November 30, 2009

Just Showing Up

So, I fell apart toward the end of NaBloPoMo and didn't end up posting everyday, but I'm okay with it. No sense beating myself up for not making my goal on something like this. Since my life became inhumanely busy, I've learned to let a lot of things go. So far the world has not come to an end--not even close, not even once!

I am pleased with myself for finding a few minutes to blog. Most nights it was me dozing off at the keyboard, and I have some inane posts, but hey, at least I showed up to the party. I can't be entertaining all the time!

Cheers to trying to find more time again!

Thanks for reading!

November 29, 2009

Sunday Blues from Turkey Overdose

Okay, so it's not really turkey overdose, since I ate turkey exactly twice this weekend: Thanksgiving dinner and Friday night dinner from the leftovers the hostess graciously sent home with us.

I guess what I overdosed on was Turkey weekend fun. You know--relaxing with friends and eating good food on Thanksgiving. Shopping, laughing, and relaxing with my husband on Friday. (We were oddly silly all day. I haven't laughed so hard in a while!) Shopping and relaxing with a friend on Saturday. Relaxing with my family on Sunday. Doing some nesting, last of unpacking and some arranging, throughout the weekend.

In other words, I spent the whole weekend acting like a normal person enjoying a long weekend off.

Only, I'm not a normal person. I'm a teacher. I'm a yearbook adviser. I'm a grad student. I have midterm grades due in the computer on Monday. I'm way far behind on the yearbook. My stupid weekly paper is due Wednesday. In other words, I needed to spend my weekend WORKING. But I didn't.

So I have the blues.

I'm not sure if I'm more blue that I didn't follow through on my responsibilities or the fact that I have such responsibilities that demand that I must work on a lovely long holiday weekend.

Blew, blew, blew it off!

November 28, 2009

Hair-on-the-Brain Reflections

Last night I was unpacking and shelving our books, which is pretty well the last of what's in boxes, but I kept getting distracted with photo albums and scrap books.

I first took a walk down memory lane with my graduation scrapbook. Boy did I have big hair and how the heck did I ever think I was fat? I wish I had the massive hair and supposed fatness I had 20 years ago. I was much thinner then, but all that tall, curly, teased hair, probably made me look smaller, too.

I also found the staff picture from my first year of teaching. Boy, was my hair blond, and I wore a lot of eye make-up! (Okay, I still wear a lot of eye make-up...) I asked my sweetie, "Should I go blonder?" I was blonder when I met him. His stock answer, "Whatever you want, hun!"

Perhaps I should go light auburn like that picture from my sophomore year in college. And it wasn't just the red, it was the cut that was flattering, too. I went to some random beautician in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, and she pulled off "The Rachel". Yes, I actually remember that short period of time when I had cute hair, stylish hair.

The majority of my photos show variations of a bob, with a million different hair colors. Except purple. I am waiting until I am an old lady for that.

What a sad statement that is about me when I look back on photos and think about my hair.

November 25, 2009

Never Underestimate the Power of Stickers

I remember that moment in my second year of teaching when one of my freshmen asked, "Why don't you ever give us stickers?"

Several students agreed, nodding their heads, "Yeah! Stickers!"

"Stickers?" I said, wrinkling my nose, "For what?"

"You know, like when we do good on something."

"What? Are you kidding me? This is high school! You want me to put stickers on your papers?" I could not believe this craziness.

Many of the students were enthusiastic at the idea of stickers.

So, I bought stickers. I'm not really that cutesy, but making the transition to stickers was not so tough. I'm kind of a smiley face fan. I used stickers for special occasions, for example, when they received a good score on a test. Or sometimes I would pass out stickers when homework wasn't being completed. I was always shocked when even the macho boy athletes would beg for stickers. And then the next day more people would have homework...

I know it's dirty and wrong to bribe like that, but it's a freakin' STICKER! If it works...

I even started doing other cutesy stuff like stamping things with scented ink, and sending out smiley face postcards for students performing well in class. Those postcards were a pretty big deal! Shocked, shocked, shocked, how much those teens like that stuff.

Now that I am at a middle school, I still use stickers, but mostly for reading logs.

