Archive for the ‘north carolina’ Tag

Praenomen   1 comment

A few days ago I was at work, helping a man apply for a credit card. He would answer my questions with “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” and so on. At one point, he looked right at me, and asked, “Ma’am, if you you don’t mind my asking, how old are you?”

I had to think. “Twenty-nine,” I answered, truthfully.

“Twenty-nine? I’m almost forty.” He shook his head. “Why do I keep calling you ma’am?”

“Well I am standing behind a desk asking you a bunch of personal questions.”

He didn’t have a response to that.

Honestly, I think the real answer to that question is “it’s a Southern thing”. No one called me ma’am when I lived in DC. When a New Jerseyite worked at the Paint Desk, he asked me why everyone called the guy in Appliances Mr. Blessing. “I thought it was his first name!”

“It is,” I had said. “It’s a Southern thing. A term of respect.”

That answer didn’t satisfy him, and truth be told, it doesn’t satisfy me either. I’ve noticed that different names get different levels of respect. Steve and Thomas in Electrical are both equally respected by fellow associates, by only Thomas gets called Mister. Part of it, maybe, is the rhythm of their names. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Blessing flows off the tongue better than Mr. Steve or Mr. James. Maybe it’s also the Baptist tradition, you know, how Baptists refer to each other as Brother and Sister because we’re all children of Christ or something like that? Or maybe it’s, you know, the slave thing.

Most Northerners really encounter such denominations in old books, like Pride and Prejudice. It’s weird that most people only encounter Pride and Prejudice on these things, because the Bennets are shown specifically avoiding that stuff (which is how all the outsiders to Merrifield know that they’re classless hooligans). In Pride and Prejudice, all the daughters are “out” (able to go out in society and meet men). Usually there was a very specific pattern to all this. Take my family.

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Typically, only one daughter is allowed “out” at a time — the eldest. She is referred to by her last name. The other daughters, since they are still basically children in the household, are referred to by their given names.

But then the eldest daughter gets married.

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A highly accomplished half-Jew marries a Roman Catholic, who knew? Anyway, the fact that Lacey and I are twins complicates things a bit. Even though we were born AT THE SAME TIME, I AM STILL CONSIDERED THE YOUNGEST, and have also always been considered sickly. So it’s possible my parents wouldn’t have let me “out”, or perhaps would have had me wait a few extra years.

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Or perhaps they wouldn’t have, considering that we are only separated by a minute.

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And so I married, leaving just the one Miss Hancher.

Posted May 18, 2016 by agentksilver in Personal

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I used the same stupid name for two blog entries in a row, what was wrong with me   Leave a comment

Dad called me while I was at work yesterday. He didn’t leave a message, which is unusual for him. I called him back after I got off work. Apparently he had been talking to a coworker whose daughter graduated from Potomac Falls in 2006. He couldn’t remember when I graduated, so he had called to ask. I told him that I graduated in 2005.

“I could have done the math on that,” he said.

“That was ten years ago,” I said.

It’s been ten years since I graduated high school.

“Your ten-year high school reunion must be coming up soon,” said Dad.

“Yeah, I got invited on facebook, but it looked like it was being run by one group of friends that I didn’t really talk with, so it didn’t seem like it was worth the effort,” I said.

Ten years, man. I went to my old livejournal to see what I had been thinking about ten years ago.

November 15, 2005
Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

I just posted Shakespeare in 15 minutes on my blog if you want to look at it. It’s inspired by Cleolinda (movies in 15 minutes). You can see the connection.

IT’S SNOWING IN IOWA AND YOU’RE PROBABLY ALL STILL SWEATING! NEEHAHHAHHAHAHA!

Listening to music, putting off homework, thinking about getting dinner. Life is beautiful.
Current Mood: creative
Current Music:Reliant K’s “Two Left’s Don’t Make A Right…But Three Do”

I hovered over the “blog” link. It’s a link to my myspace profile. Look at that thing. I’m writing towards an audience that lives in Virginia. I was apparently happy at Loras for a bit. My goodness.

Today’s ten-year-ago-today livejournal entries were more interesting.

