Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter, Ducks, Tortoises & Such

I feel like I HAVE to write a post tonight, just to assert myself as 1/2 owner of "Tumbleweeds & Pinecones". Jodi wrote the "Welcome" post and her "Easter" unless I write something pronto, I have zero presence on this blog.

Not that it's a competition, but Jodi's Easter sounds better than mine. Jer and I (and the kids) were supposed to go to my parent's house, but that got nixed because my stepsister just gave birth to twin girls, so my parents had to make an unplanned road trip up to Northern California. We visited my mother-in-law yesterday, which for me is always an exercise in fortitude. A visit with her typically involves high levels of endurance and moderate amounts of alcohol.

On the bright side, I got to hold a desert tortoise.

If I wasn't at my mother-in-law's house, I probably would have smiled a LITTLE more.

To my mother-in law's credit, she did have a cute Easter set-up for the kids. She also gave them a lot of Easter gifts/candy.  

My brother-in-law showed up for a little bit with his children, so that was a lot of fun for the kiddos.

Did I mention he has a bazillion kids?

The part of Saturday that I did enjoy was the "Duck Derby." Every year, Pinecone spends the month prior to Easter selling tickets for $5 each, and the proceeds go to pay for our town's "4th of July" fireworks show.The purchaser of the ticket gets to "adopt a duck" for the duck derby. Oh, yeah, they are rubber ducks. All the rubber duckies have numbers on them that correspond to the tickets. The ducks are shot down a water slide into the lake, and if your duck is the first to get to the finish line, you win $1,000. 2nd place gets $500, and 3rd place gets $250.

Every year, the race is actually kinda pathetic and anticlimactic. The rubber ducks kinda bob around aimlessly, and they are pretty slow. Many of them get stuck in the water slide, or start drifting out of the racing area. You can't see the numbers on the ducks, so you have no idea whether yours is winning or not. Still, it is the silliest see hundreds of Pineconians show up every year to cheer on their rubber ducks. I just love it. And hell, it helps pay for our fireworks, so what's not to love?

Easter morning was actually pretty good.We awoke to the little ones squealing happily after finding their Easter baskets.Then we had an Easter egg hunt in our front yard, and the weather was beautiful.

The downside of the day was I had to study. Every Sunday, I spend about 8-10 hours studying for the EPPP (it's the first of two tests I have to take to become licensed as a psychologist). I could have skipped studying today, but that would have put me a week behind (hard to explain, but I am on this strict 14 week studying schedule....if I deviate from it, it messes me up big time, because I am a hopeless procrastinator who finds it nearly impossible to study). I really became discouraged today because I failed my practice quiz, and I couldn't focus. And I didn't WANT to focus. I wanted to go to the park and binge-eat on peeps & jelly beans.

Jer DID made us a delicious Easter dinner of tri-tip roast with baby potatoes and carrots. It was REALLY good.

Just for the heck of it, here is the tortoise again.

P.S Jodi, How did you do that cute name thingie after your post?!

P.S.S.  Never mind.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Filler

I drafted an entire post about how I experienced my first hangover last weekend, but for some reason the idea of a hangover being the subject of my first official entry on Writeapy* seems wrong.  So I think I'll do a quick post about Easter instead.  Of course the fact that I just now alluded to the hangover has probably negated my attempts at a nice, pleasant entry.  Oh well.

Okay, Easter...I can't think of much to say about it.  We're hosting Easter this year, but my mother-in-law is bringing all the food, so there's very little for me to worry about.  I'm just supplying the house.  I guess if I were crafty and would actually do more with the holiday like Clint's sister does, then I'd be under more pressure.  Last year she had beautiful paper-mâché eggs filled with a variety of toys, and homemade Peeps centerpieces.  It was beyond adorable.  But the family doesn't expect this kind of stuff from me.  Yep, once Easter inevitably rolls its way back to my house, the family gets downgraded to eating dinner on paper plates on a Peep-free table, followed by an Easter egg hunt containing your run-of-the-mill plastic eggs tossed out into the yard.  But we will have our annual egg-rolling contest like we always do, which is a lot of fun.  We all enter a special egg, and it gets pretty competitive.  The last time I won was Easter of 2010 (the same bizarre Easter that involved pirate gear and an earthquake), so I'm about ready for another victory.  Trinity and Elijah made their eggs look pretty ferocious this year, drawing long monster teeth on them and such.  Mine's pretty intimidating too.  Here it is:

Chilling, I know.  This egg was sitting in the dye for about two hours (okay, I might have forgotten about it).  I thought about writing "Hell hath no fury" on the other side of the egg, but I decided that didn't seem very Easter-y. 

