Friday, October 31, 2008

The Gym Class Chronicles, Part 2

At the end of my last gym class recollection, I had just administered my vault-routine coup de grace (although not on purpose) to a spunky student teacher. I managed to finish 8th grade gym class without any other major mishaps, but it was still far from a good experience. Let me put it this way: there was a kid in my class who had CP, and used crutches to walk. He used to get picked for teams BEFORE me. I was always the very last one. Ninth grade was blissfully free from gym class, and I was in heaven. I had a great time that year.

Imagine my dismay when I found out that gym was a requirement for sophomores! My teacher was a lecherous basketball coach whose sole goal in each class was to meet the maximum possible number of cheerleaders sitting on his lap. Since most of the junior varsity cheerleading squad was in my class, and Coach H. was therefore well-occupied, I learned the fine art of making up excuses not to "dress out" for class. While my mom was pretty strict about academic grades, she had suffered through gym classes herself, so she was usually willing to sign an excuse note. (I had a lot of "back problems" that year.) My friend Richie and I managed to dress out just enough to keep a "C" in the class; the rest of the time, we sat at the top of the bleachers and made fun of all the suckers who were down there on the floor, sweating and getting yelled at.

When I was forced to participate, it was often a nightmare, as usual. Our class was combined with another group of sophomores for most activities, and their teacher was pure, unadulterated evil, in the form of a cheerleading coach. She yelled at me, in front of the whole class, because I screwed up a complicated football play, even though I had never played (or watched, for that matter) tackle football in my life. Coach V. was vicious. Once when I presented her with my (fake) excuse note, she yelled, "You big WEENIE! My girls cheer with BROKEN ARMS!!!" Of course, I did not say what I really wanted--which would have included my opinion that most of her "girls" spent a lot of their time acting like idiots, so I wasn't too surprised that they would cheer with broken arms.

My biggest clash with Coach V. took place on the school's running track, and it involved a pole vault. Specifically, she wanted me to pole vault over a bar that appeared to be about eight feet off the ground, and, remembering the disaster of my last vault, I flatly told her no. Having mustered up the courage to refuse the pole vault, I also disabused her of the notion that I would be participating in the hurdles. Couldn't these people see that I was not only short, but fat as well? How the fudge is a short fat girl supposed to jump over anything that hits above waist-height? The laws of physics simply do not work that way.

I guess Coach V. wrote me off as a lost cause after the Track & Field unit, because she (mercifully) left me alone for the rest of the year. Toward the end of the year, I had what became my best gym class moment ever. We were working on the square dance unit, which was something I could actually do pretty well. (Do high school kids still learn square dancing, I wonder? Is it just a Kentucky thing, or do kids everywhere learn it? I thought it was lots of fun.) When the teachers matched us up with partners, they told us we would dance with the same person throughout the entire unit. I promptly ended up with a guy named Dennis, who was easily one of the ten most objectionable people I've ever met in my life. He saw that I (the fat, unpopular girl) was going to be his partner, and erupted in a stream of compliants so bitter that Coach H. finally gave in, and picked another partner for Dennis. My face burning, I hoped that my next partner would be at least a bit more gracious. I heard Coach H. say my partner's name, but I couldn't believe it until he walked over to take my hand. His name was Jeff, and he was the cutest, most popular guy in the 10th grade. I saw all the girls looking longingly in my direction, and said a silent prayer that Jeff would be as nice as he was good-looking. You know what? He was even NICER than he was good-looking...and he was really good-looking. He was sweet, friendly, funny, and unfailingly polite, and we had a great time dancing together. I doubt that he ever knew how much better he made a chubby, nerdy girl feel, just by being kind for a few weeks.

We weren't required to take gym class after sophomore year, so I was able to eliminate that little slice of hell from my life. Some people continued to take "Advanced PE" all the way through senior year, which could, I believe, serve as evidence that they were certifiably insane.

Happy Halloween...

