Monthly Archives: June 2007

If one more person says it, I’ll scream

Originally this blog was going to be about adjusting to real life again and not being a stay at home mom. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been taking a class in order to renew my license and have had to leave my son with various babysitters all week, which while good practice for the fall, has made me a bit of a nervous wreck. However, I got a comment on yesterday’s blog and rather than comment back, since I think my comments would be longer than many of my posts, I thought I’d address some of the issues it brings up. This entry is not meant to be a rebuttal to my good friend, who I know did not mean any of her comments as a criticism of me, but rather to clear up some general misconceptions many non-teachers I know seem to have about the profession I’ve chosen.

 For years I have been fighting with friends about my job. Anytime I complain about my job and how stressed out I get, someone inevitably tells me that I don’t get to complain because I get my summers off. This is probably the one comment that pisses me off the most. Yes, I get about 9 1/2 weeks of “vacation” each summer. I’m sure for many people who have been working in an office job for nine years (this will be my tenth year teaching), it really seems unequal when compared to their 3-4 weeks of vacation. However, unlike my friends who have office jobs, I have never put in a 40 hour work week. An easy work week for me, is a minimum of 50 hours, 40 of which are spent at school, the other 10 are spent at home grading. With extra-curriculars and all my grading, my normal work week adds up to closer to 60 hours a week. When I used to do drama, it was not uncommon to average 70 hours a week during a play. So while many of my friends are working about 1880 hours each year*, on average, even with my nearly 10 weeks of summer vacation, I put in about 2200*, which is 8.5 weeks more work every year.

In addition to never working a 40 hour week, I can probably count the number of times I have worked a 5 day week on one hand. During the school year, my work week almost always includes both Saturday and Sunday, often times five to six hours of straight work on one or both days.

As an added bonus, when I my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family, I had to save all of my sick days to cover my maternity leave. Teachers do not get any sort of paid maternity leave. If we want to take the time off, we have to use our sick days or go unpaid. In the past two years, I have taken exactly 1/2 a sick day and this was actually for an OB appointment that required me to be at the doctor’s office for two hours and have blood work done. I had to take a half day. With all of that, I got six weeks paid maternity leave. My sister-in-law, who has been at her job for less than a year and a half, gets 8 weeks paid maternity leave. My sister, who had been at her company for 7 months, got four weeks paid. Plus, when she was put on bed rest for the month before her son was born, her short term disability kicked in and she was paid the entire time. If that had happened to me, it would have come out of my sick time and I would have gotten only two weeks paid maternity leave. Neither of these two ladies had to spend one of their sick days.

Which, all brings me to my summer “vacation.” By the time I actually get it, I have worked the equivalent of eight and a half weeks more than most of my non-teacher friends. Until last summer, my summers were always spent teaching summer school. Which meant that I actually only got six weeks of “vacation.” One summer because I had to take a class for re-certification, I taught one session of summer school from 8-noon, the second session from 12:30-3:30 and then had class from 4-6:30 pm. I did this every day for a month. On top of the actual hours I put in, I had homework to do for my class and to grade for my students. But, I did get that six week “vacation” afterwards. Last year I didn’t get teach because for the first time in nine years I had a real vacation planned. This year I didn’t teach because I have a new baby. I don’t know what future summers will bring.

I’m probably a little selfish for wanting my summers to actually be a break from the educational world, but I do. I keep up with the world of literature by reading constantly. Despite my teaching load, I usually manage to get at least a good 30-40 books read each year, most in the summer. I am in no ways shirking my responsibility to provide my students with a quality education. Each year I attend lectures and workshops in order to update my teaching methods and improve my management skills. I present at conferences. I am a life-long learner and love to learn new things. What I have a problem with, however, is having to take a required number of classes in a restricted amount of time in order to keep my job. Not because I’m lazy, or don’t want to learn, but because I am already intrinsically motivated to learn and generally learn way more outside these required classes than I ever do inside them. Then again, I may be the exception to the rule. I know within my department I am the norm, but I’m sure a great many teachers in the world haven’t picked up a book just to learn something new for themselves since their last required class.

This entry is already long and probably more than a little ranty, so I won’t even delve into what I should/shouldn’t be teaching kids or their need to understand literary analysis as high school sophomores. I’ll save that for another blog. Right now I have two sets of lesson plans to completely revamp (for classes I’ve already taught, because I’m always improving them) and I have to work on my AP syllabus for approval from the College Board. Even on my summer “vacation,” work prevails.

