Category Archives: my oh-so-exciting life

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten things on my to-do list this week:

1.  Exercise.  I’m finding that I’m not liking it any more, but it is getting easier (which, in a sort of sick, ironic twist, means that I have to work harder to a.) motivate myself and b.) get my heart rate up to an acceptable level).  As of this weekend, I’m down 20 pounds.

2.  Thin out my facebook friends.  There are a couple of people for whom I’ve been holding open a door, and I’m done with that.  It’s been a year; it’s time for me to let go or be dragged.

3.  Submit MORE applications.  I’ve sent out 5 so far this week; I’m planning to get another 5 out before Friday.

4.  Have a visit/conversation with my in-laws.  In a completely unexpected turn of events, Father Chili was diagnosed with bladder cancer on Monday and is scheduled for surgery next Wednesday.  Keep in mind, the man is 91 years old, so the best they can give for a prognosis is “guarded.”  Please fasten your seat belts and keep your arms and legs inside the car for the duration of the ride.

5.  Have dinner with Anne from the health club.  I haven’t spent time with her in literally a year – maybe longer.  We were a lot closer when I was part of the group exercise team; since I’ve gone exclusively to the yoga/pilates side of things, we’ve lost touch.  She saw me on an elliptical machine the other day and stood there chatting with me for about 15 minutes, until we decided, “screw this; let’s meet for dinner.”  I’ll see her tomorrow.

6.  Have lunch with my yoga Weeble.  He’s been working in upstate New York for a few months now (and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future), but he’s home for this week, so I’m taking advantage.  I see him on Thursday.

7.  Schedule a date with my friend/mentor, Terry.  I need some professional encouragement, and she’s just the person I need to see.

8.  Convince Mr. Chili to buy tickets for us to see Vertical Horizon on the Cape this summer (and maybe convince Gerry to sneak out to see us while we’re there).

9.  Schedule doctor’s appointments.  I think the girls are due for their check-ups, and I’d like to have my blood re-worked now that I’ve lost 20 pounds.  I have the misfortune to hold very true to my paternal family’s genetic tendencies, so I have to keep a close eye on things like blood sugar, cholesterol, and hypertension.  The last test showed that my numbers were “acceptable,” but I’d like to see how the weight loss has affected them.

10.  Arrange a date with my husband.  I feel like we could do with some ‘us’ time.

How about you?  What’s on your to-do list?


Filed under concerns, doing my duty, family matters, General Bitching, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life, randomness, technical difficulties, ten things Tuesday, the jobs, this is NOT a drill

Quick Hit

I’m not going to lie; my motivation is half “healthy” and half “hot.”


image credit

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Filed under health, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life

Wordy Wednesday, Part I

I was thinking about holding off on this until tomorrow, but it’s been rattling around in my head for a while now and really wants an outlet, so I decided to write a couple of posts in an attempt to get it all out.  Tune back in tomorrow for more thinking.

So, everyone knows about the controversy over the spate of whistleblowers we’ve been hearing about lately; Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange.  Facebook has been lit up with articles and memes about the most recent outing of information, and I keep coming across three in particular (which have been what’s inspiring my thinking).  Since they all ask very different questions, let’s take them one at a time.

This is, I think, the one that’s gotten the most air time:


This may make me a bad liberal, but I am very, very conflicted about the idea that we should be able to expect complete sanctity where our privacy is concerned.  Honestly; I can’t remember a time – in my entire life – when someone, somewhere, didn’t have some sort of personal information about me.  Every school I ever attended had/has my birth date and immunization records (not to mention records of every class I ever took and the resulting grades from those courses).  The DMV has all kinds of information about me, up to and including my height, weight, and blood type.  All of my doctors have my social security number and the results of every medical test I’ve ever taken and every medication I’ve ever been prescribed.  The advent of the internet (and my extensive use of blogs and other social media) means that my electronic fingerprint is all over the fucking place, from my purchases with online retailers (and the online presence of brick-and-mortar stores) to donations I’ve made to the Red Cross and Donors Choose, to surveys I’ve taken and petitions I’ve signed.  Data mining means that I get advertisements targeted at me based on the websites I visit (and maybe even the key words I use), and only the astronomically savvy know how to obscure their identity enough to foil all of the programs in place to collect all this information.

