Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What a Croc!

It appears that I won't be getting my new croc flip flops. I got an email from them saying they were sorry but my order choice is not in stock and they canceled my order. I went to look and see if there was another pair I liked in my size that was in stock and they still showed my color and size choice as being available, so I tried again. Again, they canceled my order. I think I may call them (do you suppose they are working on the 24th?) to alert them to the flaw in the system and see if there is anything my size in stock in a color I might want.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bargain Shopper Extraordinaire

I am very much a bargain shopper. Ricky and I are frugal...ok, ok, we're cheap!...with our money, but I like to think we've been getting better as far as purchasing the things we need and not skimping just to skimp. That doesn't mean I don't still love a bargain, though. While I'm not a big coupon person at the grocery store, I love coupons for clothing, online purchases, and the like. I participate in MyPoints* because you can redeem the points you earn for gift cards to various places. So far we've gotten a $50 Kohls gift card and a $50 West Elm gift card - that's how we bought our new duvet cover for our beautiful new almost-finished bedroom! (Don't worry I'll post pictures when we're done). A few minutes a day of taking short surveys or simply clicking on an email earns a lot of points in a relatively short time, and the next thing you know - FREE MONEY!!

So yesterday I was perusing the MyPoints Daily Deal when I happened upon two things I have been wanting but hadn't been able to find at a price I was willing to pay.

1) Black sandals. With the MyPoints daily deal, I was able to get a $100 pair of Simple Shoes black sandals from 6pm.com for $16.35. Add a coupon code for free shipping and we're in business! Here are the cute sandals

Granted, they'll sit in my closet until May or June, but for $16.35, it's worth the wait!

2) I've also been wanting a pair of Crocs flip flops. Normally $30, I just couldn't quite swallow paying full price. Yesterday I was able to stack some coupon codes with a MyPoints daily deal that allowed me to get these

from the Crocs outlet online for $8.39 with free shipping. Again, not something I'll wear anytime soon, but for a savings of $22, I'll take it!

The best part of these purchases? By shopping through the MyPoints website, I earned multiple points per dollar spent. Not only did MyPoints help me save some money, they also gave me extra points while doing it! Another 900 points and I'll be getting another $50 gift card. I wonder which one I should get this time?

*If you want to sign up to do MyPoints, let me know and you can sign up under me. I'm being selfish here - it doesn't help you in any way, but I get points for having referred you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lucky Number 7

Seven years ago today, Ricky and I done got hitched.

Hard to believe it's been 7 years already. I remember Thanksgiving the year before we got married, just after we got engaged, not long after Ricky's grandfather passed away. His grandmother was talking about how she couldn't believe it'd been 33 years, that if someone had told her when they wed that they'd be married 33 years she would have laughed, because it's so hard for us to think of - 33 years with one person!

I know what she means. Obviously none of us go into marriage expected to ever leave or be left by the person we're marrying, but there's something in our brains that just makes it impossible to imagine what it's going to be like that far down the road. When I try to think about years and years down the road, it's so hard to even imagine. Suddenly, I turn around and we've been married 7 years and I wonder, when did that happen (and are you sure we both made it through alive?!).

Marrying young has it's advantages and disadvantages. We've had our share of arguments and stubbornness, sure - I once walked home 2.6 miles at night in the rain because I didn't want to ride with him after an argument! - but mostly we've had good times, and bad times that turned into good times because we got through them together.

I think our 7 years can fairly easily be summed up this way:
2 houses + 2 vehicles + 3 degrees = 7 years.

Oh yeah, and throw in a dog for good measure!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

85 cents for a cookie? Why, that must have been 10 years ago!

I was thinking about how great it is to find money in coat pockets and realized we have a few coats in the closet that rarely, if ever get worn. Aha! I thought to myself. I might be able to "make" a buck or two!

So I started going through all of the coat pockets. Nothing, until I got to my letterman jacket, which I haven't worn since I graduated. In the right hand pocket I found 15 cents. Pretty darn sure that had to be change from a warm chocolate chip cookie purchased from the CCHS cafeteria during our morning break. Man we loved those cookies!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So much to be thankful for*

So far it's been a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend.

I had a rough few days at school - a tough parent meeting (tough doesn't even begin to describe it - after he heard about, my administrator told me I don't have to take abuse from a parent and that I should have said, " I'm sorry, this meeting will have to continue with an administrator present" and walked out of the room. Yes, it was that bad), a fight in my classroom, and an overall need for a few days away from the craziness. Enter Thanksgiving Weekend!

Thursday was wonderful. Ricky and I decided this would be the year for us to start hosting Thanksgiving. We set up a long table in our living room, borrowed silverware and serving utensils from my parents since we don't have enough, set up a buffet table and beverage station in the kitchen, and had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with 10 adults and 2 kids. Ricky had to work so we served our meal abotu 5 pm. My very first Thanksgiving day turkey was wonderful. I used the Williams-Sonoma Turkey Brine at the suggestion of a friend (and 120+ raving reviews on the W-S website) and it definitely did the job. The white meat was almost as moist as the dark!

We had a great day with Ricky's parents and sisters, both nephews, Ricky's grandparents, my mom and a friend of Ricky's sister. There was so much food, great fellowship, and it was just a wonderful time to enjoy the company of friends and family. My mom was a huge help, even though she felt she couldn't do much as she broke her foot a week before Turkey Day. She may think she didn't do much, but I beg to differ! If nothing else, she made sure I didn't screw up the turkey!

Friday Ricky was off so we ran some errands, returning borrowed items and did a little shopping at Lowe's in the afternoon. No, we were not up at 4 am for the Black Friday sales. You know I love a good deal, but I love my sleep (and keeping my body parts in tact) even more! In the afternoon we took a thermos of hot chocolate downtown for the Christmas Tree Lighting in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Afterward, we had an excellent dinner at Aura Restaurant and Lounge on 10th and Burnside. What a cool place - a little too cool for me, I think! The food really was wonderful but I'm not sure we'd fit in with the standard clientele.

Today I met a friend/college roommate on NW 23rd for some lunch and shopping. We had a good lunch at Rose's Deli, then did a little shopping at Paper Source (I got some Christmas wrapping paper), Moonstruck (yum, chocolate!), and Lush (bath goodies!!).

Overall it's been a fantastically relaxing weekend, something I really needed. Tomorrow I'll be hanging out at home getting some work done while I wait for the delivery guys to show up with our new bed!! We've been redoing our bedroom and we're getting down to the end. Still need to choose a paint color, find nightstands and a dresser, and get new blinds for the window. All in good time, though. It already looks incredible since Ricky installed beautiful new wainscoting. What a change that made!

I hope you all have had as wonderful of a Thanksgiving as I have. I am truly in a wonderful, holiday spirit. Here's to keeping it through the next 26 days and beyond!






*It's killing me that the title is grammatically incorrect, as it should read "so much for which to be thankful" but that sounded kind of odd and pretentious so I went for the more common version. It's all I can do not to change it! I am a freak.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Insanity

Before I continue, let me make this disclaimer:

I am glad to have a job! For the most part, I love what I do, I love my students, and I am oh-so-glad to be employed.

That said, it is insane. At last count I had 240 students in 6 periods. I rarely work fewer than 10 hours a day and I'm still behind. It took 3 hours to grade a 10 point quiz because there were so many of them. I feel like I'm brand new at this. The only good thing is, I'm not the only one. All of the teachers in my school are working crazy hours. We're all behind on our grading. We're all feeling frazzled.

Not to mention we're having some major behavior problems we haven't had in the past. That couldn't possibly be linked to the fact that we're serving 100 more students this year than last with 1/3 fewer teachers, could it?

Needless to say, life is insanity. I also committed to stage managing The Laramie Project prior to being recalled to my job. It has been such an incredible experience but if I'd know then what I know I might not have done it. Eh, what am I saying, of course I would have! But I am looking forward to Saturday when the show closes and I can feel like I have some free time again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

catching up

Apologies for my prolonged absence. I'm working on finishing the college memories posts. I was going to wait until those were done to post this, but decided not to.

I got my job back. I know, right? In the midst of our economic crisis, when districts are cutting jobs like crazy, I managed to get my job back. I don't know all the details of how it happened, but I know this. The school board voted to add 27 teaching positions back to the schools. Our school got 2. I was one of the positions recalled. I also know my principal was working hard for weeks to get me back. I am now teaching drama full time. So not only was I rehired, but I'm full time instead of part time.

Things are crazy busy since everything is incredibly different, with bigger class sizes, longer terms and a completely different daily schedule. I now see the kids every day for 18 weeks instead of every other day for 12. Since I wasn't rehired until 2 weeks before school started, well, I've had a lot of work to do.

I've got a lot more going on in my life than that, but I'll post about it later. Now I need to get to bed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

College Memories #5: Whirlpools and Wheelchairs

The saying in the training room was that if you were never hurt as a high school athlete you'd spend all your time in the training room in college, and vice versa. I was one of the lucky ones who got to spend hours in the training room each week for therapy and treatment.

My catcher and I used to joke that we'd be in wheelchairs by the time we were 40. I have 12 years to go, and I'm not so sure we were wrong! We used to get in the whirlpools after games to help with the muscle pain. Sounds lovely, doesn't? Two close friends hanging out in the whirlpool after a game...

