Thursday, August 26, 2010


It’s funny to me that people are still talking about it being summer. Yes, on the calendar, it still is summer, but now that I am in my 3rd week back to school it no longer seems like it, except of course the 112 degree temperatures.

Even though summer is technically over for me and I’m already pining for summer vacation next year, Mama Kat asked about the perfect summer. So here we go…

no-kids-allowed School is out! Other people’s children are with the other people, and I’m not responsible for them until the new school year.

My bed is one of my favorite place to be over the summer. I finally get to catch up on some much needed sleep after the crazy school year.

CB068381I love going to the movies, but when I’m working I’m limited to the weekends, and even then it’s hard to get out to them. Summertime means I can go to the movies whenever I want to, even the cheaper matinee. This summer I caught Inception, Dinner For Shmucks, The Other Guys, SALT, The Girl Who Played With Fire.

credit-card-swipeSpending money is just a fact of life over the summer. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite thing, but it’s the nature of summer vacation. I never have time to go shopping for fun things when I’m working, so when I’m off it’s like a not-so-free for all with the credit card. New shoes, clothes, decorating items for the house, dinners out, movies, outings, etc. all cost money and when I have the time, I spend money!

HuntingtonandGetty Villa 041I try to make traveling a part of my life, but not in the summer. Summer travel is too hot, too expensive, and too crowded, so I prefer to stay home and do my long distance traveling during winter or spring break. And even though just being home is delightful, I do get a bit stir crazy. Summer is good for day trips to museums (like the Getty Villa), the beach (like Santa Barbara), and just spending time in the city shopping.

I’m breaking the rules and adding another picture that depicts this summer…
Picture 035I adopted a puppy what was I thinking! Rigby is rotten and wonderful all rolled into a cutie patootie! It’s been nice having a dog in the house again, but she tends to wreak havoc on the house. But who can’t forgive that face. She’s been working very hard learning her manners like sit, down, wait, stay, leave it (which we use A LOT), come, and even some fun ones like shake and roll over. She’s not enjoying me having to go back to work neither am I, but she’s getting better…only a year and five months until she’s two!

Summer went by incredibly quick, as usual. I could have used another couple of weeks, but I did enjoy the time I had.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

delicious3Oh, this is one of the best pulled pork recipes ever! It is so delicious and so versatile. It looks like a lot of work and ingredients, but it is very easy to prepare and then it sits in a crock pot all day. It’s a must try!

Pulled Pork
1 (4.5 pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast
1 cup root beer
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups root beer
1 1/2 fluid ounces whiskey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup prepared barbecue sauce

1. Marinate the pork with 1 cup root beer in a large Ziploc bag for 6 hours to overnight.
2. Mix light brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic salt, celery salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl.
3. Remove pork from the marinate and shake off excess liquid. Set pork on a sheet of saran wrap. Throw marinade away.
4. Rub the meat all over with the spice mixture. Wrap pork tightly in the saran wrap. Put back in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
5. Mix the balsamic, root beer, whiskey, and brown sugar in a bowl, set aside.
6. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Seer the meat on all sides in the skillet until it gets a brown crust, about 3 minutes on each side.
7. Put browned pork into the crockpot and pour the balsamic mixture over the meat. Set temperature on high, cover, and cook for 6-8 hours.
8.Remove the pork from the slow cooker, and shred with 2 forks. blog 003
Toss the bones and all but 1 cup of crockpot liquid. Return the shredded meat to the cooker, mix with the barbecue sauce and cooking liquid, and let sit on Low until ready to serve. blog 005
Serve on hamburger buns or be creative! blog 006Here served on a toasted Hawaiian bread hamburger roll (thanks to Jlo).

blog 008

Here served with black beans, cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro inside a grilled corn tortilla to make a quesadilla.

The recipe above makes a ton. Sometimes I use a 2 pound roast and it still makes a lot, just not as much that you get tired of it after a few days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Follow Up

OMG! Kelly over at The Glass Dragonfly commented on my sleep walking/talking post and left me a link to It is the funniest blog I have ever seen. You have to go check it out. Thank goodness no one is taping me, but I'm glad this guy is being recorded. He is a his sleep.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Caution: This Sleeper Walks

I am a sleep walker and talker. Since I am presently living alone (please don’t come and rob me) I don’t know if I do it much anymore, but growing up in my parents house, it was a regular occurrence.

