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I have to go back to Muncie in a few hours, but it sure doesn’t look that way at my house. None of my belongings are in the car. The house is a mess. There’s still laundry in the dryer.

I don’t want to go back.

I have been fortunate, enough, to have such a great Thanksgiving Break. Enough food in my stomach that I’m sure I could hibernate for the winter and be fine, a big cozy bed that actually has a bed frame, a shower that I don’t have to share, and a kitchen that is big enough to support all my cooking/baking endeavors.

Mom and I went to my grandparent’s house, where my Aunt Jo and Uncle Dave were there as well. I worked on my unit plan most of the day, but I took breaks to chat and snack. That could sum up our visit, really. My pie and cheesecake were hits, and we came home with leftovers, which my mom is sending with me back to Muncie.

We came home on Friday. We had to stop in Indianapolis and ask about my car. Turns out, the service center won’t be able to look at it until tomorrow. So I’m returning to Muncie without my car, and who knows how long it will be until I’ll have it back. I am lucky that one of the girls in my practicum is willing to give me a ride to the middle school until further notice. I did a lot of crying about the whole situation, though, since I’ve only had the car for two months and now I feel like I’m right back to where I started from – depending on others for rides and feeling like a loser. It’s funny how one thing can change everything. For instance, I was looking forward to driving down to Alex’s house yesterday, and instead, he had to come pick me up. Same as it ever was.

There have been some accomplishments, though. My car is finally registered, and I now have a license plate! Ironic, isn’t it? There was also a special upgrade offer for my phone, and I now have a shiny new phone that I like, but it’s a little weird to get used to. The texting on my old phone was much easier, I’ll say that.

Mom and I also put up our Christmas tree. Let me just note that we never do this. NEVER. It’s like living in the Twilight Zone. We put up the tree and a few other decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Mom had a point, though. Last year she decorated and I wasn’t a part of it, and if we waited for me to come home from school, the tree would only be up a week before Christmas and it wouldn’t be worth it. So, yeah. We’re one of those weird people this year.

Like I said before, Alex and I got together yesterday. We hung out in Indianapolis, saw Despicable Me at the dollar theater and thought it was cute, and then had Skyline Chili for dinner. He also brought pumpkin muffins and an entire pecan pie, courtesy of his mom. I nearly cried because I know that all my months of working out are just going to go to hell this season. I retaliated by sending him home with slices of my pumpkin spice latte cheesecake, though.

It’s been quite a break and, despite my sadness, I’ve been lucky for what I’ve got. My list of things I’m thankful for hasn’t shrunk at all since last year. I’m thankful for my family, my sweet, caring, awesome boyfriend, my friends, the roof over my head and the food in my stomach, my job, and my opportunity for an education. So what if my car’s in the shop? At least someone in my practicum is willing to help me out. And so what if I only got five days off? At least I didn’t have to work, and I only have three weeks left to the semester. Next week should be difficult, but I know I can make it.

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I love having a car, you know that? I don’t know why I was so afraid of driving the past five years, but I’m loving every chance I get to drive in my car. It especially comes in handy when you need to go home from college. Yesterday after I left the middle school, I went home, packed the rest of my stuff (consisting mostly of laundry), ate lunch standing up while doing dishes, ran back out to my car, and put everything in my car before I drove to work. I didn’t even take off my coat, and when I was at work, I realized that I still had my badge on for when I’m in the schools. I traded that for my work name tag, and was busy for the next three hours.

I made it home shortly after 3:00. I put in a load of laundry, had a snack, and drove to meet my mom at work. I then followed her from there to the auto repair center at the dealership that would be taking care of my car. I had separation anxiety from her, my Hannelore (Yeah, that’s my car’s name. You can guess what one of my favorite webcomics is…). We have good times. I blast Electric Six, Depeche Mode, and Devo in her, which comes in handy when I’m stuck in traffic. I’m really sad that I’ve only had her two months, and already, we’re having major issues.

Mom stopped at Starbucks and we got coffee. We got stuck in the traffic on the way home, but we got to talk a lot. At home, we ate dinner, I did more laundry, and watched Glee while Mom did homework.