Yeah, well, it's not. In training room terms a whirlpool is an ice bath. Yes, an ice bath. You know which body parts I had to whirlpool? My hip flexer, hamstrings and lower back. Guess what that means? You guessed it - sitting in the stupid whirlpool with who knows how many pounds of ice swirling around. I'm surprised I still have all my toes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

College Memories #6: White Bouquet

Our sophomore year, Amy and I decided it would be good to have an air freshener for our room. I can't remember if she picked it up or if her mom did, but neither of them knew of my sensitivity to floral smells (as in, I can't stand them and they give me a headache). I thought it would be ok, but the Glade plug in was just too powerful for our little room, even on the lowest setting. So, being the smart college sophomores we were, we unplugged it and set it on the dresser.

Set it on the dresser, next to the stereo remote, not thinking about the fact that oil is viscous and permeates just about anything meant to hold it in...especially something meant to let the vapors out. Yeah, that's right, it leaked all over the place.

Our room reeked of White Bouquet, the offending odor, for weeks. Finally we got rid of it. Until one day....

Amy and I both snapped our heads up from our books. What was that smell. Could it be? No, it'd been months. But it was! Where was it coming from? Not our room...let's go, we'll figure it out.

And like Toucan Sam we followed our noses and found that people at the end of the floor had a plug in air freshener in - you guessed it - White Bouquet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

College Memories #7: Local Restaurants -or- The Only Place Open Past 9pm is Shari's

For a small town, Newberg had some decent restaurants. We had Lucky Fortune, the good and cheap Chinese place where a HUGE plate of whatever was somewhere around $6. Cancun, one of the best Mexican places around, was always a huge hit. Checkers, an awesome sandwich shop, opened during my junior or senior year. Underground was one of 3 awesome coffee shops off campus, and my favorite of the 3. Mocha Milkshakes rule! And of course we had Jem 100, the local ice cream shop and burger joint.

But when you start getting into "fine dining," the options are slim. Yamhill Grill was where everyone went when their parents went to town, and Shari's was the one place in town open past 9. We spent a lot of time at Shari's...a lot of time. Because all on campus housing had floor hours, and because Shari's was the only place open real late (that is, until Underground opened our junior year), it was not uncommon to head there around 11 or 12 pm and find several booths or tables filled with "mixed company" GFU groups. Man I drank a lot of coffee at Shari's!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

College Memories #8: The Plagues

Freshman year we somehow managed to start a prank war with another floor. To be honest, I can't remember how it started. The part I remember the most is The Locusts.

Around 2 oclock in the morning, my roommate woke me up saying there were crickets in our room. I told her there weren't and to go back to sleep. She insisted they were in our room...and then I heard them. We turned on the light and found that there were many, many crickets or grasshoppers or whatever they were, in our room. Opening the door to the hallway revealed that several people had woken up to the same realization. We had been infested.

We found out that the boys with whom we'd been having a prank war managed to get into our dorm floor (they took the door to our hallway off the hinges!) and released 200 live crickets onto our floor. We were fighting those things for months.

Sadly, the boys weren't very smart. They forgot that their dorm and ours were connected by an underground hallway. The crickets traveled a lot throughout the year and had babies who traveled, who had babies who traveled. Not only were we fighting them, but all 3 floors of the 3 dorms connected by the underground hallways were fighting them - including the floor that introduced them to our dorm!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

College Memories #9: What Really Went on in the Theatre

The theatre was a bizarre place, to be sure. A lot of very strange things went on there. Some of the highlights...

  • During a camping trip for Quilters so that the cast could get an idea of what the pioneer women went through, one female member awoke to find the arms of a male crew member wrapped around her. In his sleep, he mistook K for his wife!
  • Many of us had blankets and slippers stored in a room in the theatre.
  • For a theatre major, there was no better place to sleep than in Wood-Mar. Nice and dark, quiet, and only other theatre majors could get in!
  • As other techies know, rehearsals get real old real fast for tech crew. Singing "YMCA" during tender moments or mocking the lines of a show was standard fare.
  • I spent many an evening reading by aisle light during rehearsal. Ah, the joys of trying to stay on top of academics during hell week!
  • Somewhere around here I have a picture of me in a hawaiian shirt dancing with a glow stick. 'Nuff said.
  • Initiation. After a show, all the newbies get to be Retarded Earthworms. During strike, we'd head out for pizza and a shrimp pizza was ordered. All newbies had to eat a piece. Some cried, some cringed, I dug right in! No on liked initiating me since shrimp is my favorite pizza topping!

Friday, August 21, 2009

College Memories #10: American Day in Paris

During Juniors Abroad (3 weeks in Europe, led by 2 professors, for which we got credit), we spent a few days in Paris. Sadly, none on our trip were much in love with Paris. It was hot, it was humid, and the Parisians hated us. One day, fed up with it all, we deemed it "American Day in Paris." We went to a movie, partly because we knew it would be air conditioned, partly because it was an American movie (Murder by Numbers with Sandra Bullock). It was a cheesy movie, but it was in English, so we were happy. Apparently it didn't translate well - there was a point when we all laughed but no one else in the movie did. I guess the joke didn't make much sense in French!

Later that night we had dinner at Hard Rock cafe. I don't remember who all was there, but I know it was close to our entire group, nearly all 22 of us. We were all so tired of Paris, so ready to move on. It was our last night there and we had a great ol' time. How sad is it that my fondest memory of Paris is the night before we left when we spend every waking minute being as American as possible?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

College Memories #11: A Tale of Two Bunk Beds

I will never forget this event because it scared the crap out of me.

Freshman year, we had these crappy metal army-surplus-clearance-sale bunkbeds. They sucked, hardcore. Most people bunked them because it made for more space in the room, and many people would then put the whole thing on top of cement blocks. Probably not the safest thing in the world, but college students know no fear.

I was sitting in my room one day, early in the school year, when suddenly I heard a crash. I rushed out to the hallway to see my across the hall neighbors with petrified looks on their faces. Their bunked beds had fallen. More accurately, the top bed fell off the bottom one.

Thankfully no one was hurt, but what a scare we had! Unfortunately, the school showed no sympathy and the official party line was that the students must have bunked them wrong. Ha! I only wish I had a picture of the type of feet used on these beds to show you how unsturdy these bunk beds were.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

College Memories #12: Mountain Dew

Somehow, Mountain Dew was a staple in our community. I'm not sure why, or what the draw was. Personally I can't stand it. But many people consumed copious amounts of the fluorescent yellow drink.

One of my teammates had a massive Mountain Dew obsession. So much so that she had a Mountain Dew banner in her room, above her lovingly stacked pyramid of Mountain Dew cans. Our coach didn't allow us to drink soda on game days, and Sarah was beside herself. The girl drank Mountain Dew like I drink coffee, which is to say like normal people drink water. One morning at breakfast before a game, I seriously thought she was going to have a panic attack! Although I must admit, the thought of giving up coffee makes me feel the same way.

Other friends of ours were also into Mountain Dew. One day E and I were over by Dathan's* room and noticed Mountain Dew sitting on the window ledge. We wondered what was up with that. Turns out, there was no room in the fridge and since it gets pretty chilly in the valley during the winter, they decided to use the great outdoors as a fridge. I always wondered if anyone ever tried to steal the soda from the window ledge.

*Dathan - our friends were Dan and Nathan, so Lissa and I shortened it to Dathan one year. As it turned out, Dathan was also a Biblical name, so we figured it was quite fitting for our small Christian college.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

College Memories #13: Comment Cards

Whenever people say they aren't going to bother to leave a comment card for something because it won't do any good, I flash back to my college days.

Our freshman year the college contracted with a new food service company, Bon Appetit. We, of course, quickly nicknamed the dining hall "The Bon(e)." As in, "Hey, are you ready to head to The Bone?" Or, "Meet me in front of The Bone after class." The Bone really wasn't that bad in the food department (with the exception of their vegetarian options, which is another post entirely). What we all really loved, though, is the fact that they actually listened to us.

Comment cards were available in the dining hall and, being the sassy college kids we were, we used them often. We complained about the food, begged for other things, and asked them to please never make Eggplant Parmesan again. Oddly enough, they listened. One time the tomato soup, which was usually very good, was so peppery it was nearly inedible. We wrote a card about it...and got a comment back. "Talked to Roberta, she'll lay off the pepper next time." Or we'd ask for a specific food to make a more frequent appearance, and suddenly, there it was!

So anytime you think asking for something via comment card is a waste of time, remember my story. It really can do some good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

College Memories #14: Fire Drill

We all remember the fire drills of days long ago. You know, 3rd grade, the bell goes off, everyone files outside. You wait for the principal to let everyone in, and then you return to your classroom and it takes the teacher several minutes to get everyone settled down and back to work.

Well, once you get to college the fire drills are pretty much over. The scheduled ones, anyway.

The alarms in some of the dorms on campus were quite sensitive. Someone burned popcorn? There goes the fire alarm. Get the hairdryer too close to your hair? Everyone shuffles outside. It was with pretty regular occurence that we were heading outside in our pajamas because someone set the fire alarm off accidentally while making some kind of food. Once in a while, the fire department would even show up!

