29 June 2012

I am still trying not to complain

I usually don't like to complain about things that a lot of the people around me are dealing with.

I wrote about my efforts to limit my complaining a few times earlier this year.

This was 28 June, 2012
Yes, I use military time on my phone.
When it hailed really hard here this spring, I didn't complain because I know that a lot of people suffered more damage than I did.  When it is super cold and snowy, I know that everyone is dealing with it, so why complain.  When a meal at a restaurant is taking a while to get delivered to the table, I try not to complain because everyone at the table is going through the same thing.

Right now, the weather in Saint Louis, Missouri is really trying my patience.

I am trying not to complain since everyone is hot.

I am trying not to complain because I see people stuck outside in the heat; I drive past homeless people who have no access to air-conditioning; I see people in cars with their windows open and I assume they have no AC in the car.

It is getting hard, though.

At least the humidity is not really high - though you can't tell by the soaking of my shirt minutes after stepping outside.

28 June 2012

Liebster Award goes to... me

I was given the Liebster Blog Award by Mina Lobo, writer of Some Dark Romantic.

I am SO appreciative of the different acknowledgment I have received from my fellow bloggers.  It really means a lot for a small-time blogger like me.

Here are the rules for the Liebster Blog Award.

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or fewer.
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

Here are the bloggers I am presenting the Liebster Blog Award.  (I try to mix it up with each award so that I am not picking on my same readers or the same blogs that I follow.)

Lisa - Diary of a Square Toothed Girl
Tim - Life of Riles
Rhapsody B - Rhapsody Phoenix
MOV - Word Cut
Gina - Does Anyone Care What I Write?

27 June 2012

June fourth photos

Here is my fourth week of somewhat random photos I'm taking to participate in Fat Mum Slim's Photo-A-Day-Challenge.

21. Where you slept - I love gathering together with family.  We are so accustomed to all being in the same house that we are pretty good at finding places to sleep.  There was a time when we would all visit my parents' house and a few of the five children would be sleeping on couches.  Somehow, the dog had earned a bed in my sister's room, but we were on couches.  Go figure.  My place for the past week was this couch.  It is so comfortable that I even slept on it after all the bedrooms and the air mattress were free when everyone left before me.

22. From a high angle - This was an easy, not very creative one this week since I was flying.  This is taken somewhere over the land between Atlanta and Houston.

23. Movement - Nephew #1 is trying to be paparazzi to Kid Sis #3 during a car ride in Houston.  It still amazes me how easily young kids adapt to technology that we never had as kids.  This kid is so into his technology that the other day he was watching television and Kid Sis #3 told him he had to go to the bathroom to clean off his face and blow his nose.  His response was that he had to wait for the commercial because the television he was watching didn't have a pause button.  Seriously, kid?!?

24. On your mind - I have been having pain in my elbows for some time now.  About a month ago, it became unbearable in my right arm.  It hurt to squeeze soap from the dispenser, to turn my wrist, to lift anything off the ground, or to push my self up from a chair.  I finally gave in and went to the doctor who diagnosed me with tennis elbow (which is apparently common even if you don't play tennis, which I don't).  The treatment includes deep tissue massages to work out any scar tissue.  These hurt like a mother.  After two treatments, I'm not sure if it is improving yet, but I do think I have figured out that the twisting of my hair (like little braids all over my head) has caused the pain in my elbows.  I guess I may have to give in and pay to get my hair done.  It's been over a decade and a half since I have regularly gone to someone and paid to do my hair.  There have been two times that I have paid.  I'm really not trying to pay to have someone do my hair, but I guess I may have no other option if I want my arms to heal.

25. Something cute - Nephew #2.  So freakin' cute!!  It was awesome to get to finally meet him and so fun to make him smile.  He is wearing a onesie from the place of work of Big Bro and his girlfriend.  She shot this picture of him looking totes adorbs!!

26. Where you shop - I've been meeting my boo for lunch each day.  It's a nice little thirty minutes of us time in the middle of the day.  Some days I make lunch from home and supplement it with some food from this fancy grocery store in the middle of downtown.  It's a Schnucks (if you know the store) but goes by a much fancier sounding name.  It is pretty nice on the inside and makes me feel like I need to dress up like all the business people that shop in there at lunch time.  Instead, I typically have on a pair of jeans and a blouse - casual Friday everyday for me, right?

27. Bathroom - I was living out of a three bags all week: one for clothes, one with laptop, and one with toiletries.  I am organized enough to make it work and fortunate that Kid Sis #2 allowed me to use her washing machine a few times during the visit since I pack very lightly when I travel and reuse outfits.

You can see pictures from the first, second, and third week, too.

Next installation will be abbreviated since June ends before next Wednesday.

26 June 2012

Same, same, same

I grew up in the suburbs.  I have since lived in more urban areas.  I love visiting urban areas.  I hope to live in an even more urban area where shops are close, you can easily get public transportation and all of the homes don't look alike.

On my last day in Houston for this visit I am still amazed by all of the different neighborhoods.

They look so much a like that when I went for some walk/runs in the mornings, I had to check my route on my phone to make sure I wasn't turning down the wrong street.  (This is even more shocking to me because I am a really good navigator and am usually really good at finding my way around even when I don't know the area.)

Every street looks the same.  Every house looks very similar.

The houses are cute, I suppose.  The interiors are suitable for living despite the great rooms with the high ceilings that I feel are a waste of second floor space.  My sister's place is done well and has space for the adults and spaces for the children.