Today, I had every intention of going around to the students to check to see that they are staying up on this long-term writing project we are doing with The Diary of Anne Frank, which is also set up like a diary. Unfortunately, I ran out of time in a few of my classes. I had no intention of giving them grades yet--I just wanted to see that they had the 5 entries that we've completed so far.

In 5th hour, several of the students were put out that I was not going to be able to look at their journals, although I had already shared with them that I wasn't going to put it into the grade book anyway. According to the clock, I only had 5 minutes, so I said, "Okay, if anybody wants to show me that you've completed your entries, I'll give you a frog sticker." This appeased the few who wanted me to follow through on my plan, but it also compelled more students than I thought to take their laptops back out to show me their work.

Several wanted a sticker although they had not completed all the work: "See, Miss--I've done almost 5. Okay, only really 3, but can I have a sticker?"

They wanted a sticker.

A sticker.


It's not even a very big sticker!

More than decade later after I first encountered it, this phenomenon never ceases to amaze me.

November 23, 2009

Morning Sights

My commute to work is now a little bit longer, and it's all surface streets instead of freeway. It's not a particularly exciting drive, but in the last week I've see some unusual things.

(Maybe not as unusual as the dead body in the street I saw one morning just a few months after moving to Las Vegas several years ago, though.)

I spotted a coyote standing on a little hill at a golf course a week ago. I wasn't sure what I was seeing at first, so I did a double take to make sure it wasn't a dog. I wasn't even sure what the hill was from until I took notice on the way back home later in the day and realized the hill was part of the banking for a golf course.

(I need to look at a map, but I think there are quite a few golf courses in the area.)

As you can imagine, every morning I now look to see if I can spot the coyote.

Today, just further up the road, I almost ran over some birds in the road. At first I thought they were pigeons, which are disgustingly common around the city, but they weren't. Nope. They were chickens. Chickens in the street. Chickens!

I've seen chickens in some neighborhoods before, but that doesn't mean I expect it. I expect chickens on a farm. I expect chickens on country roads, where the grass is tall, walkin' along the road where the only thing green is probably trash blowing around.

When I came in tonight I told my sweetie about seeing chickens this morning.

He patted me on the head, chuckled, and told me I was seeing things. Perhaps I should drive with my glasses on in the morning?

So much for the enthusiasm for seeing the out-of-the-ordinary. I'm going to keep looking.

November 21, 2009

Who Doesn't Love Some Discarded Books?

Magical Mystical Teacher's Six Word Saturday is

Books open doors. Open a book!

I concur!

I opened up a book last night, and finished it this morning. It was brain candy romance that I read when I need a fix but do not have a lot of time. Not sure it opened a lot of doors, but it relieved some stress by allowing me to escape reality for a little while.

One of my colleagues passed on a box of brain candy to me the other day. She is no so unlike me in that she does not have a lot of time but needs to zone out, so she brought a whole box to my classroom marked "Desk Supplies." I'm not sure if it's a reused box, or it was disguised to hide our dirty little secret.

About that same time, Ari, a senior girl in my proficiency class, brought Tana French's In the Woods and asked if I'd read it. She also asked if I had anything good to read. I enjoyed In the Woods (although the end was not as good as it could have been compared to the rest), and we talked books for a while, but sadly, I did not have anything to pass on. I haven't been reading much for leisure (education research journals anyone?), and I donated a my box of unwanted books before I moved. It's not that I'm book poor, but the stack I have is of unread books only.

The box of brain candy changed things because my colleague passed it on to me saying, "Just pass them on when you are finished!" I went through and picked out what I didn't want to read or had already read, and what I thought would be okay to pass on to students and came up with a little pile of John Grisham (been over him since '99), Mary Higgins Clark (haven't I read just about everything she's written?), and Nicholas Sparks (I can take him or leave him).

I was so ecstatic to see them attack the pile like hungry teens on pizza! Some of them admitted to enjoying reading, but others who took books were indifferent. A couple thought they had to take a book, but when they realized they didn't, they reconsidered and put it back. Whatever. What was interesting is that those who don't read a lot but were excited to have a book to read. It's interesting how sometimes if you just give a kid a book, and these "kids" are two inches from being full-blown adults, they will take it happily and read it. Some of them won't read it, I know from experience, but the fact that they just blasted excited to get a book is so wonderful!

