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Every now and again, Pranksters, I get pitched an article that’s worth sharing (not, obviously written by you – because I’m so bringing Guest Post Friday’s back. Email becky.harks@gmail.com if you have a hilarious story you think other Pranksters will dig) and I do it.
 
Also: given the overwhelming response to the idea of bringing back “Go Ask Aunt Becky,” if you look at the top of my blog, you’ll see that Go Ask Aunt Becky (link goes to the submission page!) is back! You can submit questions through that tab – easy-peasy. Once I have a couple of questions, I’ll start writing it again every Sunday. Because even though the Internet is closed on Sunday; SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY.
 
Which makes me think of “sundae” which *drools*
 
Anyway – BRING ON THE SCIENCE!

The White House has instituted an annual White House Science Fair to focus attention on the importance of science education in the nation’s schools. The fair involves more than 100 middle school and high school students who display their inventions and projects for the president, education officials and the media. In his address at the 2013 fair the president linked the importance of science and technology to America’s future, as well as to his own educational policies. President Obama said “The belief that we belong on the cutting edge of innovation, that’s an idea as old as America itself.

You think about our Founding Fathers – they were all out there doing experiments – and folks like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were constantly curious about the world around them and trying to figure out how can we help shape that environment so that people’s lives are better.

According to comparative studies American students score 23rd in science when compared with 65 other top industrial nations, behind countries such as Estonia, Finland, Hungary and New Zealand.  This, scientists and other educators believe, is unacceptable. The President’s own Council of Advisers on Science and Technology issued a statement which declared that “economic forecasts point to a need for producing, over the next decade, approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected under current assumptions.”

Science educators are thrilled to see the increased emphasis on K-12 science education. Many of these educators have banded together to create a list of suggestions that, they believe, will return America’s students to a top place in science education. These suggestions include:

*Concentrate on front-load STEM-related teaching. Tap into the students’ natural curiosity and integrate science education into the school’s curriculum as early as first grade. One Chicago school has shown considerable success in beginning science education in preschool by integrating it into story time, puzzle time, play time and just about any other time of the day.

*Include science education in teacher training programs. More science-knowledgeable teachers will feel comfortable with science and will be motivated and prepared to integrate science curriculum into the children’s daily lessons.

*Don’t segregate science classes from the rest of the curriculum. Schools that “specialize” in sciences shouldn’t be the norm – every school should see science as a subject that is as important to the students’ future as math and English.

*Find ways to adopt forms of scientific methods in the pedagogy of all classes, including building models, arguing from evidence-based facts and communicating findings. These techniques can help develop students’ critical thinking skills and make science into a comfortable and familiar way of thinking.

*Stay in contact with nonprofit organizations (such as Project Lead Way) that are dedicated to supplemental training of teachers in the sciences. Good teachers will be open to additional training and their curiosity will inspire their students. Students who take courses from a well-trained teacher will be more dedicated to their coursework and more interested in the subject matter than their peers who don’t have well-trained teachers. Lowell Milken, an educational leader, has notes that “The most direct and enduring way to reach the mind and imagination of the learner is through the mind, imagination and character of the outstanding teacher.”

*Additional corporations and non-profits should be encouraged to donate towards enhancing teachers’ abilities. School districts and principals should make full use of these auxiliary institutions.

Ask any adult “Don’t you wish you had better and more engaging access to science education when you were in school?” The answer will almost always be: “yes.” With the proper attention and resources now America can make that wish a reality for today’s student.

On September the 10th, 2005 at 11:15 in the morning, Dave and I were married in front of 150 of our closest friends and family. We drank sangria and danced with our loved ones until the wee hours of the morning, celebrating our union.

Today, December the 31st at 11:17 in the morning, Dave and I were divorced in a courtroom filled with absolutely no one we’d ever met. There are no cakes or balloons, no flowers and excited friends, no dancing, and certainly no sangria. No divorce party awaits me when I’m off work. Hell, I don’t even get a cookie for the years I put into the marriage.

Today, I woke up married and will go to bed divorced.

I don’t know if there will be tears or if I’ve cried them all out. For me, grieving the loss of the dream of a happy marriage began three and a half years ago (four?):

Me (rolling over, going to sleep): “I love you.”

Dave: (nothing)

Figuring he was asleep – the man could sleep through a tornado being serenaded through our house in by the world’s largest marching band – I wanted to make sure he heard me. “I love you” This time, a bit louder.

Dave: (nothing)

Jokingly, I said, “what, you don’t love me anymore?”

No,” he stated as flatly as if I’d asked him if I could pave the driveway with cheese. “I don’t.”

With that, he rolled over and fell asleep.

I laid awake, eyes wide in the dark, until the sun began to peek through the shades.

