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    Summer Vacation Has Ended

    2015 - 08.24

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my blog, but I was quite busy over the last month of my summer break with writing and family stuff. That and I really couldn’t think of anything good to write about. One of my favorite uncles has permanently relocated to here to Southeast Missouri from Washington state, and I couldn’t be more excited. I drove my parents up to St. Louis Lambert International Airport (a first-time trip for me) to pick him up. Right now he is living with my parents until he gets a little more settled. But I’m sure glad to have him around.

    I also attended my very first St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium earlier this month. My husband and I went with our friends, and we ate expensive ballpark food, stayed in a decent hotel, rode the MetroLink, and watched America’s favorite past time. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost, but it was still a lot of fun. Baseball is one of the few sports I can actually follow, really. But the next day we went to the St. Louis Zoo and saw the new polar bear and the sea lion show. We saw the other animals, too, but that was one of my favorite parts.

    This month, after a half week of meetings, school officially began on August 13. Normally we start around August 15, but that fell on a weekend. However, I’ve always thought we started a bit too early. It seems when I was a kid, we always began school around the last week of August, usually on the 24th or 25th. Some schools in the country don’t even begin until after Labor Day until September and go until June. I was talking about this early beginning to some of my colleagues who have lived here for years; many of them tell me that they used to start after Labor Day and get out the last week of May, just before Memorial Day.

    With the beginning of a new school year comes setting up a classroom for a batch of brand new students. This group of freshman has been described as a bit of a difficult group, but I’m still optimistic that I’ll really like my students this year. I haven’t quite memorized the names of my students, yet, but most of them seem to be nice so far.

    Right now I think the most I will miss about summer vacation is getting to write whenever I want, no set schedule, lunch once a week with Rachel, and wearing comfortable clothes during the day. I was hoping to be much farther on my book than halfway through Chapter 6. When school begins, it’s always a bit of an adjustment to settle into a schedule, so I’ll likely be even slower on my writing and on updating this page. But it looks like it’ll be a good year.

    Pictures from the month of August:







    All-Time Favorite Disney Characters

    2015 - 04.19

    I’ve been a fan of Disney movies for pretty much my whole life, and of all the years I’ve been watching Disney, I’ve narrowed down my all time favorite characters and why I love them.

    Belle from Beauty and the Beast
    I remember when Beauty and the Beast came out in theaters. The first Disney movie I ever saw was actually The Little Mermaid, and I had gone with my mom. But I fell in love with Belle the moment I saw her movie. Belle has been and always will be probably my top favorite Disney princess. I think I fell in love with Belle because I identify with her the most. Like me, Belle always has her nose buried in a book, and she was always the oddball because of it. She loves roses (so do I), and she has the ability to see inner beauty, even if it is difficult to find. She is also adventurous and independent, and she wants something greater for herself than the status quo.




    Pocahontas from Pocahontas

    Pocahontas is yet another one of my favorite Disney characters. I remember I used to even have one of those Sun Colors Pocahontas dolls (I may still have it, come to think of it), and I also had a John Smith to go with her. Okay, so the real Pocahontas was about 12 or 13 when John Smith first landed, but I love Pocahontas because of her strong sense of independence and the fact that she is wise beyond her years. She has to make a very difficult choice between duty to her tribe and marriage to Kokoum, or to follow her own path (and her heart) as well as bring peace to both her people and the Jamestown settlers. Pocahontas is also one of those rare Disney princesses who actually doesn’t get her man in the end. In fact, there is a second movie in which she marries John Rolfe, which is historically what happened.

    Merida from Brave

    This girl is just awesome. What can I say? Merida is one of my favorite characters because first, she doesn’t look like a typical princess. She lacks the long, flowing locks and the flowing dress. Her hair is wild and curly, and we’ve never really had a curly-haired princess. Then there is the fact that she is very tomboyish, and she openly rebels and defies her heritage as a princess and would like for nothing more than to be a normal girl. This Scottish princess will never be that “damsel-in-distress” type. She knows how to fend for herself and protect herself. Plus, her story is not really about a romance involving a prince; it’s more about the relationship between her and her mother, Elanor. Merida learns a valuable lesson: actions do have consequences and can end up hurting the ones you love the most.



    James Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean

    James is quite possibly the most underrated character in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I won’t deny that I am a fan of Jack Sparrow — er, Captain Jack Sparrow —  as well, but James merits a spot on my page more than Jack because James has a much deeper character than anyone realizes. As a Commodore (later Admiral) for His Majesty’s Navy, James has a very strong sense of duty and justice. Despite his dry sense of humor and his very serious demeanor, James is actually a good man who just wants to do some good in the world, though that means bad news for pirates. In his words, that would be, “A short drop and a sudden stop.” He is also very dedicated to those he loves and cares about and will go through any length to protect them. In Curse of the Black Pearl, James has made it his life’s mission to eradicate the seas of pirates, yet it is the pirates (namely Jack Sparrow) that bring about both his fall and his redemption in the movies that follow Curse. To add to his complicated situation, he is deeply in love with Elizabeth Swann, yet his love for her will be forever unrequited, though he does give his life to save Elizabeth from the ‘clawtches’ of Davy Jones, corrupt captain of The Flying Dutchman. 

