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Monday, April 30, 2012

How to cook Mexican Food


How to master the art of cooking Mexican Food
Subtitle: How to convince your significant other that you are so skilled in cooking hispanic food that there is no need to buy any other even though the real reason is because that is takes you long enough to cook one thing that you can’t cook anything else.
Special Note: Today’s entry came to be by request. If you have a particular topic you would like me to cover, please feel free to let me know! 
Step 1: Motivate yourself to learn.  There are a wide variety of ways to do this. Remember my Mexican godmother?  Having something to eat at her house was motivation number one, because the only thing non-Mexican she had were “Devil Dogs”, these Hostess Cakes that my godfather hid in the fridge and threatened my god sister and I’s lives if we ate them. Which we did. Every single time.  And got in trouble. Every single time.  So, in order not to starve or get into trouble, I developed a taste for hispanic cuisine. Then, if you my fine readers will recall from my introduction, I had a crush on my first Spanish teacher.  In addition to not wanting to starve, I learned early that fun + hot men + Spanish = reason to act Mexican.  Ergo, must learn to cook Mexican food.  
Step 2: Find a good resource to help you learn how to cook Mexican food.  DO NOT take one of those stupid cooking classes at the mall.  They quite literally teach you to make Taco Bell level food at Nordstrom prices.  And the people that teach it are not of hispanic decent.  Because no one ever made a platter of mole with a basil garnish. EVER.  Don’t try that crap.  You are not Gordon Ramsey. I suggest asking at a hispanic restaurant or finding yourself a godmother from Mexico. That worked for me.  
Step 2A: Or a get book.   If you will recall a book is a collection of paper bound between two firmer pieces of paper with words in the middle.  You used them before the internet was invented.  Sometimes they have pictures too.  Those are helpful. You can get the things called books at places called libraries, which are large buildings full of books.  For free.  Yes, there is a place where you can go and get things to borrow for free. Amazing huh?
Step 3: Once you have your resource, you will need ingredients.  I caution you about going to the high end grocery stores.  Not that I have a problem with organic food, I don’t and have become a bit of a health wacko in my 30’s, but not only do the high end places cost more, but their food is not authentically hispanic.  If there is a latino market in your area, go there. Don’t be afraid, they are SUPER nice.  Even you go in there with your little library book they will walk all over the place with you and help you find every last ingredient. Granted, they might laugh that a white woman (in my case) is trying to play hispanic AFTER you leave the store, but rest assured they will be super nice while you are there.  IF there is no hispanic food store in your area, I recommend the latino aisle at Food Lion or Walmart.  They have an excellent selection at low prices! (See I need more readers, I could get paid for this kind of press... sigh)  
Step 4: Ingredients in bags, on counter and in fridge next you will need the proper supplies: Paella pan from Williams Sonoma, empanada shapers from Tupperware, a tortilla press from Bed, Bath and Beyond, mortar and pestle from Macy’s... are you writing this down? If you are engaged, you need to print this step and take it with you to register for gifts. I’ll wait while you hit print.  (Cute Mexican restaurant music plays..... Bri is dancing around the computer waiting for you to hit print....music changes to Pit Bull.....Bri begins to dance imagining dancing with Mr. Hot Canadian Pants Shanks....) What! Oh, sorry, I got a little caught up there for a moment.  You printed that list? I was joking about that.  Have you not caught onto my humor yet? All you really need is a wine glass and your normal kitchen stuff. Pour yourself a glass of Spanish wine and prepare to be amazed.  
Step 5: Cook.  Drink.  Cook. Drink. Cook. Drink. Dook. Crink. Dook. Crink.  Woah, woah there, slow down with the drink part amigo/a!!! I forgot to caution you in an earlier step that hispanic food is SPICY. If you don’t slow down on that Spanish wine things are going to go real bad, real fast, like significant other running to the bathroom like a Looney Toons character bad.  Place the glass over on the counter.  Step away from the glass.  That’s a good cocinero/a, bien, no te preocupes, Bri te arreglará....
Step 6: Now that your food is cooking and you are sobering up (Someone with better editing skills than I needs to go back up to like Step 3 and instruct you guys to brew some coffee; I apologize, I should have anticipated this happening) you need to multitask.  This is the reason by the way that in many hispanic families the women do the cooking, because we are better multitaskers.  You need to watch this food like I watch Michael Shanks on Twitter (thanks to my husband for that one - I have now upped the ante - twice in one post.  Shanks, if you ever read this, I am really kidding honey I hope you know...) while you begin to prepare your layout.  Hispanic food is MESSY and YUMMY so I recommend big, deep plates.  You will also need a bowl for chips and salsa, that is a given.  In fact, if you promise to go ahead and start nibbling the chips and salsa you may have that glass of wine back.  
Step 7:  Plate that shiznit.  I suggest, for presentation purposes only and to satisfy any urge you might have to be Rachel Ray, placing the main course in the center and the sides surrounding it.  Or, if you are married to a real man, like I am, once he smells something he’s going to be hovering over you like a starving jackal anyway, so you just slap whatever on the nearest dish and toss it onto the counter to get him the hell out of your work space.  Either way, at least try to get it onto a dish, if not for any other reason than to just have space for hot sauce.  Because no hispanic dish is complete without hot sauce.  
