My tongue-in-cheek Staff Award of 2012 might clue you in to my affinity for costumes.
I know I’ve mentioned it before. . .
. . . but it bears repeating: I love costumes.
Well, today I encountered a new TOP REASON why I need to learn to sew. Lead by a suggestion (from a friend who knows me well!) to check out a certain Etsy dealer, I was blown away by the elaborate Disney-costumes-for-grown-ups I found!
Each one I saw seemed more fabulous than the last!
Sleeping Beauty’s dress even came in both Pink and Blue – to be accurate to the film!!!
and. . . (I was saving the best for last) . . . Cinderella’s was my favorite of all!
So, who wants to teach me how to sew dresses?
Today, in the school where I work, one of the 2012 one-hundred most influential people in health-care ; a respected, reputable , and intelligent author, spoke to our high school student body about Health Care. So, here are my gleanings: this man, who is also a professor at MIT, was instrumental in working with Mitt Romney when this state-mandated health insurance was enacted in Massachusetts, but also worked with Obama on his Obama-care plan. A self-proclaimed die-hard democrat, the speaker was an engaging guy who brought a (arguably) boring topic into the realm of interesting for a bunch of kids who probably rarely (if ever) have thought about Health Care. While I can give him kudos for presentation digestibility, and I am impressed with his mathematical savvy, I am once again reminded why I am a Republican, not to mention why I dropped my political studies major . . . thinking about this is enough to give me a political induced headache of such monumental proportions that all the Health Care in the World – mandated or not- could not cover it.
(1) When this health care model worked in Massachusetts, it was funded 50% by the Federal Government. If the Federal government were to fund this much on the national level, I don’t see how it would not increase the national debt. Even if they increase taxes on medical institutions that would benefit from the Bill, and even if they increasingly tax the rich (aka: people who make over $250k), there will be a large cost to any such mandate. I don’t see how we won’t go into greater debt with the “Obama-care” model.
(2) Under Obama, the national debt has increased more quickly than under any other president since World War Two, including the ever-unpopular George W. Bush. So, when the speaker mentioned that Obama put this plan in place with the belief that it will not raise the national deficit. Now, I don’t know if we can put the entire fault on Obama’s liberal economic policies and leftist, bigger-federal-government endorsements . . . we do have to think about how abysmal the economy has been, but it still seems a little scary how quickly our debt has grown with liberal policymakers running things.
(3) We have a free-market economy. . . this inherently means that some people lose out in most economic situations, doesn’t it? Not to be cold or unfeeling, I’m all for people being taken care of by their neighbors and communities when in need, but doesn’t this sort of take the free-market piece and toss it out the window? It seems a little drastic to circumvent such a foundational property of our economic system.
(4) When I heard the speaker say: “The states have too big a role.” my traditional political hackles rose rapidly. Expanding the Federal Government does not always work out so well in the long run, because then people start to expect the federal government to take care of costs more and more. . . but nobody wants to increase federal taxes . . . and then we’re in this pickle where the federal government is enacting policies on a large scale without the long-term funding to support said policies. In cases like those, deficits skyrocket and the country winds up in pretty shabby shape economically AND politically.
(5) A mandate from the government to engage in health-insurance is a fairly socialist concept, if I’m not mistaken. Even changing the idea of a “mandate” through marketing campaigns doesn’t take away the way this changes the face of our democratic republic.
(6) The speaker brought up the fact that Romney “wants to give states less money to cover poor people under Medicaid. Medicaid is a state-run program, but the Federal Government covers 60% of the cost.” Projections apparently indicate that this type of cut from the federal government would raise the number of uninsured by about 12 million people (this is projection which the speaker will be presenting in Washington, apparently). So, this sort of reinforces the fact that the states would be relying on federal funding for any health care policy enactment, which brings us right back to where that money is going to come from. Last I heard, we were running low on Money-Trees.
(7) My final thought: I take umbrage to the following quote from the presentation. “The insurers are not the bad guys here, the medical care professionals are.” This seems a bit of a broad stroke. Is there really just one group of people that we can designate the “bad guys”? This isn’t a comic book, this is real life . . .
Things you should know if you plan to have success living with other adult human beings:
1.) Sometimes, you have to share.
