fearlesstemp: (bucky)
A fun fact about me: I am very paranoid about being smelly. When in the company of friends, I will often, and repeatedly, ask for reassurance that I am not olfactorily offensive. When I oversleep and can't wash my hair in the morning, I have been known to make people smell my hair.

Unlike many of my random worries, there is a good, concrete reason for this obsession!

When I was in middle school, probably around thirteen, my cat Molly got sprayed by a skunk. Now this is the surprising thing about skunk-sprayed animals, at least for my family: it is not immediately apparent that the stench has been laid. If, for example, you are letting the cat in at the end of the night, and head up to bed right afterwards, you might not immediately recognize the horrible fact. And if you fall asleep before the smell registers - or, if, for example, you're thirteen years old and asleep in bed already - you will get used to the horrid smell in your sleep.

You will oversleep and get dressed as usual. You will stumble sleepily toward the bus stop, wander sullenly to your locker, and meander toward first period class, chorus, where you are stationed in the back with all the other mediocre altos. Even after everyone around you starts asking each other, "Do you smell something?" and "What the hell is that?" and "Who farted?" - still you will think they're just imagining things, or overreacting to something.

When you turn to your friend and ask her to smell your shirt just in case (eleven years later you will still remember the shirt - off white, long-sleeved, baggy), you definitely don't expect her to visibly blanch and stifle her gag reflex before saying, "Oh, Jess. I think it's you."

NIGHTMARE. LIVING NIGHTMARE. I'm probably still Skunk Girl to some of the people I knew only in Middle School.

(Though I think some of my notoriety was lost a couple months later, when one of the sopranos vomited in the auditorium during rehearsal for the class concert.)

So I always worry about smelling.

About a half hour ago I was on my second long phone call of the night when I felt Dusty come up and snake around my legs. Aw, cuteness, I thought, and absently patted him on the head. Ten minutes later, I started wondering what on earth my father was making for himself as a late-evening snack. So heinously smelly.

A few minutes later, Dusty appeared again, looking up at me from the floor, all adorable big brown eyes and unbearable stench. "Oh my God, I have to go," I said to my friend, put down the phone, and snatched him up. I stuck my face in his torso region and ran for the living room, where my father was watching TV.

"DAD!" I said, holding Dusty out in front of me as if he were a live weapon.

"You know, I was about to say something," he said.

Dusty is now sequestered in the garage with food, drink, and litter. I have just finished running through the house with air freshener and am now at a loss. The smell has obviously infected our house and all of us and WHAT ARE WE TO DO? I have visions of showering, running out the door with wet hair, and rubbing dryer sheets all over my clothes while driving to school tomorrow.

Because yes, I have started my observation for school this week. And what am I observing? A middle school. Tomorrow I have to follow a student through his/her entire day. Reliving the most awful experience of the most awful period of my academic life - eighth grade as a skunk-smelly Jess.

More details as the situation develops.

I owe replies to comments and e-mails to people and I swear - SWEAR - I will get to them tomorrow. Hate me if you must. It is very likely justified.
fearlesstemp: (mr. smith devastated)
Reached epic levels of crankiness this evening. I could tell because all day I was short with anyone who talked to me, and then tonight I found myself standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring into space, shoulders slumped oh-so-dramatically, as if wearing the Weight of the World on my back when, in fact, it is simply the weight of the GREs and a variety of self-created stressors.

To backtrack:

Have I mentioned that we're having thirty people at our house for Thanksgiving? Because we are. Okay, so really it's 29, but I know an extra person will slip in somewhere. Every weekend in November is devoted to making the house presentable, and my duties for today were two: (1) raking the leaves, and (2) clearing out the basement. (1) was awful wretched bad – I hate hate hate raking. It's so boring and strenuous and, as much or more than anything, futile, because at any point the wind can gust up and send the leaves flying, rendering everything you've done kind of pointless.

And it was really really cold!