Big Bro, his girlfriend, and I were driving to the grocery store this weekend and noticed that the homes are even landscaped the same.  Each one has three trees in the front yard - two on the side where the driveway is and one on the other side.  Each also has a tree close to the sidewalk.

How strange.

Easy to build, I admit that.  But, still kind of eerie.

Reminds me of the Malvina Reynolds song from Weeds.

They're all made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

25 June 2012

Family cup holders

The weekend with the family was excellent!  I'm the last visitor left in Houston after a house of six visitors and my sisters' family of four were all together.  We definitely missed Kid Sis #1 who couldn't come since she was studying for the Board Exam she had to take today.

One of the reasons I love my family is because we can just laugh together.  We have so many old jokes and one liners that we use with each other.  Yesterday, my Big Bro, Kid Sis #3 and I were doing one of our regular gags on each other and my brother said he honestly didn't remember the origin of it.  We explained it to him and he said he had completely forgot; he just associated it with us now.

One of the traditional jokes we have goes back to when my brother was in college (I think).

I don't remember how it started, but we would put an old cup holder in someones bag or somewhere in their room and they would find it sometimes days, sometimes weeks later and then have to pass it on to another sibling.

The cup holder is always ugly and for all of us, it is useless.  But it is the thought that counts, right?

Now that most of us are in different cities, it is even more fun to do.

Last time my brother was in my town, I knew he would be trying to get it to me.  I didn't take my eyes off of him for a second.  Or so I thought.  In the 15 seconds it took for him to move the seat forward to let his girlfriend out of the back of my Mini, he slipped it into my glove compartment where I did not find it for a few weeks.

I got it back to him somehow.

With all the fun of the weekend, I had completely let my guard down.  This morning, I was starting to repack my clothes.  Found the ugly thing in a side pocket of my backpack.

I succeeded in my mission this weekend of getting my nephew to call his mother Mommie Dearest.  Now I have to start plotting how to get this cup holder back to another sibling.

24 June 2012

I love to tell the story

I met him through a mutual friend.  The first time we met I was kind of interested in the mutual friend.  They had been good friends since high school.  We hung all hung out, drank, and went on the roof of His apartment before all falling asleep on the floor.

A few weeks later I was talking to the mutual friend on the phone while mutual friend was at His house.  Mutual friend was getting tired, so he put Him on the phone.  We talked for over an hour about all sorts of things about ourselves and our lives and what we wanted in life.  I remember how smart he was and how much he knew about so many things.

I just remember thinking what a great person He was and how I hoped we could hang out again; how I thought we could be really good friends.

I didn't see Him again after that.

He moved to a different state.  But, once a couple years later, mutual friend was talking with Him on the phone and I got to tell mutual friend to tell Him that I said hi.  That was it.

Seven years after our first meeting, mutual friend asked me to baby sit his son.  I did without question, because that's what you do for friends.  When he returned, mutual friend walked in the door and He was  right behind him.  He had picked Him up from the train station.

It was amazing to see Him again.  We chatted a bit.  I was surprised that He remembered me.

For the next few evenings and nights we hung out at mutual friends house together.  I remember ordering Thai food and Him feeding it to me with his chop sticks.  I remember not ever feeling tired during that my first week of my first year of teaching even though I was up past two most days hanging out with them.

A week in, I called up mutual friend if he would mind if I pursued Him for a relationship.  He said it would be fine.

I invited Him over to my house to watch a movie.  We talked all night until I was literally falling asleep in the middle of our conversations.  That was the start of our relationship.

Seven plus years later, we are still together.  Still loving each other and still able to talk for hours on end about even the most random topics.  Still able to make each other laugh.  Still able to finish thoughts about the most random things and then be amazed that the other knew the random thing that was being thought up.

This was a truly delightful Stream of Consciousness Sunday post.  I really do love the story of how we met.  Liked each other.  Didn't see each other for seven years, and were able to meet again by chance.  I hope that we can truly live happily ever after.

You can join Fadra's SOC Sunday.  It's an easy free write for five minutes (this took a bit longer, which is ok).  You can link up or read the other posts from other bloggers.


22 June 2012

All right stop, collaborate, and listen

I love flying in an airplane.

There is something about the science behind it and how people long ago discovered how to put an object in the air and get it to stay there and go to far off places.

I don't like when flying feels dangerous, though.

Yesterday as I sat on the plane and it started to taxi backward, the engine of the plane shut off.

It was reversing.

And the engine shut off.




And then all of a sudden, the plane intercom started playing music from the movie "Rio".

Over the loud speakers.

This went on for about 5 minutes and then the plane magically turned back on and we safely made it to Atlanta.

In ATL I was had the good fortune of seeing my sisters first husband.  Before Kid Sis #3 was married to Brother-From-Another-Mother-And-Father she had a brief marriage to Robert Van Winkle.  She even had a shirt with his image on it.  She was ahead of her time - she wore Tall Ts before they were unfortunately in fashion.

She would always make her sisters play his music for her and would rap and dance and just have so much fun with her husband Vanilla Ice.

I saw him as I walked through the airport.  I was tempted to go up to him and tell him to "Stop.  Collaborate and listen."  But, I know that the hates his old persona and has for years tried to get people to stop associating him with Vanilla Ice.

So, I just walked by him and acted like he was an ordinary guy in the airport.  Then I internally squealed and started texting everyone that I saw Robert.

As I walked onto the plane to Houston, the flight attendant came on the intercom and asked everyone to make way in the aisle for the mechanic to get off the plane.  That put some fear in me, but he was getting off, so I figured things were ok.