If that's your thing. I haven't really been into it since I got past trick-or-treating age. Don't get me wrong: I don't have anything against someone else getting into Halloween. For me, since I'm extremely lazy, it just seems like too much trouble. The Husband and I aren't party people, or dressing-up people; we don't have any kids to dress up and coo over; and handing out candy with three barky dogs behind a pet gate is just torture. (For the kids, as well as me. The dogs sound so much like the Hounds of Hell that they made more than one little kid cry the last time I handed out candy.)

I know lots of people dress up their pets, but my dogs are just not the kind of animals that take well to costumes. Patches can't bear for anyone to touch his paws, and acts like we're killing him if we try to put anything on him besides his collar. Abby is way too spastic--all I have to do is hold a grooming implement, like the brush or ear wash bottle, near her, and she goes into her 10-minute rendition of what the Husband and I call the "Curly Joe Shuffle." She gets down on one side on the rug, with her ear pressed into it, and spins around as fast as she can. (It's really comical.) Sebastian believes that he is above other, mere mortal dogs, and dressing up would be completely beneath him. He's the master of the disdainful look.

So, the Husband and I will be having a quiet Halloween evening, and that's just fine with me. I'm just hoping our house doesn't get egged--we had a multiple-attack egger a few months ago, and scraping that gunk off the bricks was no picnic. Hope you enjoy whatever you have planned for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apparently, A Post Title is Required

I read a lot of blogs every day, and comment on most of them. Some of my favorite blogs use the CommentLuv plug-in for their comments section, which is great. It links the title of my last post along with my comment, which is a nice way to bring traffic to my blog without me having to actually pimp it too much.

I think I discovered a flaw in the CommentLuv system, however. My last post did not have a title, and, consequently, I left a series of comments at several blogs today with no link. Bummer. I'll make sure every post has a title from now on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Well, the group dance was really cute. Lance, Warren, Lacey, Cheryl and Cody looked like they were having a blast. Lance and Cody both did a really good job. And Derek! Good Lord, that boy can dance.

I didn't know Carrie Ann was a Fly Girl. I used to watch them on In Living Color every week, wishing I could dance like that. In case you're wondering, I can't.

So much for the "live blogging" was fun, but much more time-consuming than I thought it would be. I also have three very disgusted dogs on my hands. My TV time is usually when they get to stretch out on my lap and go to sleep, and I've had the computer in my lap all night. They won't be any happier when they find out I'm getting ready to wash their ears...
9:18 pm - The lead-up to the group dance... the rehearsal footage is hilarious. It looks like so much fun! I would love to do something like that. Unfortunately, there is no part of being a 38-year-old secretary that involves dressing up in a sparkly costume and doing a hip-hop dance with a bunch of celebrities.

A random thought: does this show stockpile double-sided wardrobe tape? Kim's costume looked like it could have fallen off in about 10 different places, and there were no visible straps or anything. I'm just sayin'.
Warren's score: 25. Not bad, but Lance is still leading.
9:11 pm - Time for Warren and Kym. He continues to amaze me with how well he can move, since he's such a huge guy. He has a great attitude, too.

Nice samba, but I'm afraid the judges are going to think Warren didn't have enough to do. MF pays compliments; Carrie Ann loves the "acting" part, and so does Bruno. I didn't see the mistakes they mentioned, but I'm not a pro.
9:04 pm - Cody's samba was NICE. He has really come a long way from the first couple of weeks--they looked great. Carrie Ann loved it, Bruno is critical, Michael Flatley's so-so. That's a shame, I thought the judges would have great things to say.

And Julianne just danced with appendicitis or something--amazing! I have stayed home from work for a headache.
9:00 pm - Julianne and Cody did an incredible jitterbug last week, I'm interested to see what he comes up with this week. He was being really serious in the rehearsal footage--he must have felt bad for Julianne, since she was sick. As an aside, Julianne looks about 10 years younger without all that makeup.
8:58 pm - Cloris's score: 15. Ouch. I think this will probably be her last week.
8:48 pm - Good grief, it's Cloris and Corky. Seriously, the woman is an incredible comedienne, but the schtick has gotten really tiresome. I won't say any more about that, because I'm trying to be (mostly) kind here.

