Friday, February 24, 2012

My Chat with President Obama

I was probably the worst teacher in the whole wide world this week.  Still feeling like death warmed up, I couldn’t wrap my mind around calling in/planning for a a sub, but really had no business going in to work and taking care of little ones. 

Everything felt like it was in slow motion this week.  But I wasn’t the only one who was sick.  Our first day back, 4 of my students were absent and a couple of the ones who did attend sounded as healthy as I did. 

Trying to save my voice, I wrote many directions on the board and used my “teacher look” a lot in order to correct poor behavior.  Talking took a lot of effort and didn’t go over so well as one notified me, “You sound like a man today,” after listening to my gravelly voice.

When today (Friday) arrived, it was such a relief.  But when I picked up my class in line this morning, I walked into a bit of an argument between classmates. 
JS – Ms. Delight, JL said she saw you talking to President Obama yesterday. (skeptical)
JL (overhearing the tattling)  - I did see her on the street talking to Obama.
This made me chuckle, which of course led to convulsion-type coughs on the way back to class.  For the life of me, I can’t think of who JL saw me talking to because I don’t think it was President Obama.

That’s all I’ve got tonight people…I’m out!
Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is there Such a Thing As Alcohol Allergies?

Over the last year or so, I have been having an internal debate over whether to continue drinking alcohol or not.  Let me make one thing clear.  This is not a post about drinking too much or being addicted to alcohol.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  No, if I do drink, it’s socially.  I enjoy a glass of good wine on occasion or a cold beer at a bbq. 

Growing up, my parents were social drinkers.  Well, that’s maybe an understatement.  They were partiers.  When they were with their friends, they drank…a lot.  In fact, I “bartended” for my parents and their friends as a preteen and was their designated driver once I earned my license.  Alcohol was just part of my life – never something I was dying to try, but it wasn’t a taboo either.  When I went away to college I drank socially as well.  Sometimes I partied and drank a lot, but never to the point where it was a problem. 

As a grown up, like mentioned above, I’ll drink when going out with friends – maybe once or twice a month, maybe not at all in a month.  Over the last year or so however, I’ve noticed that I don’t really like the way alcohol makes me feel.  I do not mean in a hangover kind of way.  I can’t remember the last time I had a hangover.  No, I dislike the way alcohol makes me feel within minutes after drinking it.  I have come to the realization that it raises my body temperature and turns my face bright pink.  When I drink, the back of my neck and brow sweat, and even though I can tell the temperature around me is normal, I feel like I’ve entered a sauna.  It’s an awful feeling really.  I think it’s always made me feel this way, but I’ve just recently made the connection between the two.

The last time this happened was on my birthday back in September.  Good friends came over and we made martinis.  I spent most of the night freezing from the air conditioning, but with a face that was burning up.  It was then that got me thinking I might be allergic to alcohol.  Maybe it’s not a real allergy, but it makes me feel bad.  Shortly after that night, I made a decision to stop drinking for the time being and see what happened. 

Since my family is a drinking family, the holidays were a little bit frustrating.  Every time we went out or visited someone’s house I heard a lot of, “Oh, come on, just have one.” Sometimes I had to even give an emphatic “NO!” to get them off my back; especially to my wine-drinking mother.  Although my friends have been respectful when I decline a drink, they do joke a lot saying, “Well, just drink naked and you’ll stay plenty cool.”  I tell you, if I were struggling with an alcohol addiction, these people would be no help at all. :)  But seriously, since I have stopped having drinks, I’ve been perfectly comfortable and have stayed a nice, normal temperature.