As I sat on the plane waiting for us to leave, another mechanic came on and walked to the back.  Then a second one came on.

I don't know why I seemed to be the only one disturbed by the sight of mechanics on a large machine that is supposed to transfer us to a different location, but I was the only one looking nervous.

Despite the mechanics and the loud, winy, dog-like noises that the plane made, I made it to Houston.

Now, I have to try and achieve my mission.

21 June 2012

I must get rid of wire hangers

I hate clothes that have to be dry cleaned.  I try not to buy them.

I have some clothes that have needed to be dry cleaned for over a year and I finally took them in.

When I went to pick these clothes as well as my winter peacoat up from the cleaners, I was told that the coats were not finished yet, despite their giving me a ticket when I dropped them off that said they would be done two days prior to when I showed up to get them.

Oh, well.

What really bothered me when I got home (Other than the excessive plastic wrap on my clothes - how wasteful and unnecessary!) was the hangers.

I can't stand wire hangers.  Perhaps it is due to the fact that I think they look cheap.

More likely it is more due to the fact that I watched and rewatched and rewatched "Mommie Dearest" so many times in my life.

I fear that a woman will come at me and yell at me for putting decent clothes on wire hangers and then make me scrub the bathroom floor with powdered Comet begin thrown all over me after beating me with the bent wire hangers.

I can't even say the words "wire hangers" without screaming out the words of Mommie Dearest at the top of my lungs (well, at least in my head if I am around other people) - NO WIRE HANGERS!!!

I loved that movie.

The siblings and I started calling our mother Mommie Dearest when she would do things we didn't like.  It was fabulous until we finally made her watch the movie and she got mad at us for ever calling her by that title.

This week, my goal is to get my 4 year old nephew to call my sister that a few times during my visit.

That and to finish catching up on my blog reading.  I barely touched the surface yesterday!

Wish me luck!

20 June 2012

June third photos

Here is week three of my June Photo-A-Day Challenge hosted by Fat Mum Slim.  Each day I took a photo related to the key word for the day.

14. Time - There was a time when I watched movies so much that I was sending them back to Netflix one or two days after getting them in the mail.  I was streaming them regularly, too.  Times have changed.  These two movies have been collecting dust behind the gaming system and Time Machine.  I actually moved them forward just for this picture.  I have had these two movies since September.  Time has flown by and I have still not watched the films.  I couldn't even remember what they were until today when I read the information about them.  They do sound interesting, but I still don't know that I will watch them anytime soon.

Top picture I took, bottom picture is the way the
StL Woolworth's looked back in its heyday.
15. Yellow - When I learned about the Civil Rights Movement of the US that happened in the 1950s and 60s I always was disturbed and intrigued by the sit-ins of Greensboro, NC that led to the desegregation of Woolworth's eating counter, as well as other institutions in the US.  I knew that the building on Grand in St. Louis used to be a segregated Woolworth's.  Still has the same look on the outside.  The other day, I decided to jog/walk past the building and saw that this yellow and red engraving is still on the ground outside of each of the entrance doors - I had to take a picture.  I love that the city has kept this on the ground.  And I'm glad that, although there is still not full equality for everyone, there is no more segregation in public buildings.

16. Out and about - I hate being behind cars that are driving slow and now knowing the reason for the traffic.  On this day, I was driving behind slow cars and realized that a burning car was the reason for the hold up.  Of course, the first thing I thought was, "I need to take a picture of this!"  I wasn't alone.  After I took my picture, I looked around to see if people were staring at me and realized that there were 20+ people on the sidewalks and in the street and in their cars taking photos and making videos.  I turned off of the street at the light after seeing the fire trucks and police cars arrive to help the vehicle (which had no driver in it).  I guess it all worked out because on the way back a few hours later, there was no sign of the car, and no evidence that this event had occurred.

17. In your bag - I don't regularly use a purse.  I prefer small metal wallets, or my newer leather case-thing that can fit my cards, my money, and my slim cell phone all while fitting in the back pocket of my jeans.  I am going to give you a look inside my school/work bag.  It has all the basics.  I love my bag.  I love the design and that I have not seen anyone with the same style.  Items from left to right:

  • check book that I barely even use anymore
  • post-it notes
  • leopard-print screen cleaning cloth for cell phone or for laptop that I don't like to touch, but for some reason my students love to touch and point to things when I call them up to look at something on the screen.
  • oil absorbing sheets because my face gets super oily and I have to regularly wipe it dry
  • portable manicure set since I have learned to keep my nails smooth (I once stabbed myself in the eye while I was waking up.  It was so bad that I had to call in to work and go to the hospital and then had use steroid drops and wear a pirate eye patch for a day)
  • lip balm (My sisters and I all have several of these in various places because you cannot have too many - unless you want to look like Dave Chapell's crack head character.)
  • larger post it notes (I am not completely addicted to technology and enjoy writing little notes by hand during the day.)
  • lotion (Like lip balm, I have these all over the place because I don't like to look like I have been punching flour.)
  • hand sanitizer (I prefer soap and water, but like this especially during times at school when kids seem to want to be around me more despite the fact that they are clearly sick.  Also used after walking around and touching things in the school... I heard once that railings are one of the germiest items in a building and have not wanted to purposely touch one since.)
  • various colored pens (I don't like to grade in red, but also don't like to grade assignments in a color that is similar to any color the students are using.  I guess because I can tell that it was me that put the markings on their paper.  Plus it adds variety to my sometimes tedious work.)