I slept in until 10:00 today, and that was great. I bummed around for a bit, worked a little on some crafty projects I’m doing, and I have now made one dessert for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. It’s a Dutch Apple Pie for Uncle Dave. He doesn’t like pumpkin, and my other dessert for tomorrow is a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake – Thank you, Sprinklebakes! I’ve also been listening to the Electric Six albums I don’t own on Grooveshark. It’s so much fun. I hope I’m able to go to their show in April, even though it’s on a Tuesday and I’ll be student teaching…

I got a call about my car today. They sent it to another affiliated shop to specify the problem, but yeah, it has something to do with the transmission – exactly what I feared. I still don’t have the car’s title or registration yet, and it’s the damn transmission. Sigh.

I should be working on homework. I have an eight-page paper for Victorian British Lit due next week (I think), and I have a huge unit plan due in about two weeks. I just can’t get motivated. Part of me is saying, “Stop being lazy!” but another part of me says, “You really deserve this break. Enjoy what you can.” I like the latter’s point of view on all this. Besides, I know I’ll get everything done, one way or another.

It’s been exactly one year since I posted my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list. Hardly seems that way. Rest assured, I do have some done, though probably not as many as I’d like. But hey, I’ve been busy. School keeps me on my toes quite a bit. Some of my goals, as you know, relate to school, so I will be happy when I graduate (#6!) and can mark a few more off my list.

What can I say? I’m a list nerd. If you asked my mom, she’d tell you she used to make lists, too. One of her sisters, at least, does too. I honestly think we have a list-making gene or something…

SO! Progress! Drumroll please…

I have accomplished 24 out of 101 goals. Roughly 23%. I have 77 more to go.

Yeah, that looks pretty gross. But in my defense, some relate to school. I have until May for that. Another point is that some are conditional, which means I can only accomplish them by participation with another. Most of those are Alex, some of them are my brothers, one of them is an aunt. An emphasis on my list, besides recreational activities (reading, knitting, writing, etc.), was strengthening relationships with family members, and it is still important to me. Everything on this list relates, in some way, to bettering myself.

I have a long way to go – although technically,  I only 636 days left. I believe I can accomplish this list, though it seemed a lot easier when I first made it, to be honest. But I’m going to stay true to myself. I know that I might not mark every goal off my list in the time I have left, but when this project is over, at least I can say I tried.

And then, I’m going to see what else I can do…

This has been a terrible week, and it culminated in a rather disappointing weekend. Alex came to visit me, which I was grateful for, but I wished things had gone better. I had to work, and then I was tired, and I was upset because the car I bought not even two months ago – the car I still don’t have a title for – is now having issues, and it might be something as serious as the transmission. There were some other things, too, but I won’t get into the details.

And now it’s Sunday. F-ing Sunday. I don’t want it to be true. I don’t want next week to happen. I want it to be Thanksgiving week already. Then, I can rest – a little.

I will say this, though. Despite my sorrow, misery, and whining, I am trying to keep some sense of optimism. I thought about it while I was at work yesterday morning, and I don’t have it that bad. I’m just immensely stressed, once again. Not all of life is bad, and I believe that it can only get better from here. So, on the bright side…

The middle school kids might be hellions, but I only have a few more weeks with them.

My car might need thousands of dollars of work, but I at least have a car that can get me from Point A to Point B. And I actually enjoy driving – I guess it took five years of not having a license or a car to make me appreciate it!

My roommates may annoy the piss out of me, but at least my rent is cheaper than how it would be if I didn’t have them. And sometimes, we get along, and that’s nice.

I might hate my job as of late, but at least I have one, and I am able to earn some semblance of a paycheck from it.

I might not get to see my friends as much as I like to, but at least I have friends I care about and who care about me.

We’ve had our issues as of late, but at least I have a family who loves me, and we’re (mostly) healthy, and let’s hope that it stays that way.

I might not be able to pay for things I desire, but I at least can pay for the things I need (for the most part).