So I decided to test my theory.  Just this past week, some friends and I attended a city block party event that took place on Thursday night.  None of us had been before and thought we’d check it out since we didn’t have to work the next day.  A cute little wine bar/tasting room recently opened up on the street so we stopped in to check it out.  They had a wine flight that sounded fantastic.  So I decided to take part, just to try the wines, and planned to pass the rest of the glass to my friends to finish off each tasting.  For the first few sips I was fine.  After that, I could feel the heat beginning to rise from my neck.  By the time the wine flight was over, I was a hot mess again.  Before we left, I checked my face in the bathroom mirror, and it was pink, even my ears were pink.  Which, I think, proved my theory.  I’m allergic to alcohol.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stuck in Bed Biding My Time Until the Nyquil Kicks In

Yesterday, the first day of a four day weekend, I ran a ton of errands, so delighted to be done with them before the real weekend actually started.  While standing in line at my last stop, some freaking lady walked past me with a terrible cough.  She basically coughed in my face and wasn’t covering her mouth.  Blech!  It completely skeeved me out, but I kind of forgot about it until waking up in the middle of the night with a cough that made me sound like a seal.  It’s now 24 hours later, and I am achy, freezing, coughing, and have no voice.  I think that rude lady gave me the flu!  Thankfully, there are still two days left of weekend to get better, but what a bummer! 

Thursday night I spent a couple of hours pulling together my finances for the tax man appointment I have next weekend.  I keep everything, but it gets shoved into a folder each year and needs to be organized.  I needed the car registration fee to add to my expenses which was in the car.  When I got to the garage, I realized that, even though I had paid my registration in August, I had not yet put the most recent sticker on my license plate. 
stuff 054There are holders around both my license plates, and the back one has to be removed before I can put on the sticker.  I’ve been driving around with the sticker in my car, in case I got pulled over.  But because of that, I’ve only remembered to put the sticker on when I’m driving in the car.  With the sticker in my hand, I had no excuse, I took a minute and finally put it on. stuff 056Now I’m legal…but just for 5 more months when it expires AGAIN! 

With my Saturday night plans canceled, I’m stuck in bed and bored out of my mind.   I’ve been watching some television that I recorded.  My favorite fake newsman, Jon Stewart touched on a current event that has everyone talking this week.  Clearly, he read my post on the same subject!  So funny, yet so true!

And so did Stephen Colbert…

I had some trouble embedding these videos.  If they don’t come out, try the site.  They are worth a look.  Oh, and go to the little pink media player on the side and press pause.  That way the music doesn’t play at the same time.

My eyes are getting droopy.  Hopefully the drugs will knock me out so I can get some sleep tonight.  Stupid lady!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes – Valentine’s Day

I’m going to save my lamenting about how Valentine’s Day is a made up holiday created to make everyone feel under pressure to buy something for loved ones.  No, instead I’m going to share what a very nice day today actually was…

My wonderful work-husband brought me a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf caramel latte. 
8b19518c3389dc6b_mYum!  What a great way to start off the day! 

Yesterday, I said goodbye to a very dear student whose family was moving to Fresno (or so I thought).  It was kind of a blue day in the class as we knew we wouldn’t be seeing C again.  So imagine my surprise when, upon picking up my class from the cafeteria this morning, C was sitting in her regular place in line.  I did a double take…
Ms. Delight – Oh my gosh!  You’re here!  (Smiling)  What a surprise!
C – (Smiling, as usual)
Ms. D – Does this mean you are not moving?
C - (Shakes her head)
Ms. D – So you just came to visit today?
C – My mom said that I couldn’t miss Valentine’s Day! (Duh, Ms. Delight)
Ms. D – Well, of course not!

As made abundantly clear by C’s mom, Valentine’s Day to a bunch of 7ish year old second graders is probably one of the BEST DAYS EVER!  While walking to class this morning, the line was abuzz about how much fun it was going to be.  On the way, one of my girls started off the first of many V-Day discussions…
A – Ms. Delight, J says he doesn’t give out cards to girls. 
Ms. D – Oh, well, maybe one of these days he’ll change his mind.
J – No!  I’m not giving cards to girls.  (Kind of snarky-like)
As we made our way into the classroom, a few students brought gifts and cards to me before even heading to their seats.  J was one of those students.
K – I thought you didn’t give cards to girls!  Ms. Delight is a girl!
J - (rolling his eyes) No she’s not!  She’s a women (yes, a women).  I only give cards to women. 
It took all I could do to not laugh out loud!