I remember one time, late at night, we were all outside and E was frantically trying to study for a biology test. There we were, standing in our PJs in the wet parking lot, and she made me quiz her with her flashcards. Another time, Bwalya leaned out her window in the dorm right across from ours yelling, "I just burnt some popcorn, don't bother to go outside!!"

I'm sure other GFU alums have their favorite fire alarm stories. I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

College Memories #15: Living Peruvian Style

Back to Senior year. Back to the townhouse. Amy and I were at work, Annelies was at home. On the way home from work, Amy called Annelies to see what she was doing.

Annelies: Just sitting here in the dark.
Amy: Why?
Annelies: The power went out.
Amy: Oh. Really? I wonder why? (the weather wasn't stormy, there was really no reason for the power to have gone out)
Annelies: I don't know, I was just vacuuming and suddenly the power went out.
Amy: Wait...you were vacuuming? Is everyone else out of power?
Annelies: No, just us.
Amy: Did you check the breaker?
Annelies: What's that?

Annelies grew up in Peru, and as it turns out the power in Peru often goes out for no reason. When the power went out while she was vacuuming, she simply assumed it was like Peru - for no reason! What she didn't realize, and what we later taught her, is that she tripped a breaker and all she had to do was flip it back. Voila! Instant lights!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

College Memories #16: Fulton B Elkston

Oh Fulton, how I loved thee. Or actually, how Erica loved thee.

Erica, my good friend and roommate, transferred to Fox for our sophomore year. She lived on our floor and I saw her using scrapbooking tools so of course I had to go meet her. We hit it off, and she started hanging out with Amy and I.

At the same time, Amy's and my friend Chris had moved into an on-campus house with a bunch of other guys (Brandon happened to be one of them). Chris was bugging us to come see him in his new digs, so once we got settled in, we headed over to see him and meet his roommates. As it turned out, we all hit it off and ended up hanging out together most of the year.

Erica is a beautiful redhead, which means that she gets a lot of attention. Unfortunately, it isn't always attention she wants. At the same time, she also happened to have a ring that her mom had made for from her aunt's gemstones, 3 of which were diamonds. This band, when worn on the ring finger of her left hand, looked very much like an engagment ring. At a school like Fox, where the motto is "ring by spring or your money back!" well, it wasn't a hard leap to take.

After a few days? weeks? months? (E, do you remember?!) of unwanted attention from certain male members of our school (and of our group, if I'm honest) - and after countless people asking "are you engaged?!" - we decided Erica needed a fiance. Along came Fulton.

What you need to know about Fulton is....he doesn't exist. Never did, except in our imaginations. Fulton is the road that runs near the house where our friends lived and where we spent a lot of our time. If I remember correctly, "he" was born when, for the millionth time, someone asked if Erica was engaged and we made up this story. Of course we needed a name, and the name that popped to mind was that of the street nearest us. Over time, we made up a whole person (fairly certain Brandon is to thank for the B. Elkston part of the name), giving him a personality and life story.

Unfortunately for Erica, the story didn't work to dissuade all of her potential suitors (especially since one of them was in on the joke) but we did have a good laugh over it and still bring Fulton up now and again.

Friday, August 14, 2009

College Memories #17: Atomic Train

This is one of my favorite memories, yet it's such a simple thing and likely a "had to be there" story.

My freshman year, a bunch of us were watching a movie (in the Sutton basement TV room, for all you GFU alum). As we were watching it, we realized why we'd never heard of the movie, Atomic Train before. It was horrible! Originally a made for TV mini-series, it's 168 minutes long but felt like it took about 6 hours. Every single disaster possible occurred in this movie. One guy died, then came back as a different character later in the movie and died again!

If ever you are in need of a completely brainless, so-bad-it's-good movie for watching with a group of friends, Atomic Train is just the ticket. Otherwise, avoid it like the plague!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

College Memories #18: Dishwashing Detergent

This is a story I'm going to tell on myself. And before I tell the story, I feel the need to state my defense:

1) The powder detergent had gotten shoved to the back of the cabinet where I couldn't see it and
2) Liquid dishwasher detergent DOES exist.

And now, my story.

My senior year three of us lived in a townhouse. It was a great situation; 1100 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, nice big kitchen and living room, laundry room, and it was cheap. We all moved in over the summer, but my roommates moved in before I did. Ricky and I were on vacation when they moved in, so when I got back I moved in and all was well.

After dinner one night (maybe even the first night I moved in), the dishwasher was full so I decided to run it. I called Amy and said I couldn't find the detergent and she said "it's there, it's the Kirkland brand in the huge container." Ok, cool - I pulled it out, poured some of the orange Kirkland liquid from the huge container into the dishwasher and set it to run. The whole time it didn't feel right, but it was all I could find.

Suddenly, bubbles started pouring out of the dishwasher. Whoops! The orange liquid was the stuff for washing dishes in the sink and apparently it creates bubbles of ginormous proportions when used in a dishwasher. I opened it and started scooping bubbles into the sink, thankful that one roommate was in bed and the other wasn't home...only to hear the door creak open.

Amy walked into the kitchen to see me with an armful of bubbles and I'm sure a look of "don't even ask" on my face. We had a good laugh about it, found the right container, and set the dishwasher to run again. Let me tell you, those dishes were extra squeaky clean!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

College Memories #19: Charging for TP

Our junior year, there were 4 of us living in an apartment built for 3. According to the school, however, it was plenty big enough for 4 (hah!). One of our roommates was in her own world, marched to her own beat...you get the idea. E, C and I would frequently come home to a group of people we'd never seen before in our living room watching a movie at the invitation of K. She meant well, but it was always a random group, people she barely knew, and usually freshmen. In her attempt to be hospitable she would offer them food and drink...which was great, except that she would offer them our food and drink! Needless to say, these random movie parties became both an aggravation and a joke.

One night, after stumbling upon such a party in our apartment when all E and I wanted to do was sit in the stillness of our living room and veg, I was feeling ornery. Obviously E was as well because she went along with it. One of the guys asked to use the restroom and we told him where it was, then I added, "but it's a quarter."

The look of shock on his face was priceless. Oddly, he believed me! We kept the charade up for a while, with talk of how expensive the water was and how toilet paper was going up in price, and we had him going for quite a while. Finally someone, though I can't remember who, filled this poor freshman lad in on the joke.

The best part of the whole thing? We didn't pay for the water OR the TP. The school did!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

College Memories #20: Streakers

Erica, my friend and roommate from college, came to visit last week. It was so fantastic to have her here. We ended up staying up waaaaay too late each night talking, very much something we did in college. In fact, at one point I asked her, "how'd we manage to be such good students when we were roommates?!" It was so great to reminisce, though, and to have old memories come to the surface for the first time in a long time.

Because I want to remember these things, and because a lot of them are funny, I've decided to share them here. My alma mater starts school in 20 days, so I'm going to post a memory each day for the next 20 days. A count down, if you will, to when school starts. They are in no particular order, so don't take the numbering as any indication of where in my heart I hold these memories.

With that....

#20 - The Streakers

Erica and I had the joy of witnessing streakers not once, but twice, in our tenure as roommates.

The first time was on campus. Now, those of you who know George Fox well know that this is a bit, um, out of the ordinary, shall we say? You see, George Fox University is a Christian college, complete with floor hours and promises to live life a certain way. Like, we had to write a statement promising not to drink while enrolled at Fox, regardless of age, and we had to promise not to have premarital sex. Not that those written statements stopped everyone, but it certainly helped weed out those who just wanted to party hard-y in college and allowed the college to kick out those who didn't follow the statement.

Given that, you can imagine how bizarre it was to see two boys running through the parking lot of our on-campus apartment complex this night, wearing nothing but their socks, shoes and handkerchiefs to cover their faces! It caused quite the commotion - especially since Erica's mom was visiting and they happened to be outside getting something from the car.

A few months later while in Europe on a school sponsored trip, we were sitting in Salzburg, Austria with a couple of other students and the two professors leading the trip, enjoying an apple strudel and the night air. Suddenly, two completely naked boys came flying by. Of course we all started laughing, and then one of the professors yelled out, "I saw The David last week, boys, I'm not impressed!" which, of course, caused us to die laughing. Because really, who expects Steve Grant, head volleyball coach and PE professor to yell that while eating dessert with students?

That's all for today. Tomorrow, look for #19 - Charging for TP

So it's been a couple of months...

Wow. I'm sorry I've left you in the lurch for so long. Yikes. Not sure how I let it go for two months. Actually, I do know. Here it is, in a nutshell:

June - rehearsals for Wizard of Oz, getting ready for the Chinese kids, packing up my office at school and bringing it home.

July - Chinese kids and Wizard of Oz, all at the same time. Insanity reigned.

August - Starting a bit of a pity party because I have no job to begin gearing up for. Started a new (temporary) job with Stand for Children.

