Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Eh, Getting Ahead is Overrated Anyway

I have to laugh. Because at a certain point it just gets funny.

Mr. ZigKvetch just called. That funny sound the car started making this weekend turned out to be nearly $1K worth of work. Frozen brake calipers, fried brakes, excellence all around. And we're way overdue to replace the timing belt (another $400). And this is our "good" car. And then there are our regular bills, the dentist, union dues, excise taxes, real estate taxes, the new computer we ended up having to buy (it's a necessity for us), etc., etc., etc.

Every time we start building up a little savings, it gets blown. Isn't that grand? Get it? Grand? A-HAHAHAHAHAHA! (Insert continuation of mad cackling here.)

I have an old Monty Python song in my head:

Here comes another one
Here it comes again
Here comes another one
When will it ever end?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Itchy, Itchy, Scratchy, Scratchy

Flea (flea!), Flea fly (flea fly!), Flea fly mosquito (flea fly mosquito!)
Calamine, calamine calamine lotion (Calamine, calamine calamine lotion)
Oh, no more calamine lotion (Oh no more calamine lotion)
Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy, ooh I got one down my backy (itchy itchy scratchy scratchy, ooh I got one down my backy)
Get the bad bug with the bad bug spray (tschhh)
Get the bad bug with the bad bug spray (tschhh)

I might as well just be honest and say that I think it was extremely opportunistic for the bugs in my yard to take an hour-long visit with my next door neighbor and her awesome dog as a free, all-you-can-eat buffet extravaganza on my legs and arms. One even had the audacity, ok I'll say it, CHUTZPAH, to bite not only the top of my "ring finger" toe on my right foot, but also between it and the "middle finger" toe. I mean, who does that?!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tool of Satan: Spyware

All I wanted to do was check out some new and exciting blogs. Silly me, I clicked on "next blog" a few times and next thing I know, my poor Explorer window is overcome with a brand new navigation bar-- the "Elite Bar." Elite apparently means a Satan-powered navigation bar filled with cute little icons you can click on to take you right to the pages you use most: gambling (little dice), finding a "lover" (pulsing heart), and "drugs on the Internet!" (such sweet little pills!)

And in case those little minions-of-hell buttons don't get you there fast enough, this demonic little spyware program provides me, the thrilled (drugged, sexed up, broke from gambling) consumer with pop-ups! And I didn't even have to ask! Hey, fantastic! Thanks!

Feeling unworthy of all this sudden attention and e-z accessibility to HELL, I immediately set off on a journey through my programs folder to uninstall this motherfucker. After a few searches, I gave up. They hide their programs under different names and deep down in the bowels of the system. Jerkwads. I finally figured out how to uninstall it, and went back online to check in on two online communities I'm a part of. Much to my dismay, I notice that all the posters seem to have gone link crazy. Or wait, maybe it's the freaking spyware ghouls again! Yep. Apparently "Elite Bar" left another present-- a wonderful search program called "Search Miracle" (I'm actually nervous to put these names in here, as if just mentioning might incur a summoning of their evil powers again). I managed to find the uninstall and the odious little crapweasels tried to download yet another program! Crapweasels, I say!

I think I have most of it off my system, but not everything, as my homepage is still messed up. So I breathe a sigh of guarded relief, and walk into the other room to look at the mail. Ooh- a listing of concerts coming up on the Cape! Fun! Uh-oh. Holy crap. Satan *is* trying to take over, one insidious step at a time... "Hall & Oats in concert with Tears for Fears!"

If anyone's looking for me, I'll be hiding in a small matzo hut adorned with 4 or 5 mezzuzzahs, calmly reciting every prayer and song I ever learned in Hebrew school.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Crap. I Should've Known Better.

How could I make such a rookie mistake?

I've obviously jinxed my beloved Red Sox, and for that, I am truly sorry.

One inning later and we're down 3-6.

I hang my head in shame and accept full responsibility.

Also? I freaking HATE the Yankees! Bastards.

Friday Wrap Up & Zig Learns to Meme!

