Sunday, January 27, 2013

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring


I love the rain…most of the time.  The final two days of last week’s school week it rained non-stop.  I don’t like when it rains at school.  stuff 242
Little kids need to go outside and play.  They shouldn’t be cooped up inside the classroom all day. 
stuff 243 Little kids who are stuck inside the classroom all day have a hard time learning.  They get a little lot bouncy, making their teacher not like the rain!


Even so, the rain is always a welcomed sight here because we rarely see it.  Since it doesn’t come too often, “we” don’t really know how to do rain.  My commute time to work just about quadrupled when it rains due to drivers going too slow or way too fast – both causing accidents. stuff 201  
To keep the rain from flowing into our classrooms in this hallway, maintenance had to do some digging. The rain gutters are broken and corroded. 
stuff 245It looks like we’re getting a mote!
stuff 244Which might be a better idea than THIS one for keeping unwanted visitors out.

My most favorite part of the stormy weather is the sky. 

5:45 am Wednesday

stuff 239

5:00 PM Wednesday
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11:30 am Saturday  stuff 246

    3:00 PM Saturday

This week’s forecast shows 50s/60s and sunny skies.  I hope we see some more rain…just not during the school week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday 9

This weeks Saturday 9

1) Do noisy storms scare you? Yes, but in a good way.  We don’t have them too often, but I love listening to them as long as I’m home and under the covers. 

2) Whom do you consider one of today's most beautiful women?  Well duh, ME! Just kidding.  I have no idea; it’s such a subjective question. 

3) What should you be doing, instead of answering these questions?  Since it’s late, sleeping I guess. 

4) What's the most recent addition to your spam folder?  Awhile back I spent some time going through all my emails and stopping subscriptions, blocking junk, etc. Since, I’ve had very few junk emails in my box.  I might get one or two unsolicited emails, and most of those are from “no sender”.  So I’m not really sure what they are for.  Delete!

5) What was the last thing you cooked?  Most of the time it’s just me, so I cook a couple of  things at the beginning of the week and then eat them for lunch and dinner the rest of the week.  Tuesday, I made chicken/lemon skewers on the grill and a Greek salad and had it Wednesday and Thursday. 

6) Do you remember the lyrics to either your high school or college fight song? If so, please share a bit.  No, we were (and they still are) the politically incorrect Indians.  There might have been a song, but what I do remember is we’d wave our fingers or hand in the air in a pretend tomahawk and chant some Native American-sounding song. 

7) What's the derivation of your first name?  I actually wrote a post a couple of years ago about this very question.  In fact, my name doesn’t really have one that I can find.  If someone knows differently I’d love to hear it.

8) Are you following the NBA or NHL this year? If so, which team are you rooting for?  I am a Kings hockey fan, however this year’s strike rubbed me the wrong way.  It’s funny how these million-dollar players can be part of a union, ask for more money/rights, and strike and no one seems to care.  The games are selling out – business as usual.  Teachers do it, and we are the single-handedly bringing down the US economy.
Anyhow, the Stanley Cup winners of 2012 are 0-3 in the first three games of the shortened season. So I’m begrudgingly a fan right now.

9) Gloves, umbrellas, sunglasses, keys -- which of these do you misplace most often?  Since I’m not in need of gloves too often, they are what I misplace most.  I don’t have a regular spot for them so I just put them here or there and then can’t remember where they are when I need them. 
Since the Connecticut school shootings, I’ve irrationally decided keeping my classroom doors locked makes me feel more secure.  A few times now, I’ve been caught outside the locked door with students but without my keys.  I always know where they are, I just don’t always have them with me. 

And just for fun…

Takes them a bit to get going, but they’re in their prime starting at about 2:00.  Made my Friday.

Enjoy your Saturday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Movie Post

It’s awards’ season again!  It seems as if the nominating committees don’t even bother with the movies during the first half of the year and instead focus on the last couple of months for their picks.  Is it because the quality films are held for release until fall/winter so they are fresh in the committees’ minds?  I suspect that’s the case, but regardless, it works out quite well for me being on Thanksgiving and winter breaks while those movies are released. 

