Tuesday, March 31, 2009

hey--at least it's a blog!

so today . . . was a pretty uneventful day. but the unusual thing is that usually, even on an uneventful day, my brain is still clicking along thinking thoughts that i can share with you in my blog. but apparently not tonight.

i had el pollo loco for dinner.

see, not very interesting--unless you realize i ate someplace called "the crazy chicken!"

i didn't dust my car. and i do that almost every day when i get home from school. maybe i should put down my computer and go do that . . .

i can't figure out how to get the music from the cd into itunes. i know it isn't that difficult, but for some reason i cannot do it . . .

i annoyed some people around me today. i hate it when i do that. i never do it on purpose, and yet it happened . . . i hate that!

i wore a pink denim jacket to school today. and my pink cameo. and rose quartz beads. i banished pink from my life many years ago. but now i think i need it back . . .

milo is getting skinnier (i think!) i may have to try the smaller harness on him next time we walk. i had a panicky moment tonight when he was walking slightly behind me and suddenly there wasn't any tension on the leash. i thought i had lost him! but there he was, waddling along beside me . . .

rollie was showing me his new ipod tonight and all the cool stuff it does. and it occurred to me that i have no idea how most of my electronics work or all the wonderful things they will do. and i keep thinking that i should learn. i even make lists of what i need to learn. but then i lose the lists. so i just make more lists. and yet i still don't know how to make them work . . .

i ate unsweetened peanut butter on a small piece of sugar free chocolate, but it didn't taste like a reese's peanut butter cup--go figure . . .

today was not one of my best days. maybe tomorrow will be better. and since i want to leave you with a cheery thought, here is a picture of sunflowers--because nothing is more cheerful than sunflowers--except maybe puppies or dark chocolate covered strawberries . . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

random ramblings . . .

so today . . . i got up, went to school, turned on my computer, and here is the message that greeted me when i checked my facebook wall: diandra ann watching a bird fly around my parent's bedroom... it is not our pet... YIKES!! a bird was loose in my room?!?! how did that happen?!? i guess diandra had heard milo barking and barking. but when she would go in to our room see what the problem was, she couldn't find anything wrong. apparently the bird kept going behind the drapes, trying to get out--until the time it flew right at her face!! (i'm guessing there was screaming at that point . . . ) so she called rollie (our hero!) who came home from work, took out a window screen, and shooed the bird out with a tennis racket.

yes, we have a tennis racket--it is a chris evert tennis racket that i had when i was a teenager. and even though i don't play tennis, i can't seem to get rid of the racket. and thank goodness i didn't--otherwise there might still be a wild bird in our house! (unless he used the racquet ball racquet that i just HAD to have, which is also in the garage, because i don't play racquet ball anymore. no one will play with me without any rules or score keeping, which is how i like to play.)

after finding out that the bird situation was under control, i went back to working. i was sitting at the table monitoring kids, when i noticed joshua looking at me, intensely. sometimes he does that right before he says something "profound." so i looked right back at him. and then he said, "i'm going to change my name."
"oh?" i said, "to what?"
"flapjack!"
flapjack?!?!?
and then he said to me, "is that a real word?"
sometimes i am just speechless . . .

after school it was time to walk the dogs. my first thought this morning was, "i'm too tired to walk the dogs today--i am going to come home and take a nap." and i kept thinking that thought all day long. but when i got home, i just put on my walking shoes and headed out . . .

usually we don't see anyone else when we walk, but today when we turned a corner there was a guy walking ahead of us. as we got closer, i realized he was talking on his bluetooth. he was walking and just chattering away. and i thought, "wow! now through the wonders of technology you can go on a walk with your friend, even if your friend is in siberia--as long as they have cell service!"

speaking of technology, i didn't take my ipod today, because my earbuds keep falling out. you see, i have discovered that the hole in my left ear is abnormally small, and when i am walking the left earbud keeps falling out. which is sad, because my mom gave me bose earbuds for christmas, and the sound is awesome! (don't worry, mom. i can still wear them when i am sitting still, just not when i am walking.) today i just didn't want to deal with it, so i walked the old fashioned way--without music blasting in my ears. i thought it would make the walk seem really long and tedious, but my brain just kind of went into snooze mode and before i knew it, i was done.

then i came home, fell on the couch, and took a nap.

which is why, once again, i am up late blogging . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

it's all in the eyes . . .

so today . . . when i drove into the church parking lot, this is what i saw:i pulled out my phone to call diandra and tell her that she had better hurry up and get there, or she might not get to park with the other jeeps :) (incidentally, these are the boy's jeeps--diandra's is way cooler AND has bigger tires! i guess that means she wins!!) but instead of calling, i decided to text her and send a photo. when i opened up the camera app on my phone, this is the picture that appeared:which brings me to my blog for today.

it is time (probably past time) for me to get new glasses, so i've been shopping around. last time i went to costco, because they had good prices and i found frames there that i loved! this time, i thought i would look around a bit for frames, buy the ones i liked, and then take them to costco and have lenses put in. sounds simple, doesn't it . . .

it wasn't. it was so confusing. there are sales and specials, but they are different at each location and nearly impossible to compare. i don't even know where to begin to make a decision. the only thing i know for sure is that i really do need sunglasses. as much as the sun shines here (and considering my car) my eyes need the protection as well as the ability to see clearly when i am out. so i started looking for sunglasses as well.

i went to target to check out their optical department, and that is when i saw the sunglasses pictured above! do those look perfect for me or what?!?!? they are tortoiseshell frames with tiny little rhinestones on the earpieces! i am in love!! so i picked them up thinking, they are sunglasses--they'll probably be about $50. but they do have rhinestones, so they might be a little bit more. try $129.00!!! just for the frames--add in the progressive lenses that my aging eyes need and the bill now tops out at $304.00--and that is including my 30% off AAA discount!! i was stunned!! for sunglasses?!?!?

so i start adding numbers up in my head--just guessing, because again, all those different deals are hard to sort out--and i am thinking that if i replace the lenses in my current frames, get another pair of glasses (for back up and variety) and sunglasses, even with the special deals, i might have to sell a kidney. as i am kind of attached to my internal body parts, i think that is not a solution.

it just irritates me to have to spend that kind of money on something that i am going to have to replace every couple of years. and yet, we replace our cell phones at least that often, as well as our other electronics and that doesn't annoy me. so why do i hate having to spend money on glasses?

i don't know. but i do sort of enjoy seeing . . . and reading . . . and not having headaches . . . so i guess i had better figure out something. besides those sparkly sunglasses are calling me . . . julie . . . julie . . . julie . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

it's better than being dead!

so today . . . is my friend wendy's 50th birthday!

i know, i know, it is hard to believe that i have friends who are that old, but i do.

wendy and i became friends several years ago when we taught in the same preschool. initially, her classroom was upstairs and mine was downstairs, so we didn't really get to know each other until that lucky day when i finally got to move upstairs with everyone else. our classrooms were side by side, and we had dutch doors. so sometimes we would hang over the closed lower portion of our doors, like horses in their stalls, and talk to each other. she had the cool classroom with the loft, while i had the classroom with all the random stuff in it. and then my room got painted . . . they let me choose the color, and i chose purple--kind of an orchid color. it was beautiful! they painted the doors and the window frames and the cabinets. and i thought it was the best room, because it was purple!! wendy did not agree!!!

it took a little while, but we eventually discovered that we liked each other. and when we got together, we were dangerous! harmless pranks were played. water was squirted. items were 'stolen' and held for ransom. jokes were told. crazy schemes were hatched . . .