Phone companies have always kept logs of transactions between numbers; always.  I remember seeing a phone bill way back in the 70′s (my paternal unit was waving it around angrily at the maternal unit who, apparently, had been making extended long distance calls without heed to the cost).  Each month, an itemized bill would come in the mail, listing every call made from the number being billed, along with the duration of the call.  This is not new information that suddenly popped up with the advent of cell phones; it’s been the case that calls are itemized for as long as I can remember.

I completely understand the anxiety that comes from powerful entities having too much access to people’s personal information (I’m a Holocaust scholar, for crying out loud; I get that atrocities start small – the retraction of little, “inconsequential” rights that eventually led to the ovens).  In fact, I was teaching freshmen in high school about the Holocaust when word leaked of Bush’s warrantless wiretapping scandal.  A student had asked how the Holocaust could possibly have happened, and I answered “little by little; take away this one little right that only affects a small part of the population, then move on from there.”  My kid answered with, “good thing that can’t happen anymore,” to which I replied, “really?  Heard the news about the wiretapping?”  “If you don’t have anything to hide, what’s the big deal?” another kid piped up, “The government can listen to my phone calls all day if they want; they’re not going to hear anything bad.”  “Yeah?” says I.  “Go watch Enemy of the State and get back to me on that.”

I am not comfortable with anyone – especially someone in power – having unfettered access to every facet of my life.  I LIKE that law enforcement should have to go through channels to obtain records of my interactions, and that they have to provide compelling evidence that I’ve done something wrong before they can have information about my phone use or my computer transactions or get access to data from my EZ pass – and don’t even get me STARTED about my DNA (though I also wish that we didn’t appoint judges for life terms, and that there were periodic reviews of procedures by an independent body or spot checks and oversight on the decisions that get made by said judges, but one thing at a time, I suppose).  I railed against the so-called Patriot Act when it was first forwarded, and again when it was renewed (permanently, which really burned my biscuits) back in 2005.  I’ve seen enough espionage films to know that data can be manipulated, misinterpreted, or outright fabricated, and by anyone with an interest in doing so.

At the same time, though, I’m trying to look at this latest outrage with some perspective.  I am not so frightened of my government that I think that it has anywhere NEAR the capacity to analyze the incredible amounts of data that I understand have been collected (seriously; spend an afternoon at the DMV or the employment offices – not to mention the VA – and then tell me how efficient the government is).

I also recognize that we live in very dangerous times.  The global political, educational, and economic policies have created tensions unlike we’ve ever experienced before.  Add to that the volatility of religious extremism (which, I believe, is really just a way for smart, power-hungry people to manipulate those less intelligent or aware than they) and we’ve got some pretty untenable situations – uncompromising terrorists (not to mention uncompromising politicians), businessmen and politicians conspiring to rape the economy and disenfranchise the rest of us, peaceful popular uprisings met with brutal and unwarranted force, poverty, despair, and hopelessness (the most dangerous man in the world is the man who believes he has nothing to lose).

I do not begin to assume that I understand what’s required to make our country even reasonably safe.  I have no idea what kinds of threats are presented every day around the world – the vulnerability of transportation systems, open marketplaces, the food or water or medical supply – but I’m sure that the people whose job it is to try to discover and disable plots to attack the general population (wherever that population is – here or abroad) need information in order to do their work.  Do they need MY information?  No, they don’t; there’s nothing about any of my activities that would indicate that anything I do or say or have would be helpful in any kind of investigation, domestic or otherwise.  The question then becomes, though; how do they decide whose information they DO need?

Two months ago, a bomb went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  I understand that CCTV systems (another thing privacy advocates absolutely hate) and access to phone records were important tools in helping find the bombers (and their associates).  The public were unrelenting; they wanted law enforcement to find the culprits NOW, damn it (in fact, there was a general outcry that they hadn’t been stopped before the bombs went off).  We can’t have it both ways, though; we can’t expect to have absolute security AND absolute privacy.  We can’t expect law enforcement (or any other authority) to prevent crimes (or solve them in the one-hour Law and Order episode fashion we’ve come to demand) while at the same time insisting that they be denied access to our records.