On Tuesday, I had my first ever breakdown in front of students. I got to flute choir rehearsal and it was awful. I laid the guilt on pretty thick between tears, I guess, because they somehow got their shit together and played brilliantly last night. I was so happy, and so exhausted. I only hope that this whole event has taught them something and that they'll walk away with a greater understanding of responsibility, teamwork and respect, and not just the idea that: no practice = teacher crying and pissed; practice = happy teacher, less bitching. I guess either way it's a win-win though, in the long run.

I slept pretty well last night, for the first time in 3 days. Ok, passed out is more like it. And today, my day job was on shutdown status for the holiday weekend, so I slept in. Then I got up and taught, and then slept some more! Oh! And after I taught, I started to drive out of the high school and saw a wee little puppy rolling around on the grass above a drainage ditch and pipe. As I got nearer to the puppy, I realized it was actually a wee baby fox!! It was the cutest, fuzziest thing ever!

I slowly got out of the car and went closer, holding my camera phone out, and trying to snap a decent shot. He was wary of me, but let me get pretty close (by pretty close, I mean I was on the top of the knoll, and he was next to the pipe, ready for a fast get away). He seemed to "trust" me after a little bit, and laid down to relax. I was very respectful of his space, understanding that he was a wild animal and also understanding that Mama Fox probably wasn't too far off, and eager to bite my hand off if I got too damn close! I stood there for a half hour, just watching the cute little bugger. And I would've stayed even longer until some of the kids from the baseball team clomped over in their cleats, and scared the poor thing back into the pipe. Foxy did come out in time to make a short appearance for Mr. Zigkvetch too, when he left the high school (we just happened to be teaching there at the same time today) and got my emergent voicemail telling him to look!

So even though all you can really see is a small orange ball of fluff, here is my new little foxy friend for your enjoyments and audible "AWWWWs!":

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And lastly, the lovely and brilliant Megan explained to me what the heck a "meme" was (after I'd already posted one, of course, heh), and in return, to thank her, I'd like to officially partake in her most recent meme request- to post a picture of your eyes! So here are mis ojos, bloodshot as heck, but all mine:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Please consider yourself "meme'd" and have a lovely weekend.

P.S. Top of the 6th, 3 to 1 Boston-- GO SOX! Suck it, Yankees!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Alas and alack! I've been tagged!

Miss Meg has tagged me with this ongoing little blog project. It started here, and although I think this guy's political views are completely fucked, a lot of people I really like somehow got tagged and participated. And I like the subject, so, eh, what the hell? (Please tell me if I am somehow inadvertantly supporting the conservative facist right by participating, and I shall shamefully turn in my Democratic Party membership card.)

You're only required to complete 5 of these, so here goes:

If I could be a scientist... I'd work as hard as I possibly could to help come up with a cure to something.
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician... (HA! I think I've got this one covered!)
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...I'd paint on canvases and use tons of bright colors and would paint free-form and I wouldn't care if people thought they were stupid or couldn't "see" the giant dancing rhinoceros in all the swirls.
If I could be a gardener...I'd grow tomatoes, sweet corn, avocadoes, onions, herbs, cucumbers, squash, green beans, asparagus, kale and spinach, and I'd give anything we couldn't use to a local soup kitchen.
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...I'd work with kids in crisis and try to help them as much as I could, and I'd charge on a sliding scale.
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a llama-rider... I'd take pity on the poor llama and just walk beside him/her, feeding him/her grapes and apple slices, and petting its nose.

So, that's it from me. I don't know if there are 5 people left to tag who haven't already done this, but I hearby tag: Flipsycab, Skeezix, Cilee, Lauren, and PSUMommy, if she happens to pass through again.

DSL Addiction: It happened to me.

A bouncing baby wireless DSL connection is the newest addition to the ZigKvetch household. (We're registered at Addictions 'R' US, in case you'd like to send us anything, er, share in our joy.) We were instantly addicted. To the point of the ridiculous.

I have a work laptop, and we had an ancient behemoth of a computer upstairs in the den. Dial-up sucked big time and it took forever to do anything, not to mention you'd be tying up the phone line forever. When we finally decided to replace said behemoth with a laptop, it was just so shiny and pretty and new, that we just couldn't let her...um... it suffer through sucktastic dial-up. So we took the plunge into the 21st century and ma & pa got ourselves some new-fangled DSL, and hell, we might as well make it wireless, right?

