Monday, May 31, 2010

The Battle of the Labyrinth

I already posted today, but I have to get this one out real quick while it's still May (and it's only going to be May for 15 more minutes). A few days ago I finished Book 4 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and I started the final book two days ago. I only write this because I just realized that it's been five months, and I have completed five books. I'm right on target!

Quick review of Labyrinth--it was actually pretty pleasant reading. Better than the prior two books. Riordan adds in some new interesting characters, such as a mortal girl, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who adds a new dynamic to the series. I loved the setting of the book--all of the twists and turns of the underground labyrinth gave the story more mystery and appeal.

I was going to write down some criticisms, but I'm too lazy and time is almost up, so I'm just going to leave it at that. Next up is The Last Olympian, and then in July I can actually read something geared toward grown-ups.

Back to Kickboxing

I started back to kickboxing today! See how flaky I am, even in my decision to quit something? A couple of weeks ago, Sensei Brandon decided to open up some morning kickboxing classes, so I decided that this would be the perfect thing to get me up and going in the mornings during summer break. He also started a beginner's kickboxing class on Friday evenings, which I am really excited for, cuz Lord knows that I could use the extra support. The only problem is at the end of summer, I don't know if I will be able to continue with the classes. I obviously can't continue on with the morning classes once I'm back to work, and the evening ones were keeping me up at night. Brandon understands my dilemma, and this morning we were brainstorming different strategies I can try in order to relax myself to sleep after a workout. I have two months to figure something out, but I have a feeling that once I'm back to work, I'm going to wuss out of kickboxing again.

Despite everything, it was great being back in class! It has been about three months (maybe four?), and I was worried I would no longer be able to get through the workout. It really did prove to be tiring, but thank goodness for muscle memory, because really the whole thing felt pretty natural. The only hiccup I had occurred toward the end of the workout. I was throwing punches at Mama Julia (a brown belt in the class--this woman is my inspiration), when suddenly I felt so lightheaded and my vision began to swim. I tried to pass it off for a few more seconds, but I could feel my whole body wobble. Mama Julia asked "Are you okay? You look really pale." I left the mat, dropping my gloves on the floor, and went into the bathroom. Once I shut the door, I collapsed on the ground. A part of me was thinking how disgusting the floor had to be (we walk around the entire dojo barefoot), but I didn't care. I just pressed my cheek against it's surface and it felt so wonderful and cool. The whole thing was weird because this has never happened to me before. Shortly after, Brandon's wife Shelly gave me a tangerine to eat, and I felt a lot better. I didn't eat breakfast that morning, and Shelly said that my blood sugar level had probably plummeted during the workout. I thought those kinds of considerations were for diabetics, not for generally healthy individuals, but I guess from now on I'll be sure to eat breakfast before working out.

Aside from that, today was pretty normal. Clint slept until 3:00 today, so I took the kids out for lunch and shopping. This evening Trin was spending the night at her friend's house, so Clint and I got to enjoy some quality time with just the little guy (who was such a chatterbox all day). We wound up having a movie night with way too much popcorn and M&Ms.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Only 584 glasses of water until school starts...hey, you use your calendar, I'll use mine

I am TERRIBLE at drinking water. I guess I'm just your typical desert rat. It's really bad...I will go days and days never drinking one glass. Which would be fine, I suppose, if I drank lots of juice and other fluids, but I don't drink much of anything at all. I always have a Carnation's chocolate milk with my hard-boiled egg in the morning, about a third of a bottle of Gatorade with lunch, and an iced tea with dinner. That is literally IT for the entire day. Whenever I go to an amusement park or some other physically taxing outing, everyone around me is chugging down bottled water all day long, while I, on the other hand, take a sip here and a sip there, nursing one bottle all day long. For whatever reason, I have a very lousy thirst response. This has never bothered me too much, because I trust my body--that is, I figure that my body's not going to let me DIE of thirst. If I were truly dehydrated, then my body will send me thirst signals, right?

But lately I have started to question the validity of this notion. Just about every related study in existence stresses the importance of drinking water. Clinton has also really been pushing me to drink more water in the last few months. He really thinks that if I were more hydrated, it could help my voice come back, make my skin less dry, etc.

I'm not sure if water is the magical elixir it's claimed to be, but for me, just the thought of getting my voice back to some small degree is enough for me to at least give it a try. The problem is I've tried in the past to drink lots of water, and it simply doesn't work. I'm sorry, but water is just BLAH. It has no flavor, which is just...well...BLAH. How do people guzzle down that stuff? It's just a bunch of blah-ness that fills up your stomach in an unpleasant, gurgling sort of way. In the past, when I've made goals to drink eight cups of water a day, I usually get to about cup #2 when I lose interest and forget all about it.

