Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Only in Vegas

I know my blog is a little on the shabby side right now.  Seriously, what is UP with that white bar on top?  *Sigh*.  Oh well.  Until I have time to fix some of my blogger issues, I at least need to write a regular post, because I am getting so far behind that I can feel myself settling into blog avoidance (Shan, you should look into that...maybe we can have "blog escapism" added into the DSM as an official disorder?).

This weekend we went to Vegas for my mom's 55th birthday.  We left after I got off of work on Thursday, and we returned on Sunday.  There was a big group of us who went:  Me and Clint, my mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, Shannon, Jeremy, Amber and Jessika (my step-sisters), Jessika's husband Jeff, and Sarah.  With the exception of Sarah, we all stayed at the Rio.  In fact, all of us managed to get rooms on the same floor.  All of the rooms in the Rio are suites, so in addition to the bedroom, they have a living area with a sectional couch, coffee table, etc.  Our room in particular had one wall that was entirely glass, with a gorgeous view of the city.  We also had a small glass window which allowed you to see in from the bedroom into the shower--a funny (and potentially entertaining) little quirk.  None of our rooms were as big as my parents though--my dad sprang for a huge 1600 square feet corner suite.  That's only about 200 square feet smaller than my house.  This room was ridiculous.

It would be impossible for me to talk about the whole trip, so I'll just hit some of the highlights.  On Friday Clint and I went and shot machine guns.

I always close my eyes during pictures.  I don't get it.  Anyway, that's an M4.  We shot other stuff too, but that one was my favorite.  It was crazy, because the range officer (pictured above) grew up in the High Desert too, and had only lived in Vegas for the past few years.  Small world.   

Friday evening we ate at an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.  Because the cost was so dang expensive, I refused to put anything on my plate except for crab legs and sushi.  It was quite the plate, with all of these crustaceans' appendages jutting out in all directions in a giant heap.  Sarah had no intentions of eating with us since it was so expensive, but she still wanted to sit with us, so we tried to sneak her in (it was a pay first establishment).  Shannon finally managed to smuggle Sarah in, and for a little while she blended right in with the rest of us.  But then Sarah started taking a few nibbles here and there, and started drinking some soda, so finally the waiter asked to see her meal receipt.  After going back and forth a few times with "I lost it" and such, Shan finally snuck Sarah back out while the cashier was looking up her info, and the two just "disappeared".  The whole thing was a dismal fail, but really funny.  

Friday night was busy, but the three things that stand out the most were the fake mustaches, zip-lining down Fremont Street, and our squashed limo ride.  And yes, I realize how random those things sound, but we are talking about Vegas here.  

So Amber showed up at the bar with a package of cheap fake mustaches, and when my dad saw them, he loudly proclaimed, "Yeah!  Tonight's Mustache Night!"  Being a little tipsy, ALL of us girls put one on and sauntered around the Rio donning our 'staches.  It was beyond hilarious.  

Oops, it looks like Sarah's fell off her face.

Later, we went to Fremont Street on the Old Strip.  This has always been my favorite part of Vegas.  It is so pretty and cheery.  Even though there are some questionable people in this part of town, it's impossible for me to walk down Fremont Street without a big goofy grin plastered on my face.  Plus I love the casinos on the old strip.  They're less posh and more my speed.  

But our real reason for going to the Old Strip was to go zip-lining.  Have you ever done this before?  BEST $20 bucks I've ever spent.  It was pure exhilaration.  My dad took a video of all of us zip-lining, so as soon as I have that clip, I'll post it on my blog.      

When we left Fremont Street, we decided on a whim to take a limo back to the Rio, since the cost was only about $15 more than the cost of two cabs.  Our limo was a joke.  Despite how large it looked on the outside, the inside was designed to hold only about seven people.  We were nothing but a tangle of limbs and body parts.  I don't think my ass touched the seat itself even once.  We spent the entire limo ride bouncing around and crying with laughter.

Later that night, after doing a little gambling (I got a four of a kind TWICE!  But only on minimum bets, so my winnings totaled only $65 or so), we reunited at the bar to break in my Mom's 55th birthday.  At exactly midnight, we all sang happy birthday to her, and the bartender gave her a Blow Job.  The DRINK.  ;-)  I'm not sure what's in it, but it was too strong for anyone in our group.  Clint tried to take one tiny sip, and he just about gagged.  I ended up downing the entire shot just to show him up, to which I smiled calmly and stated in a pleasant voice, "I don't see what the big deal is."  But internally I was burning.  I think there's a more mild version of the drink, but this one was basically the fires of hell with some whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Saturday was more low-key.  That morning we went to my mom's room for birthday cupcakes and gift- opening.  Here's how her painting came out:

I'm going to try to touch up the necklace some more, but I'll eventually write more about all of that on my art blog.  We spent the rest of the day on the strip, meandering through the different casinos.  Clint and I separated from the group for awhile to check out the art exhibit at the Bellagio, and to explore the shops at Planet Hollywood.  