Well, I'm happy to say we're spending more time together, Mr. ZigKvetch and I. We both settle in down in the family room, all cozy with our laptops humming and beeping and dinging, and stay that way, cuddled up with our technology (me on the couch, Mr. ZigKvetch in the comfy chair) for hours into the night. We've even IMd each other, 3 feet away.

Yes folks, it's that bad. It's just that it's so easy and fast. We're addicted to the speed at which we can zip around the Internet, download stuff, and send messages. We're addicted to the gadgetiness (there it is-- my new word of the day!) and the bright lights. We're addicted to the fact that WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING WIRES to hold us back. It's Spring, and we're in love.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quick Shout-Outs

Paul, I love you and hope you have a terrific week. Try to do something nice for yourself, will ya?

Keri, I'm so sorry I flaked on lunch Friday. I was home, sick, again. Ugh.

Meg, I must firmly request that you post even more pictures of BillyChuck and write some more fun stuff in your blog.

Everyone: you must try these potato chips. They are the potato chips of the GODS! Totally natural and unspeakably delicious. I tried these at the Black Sheep Deli (scroll down to see me raving about it), and brought some home for my husband who also flipped.

Kids These Days - A Rant.

So, for the second time in less than a week, I ended up in tears at school yesterday. I've had it. I am so burned out. I have never, ever had students like these before. All of a sudden, I have a group of kids, the majority of whom have no desire to put any work into anything, and are lazy, disrespectful, and rude.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I love teaching with all my heart and soul, and have never shed a tear over it, other than of joy. Until now. I've always prided myself on being myself and being a "cool" teacher. I mean, still a total dork, but a lovable one, who is always there to help, gives extra long lessons, has energy, tries to be creative and fun, and treats students like adults for the most part. I've done this for years, and have had successful, wonderful teaching relationships with my students, and highly successful, wonderful students. Last year I started noticing a change.

It started with two of my "stronger-personalitied" (hey! New word of the day!) students who were constantly obsessing over who got what solo and who was better than the other. I watched with horror as their increasingly negative attitudes started infecting other students. I watched them, as almost-leaders, setting an example of disdain for authority, uneccesary drama, and negativity for the younger kids. I did everything I could to both get these two and the younger students on the right track, as did my students who were in the leadership positions within the section. Things smoothed out. And then this year, they became the leaders and everything went straight to hell.

It's almost like a new generation of students has begun. This new generation seems to be about entitlement, doing the least amount of work possible, and in it only for themselves. And they have no reverence for authority whatsoever, no matter how dorky-cool the teacher. Eye-rolling is in abundance. Nasty whispering about other students, shouting arguments, and ridiculous competitive drama abounds. No one supports anyone else. I actually had a best friend "tattle" on the other this year when they cut a lesson. The hell?

Now, don't get me wrong. I do have a few good kids who seem to value others, get their work done, and avoid drama at all costs. They're frustrated as hell, too. So, I'm starting to look for the differences in these kids vs. the kids from hell, and here is what I've noticed:

  • Their parents take an active role and interest in their kids' lives.
  • Their parents hold them accountable for their actions and behavior. These parents don't raise "victims."
  • Their parents don't just give them everything they want. These kids often have to earn what they get either by saving their own money or via their actions.
  • Their parents establish and instill a clear values system with these kids; one that the kids take out into their lives.
  • Their parents treat them with respect and expect respect in return. (How circumspect!)
  • These kids are educated in what's going on in the world- they are able to see beyond themselves.
  • These kids have been taught to develop their own goals and have been given some guidance as to how to achieve them.
  • Many have not been completely sheltered from adversity at home, be it family health issues, money issues, etc.
  • These kids help out around the house and school- both the chores expected of them, and just to help out because they live there too.
  • These kids have learned how to take the initiative and how to voice their opinions in a clear, respectful manner.
  • These kids don't whine nearly as much! (Sweet G-d Almighty I HATE whining.)

I could go on, but in the interest of time and space, I'll stop here.