I might be tired of school (really tired of it!), but I am at least getting an education, and that is more than I can say for a lot of people. Besides, I only have four (five?) weeks left of this semester, and only a few more months until I graduate!

I might not get to see my boyfriend everyday, but I know he loves me and I appreciate him and the support he gives me. I praised his goodness and patience multiple times this weekend.

And…

Even though my life may seem like it sucks, I at least know and am able to appreciate what I have, and the fact that it will get better. It will. It has to.

As you may or may not know, my boyfriend Alex had never had a true concert experience, as I like to say. I had seen Morrissey and Devo live, but concerts hadn’t interested Alex. So for his birthday, I got us both tickets to see Electric Six, a band that we both enjoy and that he thought he might like to see live. The show was in Covington, at a place called the Mad Hatter, and tickets were cheap. So, for the past few weeks, we’ve both been so excited for the show. Friday was the day, and here’s my recollection of how it went.

Friday after my practicum, I ran some errands. I was able to leave Muncie by 11:45, and made it to Alex’s house around 1:00. He was very patient to wait for me, as he was hungry, but he had made us a delicious lunch. After we had lunch, we set out for Cincinnati.

We made it to my aunt Jo and uncle Dave’s house around 4:00 or so. We got a little lost in the “spaghetti bowl of interstates,” but we made it there safely and chatted for a bit. Aunt Jo and Uncle Dave served the two of us dinner – beef stew over egg noodles – and dessert – a rum cake. We were having a great time and good conversation, when I realized that it was almost 7:00 and it was time for Alex and I to go. We wanted to get to The Mad Hatter early for the show, as the ticket said it would start at 8:00.

We couldn’t find the place at first, but Alex had recognized the chicken place that he had saw on Google Streetview and pulled into the adjacent building’s parking lot. There were only three cars, so we didn’t think we were in the right spot, but I recognized the address on the mailbox from the directions. So I ran around to the front, and sure enough, it was the Mad Hatter. It was nearly deserted. When Alex and I tried the doors, they were locked. So we went back to the car and waited. More people started showing up.

Turns out, the doors didn’t open until 8:00. Alex and I were lucky to find a table in the back. The experience would have been miserable had we had to stand for the entirety of the night. The first band (not billed on our tickets) went on at 9:00. They were rather abysmal.

The second band (also not billed on our tickets) went on at 10:00. They were better than the first band, and rather fun. Alex and I bought our merchandise and I ran it out to the car. We each got a t-shirt, and then Alex bought Electric Six’s new album, Zodiac. We played it on the way home, and I now have a copy of it in my car that I’ve been playing over and over. I really like “Clusterfuck!” “Jam it in the Hole” and “After Hours.” They’re truly the same band we’ve always known and loved, but with some modifications.

While these bands were playing, Alex and I chilled at our table. We talked to people playing pool beside us. One guy was from Louisville and had seen the band before. He was drunk and swore that Dick Valentine was some sort of evil entity. I’d believe it.

Then there was my horrendous visit to the bathroom. Normally, I wouldn’t write about such a thing, but I thought it was an amusing story. At the Mad Hatter, there was a giant neon sign that said “Restrooms,” but only one door underneath it. Alex and I assumed that it was the only bathroom, which he said wasn’t “female friendly.” Inevitably, I had to pee. I walk in the door, and there are three stalls. The first two had urinals, the last, a toilet. None of the stalls had doors, and the toilet, as I found out, wouldn’t flush. It was one of the grossest places I had ever been.

Later in the evening, I needed to visit the bathroom again, and was determined not to go to that icky one again. I asked one of the bartenders if there was a women’s restroom, and lo and behold, there was. The first door past the bar and easy to miss. On my way back to the table, I laughed upon knowing that I had mistakenly used the men’s restroom before. (Note: I told this story to my mom. Apparently, she had done the same thing at a bar/club before. Like mother, like daughter, I guess.)

Anyway, a third band (actually billed on the ticket) went on at 11:00. They were decent, and played a good cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” At this point, they were finishing up their set, and I encouraged Alex to leave our table and move closer to the stage. He had had a headache at dinner, and he doesn’t like crowds, so he would have been perfectly content to sit at our table all night. Of course, because I am his crazy girlfriend, I couldn’t have that.

