Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Little New Year’s Trip

We headed to “Sin City” yesterday to celebrate the New Year.  My aunt has a condo just outside of town where she stays a few months in the winter.  So a large group of my family were invited for a visit. 

Considering it can seem to take days just getting out of LA County, it’s just about a 4 hour drive into Nevada.  A lot of people think the drive is ugly, but I rather like it.  The desert is quite bare and brown this time of year, but the mountains are a sight.
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Each range we passed was so different than the previous. Some are so rocky, some are rounded, some are light in colors while others are dark.

The desert is always a good bet for sunsets.    

stuff 002 stuff 003 stuff 004 stuff 005 stuff 007 stuff 008 I am a sucker for a good sunset, and the mountains turn purple.  Beautiful

Since we are not staying at a hotel/casino, our time gambling is limited.  That’s fine by me.  I love to play the games and chat with the dealers, but I can’t stand losing my hard-earned money.  When I do play, I’m frugal.  So when we went out last night, I was expecting to play for about an hour; figuring I wouldn’t last more than that.  How exciting it was then to have out-played everyone else at craps and then black jack, tripling my winnings! 

After all was said and done, I came home with two of these bad boys and some change.  Now I have to decide, do I end 2011 richer or keep playing since it’s not my money anyways…we shall see!

Happy New Years!  I hope 2012 is happy for everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy! Merry!

This is about all I could muster up for a blog post on the night of the last day of school.  Hopefully, these can bring a few laughs to those of us who are still stressed about preparing for the holidays…380839_236047866465678_208877045849427_558391_831294611_nchristmas-comic-stockings-are-hung  386753_310399052313947_266484180038768_1101351_1090769418_n

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts Big

  • Tonight was my book club’s monthly meeting/holiday party.  We had a great time gossiping, eating, drinking, and exchanging our favorite kitchen utensil gifts.  Oh, and we talked about the book for about 5 minutes.  After everyone left, every fiber of my being wanted to just go to bed and leave the clean up for the next day.  But really, waking up to a messy kitchen from the night before is the worst.  I sucked it up, cleaned the kitchen, dining room, and living room.  It felt like the dishes multiplied, but alas it’s finished, and I can wake up to a fresh start.
  • There is one more week left before winter break.  If this past week was any sign, I foresee this next week to be just about the slowest week of my life.  Ugh.  The kids are pretty high, and I’m pretty tired.  I hope I make it.
  • Last weekend, I did a little Christmas shopping and have come to the realization that I am the worst Christmas shopper in the whole world.  I left the house with a list of items to purchase and only came  back with half of them…because I forgot to buy the other half.  I drove right past a couple of stores on my list and couldn’t remember to stop there.  I did, however, come home other things that were not on my list, for me!
  • Also, I wrote my Christmas cards over Thanksgiving.  Since then, I have gone to the store three times with stamps on my list and all three times walked out of the store without them.  At this point, it will be a Christmas miracle if I can get those cards sent out before New Years.
  • Our temperatures the last couple of weeks have been cool.  As a matter of fact they have been quite a bit lower than our normal.  I am loving every minute of it.  It actually feels like (almost) winter!  There are two things about it that I don’t care for though…First, washing my hands at school.  I wash my hands almost a million times a day because of those germy, touchy 2nd graders.  Most of the water faucets at school don’t have hot water.  With these cooler temps, that water is COLD.  When I started this point, I had two things to share, but it’s past my bedtime, and I can’t remember the second thing.  If I remember, I’ll add it.
  • Happy Friday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Smelling Smoke

I went out with some friends this weekend, and one of them is a smoker.  This person wishes they were not, but is, so needed a cig break a time or two during the evening.  I woke up the next morning and smelled like smoke.  My hair was smoky, and the clothes from that night made the laundry hamper stinky.

Smoking in Los Angeles is pretty much prohibited everywhere other than your own home. As I’m not a smoker, it hasn’t disrupted me at all, and in fact has made going out to dinner and bars more pleasant.  I know so few people who smoke these days.  Because of that, when I am around it, it’s quite apparent.

What’s funny, is that growing up I was around smokers ALL THE TIME.  My dad smoked, my grandparents smoked, my cousins smoked, and so much of the general public smoked.  The smoke smell was just a part of my life.  I’d have friends comment about smelling smoke on people or places.  Up until the last ten or 15 years, I had no idea what they were talking about.  Now that, due to health reasons or laws, less people smoke and there are fewer places to smoke, I know what clean air smells like.  I am also quite aware when I am around smoking now. 

