Monday, July 30, 2007

Yo Momma So [adjective], she [verb] etc.

A while back, in one of the newsletters I get via email about education, I read about a book intended to help teach high school kids ACT vocabulary through the use of the ever popular "yo mamma" joke.

I thought it was genius.

For some reason, I was trying to think of one of the jokes I had read in the news article and I couldn't, so I just searched for the book online to attempt to find the joke. It turns out that most educators do not think the book is genius, they find it insulting. Hmmm....

I tend to think that anything that gets the students to have fun so much that they don't even realize they're learning is a good thing. But I suppose I can see how it's offensive to some. I think too many teachers are just old fashioned. I suppose I could just wait until I'm tenured to use something like this.

I share with you a few of the jokes and you can feel free to leave a comment with your favorite yo mamma joke or try to invent your own using higher level vocabulary.

Yo mamma is so epic, when she steps on the scale it says "To be continued."

Yo mamma's teeth are so askew, it looks like her mouth is throwing up gang signs.

Yo mamma's so taciturn, she makes Calvin Coolidge look like Rutherford B. Hayes! What up, yo!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thrift, Horatio, Thrift!

"There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt." -Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

I've been thinking a bit about my future and how heavily I've been borrowing against it in regard to student loans.

Here's how I operate since Todd and I split up last summer:

I bumped up my course load to get done with school faster and, ultimately, get back to work faster. Because this year (2007) will be the first that I will be able to file my income taxes as a single woman with two dependents, the amount of grant money I was eligible for in the school year 06-07 (figured on my 05 tax return- married filing jointly) and this coming year 07-08 (figured on my 06 tax return- married filing jointly) was very minimal and student loans had to cover the rest. Unfortunately, there are maximum amounts a student is able to take through the Stafford program, regardless of course load, and because I take so many classes, my Stafford loans do not cover my course load necessitating additional private student loans to pay for the extra credit hours and the living expenses not covered by child support.

As the student loans rack up, I've been forced into thinking about the fact that my lifestyle has changed because of the divorce and, as a result, I really need to cut back on the things that have been a part of my lifestyle that I can no longer afford (as I get nauseous every time I reapply for my private student loans).

Step one was to get out of the lease on my SUV. The payment is too high, the insurance too expensive, and, despite the fact that I don't need to drive daily and even then not at great distance, gas is killer. I have a year left on my lease but have begun the process of weighing what the average relief will be if I take it to a dealership that will roll the cost of the early turn-in into a car. It's too soon for a pull-ahead, but I need to get out from under this vehicle even though I've grown to love it.

I've recently begun realizing, as well, that as much as I love my house, the rent is too high for a woman in my position. I've lived in a house since Jenna was born and it's strange to entertain the notion of downsizing into an apartment, but that is what I must do, I fear. I put my name on a waiting list for income based apartments in my area. I hate to be a snob, beggars can't be choosers, but, while I've never been rich, I've learned to live a certain way and the demographics of these places make my skin crawl. They say it will be 6-9 months before a place opens up. As that's a long time to wait, I also applied at another place where the rent is a fixed rate, but is still somewhat income based and would save me about $250/mo. I filled out paperwork today and toured the place and it was really nice- but it's so hard to decide what to do when the rent at the "yucky" place would be practically nonexistent. I suppose, on this issue, I'm waiting to see what happens first.

Finally, school at the pace I've been going is killing me and I've not been entirely successful. I have so much to pack in if I'm to start my student teaching as planned in December and the thought of it is becoming very overwhelming. I've begun to contemplate the soundness of my plan to just get it done and wonder if, especially given what this is costing me both financially with the extra student loans and mentally with the strain, it's best for me to stretch it back out to two more years and substitute during that time to (a) network and (b) make some damned money.

If I do that, though, given the tight job market, I wonder if I should be looking right now at where I want to move upon graduation. I feel like if I decide to stretch it back out to my original time line and sub for networking purposes that I should do it in a district that has trended toward increased enrollment. This is, overall, quite grim as well since the economic condition of MI is rather bleak and people are moving away- not many districts are increasing in enrollment. The district I live in has laid teachers off every year since Jenna has been in school (she's entering fourth grade).