*This figure takes into account 3 weeks vacation and holidays. The figure I came up with for the hours I work is 38 weeks–the averaging teaching year–at a little less than 60 hours a week. My figure may actually be a little lower or a little higher depending on the year.

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Higher education=highway robbery

Higher education is a real racket. I went to college, as a many people do, to learn as much as I could in order to get a good job. I paid Ball State University somewhere in the ballpark of $20,000 for my education and housing over the course of the 4 ½ years I was there. I also paid a consolidated bank and the federal government another $5,000-10,000 for lending me the original dough to go get my degree. If I work for 40 years as a teacher, that means I’ll have paid $750 a year for the honor of having my job. Or at least I would if I was say an architect, CPA or even a nuclear scientist*. Since I chose to be a teacher though, every five years I have to earn six additional college credits. Right now college courses are going for about $600 for three credit hours, which means barring the rising cost of living that keeps sending tuition prices spiraling upward, by the time I retire, my job will be paying about $1000 a year to stand in dress shoes for seven hours each day on tile floors. I’m sure there is some sort of cost analysis I could do that will predict what future credit hours will cost, but I don’t have the time or patience for that kind of math. I teach English after all. I’m guessing that in order to keep my job, I will end up paying closer to $1200 each year for the privilege of a half hour lunch break where I have to stand in line for luke-warm soup and day old hamburger patties.

 

And that’s if I don’t get that master’s degree everyone is pushing me toward. If I want the substantial pay raise and the ability to keep getting pay increases after I’ve been teaching for 20 years, I’ve got to step it up and get even more higher education. The cheapest I’ve found to do that right now is about $12,500. That brings my yearly total up to about $1400 per year so that I can stand in front of 32 16-year-olds and try to give them the skills they need to get jobs as managers of fast food chains and make more money a year than I do. And that doesn’t include the future renewals after my masters. Even with a masters’, I’ll still have to take more classes to keep my job.

 

Why am I throwing all these numbers out? This week I am taking one of those certification renewal courses. It’s from 8 am-5pm every day (although we’ve gotten out early each day so far this week), but it’s only a week long. The class is actually fun and when I got back to school, I’m sure I’ll even use some of the teaching strategies we are learning, but there’s just something about the idea of having to take these classes in order to keep my job that rubs me the wrong way.

 

While I can take any class offered in my major area, minor area or education in general, the easiest classes to take are education classes. The problem with these classes is that every few years someone new comes out with a philosophy that “revolutionizes” the educational process, but only ends up lasting long enough to get all your lesson plans done and finally taught the way you’d like them. Then a contradicting theory comes out, and all that work goes out the window. Or, the classes all start running together, because they keep saying things that teachers already known and have known throughout the ages. Honestly, in all the educational classes I’ve ever taken, I think I’ve actually learned about a dozen helpful things. I end up feeling like I’ve wasted an awful lot of money and spent a week snacking too much to stay awake in order to hear for the zillionth time that kids like to blame others for their problems and we need to teach them how to get out of that habit.

 

The classes in my major and minor areas, while fun to take really aren’t that helpful for keeping my job. As much as I’d love to, I’ll never get to teach a class on Jane Austen at my high school. I’d be lucky if I get to teach one of her books**, so taking an entire class on her isn’t really helpful. Not to mention that with the exception of the addition of some new authors, I’ve already got the skills I need to teach my subject. Writing doesn’t really change that much, neither do literary analysis skills. And I’ll be really honest, I don’t have the time to do all my reading/planning and grading for my job, raise my son, keep my house in decent order and do all the reading/writing required for a graduate level literature class. At least not if I want to keep my sanity and have any free time.

 

Even with these constant classes, I still get questioned about my educational practices by parents who haven’t been inside a classroom to learn anything since their high school days. They are positive they know more about running my classroom than I ever could. After four days like this, that Now Hiring I saw on the marquee of the Steak ‘N Shake seems a bit inviting.

 

* I realize other professions do have to take classes and attend seminars to keep up on the latest, but their educational advancement aren’t monitored the way teachers are, and often they can choose not to update their education without the certainty that they will lose their job. Plus, many of those seminars are paid for by their companies or the seminar people. Colleges, so not springing for my tuition money.