So this time, feeling really serious about my H2O goal, I set an alarm on my phone that goes off every single hour for eight hours straight to remind me to drink a cup of water. The alarm plays this obnoxious song that Clint found on the internet, with these loud lyrics that say "We need water...water brings life!" Ughh it's annoying, but it is very effective. I even have a plastic cup in my purse that is exactly one cup, so when my alarm goes off in public (as it has several times now), I can go to the nearest drinking fountain and fill up. Clint scheduled my alarm to continue on for the next 73 days, so that's only...hmmm...73 x 8= ....crap, let me pull out the calculator...584 more glasses to go to reach my summer goal.

So far the plan is working amazingly well. I haven't missed a single H2O appointment, and tonight, for the first time ever, I actually felt thirsty for a glass of water, of all things!

Now for my next goal: Growing a bigger bladder. Cuz the current one ain't cuttin' it.

Fluppy Dog

Summer has been great so far! Granted it has only been going on for two days now. This morning Clint and the kids had their karate promotions ceremony. Clint and Trinity advanced to blue belts, and Elijah is now a green belt. Clint and Trin are now officially enrolled in the advanced karate class, and it's just so cute watching them go through this process together.

When we got home from the karate promotions, Clint surprised me with a gift. When I was a kid, I always wanted a "Fluppy Dog," which was a raggy-looking stuffed dog with fur made of yarn. I remember going to Disneyland, and my Grandma gave both my sister and I some money to spend on souvenirs. We walked into this one shop, and they had a display full of Fluppy Dogs. I was so excited. But it turned out that they were quite pricey, and I couldn't afford to buy one. I put the dog on both my birthday and Christmas lists that year, but never did get one. Probably because it was "yet another stuffed animal" (Shan and I had TONS of stuffed animals when we were kids).

So as you probably guessed, Clint surprised me today with a Fluppy Dog. They don't make them anymore, but he found this one off of e-bay. Even though the dog is circa 1985, it is in pristine condition. He is sky blue and adorable. Wait a sec, I'll post a pic......Okay, I'm back. Isn't he just so cute? I can't believe Clint did this. It must have been two years ago that I had mentioned to him my childhood craving for a Fluppy Dog, and out of no where (and for no special reason) he produces one. He scored MAJOR brownie points today, and he knows it. I'm in trouble. ;-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Smoking Toddler in Indonesia

I heard this on the news the other day and was at a loss for words. I mean, I realize that there are some dumb parents out there, but this just blows so far past the line of simple, common sense that even someone like ME, who's often deficient in the common sense department, has a hard time fathoming this level of ignorance and stupidity. The little Indonesian boy in the picture, Ardi, is two years old, and he smokes somewhere around two packs of cigarettes a day (click here for the full article). His dad gave him his first cigarette when he was 18 months old, and now he's hooked. Mom and Dad refuse to kick Ardi's habit, because he throws temper tantrums when he is denied a cigarette (um, really? You'd rather turn your kids' lungs black than hear him scream for a little while?).

There are so many problems with this story, I don't even know where to start. I cant even imagine why the Dad would ever in a million years give his baby a cigarette in the first place. The only theory I can come up with is that Dad thought it was funny to see his baby puffing on a cigarette, in the same way some people feel amused to see their dog lapping up a bottle of beer at a barbecue. Perhaps stupid, immature Dad never realized that this so-called funny display would actually lead to an addiction. But now that the toddler is hooked, why on earth do the parents keep supplying him the cigarettes? The government even offered to give the family a brand new car if they quit giving Ardi cigarettes, and they refused. Apparently having shiny new transportation isn't worth the family having to endure Ardi's temper tantrums when he is denied his next cigarette. I almost wonder if, in some sick twisted way, the family is enjoying the attention from the media. They didn't seem too shy about offering up a video proudly exploiting their toddler's smoking habit, and even now, the dad just doesn't seem overly concerned about his son's health.