Once or twice the past, I've brought extra books in for my alt ed kids to take home, and I get the same reaction. How hard it would it be for me to bring in some books to give away from time to time? Their tastes are probably closer to mine than my middle schoolers, as they also read both young adult and adult books. I typically like to trade my books in for new ones to read, but if I'm money smart, I can do this pretty inexpensively. It's a little impact, but maybe for a couple of teens, owning a book, or being "given" a book, even if it's from a pile of discarded books, is a treasure. I know it is to me!

November 19, 2009

Stupid Chocolate Pushers

For the last two years, the band has peddled chocolates at our school. Last year it was to raise money for instruments, and this year it's for a trip to New York.

You know the chocolate, right? The World's Finest Chocolate. It is totally NOT the world's finest chocolate, but when I've hit the 2nd period yearbook slump, and Gabby is carrying a full box, the temptation is sometimes too great.

Oh, the glorious waxiness of crappy fundraiser food!

But halfway through the bar, self-loathing (chocolate for breakfast!)
and flavor disgust kick in
and then I
give the rest to Thing One (editor who eats anything)
eat the rest really fast.

Damn band and their pushers.

November 18, 2009

A Two-Eraser Day for My Seniors

Last night was I so blasted irritated with my seniors because they were just off-the-hook crazy and loud. Some of them needed to revise some essays they had started and never finished, and before they left, I wanted to give them a pep talk for the Writing Proficiency Exam there were to take today.

High stakes writing exam. Most of them had already taken it once (and failed), and most of them really wanted to pass so they can graduate in January. Super high stakes for them! So, you'd think they'd calm down and let me get a few words of wisdom in, wouldn't ya?

Today, was a different story, though. Half the class was still taking the test (3 hours later!) and those who finished were confident and joyful that they had passed, yet utterly brain dead from the experience.

Because they expressed pride in themselves, and gratitude to me, I gave them the night off from thinking.

And they were so exhausted from testing, they were super quiet. A couple played hangman on the board. A few talked quietly between themselves, and several just zoned out with headphones.

I love it when they think so much they wear themselves out!

In any case, I'm very proud of them, and I will be broken-hearted if they don't pass.

P.S. Apparently one of the topics was about the importance of staying in high school instead of dropping out and going to work. Or something. Hellllloooo! This topic was meant for my students! These are the kids who have dropped out or been kicked out of regular high school. At one time or another, they have reflected on how important getting that education is and have some to our school. They should have profound thoughts on the topic!

November 17, 2009


"Hey, Miss!" one of my night school students calls over to me across the room. "Cuba [self-professed nickname of Alex] over here says that his sister has the same mother and father but that she's half Cuban and half white! Explain that!"

What an interesting riddle! Is it possible that one of Cuba's parents is not a faithful spouse?

Oh, noooo!

Cuba explained that he was born in Cuba, but his sister was born in the United States, hence, she is half white.

However, as Cuba puts it, "Man! She's she's totally white!"

I have to leave it at that for now, as I have a paper I need to write. So, for now...
Talk amongst yourselves...

November 16, 2009

Transfer This, Please!

Today I went joyfully into reteaching annotated bibliography, and where I meant to only spend half a class period doing so, it worked out better just giving the rest of the period to redo the assignment. In some classes, I ran around giving one-on-one help, but--cross your fingers--it was looking like they just needed a little spackle to cover the holes and most seemed to be doing fine with that further instruction.

I know some of them are perplexed by the annotated part of the bibliography, and since they are, by nature, lazy creatures, I tried to explain to them we aren't doing this to torture them to more hold them accountable for the sources they use. After all, I reminded them, they are living in an age where they are bombarded by information, and it is important for them to closer scrutinize the information they receive. I believe that, especially for their information-overloaded generation, being able to sort useful, reliable information from the rest is a an essential life skill.

Ah, but why do I bother talking about essential life skills with 8th graders? They usually zone me out. "Life" is too far into their futures, or so they think.

