Sunday, September 30, 2012

Note to Self

I ran a bunch of errands after work last night to get them out of the way.  The plan was to have a chore/errand free Saturday so I could sleep off the last couple of weeks…all. day. long. 

I had to adjust a bit after feeding the dog.  I was out of dog food and forgot to take care of it yesterday. 

Going to the pet store on an adoption Saturday is a VERY bad idea.  Now, I’m not only tired, but sad too.  I’d take them all home if I could.

Monday, September 24, 2012

With Only $2.00 In My Wallet

Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from my credit card company.  I was a little bit irritated about the call as I thought they were questioning a plane ticket that I bought online earlier in the day.  This company is ultra protective of my credit and calls me on just about every larger charge I make.  As it turned out, it was a good thing they hover like they do.  While I was home in California purchasing a plane ticket, someone was in New Jersey trying to charge hundreds of dollars on my credit card number at a clothing store.  Thankfully, the charges were declined and I was called immediately. 

Unfortunately, this is not the first time my number has been stolen.  The phone representative was very kind and helpful, but I knew what was coming…my credit card was canceled and a new one was reissued to me. 

Again, even though I’m glad it was taken care of for me, the canceling of my credit card is a huge inconvenience.  Not only do I have to figure out and redo all my automatic payments that have been set up, I also have only $2.00 in my wallet.  In order to earn air miles, I use that card for EVERYTHING so rarely pay cash and therefore never have it on me.  When the rep told me the new card wouldn’t arrive for another seven or so days I panicked and quickly ran through my “to do list” for the week.  “Please!?!?!” I cried and asked if it could be sent any quicker.  Luckily, she offered to send it express so it should be here by Wednesday or Thursday. 

Other than using it all the time, I’m quite careful with the card.  Even so, there are those transactions, like at restaurants, when the card is out of my possession for a time.  I guess it only takes a few seconds to write the number down and then eventually turn it into a new card.  Pretty much everyone I know has been the victim of some sort of credit card fraud in the last few years.  It’s become the norm these days.  But still, there’s something disconcerting about it happening. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thoughts, On the First Day of My 39th Year

  • Earlier this week a cashier at the store finished my transaction and said, “Here you go ma’am,” when she handed me my receipt.  I squinted at her and quietly said thank you.  In my head though, I growled in a Freddy Krueger voice, “DON’T CALL ME MA’AM!”
  • Nine years ago I was a mess.  That number 30 hit me so hard.  With 40 just 365 days away, I’m waiting for a break down.  That number is harsh!  In some ways, I’m in a much better place than I was way back then, but in other ways I’m in the exact same place.  So far I haven’t had a meltdown about it, but that remains to be seen as it gets closer.
  • The first day of fall usually lands on my birthday.  I’ve always thought that was fitting since it’s my favorite season…I mean it would be if we actually had a fall.  It’s still over 100 degrees, and I’m so over it.  I was told the forecast shows temps in the 80s this week.  Oh I hope so because the heat is making me cranky.
  • Some of my friends took great care of me this weekend with good movies, food, and company.  Although, what I really should have done was go work at school.  I can’t seem to catch up.  “It feels like I’ve never taught 2nd grade before!” I lamented while lying down with exhaustion in the booth at dinner the other night.  “How is that possible?” someone asked.  “I don’t know!  But THAT is what’s happening.”  With the exception of a couple of combos, I’ve taught 2nd grade for 13 years with a high level of proficiency and efficiency.  Instead, I’m a complete scatterbrain this year.  I’ve heard that happens as one ages.    
  • Yesterday, my mother sent me a text asking me if I’d be home today so she could call me on my birthday.  I guess that’s an improvement over last year when she sent me birthday wishes via Facebook. 
  • I bought some pillows yesterday.  As I wheeled them in a cart out to the car this older gentleman stopped me and, in a British accent, said, “Those are great pillows!”  “Oh, ya?” I asked him.  “We bought them last week,” he answered, “And my wife still hasn’t gotten out of bed.”  That kind of made my day.  I’m still laughing about it this morning.