I have been known to get out of bed, find my parents, and have complete conversations with them. I have also woken up in various places around the house that I was dreaming about. Once, I dreamt that I was playing the violin in my closet and I woke up in the closet. Another time, after a fun night out with friends, I dreamt that I was waiting to be picked up by some friends and I woke up sitting on the living room sofa. Anyone who has ever slept with or near me has said I talk and talk and talk a lot of the night, hmmm what a surprise, right?

The most famous sleep walking story in my family took place when I was maybe about 10 years old. Most of the story is from second hand sources, as I was sleeping during most of it, except the end when I was woken suddenly, which I remember.

One evening, it was a school night, I went to bed at my bed time. Later, as was the norm, my mom went to bed before my dad, as always he stayed up later to watch television downstairs. Clearly, I had something very important to tell my mom so I got out of bed, walked into her bedroom, and tapped her on the shoulder to wake her up, all the while asleep. My mom is a wonderful person, but she is a big scaredy-cat. (Now this is the part I remember.) My mom sat up in bed and screamed bloody-frickin murder, which woke me up and made me cry. Thinking we were being attacked, my screaming mom scared my dad, who ran up the stairs in a panic, only to find his wife and daughter both sitting on his bed crying and hugging.

Nowadays, I still sleepwalk once in awhile, but the times I’ve been aware of, I woke up in the middle of the dream, just as I was getting out of bed. But I still do talk in my sleep, a lot. I always worry about that a little bit, hoping I don’t say something that I shouldn’t. So far though, I haven’t…at least I don’t think I have.

Do you walk or talk in your sleep?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Head of Household Basket


If you are a fan of Big Brother, you’ll know exactly what basket I’m talking about. If not, the head of household basket is a group of items prepared by the families of the Big Brother contestants in case they become head of household. If they win that competition, they are free from eviction that week and get to move into a special, private bedroom with pictures and fun things from home, including the head of household basket.

The other night I was watching the show and they did a close up of the basket. That got me to thinking…what would I want in my basket? In the event that I was a contestant on Big Brother, I wanted to make sure the people (friends and family) who would be preparing my basket were clear on what should be included…
1. Coca Cola (surprise!)
2. Baked Cheetos
3. Reeses Peanut Butter eggs
4. My iPhone (that includes my Scrabble app)
5. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
6. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
7. A bottle (or 3) of Malbec (red wine)
8. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
9. Deck of cards
10. Law and Order DVDs

Now, I’m not quite sure of the HOH basket guidelines, so I’ve chosen the top ten things that would make me happy. Were any of my list a surprise? What would be in your basket?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Cups Runneth Over


Last year, this cup became the bane of my existence. It is an insulated, hard plastic cup that Starbucks released for cold drinks. My first experience with the cup was when a work colleague started bringing one into work. It was very cute and kept her water nice and cold. I then told my best friend Kristen about the cup and she immediately expressed interest in it. I had this great idea of getting her this cup and some Starbucks’ gift cards as her Christmas gift. In theory, it was a good idea. In reality, it was a wild goose chase. Not one of the 100 Starbucks in town had this cup in stock. I tried their website, but they were sold out. Friends who lived out of state were contacted to check their local Starbucks. I even went on ebay where I found out why they were sold out everywhere. There were hundreds of them for sale for $40 - $70 a cup! Are you kidding me?!?! I finally resigned myself to the fact that this Christmas present wasn’t meant to be and turned my buying interests elsewhere.

The tides changed however this past spring. My Starbucks’ cup saga was well known at work so one afternoon I got a call from our resource teacher. Apparently the Starbucks down the road had the cups in stock. “Yes!” I told her when she asked if I wanted any. I actually asked for two; one for Kristen and one more me – after all the hoopla, I had to have one too! Unfortunately, when she arrived at the coffee shop they were all out except for one venti and one grande. She picked up the venti for me, so I at least had the one for Kristen.

cups 001

Shortly after purchasing this one, my mom called from Hawaii to tell me her local Starbucks had the cups and even better they had a cute Hawaiian flower on them. “Yes!” I told her when she asked if she could pick one up for me. I was thrilled, now I had one for me and one for Kristen. However, when my mom arrived into town with the cup, it was actually a grande cup, the smaller one. Neither Kristen or I wanted to the smaller one.

cups 002

After my mom’s arrival I stopped in Starbucks with a friend of mine, and while we stood in line I noticed they had a whole wall full of venti cups. “Hooray!” I told myself. I finally had a large cup for me and for Kristen.

cups 003

I was set. Kristen got hers with some gift cards for her recent birthday, and I had both a large and small version, including a cute Hawaiian one.