like the year all the teachers travelled out of town for a conference . . . as usually happens when women go to conferences, first we shopped. but wendy and i didn't go to the mall--we went to toys r us and bought squirt guns. a plan was set into motion, and when the other teachers arrived back at the hotel, we took them hostage. now remember that these were just water guns. you would think they would just ignore us, or leave, or something . . . but they didn't--they went along with the game. thus was our power!!! we were so believable! and a little bit scary, i think . . .

at the conference we bought these cool glasses that made everything look like a rainbow when you looked through them. they didn't have ear pieces though--you just held them in front of your eyes with a little stick like opera glasses. i thought these were the greatest thing, and when i looked through them, i just felt weird. which resulted in my walking in a strange way that became known as "slinking." i slinked throught the target parking lot, which totally mortified wendy, which made it even more fun. i slinked a lot of places that weekend . . .

then i moved to the coast into a big house that needed sprucing up, but i was having a hard time getting started. i had no job and no new friends--just rollie and diandra--and so i sat there day after day looking at the paint cans, but not opening them. then wendy called. she said she was coming over to the coast to help me paint, and she was bringing a few other teachers with her. they came, and we painted. they spent the night, we ate pizza, and then we painted some more the next day. we didn't finish the job before they had to leave, but we were off to a good start, and i was able to finish it up on my own. if she had not come, that house might still have awful wallpaper and sponge painting on the walls!

time passed, and even though we would call each other once in a while, i found that without the daily contact and the shared experience of our jobs, we were losing touch . . .

a couple of years later, we moved to southern california. again, new town, no job, no friends--still just rollie and diandra (for whom i am very thankful!!) one day diandra said to me, "mom, you need to get on myspace. even wendy is on there now!" and so i did. we started communicating again, and i remembered why i liked her so much. we talked, we teased, we made a plan, and as a result she came to visit me last summer for almost a week. we had more fun . . . it started at disneyland where we had a frightening encounter with jack sparrow . . (ok, this doesn't look frightening, but you should have seen him try to chop off my hands!!)

we headed for hollywood (right after rollie took this picture . . . ) . . . went to graumann's chinese theater . . .and took in the local sights too. here we are at the cerritos library (i know it looks like a fountain, but the library is to the left of us.) those places will never be the same (well, maybe the library will--we were pretty subdued there . . . ) i think this was the first time someone not related to me came just to visit me.

on my 50th birthday, wendy sent me a triple chocolate mousse cake (or something like that.) it was chocolatey beyond belief! (i think i wrote a myspace blog about that. i'll have to look it up and post it--sorry albert.) it was a huge surprise--i thought it was a bomb or something! not only is wendy thoughtful and generous, she also plans ahead so a person's birthday gift actually arrives on their birthday (unlike some friends who are still looking for the perfect gift . . . )

wendy now teaches her class in "my" room. it is still purple, and she complains about it constantly, i'm sure. but i like the thought of her in that classroom, because i am pretty sure that some of my dna is still there stirring up trouble.

wendy, i wish we could have spent the day together at disneyland--it's free on your birthday, you know. if only you didn't live so far away! maybe when you turn 60 . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

virtual pets--part 2

so today . . . i watched my virtual facebook pet grow up. well, i didn't actually SEE him grow up, because it didn't happen instantly and i looked away from my computer for 5 seconds, and when i looked back, there he was, all grown up.

facebook seems to have an unlimited amount of applications. you can join any kind of group you can think of. you can take a seemingly unlimited number of tests about almost anything, and then share them with your online friends so that they will know more about you--whether they want to or not. you can post and view pictures. you can save the rainforest.

but i find the virtual world to be the most interesting. you can virtually punch someone, virtually watch basketball, virtually go to the beach with your facebook friends. you can send virtual flowers, virtual gifts, virtual snowglobes, virtual teddy bears, virtual sweet treats, virtual coffee, virtually anything. most of these applications require virtual money, which you can earn by playing around on the application's site. for example, to earn "seeds" to send flowers, you can "weed" or "water" or "debug" your friends' gardens. each time you do this, you earn seeds which can be used to buy flowers that you can send to your facebook friends. and all it costs you is time . . .

i have time. sometimes. and so i decided to add a pet to my facebook experience. i chose a baby panda and named him pang. it was fun (and mindless) to feed him and play with him. and i noticed that when i did those things i earned coins. cool, i thought. after several days i had quite a few coins, so i decided to "buy" some things for pang's habitat. i started adding cute stuff to my shopping "cart" and went to check out. AND IT ASKED ME FOR MY VISA NUMBER! wait, i thought, what happened to all those coins i earned?!? i checked around and realized that the things i had added to my cart could only be bought with GOLD coins, not the silver ones i had been earning. gold coins cannot be earned, only bought--10 cents for 1 coin.

you have got to be kidding me?!?!?! so apparently there are actually people out there who will pay money for a cute little picture to appear on their computer screen. think about it--people are paying real money for virtual stuff!! these items range in price from $1.50 to $6.00. they are cool--the pictures move and do stuff when you click on them--but still, they don't really exist! and yet, people PAY for them.

i've been thinking about changing careers--maybe i should think of something i coud sell that doesn't actually exist--it would certainly cut down on inventory and storage costs . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

virtual pets--part 1

so today . . . i spent WAY too much time on facebook playing with virtual pets and trying to figure out the whole gift system. i have a blog percolating about it, but i think i am going to save it for tomorrow because first, i want to re-post a blog i wrote on myspace a while ago about virtual pets. i had just added a monkey to my page. it was fun to play with, and i was kind of excited about that! so here it is--my first retro-blog from myspace.

so the other day i was cruising around myspace as i do sometimes when i have nothing better to do, and i happened upon someone’s page who had a virtual pet. now you all know that i have two very real, very weird dogs that shower me with love and attention and ask very little in return--well ok, i do have to rub mia’s tummy while she is standing up, and milo needs a certain amount of time to lick my face every day (wendy, i know you are going EEWWWW, but that’s how he shows love--i think . . .) so one would think that would be enough for me. but the truth is, i love animals--well maybe not cats so much--but i need to have a pet. when our last dog, taffy died just before christmas a couple of years ago, we decided to wait until summer before even thinking about getting another dog. but the house was so quiet and empty when i came home from school. and as much as rollie loved that dog, it soon became clear to me that he needed another dog even more than i did. so he and diandra went to the pound and in a few days we added mia to our household. milo came to us several months later, but that is another story.

anyway, back to the virtual pets. when diandra was little and handheld electronics were just becoming popular, we bought one for her. we thought it would be fun--you know, she could carry it in her pocket and it would almost be like having a tiny little pet she could take with her. i mean, she didn’t have any siblings to play with when going someplace in the car, or waiting on her parents, so we thought this would keep her occupied during those times. it wasn’t that high tech--the tiny screen wasn’t color and the graphics were pretty basic, but we all thought it would be fun.

well it was fun at first. we were all interested and she seemed to enjoy "feeding" it and playing with it. but as the days progressed, it got less and less attention, and then she put it in a pocket and kind of forgot about it. well, you know what happened--it "died." and no amount of "but it wasn’t real" helped, because it had kind of become real.

our next attempt at virtual pets was a computer program called dogz. this was sooo cute! you adopted these darling little dogs and they cavorted around your computer screen. they would whine and bark and pant. you could "buy" toys and treats for them, and then play with them. you could train them to do tricks. they were in full color and were a lot more real and fun than the handheld version. the problem for us was that at that time we only had one computer in our household which we all had to share, and while diandra and i were in love with the dogz, they drove rollie crazy! you see, even when you were doing something else, the dogz made noises and wanted attention, and he was not a fan! so when we replaced our computer, somehow the dogz never made it onto the new one . . .

