Monday, May 30, 2011

Debt

It's something of an accomplishment when your bill was $1,162.95

and it's now $130.

And you get to pay that whole balance in a couple of days.

At that moment, I'll be the proud owner of my couch, TV, and dining set.

Moment of pride... Breathe in... breathe out...

Done.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blogworthiness

So yesterday was pretty cool...

I got up pretty early (because I went to bed really early) for a Saturday.

I made French toast for breakfast.

I got all my take-home grading done (and grades entered).

I got laundry done--including clean sheets!

I made a new Facebook page for my students only. This way they don't get to see all my pictures and personal status updates and whatnot. I thought it'd be a good way to keep in touch with them. So far I have 39 friends, and counting.

I went to Big! Lots and used my 20% discount that I earned on a new set of dishes. The ones I had were cute, but they're plastic, and so I kind of bowed my head in shame every time I went to feed someone.

So now I have real, heavy dishes. I still need two more of the small plates in red, and four of the bowls in black. But they have some on order, so I should be fine. And I'm keeping the plastic dishes for my future children's use. Extra dishes are good, right? I love red and black. I have red and black dish towels and a red kitchen rug too.

Then I went to RC Willey for a candle. I had like $16 left on a gift card and thought that would be the only thing I could get. But after picking out the candle, I wandered into the electronics and found an 8 MP webcam for $30. It takes good pictures! (I put the candle back.)


Then I went to Michael's, where I got some fake flower bouquets and floral tape for $4! I made these!





That's right, I did something crafty! Successfully, might I add. I even had to use a glue gun. Whoa. Yeah we'll see how long it takes my students to destroy them next year. But I used the really good BIC pens, so they can't complain at me anymore about how the pens don't work (when they could just use their own if only they'd BRING it!).

I went to PetCo to get some more fish food for Wallace. I don't think he cares. While we're talking about PetCo, can I just say how badly I want a warm blooded animal in my apartment? I really want to raise lovebirds again. They're just so loud, and it's such a hassle to have to find someone to take care of just my fish when I leave town. :( I feel like pets need to wait till I live in a more permanent situation.

I made barbecue Shake 'n Bake chicken last night, and corn on the cob. It was my first time making corn on the cob. It turned out quite deliciously, thanks for asking. 

In other news, school is out on Wednesday for 9th grade, Thursday for 7th, and Friday for 8th. I barely have any 7th and 8th graders so this week should be a breeze. Just last minute grading and whatnot (including journals that are getting turned in on Tuesday)... Yearbook signing, etc.

And I'm super stoked to sleep in tomorrow. That's all I got. Peace out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Laundry

It's really amazing how much I don't mind doing laundry.

It must be something to do with the fact that I have my own washer and dryer.

And something to do with the fact that I don't have to carry my laundry to do it anywhere else.

And perhaps it has something to do with the huge bulk box of Tide I got at Costco that will last me for several years.

And also something to do with loving the smell of clean sheets. Yeah.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vicissitudes

Really there are no notable changes in my life...

But I get to sleep in tomorrow (a Friday) and Monday! Four-day weekend. I love sleeping.

I also pre-ordered my copy of True Grit.

And I got a 3 for $20 deal at Blockbuster--Easy A, The King's Speech, and Secretariat.

I watched a good movie last night. Smart People. I enjoyed it immensely. 

I'm 343 pages away from finishing my book, which is freaking amazing. The book is, I mean. Also the fact that I'm almost done. I love thinking about and discussing complex ideas.

Which is why my 8-hour trip to St. George was great. In the car, I got to talk to two of my favorite people about some of my favorite ideas. And I got to see my sister and cute niece.

I got lots of grading done today. I was at work for 10 hours. It was a long one. And a rough week in general. 

Time for bed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flirtatious Teens and Money

Yesterday I had the "opportunity" to chaperone at a dance. I will receive a stipend for it, so whatever, ya know? I was standing off in the corner by the doors, preventing kids from leaving when some of my students spotted me.

