Sunday, April 28, 2013

You’re Killing Me, Victoria!

A few years ago I feared that my favorite bra from Victoria’s Secret was being discontinued.  Thankfully, they were simply upgrading the model and after just a few weeks it was available again, better than before.  A couple times a year, they have big sales and free shipping offers, and it’s then that I take the opportunity to stock up on some new colors and/or replace any that need to be retired, always remaining faithful to my favorite.  

Since all the sizes and colors are available online, I tend to use their site to do my shopping.  I know exactly what I want and can use their coupons to make the cost more manageable.  Other than the wait time, I find it easier than going to the store where they may or may not have the color or size I am looking for.   This past week, I received an email about a percentage off AND free shipping on their website.  I just came from visiting their website, and much to my dismay the collection is still being sold, but they’ve changed the name of the bras.  Now what am I going to do!?!?  If I order them and they don’t fit right I’ll be stuck paying an arm and a leg to ship them back. 

The logical option is to head to the mall and try it on.  Which is fine, because it might be exactly the same.  But if it’s not, I’m going to be irritated.  I hate bra shopping.  It’s very hard to tell if a bra REALLY fits within the 30 seconds it’s on in the dressing room.  So you buy it, hoping that it does truly fit.  Then you get it home and try to wear it for more than an hour where it pokes, or rides up, or slips down, or makes your clothes look silly.  I’m all for worthwhile change, but why mess with a good thing. 

If bra shopping is required, this is what I have to look forward to.  Fingers crossed my “workhorse” is still available…

Makes me giggle every time.  I tend to be swayed by the “useless boob bedazzler”, and then I regret it after getting it home.  Hmmm, that could be the story of my life!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Week That Kindergarten Kicked My Butt!

Since the first day of my second round of student teaching, I knew that teaching kindergarten was NOT for me.  I walked into the classroom of over thirty 4-5 year olds who were all talking and wiggling at the same time and it was at that very moment that I vowed I’d sooner change careers before I taught kinder.  Since, it’s been a long running joke about my complete aversion to any grade below 2nd.  Kindergarten is probably the most important grade level, but teaching kindergarten is akin to herding bees.

Flash forward to this past week.  Jlo and I were asked to do a staff development (classroom demonstrations and unit prep) for some teachers at my school…kindergarten teachers.  That meant we would be teaching kindergarten for the week.  Me, teaching kinder?  Hah!  Both Jen and I joked about it the couple of weeks leading up to the training even though we were both a little nervous.  We very much believe in the strategies we train (and regularly teach with), so we planned to rely on those to make it through.

On the first day of training, Jen joked that we may love it, and since they don’t have to do standardized testing maybe we’d have a good reason to change grade levels.  I rolled my eyes…not a chance. 

After introducing ourselves to the class, I started the instruction.  Since I do it a lot, I’m fairly comfortable teaching in front of other people, but even so I had a small case of the nerves not knowing what to expect with this squirmy grade level. 

Right off the bat we were in for some laughs.  We were using reptiles as the subject matter to demonstrate the strategies.  While the kids sat with me on the carpet we sounded out the word “reptile” and I chose students to come up to our vocabulary chart and write a letter at a time.  After the second student was called on by me pointing at him, I told the class that we didn’t yet know their names, but we’d do a very best to learn them while we were there.  The words had no sooner left my mouth when the boy coming up to the chart said, “Well, my name is Valentin.”  He was so stinking cute and matter of fact as were the remaining four students who came up after him and also introduced himself.  A few moments later, Jen came up to change out the materials and said, “This is going to be fun!”

It was a fun week, but EXHAUSTING!  I found the kids to be just darling when they were engaged in something on the rug during our direct instruction.  They were in close proximity and weren’t terribly distracted most of the time.  However, sending them back to their desk with any direction was chaotic.  A simple direction like “Take xyz out of your folder,” turned into anything BUT that direction.  Maybe they went to their folder, but then spent time looking at the materials inside and talking about them, maybe they walked over to their friend and sat back down on the carpet together for a chat, maybe they pulled a book out of their desk, or maybe they flung their pencil across the room.  It was almost like they quadrupled in numbers when they were sent away from the carpet and EVERYTHING distracted them. 

When the alarm went off this morning I sighed loudly not knowing if I could possibly get out of bed and face those busy little beings another day.  It made me laugh when I had a text from Jen about her exhaustion this morning as well. 

