My Poor Nerves

1. The title of this post comes from Pride and Prejudice. The mom is always going on and on about her poor nerves and how no one ever thinks about them. They’re always stressing her out, and she’s always having to lie down or put her feet up or have smelling salts administered to her or something. That’s how I feel right now.

2. I always tell my students that although class starts at 9:00, my brain doesn’t turn on until about 10:30. That’s why they often do a lot of work that doesn’t involve me first thing – writing, vocabulary exercises, reading, etc.

By 10:30 this morning, I’d already had to turn a student away who was not eligible to come to class. He missed the first day, see, and because of that, he has to wait for the next registration day to come back. Now the next registration day is next Friday, so he doesn’t have to wait that long, but he basically threw a hissy fit and said that if he couldn’t stay today, he just wouldn’t come back at all. I think he was trying to call my bluff. Only I wasn’t bluffing. We’ll see if he shows up next Friday.

Then, still before 10:30, another student fainted in class, and we had to lower her to the floor, revive her, call her husband to come get her, walk her downstairs, and make sure she didn’t fall over again. It’s kind of hard to decide what to do in situations like that. How serious is it? Does fainting require a 911 call? If an ambulance comes to get her and take her to the emergency room, will she be able to pay for that? She said she’d been sick all week with the flu, and I think she just wasn’t well enough to come to class yet, but she felt bad about missing the whole first week, so she came even though she wasn’t ready. And then she fainted.

So we got her to the floor and the other students raised her feet and fanned her while I ran upstairs to get her husband’s number from her emergency contact form. I called him, he said he’d be right there, I got her some water and wet a paper towel for her face, she sat up to drink a little bit, looked a little better, and then fainted again.

Eventually, when she seemed to be able to stay awake and wanted to try and get up, we got her downstairs to wait for her husband. He came and got her, and we went back to class.

Once again, all before 10:30.

Should we have called 911? I still don’t think so. You just never know what people who are unconscious would want you to do. Can they afford an ambulance ride and emergency room care? I don’t know. How would a Muslim woman who covers her head feel about waking up to strange men taking off her head scarf to make her feel less constricted or worse, unbuttoning her shirt to listen to her heart/lungs? How would her husband feel about that? Especially if it wasn’t that serious. She didn’t hit her head, she wasn’t bleeding or throwing up, nothing was broken. She just fainted. Sick people faint sometimes. It’s happened to me, and I didn’t go to the hospital.

But of course now that it’s over, I’m analyzing it all and hoping I did everything right. I think I did. And I was surprisingly calm the whole time. But just for good measure, if y’all ever faint when I’m around, what would you like me to do about it? Do you want to go to the hospital? Do you want me to call 911? I don’t have any smelling salts. Perhaps I should invest?

Mrs. Hogan Goes to Raleigh

I know it’s not quite as Capra-esque as a visit to Washington, but having Mrs. Emily Furr Hogan herself here in my very townhouse was definitely a highlight this week. Mrs. Hogan, it seems, booked a trip to NC, was very excited to have nearly two whole weeks with her family, then got to WILKESBORO!!!!! and realized there’s only about a week’s worth of visiting that can be comfortably done there. After that, without some buddies with whom to get into some mischief, it’s just boring. Plus, I think the snow covered up all the sidewalks and driveways she might have wanted to sidewalk chalk, so she had to get out. And I am just honored that she chose to come visit me!

So we had a little reunion last night at dinner – Emily, Julie, Jessica and myself representing Wilkes County – and Amaris and W-Josh rounded out the group nicely. Knowing as much as they do about my childhood and adolescence, they fit right in. We could flow easily in and out of conversations about our current life situations, Matt Hagaman, travel, the Wilkes Skippers, manties (man + panties), and the Wilkes Central Madrigal Singers without anyone missing a beat. Well, Emily and Jessica had never heard of manties, but we caught them right up. Besides, I think I made up the word manties back in my days at American Eagle SoHo (flagship store 81), so clearly it just needs some time to sweep the nation properly.

By the way, regarding Mr. Hagaman, Emily Furr Hogan tells me he was recently sighted wearing a sweater vest. I never thought I’d see the day.

Anyhoe, after dinner, Emily had a little surprise for me. Right there in downtown Raleigh, she pulled out of her trunk…

Tippy the 2-D Dog!

