Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Things

My friend Nicole just posted a blog with five things she likes-she mentioned choosing to focus on the positive in life. I liked her list so much, I decided to make mine:

1. Bagels with cream cheese. I have recently been eating these for breakfast again and it is the thing I look forward to the most in the morning. The crunch of a perfectly toasted bagel, licking that little bit of extra cream cheese off my finger. Yum!

2. Men who respect women. And not just in the chivalrous way (though who doesn't love that as well?), but I am thinking of men who truly value women's opinions as equal to men's. Who are friends with women, who can admit when a woman is better than them at something, and who realize that these traits make them no less of a man. Frankly, these kinds of guys are few and far between, but whenever I meet one, I like him.

3. Middle School students. But only at school, not out in public. But I love that my kiddos say hi to me enthusiastically when they see me in the hall, even if they just left my room five minutes before. I love that they have boundless energy and can make me laugh every single day. That even when they make me crazy, I still kind of enjoy them.

4. Great pictures-part of the fun of being the yearbook adviser is that I get to see all sorts of fun pictures. Whether it's Ms. Aguilar and Mr. Stowell decked out in their search & rescue gear pretending to pry open a door with a crowbar, two girls jumping up and down at the school dance, or a great 8th Grade Favorites picture, where the "Most Talkative" kids made signs that say, "Dang, does she ever stop talking?" and "OMG I wish he'd shut up!" I love good pictures of people looking like themselves and having a good time.

5. Live music. Concerts are perhaps my favorite thing of all. And tomorrow night I get to go see the Foo Fighters perform at the taping of VH1 Storytellers. Super small venue, we get to ask questions, possibly meet the band, and it was free. Expect a blog on that in the next few days!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Movie/TV on DVD recommendations???

Well, I officially have bronchitis again. Blerg.

So, besides watching my Thursday shows and the latest episode of Glee on Hulu this weekend, I am looking for ideas of movies or TV shows that I can rent this weekend.

I plan to sit at home, eat Natalie's crock pot recipe (see the comments on my last blog), read (library here I come!), and watch TV/DVDs. That's it. If anyone wants to risk catching my disease by parking it on my couch next to me, lemme know. Especially if you can bring a movie I don't already own.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheap "Meals"

So, I have been googling "cheap meals" to try to get some ideas of cheap, easy things I can eat for lunch and dinner.

The problem is my definition of a meal is different from most people's. I mean, don't get me wrong. Those recipes sound great. And I have my go-to cheap recipes like Keri's taco soup and frittatas. I would say those count as real. I can throw a baked potato in the microwave and find some fixins in the fridge. A can of tomato soup with grilled cheese is great on a rainy day.

But listen. I am single. I am cheap. I am lazy. No one depends on me to cook for them. And sometimes, I just want something in my stomach. So where are the websites with suggestions like these:

Dinner: Half a can of pinto beans, a slice of cheddar cheese, and a quarter of an avocado (and the avocado is a splurge). Use stale chips that you have been meaning to throw away to dip in the beans. Put the other half of the can in a tupperware container with cheese and another quarter of avocado to have for lunch tomorrow.

Dinner: Pancakes (made with just add water mix) topped with jam, jelly, honey, spray butter or whatever you happen to have in the fridge. Make sure you are too impatient to wait until they are all done, eating them with your hands as they come off the pan. (The bonus here is that you lose track of how many you eat and can claim it was only a few.)

Breakfast: Peanut Butter and Jelly on slightly stale bread. But toast the bread and you can't tell it's stale as easily. Especially if you slather on the PB&J. This one I actually stand by. It's delicious. It just means I have to be ready with time left over to toast the bread in the morning, which does not always happen.

Dinner: Sliced tomato with garlic salt. Wait fifteen minutes. Bag of instant popcorn (snack sized). Wait fifteen minutes. Last three potstickers in the freezer. Wait fifteen minutes. Pudding cup. Wait fifteen minutes. If you're still hungry, just go to bed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I've been interviewed...

I did this "interview" because I am all about pimping out my blog. Oh, I mean, all about education. Look!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hanging by a Moment

I am rereading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for book club this month, which I LOVE. This is one of the parts I underlined last night:

"The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in the moment...If you are looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There's a reason they call God a presence-because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only play to find Him, and now the only time."