That's one of the walkways in the Bellagio.  Everything about the place is so elegant.  I love it, but at the same time, hillbilly-me always feels a little out of place.

That night we played some video poker, played Bingo, and hung out at the bar.  The bar was fun and crazy, what with all the beads falling from the sky (they do a mini-Mardi Gras every hour), music, and juggling bartenders.  Here's all of us girls:

From left to right, that's Amber, Sarah, Shan, me, and Jessika.  This picture is blurry, but I love it because it captured how happy we were that night.

Sunday morning we woke up earlier than we wanted to, checked out of our hotel, said goodbye to everyone, and headed home.  On our way home we stopped at Peggy Sues for lunch, which is a really cool fifties-themed diner.

Well that was LONG.  I had other things I wanted to talk about, like Valentine's Day, my Twitter account being compromised, Cori B (Snoop Dog's daughter) visiting our campus yesterday, my kids breaking out into the Macarena during 7th period today, etc., but I'll have to save those for future entries.

Oh wait--one more thing!  Somehow I ended up not getting a single picture with me and Clint together.  Not ONE.  So here's one of me and Jeremy instead.

I think we look very intelligent.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Trying something out here, so ignore my blog for a few minutes if it looks all weird....


Okay, I'm done experimenting for now.  I put a customized title on there, but it won't center properly.  Blogger has virtually no variety for fonts, so in order for me to apply a font that you can actually see, I had to embed the title on the image itself.  Unfortunately, different sized-windows show the title in a different place.  My home computer shows my title too far on the right, whereas my cell phone shows the title too far on the left.  It's really annoying, so I'm just going to leave it for now.  I'm hoping to switch to some kind of self-hosting this summer anyway. 

I'll be deleting this post by tomorrow, most likely.

Friday, February 17, 2012

That which is Pretty, Like Unicorns and Roaches and Stuff

A few weeks ago, my son was watching me work on my laptop when he remarked, "Mommy, you should get a prettier mouse pointer for your work computer. Like a unicorn or cockroach or something." 

After laughing uproariously over my son's definiton of 'pretty', my sister proceeded to post this picture on my Facebook wall.  Isn't that the cutest roach you've ever seen?  She looks all whimsical and twitterpated. 

I know that no sane person likes roaches, but I am scared to death of them.  I guess this isn't such a shocking trait considering that a repulsion to "icky things" is a trait that society generally associates with the female population.  But for me, it really doesn't make sense that I'm scared of roaches, because other critters don't bother me.  As a little girl I had no fear of spiders, and would often pick up eight-legged intruders with my bare hands and let them go outside.  Likewise, a few years ago I was in Mexico leaving a rehab center late at night (we had just finished delivering clothing and medicine), when we came across a tarantula.  I scooped her right up (I've decided she was a girl tarantula), cradled her in my hand and let her crawl up my arm.  Meanwhile, the men in our group gawked and took pictures.  In October, during Community Clean-up Day, a group of kids found a small snake out in the desert, and I picked that up, too (now's a good time to mention that I'm not particularly smart when it comes to animals--I was the kid who'd shove my hand in a rabid Rottweiler's mouth because I wanted to 'pet' him).  Now I'm not saying that I'd be thrilled to find a spider crawling up my bare skin at 2:00 a.m....I'd do the same Oh-shit-what-the-hell-is-crawling-up-my-leg dance as anyone else.  But as long as I can see exactly what I'm dealing with, I really feel no fear. 