The Golden Globes were last weekend.  I’m a little late to the party, but here’s a quick rundown of the movies I’ve seen this winter…

Argo – I’ve already posted on this one.  Excellent and intensely exciting film.  It won the GG for best picture and Ben Affleck received the best director.  After seeing it I predicted it would be nominated. I’m kind of surprised it won the GG with all of the others that have received rave reviews, but it deserved the award. 

Silver Linings Playbook – Oh my goodness, one of my favorite movies of the year, maybe even ever.  I had NO expectations of this film when I was invited along to see it.  I’m so glad I went.  A man tries to get back to “normal” when returning home from a mental institution after a breakdown.  To be honest, I’ve never been much of a fan of Bradley Cooper, and the only time I’d seen Jennifer Lawrence was in The Hunger Games.  Both actors were wonderful.  The movie took mental illness and brought it out to the forefront, showing both the difficult and amusing sides of it.  I found it just about life in general, and despite the main character’s few month stay in the “looney bin” everybody is actually a little bit crazy. Robert DeNiro and Jacki Weaver play his parents.  All four actors mentioned received Oscar nominations, and Jennifer Lawrence won the GG for best actress in a musical or comedy. 
I liked the movie so much, I chose the book it was based on as my book club pick.  The book, of the same name, was excellent as well, but as usually happens, the booked was changed quite a bit in the movie.  However, I’d still recommend both.

Parental Guidance – This was our Christmas day movie.  If it had been my choice, I would not have gone to see this.  The previews looked a little corny.  However, it is a cute film.  Billy Crystal, who after all these years is still a riot, and Bette Midler play a pair of grandparents who get a chance to babysit their grandkids while their daughter and her husband take a much needed weekend away.  Of course, chaos ensues, and some of it IS corny.  But it is also a film about loving your family despite its flaws.  It wasn’t nominated for any film awards nor should it have been, but if you’re looking for an easy, lighthearted, feel good film, Parental Guidance fits the bill.

Les Misérables – Let me start off by saying that Les Mis is my FAVORITE stage production ever.  EVER!  I’ve never been much of a fan of musicals on the big screen – Chicago, Rent, and the previous Les Mis bored me to tears.  I did not have any desire to see the new version when it came out on Christmas day.  Their PR people did a good job though in showing how it would be different than past movie musicals.  The actors sang the songs on set to piano music rather than lip-syncing prerecorded versions.  The orchestra‘s music was then added to the film in post-production.  In interviews, all the actors said this allowed the singing to match the acting since they were happening at the same time, rather than trying to match the acting up to the singing which might have been recorded months earlier. 
Anyhow, back to the film.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Les Misérables has always been such a good story, and the movie did it justice as far as I’m concerned.  All the singing was beautiful and powerful, and I cried at the end.  At the GG last week, it won best musical/comedy and Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway both earned awards in their categories as well.  The film, Jackman, and Hathaway are also nominated for an Oscar.

Django Unchained – Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx star in this film about a white bounty hunter who rescues a slave (Django) from traders. The bounty hunter intends to use Django to help him identify some ruthless killers.  He tells the slave that once the job is done, he’d be a free man.  Over time they become partners and Django sets out to find his wife who was purchased by a crazy plantation owner – Leo Dicaprio. 

Quentin Tarentino’s movies are always controversial.  They are rarely politically correct and often cross the line into gratuitous violence.  Django was no exception, but the writing is so very clever.  Half the time I was chuckling, and the other half I was hiding my face in my shirt trying not to be sick.  Christoph Waltz, who was a riot, was nominated for best supporting actor by both the GG and AA, and he won the GG.  I’m kind of surprised that he was nominated for best SUPPORTING actor as he was in the entire film as a main character, not a supporting character.  Leo DiCaprio was fantastic as crazy Calvin Candie so it’s a shame he didn’t get nominated – they keep snubbing that guy!  Tarentino was nominated by both for best screenplay, but ignored for best director. 

