Thursday, January 30, 2003

Started my own "illuminated journal" tonight, despite the fact that most of my oil pastels had melted in my car. Heard Old 97's on Scrubs and Coldplay on ER. What is up with the musical tastes of NBC? There's something surreal charming and scary about hearing my favorite music on something so commercial, knowing that at that moment there was someone somewhere asking themselves "what am i listening to?" and "where can i get a copy?". Not that I have exclusive rights to who can like my music, but some things should still be sacred.

I've been charmingly hassled all night by someone inquiring about my top ten albums of all time. I haven't given much thought to the list so it will most certainly be thrown together, in no particular order, with some blatant omissions. But here it is, nonetheless:
1. The Strokes - Is This It
2. Joni Mitchell - Blue
3. Tori Amos - Boys for Pele
4. Ani Difranco - up up up up up up
5. The Beatles - Let It Be
6. Jennifer Daniels - Fists of Flood
7. John Mayer - Room for Squares
8. Cake - Motorcade of Generosity
9. Fiona Apple - Tidal
10. and I can't freakin think of a tenth one. I'll get back to you on this.

Nighty night world.

Heather at 8:47 PM


Wednesday, January 29, 2003

And tonight we give thanks to the goddess of birthday cards.
(sister and best friend to the goddess of well-written letters, daughter of the goddess of correspondence)
The following is the contents of the birthday card I got in the mail today from anya. It means a lot to me and hopefully she won't mind me transcribing it here for you to read. Hope you enjoy:

Written in multi-colored sharpie on the inside of a card with two colorful, bathing-suit-clad 1920's bombshells on the front:
"I'm not exactly sure why this card was so insanely funny to me... something about you and me and toenail painting parties in South Carrick Hall maybe. Weren't those the simple days? No matter how long we go without seeing each other, it's always so easy to fall right back into step. Which is how you can always tell your best friends from everyone else. You have an inventory of "Remember Whens" that result in waterfalls of laughter or tears (or if it's really that funny, something else!). And it's really fantastic that we've got this nice informal way of keeping up with each other via Blogger. Now if only I could think ofa cool enough domain name where I could host everyone's stuff -- that would really be fabulous. On, and if you're wondering, I got these kick-ass Sharpie pens for Christmas, and I knew you'd appreciate them. I don't really have anything too exciting to relay -- but if I did, you could bet I'd call right away. So I suppose the most important thing is to wish you all sorts of happiness for your 23rd birthday and 24th year. Here goes:
1. Lots of sex
2. Cool Sharpie pens
3. a man to inspire good poetry (or bad, if it makes you happy)
4. time to see old friends who live too far away
5. good new music
6. alcohol-aided fun
7. good new books
Well, this stuff would make me happy anyway.
all my love,

Heather at 3:21 PM


In lieu of staff development we've been forced into our classrooms until four to complete sheet after sheet of curriculum allignment. I have made the official decision that short of a really expensive educational chiropractor, my curriculum is as alligned as it's going to be. If someone would like to take issue with this, they are more than welcome to attempt to challenge my flawless explanation of why I don't need to do anymore of this bullshit.

I managed to not post anything on my birthday. Whether that was by design or by accident is hard to say. Not that there was really anything of interest to post... (please, god in heaven, let me be saying something else when I get home from my weekend...). I'm sure that cars and little woodland creatures have had more exciting birthday celebrations than the one I had last night. Is it possible to be disinterested in one's own birthday festivities? It was like I was somewhere else, in a different body, with a different birthday. Nothing seemed important or real or fun. It was lame, a waste, a bore. (and at some point in my literary existence I'll realize that it's trite to say things in threes.)

The location for the true Heather's birthday celebration has officially been shifted to Memphis, under the astute guidance of Miss. Elizabeth Harper. Thanks again Lizzie for your kindness, sluttiness and wonderful friendship. It remains to be seen if there will be an immense MTC backlash now that the party has crossed state lines, but at this point I couldn't care less. It's my damn birthday and I'm going to damn have fun.

More later... As for now, I'll be sneaking out the back, avoiding the last fifteen minutes of fake staff development.