This year we also decided to have the kids decorate their own baskets.  I picked up these plain baskets from Michael's for $4.99, and then let the kids go to town.  Here's their final product:

This looks like a relatively nice, pleasant picture, but you have no idea how brutal it was.  Every time I clicked, the kids kept doing this:

I was yelling at them, "Dang it you two!  I want to post a pic of my nice, sweet kids!  Can you PLEASE help me to misrepresent my life on social media for TWO seconds and be CALM??"  But yeah, they weren't very cooperative.

*This post appeared as the official first entry on


Looking for me?  I have relocated to*

*And then I moved back!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Hi and welcome to our blog!*  All this prattling comes to you from twin bloggers living at two very different elevations.  Shannon lives in the mountain town of "Pinecone" where you can find Christmas lights up in May.  Jodi lives in the desert town of "Tumbleweed" where kids have dirt-ball fights and pretend it's snow.

The focus of this blog is...well...we'll have to get back to you on that one.  Until then, thanks for stopping by, and we hope that you find something here of value.  Or at least something that makes you feel better about your own life.

*Update (5/18/14): This post was written when I (Jodi) moved over to a new URL,, intending to co-author the blog with my twin sis. We had great fun for awhile, but eventually things like writing a dissertation and adjusting to a new career in psychology resulted in Shan throwing in the towel ("but not in a suicidal way"--as she states in her explanatory post). I proceeded to transfer all of the posts from Writeapy--about a year's worth--back here, to my original website, Ocean in a Cup. If you're more confused now after reading the update than you were before, so am I.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Big 5-Oh-Oh

This is 500!  Let's pause for a moment as balloons, confetti, and streamers magically fall from the sky.

Well that was a bit underwhelming.  Okay, to commemorate this occasion, I came up with some Ocean in a Cup mindless trivia:
  • The first post was written on August 16, 2009.
  • This blog has seen six different names:  My Ramblings, Iridescent Bubbles, Fizzyjo, Quarter after One (I have NO memory of that one), Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup, and finally, Ocean in a Cup.
  • My friend Kristyn's blog Retold inspired the creation of this blog.
  • Blogging actually rekindled the friendship between Kristyn and I.
  • My twin sis Shannon began co-authoring this blog with me on April 28, 2012.
  • Shannon's last post was her Cliche Christmas Post on December 28, 2012.   
  • I lost my beloved URL ( on May 15, 2012.  I then purchased
  • Since switching over to the new URL, this blog has received 65,927 page views. 
  • My own IP is blocked so that my own visits don't mistakenly get added into that total. 
  • The post that receives the most Google hits is Shaking Bed Syndrome
  • The second most viewed page is my sloppy practice painting of a cherry blossom tree.
  • The most commonly used label on this blog is "Family," with 118 entries.  "Life's Moments" is a close second, with 101 entries. 
  • The label least-used is "Short Stories," with only one entry.
  • The first label I ever used was "Blogging 101", followed by "Married Life" and "My Insanity."
  • This blog contains seven deleted entries.  The titles for these posts still remain as a reminder of what used to be there.  These count toward the 500.
  • This blog has a mysterious follower in the Army who has never given up reading it in the past few years, despite where he/she is stationed. 
  • This blog contains 1,227 comments.
  • My page views went up to 65,938 since I wrote this list. 
In addition to compiling this list of pointless fascinating facts, I created a page listing my favorite 25 posts (top tool bar).  I don't expect the reader to actually click on each of these entries.  Crap--that would take all night.  I compiled the list for myself. I'm officially saying goodbye to this blog next weekend, and I'm starting to get all sorts of nostalgic about it.  I wanted a space where I could quickly reference some of my favorite posts from the past.  Unfortunately my list isn't entirely accurate.  It's impossible to "scan" through almost four years of blogging to choose favorites.  Plus my list doesn't take into consideration some of the intriguing or hilarious conversations that have taken place via the commenter's page.  Unfortunately there was no way for me to account for these issues, so I simply tried to find a good variety of posts dealing with the nuances of teaching, married life, kids, and so on.  Basically I looked for posts that made me smile.

I kept the sad stuff out, even though all of that is important to me too.

This is rough.  It's not that this is the last blog post I will ever write, but it sort of feels like it is.  Shan and I are officially launching our new blog next weekend.  At that point, Ocean in a Cup will float around until the URL expires, and then it will be gone. 

Wow, that puts a little pang in my stomach.  Maybe I'll transfer this blog back to blogspot so it can hang around indefinitely. 