Zero Dark Thirty – Controversy about its accuracy has been flying around this movie - The story about the 10 year manhunt to find Osama Bin Laden.  I’m not going to debate the controversy because, really who can debate a covert operation besides the people who were actually involved in it.  As for the movie, it was interesting and depressing, but very well done.  If correct, the people who found him worked tirelessly on nothing else for years, and torture was a factor – which is spurring the controversy. 

A couple of months ago I read this article in Vanity Fair.  I found the story about the behind the scenes decisions at the Pentagon and the White House fascinating.  The movie dealt more with the people doing the work in the trenches so to speak, not the decision makers.  Jessica Chastain plays the CIA agent who, with a team, ultimately finds the house where Bin Laden was hiding.  While others were uncertain he was there, she was unwavering.  Chastain was nominated for best actress by the GG and AA, and won the GG.  The film was nominated for best picture by both the GG and AA as well.

Gangster Squad – This film came out after the first of the year, so is not up for any awards this go round.  It is based on the LAPD’s secret “Gangster Squad” that was formed to stop famed gangster Mickey Cohen in the 1950s.  The squad of officers and detectives is a motley crew of sorts who come together and take down the ruthless gangster.  It is a highly stylized film, very film noir in its cinematography.  It is violent, with a lot of gun firing – ya know the kind where there is so much shooting but no one gets hit.  The reviews have not been great, but everyone I know who has seen it enjoyed it.  It was a fun movie.

The Academy Awards are set for late February.  There are still a few best picture nominees that I have not seen yet – most never even opened nationwide like “Amour” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” which I heard is fantastic.  Now that they’ve been nominated, they may come back out again to take advantage of the accolades. 

Did you see anything worthwhile in 2012?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday 9

I literally cheered when I got into bed tonight.  After a busy week, I’m  very much looking forward to sleeping in Saturday morning (and Sunday and Monday).  So no bother staying up late completing this week’s Saturday 9!

1) Has anyone ever told you that you resemble a celebrity? No, I don’t think so.

2) Is there an actress or actor whose movies you make it a point to see? I go to tons of movies but tend to choose movies based on theme rather than actor; liking dramas, spy/detective/clever bad guy, mystery/suspense best.  With that being said, I have enjoyed most of the movies I’ve seen with George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Meryl Streep.

3) We're stopping for refreshments before we go in to see the movie. What's your refreshment stand order?  Popcorn, as long as you’re buying!!  Otherwise, it’s just too expensive to purchase with any regularity.

4) When did you last consume an alcoholic beverage? What was it?  Last year - St. Patrick’s Day – a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

5) Are you jumpy? Do you startle easily? I am not usually jumpy at all, but sometimes, when I’m working and incredibly focused on something I lose awareness of my environment.  Often, someone has come into “my space” without me noticing.  Startled is an understatement when I spot them.  I have been known to jump and gasp out loud upon the realization someone is standing there.  My work husband, Jason, is pretty stealthy so has bore the brunt of my shock on more than one occasion.

6) Do you wear a watch? I wore a watch all the time until going away one spring break while I was in college.  A friend and I decided that being on a tropical island was a good excuse to be laid back and “time free”.  I spent the next several years being time free which is a bit ironic since I’m the opposite of laid back.  Instead of being time free, I just asked the people around my what time it was, all the time!  Finally, a year or so ago, I bought a new watch and now wear it every day.  

7) When was the last time you tried a new restaurant?  About two weeks ago some friends and I went to lunch at a restaurant that is part of a nearby hotel.  It was very good.  I’d say, though, that every few months or so I try a new place.  Next week is Dine LA’s Restaurant Week, so we’re making plans for a visit or two to somewhere new.

8) What color is your wallet?  It’s black and white with the Coach logo. 