The short answer is that I’m terribly conflicted about all of this.  As an American who loves the unprecedented freedom I enjoy, I’m not eager to give up my rights – even just a little – because I’m also a scholar of history and I understand that rights have to be guarded with a kind of jealous vigilance afforded to little else.  At the same time, though, I want to support law enforcement in their efforts to keep us all as safe as possible in our current environment.  I want to be safe in the grocery store.  I want my children to be safe in their schools.  I want everyone who boards a bus or a train or an airplane to arrive safely at their destination.  I’m willing to undergo background checks and fingerprinting to work in schools.  I’m willing to submit to metal detectors and bag searches in government buildings.  I’m willing to take off my shoes in airports.

I respect the people who are sounding the general alarm about all that’s happening now.  At the same time, though, I know that there has to be some willingness on the part of the public to tolerate some inconveniences in the name of the greater good.

I’m just not sure where the line is.


Filed under Civics on Saturday, concerns, critical thinking, doing my duty, Holocaust Study and Outreach, Home and Family, ideas and opinions, my oh-so-exciting life, politics, ruminating, technical difficulties, this is NOT a drill, Worries and Anxieties, WTF?!


I was passed over for the job I was hoping to get.

While this comes as exactly no surprise, it’s still pretty devastating; in a whole year of searching, this was the closest I’ve ever come to the hope of landing a position, and I’m starting to really get discouraged (yesterday, I was listening to a report on NPR about the unemployment rate.  The analyst said that it’s likely that the unemployment rate would be lower if not for all of the long-term unemployed people who’ve simply given up the search.  I sympathize with them, I really do).

When I made the announcement to my extended circle, a bunch of people chimed in to offer me (much appreciated) condolences.  Along with the “they don’t know what they’re missing” and the “I’m so sorry to hear that” messages, though, were a number of people who expressed the idea that I didn’t get this job because it wasn’t the “right” one.  The theme of these notes were that this was a false lead; that I’m somehow being saved for the perfect job and that “something better” is coming for me.

While I desperately wish that were true, I’m not sure that I can believe it.  The grit of this experience – the totality of it; from the nightmare of the last 6 months of my last job, to the shitty way I was treated by people I trusted, to the confidence-killing repetition of either deafening silence or polite rejection from the places I’ve applied to – has ground some pretty deep and painful grooves in my psyche.

I really need a lucky break, but I don’t see one coming on the horizon.  It’s difficult to fight against feeling hopeless.

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Filed under frustrations, General Bitching, my oh-so-exciting life, ruminating, Worries and Anxieties

Quick Hit: Thanks, but No Thanks

The search continues….


Filed under frustrations, my oh-so-exciting life, technical difficulties, the jobs, this is NOT a drill, WTF?!

Quick Hit: Bolstering My Spirits

I had this conversation with a friend this afternoon:

So, I’m trying not to be a walking disaster.

I can understand that

My house is impeccably clean. My car has been vacuumed and the interior detailed. I’m going to organize my fridge next.
And all the while, I’m telling myself that I didn’t get the job.

I have a whole list of tasks as well!

I’m bracing myself for the “thanks, but no thanks” phone call, probably tomorrow.

You mean the, “We’ve been speechless for days wondering if we’re worthy enough to call you and beg you to teach here.” call.

Have I mentioned that I love you?

There’s a rumor


Filed under compassion and connection, Friends, funniness, Little Bits of Nothingness, love notes, my oh-so-exciting life, technical difficulties, this is NOT a drill, Worries and Anxieties

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten things I’m doing to distract me from bursting into a gaseous cloud of nervous energy while I wait to hear back about whether or not I was chosen for the teaching job:

1. Cleaning. Carson is coming to visit on Thursday. Well, he’s not coming to visit, exactly; HE’S got a job offer – a really good one, and close enough to where I live that we can be a much bigger and more present part of each other’s lives – and he’s coming within my orbit to have the final, “do you want the job or not” interview (hint, Eddie; you want the job!). What started out as a I-need-to-change-the-spare-room-sheets errand turned into a full-on house cleaning. Floors are washed, winter things are stored tidily in the basement, plants are watered and tended.