Over the summer, I met another work colleague at Starbucks in order to work on the writing training we do during the year. While we were texting back and forth to schedule the meeting she said she brought me back a surprise from her trip to Hawaii. When I arrived at our meeting time, she pulled this venti cup out of her bag.

cups 005

So now, in addition to the one I gave Kristen, I have 2 venti and 1 grande Starbucks’ cups, two being the cute ones from Hawaii. I could have my own ebay listing at this point. As usual, when it rains it pours, but at least it’s pouring into one of my 3 Starbucks’ cups!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Trouble With Chemistry

In my sophmore year of high school I had a chemistry class with old Mr. L. He was kind of an icky guy. He wore the same pair of pants everyday and I remember the outline of his wallet could be seen on his pocket, even if the wallet wasn’t there. Mr. L. was also a terrible teacher. He’d stand up and lecture about the periodic table in this very monotone voice that kind of reminded me of the “Bueller, Bueller” teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, only with even less personality. I spent most of class time sitting quietly at my lab table, not wanting to interact with him because he creeped me out a bit.

About halfway through the year I was absent due to a funeral that my family had to attend. The funeral happened to be on Friday of a holiday weekend. Apparently, there were many kids absent from Mr. L's class on that Friday because when we returned to class on Monday, Mr. L was mad! He told all of us who were absent that we would lose points for the day unless we had been excused by the office. He sent all of us out of the room to get a note from the attendance office. Some of the “cooler” kids said, “screw this” and just skipped the rest of the class, but I was quite the rule follower in high school so I got my note and headed back to the room.

That night when my dad got home from work, he was not very happy with me. He told me that he got a call from Mr. L, my chemistry teacher, and was told that I left class to go to the office and didn’t return. Both my parents were teachers so they always supported my teachers with my behavior. Most likely it is the kid who is at fault, but in this case I was being accused of something I did not do. I was outraged. I told my dad what happened and although he was a little leery, he agreed to let me try to clear it up with Mr. L the next day before he beat me senseless grounded me.

I walked into chemistry class the next day and I was livid! With a few friends who had my back, I approached Mr. L and confronted him. I told him I did return to class, with my note, the day before and my friends vouched for me. He hemmed and hawed about it for a few moments and then said it was fine and told me to sit down. “Nu uh,” I told him. “You need to call my dad back and tell him that I did return to class so I don’t get into trouble.!” I demanded.

Eventually, it was all taken care of and I did not get into trouble. Since I wasn’t usually in trouble back then, this whole incident rocked my world. I couldn’t believe I was being accused of something I didn’t do. My dad and I laughed about that incident a lot, after the fact.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Walking With the Puppy

I've been spending a lot of time walking around the block of my neighborhood over the last month or so. Beacause Rigby the puppy is still young, she tires out pretty quickly so I can't stray too far from home while on our walks. This summer, the temperature has been unseasonably cool so everyone is out in the evening when I'm on my walks. Kids are playing and riding bikes and parents are working in the yard or on a fitness walk. It's quite busy and I've chatted with a lot of people who I don't usually even see. Some of these chats have been quite interesting and some have been quite funny. Here are my two favorite of the summer...

1. Austin, a little boy who lives around the corner from me, has been very interested in Rigby. Everytime we see him he stops us, takes a treat from me to give to Rigby, and asks me all sorts of questions about her. He is really very sweet. One evening he sat right down on the curb to pet her and we had this conversation...

Austin - There's a police over there. (points up the street where the police car is parked)
Me - Oh, really? Why?

Austin - (shrugs) I don't know, someone called them about my mom.
Me - Oh no, I'm sorry!

Austin - (shrugs) Ehhh, it's ok.

I never found out what that was all about, but it sure caused quite a stir in the neighborhood. I've never seen so many people out, walking by the house with the police car in the front of it.