Now, if you are unfamiliar with Tippy, let me just explain (and this will give you a good idea of what all of high school was like for us even though it happened in grad school). When we were both living in NYC (Emily at Columbia and I at NYU), I had…a vision. At the time, I called it a 1-D dog until someone pointed out to me that that would just be a line. But I wanted a flat dog. I don’t know why. Don’t ask. It doesn’t make any sense, I know. Maybe I felt left out seeing all the people walking dogs around the city. Maybe I wanted a pet I didn’t have to take care of. Maybe I’m just super weird. But Emily was on board with the idea and set to work straight away.

What resulted was an image of a dog, printed once, then reversed and printed again. The prints were then mounted on cardboard and foam core and glued together with a yard stick in the middle. The yard stick comes out at such an angle that when you hold the end of it, it looks like Tippy is walking in front of you on an unusually thick leash.

We walked Tippy all over the Big Apple. We even took him to a dog park, where Tippy “played” with other dogs, which basically meant that we poked strangers’ dogs with our pieces of cardboard and foam core. I still can’t believe we got away with that. But good memories. Good memories indeed.

So Tippy now lives in Raleigh, and he is currently perched in the window by our front door, “keeping watch.” He’s a good pup.

Emily also brought me a Puerto Rican woman’s driver’s license, but that’s another story.

Teaching Keeps Me Normally Weird

I have always said that in order to be a good ESL teacher (or probably any language teacher, for that matter), you have to be at least a little bit insane. You have to be able to roll with whatever comes at you, ready to answer no matter what questions come up, ready to explain things by way of demonstration, ready to liven things up should they get too boring. In general, you have to be willing to make a complete idiot of yourself. I think that’s why I like teaching ESL so much. It allows me to utilize the skills I might use on stage, but I never have to audition. Win-win.

But what I’ve just discovered is that teaching also keeps me just barely on the sane side. When I’m not teaching, you see, I get myself into trouble because I have no schedule. And when I have no schedule, I stay up later and sleep later. And when I stay up too late, I sign up for online dating services, and that is just no good at all (I deleted my account the next morning, thank goodness). And when I don’t have things to do during the day, I spend way too much time wandering around Target. And that’s when I accidentally try on nursing bras and consider buying them. And apparently that’s not good either.

I don’t mean to pick them up. I’m just looking at styles and sizes. I don’t notice the little snappy hook things on the front until I get back into the dressing room, and then I think, “Well, as long as I’m here…” And y’all, I’m not kidding. They are SO comfortable. I tried on a regular bra yesterday, and I hated it. It was all rigid and itchy, and it corralled my bazooms in a most unflattering manner. Then I tried on a soft, comfy, cute bra that also just happened to snap open in the front. What of it?

I didn’t buy it, but I do need to go to Target again today, and I’m not making any promises. If I buy it, I won’t tell you about it, and you’ll never know I’m wearing it. That is, unless you notice how unprecedentedly comfortable I am. Then you’ll know.

A Cautionary Tale

W-Josh and I went to Paige’s birthday party tonight (Happy Birthday Paige!!!), and she had this hilarious app on her iPhone that made us all look fat. Here’s me:


And as L-Josh just said in a song she composed on the spot, “Don’t get fat ’cause you’ll look like you’re fat.” Well said, buddy. I think we can all learn from that.

Formspring Page? What Formspring Page?

Hey, remember when I had y’all ask me all those questions on my Formspring page, and then I never answered them? Yeah, woopsie. I sort of forgot about that for a while, which I suppose is fine because some of you told me you didn’t really like my Q&A times anyway. However, I left several of you hanging with no answers to your questions, and for that, I sincerely apologize. I’m going to answer two questions today because I think they go together nicely. The first question is this:

If all your hair turned into snakes, what color snakes would you want them to be? Snakes can be multicolored if that helps.

And the second is:

Would you ever shave your head for any reason? (voluntarily)

I have actually thought before about shaving my head. Back in college, I started cutting my own hair, and it was so darn addictive that at one point, I thought, “What if I just shaved it all off? That would be SO much easier.” And then I realized I’d be bald if I did that, and I have no idea what my head looks like under all this hair, and what if it’s all malformed? And then the hair would grow back, and I’d have to decide to either maintain my baldness or let it go through that awkward growing-out phase where it’s too long to just let it do its thing but too short to do anything with. And what if it didn’t grow back curly? Oh that would just be terrible!