It must be kind of frightening for Corky, flinging an 82-year-old woman around like that. I would be thinking, "Okay, this is the part where she's gonna break a hip. You come to work, just like any other day, and suddenly you've killed an old lady." Corky deserves a medal.
8:40 pm - I was on the phone, so I couldn't hear the judges' comments. Mr. Flatley awarded a 10, though, so Brooke still scored 28 for the week.

I'm really looking forward to the group dance!
8:31 pm - Looks like Brooke had a mishap during last week's jitterbug. I really don't dislike her--it's just that I like Lance SO much, and I think she's pretty much locked in as the winner.

Well, of course she looks perfect, injured foot and all. She does seem to be taking it easy, though.
8:26 pm - Susan Lucci seems like a really nice person, but I just haven't been able to get into her dancing much. Everything is so...cautious. Better than I could do, certainly (particularly since I think she's over 60), but there's not much excitement there. Let's see what the judges say: good comments from Carrie Ann; criticism about timing from Bruno; nice words from Mr. Flatley. Meh. Score: 23.
8:19 pm - Bummer, no 10s...but 27 is a huge improvement from last week. Hopefully they will be safe, and I won't have to vote again. I'm sure it costs a fortune.
8:13 pm - That oughta get Lance out of his scoring slump--great job, guys!!! Bruno loves it. Michael Flatley is very complimentary. Carrie Ann loves it. Score! Hopefully they will see at least one "10" coming their way...they deserve it.

live blog, cont....

8:09 pm - Maurice and Cheryl scored 21. Not bad, although scores in general seem to have been running higher over the past couple of weeks. Lance and Lacey are next!

I've Been Threatening It...

So, I have the laptop out, and guess what's on TV? That's's my favorite guilty pleasure, Dancing with the Stars. I think I'll give that "live blog" thing I threatened to do a couple of weeks ago a shot. I'll post comments throughout the show, or until I get tired of it. Please forgive me if you hate this show, I just can't help myself.

8:03 pm - Good Lord, they have Michael Flatley as a guest judge. I loved Riverdance so much, but he's just a really annoying little fellow. This should be interesting.

8: 05 pm - Gosh, I wish I was as flexible as these professional dancers. Cheryl Burke moves like she has no bones. I think Maurice may be a little too stiff for the waltz--he seems to do best on fast dances.

The Awesomest Thing

My very own blog was quoted on Blogtations! I've been reading Blogtations for a while now--I found several of my favorite blogs there. My little quote is now hanging out with quotes from some really great writers, and I am truly honored. I started this blog because I like to write, and I like to make people laugh, and I have a lot of odd stuff floating around in my head and no one to share it with. My plan all along has been to sign up with, but I've been either too busy or too lazy to do it. So it came as a real surprise to me that anyone, other than a couple of personal friends, was even reading this blog, let alone quoting it. Now I just have to figure out how to post the nifty little badge thingy. Thanks again to Quote Hunter and Blogtations!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Things About Me

A while back, I wrote a list of odd, random facts about me, and said I may add to it at some point. Well, here you go:

16. I have never, in my whole 38 years, had heartburn. I like to think that I have some sort of super-esophagus that is able to defy all acid reflux.

17. If you live in Kentucky, you're kind of expected to be into horses...but I think they're terrifying. My grandfather was a blacksmith, my uncle was a mounted police officer, both of my aunts work in the equine industry, and I'm surprised they haven't disowned me yet.

18. I can't do math. I don't know what the problem is, but I can't do it. It makes my head hurt just to think about numbers. I got 11 out of 35 on the math portion of the ACT.

19. While I can't do math, I know all the lyrics to roughly a million songs. It seems like God decided that all the brain space that normally gets devoted to math would be used store the words to songs like "Safety Dance."

20. I have never had surgery (other than wisdom teeth), spent a night in the hospital, or had stitches. I made it nearly 34 years without a broken bone, then stepped in a hole and broke my ankle.

21. The thought of having a massage or pedicure freaks me out. I don't like for anyone to touch my feet, and I definitely don't want to be naked in a room with a stranger. My aunt offered to get me a certificate for a massage during a really stressful time a few years ago, and my look of horror was enough to put her off the idea.

22. If I could have any job in the world, I would be an opera singer. Singing makes me happier than just about anything, except the Husband and my pups.