At any rate, these parents are seriously disturbed, and it's a shame that Indonesia doesn't consider this child abuse. The whole thing is just sick.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Closed for Summer =)

Before I conclude Middle School Dribbles for the school year, I think I will write down my favorite memory from the year, and maybe even my least favorite memory.  Brainstorming....
Oooh, I just thought of both, and they go perfectly together! My least favorite moment was when students had to fill out "anonymous" student surveys after state testing. One of the questions was "What makes a GREAT teacher?" with a follow-up question of "Who do you consider to be a great teacher at our school?" Most of the students' answers had me smiling from ear-to-ear, until I read Kayla's response (her name wasn't on the survey, but she has very recognizable handwriting). She had been such a quiet, good student all year, so it never occurred to me that she might be feeling lost, neglected, or out of place. But she responded with:
"There are no good teachers at this school. All of them do nothing but
order us around, and none of them care about me. I've had good grades
all year long and have done everything I'm supposed to do, but none of it even matters."
OUCH. This was absolutely heartbreaking for me. And it was a wake-up call. Sometimes, as a teacher, I inadvertently give all of my attention to the students who are the biggest disciplinary issues, or who are on the brink of failing; letting the so-called "good" students slip through the cracks.

After Kayla brought attention to this fact, I vowed to make a connection with her. Every morning when she came in for second period, I personally told her good morning, and I began to ask her questions about her interests. She's painfully shy, so conversations with her were very strained. No matter what I said or did, I couldn't get her to crack a smile. After awhile I began noticing that she liked to draw, so I started to ask her about her artwork. But nothing really seemed to work. For weeks and weeks she seemed to "tolerate" me, but never really seemed to warm up to me the way my other students do.

When the Spelling Bee approached, I encouraged her to participate, and I was surprised when she agreed. She never did win a medal, but she made it to the top five. When I congratulated her and gave her an awkward hug, I thought I saw a little glimmer of something on her face, but still no smile. I tried not to feel discouraged, but it really just seemed that Kayla simply disliked me.

Now on to my most positive memory for the year. Staff Appreciation Week arrived, and during lunch, students had an opportunity to fill out a strip of paper in which they said something nice about a staff member at our school. One morning, I was going through a few of those slips that I had found in my box, and that's when I came across one from Kayla. The slip said, "Mrs. P. is a great teacher. She is a light that shined in my darkness, and I know she cares about me." I couldn't believe it. All of those strained conversations, all of those awkward attempts to have her show me her artwork and get her to open up to me--they were working the entire time!

Yesterday was the last day of school for my students. Kayla shyly walked up to me and, without saying a word, gave me a beautiful card that she had drawn for me. With slightly misty eyes (I'm such a sentimental sap), I told her that her staff appreciation slip, and now this card, meant the world to me. She gave me a stiff hug, but by now I have learned that those are the only kinds she knows how to give.

This whole thing has been a learning experience for me. On the one hand, I feel thrilled that in the end, I was able to connect with Kayla. On the other hand, I feel ashamed that I allowed so much of the school year to pass without noticing that she was disappearing into the background, and it took a so-called anonymous survey for me to really see her. Next year, I have decided on a "Post-it Plan" to ensure that this doesn't happen again. I'm going to place three stacks of post-its on my desk (one stack for each class), and on each post-it I'm going to write each of my students' names. Then, every day, I am going to tear a post-it from the top of each stack (similar to what one might do with a daily desk calendar), and whoever's name is on that post-it, I will make it a point to have a personal conversation with that student (ask them about their interests, family life, etc). I have heard stories of teachers who go an entire year never personally addressing a student by name, and I don't want to inadvertently become one of those teachers. If it wasn't for that student survey, I could have very easily been one of those teachers. And how many students from the past have I overlooked, but didn't have the benefit of a survey to let me know? Arghhhhh. The post-its will be an accountability system that will ensure that, from this point on, I am making a personal connection with every single student.

I am really looking forward to a brand new school year where I can start out fresh and try out some new ideas. But until then, hurray for summer!

Monday, May 24, 2010


I just got home from Small Group, and as usual, instead of curling up in bed, I'm all amped up on chocolate cake, caffeine, and awesome conversations. I can't describe it--there is just something so therapeutic about talking to the girls in my small group. It's just the one atmosphere where I feel like everyone is being their pure selves. We laugh with each other, get teary-eyed from time to time, share our triumphs and our failures.