"Okay," I reminded them, "On Wednesday, you need to turn in an annotated bibliography for your science project or report to your science teachers and one to me, too."

I've only said that a gazillion times, and it's on the board, and it's in their science project packet. But they keep giving me these damn blank stares.

Oh, but a new comment from a student, "But, Miss! Mr. Science Teacher hasn't gone over this with us!"

Somebody please shoot me now!

I could not even hide my exasperation as I went into full-on HappyChyck theatrics: "I'm going over this with you!"

The student sat there looking stumped, and half the class stared at him like he's the village idiot.

"You see, Mr. Science Teacher said, 'Ms. HappyChyck, do you think you could go over this with the students?' I said, 'Sure! No problem! I know just what to do!' And then, I gave him the same materials I'm giving you, so he knows what you should know."

I think there might have been more about how I would expect them to be able to read and write outside of my classroom, too. I don't know. I was in that full-on exasperated drama mode.

I wonder what Wednesday will bring...

November 15, 2009


I got nuthin' new to say. Same Old Stuff.
  • Tomorrow I'm reteaching how to do an annotated bibliography. I've struggled with getting my students to cite sources before. Last year we started doing the annotated bit in the spring, and when I suggested to the team that we try really hard to get the students to write bibliographies--and annotate them, they thought it was a good idea. Why annotate? To hold students accountable for the sources they use. We were using EBSCO, and most sources give the correct citation to use, but my students didn't bother with the annotated part on their practice assignment. We need to go back and connect the dots. They have a bibliography due for their science projects this week.
  • I'm struggling with my master's program, but unlike my struggles this summer, this time I am just so tapped out. Seriously just too much on my plate. The class I am currently taking is about how children learn, and it includes stuff about how the brain learns, which is a pretty new terrain since I received my undergrad degree. I find this stuff über interessant, but I am also too numb to care.
  • I start to get homesick this time of year, which is kind of crazy considering how long ago I moved from my hometown. On Friday morning, I felt compelled to talk to my parents, and it needled me so much that I thought maybe there was something wrong, so I called during my prep. Everyone was fine, and I talked to my dad for 15 minutes, which for him, is a reeaaalllly long time to talk on the phone. It was so nice! He's not a phone talker, but when he is a great storyteller when we're porch sittin'. This time of year, there's no porch-sittin' when we visit, but there's still lots of jawin'. On Saturday, I talked to my brother, and I told him I was getting homesick, and he said, "I don't know why! It's cold here! I'm trying to think of ways to get out of here!" I think that colder weather makes me nostalgic for home. Listen to me, I might start getting all Garrison Keillor-ish if I don't stop now. Warning to my family: I might be calling more in the next few months!
  • Above's Sunday night, and I've got the Sunday Blues. I get them most Sundays, and only Desperate Housewives makes me forget for a little while that I have to work on Monday. I'm am living for those two Sundays in December when I won't have to have the blues. I'm a living for those 16 days when I can just relax by the fireplace and read until my heart's content. Isn't that what I'm always living for? Yes, it is.

November 13, 2009

Time-Wasting Equipment

The last three days I was using a VCR from 1984 (or so it looked) that was hooked up to my LCD projector so students could watch Anne Frank Remembered. Of course, it was one of those new-fangled kinds of VCRs that had a DVD player with it (so, it obviously wasn't really from 1984) but it didn't have a blasted counter with it, so every period I'd have to spend 5 minutes with the kids doing the High Low Game (think The Price is Right) trying to find the right place.

Picturing 15 kids yelling "No, past that! We've seen that! No, wait! We haven't seen that!"

Also picture 3 particularly loud kids yelling the opposite because they couldn't be helpful if their lives depended on it.

Picture the rest of them chatting with their friends because they can.

Picture pandemonium.

Picture my envy of my colleague who scored the only DVD copy of the video at Barnes and Noble last Sunday after we were brainstorming ways we could both use the one old VHS video.

Picture me saying expletives in my head but aloud: "Okay, well, this is close enough. Let's start here."

Our school has gone so modern, that it's not even that easy to use a VHS tapes, which I know is old technology, but many of us still have those valid, expensive-to-replace resources. I scored the VHS player from the Spanish teacher. I'm thinking I should visit the local thrift store for my own...with a blasted counter!