Step 8: Watch significant other carefully while they eat.  This is VITAL to making sure that you never have to cook another other cuisine again.  Make note of the things that he/she likes about the meal and if they do not like something make some BS excuse about the man at the mercado selling you the wrong thing.  They need to like this meal, a lot.  
Step 9: Oh CRAP!! You forgot dessert!! What, me? I told you this is an ADVICE column, not a how to book.  Oh, the title of the blog? Yeah, that, whatever.  Quick - here’s a little secret.  Fried Ice-Cream.  IT’S NOT MEXICAN! IT’S NOT ANYTHING!! Total BS. But, you can make it really quick.  Run to the freezer and get ice cream.  Scoop two quick little scoops into a bowl and cover with honey.  Let the honey soak all around and quickly fry a tortilla.  While that is frying, and don’t forget you need to flip it, drizzle either Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies over the honeyed ice cream.  I am not kidding.  Order it next time you eat at your favorite Mexican establishment, that is ALL IT IS!! Remove fried tortilla from frying pan, plate it and drop your ice cream/honey/breakfast cereal concoction onto the tortilla.  Shoot whipped cream on top.  Serve to spouse.  They will be amazed.  Hide cereal boxes.  
Step 10: You may now have your wine back if you have not already disregarded my instructions.  Relish in your success; you will be eating tacos for the rest of your natural life.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Vacation in Style


How to Vacation in Style
Subtitle: How to survive the Great Wolf Lodge with your sanity, body and wallet intact. 
Step 1: Go to their website. Familiarize yourself with the lodge and which location you would like to attend.  Make yourself a wish list.  Pick three rooms you would like and list them in this order. Here is the order I use while I am planning.
  1. Room I would book if I was were married to Michael Shanks (tee hee) 
  2. Room I would book if I just scored a good translation job. 
  3. Room I can really afford to book.  
Next, go onto the packages. Don’t read them.  Here is what you want to buy. IF you want lots of activities for the kids to do buy the Paws Pass.  IF you want them to take a lot of stuff home (and have a POOP load of arcade tokens) get the Wolf Pass.  PACKAGE CAUTION: The Wolf Pass includes a quest thingy that you have to either have this special wand in advance OR buy said $20 wand.  Ask them to exchange for arcade tokens; they will do it.  Now... DON’T BOOK ANYTHING ONLINE!!
Step 2: Call the phone number.  This will not be the first time I mention this, but the people that work for Great Wolf Lodge are the NICEST people ever. They seriously give those Chick-fil-a people a run for their money, and they are so nice you have to wonder if their guts are made of cotton candy and gum drops. Once on the line, explain to them why you are coming to the lodge.  EVERY last detail.  Everything.  Befriend them.  Now, for my northern readers this may be hard, but us southerners were born talking to complete strangers.  It’s in our DNA. We can’t buy groceries without inviting at LEAST one person in the line with us to dinner. Once you get on a nice first name basis with the booking agent, begin to talk about the first room on your wish list.  Believe it or not, you may actually get that room for the third room price (Sadly, Michael Shanks is not included). Depending on your flexibility and applicable sob story, you would be amazed what the phone agent can do that the website cannot. 
Step 3:  Go to the grocery store, the day before you leave.  This is IMPERATIVE.  While the fun at the lodge is ENDLESS the food is AWFUL.  AWFUL.  I mean, so very very bad. This is not because I am some health nut, although my husband claims that it is, but there is a limit to the amount of processed garbage that you can eat.  Every room has a fridge, so you will be just fine storing your items.  There are stores nearby, but like any good entrepreneur, the prices are higher due to the proximity of the resort.  So, don’t be lazy, bring your food with you.  You will thank me later. 
Step 4:  Arrive at the lodge right when you can check in.  Now you may arrive as early as 1 pm when check-in is at 4, but do not arrive at 1.  First, since people are checking out at 11 and then hanging around to swim a bit, they start getting tired by one and leaving in a mass exodus of wiped, waterlogged, clueless parents staggering with little Timmy running unsupervised into the parking lot.  And, without fail, your kid will be starving to death by 2 and begging for crap at the snack bar, which we have already discussed in step 3, and your food in five acres away in a cooler in the car.  Ok, so you may be thinking, I will just walk to the car, it’s no big deal.  Do that net thingy ONCE with your kid, just ONCE.  Then reconsider walking to the car for a snack.  
Step 5: Water park first.  Not only will the kids be chanting “We want to swim, we want to swim!” over and over like some crazy protesters on the White House lawn, but it will wear them the hell out.  Yes, you want to enjoy this vacation with your kids, but isn’t it also nice to have them pass out so you can talk to your spouse and enjoy some adult conversation. With adult words.  Words like pontificate.  That’s a nice word. I had forgotten about how great a word was.  I enjoy pontificating on the internet in abundance.  