18. Something we don't know about you - I don't like older model American cars.  (Or the newer ones made to look like the old hoopties.)  I think they were way too long and I still don't understand how people drive them and turn without making super-wide truck-like turns.  I much prefer smaller cars that can easily fit in parking spaces and that you can reach the items in the backseat easily if necessary.  It tickles me each time I drive past this old car on a body shop lot.  I thought it was being fixed, but it is actually a show piece for some reason.  It was once huge, but is now been cut in half to make it the perfect size for a car... if only they could put a steering wheel and an engine into it somehow without making it longer.

19. Imperfect - The siblings and I have always joked about our inability to tan our feet.  It is really quite an annoyance.  There was literally a time when I was standing behind a screen and all that could be seen were my feet in sandals.  When I came out, a person told me that they thought I was white based on my feet.  I have tried everything, including a spray tan.  Nothing has worked.  I guess I will just be left with imperfectly pale feet and a pale torso.  Fortunately for all of you who don't look at computer screens with sunglasses, the contrast of my feet didn't come out as much as they do in reality.  If you look closely at the top of my left foot, you can see the makings of a slight sandal tan line. This is likely as dark as my feet will get this summer.  At least they don't blend in with the carpet.

20. Fave photo you've ever taken - I don't really have a favorite photo that I have taken, but there is a picture on some sort of shiny stone that I have kept wherever I live for some time.  It is fabulous and represents how I feel about many of my close friends that I don't talk to nearly as much as I should.  But, I do still cherish the friendships.

More photos to come next week...

You can see the first week and second week photos, too.

19 June 2012

Playing catch up

I feel really bad because I have been so busy with life that I have not been able to read all of the blogs I follow, catch up on what's going on in the real/virtual world, or share some comment love with my blogging friends.

So, that is my mission today.

I will (try to) read all of the items in Google Reader that have been piling up for weeks.

I will get back to my regular writing tomorrow. (Had to put this up, though, so I could continue my daily writing for the year - almost 6 months of writing each day in!)

18 June 2012

Amazing family moments

It always amazes me to see the way other people's families interact.

Saturday evening I went to my BF's grandmother's 90th birthday celebration.  I've never really heard her talk very much, but when they gave her the mike to say thank you to everyone for showing up, she went on and on.  Talked about how she is the oldest member of the family, pointed out the second oldest.  Mentioned that she is waiting and waiting for her reproductively able grandchildren and great grandchildren to provide her another generation of people for her to get to know before she dies.  

She even talked about how she has a Facebook page that she uses to keep up with a lot of people in her life.

That was really amazing to me.  

She is 90, but still willing to use newer technology that is like nothing she could have imagined as a child!

I love it.

I also loved seeing my BFs niece sitting alone with her great grandmother talking for about 20 minutes. I don't know what they talked about, but it was just great imagining that she was sharing stories of the family and comparing her early 20s to her great granddaughter's current life.

This coming weekend, my parents, all of my siblings (except one), and some other extended family and friends will gather in Houston for my sister's finale to her residency.  Really excited to see everyone and extremely sorry that I missed the past weekend in DC where my other sister celebrated the end of her residency.  I had to choose based on the cost of the dinner ticket and the plane ticket, and Houston won out.

17 June 2012


My father is a great man.  He is a great provider.  He pushes all of his children to be better.  He made sure that we were able to go to school and get around easily.  He is a strong man.

Through his buying techniques, he has helped me learn the benefits and strategies for haggling and getting a lower price.  I was able to use it to get a few extras in my car.

His drive to have me reach the upper tier of my profession has me questioning what I want to do in my life - in a good way.

His always trying to be better at his own job is so impressive.  His continuing athleticism is still impressive.  He impresses me all the time.

When I look back to my childhood, I always compare my father to Dr. Huxtable.  My dad always had a clever joke, or a silly face to lighten a mood.  But he was always stern when he needed to be.  He is a doctor, too and I loved that he even had the Cosby-sweaters.  Being called into his room was always a bit frightening because I didn't know what was going to happen.  He would have me sit and would talk very little, though still, somehow, be saying a lot.  Sometimes these meetings would end in a reprimand.  Other times, they would end with my father giving me monetary assistance for something I was trying to do.

I always loved when I was really small and me and my siblings would play around my dad as he watched some baseball or tennis on tv.  We would move his legs as he stayed on the couch and pretend his legs were part of a car door.

When I think of my father, I think of a man who has supported in my education and my occupation.

I also think of a man who didn't always seem open to talk about personal issues - his or mine.  I sometimes think that my silence with friends and family in times when there should be talking comes from my watching him do the same.  A mechanism to protect himself and myself from people seeing the not so powerful sides of me.  I know that as a grown person, I shouldn't be using these things as an excuse, but I think that decades of these sort of conversations and of not sharing all parts of my life with my family members has made me more socially dysfunctional than I need to be.

But, I always love seeing my father.  Just yesterday, I was video chatting with some siblings and the parents and it was great seeing the joy in my father's face as he sat with them all and saw me on the screen.

I always remember how hearing him and my mother tell me that they were proud of me actually made me cry a few years ago.

This Stream of Consciousness Sunday post for allthingsfadra is about my father.  You can write about yours and his impact on you and your life and your family or just write about whatever else is on your mind on this day or future Sundays and link up with Fadra.

It just takes five minutes.


16 June 2012

Saturday Quote: Love in your mind

Here is a quote from Marianne Williamson:
Thoughts of love in your mind produces love in your life.  This is the meaning of heaven.  Thoughts of fear in your mind produces fear in your life.  This is the meaning of hell.