So, why am I writing this down you may ask? I guess it's because we're thinking, increasingly, about having a kid someday, and I want to make sure I keep these things in mind. And also, to vent, so that I don't end up in tears after tonight's final rehearsal before our concert on Thursday.

C'mon, everybody: "Don't cry for me, ZigKvetchtina... the truth is your mind has left you...."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Updateius Boringus

I still feel like crapsticks. My throat feels like it has a weasel in it today.


I finally went in to have the permanent crown put on my cracked tooth! It's real purty. It didn't hurt a bit, and it looks exactly like a tooth. I mean, I wasn't expecting it to look like a Frigidaire or anything, but I figured it would look like a filling would look. Nope. Apparently they even took some kind of digital photo of my real tooth when they put the temp in, and then matched the crown to the exact color of the tooth. Dad told me that in the olden days dentists used a cement that BURNED. Can I get a big "hell yeah" for cutting edge denticular technology? Hell yeah.

In other news, I'm praying that I don't have to be a raving lunatic bitch at flute choir rehearsal tonight. But damn, they had better have finally learned their parts. Have I mentioned that my amazingly wonderful husband took an hour of his time to program in a whole bass flute part so that the kids playing that part don't have to read off their crappy score copies? I didn't? Well, my amazingly wonderful husband did just that.

In additional news, I had to go recruiting up at UMASS Amherst earlier this week and got to experience the joy that is the Black Sheep Deli. Go for the unbelievably incredible food, stay for the liberalism! Be sure to check out their "Electile Dysfunction" menu!

Lastly, we finally got DSL last night! Whoo-hoo, no more waiting 12 years for things to load over a measly phone line! And it's wireless to boot. I could cry!

All right, me and the fucking throat weasel are making like priests and getting the hell outta here! (hahaha-- I'm such a card.)

Monday, May 16, 2005

I'm Back in the Proverbial Saddle Again

Oy, what a week! (I'll warn you now that I'm on heavy cold medicine, and this entry is going to babble on and on, so feel free to skip to the easy-to-digest recap lists at the end)

Last Friday I embarked on a top-secret mission (cue: Mission Impossible theme) to surprise my mom-ah-lah for her 65th (65 going on about 30, I'd say) birthday and Mother's Day. My only co-conspiritors were my husband and my fiendishly sneaky dad (cue: "muah-ha-ha-haaah"-type laugh).

I took off from Boston on my first-ever JetBlue excursion and landed in Oakland, CA by noon PST. Dad picked me up and we had some meaningful father/daughter time for the first time in forever. See, even when I call my parental units and Dad answers, Mom usually wrestles the phone away from him within a minute or so. So, Dad and I made a bee-line to his favorite soup place, a small Chinese restaurant near his old office. We talked about everything under the sun while happily slurping an incredibly rich "pho"-like soup. And then it was back to the scheming. Dad called Mom and said he was on his way home from errands and meeting up with his old work cronies for lunch. Halfway home, I called her and told her I was on my way home from work in MA. Cell phones are a wonderful thing. She fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

When we got home, she was in their bedroom at the back of the house. I, craftily wanting to sound like my dad, stomped through the house. My mom called out for my dad, and I said nothing, she turned around, and, TA-DAAH! there I was. Her jaw dropped and for a minute I thought she was going to faint. Next thing I knew, I was being hugged and kissed nearly to death. It ruled.

Thus began a terrific weekend hanging with the 'rents. Friday night was dinner and jazz at Yoshi's, followed by a trip to Fenton's (home of the drippiest, stickiest most wonderful homemade ice cream sundaes ever). On Saturday, Dad dropped Mom off to have her nails done and we hit a new Asian market, where I promptly stocked up on necessities. Apparently "necessities" include nearly my weight in Pocky, but I digress. Next, we were off to Dim Sum. Real Dim Sum, not like the kind you just order off the menu here. Oh, the delight of scallion dumplings, shao mai, and dear G-d, mango pudding with cream. The tiny, sweet waitress marveled out loud at how much we could put away. I took it as a compliment.