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.  -Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Big Comfy Chair

When first stepping into my new classroom at the end of June, there was a desk chair amidst the furniture included in the room.   
stuff 078 copySee it?

After getting mostly moved in in July, the chair had been taken.  I’m not really sure why, but it was no longer in my room.  A couple of weeks before school started, my principal told me that a chair would be ordered for me.  I hadn’t worried too much about it, but I was glad I’d be getting one.  Here’s our conversation…
Principal – We need to order you a new desk chair.
Me – Oh, ok.
Principal – Tell Rosana what you want, and she’ll get it for you.
Me – Oh I don’t care, whatever is fine.
Principal – No no, your room has a color scheme so pick out the color you want.
Me – Well, lime, light blue, or brown works.  (smirking)
Rosana – We can probably find you a brown chair the easiest.  Come by and pick one out.
Me – I don’t need to pick it out, just get whatever you’ve been ordering.  That’s fine with me.

Just before school started, the chair arrived and the office asked me to come by and get it.  I was shocked to find that it was a giant, executive-type chair, and to be honest a little embarrassed wheeling it down the hallway to my classroom.  Who am I to get a chair like this – the principal and asst. principal have a chair like this.
stuff 173 This chair is enormous and barely fits behind my desk.  I can make it work if it’s pushed in under the desk.  But because it’s so tall, when I pull the chair out it gets stuck and opens up all the drawers.  I’ve resorted to keeping it out, so now it’s just in the away.  Yesterday, I acquired a large bruise on my outer thigh trying to climb over it to get to the book shelf behind it.  I’m ashamed to admit that I kicked its wheels in frustration.

In its defense, the chair is so very comfortable. I don’t sit down much during the school day, but it is a welcome sight when I return to my room after dismissal.  Certain people come into my room just to sit in this chair under the guise of “Do you mind if I check something on your computer?”.  It’s a nice chair.  Very big, but very nice.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Life Gives You Limes, Make Some Marinade

The last few weeks I’ve been uninspired with my meal planning.  On the weekends, I get all fired up and shop for good ingredients to cook during the week.  Since school has started they’ve mostly gone bad in the fridge because by the time I get home all I can manage is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Luckily, Jason gave me a bag of limes straight off his lime tree about a week ago.  I love cooking with lemons, but have never done much with limes.  They were a good excuse to do a little research and come up with some new yummy meals.  Both of these recipes use limes as the base of a marinade.

Zucchini Quesadillas
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lime – zest and juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 large flour tortillas
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1.  Combine oo, lime juice/zest, cumin, honey and chili flakes in a bowl with a whisk.
stuff 5512.  Place zucchini slices in a zip lock bag and pour marinade mixture inside the bag.  Shake to cover all zucchini.
3.  Let marinate for about an hour, turning a time or two.
4.  Place zucchini slices on preheated grill.  Let cook for about 2 minutes on both sides, until tender. 
stuff 5525.  Cut zucchini into small strips and add to 1/2 of each tortilla.  Add the cheese to both tortillas and fold over.
6.  Grill quesadilla on each side for another minute or two until slightly brown and crispy.  Cut into pieces and serve.

The tortillas I used were quite large so after cutting up the two quesadillas made, there was enough for four separate meals served with black beans and cilantro lime rice.
stuff 557I really like zucchini, and this time of year it’s very good.  Cooking most of the meal on the BBQ also keeps the house from heating up too much in the dead of summer.  It was a nice light summer meal, and the leftovers were great for lunch during the rest of the week.

