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Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Raise Kids

How to Raise your Kids
Subtitle: Because, as a teacher, I’m kinda sick of doing it for you. And as a parent, I feel the need to share this with others. 
Step 1:  To have to not to have? Ok, let’s preface this entire entry with the most important question of all, Should I have children?  Now, before you answer this question, let me throw out a few things for you.  First, they will destroy your body/wife’s body, in ways that only plastic surgery can correct.  Second, you will not sleep for 18+ years. Third, these boogers cost roughly the amount of four Lambourgini’s just to get them to age 16. Fourth, you will forever be saying “I need to see if I can get a sitter.”  Does this all still sound appealing to you??? You sure?? Don’t do this because Grandma Doris wants to see more little ones before she dies, that’s a bad choice.  
Step 2: Make sure you are stable.  By stable, I don’t mean money wise, because as I have mentioned above, they cost more than you can imagine.  You will NEVER be ready for them financially, so just give up that piece of TV talk show advice.  By stable I mean sane.  Don’t wanna waste time here with an explanation.  Here’s a quiz:  See what that says.  (By the way, if you were like, uh, is she serious, a stupid internet quiz and skipped over it, congrats, you are sane.  Proceed breeding.  If not, come back in a few years)
Step 3: Getting pregnant.  Now, I shouldn't need a step to explain how this happens, but if you really need to know I recommend this book, given to Hot Roommate and I by Awesome MIL to share with the kids: .  I would like to add that I, personally, at 31 years old am NOT mature enough to read this myself, much less to my kids, but if you are an adult looking for how this all works, it might be helpful.  It’s very detailed.....down to the tickle....
Step 4:  It starts with the bump.  No, literally, it does.  In fact, while you are pregnant every single freaking thing you eat, drink, or listen to can apparently effect your child.  And, to make matters worse your doctor will give you the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting and everyone will tell you it is the Bible of being pregnant but the truth of the matter is that it will SCARE THE HELL out of you!! Don’t read it!! Just don’t smoke, drink or eat junk food for 9 months.  You’ll live, trust me.  
Step 5:  Parenting a baby.  This is the really fun part because magically every person in a thousand mile radius all of a sudden is an expert on babies.  They want to tell you how to feed them and when, how and where they should sleep, whether or not you should hold them when they cry.  Lemme help you out here, with, of course, a chart.  

Baby Problem
Baby cries
Feed it - and it does not matter if you go boob or not.  The FDA would not approve formula if it killed your child, ok?
You want to sleep.
Baby cries
Change it - Do you like wallowing in your own poop? I didn’t think so. 
You want to sleep.
Baby cries
Cuddle it - I mean, they are cute for a reason right.
You want to sleep. 
Baby cries
Let it sleep with you - They make these lovely little in your bed beds so you don’t squish the bugger, so look, no worries
You want to sleep.
Baby cries
Call your mother- she has got to have something up her sleeve - for God’s sake  you did survive to adulthood somehow!?!?!?
You want to sleep.
Step 6: Parenting the toddler.  Ok, once the little booger stands up, we can call it a toddler.  They are so cute and destructive at this age.  And bold. Very bold.  And smart. Very smart.  They are still little enough that these devious little bastards will use their cuteness as a weapon against you, especially in front of other people.  They will climb up on the ottoman, reach up to your sofa table and knock over an antique bust of Athena made of marble into the floor, look right at you like “So there b$*@ch, put fancy antiques in my reach again” and just when you go to yell, they look at your friends and start to cry like you are beating them daily.  Which you want to. But you can’t.  Instead, buy a chair.  A really really really uncomfortable chair.  Call it the “Naughty Place” like Super Nanny does because that’s just fun to say. Allow them to spend the next two years sitting right there.  
Step 7: Parenting the elementary age, otherwise know as the age of ENDLESS NEEDINESS.  You think baby age was bad..... try 7.  First, to them, you are a complete and total moron and everything you say must be questioned.  Then, when you are trying to enjoy your nightly glass of Spanish wine, they are all over you like a damn puppy, rubbing their face on your arm and you are like is this shit normal and your mom and those stupid what to expect books that I told you not to buy but you did anyway start talking about attachment parenting so you start to doubt yourself... STOP!!! JUST STOP!!! Get up and go get your kids one of two things: A Puppy or a Hobby.  When my daughter wants to do this, again not normal cuddly but this needy-freaky crap, I tell her to get her Guinea Pig. For my son, I pull out the Legos.  Problem solved.  You’re welcome.  
Step 8: Welcome to puberty.  Now as parents we worry to death about puberty, for a variety of reasons, mostly revolving around sex.  Ok, time to scare the crap out of you.  They ALREADY know what it is!! They do!!! Even if they don’t watch a lot of TV, they KNOW!! Back at Step 7!!! Yeah, that thew me for a loop too.  So, don’t worry about “the talk”, you get to have another talk instead.  That talk goes like this:  
Parent: If you kiss a boy/girl your lips will fall off of your face and you will have to paint on a smile like the Joker.  
Child: No mom/dad. I know that’s not true.  
Parent: And, if you go further, well, then you might die on the inside too.  
Child: Mom/Dad, I know what sex is. Can we not talk about this????
Parent (walking to closet): Fine, you know what it is?  I would like to show you and your boyfriend/girlfriend my gun collection.
Trust me, all parents think like this.  Including my celeb love (For new readers, that’d be Michael Shanks, I like to work him in, it’s fun).  In fact, he tweeted something similar and that was the VERY reason that my husband now follows him on Twitter.  Jack’s reasoning “You can like him. He’s a smart man. Wants to kill people that mess with his daughter too...”  all the while stroking his shotgun lovingly (What have I done to my yuppie yankee husband!?!)  
Step 9:  The teen years. Really these are the EASY years; I promise. Just take their spark plugs.  That’s it. And have their friend’s parents do the same.  They can talk smack all they want, stranded on their iPhones in a car they are too stupid to know how to fix.  
Step 10: This is why you need wine..... If you are not a drinker I believe as soon as you stop breastfeeding is a good time to start.  Shoot me an email. I can make recommendations.  They start with Spanish Wine.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Homeschool