One was the same kid who picked me up and spun me around on my birthday a few months ago. He likes to talk to me or find any reason to be near me. He stops by my room to say hi whenever he has a hall pass from another teacher. Anyway, he came over to me at least five times to just hang out with me. He tried to get me to dance. He put his arm around me, grabbed my arms to try to pull me out to dance, and all sorts of other awkwardness. Add on the fact that after grabbing my arm, he told me, "You're soft!" Wow. Only boyfriends are allowed to say that.

Then another student, who is a pain in the butt every day, came over to hang out with me. Then both boys stood on either side of me. This one made obnoxious, flirtatious, inappropriate comments. I can't even remember them now. But on his way out of the dance he said, "Bye Miss Balibrea. Bye Beautiful." And on his way into my classroom today, he said, "Hi, Cutie." Dude. Are you kidding me?

Ugh.

Last night I had the opportunity to attend institute for my ward where they were showing the first session of the Financial Peace University DVDs from Dave Ramsey. Man, it was so awesome. I'm extremely motivated now to put aside a little more every month. I think I'm going to take cash out every month to set aside for five months or so, so that I can start a CD account. Doing automatic transfer doesn't work for me because if ever one of my auto-pay charges is more than I plan on, the money comes right back out of my savings. It is so obnoxious. I'm done with that. PLUS, my RC Willey account will be paid off next month! I'm very excited about taking even more control financially. I even called my little brother (who's 13) to encourage him to put into action everything that I had learned in that one sitting. I ran all the numbers by him, and he was amazed. So anyway, I'm pretty excited to start this new financial chapter. The point of the first session is basically to "just start saving." So I'm going to start! I can handle that. I am looking forward to the other 12 DVD sessions in the weeks to come. I'm ready for this.

Today, one of my classes was pretty rotten. But after school, one of my students told me that, "I think out of all of my English classes, I've learned the most in yours." Even if I am the biggest wench ever sometimes, at least these kids are walking out knowing more than they did when they walked in. Right?

I used some coupons at Costco today that I'm pretty excited about. I always like using coupons. Shampoo/conditioner, foil, and a big box of Tide.

Then I came home and cleaned. I love having a clean apartment.

I'm going to hang out with my friend Audrey tonight, so that's going to be a fun change of pace.

And now I'm going to read more of my amazing book: Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Note to Self: Read in Job-Loathing Moments

Some kids are oblivious. Some are deaf. Some are obnoxious. Some are loud. Many are lazy. Most are ungrateful. Several are rude. Notice that all of these kinds of students are the ones who make my job difficult. They're the ones who stand out (as opposed to the on-task, focused, quiet, hard-working, grateful, conscientious ones). So they're the ones who affect me the most in terms of discouraging me and making me question my path of employment.

One student in particular is just mean. He has been this whole year. He just says mean things. He likes to blame his failing grades on me. Last week, when I said, "You guys are going to have to teach each other. Don't talk at the class! You think I'm boring? Wait till you teach each other!" This student called out, "You kind of ARE!"

Wow. Thanks. I let it roll off my back, and I didn't cry or get upset about it at all. But I do remember it. I will forever. Because I'm a blue.

I have always tried to be patient with this kid. I can tell by his attitude, his way of thinking, and his demeanor in general that he has a pretty rough life. There's always a reason behind people's actions. Plus, he is not stupid. He is lazy. It's hard for me to be patient with the clueless or oblivious ones. It's easier to be patient with the rough ones. Anyway, I really have never been mean or rude back to him. 

This student started saying last week that he is going to add me on Facebook. Lots of students try to do that. I ignore the requests. Even if it didn't put me in a completely inappropriate position with my students, why would I want to be friends with 14-year old kids? Why would I want them to know about any personal part of my life? No, thanks. I thought it was funny that this particular student would want to add me. So I started giving him a hard time.

"You can friend request me, but I won't accept it."

"Why not!?"

"Because. That's weird. And why would I want to be friends with someone who is mean to me? You don't even like me. Why would we be Facebook friends?"

I could tell he was bothered by what I said. Started getting defensive and feeling a little guilty...

After that class, I left my room to make copies and do some things. I came back and noticed a folded piece of notebook paper on my desk, which ordinarily I'd probably just toss in the trash. But I unfolded it.

