Friday, October 28, 2011

Still Busy "Not" Celebrating Halloween

After all of the Halloween festivities last weekend, my brain has convinced itself that Halloween is over.  But NOPE--it goes on...and on...and on....(aren't those song lyrics?).

Today was Halloween dress-up day at work, so I went through my growing collection of costumes to try to find something dress-code appropriate (yes!  It's from that one song that says "I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying ayyy-ohhh, gotta let go...sorry, I'll get back on topic now).

Luckily I found a Roman empress costume that I had bought on clearance last year.  It was SO comfortable.  It felt like wearing a sheet. 

Tomorrow we are dropping Elijah off at a birthday party, and then taking Trinity to the annual trunk-or-treat classic car show.  My dad has a gorgeous '55 Ford Fairlane which he pimps out for this event every year, and it's fun hanging out with my parents while the kids run around getting candy.  After trunk-or-treating, we have our Family Theme Night with Clint's family.  I think I mentioned this already, but this year's theme is "carnival."  I'm really not crazy about this theme.  Circus/carnival related characters make me feel uncomfortable.

On Halloween itself, I have to work, but I'm staying after school to carve pumpkins with Avid (one of the clubs on campus).  That night, I'm thinking we should just stay home.  For a family who supposedly doesn't celebrate Halloween, we sure have a lot of...well...Halloween type things going on. 

Unrelated, but Clint finally finished his tattoo today!  It is really something.  His arm is still raw, but tomorrow I should be able to get a good picture of it to post.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Community Clean-Up Day

I have company coming over in eleven minutes, so I better make this fast!  Here are a few pictures from Community Clean Up Day.  The city gave all of my students t-shirts and garden gloves to keep, so that was kind of cool. 

 Group photo before setting off to work

Me scoping the area

There are a lot of tires in the desert!

Two of my girls taking on a big job

Now some poor hobo is out a fridge

By the end of the day, we had this blue bin completely full!

April lost her gloves

Dragging a couch (and singing, too)

Posing for the camera

The one note-worthy thing that happened is we found a snake out in the desert.  I have no idea what kind it was, although I can say that it was sand-colored, and it was a baby.  I picked it up (I had on thick garden gloves), and it never tried to strike.  It was pretty calm.  One of the teachers ended up taking him home as a pet. 

Overall, it was such a fun day.  The weather was perfect, and the kids were in good spirits and worked really hard.  But that's pretty typical; even the most grueling jobs are made fun by this group of kids.  I've become so close to my Builders Club members (especially the ones who are in the club for the second year now) that every time we get together, it feels like a holiday.  We get so silly, but when it's important, we all work together as a team to get the job done.  It always inspire me to see these kids forfeit their Saturdays to do these kinds of jobs.  They're such an amazing group. 

Next year I'm contemplating letting Builders Club go (that's a story for another time).  But every time I start feeling confident in my decision to not run the club next year, I have a day like this.  And then I'm suddenly sure that I'll never let this club go.  I can't seem to stop ping-ponging back and forth.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Partied Out

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were such insanely busy days that I'll probably have to write three different posts to cover them all.  But honestly I'll never get around to doing that, so let's just say that Thursday is forever lost.  Although I do have to at least mention real quick that Becky and Alana came over on Thursday night to work out with me, and that was a ton of fun.  We played "Just Dance" for an hour, and then negated our workout with cookies and wine.  Okay, so there, that was Thursday (not even close, really, but you don't want to read the ten page version, and parts of it include TMI anyway).