Then came Shop-a-palooza '05, as my mom and I hit Sephora and a couple other stores downtown. I even had a makeover, and picked the prettiest Sephora employee in the place to do so. He was wearing more eye makeup than I'll ever dare to wear at one time, and looked fantastic- like a young David Bowie. I believe that my mom and I may have inhaled more perfume scents than any one person should inhale in a day. We had a blast, and even though I protested sincerely and what I'd like to think was a little menacingly, Mom-ah-lah (and Dad-ah-lah via cell phone) bought me a few gifts. After dinner that night, we just hung out at home and talked.

Sunday morning was Mother's Day, and I woke up sick with a cold. We should have taken that as an omen and just stayed home, but we had reservations for a Mother's Day brunch at a hotel. I won't go into the horrific details, but suffice it to say that any hotel brunch that results in a normally pacifist ZigKvetch yelling at a biker chick and cronies who cut in line, and a ZigKvetch's-Father-led mob revolt against the ridiculous management is a disaster. Ahem. I will also mention that nearly-instant karma was granted on our way out as we witnessed the biker chick being busted by the waitstaff for trying to steal all the carnations off the table centerpieces.

Sunday night we went out to dinner at a local coffee shop where our waitress confided in us that her husband was off in Iraq, and that she was so worried. He's been gone longer than they've been married. She showed us pictures and lit up when I told her that I thought he looked like a far more handsome Tom Cruise. Obviously, this put the morning's theatrics in painful perspective.

As we drove home, Dad surprised us with audiotapes he'd unearthed of my second birthday party. My young, mischevious dad laughing easily on the noisy tape, interviewing my Grandma Zelda, Grandpa Harry, Grandma Sylvia, and Aunt Bea. I babbled happily in the background. They talked about the airplane hijackings of the early 70s, what my parents were like as kids, a trip that my Aunt and Grandma Sylvia had taken to the "Orient." It was like stepping into a time machine and we laughed and cried at everything we heard. And then my Grandpa Harry started singing Yiddish and Hebrew songs in his deep, booming voice, and there wasn't an unchoked throat in the car. Dad has promised me he'll have them transferred to cd and will send me a set asap. I can't wait to hear more.

The night ended with my mom and I laughing our heads off in her new office- the artist formerly known as MY BEDROOM. It's adorable, don't get me wrong- from the picture of her as (the cutest!) little girl to all of her books and tchotchkes, but it is a weird feeling that MY BEDROOM is gone. I know: get over it, spoiled brat.

Monday was breakfast, followed by a visit to my Aunt Bea who is now in assisted-living. We surprised her, too, and we had fun chatting. Then, there were a couple of errands, and back home to hang out, nap, and chat. Then we packed up the car (why is it that no matter what, I always leave with at least one extra bag than what I came with), grabbed dinner, and were off to the airport. Man, even typing it makes my insides churn. My parents even came in with me to sit and gab for a few minutes before I had to go back to the gate. I cried. I always cry.

And then I was back in Boston after my redeye, with my wonderful, sweet husband waiting for me. As my mom always says after a visit, it's so weird how we can be together one minute, and on opposite coasts in a matter of hours. I miss my parents so much, I ache. I keep telling them how nice Connecticut is, how it doesn't snow as much there (in parts), and how they should move to New England immediately. And Mom begs us to consider moving back, which would mean starting completely over on our music careers, something that's taken all 13 years of our being here to finally establish with some regularity. Obviously, the answer is that one of us needs to become independently wealthy immediately. When's the next PowerBall?

So anyway, here is the breakdown:

Things that rule:
  • My husband and parents
  • JetBlue
  • Dim Sum
  • Pocky
  • Pho-like soup
  • Father/daughter time
  • Mother/daughter time
  • Birthday surprises
  • Cell phones
  • Being hugged/kissed to death by your mom and dad
  • Audio tapes of your relatives from the 70s
  • Grandpas singing
  • Sephora
  • Rude biker chicks getting busted for stealing centerpieces.
  • Wonderful husbands who get up at the crack of dawn to pick up their sickly wives

Things that suck:

  • Saying goodbye.
  • Being an only-child and living on the opposite side of the country from the parents you're really close to.
  • That my husband couldn't go with me for this visit.
  • Hotel Mother's Day brunches
  • Biker chicks who think it's ok and even funny, to cut in line in front of several nice families who've been waiting in line for an hour.
  • That sweet waitress-wives need to be worried sick about their husbands who are off fighting in Iraq.
  • Colds that turn into vicious double-ear infections/sinus infections that last for days and knock you on your ass so bad you can't get out of bed/off the couch.
  • Not winning the lottery.