It’s so rare nowadays to have students come to school smelling like smoke, but when one does they are easy to identify.  I used to be that kid.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one back in the day, but I was still that kid who came to school emitting smoke fumes.  Our house, car, clothes, hair, everything was smoky.  The food we ate tasted like smoke.  I also had terrible allergies and asthma growing up in a smoker’s home.

Even though I do not look down upon anyone who is a smoker (I’ve seen my fair share of successful and failed attempts to quit smoking and know it’s terribly hard to quit), it is rather nice to not smell that way anymore.  The smoky smell brings back a lot of childhood memories (both good and bad), but it also reminds me that I’m glad I breath relatively clean air most of the time. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Creating for Pay?

Over the last month, I’ve become increasingly addicted to Pinterest.  It’s silly really, but there are so many good art/craft/recipe/home/style ideas it’s not even funny.  However, I think what has taken up most of my time has been the school/lesson ideas.  I’ve been teaching second grade for a million eleven years and have been looking for some fresh inspiration.  Pinterest has it, and since creating an account I’ve spent so much time online looking for great ideas. 

Through my searches, I stumbled upon some lesson and activity sites that host teachers who create materials and want to sell them.  This floored me a bit.  I’m not sure why, since people sell everything these days, but seeing teachers selling ideas seems so strange for some reason.

The teaching profession has always been about sharing ideas.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve handed a colleague a lesson and said, “FYI, I tried this with my kids, and it went well, feel free to use it.”.  In fact, just today I receive an envelope from my district writing partner that included some materials she wanted to share, while at the same time I also emailed off about six lessons to other 2nd grade teams in town.  Since teaching is about the kids, and not about who created what, it doesn’t matter where it came from…if it’s good, shouldn’t all kids have access to it?

It also might irritate me a bit that some of the things I saw on the websites were materials that I have given away at presentations, for free.  Sure, I’m probably not the only one who had those ideas, but posting activity instructions that are identical, word-for-word, to the ones I created and gave out doesn’t seem quite ethical.  Actually, I could care less about them being posted, or even shared as someone else’s ideas, but making money off of someone else’s ideas isn’t right.

Or maybe I’m just bitter that the thousands of files I have saved on my computers at home and school haven’t made me any money.  Perhaps I should get on that…

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Is Here

It’s amazing that it’s December already.  It doesn’t feel like it’s almost Christmas,  but at least the weather has cooled and the 80+ mph winds are making it feel like winter.  The Christmas tree went up last night.
stuff 109It’s the first tree since adopting the puppy, so we shall see if anything is still standing by Christmas…so far so good.

Since November is over, it’s time to share the monthly calendar for the Calendar Challenge at The Kathryn Wheel.  I saw this color palette in a magazine a few months ago, and it reminded me of fall, so I used it for November.
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I had hoped to spend my week long Thanksgiving holiday working in my journal, but most of the time was spent on my Christmas cards. 
stuff 087It was worth it though as the cards are made, written in, and addressed – just need to buy the stamps.

I’ve been playing around with some bookmaking.  There are just two pages left in this year’s journal, and I am on the hunt for a new one.  I’ve been disappointed in the paper that was in the last few, so I thought, “Why not make my own.”  It’s been kind of fun to be making books, and I foresee several MORE blank books lying around my house in the near future. 
The little one was the easiest, as it was just one signature with a really simple stitch. 
stuff 121  But with only one signature, I can’t add too much paper to it.  That will bother me.

The larger one was more work…
stuff 083There are four signatures that needed to be measured and punched.
 stuff 085Then sewn together with linen thread stuff 086 The signatures were smothered with bookbinding glue and clamped to set the binding before the bookboards were wrapped in masa paper that I had watercolored and bounded with gaffer’s tape.  Other than a few crooked folds, I really like how it turned out AND it has my favorite paper inside it.  The next one will be better.stuff 119I like the way they both turned out, but I will most likely use the larger one to start 2012.

I also played with some collage this past weekend, just for fun.
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2011 had its shares of ups and downs, but now that it’s just about over, I wonder how it got by me so quickly.  However, looking forward to seeing what 2012 has in store.