And now here we are. Whew. Glad that's taken care of. And in just a minute, I'm going to regale you with tales from college!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kiss and makeup

Those of you who know me well know that I am far from a "girly girl." Growing up, I didn't wear much makeup, if any, and was way happier in sweats and a tshirt than just about anything else. In high school, I wore my hair in a ponytail nearly everyday.

Then, when I finished grad school, my mom gave me the gift that keeps on giving, and quite possibly the best gift I've ever received - a gift certificate to The Difference. The Difference is like TLC's "What Not To Wear," but where WNTW is a one night stand, The Difference is a lasting, committed relationship. In fact, we've been together just over 5 years now! Not only do they help you figure out what colors, shapes and styles work best for your personality, body type and comfort zone, they will help with arranging outfits within the clothes you already own, do makeup, help with hair style choice and will even help pick out glasses if you want! They sell clothing, jewelry, handbags, all kinds of wonderful and unique things in their shop.

But enough about my love affair with The Difference. This post is supposed to be how I went from being un-girly to being more girly.

When I went to The Difference and got the clothing thing sorted out, that helped change me. I became much more interested in fashion because I had a better sense of what worked for me and why. The scope of my shopping eye narrowed a lot and shopping wasn't nearly so overwhelming as it once was. But even though I got the fashion thing somewhat under control, I still didn't do makeup.

It wasn't that I couldn't do the makeup or didn't feel comfortable with it. There were two major reasons I hated to wear makeup - one, I felt like it exaggerated the problems with my horrible skin and two, (and if I'm honest, this is the main reason), I was lazy.

Two things have happened recently to change my outlook. First, I started seeing an aesthetician who rocks my world and has gotten my crazy awful skin under control. It is no longer red, dry and flaky all the time, which is amazing.

But the second reason, the bigger reason, is much simpler than all that. I wore makeup out one day recently and got a million comments on how nice I looked. I couldn't figure it out at first - I was wearing the same ol' jeans and cotton tee that I wear on a regular basis. Why was this scrubby look suddenly garnering compliments? And then I realized - the makeup.

I've worn makeup everyday since then, and everyday I've gotten comments on how nice I look. Again, the clothing I'm wearing is nothing out of the ordinary, it's the same stuff I've been wearing for ages. It has to be the make up.

The compliments feel good, and when one feels good about oneself one does better in everything - interviews, weight loss endeavors, making friends, everything. So I guess I'll keep wearing the makeup. It's so funny how a ten minute process can attract so much attention and make me look and feel so much happier.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Meal Plan, 6/13-20

Yes, there's an extra day in my week this week!

Sat - Grilled shrimp, sweet onion and asparagus on the bbq with pears on the side
Sun - Birthday party
Mon - Chipotle ravioli with caesar salad
Tues - Shrimp jambalaya
Wed - BBQ chicken, baked corn, cole slaw
Thurs - Tetrazinni
Fri - BBQ turkey burgers, fruit
Sat - Hawaiian chicken with jasmine rice

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More devestation, and choosing to look on the bright side

I'm going to cut right to the chase here - we lost 3 more from my building today. Our entire music department was cut. As far as I know, all 3 positions will still be held at the school (choir, band and orchestra) but not by my former coworkers. They have been let go because some of the people cut from the elementary music positions had more seniority. As the four of us are the only ones in our little part of the building, you can imagine the feeling at work today.

The bright side - I am done. For the next 3 months I will continue to get paychecks and will be sitting around on my butt. Ok, so that's not completely true, but I don't have to get up and go to work every morning (until July when the Chinese students come). I got everything packed up, brought home, and unloaded into the garage today. It is a nice feeling to know that tomorrow I can sleep in, take pup to the park, pretty much do whatever I feel like all the day long. I have flowers to plant, things to organize, rooms to paint...I have high hopes (as I do every year) that it will be a productive summer (it's usually not, but one can dream, right?).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The time has come

I have been holding off on sharing this news for a while, but the time has come, I think, for me to put it out there.

I have lost my job.

I knew it was likely. I was 99% sure it was going to happen. I was not at all surprised when the letter came. But it still sucks.

150 people were laid off from my district, 13 in my building alone. They will be running bare bones next year - no drama, no art, only half time choir and slightly more than half time foreign languages. Computers and band appear to remain unaffected, and we don't know about orchestra yet since our orchestra teacher just took a position in another district.

It is not looking good. I applied for a position outside of public ed. I recently found out there were 90 applicants and I made it to the top 10. I had two phone interviews but did not make it to the next round, the top 3. Currently there are 2 teaching positions in the state for which I am qualified. Yes, you read that right. Two. Both requiring that I move and Ricky stay here and we live apart.

At this point, we figure if I can't find a job I will sub and draw unemployment. I found out I can draw unemployment anytime I can't get sub jobs, so that will be great for Christmas and Spring vacations. It also means we'll be able to relax a little bit on those weeks when the jobs are few and far between.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. I go through moments of hopelessness, and then come back to seeing the bright side of it all (no more dealing with parents, no more grading, no lesson planning, I can take days off when I feel like it). Ideally, of course, I'd find another job - not just because of the salary, but because I love what I do and after having my own classroom with my own kids, it's going to be so hard to go back to seeing different kids every day and not having the relationship with them. Right now, though, in an effort to not fall into total despair I'm choosing to focus on the positive and enjoy my summer!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Food and friends

We had a barbecue tonight. Sort of. It was kind of planned, kind of impromptu.

Originally, it was supposed to be a group of my girlfriends coming over for burkers and social time. We planned this, oh, a month or so ago. Then one ended up with a last minute deal on a new place to move in to, but had to be out of her old place this weekend. Another has been having some health problems and wasn't feeling well enough to come (in fact, the last time I heard from her she and her husband were headed to OHSU - I hope you're feeling better Court!). Another was hoping to make it but had to do pickup and dropoff duty for her younger sister. So there were 2 friends left, which was fine.

Except they weren't here by 7:45, so Ricky came home and we fired up the barbecue, planning on having the turkey burger dinner ourselves. By 8, though, we heard a "yoohoo!" There were my two missing friends! Apparently, mapquest/google maps/whomever doesn't give very accurate directions to our house. Oops. And somehow neither of my friends had my phone number. Double oops. Totally ok though, we were just glad to see them.

Just before they got there, we were talking with our neighbor, Bruce. He's divorced and his two kids have both moved out, so it's just him. He'd been working under his house on the plumbing all evening, so we invited him to come over for burgers too. He came by around 8:30 or 9 and stayed for a couple of hours.

We had a great time with our makeshift party. What started out as a group of girlfriends morphed into two of my friends, Ricky and Bruce. It was a wonderful evening of food and friends, with plenty of good conversation to go around.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

He's touching me!

She took my marker!
He wrote on me!
She said I'm stupid!
They won't let me sit by them!
No one in this class likes me!
I'm not using any costumes he makes!
This is dumb!
Wait, what are we supposed to be doing?


Ready to tear your hair out yet? Yeah, welcome to my world.

While I love my job most days, recently it has been two ginormous thumbs down. The list above is a list of actual student complaints I've heard this week. No, I did not get transferred to a Kindergarten classroom. Yes, those words came directly out of the mouths of 13 and 14 year olds - some of whom are just 16 school days away from moving up to high school. The joys of being a middle school teacher!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the Moms in my life - my mother in law, sisters in law, friends, grandmothers, aunts, and former students (scary, isn't it, that I have former students who are moms?!) - Happy Mother's Day!

But an extra special Happy Mother's Day to my own mom, who is so amazing and special to me. I have no idea what I would have done without her over the years. She is my friend, confidant, advisor, mentor. I have learned so much from her, and continue to learn from her on a daily basis. She taught me how to cook, even though everything was "till it tastes right!" She taught me (and is still teaching me) about gardening and growing flowers. She gives great advice, is slow to anger, and always has time to listen to me when I need to whine or vent or cry.

I love you Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It will only take 5 minutes

Thanks to Rachel and my mom, I did end up getting my buns in gear and going to Weight Watchers tonight. It was really good, and I'm very glad I went.

First of all, yes I did gain weight, but not as much as I had feared and certainly nothing I can't take care of in a week or two of tracking and exercising. When the lady weighed me in she was so cute; she whispered to me "you went up just a little." It was cute how she was trying to be so sympathetic. And here I was afraid the people working there would judge me for my gain!

Secondly, it was a good meeting. We talked about turnign negative thoughts into positive, ways to counteract the negative thoughts running through our heads on a daily basis. My negative lately has been "I'm too tired to deal with it." "It" being everything from exercising to cooking to packing my lunch, but mostly surrounding tracking, planning my food-day, and getting it all together.

My response to "I'm too tired to deal with it" is "It will only take 5 minutes." And it's very true. While I was watching Law and Order tonight, I'd run into the computer on the commercial breaks to track my meals and snacks for tomorrow. Then, when L&O was over I threw in a load of laundry, packed my lunch, put the leftovers in the fridge and started the dishwasher. Bam, it's 11:15, the kitchen is cleaned up, the snacks I bought at the store are split into serving size portions, my breakfast and lunch are prepared and packed, and I'm ready to go to bed. Had I only been dealing with packing lunch and breakfast, I think I really would've been done in 5 minutes.