Task (2) was not nearly as bad as feared, in large part because clearing out the basement involved discovering boxes of things I haven't looked at since we moved into the house when I was in high school. One item found: a black notebook from when I was seventeen, which had the following on the second page, reproduced here only slightly edited – I cut the second paragraph, which was boring, but left everything in the first paragraph exactly as it was in my own notebook, questionable quotation marks and all:

So. Today daddy dearest threw an idea out at me – "The Way I See It" by Jessica MyLastName. "A Collection of Essays," I responded. Why not, right? As dad was so eager to point out, I have a lot of free time over the summer – what with my best friend going away to school in a little over a week, my only boyfriend living in my mind, and Price Chopper ignoring my application for a summer job. The only other commitments I have are to my soap operas, and my father's office, which is where I'm sitting as I write this.

What happened next? From what appears on later pages, I took some annoying phone calls and wrote a letter to Oprah, among other things.

Ah, my Seventeen Self! So similar to the Self of Today, except the Self of Today can no longer do math. The GREs are kicking my butt, people, in a scary way. I forgot how to get the area of a triangle! More egregious: I was honestly surprised that they expected me to remember this! I haven't had to find the area of a triangle since, I don't know...high school? I took calculus my freshman year of college and did pretty well, but I can't remember triangles being involved in that. Lots of wavy lines, sure, and derivatives, but triangles? Nope!

Other things I'd completely forgotten: PEMDAS, how to deal with exponents, how to solve two equations at once, some parts of long division.

In other words, I forgot lots of stuff! Almost everything! I spent a bunch of yesterday and today going over things and re-testing and I'm making some progress, but it's slooow and infinitesimal. It's a good thing I started reviewing five days before the test! Way to give myself plenty of time to limit the stressage. Yay me.

I also discovered that while I'm considerably better at the verbal than the math, I'm still not all that, with a particular not-all-thattiness appearing in the reading comprehension section. That surprised me at first, but thinking about it later? There are so very many things I read and just don't get. Such as Faulkner.

Speaking of books: Another stressor today was my application to the bookstore. I want this job so bad I can feel it in my bones, so bad that I have several drafts of possible application questions already written and competing to make it onto the actual application. I want this job so bad that it's hard for me not to desperately scrawl PLEASE HIRE ME, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE across the application in red marker.

The weird thing is that I'm not sure exactly why I want the job so much – I'm not exactly rolling in the dough, sure, and a part-time job would help with that, but I'm getting by and busy enough already that it would jam up my schedule until January. After that, my temp assignment runs out and I could just work at the bookstore, I guess, but the pay wouldn't be great and, you know, retail. I've done retail before – it made me doubt humanity's worth. After the most recent election, could I really handle that?

I'm just so sick of temping. I don't know. We'll see!

Tomorrow I tutor R again. May talk about that tomorrow (and B. Jones, which I saw on Friday!) if I have time to post at work; right now it's almost 1AM, a full hour and a half after I told myself I'd absolutely, positively be asleep so that I can get up and exercise before work tomorrow. Doubt that will happen now. Probably wouldn't have happened even if I had gone to bed earlier; there are few things that will get me out of bed early. Exercising isn't one of them.

And now, to bed!
fearlesstemp: (working girl)
First, an announcement: It is I, scoutmol, now fearlesstemp. Am unsure about the name but could not think of anything else. Also, I did the no-redirect thing because of work concerns. Which makes me feel bad because I was so grateful for the redirect thing when other people changed their LJ names. Am callous bitch! My apologies, though!

Second, this entry is so GD long and boring. Must break out the cut tags.

on monday i ran into a childhood friend )

on tuesday i watched a fab old movie )

on wednesday i was given too much responsibility )

on thursday i got my hair cut )

on friday i hated my job )

on saturday i walked too much )
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
Today's scorecard: My skirt fits funny and I have two runs in my stockings, both of them above the hem of the skirt right now, but they're moving fast. I had to scoot over to Rite Aid on my lunch hour to buy another pair, which I'm going to change into the second one of the runs sneaks by the hem.