The end of the week finally arrived and the training was a great success.  The teachers, who were a little skeptical about the strategies being used in K before the training, were so amazed that their “babies” could do them just fine.  But I tell you, I’m going to give my 2nd graders a big hug on Monday and thank them for not being 5 years old. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Celebration of Books

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This past weekend was the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books.  Some friends and I spent most of Saturday at USC enjoying the many literary events. 

It was a beautiful day to visit the SC campus in the heart of Downtown.

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Authors from so many genres were brought together for topical panel conversations moderated by LA Times’ reporters, editors, and honored authors.  Our schedule began at 10:30 and didn’t stop until the festival was over.  The day started off with “The Body and The Brain: Food, Health, and Self Care”, a very interesting discussion about the socio-economic and cultural issues that may lead to lack of prevention and/or lack of care for our neediest communities. 

Next up, “History: American Arguments”, which was one of my favorites of the day.  The authors were truly experts on their subject matter but were also great speakers.  There’s something about people who are passionate about what they do.  They pull you in.  I could have listened to them all day.

That same passion continued into the conversation with three biographers, moderated by A. Scott Berg – a Pulitzer winner himself – called “Biography: American Icons, Complicated Heroes”.  The authors had various subjects – musician James Brown, television personality Julia Child, and obscure playwright Lillian Hellman.

stuff 036 I enjoyed learning about the amount of research that went into each author’s book, and there were some great stories about their “person”.

The next conversation was with Ed Bacon, a local Episcopalian priest among other things.  I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to spend an hour listening to a religious conversation, especially one centered around his new book.  Instead I took a bit of a break to look at some of the independent book vendors.  When I finished my shopping, the conversation was still in progress so I met my friends inside the auditorium.  I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised.  I enjoyed his point of view, his laidback personality, and his non-preachy preaching.  His views on current issues were very un-churchlike – liberal and accepting.  I’m glad I attended, even if I had missed part of it.

We quickly walked from one end of the campus to the other and just made it for the conversation “Humor: Vastly Inappropriate.”  Four women comedians discussed sex, politics, family, and their new books.  They were freaking hilarious. 

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The last, but certainly not least, conversation was with Gavin Newsom (former Mayor of San Francisco and California’s current Lt. Governor).  It was the one I’d been waiting for ALL DAY.  stuff 044As Mayor, he brought universal healthcare to San Francisco and has been an unwavering supporter of the environment and marriage equality.  He’s a typical politician who likes to talk, but throughout most of his conversation I shouted, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” (inside my head of course) for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of what he had to say.  His new book Citizenville How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government demonstrates how antiquated our government’s current technology is and how regular citizens can become more involved and engaged in what is going on with the use of technology.

Books and good conversation – what a nice way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sat 9

1) Crazy Sam is beyond sick of all things Kardashian! What's a topic you're just tired of and don't want to talk about anymore?
As a matter of fact they irritate me a little bit too. How someone who does NOTHING can warrant so much attention. Kim K was on my flight from Paris to LA a couple of weeks ago. We were just through customs when security whisked her through. We walked out about a minute before her to about 50 photographers in the waiting area. While we waited for our ride, a giant black escalade pulled up, she walked out, followed by all the photographers - I thought we might be trampled. They bumped and pushed into us, knocking over my suitcase. The door sat open for a few second (hmmm I wonder why) and then the SUV peeled out into very bad airport traffic. There were so many photographers, most of them just held their camera up over their head and shot. Blows my mind that anyone cares enough about her to warrant that kind of attention.

2) Rod Stewart has been recording for more than 40 years. Do you have any of his music on your iPod/mp3 player? I don't think I do, but I might have a "Best of" cd somewhere.

3) Rod Stewart is known for his coif. How much time do you spend on your hair each morning? Oh dear, this question is going embarrass me a little bit. For someone who is fairly low maintenance in the getting ready department, my hair takes a LONG time. I have a ton of hair on my head and it takes forever to dry, FOREVER. I have this thing about going out with wet hair so I spend at least 40 minutes on my hair, drying a section at a time. Just when I think I'm done I find another section that's wet. I hate every minute of it, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. The rest of my morning routine is quite speedy in comparison.

4) Rod's first child, a daughter, will turn 50 this year. His most recent child, also a daughter, is 2. How close in age are your children? If you don't have any children, how close in age are you and your siblings? If you don't have children OR siblings, well, tell us what's immediately to your left as you respond to this meme. If you don't have anything to your left ... Oh, hell, I give up!
I don't have kids and I don't have any siblings. My dogs is passed out to my left. She's also the only child and doesn't have any kids.