This involves living space, couch space, TV time, apartment expenses, and all major appliances. If you don’t want someone to sit near you on the couch, then don’t camp out in the living room. If you want to listen to music, read, and be by yourself? Go to your room.
2.)Your needs do not always automatically come first.
You are not entitled to everything you want the second that you want it. When you have to go to the bathroom, do laundry, or cook dinner, it doesn’t always mean that you will be able to do those things in the very instant that you would like to. Someone might just be in the bathroom, laundry might already be in the washer, and the oven could already have a pizza in it. Tough luck. Your lack of planning ahead does not make it okay for you to attempt to take over that space when it is already in use. So don’t take your roommate’s wet clothing out of the drier before it is done in order to dry your own laundry. This is commonly seen as a witch-with-a-B move.
3.) You have responsibilities.
So Man up. Clean something every once in a while, and not just the thing you want to use, but something that is dirty. Throw the shower rugs into the laundry for once. Take out the trash occasionally. Turn out the lights before you go to bed. (In other words, be an adult.)
4.) It always works out better if you try to be nice.
Being nice to your roommates house guests is a good place to start. You should never try to kick them out of the bathroom while they are using it, say, or treat them like a second-class human being because they do not pay rent. This is something called common decency. If you are not familiar with it, you should be aware that it is pretty crucial for human interactions. This one doesn’t just go for guests or visitors, though, try to understand that your roommates are human beings, too, ones who might have a bad day just like any other human being (like, say, you for example). When this happens, and they are tired, frustrated, and at the end of their rope, try NOT to push them, fight them, or insult them until they have to leave the room and cry themselves to sleep.
5.) Noise: make less than usual at night.
Night time, as a generally recognized period of time designated for sleep, should be observed by all. If you do not observe this typical schedule, you should be aware that your evening habits might impact the people you live with. Keep the noise down when your roommates are trying to sleep or study. A “silence rules” rule might be in order if you struggle with this concept, but honestly, it’s not that hard. If you absolutely must listen to your indie-hipster Pandora station at full volume from 6:30-9:30pm, ear-bud headphones are an excellent invention which might behoove you to use.
6.) You do not have any automatic claim on your roommate’s time.
When you come into the house and need to vent to someone, try to assess the situation prior to opening your mouth to dump on whoever might be around. Even the most understanding of roommates might not be able to take a tirade about work politics or the juvenile, catty interplay that you foster in your workplace. You are not allowed to get hurt feelings when your roommate does things with other friends, because that is life, and your roommate will have other friends, just like you do.
7.) If you are passive aggressive, you will fail at life.
8.) Logic wins.
This particularly concerns parking and decisions such as who should shower first. If someone else has to leave first in the morning, then they should park behind you. Case closed. This also might be relevant when discussing seemingly inane or arbitrary questions as they arise. (Such as, but not limited to, why we aren’t keeping a racing bike in the middle of the kitchen when we live in a three-level house with a lot of storage areas.)
9.) You are not a dog; there is no need to pee yourself a territory line.
When you move into a pre-furnished apartment, try NOT to perceive every attempt to use the space as an exertion of authority over you. Maybe your roommate just wants to remind you that she cares for her possessions and would rather not have them ruined. So when you use her favorite pancake flipper to kill about 15 flies, try to understand that your actions did not fall into the framework of expected uses for a pancake flipper. Or when she asks to sit on the same couch as you because it is nearer to the lamp and she needs to grade papers, try not to take it as an exertion of power over you, since it is clearly a logical choice (see #8).
10.) Work/School-nights are different from weekends.
If you are planning a wild night, plan it for a weekend night or a night out of the shared apartment. You may not mind being up late and making a huge mess in the house, but your roommates are sure to notice the late-night noise and the loud company. Remember that one time that you got pissed because your roommate’s brother was over with a friend? Well, you need to understand that, when the noise situation is reversed, you piss people off, too. Similarly, if it is the weekend, you need to understand that complete silence probably won’t be achieved at 9pm throughout the living-spaces of your apartment. You might just have to deal with a little bit of noise on the weekends.
11.) If you are an extraordinarily light sleeper, take necessary precautions.