November 16, 2005
11:43 am
Randomness…

Preparing to do my Math homework, and I was looking for music to listen to whilst being a responsible student (I can’t think without music). I decided to listen to the Flaming Lips…but I couldn’t find it. I looked in my CD book, in my pile of CDs, in my bag, no Flaming Lips. Finally, I got a stroke of inspiration, and looked in the CD book of the Flaming Lips. Lo and behold, there it was. And some people call me smart, too.
Current Mood: good
Current Music:Flaming Lips “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”

4:16 pm
Randomness…
Sitting there on a group project, listening to the two other kids in my group, and all the sudden I find myself thinking, “Why am I surrounded by these incompetent fools?” And then there was lightning and thunder and I was cackling maniacally and my eyes were glowing and I had power in my fingertips and I destroyed the school and got my creative writing degree and then hid in the shadows and plotted to destroy all the heroes in the world with my superior mind and powers alone.

So, yeah, I was really, really bored.
Current Mood: crazy
Current Music:Weezer’s Make Believe

9:11 pm
Paper Writing!
I DON’T KNOW! Why didn’t I write this paper earlier, when I had like energy and time and the ability to workshop it? It has to be perfect in twelve hours and 49 minutes and it’s absolute crap! AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!
Current Mood: drained
Current Music:Barenaked Ladies’ “Stunt”

Oh, that one had a comment, from the lovely Laura Kay!

yay for last-minute paper-writing
i tend to do my best work in the last 8 hours or so
procrastination is the key
you can do it
good luck!!!

Here’s what I’ve learned from this:

-I was the most boring, typical 18-year-old that ever existed.
-No wonder I hate(d) myself
-Will I hate 28-year-old me when I am 38?
-Am I the most boring, typical 28-year-old now?
-I wrote with my Virginia friends in mind when my Iowa friends were the ones reading and responding to my entries. I hadn’t realized that my life had moved on. Is it the same way now?

I took a break from addressing envelopes for the wedding in order to write this. Cornelius is napping next to me. Today I slept in until noon. I wasn’t tired. I was very comfortable. I couldn’t get up. Maybe because I was comfortable. Maybe because my mind is broken. I spent most of today feeling anxious for no reason.

I was an 18-year-old who ran halfway across the country because she knew she wasn’t happy, but couldn’t admit that it was what was inside that was making her unhappy. I’ve run an entire state away from everything I ever knew to make another chance. Because I had found happiness at home, but not satisfaction. I need to find happiness somewhere else. With a man that loves me somehow. With a cat that won’t.

Posted November 17, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

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The future   Leave a comment

After a few serious conversations, James and I have reached a compromise: one cat, once I have a full-time job.

It’s the “full-time job” part that’s frustrating. I have no control over it. Literally no control. As in, there are headlines all over North Carolina reading “NC Teacher Assistants once again rally for jobs” “500+ Teacher Assistants could lose their job in two weeks” “Teacher assistants once again criticize NC legislature for budget delays”

North Carolina is not a good teaching environment. I’m considering just dropping the dream altogether. I won’t drop Latin, obviously (obviously). There’s a community of Latin hobbyists out there, learning it on their own. I’ve dipped my toes in it a bit. Maybe in the future I can pursue more Latin formally. Heck, with the right career, I could even pursue a Ph.D. in Classics. Who knows? Only time will tell.

I’ve been brushing the dust off a few other career ideas. Namely, Library Sciences and Bookkeeping. I think the next step for me is to apply to Wake Technical Community College. Maybe I’ll sign up for an entry-level course in database management (or computer sciences or something?) and in Accounting, and see which one I take to more.

I would also enter as a transfer student from Northern Virginia Community College, which is weird. It’s been so long since I’ve been a starter student.

Looking at the options, I would probably take Basic PC Literacy (for accounting) and CIS 110 (for database management) or something.

Honestly, in this area, getting involved with technical stuff is not a bad idea. I might be able to spin it into an entry-level job at one of the important companies on Research Triangle. Then I’ll be the breadwinner and I’ll be able to get two cats!

This is all just an extended way to say that compromise is terrible and I should get a cat now anyway.

Posted August 19, 2015 by agentksilver in Uncategorized

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Decisions, decisions   Leave a comment

So several weeks ago, I was driving in my car. It was late, so NPR wasn’t playing anything good, and neither were any of the pop or alternative stations. 40 was mostly empty. I was able to safely let my mind wander, keep half an eye on the road and just do some introspection.

I broke myself down into things that I can contribute to society. What am I? I like history. I like dogs. I like writing. I like being around books. I am very good at learning languages. And looking at those things, if I had to be completely honest, only one of those is a unique skill. I am good at learning languages. I enjoy learning languages.