15 June 2012

I could be wrong

I don't think that I am better than people.  I don't think that I know everything there is to know about everything.  I don't think that I am polite all of the time.  I don't follow all of the rules all the time.

Today, I went to the chiropractor. When you enter the waiting room, there are several signs about not eating inside, not using the phone inside, and to double check if your insurance has changed since your last visit.

While I sat waiting to be seen, a lady entered the waiting area.

She came in with a bag from BreadCo that looked full of goodies.  She didn't pull out any food, though there was the distinct aroma of St. Louis Bread Company (Panera for those of you not in StL) food.

She did, however, pull out her cellular telephone and call someone.  She talked pretty loudly for about six minutes (yes, I kept track as I played WWF and checked email on my phone in silent mode).

Of course, at first, I thought it must be a really important phone call.  I thought it must be vital that she talk with the person on the other line right at that moment rather than 30-40 minutes later when she left the office.  And I knew that it must be so important that she had to have all of us listen rather than stepping back outside of the building so that her call was quiet and so the she was following the rules.

I just knew it.

But, I was wrong.

She was talking with some one about where she was going to meet them tomorrow for lunch after her pilates class.  She had to repeat the information about four times louder and louder each time.  The fourth time, she took out the earpiece and put the actual phone to her ear.

After I left the office, I had to fill up my gas tank.

When I was pushing the buttons, I saw an SUV pull in to the lot.  The windows were all down and I could see that there were three small children in the car - one in the front seat and two in the rear.  The front seat housed a little girl who was about 2 years old or less.

No safety seat.  And it appeared to be no seat belt.

As soon as the car stopped, the little girl got onto her knees and reached her head out of the window.

In the rear sat two girls who looked to be about 5-6 years old.  The woman driver stepped out and went inside to handle her business.

I'm pretty sure that rules have not changed in the state... I'm pretty sure that you have to have kids in safety seats until they weigh 40 pounds and in a booster until they are 80 pounds.  I know that as kids get toward that top end, it may be likely that parents will take them out of the seats.  But, I'm pretty sure that toddlers who are two are not close to either of those weight cut offs.

But, I could be wrong.

14 June 2012

Draw Something!

With my new phone, I am able to do so much more than with the old one.  
In addition to my playing WWF and Hanging With Friends, I have found a new game: Draw Something.

It's basically dictionary with friends and random people.  Kind of takes a bit to get used to drawing on the screen, but it is fun to try and guess others' drawings and to find new ways to draw the words you are given to draw.

I have decreased the amount of play time with each of my games so that I don't have to write a letter to my dear friend anymore.  I am being productive with my time and only play when I have a free moment that is not needing time for other necessary activities.

But, just like learning to type faster, these are excellent time eaters that are entertaining at the same time.

13 June 2012

June second photos

I'm taking part in Photo-A-Day-June Challenge hosted by Fat Mum Slim.  I added each day throughout the week and now present images from my second week of June.

I'm very much enjoying the different tricks my new phone can do with its camera - it basically has Instagram tricks built into the phone.  My old phone was so old that I couldn't download anything or store any pictures or have any games on it or have too many text messages or it would freak out on me.

7. Drink - Watching the Stanley Cup game four was even better with a little cheap dranky-drank.  I always wonder about games when they have all of the paraphernalia ready to go and the team doesn't win (Picture the Super Bowl... they have hats and t-shirts ready for BOTH teams since they always don them right after the game).  Turns out they are sent to "third world" nations and sold in markets to the people there.  So, you can go to one of these countries and see people who have bought and are wearing Super Bowl Championship shirts with the winner identified as the team that was actually the runner up (and donated old school/team shirts).  With all the clothes I have donated from schools I have worked in, there are indubitably people rocking those, too.  Remember, your donations are not necessarily DONATED to the people that they are supposed to be benefiting.  Everyone has to make a profit.  The picture of the wine bottle is a little off kilter on purpose, right?  My attempt at art... or maybe just too much wine.

8. 6 o'clock - I was going downtown to pick up the boo from work.  I was waiting in my car, windows down since it was cool in the shade and their was a slight breeze.  Suddenly, I heard the click, clopping that can only be a horse walking.  I looked in the rearview mirror and saw it coming.  Took this picture with some kind of camera effect.  I momentarily wondered if they still use the little baggies for horse carriages - the ones so that horse shit is not littered in the street.  The smell, and my involuntary gagging, as soon as the carriage passed let me know that there had to be a collection of its defecation being carried behind that big clunker.

9. Your view today - This isn't something I saw today, but it is part of my mental view today.  I know that love can't cure all, but if people really love each other and love life and love to see others do well/better, then the world would be a different place.  (That was my hippy-give-peace-a-chance moment.)  Plus, baby monkeys and puppies are some of my fave animals!  Saw this picture posted on someones FB wall - I don't even remember who posted it - but I love it!

10. Best bit of your weekend - I always love talking with my sisters and brother.  I especially love talking with my little 4-year old nephew (I have two nephews, but the second one doesn't seem to like talking to me in our Skype meetings.  He can't seem to find the words and the concentration level to carry on a conversation with me.  I sometimes blame it on the fact that I have not met him in person.  I sometimes blame it on the fact that he is still young - four months right now.  He is really cute!)  Friday, Nephew #1's father scared him by chasing him around the house doing a monster face with his eyes like in the picture.  Saturday, we Skyped.  Nephew #1 could not stop showing me the new trick he had learned that was no longer scary to him.  I don't know how many times he asked me if I could do it and asked me to look at his eyes.  No matter what the conversation turned to, he found a way to weave it back to doing his eyes inside out.  But, I loved each time he did it and loved feigning disgust and fear when he did the face.