9) How much does it have in coins right now?  Probably just a quarter or two.  I rarely have cash of any kind in my wallet due to using my credit card for as much as I can.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Los Angeles is suffering from cold weather.  It’s been rough…

In all seriousness, it has been colder than our normal winter temps, which, by the way, YAY!  Boots, sweaters, jeans…I love it!  Last Friday and yesterday we didn’t get any warmer than 47 degrees, and over the last two days at school I haven’t taken my jacket off once.  My house heater has been running non-stop for over a week, and it’s only set for the low 60s. 

The last two mornings, we’ve actually had ice on the walkways around campus.  Two areas are especially bad and have to be taped off since using sand or salt is unheard of here.  stuff 238Yesterday, before it was blocked, my principal slipped and fell on it, and I skated across a patch of ice but luckily stayed standing.  This morning while walking across the grass to my room the frozen grass crunched under my feet, and a member of our support staff slipped and fell hard on the ice.  She had to be taken to the hospital. 

But don’t worry, we’ll survive until Friday, when it’s supposed to be back up in the 70s.


How’s your weather been?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Vacation Has Been Brought To You By Pinterest

Sadly, winter break has come to an end, and it’s back to work early tomorrow morning.  The last few days of vacation are kind of a bummer, but I must say it’s been a very good break – a relaxing yet productive three weeks.  In addition to a week in Hawaii, sleeping in very late, and many movies, I delved into a few home projects.

For the last year or so, I’ve been a Pinterest junkie.  I’ve pinned tons of recipes, art/craft projects, school lessons, and home ideas in hopes of some day completing one or more of them.  How fun to be able to use some of the pins during this break!

When returning home after Christmas, decluttering was a must.  Starting in my room I got rid of 8 bags of clothes and shoes and towels and bedding.  Afterwards, I wanted to reorganize what I had left so it was more accessible. 

My t-shirt drawer is ALWAYS a mess. Even once organized, after a few weeks of digging through the drawer it’s messy again.  I just want to know why I didn’t do THIS earlier!  Putting the t-shirts in the drawer vertically rather than horizontally is so very smart. 

stuff 227In this set up, I can see all of the Ts, not just the ones on top, and they are easy to take out and put back.  I had to fold into thirds rather than in half because my drawer was too shallow.  These shirts used to take up two messy drawers, now just one neatly organized drawer.

Every vacation cleaning out the closet is a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  I have a hard time parting with clothes and shoes.  I organized my closet this go round based on this tip
stuff 228 stuff 230It took some time turning all the hangers in the opposite direction, but the plan is to turn the hangers back the regular way once a shirt or pair of pants are worn.  Next year at this time, whatever is still turned the opposite direction hasn’t been worn all year, which is a pretty good reason to get rid of something. 

My art room is the biggest offender of clutter.  I don’t know what to do with it because when I put stuff away, out of sight out of mind, but when it’s left out I don’t have room to work.  I haven’t known where to even start with it.  I’ve been pinning ideas and this was one I could get going on easily.

My ribbon drawers are just as messy as my t-shirt drawers were.  With them stacked on top of each other and some unwinding, it was very difficult to see what I had, and usually some untangling had to be done before I could take anything out of the drawers. 

stuff 231

I found some clear glass cookie jars for $5 at Target and a bag of craft sticks at JoAnn’s.  I spent several hours over a couple of days sitting on the floor of the art room rewrapping ribbon around the craft sticks.  
stuff 236
After about about 2 hours (and only about 9 sticks wrapped) I wondered if this was such a good idea after all.  It took a long time.  At posting time I have 9 more rolls to go and a lot of scraps, which I’m not sure how I will handle yet.
stuff 235I am, however, happy that I pushed through (and figured out how to wrap more efficiently) and got through most of the ribbon.  The clear glass and the ribbon being vertically stored makes the ribbon easier to see and find the color I need.  It’s certainly not the solution to all my hoarding problems,  but at least it’s a start. 