Friday was the Halloween party at the dojo.  It was a blast and I am definitely going again next year.  I was planning to take things slow that evening, but the very second we walked in, Sensei Brandon told us spin a colorful wheel to determine what drink we were going to start our evening out with.  He wouldn't take no for an answer, which was particularly funny since Clint doesn't drink, and more funny when we both hit the "double-shot" mark on the wheel.  After that, I never drank anything else, but I did have a few jello shots.  Okay, a few might have been like 12 or so.  I'm not sure.  I do remember Brandon asking me how many drinks I had, and I said "eight jello shots, maybe...I think?" and he yelled, "Clint, get your wife on the dance floor NOW!  She's too much of a light-weight to have that much alcohol in her system in only one hour!" and they dragged me out on the floor (even though I felt 100% fine) and made me dance so that I would burn off the alcohol (wow was that a run-on).  But every time I got off the floor for a quick break, I'd sneak another jello shot, so I'm not sure how effective their plan was.

Dancing that night was amazing.  The whole dance floor was shrouded in fog, and once you were in the midst of it, you sort of disappeared from the outside world.  It felt like being in Stephen King's "The Mist," minus the ferocious teeth-wielding monsters.  They also had this green laser light thing that I was absolutely enraptured by.  I can't explain it.  It was positioned to reflect from a giant mirror, and it threw out all of these beautiful green streaks and sparkles that made you feel like you were traveling through space.  Clint claims that I was brainwashed by that laser light (apparently I couldn't stay away from it, and I may have done an entire solo dance in front of it at one point in the evening, but it's not my fault that the lights made me feel like a superstar).  Oh, and Clint actually danced!  Not a whole bunch, but he did get out there a few times.

We have no pictures from the inside of the dojo, because the fog and black lights ruined any photograph we attempted to take.  Here are two cell phone pics that we took outside (they're terrible quality).  Because our family fun night theme is "carnival" this year, I was really limited on costume choices.  When I told Clint's mom I was dressing up as a clown, she said, "But you hate clowns."  I told her, "I know, so I'm just going to avoid mirrors."

Me and Sensei Brandon

Me and Clint (the personal trainer, haha!)

A former student's mom was the photographer at the party, and she took some great pictures the entire night.  If I can get my hands on some of those, I should have better pics to post later on.   

I ended up going to bed that night around 2:00 a.m., which was much earlier than I had expected.  I woke up at 6:40 the next morning, and the good news is that I didn't feel hung over at all.  The bad news is I think I might have still been a little drunk.  I got out of bed and just about fell over.  It passed quickly though, and I made it to our Community Clean Up Day right on schedule.  I spent the rest of the morning with my Builders Club students, picking up trash in the desert.  It was such a gorgeous day.  But that's a completely different topic, so I'll save it for my next entry. 

After Community Clean Up Day, we had to get the kids ready for their Halloween party.  The dojo does two parties in a row: the Friday night party for the adults, and the Saturday night party for the kids.  The kids' party had about 85 kids show up.  Insane.  Here are few pictures from last night: 

The kids lining up for the pinata

Clint holding the pinata*
(I hate it that I can't get the little ~ over the "n" on "pinata")

 Elijah punching the pinata with a giant hulk glove (except for you can't see him because the thing kept swinging in front of him every time I took a shot)

 Elijah participating in the mummy-wrapping contest

 Trin in the lead

 Trinity's team when they found out they had won the mummy contest

Elijah bobbing for apples

The party was actually a slumber party for kids eight years of age or older, so Trinity stayed the night and Clint chaperoned.  The irony of Clint chaperoning was almost too much for me to take.  Let's see...he doesn't like kids and he hates Halloween, but let's throw him in the dojo overnight with 45 costumed kids and see what happens!  It still makes me laugh so hard.  But since Clint is now a sensei there, it's expected that he takes on these kinds of responsibilities.  I have to admit that I was jealous as all get out that he got to chaperone.  Unfortunately Elijah is only seven years old, so one of us had to stay home with him.  At least Elijah and I were able to have fun at the regular party, but pulling an all-nighter with a bunch of crazy kids is definitely more MY kind of thing, and I felt left out.  Next year Elijah will be old enough to stay the night, so I am definitely planning to chaperone.  Once Elijah and I left the party, Clint said they had pillow fights, played some outdoor ninja game, and played hide-and-seek in the dark.  The sensei's made all of the kids go to bed by 3:00 a.m., and the account of how they separated boys from girls was pretty amusing.  Apparently they had all of the girls sleep on one side of the mat, all the boys on the other, with a row of ten black belts sleeping between the two.  You'd have to be feeling pretty ambitious to breach that border.