The question of the skirt's funny fit is one I tried to solve in the bathroom earlier today by taking off my slip and then putting it on again to see if it was better with or without. I did this twice while standing in front of the bathroom mirror before realizing that anyone could open the door at any moment and see me standing there with my skirt hiked up, shimmying into the slip, since this was a three-stalled office bathroom and not my own little one-seater at home. I then became convinced that someone was going to burst in Right That Moment and hid behind where the door would open to fix my skirt, which was a ridiculous solution because (a) if someone opened the door at all, they would have nailed me and I would have had to explain why I was hiding in the corner of the bathroom, and (b) there was a private little stall just a few feet further away in the opposite direction.

Anyway. I am a mystery even to myself.

The verdict on the slip thing: Doesn't make much difference. The problem is my hip-to-waist ratio, which makes almost all not-completely-A-Line skirts problematic. Most that fit on my hips are too big on my waist and then fall down and sit funny. Note: The problem is less that I have a narrow waist (ha! Almost) but that I have far from narrow hips.

Also: I feel like my octogenarian Latin teacher from high school whenever I discuss wearing a slip, since I'm pretty sure I'm the only person under sixty who wears them. Mrs. R. had a tendency to put on the wrong slip in the morning and spend the whole day with three inches of the slip hanging below the hem of her skirt. Occasionally she'd comb her hair in the morning with one of those black thin barber's combs, stop halfway through with the comb in her hair, and then forget about it, only to discover it sticking out of the back of her hair halfway through her third class of the day.

I sometimes think Mrs. R. and I are spiritual sisters.

I got an invite to an alumni luncheon thing this year, which is featuring as its centerpiece yet another ceremonial award for Mrs. R. She got one last year and I'm pretty sure she got one the year before; she graduated from my high school sometime around 1930 and had been teaching for a few years when my grandmother had her in high school – and my grandmother was the class of 1947. She sticks around because she is from a wealthy family and is such a big financial supporter of the school that they're afraid to let her go, even though she's been having senior moments since the mid-eighties. I think they keep giving her these luncheons hoping that eventually, in one of her acceptance speeches, she'll announce her retirement, but no luck yet.

She was a character. I was one of four students in her Latin Culture and Vocabulary class, which was pretty much a joke. The night before the final exam she called each of us with mysterious messages like, "Think about Sparta...and Athens...and how they're different..." which then turned out to be the major questions on the exam. I think she was afraid that we were all going to fail because we'd all been so spacey and bored for the entire duration of the class. It was a legitimate fear; I was taking the class pass/fail, I think, since I was a senior approaching graduation with my college acceptance letters under my belt. I knew I would squeak by with a pass even though I'd been asleep for half the course both because I was a good test-taker and, also, I had a rep in the school as a Smart Kid, which, as everyone knows, cuts you a bit of slack at the end of your high school career.

She taught public speaking as well, and an odd assortment of other classes. Sometimes she would come in and spend the entire period talking about the dry cleaner down her street when she was growing up, and other times she'd tell us about the proper pronunciation of "often" (the t is silent) and the value of enunciation. One day she came in and taught me one of the most important things I learned in high school: what it really means to be a classy individual. She asked us what we thought it meant to be a classy individual, and we sat there, all fifteen and clueless, and said stuff about Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O. and expensive silverware. None of us had the right answer. Class, she told us, is not a set of clothes or good lighting; it's a way of treating people with respect and kindness. It's making your first priority, in any given situation, that the other person is feeling comfortable. The classiest person at a dinner party isn't the one with the best dress who knows the right way to use the flatware; the classiest person at a dinner party is the one who sees someone nervously pick up the wrong fork for the salad, and picks that one up herself.

Anyone can do that, she said, in any situation. That's the way you should be.