It occurred to me yesterday how much moving to this new house has changed our lives. If Clint and I had stayed in Silverlakes, not only would I still be making that long drive to work, but we would still be living far away from Clint's parents, who have become such an integral part of my kids' lives. But there's even more than that. A couple of years ago, Clint was having health issues, to the point where he was going to the emergency room on a nearly biweekly basis due to panic attacks and chest pains. At that time, the doctor told Clint that if he didn't get serious about his health, he would be a likely candidate for a heart attack in a decade or so. It wasn't until we moved into our new house that we discovered the dojo only a couple blocks away, and on an impulse, Clint decided to join kickboxing. Clint's blossoming interest in kickboxing last year consumed his free time, and without a second thought he gave up his addiction to World of Warcraft without ever looking back. He has not been on the game ONCE since we moved, which not only speaks volumes if you know anything about the addictive quality of that game, but has seriously changed Clint's life. He has replaced what used to be hours upon hours of sitting with activities that require moving around. Even when he's not kickboxing, he's constantly on his feet, tinkering with something. The most pronounced testament to all of this though occurred three days ago. Clint went to the doctor's for a physical, and although he is still not at his ideal weight, for the first time in his life, he has low--not medium, but LOW--blood pressure, and he is as healthy as a horse. All because of a chain of events that was initiated by our move.

But the most meaningful thing to me that stands out about moving is our small group. When we were in escrow for our house, we went to this event at our church called "The Gathering," and that was where we proceeded to meet three other couples who would eventually become amongst the closest friends I've ever had. I still remember that when we first arrived, a lady asked us what table we wanted to sit at, and we figured that being thirty years old, we were too old for the "young married couple" table, so we just headed for the regular "married couple" table. We were about half way there when we changed our minds at the last second, and made a U-Turn for the young married table. It turned out that, with the exception of Matt and Alana, everyone at that table was actually our age or older. I guess thirty is still "young." Anyway, for the next several weeks of the Gathering (which was just a series of fun dinners, get-to-know-you activities, etc.), Clint and I had to drive all the way from Silverlakes. But we told ourselves it was worth it, because we knew as soon as escrow closed on our home, the situation would change. One thing led to another and the eight of us at that table formed a small group that has met every-other week for nearly a year-and-a-half now. We also do the occasional outing with the group as well; we went to Huntington Beach last summer, we went geocaching with Matt and Alana, and now we're planning a camping trip. This group has come to mean so much to me, and we would have never made these friendships if we had stayed in that house in Silverlakes.

I honestly think that things happen for a reason. If we hadn't have moved, the kids wouldn't be reaping the physical benefits of being in karate, they wouldn't be attending Kingston with its wonderful GATE program, Trinity wouldn't have her "best friends in the world" that spend the night over summers, I would live too far away to EVER see my sis, Teri couldn't just drop by unannounced (which, believe it or not, is something that I actually like), I couldn't just drop by my classroom to pick up something that I forgot, and the list goes on and on. These are all little things of course, but they add up. When we lived in Silverlakes, I used to optimistically convince myself that it was a great place to live. But it's different here. I don't have to convince myself of anything. There is this feeling of conviction that we are exactly where we are supposed to be, that this is home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Hubby is Contributing to Global Warming

I'm not sure exactly who my readers are, but if there are any UN-married followers out there, here is a little glimpse of the fairytale-like romance that constitutes married life. Yesterday I posted the following coversation between me and Clint on facebook:
Me: "Will you stop fartin' already?"
Clint: "That's like telling the sun to stop shining."
Me: "Well the sun never shone when we were dating."
Clint: "Oh it did. It just shone outside."
Shannon responded by telling Clint to "Stop contributing to global warming," hence the title of this post. Later that night, I wrote the following journal entry in my real, physical journal (yes, I still keep one of those, but usually just to scribble down some quick thoughts, ideas, or notes):
Hard to get to sleep when your hubby's bowels are speaking so loudly and proudly. What's worse is he's complaining that his "aromatic emissions" aren't getting the proper credit. Cuz ya know, if he were at work, he'd have the van drivers hanging their heads out the window, desperately gulping in fresh oxygen by now. Apparently at his work this is an important status symbol. I'm so sorry honey that your gaseous contributions to our planet aren't getting the proper accolades!
And there you have it. Welcome to marriage.

P.S. Part of marriage is also respect, so Clint read this entry before I posted it, and he just laughed. I love having a hubby with a sense of humor when it comes to my teasing him.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Plans for Summer

I have only four more days of work left, and then it's on to glorious summer! I can barely contain my excitement. We have somewhat of a busy summer planned, but hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in lots of down time.

Next weekend we have "Family Fun Day," which is a giant family reunion/barbecue type thing with Clint's family. This year they're doing a big pool party with tons of food, games, a pool table, Wii, and a bounce house for the kids. Normally I kind of sigh over going to the FFDs, but with all of the activities planned this year, I am really looking forward to it. It just seems like the perfect way to launch summer break.

