Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #79)

Aside from a few specific adventures over the coming weeks, my weekly Instagram posts will be slightly less nutty for a while. Then it will be August, and the madness will begin again. 


I was going to try for 7, but 5 sufficed.

Posted with the caption: #YesAllWomen You see a random
dude on the sidewalk. I see the potential for danger."

Mom's hydrangeas. I love all the different "levels" in the
blooming you can see.

Tired, tired runner.

It might be a holiday, but badasses don't take holidays.

My annual Memorial Day viewing. 

Mom is popular.

Tiny green inchworm. Poor thing was getting blown around
in the wind.


A year ago, I bought one of these. I kept it alive for about
six months. I'm trying again. Poor thing might have just
received it's death sentence.


No more grass. Mom and Dad are getting the back patio

My pest gave me drumstick pencils and an iTunes gift card.

I didn't tear up at this. No, not me. Uh-uh. No way. *sob*

Remembering a legend. I like to share quotes with my kids,
and even though it was a very informal day for us, I left
this wisdom on the board.

Hard to make the bed sometimes...

Can you spot the lizard?

I saw the tiniest monarch butterfly while walking home from
my run.

A student gave me this. It's like they know me or something.
I was even wearing a green dress when she gave it to me.

Came home to this. : )

Of course graduation rehearsal was running behind.

My "I hate waiting" face.

Surveying my domain, feeling proud.

I stopped by Fleet Feet and this is SUPER EXCITING.

Pretty new running shoes. 

Mom's friend no longer wants her 1960s wedding dress.
She told Mom to use it for her crazy quilting. 

More pics of the dress.

Just hangin' out on a Friday afternoon.

The sun rises over a Large Suburban High School on
graduation day.

The pink signifies a performing arts degree. The red is
for Chico State. Every staff member is different. 

Three choir students lined up to graduate. 

Astro Turf smells horrid in the sun (burnt rubber).

My kids sang the National Anthem--a group of underclassmen with five graduating seniors (and me, to beef up the sound a bit). They did a beautiful job. My heart was racing the whole time!! I'm proud of them...and I'm proud of myself. I've learned and grown a lot this year.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In the Books

Well, that's one year down, thirty to go.

Today was the first of two Finals days, starting with 3rd and 4th periods. Choir is 3rd period, so we met bright and early at 7:45. I gave a little final, then we watched a movie and ate donuts. Well, the kids did. I got some work done at my desk.

What a year.

It hasn't been without its roller coaster moments, and I wouldn't exactly say that my chosen career path is stress-free (have you ever been responsible for a gaggle of teenagers on a road trip to Anaheim?), but this year has been different than any other year in my teaching career. I feel like I have so much more confidence, and it's manifesting itself in great ways. Suddenly, instead of wishing I'd done better in my conducting classes at Chico, I'm getting up there and thinking, "To hell with proper conducting, just communicate and these kids will get it." And they do.

Rather than apologize for my lack of accompanying skills on piano, I just laugh off the bad notes and do my best to pound out the baritone part with one hand while conducting with the other (and singing alto).

There is nothing quite like knowing you've landed in a good place, a place that is worth staying for a while, building something great. In knowing that you are finally the person who is ready for this, that life and the universe steered you to this point down a winding path with various lessons in survival and disappointment, in addition to success, to land here, where you can plant your roots and watch them grow.

Do I have a lot to learn yet? I certainly do.

I'm up for it.

What a crazy, exciting, fun, maddening, whirlwind year it's been. Let's have another, shall we?

Monday, May 26, 2014


A few months ago, a man sent me a message on OkCupid (my online dating app of choice), and he seemed nice enough. We had a semi-flirty conversation back-and-forth, and it was going swimmingly until he messaged me late one evening and didn't get an immediate response...because I was asleep. He pulled the "Ok...LOL" response that indicates "I guess you're not going to respond and now I think you're stupid for it." I called his bluff, "innocently" asking what he'd meant in that response, and basically got him to admit that he'd taken my silence as a rejection.