 

**I’ve tried teaching Emma. She doesn’t go over very well with most modern American teens, proving once again that I was a big geek in high school when I read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

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Staying in the lines, not just for kindergarteners

When did driver’s ed classes stop teaching people what those little yellow and white lines on the road mean?  I know it’s been a few years since I’ve taken the class myself, but I distinctly remember going over the various forms lines on the road can take, and also the simple procedures needed to follow these lines correctly. I didn’t find this part of the class particularly taxing, however, it appears that many people were either absent the day staying in the lines was taught or since we’ve been hearing it since pre-school, driver’s ed classes have dropped the concept, assuming people already understand it.

 

I know what happens when I assume things…I nearly get plowed into by a pony-tailed idiot who at some point attended Indiana University. Yes, this is going to be one of those griping, “people are bad drivers” rants.

 

When making a left turn from the mall area, there are two lanes open for use. One is strictly a left turn lane. The other permits people to either turn or go straight. I chose the latter as I knew I’d be making a right turn almost immediately to get to the main road I needed. Just like I did all those years back in my coloring books, when the light turned green, I stayed inside my lines. I turned my car wide as did the car in the other turn lane. It seems no one had taught her how to read the large diagrams hanging above the light that indicate which directions the cars around her are likely to go. Without even a glance, she drove right into my lane and if I hadn’t been paying close attention and slammed on my breaks and honked my horn, she would have proceeded right into my door. Thankfully the SUV behind me also realized she was a moron and was able to put on the brakes. The SUV was so close that not only could I not see the bumper, but I could see the anger in the driver’s brown eyes. Ms. Indiana University didn’t even jerk back into her lane, nor did she give me the embarrassed look or the sheepish “I’m sorry” wave when I was able to pull around her a few moments later. She was too busy laughing with her friend.

 

This incident, which kept my heart from beating regularly for about five minutes, is not isolated. The inability to follow simple yellow lines is spreading across Indy like an epidemic. I nearly get hit at least once a week coming home from work because people do not seem to understand that if they want to go to McDonald’s, which is on the left hand side of the road, they need to be in the far turn lane, not the inside one. How hard is this?

 

The thing is, it’s not teens new to the road who are doing this. Every offender so far seems either to be in their early to mid 20’s or middle aged, which leads me to believe that the summer I took driver’s ed was during some turn lane gilded age. Maybe the reason teens can follow the lines is because enough driver’s ed teachers have nearly been killed by their former students plunging into their lanes, that they have come up with all kinds of nifty charts to show kids just how to follow those wacky lines.

 

I realize the problem here isn’t actually what is being taught, but rather the individual driver’s lack of concentration, laziness or just plain inability to think of anyone but themselves, but I nearly messed myself, so I want to bitch a little.

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Taco Hut and Pizza Bell…a great end to a wedding

Once again I found myself eating dinner way too late. I was out with my friends (my baby was at home sleeping while my in-laws and husband babysat…yeah) and we all realized we hadn’t eaten in hours and were starving. We debated the merits of pizza vs. tacos for what seemed like an eternity before someone remembered there is a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell in Broadripple. Now, I don’t know who the genius was behind this culinary enterprise, but until last night I had no idea such a place existed. I mean, some marketing rep was sitting around, examining the over saturated fast food circuit and thought, “Hey, what people really need is the ability to get breadsticks as a side for their burritos.” The person responsible was right…that’s exactly what I wanted last night, and exactly what I got. In fact, with only one exception we all got a breadstick/burrito (or taco) combo and might I add, it was fantastic! Like I said, genius!

 

Before we actually reached this little food nirvana though, a good friend of mine I hadn’t seen in awhile hit me with a question I wasn’t quite ready for. He wanted to know what I thought of the wedding.* I have to admit, I was sort of struck dumb for a moment. Not that he asked the question. He’s a good friend, he can ask. It was just that I wasn’t sure what kind of answer he was looking for. Not that I tailor my answers to what my friends desire, I just wasn’t sure if he was looking for something along the lines of “It was a pretty ceremony,” or if he was searching to see if I had some deep-seeded emotional reaction to it. So, I simply said, “It was nice.” 