2. Just yesterday I was on a walk in the evening and going the other direction was a mom pushing her son in a stroller and her daughter, who was about 3, rode on a tricycle type thing. She hopped off quickly and asked if she could pet Rigby. I told her she could. I've been working a lot on training the puppy so I carry a hunk of string cheese with me as a reward. Rigby is a little skittish of children because they move so quickly and she's a herding dog so I always give the kids who want to see her some of the cheese so she will see them as treat givers and not small creatures to herd. So I said, "I'm going to give you a piece of cheese to give to her," to the little girl as I pulled off a little bit and handed it to her. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Thank you," right before she put it in her own mouth and ate it! That made me laugh out loud. How cute is that!?!?

I've never been all that neighborly. I'm a pretty private person and I don't like people in my business if I don't know them. Plus, I don't like neighborhood drama. I've met some very nice people out on these walks, but I also see the potential for gossip and backstabbing from a few. I think once the puppy has the endurance for longer walks, we will be heading out of the neighborhood. Until then, the stories are pretty good.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Sketchbook Project

Have you heard of the Sketchbook Project? I found out about it through one of my favorite creative bloggers, iHannah. What a neat idea if you like to doodle, journal, sketch, paint, whatever! In order to participate, you purchase a Moleskin from their website and choose a theme. After completing the sketchbook any way you please, you return it to the Project. All the sketchbooks that are returned are then sent on to be exhibited in galleries across the US. After the tour, they are housed in the Brooklyn Art Library in order to be checked out be anyone, everyone!

I signed up last week and received my sketchbook today! My theme is "Facing Forward".

I'm very excited about it, but as I sit at my art table I'm kind of a nervous wreck! In the sketchbooks that I do for myself, if I mess up, I just tear it out and start over, or turn the page. I suddenly have the realization that this book is not just for me, but has the potential to be seen by other people which adds a whole other element to it...I don't want to do a crappy job. Luckily, sketchbooks by nature are the beginnings of art so mistakes will be made and they may not be pretty. After I'm done writing this blog, I'm going to dive in and just start already. Staring at a blank sketchbook is very uninspiring so I need to get something in it, and soon!

If you like to sketch or doodle or art journal, head over to the Project's website (click the picture above) and check it out. It would be fun to hear about other bloggy friends who are also participating.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Would I Change

For Writer's Workshop this week, one of the prompts is “If you could do it over again…”

This is a loaded question really.  There are a lot of little things and a few big things I wish I had done differently.  However, in the place I am in my life at this very moment what I most likely would do over again is to choose a career where international travel is a job requirement.  I’m not sure what area I’d choose to go into, but it would most likely be helping others (teaching, international relations) rather than a business type career.  It would be a career in which I spent time in one location really learning about the culture, maybe picking up the language, and living the life of the people there before moving on and doing it again in another location. 

Since traveling is so prohibitively expensive, I am not able to do it as often as I’d like to.  Fortunately, as a teacher, I have time to travel but the time I am able to go is when it’s most expensive.  I’ve been very lucky to go to the places I have, but wish I had the time and money to have spent more time there.  To have a career where the travel was built in would be wonderful.

However, in the scheme of it all, those small and big things I wish I had done differently aren’t really regrets.  Instead I’ve learned from those things.  My life is pretty good and those things that didn’t work out so well have shaped me into the person I am today…the good and the bad.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Strip Ease - Crusade #42

I've been off all summer and I still managed to be super late with the GPP Street Team July Crusade...Strip Ease. I love this challenge because I always have paper scraps that I can't bear to throw away but can't really use either. Journaling with them makes for a neat page. Since I just started this on the due date it's still drying and not quite finished. I'm going to go back and write in it once it's no longer sticky, but I didn't want to miss the deadline either.
My strips are all recycled from mail, starbucks' napkins, or scraps from other projects. For the left side I stamped the medallion on the napkin with distress ink, got it wet, ironed it until it was almost dry and then tore it as well. For the right side I stenciled words on the page and then covered it with the strips. The piece over the word is also a napkin as well as the leaves in the bottom corner. I love those leaves and had to put them somewhere. It's hard to tell they are leaves in the picture.

I did get to work on some art this vacation, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. Now that I start back to work next week I'm afraid it will be even less. So depressing.