Step 6: Step 6 will be a mini how to, because the water park itself requires its own survival guide.  Here is how it will go down.  
  1. You will enter heated water park.  For sun bums like me, it is fantastic.  For my husband (aka hot roommate), the resident yankee, it might as well be the Sahara desert.  Dress accordingly.  I have seen non-swimmers in there, in sweaters, complaining about the heat.  The sign says 84 degree year round.  If you cannot read that huge ass sign by the door you need not be here in the first place. 
  2. Next, do not take your own towels, they have towels there and it gives you less to keep up with.  Because your child will lose at least 5 things on this trip and the towel is something you don’t want to lose for future beach trips.  
  3. DO wear a cover up.  Please.  I understand what it is to be heavy, I used to be very heavy, and to be honest, this had nothing to do with being heavy and everything to do with people need to have a realistic understanding of what they should and should not wear.  Please.  Some people should not wear a two piece bathing suit.  And, to boot, put your boobs away. This is a kid’s theme park. If your boobs are hanging out I am assuming you want preteens to archive you for future reference.  That is NASTY and WRONG.  
  4. Do the central area first. This is because once you and your kids see the water you will quickly forget how old you are and go dashing up the net with them. Yes, the net.  There are stairs leading to the water slides as well, stairs I did not discover until visit number 2, but your kid will act as if they do not exist and beg you to climb the net. Do it.  Because depending on your fitness level, you will get up that net a max of ten times and you will be done for the entire trip.  I run 7 miles easy now and after about time number 8, I was officially finished.  
  5. Move onto the larger slides.  This also requires a hike, up nearly three stories of stairs. Carrying a float.  While your kids run ahead. And call you slow.  What in the hell!?!? I run at least 3 miles a day and some stairs are killing me!?! PLEASE SLOW DOWN KIDS!! I’M DROPPING THE FLOAT!!
  6. Now, if you have played your cards right, your children will be tired and just want to chill in the pools. This gives you a chance to decompress for a while and allow them to finish the wearing down process. 
Step 7:  Dinner time! Now, if you did not buy sandwich supplies at grocery store or your kids are claiming that a sandwich will not satisfy their massive hunger, there IS a Pizza Hut Express in the Lodge.  It is the BEST deal on food there and it is GOOD. Seriously. Plus, the Pizza Hut guys are super funny and will joke around with you while you wait. Nice and amusing.  And cute too (make sure hubby is not reading this step...) :-) 
Step 8: Bedtime.  Your kids will be tired, but they will not want to go to sleep.  They will fight you.  Start by making them shower BEFORE going to bed, because, really, chlorine or not, it is public water.  NASTY! Super nasty.  Like every bad film strip you watched in health class in high school nasty.  Remember, children pee in pools.  Even good children.  Even your children.  Watch, at least once you will see an oops face that a little has escaped.  Throw those little boogers under the hottest water they can tolerate and take to them with Brillo pads.  The fit they will throw to avoid getting in this water will take the last of it out of them.  Place children into beds.
Step 9: What about the rest of the stuff? That my friends is for day two.  If you stay an entire weekend, which we have not done yet, fine, hop from thing to thing.  But if you just do overnight, do all of the arcade crap when it opens the next morning.  Your kids will be the first ones there and you can avoid and snotty noses and hardcore teens cursing at the zombie shooting machine.  Or the odd adults that are playing the video games like they are competing for some sort of championship or million dollar prize. Unless you want to stare and make fun of those people. Dude, you’re getting all worked up over an arcade game at a place with pink and purple black lights and Jonas brothers music.  That makes you look cool. Sure. 
Step 10: Leave.  This is it’s own step because one of two things are going to happen.  Either your kids, out of tokens from the arcade, out of bowling passes, stuffed with crap food that in step 3 I told you not to buy but you did anyway thinking I was just being cheap but you now realize as you run to the bathroom for the fifth time that I was right, decide that they are finished OR they will throw a damn fit.  If the first is the case, go ahead and head out, checking out and maybe even taking them to the water park again before you leave.  If the latter is the case, you need to resort the either bribery of threats.  Promise to go someone else one the way home (bribery) or if you parent like me, tell them if they throw the fit now “We will never come back here, ever, even if it was your final wish, and you will never go to a water park, anywhere, ever for as long as you both live.”  My kids know I am mean, so usually by the word never they have backpacks on and are heading for the door.  
Step 11: I know - I never do a Step 11.  But we need this, right? A little personal reward for surviving this. Two words.  Spanish Wine.  (Betcha thought I was going to say Michael Shanks :-) ... Dude, if I figure out how to get that man to be my personal reward, I will NEVER SHARE - sorry. ) 

Monday, April 23, 2012

How to Write a Paper


How to Write a Paper
Subtitle: I am your Spanish teacher, your SPANISH teacher, why am I showing you this?!!?
Step 1: Write a paper.  A really bad paper.  Add in lot of quotes and other things from that sample packet the librarian gave you that really taught you nothing other than plagiarism is akin to selling your soul to Lucifer or drowning a puppy. Use ‘I’ a lot in your paper and tell your audience about every opinion you have on the topic in the first person with no support. Proudly turn it in.  