So in the end, I decided (a) not to shave it and (b) to stop cutting it myself. I’ve found that it’s far less tempting to cut your own hair when you have a decent style you’d rather not ruin.

Snakes, as it turns out, do not fall under the category of “decent style” in my mind. If they could be shaved off, that would be the way to go. However, if for some reason they could not be shaved off – if they were attached to my blood stream/supply, for example, and if shaving them off would mean me bleeding to death – then I’d want them to be pink. Hot pink.

Easy question.

Social Event of the Season

As you may already know, The Container Store is opening in Raleigh this weekend. And since I hosted that giveaway a while back, they gave me a ticket to a “private” preview party, which took place last night. L-Josh and I went, and Amaris was supposed to come too, but she got…lost? Yeah, we’ll call it lost.

Read more…

Where Do You Draw the Line?

I have tattoos on my wrist and a piercing in my nose, and to me, this isn’t much, but I realize that other people see such body modifications as unprofessional, unattractive, unsavory and even un-Christian. I’m fine with that. You can see me however you want to. But I think it’s interesting how everyone has drawn their own line beyond which they think people take body modification too far. For some people, the line is at hair dye or ear-piercing. Others may go as far as sleeve tattoos and purple mohawks. And for others, there is no line – anything goes.

I’m not saying anyone’s line is in the wrong place. I’m just saying I think it’s interesting. I can’t think of anything else that we treat this way. Not exactly. I mean, we all have different style preferences and ideas about what is appropriate, what’s not appropriate, what’s fashionable and what’s just freakish, and the fashion acceptance continuum is fairly similar to the body modification one. But it’s somehow different, perhaps because clothing is so temporary. It’s one thing to wear a dress made of meat; it’s quite another thing to tattoo your face to look like a sirloin steak.

Why we care, I do not know. What’s it to me if you want to wear a button-down shirt with a game fish print on it? It’s your body, it’s your money, and it’s your image. It has nothing to do with me. But we ARE somehow offended by bad fashion and even more so by bad, permanent fashion. Is it possible that somewhere deep down inside, we know that we’re all connected, that we’re all part of the same family, the same human organism, and that the people of WalMart‘s fashion choices somehow affect all of us?

And by an even larger token (if that’s a phrase I can use in English), is it possible that tattooing your whole body to look like a tiger, having your face surgically altered to have a more cat-like shape, and having all your teeth pulled out and replaced with tiger fangs is not ok? Is it possible that those decisions don’t just affect you, that it’s not just your body, money and image? Or would those kinds of thoughts be judgmental?

I mean I get it. I really do. Self-expression, freedom and accessorizing are all very important to me, but there are some things I do not understand, including:

  • stretching your earlobes to a point where you can wrap them around your head like a sweat band
  • tongue-splitting
  • the insertion of objects under the skin, especially the ones on the forehead that make you look like you’re growing horns
  • the piercing, splitting or insertion of any object under the skin of the genitalia
  • suspending your body from hooks through your skin
  • having designs sliced into your skin with a scalpel
  • surgically altering your body to look like another species

Now, before anyone asks, yes, all those things are real. And if you’ve done any of them, I’m not judging you. I just don’t get why you’d want to. I suppose that’s how you know where your line is drawn.

Anyhoe, all this came about because I watched a documentary last night about body modification that was both intriguing and stomach-churning, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Feel free to share your thoughts if you can do so politely. And mom, just know that what I’ve got is nothing. I had no idea that people did some of the things they do, and I can promise you right now that I will never ever do 99.9% of it. For serious.

Rodent on a Platform in the Water

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Twiggy!!!

Look at him go! Actually, I think they said this was like Twiggy #9 or something like that, and he was a girl, but I still call her a he. I don’t know why. I just feel like Twiggy is a boy even though there was that model named Twiggy, and she was a girl, and even though they told us several times that Twiggy the squirrel was a girl. Anyhoe. We went to this boat show specifically because Twiggy was going to be there, but before the he did his thing, we wandered around and climbed on boats.

I got seasick…

…because JBeau was driving like a maniac.

But then we went to see Twiggy, and I felt better. Here he goes!!

And after the show, we got to go backstage and meet the star. He wasn’t signing autographs, but we got a picture with him!

Happy New Year!! 2010!! WOOHOO!!