So what is the deal with roaches?  I don't know.  I really don't get it.  When I see one, I freeze, and my heart starts beating really fast.  During my prep on Tuesday, I walked over to my classroom sink to wash my hands, and guess what was scurrying around in there.  Uh huh.  I screamed and jumped back, and then crawled on top of a chair and refused to move (cuz, you know, the little bastard could fly out of the sink and lunge at me).  S.P., my student teacher, jumped up to see what was wrong.  And here's the kicker--she's massively afraid of roaches too!  Like, seriously, one of us couldn't be a normal, stable person?  So she shrieked and jumped backward, and at this point, we were sort of at a stand-off with Mr. Roach.  He was stuck in the sink, and we were stuck in our self-inflicted paralysis.  After several minutes of being frozen in space and time, I told her in a shaky voice that one of us was going to have to do SOMETHING.  She agreed.  But then neither one of us moved.  It was rather ridiculous.  Finally, I mustered up enough--well, I definitely wouldn't call it courage; let's go with willpower--to move toward the sink.  I grabbed a giant paper towel from the dispenser, and as fast as I could I threw the towel over the sink and ran away.  Even though the bugger was still alive, at least we could no longer see him.  About five minutes later, the bell rang for second period to start.  I whispered to a couple of the boys that we had an "issue" in the sink, and to please take it as far away as possible.  That was that.

What it boils down to is unless the roach is adorable and pink like the one illustrated above, you can keep that thing far FAR away from me.  And even a pink swooning one would be pushing it.

On that note, join me some time in the next few days for part 2 of the roach saga:  My Valentines Day.  Yes, the two do relate.  Scary, I know.  

By the way, crickets are just roaches with hind legs.  But they get to live because I can't give a death-sentence to something that chirps.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Chubby Baby with Weapon Day

I texted Clint this morning with the following message:
Happy Hallmark-Created Day! 
He replied with:
Happy chubby baby with weapon day! Xoxoxo
As you can see, my husband and I are eternal romantics.  

Tonight for Valentine's Day, Clint's parents will be watching our kids, so we will be going out on a "date".  Isn't it funny how when you're married, you feel like you have to put the word date in quotes?  It's almost like admitting, Hey, we've been at this way too long now to have any over-romanticized notions of...well, anything.  At any rate, we were originally planning to start our evening off with a little pistol-shooting, cuz nothing says "I love you" quite like spraying bullets all over stuff.  After shooting, we were planning to go out to that awesome sushi restaurant we tried for Clint's birthday; the one in the middle of nowhere.  But now I'm not so sure about the first part of our plans.  I got about four hours of sleep last night (I blame Shannon for engaging me in pointless arguments on facebook), and although I feel wide awake right now, I'm concerned that I might be a bleary-eyed zombie later.  Which normally wouldn't bother me, but a bleary-eyed zombie packing heat is a whole different level.  Plus my contacts have been really bad lately.  I just ordered new lenses from Costco, but those won't come in until next weekend.  I'm thinking I might have to hold off shooting until I have more optimal eyeballs.  On the plus side, whenever I see a tea bag lying around, I actually know it's a tea bag--not a mouse (haha Sho). 

I haven't received my V-day gift from Clint yet, although I know it's something he finds really amusing, because every time the subject gets brought up, he can't seem to stop laughing.  I went shopping for him yesterday and decided to wreak a little vengeance on him by buying him the most enormous heart-shaped box of chocolates that I could find.  You should see this thing--it's ridiculous.  I'll try to post a pic later.  I also got him one of those obnoxiously giant cards to match.

I looked through my whole mini-journal for some sweet or romantic poem to quote in honor of today, but then I realized, I don't write sweet or romantic poetry.  Damn.  But if anyone ever invents a St. Clandestine Day, I'll have lots of words to help commemorate it.     

To you and yours, Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bulls Eye Shooting & Paradise

I don't have much fodder for a post today, but I still wanted to touch base with my blog real quick.  I also realized I'm not entirely sure what "fodder" means, so I'll be right back....
fod·der/ˈfädər  Noun: Food, esp. dried hay or feed, for cattle and other livestock
Hmmm...I don't think I'm using that right.  Oh well, moving on.

Friday night Teri and I attended a bulls eye pistol-shooting class.  The class required participants to shoot 22 pistols, which are normally incredibly easy to work with because they're lightweight and have virtually no kick.  But we had to shoot them one-handed, and that is a skill I have never practiced before.  I guess I've never seen a need for it, considering if an intruder were to break into my house, I'd have no problem pelting his ass with bullets using BOTH of my hands.  Anyway, I figured as beginners we'd get to start off with targets maybe twenty feet away, but nope.  Our coaches rolled our targets fifty feet away.  With my blurry contacts, I could barely even see it.  But the range officer was really reassuring, telling me that as long as the bullets went "THAT way" (pointing downrange) and "not THAT way" (pointing to the spectators), then it was all good.  All in all, the class was so incredibly fun.  Each woman participant was assigned her own personal coach, and the coaches were very patient and funny.  The actual shooting was very regimented and took place in five timed rounds.  By the end, we had to be able to shoot five shots in ten seconds with one arm (ideally hitting said-target).  Oh yeah, the coaches also fed all of us girls dinner first so we wouldn't have to shoot hungry. Way cool.

