Friday, December 24, 2010

Timer Practice

This morning at work (because, let's face it, who's dedicated to actually working on Christmas Eve), I whipped the ol' camera out for a little impromptu photo session with the moms.

Let's agree that I need more practice with the camera, but I think these shots are adorable. Am I biased? Yes.

                                                                   Lesson, the first:

If you're going to set the timer to take continuous shots, give your subject a heads up.


Wait. What? There's another one?

How many is it going to take?

It's done now, yeah? Yes, mom, it's done.

Lesson, the second:

Stop laughing, you crazy person.

This is mom's pre-cheek-kissing face.

So is this.

Um...stop laughing.

So! Funny! Can't! Breathe!

Aaaaaand it's an epidemic.

Lesson, the third:

For the photographer in me: Make sure all subjects are in the shot. For the model in me: Stay in the frame, jackass.

Oooh! Cheek-kiss success!!

Post-cheek-kiss success?


Back in the shot. But with the giggles again. Mom's swooping in for another kiss.

And she's gone. Where'd I go?

This was a well-spent morning and a blast to do. I now have some great shots of my mom and I. There are so few in existence due to our consistent failure to act like normal humans when a camera's around. I also learned several lessons about photography, clearly.

Look at just how much fun it can be to make mistakes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Card Lane

Many, many Fridays ago (December 10th), after viewing half of Toy Story 3 and eating a delicious dinner at Islands, my friends and I took an entertaining walk around Christmas Card Lane in PQ.

This is Kim. She enjoys riding on carousels. The reindeer and snowman are also clearly enjoying themselves. More importantly, ELF IS PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND! Eeeeeee!!

This is Jar Jar (and friends). This one's mostly for Mok. Actually R2D2 is for Mok. I'm sure he hates Jar Jar. Also, amusing/frightening: Yoda in a Santa costume.

*Cue Circle of Life music here*


These dolls are Creepsville. Susan & Kim are understandably afraid.

Dobby!!!! Oh, poor, sweet Dobby. Damn you , Bellatrix Lestrange!

This one's for Mok, too. Although, I think he'd be pissed that Batman's not in front. But at least he doesn't have a douchey Santa hat like Superman or lameass antlers like The Flash.

Although this post is super late, the rest should be timely. I finally got all the pictures from my new camera on the computer last night, so we're good to go from here.

Happy Holidays!


This girl is sick:

She is not happy about it. Socktavius the Socktopus is so irritated by the whole thing that he can't even show his face.

This is her sick food:

Grilled cheese, Cheez-Its, and chicken noodle soup solve just about everything. The secret is that all the chicken must be picked out of the soup. If this step is ignored, the magic is gone.

This is her magic potion:

It is a life-saving (sleep-inducing) mixture of whiskey, lemon juice, and honey, made nice & toasty in the microwave.

Fingers crossed that the healing process is swift. I'm a whiny baby when sick (more so than usual) and I feel sorry to everyone around me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Biddy

A customer came up to the window to pay for the work done on her vehicle.

I asked her to please sign for the repairs. She scrawls out her name and I thank her.

"What are you thanking me for?" she asks snippily.

"Excuse me?" I respond. I always try to make a person repeat what they've said when they're being rude. Then they really have to stick to their rude guns.

"I saaaiiiiid, 'What are you thanking me for?"

First of all, that's a presposition at the end of your sentence. There is no secondly.

"I thanked you for signing, as I asked you to."

She comes back with an exaggerated eyeroll.




1. When did people start becoming irritated at an attempt at politeness?

2. At what age does one cross over into being a complete hag?

3. How does one avoid this transition?

4. At what age is an old lady too old to punch in the throat?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Debbie Downer Alert!

When I mentioned, at work, that we'd have a holiday potluck the Friday before Christmas, I got two Grinchy responses (from the same person!):

1. No one will bring anything.

2. Last year, they had fruit salad with whipped cream and the leftovers sat in the sink for weeks.


For the love, show some fricking spirit or shut your yap.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

baby steps

I did not want to write about my foray into health for multiple reasons.

Mostly because:

1. It's sort of boring.
1a. Nobody wants to read that.
2. I will start out strong, then quit and don't really want public record of my attempt.

It's really only #2, though, because, one's reading this except me. So, I can write it and bore myself. As for the real excuse I've been avoiding this topic. I love to plan. I get no greater joy than having a goal and setting up short- & long-term steps to reach that goal. The part that's tricky for me is the execution. Sometimes, I finish the planning portion and never begin the journey. Yet more often, I plan the heck out of something, try it for a week, then pretend none of it ever happened.

Buuuuut. If I start talking about this stuff here (which I have, obvs), there will be a way to be held accountable for something. And I hate that!

