Wednesday, May 25, 2016

An Interesting Morning

As I've mentioned previously, during the work week I wake up quite early and walk the dog about two miles before leaving for work.  When I walk in the morning, I stay in my little neighborhood and walk around the track-like quarter mile block 8 times.  It's too dark and quiet to venture out on the main street, so I just stay nearby.  It's usually a very peaceful walk as there aren't too many people out at that time, and there's less of a chance that cars back out into my path or kids ride their bike over my foot, or an out of control dog lunges towards Rigby (all things that happen during the daytime).  A few neighbors sleepily leave for work that early, which makes me appreciate that I am only out walking at 5 in the morning and not actually leaving for work then.
This morning I got up at my regular 4:50 time and was out the door to walk the dog by 5:00 am.  It was a cool and kind of misty morning which made it darker than usual.  It's finally starting to lighten up a bit earlier now since the time change, but this morning it was very dark.  I got about 6 houses down the street, close to the entrance off the main road, and police car turned onto my street.  At first, it didn't strike me as odd as one of the residents on my street was a police officer and his car was parked at his house every-so-often.  As I remembered that family had moved, I was also stumped as to why the car had its lights off.  It passed me and not a few seconds later, another police car drove in, also with the lights off.  The officer slowed when he got to me, rolled down his window, and asked if I had seen anyone out walking.  I nervously stuttered my reply that I had just started my walk and hadn't seen anyone and that I was now nervous.  He kept driving, and I kept walking not really knowing what to do.  I was about half way around the block.  I could either turn around and walk back, towards where the police officers went, or keep going and possibly run into the mysterious person.  Funnily enough, not one of my neighbors who is usually out at that time was out and because of how dark it was, I felt like I was walking into a scene of a horror movie.  While I contemplated this, two more police SUVs arrived in the track from the main road and drove in the same direction I was walking.  That made me feel a bit better, at least they'd stumble upon this murderer before I would.  I kept going, and as I made the turn that rounded back to my house, my eyes widened as I saw two police cars pointing towards my house on one side and towards my house on the other side.  They were in a V-like formation, pointing at my house!  My jaw dropped, and I tried to focus on the cars to see if the officers were still in their cars or if they were out holding guns.   I didn't see them at all so I hurried up the walkway, unlocked the door and ran inside, hoping there wasn't a murderer inside.  The lights were turned off, and I ran upstairs and peeked out the shutters to see what I could see.  There wasn't much other than some walking around in the yards nearby.  My next door neighbor came outside to leave for work and was also shocked by being surrounded.  He asked one of the officers if he could leave and he was allowed to do so.  After a few minutes, they headed back to their  cars. I watched them stand around and talk for a few minutes.  That, and the lightening of the sky, made me feel a bit better and since I still had 30 minutes to kill I hooked the dog back up and went back out to get a few more laps in.  My neighbor across the street was leaving then and approached the officers.  They told him they got a call about someone wandering in the yards.  I didn't and haven't heard the details of it, but yikes!  It'll be harder to go out agin tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Little Too Much Goodness

This time of year is not my favorite as far as fruit goes.  For the last few months I've been feasting on navel oranges, but they've petered out over the last couple of weeks and have gone dry and mealy.  Although apples are in the stores, it's not really their season and after od-ing on them in the fall buying apples isn't all that appealing.  Early versions of summer fruit like grapes and cherries and strawberries pop up here and there, but they are either from Mexico or South America or mediocre versions of their summer selves.  The last couple of weeks I've left the grocery store disappointed with fruit choices and purchases - I've come home with bananas which aren't a favorite of mine.  They mostly ripen on my counter because I just don't really like bananas.
Friday afternoon I stopped by the store on my way home from work.  I passed by the 99 cent pineapples a few times while browsing my uninspired choices.   I do like pineapple, but don't often buy it because they take a lot of effort to cut/core and, once cut/cored, they don't last long enough for me to eat.  I end up wasting most of it.  With limited options though, I checked a couple of the pineapples and desperately decided to come home with one.
Feeling scurvy setting in after a few weeks of bland fruit, I took the time to get the pineapple ready as soon as I got home.  While cleaning up the mess I snacked on a pineapple chunk or two.  While packing it up into a storage container I ate a few more pieces.  And then I pulled the container back out of the fridge and ate a few several more pieces.  This 99 cent pineapple was delicious!  But before I knew it, about a third of the pineapple was gone.  Which wasn't that much of a concern, it is fruit after all, but as I ate the last couple of pieces, my entire mouth and tongue broke out in canker sores.  The only time this ever happens is when I go to Hawaii to see my mom.  Pineapple bingeing is common there because it's everywhere and in anything.  This was the first time it's happened here at home though.  I woke this morning and the cankers were gone.  Today, I was less aggressive in my pineapple eating and so far, so good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I'd Like to Buy a Vowel.