As the day went on, our valentines’ exchange loomed.  The kids did a pretty good job keeping it together until after lunch with the help of work disguised as “Valentine’s Day activities”.  Finally, after-lunch arrived, and our exchange ensued.  
One-by-one, tables passed out their valentines and the other students chatted with their friends, opened their cards, and sorted through their candy.  While I walked around keeping the situation under control, (another) C approached me about his Valentine’s Day dilemma…
C – Ms. Delight, I want to give a card to a girl I like.
Ms. D – Oh, ya?  Well, that’s very nice of you.
C – She’s older than me though.  She’s a 3rd grader. 
Ms. D - (trying not to giggle)  That’s ok.
C – Do you know her?
Ms. D – I’m not sure, who is she? 
C – Oh, I’m not going to tell you.  That’s too embarrassing. 
D – I’ll tell you Ms. Delight.  It’s Susana!
C – Argh! (groans)

stuff 043The day ended with heart-shaped envelopes full of cards and treats.  The kiddos took good care of me too; leaving me with all sorts of goodies – Most of which I will send home with my work husband.

The past few years, I’ve been kind of a curmudgeon about Valentine’s Day in school.  V-Day is NOT a California State standard and is NOT on the standardized test at the end of the year.  I had a hard time giving up instruction time for a V-Day exchange.  But after the treatment we received this past year about our test scores, I’ve decided that my kids are going to enjoy school this year…and so I am! And that’s just what we did!

Happy Valentine’s Day!
stuff 042

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Random Thoughts

  • This week Rick Santorum made some headway in the primaries.  I’m not sure whether to be frightened or thrilled.  Santorum is SO socially conservative, his views on, well most social issues, are really quite scary since we are living in 2012 and not 1950.  He’s for small government on business but GIANT government on families, marriage, sex, religion, and pretty much anything else that keeps women barefoot, pregnant, and out of the work force.  On the other hand, those same views are hopefully so polarizing to most that, if he did win the Republican ticket, that would surely give Obama another four years.  Obama has had his share of ups and downs, but at least he stays out of our personal lives, because they aren’t any of his business.
  • My backyard has, yet again, become the bane of my existence.  I’m no good at gardening, so the landscape is quite minimal back there.  But things have recently taken a turn for the worst as my sprinkler system has gone bonkers.  They’ve stopped working where they are needed and have now started watering the dirt.  The dirt has since turned into a swamp that the puppy LOVES to run through.  Even if I send her out for 30 seconds she comes back covered in mud.  I’ve tried turning them in another direction, but they’ve just fallen off, only causing gushers.  I’ve called the gardener to come out and fix them, but he’s been useless.  I think I might have to find someone else, which means firing the one I have now…and I don’t want to have to fire anyone. 
  • So Whitney Houston died yesterday, on the eve of the Grammys.  Of course, it’s very sad that such an amazingly talented singer is gone after only 48 years of life, but let’s be real.  She has been a hot mess for the last several years.  I can’t think her death would have been a great surprise for anyone close to her.  Even though cause of death reports have not been released yet, her notorious drug and alcohol abuse was sure to be her demise. 
  • This week, I started playing “shuffle” on my entire iPod while driving in the car.  I had gotten tired of my playlists and needed to hear something different.  Last night Sonora Carruseles’ “Micaela” came on.  It is such a fun song, and made me miss the couple of years that I went salsa dancing once a week with some friends.  They stopped the weekly classes a year or so ago, and I never looked for another place.  I’ll have to add that to my “to do” list. 
  • Birth control and Planned Parenthood have been in the forefront the last few weeks.  Men in government, men in medicine, men in church, and men in the news have been debating the morality of the distribution and use of birth control.  Does anyone else find it funny that the ones debating whether I can get/use birth control are men?  It’s even more hypocritical that drugs like Viagra and Cialis are paid for by many insurance companies while woman have to pay for contraceptives out of their own pocket.  That doesn’t seem quite fair, especially with all those newly erect penises to deal with. This week Obama tried to reach a compromise with women and the “Church men” with a policy requiring the insurance companies to pick up the tab on birth control.  That’s a win, if it doesn’t get knocked down by the right. 
  • I’m still up watching the Grammys and kind of irritated that even though the awards’ show takes place here in Los Angeles,about 20 miles away, we had to wait until 8PM (3 hours after it actually happened) to watch it.  Friends on the East Coast already knew who won before it even aired here, plus starting a 3.5 hour show at 8:00 means it’s going much later than I want to stay up for a Sunday night.  There are about 15 minutes left, and having fast forwarded the country music bits, it’s been a pretty decent show. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tasty Tuesday, On Wednesday