On a bright note, I couldn't be more excited to launch the new blog with Shannon.  I've had this one now for three-and-a-half years, and I'm ready for a fresh start.  My next, and last, entry on this blog will direct readers to the new URL.

Cheers to 500 posts of laughter, triumphs, trials, and tears.  Thanks for hanging in there with me for so long.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break Hodgepodge

This is post #499.  I thought it would be really cool to make post #500 the very last one before switching over to the new blog, but now I'm not sure if that's going to happen.  The problem is the new blog isn't ready--Shan and I haven't worked out a template, nor have we figured out the details of a duel ownership over the new blog.  I want to avoid the dynamic of one of us being labeled the primary owner, while the other one is labeled as a "guest blogger."

Oh, if you haven't noticed yet, my sister's a lop (as referenced in certain areas of my right side-margin).  She refuses to write on here anymore because her eyes are fixated on the gleaming new blog.  "Why bother with the old one when you're just getting a new one?" is the basic premise here.  She's also resigned to letting her home slide down the mountain because they're eventually planning on getting a new one of those, too.  Okay, I might have made up that last part.

So Universal Studios was pretty brutal.  Two kids got lost from their group; one was turned into me by a security guard.  The other one I hunted down myself and found him sitting (with no cell phone) on a bench near the tram tour.  But even the wandering-off kid issues were something I could make my peace with; it was just the whole day was exhausting.  My Builders Club students are usually responsible, but for some reason, when we mixed them up with Incentive Club members, the whole dynamic of both clubs changed.  The kids were loud and wild.  The worst was the bus ride home.  I think my ear drums are permanently scarred.

The rest of spring break has been pretty awesome so far.  I've been able to take the new compound bow out three times now, and I'm starting to get pretty comfortable with it.

I was shooting at a cardboard turkey on the ground.  If it were a real turkey, he'd be walking around with arrows sticking out of every part of his body except for his head--he'd be the only one of his buddies with arrow-plumage.  Yeah, I need to work on my aim.  As long as the weather stays nice, I'll probably go again tomorrow and Wednesday.

Besides playing with my new bow, I've been writing in the evenings, but not as much as I'd like.  I'm still stuck in that editing trap where I keep smoothing out the already-written stuff instead of moving forward in the story.  I joined a writing club two weeks ago, which I'm feeling pretty excited about.  Just one meeting and I already made some great connections.  Although it's strange, because I'm significantly younger than the other members (by significantly, we're talking about twenty years).  At 34, I would never expect to be the baby of any group.  But I guess most people wait until they're empty-nesters and/or retired to pursue their passions.  Honestly, the age gap didn't really bother me.  Once you start talking shop with other writers and authors, you forget all about the age difference.  Unfortunately, the club only meets once a month.  I'll have to join a critique group within the club if I want to do any real writing.

I started a painfully easy painting of a peacock for my living room that hopefully I'll finish this week.  The problem is I'm bored with it.  It's more shapes and colors than an actual animal.  I chose this particular image for the colors, which I think will compliment my living room, but I'm not particularly impressed with the peacock itself.  Oh well, I'll finish it anyway. 

In other news I dreamt that some sort of sewer lines going into our school's bathrooms exploded, and my entire classroom filled up with crap.  I'm not good with dream analysis, but that one seems about as eloquent as they come.  I just wish my subconscious could conjure up more clever symbols to use in dreams.  I mean, sewer lines?  And crap?  Those are the best metaphors my brain could come up with?  Yay me and my beautiful aptitude for poetry.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Field Trip & My New Bow

It's spring break!  A week off sounds like sheer paradise right about now.

Tomorrow is going to be a fourteen-hour day.  I have to be at school at 6:45 a.m to take Builders Club to Universal Studios.  Another club on campus--Incentive Club--is going with us, and between myself and the other advisor, we'll have about fifty middle-schoolers.  We'll be back at 9:00 tomorrow night, but I don't anticipate getting home until 10:00 since it generally takes a long time for that last student to get picked up.  It's supposed to be gorgeous tomorrow, and I'm actually looking forward to a nice day of walking around in the sunshine.  My students have been so excited for this trip all week, and by this afternoon their enthusiasm had officially rubbed off on me.  I know I'm going to be a defeated sack of potatoes tomorrow night though.