We're about a week away from Open House (and 18 days away from the end of the year, but who is counting) so I'm in the midst of changing over bulletin boards to put up fresh, pretty work.  This afternoon all the student work that had been up was taken down in one full swoop during my lunch break.  I gathered up all the letters used to title each board and sorted them by letter, preparing to put them back in alphabetical order and back in their storage container.  While I sat at my desk, the number of letters I had just taken down struck me.  
On a side note, yes, my desk is really that messy.  It started the day fairly clutter-free and by noon it looked like this.  The end of the year tends to bring on many piles and many cups of coffee.  But I digress.    
Anyhow, these letters came down from three bulletin boards.  If I quickly count in my head, there were 42 individual letters, making up 6 words, up on the boards that are sorted here.  Interestingly, only 12 letters of the alphabet were used to make these words.
During this exercise, I was reminded of watching the game show, "Wheel of Fortune", with my parents when I was growing up.  The premise of the show was to solve word puzzles by choosing letters that might be used to make up the words. Of course, the better the contestants were at choosing the letters the more of a chance they had to solve the puzzles and earn prize money.  The winner of the early rounds had a chance to choose a set number of letters to reveal in the final puzzle, and if they choose wisely and solved the puzzle in a short time frame, they won the grand prize.   The contestants on the show always chose the same letters first and, after some time of the show being on, these most common letters were just given to the contestants during the final puzzles since they were being chosen anyways.  It took quite a few episodes for me to understand why those letters were always chosen, and didn't get it until my dad explained that those were the most used/common letters in the English Language.  The contestants tried to get the best odds by starting with the those letters.  That was my parents' first lesson in odds and gambling, but that's a post for another time.
The most used letters, in case you are wondering, are E, T, A, O, I, N, S, H, R, D, L, C, U.  I'd say my  odds would have been quite good on this pile of letters sitting on my desk.  All but H, D, and L were used, and I added some Ms and Fs.  Ten out of 13 of the letters are from this list!  Get me to Vegas!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What?!?!

This afternoon, I saw a commercial for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio this August.  Are you kidding me?  Didn't we JUST have the 2012 Olympics?  I just don't know where the time goes.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday 9 - Mama's Day

This week's Saturday 9 song link is "Mama" by Lunch Money Lewis in honor of Mother's Day...
1. Gamal Lewis got the nickname "LunchMoney" in 10th grade because of his round cheeks and because lunch was his favorite part of the school day. What do you recall about lunchtime in the school cafeteria?  As an elementary school kid I rarely ate in the cafeteria since I brought lunch to school.  Only those who bought lunch ate in the cafeteria.  The rest of us ate outside.  Once or twice a month they served tacos and my parents would let me buy lunch on those days.  As a teacher, the school cafeteria is probably the noisiest place I've ever been.
2.  His father and uncle were members of the band Inner Circle.  Their song, Bad Boys" was the the theme to the reality show Cops.  What reality show have you soon recently.?  I'm a reality TV show junkie and just can't help it.  Most recently, I caught up on the Projet Runway finale.  Guess that's more competition show than reality tv.  The trashy reality shows are a guilty pleasure.  They are like a train wreck, and I just can't look away.  Interestingly enough, this year's presidential campaigns have seemed a lot like a reality tv show...I'm not a fan of that!
3. In this song, Mr. Lewis sings that his mama taught him how to put on pajamas. What did you wear to bed last night?  Currently in bed writing this in a cami and lounge pants.  Although it's a little chilly tonight, I might need to put on a hoodie.
4. He claims he can't ever lie to his mama because she'll hear it in his voice. Are you a convincing liar?  No, I am a TERRIBLE liar.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so what you see is what you get.  If I were lying, it would be very clear.  I have "called" in sick before, but I can do that on the computer and not have to talk to anyone who would figure me out.  
5. LunchMoney sings that his mama made him chicken soup when he was sick. Do you eat soup all year around, only during winter months, or just when you're battling a cold?  Soup is good when it's cold, and I don't eat it when it's warm outside.  Which is kind of weird because I eat other hot foods when it's warm out.  I guess soup just seems like cold weather food to me.  
6. The lyrics tell us that when her son was hungry, Mama reliably whipped something up. What's the last food you prepared?  I made beef and broccoli and a cajun chicken caesar salad on Sunday night to have for lunch and dinner meals this week.  I usually cook on Sunday night for the week.  
7. He also sings that his mama always made sure he had a few dollars in his pocket. Let's talk about you and money. Did you more recently lend or borrow it?  Most recently I've given it away to contractors to fix my house.  
8. Mother's Day is for grandmothers, too. Sam grew up calling her grandmother "Grandgran." Did you have a nickname for your grandmother?  Both my grandmas were called grandma.  Both their first names were shortened into nicknames - Grandma Dorothy was Grandma Dot and Grandma Leona was Grandma Lee.
9. To celebrate Mother's Day, Sam is giving away her own mother's favorite candy: Hershey Bars. Would you prefer milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate with almonds?  I wouldn't take any of them, but my mom, who is a chocoholic, would take one of each.
Happy Mother's Day!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Renaissance