My cousin Mike is a classy guy. I have a sweet story about him that I'm going to share here, even though it would embarrass him if he found it. Even though it may come off as kind of corny. It made me smile and so I'm sharing it.

mike and dan )
fearlesstemp: (cartoony self)
I was going to do that name meme, but I realized that it kind of began and ended with, "If you call me Jess, then you are...just about everyone I know." Except my Uncle Kevin and cousin Emma who call me Jessie, and my father who calls me Honeybunch, and my brother who calls me Sloppy Jr., and my mother who calls me Jessica when she's really mad at me. But other than that? Jess all the way.

Typing that made me realize how important it is to write things down because for a second there, I completely froze up because I remember right after my grandfather died, I used to think of the way he said my name and how it got to me just to think of it, and for a second there right now I couldn't remember it -- if it was a special nickname, or a shortening of my name, or just the way he looked when he said it. This is why I should write things other than my boring-ass job frustrations in this journal! I'm going to look back on this later and just go from entry to entry, all, "Day X. Job is annoying, cat did something wacky and/or annoying, JC is dreamy, vote Democratic. Day Y. Job is annoying, family member did something wacky and/or annoying, JC is dreamy, vote Democratic." I should use this to remember things! But I don't, of course.

For those of you wondering: it wasn't a nickname or anything; it was just the way he looked when he said it, sitting in his favorite chair at the kitchen table next to the window, paper spread out in front of him. "Heya, Jess," he'd say, always with a big smile. Always. He always called my mother Margie and my cousin John Jack, all things my uncle Kevin does now, in almost the same voice, which was unnerving at first but is comforting now.

I continue to have this low-level obsession with the whole Same-Sex Marriage Amendment and Ralph Nader, two things which I know are mostly part of my misdirected anxiety over this year's presidential election. I drove home tonight talking to myself about this, which makes me wonder if I'm a crazy person. I mean, I know most people talk to themselves occasionally (right? right? no? okay then.), but do other people ever spend, like, an entire commute ride talking themselves through issues? I thought passing cars probably thought I was crazy so a couple of times I tried to bop my head around like I was listening to music or something instead of ranting about the Federalist Papers, but that made me feel even more insane and pathetic (something I would have thought difficult to do). But bottom line, I really think everyone should go out there and read Federalist No. 10 because it's AWESOME and totally explains everything you need to know about the Constitution and why we were set up the way we are. I know you're sitting there thinking, "Jess, putting 'Federalist No. 10' and 'awesome' in the same sentence is, quite frankly, really nerdy." To that I say, "You're right!"

Come on! It's titled "The Same Subject Continued" -- doesn't that make you want to jump into the reading right there? Anyway. I like it. It comforts me. I've had a copy of The Federalist Papers by my bed for the past couple of weeks, since I dug it out of the basement after the President's assertion that a Constitutional Amendment was the proper way of addressing the public's concerns about homosexuality. Hello, no! Totally not!

As for Ralph Nader, I don't know how many people out there have seen Jerry Maguire but you know that scene between Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the bathroom, where Tom Cruise starts flipping out and kicking the walls? THAT'S how I feel about Ralph Nader and his supporters right now. And I know there are people on my flist who voted for him in the past and who may wish to vote for him in the future, and I'm sure you're lovely people, but much like Tom in Jerry Maguire -- I'm just VERY FRUSTRATED by the Nader thing right now. I mean, it's not like Tom doesn't like Cuba in that scene! He does! He's just very upset and confused! Like me right now, with Naderites.

And that's all I have to say right now. Except! I made one of those little make-your-own-icons! Except the hair is too long and, I fear, kind of looks like a mullet. For the record: I do not have a mullet. I did, back in 1987 or so, but in my defense, I was seven at the time. Mistakes were made. Anyway, I went with the longer hair because I wanted to communicate the curliness of my hair and that seemed the best way, even if my actual hair is quite short at this point.

Bedtime.

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fearlesstemp

February 2009

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