Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hot For Teacher

From time-to-time I crack open my old teen journal and try and remind myself of how I have grown. Occasionally it occurs to me that I haven't made it as far down the road as I thought, kind of like when you take a wrong turn and end up going in circles and right back in front of the same bagel shop. It happens. The important thing besides stopping off for a bite of bread, is just to keep driving, keep learning.

Recently as I skimmed through those youthful pages full of electric fire, I was reminded of my college days. Looking back, still some of the best days of my life.

There was a professor then whose name I cannot reveal for two reasons: #1, he might 'Google' himself and find this, and #2 the other students, both past and present, might read it and think me insane. Therefore, we'll call him "Mr. Hand" just for privacy purposes. The fact that "Mr. Hand" brings a comedic slant to the idea of this teacher will just be a bonus.

Mr. Hand was one of the most charismatic, knowledgeable and interesting teachers I have had. The subjects taught, although it doesn't really matter I guess, were English Composition and Literature. From the day I set foot in his class I became mesmerized... by the way he talked, the way he walked. His lectures were the highlight of my day. He had a way of explaining things that kept me interested in the subject at hand. When he told his stories in class as well, it just drew you in. I found myself watching his mouth, waiting in anticipation for him to make eye contact with me. I'd sit on the front row and wait for him to pass by in those Khakis, and I couldn't help but stare "there". Oh the things I imagined him doing to me!

('Those damn Khakis!')

Many of his lectures would be filled to the brim with tales and commentary about Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-Roll. Why wouldn't it appeal to a young generation? He made us feel that he identified with us, and had been there himself, relaying with great detail from even his own experiences. We were all brimming with youthful abandon and swimming neck deep in his magic words (at least I thought so).

Mr. H was not at all what most would consider a good looking man, he was older, balding... well truly nearly bald. The man wasn't winning any beauty contests, that's for sure. There was just something about him I could not explain, a certain Je ne sais quoi.

So, I was very reluctant to let anyone else know of my affections for him. I told VERY few people simply because I feared being the brunt of jokes in that regard. Why did I care really? I don't know, I just didn't want people to think I was nuts. I WAS nuts, however... nuts about Mr. Hand!

If I ever missed a class, I don't remember it. My grades in his class were straight A's, and I wrote my English Comp assignments with great fervor, anxiously awaiting and then feeding off his positive comments. He may well still be one of the reasons that I enjoy writing so much today, though it has always brought me a lot of joy.

As this "Crush" grew, I decided against my better judgment that I needed to send Mr. H a greeting card. Greeting cards were always something I had a hard time resisting sending to crushes and love interests, and I'm sure that the objects of my affection probably wished I didn't. I fancied myself a romantic, though, and continued sending my idiotic cards and notes. So I went out and found the perfect card for Him. Then I sat down and carefully selected my words, most of which were infused with how much I enjoyed his class, and just how much he inspired me as a teacher.

Of course I didn't make a copy, and I don't remember the exact words, but I sealed it, stamped it and placed it in campus mail.

The next day, as I sat in class glued to the day's lecture, I fixed my gaze upon the Khakis as they passed back and forth across the room, in front of my desk... he, chewing his gum, those lips spouting out his pure platinum brilliance. All at once he stopped, there directly in front of me.

With a shy schoolgirl smile, I looked up and my eyes met with his. Surely I must be flushed crimson, but I dare not look away. What on Earth was he going to say? What had I done? Whatever it was, it had me in the spotlight at that very moment, as the entire class stared directly towards me.

Just then, he laid his hand, that aged hand so full of experience, upon my desk and said with a nod and smile, "Thank you!"

Through my nervousness and embarrassment, I managed to reply softly, "You're welcome."

Who knows what the rest of the class was thinking. What was he thanking me for? What had Jackie done that deserved this class interruption? He never stated, never publicly addressed it to the class, just thanked me in that quick, semi-private little moment we'd shared as he paused in front of my desk. I'd never forget.

Even after his class, as I was in the middle of other transgressions and experiences I thought about visiting him. Once I actually did, but the time was rather brief, and of course nothing happened. I don't know if he ever realized that I had such a crush on him. In fact, I found out later on that I was not the only girl who had entertained similar thoughts about him. Funny isn't it?