Clint sucked me into his new archery obsession.  To be fair, I'm not really 'obessessed' with it the way he is (he has a very addictive personality), but he dragged me to the archery range two weeks ago, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  Shooting a bow was easier than I  expected, and I love the way the arrow sails silently across the range.  Unlike firearms, which make a big bang.  Don't get me wrong--I'm not giving up my guns, it's just different.  Plus, when you're pulling that string back, you just feel more...primal, I guess?  It's really cool.  Last week, Clint, seeing that I was getting into it, bought me my own compound bow.  I was borrowing one from the range owner, and it was pretty cruddy.  The one Clint bought me is sized for a smaller-framed adult so I can actually hold it without feeling awkward, plus it has a pull-back of 30 to 60 lbs, which means I can adjust it as my arm gets stronger.  It just arrived today, but I won't be able to try it out until Monday. 


They had it in pink too, but it just seemed so...wrong.  Which is weird because I usually love to customize my stuff (even weaponry) to an obnoxiously girly level.  But I liked this one plain.  It's hard to tell against the white, but in person this one is actually a pretty standard camo color.  I'll probably swap out the strings just to satisfy my customizing-itch, but other than that, I'll leave the bow itself alone. 

Better get a head-start on sleep now so I won't lose my mind tomorrow.  ~Jodi 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Who Let the Dog Out?

So yesterday I was in my classroom, getting all of my stuff together for the State Writing Test, when my phone rang.  It was the front office.  The following conversation commences:

"Hi Mrs. P., your dog is here."
"Your dog is here."
"Wait--what do you mean my dog is 'here'?  Define here."
"Here, in the office."
"Um, well, okay.  I'll be right down."

I then proceeded to the office, where I found Cleo--my rambunctious drooling Great Dane--bouncing around in the counseling department, making friends with students and staff alike.  Now normally I would have had a campus aid cover my class for twenty minutes while I dragged my sorry mutt home (in a universe where this situation is considered "normal").  But that morning I was administering the State Writing Test, a process which requires us to watch a video and sign an affadavit in advance.  Today was the one day that a campus aid could not watch my class.  Since running home wasn't an option, one of our secretaries grabbed my keys and my daughter, and the two loaded Cleo into her Jeep and took her back home.

Oh, Cricket and Yang got out too, and also showed up at my school.  The only difference is they didn't hang out like Cleo.  They got tired of campus life pretty quickly and ran back home.  The secretary brought Cleo home and put her in the chicken coop area in our backyard, but put the two smaller dogs in the house, knowing that they would probably get out again.  I gave her my blessing in all of this, but there was a good two hours where I was stressed, wondering what kind of havoc the dogs were wreaking in my house.  They've been in the house countless times when we're home, but never by themselves.  I was imagining trash spilled throughout the house, an upturned bird cage, a chewed up couch....

As it turned out, the only thing that was out of place were a couple of Elijah's toys and a block of dehydrated Top Ramen on the living room rug.

Later my sister-in-law checked on the dogs, and she found Cleo running down the street with our cat.  She then took all three dogs back to her place until Clint got off of work.

Upon investigation, it looks like one of the smaller dogs dug out, the other followed, and--seeing those two flaunt their freedom in the front yard--Cleo jumped the fence.  As far as what prompted Cleo to run all the way to my work and into our front office, either a) I have a very strong chemical trail, or b) She followed a student as he walked or rode his bike to school. 

A little concrete and chicken wire we *think* have resolved these issues.

Here's Cleo at eight weeks old....

Does that look like the face of a trouble maker?

Here's Cleo, a little more grown up.  This picture was taken on January 30th, so she was about four-and-a-half months old.

She turns six months old next week, so she's significantly bigger now.  She still puts her giant head and paws on my lap, but the rest of her has to stay on the floor. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Tale of Two Billy's

Nope, nope...THIS one is FOR SURE the most romantic song ever (again, this will change by tomorrow.  Or even by 11:58 tonight).

Yes, I do realize that I have some sort of love song psychosis right now.  I'll work on that. 

Clint told Trin if she ever comes home with a plastic ring from her boyfriend, he'll have to beat the dude to a pulp for not having more class.  I said I thought the whole plastic ring thing was incredibly sweet and romantic.  I like love stories that start off with humble beginnings.  I still remember in sixth grade, a boy named Billy bought me a plastic diamond ring for ten cents from the student store.  He put it in a brown lunch sack and placed it in on my desk when I wasn't looking, with a note that said "From your secret admirer."  The next day I received a little brown bear, and this time he signed it "Love, Billy." 

The thing is, there were two Billy's in the class.  I thought the gifts had come from the other Billy, who happened to be cuter (in that pretty boy-band sort of way), and the one who all the little girls swooned over.  So the next day, when I got a note asking "Will you go out with me? Yes [bubble], No [bubble]," I checked "Yes." 