It said (all errors included as he wrote them. Don't judge me.): "well i don't know how to say this so yah i am mean to you but why do you think i am i like you its weird but its not a bad thing i am sorry for being mean but i do it to get attention from you."

I couldn't help but laugh. I had lots of thoughts go through my head, like, "What does he mean? He has a crush on me? Well, this explains a lot! Oh, [insert name here]. Hm, weird. What the heck should I do in response to this?"

Really, it was just an epiphany for me. Knowing how hard this kid's life is and then having him admit that he seeks my attention made my reaction to it really positive, actually. For this student to let his guard down and leave me a note like that, I really had to acknowledge it! Because he obviously needs the positive attention; so to have his attempt rejected could be a vital error on my part for this kid's future. I had to take this note really seriously; I had to be sensitive to this step he had taken. 

I realized after that, that the toughest kids... The ones I think I'll never get through to, no matter how hard I try... The ones who are mean and unappreciative... The ones who I feel like I am wasting energy on... They might just be putting on a show.

If somehow, I've gotten through to this one kid, then how many others have I gotten through to? How many of those lives have I affected? Where have I made a difference? It's not like a majority of them will ever tell me.

When I think that some kids are just lost causes, or just brats who don't care... Or when I think that kids just hate me and my class... I need to remember that there might be that one tough kid who really has been listening to things I said. It's also a reminder to always be loving and patient; it might actually matter to that one kid who everyone else has given up on.

Thanks, student... For letting down your guard to remind me that what I do matters. And that how I treat people matters. And that the things I say matter... Even if it's just to one person.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Car Wash

I never wash my car.

Well, almost never.

Between the months of October and April (half the year. Thanks, Utah), I don't wash my car. Why drop even $6 to wash my car when it's going to get rained or snowed on anyway? What is the point of that?

So the weather's been nice the last couple days (almost 80 yesterday), and I decided yesterday that I would deep clean my car today.

I went and paid for the second best automatic wash. Then I vacuumed my car as thoroughly as I could. Some of the stuff is like permanently ingrained into the carpet because of snow and rain and stuff. Oh well. Maybe when I'm a rich guy I can pay for a car carpet shampooing.

I came home and dusted out the inside. 

I used glass cleaner on all the windows inside of my car.

I used Black Magic (like a polish/protectant) on the interior of my car. I even ripped out my center console and cleaned that very thoroughly.

Man, my car looks goooooood. And I'm excited. I want to go for a drive just to be in my clean car. And I want to give someone a ride somewhere, just so they can notice how clean it is.

But there's a 30% chance of rain here today, so I think I'll just do my lesson plans and go to the theater to see part one of Atlas Shrugged!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Expectations

I am a fairly satisfied person. I accept life as it is and don't usually expect things to be worse or hope for things to be better. I try to appreciate where I'm at, the blessings I have, and the people I love.

I am pretty independent. I don't mind doing things alone. I go to the theater alone. I get food alone (not to sit-down places... yet...). I do most things alone, really.

I fear that I am far too comfortable in my really selfish routine. I like doing whatever I want whenever I want to. I like not having added obstacles like children to factor in to my decisions. I like not considering too closely what I'm going to eat because I'm the only one to impress.

My life alone is what it is. I've been really satisfied with it for a long time. No one to put hope in. No one to expect things from. No one to keep me company, so loneliness is just not an issue because it's been the same for so long. And, of course, if I have none of these things, I have no one to let me down. No disappointments.

I think it's natural to hope that a relationship will add something positive to your life. It's like you've got everything you had before--everything good--but then you add someone awesome to do those things with. What could be better? Like the joy in it should double.

Except when things don't go how you hope... And when you thought things would be different, better than your life alone... But everything's the same as it was before. Then it becomes really, really upsetting. Because your life is the same solo routine, and it shouldn't be.

It makes my once satisfactory life feel really inadequate. 

It should be better than this.

Get Those Deals...

I love Big! Lots. I don't know how many times on my blog I've confessed this fact. But seriously. I really love Big! Lots.