Maybe he really was some sort of spellbinder. ;)

Time marched on as it always does, and eventually "college days" faded away, along with my sweet, silly little "College Girl Crush". Other teachers filtered through my educational journey as well, but nobody else quite like Mr. Hand.

In more recent years, I had read one of his books. This found me wondering about him... how he was doing. So, I looked up an e-mail on him. Although for totally different reasons now, as I no longer entertain any sort of romantic thoughts about the man, I wrote him quite a nice letter letting him know just how much his class had meant, and what a role model and mentor in writing he had been to me.

Just a few days later, I received a very grateful reply back telling me that he indeed remembered me, and how much those words meant to him. He said he'd put the letter on his wall.

Then that was that... I felt good about the letter, and was glad that the praise complimented him so.

Great teachers like Mr. H are rare, and I guess it is even rarer still for those teachers to receive such a reward to be told how their efforts made such a difference in students' lives, but they do. Teachers of the world just know that every word you say has some sort of impact, and they do not always fall on deaf ears, even though it may seem that way. You have powers beyond your dreams, powers to make a difference to those you guide and inspire... to help shape great minds. You're worth so much more than you know... Stay Gold!

Suggested Listening "Hot For Teacher" Click ;)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cross Words From Me

Lately I've noticed the number of people reading and relaxing while on the machines at the gym has increased. I'm not sure whether this is due to it being too early in the morning for me, so these things get on my nerves worse, or people are just relaxing more while trying to raise their heart rate.

One man in particular, albeit a senior citizen, enjoys riding the recumbent bike while working his daily crossword puzzle. Meanwhile, as I sweat profusely behind him, seething, wondering how is he even working up a sweat? It takes all I have just to work out and fiddle with my playlist and grab an occasional drink of water.

Is it just me? What's the deal with these people? It's not against gym policy by any means, but it is certainly something that has gotten under my skin a bit. I mean, why don't we get you a blanket and a pillow and some hot cocoa while we're at it?

If you happen to be one of these reading/crossword puzzle working workout gems, feel free to set me straight. I would love to understand how it's possible to concentrate or read any articles with ease, or write while doing cardio... I'm not closed minded.

While you're at it, take all of the loud conversations to the locker room too. That is, unless you can figure out what "Inside Voice" means.

End of rant... I guess.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The World Upside-Down

When I was a child, I used to enjoy hanging semi-upside-down from swings, and sometimes just looking at things from the floor in an upside-down way, you know, to see it from a different perspective. When looking upside down, it seemed like the ceiling became the floor, and all of the doors were flip-flopped, and I dreamed up an entire universe almost, just from seeing things from this strange vantage point. To me, it made all things possible... limited only by my child's imagination.

As I floated there in this state, would try to imagine what it would be like to exist in this reverse plane of existence. Even outside, where the ground became the sky and the sky became a vast, infinite field of clouds, I was mesmerized. It was eye-openingly beautiful.

Sometimes as adults, we get so caught up in trying to figure out a solution to our problems that we lose sight of the truth. "What is the truth?" you might ask. Well, I feel that the truth is many different things to each one of us. What's true for me, might not necessarily be true for you. We have to figure out our own path, our reason for existence, the solution to our problems.

While we can sometimes become bright beacons, shedding light on others' paths, and maybe inspire them to find fantastic solutions, we can't do all of the work!

When our search for answers gets us so stressed out that we do get 'burned out', or we seem to encounter a creative block, feeling like we will never be able to move forward again, that's the perfect time to change our perspective. If we color outside the lines a bit, or maybe go and hang upside down for a while we might see things in a refreshingly enlightened new way. It may be just the perfect cure. What have you been frustrating yourself for endless hours searching for?

Go for a swing today and visit the upside-down world. The only limits you'll find there are the ones set by YOU.

“Believe those who are seeking the truth.

Doubt those who find it.” ~Andre Gide

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Funny I Was Thinking

Random Thoughts and Facts

Guys #1, 2 and 3 were named Larry, Larry and Darryl.