How to Homeschool
Subtitle: Person who discovers I homeschool:  “Wow, you homeschool? I couldn’t do that...” 
Me: “Dude, I can’t either” 
Step 1: Know why you are homeschooling. It is a personal choice, but for me? I’m going to make this simple.  I am a teacher. I have been a teacher my entire adult life.  I will probably be a teacher until I die.  I know what I am doing.  In fact, MOST teachers know what they are doing.  So, parents, would you be so kind as to inform the government of this fact.  The day that people have that have never step foot inside a classroom stop telling people who have dedicated their entire lives to educating children how to do their job, I will happily trot my children back to the school system.  Until then, I’ve got this covered.   
Step 2: Pick your curriculum.  Believe it or not there are literally hundreds of different ways to homeschool your child, methods, boxed curriculum, writing your own lessons from the SOL tests (SOL actually does not mean S*$t outta luck here, although it should; they are stupid jeopardy-like standardized tests here in VA), etc.  You will need to shop around and see what is best for you. For you. Not that one know it all in your support group.  Just don’t smack her (See my post on 5/7/12).
Step 3: Send in your NOI. Here in the South that means your “Notice of Intent.” All it needs to say is “I will be homeschooling my kids X,Y, & Z this year and they are in grades A,B, & C.” It does NOT need to say “I actually want my kid to learn how to function in the real world and not just be skilled at TV trivia games shows and bubbling in small circles.” Or something of this like.  Simple is good here. 
Step 4: Map out your year.  You NEED a plan.  Trust me.  You need a start date, a finish date, and how far you want to get. And holidays.  I mean, there is a joke that homeschoolers don’t get snow days, etc.  Eh, I give ‘em snow days.  Counts as PE right? 
Step 5: Figure out who teaches what. Ok, so you are probably asking how in the world I do this AND teach full-time.  We tag team between myself, my husband and my mom.  It is GREAT.  My husband has a history degree (yeah, I know, I do too but I just end up going all Daniel Jackson on them and then I start to gush about certain cute celebs and it just goes nowhere, so I let hubby do it) so he’s got that, my mom has a science degree so she covers that and I do math and reading.  We do it all at times that fit around our jobs and it gives the kids multiple teachers. For electives, we take them to homeschool groups. Yeah, with OTHER KIDS.... OOOO.... EVIL.... I LET THEM SEE OTHER PEOPLE.... ;-)
Step 6: Be creative. Homeschooling is not just worksheets, it is field trips, life experiences and hands on learning.  You also might have to teach a bit unconventionally.  For example, my sister is a homeschooled rising senior and I am her math teacher (ok, so I lied about that math thing in an earlier post - sue me). Anyway, before you think I am a bad person for the conversation that follows, she is my SISTER and she is almost an adult: 
Bri: Reading from a textbook: You know that squaring a number and taking the square root of a number are inverse operations.  But how would you evaluate an expression that contains a fractional exponent? 
Mary: Excuse me, what? 
Bri: Sometimes b&*ches have fractions.
Mary: Oh
Bri: And yet that is what made sense to you.  
Think my method is unusual? Well, you should have seen her bust out those radical expressions.  I’m that good... 
Step 7: Socialization. Eep!! It is the buzzword of homeschooling. “Are you worried about socialization?” Uh, no, have you met my kids? They would talk to a wall if they thought the wall would provide worthwhile conversation.  Have you met Hot Roommate? He talks more than me and he’s not even Southern. In fact, as I have mentioned, we Southerns will talk to anyone at anytime, so homeschooling for me is a no brainer. It just means that are actually quiet in class for once.  
Step 8: PE. The second criticism that you will get is what about extracurriculars activities and PE. “Do your kids just stay in the house all day?” Yep, that is EXACTLY what they do.  In fact, they have heavy iron shackles that they wear so that they remain seated when they are not translating he Bible from Ancient Greek to English.  Come on, really? Besides the fact that PE was just invented to make the school day longer and because we have become a country of porkers, my kids get something a lot of schools are cutting out.  They get to PLAY OUTSIDE. What a novel idea!!! AND they still play ball, do yoga and the other things after school hours like every other kid.  
Step 9: Don’t take criticism to heart.  Really, we all worry too darn much about what others think. And the best part is that most of your critics will act like they are suddenly experts in education, overnight, even though they have never interacted with children before other than seeing your when they come over to dinner.  I AM an education professional.  You are just fine.  And if you are really worried, message me/tweet me. It’s cool - I will answer questions about this! 
Step 10:  The wine. Oh lordy you will need it.  I teach all day other peoples kids and mine at night or in between. It is insanity. Once those little boogers are konked in bed I am poised and ready to go, Vino Tinto in mano and Mr. Canadian Hot Pants on the TV.  Because everyone needs an outlet.  I just have two...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to Exercise