I will say that after two days of partying and a day of picking up trash, I am officially ready to veg on my couch and stare vacantly at the TV for a few hours.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rambling on about Whatever

I already posted today, but I'm feeling really chatty and have no outlet for it right now.  I'm just going to ramble on about whatever.

This week was Red Ribbon Week, which translates to our school doing a series of themed dress-up days to celebrate.  It's fun, but I always feel like my wardrobe is being hijacked for a week.  By the time it's over, I'm feeling pretty eager to wear my normal work clothes again.  Monday was "Twins/Teams Day," where the students and staff are supposed to dress like each other, or wear their favorite sports team shirt.  I just wore my normal clothes and told my students that I didn't need to dress like a twin since I really am a twin.  Boring, I know.  But it was Monday.  No one wants to go all out on a Monday.  Tuesday was "Hawaiiin Day,"  so I wore a hula skirt and a cheap blue lay.  That last sentence didn't sound right.  It was probably the use of the words "cheap" and "lay" in the same sentence.  Wednesday (today) was Crazy Hair Day.  I wore bright green extensions in my hair.  They were pretty cool.  Tomorrow is "Smurf Day."  I guess we're supposed to wear a bunch of blue.  Friday is "Red Hot Day." where we wear a bunch of (you guessed it) red. 

Last night I met Becky for dinner at La Casita.  She had texted me, apologizing for the short notice but asking me if I wanted to meet after work for a quick bite to eat.  I have to admit, I felt a tiny bit nervous; only because the last time I met up with a friend for a spontaneous meal, it was so Alana could tell me she was moving.  But thankfully Becky didn't have any earth-shattering news; she just wanted to have dinner with a girlfriend.  It was really nice.  Becky's life is so overwhelming, so it always leaves me feeling touched when she takes the initiative to meet up with me.  I think reaching out might be hard for her, especially since her past friends have had a tendency to do a lot of "taking" without giving in return. 

Complete change of topic, but I have had a hell of a week dealing with animal control.  I mentioned that Cricket had puppies.  Well, our other dog, Calzaghe (pronounced Kal-zoggie--I know, it's a mouthful, but he came to us with that name) is the one who sired those pups.  Last week when we took his new puppies and Cricket to the vet, he escaped the yard.  This has never happened before.  He is a really good dog and never runs off.  But he had never been alone in the backyard before, and apparently he freaked out.  So animal control picked him up about a half a block away from our house while we were at the vet.  The problem?  They refuse to let us bail him out without neutering him first. This wouldn't be an issue except for the fact that he's a pure-bred, AKC registered Pembroke Welsh Corgi whose puppies are worth about $600 each. 

We showed animal control his AKC paperwork, but it didn't matter.  Not only are they making us pay $175 to bail him out of the pound, but they are also making us pay for his neutering.  Everything totaled comes to $285.  Almost $300!  We're essentially buying our dog back, but minus his assets.  I tried for a week to save my dog's balls (never thought I'd say that particular sentence) and even took the issue all the way to the City Manager, but it's a city ordinance and just can't be bent.  So at 8:30 this morning, Calzaghe was neutered.  I am so very very frustrated.  I do totally understand that rules need to be in place to avoid over-population of animals, but this whole thing just seems so harsh considering it was a first time offense.  And I think it should be illegal to neuter a papered pure-bred against the will of the owners (not to mention make them pay for the unwanted lopping),  That's like damaging personal property to the point of rendering it worthless.  Even if the property still has sentimental value (as is the case with a pet), it no longer has monetary value.  What gives the city the right to take that away?