Am I the only one who finds it really ironic and laughable that the first 3 guys I had any real romantic involvement with were named "Larry", "Larry" and "Darryl"??

I am glad that Larry, Larry and Darryl were not brothers.

Am Daring you to tell me what Television show that came from.

Go ahead. Laugh.

Although the above guys were not brothers, I did end up later dating brothers.

I did not, however date the brothers at the same time (exactly).

I am prone to cheesy fits of 80s music.

You might hear me 20 minutes later blaring metal.

I love to Karaoke, both secretly and publicly.

Sometimes I am way too random for my own good.

I enjoy my alone time more than you know.

It disturbs me when I think how antisocial I feel sometimes.

What is with people just walking up and interrupting others these days? Common courtesy is dead. This happens all day long.

Some days I just don't feel like peeling myself out of bed and playing "Groundhog Day"... over and over.

Is it too late to run away and join the circus?
(The OTHER circus I mean)

Am I burned out?


One Froggy Evening

Click The Frog For One Of My Favorite
Warner Brothers Cartoons Ever! Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hello It's Me

Haven't had much time or inclination over the weekend, or really anything noteworthy to talk about. Still, I have a few things in the works for posts this week. So don't go far, because I want readers. Tell ya mama and ya papa and cousin too. Occasionally I bring home an entertaining thought or paragraph. ;)

I thought since I didn't have anything new to bring to the table, maybe you'd like to take a backward glance at some of my older works of genius. Here's a little handful of decent posts you may have missed.

A Peek Into Jackie's Teenage Journal

How I Met My Husband

The Story of "Z" (a must if you like love stories)

Kissing Frogs

Noteworthy (more things that get on my nerves)

More Recently, you might have missed my Christmas "Bitching":
Dim Lights Of Dixie

I better stop there. I doubt you guys will even make it that far... I mean, Who am I?!? But in case you enjoy reading me it's there for your pleasure. If you still want more, try searching my blog for keywords with my nifty search function over on the left side.

Also, I have added a new feature to the
left side where you can "Ask Me Anything".
So Click Here To Ask That Burning Question... Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One Year, One More Day

My feelings for the last few days leading up to today, January 14th, I feel are probably just because today marks One Year of the passing of my wonderful Dad who is so loved and so missed.

Still can't believe he's not here.

Since I've posted a lot of thoughts and memories, and songs already that remind me of him, I will just dedicate today's short post in his remembrance, and ask him to please know how much he is physically missed on this Earth, and to keep on looking out for all of us. We can use as much guidance as possible.

Mom pictured above in one of my favorite
photos with Daddy (8/29/27 - 1/14/09)

Jack Cutler, our "Daddy" was one of a kind. They just don't make em' like him anymore. We miss and love him always.

This is for you, Daddy... We all wish we could have One More Day (Diamond Rio)

Feel free to check out some of my latest posts. Your readership and comments are always appreciated. I look forward to the few I get. And still if you haven't seen the Memories of Daddy Playlist, check it out (if you like old fashioned and/or country type music).

So keep my family in your thoughts around this time of the year, and once this is over, I promise it's back to my rock and punk roots. ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No Songs For Me

Our weather in the south, as most of you probably know, has been unseasonably cold. We get our "cold snaps", but usually it is not as frigid as it is further up the map. I don't mind it at all, really. I have always loved winter weather, and cold temps. Often, I have wondered why I stuck around this place rather than sprouting my wings and flying off to New York City or someplace like I always dreamt.

The biggest reason, I guess I would have to say is my parents. Being 'the baby' of the family, I worried too much and felt too compelled to stay closer to them. In some ways I regret allowing myself to feel this way and miss out on further adventures, and in other ways I am glad I remained close and spent as much time as I could. Unfortunately, when we pick door number 1, we must give up doors 2 and 3... all we can do after that is lie around reminiscing and wondering "What If".