and this finally brings me to mookie. as i said, i saw the virtual pets on someone else’s page and thought it was pretty cute, but due to my past experiences with virtual pets, i was a little hesistant--i did not want to end up with a virtual pet who was virtually dead on my page! but i went to the site anyway to find out about them, and guess what? they won’t die! isn’t that great?!?!? and there are several to choose from and you can make them any color you want and name them, and did i mention that THEY WON’T DIE??!!?! plus, they are kind of fun to play with. if you click on the monkey and then click in different places on the tree, he will move around. if you click at the bottom right corner on that box (i can’t remember what it says) you will get a banana that you can put on the screen and he will go get it and eat it. doesn’t that sound like fun? ok, maybe i spend way too much time on here, but i always wanted a pet monkey and now i have one. and you can have one too--or a virtual hamster or a virtual HEDGEHOG (diandra) or a virtual dog or cat. there are other choices too . . . anyway, let me know if you get one. i would love to visit and virtually play with your virtual pet.

more tomorrow on my new virtual pet on facebook, and the crazy "gift" system. you will not believe it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

jeep day!

so today . . . my darling daughter was able to make one of her dreams come true.

diandra has talked about having a jeep since she was 10 years old--a yellow one. i don't know why. we've never had a jeep, and i am not sure that we even knew anyone who had a jeep until a year or two ago. but every time she talked about getting a car, it was a yellow jeep.

as her mom i will admit that i hoped this was one dream that she might change her mind about. not that a jeep isn't a cool vehicle--i'm just not so sure about it's safety factor. and if my one and only baby is going to be driving around the streets of LA, i want her to be as safe as possible.

the first car she drove around was a 1985 mercury topaz that we bought when she was born. we had to have a new car before we went to pastor's retreat that year, because our ford pinto didn't have room for both the baby seat and rollie's golf clubs. and we couldn't go to pastor's retreat without either one of them!

as diandra grew up, we always kind of planned that one day the car would be hers. it would be old by the time she could drive, but we thought it was kind of cool that it was "born" in the same year as she was. and rollie took such good care of it that it was still nice. it is the car she learned to drive even though it had a manual transmission. and it had the added advantage that her friends couldn't try to borrow it, because none of them could drive a stick shift!

i felt pretty good about her driving that car around--even in the sometimes heavy traffic we have here. it was heavy and medium sized and safe. and it would get her where she needed to go. usually.

the day came when it was time to retire the topaz. we all mourned just a little bit (some more than others.) her next car was heavy-ish, medium sized and safe. and new. but it wasn't the car she really wanted. she drove it anyway and tried to be happy about it. but she spends a lot of time in her car, so when the lease was up, she decided it was time to buy the car that would make her feel happy when she was behind the wheel. and she was pretty sure that car was going to be a jeep.

she searched the paper, the internet, the car lots until she found it--her dream car. it wasn't yellow, but she instantly loved it anyway. it took some work to make it hers, but she did. she had to be patient and persistent, but it paid off. and today she drove it off the lot with the biggest smile ever on her face!and it didn't take her long to "share the love." shortly after taking possession of her new vehicle, she had posted pictures and blogged about the event on her photography blog. in record time. which just shows how excited she was!

there is something kind of cool about watching your kids grow up and become adults. sometimes it is exasperating, because they don't have to do what you tell them to do anymore! sometimes it is irritating, because they will listen to what you have to say, but then make different choices than you think they should. but you know what? sometimes it is wonderful, because they do stuff that makes you so proud you think you will never stop smiling. and watching them accomplish their dreams is one of those things (even if their dreams have 33 inch tires and get terrible gas mileage!)

have fun, diandra! (and drive carefully!!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

my brain has left the building . . .

so today . . . i don't have anything to write about. it's been a very busy day and i haven't had time to think about blogging. the other teacher who teaches in our classroom has been out sick since last thursday and is probably not going to be back all week. she is in the hospital, so she is really sick, but having her gone makes my day at work much more chaotic. there is a substitute, and it is helpful to have that other adult in the classroom, but i am trying to teach curriculum to two different classes every day. so while i am at school, my mind has no chance to think about what would make a good blog.

after school, i walked both dogs, crashed on the stairs for a few minutes, then went to macaroni grill for dinner--the last hurrah before tomorrow's ban on sugar and all things white (except cauliflower.) when we got home, i put on warm flannel pants and a polar fleece shirt (because, i'm sorry, but it is COLD here!!!) and fired up the computer. i've been checking email and reading blogs, but when it came time for me to write, there was nothing in my head.

so i thought i would just copy one of the blogs i had written in the last few years on myspace. there are some cute and funny stories on there. i started reading. and reading. and reading. and i was right--i did write some cute stories for myspace. but you aren't going to get to read any of them today. maybe tomorrow, if nothing interesting happens . . .

here is the awful truth--it's time to do our taxes. rollie does a lot of the work of getting all the information gathered and actually meeting with the tax person. but the information that i gather is burying me this year, and it is taking up way too much space in my brain, which makes it difficult for me to do other things--like write a funny and interesting blog. which is why you are getting this almost boring one today.

but here is the good news. our tax appointment is for thursday, which means that i have to finish this stuff up in the next couple of days whether i want to or not. so by the end of the week, the blogs should be better.

of course by then i will have been without sugar or anything white (except cauliflower) for a few days, so my brain may have other issues . . .

but to quote two of my favorite bloggers, since "every post is better with a picture," here are some pics i snapped with my camera phone (thus the less than fine quality) while walking mia today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

comfort food

so today . . . rollie bought me more peanut butter cookies at subway than i could eat in one day.

last week he brought me soda pop and brownies at school--the best brownines ever--TWICE!! (he got them at seven eleven and i am telling you, i would do almost anything for one of those brownies.) he brought them because i had a couple of tough days at school last week. the first time he was just being thoughtful and nice. the next time he was responding to my 9-1-1 emergency text message. that time he brought me TWO brownies, and he said, "i brought you 2 brownies, so you could scarf one down immediately for instant relief, and then enjoy the other one later when you are calmer." and it worked! i felt instantly better after scarfing that first brownie. he knows me so well . . .

the massive peanut butter cookie purchase was in response to "fall off the wagon" weekend. we usually try to eat pretty healthy and avoid sugar and white foods (except for cauliflower.) but this weekend, i just needed junk food. i ate a whole bag of lays bar-b-que potato chips, and a brownie (from seven eleven) and curly fries. i drank massive amounts of diet soda. and when we went to subway today, rollie came back to the table with 14 cookies--7 chocolate chip for him and 7 peanut butter for me. ( yes, he loves me enough to fall off the wagon with me.)

next week we will go back to a more healthy way of eating--more vegetables and no sugar. and we will feel better. it will be a long time before we inject our systems with as much junk as they enjoyed this weekend, but it will happen again. because there are just those times in life when a person needs to throw caution to the wind, live dangerously, and eat junk food. and as long as it isn't every weekend, it probably won't kill you. probably.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

my day as a photographer's assistant

so today . . . i went on a photo shoot with diandra. she was taking head shots for my friend amy, who is an actress. we met her in the the bixby knolls area of long beach. the houses there are beautiful and the business district is interesting. we could probably have taken photos there all week and not run out of cool things to shoot.

we shot in alley ways . . .
we used the steps and retaining walls next to the sidewalk . . .and we even went into people's yards--we did ask permission first, and no one said no--even in bixby knolls!
it was fun to walk around the neighborhood with diandra as she scanned for the next spot to shoot. amy was a good sport to do whatever diandra asked her to do. there were wardrobe changes (one was in the street between two cars with diandra and i serving as the two missing walls,) yard invasions, goofy faces, and even some jumping up and down. if you want to see the resulting photos, check out diandra's photography blog in a few days.

of course, i couldn't walk around all afternoon with my camera in my pocket without taking any photos of my own. so i had some fun taking pictures of diandra taking pictures of amy. i had to do it with one hand, because my other arm was full of possible props and wardrobe options.

at one point, i went back to the car to drop off some of the stuff we were done with. i returned to find diandra and amy shooting in front of a red door. as i walked up to the house, i was struck by this image . . .
while i waited for them to finish up, i noticed some cool details in the garden . . .

so, even though it was gloomy saturday afternoon, i had a great time. it was nice to be out in the fresh, cool air, walking at a leisurely pace (instead of being dragged by psycho dogs) and looking for interesting visuals. i think maybe i want to be a photographer's assistant--at least, if the photographer is diandra . . .

