January 28, 2009

Gone But Never Forgotten

My family (among many others) lost an amazing woman yesterday. Dr. Laura Joanne DeLapp, or Auntie Joannie, as we sometimes called her, left us to be the her Heavenly Father. She was truly an inspirational woman and has touched so many lives.

A pioneer in the medical field, Aunt Joanne was one of three women in her entire medical program. She always teased that she didn't mind because there was always someone to carry her books, but it truly was an amazing feat. She, and women like her, paved the way for so many who have entered (or will enter) the field since.

She had such strength and independence, which I've always admired. People often inquired why she never married or had children of her own. The truth was that she was engaged - three times, but men at that time expected her to give up her career to take care of them and have children. This, though, was not a sacrifice she was willing to make. She chose, instead, to touch the lives of her patients and family to care for everyone as if they were her own.

She had an uncanny sense of humor. She often called herself not just my great-aunt but my greatest-aunt. I, of course, was her greatest-niece (just don't tell my sister or my cousins).

It has been a long-standing joke in our family that no one can put away food quite like Aunt Joanne. Where she stores it, we'll never know, but she was never shy about helping herself to seconds or thirds (especially desserts). And she was just as sweet as those treats she enjoyed. She was always willing to lend a listening ear and a sound word of advice, but it never came across with any hint of judgement.

We love you and will miss you dearly, Auntie Joannie!

January 23, 2009

Why I'm Not A Runner

I was reminded of this incident, which occurred in college, by my mother as she read my 16 Things and again this week as my students started writing their narratives on childhood memories.

So, I'm not a fan of working out. I wish I were, but I've never liked it. In college, though, my roommate, Amy, convinced me to tag along with her to the fitness center several times a week at the fitness center. 5:00 PM was the perfect time for us because it was typically pretty empty as most students on campus were headed to dinner in the cafeteria. If I'm going to work out, I certainly don't need witnesses. I liked being able to get in, get on my bike, and get it done.

On this particular day, however, my jaw dropped as I walked through the squeaky doors. "What are all of these people doing in here?" I wondered. Apparently I had walked into the Twilight Zone because the room was packed. Only two machines were available: a stair stepper and a treadmill. I hate the stair stepper, so my dear friend suggested I take the treadmill while I wait for a bike to open. Reluctantly, I climbed onto the machine.

Under normal circumstances, I would power walk on a treadmill. That's more my style, but the Barbie dolls on either side were running full speed (without breaking a sweat, of course), so I wasn't about to let them make me look like a fool. I immediately amped up the speed and began moving my feet in great strides.

Withing about two minutes, I was fully aware that I wouldn't last much longer. I could feel the heat on my face, though I wasn't sure if it was from the stress of exercising or the embarrassment I felt. The treadmills, you see, were at the very front of the room, and I was convinced that everyone was watching me from behind, waiting for the impending doom. I turned my head to glance at the stationary bikes, praying for an opening to come to my rescue.

Clearly, I am incapable of turning my head without disrupting my entire body, because this simple motion caused me to lose my footing. When you're on a treadmill and you lose your footing, there is only one place for you to go: down. Hard! It didn't help that I yelped like an injured dog on my way down, smashing my chin on the belt.

Keep in mind, dear Readers, that when you fall on a treadmill, the belt still moves. Oh, yes! So, not only did I faceplant on this machine, but then it proceeded to roll me off the back, where I landed, feet over head, on the ground. This is when the Barbie on my left shrieked, "Oh my God! Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," I assured her as I jumped to my feet. Trying to be inconspicuous, I found my way to the open bike and began to pedal. I was completely mortified, but I hoped to save face by continuing my workout as if nothing had just transpired. Within minutes, I was all too aware of a throbbing pain in my knee, and when I pulled up my pant leg, I saw the blood streaming down. I decided to call it quits and hobbled back to my apartment for ice.

I sported some nice bruises for weeks following my event, but I also learned an important lesson: don't let others pressure you into doing something if you don't want to do it! This, my friends, is why you will never again see me running on a treadmill.

January 16, 2009

Sex for Tuition???

I came across this story today that really made my stomach turn. A 21 yea-old female, assuming the pseudonym Natalie Dylan, is selling her virginity for grad school tuition. The infamous Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in Nevada, is handling all of the bidding since ebay refuses to participate. We've all heard the stories about strippers paying their way through law school, but this woman is taking things to an entirely new level.

I'm not one to chastise a person for premarital sex, but I do believe there is something to be said for saving that intimate act for intimate relationships - especially your first time! I can't imagine being that vulnerable with a complete stranger. Additionally, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't want the entire world to know about my first time!