I was unimpressed. I face rejection all the damned time--two years of unemployment, the dating game, hell, there are people in my neighborhood who simply glower at me when I wave and smile as I run past them--and I deal with it gracefully because I do not believe that anyone owes me a job, a date, sex, a smile, anything. Maybe some simple common courtesy from time to time, but even then, I realize that some people are just without it and I move on with my life.

Dude's reaction was a huge red flag, so I let the conversation die, only to have him try again a couple of times. Two months after the original message, he sent, "Still no luck in Lincoln? LOL" and I blocked him.

Another guy wanted to immediately move from OkCupid to texting, and even though I'm a little wary of that, I agreed because, eh, why not? He started sending me pictures of himself (thankfully, not naked, just shots of him in his Air Force uniform--but yes, I have been sent unsolicited penis pictures and no, I don't want, need, or enjoy them). In return, he wanted a picture of me, so he could set it to pop up on his phone every time I texted. As we'd only been texting for a grand total of one day, I told him I was uncomfortable with this...only to have him spend hours begging and trying to talk me into it.

Another conversation I let die.

Why? What's so bad about wanting a fully-clothed picture of a woman you're communicating with?

That's not the issue. The issue is that when I said no, told him that I don't want to do something, it became negotiation time. I'm not willing to meet this guy in person and have it become a negotiation about sex, because frankly, as strong as I am in the gym, I'm still easily overpowered physically.

To be frank, I turn some guys down because sometimes my gut tells me they might not take no for an answer, and I don't particularly feel like getting raped.

This weekend, a fascinating and crucial conversation came up on Twitter after a misogynistic young man killed six people in Santa Barbara because no one would have sex with him. I won't link to the articles--for one thing, you've already seen them, and for another, I don't feel the little jerk needs anymore attention. In response, women started sharing the stories of how they face misogyny every day, and other forms of sexist behaviors aimed at women. Using the #YesAllWomen tag, Twitter experienced a flash flood of stories...and, of course, an almost-immediate #NotAllMen backlash as guys who completely miss the point felt the need to make the narrative their own. "You're all just man-haters," they all seemed to say. "I'm not like that!!"

Stop right there. I do not hate men. I've been fortunate to know--and even date--some really great guys who respected my boundaries, let me do what was right for myself, and who didn't feel threatened by it. But I've also met a lot of men who do not treat women that way, and when my gut says, "Run, girl, run," I tend to listen to it.

After my run yesterday, as I walked home, I saw a man ahead on the sidewalk. Truth is, I didn't feel remotely afraid of him--it was broad daylight on a busy street--but I took a pic from a distance and posted it to Instagram with "You see a random dude on the sidewalk. I see the potential for danger and harm to myself." In my neighborhood, at that time of day, it's very unlikely that this man would pose any threat to me, and indeed, all I got from him was a friendly smile and a "Good morning!" I returned it in kind because that's just how we roll here. But I have had creepy guys leer at me, whistle, make me feel uncomfortable when I deserve to feel safe, and it has happened in broad daylight. So I posted the picture, with the #YesAllWomen hash tag...and I was promptly called sexist on Twitter, and compared to a racist.

I can't make this stuff up.

I get it, boys. You're not all rapists, you don't all hate women, you don't all expect sex and a woman's attention as your just due just for being alive and male. But when you downplay the very real situations women face every day, you do absolutely nothing to help the problem.

If you've never been told how to wear your hair to prevent someone grabbing you to rape you, if you've never been told that what you choose to wear causes men to be "tempted," then just...shut up. Don't tell me I should feel flattered when a man drives by me (walking down a city street) and wolf-whistles at me. I'm sick and tired of women being to blame for the everyday sexism lobbied against us.

It would be too much time and trouble to do an actual count, but I can tell you that far too many first messages I receive on OkCupid--a good majority--are messages about my body. They range from "Hey sexy" and "Your [they never spell it correctly] beautiful" to more explicit messages about my curvy hips (yes, I know, I see them every day, and I have to buy clothes for them) and my breasts. And I get these messages all the time even though I explicitly state on my profile that I don't appreciate, like, or want them. The reality, my friends, is that too many men don't care what I appreciate, like, or want. It's very likely they don't even read that far. They see a woman they deem sexy, and they steamroll their way in.