Which is a great quote. I am constantly out of the moment-imagining interactions with people, thinking about what I will say to someone or what I should have said, or how they will react to what I am going to say. So, last night while I was getting ready for bed I tried to be completely in the moment. My internal dialogue was as follows:

"I am taking off my eye makeup. I am taking off my eye makeup. I am putting on moisturizer. I am putting on moisturizer. I am putting on moisturizer. I am putting on eye cream. I am putting on eye..."

I stopped when I was so focused on my narration I put eye cream on my lips like it was lip balm.

Sigh. Being in the moment is hard.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Food for Thought

One of my co-workers sent me this article.  I thought it was thought-provoking and I can relate. But I'm sticking with teaching. :)

When I woke up this morning...

1. I was almost late this morning because I did not get up until 6:45 and then left the house at 7:15 and still decided to stop at Starbucks. Which could arguably be considered a bad idea. Except that I had a gift card and my caramel apple cider is delicious.

2. This morning I just let my hair air dry on the way to work (see number one). Which caused one of my students to say, "Oooh, did the rain mess up your hair?" when I got into the room. I told him I just didn't do it today. And now it is in a ponytail.

3. When I went to turn on my laptop to show the kids a video, it decided not to turn on. Just nothin' going on. I have it plugged in and I think I will try it again in a little while. BUT. I do not have high hopes. On the bright side, I backed up my computer on Sunday night. On the not so bright side, my computer is out of warranty as of August. So if it dies, I have to just buy another one. So much for saving money this month.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creative Writing

Every year I assign a Figurative Language Project, where kids have to write examples of similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperbole. Below are a few of my favorite examples from this year.

"The cat is hairy like the barber's legs."

"Ms. Fletcher knows more than the whole collection of Harry Potter books."

"The sun is a big burning bowl of chili."

"The romantic red rose was as red as the devil's tail."

"My friend's nails are long spider legs."

"His teeth were as yellow as the sun."

"My mom is my shooting star."

I also told them to think of a creative title. From Nathan I got, "Similes, metaphors and More! An Epic Tale of...Stuff."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We are Family

This week one of my colleagues, Thelma Magsombol, passed away due to breast cancer. She had battled it for about five years and on Tuesday morning, she went home to the Lord.

We had a planned faculty meeting after school on Tuesday with lots of things to discuss. See, the thing about my school is that it's crazy. I mean, really. There's always some drama or incompetence or ridiculousness going on. I sometimes get asked why I stick around. Why not find a "normal" school?

But on Tuesday afternoon I remembered why I stay. After a moment of silence, people shared thier memories of Ms. Magsombol. The word "gracious" was used over and over. Thankful, kind, funny were said repeatedly as well. Ms. Magsombol was a very godly lady and that also came up several times. Finally, Mr. Witte, one of our PE teachers said,"I know I'm probably not supposed to do this, and you can write me up if you want to, that's fine. But Ms. Magsombol was a devout Christian and I can't think of any better way to honor her than to bow our heads in prayer." He proceeded to lead our staff in prayer. Our principal cancelled the planned meeting and we headed out.

All week people have been talking. Cards are being passed around. Donations collected. People are going to the funeral in strong numbers on Saturday-I think one of our teachers is actually doing the eulogy. Our whole school is wearing pink tomorrow in memory of her. People mention that Mr. Witte leading us in prayer showed them a different side of him. I stopped to talk to Ms. Perea, who has been at Carnegie for 32 years, to thank her for what she shared on Tuesday. We were talking about how despite the fact that our school is crazy, as a staff we really take care of each other. And she said that it's always been that way at our school. Not every staff is like ours.

We have a staff organization called Carnegie Family. It usually involves lunches, potlucks, and the newsletter where we do "shout-outs" every month. But this week, as cliche as it might sound, I really did feel like our staff was a family. We lost one of our own this week, but I can say that throughout all of Ms. Magsombol's illness, I really remembered why I am thankful that I work here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Adventures in Cheesecake

Last night I went out with friends to The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate my friend Shelley's birthday. Before we sat down we took a peak at the cheesecake display case to help us decide which one(s) we were going to order.  We were on the lookout for the new red velvet cake cheesecake, with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate shavings.

