Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Nephew's First Day

I have two nephews, Tyler (five) and Tanner (four). Tyler's first day of school was yesterday. I took the day off of work so I could be there to document the occasion on film. These little guys are the apple of my eye. Being an Aunt is the greatest thing. I get to be there for most of the firsts and all of the other cute or funny things they do, and when they drive me crazy I can just hand them off to my brother. What a totally sweet arrangement. We had been eagerly anticipating Tyler's first day at school. It was the next milestone for him and one that we all remembered well from our childhood. Problem was, Tyler didn't want to go, AT ALL. So he was completely beligerant about having pictures taken, and wouldn't look at the camera. And when he actually did look at the camera, it was very hard to get a smile out of him. I can see my scrapbook pages now...the title could be "The Kindergarten Dropout". I was really surprised that he felt this way. Our family had been talking up school for months now, but Tyler and Tanner have a huge shy streak and they are so close in age, that they've really never had to do anything by themselves. I think if they were going together, that it wouldn't have been as bad.

Tyler wasn't alone in his misery. Tanner was just lost without his big brother. He kind of wandered around without anything to do, looking extremely pathetic. Well, my brother has decided to take action. He is going to enroll Tanner in preschool three days a week so that this doesn't happen again next year, and so that Tanner has something to do while his brother is at school. (Now mind you--big sister (me) told him years ago to do the same thing with Tyler. But I won't say I told you so.) (Okay, I told him so!)

I know both of those boys will do wonderfully in school, after all, it's in the genes. Once the first day jitters are over for Tyler, it will become old-hat and all will be well. I wish I could be a fly on the wall today at my brother's house, with the increduluous look of "I have to go BACK????" on Tyler's face that I have a feeling will be there. I'm sure I'll hear all about it tonight, since our family has to relate all of the days happenings to one another. This is one of the great things about the fact that my brothers and I are relatively close to one another. I get to live vicariously. I don't have a family of my own yet, but I can feel my brother's pain. And I did yesterday. Neither one of us wanted to make Tyler go...but it had to be done. And we all felt for Tanner. Especially John. After all, Twenty-five years ago, I was Tyler and John was Tanner. We had to leave each other because I had to go to Kindergarten, and John wandered around looking for something to do, and just kind of waited until I got home. And the "School Daze" starts another cycle.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Banana Splits and the Battle of the Bulge

Anyone who knows me knows that I have had to struggle to stay fit. This wasn't a problem in my younger years, but just in the past seven or so. Recently I have been working out at the gym at school. This can be a bit intimidating, since the only people who go there are either involved in sports or extremely physically fit. I'll be walking away on the treadmill, thinking I'm doing pretty good...feeling good about the fact that my speed is 3.5 mph. Then some little twit in a blond ponytail will bounce onto the treadmill next to me and start running on it at a sprint. I hate that girl. I'm not always at the gym at the same time everyday, but she shows up anyway halfway through the hour I drag my butt through on the treadmill, looking like she couldn't possibly sweat. I have come to two conclusions, either the gym staff calls her to let her know I'm there (I mean, it probably makes her feel great to watch me struggle and sweat while she breezes through her workout). Or she never leaves, like Quasimoto, she just lives in the bowels of the gym somewhere and waits to hear my labored breathing to know it is time for her workout. Either way, she's annoying.

I've been trying to eat healthy too. This hard to do since my Mom has been sick. Not only do I eat a lot of junk when I'm stressed and worried, but my Mom has been losing massive amounts of weight from her chemotherapy (she has no appetite). So we've been trying to feed her fattening food. I took her out for ice cream last Friday night. Of course, I had to have a banana split too. It called to a small voice similar to Smurfette. "You know you want me..." It was too much, I couldn't resist, and the rest is history...and an addition to the cellulite on my thighs.

I've promised Mike from work that I would run a 5k with him next summer. What in God's name was I thinking? I must be losing it. So now I have ten months to get into shape in order to not die. I don't really want to have a heart attack while doing something healthy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thank God for Calculators

I've never liked math--even a little bit. It still cracks me up that my math teachers used to expound on the necessity of math. Now, I'm not talking about simple math. I have had occasion to add, subtract, multiply or divide. And yes, I know fractions are used when baking a cake. And I'm really good at percentages, especially when shopping. I never as of yet have found any use at all for algebra.

Why do I even care to write about this? This semester I have found myself in an Algebra class. Joy of all Joys. Now mind you that my academic advisor never told me that you had to have taken high school level algebra (and passed it). So I go to this class nervous anyway because I did take algebra in high school. I failed it. I still remember the class with anger. I was fifteen (sixteen years ago) and totally lost. Everything that my teacher spoke of sounded like Swahili. I decided to go to said teacher and just see if I could get some help. She proceeded to yell at me and say that if I did my homework I would understand it. I attempted to point out that I would do my homework if I knew how. I then received a lecture about being lazy. I wasn't lazy, I was just not math-inclined and completely lost. I never did another problem in that class. I never turned in an assignment, and I signed my name to the top of the tests as soon as they were given to me and immediately handed them back to her--blank. I hated that teacher.

So I get to relive the humiliation at the age of thirty-one. Great! The day of class I had to beat traffic from work (fun times!) race to the classroom which was heated to about 112 degrees, and find a place to sit. my eyes roamed the room. It was a sea of eighteen year old children (I say children, because they still look that way to me). They have the look that all freshmen carry with them. The wide-eyed fish out of water look. They are also wearing very new sneakers, jeans, and the girls actually wear makeup. I take a seat against a wall and attempt to blend in. I am fairly successful at this today, because there are actually four other students in the class that are older than I am. This makes me in turn seem younger.

Now for those of you who have not ever been in this environment, the first day of class in college is like the first day at school when you are a kid. The teacher basically goes over what they expect from you and tell you a little about themselves. I have a theory that this is because they don't like having to teach anymore than we like having to learn on the first day.

Algebra class was another story. This guy was hard core. It took him exactly six minutes to go through the above routine, followed by an hour and twenty minutes of actual learning. We went over the end of the class time by six minutes. I took six pages of notes that first day, my hand flying across the page because this man writes and erases faster than Dennis Rodman changes hair colors. I of course, under stand nothing. And was given 122 problems to have done before the next class.

My question is, why is this class required if you are not a math or science major? I have used algebra 0--count it--0 times in the thirteen years since high school. And once I finally graduate, I will use it 0 more times. Go figure.