5) Which do you prefer -- french toast or pancakes? I don't really like either however if my life was on the line I'd choose french toast because it has cinnamon. But sweet breakfast doesn't have much appeal to me.

6) When was the last time you lost your cool? We just finished the 2nd week of our 4-week standardized test prep practice. Argh! This whole week has been trying on my patience.

7) Crazy Sam once had a pet hamster she named Bart. Have you ever cared for a hamster or a gerbil? I had a hamster named Daisy growing up. She chewed her way out of her cage and went missing for about a month. My parents had a party one night that went into the early hours of the morning. While they played a game of darts the hamster ran across the room with her cheeks full of dog food. She'd been coming out each night, stealing the dog food, and surviving on it for a whole month.

8) Are you ticklish? Oh my goodness yes! Just pretending to tickle me makes me ticklish.

9) Ouch! You have a headache! What's your go-to remedy? Caffeine...but I don't get too many headaches now that I rarely drink it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I've Got a Little Itch

I've been toying with the idea of a new laptop and debating whether to stick with a PC or venture into the realm that is Apple. My other devices are Apple, but up until now I've resisted the laptop for two reasons...we use PCs (Dell) at school and I can get twice the computer for half the price if I stick with a PC.

My friend Tami and I have discussed the pros and cons over the last couple of months. She's fairly convinced that's the direction she's going in while I've remained on the fence. That is until last night when we met up for coffee. After a couple of hours just catching up, Tami asked if I was interested in going to Apple store which was across the courtyard from where we had ben sitting all that time.

I agreed, interested in what they had to say. Big mistake! Huge! We got the spiel, we got the pricing, and we got to play with the floor models. Now I want one too. I've spent most of the last 12 hours trying to rationalize this purchase. I think I'm getting close.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hmmm, Would We Call That Herding?

Last week, the mystery of the dead bunny in my backyard was solved.  If you’ll remember, one morning the bunny just appeared in the backyard.  I wasn’t quite sure how it got there – Rigby was an option, but so were the neighborhood cats and other wild animals that make the rounds at night. 

It was very early in the morning.  I had just woken up and, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not terribly coherent in the morning.  I stumbled downstairs to let the dog out.  Rigby stepped outside when I opened the door and all of sudden a bunny flew across my yard.  Before I could say, “Oh, no!”  Rigby took off across the yard, aiming for the bunny.  For about 2 minutes the bunny frantically hopped across the yard, looking for a way out as Rigby zigzagged after it.  The whole time I screamed, “Rigby!  Rig-Beeeeeee!” Which was ignored by all.

Most of my backyard fence is brick.  One side is an 8 foot brick wall, the other three sides have about 3 feet of brick wall and then picket fence that sits on top of it.  Every time the bunny ran towards one of the fences, I just knew that was the end of it.  As soon as it got to the brick wall it would have to hop up onto the brick before it could squeeze through the fence.  That was bound to slow it down.  I cringed at the thought of what would happen if it slowed down. 

Finally, the bunny ran into the side closest to where I was standing.  Rigby put on the brakes and then trotted back and forth along the fence, clearly no longer chasing it, instead looking for it.  Obviously, the bunny escaped.  However it probably keeled over with a heart attack having been chased to an inch of its life. 

My adrenaline was pumping, but I breathed a sigh of relief that my dog didn’t murder (another) bunny in front of me.  I also wanted to strangle her – all that training thrown right out the window.  She didn’t listen AT ALL! 

I was certainly awake after that!

On a more somber note, my thoughts are with Boston tonight.  My home for 8 years, I have a place in my heart for this wonderful city.  Whenever manmade tragedy like this strikes, I can’t help but asking, “What is wrong with these people?!?!”  

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Yesterday afternoon while walking back to class with a student, I spotted a quarter on the ground. "Look!" I said, tapping it with my foot since my arms were full. "A quarter." He stopped, looked at it for a few seconds, and shrugged. "Meh," he said and continued walking. "Then pick it up for me," I told him. "I'm not as rich as you are." He smiled and carried it to our room.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Little Man in the Fridge

This evening, the light in my refrigerator went out.  When opening the door to darkness, my first thought was that the circuit blew or the fridge died so my affective filter was high, but upon further investigation it was still running and the light in the freezer still worked.  It took me a minute but then realized the light bulb had simply burned out.  Do you know that I have never once changed a refrigerator light bulb before!?!?  I moved out of my parents’ house at 17, so have rented, or co-owned, or owned at least 10 fridges since then.  Isn’t it odd that in all those years a bulb never went out?  I never thought about it before, but it’s kind of blowing my mind tonight.