2. Once I ran out of things to clean, I turned my attention to the upstairs hall closet (where the aforementioned sheets are stored). Also kept in there are tote bags and gift-wrapping supplies, along with the upstairs vacuum, and the last few people to store things in there very clearly just opened the door and tossed shit in.

3. I had lunch today with my beloved. Back story: he drove around for 6 months last year with an expired inspection sticker. I’m the one who registers the cars, but he’s got to make his own inspection appointment and, apparently, he forgot last year. I made a thing of reminding him about it this time around, so I went to pick him up from the dealership and we went to lunch at my favorite pizza shop and then, on his suggestion, we went and got nostalgic ice cream.

4. At some point between now and tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to give my Puck a good once-over. She’s still carrying around some winter grit in the floor mats, and there’s a fine dusting of pollen over EVERY interior surface (good thing I’m not allergic!). While I’m not sure I’ll run her through the car wash (it’s going to rain at the end of the week), I’ll probably spend some time washing her windows, too.

5. I’ve GOT to reorganize the fridge. We’ve taken to doing the “open the door and throw stuff in and shut the door quick before something falls out” routine that my family was doing with the upstairs hall closet. That’s not okay.

6. I’m planning on hitting the gym today sometime between when the girls get home from school and when we have to leave for Punk’s spring concert tonight at 7:00. I need to work off that ice cream. And, you know, the nervous energy.

7. Laundry. Really, I’m not sure this counts, as laundry is pretty much a constant here in Chez Chili, but it’s on my list. I’m almost to the bottom of the piles in the basement.

8. Freaking out every time the phone rings. The last call was a “This call is pertaining to your current credit card account” automated message, and I near ’bout jumped out of my skin. Bastids.

9. Graduation letters. The kids who were freshmen when I started at CHS are graduating this Friday. I have a present for a few of the kids who were especially special to me, but I’m writing notes to everyone.

10. Breathing. Every once in a while, I have to remind myself to just breathe. The answer is going to be what the answer is, regardless of how much I buzz about it. Giving myself a fit isn’t going to affect the outcome, and it’s better for everyone concerned – especially me – that I don’t wear myself out.

As soon as I know, you’ll know.

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Filed under frustrations, Home and Family, my oh-so-exciting life, technical difficulties, this is NOT a drill, Worries and Anxieties, WTF?!

Monday Meme

Boosted, with love as always, from Kwizgiver.

1. What’s something you hide about your personality?   I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding most of my insecurity.

2. How do you deal with criticism?   Criticism, or feedback?  Criticism makes me defensive; I welcome – in fact, I seek out – feedback.

3. What’s something sweet you’d like someone to do for you?  The only thing I want right now is a job.  I’m still waiting to hear back from the interviews I had last week.  There should be some sort of policy against having decisive interviews on a Friday afternoon….

4. Which fictional character would you most like to have lunch with and why?   Oh, how to choose just ONE?!  Gandalf would be fun to lunch with, as would Captain Picard.  Do I really have to explain why?

5. Who would you say is your “anti” role model? Someone who serves as a warning rather than an inspiration?   God.  ANY of the current pop culture obsessions.  I saw a teaser on a news show this morning about one of the Kardashians.  I truly could not care less if I tried.

6. What’s the most infuriating thing your parents (or caregiver) do?   There were far, far too many to list.

7. Which movie character do you most identify with and why?   Even though this is kind of cheating (as she’s a real person), my answer is Leigh Anne Touhy from The Blind Side.

She makes absolutely no distinction between her children.  “Those are my kids” gets me every time.  I love like that.

8. You’re an Action Movie Hero. What’s your weapon of choice and the line you scream when defeating your arch enemy?   I’ve got to tell you, Natasha Romanov from The Avengers really worked for me.  While I don’t know how well I’d do with the hands-on kind of combat, her quiet confidence was appealing.  I don’t know about screaming a line; I’d probably be more apt to offer a “let’s do this” challenge.

9. What’s the oddest term of endearment you’ve ever used or that someone’s used for you?   I call my nephew “Noodle” every once in a while.  I have no idea where it came from, but there it is.

10. What was something you used to enjoy, but was ruined for you? What’s the story behind that?   Though I do technically still enjoy some of their work, the fact that both Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson outed themselves as kind of despicable human beings is something I have to actively work around.