How to Exercise Correctly
Subtitle: If you are planning to improve your lifestyle, read this first. Please.  Otherwise, you are going to make yourself look like an asshat.  
Step 1: Pick your poison.  You need to decide BEFORE slapping down money at a gym or buying a stupid amount of gear what you would like to pursue.  And be logical.  Please.  Like pursing a sport that is seasonal so you have half the year to go back to being fat and lazy and have to start over, or my favorite, picking whatever is the trend.  I run.  I ran in high school. I ran a bit in college.  Now, running is super cool and every freakin person is a running expert and I am thinking, uh, wait until you are running the big 10K and you are on the side of the road dying with the paramedic because you only did enough training to look cool. Yeah, I’m laughing at you.  Because you are a phony.  
Step 2: Buy gear, not clothes.  That’s because if you do this right you’re going to de-fat yourself.  A lot.  Fast.  And those exercise clothes at the sporting good store are not cheap.  In fact, they are not even for exercise, they are for beautiful yet emotionally unstable women to wear to try to pick up guys at the gym.  Period. I mean, have you ever tried to wear that stuff. I bought a running top once and put it on and my boobs were stuffed into my face.  Trust me, ya can’t run like that.  It hurts.  So, just go to Walmart and buy some cheap shorts and if you need them a few sports bras. 
Step 3: Don’t expect instant results.  My favorite question from people is “Oh Bri, you look so good, how did you do it?” When I respond, diet and exercise, their face drops. In  fact, it has taken me most of my youngest child’s life to get back into the shape I was in high school and a lot of hard work.  Oh yeah, she’s six.  If you want instant results, go get yourself plastic surgery. Because it is just so much better to let a dude suck fat cells out of your side with a damn vacuum than it is to just suck it up and hit the elliptical.  Right.... I’d rather spend my money having fun and traveling. But that’s just me... 
Step 4: Respect others.  Your exercise does not supersede any other freakin thing that anyone one else has to do ever. Period.  Case in point - bikers in the country.  I respect your right to bike, just not in the damn middle of the really windy rural road with no shoulders and you won’t get over and look at me like I am not supposed to be there while I hold onto the steering wheel and pray to Athena that someone does not come whipping around the corner not see any of us and kill us all.  That is stupid.  That is asshatted.  I am a runner and I run the roads closer to race time and I am NOT running those roads nor am I nearly causing accidents.  So you bikers be warned, if I ever get diagnosed with a incurable disease and I catch you biking those dangerous roads like a moron, I just might not stop.  
Step 5: Do not eat like a teenager.  Unless you are, in that case, live it up. I used to eat two Snickers a day and was a skinny lil thing.  Today, not so much.  But just because you’re lifting a dumbbell once a week does not mean you can go stuffing your face with all of the fast food you can eat.  You may want to, and you can slip here and there, but busting out the Taco Bell after a workout is a sure fire way to need new workout clothes.  In the other direction.  At least Walmart carries those sizes.  More so than normal people sizes too.  
Step 6: Make a schedule. Just like everything else in your life, you need to set aside time for exercise otherwise it doesn’t happen.  And be creative about it.  In fact, here is yet another way to use Siri to your benefit.  On really busy weeks I have Siri create a reminder that says “Bri, this is your reminder to get off of your fat ass and run,” and things like that.  Now, I would like to defend my booty at this point, it is quite cute i have been told, but I want it to stay like that.  Siri is like my drill sergeant and the ghost of Christmas Future all wrapped up into one.  
Step 7: Motivate yourself. Now, a Siri note might not motivate you, so you really need to have something to motivate you.  I have a friend that uses pictures of really fit women to look at (fit not thin) for inspiration.  Maybe you can find a friend to work out with.  Personally, this is mine: pastedGraphic.pdf  (Pic seems to be bratty this morning so just in case:

 I want to look like that.  And in that suit.  And go to DragonCon, dressed like that.  It’s on my bucket list and we know how I feel about that bucket list :-) 
Step 8: Don’t worry about looking like a fool.  Seriously, because chances are you are having to go to a gym and workout in front of others.  Do what you need to do, the plan from your doctor, your trainer, whatever and just ignore the rest.  Because this pie chart represents most of the pastedGraphic_1.pdfpastedGraphic_2.pdfpeople that go to a gym.  

(Again, picture that worked last week is being bratty.....

80% of people are there to get laid or be looked at.
9% of people are so scary working out that you want to avoid them because you want them to forget your face when the world turns into Mad Max.  THEY will be driving the motorcycles and operating the big guns. 
5% of the people are there because they are being forced, either by a medical professional OR because their spouse bought them a gym membership and is threatening to never buy another gift again because they didn't use it.  
3% of the people work there, so they feel obligated to try to look good on their off hours. 
2% of the people are there because their friend dragged them there and after 20 minutes on the stepper are vowing to NEVER return. 
1% of the people are like us and there to work out.  )

Step 9: Recover from set-backs. You will get hurt, have to go to a insane amount of weddings and related parties so you can’t exercise, have to take off two or three days to drive to Chicago to meet Michael Shanks and hope to Athena that he doesn’t notice your flab from not lifting for a few days...., well, you get the point.  Don’t let it get you down.  Dust yourself off and start from the beginning again, pump up the music and roll.  
Step 10: You will still need wine.  Studies show that people that drink wine are more athletic.  No lie!! If the friend of mine that found that article is reading, post it please so these people will believe me.  And while red is better, and even better Spanish red, white will do as well. Just have it handy. Oh and beware.  Once you start to defat, you can only tolerate so much wine.... you were warned.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Write a Blog

