she would mess up until someone called her out on it. And she has this crazy northern accent, so it was a very nasally version, which made it all the more entertaining.

24 January 2010


For a while, I wanted to have my writing separate from my personal blog, but it's just way too much of a hassle. If any of you were readers of my "A Million More to Go" blog, I apologize, but I'm not going to be updating it as of right now. I'll just be posting my stories on here.

Eventually I'll go back to it but for right now, one blog is probably enough for this girl.

Hope everybody is having a great weekend!!!

Exercise Chronicles, Part I: "I Have a Good Ass"

I just received my Yogalosophy by Mandy Ingber DVD in the mail, and I can't remember the last time I was so excited about trying out a new exercise program. Now, I'm not normally interested in anything that a celebrity espouses simply because a name is attached; that is pretty much reserved for a select set of famous people that include Dolly Parton, Sam Elliot, Joss Whedon and, in the case of Yogalosophy, Jennifer Aniston.

My favorite Friend, Aniston introduces the workout in her normal cheerful way, her impeccable physique in the foreground and the California sunshine behind her. It's a short intro and she says "my life" way too many times, but I couldn't help getting thrilled because, well, just look at the woman. She does this workout. And other things, I'm sure, but still.

So I select the first workout (there's 2 on here, plus extra little exercise snippets) with this big grin on my face, as I stand at attention. On comes Mandy Ingber, who has this sort of awkward cheerleader wannabe aura about her, standing firmly at the end of her yoga mat, ready to impart her wisdom.

And then the workout starts. It's not too difficult, I suppose, at the beginning, as it should be, but it quickly proves to me that this is no cakewalk. There's a reason Jennifer Aniston and Mandy Ingber look the way they do. Within the first six minutes, I look at the screen and yell, "You, ma'am, are INSANE!!!"

But she is just so gosh-darned cute. She has a vulnerability that I like, and there are all sorts of imperfections in the video that I really appreciate. I'm a fan of the Firm (I also just bought their new Wave workout program to alternate with Yogalosophy), and all their videos tend to be squeaky clean. Mandy messes up some of her lines, but she's so endearing that you overlook it. She also tells this silly little jokes that could come off as her trying too hard, yet her giggle afterwards just makes you laugh with her. Plus, she has given me my new workout mantra: "I have a good ass, I have a good ass, I have a good ass ..." Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.

I figure, if I do this workout three times a week, alternating with the Firm and the treadmill, I'll be looking good by summer. Not that I'm going anywhere that I would need to bare my body for all to see (you see, I'm poor and my summer vacation is probably going to be me, Zola and a 6 pack of Hoegaarden on my parents' deck), but I'm just sick and tired of feeling blah. It's not even the size that is bothering me; I'm nowhere near overweight, but I don't like the fact that my jeans aren't fitting me as well as they did a year ago and that I just don't have the same energy.

So this is a step in that direction. And I'll probably be writing Ms. Ingber and Ms. Aniston heavily-all-caps laden letters of appreciation.

23 January 2010

Good enough for government work ....

There is a reason why that phrase exists.

It's no secret that I work for the government. I'm a state employee and, for the most part, I enjoy my job, especially since I just transferred into nursing home Medicaid (or TennCare, for those of you who live in Tennessee) which involves one of my favorite demographics of people. I nearly fall in love with ever single old man I've ever come across - there was one 70-something man who proposed because he got a disability check and could take care of me.

Anyway, I can't go into many details because, well, most of the info is protected, but I have not been more frustrated at my job like I was yesterday. I'm updating files for several clients and I run across one that's been mishandled. And instead of admitting that something was done incorrectly, people have basically said, oh, well, just close the case and let them reapply. Um. No. We effed up on our end, so there is no reason to penalize the patient. Ugh.

I understand why most people have negative attitudes about going into a government building. Many times, before I started working for the Man, I'd gone in and the apathetic attitudes exuded by the people behind the desks makes me wish that I could just inject them with some sort of personality so I could at least somewhat enjoy my time there. I even tried to be nice and I was just met with ambivalence. And confusion.

Granted, I can understand the aloof attitudes, to some degree. I see a lot of needy people and if I was to feel remorse for every single person that walked through those doors, I would be depressed all of the time. But you can't completely cut yourself off emotionally. It's a balancing act.

Take a girl I had to call yesterday and explain to her that she wasn't eligible for Medicaid and that her food stamps case had to be closed because she made too much money. She got angry and I had to transition into my detached mode. I know that she's not angry at me but I've learned that, if I don't realize that and take myself out of the situation, I will get mad right back at her. So I shut my emotions down until she gets calm. Then I turn my empathy back on and let her know that I'm very sorry, I offer her different options and wish her the best of luck. At the end of the call, she's still frustrated but she knows (or at least I think she does) that I had done everything I could to help her.