Even before our new school, I have never used videos very much in my classroom. Just a few times a year, and I never use them at home. I don't have a player, and I think I have maybe two home videos. So, standing there at the at the player each period made me feel so nostalgic. But I know it was just another one of those foolish-looking teacher moments.

**I know some of you are wondering why I wasted class time and didn't just rewind at the end of one class and before the other.
  • I did do it for classes that preceded prep or lunch
  • The video is so long that I had to be careful to get it all in over 3 days. It was close. Half the classes saw all of it. The other half missed the last few minutes.
  • I did not dare skip hall duty after we receive a nasty gram from the principal this week about being in the hallways during passing period.

November 11, 2009

The Handyman

Since we've moved in, we've had several service workers through our new home.

For peace of mind, as our home had been unoccupied for over a year, the gas man came in and checked all of the pilots.

The next day the cable guy came and was here for a very long time setting up our cable, so we could get television, phone, and Internet.

Three days later, when we had time to turn on the television, we discovered that the cable for television didn't work, although we had Internet and phone, so another repairman came out to fix it.

In between that, the Sears guys delivered and hooked up our washer and dryer. I was concerned about his qualifications for hooking up the gas dryer, but he assured me that despite of what I had heard, I didn't need to call the gas company out again because he knew what to do, and he had even tested the connection. (So far nothing has blown up.)

When we had looked at the house, we did not see much evidence of pests, except for 3 cockroaches that had died, dried up, and disintegrated. What a relief! Once we moved in, I guess having the doors open or turning on the lights, invited a bunch of little pests. An army! Spiders don't bother me much, unless they are black widow or brown recluse, but cockroaches and those little jumpy things (crickets?) that invaded had to GO! So, then we had to call an exterminator, who for this time, sprayed inside and outside.

We have a home warranty that required the company to come inspect the thoroughly inspect the house, and that happened tonight.

That inspector informed us that it looks like the furnaces and air conditioners have never been serviced (not a real crisis since the house is only 4 years old, and it has been empty for part of those years), and for our own safety we should have a heating and air person come out before we use the furnace to clean things up and check out the weird noise its making.

How many service people are we up to now? Six. Seven when the heating guy comes.

No, make that eight because a repairman is coming on Sunday to fix the hot water in the master bath. The house inspector from a few months back when we were still in the process of buying the house informed us about this Moen filter thing, but after a few trips to Home Depot (Gawd! I miss trips to Barnes and Noble instead!) and none of the right tools to even break into the thing, my sweetie called in a well-recommended handyman who knows exactly what we're talking about.

Okay...but here's the kicker--my sweetie is so excited to be his own handyman. We've always just had the luxury of calling the property manager. I know it's hilarious considering all the other men we've had traipsing through here. (Most of them were kind of specialists.) He goes around the house making little pantomimed phone calls to himself requesting things to be fixed. I think maybe I need to set up a little clip board for the "Honey-do" stuff because he'll enjoy it so much. For a while...

I might poke fun at him a little--I mean 8 different men doing stuff around here!--but my sweetie has been quite the handyman in the last few weeks.

  • Hung 17 blinds. It was quite a chore, as they were in one big, messy pile in the garage, and there were no hangers. He's been to every Home Depot in the valley buying up the 3-4 they had in stock at each store. We should have ordered online, but we were kind of desperate for privacy.
  • Figured out the garage door opener. He had to buy the remotes, which meant two trips to Home Depot and then finally to the garage door place on the other side of town.
  • Changed all the locks.
  • Changed the 9volts in the smoke detectors so they would stop beeping. True, not a big deal, but he had to buy a ladder to do it. He tried standing on phone book placed on a step stool, but he dropped the battery on his head. It made a ugly, bloody gash. The things still beeped, thus the immediate need for the ladder.
  • Spent a few days figuring out how to get the front door to stay closed without the deadbolt on. A chisel was finally involved.
  • Trimmed the tree in the front that looked like a bush and was covering half the driveway.
  • Replaced toilet seats. Although, I told him that wasn't such a big job...he's done that before.
Okay, maybe that list doesn't sound very impressive. He does have some pretty big ideas of extending the patio and building an island for the kitchen. (My BFF, the weekend builder, was in town yesterday, and now she has a wild hair for her and Chris construct it themselves.)