Heather at 1:45 PM


Monday, January 27, 2003

22 - The Year in Review

How can I summarize a year that has been perhaps the most tumultuous and rewarding of my life? It seems like an insurmountable task, especially when there are Drama notes to be written and lessons to plan, but the "birthday eve" is one of the most sacred of holidays, so it goes without question that somehow I will find the time tonight to complete this entry. It is certain to be rambling and entirely too long, but maybe in writing it I'll find a few misplaced pieces of myself and leave something to pass along to whoever is bored enough to be reading this.

I don't know if I'm a better person now than I was a year ago, but I'm certainly different. The same on the most basic level; still mean, still determined, still messy, still dreamy. The changes are all in the texture, in the details. The soundtrack has shifted in a slightly happier direction, but whether that is wishful thinking or truly the manifestation of a more delightful existence is hard to say. And now that I'm leaving 22, like a dismal interstate rest stop, I feel like there is something I need to justify, but I can't say exactly what it is. It seems that the only thing I've ever done is find the next dream and accomplish it; a series of stepping stones on the way to some goal that I'm still not exactly sure of. And even though I'm sure I don't regret anything that I've left behind along the way, it's hard not to think of how staying put at any particular moment might have changed everything.

The milestones (in no particular order):
* I moved on from a love that I once thought would last forever. Aside from the random letter written on pages torn from a journal, all of it is so far in the past that sometimes it is difficult to remember.
* I packed it all up again and moved to the Mississippi Delta so that I could see the frequently sad but equally joyous eyes of children that I never realized existed.
* I got a real job, though many of you might argue with that statement.
* I bought a car. (!!) That still doesn't seem real. I adore her and she gets me everywhere I need to go and then some. Hopefully Zelda will get an honorable mention in many year-in-reviews to come.
* I entered into the most beautiful, wonderful, and supportive group of friends in the world. They make me feel free and happy and safe even when the world is crashing down around me.
* I now sleep in a room with hardwood floors, seven windows with airy white curtains, and a doorknob that falls off if you touch it the wrong way. It seems like a very simple thing, but to realize that there is a room that is the equivalent of your personality can be the most pleasant and comforting thing in the world.
* I graduated from college with a degree that I had known I would get since I was fourteen, and one that I wanted because it made my soul happy, and I started graduate school in a state that I hadn't even visited before showing up for classes.

The distances:
* now almost exactly 23 years before I was welcomed onto the planet.
* 10 years since I've celebrated a birthday in the Central Time Zone. (Now I can celebrate my birth minute as it was meant to be celebrated!)
* 8 years since the night when the most complicated relationship of my life began.
* 7 years since the almighty 16th birthday when one is supposed to get one's driver's license... (8 months since I actually got said driver's license)
* 2 years since becomming legal, less than 48 hours since I've been IDed to verify that fact.

It is all too much, but it is all too little. Snow would make things better, but I'll have to settle for a windy, dry cold.

Happy Birthday to me in two and a half hours.

Heather at 3:11 PM


A lovely little addiction. For those who feel they don't have enough time to express themselves, visit my new favorite website that only allows you sixty seconds to get it all out, no matter how much you think you have to say. Click to oneword. to let something out from inside of you. (You can also get there by clicking the new "express something" link to the left.)

Heather at 12:01 PM


Sunday, January 26, 2003

A Letter to the President...ref. click here

Dear Ms. President,

According to our recent findings you have made leaps and bounds toward a fully adult existence. As the founder and president of our organization, we applaud our efforts, but we must say that we are a bit concerned. Our organization is still young, and in our infancy we are certain that we will need your immense slutty guidance for many years to come. While we are certain it is good for your emotional stability to be moving on from said "ridiculously overappreciated" ex boyfriends, we want to make sure that this organization still lies at the heart of your priorities. In order to maintain your position and prevent a violent coup, we recommend that you examine the following demands, um..., requests:
(If you do indeed agree to comply with said requests, please email the second in command to insure your future as the head of our organization)

1. Present oneself in a slutty manner at any time that an officer of the organization feels it would be appropriate. (ex. Murph's, Longshot, Any location within the city limits of Memphis, the Days Inn, whenever another officer is dressed in a slutty manner, etc.)
2. Expect sluttiness from your fellow officers, even when you have other things on your mind. For instance, future performances, like that of 1/25/2003 when you willingly allowed an officer to visit an establishment that sold alcohol with absolutely NO makeup on, will not be tolerated.
3. Reserve the right to kiss (or at least talk about kissing) random members of the male species that you might meet while practicing the basic principles of our organization.
4. Hold all officers with the highest esteem and applaud any and all of their attempts at sluttiness.
5. Continue to smoke while standing, sitting, squatting, sleeping, eating, and any other time when one might feel it is appropriate.
6. Recall the founding principles of our organization and hold them close to your heart at all times.