The Renaissance Pleasure Faire has been taking place April through May since the 1960s.  It started off in LA County and then moved to San Bernardino for several years, which is quite a ways away for us Angelenos, especially in traffic.  Recently it has moved back in town and currently running in Irwindale, which is just east of Pasadena.  I remember my high school physics teacher, a British guy, was highly involved in the fair.  He was a good teacher and fun guy, so I always figured it would be a good time.  The fair participants are known for going whole hog into character and kind of live the Renaissance life every weekend for the length of the fair.  I had never attended the fair before. This weekend was my first visit.
The rumors were true.  There were more people dressed in costume than not.  This was the line up to the opening parade.
There is a queen of the fair as well as other royal court members.  Many of the participants even live in the camps around the fair grounds each weekend.
There were several stages with shows and music as well as demonstrations (metal work, spinning wool, glass blowing) throughout the fair.  They also offered a lot of options for children.
 There was a May Pole with dancing and sword fighting.
One of the participants was telling us that they have to work themselves up through the ranks to be part of the fair.  Here they were even testing swordsmen and women to qualify them for the fair.
I always enjoy a fun sign.  These were some of my favorites...
She stood outside protesting the jousting match.
The jousting match was fun.  The queen of the fair watched from her thrown while three horsemen, dressed in their armor, competed.
Each weekend of the fair, they have a dress theme for visitors.  This past weekend was steampunk victorian.  I'm not really sure how that connected to the renaissance fair, but some of those costumes were great...
I told my friends that we needed to start thinking of our costumes for next year.  I'm not sure if we will actually do it, but I'm pretty sure that butterfly wings are a must!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Recently

It's been a little quiet over here in my blog life.  Things have been a bit busier in real life...
They say that plastic surgery and tattoos are addictive.  Once you have something done, you want more and more, never being satisfied.  I'm feeling that way about home improvement!  Over the last couple of months I've had a few projects completed - and by "I" I mean I've hired someone to do them.  After each successful project, I've had another slightly bigger project waiting in the wings just itching to get started.  For the last three weeks the preparation of the most impressive of them all have taken place.  I GOT NEW FLOORS!!!  And when you get new floors you basically have to move out of the home packing up almost everything you own so the floors can be accessed.  That has been a project.  The work finished rather quickly this past week, surprisingly quick considering how long it took me to get ready for it.  They are so beautiful, I can hardly stand it!  Here are my stairs, entry, and landing.  More photos to come of the rooms as soon as everything is cleaned and moved back in.
For now, the itch is over.  I'm very happy with home things right now, plus I'm broke.  
On Wednesday night, some friends and I saw the musical Kinky Boots at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.  Going in, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I saw the film that it was based on years ago. The movie was good, but a little dark.  The play was inspired by that film (which was based on a true story) and written by Cyndi Lauper.  It was AMAZING!  Kinky Boots is so much fun.  One of the best shows I've seen.  
Thursday night was book club.  This month's selection was The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.  It was a good book and not a story line I've read before - a family mystery of sorts.  Somehow, I found time to read/listen to some other books I enjoyed this month.  The Accident by Chris Pavone, The Keeper of Lost Causes and The Absent One both by Jussi Adler-Olsen, and The Crossing (Harry Bosch) by Michael Connelly.  All four are also mysteries - the first taking place in the publishing world and the remaining three are police detective series.  I'd recommend them all.
There are 6 weeks and 4 days (Memorial Day shortens one of the remaining weeks) until the school year is over and summer break starts.  While summer break sounds awfully good now that it is in sight, I'm feeling a bit blue about this year's group of kids moving on.  They've been a lot of fun.  But I am looking forward to summer break where I will spend it hugging my new floors.