In any case, so far he takes great joy wandering around the house looking for stuff to do. I'm sure it will wear off, but for how, it's kind of cool!

November 10, 2009

A Day Late and a Post Short

I'm behind a day on my posts. When did that happen? I'm lost and confused...but I think I started a post and didn't post it.

Being a day behind is kind of the story of my life these days.

These days would be at least the last year. Before I started working full time at night school and whittling away at my grad program, I was never more than a couple of hours behind in life. Maybe a half of a day max if it were yearbook deadline season the same week I had a drama performance or some similar insanity.

I'm so behind in life right now that I can't even add up how behind I am in all aspects. I have it sectioned of:

3 days behind on managing the finances
7 days behind on unpacking
2 days behind on my weekly assignment
1 day behind on grading the annotated bibliographies I collected
3 days behind on planning the next unit we're doing in class
3 days behind on getting my quarter 2 gradebook updated at night school
14 days behind on yearbook
--maybe the same on newspaper

Get the drift?
I'm so far in over my head, there's no way I could catch up!

November 8, 2009

Overdone Things

We 8th grade teachers are getting ready to teach The Diary of Anne Frank, which is the play version of The Diary of a Young Girl. It's a great unit, and the kids always enjoy it, I know I might be unpopular when I say this, but I went kind of sour on it a few years ago when I learned that my students have had some sort of Holocaust literature every year. I do not mind the Holocaust, and I definitely think that it is an important topic for students to explore, but is it necessary to do it every single year?

The Holocaust falls into this category of Overdone Things I have in my head. In fact, the Holocaust genre is probably one of the first things I put in the category, years ago when I was a book seller and I noticed that Holocaust-themed novels were suddenly a hot topic in the young adult world. I don't know what triggered it--maybe taking down the Berlin Wall?

The most recent thing to be added to the Overdone Things list is, of course, Michael Jackson. I know people have said he had a great impact on music for years, but in the last decade he was a joke. Am I wrong? Now that he's gone, it's Michael everything. The other night I saw the teen dance troupe at the local community center do a rendition of "Thriller" that I am betting I would not have seen a year ago. I'm perplexed about this whole Michael mania right now anyway. I know the phenomenon about how people become more famous after death, but the obsession is more than I expected.

Right after September 9, 2001, patriotism was also added to the Overdone Things list. In July of 2001, I spent two weeks in the Williamsburg, Virginia area, and I could not help but notice the pride of our country there. I grew up in the West, and the patriotism is not as old and defined. But then after 9/11, extreme patriotism was everywhere, from clothing to car magnets. It was kind of tacky patriotism, too. I did not doubt the sincerity, but if people were so passionate about our country, why did it take a tragedy to bring it out?

I almost hate to post this because it sounds like I'm being hateful about some sacred cows, but I'm not. I just find it distasteful how sometimes we take important things to extreme levels. Can keeping the past close to our hearts with teaching the Holocaust, having pride in our country, or memorializing a great American (and international) performer truly be extreme?

To me, it feels like it can when it has a bandwagon sense about it. In these cases, not being on the bandwagon will likely cause ostracization. "You don't want to put a flag ribbon on your car? How unAmerican! How can you say that the Holocaust is overdone? You Nazi! You're tired of hearing about Michael Jackson? As if!" So, I don't fit in. I just think that there's something about tying important things to a bandwagon that cheapens them.

November 7, 2009


What's worse than committing to writing everyday and then nodding off at my computer 45 minutes before the stroke of midnight?

Sunday nights in anticipation of Monday trumps all issue.

I'm not going to think about that, though. I'm taking the Sunday morning off to do something for myself. It starts off with sleeping in, which is something I have been unable to do on the weekends for weeks.

Can't wait! I'm going to get started on that right away!

November 6, 2009

Up to the Plate

Tomorrow is the day!

Yes, it is the day that I FULLY unpack my kitchen (Where did I pack the silverware?) and then go grocery shopping for something other than frozen entrees.