11. Which mythological creature are you most like? Why? And if you could be any mythological creature, which would you want to be? Why?   This question has completely stumped me.  Maybe I’d like to be a faerie or an elf (LoTR version, of course).  Long life, community with the Great Energy, and some magical skills would be cool.

12. Describe your dream library.   A great library has (or has access to) anything anyone might want to read, watch, or listen to, is staffed by skilled and dedicated librarians, and has free parking and comfy chairs.

13. If you could design an amusement park ride, what would it be like?   This is going to sound completely lame, but I’d design a sort of river ride that moves passengers through great cities and different time periods.  It would be cool and soothing and interesting to look at; sort of an antidote to the wild, frenetic, and hot that usually defines the amusement park experience.

14. Do you have any “rules” about food?   I have three ‘weird’ foods; tomatoes, eggs, and cheese.  I LIKE them all, but only specific ways.  Tomatoes have to be cooked (or cut into small dice and marinated in something vinegary).  Eggs have to be mixed; I like quiche and scrambled eggs and custard, but I can’t abide fried eggs or hard boiled eggs.  Cheese has to be melted.  I didn’t have my first cheeseburger until I was well into my 30s because most places just slap a slice on the burger and call it even; I need to have the cheese completely melted before I’ll eat it.

15. What’s your opinion on age differences in relationships?   Age gets less important the older the participants get.  Mr. Chili and I are separated by 7 years, which wasn’t a big deal when we were married (at 27 and 34), but if Punk, at 16, decided to start dating someone who was 23, we’d have pause for concern.

16. What’s something you want to do that you’d be embarrassed to tell other people about? There’s nothing embarrassing on my to-do list.

17. Describe a time/event in your life that you’re nostalgic for. With all the birthdays we just celebrated, I’m a little nostalgic for the time when my babies were really babies. Looking back, we’re not sure how we managed with a 21-month-old and a newborn, but we did it, and more than that, we enjoyed it. While I wouldn’t want to do it again now – I just don’t think I can be that sleep deprived again – I do look back on that time in our lives with loving fondness.

Happy Monday, Everyone!


Filed under Home and Family, Little Bits of Nothingness, meme, my oh-so-exciting life

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten things I’ve pulled off the internet lately.


calvin repeat morning

This is usually the form that my anxiety dreams take.  I can get ready 5 times before the alarm actually rings.

2.  anyone can slay a dragonSometimes, loving the world in spite of all of it is an act of stubborn will.


3.  be wrong not do wrongToo many people do not understand this.  We need to work on that.


4.don't look back

I’m working on practicing this.  My tendency is to look back, just to be sure I’m not walking away from something that can be salvaged.



kindness is free

The way some people behave, you’d think that being kind is actually painful.


6.  little bit of good

Desmond Tutu is one of my heroes.

7.  procrastination

I actually stole this off of someone’s pinterest board to remind me that it IS okay, every now and then, to have a do-nothing day.  I think it’s about time I scheduled one; it’s been a while…


8.  shocked by what I say

One thing that people can say about me is that I don’t pretend to be something I’m not.  That doesn’t always work in my favor, but there it is.


9.  teacher's job

Things that are true.


10.  work ethicMy work ethic.


Happy Tuesday, All!

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Quick Hit: Asking Too Much

I don’t know about you, but I’m frustrated every so often by a need for a VERY specific thing that I simply can’t fulfill.

In this case, I’m looking for a mini gym bag.  I’ve got an absolutely perfect bag that my beloved twin brother-in-law gave me several years ago, but it’s about twice – maybe two-and-a-half times – as big as I need it to be when I’m not showering at the gym and don’t need to lug clothes, toiletries, and a towel with me.

I have a smaller bag that the gym gave me during one of the all-staff meetings a few years ago that’s smaller than the perfect bag, but it’s still too big for my needs.  I’m looking for something about half as big; something that will comfortably tote my indoor sneakers, a couple of hand towels, my heart rate monitor and a clean shirt.

I’m on my way out to a couple of sporting goods stores this afternoon.   Wish me luck!


*Edited to include: Found one!  It’s not exactly what I wanted – I would prefer that it had a pocket on an end to keep small, loose stuff – but it’s much better than what I’ve been using, so I got it.


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Filed under frustrations, health, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life, sports