With that, I am off to bed. And remember, if you need to accomplish something, just commit to 5 minutes. You'll get at least 5 minutes of the job done, possibly more. Either way, you're 5 minutes ahead of where you were, and really, what else were you going to do with those 5 minutes?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fear.

I was doing so well. I lost 17.4 lbs in a little under 3 months. Weight watchers was working.

And then I got busy. I couldn't go to the meetings like I wanted and needed. I didn't have time to cook, let alone grocery shop. Working 3 (yes, three, I teach after school too!) jobs kinda took it's toll.

Now I'm scared. I haven't weighed in 3 weeks (?) I think. I gave into the cravings. I am a major stress eater - and I don't eat anything healthy. Donuts and ice cream and fast food abound during my days of stress. Somehow I have to find a way around this, because I'm going to face another 3-4 stressful weeks over the summer when I teach ESL and run a show all at the same time.

My meeting is tomorrow night and I'm debating. To go or not to go? I'm afraid I'm going to go weigh and have gained 5 pounds or something. I gain really, really fast. Well, who doesn't when you are eating like I've been the past couple of weeks? Part of me wants to take a week to get back on track, to track my food like I should, to get some exercise in, and then weigh in next week. Another part of me feels like I need to go weigh in, if only for the reality check. No one except me and the person weighing me in will know how bad it is - and I might be pleasantly surprised.

Somehow I have to convince myself to go. There's no reason not to, except my vanity.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Because I'm boring...

A boring update.

Softball is officially over. After starting the season 9-0 against some very good teams, we had a brain fart during season and, while our overall record was impressive (27-9), finished middle of the pack in conference.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

In other parts of my life...
  • Five weeks of school remain, or something like that.
  • In the process of finding new renters for our rental home so we have minimal time with no one in the house. Waiting on a background check on two potential renters so hopefully this will all be over shortly.
  • Ricky is still at the same place, doing the same job. Once upon a time that was a bad update. In light of today's economy, it's a good thing.
  • We still know nothing about my job specifically. Waiting on the state, and the union, and all the higher ups, in that order.
  • Because softball is over I can now wash clothes and dishes and grocery shop. Life might just return to normal!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are you good to go?

One of the things Ricky and I have been trying to do is reuse as much as possible. This means we buy used furniture, reuse plastic bags, have reusable grocery bags, and find new uses for just about anything we can. It's partly a money saver - lets face it, buying used or finding something you already own that can be used in a new way is a lot cheaper than buying new - and partly an earth saver.

Recently I had the realization that I've been using a lot of plasticware. I usually eat lunch and snacks at school, and often breakfast as well, so that's a lot of time spent using utensils. I decided I wasn't down with all the plasticware I was putting into the landfills, so I tried to switch to flatware from home. However, I am the world's worst when it comes to remembering to bring home dishes and flatware, so my taking them to work meant the forks and spoons never came home, causing Ricky to ask if we had gnomes stealing our silverware! Thus, when I got an email from EcoSteal about To-GoWare, I immediately looked into it.

The utensils are made of bamboo, a natural and very renewable product. They are stain and heat resistant, and are coated with a natural, food grade oil for smoothness. The set comes with a knife, fork, spoon and chopsticks. I got the set that comes in the WEAVE holder, made by women on the Thai-Burma border, helping to support their efforts to become more empowered and advanced in their society.

Since I ordered mine, To-Go Ware has come out with a new set. The utensils are the same but the holder is called the RePEaT because it is made out of recycled PET plastic. In other words, yesterday's Coke bottle became today's utensil holder!

I haven't had a chance to use the knife yet so I'm not sure how well it works (and I doubt it would cut through steak) but the fork, spoon and chopsticks are awesome. I keep them in the holder on my desk so I always have utensils handy, and they wash up really easily after use. In fact, I like them so much I'm thinking of getting a second set to keep in the car for times when we get takeout.

So, if you're like me and take lots of food to work that requires utensils, I highly recommend you look into one of these sets!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Plant an umbrella in your yard for schools

If you've been reading this blog long, you know that the school district in which I teach is in major financial trouble. Not only are we in trouble because of decisions made by our higher ups, but now we have added problems as the state of Oregon has announced they will be cutting funding to education for the 2009-2010 school year. This means that the cuts we made this year are not enough; the cuts we had planned on for next year won't even be enough. The newest list of cuts includes, but is not limited to the following.
  • Outdoor school - at this time it has been cut completely. The district is investigating a day program as opposed to an overnight camp.
  • Counselors - high school to lose 3, each middle school to lose 1, elementaries to all have 1 half time counselor rather than one full time.
  • No PE teachers at the elementary level
  • No music teachers at the elementary level
  • Librarians to be cut (to some degree) from elementary and middle schools
  • Class sizes for K-2 to be 30:1; 3-12 will be 35:1

This means that, in my building alone, we are looking at potentially losing 10-17 teachers. Out of 50. Yeah, that's a pretty huge percentage.

A couple of the music teachers in our district, teachers who will be out of a job at the end of the year because they teach elementary music, put this video together. I think it really speaks to the sad reality that is our district.

If you don't have the time to watch the video all the way through, I will tell you this - at the end, there is a statement imploring those who would like to see our state dip into the rainy day fund to help fund education for next year to put an umbrella in their yard. Please, put an umbrella in your yard to show your support for education, the arts, the library and physical education. Our kids, need something to look forward to. Reading is hard, math is hard, science is hard. Important, yes, but difficult for so many kids. To have a class that allows them the time to be creative, think outside the box, and to use their brains in different ways is to allow them a chance to rest from the other subjects, rejuvenate themselves, and get ready to face the difficult tasks once again. Studies have shown repeatedly that participation in performance arts, including music, theatre and dance, lead to better disciplined students with higher grades. Why would anyone want to take that away from a child?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holiday Food Habits

As I've been sitting here devouring Cadbury Eggs like they'll disappear any day now (oh wait, they will!), I got to thinking about various holidays and holday foods and how odd some of my habits and preferences are surrounding those. So, I made a comprehensive list for your reading pleasure.

Easter
  • Peeps: Love them, but prefer them stale. Must be the chicks, can't stand the bunnies. Also won't eat Peeps made for other holidays, like the trees and such at Christmas.
  • Cadbury Eggs: Adore them, but prefer them when the inside is runny. And I've always wondered how they keep the yellow from mixing with the white to make the whole thing a pale yellow.

Thanksgiving

  • Yams: I don't care if they are yams or sweet potatoes, but they must be fresh and baked with butter and brown sugar. No marshmallows* allowed!
  • Fruit Salad: This is where the marshmallows* go! That and the maraschino cherries. Yum!
  • Turkey: Totally a day after Thanksgiving food for me. I load my plate with all the side dishes the day off, then eat turkey sandwiches made with white meat on white bread with real mayo and some salt, sprinkled into my hand first, then dusted over the turkey, after that.
  • Dressing: Totally unnecessary. Yuck.
  • Pie: Only like the filling, hate the crust. Not a huge fan of pumpkin, either.

Christmas

  • Candy Canes: Not a big fan. Not sure why, they're just not my favorite.
  • Marshmallow* Santas: Yum! Only one kind will do, though - the Russell Stover ones in the green package.
  • Fudge: Love it, nuts or no nuts, makes no difference to me!
  • Divinity: Again, love it, but no nuts, ever.
  • Sugar Cookies: I know everyone loves to make the sugar cookies and roll them out and decorate them, and I do too...but I don't really care to eat them when they're decorated. If I'm going to eat sugar cookies, I want them plain. Mostly 'cause I just don't like frosting.
  • Bottom of the Stocking: Ok, this is kind of an odd one, but in my family (as in a lot of families, I think), Santa always leaves an orange in the bottom of the stocking. One small problem - I don't like oranges. So, Santa leaves a grapefruit.

Yes, I know I have some quirky eating habits. Put Ricky and I together and it gets really weird. I hate pie, he only likes storebought pumpkin pie (weirdo). Someday I'll have to block about his weird habits too!

*I will never forget how to spell the word marshmallow. Mrs Bolen, my 2nd grade teacher, misspelled it as "marshmellow" on my special spelling list and Mom had to correct her. Since then, the correct spelling has stuck with me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'll give you something to cry about!

Ricky told me this story today and it made me laugh so hard. Hopefully others will laugh too, instead of deciding that Ricky is a jerk.

Our nephew is apparently just like his mother. Now, I didn't know J when she was a baby, but since she's 6 years younger than Ricky he has a pretty good memory of what she was like as an infant and toddler. She was one of those kids who does the fake cry in order to get attention and whatever else she wants. Her child is the exact same way.

Ricky's telling me this story, and then he says, "Of course, I made him cry for real the other day."

Me: What? Why'd you do that?!

Ricky: I took away his Cheerios.

Me: Jerk! What'd you do that for?

Ricky: He was eating them and doing that stupid fake cry, so I said, "Here, I'll give you something to cry about!" and swiped his Cheerios.

At this point I died in laughter. I think the fact that we both thought this was hilarious means it's good we're not planning on having kids, right?

That's what she said...

As long as I'm posting funny stories about students, I thought I'd post one of my favorites that has been going on for weeks now.