The second recipe comes straight from the GOODEness Gracious blog.  The Basil Lime Chicken was very good.
3 Limes (juice and zest) Divided
3 T Olive Oil
3 T Dijon Mustard
3 T Worcestershire Sauce
3 T Soy Sauce
6 Green Onions Chopped Divided
4 Cloves Garlic Minced Divided
1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T Chopped Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 lbs Chicken Breasts

  1. Combine the zest and juice of 2 limes, Olive Oil, Mustard, Worcestershire, Soy, 3 onions, 2 garlic cloves salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. Cut chicken into even cutlets and place in a gallon sized baggie.
  3. Pour marinade over the chicken and marinate for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Place chicken on grill and grill for 7 minutes.  Flip over and cook until cooked through.
    stuff 560
  6. Remove from grill and let meat rest.
    stuff 563Next time I will stop right here and serve.  The flavor of the chicken with only the marinade was delicious – a really flavorful grilled chicken.
  7. Meanwhile combine juice and zest of one lime with extra virgin olive oil, 3 chopped onions, 2 minced garlic cloves, and basil.
  8. Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces and pour sauce over top.

stuff 564stuff 565The chicken was served with grilled corn on the cob and a garden salad - Another light, but tasty, meal.

I liked cooking with limes.  Refreshing and tangy is a nice contrast when it’s a million degrees outside.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday 9

Happy Saturday!

1. When was the last time that you asked for your money back?  I don’t usually ask for my money back.  I will return things that don’t work out with the required receipt, but never for bad service or consumable items like food.  Sometimes I’ve thought about it in my head, but I’m usually too chicken to do anything about it.  When I worked as a server and bartender, customers would eat or drink their entire order and then complain that it wasn’t very good.  I’d think, “Well, why’d you eat it all then!?!” 

2. What was the last thing that you did to help someone?  I help little people ALL DAY LONG, so that’s probably not a fair question.  I worked with a colleague yesterday afternoon helping her understand a phonics program that we are implementing. But that probably doesn’t count either.

3. At what point in your life do you think you started to understand who you are?  I don’t know when it was exactly, but being pretty self aware has been one of my strong suits for quite some time.  I know the strengths and weaknesses of my personality and my triggers and what makes me tick…do I always take appropriate steps because of that awareness?  No way, but knowing is half the battle I guess.

4. Are there times when you thought you had taken a fall, only to discover more about yourself?  Oh, sure.

5. What was the last thing you did where you could not believe in what you were doing? When philosophies changed over the last 1.5 – 2 years at my previous school, I had a hard time standing behind those changes.

6. Do you think that you must struggle to become strong?  Depending on how you handle struggles, they can make you stronger, but I don’t necessarily think that in order to have strength there must be a struggle. 

7. Do you feel that your dreams have meaning or are entirely random?  I don’t have dreams too often, or at least I don’t remember them very often.  When I do, they are just silly so I hope they don’t mean anything. 

8. What was the last promise you broke?  I try very hard to keep promises…nothing is coming to mind in the recent past.

9. Do you collect anything?  Not in the true sense of a collection.  I have many many shoes, art supplies, and books.  But that probably stems more from hoarding tendencies than collecting.

What about you?

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Good Do Over, Even If There Wasn’t Cheesecake :)

After last weekend’s concert disappointment, all was made right at the Hollywood Bowl last night. 
stuff 180We got our tickets late Sunday night, and even though it was fairly last minutes, the seats were decent.  Upon arriving, it was such a relief that the opening band sounded better than the whole show on Saturday.