It's so much more to struggle with than I ever imagined. Over the past several years, I've thought the decisions I've made (divorce, school) were going to put my family ahead and I'm sure they will, but it really brings on a whole new set of issues.


Sunday, July 8, 2007


I saw Sicko yesterday and want to give a brief report. Because I strongly feel that you should all see it, I'm not going to go into too great of detail.

I had some conversation about the movie with Doctor Jones (his Sicko blog) and how Michael Moore is particularly good at what he does (producing documentaries that further his political agenda) and how there are views that don't further his agenda which aren't represented in the movie. This in mind, I was determined to watch quite critically.

Going into the movie, I had expected a big picture of our atrocious health-care system that focused on the uninsured as this would probably create the biggest emotional impact with viewers. I was pleasantly surprised when only a few minutes were dedicated to the uninsured and the remainder to the insured and how socialized medicine works in other countries.

Also, I have some general knowledge of socialized medicine, particularly in Canada, as I used to work with a Canadian woman and she explained it quite well to me. I've also read up on it in the past. Because of this, I thought it might be particularly hard for me to watch critically as I hold the opinion that if Canada can do it successfully, there's no reason we can't. Oh, wait! There is a reason! The insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies would stop making colossal profits- I almost forgot!

Nonetheless, were a discerning viewer (we'll call her "Melissa") to watch Sicko and make every attempt to keep an open mind, she might see a few of Moore's tricks.

I noticed that in the first half of the movie, while his voice can be dripping with sarcasm or sympathy, his narrative pretty much stuck to neutral, fact-based language. However, his political commentary does work its way into the final half of the movie, after the viewer is already pulled in. One must be wary of this.

Second, he only chose stories that furthered his purpose. From the woman I mentioned above, I'm under the impression that there are long waiting lists for medical procedures in Canada that have, at times, negatively impacted the health of some of its citizens. I don't know how much truth there is in this or what the statistics are but I promise you, I wasn't about to find it in Sicko. There were no stories at all from any citizens who may have had bad experiences with their health care in the segments done in Canada, France, or Great Britain. Yet, I'm quite certain that such stories exist and this documentary would have gained tremendous credibility in my eyes if it had presented a few and still managed to project that a universal health care system in the United States would far outweigh the negatives. Because I think it would.

My opinion after watching the movie isn't a whole lot different than prior. I think that the negatives of a universal health care system would be insignificant when compared to the negatives of what we have now.

Even if you hate Michael Moore, it is so essential to be educated on all sides of an issue to speak intelligently to it and this movie will further that end.

P.S. If you see the movie and want to do something, you can call 1-866-459-6050 to get connected with any of the presidential candidates and request that they not accept any money from insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc. in running their campaigns.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I'm disabling comments on this one because I just need to rant. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's my blog, I can rant if I want to.

I just came home from camping with my family on Thursday. Since Thursday, it seems that I have been fighting fire after fire with my family and friends in what can be described as no more than high-school drama.

I've mentioned before that I avoid conflict at all cost to a fault. The past two days have found me personally insulted and wronged by people who love me. Most painful, I think, involves the strong sense of loyalty I have to people I care about and questioning where and when and by whom I will ever get that in return.

Additionally, it kills me right now that, despite my hurt, I still put the well-being of these people above my own. I find myself thinking that I shouldn't confront those that I've yet to confront because I don't want them to get upset with me. Or, in the cases of those I have confronted, I'm more worried about their feelings than my own.

I know that I need to grow a set, believe you me. But, on what planet will I actually value myself the way I say I do and let them worry about losing me instead of me worrying about losing them when they've wronged me? When will they all grow up and act like the adults that they are?

I'm determined to force myself to actually put Melissa first and deal with this bullshit and confront the issues. Instead of just letting it gloss over and hoping it doesn't happen again (because as long as I avoid it, it will happen again), I have to stand up for myself.