How to Write a Blog
Subtitle: An explanation because people are apparently surprised at how insane I really am.  I’ve been this way a long time people; I was just hiding it from you.  
Step 1: Have insane friends.  And I have INSANE friends.  Friends that one night during your weekly TV show party (don’t make fun of me my younger readers, this is what we old folk do for fun) tell you that you are funny and should start blogging.  Then, they continue to support the habit by posting it on their Facebook walls, telling their friends and then requesting you talk about certain topics, which if your friends are indeed insane are topics that normal blogs will never discuss. In fact, this very entry is a request.  So, see, I do listen to you people.  On occasion....
Step 2: Pick a format, usually one based on your personality.  I always joke that I am everyone’s guidance counselor because people have been coming to me for years for me to solve their problems even though I have NO idea what to tell them.  Apparently whatever I do do or whatever faces I make are effective and people keep coming back. That is why I picked the “How to” format, so people who are not currently seeking my sage advice can benefit from it worldwide.  Oh, and it was not taken yet. That was important too.  
Step 3: Get inspired.  There are many avenues for inspiration when it comes to sarcastic blogging, but here are just a few of my favorites.  
  1. My insane friends: As I mentioned 99% of my entries now are by request from my friends.  This goes double for the offensive ones.  They are 198% responsible for those.  They are also just general crazy folks that say crazy things.  I mean, only my friends would shout out obscene things during serious television shows  like, “OMG Tonks is naked, I can never watch Harry Potter again!!”. Well they didn’t use the word naked, but you get the idea.
  2. Shopping at Walmart:  In fact, Walmart is such a good source of material that I have pondered creating a blog JUST to log what I see at Walmart.  The other day for example I heard a husband and wife arguing something along the lines of creamer being milk, like not whether or not it is a damn dairy product, but whether or not it was milk like you could give a child.  Really? You’re that damn stupid? This is why there should be a license to breed. 
  3. Students.  If I have not already expressed, they are hysterical. And not just what they say in class, but how oblivious they are to reality itself.  One of my students paged (instant messaged) me the other day saying she missed our speaking appointment because her school was having a Slave Wedding.  I am not joking.  In the South no less.  Not only was she completely accepting of this as a school activity, but I called her mentor.  She wasn’t lying.  See, instant material. 
  4. Craigslist Rants and Raves. If you have not discovered this, amuse yourself one lonely night.  It will drive you to tears.  It’s like my blog, just highly offensive with bad language.  And apparently, people spend their free time doing this, a LOT of free time since they answer people right back when they are attacked.  I find that as funny as the postings.  
  5. Watching the news for 5 minutes.  Especially politics.  Politicians are seriously the most uninformed, out of touch morons on this planet who just happened to be born rich with big mouths. Remember “You can see Russia from my house” nonsense (yes people I know she didn’t say that, I actually am an informed American voter ok)? The reason people bought that was because they are quite literally saying stupid stuff like that EVERY DAY on C-SPAN.  OR RIchmond City Council.  Google that live feed my friends, RIchmond, VA.  That is geek entertainment for HOURS.  
  6. My husband.  While a part of me feels like he should be in ‘a’ he really takes it to a whole new level.  Here’s just a sample conversation: 
Jack: Honey, Facebook is really messed up now. I had to confirm Will’s birth on your timeline.  
Me: Actually Jack, I think they do that so women can’t just be tagging men as baby daddies.  
Jack: Please tell me your joking.  
Me: I was, but now that it is out, no, I think that might be why.  
Jack: God help us.  
This is a DAILY occurrence in my household.  See why I stay married to this guy? Our banter cracks me up.  
Step 4: Have some running jokes.  In case you haven’t caught on I have a two continuous ones: 
  1. Spanish Wine - Yes, yes, it is partially because I am a Spanish teacher and partly because until I went to Spain in college I was pretty much only drinking what the frat boys gave me, which is never a good plan.  Never! Oh, and since I forgot to mention it in the drinking blog and I have your attention, don’t ever drink anything at a party that is housed in a trashcan or bathtub.  I shall share stories later.  
  1. My undying love of Michael Shanks - It's not funny because he is funny (well he is in a clever smart mouth way online, not like as in bad actor, he is GREAT), it is funny because EVERYONE picks on me about it. This joke amuses me no end as it started as a threat between me and my husband (that said actor is my dream man and if Jack doesn't shape up I am running away to Canada) and has skyrocketed into the most fun I have had with someone, even though I have never met him.  But Speaking of, now that I have actually bought a ticket and am going to meet him, I really hope he is as nice as he is on Twitter...... getting nervous here people.....have any of you met him??? Help a girl out.....
Step 5: Have set days to publish. That way, people can begin to look forward to your craziness.  I chose Mondays and Thursdays.  Why? Well, Mondays just suck donkey balls and no one wants to be at work anyways.  Post your not-as-good entries here.  People are too hung over and pissed off so they will think anything is funny.  And, as we discussed on June 1st, Thursdays are the best day ever, filled with exercise, free booze and beautiful Canadian men (of which we only care about one).  
Step 6: Promote yourself.  Shamelessly. In fact, I am almost to the point where my introductions are “Hi, I’m Bri, nice to meet you. I blog, you should read, do you have a pen, I’ll write down the address for you?” I am kidding of course...well...sorta, but regardless slap your blog address on everything, your email signature, your twitter page, your Facebook page, tattooed on your arm, your license plate, inside a little Darwin fish sticker so Christians will get mad and confused and try to read it and see the site and likewise Evolutionists will be like who jacked our fish and note your site as well.  If you are a trust fund baby, get yourself a billboard and some hot models and post your url on the interstate.  Just get noticed.   
Step 7: Get opinions before you post.  I have a select set of friends and relatives that I vet things with before I post, in an effort to make sure I am not too offensive or over the top.  This is not to preserve anyone’s feelings, I am WAY over that I can assure you, but to make sure that I do not lose my job.  Because I like my job and I like getting a paycheck.  And having a home.  And buying food.  Things like that.  
Step 8: Keep posting. Good things happen.  It might be slow going at first, but all of a sudden you check your stats and BAMMO you got like 200 hits in a day.  Yay! People like you :-) :-) So, just keep writing and make sure that each post is more over the top than the last and write and write and write until your husband is convinced that you are having an online twitter affair with Canadian celebrities when you are really writing a blog posting about some moron that you saw playing on the train tracks in town and your twitter feed is not even opened.  True story.  I swear.  
Step 9: Tweet Michael Shanks.  Not only is this man legit the NICEST CELEB ON THE FRIKKIN PLANET on there, which he is, but he has fans all over the world and if he answers you back and his other fans like your question then they click on your name and find your blog. Remember that self-promoting? Yeah, it worked.  So, to my new reader(readers if you are sharing with your friends) THANKS!! Welcome to the insanity!! Good to have you!! 
Step 10: Don’t write drunk. Yes, here is our step for the wine, but I have tried to start the wine before step 10 as I wrote.  Let’s just say that step 7 vetoed it.  Apparently, I don’t care as much about important things like my job or public appearance after a few glasses and after a while longer I am just downright offensive and crazy.  Write your blog, let your #7 read it and once everything is A-OK, go get your Spanish wine.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Live Life to the Fullest