My kitchen is red and black themed (even though I have a lot of white appliances, sadly)... So when I found a red bamboo bowl for my fruits/veggies, I was pretty excited. I paid $10 for it. But it's bamboo! and it's red! And I needed a legit bowl for that stuff, ya know?


*That there is the exact bowl that I purchased. When I went to find a picture of it, I found it here, where I learned that it costs $31. And how much did I pay? $10? Oh yeeaaaaah! Made me even more excited.

I'm big into hair removal, so I was pretty excited to get a Smooth Away kit for $2.50 where they are normally $10. I should probably just stock up, but anyway...

I got 30, count them THIRTY, Fiber One bars for $5. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Oh, and you know those Velveeta shells & cheese things? My old roommate used to live off those things. $1.40 a box. Don't worry about that cheap deliciousness.

I also may have splurged on some Emergency Chocolate Bars.

Because, let's be honest... Chocolate is always an emergency. And the packaging was just so dang cool. Rachel, I have a present for you, my dear. :)

I got a 3 pack of Pina Colada scented car fresheners which makes me really happy. Smells pretty good so far. But I really need to deep clean my car tomorrow.

Perhaps my favorite purchase today, though, after scouring shelf after shelf of bargain-priced DVDs... was this little ditty...


I LOVE About a Boy. Like, a lot. And I love Bridget Jones; she makes me laugh. And I've been meaning to give Love Actually another try (because so many other people love it, and I didn't). But um... 4 movies for $5? Widescreen, too. Can't beat that.

They had full seasons of Weeds for $6, but I didn't want to buy seasons two and three without season one, plus I haven't seen the show, so I'll wait on that I guess.

For reals, though? I love good deals. $5 for 30 Fiber One bars, $5 for 4 movies, $2.50 for Smooth Away, $3 for two Velveeta shells packages...

Plus, the weather today is AMAZING.

And I'm going to watch Unstoppable and Country Strong tonight. And maybe go see Atlas Shrugged Part 1 tomorrow. I'm halfway through the book, so I think I'll be OK without ruining the book for myself, right? 

Yeah, my life is awesome.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Imagination Machine

Earlier this week I wrote something unlike anything I've written before.

Mostly I consider myself to be good at communicating with words. I'm not very creative. I don't think of stories or characters. I don't daydream.

But I had the beginning of an autobiographical fiction piece in my head for a long time.

So I started it and went through a pretty quick process of fleshing it out and taking it in one direction. It was an exhilarating experience, really. Being in the middle of it and wondering what direction I should take it (since there were so many available to me) was really frustrating. And for those moments I actually felt like, "a writer."  I loved how frustrated I was!

It's by no means amazing. I always read things several months after I wrote them and realize, "Wow, that was a piece of crap." So, I'm sure it's even worse than I can acknowledge right now. The sweet boyfriend thinks I should submit it somewhere. :) Isn't that cute? I love having fans. Or I guess I should say I love having a... fan...

Anyway, it was a different and awesome writing experience for me.

In other different and awesome experiences, my skirt almost flew up today in this forsaken weather. But it didn't. But I imagined how funny it would be if that had happened. You have to laugh at that kind of thing...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Growth Time

So whenever I shower I shed a lot of hair from my head. Pretty normal.

But I get really sad when I lose a strand of longer length.

I think of it kind of like an old tree getting cut down: "Look how old it is! Look how long it's been growing!"

Yeah, I liken my long hair strands to old trees and am sad when either one is lost.

Weird? Probably.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Preserving Childhood

While I was in California for spring break, I went to the grocery store. I saw an employee who I recognized as a childhood friend who lived eight houses down from me.

I hesitated.

"Do I say hi?" I asked myself silently. "Would she recognize me?" "No, she wouldn't. Or if she did she'd be thinking how much weight you've gained."

And while those were my actual thoughts, the last one is not the reason I didn't say hello.

Something in me wanted to keep our childhood memories as they were. I didn't want the awkwardness of the one and a half minute catch up conversation. I didn't want her to see me now. I didn't want her to know that I saw her now. It would make all our last memories fade away.

So I said nothing. Was there any logic to my thinking?