I should probably also buy my sweetie a new coffee pot. He's terribly messy with it, and in the middle of the move, I decided I was not cleaning the nasty thing again. I threw it out, out, out. Bummer, bummer, bummer for the guy who has to have coffee in the morning. I don't know what he's been doing, but between Starbucks and 7-Elevens, he has about 50 opportunities to find the magical brew before he arrives at work. Not that I'll allow him to waste money on commercial coffee for much longer...

But while I'm buying a coffee pot...

Did I mention how some of our old stuff looks particularly ratty in our new house? I'm debating whether my dish set needs replaced, too. It's the original set I bought myself when I set up my first home 20 years ago. At that time, I was (thankfully) practical and did not buy anything mauve, cornflower blue, or with little pictures of ducks and geese. At that time I had an obsession with chili peppers, but I did not buy dishes with pictures of jalapenos, either. I purchased a simple, white set of dishes. In 20 years, I have not grown tired of them, either! Good call, young HappyChyck!

Do I still need to be practical? Wouldn't a lovely set of Pfaltzgraff be nifty? How would I ever choose? I could go with the "go-with-anything" zebra print. I always say I live in the "East Side, yo!" so maybe this dishes might be a good idea? A nice freshly thrown taupe pottery would hide whatever my kids don't get cleaned off. But it's brown... The previous owners left behind some of their Lemone dishes, which are kind of like this, but it has me wondering how they ever saw what they were eating? Their forgotten pieces hardly inspire.

Ah, too many big decisions. Maybe I can polish up my old dependable plates and work on cooking up something so good nobody will notice--or care-how old and dingy out plates are looking.

November 5, 2009

The End of the Paper Trail

Tomorrow is the day!

Yes, it's the day I plan to clear off my desk.

Piles of papers. Stray sticky notes. Flapping file folders. Those blasted clip boards that prevent things from stacking flat...

It's all going to be swiped off.

...or at least restacked more neatly.

Reality check in room 833. Like I could just swipe it all off. Sheesh! Those papers are important!

Why can I never had a pristine desk like those damn math teachers all around me?

So not fair.

November 4, 2009

Women Like It Simple, Too!

The first night we stayed in our new house, it was rather hectic gathering things together to be able to get cleaned up and make up a bed so we could sleep. We had just run out of shampoo, which is not normally a big deal since I started couponing and stockpiling because I usually have 3-4 extra on hand. Unfortunately, they were in a box somewhere. Ugh. It would have been the perfect night to use some of those little shampoos that I bring home from hotels, but I had gathered up all of those and taken them to school for a service/donation project we'll be doing soon. Thank goodness my son had some shampoo in his shower--some manly-smelling stuff, but shampoo nonetheless.

Oh, but this was not just any shampoo that I took from his bathroom. No, it was body wash that could be used for "body, hair, and shave." I remember buying it for him (must have been a great deal because Nivea is very expensive!) thinking that shampoo and body wash all in one is perfect for the boy who is a soap and water repelling dirt magnet.

While I was showing, I wondered why do men get the cool stuff like this? I would love a 3-in-1 product for my shower, too! Just because I'm prissy doesn't mean I wouldn't like to stream-line my shower. Sure, I can get shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in all the same scent--like from Bath and Body Works--but I want ONE BOTTLE. ONE PRODUCT.

Nivea's product (and I think Axe and Gillette also have similar products) serves body, hair, and shave needs. I tried it in the shower, and it worked pretty well for all things on my body. It's not just a guy thing! It worked on a girl! I felt a little dirty doing using it because it was obviously not meant for a girl to use. (I did smell a little manly, but my husband often smells girly, because of the body wash I buy for us to use, so whatever!)

I already use conditioner, shampoo, or body wash for shaving gel in a pinch, so it's not a stretch to get at least a 2-in-1 product. I'd really like a good facial scrub or cream that's streamlined with another product. I need moisturizing conditioner and facial scrub, so why not combine those two things? See? This wouldn't take a marketing genius!

And you know, if you really want to do it up right, get the toothpaste in there, too. I had an OCD boyfriend years ago who brushed in the shower, and it made a lot of sense. While you're cleaning yourself anyway...saves splatter on the mirror and dropplings in the sink that need to be cleaned...