In early June, Clint, the kids, and I are leaving for a five day vacation to the Monterrey Bay area. We're staying in a cabin at a KOA (as pictured above). While we're there, we are going to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, the Winchester Mystery Mansion, the beach/warf to swim and ride bikes, and we're going to ride the Roaring Railroad Train on a tour through the Redwoods.

We're scheduled to go to Ryan's and Julie's house down in Oceanside for an overnight Forth of July celebration (can't wait!), and then toward mid-July, we are planning to go camping at June Lake with Matt and Alana. I've never been to June Lake before, but my principal showed me pictures of the area (she's been going every year for the last twenty-some years), and it looks absolutely beautiful. I am really excited for this particular trip.

Also during summer, I will be taking my last class for my Master's degree and painting/ remodeling two bedrooms. Thankfully the class is an online course. The bedrooms that I have to paint are the master bedroom and Trin's room. We decided a few months ago that we were going to trade bedrooms with Trinity, because her bedroom is technically larger than ours. The problem is we don't want to move into a bedroom that has sky blue/sunny yellow walls, so I'm going to have to completely repaint both rooms. Making this switch is going to be a LOT of work, but I love painting (as long as it's not trim), and I'm happy to have a project to work on.

The last item on our impossible to-do list is to finish the front yard, but that should actually be completed in the next few weeks. We finally conquered our stubborn weeds, a dozen blisters and two hula-hoes later.

It's almost here...four more days left with my students (sniffle sniffle) and then it's hallelujah summer here I come!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tarantulas and Toys

I am really itchin' to blog today, but I literally have NOTHING to talk about. So I told Clint and Trinity to "pick a topic, ANY topic," and I swore that I would write at least a paragraph about it. So let's start with Trinity's topic: Tarantulas.

Okay, so what can I say about tarantulas? Well, for starters, I don't find them to be at all scary. I've mentioned this in a previous blog, but I'm just not equipped with whatever gene it is that makes people screech like a girl whenever they see a spider (that's not really fair, because often times the person shrieking actually IS a girl). I've just never been afraid of spiders, even as a child. If I find one in my house, I catch it and let it go. Especially spiders that are predators; they play such a monumental role in keeping down pests in the yard. The only exception to my "no kill" policy are mama black widows, because I can't have a bunch of little baby widows (wow is that an oxymoron) running around the house. But even then I tell the spider "sorry" before having Clint take care of it (I can't squish 'em myself because I'm a sissy lala). I don't think the apology really comforts the spider as it's life is being squashed into obliteration, but it somehow makes me feel better.

Regarding tarantulas specifically, I find them to be an interesting combination of creepy and cute. When I was in San Vicente, Mexico two summers ago, we found one in the desert and I actually held it. They are SO tame. The one that I held actually started crawling up my arm toward my shoulder, and I had to keep poking and prodding it in the right direction. It never came even close to getting agitated. You can tell a tarantula is losing patience when it does the following things: 1. Shakes its fur off, 2. Rears up and bears its fangs, and 3. (only if #1 and #2 don't work) Bites.

Okay, I think I covered Trin's topic enough, so on to Clint's topic: Men and their Toys. Every married female out there knows that men never really quite outgrow "toys," and they will always have that childhood desire to tinker with something. Last week Clint purchased a 1969 Volkswagon Beetle. Now this might be a reasonable purchase if we didn't already own X amount of vehicles (to divulge the exact number would officially place us into hillbilly status), but considering the cars we already own, it's quite a rolling-eyeball-inducing purchase. I have decided to be okay with it though, because in exchange for the Bug, Clint is going to landscape our front yard. But to get him to do this in a timely manner, I had to bribe him with a tattoo (he gets the tattoo to celebrate the yard being finished). Yeah, I can't keep up with all of the deal-making and bribes either. It does sound like Clint's making out like bandit while I'm stuck with another piece of crap car, but at least my crappy cars will be parked in a nice yard. Plus, I have to admit, I'm actually getting into the restoration of this car. So far Clint has bought a new headliner, tint for the windows, new front windshield, and a new electronic ignition. That's more than he has done for any of his other so-called car projects, so I think this one might be the real deal.