My life has been a good one, there have definitely been less fortunate people in this world than me. I've experienced great love, wonderful friends and family, and quite a few misadventures too. I've been good and I've been bad. Still, I would someday love to sit down and have a cup of coffee or three with a few of my alternate selves. We'd spend the afternoon sitting out at some sidewalk cafe with our hot Javas, and I would grill them for the juicy details on the things that they chose that I didn't get the chance to. What kind of life had they led? Who was "The One" for them? Did they have children? So much I would love to know... things I would enjoy sharing with them too (if they were interested).

Somehow, though, in the back of my mind I just know that my life story would pale in comparison to theirs.

As a woman, I've never had the opportunity to experience what it was like to be a "Barbie Doll", or a "Goddess". I was usually passed over for the prettier friend. In school, I was never accepted by In Crowd, or even remotely popular. In fact, I was barely visible. That's how I felt at any rate. My moments of greatness popped in for a visit, so there have been times in my life that I was made to feel like a goddess, but those times were very short lived. There was always somebody skinnier, small and cute, more exotic, or perfect around to snuff out the small bit of candlelight that made me glow.

So from time to time, I sit back and revel in the enjoyment of remembering those high points and live vicariously through them.

Oh well, so you won't find any historic love tales written with me as the heroin, and they don't write songs about girls like me. That's o.k., I've made peace with that. It only made it that much more "Special" when my occasional Knight In Shining Armor saw my inner goddess and dedicated someone else's song to me.

"... And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind
that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world."

Oh how sweet that must be.

Friday, January 08, 2010

In A Flurry

Snow fell, not really much of it, but enough to screw up driving for quite a few places around the Mid-South (that doesn't take much, but it gives Memphis drivers some excuse I suppose).

Today, still seeing a few flimsy flurries. However, from what I understand, everyone else got more than they bargained for. There's your "balance" anyroad.

While on my recent "Dad Memories" kick, I found the following videos. Once again, this is not music that I normally listen to, it's stuff my Dad loved and always made us laugh with his "original" renditions of certain ones. Now, make a mental note that the "Mountain Dew" song, below, was one of my Dad's absolute favorites to sing, even though he kind of changed the lyrics up to suit himself. He was also a huge "Hee Haw" fan, so I find it quite appropriate that these clips feature "Grandpa Jones".

Grandpa Jones "Mountain Dew" (lol!!)

Grandpa Jones sings "Kitty Clyde" for Marty Robbins

Humor, laughter and love are among the greatest gifts that anyone can give. My father sure left his share of those around, so we are so blessed to have been part of such a great man's life.

Hope you enjoyed the videos, and if you missed my playlist and you love 'old classic country',
then Don't Miss Listening to "Memories Of Daddy".

Have a fantastic weekend and stay warm you lot!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Truth About AJ

My emotions are extremely high today. By nature, I am a highly emotional person, depending on various factors such as music, scents, memories and of course the energy and emotions of those around me. I tend to be quite empathic to those things, always picking up on the feelings of others. It's not always a good thing.

It can be very draining.

Don't get me wrong, I do my best to continue on and take care of the day-to-day flow of what I have to do, I'm just saying that I am definitely affected... those around me may or may not see this. On those days when I can't seem to keep it under wraps, however, I am not an easy person to be around... especially for those with a low tolerance for emotion (like Richie-it is hard for him sometimes, but he hangs in there for some strange reason).

Given my emotional state today, I have been listening to a few songs that really remind me of my Daddy. Most of you who know me well probably know that although I grew up hearing country music because of my parents, I don't like it that much at all nowadays. There are exceptions, but I don't find much that I can stand. So the songs in the following play list are not my normal tastes, but like I said, I feel close to Dad when I hear them.

If you enjoy country, especially "older" country then listen in to the Memories of Daddy Playlist.

January 14th marks one whole year since he passed... God I can't believe it. Haven't seen my Dad for a whole year. Don't get me wrong, I know he's around, I know he pops up by my side and hasn't truly left us, but still it is hard and just sometimes I wish I could go sit at the table with them both, have a cup of coffee and have Daddy just grab my purse and try to ruffle through it like he always did to annoy me, or tell him a joke... or have him tell me a joke, or just hug me. Yeah, that would be so cool... how much we freakin take for granted in this world.