If you find that these demands/requests are both sound and reasonable, we appreciate your continued role as our fearless leader. We know that we would not be where we are today if it hadn't been for your intergral role in our organization.

Heather C. Johnston
speaking on behalf of all officers, members, pledges, and future members

Heather at 7:41 PM


Friday, January 24, 2003

One of Will's Roommates:"Kurt Vonnegut smokes unfiltered Lucky Strickes"
Me:"Um, no, he doesn't. He smokes unfiltered Pall Mall's. Always has."
--- conversation on the connection of literary greatness and nicotine addiction

Through life we pick up tidbits of knowledge. Facts that we are sure we'll never actually need to know, but somehow we feel happier, more secure for knowing them. Take, for example, Kurt Vonnegut's smoke of choice. As an avid Vonnegut fan since discovering Welcome to the Monkey House at the age of fourteen, this is one of the choice tidbits of knowledge that I carry in my own very unique brain. He smokes unfiltered Pall Malls (like a chimney). In fact, I have actually seen him light an unfiltered Pall Mall in the middle of a decidedly non-smoking lecture hall to the delight of many adoring fans who had gathered to hear him speak. This is my area. This is something I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. And so, when someone says something lame, like to suggest that one of the greatest writers of our time smokes unfiltered Lucky Strikes (Do they even make those?), I must take it upon myself to correct said uninformed person.

However, in times of need for such valuable tidbits of knowledge, one must be careful of the company one keeps. At certain times, exposing yourself as the keeper of such knowledge can be uncomfortable. It usually becomes similar to a bad cartoon in which normal people arrive in a foreign land only to be crowned the Kings and Queens of a people they have never seen before in their lives.

I was a queen as I sat on the couch, admired by all for my love of Vonnegut and my indispensable use of trivia. Sometimes being queen is a glorious thing. And sometimes being queen takes you places that you really shouldn't go...

Heather at 11:48 AM


Thursday, January 23, 2003

"Could you collect Barbies and NOT be gay?"
--- Amber, on gay people

The best things in life (as revealed to me by the city of Memphis, Tennessee and my slut-goddess-guru Amber):

1. The combination of Starbucks and a snowwy morning.
2. A vacation with a really good soundtrack.
3. Musicians, musicians' friends, musicians' houses, musicians' attitudes
4. Seeing two movies in two days, especially if they're both really really good.
5. Woodchuck Granny Smith hard cider.
6. Staying an extra day because you can and because you are welcome. Even if the supply of surplus undies is dangerously low.
7. People who are happy to see you (even if they don't know you).
8. Smiles and laughter that say you're exactly where you want to be with who you want to be with.
9. Napping in the middle of the day with SNL reruns for background noise.
10.Conversations about the best we have to offer and the worst we need to leave behind.

Heather at 12:07 PM


Wednesday, January 22, 2003

"To look life in the face, to know it for what it is, to love it for what it is: 'Tis the right of every human being."
--- Virginia Woolf, as spoken in The Hours

For most people, movies are a pleasant distraction, two hours of escape from the drudgery of life, two hours spent somewhere you hadn't even imagined before walking into the theater. And then there are those of us with slight (undiagnosed) fantasy/reality relationship problems. There are those of us who take the characters with us in our heads, to live there for days or weeks. We welcome them, we serve them tea, relate our problems to them, quote them in our journals.

The Hours is a movie that I have yet to escape from. A moment hasn't passed since I left the theater that I didn't feel that I was acting based on the motivations I picked up in the film. (If you're struggling with unreleased spontaneity problems, it might be best to skip this film and carry on with your normal, predictable life.) Love, life, death, the hours, the moment. All of these things are laid before you on the screen, and you can't help but wonder how it was that you were living your life before you entered the theater, before you saw these events take place on the screen. But one thing was obvious for me from very early on. The world wouldn't look the same when I left. And it didn't.

