Monday, February 28, 2011

And There Goes February (2 for 2)

Wow! That was fast. I feel like I just posted about the end of January. Here it is, the end of February, but surprisingly enough, I completed another calendar. It was quite a feat as I spent most of February sick. In fact, this weekend I came down with a gnarly throat infection that kicked my butt. I even took today off from school…and I HATE doing that.

This month, I used pieces of a magazine to make the calendar. I found this amazing picture in one of my travel magazines of Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s tiling is so beautiful and I wanted to incorporate it into my art journal (I also added it to the list of places I want to visit), but I couldn’t come up with a way to do so. I decided to use strips of the picture to create the rows and columns of the calendar.

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A couple weeks ago, I worked on the next page using spray paint. Some of it seeped through so my previously white background became blotches of color. It’s not what I intended, but it is what it is.

I only got to journal a few other pages during this busy and sick month. I will begin March’s calendar tomorrow and will hopefully have time to continue it for another month.

Happy March!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Movie Post

Avitable posted this the other day. I’m not quite sure I can do it because I don’t tend to venture out on my movie genres. I like just a few certain types of movies so I may not be able to fill in all the categories. I just noticed that these are supposed to be posted a movie a day. How nice to have 31 posts ready to go, but there is no way I can fill 31 posts about movies. I love movies, but don’t really analyze them. I like them or I don’t. Books, I can analyze, movies are a guilty pleasure. So here we go…

Day #1: Favorite Movie – The Godfather

Day #2: Least Favorite Movie – The Jackal

Day #3: Favorite Comedy – Swingers

Day #4: Favorite Adventure – Hook

Day #5: Favorite Horror – too scary

Day #6: Favorite Suspense/Thriller – The Departed

Day #7: Favorite Animated Movie – How to Train Your Dragon

Day #8: Favorite Guilty Pleasure – Tie - Clueless and Bring it On

#9: A Movie You Never Expected To Love – Australia

Day #10: Biggest Let-Down – The Bounty Hunter

Day #11: First Movie You Saw In Theaters – Star Wars (the first one made) with my Dad

Day #12: The Last Movie You Saw In Theaters – Unknown

Day #13: Favorite Documentary – March of the Penguins

Day #14: Favorite Satire – Dogma

Day #15: A Movie With Your Favorite Actor – Michael Clayton

Day #16: Favorite Movie Based On A Book – Bridget Jones’ Diary

Day #17: Favorite Movie With An Actor You Hate – Knight and Day

Day #18: Movie You Can Watch On Loop – Tie – Oceans 11-13 and Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum

Day #19: Favorite Movie Based On A Historical Event – The Gladiator

Day #20: Favorite Movie Based On A Historical Figure – Charlie Wilson’s War

Day #21: Favorite Musical – Tie – Grease and The Commitments

Day #22: Most Over-Rated Movie – Avatar

Day #23: Most Under-Rated Movie – Rocknrolla

Day #24: Movie With Best Soundtrack – Bend it Like Beckham

Day #25: Favorite Black and White Movie – Casablanca

Day #26: Cheesiest Horror Movie – Don’t Watch Horror

Day #27: Favorite Oscar-Winning Movie – The Godfather

Day #28: Favorite Made-For-Television Movie – Nadia

Day #29: Favorite Movie Based On A Television Series – Sex and the City

Day #30: Favorite Re-Make – Tie – The Italian Job and Ocean’s 11

Day #31: Favorite Sequel – The Godfather II

Hey. look at that...I did it! Your turn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Shout Out To Africa

Last year, I wrote a post for Writer’s Workshop about a dream trip that I’d like to take. I’ve been lucky though because over the years I have taken some amazing trips. My first travel experience was spending the summer traveling around Ireland and England after I graduated from college. That sparked a love for visiting places abroad. Since then I’ve been back to England a couple of times, and have also had adventures in France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. With the exception of Switzerland, I’ve made return trips to those countries as well. Every single trip was a great journey either because of the sights, the people, or the food, but usually a combination of the all three.

With that being said, the most incredible journey I have taken was my trip to South Africa and Zambia. I’m not sure what made it my trip of a lifetime thus far because everything about it was incredible. However, I think the fact that the trip from Los Angeles to the southern part of the continent is very, very long (I spent a of total of 52 hours in the air on this trip), and its almost cost prohibitive airfare made me savor each and every minute of my time there.

Whether is be the city of Cape Town…

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or the people…
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or the animals…
2508113530_d24de91946_o 2477841024_84ef37078f_o 2484844445_25f2574f65_o 2507267557_1917aa9eb2_o or the natural wonders…


I’d love to go back, but for now it was a once in a lifetime trip.


Monday, February 14, 2011

I’m Siiiiiiiiiick

As much of the US is under attack of some cold/flu type virus, I’ve gone through winter feeling pretty good.  I hoped that my teacher immune system was keeping me healthy while the rest of the country was stricken because they didn’t get sneezed on by seven-year-olds about ten times a day like I do. 

Wishful thinking on my part as this weekend I came down with something…off and on sore throat, pounding headache, congested head, and worst of all I have no energy.  I don’t “do nothing” very well, and that is all I seem to have the energy for.