The past two weeks have been entirely too busy to cook anything exciting, or anything at all for that matter.  Luckily, Dine LA 2012-Restaurant Week(s) was up and running last week.  Mike, Elana, and I went to Tavern, located in Brentwood on San Vicente and Darlington. 

The chef/owner of Tavern is Suzanne Goin.  She is also the chef/owner of AOC and Lucques, which Mike and I have also visited.  After the complete and utter deliciousness (remember the plate licking incident) of those two, we were bound and determined to visit the last of the trio this time around.

Tavern didn’t disappoint.  It is a beautiful space.  However, taking a picture of it at night is nearly impossible.  Here are some taken during the day.

stuff 015Photos from “aackstudio

When entering, you walk through the “Larder” where they serve lunch and take out. We “ooo”ed and “awww”ed as we headed to the dining room which is also very pretty.

Photo from “aackstudio”

As I’ve mentioned before, during Dine LA, participating restaurants set a prix fixe menu and for a price the menu includes a choice of appetizers, entrees, and desserts.   We weren’t very adventurous with our first two choices.  Again, the photos aren’t great; either dark or blown out.

The three of us had arugula with Asian pears, roasted grapes, walnuts and St. Agur blue for our first course.
stuff 006
Then we ordered boeuf bourguignon with potato purée, bacon and wild mushrooms.  All the food we’ve had at Chef Goin’s restaurants are served very rustically, not modern and sleek.  I think that’s what we like best about it.  She’s a genius at putting together flavors that work so well together.  This dish was amazing, and the short ribs melted in our mouths.

stuff 007

We branched out a bit for dessert.  Elana and I ordered a ‘smores chocolate sundae with chocolate sorbet, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker, and caramel popcorn.  I know right?!?!  The graham crackers were homemade. 

stuff 010

Where as Mike ordered the cookies and milk plate.  If I remember correctly, there was a chocolate chip, chocolate/Portuguese sea salt, pistachio, lemon, and a butter cookie.  Mike loves his cookies, but he did share.  They were fresh and crisp.  stuff 011
Even though it was a school night and the reservation time was past my work bedtime, we had such a nice evening - the best I had eaten in two weeks.  It was great while it lasted…The clock turned midnight 9:00 though, and Cinderella had to go back to working late and eating popcorn for dinner.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My iPhone and a Moral Dilemma

I bought my first iPhone 3G a couple of years ago.  About two weeks after purchasing mine, Apple announced that they were coming out with a newer version, the 3Gs.  With the advances in the new phone, my phone was antiquated before I knew it.  I didn’t see the appeal at all…I was not impressed as it was slow and had a terrible signal.  That was until I was finally able to upgrade a year or so ago to the IPhone4 (Yes, they have since come out with 4s, and I am eligible to upgrade but there aren’t too many differences between the two so my plan is to wait until the 5 comes out).  Since then, this phone has become an extension of body.  I have pretty much become the person I couldn’t stand who was always playing with his/her fancy new phone.  This phone does so much.  I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t check my email, the weather, text during a meeting, look something up on wikipedia the minute a question pops into my head, or waste my time on Facebook and playing Words with Friends or Angry Birds.  I am a total iPhone addict.