For example, get a noise machine to eliminate extra noise, and if that fails, take a sleep aid. Hell, chug NyQuil. A whisper in the kitchen should not keep you up at night if you are on the second floor. That is unreasonable. The moderate volume on the television (see #5) should not bother you on the opposite end of the house . . . one floor up.
12.) Don’t get a dog unless you are independently wealthy or work less than 6 hours a day.
Dogs wreck things, puppies more so than others. If you want to maintain a good relationship with your roommates, do not get a drooling, slobbering, chewing, peeing, defecating puppy which you cannot consistently train, keep in a crate when gone, and monitor. If you plan to stay at home with a puppy, or take them to daycare daily, then that is another story.
13.) Don’t be a bitch to your roommate’s brother/friends/cat/family.
This kind of behavior is generally not going to endear you to your roommates. Perhaps you do not see the value of family connections, friends, or pets, but most human beings tend to value these three groups pretty highly, and do not take very kindly to their mistreatment. So quit “gently moving the cat with your foot” (aka kicking the cat) when you think nobody will find out, and try to be nice to visitors, because they don’t have to like you just because you pay rent.
14.) DO NOT bring up ancient history or irrelevant facts in arguments or discussions that arise.
Just because you were gone all weekend and didn’t sit in the living room (which, fyi, could be true of your roommates as well – so don’t assume shit that you can’t know) does NOT mean you get sole rights to the entire downstairs on Monday night. It was your choice to be out all weekend, a choice your roommates did not make for you. Also, the fact that your roommate’s older brother stayed in the house for a week two months ago has NO bearing on your obsessive need to blare music at an unbelievable decibel level tonight. History is history, and if something is a problem, you should bring it up in the moment and not two months later.
15.) Everybody has quirks and will need patience sometimes.
Newsflash, just like you are not always easy to live with (please try to accept this, as it is always the truth), your roommates will never be 100% perfect either. As flawed human beings, people just require patience and love and sometimes, a healthy combination of the two.
I am a firm believer in finding the funny in day-to-day life (in case you didn’t know). Maybe that’s why I love puns so much. . . especially unintentional ones. One of my favorites involves a certain French Dictionary with which some of you may be familiar.
One day, during a French class I was teaching, I was curious to know how one might say the word/expression “a cliffhanger” en français . Since I didn’t know, I decided to model good language-learner behavior by looking it up in my handy-dandy French-English Dictionary. But when I looked at the definitions, this is what I saw:
Now, anyone who is even slightly familiar with French (and even most reasonably logical monolinguists) can figure out that “histoire“ just means “story” or “history”. Needless to say, I was baffled for just a moment . . . UNTIL I turned the page and saw this:
So, pleine de suspense can be translated as “full of suspense”. Well, needless to say, I BUSTED out laughing (like any self-respecting language-nerd might). I mean, the definition of cliffhanger is an actual cliff-hanger!!! It leaves you hanging, and then requires you to turn the page to find out the rest of the definition. This is sheer brilliance. I love it when humor surprises you like this.
Now, there are other days when it is more tricky to find humor in random moments, and the humor there is to be found is not always encouraging. For example, today (ironically on the same day I was highlighting organizational skills in two of my classes) I noticed the label on one of my student’s binders . . .
Now, while this definitely made me chuckle (and inspired the taking of a photo), it was also slightly disheartening. Nobody likes their subject matter (you know, that stuff they spend at least 5 hours a day/25 hours a week teaching) to be called “crapwork”. Based on nice things this wonderful student has said, I know it wasn’t intended to be a commentary on my class in particular, but still . . . disheartening on principle for a teacher, don’t you think? Anyhow, once this laughter had passed, the rest my Friday classes proceeded with an alarming degree of seriousness.
Since it’s a Friday (the night after an evening school function, no less!) I was feeling a little (ahem: a lot) fatigued and less prone to finding small funnies as the day progressed. Which is why it came as a fantastic surprise to spend a full five minutes on spontaneous laughter after discovering/reading a letter left on my desk just as my last class began. The letter was such an unexpectedly wonderful and laughter-inspiring piece, that I have decided to share it with you. . . it’s just that good.
This is why I love my job, because my students are wonderful enough to find humor and share laughter with me when I least expect it!
On that note, Happy Weekend to you all!
That French Teacher Who Clarifies The Difference Between Expressions of Gratitude and Your Rear-End