Other than that, I've spent this weekend painting, working out, running errands, and watching movies with Clint.  Oh, we've also eaten sushi about four times this week.  I'll be blaming Becky when we go bankrupt because we can't seem to curb our addiction for the stuff, since she was our original sushi-enabler.

This is Trinity's all-time favorite song, and I promised her I'd put it up on my blog so she wouldn't have to keep hunting it down on YouTube.  I don't care for lyrics on screen (I like to listen to the words, not be accosted by them), especially when they write out each 'oooh' and 'lalala', but she loves singing along with songs, so she picked this one out.  Here you go, Trin.  :-)

My favorite line: "I know the sun must set to rise."

Monday, February 6, 2012

5K and Siri

Ever since I acquired a student teacher, I've been in complete bliss.  I'll go into more detail about that another time, but the short version is that with her taking over so much of my grading, I actually have a life on Saturdays and Sundays.  Friday afternoon was the first time in five-and-a-half years that I left work completely empty-handed.  It felt awesome. 

On Saturday morning, Clint's mom and sister talked me into running with them.  They're training for a 5K Run taking place in April, and they've been trying to convince me to sign up for it too.  I said "no," but I told them I'd go ahead and train with them.*  I don't mind the extra exercise, but I don't want to have to worry about getting up at the break of dawn on a Saturday for the event itself.  So they came to my house on Saturday morning and we walked from my house to my work.  Once there, we ran around the track eight times (two miles), and then we walked back home.  All in all, it ended up being three miles of walking/running.  They sort of tricked me, because I thought that we were going to lap the track four times, not eight.  After we finished our laps, they acted all innocent about it, saying, "Oh, we didn't tell you that we planned to practice the whole 5K?"  My legs have been throbbing for two days since.

Saturday afternoon we went out for sushi with Clint's family for his birthday.  His real birthday is actually tomorrow, but Saturday was the only day that everyone was free.  The place we went to was way off the beaten-path and had incredibly delicious food and a really nice atmosphere.  We're definitely going back soon.  On Sunday morning we went shopping, and that's when I fell in love with this:    

This is the recently-released iPhone 4S.  My Droid is over two years old now and is starting to freeze up, and Clint's having similar issues with his, so we decided that it was time to browse around for a new phone.  I played around with a lot of different phones in the Verizon store, and this one was by far the one I loved the most.  What made it stand out was the fact that it has Siri, which is something you can't appreciate until you've actually experienced it.  Me and this iPhone conversed with each other for twenty minutes, talking about local restaurants, the weather, etc.  We also texted people (with my voice alone--never touched the keypad), looked up stuff on Google images, and so on.  She--IT--understood every command I issued.  It was amazing.  I told her (it) "Remind me in two minutes to wash my hair," and she said "Okay.  I will remind you to wash your hair."  Two minutes later, the phone buzzed with a reminder that said: "Wash your hair."  I must be old-school, 'cause this was like Star Trek technology.  Of course I guess nowadays Star Trek is actually old-school.

Here's a quick clip from Big Bang Theory that shows the way Siri interacts with the phone user:

Of course, in the actual episode, Raj ends up developing romantic feelings for Siri, and is looked upon very strangely by all his friends when he starts dating a phone app.

Despite my infatuation with this phone, I was going to wait a month or two before actually buying it, but as dumb luck would have it, I won a Super Bowl pool at my work.  My coworkers passed around a table that consisted of 100 squares, and it cost $5 a square to participate.  I bought one square, and I remember when I chose the one that I did, "T" (the one running the pool) looked at me skeptically and said, "You do know how this works, right?"  Each square had a score assigned to it, and mine was Giants 9, Patriots 0.  That seemed like an odd one to me too, but there wasn't a lot of squares left to choose from.  Four people total win; once for the quarter, the half, the third quarter, and the end of the game.  Well by the end of the first quarter, the score was 9 to O (Giants), so I won the first quarter.  By halftime, the score was 10 to 9 (Patriots), but once you reach 9, the numbers start from 0 again (the 1 is dropped), so I won AGAIN.  Overall I ended up winning $200, and everyone at my work made it clear that I'm buying them pizza this week.  Last night, in light of my winnings, Clint got online and ordered me the iPhone.  I told him I'll be the guinea pig; if after a few weeks we both still like it, he'll get himself one too.  I also ordered this cover: 

I love the classy look of the iPhone covers.