I ended up in the first/second row from the stage and in the center, with Alex right behind me. He held onto me during most of the concert, for which I was thankful. Electric Six started their set at midnight, and the crowd was crazy. I had never been in a crowd like that before, so this experience was actually rather new to me, too. I was hit in the cheek by something and people were stepping on my toes and pushing me around. I never really realize how small I actually am until I have guys two feet taller than I am or twice my weight pushing me around like a rag doll. I was having fun with the band, but I was also scared for my life.

I had no idea that there were so many Electric Six fans from the Cincinnati/Lexington/Louisville area, but I guess so. The crowd was like a frothy sea, people jumping and trying to advance closer to the stage. I was pushed into other people and apologized sincerely. I reached back and tried to hold Alex’s hand. I got the guy next to him, instead. He was a good sport about it and joked, “You can hold my hand all you want!” This drunk girl came up by me and I couldn’t understand half of the things she was saying. She looked at my angel wing earrings, and showed me the earrings in her ears – they were nooses.

At one point in the show, the guitarist (I think it was the Colonel) stood on the monitor and intentionally knocked one of the ceiling tiles out with the neck of his guitar. The guy in front of me broke the ceiling tile over his head, and I don’t know if it was a tile, or a person, or what, but my glasses were knocked onto the floor. The black floor, with the darkness of people’s moving feet. I thought for certain someone would step on my glasses and I would be completely screwed. Luckily, I saw one tiny glint of light on them, and dove to pick them up. Alex only saw me diving, so he thought I had been hit, but I was fine.

The band was great, really. I would totally go to see Electric Six live again. I hope I get the chance to see them live again. They were wild, and the crowd was probably even wilder. They played some songs I didn’t recognize, but they did play “Danger! High Voltage!” Synthesizer,” “Gay Bar,” “Gay Bar Pt. 2,” “Infected Girls,” “Formula 409,” and “I Buy the Drugs.” “Dance Commander” was one of the encores. Alex said he liked that best, because the crowd wasn’t actively trying to get closer to the stage, and everyone was just enjoying the music.

The show ended around 1:50 in the morning. We were covered in sweat, beer, and Red Bull, smelling like cigarettes, and our ears were ringing. On my way out, I snagged the last Electric Six promo poster off the wall. I would have kept it for myself, but I let Alex have it instead. After all, the concert all was his birthday present; it just happened to be something I could enjoy, too. I was glad he enjoyed it, though, despite the madness. I know it isn’t something he normally would like, and he would have much rather been at our table, safe. Many times during the show, I kept thinking, “He’s going to hate me so much and never want to come to a concert with me again!” He surprised me, though, and actually thanked me for dragging him up that close to the stage.

We got lost on our way back from the concert. Pulled into a gas station, where a police officer pulled someone over next to my car while Alex got a drink. He came back, and his thought I had done something wrong, amusingly enough. We were all right, though, and found our way back to Aunt Jo and Uncle Dave’s house at around 2:40. We were in bed by 3:00.

We were woken up at 9:00 for breakfast – French toast and sausage. I was a zombie, aching from the previous night’s revelry. I slept for another hour after breakfast.

We left a little after noon and went to the art museum. It was neat. We had been to the IMA before, so this was a welcome change. There was a special exhibit on armory and weaponry, and one covering two centuries of wedding dresses. I’m sure you can guess which one Alex wanted to see, and which one I did…

After a small snack in the parking lot, we drove back to Indiana. We stopped at Alex’s house for dinner. I was glad to see his parents again. It had been a long time. Then, we both drove (but separately) to my house. We hung out with my mom, and Alex spent the night.

Sunday, Mom made us breakfast – more French toast! – and then we did some work on my car. The check engine light has, unfortunately, come on again – the second time since I bought the damn thing, and I still don’t have my title. Needless to say, I’m pissed. I can’t even park the car in front of my apartment or on campus, and I’m having issues with it again. Alex thinks he knows what it is, but we are going to get it checked out before I throw money at it. I’m so glad he knows some things about cars. It helps, since I don’t.