11. Door - I know this is not the most impressive door you have ever seen, but to me it is.  In my last place the laundry was in the unfinished, leaky, damp, moldy, dusty, ground-opens-up-to-dirt-outside basement.  I hated doing laundry.  I hated going into the basement - I always feared that an R.O.U.S. like from The Princess Bride would pop out at me and chew off my face.  On top of the grossness of the basement, the washing machine was on one side of the basement and the dryer was literally 22 paces away on the other side of the basement. (Yes, I count my steps... I do it often and don't always realize it.  You should try it to see just how far away 22 steps is... it was ridiculous!)  Now, I have the two laundry machines side by side and right off of the kitchen, so I can do laundry without feeling gross, without having to change into my "basement" shoes, without having to count steps from one machine to the other.  This door has simplified my life.

12. From a low angle - Another day picking up the boo from work downtown.  I took this picture between some buildings.  Don't fret... it was not the makings of a tornado.  I took it with a bunch of different effects, and liked the green sky better than the normal blue.  All the different lines and framing reminded me of my photography class years.

13. Art - This is the only really artistic thing in my place right now.  I think my apartment was one of the "show" apartments before I moved in.  There were nice candles, fake plants, floor mats, and cooking mitts in the kitchen, matching towels, an ugly shower curtain and gross rugs that I got rid of in the bathroom.  This piece was left as well.  I haven't put any scented oil in the container, but I still like how it all comes together with the rocks and the tumbleweed-looking things.

You can see the first photos from June.

More photos to come next week...

12 June 2012

New kind of coaching??

I am so in love with this video!

Perhaps I need to take up a different kind of coaching...

11 June 2012

Don't talk about it, be about it

I know I've been doing quotes on Saturdays on this blog, but this morning I saw this one by the beautiful Tomiko Fraser Hines reposted by the also beautiful JCov from Destiny Discoveries:
She is so beautiful.  I love her hair and her spirit.
Image from this movie site.
You are talking in a forward direction, but thinking in a backwards direction.  No wonder you're stuck...
This is me right now in my life.  I'm talking a lot of game, or, sometimes, not talking it at all, but not really doing all the things needed to make the things happen.  I want things, but am not doing what needs to be done to make them happen.

Not trying to be super vague, but I'm really not trying to put it all out there, yet.

I just know that I need to stop talking about it and be about it.

10 June 2012

Anonymously public

Years ago, I had to close down a blog because some anonymous person associated with work (I think a parent) found it and thought the comments I made about how the district should have hired a friend and colleague of mine were uncalled for and out of place.  I had written that blog anonymously, but had it linked to a colleague's blog who had her name on it.  I think they put two and two together and discovered who I was.  I had a lot of good writing on that blog, but because I was so fearful of the admin at the time, I erased the entire blog without backing up or copying any of my posts.

It was a very sad day.

Now, I write fairly anonymously.  My family and some friends know I write this blog, but I leave my name off of it.  I don't name names and I don't detail who I work for, just that I am a high school teacher and coach.  I'm sure there have been some clues that if a person really wanted to figure out my identity, they could.

I don't really know that I care anymore if my place of work finds my writing.  I did the unthinkable and friended some of my current colleagues on FB and they can see the links I sometimes put up to this blog.  I have had a few of them tell me they are reading posts, or leave comments on the FB links.

It is kind of weird knowing they see this side of me.

At first, I didn't even tell my parents about this blog.  But I have opened it up to them.  Not sure how often they read it, but when I send them links to posts, they comment on how they read it and enjoyed the posts.  Siblings, same way - not sure if they are regular readers, but I know they at least read every so often when I write about them.

My boo doesn't read the blog and doesn't even know that I've been writing daily for this year.  I have told him about it and he has said that he will get around to reading, but I don't force it.

I kind of like that I have this outlet that is not regularly read by a lot of people I know.  I kind of like that most of my comments are from people I have never met IRL.

At first, when people at work started to tell me that they were reading my stuff, I thought about being more cautious.  But, this is my blog, and I will write whatever I desire.  I don't write things to hurt people, I don't write things about work using names.

I was debating a summer project of starting a Google+, FB, and Twitter page for this blog, but am not sure if I want to open it up that much.  I have a few regular readers, and some randoms, and maybe even some lurkers.

I'm not sure if social networking sites are necessary at this point since I'm not sure if I want to make this blog bigger than it is.  I do, and I don't.

And, I'm not sure that I want to keep up with posting information on all those different mediums.  Though, I think there is some sort of way to have posts cross to each medium with one click... though that could be annoying if followers are connected with each one and receive the same notification thrice and in their Google Reader.

For now, I guess I will remain somewhat anonymously public.

I will continue to write my thoughts.  Just what I am thinking at the time.

Once again, it is Stream of Consciousness Sunday.  Five minutes (though today was a bit longer) of free writing.  Today's prompt on Fadra's site, "Do you have a secret blogging life?  Are you connected to your "real life" friends and family through social media?  How does that affect your writing?"


09 June 2012

Saturday Quote: Accomplishing things

Quote from a post by Scott Dinsmore writer of Live Your Legend.