There it was, the awful truth, all wrapped up in absolutely no pomp and circumstance: my husband didn’t love me. As someone who’d already deemed herself probably unlovable, this crushed me. It was my fault, I guess, in that sense. He didn’t love me anymore. We (obviously) separated shortly thereafter. Turns out, there’s not a whole lot of places to go when the ugly truth is spoken.

I was, understandably, devastated. While I plastered a smile onto my face and went about my business as usual, there it was in the back of my head: “I should get the dishes unloaded and reload the dishwasher and oh yeah, Dave doesn’t love me anymore. Wonder when we’ll get divorced,” and “maybe if I pluck my eyebrows, I’ll look less like a sea hag and oh yeah, my husband doesn’t love me anymore. It’s probably time for a divorce.

I couldn’t escape those words and what they meant no matter where I went.

I’d try to talk about divorce to my married friends sometimes, which proved a lesson in futility. They’d either minimize it, “Well, you can be married without loving each other,” or avoid me like the divorce plague was catching. Not sure I blame them on that one. What do you say to someone who’s husband doesn’t love her? I don’t know. Like, “I just got divorced 12 minutes ago,” I don’t know that there’s much that can be said.

I don’t know what we intended to have happen during our separation. Maybe he’d somehow learn to love me again? Maybe we’d wake up one day and this would all be a dream? Maybe a separation doesn’t mean divorce? Maybe I’d be able to live with knowing that, at one point, my husband didn’t love me? Maybe things weren’t as bad as they seem?

They were.

And separation didn’t, obviously, help.

The D Word was thrown around. Dave had already made a “special friend” by the time I moved from the home I’d once jokingly stated I’d have to be pried out of with a crowbar on October 1, 2012. I now reside in my beloved tiny apartment a mere 6 minutes from the home I once tenderly loved my flowers, my children, my husband in. The family, the dream I’d desperately wanted, within walking distance – light years away.

I may no longer mourn what might-have-been’s but I can’t help but wish that I’d paid more attention to those last times. It’s funny, when you’re married, you begin to make presumptions about the future; there’s always time to make more happy memories, the last time is the last time for now, tomorrow is another day.

Like the last time you see your baby crawl before she starts walking like a big girl, you don’t know it’s going to be the very last time you see a child of yours crawls. You don’t know that the last time you make love to your partner of ten years is going to be the last time. You don’t know that the last time you sit, eating dinner and shooting the shit around the big table you spent weeks of your life polishing will be the last time. It simply doesn’t register as something that should carry any more weight than it did. You don’t think to memorize the details, the way the food tasted, the way his body felt, the giggles of laughter during conversations around the table. There’d be other nights, other dinners, other conversations.

Until there aren’t.

What I wish, more than all, is that I could go back in time and re-experience those memories. I’d watch my husband dance with our daughter before her surgery because, “he was her legs because she couldn’t use hers yet,” knowing that memory would be one I’d cherish for the rest of my days. I’ll never again laughingly serenade Dave with my best (terrible) Rod Stewart impression while he does the dishes. That’s over. Those were the last times. Ever.

Oh, how I wish I’d have taken the time to recognize those moments as fleeting, soon to be only a memory stored under “Happyness,” in my brain. There are always new good times to be had, for sure, but never again will I be able to be proud to call someone “my husband,” so excited, so proud to use that term for someone who had simply been “my fiance,” mere months before.

But today, for the first time in ten years, I can say that I am totally and completely a single woman. There will be no cakes or parties tonight, only a quiet recognition of the way things are.

Now.

Generally speaking, I think memes are as interesting as dry toast, so I tend to avoid them. If anyone really cared much about “which Disney Princess I am,” I’d begin to wonder about your sanity, Pranksters. I’m used to seeing that shit on The Facebook (along with invites to Farmville – which, if I want to have a farm, I will plant real crops in real dirt) Once a year, though, right about this time, I am compelled to answer the same questions I’ve been answering since I chipped out my homework on a tablet of granite and road a dinosaur to school.

Despite my dislike of answering mundane questions about myself that no one cares about, I admit that I am a weeeeeee bit compulsive. As in, for the year I barely blogged, I ran around The FBI Surveillance Van flapping my arms like a chicken, not knowing what to DO with myself. And since I do this every year, I do this EVERY motherfucking YEAR.

(Pointless aside: As proof that I do not actually have a life, I offer this spectacle of year(s) in review: 2012 here, 2011 here, 2010 here2009 here, 2008 here, 2007 here, 2006 here. I have 2005 somewhere in an email, which is where I’d gotten this stupid meme in the first place)
 
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Papered my walls with the souls of the gnomes that power my refrigerator. Oh. Um. Wait. *chuckles uncomfortably* I didn’t MEAN that.