 

He looked at me oddly and I wasn’t quite sure if it was the sincere drunk he had going on or if “nice” was a little to generic for him. I stumbled a bit, trying to embellish my rather vague statement. “Everything looked pretty and their vows were sweet.” Still, he stared at me. I realized he wanted the deep emotional deluge. I didn’t really have one for him. I told him I was happy for them and that I thought it was nice. I reminded him that they’d come to my wedding and gotten recruited as the cinematographers and he nodded. He admitted he didn’t understand how we could all be so cool about it. He has too much resentment about his former loves to be so civil and collected. He finished the conversation with an “it’s either really healthy or you’re in total denial.”

 

I realize this is how most people looking at the situation would see it, which is why I just told almost everyone that I was going to the wedding of an old friend. It’s not that I mind being asked about it. I know most people think it’s odd that we can be friends, much less sit smiling as the other marries. I don’t know that I can really explain it, at least not to most people’s satisfaction. I am really happy for them. It was a beautiful ceremony and the vows really were touching. I thought they both looked great and the food (catered by my former brother-in-law) was out of this world. I had fun catching up with my former in-laws, because they are truly cool people. Everyone cooed over my son and I got to hang out with my friends. It was a great day and I’m really glad I got to be a part of it. Plus, I got a burrito with breadsticks at the end of it all. If this ain’t good living, I don’t know what is.

 

*For non-serial blog readers or close friends, it was my ex-husband’s wedding.

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A dream Freud would probably love to interpret

Last night I had a strange dream. It was Saturday and I was sitting on the couch with Richard flipping through the channels, looking for something on the TV. It was twenty ‘til two and nothing was on. I know this doesn’t sound strange at all, but rather mundane. I have a lot of these boring dreams where I’m just doing everyday things. Generally they are fairly pointless and not worth telling, but this one has a point, I promise, just stick with me another minute or two. As I was flipping past the gazillionth reality show rerun, I suddenly realized we’d missed K and S’s wedding. I jumped off of the couch and started running around screaming that we had to get ready. I hadn’t even gotten out of my pjs in my dream. When I passed the bathroom clock, I was relieved to see it was actually twenty ‘til one and if we hurried, we still wouldn’t be able to make it on time, but at least we could sneak in the back and make it look good. At that moment the baby started crying and my eyes snapped open.

 

You’re probably wondering where the point is. It’s not in the plot itself, but the fact I was panicked in my dream about missing my ex-husband’s wedding. I’m not sure quite what that says, although I’m sure some dream analyst would have a field day with it. Many of my friends would as well.

 

Outside my closest circle of friends, nobody else really seems to understand why I am going to the wedding. I’ve actually completely avoided telling my in-laws (who are also coming in to town tomorrow) whose wedding we are going to because I don’t want to deal with the raised eyebrows, questioning looks or actual questions they will no doubt assault me with. It’s not that my in-laws are bad people, they just don’t understand how close our little group is. Neither do my parents, although seeing as how they actually know and like K, they don’t bat an eye at me going to his wedding*. It seems to me that people of my parent’s generation just don’t have the kind of friends I have. They have friends, but not the kind they could go out for coffee with every day and never run out of things to say to. Or the kind who they’d drive an hour to visit every weekend, even if it meant sleeping on someone’s floor.

 

At first I thought it was part of a generation gap, but as I look around at my other friends, I notice they also don’t seem to understand the unique dynamic of our little group. When I mentioned that I was helping to throw S’s bridal shower, a couple of my school friends wanted to know how I could do it. The concept of being friends with someone they’d dated, let alone been married to, was foreign enough, but the idea of befriending his girlfriend seemed to be along the same lines as finding out aliens actually do exist. Aside from the first six months after we split up, I’ve never even thought twice about being friends with K. Even in those six months, I didn’t see him more because I thought we both needed some space and some time to figure out our lives. A lot of people don’t understand this. They also don’t seem to have the same kind of friendship.