Saying Goodbye

I have a ton of stuff I want to write about, but this particular entry I'm going to dedicate to Matt.  Matt has officially moved to Northern California, and in two short months, Alana will follow.  They came over Friday night so Matt could say goodbye.  The four of us ended up sitting outside until 2:00 a.m., next to the pond and the chimnea, gazing at the sky and talking about whether the stars we were looking at were actually still there or not, and philosophizing about other big, important things (I think).  And Matt and I did push-ups on the lawn.  Not quite sure how that came about.  This might be a good time to mention that wine was involved.  At any rate, it was hard to say goodbye.  Both Clint and Alana often joke about how Matt is my male counterpart (or I'm his female counterpart, whichever).  While Clint and Alana are more level-headed and responsible, Matt and I are more spontaneous and childish.  Clint and Alana exercise good judgment and can always be counted on; Matt and I don't always think things out completely before proceeding.  Now this isn't always true, but it is occasionally true.  The thing with Matt is he makes me feel like a little kid again.  He embraces life, and when you're with him, it's contagious.  I still remember when we were camping, at one point we started to get bored, and out of nowhere, Matt blurts out, "Hey, let's play hide-and-seek!"  So we did, for about an hour; adults and kids alike, and it was the most kick-ass game of hide-and-seek ever.  I remember hiding in the creek, and the spine-tingling chill I felt when the "seeker" started to get close, and the adrenaline rush of trying to make it to home base (a rock the size of a car), and the sensation of rocks and twigs tearing at my bare feet (seriously, why the hell don't I wear shoes once in awhile?).  The point is, I need this in my life.  My job is so heavy that there are times when it feels crushing, and I need the catharsis of playing hide-and-seek, or jumping in an icy river in November, or climbing a tree in the middle of the night, or doing push-ups in the dark on the wet lawn, or whatever.  Being crazy or stupid once in awhile is therapy for me.  It prevents me from taking life too seriously, and I come back to my responsibilities as a wife, teacher, and mother feeling so much more rejuvenated. 

Of course we will visit Matt and Alana, and they will visit us.  They've become family to us, and distance is not going to change that.  But with Matt now living so far away, I no longer have my partner in crime.  Plus there will be no more trips to the hot springs, no more silly games of Taboo, no more chips and salsa, no more birthday parties, no more late night conversations....

When Matt and Alana left on Friday night, Matt gave me a hug in the driveway and said "I'm going to miss the hell out of you Jodi."  Best words he could have left me with.  Ditto that, Matt.  I'm going to miss the hell out of you, too.

Oh, and just for posterity....

You know you're going to miss us.  ;-)

P.S.  I shudder to think about the sob-fest that awaits my poor blog in December when Alana leaves too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween, Bad Hangovers, & Community Service

Don't those items go nicely together?  Halloween is approaching, and just for fun, I typed the word "Halloween" into the search bar on my blog to see what I have said about the topic in the past.  It was really no surprise to discover that every time I referred to the holiday, it was usually followed by the word "blech" or some other disgruntled interjection.  I noticed that every year I try to explain to some degree why I don't care for this particular holiday.  This time, in lieu of writing the same reasons over again, I was simply going to be lazy and link up to a post from the past.  But surprisingly, the best explanation I could find for my dislike toward Halloween was packaged as a comment to one of my followers:
Halloween can be a source of contention for me. I used to love Halloween as a child, but Clint absolutely hates it, so I sometimes feel a little resentful that my kids aren't carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating like other kids. We still do fun things around Halloween, but I feel a bit deprived of those traditions that I grew up with....Luckily we both love Christmas and go WAY out for that.
That explanation isn't entirely fair though, because even without Clint's disapproval of the holiday, Halloween would still fill me with a small sense of wariness.  I was never able to watch horror movies as a child (and still can't today), because gruesome images disturb me.  I know all of it is fake and supposed to be fun, but replication of human torment in any form just isn't fun for me, especially when you consider that there are real-life crazies out there getting off on that stuff.  Likewise, some of the more extreme Halloween decorations bother me.  I don't mind spiders and webs and cackling witches and that sort of thing, but I don't like the really gory stuff, such as dismembered body parts, bloody faces, and so on.  It seems like every year, the decorations are getting more graphic.  What happened to the good ole' days of hanging up sheets on your trees?