As we were drooling, I noticed that all the cheesecakes had placards with the number of calories per slice. Now, I am no fool. I do not delude myself that this piece of cheesecake is healthy or low in calories. But when I saw that one slice had 1,550 calories I was shocked! I quickly scanned through the rest of them and found that the one I usually order (lemon rasberry cream) has "only" 794 calories per slice.

I did a little research and found out th law at there is a new saying chain restaurants in California will have to display the number of calories in their food (because why would The Cheesecake Factory voluntarily reveal that info?). It is the first such law in the nation.  I think it's a good idea-I am more likely to order the healthier option if I know what I'm getting myself into. And maybe having to display that information will push restaurants to come up with ways to lower the caloric value of their food. So yes, I am in favor of this new law to combat obesity in America.

BUT-when I go the Cheesecake Factory, I am prepared to indulge. I know that eating a slice of cheesecake after a large meal isn't the healthiest option. That's why I don't do it everyday. So part of me (a small part of me, albeit) resents them shoving the information in my face. They are killing my sugar buzz, if you will.

Because, shocked as I was, we still ordered the red velvet cheesecake as one of the three pieces the group of us shared. It was delicious.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The 99 Cents Store...not just for cheap toys anymore!

This morning I visited what I thought to be the "final frontier" of my desire to make discount shopping a part of my life: The 99 Cents Store.

Now, I am no stranger to bargain stores. I grew up frequenting Pic N' Save (before they changed it to the more appealing Big Lots. Good call-no one wants to think of picking their nose while they are shopping.) I am no stranger to The Dollar Tree for teacher supplies, and I used to go the 99 Cents Store semi-regularly for prizes for my students and the like, but today I when I ventured into the 99 Cents Store in Gardena, I had a different mission in mind: grocery shopping.

I was skeptical at first too...my friend Jessica had been talking about shopping there for weeks, and I made fun of her at first. But, I did some online research and heard about people getting wine and organic produce there, so I thought I'd give it a go. Jessica recommended the one in Gardena, so we went this morning. My goal was to see what items that I wold normally buy I could get for 99 cents and to see if I could gather all the ingredients I needed to make taco soup from my friend Keri's delicious recipe.

First of all, the store is jam-packed! No shelf or wall space goes unused and it was a bit overwhelming when we walked in. But, I have to say overall I was impressed. I think it's improved since I went there as a kid. Here are some of my most impressive less than a dollar bargains:

*1 Dozen eggs
*4 pomegranates 
*6 tomatoes (organic)
*pack of flour tortillas
*80 pack of cotton pads (the kind you use to take off eye makeup. This may not seem that amazing, but I spend at least twice that at Target).
*hands free cell phone device (mine broke and I need to stop putting everyone on speaker phone in the car.)
*3 pack of jumbo Dodger pens. YES!

And, I was able to get all the ingredients for my soup, except for the meat and the green chiles. Other highlights of the trip included Jessica sneezing on her arm and showing it to me. Luckily I was planning on buying tissues anyway, so we opened them and used one before we paid. She did the same thing with a bag of Sun Chips (opened them before paying, not sneezed on them).

They also had am impressive selection of spices, candy, and cookware. If I were a fan of hot dogs and white bread I also could have been all set. I saw some wine, but it was a rose, so I think I will wait until I see a white I'm willing to try.

Overall I would say that the trip was a success. I spent $37, and while I didn't get everything I normally would at the grocery store, I would say I won't spend more than another $15 at Trader Joe's tomorrow. I came home and made a quesadilla for lunch and if I were better at math I could tell you how much it cost me. I am going to guess no more than a quarter. And my soup, which I plan to make tomorrow and freeze in serving sized portions, will be at least eight meals at I would guess about a dollar each.

While the 99 Cents Store won't replace my regular grocery store, I definitely plan to make it a stop on my grocery shopping route. 

Selling Out.

My quest to save/earn more money continues today with two new elements. First, I decided to start putting ads on this blog. I know not too many people read my blog, but I have heard about this and thought I'd try it out. I have a lot of friends who also blog, so I'll be the guinea pig and see if it's worth it, friends. They say they base the ads on the type of content I post. Thus, I assume the ads will be for teaching credentials, debt consolidation, and happy hour. We shall see.

My other venture for the day was my first time grocery shopping at the 99 Cents Store. I think that deserves its own post, so look for that one, coming soon.