 

Looking in from the outside, I guess our group does seem a little odd. Before S was part of it, she used to call us “the friends.” We are very tight knit and it’s not that we are exclusionary, it’s just that we’ve become so close, we are more like family. The core group of us all met in college and came from similar backgrounds. We were all searching for something, for my part I think it was a sense of family, and we found it in each other. I don’t think there is anything that strange about it. I think more people need friends like mine. Then again, I guess for those on the fringes (like our significant others used to be), getting into the group probably seemed a little bit daunting. We’ve known each other since we were 18. We’ve grown up together. Even through the squabbles and break ups, we’ve always supported each other. They are among the few people I truly love. Which, is why I’m not only going to C and S’s wedding, but I’m really happy to be going. They are an awesome couple and so much better for each other than C and I ever were. Just as I know my husband and I are better suited for each other.

 

Still, it’s easier to just say I’m going to a friend’s wedding, because I don’t think anyone else really understands.

 

*C and S not only came to my wedding, but my dad actually foisted the video camera off on S and had her tape our wedding. 

  

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Heartbreak, Heartache and everything in between

Like all true writers, I am no stranger to heartache. It’s cliché, I know, but I’ve had my heart broken twice in my life. Once when I was 16 and once when I was 18. Those ages may surprise my nearest and dearest. I’m sure they were expecting to see a slightly higher number. The break up of a marriage should cause heartbreak, right? I hesitate to classify the end of that relationship as heartbreak though, I think of it more as being heartsick. I know they sound alike, but I make a distinction between the two. Having your heart broken is deliberate, not necessarily motivated by cruelty, but an intentional action that severs the relationship for one reason or another. Being heartsick, however, has more to do with the hurt and emptiness that come from realizing a relationship isn’t working, no matter how much you’d like it to.

 

I was heartsick when I realized C and I were done. Not just because I still loved him, but because it meant an end to my world as I knew it. I’d been with him or married to him for my entire adult life at that point, and I wasn’t really sure what not being married to him meant. I spent my time weeping for everything that had not turned out the way I’d planned it and for the fact that suddenly I had to define myself and figure out who I was. Not that C in anyway stifled me as a person, it was just that we’d been together so long, I’d forgotten what it was like to be on my own. I was also heartsick because I was losing the people who’d been my family for the past eight years. Considering what amazing people they are, this was a real blow to me.

 

But I was not heartbroken over C. He did nothing devastating to me to end our marriage. We just both grew up and realized we’d grown into different people who no longer wanted the same things. There was no malice, just a sad realization. The heartbreak in my life, oddly enough, has been caused by two guy with very different personalities, but the same name.

 

The Todds…of all the people not related to me in my life, they have caused me the most intentional pain. Again, I don’t mean they were cruel on purpose, but they knew they were going to hurt me, and did it anyway. Todd #1* was one of my best friends. I spent every waking moment I could with him. I was his own personal Dear Abby, giving him advice on school, his parents and all the other girls, who were not me, that he actually liked. Although it pained me every time I heard him mention another girl’s name with that look of desire in his eyes, I never tried to sabotage any of them. It was enough for me to be close to him, to be trusted by him. He revealed more of himself to me than he ever did to any of them. I just kept hoping that one day he’d open his eyes and see me for who I should have been in his life: his girlfriend. I wrote him a letter, finally telling him everything I felt for him, although he already knew most of it. I asked him not to show it to anyone or tell anyone about it. I thought I could trust him, but he told his two of his friends, one who happened to be one of my biggest tormentors. I had images of them all sitting around getting a good laugh at my expense, because shortly thereafter, our friendship took a dramatic change. He became mean, and very deliberate in his meanness. He peppered his harsh words with bursts of friendship and compassion, like when we went to prom together, but there was always this underlying jagged layer waiting to stab me. Looking back on it, it reminds me a bit of Seth Green and Lauren Ambrose in Can’t Hardly Wait, only Todd never went wanna be gangsta and is considerably taller. We ended our friendship for good when I went off to college.

 

Todd #2, or Navy Todd as I called him to help distinguish him for friends, was just the opposite. He was sweeter to me than anyone else had ever been in my entire life. He told me right up front he was shipping out at the end of the year and that he couldn’t have a relationship with me, but started one anyway and while he discouraged me with words, his actions made me fall in love with him. He kept me on a string, one minute saying we couldn’t be together and the next minute pushing the hair out of my eyes and telling me I was beautiful. We went on like this for over two years, even after he went off to the big boat. During a late night phone call from nuke school in Florida, he finally said the words I’d been dying to hear. He told me he loved me. I cannot even begin to describe my elation. I thought we’d finally turned a corner and that he was the one. Two weeks later I got a dear john letter of sorts about how we were too far apart and it could never work. He knew that letter would destroy me. It was especially bitter a few years later, after I’d married C, when he decided to confess that he did love me, and was sure that I was the one for him. This is what heartbreak is all about.