But the thing is, even with my sensitivity to Halloween, my feelings of wariness as a child/teen were always off-set by the fun parts of the holiday.  The pumpkin carving, costume wearing, trick-or-treating, parties, etc.  But in my married life, I feel like I have lost out on a lot of the thrilling parts, yet have still been stuck simmering in a state of gloom as the holiday comes and goes.  We still have these fun themed party with his family each year, but all of the traditional Halloween stuff has been completely taken out of the equation.

But I did just use the phrase "in the past," and that's because in the last two years, Clint has started to be a tiny bit more open toward Halloween.  It started last year, when he actually agreed to go to our friends' Halloween party.  And now this year, he actually bought tickets to the dojos annual party, which I could not be more thrilled about.  We've contemplated going to this party a few times in the past, but this time we actually set it in stone.  Here's the ticket (had to cover address on top):

They're dead-serious about the designated driver thing.  Apparently Sensei Brandon takes your keys away upon arrival, and a lot of people end up spending the night.  Clint's saying that he's going to park our RV in the parking lot so we can crash at any time, but I don't know how serious he is about that.  Although we do already have people claiming spots in our RV.  Clint keeps telling them, "Okay, but I should warn you, I like to cuddle." 

So the one problem with all of this?  Last week, I was all proud of myself because I organized a community clean-up project for my Builders Club.  Two other clubs decided to join us, so I now have 75 kids signed up to pick up litter, starting at 8:00 a.m.  I didn't realize until AFTER I finalized all of the plans that the date I chose (the 22nd) happened to be the morning AFTER the Halloween party.  So I'm going to be partying all night, crashing some time in the morning, and then waking up at 7:00 a.m. to go out into the desert with 75 kids to pick up trash.  Worst hangover EVER. 

But I don't care.  There's no way I'm cancelling out on going to the dojo's party, nor am I going to baby myself that night by attempting to cut out early.  Nuh uh.  I've waited too long for this.  I'm ready to get my Halloween on.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Forgiveness, Surprise Puppies, and Bring your Kids to Work Day

I need to work on tidying up my titles.  :)

Yesterday was an eventful day for me, and something that will stand out in my memory for a long time.  I needed to ask a friend, face-to-face, for forgiveness for something I did nearly a year ago.  The whole drive there, I kept picturing our confrontation and how nerve-wracking it would be.  But once we were together and finally brave enough to dive into deep discussion, I realized that she has a capacity for forgiveness that far-exceeded my wildest expectations.  Our lunch together turned out to be an indescribably wonderful experience.  The part that stands out the most is when she reached across the table, took my hands, and said "Jodi, I forgive you.  We're friends."  As if it were the most simple decision in the world to make. 

I was also able to meet her four-month-old baby boy for the first time, and he is so utterly adorable that he was making me ache for more babies of my own.  Every time I held him, he just gazed right into my face with these big, beautiful eyes, and this little smile playing across his face.  He has so much personality, and in the five hours or so that we chatted, he never once got fussy.  That kid is lethal to hold if you're trying to NOT have anymore kids.