Shortly after, I found out that I was going out with the wrong Billy.

In retrospect, I should have appreciated the Billy that I ended up with.  He was much more thoughtful and witty than Boy-Band-Billy.  But grade school girls can be shallow.  Even though I went through the motions of being his "girlfriend" and enjoyed our little dates on the playground, I knew deep down that my fondness for him was only because he was the one who gave me the ring.

Once I entered seventh grade, Billy called me and asked if I wanted to have a long-distance relationship with him since we no longer shared the same class.  I said "Sure!"  I think that was our last conversation.  We never broke up, so technically speaking, he's still my boyfriend. 

But here's the thing:  No matter my lack of a geniune attraction for Billy, or who he's married to now, or what kind of gorgeous rock he put on her finger, I'm always going to be that little girl for whom he first bought a ring.  And he will always be the first boy in my life who gave me a ring.  So the plastic ring thing?  Romantic

I hereby rest my case.         

Friday, March 1, 2013

Archery, Work Stuff, & Car's Lucky Day

Forget those other songs; THIS one's the best.

No, I'm not going to stop posting mushy love songs anytime soon. 

I've been in insomniac-mode again this week.  I remember the days where sleep-deprivation used to bother me.  Now it's like, "Yeah, whatever." 

Today was Read Across America Day, so the language arts teachers dressed up as literary figures.  I was Katniss from The Hunger Games.  My costume was mediocre.  I did her tell-tell side braid, boots, and mockingjay pin, but without the bow and arrow, it just seemed a bit lacking.  The school said "No props,", so the bow had to stay at home.  Too bad.  A bow and arrow makes for awesome classroom management.

Speaking of bows, Clint and Elijah have started doing archery.  Clint has been expressing to me lately that he often feels frustrated that he has no goals in life--nothing to aim for.  Even though writing a manuscript is a bottomless pit, he feels envious that I have a dream that I'm trying to reach.  I told him that getting his black belt was an awesome goal; he just happened to already reach it.  But I guess that's the he needs something new to strive for.  So I suggested, "Why not become a bad ass at shooting a bow and arrow?"  His dad just gave him one for Christmas, so it was a pretty natural suggestion.  Now I've created a monster.  He is getting really into it, and I didn't realize how much money can be poured into archery.  But I'm happy he's found a new hobby that excites him.    

Trin had to do a creativity project for her ASB class.  She decided to create a dance routine that combines moves from bo staff and traditional form.  The dance was only about a minute long, but it came out pretty cute:

A quick update on yesterday's post:  Niecy's back to work this Monday!  Needless to say, I'm pretty thrilled about this.  I also noticed during lunch today that a couple of newer teachers have joined our ranks.  A computer teacher who transferred from the high school has been eating lunch with us lately, along with the new Avid teacher who replaced Brad.  My friend Lauren has also rejoined us (she quit eating in the staff room during her pregnancy because the smell of everything made her sick).  I had such a pleasant time at lunch today and decided that I've been way too whiny about "change."  I still wish I could keep Mr. Moore next year though.  I'm going to miss bantering with him every day, and his shiny bald head, and his fishing stories, and that scoffing laugh he does when he thinks I'm nuts  (crap--I just realized that I forgot to pay him back the lunch money he loaned me this week).

I've been teaching my homeroom class how to line dance every Friday.  Homeroom is a study hall class, but I noticed last term that the kids generally don't have homework on Fridays.  Figuring that unwinding in healthy ways is an important part of good study habits (sounds legit, right?), I officially launched a line-dancing unit.  Now every Friday we go outside, I teach them the moves, and when they're ready, I blast the music and we dance.  So far we've only done the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide (Electric Slide took three Fridays--we finally finished up today).  Next week we'll do the Cha Cha Slide, and the weeks that follow will include the Macarena and Powerstep.  The Powerstep is trickier...that one's going to take several Fridays.  Toward the end of the year, I might have to teach myself some new dances in order to keep going.  I'd love to teach them some fancier stuff, but I'm clueless how to do them. 

Wow, it is SO easy to write a post when you've just written one the day before.    

I just noticed that this is my 497th post, and I have exactly 497 followers on twitter.  What are the chances?  It reminds me of the time my car reached 77,777 miles and it was 77 degrees outside, so there were seven sevens going across my dash.  Hold on, I'm pretty sure I have a pic...

That day, a friend of mine told me that I should've gone 77 mph, that way I could have enjoyed even more sevens.  I told her that going 77 mph on a residential street while attempting to take a pic of all these sevens would probably have been a recipe for disaster.