I love my family so much, even though some of us don't seem to make the effort to be part of each others' lives these days, I still love them and I hope they know it. They're not even reading this you know. ;)

My close friends also know that they are thought of as family by me. So that goes without saying. However, I have such a hard time outside of my loved ones, and those of you who I really enjoy knowing, finding good in the world, its "people". It just gets harder by the day.

As loving as I am, or try to be there is a deep, dark side that not many people see on my surface. A few truths? Just to skim the surface, AJ:
  • Is NOT a very nice person, even if it seems that way. (I'm sweet and have a big heart for those who have earned it though)

  • Has a lot of mean thoughts.

  • Is pretty Jealous, but trying to work on that since nobody and nothing is really worth it.

  • Is EXTREMELY agitated by rude people, ignorance and stupidity, and is therefore agitated quite often.

  • Hates being on the phone, and doesn't appreciate hearing about a bunch of meaningless drivel. When in doubt, don't call, and if you do, make it short and to the point. If I wanna talk to you, and I have time to talk your phone will ring.

  • Doesn't like it when you drop by unexpectedly, f**in call first (but don't talk long, see above)!

  • Can't stand racist, ignorant and redneck behavior (goes along with ignorance and stupidity above). There are good and bad people of every race. Stop being blinded by skin tone.

  • Refuses to grow up, I enjoy thinking childlike, and I like escaping reality from time-to-time. I still get my business taken care of, and don't need you to tell me to grow up. Retaining the magic and imagination of a child is essential for surviving adulthood. You were a child once. Don't be such a know-it-all, hang on to it.

  • Hates people who are "Holier Than Thou"... open your mind. The universe is not about just you. You are a small dust speck just like the rest of us. The only way all of the "specks" can make a difference is to bind together as one big dirtball.
Well, like I said that just touches the surface. I have too much inside to let bubble out all at once. De todo un poco.

One last thing that has irritated me this week: While most of my neighbors and people around the area have been decent about getting their holiday decorations down in due time (not perfect, but not bad), "The Necks" around the corner, still haven't budged. Every evening when I roll into the hood, their house is still laden with inflatable Santa and Christmas Trees in the yard, and lights all over their house. Make no mistake, The Necks' house is always decorated year-round, only their usual is a red strand of lights around the edge of the house and their rebel flag which states proudly "Redneck". Come on guys, at least give it a rest and get back to normal.

Oh my aching nerves this week... but I am feeling better just for venting. Thanks for giving it an eye.

Although I am not all good, I'm not all bad either so give me a break. ;)

Have a nice week-end. -AJ

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Everything Around Me

My level of mental exhaustion today is indescribable. I don't know where to begin really, I've just had a tiresome, frustrating day.... one of those that, although some of the incidents may be small, had energy-draining effects on me. Annoyed I am (I say in my best Yoda voice).

Everything from the first car that pulled out in front of me this morning, to the rude guy who didn't hold the door open (or offer to help me carry) when I was returning something to his store, to the usual traffic cut offs, it's all added up. I have felt like crap today, I have had it up to here (makes hand sign above head).

Ironically, my horoscope says, "January 5, 2010 You are biking with the wind behind you, which gives you extra smooth power that effortlessly eats up the miles. Keep up the pace without straining so when it’s time to take a rest or the wind changes, you’ll have the accomplishment you need under your belt. Sustain without strain for the greatest gain."

Yes, although they state the above, I can only wish that I felt that way.

Then after bozos, count em' one by one took their small role in making my day just a little darker, I get home to find out my stupid game on Facebook was all screwed up--My level was gone, the money and all of the things I had worked for lately had just crashed and burned, and I haven't the energy to try and regain it all... (I know this is a minor thing, most of the things I have mentioned are minor).

Some of you will blast me with your negative remarks about what I have said and tell me that I am going on over stupid stuff. Those of you who 'have it all figured out' will anyway. Well, you know my opinion on that. You do what you enjoy and I will do what I enjoy, and I am certain those two lists would not intertwine. For today, just allow me to enjoy, nay "revel" in bitching about how pissed off and annoyed I am at everything around me. It is totally time for me to go to bed!

Shit happens, I know. I just wish it didn't always seem to happen to me.