For now, I have a little complaint. I had gone weeks without buying any sort of "good" food. I was eating lots of processed stuff, for lack of a better description of what I was ingesting. So, like a good, little health-conscious girl, I dragged my butt over to Henry's to at least get some produce to start me off. See, aside from the health benefits of eating well, there's also extra incentive for me to do so. I get pretty nasty headaches when I'm not eating well. So, then I'm fat, lazy, and in pain. In addition to produce (and spices! Lord, do I ever love their bulk spices!), I needed to pick up some Greek yogurt because it's delicious and good for you. Right?


I bought this stuff here and was so proud of myself. (I'm making good food choices! And it's so delicious! Tra la la!!) But,'s loaded with fat. And the sugar! THE SUGAR! What surprises me the most is that cream is a main ingredient. Is this normal? I thought yogurt was supposed to be, well...yogurt.

Anyhow. Mistakes are just a kick in the butt to do better next time, right?

I need to look at nutritional information before I buy something. Not after I've been gorging on it for several days.

Lesson learned.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Dating Game

It's been made clear by past experience that I'm not great at the whole dating thing. I end up uninterested very quickly and I handle things badly.

After a lot of thought, though, I think the problem was that I was lacking focus. I didn't know what I wanted from dating. It seems odd to have a "dating purpose", but I do need one. I didn't know what I wanted from these poor guys, I just knew I wasn't getting it. I ended up frustrated that they weren't meeting any expectations when the expectations were just smoky ideas.

The horrible offenses of the last round of fellows I dated:

*he asked the same questions more than once (Granted, they were sort of big deal questions, like: How would you feel about being a stay-at-home mom? You'd think he'd remember my response to something like that the first time, right?)

*he stuck his tongue out as he was coming in for a kiss. Gross.

*he made me watch Avatar.

*he was super late & didn't apologize. Then we were late for dinner, then late for a comedy show. Have you ever walked into a comedy show after it started? Walking in late makes you a target.

I suppose there's nothing exceptionally deal breaker-y about any of that, but it becomes an issue when you don't know what you want from someone. All I could see was what he didn't have. I couldn't match him up to what he should have because I didn't know what that was.

I doubt any of these guys had what I'm looking for, but if I'd known what I'd wanted from them, I may have seen that although they had some deficiencies, they may have had a lot to offer as well.

So. New plan.

In dating, and in life, I need to be both very aware and very vocal about what I want.

This is what I want from dating:

1. Someone to do stuff with. How's that for vague? I want someone to hike with, visit museums with, go to food festivals with.

2. Someone who makes me better. I need to feel like I'm constantly improving and it'd be great to have someone around who inspires me to do so.

3. Someone I can count on. I need some loyalty and reliability.

4. A friend. That wants to make out. And have lots of sex.

5. Some space. I don't need someone up in my beeswax all the time. I don't know where the happy middle ground between getting attention and getting alone time is, but that's what I need.

That's what I have so far.

With that, I'm back in the game.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

my mood

Oh, daaaaaaang.

It's already happened. I stopped writing. In an attempt to avoid an excuses post, I will instead talk about my recent, awful mood.

I have not done any sort of physical activity in the past six weeks.

I have only seen friend-type people once in the past 18 days. The one time I did see them, it was it a celebratory setting and those situations offer very little one-on-one discussion time, at least not much of the intimate kind that one needs.

This, actually, has recently gotten me thinking about friendship and what it all means. A lot. Bordering on constantly.

Anyhow. The no working out and the no friends have made me a grumpy gus, which of course makes me not want to work out or see anyone.

That's been my face all week. It's my Really, guys? Really? face and, if you've met me even once, you've seen it. If you know me well, you're very familiar with it, although it's probably not directed at you most times. It's always directed at them. Those other people.

At work, that's all they've been getting from me.

This, believe it or not, is not a complaint session. This is my promise to snap out of it because I'm beginning to irritate myself.

Tomorrow, I'm a new woman. No more snapping. No more looks. No more making people feel like idiots (even if they are).

The goal for tomorrow may not be happiness, but I will, at the very least, be pleasant.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Morning Thus Far

Oh nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

That's my windshield. It done got jacked up on the way to work.

Is that crack smiling? Mocking me?

What hit me is a complete mystery. The same thing hit in two different spots, which is not possible.


Mom suggested it might have been bullets.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling."

--Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Waiting for "Superman"

When his mother told him that Superman wasn't real, education reformer Geoffrey Canada didn't cry because he wasn't real like Santa Claus wasn't real. He cried because "there was no one coming with enough power to save us."

In education, we've been waiting for someone to save us. We been waiting for someone with more power than we have to make things better. Not only has this waiting been unrealistic and lazy. It's also become dangerous.

Teachers and administrators have become complacent. Most parents don't realize how badly the system is failing their kids. And the kids are falling further behind every year.