23. I have seen every single episode of Seinfeld, Friends, and The X-Files. Yes, even the last two seasons, which were crappy.

24. Someday I hope to be on a (good) game show. I have taken the Jeopardy test four times (one in person, three online). I tested and auditioned for Weakest Link--I took and passed three tests, and made it through a mock game. The show handlers told me they would call me within six months, but the show was canceled a month or two later. I think I could totally win the million dollars on Don't Forget the Lyrics.

25. I do not consider coconut to be a valid food product fit for human consumption.

Hopefully these little lists are amusing, if nothing else. I am working on an idea for a "real" post, but it involves some scanning, and I've been too busy this week to do it.

On an unrelated note, but keeping with the "random" theme, my 20-year high school reunion is this weekend. I'm not going--I think they are charging $50 a person for the dinner, and I'm WAY too cheap for that. There's also a "meet the families" picnic on Saturday, but it's just the Husband and me, no kids, so that seems kind of pointless. (Somehow I don't think any of my former classmates would want to meet my three unruly beasties while they are showing off their little darlings.) I know there are people who have loads of fond memories of their high school days, but I'm not one of them, so I don't mind missing the reunion at all. Although, if I were going, I would have one thing to feel good about: since I was fat until my early 30s, then did Weight Watchers, I'm MUCH thinner now than I was in high school. At least I know no one could say thatI had let myself go.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Insert Obligatory "DWTS" Commentary Here

It's become my Tuesday thing, I can't help it. Here are my thoughts from last night's show:

  • I really fear for Lance after last night's tie score with Cloris. I know that her fan base is HUGE (heck, I'm one of them), but I think Lance has the potential to be a great dancer if he just gets a few more chances to show it. He's such a cutie, it's a shame that that "worst dancer in N'Sync" thing is still hanging over his head! And I don't fault Lacey--she's a really good choreographer, I think she's just having some trouble pinning down what the judges are looking for, since she's new. I told myself from the beginning that I wasn't going to waste money voting, but I just had to send a text for Lance last night.
  • HOW did Maurice Greene do that backbend? Were these stars just in pretty good shape to begin with, or do the pros have some kind of amazing training secrets? The way Cloris was doing leg extensions last week, it looked like she was WAY more flexible than me. And she's 82! It makes me ashamed of my laziness when it comes to exercising.
  • Okay, okay, Brooke is good. I grudgingly acknowledged her samba last week, but there was no denying that jitterbug last night. She is really good.
  • What about little Cody Linley?! I thought his jitterbug was great, too, but I was kind of nervous for them at first. In the rehearsal footage, it looked like he wasn't strong enough to pull off all those impressive lifts. I was afraid he was going to drop Julianne on her head!
  • What was up with Corky's pants? My sister called me, simply cackling over his sparkly high-waters. Very strange wardrobe choice.
As usual, I won't be watching the results show tonight, because of Fringe. Thanks to ABC's excellent website, however, I can catch the full episode tomorrow night. Very nice work, ABC. All fingers crossed for Lance!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Best-laid Plans, etc., etc.

I had planned to do a sort of "live blog" last night during Dancing with the Stars, but I felt like crud, so I just lay on the couch and suffered through most of it. Here's what I would have said if I had been liveblogging:

  • Rocco may not be the best dancer, but I think he's pretty hot--pink shirt and all. Monday night was probably his last performance, and I'm sad...I'll miss his gorgeous smile.
  • Go, Lance!!! Tied with Brooke's score of 26 points! Lance has been my favorite all along, since I liked N'Sync so much. (I know, I know. Boy band, I'm too old for that, yada yada yada. I loved them, and I don't care who knows it.) The goth makeup was a bit startling, but I thought he and Lacey did a great tango. I can't wait to see what kind of choreography she comes up with for the west coast swing, since she was some kind of champion in that category.
  • I haven't understood the obsession with Brooke Burke up to this point, but she did an awesome samba last night--she looked like one of the pros. I don't know if it will be enough to make me root for her, but she did a good job.
  • I want my abs to look like Kim's. (What abs?!? This falls under the heading of "complete and total fantasy," by the way.)
I won't watch the results show tonight, since Fringe will be back on, but I'm ready to see Lance move up on the list!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Victory is Mine!