Friday, March 20, 2009

walking the dogs and saving a life--well, almost

so today . . . was a beautiful day. usually it is hard for me to put on my walking shoes, wrestle the harness onto the dogs, and head out the door for our walk. and today was no exception. but once i got outside, and was able to slow down a bit as the dogs got tired, i realized how beautiful it was. until i saw the car . . .

in our neighborhood, the city has planted a different type of tree on each street. one of the streets that milo and i walk has some sort of tree that is currently in bloom, and it smells wonderful! sadly, it is on one of the first streets we walk down, so milo is moving at a pretty good pace--well, considering his short little legs and his fat little body. if it was on the last street, we could saunter along and enjoy the beautiful aroma for a while. now that i think about it, maybe while the trees are in bloom i could rearrange our route so that we hit that street last. although last week when i tried to get milo to go "off the route" and out into the street to go around some tree trimmers, he refused! he seemed to know where he was supposed to go and was determined to go there--i finally had to pick him up and take him out into the street.`

today was a lovely day--and a friday afternoon. there were a lot of people outside, walking, biking, working in their yards, . . . and i realized that sometimes walking a dog on the sidewalk is kind of like playing "chicken." when two people are approaching each other on the sidewalk, and one has a dog (so there isn't room to pass,) who should get off the sidewalk, and who retains custody? do you wait for the last minute to see if the other person is going to move, or do you get off in plenty of time so they can continue without interference? is there a protocol for this? usually i am the one who goes out into the street. and i go early. i don't know why--i guess i am just perpetually polite . . .

i had already walked about three miles with mia and was just finishing up the two miles that milo walks, when i noticed a car in a driveway, facing the street, with the driver's side door open. i didn't think too much about it until i got closer and noticed there was a man inside sitting in the driver's seat. as i continued on by, i could see that he was slouched down with his head over to one side, his eyes closed and his mouth hanging open, and his car keys were in his lap. this seemed odd to me, but i thought maybe he was just waiting for someone, and i didn't want to embarrass him (my perpetual politeness kicking in.) so i started to walk by. but then i thought, what if he is having a heart attack or something and i just leave him there. as i went back for a second look (hoping he was now sitting up with his eyes open and the car keys in his hand,) i saw that the garage door was open as well as the door into the house. i was starting to think panicky thoughts, when i realized that while i was wandering around trying to decide what i should do, the guy could be dying. so i finally sprang into action, approached the open car door, and said, "excuse me, sir?" at which time he woke up, abruptly, smiled and said he was fine, really. so i guess he wasn't dead. or in need of cpr.

thank goodness! my cpr skills are untested (although i have a card that says i know how to do it,) and milo was already thinking about a nap . . .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ignorance (of chinese) is bliss

so today . . . i decided i am glad i don't speak chinese after all!

i teach at a school that is affiliated with a chinese church. many, but not all, of our students are chinese. and all the children at the school, as well as elementary school students, have the option of learning chinese. when i first started working there five years ago, i thought that i might just go to chinese class after school with my students. i thought, if they can learn it and they are only five, i should certainly be able to do it.

i was wrong.

i knew it would be hard, but the sounds just don't make sense to me. i can't even count in chinese (although i think if i worked at it really hard i could at least go to 30--but how useful would that be?) the symbols of the written language are so interesting, but my brain just won't comprehend them. to be fair, i never actually went to the after school classes . . . i just observed what my students were learning in them and realized that my brain didn't have a chance.

but today i decided that isn't all bad. i realized that my lack of understanding chinese is probably why i get along so well with the staff at our school--i can't understand most of what is going on! there have been many times when i have gone into the kitchen area to get my lunch or punch my time card and have overheard conversations between other staff members . . . in chinese. since i can't understand them, i just do what i went in there to do, smile, and leave. i don't pick up any little bits of information to discuss or worry about or wonder about. even when they talk to me in english, i don't always get it. sometimes i find myself smiling and nodding, thinking, "i hope i'm not agreeing to a rebellion." (once, the result of smiling and nodding and not understanding was being presented with a bowl of chicken feet. to eat. with their claws on. i tried . . . )

it used to bother me that i couldn't understand these incidental conversations. my lack of language skills kept me from interacting with people that i thought i should be getting to know. it's hard to enter into a conversation or express an opinion if you can't speak the language. but now i realize that it's easier to get along because i don't know everything that is going on. i don't know why you think you are being picked on, or what you think about the newest memo from the director, or why you were late today (or why you really weren't late, because that time clock is four minutes off, and if people would just mind their own business and quit looking at other people's time cards and then tattling to the director . . . ok, sometimes i do understand their english) there is always so much drama! but if i don't know the details or the issues, then i can't weigh in with an opinion, and so i think everyone assumes i am on their side, which works for me!

i suppose as long as people work together in one place, there will be some form of "office politics" at work. but i am not going to play. i'm just going to continue to stay out of other people's business and try to focus on my own. and if not speaking chinese helps me to accomplish that, then i guess that is just one dream i will have to give up, for the good of the group.

i don't want to save the world--i just want to do my job.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the mysterious disappearing food

so today . . . i thought i would have a hot dog for dinner.

i don't eat hot dogs very often, because of the buns. (remember the whole wheat bun experience?) but lately i have kind of been craving them. instead of a regular hot dog bun, i use half of a sourdough sandwich bun. then i slice the hot dog in half lengthwise, and then across. i line the four little pieces up across the bun, top it with a slice of pepper jack cheese (bet that surprised you!) and then microwave it. mmm, mmm, good!

so tonight i got out the bread, cut a bun in half, opened it up on the plate, and then went back to the refrigerator for the hot dogs and cheese. i looked in the sandwich drawer, and there were no hot dogs there. i looked again, but still no hot dogs. this was kind of odd, because i was pretty sure there had been 2 or 3 hot dogs in there just yesterday. rollie could have eaten them, but usually if he finishes something he either writes it on the grocery list or gets more out of the freezer. so to find that there were no hot dogs was weird . . .

ok, i thought, i'll just use the cheese, the delicious pepper jack cheese (yum,) and i will put it on the bread ALONE, and melt it and it will still be pretty good.

so i reached for the pepper jack cheese, AND IT WAS GONE TOO! now i knew something was wrong! i am the only one in our house who will get within three feet of pepper jack cheese, so i couldn't put the absence of my cheese on either rollie or diandra. i moved everything around. i looked in other parts of the refrigerator. i even looked in the freezer--and i knew it couldn't be in there, but it had to be somewhere . . .

frustrated and perplexed, i stood up, closed the refrigerator and turned to go up and see if rollie knew anything about the missing food. and there it was. on the counter. right next to the bag of sourdough sandwich buns.

some days i wonder why my brain cells are deserting me . . .