The drive home last night was a happy blur.  But I didn't come close to getting enough sleep last night, so this morning I kept making silly mistakes.  The biggest one was I accidentally took the kids to work with me.  Their school starts after mine, so every morning I load their sleepy little bodies into the car and drop them off at Teri's house.  But this morning, my mind must've been on auto-pilot.  I pulled up into my work's parking lot, ready to start my day, when suddenly I hear Trin's sleepy little voice in the back of the car saying, "Um, Mom, what are we doing?"  I gasped and said "Oh crap!  You two are still here?"  They both started cracking up, and I had to turn around and drive them to Teri's house, which landed me with a lousy parking spot once I finally got back to work.  But it was a lot better than having an eleven- and seven-year-old stuck in my classroom all day wearing jammies and slippers.

In other news, my dog Cricket had six puppies.  This is only exciting for me because I didn't know she was pregnant until Friday (long story).  Teri was the one who finally noticed the fact that the dog was stuffed to the brim with puppies, and I actually had to go back to a previous post to see when Cricket was due.  Based on my calculations, she was due this Monday, which gave me three whole days to prepare.  Lo and behold, she actually delivered them right on her due date, while I was busy at the "edge of the ocean" trying to start over again.  I have never in my adult life dealt with newborn puppies before, so I'm a little nervous about them.  They're pure-bred Pembroke Welsh Corgis (damn that sounds pretentious), so Clint's already doing a great job taking care of them since they're his little money-makers.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Edge of the Ocean

Shannon and the kids came over today.  We had a great visit!  I'd write more about it, but I have absolutely no creativity today.  I took one look at my painting this morning and just instinctively knew that if I attempted to touch it with a paint brush, I'd have to scrap the whole thing.  I tried working on my manuscript for over an hour, but the only thing I added to it was one line on chapter four that says "Blah blah blah" (literally, that's what it says).  And now I can't even form the words for a decent blog entry.  Yet here I am, attempting one anyway.

"At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again...".  I love those lyrics.  I should say more about this song, but...well...yeah.  Zero creativity. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Sun will Set for You

What a deliciously relaxing Saturday!  Okay, I might have forced a little enthusiasm just now because I promised that I'd be more upbeat, but seriously, it wasn't half-bad.  I stayed at home and did nothing.  Well, let me qualify that a little.  "Nothing" means I did laundry, cleaned my house (as best as I could considering I was tripping over relocated furniture), listened to music, worked on a painting, and played with the bunny.  But the point is, for the first time in months, I had an entire day free with absolutely no obligations.  Clint was busy getting an enormous tattoo (more on that later), and with no papers to grade this weekend, I had that awesome feeling of waking up to a big fat open day stretching in front of me. 

I'm feeling a little better about Matt and Alana moving, although the whole idea still disheartens me.  Matt is moving out there next week, and that sort of sucks, because it's all happening so fast.  But Alana is staying until December so she can finish off her semester of school and deal with their house.  She and I have decided that we're going to spend as much time together as possible, and just really try to make these final months count.  So in this sense, I'm thankful. 

Tomorrow Shannon is coming over, which is good because I'm craving my sis badly right now.  The last time I saw her was at the L.A. County Fair on the 24th, but for some reason, it feels like it's been so much longer.  Then, on Monday, I'm driving over two hours to meet a friend for lunch.  I'm really excited to see her, but also nervous.  It's been a long time since we've seen each other, and a lot of things have trespassed between us since our last visit. 

I love this song.

P.S.  Alana, I promise I'm not still wallowing--(much)--the song choice is pure coincidence. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week's Gloom Log

I tend to avoid my blog when I'm feeling depressed.  Well, "depressed" is probably too strong of a word for what I've been feeling, but it's just been a gloomy sort of week.  On Monday I found out one of my seventh graders from last year was diagnosed with cancer and is now a permanent resident of Loma Linda's Children's Hospital.  She's such a sweet girl, and so young.  It just breaks my heart. 

On Tuesday I found out that Matt and Alana are moving to Northern California.  I can't even begin to say how much this tears me up.  I'm happy that both of them get to start this new adventure together, and especially thrilled that Matt found such a good job.  But Alana is the closest friend I have, and selfish me is having a difficult time coping with the idea of losing her as a regular part of my life.  Not to mention Matt, who has always felt like a brother to me.  I actually wrote an entire blog entry about this, but it's just too pitiful to post, so I'll leave it unpublished. 