Whelp – hrms. I got my own insurance card. That’s kinda rad.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolutions is usually fairly preposterous – two (three?) years ago, I vowed NOT to turn into Lil Wayne (that link is SO worth it, I promise) because every time I try and make some lofty goal, the Universe flips me the bird. And guess what? I still wake up every day and am NOT Lil Wayne! Way to GO!

This year, I vow NOT to visit the state of Delaware. Not because I have anything against it (shit, I don’t even know anyone who lives there) or some bizarre personal vendetta, but because it seems like something I can resolve NOT to do.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Every year it alternates – The Facebook V. The Twitter in the amount of blurry ultrasound images that are PROBABLY of a baby, but could just be an ultrasound image of a neck or something. This year, The Facebook is pregnant. ALL of it. Even the floating fetuses (or necks) are pregnant.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Unless you count the death of my dream to marry my television husband, Dexter a death, no.

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A pet squirrel.

6. What countries did you visit?

According to the official statement released by the FBI Surveillance Van, the answer is “none.”

Quotes intentional.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

Um. I ate a cookie yesterday. That was pretty awesome.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

 Not turning into Lil Wayne. Or *shudders* Lady Gaga.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not taming a squirrel to be my best friend, confidant, butler, or minion. I did feed one once before I realized it was boring as fuck.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I fell off the train. My pride has yet to heal.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Reasons I know I’m turning into an old fart – I bought a new winter coat that’s all super warm and shit. And it made me happy in the pants. How pathetic is that?

(on second thought, don’t answer that)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Um. The squirrel who decided that I would NOT make a good housemate.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

C’mon, Meme – are we 12? Oh. We are? In that case: TERRORISTS. I’ve heard they don’t even like BACON.

Also: The Hamburgler. Who the fuck steals someone’s hamburger? AN ASSHOLE, THAT’S WHO.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Renting the FBI Surveillance Van. When I renewed my lease, I didn’t even get a new air freshener shaped like a wee whimsical merry tree. I should sue somebody. Anybody.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My vagina is totally tickled pink that my girl Britney is doing a show in Vegas because LET’S GO TO VEGAS, PRANKSTERS!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

 “The Monster” from Eminem and Rhianna.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?  Happier.

ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.

iii. richer or poorer? Well, I’ll tell you this: last year this time, I was working as a freelancer. Now? I spend my days in an office (a real one, not my bathroom) writing. All day. I’ll let you guess which one I am.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reminding myself that things work out – one way or another, they always work out.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying about the future.

20. How will you be did you spending Christmas?

Dave and the kids came over to the FBI Surveillance Van Christmas morning to open a metric fuckton of presents and eat chocolate cake for breakfast. Then, we hightailed it to my parents house with the kids because it’s TRADITION, Meme.

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

I’ll make up my own question:

21. Why does the term “designer drugs” conjure up an image of a bunch of pills hanging out wearing tiny Chanel and Prada clothing and snappy accessories?

Um, I think that’s the point of the name – to make you feel you’re better than the wino down the street whispering “fucksticks” at every passerby.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Only if you count “every time I looked in the mirror.”

23. How many one-night stands?

More than you can count. My vagina was like a revolving door for penises (penii?).

Actually, none.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

The Following. I hate to admit it, but I’d sorta lost my lust for Dexter in the past couple of years.

*whimpers* Please stop throwing things at me.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

The Hamburgler, obviously. And anyone who manufactures gravy in a can because that’s just fucking wrong.

26. What was the best book you read?

Grey’s Anatomy. Seriously.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

How can one “discover” music that’s been written by someone else, produced by another person, then promoted by a third entity?

28. What did you want and get?

I’d wanted to find world peace. Instead I got peed on.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The last time I saw a movie in the theater was in 2009 (+/- a year). I did see Skyfall and, like most James Bond movies, I loved it without understanding what it was about AT ALL.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 33 this year and hid under the bed, only to emerge for some tapas and champagne.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Owning a unicorn that farted Skittles.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

“Whelp, this shirt doesn’t involve swearing – guess I can wear it to school conferences.”

34. What kept you sane?

Sanity is overrated.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Kim Kardashian’s ass. I fancied the HELL out of that.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

“Butter side up” versus “butter side down” had me awake more nights than I’m comfortable admitting to.

37. Who did you miss?

Billy Mays.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Dan. He’s pretty swell.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:

“Smart Water” doesn’t actually make your IQ increase.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (because this Meme is apparently written for tweens):

“Dumb ways to die; so many dumb ways to die.”

—————-

The rest of the meme says I should tag some people but, eh, I don’t tag people. It makes me twitchy. Mostly because I’ll forget someone and then, then I’ll feel sad in the pants.

INSTEAD.

I’m tagging each of you. If I can do one Meme a year, SO CAN YOU, Pranksters.

Happy Happy New Year, Pranksters.

Time to show your work and link this shit UP!

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