Hey, remember when I couldn’t find the USB cord for my camera to upload all my pictures, and that’s why I haven’t really shown y’all any pictures in the last 6 months? Well, I found it, which means we now have a LOT of catching up to do. Let’s start with pictures from the New Year’s Eve Ugly Sweater party I went to. Be prepared to be amazed. And also, know that the absolute most horrible sweater you’ll see is one I found at Goodwill in Asheville that morning. You’ll know it when you see it.

These guys apparently didn’t fully understand the purpose of an ugly sweater party, but the 80s track suits are still beyond entertaining. We nicknamed them DJ and Rerun Rogers.

Here we have Rerun and his wife Reba. I wish you could see her sweater better. It was quite bad. Many textures involved.

There it is. Man, that sweater was AWFUL. Oh, and he’s making that face because he’s doing an impression of a redneck girl his sister encountered in the bathroom of a bar once. The redneck girl was, according to his sister, at least 75 pounds overweight and wearing cotton (like sweatpants) shorts and a tank top. The sister was hanging out in the bathroom trying to get away from some skeezy dude who’d been hitting on her all night, and she struck up a conversation with this redneck girl and her friend. In the course of the conversation, the redneck girl says to Andy’s sister, “You know what? I just farted, and you didn’t even know it.” And then, as if that weren’t weird enough, the conversation continued until a few minutes later when she said, “You know what? I just farted again, and you didn’t even know it again.” In this photo, Andy is in the middle of saying, “You know what?” And he’s doing an excellent impersonation as far as I can tell.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what exactly was going on here. Just know that (a) I am not drunk, (b) Andy is not in an Olan Mills photo shoot, (c) Andy’s hand is not in an inappropriate place even though that’s what it looks like, and (d) there were a bunch of other people at this party. I just don’t have any really good pictures of them. Oh, and also, “Reba Rogers” referred to my sweater all night as “Gifts of Pleasure.”

Happy New Year!! Tomorrow, we’ll take a look back at Twiggy, the Water-skiing Squirrel!

Prepare Yourselves

I know it looks like I’m just not blogging as much lately, but what’s really happening is that I’m giving you extra time to prepare yourselves for the awesomeness that’s about to come your way. That’s right, friends. I’ve found the USB cord for my camera, so I’ve just uploaded LOTS and lots of amazing pictures. I can’t show you any of them right now because I’m at work, and all the pictures are on my computer at home. HOE-ever, get ready because over the next week or two, you’ll be seeing pictures from:

  • New Year’s 2010
  • My birthday
  • Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel
  • Yesterday’s encounter with Zach Galifianakis

Oh yeah, did I mention I met Zach Galifianakis yesterday? And that he loves me? He said so himself. In my high school yearbook. Amazing.

Hopefully all of this will begin tomorrow, but then I can’t promise that I’ll have anything else to say to you until next week because this weekend is my family reunion. But hey, that means you’ll get to see family reunion pictures too! Lucky you!! You can’t wait, I know, but here at Onward Hoe!, we’re all about practicing patience, aren’t we? Yes we are.

Oh, but I do need to tell you about my 2nd day of 1/2 marathon training, which happened this morning. Lauren took the day off of work today to get some things done, so we went for a little walk/jog. Now, she’d done the same interval training we did last time a few times, so she bumped it up a notch. I had only done the one routine, but I wanted to try running with her anyway, so I too bumped it up a notch, and I was successful!

This time, we started with a brisk, 5-minute walk to warm up. Then we alternated running for 90 seconds and walking for two minutes. We did this six times, and then we cooled down for five minutes. The first run was the hardest this time. We really felt that extra 30 seconds, and I think we both needed to loosen up a little bit. The second run was a little easier, and the third was hard again, but THEN we figured out how to do it.

All through the running times, we just told ourselves (out loud) that we were as light as a feather, that it was the easiest thing we’d ever done, that we had bionic gazelle legs, that it didn’t even feel like we were doing anything at all, and that it was even less effort than sitting on the couch. And y’all. Miraculously, this worked. I for one knew we were lying to ourselves, but it totally worked. I think it had something to do with keeping your mind occupied by something other than the hatred you feel for running or how much longer you have to do it. And I found that talking through the running was actually encouraging because it proved to me that I could talk and run at once, which meant I was still ok. I wasn’t dying.

So I probably need to do this routine a few more times before bumping up to the next interval, but once again, it was not that bad, I survived, and I’m still mobile. Hooray!