Step 2: Get paper back.  Your teacher/instructor/professor has most likely bled all over it, unless you go to one of those stupid schools where everyone gets a trophy and red pens are not allowed because they might hurt your little feelings.  In which case, before moving onto step three please get a red pen out, break it in half and pour over your paper.  And suck it up!
Step 3:  At this point in time you are ready to listen.  First, you need to understand what a paper is.  A paper is an argument.  You’ve had one of those, haven’t you? When your husband left the trash in kitchen and the cat tore it open? When your best friend looked at your man? (Which this should not bother you - please see my entry on man-neediness) When that moron that had been tailgating you for miles finally rammed into your bumper and is now acting like you stopped and got hit on purpose? That is what a paper is a fight, just one with smart words and no swearing.  Unless you are clever, then you can work those bad boys in all over the place.  But that takes mad skills. You are not there yet my young Padawan.  
Step 4: Figure out what you are going to write about.  Make it provocative. Make it risk- kay.  You gotta get your blood boiling to write well. You will notice that my funnier blogs are when something drives me bat-crap crazy or is something I am passionate about (Like my love for Michael Shanks - you didn’t think I’d get him in this one, did you? Well, that will teach you to underestimate my true obsessive nature.).  This may not help you in all essays, but try.  Because even ‘Compare and Contrast the Hundred Years War to the War of the Roses” can be interesting if you keep in mind that the royal families of France and England alone did more disgusting crap than every soap that has ever aired on TV. 
Step 5: Research. Not on Wikipedia.  Do you know WHY you do not research on Wikipedia? Because Wikipedia is what smart people do when they are drunk. I am not kidding; nerds get blitzed in small groups watching “Game of Thrones” and change Wikipedia.  I know this to be FACT.  You think I am kidding? Try it sometime. But if you are not nerdy, they catch on pretty fast, so you must be clever and master writing, much in the way you did to include swear words in your paper, to make those changes stick.  (My hubby just asked “Wikipedia has administrators?” to which I replied, “Yes honey, Wikipedia has an entire crew of readers that try to protect lazy high school students from drunk nerds.” ) 
Step 6: Write.  Now, this can be hard, so I will put it in everyday terms.  Please excuse the course language, but as they say, that’s how dem kids speak.  
Introduction: SCARY FACT OR QUOTE.  That’s scary huh? Well, bee-achesz, if you don’t do X,Y, Z shiznit’s about to get real scary.  (That was your thesis. A thesis says here are 2-5 reasons I am going to win this argument buttface, here they come) 
Paragraph One: I am right about X.  Here is some crap that some smart people said that agree with me.  See, I am right.  You are stupid.  Now I am going to talk about thing number two. And not Dr. Seuss thing number two.  
Paragraph Two: Y is also true. I am a genius.  And remember this guy from paragraph 1, yeah him? also a genius? On page (insert page ## here) he agreed with me too. In YO face! You think that’s all I got? Buckle up bitchez....
Paragraph Three: And as if you did not think I was the next coming of Christ, here is Z.  Yes!! Z!!! And because of this book and that book and this scholarly journal.  That’s right cuz, I whupped out the scholarly journal on you!! Do you know what those are? I thought not! And they more than PROVE I’ve got this. 
Conclusion: So, basically, if you ain’t figured it out by now, I’m right. I mean really if X,Y and Z didn’t do it for you, well, you’re hopeless.  So, here’s another quote or something that since you didn’t understand the rest of the reason that I am a god that you won’t understand but it makes me sound all smart like.  Oh yeah, and the end.  
See, not so bad right? 
Step 7: Revise.  Please, get a friend that is smarter than you to do this. Or at least better educated/knowledgeable of current rules regarding paper writing. We all have those people in our lives that, well, you know, just aren’t.  Don’t let them see your paper. They may make comments like “Well, you sounded like you didn’t feel it,” or, better yet, “I didn’t see your opinion in there, you know ‘I’ think.”  Little do these people know that there is a secret little committee of dwarves that live deep underneath the bowels of Harvard University that determine what is correct in paper writing today.  These dwarves are thousands of years old and probably whupped out some clausal errors on Moses.  They like to change the rules.  What your mom wrote for a paper in school in her day will not cut it, because as soon as those dwarves get bored or someone smuggles them in a bag of Skittles, BOOM! they change all of these rules! FOR NO GOOD REASON! Make sure your proof reader knows these rules and/or has an established relationship with said dwarves.  
Step 8:  Turn that bad boy in.  Yeah, waltz yourself right up to the desk (even do this virtually if you are turning in the paper online, walk about 5 feet away and sashay your self over to the computer and dramatically click submit.) 
Step 9: Pray, meditate, contemplate, send positive vibes or whatever you do to ask a higher power to help you out.  Paper writing is subjective and sometimes the mood of your teacher can determine your grade.  You may have written the greatest masterpiece of all time but your prof just got dumped by his live in girlfriend and you get an F (True story people - happened to me - took a LOT of butt kissing to salvage that one). So, if you have followed all of my steps above, you should be ok, in theory, Provided no one as slipped any dwarves sugary treats.  In that case, dude, you’re on your own...
