Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ugly Crying

I've always been a weepy sensitive chick, which I am sure some of you will find not at all surprising and others will find beyond shocking, but I am easily moved by both the awesome beauty and heartwrenching ugliness of this world of ours. I can remember being a young teenager and crying as one of the little girls in our church played her violin. No trip to volunteer at the Special Olympics was complete without a good boohoo. Little House on the Prairie episodes, Kodak commercials, whatever. I'm a weeper. Heck, one of the ever-so-many reasons I avoid church of late is that I can't make it through a service without a good weep caused by my haint of a momma. (Yes, "haint." That old woman haunts me.)

So imagine the Hays Party of 4 watching "Marley and Me" this weekend. I have avoided this movie with all of my being because I had heard about its tearjerking ending and just didn't feel like playing. I for SURE wasn't about to go see it at the movie theater where I might not be able to make it out of the theater unassisted.

Now y'all know I love my Casey. And I still ache, years after their deaths, for my firstborn, Esther, and my bulldog, Abby. So I knew pretty quickly into the film that this was going to get ugly. I was doing fine, enjoying the humor and all that stuff, until a scene early in the film where Jennifer Anniston was comforted by her pooch. All too real. I was transported to a rotten spring day in 1996 when my dear muttbaby was exactly who I needed to overcome a little woe-is-me grief. I started crying and laughed at my fool self and said to my Jimmy, "Oh, this is going to get ugly."

All through the movie, Austin, who had already seen it, kept checking on me to see whether I was moved by the same parts that bothered him. At some point, Kori and Austin were both snuggled face first into Caseydog on the couch. I found myself reaching for her every now and then. WE all progressed from touched to weeping to sobbing uncontrollably. By the end, Kori, also a weeper, was an ugly mess, just like her momma. We're talking snot-bubble producing, upper-body trembling, can't even talk, laughing oddly at yourself kind of ugly cry.

And boy, did it feel good. I don't think I've had that kind of totally cathartic, completely cleansing, make your gut hurt kind of cry in a long while. Not even with the events of the past few years. I needed it, I think. Puts everything in perspective. Reminds you how good life is. Makes you see the people you love and remember to hold them gently and enjoy them fully.

Great movie. Cry and all. If you've never known the genuine love of a good dog, you won't get it, I don't think. But if you have, you'll give thanks for their companionship, their unfailing love, their model for humanity. Go rent it. Grab a hankie. Watch it with someone you love, the furrier the better.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Playing with the background

Man, I want to learn to edit html so I can create my very own blog template. Meanwhile, I'm toying with some ready-made ones. Of course, my widgets are all gone, so I'll be forced (ouch!) to tinker with those another day.

And truly, I should be reading right now.

Anyway, enjoy all the ridiculous changes I throw out here over the next little while.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Killing trees

New printer cartridge - $20
Pack of Office grade printer paper - $5
Saving trees by printing double sided - priceless.

Here's the problem with Blackboard, the online resource for college classes these days: Instead of students buying a good old Kinko's/Copytron coursepack like we did back in the day, some poor graduate assistant sap has to scan and upload a gazillion documents for students to access. Sounds pretty earth-friendly, eco-happy, tree-loving, yes?

Turns out you have to print most of this junk anyway to be able to use it in the class, mark it up with margin notes and highlighters (yes, I am so old school like that), or access it later in life with ease.

During the school year, I usually laser-print it all double-sided at school (don't tell the district, eh?) but with summer here, I figured I'd be responsible and do it at home.

Mind you, I've now invested $30 for this session's printing extravaganza, plus the $3 for a binder to put all this in. My trusty HP deskjet only has a manual double-sided feature (alas). So, here I sit, clicking and printing and turning pages and clicking and printing and so on until I grow too weary of this tedium or finish, whichever comes first. but I'm saving trees. Sort of. Right?