Monday, March 16, 2009

my first video blog (i hope!)

so today . . . i'm going to try to do something a little bit different.

my new computer has a built in webcam. (i guess i should stop calling it my new computer, now that i have had it almost three months!) i don't use it very often, because, well i can't figure out how my mom can see me on it live, and who else would want to? but for me, it is a cool, new gadget, and so sometimes i play with it.

i have mentioned joshua several times in my blog. he is one of the funniest kids i have ever had in my class. and because i only have two students now (although i am in a classroom with 15,) i get lots of one on one time with each one. not only do i have more opportunities to talk with them, but i get to hear the conversations they have with each other--which can be hysterical.

the other day we had a few minutes to kill, so we turned the camera on. joshua is fascinated with my computer and always wants to play on it--which i never let him do, because i don't have any games. (but he managed to make one up anyway.)

this was just totally random--no purpose or plan--just joshua watching himself on my computer. my other student, jonathan, lurks in the background and is the one who brings me a book to look at. the video is about three minutes long. you just get glimpses of joshua's personality, because he is kind of focused on looking at himself and the computer.

(ok, i just previewed this post, and for some reason the audio is behine the video. i'm going to leave it on here anyway, because it is kind of fun, but i won't be posting too many videos if this is what happens.)
video
there are moments when i just love my job, and this was one of them! one of these days i am going to capture him telling me a story--THAT will be entertaining!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

. . . and could i get a flying car, please . . . ?

so today . . . i was wishing i had a robot.

we went out to eat tonight, and it was kind of cold. i was wearing a pair of skechers (no, not new ones--the gray suede with metallic print, if you must know) so i didn't have on any socks, and my feet got cold. but on the ride home we cranked up the heat and they were nice and toasty warm by the time we pulled into the garage. if only i could have just put them right to bed! but it was COLD in the garage, and i had to clean my car before i went in. i mean, i could have put it off, but i had already done that for the last couple of days and it really needed to be done. or it was going to have to go to the car wash, and i am just too cheap for that. rollie takes it for me every few weeks, but it isn't due to go again for a while. so, you know, bug splats and water spots had to be dealt with.

i did the adult thing and cleaned my car. but while i was whining about it, rollie said i needed a robot to do stuff for me. and i thought, yes i do!

wouldn't that be cool? i guess i want to be jane jetson--just push a button and stuff happens--food appears, garbage gets emptied, floors are cleaned, laundry is folded and put away . . . my utopia! think how much time we would have if we didn't have to do the mundane mindless stuff that we have to do each day . . . and then again the next day . . . and then the day after that . . .

or maybe i could do the mundane things and have a robot to do the hard stuff--trim the dogs' nails, weed the flower beds, clean out the garage, put music on my ipod . . .

so, if you could choose one, which would you choose to have done by a robot--the hard stuff or the mundane? i thought about it, but i can't decide. i just wish the scientists would hurry up and get those robots working!

maybe by the time i am old and decrepit, household robots will be a reality. that would be nice--then diandra won't have to take care of me . . .

until then, maybe i should just get a roomba . . .

Saturday, March 14, 2009

so much for my excuses . . .

so today . . . i moved my pilates exercise machine downstairs into the family room.
i bought this machine several years ago. i saw it on shopping tv (which i love!) and it looked so easy to use. the thing i liked about it was that you could exercise while sitting or laying down. that sounded do-able to me, so i logged onto the site and gave them my credit card number, and in about a week it showed up at my door.

i was so excited! i was sure this was the answer to my exercise issues. some assembly was required, but all the nuts and bolts went in where they were supposed to, and in no time at all i was ready to sweat! i popped in the instructional dvd and prepared to get into shape.

i used the machine a total of 3 times.

i loved the machine, but there were still issues. first of all, the dvd wasn't the kind that you exercise along with--it just showed you what to do, and then you were supposed to do the exercises on your own. i suppose they thought this would give people flexibility in the kind of work out they chose to do, but for me it meant too much thinking! i couldn't remember the moves, so i would have to watch 2 minutes of the dvd, pause it and do the demonstrated exercise, then go back to the dvd and watch the next move, and then do it, and so on . . . it was just too chopped up to be any fun. when i exercise, i want my mind on autopilot, and all of this deciding what to do next was just not working for me. so, of course, my next step was to go online and try to find a dvd that showed actual work out routines on the machine that i could just follow along with. the problem was, there weren't that many of these machines out there, so there wasn't much of a market for that kind of a dvd.

my next problem was the location. i had assembled it in the extra bedroom upstairs. there was a tv in there, and there was room for me to use the machine, and it was out of the way. i thought this would be perfect--my "work out" room--but it was not. it was too far out of the way, which meant i didn't trip over it and think, "oh yeah, i should use that today." also it felt very isolated, and i was a little claustrophobic when the machine was opened up in that room.

time went on . . .

i always had intentions of putting it somewhere else and memorizing the exercises and using it, because of all the machines i have used, this one is the best! but i got busy, and then i broke my wrist (which was a great excuse for several months!) and then we needed the room.

when i had to move it out of the extra bedroom, i didn't know where i was going to put it. considering i had only used it three times, there are those who would say i should get rid of it. but i wanted to use it--i just couldn't seem to get started. so i moved it to the end of the upstairs hallway temporarily (which turned out to be more than a few months) where i saw it every day and thought, "i really need to move that downstairs . . ."

and so tonight it came downstairs. i found a place for it in the family room. i have dusted it off and tried it out, and i think i will like having it here. it doesn't look pretty, but i think having it staring me in the face every evening as i watch tv will encourage me to get on it and at least do a few things. because i have decided that it doesn't really matter how i use this machine--everything i do will benefit some part of me. who needs an instructional dvd anyway . . .

Friday, March 13, 2009

yesterday, part 2

so today . . . has been difficult. again.

everybody has difficult days sometimes--i'm just having a few in a row. it has happened before, and i'm sure it will happen again. i'm not going to write about the difficulties though, because that won't help the situations--it will just be a depressing read for you.

so here's what i did. i sat on the couch and watched mindless tv for a little bit. then i put m&m's in my purse, got in my car, put the top down, cranked the stereo up, and headed to wal-mart. but first, i made a stop at el pollo loco for ice cream (that's what the m&m's were for.) i sat in the sunshine eating my ice cream and reading. it sounds perfectly idyllic, and it was (except for the noise from the freeway . . . )

then i went on to wal-mart to look for eyeglasses. it's time for new ones, and i am having a terrible time finding any i like that don't cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. i've looked at target, costco, sears, and j.c. penney. i was hoping to walk into wal-mart and find what the perfect pair. but that didn't happen.

i needed to keep on driving. so i went on to the skechers shoe warehouse. i love skechers! they are the most comfortable shoes EVER, and the warehouse store is really big. i already have a white pair, a brown pair, a gold pair, a charcoal pair, and a gray pair. what i really want is red, but i don't think they make any in red right now. so then i looked for navy. but still, no luck.

my day was not getting better. although, i have to say, just driving around in my car in the sunshine does lift my spirits . . .

it was getting late, and i needed to walk the dogs. i'm not really enjoying that activity yet, but again, i know it will get better. it WAS a beautiful day, and i was glad to have an excuse to be outside.