Clarissa who was waiting for her happiness to find her, sacrificing for the happiness of others, Laura who sought her own happiness to protect her very existence, and Virginia, the catalyst for it all, who could never truly elude her demons... If you take anything from this entry, which is more an emotional musing than a review, let it be that you owe it to yourself to see this movie, to find what it has for you.

"That's what people do, Richard. They stay alive for each other."
--- Clarissa Vaughn, The Hours

Goodbye Granny Mitchell. Your fiery, sassy spirit will be missed here, but I'm sure those around you, wherever you may be now, will enjoy it just as much as we did.

Heather at 3:51 PM


If you are following the weekend saga, and are only reading the version from my site, you are missing at least half the story. Be sure to read the rest of it on Amber's page at

Heather at 9:16 AM


Tuesday, January 21, 2003

An amazingly insightful quote from a less than insightful day:

"As much as you bitch and moan about guys in general, you've got an outlook that is dangerous. You don't see us for our faults. If you are around one long enough, even if you don't like 'em at first, you find something to enjoy; a piece of them that fits a piece of you... and you let that take you places, some good, some bad."
--- Allen, on Heather and the male species

Heather at 8:18 PM


"It'd be 'Road Rules: The Homeless Guy'"
--- Mike, on transporting homeless people

Sometimes it's good to be the kind of person who is willing to open the door, and sometimes it isn't.

Scene 1: Man knocks on door of our hotel room. We are simply chilling. Nothing all that important going on. We answer the door for the man we have never seen before in our lives. "You got a lighter I can borrow?" "Sure," we all say, not realizing that this is the first incident in an ongoing cycle of door knocking.

Scene 2: Man returns to door, knocks again. Amber, Mike, and I do not hear the knock as we are otherwise occupied at the time. Other people, who happen to not be in the bathroom, notify us that there is someone at the door. "Shit!" we all say in unison, not exactly sure if we are indeed distressed by the fact that someone is at the door again. Man has simply come back to return the lighter. No harm done. Plus one lighter for the good guys.

Scene 3: It is later, but not by much. We are again chilling in the hotel room, watching South Park and laughing our asses off. Brad: "I think someone's knocking on the door again." Everyone else: Various responses of "I can't believe this." "We're soooo in trouble." "Don't answer it!" Meanwhile, Amber and I are frozen on the bed as John becomes the brave soul who has to answer the door. John begins to talk to the man, aka Lighter Guy. Eventually the conversation begins to seem a bit too long, a bit too drawn out. Mike is nominated as the "Go Check on John" person. Mike returns from the now closed door accompanied by a frazzled John. Lighter Guy, apparently in search of a ride (?), had shown John his driver's license in an attempt to prove that he was indeed legit, which John (along with any other normal person) confused as a request for money and/or a robbery gone terribly polite.

We still have our money. None of us were arrested. And we may in fact have returned from Memphis with more lighters than we had when we left.
Life lesson learned: Never make friends with someone who doesn't have their own lighter. It can only lead to trouble.

Heather at 2:56 PM


Monday, January 20, 2003

"It's hot, dude. It's hot inside my head!"
--- Amber, on being hot

The weekend. God's gift to the tired, work-a-day world. Only sometimes, the weekend has a way of twisting over and in on itself until you begin to feel that maybe things would have been better off if there hadn't been a weekend at all. I'm not quite to that point yet, but there is so much going on in my head, attempting to process things that I never imagined I would have difficulty processing; making sense of the craziness that continues to be my life. There are so many things that I would like to say in the entry tonight. So many things that I could get myself in trouble for. So many things that cannot be edited from my mind but must be edited from the type on this page. If only I had the confidence of anonymity and the peace to know that all who read this would love me no matter what. Self-censorship is a bitch, no matter how you slice it.

The abridged, PG13 rated, censored to protect the innocent version of Heather's weekend:
Drinking, smoking, movies, every sort of assorted fun one could imagine. Amber, God bless her, is the best addition to my life in recent memory. I didn't think it was possible to feel a part of absolutely everything that went on, but somehow I did. The world was our oyster, our more than half full glass of Woodchuck Granny Smith, our unopened pack of cigarettes, and this weekend we did everything in it that we pleased. Music everywhere, linked closely with good conversation and the truest sort of spontaneity anyone can experience.