I also find it interesting that this woman claims she will not simply giver herself to the highest bidder. Instead, she says is looking for, "intelligence and an overall nice person." That statement alone leads me to question why this girl isn't simply looking for a relationship with a sugar daddy. Maybe she should contact the Millionaire Matchmaker and save her virginity for someone she'll actually want to remember.

Good thing she's planning to get her master's in counseling and psychology because she may need it after this experience!

January 10, 2009

More Life Lessons

Yesterday, a student decided to accept a dare to lick the flagpole before school. Of course, his tongue got stuck, and the nurse had to come to his rescue.

All of my students came in laughing and talking about the kid who was stupid enough to do this. Of course, it was one of my students. When I confronted him later in the day, he explained that he has not yet seen A Christmas Story.

Clearly, I have failed as a teacher.

You Decide: Cute or Creepy?

The picture below is not of a baby. It's a reborn. What's a reborn, you ask? Reborns are incredibly (creepy?) lifelike baby dolls that are purchased for adult women for hundreds to thousands of dollars. These women care for these dolls as they would real babies - buying them clothing, decorating nurseries complete with changing tables and cribs, throwing birthday parties, walking them in the parks, etc.

I don't typically think dolls are creepy. I was known to have a few of my own when I was a child. But there is something about a grown woman caring for a piece of plastic as if it were real that really sends chills up my spine. I'm not a psychologist, but I am willing to bet these women are trying to fill some void in their lives. Sure... there are plenty of "hobbies" that are much more harmful, but I just don't think this can be healthy.

January 9, 2009

16 Things

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. (or because you tagged me and I was told to tag you back...)

1. I love to organize (and re-organize) things. When I was a substitute, I even organized the desks of messy teachers. It gives me great satisfaction that everything has a place and that everything is in its place.

2. I hate to clean - organizing and cleaning are very different - but I can't stand it when my things are dirty, so I do it anyway.

3.I have major anxiety about gift-giving. I try so hard to find the perfect gifts and stress about it so much that I typically get nothing until the last minute, and then I am always disappointed in what I chose. Someday, I hope to conquer this.

4. I used to dream about being the next Oprah. I couldn't imagine a better job than hers. How fun would it be to meet all sorts of people, learn about them, learn from them and get cool gifts. Hm... doesn't sound so different from teaching! :)

5. I have a small scar on my forehead from when I had the chicken pox. I was 6, and my mom picked at it because she thought it was a zit. Clearly, 6 year-olds do not get zits.

6. My mother saved the notes she used to find in my pockets from junior high and high school and gave them to me a couple of years ago. Some of them are HILARIOUS! Others make me cringe.

7. I'm totally enthralled by anything Britney Spears. It's a sick and twisted world. (This was originally Elaine's, but I kept it because it's true.)

8. A few years ago, I ran into my 5th grade teacher at a club in Naperville and he bought me a beer. I bet he never thought that would happen. I hope I never run into my students in any clubs!

9. I think it's hilarious when people trip and fall. I simply cannot help but laugh. Don't worry, though, I laugh when I fall too (sometimes through tears).

10. On that note... I once broke my big toe and by tripping UP the stairs. It was bad. I also landed on my kneecap on the corner of the wooden stair. All of my screaming and crying convinced my dad I broke my knee and needed an ambulance. My mother, however, knows I'm a drama queen and told him to get me ice. I limped around for months. It wasn't cute.

11. My sister once pushed me down the stairs. We were playing dress up and strutting around in my mom's high heels when she tripped and fell into me. Of course, I was standing at the top of the stairs, and her "accidental" push launched me face first toward a wooden floor. I broke my hand and was the first recipient of a waterproof cast at my mom's office (she worked for an ortho at the time).

12. I used to be a Republican (Don't judge me. We can't help how we're raised.), but then I learned about how this country really works and changed my mind.

13. I'm amazing at Wii bowling! I need to get a Wii of my own because it's fantastic.

14. In college (and grad school), instead of doodling, I used to write up my bridal party and guest list for my future wedding. It seriously evolved over the years!

15. I would love to backpack around the world, but I know it will never happen. For one, when I say backpack, I really mean rolling two large suitcases behind me. Also, these types of excursions typically require stays at various youth hostels surrounded by strange, drunk people with questionable hygiene. I prefer to stay in hotels, and that gets costly.

16. I still hope to someday take an African safari. It would be amazing to see those animals up close (from a vehicle that can travel at speeds faster than any of those animals, if necessary).

I tag: anyone reading this! Yes... I mean YOU! Don't forget to share your list with me!