Step 10: Get paper back.  Earn an A.  Graduate with honors. Remember that quirky little blogger that helped get you there. Because she had two kids to put through college.  And became a teacher.  You know where this is leading, hopefully :-) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to be an Independent Woman


**Warning - some items in the blog may be offensive. Please remember, my purpose is comedy **

Carry on...

How to Be an Independent Woman
Subtitle: Sorry boys, but I need to talk about man-neediness
Step 1:  Get a mirror.  This in an important exercise in self recognition.  You need to know who you are dealing with before we begin.  Now, mirror in place, look deep into your own reflection and repeat the following mantras.  There are three on them, don’t skip any and do not skip ahead.  
Mantra 1: I am NOT Angelina Jolie. (Unless of course Angie if you are reading this in which case you are a goddess). This mantra is to bring you back to reality.  Angelina is PAID to look that good.  This does not mean that you are not beautiful, but you do not have a team of make-up people that make you look like that.  Accept reality. You may stop repeating this mantra once you accept reality. 
Mantra 2: I am NOT Freddy Krueger. Honey you are NOT ugly.  You are not Angie, but you are NOT ugly.  You deserve nice things and a nice life and a nice person.  You are beautiful inside and out.  Repeat until you clue the hell in.  
Mantra 3: I do not need a man. I do not need a man.  I do not need a man.  (Keep on going - this one may take a while) 
Step 2: Now that we have spent our time at the mirror, we need to discuss what exactly “man neediness” is.  By definition, “man neediness” is when every freakin waking thought is about a man in your life, a man that was in your life, wanting a man in your life, man, man, man, boo, hoo, woe is me, are we meant to be, do you think we will last, whine, cry, complain to the point that NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT ANYMORE.  
Is this you? Then, by all means, please keep reading. If this is not you, keep reading anyway, you might be amused. 
Step 3:  Determine why you feel that you need this man.  I have constructed this handy chart to help you.  

Reason you think you need a man
Real reason you have this issue
Non-man alternative
He makes me happy. 
I cannot occupy myself. 
Get a puppy. 
He does things for me.
I am lazy.
Get off of your butt and learn to change a tire.  It is really not that difficult. 
He makes me feel pretty.
I think that chicks in magazines are not airbrushed and have not spent twice my annual salary on cosmetic surgery. 
Book a boudoir photo session.  Pay to have someone take sexy pics of you. Put them on Facebook every freaking day so people will tell you how pretty you are since you apparently need to hear that every freaking day. 
I am supposed to be married by now.  
You watched too much TV as a child. 
Stop watching TV.  That is not real.  You are not supposed to do anything in life but pay taxes and die.  
Other people think I am pathetic.
Your daddy did not pay enough attention to you.  
Go to old folks home. Find a daddy. You may not marry him. 
This is a PG blog
This is a PG blog
Step 4: You do not need a man.  
Step 5: The Notebook, Sleepless in Seattle, Sweet Home Alabama (forgive this list I DO NOT watch these kinds of films, unless Michael Shanks does them, which he does not, so we are fine, see, I even managed to fit him into a blog about man neediness without discounting my own undying adoration for him. :-) ) Wait? Where was I? (Damn distracting Michael Shanks) Oh yeah, romance movies are not real. NOT real.  Men are men. They just are. Most of my friends are men.  They are not acting; that’s just the way they are.  Accept it and move on.  And stop watching those damn movies.  Science Fiction is much better. Start with Battlestar Galactica. It is like SciFi with a touch of romance. Might make a nice transition. 
Step 6: You do not need a man. Do not go into that bar.  Trust me, the man of your dreams is NOT there. Or on Craigslist.  Or an old boyfriend of Facebook.  Or on Twitter (Well mine is; but we are both taken). You do not need a man.
Step 7: Find SOMETHING else to do!! Anything! Because, really, if you have so much time to spend on whining about a man, I have got PLENTY you can do: laundry, dishes, child-rearing, homeschooling, pet-feeding, bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, grading, grading, grading, did I mention grading, to even worry about the man that I have! If you have nothing else to do then you really have got to find a hobby or something.  I can make some suggestions.
Step 8: You do not need a man.  Stop asking me what I think about your man or lack thereof. I am super close to telling you. 
Step 9: A man will not make you happy. They do not care about your feelings. If you are unhappy in the first place you will just be unhappy with another person on the other side of the couch.  Find what makes you happy, because it is NOT a man.  Try that puppy.  Spanish wine. Cheesecake.  Martial Arts (then you can beat a man). Just NOT A MAN.  Not even a hot celeb on Twitter.  
Step 10: Fill in the blanks. Please.  For the love of all things holy and sacred if you cannot fill in the blanks at this point just go back to step one.  