The Dave Matthews Band released a new album just this past Tuesday.  Luckily, I downloaded it Tuesday night because most of the show was the new album.  I think my favorites from the new one are Sweet and Rooftop.  They also did a few songs that I haven’t heard them do in a very long time, if ever – Gravedigger, Grey Street, Jimi Thing, and Two Step.  The first song of the encore was The Space Between which Dave did as an acoustic solo (sigh).  This band has SO MANY great songs that I always leave a show thinking, “Oh, but they didn’t play….”  With the addition of the new songs that I’m not as familiar with, I felt that way a little bit more.
 stuff 187 

As it turns out, last night was DMB’s record launch party, so the playlist with many of the new songs makes perfect sense.  Like with most of the their albums, it took a couple of listens before completely enjoying it.  And now I’m feeling so lucky that we were at the show as the first people to hear some of the new songs. 
stuff 196
As usual, the Bowl has great acoustics.  Dave said he’s always a little nervous playing at the Bowl, but he and the rest of the band sounded awesome.  I’m very happy we got a do-over.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Random Thoughts

  • It’s hard to believe the September 11 terrorist attacks happened 11 years ago today.  I don’t have anything new to say or anything that hasn’t been said millions of times, but I did want to take a moment to remember. 
  • Most of Los Angeles County was plagued by a terrible stench yesterday.  We’ve had some funky hot and humid weather too, so going outside yesterday was just awful.  It smelled like an Andy Gump had exploded.  Turns out we had an extreme fish die-off in a dead lake several miles away that caused the odor.  So odd.
  • Kristen’s (my BFF) mom and dad just left on a trip to visit their hometown in Michigan and then are headed to the Carolinas.  When they reach North Carolina, Denny (Kristen’s dad) will have visited his 50th state.  That’s something isn’t it?  Upon counting, I’ve been to 36 states – some for a real visit, some just passing through on drives to/from New England.  The ones left haven’t really appealed to me for a visit (I’d much rather travel internationally) but hearing about Denny’s, would it be considered an accomplishment, it feels like maybe I should. 
  • Last week, I read an article about a new website that offers free college classes from some of the top universities – like Harvard, CalTech, Stanford, and Princeton.  According to their website, Coursera was created to give anyone around the world access to a top quality education, “We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives…”  It also sounds like there is the possibility for the creators to make gobs of money by being on the ground floor of this type of venture.  Anyhow, I’ve kinda been obsessed with checking out this website.  I love school, let me rephrase that, I love school when I get to choose the classes.  The last thing I have time for is a Harvard-like class, but I so want to enroll in one! 
  • We’ve got three public libraries in town.  The smallest one is closing and being reopened as a bigger and better library a few streets away.  Teachers have been invited to an open house in a couple of weeks.  It’s just a block away from my new school, and I can’t wait for it to open.  The old library is having a major book sale that started this weekend.  I can not tell you how badly I want to go.  I want to buy books for my classroom and for my own personal use.  But then reality sets in that I have books coming out my ears.  I don’t need anymore children’s books.  If I bought them, even high quality, library binding books at really cheap prices, I would have nowhere to put them.  Nowhere!  Every nook and cranny in my classroom and every shelf in my house is full.  I don’t need anymore books, and it’s killing me!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake and Dave Matthews…It Should Have Been a Perfect Evening.

Last night was the night we’d been waiting for!  The Dave Matthews Band was coming to Cali and we had tickets…since March as a matter of fact!  Marcie, Mike, Elana and I jumped in the car and met Tami in Irvine for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  The evening was off to a great start because the only dessert I ever crave is sold at the Cheesecake Factory…Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake! 
dave matthews 2While eating most of it all by myself I sighed, “Red velvet cake cheesecake and Dave Matthews…it’s a good night you guys.” 

That was until we got to the venue – the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.  Actually, we hadn’t completely arrived yet because, although we were on the property about 6:30, we didn’t get to park until 7:30.  That’s right, it took us about an hour to just park the car!  The parking lot was so poorly organized and executed.

Once out of the car, we forgot we were irritated and excitedly walked into the amphitheater.
Dave Matthews

Our seats were general admission on the lawn area.  Since we were late getting in (due to parking)  much of the lawn was filled up.  It took us awhile to find a spot.  Luckily, it wasn’t too long after making ourselves comfortable that the show started.  We jumped to our feet and cheered when Dave and the rest of the band got on stage.  At that point, the cheering literally drowned out the music.  Not because the cheering was so loud, but because the sound at last night’s show was atrocious.  It was quiet and somewhat distorted.  Even though there was a bank of speakers directly in front of us we could still hold conversations with people 15 feet away and some were able to talk on their cell phones.  Mike described it to be like we were all standing outside a car playing the music with the windows rolled up.  We could hear it, but it just wasn’t very loud or clear. 