I don't really watch The Office (gasp! I know a few people who suddenly have cut me from their lives) but I know that one of the jokes from the show is "that's what she said." The idea is that you add it to the end of a sentence when someone says something remotely sexual. You know, like so:

Person A: How was the meeting?
Person B: Shorter than normal.
Person A: That's what she said!

So I have this student who loves to use "that's what she said," but he never, ever gets it right. In fact, it's become this running joke where after class I run to another teacher and tell him the latest wrong use of "that's what she said." Examples of late include:

Me: Take out a piece of paper.
Student: That's what she said!

Other Student: Hey, can I borrow a pencil?
Student: That's what she said!

Yet Another Student: Dude, you just stepped on my lunchbox!
Student: That's what she said!

Yeah, he never, ever gets it right. Until today, that is.

Fourth Student: I have a headache.
Student: That's what she said!

Who do I look like?

This guy??
I had the most bizarre experience at school today. I have a student who is a super nice kid, but really doesn't seem to understand boundaries. He's the kid who blurts out random stuff in the middle of instructions. The kid who, when I ask "does anyone have questions about XYZ?" raises his hand and asks me some completely unrelated question. He is the kid, and I kid you not, who tears his test into small squares so he can make paper airplanes and fly them in class.


So today, with about 3 minutes left, I allowed the kids to have a little free time. They'd learned a lot of new material and had earned a well deserved break. We'd finished everything we needed to accomplish, so I gave them the time to just chill. I was standing near a group of boys, watching to be sure everything was copasetic - you never know what can happen when a group of 12 and 13 year old boys have some free time! - when the aforementioned student got up to get something from another part of the room. As he passed me, he reached out with his pointer finger, poked me in the belly and said, "Boop!"


Buh?! Really, who does that to their teacher??? Of course I scolded him, but I was completely at a loss for how to compute what had just happened. I still am, I think. Perhaps I should get this shirt and wear it to school:


And now, in the interest of entertainment, I'd like to hear how my readers would have reacted. Wittiest answer wins!

One in six

That is an approximation of how many teachers, counselors, administrators and other staff our district will be losing between this year and next due to budget cuts. We're not the only ones, either. My college roommate's district is cutting $50 million from their budget, which could result in more than 100 teachers being cut. Teachers, not staff. Other districts are putting the purchase of new textbooks on hold, not filling the positions of those who retire, and asking teachers to take a paycut. The unemployment rate in Oregon went up over 12% today; once all these districts get finished laying people off we'll see it go quite a bit higher.

I don't know yet if I'm going to lose my job for sure. Of course I'm worried - I teach an elective, which is "expendable" in the minds of most, and I'm only in my second year in the district. Sadly, cuts are made based on seniority, not ability. In the meantime, I'm busy looking for jobs outside of education (because there aren't likely to be any education jobs available) and updating my resume. It's a scary, scary time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Hoppy" Easter

...From the Easter "Punny."

I figured I better get this one in while it was still officially Easter. Credit to Candace for the witty saying.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wicked-ly Awesome

On March 25th, Ricky and I got all gussied up and headed downtown for a night out. It was my one and only day off over spring break, and we took advantage of it.

First, we went to dinner at Yuki on NW 23rd. Man I love that restaurant! Ricky had never been but fell in love with one bite of the San Francisco roll. We gorged on sushi and gyoza for a bit and then took a walk to Rose's Restaurant, just down the street, for a little dessert. We ordered two desserts to share, since we couldn't decide on just one. The Mandarin Chocolate Dream cake was good, but the Bailey's Cheesecake was to die for. We were practically licking the plate!

After dinner and dessert, we went to see Wicked, which is really what this post is about. Wow, what an amazing show. I had heard a little bit of the music here and there, and had read the book, but really wasn't sure what to expect overall.

First of all, the set was superb in it's simplicity. It wasn't anything overly elaborate, just lots of small pieces on wagons and some things that flew in. The overarching theme was the clock, and they used the gears and other internal workings of a clock in so many of the set pieces, which was really cool.

Secondly, the costumes. Oh my word, the costumes. They were absolutely phenomenal. I especially loved the costumes for the Emerald City scenes. Incredible, beautiful, quirky, just simply amazing. I loved them.

The choreography was also fantastic. I love the contemporary style of dance that was used, and the use of acrobatics. Really, I just loved the dance.

And of course, the music and acting. Donna Vivino played Elphaba, the female lead, and she was incredible. She brought so much life and depth to Elphie, and her voice is amazing. We both just loved her. I am saddened that the only recordings of the show available are with the original broadway cast because, honestly, I think Donna is better than the original Elphie!

I would absolutely love to see this show again. They are leaving Portland sooner than my pocketbook will allow me to buy tickets, but I hear the same cast will be performing in Seattle later in 2009. I may have to save my pennies so I can head up there for another performance.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some days, you just can't win

Today was one of those days.

It started off just fine, like any other day. Pup and I cuddled (how I love days off!), I got up and fiddled around for a bit, then I started to be productive. And that's where it all went downhill.

First, I ran a couple of errands. Unfortunately, the items I needed were unavailable. Bummer.

Then, I went grocery shopping and blew the budget. Oops. We were just out of so much stuff! And in fairness, I didn't shop at all last week, so I guess I kinda used the grocery money from last week and this week. Of course, even though I blew the budget, I still managed to forget Ricky's hot sauce.

Tonight was a new recipe night and boy did it look good. Yeah, well, looks can be deceiving. It was awful. Blech. Not only did it not turn out right (it was supposed to be frittata like but completely fell apart), but it didn't even taste good. Gross. We resorted to cereal for dinner.

And finally, we watched what is quite possibly one of the worst movies ever made - Tropic Thunder. Complete waste of time (though not as big a waste as Epic Movie was).

How bad is it that I'm looking forward to Monday??

PS - a couple of good things did come out of today. I got a nice indoor walk in with Mom at the mall, and picked up a new pair of trousers at the same time. They are - are you ready for this? - size 12! I also ran across a bedding set that I really like, and Ricky likes it too. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's official

I am insane.

First, I decided back in the fall that I'd go back to teaching for the Chinese ESL program I taught for during the summers of 2006 and 2007. I took last summer off because we were moving and all that, but knew in the fall that I'd need to go back to my summer job this year. So I've been in the process of making that happen.

Then, I was offered the job of stage managing for Wizard of Oz, which would pay a small sum. It is also happening over the summer.

I took both. Which means I'll be teaching summer school (assuming that all pans out, but I don't foresee any problems) and going through tech week at the same time.

Like I said, it's official. I am insane.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Up and Coming

Just a quick note to fill you in on what's coming up for Ricky and me:

Mar 12: Superintendent is coming to our building for a meeting after school
Mar 13-15: Softball trip to Seattle and Vancouver BC
Mar 20: First day of spring break
Mar 21: Birthday dinner for my mom, who is turning 39 (again)
Mar 23: Mom's actual birthday...and for the first time in ages we will be in the state and not playing ball!
Mar 25: Wicked!! I read (and loved) the book. I know the musical is different, so I'm very curious to see how they compare.
Mar 26-28: Off to Ashland and K-Falls for softball
Mar 30: New trimester starts. I get to once again go over my rules, expectations and classroom procedures. Last time this year...too bad it will make times #17-24 since September.
April 1: Our date-iverssary (No joke!). This year marks 9 years since we started dating.

That's about it. People think I'm exaggerating when I say all we do is work and hang out at home, but it's totally true. Of course, this time of year is crazy since I'm gone every other weekend with softball. That's ok, though, Ricky and Pupper get lots of quality time together this way!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Friday

(as opposed to Monday, Monday, that is).

I had the hardest time remembering today was Friday. I kept thinking it was Thursday. And least it's a good mix up, rather than it being Thursday and thinking it's Friday and then realizing that I have to go to work in the morning!

We only a week left in the trimester, so it's a really busy time. I have 7 plays in production right now. They're very fun and funny and the kids are working so hard. I'm very proud of what they've accomplished. We're also supposed to be getting our brand new curtains next week, so there's a great buzz of excitement around the theatre department these days.

Softball is going well. We are currently 10-1. We have a few little issues here and there to sort out but overall the girls are doing great. We are supposed to be scrimmaging a JC tomorrow; we'll see if the weather holds.

That is really about it. We're pretty boring these days. I'm really looking forward to Spring Break. Maybe I can actually get some walls in my house painted!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

16.8

As of today. This weight watchers thing actually works!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm no longer too big for my britches

I have reached the point where my britches are now too big for ME!

With the help of weight watchers, my wonderful mother and my amazing husband, I have managed to lose 14.8 pounds since Jan 11. This means that my clothes are starting to fit better. Or, in the case of the pants I'm wearing today, worse.

I bought these a while back because everything else was too tight. Then, of course, I started losing weight. The pants have been too big for a while now, but it wasn't anything a belt couldn't fix. Unfortunately, the belt no longer solves the problem. Now when I cinch them up with a belt they get that puffy look that tells the whole world the pants I'm wearing are too big for me.