        You do ________ need _____ ___________!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Land a Dream Job


How to Land a Dream Job
Subtitle: How to Stay in School Forever, Get Summers Off and Harass Children for the Rest of Your Life
Step 1: Start Early. The key to having a successful career in teaching is to plan ahead. Way ahead.  At age three begin lecturing to your stuffed animals. At age seven start a ghost club in which you declare yourself president and spend the first fifteen minutes of each meeting educating the group on local ghost phenomenon.  At age twelve make sure to answer those stupid interest inventories that you take in middle school in such a way that the outcome is always: teacher. 
Step 1A: While you are at it, do well in school.  Seriously, this is not a speech for a PSA, but you need to think of it like this:  In life, we have crap we don’t want to do.  We have crap we DO want to do.  For example, I like to run and write. I don’t like to grade papers (By the way, if a teacher ever says they do they either have issues or are totally lying) Sooo.... I grade papers first, get it over with so I can spend the rest of my day running or writing (or dreaming about Daniel Jackson/Michael Shanks.  I am seriously challenging myself to mention him at least once a post now for my own personal amusement). The life path can look something like this:
Do well in elementary school → Cool trophies and your mommy and daddy love you → Wanting to do well in middle school so they will let you go to a dance with a boy → Realizing that when boys like you they buy you things so decide to play this out → Getting your first bad grade and crap no more boys unless grades come up so back to good grades → Hating school → Wait, if I do really good they let you skip grades and get out of here → And colleges like me better and give me money → Wait, I can skip grades here too and save money and be in hot roomate’s grade and take classes with him... Well, we all know where that led right? If not, see Entry #1.  
Step 2: (Yes, it took that long to get to step 2) Start working with children at a young age.  It is vital to becoming a teacher that you master two very important things very early: A) The Look and B) The Guilt.  By getting a job as a babysitter, camp counselor or life guard, you will find that the look and the guilt will magically become a part of your overall composition as a person.  This is also quite effective when you become a parent. Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to explore these two critical skills.  
  1. The Look - The look is just what is sounds like, a look.  However, it is a cold, emotionless look that would make Darth Vader pee his little breathing suit or would make the Eye of Sauron look away.  It does not include a wicked smile or a horrifying frown, it is quite simply a look with no expression.  You may cut your eyes with this look, but not heavily. The key is to look at the person, or large group of children, with a look so utterly empty they are confused in terror.  Try it on your cat.  If you can get your cat to get off its fat butt and leave your bed with just the look, you’ve got it.  
  2. )The Guilt - The guilt is a bit harder to master as it takes a combination of the look, a superior vocabulary and a good temperament.  The guilt is used when you look at a room full of screaming children, give them the look, maybe with a touch of sorrow and say something like “I had really hoped you guys would enjoy this activity...” IF you have established yourself as the authority figure and as an overall nice person this will CRUSH them.  And then they drop to silence.  Or they may cry.  Crying is good.  
Step 3: Do NOT major in Education.  Now, this little tidbit is serious.  Yes, majoring in Education seems like what you should do, but trust me, NCLB (No Child Left Behind) is not going anywhere folks.  And there is a nice little clause in that that discusses “Highly Qualified” teachers.  That is Education speak for “if you were too lazy to major in Math we are not going to let you teach it moron.” Which is good, because I am fairly certain that some of my teachers in high school knew more about football then whatever they were “teaching” us (by teaching I mean slapped up an overhead while they watched the game in the teacher’s lounge). 
Step 4: Come up with a good reason you want to be a teacher.  I’m not talking about the reasons I have listed above (although trust me, harassing children is SOOOOO much fun); you need something really good for the interview because a lot of people are intrigued by the summers off thing so there will be some stiff competition.  Here are some suggestions of things you may say to an interviewer and will still be telling the truth: 
  1. I really feel a desire to help mold the children since they are essentially our future (What you really mean is : I am so tired of dealing with idiots that if I make sure one of these fools can at least signal before changing lanes the world might be a better place)
  2. I feel a connection with children and I feel I can use that connection to share my knowledge. (Translation: No one will play X-box with me anymore so I need to make some new friends) 
  3. I feel that school is a sanctuary (which I spelled wrong like 5 times - you would think being an Amanda Tapping fan I could spell that word...) for many students and I want to be that person to guide them. (Or really: I was the youngest in my family and I was tormented.  Time for some pay it forward...) 
Step 5: Harry Wong.  And if a certain friend of mine is reading this, I will take a moment for you to stop laughing and compose yourself.  (Jeopardy music....) Finished? Really? Still laughing? Come on.... Thank you.  As I was saying, here is the part of my blog where I shamelessly plug a book that I will get nothing for plugging, but here it is: The First Days of School. In fact, here is the link to it from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Days-School-Effective/dp/0962936022 . DO EVERYTHING THIS BOOK SAYS.  Now, after your first year you will NEVER have to do it all again, but you will figure out really quick what works, what doesn’t and it will help you master THE LOOK and THE GUILT while you try.  
Step 6: Know when the last day of school is. Remember those chains of construction paper rings your mom made when you were a kid to count down to Christmas.  Make one.  It will be about 180 rings long.  Rip off a ring everyday.  Color code by month if you need to.  Make sure to even rip off that last ring the very last day before summer break.  