The United States is ranked last or near last in Reading, Science, and Math in comparison to other developed countries. On the other hand, we're ranked first in confidence in these skills. Kids feel that they're doing well, while they're failing miserably. Their parents might have the same level of confidence in what their children are accomplishing. It's going to be difficult to start a revolution if the people getting an education don't think we have anything to fix.

So, where do we start? What can be done?

There are folks far wiser and more experienced than I dealing with the answers to those questions. All I have to offer are examples from my very limited time as a public school teacher.

One problem that is addressed at length in the film is the idea of tenure. Once you have it, it's pretty near impossible to take it away from you.

I worked with a third grade teacher who said she didn't waste time teaching writing to her students because they'd just end up working at the gas station when they grew up. They wouldn't need to know how to write there.

She has tenure, which means she has a job for life, if she wants it. Which means she's going to be teaching our kids until she retires. It's not just that she's going to be depriving those students of writing skills. She is sending the message to approximately 900 children that they shouldn't shoot too high because they'll be living their parents' lives anyway.

Yet I was denied tenure because one person *cough*AudreyHoward*cough* didn't think I had "enough of a relationship" with my students. This coming from a woman who visibly, physically withdrew when a student came near her.

Enough of my  personal stuff. A little lingering bitterness there.

Honestly, though, with tenure you get the same compensation for being an excellent teacher, a mediocre teacher, or a godawful teacher. Why be excellent when your contract entitles you to the same pay regardless of your quality? What sort of effort will the majority of teachers be willing to put in with this kind of system? I think most of us would bust our asses the first couple of years, but after witnessing coworkers doing the bare minimum and receiving the same pay as us? Maybe a select few would continue to put their all in, while the rest of us would fall in line with the crappy teachers.

What does this mean for our kids?

Another problem I saw in my time teaching is the inability to determine what makes a good teacher and what makes a good school, which is also briefly addressed in the film. We know what to teach, but we don't really understand how to teach it meaningfully. There are teachers who are just naturally good; I know quite a few. Yet there are also teachers who could be great, if only they were given the support and time to develop and the skills necessary to become exceptional.

There are problems here, but there are also solutions.

The first step to change is to realize there's a problem. Parents needs to be informed. Teachers need to remain hopeful. It's also imperative that the community knows what's going on. Even if you don't have kids, the current state of our educational system is going to affect you. What do you think happens to the kids who don't receive a quality education ten or twenty years down the line? Your tax money is going to be involved one way or another.

I've always loved Henry Ford's quote about teamwork and it applies here.

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

So, team, it's time we come together.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cooking Club!

So, I had the brilliant idea to get together with a few friends once a month so that we could cook a themed meal and eat, drink, talk, and laugh together.

We had our first meeting this week and it was a huge success! The food was delicious and we all had a blast.

It all started with me grating the onions, tearing up, and taking a picture to capture the tears, which did no capturing at all.

Our October theme was Fall and I was in charge of the meatballs. I chose a Kofta Kebab recipe and adapted it a bit. I decided to go with mini meatballs instead of kebabs.

This here is the meat I used: half ground lamb and half ground turkey.

  Here we have the spices all ready to go: grated onion, garlic paste, ground coriander, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne, and ground ginger.

Spices & meats!

My giant claw fixing to mix the ingredients together.

Meatballs, precooking.

Beautiful arrangement of cucumber salad ingredients that the camera couldn't ignore.

Rachel was the queen of a lovely kabocha squash curry.

Kate fashioned these ridiculously delectable caramel apples with coconut & baby chocolate chips.

The drink of the night: Chaitini!

Kate can handle her liquor. No doubt.

The finished product. Cucumber & feta salad, Kofta meatballs, and kabocha squash with a Chaitini on the side. A perfect blend of fall flavors.

 Thoughts for our next meeting:

*Rachel is a genius and thought to print up her recipes for us, but I am not & didn't. Maybe next month, we make up a little menu/recipe booklet.

*Um...where is Natalie?! I have no pictures of her except for her legs in the meatball photo. Although I suppose I only have Rachel's arm in one picture. Also, none of me. We need to put someone on photo duty. I'm sure the girls have some pictures I could borrow to fill in the holes.

*On the same note, we need a photo of us sitting down to eat. A conclusion picture!

All in all, I'm beyond happy that we were all willing and able to get together for this. An amazing time with an amazing group of ladies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Here We Go Again!

For realsies, this time it's going to stick and here are the reasons:

1. I'm reading a lot more, so I'll be inspired to write a lot more, right?

2. I got a great pep talk ass-kicking yesterday that was not intended for me, but made me feel hopeful and inspired about my own writing (

3. I finally (finally!) realized I'm writing for myself. Just me, no one else. That's beyond freeing.

That's pretty much it. It's simple, but this time I will be blogging regularly. At least once a day, even if it's just a picture of my feet. But I promise there won't be too many of those. No more than five a month.

Happy reading!