Yay for too big pants! Boo that I didn't realize how bad they looked until I got to work today.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What a wonderful Valentine's day

Ricky and I have never celebrated Valentine's day. When we were dating, we celebrated our "date-iversary," (April 1), and of course now we celebrate our anniversary, but we've never done anything exciting for Valentine's day. Part of that is due to the fact that we both see it as a bit of a Hallmark holiday, but also because for the first 8 out of nine years I've had practice or a game on Valentine's day. Hard to make plans when I know I'm going to be beat!

This year was no different, but it was a wonderful day none the less. After I got home from practice, we had dinner and then Ricky gave the dog a bath (ok, that part wasn't so fun). Then we went over to Ricky's parents' house to see our boys, Jeremy and Joseph.

It's amazing how big our nephews are getting. Joseph will be 1 in March and Jeremy is nearly 18 months. We played and cuddled with them and chatted with my sisters-in-law. It was a wonderful 2 hours spent with family.

Now we're home, eating popcorn and drinking Diet 7*Up. It's a relaxing evening, which is all I really wanted.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Social Anxiety Sucks

I have social anxiety. I think I always have, but it seems to get worse as I get older. The worst possible situation for me is a group of people where there are lots of friends and I'm the one left out. Horrible. I get such anxiety that I often end up backing out of things at the last minute because I'm panicking over it. Sometimes it makes no sense - like the theatre banquet I was supposed to attend - and sometimes it really is a scary situation, like the rally at the state Capitol on Monday the 16th.

I am learning though. I know I'm going to freak on Monday if no one I know is going, so I reached out to our rep and asked her if she could provide me with a list of coworkers riding the same bus as me. A familiar face, someone to sit with, will make it so much easier for me.

I love my job, and I hate the idea of losing it, but I think I hate the idea of a new job even more. It means learning new people, new rules, new administrators, new unwritten norms. I am scared to death at the prospect of having to go someplace new next year and start over, when I'm just now getting comfortable where I am. That's why it is so important that I force myself to go to the rally on Monday, to help get some legislation passed to keep our education budget where it needs to be.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Delayed Reaction

I've been working on losing weight for a while now. Well, off and on for years, but this go 'round it's been about 4 weeks. And in those 4 weeks, I've lost 12.8 pounds - yay! But even though I was losing - and not a small amount, either - I didn't feel like I could see a change. Until now.

I don't wear my wedding ring as much as I used to because, as it turns out, I am allergic to it (thanks Dad). Once upon a time I didn't even take it off to shower or sleep, but since developing this wonderful allergy I can't wear it too much or I get a wonderful red, itchy, flaky, blistery rash on my finger. But lately, the allergy isn't what has stopped me from wearing my ring - the fat has. Meaning, I couldn't wear it comfortably because my fingers had gotten too fat.

Yesterday I decided to give it a go and whaddayaknow! It fits comfortably again.

I'm also starting to notice a difference in the way my pants and shirts fit. I feel "skinny" today for the first time in ages. Finally, my perception and what the scale is telling me is starting to match up.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's been far too long

I'm not sure if I haven't posted because I've been busy or because I haven't had anything interesting to say. Here are the highlights of the past couple of weeks:

  1. Softball has begun, thus I'm crazy-busy
  2. I have lost 10.2 pounds since Jan 11. Go me!
  3. I have been ungodly ill. Awful. Tried to go to work this morning and had to pull over on the way there. Got sick in the parking lot at Albertsons. Hoping that I can make it through the day on Wed.
  4. yeah, that's about it. Told you I wasn't very interesting!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yet another food rec

Obviously I'm obsessed with food. Actually, I'm trying to lose some weight (here we go again!) so I'm trying new things in order to change my old bad habits.

My most recent find is Quaker's Simple Harvest Oatmeal in vanilla, honey & almond. A mixture of whole oats, whole wheat and barley blended with vanilla, honey and sliced almonds. Wonderful. Absolutely delicious - and there's nothing artificial about it. No HFCS, no Red #42, none of that. It tastes wonderful, is filling, and is actually good for you! I can't wait to try the maple, brown sugar and pecan variety!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meal plan - 1/18-24

Sunday - Peanut Noodles and Shrimp
Monday - Sloppy Toms, coleslaw, green beans
Tuesday - Chicken Mirabella (DD), couscous, roasted potatoes
Wednesday - Pizza Soup
Thursday - Sweet and Sour Chicken (DD), jasmine rice, pears
Friday - Herbed Chicken (DD), white beans, applesauce, corn?
Saturday - Lasagna, salad

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Food Rec - Trader Joe's products

I recently picked up two new-to-me products at Trader Joe's and I've fallen in love. The first are Pretzel Slims in the "everything" flavor. And everything really does mean everything - onion, garlic, caraway seed, sesame seeds, and many, many more. So incredibly good, yet 1 oz is only 110 calories. It's like eating chips only much, much better.

My second product rec is Rice Chips in the "sea salt and pepper" flavor. In the words of Rachel Ray, Yumm-o. If you want a low cal tortilla alternative, here you go. These are a. maze. ing. Seriously, I'm not sure I've ever had a better light, crunchy, flavorful snack. Only 120 calories per ounce - and an ounce gets you about 38 chips! So, so good.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recipes are online!

I am attempting to make 52 new recipes this year - one a week. Since I have a tendency to lose recipes, I created a recipe blog here. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is dog hair good for anything?

I have got to find and ingenius use for dog hair. I pick up so much dog hair every night it's unbelievable. Sometimes we have to sweep 2 or even 3 times a day! And even then, we can't get it all. There has to be something dog hair is good for. If I could sell it, I'd be a very rich woman.

Would a dog hair sweater be too much?

(Yes, these people really did make sweaters from the hair of their dogs. I shudder to think of it.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Book #1 - Merle's Door

In my effort to read 52 books this year, I began Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog after Christmas. Mom and Dad picked it up for me; Mom said the excerpts she read reminded her of Jacko-pea. Boy was she rightIt is difficult for me to put into words how amazing this book was. Ted Kerasote is an incredible writer and really captured the relationship between a dog and a human like no one else ever has. As I read the book, I nodded my head in agreement, laughed at Merle's antics, learned interesting tidbits about the history and sociology of dogs, and wept at Merle's passing.

Kerasote has an uncanny ability to weave textbook knowledge into the story of Merle's and his life together, making it an interesting and informative read. I learned so much about my dog, coming to understand why he might act in certain ways, while at the same time enjoying the story of a man and his companion. I definitely would recommend this book to anyone - but beware, you'll need tissues for the last 50 pages or so.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My dog is an old man

Not everyone will approve of this, but we've begun to let Jacko sleep in our room. He is an extremely hyper dog, and we've found that allowing him to sleep in our room actually calms him down. I'm now wondering if some of his "energy" is really separation anxiety. With his background, it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Anyway, he has a bed in our room, one of those foam mattress things with a cover that you can get for dogs. It's on my side of the bed, and that's where he sleeps. As he's gotten used to sleeping in our room, he's started to become very independent in when he goes to bed. All of a sudden, he's deciding to go to bed around 11, and doesn't get up until 9:30 or 10!

The other night I was on the computer and Ricky was watching tv. I hadn't heard the dog in a while so I went looking for him. There he was, curled up on his bed, fast asleep. Another time I found him in there chewing on his bone.

In the morning when I get up, he usually opens his eyes, stares at me as if to say "what, already??" then shuts his eyes and goes back to sleep until I leave, at which point he decides to go outside for a while. It's amazing how much our dog has been transformed by this simple little change in his sleeping situation. Don't get me wrong, he's still full of energy, but he is calmer than ever before.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Product Rec: Great Point Light



Yet another Christmas gift from my parents. After hearing me complain about needing a book light - and hearing Ricky complain about me keeping him because I have the overhead light on when reading in bed - they were kind enough to find this great book light for me. I've had other book lights over the years, but they always clip to the pages and I hated that. I love this one because it slips over the spine, as shown in the picture, and makes reading easy. Plus, the flexible neck makes it easy to adjust the light so it shines right where you want it. Using only one AAA battery keeps it small and compact, and the LED lights are plenty bright enough for my reading needs while allowing Ricky to be able to sleep through my midnight reading rendezvous. The light gets mixed reviews on Amazon, but I give it two thumbs up!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All hail the Whirley-Pop


Mom and Dad got me this fantastic, yet incredibly simple, popcorn maker for Christmas. It is amazing! The Whirley-Pop is a stovetop popcorn maker. You put some oil in and then your popcorn kernels, set it on your hot stove burner, and twirl the whirleygig attached to the handle. Through the magic of gears, twirling the whirleygig moves little arms inside the popper to keep the kernels moving. In about 4 minutes, every kernel has popped and you have fantastic, hot, delicious popcorn. If you are looking for an old fashioned popper, this is it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Paint chips abound!

Mom and I went to the paint store today with one of the pillows from the couch and started looking at paint chips. I came home with about one million little pieces of color. Ok, maybe not a million, but I'm pretty sure I have somewhere around 15 or 20. In my defense, they are for both the kitchen AND the living room, and I plan on having two colors in each room.

At this point I am 99% sure that the kitchen is going to be one of 3 different shades of green. The question is, which green?! One wall in the kitchen will likely be chocolate brown, to tie in the brown cabinets we have.