But there's also the fact that people in my profession become jaded. We see truly needy people and then we see people who wish to scam the system. And many times, it's very hard to tell the difference between the two; you think someone is hurting and then you find out they're lying to you. Happens more often than I'd like.

But I made a decision yesterday that I would not sink into the "government worker" mentality. It's going to be very difficult because of the massive caseload that I have, but it's a goal, one that I think it is worth it. I want to be like Little Miss MFA at my office, who, after 32 years working as an eligibility counselor still has tremendous rapport with her clients and has yet to be in a bad mood in the entire 8 months I have known her.

Sigh. I hope I can make it 5 years, let alone over 30. Can I retire now???

17 January 2010

Will I be watching the Golden Globes?

Probably not.

The Emmys?

I think I have something else planned.

Will I be watching the Oscars?

Meh. Maybe the red carpet part where the celebrities strut around in sparkly clothing. The actual awards show? Nah.

I remember a time - probably when Gwen Paltrow wore that bubblegum pink princess dress for whatever movie she won "Best Actress" back in the 90s - when I looked forward to the award show season. I even yearned to go to Sundance and Cannes.

Then again, back then, I watched television on a regular basis and movies were a major part of my life. Friends was still on NBC and the only reality show was the Real World (and already losing its popularity). Pop Up Video was on VH1, and the Disney Channel had actual Disney cartoons on them.

Ah, those were the days.

Now, I wait until TV shows or movies come out on DVD, rent the first disc from Blockbuster and decide if it needs to be part of my DVD/Blu-Ray collection. Lucky for me, my sister has connections at the local cinema, so I can often get into movies for free to see if they are worth my time. So most often, I don't know about a new movie until it is no longer in theaters.

And, as old fogey as this sounds, I don't even know most of the celebrities nowadays. Leighton Meester? Who the hell is she? Lauren Conrad? Why is she famous? Jason Segel? Yeah, I know who he is but I haven't seen any of his movies, so I can't comment on why people find him to be a good actor.

Maybe it's maturity that's set in, but I really don't have any desire to know anything about celebrities. I was listening to the radio yesterday and Ryan Seacrest (remind me again, why the hell is he famous in any way?) left this blind item: "What famous break up is in the news again?" I actually said this out loud: "I don't know. Haiti?" and put in my Halo: ODST soundtrack. I still have not lost sleep over this; nope, I have lost sleep over my new class, work and general unhappiness with my state of fitness.

Now, considering the reputation the Globes have for being less pretentious than the other ceremonies, I may actually tune in if nothing else is going on. I'm pretty sure I could be studying.

16 January 2010

Juju's Rules

I love the USA Network for many reasons; Burn Notice, In Plain Sight and Psych are incredibly fun, well-written shows and they have Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: CI and NCIS marathons. We're not talking five episodes back to back, like CSI: Miami on A&E (although that is a favorite way of mine to spend a Saturday night); this is a full weekend of police procedural drama.

Not only does this give me a change to stare at Stabler and Gibbs for hours on end, I also get to play solve-the-mystery. This, however, is a little less fun after you've seen probably every episode ever, but the prettiness on the screen never gets old.

Plus, I get little ideas for my own life. Take Jethro Gibb's list of rules for life. I think I will make up one for myself and start posting up in my room and office/cubie (and yes, I spelled it cubie - pronounced "kew-bee") but I only have a few to start:

1) Never watch reality television if it involves alcohol, dating, "love," roses, people trying to be famous for being famous, etc. This is based on review of the first show.
2) Exercise every day; it can help you clear your mind.
3) Write/draw/be artistic as often as possible.
4) Try not to procrastinate.
5) Take breaks from the internet.

It's not a bad compilation so far, but I've got a ways to go. I'm also allowing for amendments because fluidity is important.

Plus, I change my mind a lot, so anything set in stone is kind of daunting for me.

12 January 2010

Trepidation sets in .......

Yeah, so I start my A&P II class in two days. Two mother-effing days.

I'm pretty much terrified that this is all a waste of $640.00. Please, God, help me not fail this class.


04 January 2010

Vintage JuJu

Every once in a while, usually around the beginning or end of the year, I like to look through the old pictures of my family, partially for memory purposes - it's really nice to see my deceased grandmother looking healthy and happy - and also to laugh hysterically at some of the fashion faux pas from the earlier part of my life. Granted, the early parts of my life were in the 80s and early 90s, which were horrible eras for fashion (And why, for the love of GOD, is 80s back in? Did we not learn anything from the decade of big hair and neon????), so I have plenty of fun choices to mock.

Yesterday, I whipped out the old, crumbling tomes of days past. I couldn't help but think, "Oh, I was so cute! What the hell happened?"