I like this kamikaze blogging. If I were more tech-savvy, I'd start a "Topic Tuesday" page (similar to "Wordless Wednesdays") in which all participating bloggers would be given a unique topic, and they would be challenged to write at least a paragraph on their blogs about it. Then of course they would have to post links to their entries, which would bring in mass-amounts of bloggers seeking to gain more of an audience, and I would get rich with all of the hits (okay, I might have crossed into the line of "fantasy" here, but don't burst my bubble). No one take this idea, 'cuz as soon as I get smarter, I'm doing it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Foofy Mongrel & Other Stuff

I know I already posted today, but I feel like after that last boring, housecleaning-type entry, I need a nice regular one.

Today was a gorgeous day! It was sunny and somewhere in the low 80's. This morning I jumped into my swimsuit and sunbathed for about 45 minutes while the kids played in "Club Trinity and Elijah," which is actually an ugly, bushy tree with a bunch of weird junk tucked in the branches. After sunbathing and lunch, I took the kids skating. It was fun except for the fact that I did more skating than my lazy, technology-saturated children. They kept taking long breaks, and I had to keep warning them that if they didn't spend more time skating, we'd leave. It was a bluff though, because I really wanted the exercise, plus I wanted to practice backward skating more.

After skating, I went to this little hole-in-the-wall fashion shop to look for shorts. I have NO shorts for summer. It's really hard to find decent ones, because everything for the last few seasons has been either too long, or too hoochy-mama. Nothing in between. As luck would have it, I wound up buying three pairs that fit perfectly. The lady in the store helped me a LOT. I've sort of become a regular there, so now when I walk in, she asks me exactly what I am looking for and actually picks out items for me to try on. Nine times out of ten, I end up purchasing whatever she picks out. It's kind of cool; I feel like I have my own personal shopper every time I walk into her store. And the prices are amazingly reasonable.

After shopping, Clint and I went to Starbucks. We took our goodies home and enjoyed them in front of the pond. Now that the weather is warmer, the fish have come out of hibernation, and I just love watching them. Often they get so close to the surface that you can literally just pluck them out of the water. Hopefully the neighborhood cats and birds don't figure out that nifty little trick anytime soon.

Later in the evening, I took Moses for a walk, and then played with my blog. Clint shaved Moses recently to get him ready for summer, and he looks SO funny. He is shaved down to almost his skin, with the exception of his head, feet, and tip of his tail, so now he looks like an enormous poodle. Despite his foofy mongrel-looking appearance, I'm so glad we decided to shave him. He has been acting so much more spry since losing all of that heavy fur (which filled up an entire large trash bag).

Time for me to go...I'm going to try to talk Clint into putting highlights into my hair before he leaves for work. Either that or make me chocolate-chip pancakes. Whichever one he's most willing to do. I'm sort of leaning toward the pancakes.

Update: Clint's making me pancakes! But I'm pretty sure there are some strings attached. ;-)


I made a few changes to my blog. =) Because I love my sis so much, I changed my blog over to something easier on the eyes...the white text against the black background was giving her a headache. Normally I would just think she's crazy (quit wearing just one contact, you nutball!), but another girl who used to be in my kids' playgroup reported having the same issue. Unfortunately I'm having a really hard time finding a template that I like, since I naturally gravitate toward darker colors and edgier themes (neither of which bothers my eyes). I went through probably over a hundred different options, and finally settled on this one as a temporary fix. This theme is very similar to my Dribbles template, and I do like the way it's laid out. But over summer I plan to look for one that I feel more in love with.

I also switched to a custom domain, although it will take a couple of days for my blog to transition to the new address. Making the switch was extremely easy, but coming up with a name was nearly impossible. Every single name that I tried was already registered. Everything from "mysquishy" (long story) to "caboodle" was taken. I even tried nonsense words, such as "quiggles" and "boodle," and they were gone. I have determined that the web has scooped up every word in the English language when it comes to .com domains.

Ultimately I called my sister, and she picked out my new custom domain name: "" She chose this one because she said that my personality reminds her of fizzy, bubbly soda. I love it because it's simple, it incorporates my nickname, and it's easy to spell. Thanks Sho for the domain name!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Restaurant Hopping

I really really need to get to bed!