so. that was my day. not all that exciting, i know. but i survived. and now it is the weekend.

i had high hopes for my weekend, but i have amended my plans. now i think it will pretty much consist of doing laundry and hanging out on the couch. i'll probably also walk the dogs, because we are working on milo's fat rolls, but i think that will be the extent of my physical exertion for the next couple of days. hopefully by monday i will be back to my usual (hopefully) entertaining self.

and now, off to bed . . . i can barely keep my eyes open.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

warning!! difficult day!! proceed at your own risk!

so today . . . was not my favorite day. it started out annoying and just got worse.

i could run down all the details for you, but somehow i don't think they would make any of you laugh. here's the reader's digest condensed version.

first of all, i had to lead music time. again. that is two days in a row. leading music time is not my favorite thing to do. in fact i dread it. and did i mention that i had to do it two days in a row?!?!

then i had to work with a substitute in my class today, because the other teacher was out sick (which is also why i had to lead music. again.) she was a good substitute, and once we got organized, the classroom actually ran really well--it was quiet, the kids got everything done they were supposed to do, and we were right on schedule. but i felt kind of stressed, trying to teach two classes. simultaneously.

i was hungry about 11:00 and needed food, and all i could find were m&m's and a granola bar that i am saving for an emergency. i almost decided that this was an emergency, but then i found some stale pretzels and cheese sauce to dip them in. so i ate that. it wasn't the best snack i have ever had, but at least it kept me from starvation.

by lunch i was really hungry, but i was too cranky to risk leaving school and interacting with a disembodied fast food drive thru voice, so i just ate leftovers and drank one of my two emergency sodas. this took me through the afternoon . . .

when i got home, i walked the dogs. the sun was out, but the wind was cold. that was ok though, because when i walk the dogs i get hot, so it all worked out. it was actually kind of pleasant.

THEN i had to go back to school for a staff meeting. it was not a good way to end my day. usually i think a nice detailed memo would be a much better way to impart the information that we get at a staff meeting, but in case you haven't noticed, i am not in charge of the world! i don't know why . . .

this turned out to be an especially frustrating meeting for me. i'm not going to rant and rave about it here--i've already done that, and i'm sure poor rollie wishes he had been asleep when i got home! so i am not in a very good frame of mind . . .

and i hate that, because i want my blog to be fun. i want it to make you laugh, and think, "i can't wait to read it tomorrow!"

but when the highlight of the day was walking the dogs, i know i am in trouble . . .

so i am going to bed now. it is late and morning seems to come so early! and there will be "fall out" to deal with from today.

i can hardly wait! (that was sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell . . . )

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

what to write, what to write . . .

so today . . . i can't write. i don't know what is going on. i've started two blogs, one about pricing new glasses and one about walking the dogs. but neither one was very good. even i wasn't interested in them, and i am writing them!

so then i thought i would go back and respond to some of the comments that have been left. i guess i thought there would be a way to go back and pull up all the comments. but either there isn't or i just can't figure it out by myself, and diandra isn't home.

so i am sitting here watching american idol, with the exhausted dogs laying next to me. rollie is already in bed, and diandra is apparently at ralph's buying tuna fish to eat before she goes on to do whatever it is she does at night (we call her vampira.) i have things i should be doing, but since i already walked the dogs today, i sort of feel like i've done enough.

oh wait! i know what i can write! i hope you are still reading . . .

so today . . . i drank a boba drink. my friend jessica brought it to me after lunch. i was threatening to drink my emergency pepsi, and so she brought me a boba. if you have never had one, they are interesting. my best guess is that it is kind of a coffee/tea/milk combination. it is sweetened (probably loaded with sugar) and you drink it iced. but the interesting thing is that it has these blobs in the bottom. they kind of remind me of the fish eggs we used to use for bait when i was a kid. my dad always had us put the fish eggs in our mouths until we needed them (i still can't believe i actually did this!) the blobs are perfectly round and seem to be tasteless, but firm and chewy. they are also kind of slippery. i had a boba one other time, but the blobs were big--i thought they were blueberries until i tasted one. of course i don't like blueberries either--they squish and squirt when you bite into them--but at least they have anti-oxidants. jessica, not knowing if i would like this or not, graciously only put about an inch of these little balls in the bottom of my drink. and they were small, like dippin' dots.

i wanted to be grateful, but boba and i are not friends. however it was so thoughtful of her, that i decided to give it another try. now here is the cool thing about boba drinks. they come in a clear plastic cup and the top is a clear plastic film that is sealed all around--spill-proof! then when you want to drink it, you use a pointy straw to stab into the lid (it is quite satisfying, once you get the hang of it) and then it is ready to enjoy! so i stabbed my straw through the top, swirled the boba around the bottom, and took a big drink. those little bobas went slithering up the straw, across my tongue, and down my throat. it was icky! i tried again, because i really wanted to like it, but it was still gross. i just couldn't do it.

now this is all happening in front of my two little boys at school. they are watching me, and joshua is making a face. he says, "i hate boba!" joshua doesn't say 'hate,' so this is a really strong statement from him. i said, "i don't think i am crazy about it either." then he says, "want me to show you how you can drink it without the bobas?" i say sure, and he shows me how to pull the straw up just until it clears the boba level at which point you only get the drink when you slurp through the straw, because the bobas are heavy. genius!

so i drank the drink, but couldn't quite ingest the bobas. apparently a lot of people really like them, but i think i am not one of them. however, the drink was delicious! and the good news is that you can order it with or without the bobas, which i found interesting since it was sealed. then i found out that at these boba places, you order your drink, they fix it the way you want it, and then they put that clear plastic seal on the top--right in front of you! i find that fascinating! now i am going to have to go to a boba place just to see them do that--i am easily entertained . . .

and i am lucky to have people in my life who think enough of me to bring me a boba drink and keep my emergency pepsi safe for another day . . .

Monday, March 9, 2009

GO BLAZERS!! 111-94

so today . . . i'm watching a blazers game! (that's basketball, for those of you who live in la and think the only team who exists wears purple and gold.) of course, i have to watch them playing the evil lakers in order to see them play, since i don't have cable or espn and i live in socal now. but still . . .

when we lived in southern oregon, the majority of the blazer games were broadcast in our area so we were able to see most of them. it was fun, because i could recognize the players, i knew which refs hated our team, and which teams were hard to beat. we knew the statistics and standings of our team, and how each win or loss would affect that. lots of times we would get together with our friends, ron and joanne, and have pizza and cheer for the same team and boo the referees. we collected blazer glassware from dairy queen, and used it for our pop during games. we watched a couple of games a week and got pretty emotionally invested. when our favorite players moved to other teams, we supported those teams (unless they were playing our beloved blazers.) we even voted for clyde drexler when he was on dancing with the stars--even though he was a terrible dancer--because he is our favorite player of all time (acutally, that would be diandra and me--rollie wouldn't be caught dead watching that show!) we watched basketball from november until, hopefully, into june.

now that i live in southern california, i don't pay much attention to it any more. everyone here loves the lakers, and i just can't. they are evil. rollie, sadly, has gone over to the dark side--and while i still love him, we can't watch basketball together anymore. i pretend to listen when he tells me about kobe's latest antics, but mentally i have my fingers in my ears and i'm saying, "la la la la la," so i don't have to actually hear what he is saying. from late in may until usually well into june, i have to fight the urge to be rude to the cars who have the nerve to drive around town with their little laker flags flying from their windows. really. i have to remind myself that God loves them too, but i'm sure it is in spite of the fact that they support the lakers--because, you know, they are evil (the lakers, not the people with the flags--they are just deluded.)