So I thought, that’s it. I’m going to become a foreign language teacher. That is what I am meant to be. That is the unique thing that I am meant to do on this earth.

So for the next few weeks I struggled with wanting to be a Latin teacher or a Spanish teacher. Latin is fun, but Spanish is useful.

Yesterday I did volunteer work for Wake County Animal Center. We went to a barbecue place and encouraged people to contribute to Wake County. It was successful all around, although I got sick and had to leave early (I have absolutely no idea what made me sick, but I popped some pills and lay in the dark for several hours before I felt better). But I had fun for a while, meeting some of my fellow volunteers and talking with people at the barbecue place.

One of the volunteers was a woman named Rebecca. She was a former science teacher. According to her, “North Carolina hates teachers,” so she quit. She is now pursuing a PhD in science education, and hopes to do education research and run science education programs for the rest of her days.

I can back her up on North Carolina hating teachers. I’ve been getting conflicting evidence back and forth. North Carolina teachers are underpaid, given class sizes of 40, and expected to teach to a test, with very little room for creativity and have an overall lack of support from administrators.

I told her that I had moved to North Carolina partially to become a teacher. “Oh this is a great place to learn to become a teacher,” she said. “But don’t stay here. Get your education here and move someplace that likes teachers.”

I know that James wants to stay in this area. I’ve mentioned to him a few times that we could move back to DC eventually. “But we won’t afford anyplace nice up there,” he said.

And besides, I’m really enjoying the lack of traffic around here. Plus, whenever I drive around Fairfax County I’m filled with bad memories and regret. But there’s not a whole lot stopping us from, say, moving to Richmond or Roanoke or Virginia Beach. I know the Richmond area is always looking for Latin teachers, and Spanish is an in-demand subject everywhere. But what is the point of studying education in a state that doesn’t value education? I might as well study Italian and German and then throw myself into Classics for the rest of my life. Or just give up and get a Masters in library science. Or give up even harder and become a Home Depot employee until I die. They like me well enough.

It’s getting time to start applying for college again. I really need to make a decision soon.

Posted July 7, 2015 by agentksilver in teaching

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It’s my first growing season   Leave a comment

I live about twenty minutes outside of Raleigh, the 43rd most populated state in the United states. It has a population of about 430,000. I live right next to Cary, which has a population of 151,000. I live in the heart of suburbia — “encroaching suburbia” is what it can best be called. The farm that Lacey and I visited in October is about five minutes from where I live.

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Majestic.

When I was driving home a few weeks ago, I turned onto Church Street and noticed that there was an awful lot of smoke. As I continued driving, I thought it smelled like smoke, too. The smoke was only getting denser and denser the closer I got to the Presbyterian Church. Finally I spotted a sign — fireman training in progress. I glanced across the street from the church and saw a house engulfed in flames. I saw a woman sitting in a lawnchair, watching. I saw maybe one fireman standing outside the house. That’s all I saw in the split second before I turned my eyes back onto the road.

I wondered if I should go back and watch. Clearly they weren’t stopping the one woman on the lawnchair. But I was also very tired, since I had been up since 5:00 in the morning. I decided to go home and stay home.

I regretted that decision. What happened to going out and living? Seeing new sights? How often did one get to watch a house burn down?

Two days ago I kept myself busy. I cleaned a fishtank, in preparation for goldfish. I reorganized my living room. I read two books — I can’t really concentrate, so I would pick them up, read a page or two, set them down, and walk away. I ate well. I was feeling satisfied with myself. So I decided that I would, indeed, go take a closer look at the burned down house.

First of all, if someone ever asks me for fun things to do in Morrisville, NC, “walking down Church Street” is not something I would recommend. Church Street has intermittent sidewalks and the ground immediately drops down from the road. I was frequently in danger of being run over.

In the ditch between the road and the burned house, someone has tossed a fresh stack of hay, making it easy for me to cross over to the burned-down property. Where did they get the hay? Why do we have hay? Church Street is weirdly rural, in the center of suburbia.

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However, the burned-down house had police tape all around it.

“I am a responsible 28-year-old member of society,” I told myself. “I’m not going to cross that line.”

But I was so far away and could only take so many pictures from one angle.

“I just won’t walk on the house,” I said. “Just on the lawn.”