 

Why do I bring all this up now? I’m happily married, have an adorable son and am generally feeling pretty darn good about my life. Due to the revolution that is technology (specifically myspace), both Todds have found me again. Both older, both wiser, and both a bit apologetic for wrongs in the past. Both wanting to start our friendships over. And while I know that neither of them can break my heart again, even if their handful of emails stop tomorrow, it still sent a wave of memories rushing back over me. It’s amazing how a sting from over a decade ago can still make me wince.

 

*He is my love story gone wrong of yesterday for those serial readers of this blog.

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The movies led me astray

Most of my life I’ve had a pretty warped idea of what love is. For once I don’t blame my parents, even though they were poor examples. I blame movies. Ever since I was old enough to understand the concept of love, I’ve been devouring impossible love stories. I think it really started the summer before my eighth grade year when my best friend and I would sneak into the family room to watch Dirty Dancing every time my mom left the house. It didn’t matter that Baby and Johnny were from different social circles, had different goals in life or were what appeared to be about 20 years apart in age, they fell in love over a very sexy dance and that was all that mattered. I was hooked.

 

As the years progressed, so did my love of these stories. Some Kind of Wonderful, Reality Bites, and Shag, all introduced me to the idea of falling in love with my best friend. It didn’t matter that Pudge wasn’t as skinny or as beautiful as all of her friends, she started a great friendship, the kind where they could really talk and share their hopes and dreams, and in the end, he fell for her. Eric Stoltz thought he wanted hottie Leah Thompson and poured his heart out to his awkward (yet secretly beautiful) best friend Mary Stuart Masterson. He was too blind to see what was right in front of him until it was almost too late. But, as the credits rolled and the most adorable version of “Fools Rush In” started up in the background, they strolled down the block, hand in hand, kissing in between final words. These were the movies of my teen years, and these were what I expected love to be.

 

Boy was I dumb.

 

At fifteen I met a guy who quickly became one of my best friend. He was the only person in the world who I really thought “got me.” We spent hours walking around our tiny subdivision whispering our secrets to each other. In a few short months, I knew him better in some ways than his oldest friend. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have paste eating stories or field trip vomiting vignettes to remind him of at inappropriate moments, I really felt like I knew his heart. I was sure I loved him. Unfortunately, he was sure he loved my best friend. I didn’t let this bother me. I thought of the long suffering Mary Stuart and kept right on being his friend. I encouraged him in everything, was always there to lend a shoulder or hand and kept up our late night walks. I knew we were destined for each other.

 

Only it didn’t work out like it was supposed to. He didn’t hand me the diamond earrings that were really meant for me all along. We danced quite a bit, but that was at prom, and I didn’t even get a good night kiss, just a late night cheeseburger with several other friends. Worse than that, our relationship ended up strongly resembling Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke’s after she starts dating Ben Stiller. Only he was the one dating someone else and still hurling cruel words at me.

 

We ended our friendship in my dorm room a few years later when he came to visit one weekend. I’m not sure how the fight escalated so quickly, but I remember him screaming that I needed him and me screaming I didn’t. No more quirky trials to fling us back together so we could finally find that love that had been there all along. I didn’t get my happy ending. The movies had lied to me.

I didn’t give up though. I dove head first into relationships, always expecting the grand gestures my flicks had taught me about, and always being let down by love in daily life. It wasn’t until my marriage crumbled that I realized the unrealistic expectations I was putting on everyone I loved.

 

I still watch my romances, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got a thing for period pieces these days: Nicholas Nickelby, Pride and Prejudice, and I Capture the Castle. It’s easier to distance myself from these. That’s probably the same reason I still love bubble gum romances like Clueless, Drive Me Crazy and Can’t Hardly Wait. I’m not 17 anymore and they are too nostalgic to put false hope into my head.

 

It took me awhile, but I think I’ve finally got this love thing down. Although the movie worthy proposal I got a few years back sometimes sends my expectations soaring and I find myself waiting for five dozen roses to be delivered to my classroom after a fight, one for each minute we were mad at each other.

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