On Wednesday Clint and I spent most of the day arguing with each other.  Although it wasn't really an argument; it was him reacting toward something I did that I shouldn't have (pretty typical for me), and me apologizing and waiting for him to calm down.  The one good thing that came out of it is we pretty much resolved everything over text messaging, so by the time we both got home from work, the situation had just about blown over.  But it still made for an emotional, distracting day. 

Last night we went over to Becky's house for pizza.  It was such an awesome visit.  We spent three hours doing nothing but talking and sharing.  But I came home from Becky's house feeling a little bittersweet, just because I knew that this was one of our last times together as a group.  Last night I tried to go to bed right after 10:00, but insomnia reared its ugly head and I ended up staying awake past 4:00 a.m.  I had to get up at 6:00 for work, so I was dragging by this afternoon.  Today was a minimum day because we had to do report cards, so the last bell rang at 1:02 p.m., and it took me two hours to input all of my grades, including citizenship and comments.  I posted my grades at 3:00 and was just getting ready to leave when the counseling department called, asking for an ETA on my grades.  I told them that I had posted them ten minutes ago.  They informed me that they weren't showing, and after a few minutes, we realized the mistake.  I had posted them under "semester 1" when I was supposed to post them under "quarter 1."  A simple, sleep-deprived mistake.  It seemed like a simple fix to me, but when I switched my gradebook back to "quarter 1", all of my comments and citizenship grades disappeared.  Two hours of work down the drain.  I nearly cried when I realized I was going to have to re-do them all.  I ended up taking them home, and thankfully, with Clint's help, it only took me about 45 minutes to re-do them.

After the whole report card fiasco, Clint's mom, sister, and brother-in-law came over for dinner.  I didn't know anyone was coming over until last night, and it was slightly amusing because we're in the process of putting new flooring in our house, so our house is presently quite torn apart.  I'm not sure why we couldn't eat dinner in a more put-together location, but if no one else minds little Lucas playing in rooms with hammers and such, who am I to complain.

Okay, so I'll try to be more upbeat in my next post.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Woman of Faith Conference--Better Late than Never, Right?

Eons ago (aka: last month) I had an awesome weekend in Anaheim which I promised I would write more about, but I keep getting side-tracked by parades or hailstorms or stray kittens or canned food drives or pink hair (not necessarily in that order).  So I'm going to set everything else on my mind aside for a few minutes and talk about it, because it really is something I want to remember later.

That week, Alana and I had agreed that we wanted to leave for Anaheim around 7:00 a.m., so that morning I set my alarm for 5:50 a.m.  An hour and ten minutes would give me enough time to get ready, finish packing, and eat breakfast.  I've been using the same alarm for over five years, and it has never failed me.  Yet, when my alarm went off that morning, it was 6:50, NOT 5:50.  I had ten minutes before Alana was going to be pulling up in my driveway.  Now one might argue, "You just thought you set your alarm for 5:50, but you actually set it for 6:50."  That's what I thought, too.  But nuh uh.  I checked, and it was indeed set for 5:50.  So the next argument might be, "You just pushed snooze for an hour."  The problem with that theory is, not only am I not a snooze person (I haven't used the snooze button since high school), but my alarm's snooze is exactly nine minutes long.  The number 9 is not a factor of 60, thus there is no amount of pushing snooze that would result in my alarm going off exactly one hour past it's designated time.  The final argument is, "Your alarm was actually going off for the full hour, but you didn't hear it until 6:50."  Really, though?  Loud, blaring music at full-blast, and it took me exactly 60 minutes for it to jar me awake?  That just doesn't seem plausible (plus, again, I'm a light sleeper.  I have no history in the past fifteen years of sleeping through an alarm).

So it's official.  Supernatural forces made my alarm go off an hour late.