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So I got as close as five feet from the house. Look at those pictures. Totally worth getting a potential trespassing fine. I have no idea what the “C” means. Condemned? I don’t know legal things.

“Yes,” I said, inspecting the house in the fading light. “That is a burnt bunch of house things.”

I went home.

But, of course, living close to condemned houses and houses flying the Confederate flag isn’t the only good thing about living in encroaching suburbia. Since we’re surrounded by farms, we got to go berry-picking!

berry picking

They’re Sweet Charlie tomatoes from a farm near Cary. We picked them ourselves! In the sun! We had honey from the same farm! I bought a cantaloupe and a tomato plant. It’s the last days of berry-picking season, so there wasn’t much to get, but we managed to get a full bucket of blood-red strawberries (for pie, of course). I learned a lot! Strawberry plants have flowers! Honeybees are nice! Strawberries taste best right off the plant!

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I haven’t posted in a month! It’s been a very busy month.

-James and I moved to a townhouse! We’ve been here for ten days now, and it’s been great. We have so much space. We can fit all of our furniture here. The most difficult part was getting the kitchen fixed up. We hadn’t realized how little storage this place has, so we had to buy a bunch of shelves.

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They’re filled with dishes. The cabinets are full of food. Everything seems laid out nicely now!

-Every time I sit down to start a blog entry, I started writing fiction instead. Which is good. Except for the fact that I went a month without updating. Will my future children want to look at this blog and see what all of my thoughts were when their father and I were moving? (no)

-We bought a wedding dress! It is beautiful! Now I have to pick a printer for the Save-the-Dates and start working with my Ladies to pick out their dresses. The process of picking out the dress could be the fodder of so many blog entries, but, alas, that stuff has to be secret.

-I finally sought help for my depression. I visited an independent doctor (hard to find in this area, the intersection of UNC and Duke). My doctor introduced herself and explained the concept of the clinic (less patients, more time with each patient). We went through all the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and yes: I have anxiety and depression. Not a severe case, but definitely a case. So she prescribed regular exercise, medication, and visiting a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.

Something I was surprised to learn: my tendency to not want to get out of bed is a fairly common sign of depression. My tendency to not want to leave my car when I get to my destination? My inability to get off the couch when I’m hungry or have to pee and want to get up, but can’t? That is exactly the same symptom. Who knew?

Doctors. Doctors knew.

-Look at this writing though:

Asking about any sort of magic would look suspicious, and for days Martha was held up by not knowing how to proceed. In her twenty-two years of governing, she had never had a problem like this before. She turned the question over in her mind. She would be tickling Lily and start wondering if the local laundry girls would know anything. Hyacinth would take her two girls out for walks and would start making sniping statements, but Martha would be wondering if the local coven had some sort of signal to signify a meeting, and if so, what could it be?

The answer came rather undramatically. Lily woke up one morning red in the face, coughing, and hot as an oven. Martha and Dawn worried over Lily while waiting for the physician. For a while Martha forgot about the frog and the witches.

The physician explained it was just a sort of generic fever. He prescribed fluids, and stated that the room be kept as hot as possible to help the fever along. They were to summon him if the fever became any worse.

As he left the bedroom, he paused by Froggy.

“Has this been attracting bugs?” he asked.

“No,” said Martha. “But look.”

She tore off a small piece of bread from Lily’s bedside and put it in front of Froggy. Froggy considered the bread, then snatched it up. “He won’t eat bugs,” she added.

“Interesting,” said the physician quietly. “Have you consulted the Sisters?”

“I haven’t consulted anyone,” Martha whispered.

“The sisters meet at the full moon where the tributary meets the river,” said the physician. “Speak of this to no one.” Dawn and handmaiden entered the apartment. The physician said, louder, “Keep me informed on your girl’s condition, and make sure she stays in bed. Little girls get antsy after too much rest.”

“I’ll keep you informed,” said Martha.

“On the girl,” said the physician.

Martha smiled and curtsied.

I am a terrible writer. Just the worst. I don’t want to be blunt. I want to be light. I want to be like Jane Austen. I want to write sentences backwards just to point fun at social conventions. Believe it or not (especially given this example), my main writing strength is in dialogue. I couldn’t think of a way to get all this information across lightly.

So I’ve had to step back from wanting to write well and convince myself to just write. It might help that I joined a writer’s circle. They gave me a lot of good advice on improving a scene I’ve been struggling with in Pizza Boy and Maggie.