Okay, that being said, I have to blog for a minute or two and try to get tired. So here was my day:

Went to work (okay, I'm already yawning), and after work we had our last department meeting for the year. The meeting (which really wasn't a meeting since we accomplished nothing useful) was scheduled at Oggi's, which is this really upbeat pizzeria and brewery. I had a really good time--I love being able to visit with my fellow colleagues in a social, fun environment outside of the pressures of work. After nearly two hours, I had to leave because I had made plans with Shan and my mom to meet them for dinner as a sort of late Mother's Day get-together. Of course we were meeting all the way on the opposite side of town, so it was going to be another half hour drive. When I went to leave, I discovered that I had locked my keys in my car. You would think that in today's society of modern cars with fancy remotes, locking your keys in your car would be an impossibility, but where there's a will there's a way. Somehow I am perpetually able to magically find a way around the idiot-proof systems in our's a gift. :) When I discovered my keys still in my car (not in the ignition, mind you, but laying in plain sight on my passenger seat), I went to call Triple A, but Laurie immediately said she would give me a ride to the Olive Garden since I was already running late. I couldn't believe it! Bless that woman's heart--that was so out of her way!

Once at Olive Garden, I had an amazing time with my mom and my sis. We haven't had a dinner with just us girls in...well shoot, I can't think of a time in the last decade where it was just us three. We shared a bottle of wine and got a little silly in our conversations--at one point we spent a good amount of time discussing toilet seat liners in loud, adamant voices that I'm sure didn't go well with the customers around us. We stayed at the Olive Garden for about two-and-a-half hours, and could have easily stayed longer if we didn't all have lives going on the next day. Shannon drove me home since I didn't have my car, which was great because we had extra time to chat on the drive home. When I got home, my car was back. Clint and his mom had picked it up while I was at my multitude of dinners.

All in all I had a GREAT day today, but I'm sure I'm going to pay the price for it tomorrow.

Oh, and just a quick little piece of irony: I found out later that Triple A was in the same shopping center as Oggi's, so I literally could have walked right in and had them break into my car. But I guess that would require me to be a competent person who is actually aware of her surroundings. *sigh*

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bonding with Blogs

Today was a good day! After work I attended my BTSA Collequium, and yeah, I have no idea what that word means either, but I am officially done clearing my credential! If someone had told me it would take two years to be able to breathe this sigh of relief, it would have probably spooked me from the teaching profession. Thank God for ignorance to pull me through. But now it's all over, and I can just sit back and enjoy the last few weeks of the school year.

On top of that, two of my students took first and second place in the spelling bee today! I might attempt to write more about it on my Dribbles blog, but I can't promise anything. It sucks because I'm always bursting at the seams with classroom stories, but I don't quite have a bond yet with my other blog, so I keep neglecting it. I know that sounds weird ("bonding" with a blog?), but I actually feel an attachment with my bubbles blog. She--he--it--has become like a loyal girlfriend who I can ramble endlessly to and she will always nod along with interest and never get bored (although she rolls her eyes a lot and sometimes tells me "okay, shut up now"). Dribbles is more like an acquaintance who I'm still trying to get to know.

Off topic (although did I really have a topic?), but according to my stat counter, my entry from way-back-when titled "Shaking Bed Syndrome" has more hits from Google key word searches than any other entry I've ever written. In fact, over 40% of my random Google visitors were guided to my site by that entry, using key word searches such as "shaking mattress?" and "my mattress is vibrating at night." I just find this so fascinating, because I really thought I was a little on the insane side for having such a disfunctional relationship with my mattress, but it turns out that there are lots of other people out there who have experienced similiar issues. It's nice to know there are other crazies out there (and P.S. We did replace our mattress shortly after I posted that entry. The shaking is now down to about twice a month).

I just spilled iced tea all over my couch. You know you are at an ultimate low in laziness when you're contemplating buying a new couch rather than getting up to clean the mess.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Weekend with Cigars and Gondolas

Friday night me and Clint went to the cigar dinner. I had intended to take several pictures (I especially wanted to get our entire group sitting around the table--there was eight of us total), but once we were there, I completely forgot about my camera. By the end of the evening, I wound up with only about four pictures. This was my first time attending a cigar dinner, and although I wouldn't describe it as "crazy fun," it was really pleasant. The dinner was at a country club, and the atmosphere was very similar to that of a wedding reception. For the first hour, the guys went outside to smoke a cigar, and me and Angie sat at our table and chatted over a glass of wine. We must have talked for about an hour straight, which is pretty rare for us. It was sort of refreshing. Later our group reconvened for dinner (I'm only using the word "convened" because we just had that word during our school's spelling bee yesterday, and it sounds so sophisticated). Dinner consisted of prime rib and chicken marcello. After dinner, there was a raffle for door prizes, and Clint won a large pewter/cedar ash tray. I don't imagine I'll ever display it in my house, but it is very pretty. Later we all went outside and socialized for the rest of the evening. We wound up getting home from the dinner after midnight.