We parted ways in the afternoon. I got back to Muncie around 2:00, did some homework/studying, and went grocery shopping. Then, I made potato soup, but I’ve already talked about that…

In short, this weekend was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for anything more – great band, good food, interesting art exhibits, and some well-deserved quality time with the man I love. It reminds me how much I love my life, even though it has its sucky points.

I had a great weekend. Fantastic! I swear, I have never feared so much for my life, and yet, I’ve never felt so much alive! If you ever get the chance to see Electric Six live, go. GO. You won’t regret it. That is, unless you don’t like dance-punk, songs about sex, fire, dancing, or really random things. I mean, they’ve written songs about lesbian witches, Formula 409, and graphic designers. There’s also a song off their newest album, Zodiac, that mixes Thanksgiving and sex together, so that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But man, was it a hell of a show!

Anyway, that’s for another post. I should have written about it earlier, but I was busy. I actually went grocery shopping for the first time in three weeks, so that was good. I studied for my midterm that’s tomorrow, watched some more Buffy, and finished a knitting project. I also called my dad, Jennifer, and my grandma. My grandpa had some surgery Wednesday, and he’s now on the mend. He was supposed to be able to come home today, but he’s been in a lot of pain, so we don’t know when he’ll be able to leave the hospital. Keep him in your thoughts and/or prayers.

While I was being massively productive today, I made potato soup. I’ve never made it on the fly, meaning very little recipe to guide me. All my potatoes had eyes, though, and I needed to use them. I was nervous how it was going to turn out – since if I ruined it, that would have been a waste of a lot of my food – but it was amazing. I texted Alex to let him know that I had just made the best potato soup ever, and kept wanting to tack on the phrase, “I want you to know that if we ever live together, we will never starve. I can always make potato soup.” But I didn’t.

I will not starve this week, though, and that is worth knowing, because despite my small grocery list, that potato soup is going to last me for dinner all week. Unfortunately, it will run out before Alex gets here next weekend, so he won’t be able to try it – but again, as long as there are potatoes…

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s another week, and oh, what a doozy!

I have recently been afflicted by a bout of fatigue. Tuesday night, when I was at work, I was so weak, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep working, or even bike home. I’ve been trying to get some more rest, too, but that’s not easy.

I taught yesterday at the charter school in front of my professor and a video camera. It was okay. Not great, but at least my professor said I had shown a lot of progress. I still need to get my “teacher voice,” though. Then today, I taught another lesson for my practicum. The students weren’t as involved as they were last week. I guess the sense of fatigue, monotony, and general disinterest is infecting not only me, but also everyone. In short, the kids are quiet and it sucks, specifically since it reflects poorly on me.

In addition, I caught a bit of opposition today for lending a student my pen. I understand my supervising teacher’s purpose in making sure students come prepared for class, but I’m tired of watching him argue and belittle the students every day when, inevitably, one of the students forgets to bring one of his materials. Students need to have responsibility, but they aren’t perfect, and I find it is more important for them to write their journal entries than to take that time and lecture to the student.

I was just exercising my right, as I have learned in my classes, to form my own teacher identity. The teacher was lecturing the student, and I didn’t think anything of it and just gave the student my pen, saying, “As long as I get it back.” And you know what? He wrote his entry. I watched him. When he was done, he gave the pen back to me. He was thankful for it. We had a feeling of mutual respect. That’s more than I can say for my supervising teacher. I am sure he probably felt miffed that I undermined his authority by doing what I did, but I’m my own person, and I do care about those students. I want them to succeed, but I think the teacher and I have different definitions of “success.”

Despite my annoyance, I will miss the high school. Friday is my last day. Monday, I will be at the middle school, and who knows what will happen…

On the bright side and on a completely different note, Friday I get to see my Alex! It’s been three weeks since I’ve seen him, and we’re going to go see Electric Six. The tickets were my gift to him for his birthday. It should be awesome, and I’m so excited that I’m counting the hours until I can leave this city!