    Dug from Up. 

    I cannot leave Dug off the list. The biggest reason Dug is included on this list is because he is basically my own dog, Andy, in animated form. Dug is sweet but simple-minded, and he’s a faithful dog, much like Andy. If Andy could talk, I swear he would sound like Dug. Even the mannerisms between Dug and Andy are frighteningly similar, but in a very hilarious and entertaining way. For example, the way Dug wags the end of his tail when someone is speaking to him — my dog does that. Andy is also the kind of dog who does not meet a stranger; he loves everyone, which is why he’s a horrible watchdog, like Dug. Both Andy and Dug are clumsy as well, but you really couldn’t ask for a better dog.


    Anna from Frozen

    Last but not least in the lineup of favorite Disney characters is Anna from Frozen. I love Elsa, too, but I can relate to Anna more because she is a little like me in some ways. Anna is a total optimist and, like me, she doesn’t give up easily. Sometimes, though, she says the wrong thing or she talks entirely too much (like me), but she’s always kind and upbeat. She’s also a bit of a klutz, and so am I, really. Anna also reminds me of my friend, Rachel, because of the red hair and the optimism. Rachel is about one of the most optimistic people I know and she doesn’t give up easily, either.


    If you have a favorite Disney character, leave it in the comments!

    50 Shades of Grey: My Two Cents

    2015 - 03.04

    What is with all this hype about 50 Shades of Grey? Ever since I started seeing movie trailers on T.V. and hearing murmurs of excitement over the movie’s Valentine’s Day release, I’ve decided that this is a topic on which I need to throw in my two cents.

    Now before I begin my spiel, how about I provide you with some background of its origins and basic plot. 50 Shades of Grey actually began as a Twilight fan fiction titled Master of the Universe published under the author’s pseudonym, Snowqueen’s Icedragon. The central characters originally featured were Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, who are the main characters of the Twilight books. Now since many fan fiction sites such as fanfiction.net prohibit the publication of what is essentially porn, the author was asked to take down the story due to its explicit sexual nature. E.L. James (the author) then published it on her website, but later she went back and reworked the story into an original fiction and renamed the characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.

    The basic plot (if you can call it that) is essentially this: Anastasia Steele is an undergraduate journalism major who is asked by a friend of hers to interview the über rich, young, and successful Christian Grey for a magazine article. Christian is instantly attracted to Anastasia, or Ana, as she is called, and eventually they begin dating. Now here is why the plot of the story is essentially referred to as “Mommy Porn:” Christian basically coerces Ana into engaging in the BDSM lifestyle with him, and he asks her to sign a non-disclosure agreement saying that she cannot discuss anything they do together. Essentially, the majority of the “plot” is centered around sex and the BDSM lifestyle.

    Here is where my two cents comes in. Throughout the book, Christian exhibits the textbook symptoms of an abuser. He tracks her every move, almost completely isolates her from her friends, especially from those of the opposite sex, yet he lavishes her with expensive gifts while making her fulfill her role in his BDSM lifestyle. What bothers me about this story (if you can call it that) is that it is the glorification of misogyny and abuse in the clever guise of a “romance.” This is not romance! My friend, Rachel, made some great points (all of which I agree with) on her blog post that weighs in on this very topic. She said, “Pretend that the male character is not wealthy, but a blue-collar average Joe and the rest of the story remains the same. Would it still have the same appeal? Um . . . no. Let’s face it; the only reason some ladies are fawning over Christian Grey is because he’s supposedly wealthy and sexy. Double standard? You betcha.”

    Okay, so it’s pretty well every woman’s fantasy at some point to become involved with a hot, wealthy rich man and be whisked off in his Gulfstream to exotic places and never have to work again. But the thing that aggravates me is that this book is dubbed a “best selling romance.” There is nothing romantic about a man who controls his significant other through stalking and intimidation. It’s mental and emotional abuse. And if you’re the type of person who happens to be into BDSM, I’m not judging you, but from what I understand, this book isn’t even an accurate depiction of that.

    From a teacher’s perspective, what concerns me the most about this ” romantic literature” is the fact that many impressionable teenage girls will read this smut and walk away with the impression that it’s normal for a man to control them. It’s normal for a man to stalk them and prohibit them from seeing their friends. It’s normal for a man to intimidate them. It’s normal to submit to a man and be treated as a doormat and not as a companion. Is this really what we want teenage girls to learn? And what about boys who are brave enough to enter the deep, dark pages of this book? Do we want them to learn that this is okay? That a woman is on this planet to submit to the man as a personal possession and not an equal partner? I think not!

    If you like 50 Shades of Grey, then that’s fine. If you like sadomasochism, then that’s fine, too. I am not judging you. I just don’t feel that a “story” like this should ever qualify as romance. If you think this is romance, then I suggest you invest in a self-help book. Women want equality, not a double standard.