But anyway, here are a few of the highlights:

(Now, I would have just posted the pictures here directly, but Blogger was being dumb and wouldn't let me. So you get a video instead. Whee.)

02 January 2010

So apparently my idea of starting the new decade is attempting to metaphorically kill myself.

First of all, if any of you follow me on Twitter or are my Facebook friends, you'll already know that I have signed up for Anatomy and Physiology II at Nashville State Community College (online, thank you JESUS) and that I might be adding probability and statistics to my academic regimen. Because I am insane.

Now, I don't think I was writing this blog when I was taking A&P I, but I'm pretty sure I can do a quick summary right here: it sucked; I made the worst grades I have ever made in my educational career, spent many fruitless hours studying and crying because I didn't want to fail, and somehow (there must have been a very generous curve) ended up with a B. Whew. Needless to say, I was not much fun to be around during those few months but it was a growing experience. 

I'm also trying to decide to which nursing schools I'm going to apply. I've narrowed it down to three schools: Belmont (they have an accelerated program), Vanderbilt (I would graduate with an MSN in two years) or MTSU (it's not as expensive as the other schools and I'm already accepted down there). I've almost completely settled on MTSU because, like I stated above, it's the most economical; I already understand the dynamics of that university because I went there before; Belmont has these annoying Bible class requirements; and Vandy is just really, really pricey. It isn't that I have a problem with Christianity-related classes, as I'm a Christian, but it just rubs me the wrong way, for some reason. And I also have issues with having an MSN (Master's of Science in Nursing, just in case) because I feel like you need experience do be able to have this degree. It would be like a third-year medical student, coming right out of his academic classes and heading straight into practice, with no supervision at all. I just don't like that idea.

Not only have I given myself the next four years (before I turn 30) to complete nursing school, I have also started hunkering down on the writing. You wouldn't think that writing for an hour a day would be that difficult, but it is. I have a lot of other things, which I will describe later, that I have to somehow fit into a 24 hour period, and my brain is constantly working on this collection of stories. Plus, it's become this sprawling, epic sort of thing, like all of my stories do. I can't just write a simple one-act play. Nope, it just turns into a George Lucas. Argh.

I'm also beginning my training for the 2011 Music City Half-Marathon. There is no way in hell that I can be ready for this year's run-til-you-drop. I'm starting off slowly, speed walking in my new ShapeUps (they totally WORK, by the way - just one day and you notice the difference) five times a week and weight-lifting four to five times a week. But this is kind of one of those must-do things, mainly to keep my sanity. It's my time for prayer and self-reflection; plus I get to watch "Friends."

Kind of using the spiritual aspect of the last paragraph to segue into this one, my sister and I made the decision to read the Bible the whole way through this year, starting yesterday. I read the first chapter of Genesis and I'm wondering if we're going the chapter-a-day route. I'll have to discuss this with her, since I'm kind of hoping we can read it in chunks. Stef, if you're reading this ... :)

And to top it all off, I'm also starting a new position at my office. A few weeks ago, I accepted the position of nursing home case worker at the Department of Human Services, thinking that it wouldn't really start until the middle of January. Well, as luck would have it, the woman who was going to be training me has resigned, so starting this coming Tuesday, I will be training. In addition to my reviewing my A&P I material, I'm going to have to be learning all of the policy for nursing home Medicaid. I mean, I'm thankful, don't get me wrong. It's my favorite demographic of people, but the policy is a lot to take in. I have to know a lot more about their financial situations, and my usage of acronyms is going to start taking effect. My supervisor has already given me the policy "handbook," which is ridiculously long and not very exciting. It's like reading the whaling information in Moby Dick; you know, the parts you skipped over so you could read about Captain Ahab going nuts? Except there are no parts like this in my handbook.

Sigh. I am going to have no life whatsoever. Looks like it's gonna be me and Zola kissing again at next year's NYE bash.

Yummy yummy tummy - nom nom nom

I inherited my father's sweet tooth, and I am really okay with that. It is one gene about which I am not constantly griping (i.e. lactose intolerance, near-sightedness, mouth ulcers, etc.). However, I have quite particular taste when it comes to that sort of thing, close to snobbishness. But I also inherited that from my father; he once told me, when I stated I preferred Pepsi over Coca Cola, that I "must not be American and therefore must also hate apple pie." I always thought Pepsi was also an American brand but I believed it would be best if I let my dad have his moment. Plus, he seemed oddly hostile for someone who doesn't even enjoy eating that much.

Anyway, I discovered this awesome website that will definitely be helping me along in my addiction to sweet things: Cupcake Bakeshop by Chocylit.

Next week is going to be the week of cupcakes, starting with Green Tea Cupcakes with lavendar/ginger icing. Again, yummy yummy yummy - nom nom nom.