How to Live Life to the Fullest
Subtitle: You get one shot at this, one.  Don’t blow it. 
Step 1: Accept your mortality. You will die.  Maybe even on December 21st 2012, hence the reason for my bucket list. (In fact, there is a tiny part of me that is worried there will not be a 2013 because Dick Clark is not going to be there with us to ring it in..... not meant to be funny, I am really concerned about this... stop making fun of me...)  But, even if the Mayans are wrong, you’re still going to die some day whether it be in your sleep at age 95 or in a car next Tuesday.  This sounds morbid, but you need to accept this in order to move on.  You will die. Carry on.  
Step 2: Screw mortality. You’re gonna die, so what? Now, you can sit around and worry about when, where, how you are going to die, take those stupid Facebook quizzes that tell you these specifics, visit the doctor every time you damn cough to make sure you are not getting the cancer, but when it’s your time, it’s your time.  Chill the hell out! You need to wake up and realize that you might indeed die tomorrow and do you want a list of regrets! Hell no! So, if you want to get a tattoo, do it!!! You want to go bungee jumping? Do it!! You want to run away to Toronto to throw yourself at Michael Shanks? Dammit, my husband took the spark plugs out of my car!!! ARGH!!!
Step 3: Accept others. People come in all different shapes, sizes and colors and that doesn’t matter. At all!! I mean, how frikkin boring would it be to hang out with people just like you.  And furthermore, while I am on a rant, who do you think you are? Who died and left you morally superior than the rest of us? Here I am, accepting the fact that you are probably the asshat who drove in front of me doing like 10 miles under the speed limit and stopped at every road while I was trying to get home to pee.  And yet, I did not run you off the road and leave you for dead, I accepted that you cannot drive and should not be allowed to be in public and moved on with my life. (Well, that, and I need to save my bail money for if I get those spark plugs back.... kidding you guys, kidding...) 
Step 4: Screw others. Stop worrying about what the hell other people think of you! This is worse than man-needy (see post on 4/17/12), that is people needy.  Most people are so insecure about themselves that that LIVE to tear down others to make themselves feel better.  You need to stop worrying about what others are thinking about you and start worrying about what makes you happy.  Even if it is running insane amounts each week, writing Mary Sue fan fic so you can marry Daniel Jackson, blogging about your weird life, taking your kids on crazy adventures, or watching bad reality TV with your husband just to make fun of society together:  stop worrying about what they think!! Chances are, they’re just damn jealous of you for being happy anyway.  
Step 5: Accept the world we live in.  This is hard, especially for my fellow Sci-Fi geeks, who are always looking to the stars.  However, the reality my friends is this: Our government and the government of most of the countries on the planet is run by idiots who have no desire to advance our technology to let us leave this world and explore the universe.  So, unless the Vulcans are planning on making first contact any time soon, this is what we got.  
Step 6: Screw the world we live in. Yeah, screw it! Or at least fix it.  Don’t sit on your butt complaining all of the time about how bad it is and how everyone has screwed it up when you can flip the bird to the entire place and go and do what you want. Or better yet, let’s TAKE OVER.  Since you are reading my blog I am assuming you are intelligent since stupid people will not get my jokes.  Then YOU run for office, or take over the school system, or start a rally, or what have you!  Screw the ordinary! We spend so much time just letting people walk all over us or letting bad things happen.  We need to take the world into our own hands!!!! (Wait, did I just start a Revolution here? Screw It! Chant with me now! Screw It! Screw It! This is cool, can I be some influential yet useless figurehead if we win?? Please?? Can we invade Canada and steal Michael Shanks so I can have him while we are at it?? Thanks, this is why I love you guys) 
Step 7: Accept your fate. This is a toughie because some people are just born into a better situation than others. But, unless a phone booth with George Carlin plops down in your yard (please someone get that movie reference) you aint gonna change a damn thing.  I may act yuppy and educated, but deep down inside I’m a redneck, a big ‘ole Southern girl who slips into her drawl when she hears others and (ok Bri, acceptance is the first step to recovery, admit it...) knows the words to every Garth Brooks song. I can try to hide it with tattoos, fancy wine and a high class education, but I kinda think that driving a Jeep in the mud is cool and that moonshine is the nectar of Mt. Olympus.  
Step 8: Screw fate. Ok, so what? I’m a country girl, southern born and bred.  That’s not gonna stop me from doing amazing things and it shouldn’t stop you. We may be a product of our birthplace and upbringing but we are also internally driven and motivated to be something more.  Not sure what that is yet? Let me give you a push. Go bust your retina.  It’ll put you on bed rest and limited activity for months and send you over the edge.  When you get back, you may decide you need to be in shape again, have an obsession for a cancelled TV show, get the idea to write a novel and what have you, but it gives you direction.  Or maybe a shrink.  They probably costs less and that involves less bleeding. 
Step 9: Accept life. You’ve got one baby, just one.  Even if your religious system tells you that after this you’ll have eternal life or will be reborn, you are only here once as who you are right now. The sooner you accept that, the faster you can start having fun and going down your bucket list.  I am attaching my two, one for in case the Mayans were right and the other for life in general to this posting for your viewing pleasure.  Feel free to comment.  Because once you start living like this day might be your last, then you actually are living and not existing. 
Step 10: Drink Wine.  Lots of Wine.  I would normally say Spanish but hey, French is good. As is Italian. Hell, its all really good. Or moonshine. We can go with that now too, just in case tomorrow is it.  

At popular request, here is the bucket list via Pinterest:

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to properly use your Food Stamps