On Saturday evening, we celebrated my father-in-law's birthday by having an Italian-themed birthday dinner. Teri (my mother in law) assigned us all characters, and we were all supposed to role play that character. In theory it was a cute idea, but I don't do a good job playing "pretend" as an adult. It makes me feel silly. Maybe that's the reason I could never be in plays as a child. I must have the crummiest imagination. At any rate, Clint was "Leonardo," a mob boss, Elijah was an explorer named Marco, Trinity was Sofia, an Italian pop-star, I was an actress named Maria, Teri was Rosa, an Italian mama/cook, and Carey was Alfonso, a hairdresser. That second pic I posted is me with "Alfy" (as we called him). He had the most colorful, funny personality all night. Oh yeah, I forgot about Lucas...he was a gondola driver (is that what they're called?). We played two games that night: the first one was a paper gondola race (I got a little competitive with that one), and the second one was this game where you had to try to figure out the meaning of Italian phrases. It was a really fun evening, despite my reluctance to get into my character.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"I love you so much honey...hey, will you try this poisoned nacho for me?"

It is way too late for me to be blogging! I can't seem to wind down. Plus I just got out of the shower so my hair is dripping wet, and I can never seem to sleep well with wet hair. My shower, by the way, was really crummy. We were completely out of shampoo (but of course I wasn't aware of that fact until I went to use it), so I ended up having to fill the empty bottle up with water and just dump it on my head. Then I tried to lather my hair as hard as possible to get some suds to form, but all I got was a teeny-tiny bit of foam, so I'm pretty sure my hair is going to be dirty tomorrow. Nothing like going to sleep with wet, dirty hair. At least it's conditioned. =)

Tonight was supposed to be our Small Group, but two of our couples cancelled, so it was just us and Matt and Alana. Since it was only the four of us, we decided to play games instead of doing our normal Bible study. The first game we played was Taboo. The funniest part of Taboo was simply watching the guys interact. They gave each other the worst clues, yet somehow could still pull through with some decent guesses. Like Clint, who had a card that said "meteor," and he starts talking about Chicken Little and the sky falling. What the hell does Chicken Little have to do with a meteor?! And then later, Matt, who was still stuck on Clint's previous Chicken Little rant, went through all of this effort to get Clint to guess "Chicken Little," when his card actually said "Stuart Little." But Clint was so confused that he started guessing raccoons and flying squirrels. I don't know why, but that one still sends me in fits of giggles. Another funny part of the game was when Alana was trying to get me to guess some famous female athlete's name (shoot, I still don't remember her name--Mia something or another?), and she said her last name was the name of pig meat, so I said "sausage." I think it was actually Mia Ham. Hold on, now I have to go Google it....

Okay, I'm back. Yep, her name is actually "Mia Hamm" and she's a famous soccer player. I guess I can see how "Mia Sausage" would make Alana laugh so hard. Anyway, the girls wound up winning Taboo, no thanks to me--I am pretty lousy at giving out the clues. Luckily Alana rocks at that game.

After Taboo, we played "True Colors," which really had me cracking up. One question asked something to the effect of, "If you were an emperor and you had to have one player taste all of your food first to make sure it wasn't poisoned, which player would you choose?" The votes (and there's eight of them total) are supposed to be anonymous, but when all eight cards were flipped, four of them were for me, and four of them were for Clint. Apparently Matt and Alana, neither one of them wanting to "off" their own spouse, split their votes between me and Clint. Clint and I, on the other hand, used both of our votes on each other. When I saw the cards I was cracking up so hard. That completely backfired on me. I immediately screeched at Clint, "How could you off your own wife?!" which of course he exclaimed back, "Wait--you did the same to me!" It was so funny. Now that's love right there--when we agree on everything, including the decision to inflict poisonous food on each other.

Last week was insane, hence my neglected blog. Unfortunately I have one more week of mayhem and then I should return to a somewhat more normal routine. Last week I had to go through a last-minute panic to clear my credential, plus I was on-call to period sub, so I lost nearly all of my preps. Then over the weekend we had the Cigar dinner on Friday night (I'll try to post a pic soon), Elijah's music performance Saturday morning, Carey's Italian birthday party Saturday night, and my dad's birthday celebration on Sunday. I was (and still am) so exhausted after this weekend that I was almost eager to return back to work, although now I'm falling behind on grading, and somehow still need to get progress reports out.

Okay, I'm going to attempt to go to sleep now. Good luck me.