For some reason while I was in Hawaii, I decided to redecorate my guest bedroom. 
I went back and forth on what to do from changing paint color, to changing furniture, to just putting up wall decorations.  I finally decided to keep the paint the same and just lighten things up with new bedding and pictures on the wall in bright white frames. 

Pinterest had the wheels turning, and I ended up buying a cheap iron bed I found on Craigslist with the intention of repainting it.
stuff 218 stuff 221 stuff 222The repainting took a few days because the temps have been in the 50s which lengthened drying time.  But the bed turned out great.

I bought some really cute but unfinished frames from Very Jane.  On Friday, I started painting them.  
stuff 234
This afternoon I sprayed the 2nd coat of paint on the front and am now waiting for them to dry.  Hopefully they’ll be covered because I’m afraid now that vacation is over I won’t get around to them again until spring break. 

The bedding for the guest room arrived this week.  I’ll post pictures of the finished room if once it’s finished.

I enjoy taking on projects, but when I’m working I have neither the time nor the energy for them.   I feel so accomplished after vacations like this!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Mop Comes to Visit

Murphy is staying with us this week.  He is some type of Lhasa/Shih Tzu mix, otherwise known as a mop.  Murphy is a rescue that Kristen and her family adopted about 6 months ago.  His family went out of town so he gets to stay here.  Rigby stays with them when I travel, so they have already met a few times.  It’s been a fun visit so far but having two dogs is hard!

When he first arrived, Murphy was a little unsure.  He’s never been here before so he stayed inside his house for a little while, warming up to everything.

stuff 644

I had kept Rigby outside while he settled, but she whined and cried at the door, begging to come in.  She was so excited, she almost crawled into the crate with him.

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She REALLY wanted him to come out and play.
 stuff 656 
After a few minutes, she got tired of waiting, so took a break in HIS tiny bed.  

stuff 658 
Finally he came out of his house after much coaxing and a few false starts when Rigby pounced on him and he scurried back in.
stuff 659

We went out for some exploring.

stuff 646

stuff 647  stuff 660
stuff 661 
Whenever I separate them whether it be for feeding, sending one or the other outside, or bedtime, when Rigby sees him, it’s like she forgot he was here and is seeing him for the very first time, ever.  She’s so big and bouncy – like Tigger -and he’s little and timid.  He wants to play, but she scares him just a little.
stuff 651 stuff 649 stuff 650When he’s had enough, he takes refuge where he can – under the chairs, in his house, or under the bed.  Rigby waits as close as she possibly can, willing him to come out and playl
stuff 654 stuff 653 stuff 652Neither Rigby nor Murphy are piggy eaters with their food.  They’re both more like grazers unless of course the other one’s food is down.  I separate them to eat and they barely eat a thing while separated.  But as soon as I put them back together they REALLY each other’s food.

Making either one of them mind is a challenge.  Rigby minds commands very well, but with the little one around, she’s having some trouble. I tell her to sit/stay in order to call Murphy to me.  But when I call him, Rigby comes which defeats the purpose because she bounds over, scares him, and he hides.  Getting them in and out of the backyard and their wet feet cleaned feels a little bit like an “I Love Lucy” episode…Crazy!

We went for a walk tonight.  Rigby and I walk all the time, and she’s well trained on the leash.  Murphy is still learning so the walk was very chaotic.  He ran this way and that way, crossing leashes and tripping up both Rigby and me.  His little legs ran and ran, but after a mile he was beat.  He finally just stopped, flopped down on his belly, and wouldn’t move.  I had to carry him back and drop him off before continuing the rest of the walk. 