Yeah, so anyway, hi! I'm back!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Too much information? Yeah, probably, as it's rather [insert polite euphemism for bathroom/poop]-related.

Restaurant salads are the devil. Every freaking time I've ordered one lately, I happily chow down only to be visited by enormous and rather terrifying rumblings in the stomach region a few short hours later.

Is it that they're not washing the lettuce well enough (or, gads!, at all)?

Perhaps it's that my delicate constitution disagrees with whatever Agent Orange they use to clean the lettuce.

Or maybe (get ready to gag) people aren't washing their hands well! (Gag! I just gagged myself!)

Hell, maybe I've developed an allergy to iceberg "lettuce" (that's another thing- get some real lettuce, people. Jesus.). Whatever it is, it's pissing me off. It's hard enough to eat healthfully in the land of chain restaurants, and cutting salads off the miniscule list of things I can eat depresses me. I suppose it's the price I'll pay however, in order to ensure that I no longer have to leave my office with a super-determined look on my face and commence a fast power walk to the bathroom every 10 minutes.

"Can't talk- be right back. Important business," I try to express, wordlessly, with every fiber of my being. (Er, perhaps we should leave fiber out of this?)

Meanwhile, I'm simultaneously praying that no one is in the restroom, swearing a blue streak while cursing the restaurant, and clenching like there's no tomorrow.

What? Too much information? Hey, I warned you! Now if you'll excuse me, I have some important business to attend to.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Didja Think I Died?

I did survive the dentist. The procedure itself (apparently I needed a crown in order to fix the tooth) didn't hurt at all, except I freaking HATE getting novocaine, but am, of course, completely indebted to it. It hurt afterward though, and Advil was my best friend for a day or two.

I also survived the CEO meeting. Who knew that a CEO could be so charming and funny? He kind of had the Anderson Cooper thing going on.

So, given that I ended the week with a fabulous drag show benefit with my fabulous husband, my fabulous friend Paul, and his fabulous sister, niece, and friends, I'll give the whole darn week a thumbs up. The "girls" were stupendously gorgeous. Bitches.

So how about that bug-eyed-bride-on-the-run who caused panic, chaos and fuss for family, friends and her fiancee? Not to mention an awful lot of law enforcement officials. (I couldn't put that in the first sentence and ruin my little alliterative run, now could I?) And what is all this business about her being befriended by the police, and being gifted with FBI shirts, hats, pants, and a teddy bear? When I caused major panic and chaos in my home growing up, I sure as heckfire didn't get a spiffy new outfit and a teddy bear.

She looks scared as hell in every single picture they have of her. Well, except for the one where she's under a festive blanket, flanked by sympathetic looking police. Ms. Wilbanks was apparently overwhelmed by her imminent 600-guest wedding festivities. I would be too. Which is why I can't even conceive of holding a wedding with 600-guests. I mean, unless you're royalty. Even then.

And, while I don't think that jail time is the answer for Ms. Wilbanks, I do think some community service and repayment of at least some of the costs associated with the search to find her are in order. Someone who can afford to invite 600 guests (600 GUESTS!!! ) is someone, in my opinion, who can afford to pay back at least some of the cost to the law enforcement organizations. Even as a token mea culpa.

I also think some therapy is in order. What pushes a person to choose faking her own kidnapping over just cancelling the damn wedding and writing a note and/or phone call saying she'd be gone for a few days to sort things out? How does one get to a point where they see faking their own kidnapping as the easy way out? I'll admit it kind of makes me wonder if maybe her husband is/was abusing her, even though nothing of the sort has come to light. I just can't get my head around why else she'd do what she did.

So anyway, if I go missing again after a dentist appointment or CEO visit, I expect you all ("All?" Clearly, I have delusions of grandeur) to worry, and then send me new outfits and teddy bears. Or just kick my ass. One of the two.