The living room, on the other hand, is giving me fits. Green or blue? Grey? Maybe something else completely? Of the chips I brought home I think I've got it down to 3 colors. Sadly, the chips just aren't big enough for me to make a decision, so it looks like another trip to the store will be in order. Then I can pick up some samples and look at larger swatches of color in various parts of the room.

It is nice to be on the way to making a decision, not so nice to be in that indecisive state!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday!

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have made it to Friday. Although, and I know other teachers will agree with me, after nearly 3 weeks off it takes until Wednesday or Thursday to get back into the swing of things...just in time for the weekend! So while on Tuesday I was ready for the weekend to be here NOW!, today was a really good day of writing monologues and listening to the silly and creative things my kids came up with. Because, really, who besides an 8th grade boy would think to write a monologue in which he plays a tree who lost its leaves?



But it is Friday and I have the weekend ahead of me. My plans for Saturday include a trip to the paint store and putting away the Christmas decor, as well as some light cleaning around the house and lots and lots of vegging. Sunday I'm attending my very first ever Weight Watcher's meeting (scary!) and then I'm headed to school to move all my junk from the stage into my new office! WAHOO!! While I am less than thrilled to be spending part of my Sunday at school, I am completely stoked about having my stuff safe.

So there you have it. Ricky and I are both fairly tired tonight so we may curl up on the couch and watch a movie or something. Tis a good night for being in a vegetative state, methinks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A good day

It's always nice when the crappy days are followed up by good ones.

Today I got a new office/storage room! It means that I finally get to lock my stuff up, so maybe the outside groups using the theatre won't steal my food/stapler/hole punch. True story. It also means we can move the costumes and props from our current storage space, which is totally unsafe, down to a spot about 15 feet from the theatre. The new space is also not in the band room, so we won't be interrupting the band when we need to go to our storage space, and I'll also be able to supervise the students getting things from the storage space and the students in the theatre at the same time. It's a fantastic situation and I am SO excited about this.

I also was able to pick up my new glasses today. They are taking some getting used to, since I've had the full, thickish rimmed type for several years, and while my new glasses have thick, red ear pieces, they are only half frames so they look very different. I like them though. It was time for a change.

To finish off the evening, I spent an hour at Dream Dinners. It's so nice to go in, assemble the ingredients someone else has already chopped, dirty dishes and counter space that I don't have to clean, and then go home with several meals to put in the freezer. Tonight I came home with 10 meals total. Now I'm relaxing with my freezer list, working on a meal plan for the month. All of that and it's only 7:30 pm!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just when you think you've got it all under control...

It's been one of those days. First I got a phone call from Ricky that layoffs are happening. They only laid off two people, and they were bottom of the totem pole people. He shouldn't be in any jeopardy for a while, but nobody knows how many more cuts they'll have to make, if any. Obviously, that's a little scary.

We've also been searching for a chair for the living room. I found one I loved (this will be "my" chair) but it's the only one left because it's been discontinued and it has a scratch in it. The company is not willing to come down on their price anymore than they already have, and we're not willing to pay their price for a damaged piece of furniture, so we're at an impasse. Since we couldn't come to an agreement, we walked. Now, I'm all for looking around and being patient, but the problem is I've already found the chair I want. Finding it a second time at a price we're comfortable with could be difficult!

And to top it all off, the garbage disposal quit working tonight when I was making dinner. Awesome!

The good news is Ricky has Thursday and Friday off, so he can take a look at the disposal and maybe fix it. And, if I really want to do the glass half full thing, at least a garbage disposal isn't a necessity. A wonderful luxury, and something I've only had to do without for a year in college, but not a necessity none the less.

Here's to a good night's sleep and a better tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

16 Things About Me

Alex tagged me in a meme on facebook, so I'm going to answer here as well as there. I'm just supposed to share 16 "random things, facts, habits, or goals about you."

1 - I am 28 years old as of Sunday.

2 - I still sleep with my baby blanket.

3 - I have never had to wear a true cast. The only things that have come close were my bootie after toe surgery and my brace after knee surgery.

4 - I did not go to my Junior prom.

5 - I do not like oranges.

6 - My senior year of high school I spent most of my time in band doing homework. My band teacher didn't care; he just told me to use his desk so it wasn't so obvious to everyone else that I was slacking.

7 - I prefer Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke, but Coke over Pepsi.

8 - Every time I ride a plane I'm sure we're going to crash and I'm going to die.

9 - I abhor being called "Laurie."

10 - I have not read any of the Harry Potter books.

11 - I have a major girl crush on Judi Dench. I don't care how bad a movie is supposed to be; if she's in it, I will watch it.

12 - I'm pretty sure I love my dog more than most people love their children.

13 - I would happily be a professional student if we could afford it.

14 - I should have majored in napping. Mmmm, naps. They do a body good!

15 - A while back I saw a picture of me before I started coloring my hair. I had no idea my hair was that dark! It's been so long that I honestly had completely forgotten what color it used to be. While I was looking at the picture Ricky walked by and said, "who's that?" My own husband didn't recognize me with my hair in its natural state.

16 - I love all things retro. I'm pretty sure I was born in the wrong decade.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Soliciting book recs

If I'm going to read 52 books this year, I need some recommendations!

I'm in the middle of a book right now, and I've got two more lined up, but that's not going to get me far. Any suggestions? I enjoy historical fiction, autobiographies (especially of sports figures), plays...well, pretty much anything, to be honest! I especially liked the Dan Brown books and devoured the Twilight series.

So if you've got some ideas, toss them my way! I need to start building my list - and my reservation queue at the library!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Whatever happened to survival of the fittest?

I don't even want to get into the evolution debate, because the stance Ricky and I choose to take is very different from what most Christians choose. In fact, I will never forget when we had the great Evolution vs Creationism debate in Mr Vassen's junior year Biology class and Matt Gruhler and I stood in the middle, saying we believed God used evolution to create the world. Remember that, Matty?!

But really, as my husband says, why do we have to legislate stupid out of the world? Shouldn't we be allowed to eliminate those people from the gene pool?

The latest is the government's decision that no second-hand kids' clothing or toys can be sold without "proof" that it is lead paint or pthalate free. What? Do you know how many people rely on secondhand places, garage sales, and Craigslist to clothe and entertain their children? And really, when a kid only wears something for a month before outgrowing it, it makes sense. Buy it used, use it for a month, then pass it on to someone else who can use it. And if you're stupid enough to allow your child to play with something that has been recalled due to lead paint, well...survival of the fittest, my friends.

I'm definitely not an anarchist, but really, this is going too far.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Recimapes

Two recipes to share today - Meatloaf and Spaghetti Squash Supreme. The meatloaf came from a relative of Ricky's (whom I've actually never met) and the the SSS is from Taste of Home magazine.

Meatloaf

1-1.5 lbs ground meat (I use turkey, you could certainly use beef)
4 slices bread
12 oz can evaporated milk*
1 packet onion soup mix
1/2c ketchup
1/4c worcestershire sauce

Mix meat, bread and half of the milk together until the mixture forms a batter. If it seems to dry, add more milk. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well. Pat into pan, spread top with more ketchup if desired. Bake at 350F for 60-90 minutes.

*I generally just use a 5 oz can so I don't waste 6 oz of evap. milk


Spaghetti Squash Supreme

3-6 pounds spaghetti squash
4-6 pieces bacon (I use turkey bacon), torn into bite size pieces
1-4 T brown sugar
3-4 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Swiss cheese to taste, grated

Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Heat one side at a time until fork-tender. Scoop squash into bowl; it will string into spaghetti like pieces as you remove it from the rind. Set aside.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan*. Add butter, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to bacon grease; stir well. Add squash and bacon to pan, stir well and heat through. Add swiss cheese; mix thoroughly and serve.

*I never remove the bacon, just scootch it to the side and then stir it back in. Turns out fine.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bah Humbug

Why am I feeling down today? Could it be because all the excitement is over? Because my break is almost over? Because Grandma's visit is almost over? It's probably a mixture of all of the above, with the realization that I got next to nothing done on this break that I wanted to do (normal Laura behavior). Not to mention, I'm hungry - that could be part of my problem! I also need to get in the shower and get ready to take off for the afternoon/evening and I just don't want to. It's too much work!

Just feeling kind of Bah Humbug-ish, if that's possible to do once the holiday season is over.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolutions

I'm not big on resolutions. I'm really really really good at making them, but I suck at sticking to them, so usually I just say screw it. And of course, I tend to do the same ones every year:

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Keep a cleaner house

But you know what? Those are no fun. I'm actually really happy with where I am in life. Are things perfect? No. Could I stand to excercise more, lose weight, and keep a cleaner house? Of course - couldn't we all? But I'm tired of those being my resolutions. Putting those on the list feels like an obligation, rather than a goal I'd really like to reach. Instead, I've come up with a couple more fun ones:

  1. Read 52 books this year
  2. Try 52 new recipes
  3. Write 52 letters/cards and send through USPS

Yup, that means every week I'll be reading a book, trying a recipe and sending someone I love - or not - a card or letter to tell them how much they do - or don't - mean to me. Ambitious? Certainly, but also attainable, I think.