How to properly use your Food Stamps 
Subtitle:  Sometimes we all need a little help and that’s ok.  But it’s not ok to waste my tax dollars, I pay too damn much of those anyway. 
Note: I am NOT against food stamps or other aide; I have known many decent and kind people on them who are using them as intended, to help get their life back together and through a time of need.  I am against morons abusing the system and screwing everyone over.  This is for those people. 
Step 1: Qualifying for the stamps.  Who qualifies for food stamps? This is a tough question that I have yet to determine exactly how people can pull this off. I am a teacher, remember? We get treated poorly and paid poorly. (Hence the reason I LOVE my bosses, because I have the BEST teaching gig ever - blatant suck up I know) and I make too much money to qualify for the stamps. But if you look at the people that I know that are getting the stamps there has to be some secret that I have yet to figure out.  There is a little prescreening tool that will help you determine if you can get the stamps: . It tells you pretty quick if you qualify for the stamps.  However, if you don’t based on this little tool there are a few ways to fix the results.  The fastest and easiest is to close all of your saving and money market account and IRA’s and blow it all in Vegas (Or Atlantic City). That way, the money is gone for good and you might leave owing some mobsters additional monies.  If you do not know what savings, money markets or IRAs are, then you are probably already prepared to click on the link above.  
Step 2: Getting your food stamps. Back in the day, you used to get literal stamps.  Yes, stamps, that is where the word came from.  They were like tiny coupons and you tore them out of a booklet at the grocery store.  The government said that they stopped them because it was embarrassing, and for the people who need and deserve help, it was and I feel for them. The real reason the government did away with them was because people were selling the stamps to get stupid and illegal things.  So they put the stamps on a card.  Looks like a debit card, works like a debit card. If you go on the stamps, you will get a card.  However, as I am about to explain, this ain’t Visa baby, so don’t even try. 
Step 3:  What to buy. Food. Healthy food. Doritos are not food.  Neither are chips, cookies, ice cream or doughnuts. You may buy those, with your money. NOT the stamps.  Why am I so opposed to those fun foods? Because they make you fat. And then you get the diabetes.  Which I have to pay for. Because if you are getting the stamps then I am probably paying for your healthcare too. And I don’t want to pay for you to do what ever the hell you want while I have to run and exercise and take care of my damn self because it costs too damn much for me to go to the hospital.  Let’s try things like fresh vegetables, whole grain wheat bread and fruits.  Yes, vegetables, you know those things right? They grow in the ground and usually green.  Try them, you might like them.  
Step 4: What not to buy. Ramen and Kraft dinners, etc.  If you are getting the stamps you can buy real food.  COOK! Make a real meal, then you might actually stay healthy. Costs aside, do you really like going to the doctor that much? Being sick that much? What else shouldn’t you buy? Beverages count as well.  Don’t buy kool-aid and regular cola, because that crap can make you fat too.  Try tea or coffee.  In fact, some states have even gone so far as to have tags in grocery stores as to what is healthy food.  Since I am paying for your food, you need to not buy things that are missing said tag.  
Step 5: B*%$h if you buy that I will slap you.  I will try to keep this list brief. 2 doughnuts and a Mountain Dew. At the 711. In fact, anything in the 711 unless emergency milk and bread run, or tylenol is a no no.  Because if I have to wait until payday to get my azz a candy bar, you are sure as hell not going to get one for not working. And don’t get me started on fast food.  Yeah, no joke people, some fast food chains are now accepting the card.  I will be damned if I am counting change from under my seat to buy off of the dollar menu while you are getting a Big Mac meal with my tax dollars.  Not happening, and don’t you let me catch you doing it. 
Side note: While researching for this entry a friend of mine found on the question “Will they take my food stamps in another country?”  NO!  If you can afford international travel, you do not need the stamps!!! 
Step 6: What to do with money you are not spending on food. The goal of this program, instituted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the New Deal (oh, you don’t know him, he’s the dude on the dime, wait, you don’t have a dime, that’s right, because you on the stamps....) was to assist people so they could get back on their feet.  Ergo, the money that you are not spending on food needs to be spent on things that will help you get a job so you are not on the stamps for your entire life.  Because you are not suppose to want to be on the stamps your entire life.  Use the money to buy some nice clothes, NICE clothes, that cover your body and make you look like a TV lawyer, and some college/training classes.  Do something with your life? Don’t you want to die being proud of yourself? And furthermore, there will be no driving of a Mercedes Benz while you are on the stamps.  Because my butt is sporting a Grand Caravan and I work like 50+ hours a week.  Hell no.  
Step 7:  Things that are illegal to do on the stamps. Now, the government has taken care of a lot of this by changing the stamps to the card.  People used to sell the stamps for the crack which was a big no no.  Now, people do the exchange thing, where they talk you into the Wal-mart, yes Wal-mart and buy other people things on the stamps and then you swap what you bought with your stamps for whatever you couldn’t buy with your stamps.  That is the same as selling your stamps for crack.  No.  If you cannot buy it with the stamps you need to be getting a paycheck to buy it for yourself.  Period. 
Step 8: Wait, you haven’t mentioned Michael Shanks!?!? Honestly, I have no idea if he even has an opinion on food stamps, as in Canada they do not do stamps, they do a bank where you pick up your items. What a brilliant idea!! And we make FUN of Canada??? AND I am not trying to guess what his opinion on the stamps would be, but  what I do know his opinion of hard work. Yes, in a insane attempt to keep my promise to mention my celeb crush in every post I will only say this.  And I am quoting him: "Good things come to those who.......get up everyday and bust their ass" - Couldn’t have said it better myself handsome. 
Step 9: Get off the stamps. Ok, you’re eating right, taking care of yourself and have some nice clothes.  Now, go get a job. Yes, a J-O-B.  Hell, no one likes working, I mean, I love teaching, but don’t I gripe about grading papers like every other damn entry? Working is a part of life, so unless you plan on finding yourself a suga-momma or sugar-daddy, get over yourself.  
Step 10: You may now have your wine.  That you bought.  With your OWN money because you have used the stamps properly like MANY people that I have known in my life have and turned your life around. Good for you! Enjoy that wine! Because you can’t buy wine on the stamps. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Build a House