When all of my non-teacher friends get sick, they call in sick and stay home from work.  Oh, how I envy how easy that sounds.  Since I can’t call my students and tell them school is canceled because I’m sick, it’s time to decide if a sick day is worth it or not.  That’s because if a teacher doesn’t go in, he or she has to call for a substitute.  There are some great substitutes out there, but there are also some awful ones.  Regardless, when I am out, my sub plans look a lot different than my own plans.  If I wake up in the morning sick, I can’t just call in for a sub and go back to bed.  Instead, I have to schlep over to school, write sub plans (changing the ones that were already written), make copies, and prepare anything else needed.  In addition this all has to be done before the sub shows up about 7:30 in the morning.  So really, it’s just easier to suck it up, go in, get through the day, and go home right after the kids leave.  Sometimes I might even mention to the kids that I’m sick and they need to do their best job so I don’t get sicker.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. It would surely backfire with this year’s class, so I kept my illness to myself today.

I can’t remember the last time I was out of the classroom due to being sick.  Being sick is such an inconvenience.

I worried that Rigby would not handle “doing nothing” very well.  However, she must know her mama is not up to par and has taken it easy on me. 
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She seems to be ok with the laziness of our day...for now anyways.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Billy Collins is probably my favorite American poet. The poking-fun tone and the everday subjects he uses really appeal to me. The Lanyard and Litany are at the top of my Billy Collins’ list.

I came across this video a few weeks ago. This little guy reciting “Litany” makes me so happy…he’s so stinkin’ cute. (It’s also a testament to parents who to read to their children.) Take the time to watch it, and I promise you will have a smile on your face before it’s even over.

Here's the poem…
Litany by Billy Collins
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet
and somehow the wine.

Billy Collins plays with metaphor as a small jab at other poets who use, or rather over use, this literary device.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - The Restaurant Edition

delicious3Recently I’ve been quite uninspired in the kitchen which was evident by a week’s worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch last week. Luckily it was Restaurant Week here in Los Angeles so I wasn’t without good food for too many days in a row.

Restaurant Week is a food event sponsored by DineLA. Participating restaurants offer a three-course prix fixe menu allowing diners to try specialty (meaning expensive) restaurants at a fraction of the cost. This year I enjoyed two restaurants on the list.

First stop was A/O/C which is on 3rd Street, right near the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market on Fairfax and 3rd.
aoc-wine-barMy friend Mike and I ordered some wine while we perused our menu choices.
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The dishes are served more in a tapas style at A/O/C, and therefore we each ordered a different first and second course so we could share. Other than “the dishes are served as they’re ready” philosophy (meaning your companion’s salad may arrive 10 minutes before yours or the side dishes come out 5 minutes before or after your main dish) the food was REALLY good.

Mike ordered a lovely apple/buttermilk dressing salad while I ordered the pear/endive/hazelnut/St. Agur blue cheese.
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For our second course we ordered pork chops with chorizo and sofrito and also grilled chicken with escarole sitting on a bed of parmesan pudding. The parmesan pudding was to die for, and it took every ounce of restraint not to pick up the plate and lick it clean.
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Our side dishes included fingerling potatoes with
crème fraîche and also farro and black rice with pine nuts and currants. Both had amazing flavors.

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We both decided to order the chocolate-peanut butter brownie with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream. Nom nom nom!
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This weekend the restaurant of choice was Campanile located on La Brea. I have been dying to dine here so my expectations were high.
Campanile is housed in a 1929 office structure that was originally built for Charlie Chaplin. The restoration is amazing. It is a very beautiful restaurant.
This time a couple of Morettis were enjoyed while deciding on the menu.
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The first course…ricotta gnocchi on a bed of lettuce with pine nuts, currants and olives. Oh my, this was so good! (Clearly the lighting here was better for photographs)
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The second course…roast pork loin with Swiss chard and pureed sweet potatoes, also delicious.
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The final course…pear cobbler with ginger ice cream. What a great combination!
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Campanile did not disappoint and I am looking forward to going back there again.

What a fun event! I look forward to the next one. Hopefully these amazing meals will inspire me to cook some of my own at home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How Will They Know It’s Spring?

Los Angeles County warmed up the last two weeks of January. While the rest of the nation was covered in snow, our temperatures soared well into the 90s. We cooled off again for the first week of February, but are now back in the 80s this weekend.

This unseasonably warm weather has caused the trees to bloom a couple of months early.

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I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. ~ Langston Hughes

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It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens

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Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men. ~Chinese Proverb
blog 068blog 065I wonder if the trees will be done blooming before spring even begins.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bruises and Broken Bones Do Not Define Rape - A Lack of Consent Does.

“A far-reaching anti-choice bill, introduced by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 members of the House, includes a provision that could redefine rape in the realm of federal funding for reproductive health care.

Right now, federal dollars can't be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger. But the Smith bill would narrow that use to "cases of 'forcible' rape but not statutory or coerced rape."

As far too many women know, bruises and broken bones do not define rape - a lack of consent does. Please sign the petition today.”
-Taken from MoveOn.Org

No matter your views on a woman’s right to choose, “redefining rape” to limit the amount of federal money being spent on abortions is a malicious assault against women and our personal health decisions. Please sign the online petition on’s website. They will forward it to your state and local representatives. This is scary stuff ladies (and the men who love them)!