one day i was shopping with diandra and trying on a dress. it was pretty cute, and i thought it would be nice for my upcoming vacation. she looked at me and said, "you realize you are wearing laker colors, don't you?" i looked at the purple dress with the gold colored tank top under it and thought, "YIKES!" needless to say, it was left on the rack . . .

tonight, my blazers beat the lakers. it was kind of weird to watch. i didn't recongize any of the players or referees. they were playing in portland, so the crowd noise was for the blazers, but the commentators were definitely in the laker camp. it was even more confusing because one of the commentators was steve jones, who used to do the blazer games--familiar voice with very unfamiliar words coming out of his mouth. i amost had to turn the sound down! but part way through the third quarter i found myself yelling at the tv (mostly at the commentators) and i knew that it didn't matter that i couldn't recognize any of the players, or that i didn't know their win/loss record or where they were in the standings. i wanted them to win this game!

the fact is, the blazers are my team--win or lose. and the lakers will always be evil. that is just the natural order of things in julie-world. so get used to it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

milo goes to church

so today . . . milo went to church. he got to be a real, live sermon illustration. i suggested to rollie that he just use a photo of milo--i've taken plenty, and some are really cute. and if they put it up on power point, he would be HUGE and wouldn't that be good enough? rollie said no.
so i went off to church at 8:30 (which was really 7:30 because of daylight savings time) for band rehearsal and to kind of oversee our alternative service this morning, because diandra wouldn't be there. she was bringing milo to church. she got to sleep later. she didn't have to be there until 10:30. ( i admit, i was a little bit jealous.)

if we were smart, we would have snuck milo's leash into her car last night while both dogs were blissfully inhabiting slumberland. but we didn't. so this morning when diandra got ready to go, mia was not a happy camper. milo was leaving and so was his leash and she was not, which to her could only mean one thing--milo was getting to go for a walk, AND SHE WAS NOT!

we don't take our dogs out much, because we have to take them both. neither one of them wants to be left behind and it is hard to control both of them at once. one time i decided that it would be more efficient if i could walk them both at the same time. i have two leashes, so why not? i'll tell you why not--it is impossible! they are incapable of walking nicely when they are together, and the leashes get tangled up and they want to go different directions . . . i didn't even make it past the neighbor's house before i had to turn around and leave one at home.

so the usual walking routine is this:
1. wait until there is another human at home to be with the dog who doesn't get to go first.
2. take mia first--she is biggest and fastest, so it is best to walk her before i get tired. plus, milo will settle down in someone's lap and wait for his turn, whereas mia paces and barks at EVERYTHING if milo goes first.
3. switch dogs. mia will now be happy to slurp water and lay down and pant while milo has his walk.
4. walk milo--he is slower. but make sure to take a plastic bag, because somewhere along the way he WILL poop. he saves it up for just such an occasion.
5. come home and watch mia jump around hoping for another turn--she wants to be first AND last.

as soon as milo was done helping rollie with his sermon, i took him home. i worried about what was happening there while milo was on his little field trip to church. mia is not usually destructive (unless you are a stuffed toy or an empty toilet paper roll,) but i couldn't recall ever leaving her at home by herself once milo joined our family. and she is somewhat high-strung, so i really didn't know what to expect. milo was only gone an hour, but when we went into the house, i could see that mia had tried to escape. as i walked around, she stayed with me like she was my shadow. i think she thought it was now her turn to go for a walk, and she couldn't understand why i wasn't hooking the leash to HER collar.

tomorrow is the first day of daylight savings time--well if you don't count today--and that means it will stay light later in the evening. so i am going to start walking the dogs again. it has been a while since we have done that with any regularity and it will be good exercise for all of us. maybe i will give that "two dogs at once" thing another try . . .

Saturday, March 7, 2009

a tale of two shopping trips

so today . . . i went shopping. twice.

the first time was early this afternoon. rollie needed new basketball shoes, because he finally blew his out this morning. he likes nikes--they fit his feet really well--and usually he gets them at mervyn's when they are on sale. but our mervyn's closed just before christmas. so he came home from playing basketball this morning and wanted to know where i thought he should go for shoes. we decided to try j.c. penney. when we got there i directed him to the shoe department, he found the nikes, tried them on, bought them, and was ready to head home. which we did. we were there about 20 minutes.

later in the day diandra and i went shopping. my birthday was last month, and rather than buy me a gift, she wanted to take me shopping. she said that would be a lot more fun than just watching me open something that she had chosen. but we have both been busy, so today was the first chance we had to go. i decided to start at old navy, so off we went. we entered the store and started picking up things we saw that we liked. by the time we got to the back of the store (about 45 minutes later) we both had an armload of clothes and headed off to the dressing rooms. we spent the next 30 minutes trying on sweaters and jeans and skirts and dresses. and laughing at each other. some of the "outfits" we came up with were pretty funny--especially since i was wearing argyle knee socks and refused to take them off (my feet were cold!) decisions had to be made, but we finally headed to the car with our purchases almost two hours later.

these were two very different experiences. rollie's goal was basketball shoes in the shortest possible time--go in, get them, get out. diandra's goal was spending time with me--looking around, trying things on, making decisions, trying on something else, helping each other decide what was worthy of our (mostly her) hard-earned cash. and yet both trips were fun. because i was with two of my favorite people--my husband and my daughter!

Friday, March 6, 2009

ill gotten gains?

so today . . . i took a banana from sizzler. i hope it wasn't stealing . . .

we found a sizzler in our area that has a great lunch special. on monday thru friday until 4:00 you can choose from a list of entrees with one side dish, one trip to the salad bar, and a drink--all for $7.99! so since i have friday afternoons off, sometimes we eat lunch there in the middle of the afternoon. then we don't have to eat much for dinner. it is kind of like practice for when we retire . . .

so i ordered a 6 oz. steak and a soda, and rollie paid (because that is the natural order of things.) they gave me a plate and i headed to the salad bar. i love the salad bar, but only if there are garbonzo beans, and there were! i started with just a small amount of lettuce. i've learned that if i put too much lettuce on my plate to begin with, then by the time i put all the toppings on, stuff starts falling off when i try to mix it all up. so i put just enough lettuce on the bottom that i can call it a salad. and it has to be iceberg lettuce, because have you noticed how hard it is to stab a fork into any other kind? anyway, i added the requisite garbonzo beans, peas, carrots, cheese, sunflower seeds and ranch dressing. and then i saw the fruit . . .

i'm not a big fruit eater, but i like bananas. and the bananas at the salad bar were perfect--just a tinge of green on the peel. so i took one. it is ok that i took it, because it was a part of the salad bar that i had paid for. but i knew i had a whole plate of salad and a 6 oz. steak on it's way, not to mention unlimited soda. so when i took it, i was pretty sure i would be too full to eat it. but i took it anyway.

my salad was good, my steak was delicious! there was no way i could eat that banana in the restaurant. i was way too full! but i really wanted it. i didn't want to leave it and have it thrown away--it was a really good banana--i could tell! and i certainly couldn't put it back on the salad bar. so i did the only thing i could do--i hid it under my sweater and took it home . . .

and several hours later, i ate it. and it was really good!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

the evils of food labels

so today . . . i went to costco. this wasn't a fun trip--we needed food! i've never gone on a thursday before, but after today, i think thursday will be my new "going to costco" day. there were very few people there--i didn't even have to wait in a line to check out!