I have more I could blabber on about, but I have an early staff meeting tomorrow morning, so I better try to get some sleep.

*Right after finishing this post, I signed up for that damn 5K in April.  *defeated sigh* 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Set Fire to the Rain

Great week, but my head feels like it's splitting into two pieces right now. 

Here's another recent hit by Adele.  I just love her's so rich and full of emotion.  I dedicate this one to my fellow teacher, Tilli, assuming she can pull her head out of "Rolling in the Deep" for two seconds.  ;)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We Broke Disneyland

Hi blog!  I'm grumpy right now, so I thought if I started with a cheery greeting, it'd make me feel more cheery.  It didn't work.  Still grumpy. 

Our weekend at Disneyland was a lot of fun, although by day two I was feeling pretty tired.  I didn't know at the time that I was coming down with the flu...I just thought sleep deprivation was taking its toll.  Anyway, Clint and I arrived in Anaheim on Friday night.  His family and the kids were at California Adventure, so we went out to dinner.  Originally we were planning to go to House of Blues, but on our way to Downtown Disney (we walked from our hotel) we passed Bubba Gumps, and we couldn't resist.  We both love seafood.  Our dinner was awesome, but way too expensive.  We did cocktails and dessert too, which added to the exorbiant cost...I still cringe at how much we paid for one meal.

Friday night was a rough night of sleep.  Clint is a naturally restless sleeper, but you put that boy on a hard bouncy hotel mattress and he's about as relaxed as a pissed off humming bird.

Saturday morning we all woke up at 7:00 a.m. and headed to California Adventure for the races.  Once Trin was in her starting area, Disney TV came up to her with all of their cameras and asked if she minded being interviewed.  This was so exciting for her!  Of course she agreed, and they asked her questions such as "How are you feeling about the race?" and "What place are you going to come in at?"  For that second question, she immediately replied "23."  The reporter laughed and said, "Wow, that's awfully specific!"  Once her race started, Trin was off like a bullet, and she stayed right near the front for the entire race.  Her and another boy crossed the finish line at the same time, and we discovered later that they were #22 and #23.  Trinity had correctly guessed her position across the finish was crazy.  There were 323 kids total in Trin's race, so #23 put her in the top 7% of her group.  I am SO proud of her, especially considering she's an eleven year-old who was racing against thirteen year-olds, and she hadn't trained for the event.  Next year she hopes to actually prepare herself better.

Elijah's race was next, and he, too, did an awesome job, staying near the front for the entire race.  The only thing that annoyed the hell out of me was the fact that Disney didn't track his group.  Apparently for seven and eight year olds, they don't think it's a good idea to have winners.  So everyone in his race participated just for fun.  Thankfully next year he'll be eligible to run in Trin's race, where the kids can actually experience the feeling of reaching for something, possibly failing, and actually surviving the experience no worse for the wear.  Gee, imagine that.  Remember in our generation, we could actually fall on our asses and it was just a part of growing up and building this little thing called character and perserverance?

After the races, we left California Adventure and spent the rest of the day at Disneyland, where every ride we walked up to broke down and had to be shut down temporarily for maintenance.  Went to ride Space Mountain; it broke.  Next was Thunder Mountain; it broke.  Next was Pirates of the Caribbean; it broke.  That one really had me perplexed because how do you break a ride that's nothing more than a bunch of floating boats?  In addition, Small World and Matterhorn were both closed all day for maintenance.  Ultimately, with the exception of the last two, we were able to get on all of those rides (we were very determined), but wow was it giving us a complex.  At one point of the day we climbed on the Tom Sawyer raft to go to his respective island (now renamed "Pirates Cove" or something like that), and some other passengers overheard us talking about the bad luck we were having with rides.  This lead to a verbal mutiny as passengers threatened to kick us off the raft before we broke THAT too.   

Despite all of the ride issues, we still had a great time.  My favorite part was seeing Elijah ride Space Mountain for the first time.  He was so nervous but tried hard to not let it show.  When he lowered himself into the ride, he got real quiet but kept smiling as much as possible.  It was really cute.  Once the ride was over, he was bouncing around with adrenaline and excitement that he had actually conquered the ride.

That night, on the ride home from Disneyland, I started to feel sick.  Once home, I had a fever and felt a bit woozy.  The next day (Sunday), I spent the entire day sick on the couch.  I only bring this up because last Thursday, I wrote the following sentence in my blog: 
"On Sunday, I will be laying comatose on my couch, physically ravaged from two amusement parks and possibly sick with the flu." 
 Next time I'll leave the predictions to Trin--hers are much more fun than mine.