Luckily, supernatural forces also made Alana show up at my house a half hour late, so instead of only having ten minutes to get ready, I had a half hour.  It wasn't exactly the relaxing, organized morning I was going for, but it wasn't as disastrous as it could have been.

Once we left my house, we stopped at Circle K to get some coffee.  We decided not to fuel up at the time, because it seemed like we had plenty of gas to get to our destination.  I only bring this up because later, while we were stuck in traffic nearing Anaheim, the low fuel light came on in my car.  It was mildly ironic (and would only happen to chicks--you men would've had the common sense to fill up while you were at the friggen' gas station).  My car alarm also went off loud at that same gas station, and Alana's coffee cup was leaking in my car.  Again, I only bring this up, because we had a lot of "little things" like this happen throughout the weekend (i.e. paying $15 for parking when a $5 lot was one block over, choosing a motel next to the wrong convention center, etc.).

The conference, which I mentioned in an earlier post, was awesome.  There were several presenters that stood out, but my overall favorite was author Patsy Clairmont.  She was down-to-earth, quirky, hilarious, and inspirational.  She never tried to elevate herself above others or make herself sound special, despite all of the obstacles she managed to conquer in her past.  Here are pics of the inside of the convention center.  What the pictures can't capture is the ambiance--the beautiful dim lighting and music made for a really powerful atmosphere.

At one point of the conference, when the lights had dimmed to the point where it was almost completely dark, my contact popped out of my eye.  For no reason whatsoever.  I was just sitting there, and out it popped.  It fell all the way to the floor, and with my vision now compromised and poor lighting, I had zero chance of finding it.  So I handed my cell to Alana (I have a handy flashlight app) and she searched the floor for me.  Luckily she found it, but now I had a new dilemma.  What was I supposed to do with it?  I didn't have a contact case or solution in my purse.  And even if water worked on contacts (which it doesn't), I couldn't risk navigating the crowds in the auditorium to carry my $180 lens to the bathroom.  So my solution?  Spit on the sucker and pop it back in.  Isn't that so gross?  I mean, the thing had been on the floor, a floor which had been trampled on by God knows how many people.  But that's what I did.  I told Alana I was probably going to wake up the next morning with pink eye.

After Friday's conference, Alana and I went and explored Downtown Disney.  Unfortunately these are the only pictures we took (in the Lego store).  I tend to get lost in the experience of things and forget to take pics.

 Alana and Robot Guy

 That expression makes it look like I should've been reaching lower...?

That night, we ate dinner at the House of Blues, and then enjoyed happy hour (for much longer than an hour).  House of Blues was a blast.  Once the D.J. started to play decent music, Alana and I danced a ton.  The most hilarious part of the night was when this one drunk guy kept trying to do a strip-tease, and his very loyal friends were perpetually shoving his shirt back on and trying to keep him out of trouble.  He kept gravitating toward Alana, and at one point, before she could stop him, he jumped right in front of her and started doing a lap dance of sorts.  She was laughing hysterically while simultaneously horrified, with this look of "Aghhhh, yuck!"  on her face.  A better friend would have stepped in, but I was busy trying to get a picture.  Then I was planning to help.  Yeah, next time I'll do better.  Overall the guy was harmless, and he didn't cause either one of us any further trouble for the rest of the night.  

After dinner and happy hour, we arrived back at our motel sometime after 2:00 a.m.  I still remember the walk back...all of the dark shops, the sprinklers coming on, the cool, still air.  It was such a beautiful night.  But I was viewing everything through happy liquor goggles, so don't take my word on any of that. 

The next morning, we had to get up early for Day 2 of the conference.  Okay, I have a lot more I want to include, but I'm noticing that this entry is getting really long, so I'll sum up by saying that there were more awesome presentations, and I was tired (gee, you think?).  Oh yeah, in every bathroom I went into that day, the soap dispenser was out of soap.