So, girls, what do you think? Could we use some all-in-one products, too? Preferrably, just ONE for all?

November 3, 2009

Stark Silence

The first night I slept at our new house, I almost could not sleep for the lack of noise.

We have, since moving to Las Vegas, lived on main streets, such as Tropicana Avenue and Flamingo Road. If you've ever been to Vegas, you might recognize that those street names from The Strip, and although in both places where I had lived, I was 10-15 minutes from The Strip, at the points where I lived on those roads, they are still 4-6 lane streets. Both near freeways.

My new house is on the edge of Las Vegas, bordering desert. (My sweetie should not have been to surprised to find a scorpion in the garage last night.) It's actually only 5-7 minutes from where I lived before, but it's not on a main road. Although this area is packed with subdivisions, with houses so close I think I can reach out the window and touch my neighbor's house, it's still quiet.

What's lacking? Sirens. Freeway noise. Road noise. The creaking of the 40-year old house we'd lived in the last few years. It's the kind of quiet I have not known since living here in the city.

We haven't had television since we moved in either, so the lack of noise in the neighborhood and in the house is seriously weird. It even seems a little uncomfortable. Since when is peace and quiet uncomfortable? Sheesh! Can't wait until I acclimate!

November 2, 2009

My Clock

I have what I call a "good body clock." That means that I can usually tell you what time of day it is without looking at a clock. I think it generally works best if I double check myself throughout the day, as I have a good feel for increments in time. "The last time I checked the time, it was noon, and it feels like about two hours have past. It's probably around 2:00p.m."

Mostly, I round to the nearest half hour, but sometimes I can do quarter hours, too. That one even surprises me. Yesterday my sweetie and I were talking about errands we had to run, and I said, "What time is it? It's probably 11:00 a.m. No," I corrected myself, "It's 11:15 a.m." Indeed, the latter time was correct.

Pretty cool trick, huh? It doesn't even require the use of the sun.

As you can imagine, the time changes really mess up my body clock. I can still tell time pretty well, but I have to do a little adding and subtracting. "Hmmm. It feels like 3:00 p.m., but we just had Daylight Saving Time, so I have to 'fall back' an hour. It's really only 2:00 p.m."

I probably should just buy a watch.

But then, on the other hand, it's probably because I don't wear a watch that I have developed this skill.

Can anybody else do this? None of my friends and family can. Nor do they try. It's my own cool weirdness.

November 1, 2009

I'm Such a Follower! Doin' NaBloPoMo!


I'm sitting on the bed using the vanity lights in the bathroom, trying to catch up on what's going on in the world, as I've just spent the last three days completely out of touch with the world as we were moving, moving, moving stuff from the old house to the new one.

(Okay, I'll admit, I was acting like a Facebook addict, checking status updates during rides between houses and to the hardware store. It was really because moving sucks and I wanted to see that other people were having fun. It was Halloween weekend. EVERYONE had fun.)

Anyway, catching up on life by the glare of the bathroom and laptop lights, hubby snoring beside me... I should be reading some educational psychology text for my new class that started on Thursday, for which I really have no time for this week, yet an assignment will still be due Wednesday night.

It's Sunday! Of course, I have to stop by Melissa B.'s for her Silly Sunday Sweepstakes, but instead I stumble across her announcement that she is doing NaBloPoMo! I wanna do it, too! I did it back in 2007, and found it to be a fun challenge. Is that an oxymoron? Maybe only half.

So, I'm taking the plunge! I know it might be a little ridiculous considering my insane schedule. Moving. Grad school. Work, work, work. Half-assed motherhood. But my poor blog is dying, and I'm grumpy because I have no fun anymore. I have nothing to lose. Not even my dignity. Especially not that. I have plenty to talk about--that's for sure. You know--insanity, moving, grad school, work, motherhood. Duh! On top of that I can add everything I've been wondering about lately. There are a lot of things!

Like what?

Well, I DO need something to write about. Stayed tuned. Posts will be short, but they will be here!

Oh yeah...back to reading for school now. Bleah.