anyway, i had picked up bananas, tillamook cheese (because, why eat any other kind!) broccoli, and salad mix and was headed for the refrigerated foods. i usually don't eat the samples that are out, but today they were giving away tidbits of scrambled eggs. i LOVE scrambled eggs, but i just got the results back from my most recent cholesterol test . . . and then i noticed that these were not your average scrambled eggs. these were 95% egg whites (i'm not really sure what the other 5% was) but they looked and tasted like real, whole eggs. so, with my cholesterol numbers in mind, i found the product and put it in my cart. feeling pretty pleased with myself for my healthy choice, i went around the corner to the cheese. i added a big bag of tillamook shredded cheddar cheese (because we already know how i feel about tillamook cheese) and also a big block of processed swiss american cheese (which i'm sure is mostly plastic, but i like it!)

as i continued down the aisle, i was suddenly struck by what i had just done. so i stopped, and looked at the bag of tillamook shredded cheese--it had 25 mg of cholesterol per serving. then i looked at the other tillamook cheese--also 25 mg of cholesterol per serving. i checked the plastic swiss cheese and found that it had a mere 15 mg per serving. but i still wasn't too alarmed, because after all, i had just put that egg white product in my cart and it had 0 mg of you know what. so every day that i ate that instead of eggs, i would be avoiding lots and lots of cholesterol--i was sure of it. lets see, i thought, how much will i be saving. i checked the label and it said a real egg had 5 mg. WHAT?!?!? you have got to be kidding me! so if i'm doing the math correctly, 1 serving of cheese is equal to 5 eggs?!? oh boy, am i in trouble . . .

i love cheese, almost as much as i love dark chocolate and o'henry bars. i don't think i can go even one day without it. but now that i have read that evil label and know it's contents, i will feel like i'm poisoning myself whenever i have a toasted cheese sandwich (you know, the kind where the cheese gets all melty and gooey . . . ) or a quesadilla--even if it is on a whole wheat tortilla. of course, i will still eat them--i will just know i shouldn't. i hate those food labels!

on the upside, i can now eat REAL eggs with no guilt at all!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

up close and . . . joshua

so today . . . i'm conflicted. i have a couple of different ideas about what i could write today, and i don't know which way to go . . .

let me just start by saying i am craving brownie bites! this is diandra's fault. she brought them into the house yesterday, generously shared them last night, and now i want more. i looked in the kitchen this morning to see if any were left over, because i woke up thinking "brownie bites?" but they were gone. i thought about them off and on all morning. i finally texted diandra so that i could at least share my pain, and she replied that there were a few brownie bites left, but they were in her room. yeah!!! of course i was still at school, so all i really had was the PROMISE of brownie bites, but that was something . . .

the funniest thing that happened to me today, again, was joshua. first thing this morning, i was sitting at a table with some kids who were coloring, and i was reading some stuff online--ok, i was on facebook. while my ears were tuned in to what was going on around the room, my eyes were focused on the computer screen. and then suddenly there was a face right in front of me--RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME--our noses were actually touching. when i moved back enough to focus on the face, i saw it was joshua and he was just smiling away and he said, "did you see i am here?" i just cracked up!

he always has a story to tell. and when joshua talks to me, he likes to stand right next to me while i am sitting in my chair--this puts our faces at the same height--and he stands really close to me. sometimes he puts his arm around my neck, and sometimes he puts his little hand on the side of my face, and he talks a mile a minute barely stopping to take a breath. today he was telling me about how he had made a raptor noise in the car on the way to school with his mom. and then he demonstrated. let me just say, if i had been driving that car and he had made that noise, we might have been in a ditch (if california had ditches!) it was shrill and it was loud, and he had the facial expression to go with it. so he is standing there telling me this story, and suddenly he moves in, and our noses are touching again. and, again i just laughed. i don't know what it was, but for some reason today he felt the need to keep putting his face right in my face so our noses would touch. and then he would look into my eyes and smile.

those are the moments when i love my job.

and now, i am going in search of those brownie bites . . .

Monday, March 2, 2009

making new friends

so today . . . there was giggling coming from the family room.

this is a fairly unusual occurance, because usually, in the evening, i am in the family room by myself while rollie is catching up on sports and stuff in the "man room" and diandra is out doing whatever it is she does when she is not at home. and except for the click of the keys on my computer, or the low voices on the tv, it is quiet.

but tonight the family room was inhabited by two girls who were giggling. actually, they are young women, but i guess to me diandra will always be a 'girl.' (i wonder if in my mom's eyes i am still a 'girl' even though i am now a mom of a grown up girl of my own!) they had snacks and they were watching a long awaited event. they would laugh at the same things, gasp at the same moments and of course, eat snacks! they made each other laugh, they talked about what they thought would happen next, and during the commercials they got to know each other better. because that's what happens when you are making a new friend . . .

friendship is a precious thing. i have lots of people in my life--and i even like many of them--but just a few are friends. it can be hard to find people who share your interests, "get" your sense of humor, understand your dreams, and like you anyway. it can be risky to answer the question, "so, do you like . . . ?" not knowing if your answer is going to be the deal breaker of a developing friendship or if it will be met with the hoped for response of "me too!" so tonight, it was fun for me to get to see two girls becoming friends--especially since one of them is my daughter. i hope this is just the beginning of the giggling . . .

Sunday, March 1, 2009

and the band played on . . .

so today . . . is sunday. that means church day for me! my day starts early, because i lead worship in our youth alternative service and we meet to rehearse at 8:30--although it is usually closer to 9:00 before everything is set up and ready for us to begin. but i have to be there at 8:30, because i am the leader . . . whether anyone is there to lead or not!

today there were issues and glitches, and it was almost 9:30 before we got started! that only gave us about half an hour to run through all seven of our songs. this particular band has only been playing together for about three months, and we are still learning how to play nicely together so we NEED to rehearse! finally we got started, and things went really well--the set was good, the vocals were good, and the instruments seemed to be working well together. when we got done, i thought how great it was that we were starting to mesh as a band. i was really excited for church to start.

we took a little break before the service began, and then met at the cross to pray. this always helps us to focus and kind of mentally get ready for what we are about to do. we were excited! it felt like it was going to be an awesome day.

and then it happened . . . during the very first song one of the strings broke on the guitar. i could tell something was wrong, and i looked over at isaac, who plays the guitar, and there was the string bouncing about, loose. this is not a good thing! i was trying to figure out where we would have a long enough break for him to replace the string, but isaac just kept playing. and playing and playing and playing. we completed the whole set with just five strings on the guitar. there were a few times when it was distracting to me, and i'm sure it was distracting to isaac, but he just kept going. i was so proud of him! he didn't let that broken string stop him from worshipping this morning, even though things weren't going perfectly.

our church is so cool! and the service that i attend is the best! at least i think so. it is dark, it is loud, stuff happens, but we just keep going. it isn't about who is dressed the best, or who has the best voice, or who plays perfectly. it is about God--and that is all. teenagers and young adults (and some not so young adults) sing and clap and move around and praise God during worship time. they get up out of their seats and go to the cross to pray whenever they feel like it. and they don't care who sees them go or what anybody else thinks about it, because they know that for us, church isn't about that. it is about God--and that is all.

i feel very blessed today for the role i get to play in that service. we have awesome teens and young adults in our church, and i am so glad that every week i get to see them and talk to them and watch them become the people they were created to be. they are goofy and funny, wild and weird (and i mean that in the nicest possible way, because i love them!) but they love God and are serious about their faith. i don't know how long i will get to lead worship in there, but it doesn't matter--i will still be there, in the gym, worshipping God along with the kids. because it isn't about me or how old i am or about what other people think. it is about God--and that is all.