After the first  hour of the show people started getting up and leaving.  After the second hour we decided to head back down the hill too, thinking that the exit traffic would hardly be worth the show we had just seen.  Dave usually plays 2-3 encores at each show, and I would never leave before they were over usually.  It was such a disappointment. 

What makes it even worse is about two months ago, the band announced a show at the Hollywood Bowl to be performed next week.  We never would have gone all the way to Irvine had we known about this show.  In addition, the Bowl sounds incredible all the time.  There are still tickets available for that show, and I’m almost tempted. 

But at least there was red velvet cake cheesecake!

Update:  Mike, Marcie, and I are headed to the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday for DMB’s show.  Mike texted me tonight and it said, “I want a do over."  Me too!

Monday, September 3, 2012

My New Favorite Show

I spent most of Sunday fooling around in the art room and trying to catch up on many hours of television on the DVR.   Since I paid more attention to painting than the TV, I didn’t get through much, but I do think I found a new favorite show. 

After the original Law and Order, which remains at the top of my drama list, The West Wing series earned a close second.  Low and behold, the writer and producer of The West Wing premiered a new show on HBO this summer.  After watching the final two episodes of Newsroom this weekend, it is fantastic.

The Newsroom is about Will McAvoy, a news anchor (played by Jeff Daniels), who finally has enough of the shock media and wants to report on the news, and not take sides.  He and his idealistic staff work tirelessly towards responsible news all while the corporate network and viewer ratings breathe down their necks.  Like the West Wing, it leans towards the left, but the main character is a Republican who has become fed up with the extreme conservatism of late.   In addition to Jeff Daniels, it stars Emily Mortimer as the show’s producer, who used to be in a relationship with Will, Olivia Munn, who is brilliant as the socially inept economist, and Sam Waterson (from Law and Order yay!), the Network’s president.  Actually, all the regular characters are well developed and have back stories that go beyond the newsroom.

The writing on the show, also like the West Wing, is smart, witty, and topical.  These are my favorite clips.  

From the first episode -  When Will decides he’s done with irresponsible journalism and when I decide I have a little bit of a crush on him.

While the staff prepares for a Republican Presidential candidates’ debate….

From the final episode of the season.  Will’s broadcast was shown in clips throughout the episode which is why it looks a little piecy put together in the video. 

I’m sorry the season is over already.  I look forward to what’s to come, especially how they will “cover” the next few months leading up to the election.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August is Over

It is hard to believe that September is here, and school’s been back in session for three weeks already.  As with every year, I hit the ground running and haven’t even been able to break into a jog yet.  The only art I’ve created in my journal this month was before I went back to work.  It kind of bums me out because I feel better mentally when I have that time, but things will hopefully settle a bit soon.

stuff 233 Here’s this month’s calendar for The Kathryn Wheel’s Calendar Challenge.  Don’t look too closely at the pages, or maybe do for a laugh, because while completing the final week I literally dozed off a few times while writing. What I wrote for the dates makes NO sense at all.  Ha ha!  Oh well.  I may be getting a little tired of this layout.  I like that I have room to sketch or doodle in each square, but they are starting to look the same as past months.  I may have to change it up a bit next time.

I was inspired by journal artist Pam Garrison this month.  She uses her doodles as part of her journaling and really bright colors.  Rather than doing doodles in a different book, it was fun to incorporate them in the journal pages.

stuff 234 stuff 236 stuff 238
I’m not a big fan of these months flying by, but I am ready for fall to take over for summer as soon as possible.  Happy September!