The more we attempt, the more we accomplish. The more we accomplish, the more we attempt.
Confidence built in one area of our life, immediately transfers to another.
Most edges are a state of mind.
With every new experience, they expand.
Without the experiences, life contracts.

08 June 2012

I'm even faster than I thought

I can be a really big dork.

I'm not ashamed.

I love shows that teach me something.  I've relished in so many of the how-it's-made type shows that I could probably go to some of the factories shown and give a tour.  I love watching some of the conferences presented on C-SPAN that show political, cultural leaders discussing various topics.  I used to be known in my family for teaching my siblings or my parents something new each time I saw them - about some really random topics, sometimes even related to their type of business or their college majors that they didn't even know.

I'm a nut.

Earlier in the spring I worked on my speed-reading and increased my reading speed, accuracy, and information retention.

The other night I decided to work on my typing abilities.

I think I already type pretty quick since people at work will sometimes hear me typing and look to the keyboard and screen to see if actual words are being created and not just gibberish.  (I worked with a woman once who typed and read faster than anything I can even imagine doing myself - I am in awe of KBO and her speed tactics.)  I used to try to bone up on Typershark (and still go back to it occasionally) when I was teaching a business class my first semester of teaching.  Who doesn't like to get better at something real by playing a game?  It worked for me learning to drive a manual transmission car, it can work for typing.

Two nights ago, I spent about 40 minutes playing on this typing website typingweb.  I played around with some of the different courses and got up to what seemed really impressive touch typing speed on the intermediate level.  I tried a typing test on another site and found that I was typing pretty close to the same speed.  Today I went back to typingweb and tried it again.

Screen shot from one of my lesson tests:

My typing prowess
Gross Speed is how fast I was actually typing, Net Speed is my speed minus errors.  I think I missed one letter out of the sentences that were on the screen for me to type.

I am determined to become even faster, so I will continue to be a dork and practice my typing speed.  I'm doing so even as I type this post, but I will go back to that site so I can really test my skills and see actual seconds and WPM for how fast I am typing.

Perhaps a side hustle in live closed captioning is in my future, though I hear they use a different type of keyboard.

07 June 2012

Aftermath of a young wedding

Many moons ago, Kid Sis #3 and Brother-from-another-mother-and-father were the flower girl and ring bearer for a family friend's wedding.  

Pictures of them from this wedding always make me giggle.  Because they were both just so freaking cute, and due to the fact that she was about 3-4 years old and thought of this as her real wedding to her favorite boy.

You can see in the picture that her bliss was his trepidation, though.  Or perhaps, he was already perfecting that I'm-a-guy-I'm-too-cool-to-smile-I-must-look-hard thing that some guys do.

The other night as the three of us sat for our last dinner together as the "St.L Family" at Kobi Steakhouse, we did what we usually do.  We were laughing about random things, telling inside jokes, telling old stories, catching up on life, and trying to identify the NFL player that was sitting at the table to our right.  We slyly took a picture of him with my phone and then tried to go to the Raiders page and see if we could find a person that matched his size and look.

We didn't succeed at identifying him, but we did succeed in laughing so much that the people we were at the table with thought we must be there celebrating some sort of occasion.

That family was celebrating their young son's birthday.  They asked us what we were celebrating and, without pause, Brother-from-another-mother-and-father said that we were celebrating an anniversary.

He said so with such a straight face that I was a bit confused for a second.  "It's our wedding anniversary," he said as he was looking at his phone and pointing to Kid Sis #3.

The other family oohed and aahhhed at us and asked how long they had been married.  BFAMAF said that it had been about 20 years.  Still straight face.  Still looking at his phone.

I busted out laughing.

At that point, he turned the phone to the family and said, "We're African.  It was an arranged marriage."  The family gasped, but tried to look joyous and happy for the young couple.  Somehow, he had the above photo on his phone.  They smiled politely at the picture.

I almost choked on my fruity adult beverage as he said these things and continued in my laughing fit.

Fortunately, the dinner was full of good food and good times for us and the other family.

Unfortunately, we didn't get any free cake out of the deal.

Kid Sis #3 is still seeking alimony with about 20 years of back pay, especially now that BFAMAF now has his dream job in the Chi (working in a big management position for a company that means we can now no longer mention or show Coke products in his presence) and will be making money rather than hemorrhaging it since his MBA is finished.  If she can't get the money, she says she will settle for some free tickets to an NFL game since he is childhood friends with some players.

06 June 2012

June first photos

For June, I am doing a Photo-a-Day Challenge with Fat Mum Slim.

I've decided to post my photos each Wednesday of the week during June (unless something comes up and I don't have the week's photos ready, or can't upload them, or would rather write, or whatever else.)

Here are the first 6 photos for the month:

1. Morning - Each morning for a year, now, my mornings have been spotlighted by getting out of bed, putting on workout clothes, and doing yoga.  Fortunately, spring (and a new living location) has brought natural light to my mornings.

2. Empty - My wallet after this week's extravagant spending.

3. On Your Plate - Had an awesome Last Supper with Kid Sis #3 and Brother-from-another-mother-and-father to kick off his finishing his MBA, moving to Chi-Town, and getting an awesome job where he lives right across the street from his workplace.  I love Kobi Steakhouse - especially when they are lighting food on fire!!

4. Close-Up - I am re-reading "Slaughter-House Five".  It is the first book I've read for pleasure in over a decade.  Not sure why I selected it, except that it was one of less than a handful of non-educational books on my small bookshelf - though actually it's not even mine, it's been borrowed and not returned.  I love this line about not looking back.