Step 7: Go get a margarita.  If you make if through your first year teaching without killing a child, getting gray hair or an ulcer, you deserve more than the Spanish wine you should have been using every Friday to just recover from the week. You deserve a margarita.  Top shelf :-) 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

How to Attend a Grand Opening


How to Attend a Grand Opening
Subtitle: How to Convince Your Spouse to Attend a Grand Opening in Such a Way that He/She Actually Agrees to Attend another in the Future.  
Step 1: Select your Grand Opening.  There are some very important things to consider when selecting a grand opening.  You must make sure the place you want to go to is really worth it.  For example, the Grand Opening of a Target, not so much, unless they have a cafe and are giving out free popcorn. Grand Opening of a Whole Foods on the other hand will result in a gourmet meal that you can never really afford in real life but that alone makes it worth it.  Pick and choose carefully; spouses (usually husbands) may not remember an anniversary, but they will remember when you made them stand in line for hours just to get a 10% off coupon...
Step 2:  Prep your spouse for said opening.  You need a REALLY good reason to attend.  Here is how my conversation went to attend the relaunch of the Williamsburg Pottery: 
Me: “Honey.... I love you. I want to ask you something..”
Husband: “No, you are not going to Germany to meet Michael Shanks.” 
Me: “Really? THAT is what you think I am asking; and yet I am the one obsessed?” (See how I have set the expectation so high that an easy favor is a GUARANTEE!?!?
Husband: “Fine, spit it out.  What’s the favor?” 
Me: “ Can I put large concrete lions out by the entrance to the driveway?” 
Husband: “Are you sure that’s all you want? Just lions?” 
Me: “Yep.” 
Husband: “Ok, I don’t care about some concrete lions.” (Please so do not think I have given up on meeting Mr. Hot Canadian Pants; but I am starting small
Me: “Well, it just so happens that they have concrete lions at the Pottery.” (There my friends in the set-up) 
Step 3:  Mask opening in the guise of a larger trip.  IF you make it seem like the openings just HAPPENS to coincide with your regular shopping and/or regular project needs, then your significant other thinks that you are just trying to consolidate shopping and get them home faster. They will always forget that last time that is NOT what happened and the ‘prepping’ from Step 3 insures that any remaining memory of the last time you pulled this has faded away.  
Step 4:  Attend opening and point out every last insane person and thing you can.  That way, your spouse believes that this is one giant opportunity for a comedy tour and is amused by the people there rather than annoyed by them.  Let’s use some examples from my Pottery opening this week. Here are some things I witnessed that even with a few glasses of Spanish wine in me still make NO good sense.  I think we can probably generalize them; shall we? 
  1. Old people will fight over geraniums.  Seriously. Apparently the local paper advertised them at some insanely cheap price and as soon as the doors opened every person with gray hair standing outside was fighting over ONE pallet of geraniums.  The irony in this was that not 10 feet away were about 5 or 6 MORE pallets of geraniums.  Husband took a picture and put it on Facebook pointing out the hilarity. Points in my favor.  
  2. People will knock you over to try Virginia wine. Granted I LOVE me some wine, especially Virginia wine, but I had a woman almost knock me over, rudely ask the nice man what it was, cut him off mid-way through his explanation, chug it down and not buy a bottle.  The man will look at you sadly and be happy that you are actually listening to his speech.  My advice: buy wine from this poor man; you are the one sane soul he is pouring for all day.  
  3. Weird people in sweatshirts and shorts, in 40 degree F weather, will dash in front of you to get in front of the news camera to discuss the amazing experience that they are having at the grand opening while they are buying ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN NOTHING.  Because you know, the deals are SO GREAT that I am not spending one DARN dime! 
  4. On a note having nothing to do with Grand Openings and EVERYTHING to do with common sense, when standing outside, in the cold, and rain, talking to your friend about how cold it is, as you pick up your baby, who is in SHORTS and no coat, take the time just for a second to realize that your kid is probably cold too. Also, if you dye your hair a funky color, which I am all for( my daughter has pink hair), please touch it up once in a while. Because when you don’t it just looks, well, TRIFLIN’ (If you do not know this word it is southern and it the one of the best adjectives in existence - learn it). 
  5. On another side note, can someone explain to me why a CRAZY number of non-English speaking Japanese in Kimonos and other traditional Japanese garb are here attending the Grand Opening of a store specializing in discount garden supplies!?! That are not even remotely Asian looking? (Please see my next note on beaches) 
  6. While we are on side notes, why is everything here beach themed? Granted, we are an hour from the beach itself, but Williamsburg is NOT a beach; it is known for its ties to Colonial History yet that section is 1/10 of the size of the beach section.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have a problem with beaches, I just don’t want to live on one.  Unless of course it is the island of Crete with Daniel Jackson.  (Please note I did not say Michael Shanks :-).  He would not have access to hockey coverage on Crete and I don’t think that would fly too well. Or fly well with his wife.  Or my husband.  But a woman can dream, can’t she?) 