Posted May 21, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal, writing

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Entering the outside world   Leave a comment

I don’t think you guys understand the severity of the pine pollen around here.

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It rained and thunderstormed all night, so all of that accumulated within, like, twelve hours. The asphalt is dyed yellow! Fear the pollen!

Although, admittedly, the pollen on my shoes is fairly recent. It’s probably only been there for two hours. I had the great joy of tramping about with a couple of excited dogs. Yes, I decided that, now that I was no longer working all day in the middle of the day, that it was time to start volunteering at the animal shelter again.

My first dog was Arianna.

arianna

I chose her because obviously. Look at that dog. Look at that face. Her ears are two different colors! She has an eye patch! She was so sweet too. She did tend to jump a bit and she was a little mouthy, but she never bit. I was easily able to get a collar on her and get her outside. She was good on a leash, too, and she had this weird tendency to just sit randomly, and then look at you, waiting for a treat.

big boy

I was hesitant about walking Big Boy, although he was next in the kennel order. He’s 61 pounds. But he sat calmly in his kennel, so I gave him a shot. It turns out that I can’t handle 61 pounds of boxer energy. He pulled me without even trying — his stride was just that long. But he was a sweet dog. He stopped just so he could lean into me and demand pets. I was very happy to oblige.

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huxton

Huxton is my new buddy. He’s an eight-year-old beagle, and he has something important to say. When I came into his kennel and tried to put the collar on him, he started howling. Then he would stop howling and give me a serious look, like he was trying to gauge my opinion on whatever he had just howled about.

I would pat his rump and say, “Yes, you are a good dog.”

This was apparently not what he was howling about, because he would start howling again, then look at me to see how I reacted. This happened several times before I was finally able to get the collar and leash on him.

The biggest problem with the kennel is that we have to walk all of the dogs past all of the other dogs in order to get them outside. All the dogs go nuts, both in the kennel and out. Some of the walking dogs get scared and won’t walk. Some dogs in the kennel jump and snarl at the walking dogs. We try to pull the dogs as close to our bodies as we can and get them out into the sunshine as soon as possible.

Huxton was totally chill. He ignored the other dogs and heeled perfectly. Once outside, he padded along nicely, sometimes next to me, sometimes in front of me. He sniffed things like he was a connoisseur. He maintained this air of perfect dignity mixed with asthma. He would walk, then stop and pant, and then walk some more. I brushed his back with my fingers as best as I could, and he would look at me as if acknowledging that yes, I had done something, and he appreciated it.

Huxton was the best.

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Tiffany was the last pup I walked. She was all about playful energy, so I prepared a toy to distract her while I got the collar on her. It worked perfectly. Tiffany was all about playing. She wanted to be everywhere, to sniff everything. It took a lot of energy just to keep her from running us into the road.

While we walked, I noticed another dog following us. It was a smallish dog, mostly black, but with a brown chest. It had huge, pointed ears. It stared at us. Tiffany ignored the dog. I walked along and kept my eye on the dog. It was definitely following us, and I couldn’t see a collar. It slowly closed the gap on us, but I could tell it was going to keep its distance.

I walked Tiffany back a little faster than I would have otherwise. I walked her to the front of the shelter, rather than the back. Ricci Kearney, the volunteer coordinator, was standing in the reception area with two boxers and a tawny pitbull; three administrators were at the front desk. One of them was on the phone, talking about trapping kittens.

I wasn’t sure who to speak to, so I just said, loudly, “There was a dog following us.”

The administrator asked, “Who was the dog following? You or Tiffany?”

“I couldn’t tell,” I admitted.

Ricci took charge. He put the boxers and the pitbull in the volunteer office and emerged with treats and a leash. Tiffany and I went with him. I described the dog; he said it was a shepherd mix, probably. But the dog was at the field across from the shelter. “That looks like a Chi,” he said.

Tiffany pulled at the leash, trying to run to the stray. The stray began to back off. Ricci had me take Tiffany back inside so he could focus on catching the dog.

I put Tiffany and all my volunteer gear away and then emerged from the Center to find Ricci and another volunteer trying to slowly encircle the dog. I decided to join them. So did another volunteer, an older woman bearing dog treats. The sheer amount of us frightened the dog and he disappeared into the woods. I felt guilty; I should have just left. Ricci said that they would put out traps for the dog.

Posted April 10, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

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