Anyways, after cleaning out the top shelf so I could get to the light (which I assumed was in the back), I couldn’t find it.  Scratching my head, I searched around the ceiling and finally located it in the front, just above the door.  I set it aside next to my keys, a little bit frustrated that it went out on a Sunday night because with the new work week starting, who knows when I’ll have the time to go to the store to get a light bulb. 

Then I remembered the light bulb box.  When my parents moved to Hawaii maybe 10 years ago my dad left a bunch of boxes in my garage.  The box that he always kept the light bulbs in at their house now resides in my garage. Every-so-often I’ll find a bulb I can use in the box so I checked it.  At the very bottom of the dirty old box was a cardboard sleeve, browned with age that said, “Refrigerator Light”.  Skeptically, how could it possibly still work, I tried it…and it worked!

I’m proud to say I successfully changed my first refrigerator light bulb.  Bring on the fluorescents!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday 9 – Friends

Time for a Saturday 9!

1) How did you meet your best friend? We rode horses together.  I think I was 6 when we met.  Shoot, that was a LONG time ago! 

2) Mother Winters used to say she loved all us kids equally, but at various times she liked one of us more than the others. Does your "friend ranking" ever shift? Or is the person you think of today as your best friend always #1?  Hmmm, I have a handful of really good friends who I know I can count on.  I’d say they rank the highest.

3) What makes you a good friend? I’d do anything for my friends and, not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty fun.  :)

4) Think back to your childhood -- what games did you and your friends like to play?  This would actually be funny post in itself…since most of my childhood was spent at the barn, we played a lot of crazy (dangerous) games with our horses after the trainers went home.  I don’t remember all the “rules” but the worst one had something to do with one of us galloping past the others standing in the arena trying to yank us off our horse.  Thinking back, I don’t know how no one got seriously injured.  Those horses were saints.   When we weren’t flinging each other onto the ground, we played a lot of Barbies and board games like Life and Sorry. 

5) Would you rather lose your hair, or the little toe on your left foot? (Yes, you must commit to giving one up.)  Oh that’s totally easy…a toe!  There are plenty of cute shoes out there to cover it up. 

6) Think of  the phrase, "like nails on a blackboard." What is your least favorite sound?  I don’t like nails on the chalkboard but that’s kind of an outdated sound isn’t it.  I also get chills when someone folds a piece of paper and runs their fingers over and over the crease.  Not sure if it’s the sound or the visual of that, but I don’t like it.  Car alarms are also pretty irritating, especially the one that has 4-5 sounds continuously repeating.  Does anyone even care about a car alarm going off anymore?

7) Do you add fabric softener to your wash or place a softener sheet in the dryer?  I have sheets, but I rarely use them.  I think I forget about them.

8) Showtime, HBO, or neither?  Both, I watch more cable than anything else. 

9) Have you ever fired a gun?  No, I have not.  There is a gun in my home, hidden in the closet, but it is not mine per say.  I sometimes think I should learn how to use it, if it’s ever needed.  But, who am I kidding, I can’t even look at it, let alone pick it up and shoot it. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home and Some Art

After a wonderful (yet rainy) trip to Portugal I returned home late Tuesday night.  I always find it funny that even though I enjoy going away, the comforts of home aren’t too bad either.  Sleeping in my own bed, not wearing the same three outfits for days on end, cooking instead of eating out, and having all my stuff without living out of a suitcase all make coming home from a long trip nice. 

The last couple of days have been spent catching up on sleep, unpacking, catching up on sleep, doing laundry, catching up on sleep, various errands, and catching up on sleep.  I think I might have staved off jet lag as I woke up refreshed and energized this morning, although jet lag can hit randomly so it remains to be seen, especially when work comes around on Monday.

Finally getting a chance to catch up on and delete the 500+ emails I had in my inbox and will be making the blog rounds today as well.  Since March came and went, it’s also time for The Kathryn Wheel Calendar Challenge.  I took the easy way out this month, especially the last week, with just a few doodles and a watercolor wash. 

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I also wanted to share my finished product for the Inspirational Card Deck Swap hosted by Jessica Brogan at In Search of Dessert.  
stuff 335   stuff 338They were packaged up and sent off to Jessica just before I left on my trip.  I’m really good with due dates for work, but for fun not so much.  It was an accomplishment getting them done and mailed before the March 29 deadline.  I’ll share more about the project at a later time.

Happy April to you!