I ignore them. Starting an argument might teach one or two of them, but otherwise would just "earn" me more abuse than I have the energy to deal with. Being curvy is not an invitation.

To be a feminist is not to be a man-hater, or a misandrist. I want equality. I want old white men in politics to stop thinking they know what is best for my body (I am not a baby-making vessel, I'm 95% sure I don't even want children). I want to be freed from endless comments about how my body is or isn't pleasing to the male gaze. And if a man wolf-whistles at me, I want the other men around us to tell him, "Whoa, not okay," so that I'm not made out to be "the bitch" when I take offense.

It is not too much to ask.


My school year is winding up this week, and as I reflect on the crazy months that have just flown past me, I'm struck with pride. It feels really good. And yet, I've been on since August, with very little chance to sit back and be alone...I'm not really an introvert, so much, but I do require some "me time" to be happy. Since April, that "me time" has been scarce.

I'm not complaining. I get a lot of joy from what I do, and again, I am very proud of what I've accomplished this year. But when this gorgeous three-day weekend rolled around, I knew exactly what I needed: alone time.

Most people flock to their friends on weekends like this, but I have been around people pretty much constantly--students, colleagues, the parents, piano clients, etc. etc. and this weekend, I really just wanted to be with myself. Sure, I've had some lovely chats with Mom and Dad, but mostly, I've hung out in my BatCave, doing a little of the social media thing, but also reading, napping, and relaxing. I've had two glorious long naps this weekend.

I think it's hard for some people to understand; certainly in the online dating game. I made the mistake of mentioning in a message to a new guy that I had a lovely free weekend. "Let's get together!" he suggested, and I found myself backtracking a little, not wanting to go to the effort of putting on makeup, choosing an outfit, driving somewhere, and being Social Meg for a couple of hours. He took it as a rejection.

It's not a rejection, it's just a deep-rooted need I have to be by myself every once in a while.

Tomorrow I'm back to work, and I feel rested and ready to face the world again. I am making plans to see friends soon, and looking forward to getting out more. But this weekend, I really just needed to crawl into my personal space and hang out with myself for a long weekend.

Good thing I enjoy my own company. ; )

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Week in Instagram (Week #78)

The week had two concerts, several long-ass days, a lot of exhaustion, one 5K race, one public incident of barfing, not enough sleep, a heaping serving of satisfaction, and then ended with two days in a row of long afternoon naps (Friday and Saturday).

One more week 'til Summer Vacation, and believe me...I need some summer vacation right now.


Uh, totally giving away the name of my Large Suburban
High School.

And therefore, I'm helping my own program in a roundabout

Emerald Brigade gives us some pep.


Making beer bread for a Sac Choral potluck.

Turns out beer bread muffins are way easier to deal with
than a loaf.

My sweet baby girl.

At the potluck

Run time. Glad I got a little 5K in before a crazy day.

All the stress is worth it when the kids thank me. : )

Lynn invited me to get ice cream with her family. This was

Trolling my kids.

My bun and my booty made it into the yearbook.

My staff pic makes me look about 12.

How is this possibly comfortable?

Butterfly dress, as worn by a bored piano teacher.

Blog idea!! I've started the post but been too lazy to finish
it this weekend.

Runner's legs, green Chucks.

Getting a head start on my fall syllabus.

"You're home!!! You've been gone so much this week, but
I see you're in pajamas, so you must be home for a while
and I really need a cuddle, some ear scratches, my butt
patted, some sweet talk, and maybe a dish of tuna..."

Happy Caturday, Duckie!

Duchess Fuzzy Buns.

I made it...five minutes?...with the book before passing out.
This week is less crazy, but there's end-of-year duties to complete, and a national anthem to sing at graduation. So it's busy, but at least I'll be in bed at a decent time every night. And I get to see Summer on Sunday.