I won my battle with the sewing machine...for this round, at least. It was probably the half-glass of wine I drank while I sewed--that always seems to help. The pants are hemmed, and the Husband said the leg I did looked just like the factory-hemmed one!

Note that I changed the avatar for my profile. I was getting tired of the stubby little Weemee, even though I am kind of stubby. This one was created on, and the body model I used was "Booty Betty." Pretty accurate, but not very flattering. She's also fairly chesty, but there weren't many options in that area. I guess no one would pick a flat-chested avatar.


Our Internet service at home is fixed! I have another idea for a long post, but it may take a day or two to get it together. I am currently locked in a battle of wills with my sewing machine and the blindhem stitch-foot-thingamabob. Last night it took two books (with illustrations) just so I could understand how to fold the pants to START sewing the hem. I bought a pair of dress pants at Plato's closet that had the hem out of one leg...and I am SO thankful that it was just one leg! I don't know if I could have handled the stress of doing this blindhem thing twice.

Amy and Holly, if you happen to be reading, I am super-sorry I haven't responded to your comments! I didn't have my options set up to notify me by email when someone leaves a comment, and I usually don't read things after I've posted them, so I didn't know you had commented. I changed my option so it will notify me now. I miss you guys, and I check your blogs every day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Link Love

A few weeks ago, I added a list of some of the blogs I read here, in order to try and help spread the word about some of the great writers out there. If you're a personal friend, and I didn't include your blog in that list (Hi, Amy and Holly), it's not because I don't think your blog is good! It's just that I'm hoping to get added to the list at Humor Blogs soon, and I didn't want to put your personal blogs out there for everyone to see, without your permission.

So, with all that explained, I would like to spotlight what is quickly becoming my favoritest site on my blogroll:

I Do Things So You Don't Have To

JD is hi-freakin'-larious. I feel kind of a weird kinship with her, because we have several odd little tics in common: fear of birds, a tendency toward explosive and unstoppable sneezes, and a burning hatred of public toilets, among others. In addition to all the stuff that has made me double up laughing, I've learned a lot from her site, since she posts helpful blogging tips as well. I like the site so much that I've read through the complete archives--including comments--twice. Oh, and that's another thing: when you post a comment, JD answers, which is just too awesome. I had never read a blog where EVERY comment gets a response. In short, I think everyone needs to go to this site immediately and read every word. It's just that good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

#$*@ Blogger!

I spent the last two hours writing my first "real" blog post, but it went all wonky when I tried to post it. We still don't have 'net access at home, so it will have to be next week. Please try to contain your disappointment.

How Gym Class Scarred Me for Life

I am not athletic.

You might think, when you read that sentence, “Oh, she can’t be that bad. Most people have SOME athletic ability.” Well, you would be wrong. I have NO athletic ability, which is part of the reason why I believe I was scarred for life by public school gym classes.

Elementary school was not so bad. We played fun games; the other kids hadn’t gotten all competitive yet; and the teachers were pretty tolerant. Seventh grade gym class was bearable because I had an incredible teacher. (Beth Art, if you ever read this, thank you.) She was kind and understood that not everyone is athletic—all she asked was that I tried to do all the activities. My junior high years were not the best of my life, and Ms. Art helped me through some pretty tough teenage stuff. I thought (and hoped, and prayed) that maybe, just maybe, all my future gym teachers would be like her. Boy, was I wrong.

I started eighth grade in the fall of 1983, chubby and awkward and horribly shy, with dreadful white-girl-afro curly hair and all the wrong clothes. (There were NO good products for curly hair in the 80s, and my family didn’t have enough money for the “right” clothes.) It was there that I met Torquemada the dreaded Coach C. He was the exact opposite of my beloved seventh-grade gym teacher. He thought everyone, regardless of shape, size, or level of coordination, should be able to play all sports equally well. And he had absolutely no tolerance for anyone who couldn’t. Coach C. and I made it about halfway through the year with just a few minor skirmishes—I protested about some of the things he asked me to do, and he said some nasty things about my lack of athleticism, but it wasn’t in my nature to really make trouble with a teacher. That is, until we began working on gymnastics.