Over the last few months, the findings of an investigation into Foxconn have brought to light the working conditions of its employees.  Foxconn, based in China, is a major manufacturer of consumer electronics like the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Xbox, and other über popular products.  According to the news reports, workers live eight to a room in dormitories, work up to 36 hour shifts, and make less than a dollar an hour.  Any worker who expresses an objection or tries to form a union can be sentenced to prison.  The factory has an increasing number of suicides.  Foxconn has responded by installing nets around the buildings.  

Like most news stories, the morality of these working conditions depend on which news outlet you listen to.  The pro-human rights news calls for boycotts of the products until conditions change, while the pro-business news thinks the public should continue to buy the products to keep these workers in a job that they wouldn’t otherwise have.  I’m not a financial whiz by any stretch of the imagination, but I guess I don’t understand why both the human rights and the successful business can’t co-mingle in this scenario.  With a company like Apple, that is worth more than $300 Billion, how is it that they can’t find a heart somewhere in all that money and make sure that these people are better taken care of…at least to the point that they’d rather live than thrown themselves off the roof. 

With the presidential election quickly coming upon us, we hear a lot of the candidates speaking out about “bringing the jobs back to America” and that businesses need the tax breaks to do that.  It seems to me that no matter the tax break, these companies are making bank in other countries that allow the working conditions described above. Not having pesky labor laws like we do in this country allows the business to make way more money than they would if the jobs were based here.  Sure, maybe the people in these countries are just happy to have jobs, but that still doesn’t make it right. 

And now I have to decide if and when the iPhone 5 comes out am I’m willing to take the “out of sight, out of mind” approach and upgrade as I had planned, or if I will take a stand and not purchase the product until the situation is taken care of.  Sadly, though, I think most of the products we buy these days come from manufacturing companies like Foxconn.  Even if one is boycotted, there are probably a hundred more waiting for your business.  I wonder if my boycott of one would even matter. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The First of the New Year - updated

The Kathryn Wheel Calendar Challenge is in full swing again for 2012.  Here is my January…
 stuff 131
My new journal (made by me!) is working out great thus far.  I’m so happy to be using good paper again.  Since I was on winter break for most of January, I spent many lazy days in the office just playing around.

I pulled out my watercolors for about a week and enjoyed working with them.  Since I started exploring acrylics, the watercolors have been sitting on the shelf.  I’m more of a watercolor wash-er rather than painter, but I used them for coloring in more detail on a few drawings. 

stuff 130 stuff 132 stuff 133
Some collages…
stuff 134
stuff 136 
For 2012, I started a new tradition – any guest spending time in my home must create something in the guest art journal.

Here is the box of goodies kept in the living room or just such occasions.  It includes a small journal, a couple watercolor brushes, a small container of water, some pens and markers, and peerless watercolors – which come in large flat sheets that can be cut into little pieces to make a palette (if you haven’t tried them they are really very cool). 
stuff 137
While still on winter break, I had some good friends/work colleagues over.  About 5 years ago, we all went through the process of becoming GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition and Design) key trainers.  Certification was a BRUTAL process (which would probably make for great blog fodder, but it was so hard and mortifying that I think I’ve blocked out most of it.)  Anyways, some of us were already great friends while others were just work acquaintances.  After the year or so of completing the requirements, we all have become very close and try to get together often.  Each guest brought appetizers and we ate and talked and drank and laughed.  They were the first to christen my guest art journal.  stuff 139stuff 140stuff 138   stuff 141 My guests were gung ho and had fun creating.  Hopefully more pages to come.

Happy February everyone!