However, that demon of lust/misguided adoration was determined to rear it's ugly head. Such an incident was either the high point or the absolute low point of our ever-eventful, ever-entertaining weekend. And even though I won't have it again, this week I'm sure I'll spend more than a moment or two thinking back and realizing that it was truly that warm-blanket, full-cup-of-coffee sort of comfort. It helps to be thankful for such things, especially when the same events could have been awkward and entirely uncomfortable. (I wonder if he would tell the story in the same way.) Life lesson learned: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I didn't know what I was doing, but I did it anyway, and I can honestly say I'm happier for it.

Later this week, in future installments of "Chronicling the Weekend": Reviews of About Schmidt and The Hours; The Importance of Knowing Kurt Vonnegut's Smoke of Choice, How to Get Harrassed in a Hotel Room, and more quotes from the "Heather and Amber Do Memphis Quote Book."

Heather at 6:33 PM


Thursday, January 16, 2003

It looks crazy outside. A slash of purple-gray sky and beneath that a slash of washed-out blue. The wind swirled and blew open a window. It's more than a bit sinister outside. Inside, on the other hand, everything is relaxed and comfortable. We're taking the day off because 75% of each of my classes has been yanked to do various activities that are apparently more important than learning anything today. Nine times out of ten it makes more sense to go with the flow and take a day off, for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Heather at 9:41 AM


Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Revised To Do:
1. Get rid of blinding headache with foul cold coffee and excessive amount of Aleve.
2. Smoke.

Heather at 10:39 AM


To Do:
1. Get oil change so car can safely drive to Holly Springs (1/17/03, approximately 52 hours from present).
2. Devise complicated plan to mail camera and related equipment to now unemployed brother ambitiously taking photography class.
3. Escape staff development by presenting well-worded and important sounding to-do list to clueless principal.
4. Finish book which has long been lingering around page 243.
5. Smoke.
6. Take down Christmas tree? (At least we haven't turned the lights on in a few days. But we can all see how high it is on the priority list.) --> still holding out hope that Christmas tree will figure out how to take itself down.
7. Do laundry? Laundry pile now less than four feet from ceiling. Very concerned due to the fact that house has ten foot ceilings.
8. Visit Walmart, aka "hell", to purchase supplies for complicated camera mailing and marathon laundry event.
9. Edit "To do list" to reflect reality.

Heather at 8:59 AM


Tuesday, January 14, 2003

A long day. Wish I had the energy and stamina and will power for a real post (to appease the masses, or at least Amber), but alas, I don't. I probably shouldn't be posting at all because everything I'm going to write will be crap. Did I mention it was a good self esteem day as well??

First pre-birthday resolution: No more school related posts until after birthday. (except for tonight which is an exception only because of the awesome Act 1 Scene 1 happennings today in "Freshmen Meet Romeo and Juliet")

School Crap ---> 3rd period: Struggled through every line. Tybalt sounded like he had some sort of palsy. Romeo was without his trademark whiny passion. I wasn't on my game.
4th period: Miracles happen. They got it. The sex, the insults, the violence. They laughed. Really laughed. Big belly laughes that Shakespeare would have smiled at.
7th period: Lack of focus. Tardy children, arguments, general stress overload. But. We finished the scene. Benvolio was a girl that rarely speaks in class and she was wonderful. My "problem children" appreciated Shakespeare's low-brow humor. I left with a smile on my face.

Other happennings: I want to be reading right now but by the time I finish this I'll need to be sleeping. I've already overscheduled my weekend, and we have class next weekend, so the prospect of days and days stretching out in front of me with no true forseeable break makes me a bit nervous and scared and, most of all, tired. I'm biting my nails and playing with my hair and having all other less-than-lovely manifestations of my overall uneasiness. I'm sure I'll try to drink it out of my system this weekend, but we all know that probably won't help. Here's to holding out hope that it WILL help, and that I'll actually get some rest on Sunday and Monday.