In all my previous years of gym class, the gymnastics equipment was pretty harmless: everything was low to the floor, and designed so that kids weren’t flinging themselves off into space and breaking their heads on a regular basis. That all changed in eighth grade: we were using regulation competitive equipment, which meant that the balance beam was four feet off the floor and the vault was almost taller than me. We were also expected to learn actual gymnastics moves and routines. I had never done well in gymnastics (fat and uncoordinated is a bad combination for performing complex airborne stunts), and I knew, when I saw that equipment, that this would all end very badly. I struggled through the uneven bars and the balance beam without too much trouble, except for landing on my head when I tried to do a round-off dismount from the beam. Then my group moved on to the vault.

The vault was set up with a springboard in front of it, and Coach C. assigned each of us a different stunt to perform. When my turn came, he told me I was supposed to hit the springboard, do this on the vault:

…then do a somersault in the air, and land on my feet. He could see my short fat self standing in front of him; did he really think I could do the splits on the ground, let alone while flying through the air? I gathered up every ounce of courage I possessed, and told him I just couldn’t do that. Coach C. looked at me coldly, and told me that, “failure to complete this exercise will result in an “F” for the entire unit of study.” This particular “unit of study” would comprise my entire midterm grade. I had never earned anything below a “C” on a midterm or report card in my life—I couldn’t ruin my GPA over a stupid gym class!

Up to this point, I have neglected to mention the student teacher we had working in our class. She was tiny, cute, and super-perky; I’m sure she had been a cheerleader from the moment she exited the womb. All the boys loved her, and she flirted with them like crazy. (Which is kind of gross now that I think about it, because they were all about 13. And she was in her 20s. Ewww.) On the day that I came face to face with the vault, she had been assigned to stand next to the landing mat and grade the class on our performances. Remember this fact, because it will be important later.

Resigned to my fate, I watched my classmates perform their vaults. While there were varying degrees of success displayed, no one did really poorly. When my turn came, I squared up to the “run” up to the vault, and ran as fast as my chubby, stubby little legs would carry me. I remember my feet hitting the springboard, and the realization that things were about to go horribly wrong. I didn’t manage to do the splits, or even get my hands squarely on the vault; I did, however, somehow propel myself OVER the stupid thing. At an incredibly high rate of speed, with no control whatsoever...directly toward Ms. CuteandPerky. I remember seeing her face, and the dawning knowledge of what was going to happen. She looked kind of like this:

And then, I fell on her. Yep—right, square on top of her, in front of everyone in the class, in a tangle of arms and legs. My considerable bulk had pinned her tiny, petite frame to the mat completely, and she was somewhat dazed. We managed, somehow, to extricate ourselves and get up. I stammered apologies and tried not to cry, and she tried to look like she wasn’t pissed that her hair had gotten messed up. It was so mortifying that I don’t even remember what grade I got for my “vault.” I just wanted to get to the locker room and escape the nightmare.

After that disaster, the rest of the gymnastics unit was mostly uneventful. Of course, all the horrible popular boys in the class did not let me forget my utter humiliation, but I would have expected no less of them. I managed to scrape by with a “C” for my midterm grade, somehow, and I was thrilled to have it.

As part of my "research" for this post, I learned that the regulating body for competitive gymnastics determined that the traditional vault was too dangerous, and had it redesigned to look like this:

Apparently, a couple of gymnasts were seriously hurt on the old vault, and someone decided that this thing would be safer. It still looks like some kind of medieval torture device to me, but what do I know about it? Once I was out of high school, the closest I've come to gymnastics is watching it on TV. Anyway, I have lots more stories of gym class horrors, but I’ll save those for another day, since this post is now approximately five miles long.

EDITED TO ADD: This was actually posted on Tuesday, October 7th. Again, Blogger is nuts. I don't know why the font is different on one of the paragraphs, since it all looked the same on the "preview" screen. Hopefully everyone is too busy laughing at my misfortune to notice the screwed-up aspects of the post.