I’ve been debating the pros and cons of getting another dog.  I’d love to have a playmate for Rigby because she has so much energy.  But having a second dog is double the work.  We’ll enjoy our visit with Murphy this week, but I’ll have to continue the debate for now.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pink and Sparkly

My friend Tami asked me to make invitations for her daughter’s 4th birthday party.  It’ll be a princess-themed party.  I just finished them this afternoon.
stuff 271I want to make pink, sparkly, pretty-princess cards all the time.  So fun!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

That’s a Man’s Job

This past weekend a mutilated bunny appeared in my backyard.  I’m not sure if Rigby caught one of the many that hop through the neighborhood or if another animal – neighbor’s cat, coyote, hawk, raven – is to blame.  Anyhow, the poor little bunny was torn and broken.  I could barely even look at it.  It gave me the heebie jeebies. 

For Saturday night and all day Sunday I thought about ways to get it out of the backyard.  But everything I came up with would make me have to look at it, which I couldn’t do. 

I’ve never been as much of a chicken when it comes to bugs and spiders.  Even though I whimper or scream the entire time, I am able to remove unwanted ones.  When it comes to bigger animals like birds or mammals, well that’s where the line is drawn.  Sitting near the mountains, my neighborhood is inundated with local wildlife, so this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with a dead animal.  There were a few years when I first moved in that I was afraid I’d be called the “animal killer” for as much dead wildlife I had in the front and back yards.  And I love animals! 

Once there was a giant dead rat in the street in front of my house.  Luckily, my friend Mike (who had to park right next to it) was over and graciously offered to remove it for me.  I’ve also had various baby birds fall from their nests and many small rodents left scattered about.  Between various guys I know and the gardeners, they were cleaned up as well without too much trouble on my part.

So this weekend, I could have called a friend to help, but I hate to call them for help with stupid stuff like this – things I’m physically capable of doing, but not mentally.  I then remembered someone once telling me that the city’s animal control services that kind of thing.  Before asking any friends, I waited through the weekend – not being able to put the dog in the yard – and called animal control on Monday morning, just to see what they’d say.  The operator I spoke with took all my information and was very helpful.  She said someone would be out by the end of the day.  That was great.  They would send out some man to clean it up, and I wouldn’t have to use one of my friend cards. 

Mid afternoon, I heard the truck arrive and then the doorbell rang.  I was relieved they had arrived.  However, I was surprised when I opened the door and…they had sent a woman!  That’s right, animal control sent a woman to clean up the dead bunny at the home of a woman who was too chicken to clean it up.  My relief of having the thing removed was somewhat overpowered by my embarrassment for being too much of a baby to have taken care of it myself.  It’s kind of hard to play the helpless-woman-thing with another woman.

I smiled politely the whole time and thanked her profusely.  “I just couldn’t even look at it,” I kept saying.  She nodded on her way out and said, “Ya, it’s pretty gross,” before she left.  Which probably meant, “Next time put on your big-girl pants princess!”

While sharing my tale, I was told a story about a guy I know who had to ask the next-door neighbor lady to take a mouse nest out of his garage.  He wasn’t able to stomach it.

I would say I’m a fairly modern woman, and know we are perfectly capable of doing things without a man’s help, but isn’t it funny that I just assumed the person coming to clean up the dead animal would be a man.  Asking a woman friend to help with a dead animal would never have occurred to me assuming they’d be as grossed out by it as I was, and I’d assume that a man would be perfectly fine completing that task.  Clearly, I was incorrect on both accounts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Truly, were there less days in 2012 than usual?  It went by SO fast.  As much as I like making the calendar pages in my journal, they seem to make the months fly by more quickly.  This is my second year participating in The Kathryn Wheel’s Calendar Challenge.  Each month, I find it a bit more difficult to create something interesting or new, but I plan on participating in 2013 again.  My most recent pages, December's, are first.  Below those is the rest of the year in reverse order.

stuff 268

stuff 258

stuff 249

stuff 239

stuff 233

stuff 002

stuff 224

stuff 211

stuff 170

stuff 155

stuff 142

stuff 131It was fun looking back through the year, rereading everything I had recorded.

I leave you with this quote which I’m letting inspire me in the year to come…
I must learn to love the fool in me--the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.
-Theodore Isaac Rubin

Happy New Year!