Heather at 8:39 PM


Thursday, January 09, 2003

A conversation that took place outside my door today. We shall call the participants "D," "A," and "Me":

D:"Ms. Johnston dresses like that because she doesn't have a boyfriend"
A:"Yeah, I agree."
D:"Not that there's anything wrong with the way she dresses"
D:"It's just that she'd dress differently if she had a boyfriend."
A:"You're right"
D:(to me) "Ms. Johnston, you know you dress like that because you don't have a boyfriend, right?"
D:(repetion of above statement)
Me:"I have no idea what you're talking about."
D:(second repetition of above statement)
Me:"What's wrong with the way I dress?"
D:"Do you dress that way for Mr. Munz?"
Me:"Why would I dress any particular way for Mr. Munz?"
D:"Because you don't have a boyfriend"
Me:"The conversation is getting really confusing."
D:"I just think that you would dress differently if..."
Me:"Can't you find anything better to talk about?"
D:"Um..." (long pregnant pause)
Me:"Get in the classroom!"

God what a day.

Heather at 8:35 PM


Well, it's finally happenned. A fresh and vibrant voice has emerged with a vengence on the MTC blogger scene. Forget the whiney drivel that I've been throwing out for the past two months, especially since it more than seems to be on a loop these days.

There is now an MTC blog worth reading. (And I feel ridiculous for telling her that I wouldn't link to her site until she had some content up. It's only taken her 48 hours to surpass everything I've written this far.) So, without further ado, please go visit Amber's new blog. It's wonderful. It's insightful. It might even make you breakfast in the morning.

fish goddess fish goddess fish goddess

Heather at 12:14 PM


Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Amber may or may not have a blog up and running. Check her out at Fish Goddess.

Heather at 9:00 PM


Sleep is coming soon. Tomorrow, the glory of the short day... the horror of having to face the fact that I'm nowhere near being finished with grading and averaging and hair pulling for a nine weeks that ended two and a half weeks ago.

Resolution: To be the kind of teacher that I wanted to be before I realized what teaching was all about.

To Indianola (casa del Carey and Maggie) tonight to regroup, feed the soul, generally get out of the house without spending too much money (even though I did have to gas up my car to make it all the way there). Breakfast for dinner made it feel like home, only without mama's biscuits. I think my ever-lingering problem of having and keeping female friends might be beginning to resolve itself (after a twenty-two year struggle). It wasn't a magical, vagina-discussing, night of wonder, but it made me happy. And typically, few things about interactions with other women make me happy.

Confusing revelation: I was the least "pure" of the three of us, while Maggie managed to be a bigger slut than I am. A bit contradictory, it seems. Even if I'm not the biggest slut, there is still pride to be had in the lowest purity test score.

On to another day of educating America's youth. If the world only knew how I spend my evenings... Or how big of a slut I am. *wink wink*

Heather at 8:45 PM


Monday, January 06, 2003

I should already be in bed. Instead, I'm messing with the blog. I added some rather ambiguous links just to make the damn thing more symmetrical.

Teaching today was one of life's small victories. Only one student threw up the "I hate Shakespeare" wall. I must have been doing something right. Even he converted by the end of the period.

I also received one of the most beautiful sentences I've ever read (in an email, of all places). Sometimes the world smiles on you and says, "yes, this is your day. the songs on the radio are for you. you will find things that you thought you lost. you will drink coffee. you will smile too much. you will realize what some of this is all about."

The only problem is realizing that the string of wonderful days has to end sometime. But no one said that "sometime" has to be tomorrow...

Heather at 8:32 PM


Sunday, January 05, 2003

Now that I'm not forced to do battle with an incredibly slow dial-up connection, hopefully I'll be back to updating more frequently.

I made it home safely without even so much as a minor mishap on the road, except for the fact that I discovered that someone shot my front bumper with a b-b gun over the holiday while I was stopped somewhere in Alabama. I can leave it parked on the street in an unsafe city seven nights a week, and I take it home for Christmas to park it in a subdivision in an entirely boring suburb and it gets damaged. go figure.

School starts again in the morning and the last thing in the world I want to see right now is the inside of my classroom. I'm so afraid that my good mood and my happy thoughts will get sucked out of me the minute I walk through the door.

Heather at 7:42 PM