Step 5: Include your spouse on in on the writing of the blog documenting your adventures in Grand Opening land so that he/she will agree it is too funny to miss another and you can begin to find the next you plan to attend.  After all, after a few of these, buying you a ticket to Germany doesn’t really seem like that much of a big deal, right...?
(Bri walking away and putting iPod back into purse, trying to really shop at Pottery.... and pauses) 
OMG - THERE ARE MORE GERANIUMS.
And NO concrete lions...
Crap!!!!!!! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Have a Good Day


How to Have a Good Day
Subtitle: I can’t fix Mondays but for all of those who have high hopes for the rest of the week
Step 1: Have a morning ritual.  Mine goes something like this: Turkey starts gobbling loudly.  I open window and scream at turkey.  Get back into bed.  Cat decides she needs love right now.  Throw cat onto floor.  Girl child enters bedroom babbling in that strange New Jersey/Southern accent that she has that I cannot understand before coffee. Pull covers over head.  Boy child goes down hall declaring he can cook waffles all by himself.  Dash out of bed to prevent a house fire.  
Step 2:  Coffee. Lots of it.  And not purchased coffee, because when you make it at home yourself you can make it stronger. A lot stronger.  So strong that as soon as you sip while your children are dancing all around you, the turkey is gobbling, the cat is going insane, your husband is trying to plan the entire rest of the week out loud and your phone is ringing, you get a Marvel comics worthy burst of energy and can handle it all.  You scream “GO AWAY” and they all flee.  Start with the waffles first. 
Step 3: Have a morning happy thought.  Personally, I follow a few smart mouthed celebs on Twitter who always have something funny to say anytime of the day.  I laugh at their silliness as I drink my coffee while the children are quietly stuffing their faces.  IF said celebs or a certain hot Stargate character have NOT posted anything clever in the a.m. I go to YouTube and search “Pam True Blood Funny Moments.”  Seriously, there is nothing in life that watching Pam rant cannot fix.  
Step 4: Laugh at your work day. Trust me, even if you think you have the most perfect job in the world at least once a day something stupid will happen.  If this is REALLY not the case, consider a career change.  I recommend teaching. I have never had so much fun in my life as being a teacher. (I will be instructing you on how to become a teacher at a later date). Kids are hysterical and when they do stupid things you can forgive them because they are kids.  Here is just a sampling of things that go on in my day: 
  1. Student calls me on phone.  Student: “Sra., my phone is not working?” Me: “Then sweetie, what are you calling me on?” Student: “Oh, I guess it’s working again.”  
  2. Instant Message from student: Spanish Student: “Sra., do we do the project in Spanish?” Me: “No, I think in this one we should practice our German skills.” Student: “Ok” Me: “You know that was a joke right?” Student: “Oh, ok, I was worried, ha ha.” 
  3. Student emails me: Student: “Happy Birthday Señora. We love you!” Me: “I love you guys too, but it is not my birthday.” Student: “I know. But I was hoping you would be so happy about this email you would give me that point I need for a B.” 
  4. Student messages me: Student: “I don’t think the system saved my grade.” Me: “Oops, it didn’t, fixing it now.” Student: “Good.  I want all A’s. Kids with all A’s get a giant trophy.” 
Step 4A: Have a friend you can text/email/call/tweet immediatly to share these insane things with. It makes it that much funnier when you get to laugh at their response a second time. The best part is when they message you back informing you that they just spit coffee on their students laughing at what yours did. Which brings me too....
Step 5: Make sure to be friends with at least one family member. Trust me, they are the only people in your life genetically engineered to be as screwed up as you are.  I have sent things to non-blood related friends and they are like, uh, ok Bri, haha. Send it to my cousin and I can feel her laughing from the other side of the screen.  
Step 6: Get excited about the small things.  Like $8 Groupon for those expensive gourmet cupcakes at your favorite shop.  Buy Groupon excited that not only are they half price but you have loyalty bucks so they are free. Then realize you live so far out in the country that the $8 you saved will be eaten up in freakin gas.  Go back to pondering purchase of electric car on bucket list.  
Step 7: Exercise.  I don’t care what you do, although we know how I feel about running.  But get up and move for at least 30 minutes and have a fantasy world to escape into.  I like to pretend I am my alternate super heroine self training to make myself physically ready to save the galaxy.... (Did I just admit that out loud.... oops!). 
Step 8: Spanish wine and bad TV.  At this point as my reader if you have not gotten Spanish wine you will be missing out on many steps in this happiness process.  Not good TV, those are for days that are going to be good, but bad TV. TV that you can laugh at.  With the correct Spanish wine, any TV can be hilarious.  Case in point: Golf.  With the proper wine enduring my husband watching men tap tiny little balls into tiny little holes with tiny little sticks in stupid outfits is HILARIOUS! 
Step 9: Read before bed.  Something to relax you or to get that little fantasy factory in your head going so your dreams are so sweet that when that turkey starts gobbling at the crack of dawn, you have a good reason to yell at him.  I always do...