How to Build a House 
Subtitle: “I want my money...” 
Step 1: Listen to your wife.  This goes for gay couples too because one of you is the wife and you know who you are.  The wife KNOWS what land to buy and you need to listen to her. When we went to buy land I preferred a nice piece closer to town, near a nice museum and beautiful farms.  Hubby/Hot Roommate and mom (who split land with us) disagreed.  We went and put offers in on all sorts of crapola that fell through.  Guess what we ended up buying?  The FIRST piece of land. That I wanted.  For more money.  I’m still bitter. 
Step 2: Don’t clear the land yourself. We had the insane notion that with a few chainsaws we could successfully clear 1/4 mile (1/2 kilometer) of land in order to create our driveway and then clear 1 acre for the house (sorry, don’t know that metric, I teach Spanish not Math).  We got like 50 yards (46 meters) over the course of three weekends when we realized that unless the Incredible Hulk was going to show up and assist, this wasn’t happening.  Just call a contractor.  
Step 3: Make sure dead famous people might not be buried on your land.  At the risk of telling everyone on the planet where I live, there was a chance that a famous man in American History who gave a famous speech buried his wife on our land (b/c it used to be his).  See, she went loco and in the 18th century people liked to lock their locos in the basement.  And when she died, apparently she wasn’t good enough for a gravestone.  Ergo, we were informed that if remains were found on our land that they would need to be examined by state archaeologists before construction would continue.  So every day those contractors dug down for that foundation, Jack and I held our breath that one of the lost wives of American History might not be discovered. She wasn’t. Obviously. Since I am blogging from my house.  
Step 4: Be smart before you try to save money.  Hot Roommate and I had the brilliant idea of doing a lot of work ourselves and hiring our own subcontractors so we could get house and land for 1/2 of what it would normally cost.  Now, we did it, we did, with a lot of blood, sweat, tears and almost amniotic fluid. Because I was pregnant when we did this.  Very pregnant. And vomiting. For NINE months.  NINE.  All I could eat for NINE months was Roast Beef slices from Arby’s (no bread), Chick-fil-A iced dream (in a cup) and salsa.  That was IT. Alright, back to my point, if you are going to do it yourself, have a plan. 
Step 5: Understand the construction loan draw system.  When you get a loan to build a house it doesn’t work the same way as the standard mortgage.  Every so often you are allowed draws, which let you take some of this loan, put it into your checking account and pay contractors.  Please note that I say every so often. Without fail though, if you are doing this yourself, your draws dictated by the bank will NEVER coincide with when you actually have to pay contractors.  Much of my house building was spent having conversations like these: 
Contractor: The job will be finished tomorrow. 
Me: Fantastic, and we will get our next draw next Tuesday. 
Contractor: I want to be paid tomorrow.  
Me: I understand, but when you took the job I gave you a copy of my draw dates. I cannot draw any sooner. 
Contractor: I want to be paid tomorrow. 
Me: We will have the money for you on Tuesday sir, like I told you.  Besides, Virginia law allows me 30 days to pay you and you are getting paid within 5. That’s pretty good.  
Contractor: I want my money.
Ok, the contractor actually didn’t say “I want my money”, my husband just started calling them “I want my money” conversations.  For those of you who have built a house, normal contractors know this and how it works, these guys tried to intimidate us because we were really young.  They should have known better.  I am a black belt.  With a temper.  Who was pregnant. And teaches high school.  I can handle federal prison.  
Step 6: Keep an eye on your contractors, especially when you are a young person who looks naive.  And especially if a really fat white dude shows up with a truck of Mexicans.  This is because usually this nasty man is abusing these day workers and will tell them to cut corners.  Which they will, not because they are lazy because Mexicans are the hardest working people on this planet, but because they want to make gross fat man happy to earn more work.  Befriend these Mexican workers.  Speak Spanish to them (we need a How to... for that, don’t we amigos?).  That way, not only do they NOT cut corners, but they work extra hard to make you happy.  Oh and slip them some junk food.  They like that too.  
Step 7:  Abuse teenagers.  Now, there is a lot of the work you will want to sub out, but there is a lot of work that can be done “yourselves.” And buy “yourselves” I mean by your AP Spanish students.  Or the kids you coach on the debate team.  Teenagers will help lay vinyl floor (yeah, skip tile until your kids are at least 6, trust me), paint the walls, move furniture and more. And, since you control their fate through grades and/or permission to go to debate tournaments, they will do a good job. The cost.  Pizza and Dr. Pepper.  Meanwhile, you get to sit your preggo booty in one of those reclining sports chairs with hot tea and watch TV on the tiny black and white portable set you have plugged into the one working electrical socket.  
Step 8: Pawn it off on your spouse.  Now, this is hard to do since spouses are smart creatures that after a certain number of years have probably figured out your tricks.  Me, I was pregnant remember? I could do a lot pregnant in between vomiting spells, but whenever I didn’t want to do something the ‘baby was kicking’, I was ‘dizzy’, I was ‘exhausted’, etc.  That got me out of a LOT of work.  Michael Shanks does a good one too, he pulls the work card.  According to his wife on Twitter, they are doing renovations with contractors in and out of the house while he is away filming, so SHE has to deal with everyone.  Smart man; this is why I like you.  We think alike.  Oh, and lay off with me and the Twitter stuff, it gets me through grading all day because I am NOT in a school building with people to talk too.  Mr. Canadian Hot Pants funny tweets > Grading the same essay all damn day long. (There's some math for ya!) 
Step 9: Furniture.  As always, I have a story.  Contracts signed, new last name in place, Jack and I decided to go buy furniture like grown-ups.  We went to a high end store, got swatches, brought measuring tape and bought a lovely living room set at an insanely high price with all of the warranties, bells and whistles.  It was happily delivered to our new humble abode and we sipped wine on it (or in my case grape juice) to celebrate our next steps into adulthood.  2 weeks later I noticed a rip in the couch. And another rip.  I called the store and come to find out, we had been sold the floor model at regular price because the sleazy salesman didn’t want to lose a sale once he found out the sofa had been discontinued.  Lots of phone calls and much cursing later, we got NOTHING back.  Since, we have learned that most furniture built after 1980 is made of three things: sawdust, glue and unidentified non-natural fabric.  Ergo, I REFUSE to buy any furniture now that is NOT antique.  In fact, my favorite chair is from 1938.  I will give you a how to on this later. Stick it big furniture!! I am gonna bring you down, just wait and see!! (And even more things building a home has made me bitter about.) 
Step 10:  Relax.  Hopefully the dust has settled, no one is calling demanding their money, you have signed enough papers to have single handedly destroyed 30% of Brazil’s rainforest, and you have at least enough furniture to entertain people in two rooms of your house.  Make sure that you have your nice bottle of Spanish wine and pour yourself a glass, or a bottle.  You deserve it. Oh, and vow to never build a house again. Ever.  There are plenty of those b$*#hes pre-made and previously-owned that you should have thought about that in the first damn place.  
P.S. - Tonight!! Don’t forget!! The most gorgeous man alive Michael Shanks on Saving Hope! 9 pm. eastern US time!!! NBC!! And NO excuses!! I am running in a 5K race tonight and I am STILL going to make it back in time to watch!! THAT is fan dedication! 
And besides, help a man out.  He’s doing renovations himself and I am sure someone is starting in on the “I want my money” calls.  Handsome, I feel your pain.....

Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Make it to Friday

How to Make it to Friday 

Subtitle: In case you haven’t figured out yet, Thursday is the BEST day of the week.  And no my fellow RMC grads, I felt this way BEFORE SAE :)
Step 1: Pizza for Breakfast. You'll need to start your Thursday as magnificently as you shall end it.  Why Pizza? Pizza is the perfect bad as hell for you food. It is full of carbs, covered in cheese and other mess and tastes frikkin’ amazing. Eating it at breakfast too gives you all damn day to burn those calories.  Oh, you mean why am I, Miss Health Nut eating pizza? Shut up, I count calories all the rest of the damn week, I’m entitled.  
Step 2:  Elive (The virtual classroom).  Students make everything better.  Now I understand not everyone teaches, or online for that matter, or you are just starting your classes after reading my amazing post on April 11th, 2012, but children make everything better.  And, especially if you teach middle or high school, they get less, hmmm, cautious of their words later in the week.  Friday they are 100% brain dead, but Thursday they are just there enough give you something to laugh at.  Here is a little conversation my students had just last week: 
 Me: Today we are going to be talking about verbs like gustar. Since they look a lot alike we can call them sisters. 
Student 1: Does gustar’s mother know?
Me: Huh? Know what?
Student 1: That gustar’s daddy was steppin' out on her.  
Me: Dear lord, let’s move on.  Now, if you will look at the board you will see a list of verbs like gustar. Please copy them into your notebook.  
Student 2: What does molestar mean? 
Student 1: HAHAHAHAHA (uncontrollable) 
Student 3: No me gusta cuando las curas les molesta a mi.  (English translation - gustar = like, cura = priest, you can put it together) 
Me: And to think I have to teach you children poner next week in the preterit (Spanish teacher joke - just look it up ) 
Step 3: Lunch Time Workout.  Yes, workout.  You ate pizza for breakfast genius, remember? Yeah, it’s that bad for you, which is why we are fat folk because we think that shit like pizza is acceptable daily fare.  Rant over.  In preparation for the insanity of fitness I will put you through tonight, keep it to light cardio or light weights.  Don’t need to run, jog, and for the love of God if you are a teacher, do so AWAY from the children. You are grown and if you need 15 year old boys to affirm your ego, eww...., just no.  That, and they like to mess with you, call you old and stuff.  Their filter is gone by this point in the week, remember?
Step 4: Thirsty Thursday. Now, at least in Richmond, it has become quite popular to start the weekend on Thursday.  And not just at the frat houses.  Everyone from Chili’s to that hole in the wall mexican place will have some kind of drink and food special.  Everyone. Now granted, the place might be filled with drunken obnoxious ex-frat boys but the wings are free, so are the nachos and some of those obnoxious frat boys may buy you drinks.  Because free booze is always good.  Always. 
Step 5: Yoga. Did ya think I’d let you go home yet?  Whose blog exactly are you reading? Yoga is the entire reason I live for a Thursday.  In an effort to maintain my blog’s sarcastic integrity and general smartassery I will say this.  Yoga makes you flexible. Flexible can help in step 11.  But Bri, there is no step 11?  If step 10 is Spanish wine, step 11 is..... good... there you go....
Step 6: Night Running. Yes, running, at night.  As the weather gets better, the days get hotter, Richmonders switch their run times to night.  Starting as early as May, there are TONS of road races, that begin at late as 7 p.m. Night races rock because it is not as hot, but not freezing in the a.m. cold, people are awake enough to really cheer you on and in many cases party down.  Usually there is a legit party right after the race, and if you bust yourself up you have a perfect excuse to take off from work on Friday because you were probably running for charity.  And running for charity makes you look morally superior. And we liked that didn’t we? 
Step 7: Good TV.  So, during the “school year” honestly the best damn TV on comes on Thursdays. Personally, I prefer the entire NBC comedy line-up, starting with Community, Parks and Rec, The Office and 30 Rock.  Normally I hate comedy, basically because I have reached a point in my life where fart jokes just aren't funny anymore, but this is smart people humor.  Best part is, when Tina Fey makes a "smart person joke" and pauses.  I honestly find those jokes as funny as the fact that most people watching are trying to figure out why she paused because they don’t get it.  
Step 8: Saving Hope. OH DEAR LORD.  Now, I want to preface this with the fact that Thursday and Sunday are the only days I watch TV ever and in the summer, well, if it ain’t Sookie, it ain’t on.  Not anymore, because my one and only celeb crush EVER is back on TV.  So, no more replaying Stargate DVD’s over and over and no more checking the Burn Notice episode to see if it is a Victor one.  Thursdays, on NBC at 9 (the BEST timeslot) starting THIS WEEK June 7th 2012 is the Premiere of Saving Hope, a medical drama with a supernatural twist.  And you guys know I hate EVERYTHING and the promos that a being released have got me totally excited!! It looks AWESOME! Bout 'damn time there was new TV that was NOT about Pawn Shops and Storage Units!! Here is the description and a review, since me describing it will only make me gush annoyingly so about Michael Shanks and Hot Roommate will kick me out onto the sofa because I just won't stop...

And, don’t take my word for it.... I asked him what HE wanted me to tell you guys... here is HIS response....(because like I keep saying he is the nicest man in the world!!)

@MichaelShanks Before I crash, I was gonna plug ur show in my blog. Anything you want me to say?

@ladiosabri just that it is going to be great. and that comes from someone who rarely has anything nice to say about stuff he is in....

Which brings me to step 9....
Step 9: Hot Bath/Cold Shower. Which one? Depends on your activities from above. Did you work out? Or did you watch a certain gorgeous Canadian actor on TV? Now, answer your own question.  I've got mine. Either way, somehow end up in the bathtub, preferably with a nice book that doesn’t require thought.  Trust me on that one.  I tried to read Atlas Shrugged in the tub.  Didn’t work out so well...
Step 10: At last, but never least, it is time for your Spanish Wine. Please do not confuse Spanish Wine with anything you might have enjoyed at Thirsty Thursdays; Spanish wine is an event all of its own that deserves its own attention and accolades.  And it doesn’t give you as a bad a hangover.  Which is important, because after the last couple of posts you have probably run out of Blackberry tea.