5. Sign.  This is clearly a sign that I need to get rid of the remaining three eggs in the carton.  Not even sure why I moved them into the new place since it was already the end of April when I moved and I hadn't touched the eggs in at least a month at that point.

6. Hat.  This is the big hat I purchased for the track season.  It really helped protect me from the sun and had vents in the top so my head didn't get hot.  I had way less headaches this season than in previous ones.  I bought some super large, 70s sunglasses that I wore with the hat and always looked like I was going on a safari, though still felt cute and somehow got compliments.

More pictures from June to come next week...

05 June 2012

Today, I look back

Today, I'm thinking of elections.  There is a recall election in Wisconsin happening today.  There is a presidential election that will take place this year in November.

As I think of this election, I am also thinking back to things I wrote during the last election cycle.

Today, I am really grateful for all of my followers, for all of my commenters.  I love seeing that people actually read what I write.

Most of my posts, lately, are pretty light-hearted.  It wasn't always so.

Today, I remember a post that received some serious negative feedback from commenters.  I am remembering all of the research I put into some of my posts.

I would like to take a trip down memory lane with you today.  I know some people don't like clicking links or reading old posts, but I promise, these are some good ones from my old, more serious, often political days of blogging.

First up, Response To Some Readers.  This post was a response to some negative feedback I got after I wrote about how lack of insurance and lack of adequate healthcare could have led to an event my friend and I encountered.  Even after this response, I still got some negative comments from readers.  It got to the point where I couldn't even respond, but fortunately, KBO responded well for me. (In this post, I was still using the moniker, Stuck In My Head).  WARNING: It is very liberal in my thoughts, don't hate me if we don't share the same ideas about government... we can still get along and hopefully, you will still read my posts in the future that are not political!

I also have posts that I just enjoyed doing research for.  Perhaps my future could include some "serious" journalism.

In Considering Politics & Religion I wrote about different people's desire to make race an issue in the election of 2008.

After the current administration came into office, I still wrote about politics as it ties to education.  Obama - We Need More Than Education To Help Minorities was a post where I addressed the discrepancies in punishments and treatment of students in schools.  I talked about the need for better classroom management and for more organizations like College Summit to get involved in schools.

Not all the posts I reflect on today were tied to politics... well not really.

I did a lot of research for a post on Haiti after the earthquake of 2010 that led to some questionable donating organizations (Haiti Needs Help - Be Careful How You Give It).  I wrote about about the history of the nation and its long-standing debt and the fact that many donor organizations don't actually give money to places they say they give to.  (Seriously!! Look into the organizations you donate to!!)  If there are so many NGOs and groups giving money to Haiti, why does it still look almost the same as the day the quake happened?  Why are there still SO MANY people living in tents to this day?!?!

I've connected with other bloggers doing Bloggers Unite.  For World AIDS Day in 2008 where I supplied a lot of information about the disease and those it impacts.  For Refugees in 2008 since there was a serious discrepancy in the number of refugees allowed into certain nations.

And, finally, there is the post This Always Tickles Me.  Because Vitas Bumac always does just that!!  I love him and the way he sounds.  And I can't help but smile at the way he can hit his notes.

04 June 2012

I scream!!

I remember one year when we were in Nigeria, there was a man who kept screaming outside.  "I!  Scream!"  I wanted to yell at him that I can scream, too, but eventually realized that he was just saying ice cream with a lot of space between the syllables in a way that was not conducive to people knowing what he was saying.

When I was younger, we would have dance practices at my parents place.  There would be about 30 kids there on several Saturdays during the summer.  It was great!  One ice cream truck driver happened to stop at the house one day and saw dollar signs.  He continued to come each Saturday.  I actually felt bad for him after we were done with our performance and he came to an empty driveway.

I love ice cream.

Despite my body's often rejection of it, I have found brands that work with me rather than against me and flavors that are deee-lish!

The sound of ice cream truck music has come to not be as ubiquitous as it was in my childhood during the summer.  When I do hear it, I still look out the window to see if is really coming.

Yesterday, I heard the noise and looked out the window to see the truck posted up about 100 meters from my place.  It was just sitting there, as though waiting for people to come through and get their pick of ice cream.

It stayed there, blasting its music for over 20 minutes.

I like the sound of ice cream trucks and the memories it brings, but this was ridiculous.

Twenty minutes!!!

It was so loud!!!

I kept looking out the window to see if anyone showed up to purchase some yummy, tasty, frozen treats.  It wasn't until about 10 minutes into the stake out that a customer showed up.  Then it was another five minutes before more people went to the truck.

After 20 minutes, it finally drove slowly up the street.  I had peace and quiet.

Until about seven minutes later when it came back through the area and waited another five minutes at a corner close to the original spot.

It's great that an ice cream truck comes through the area, but I hope this isn't a summer tradition in my new living location.

03 June 2012

I'm glad I'm not a teenager anymore

When I think of my teen years, there is a lot of blankness.  I don't seem to remember too much.  Perhaps, I'm blocking a lot of it out.  Perhaps, I am not remembering a lot because I was a pretty boring kid.  I didn't have a lot of friends that I hung out with outside of school.  We were real cool in school, and even hung out some weekends, but for the most part, my seriously early curfew kept me from being able to go out with people.

When I think of my teen years, I think of how any of the people I was in school with can even remember me and find me on social networking sites or recognize me as the friend of their older sibling when I go out to eat in my home town.  I think of how it is possible that teachers I had in HS remember me to this day and ask about me when I see them or find them on FB.  How can they remember me when I seemed so unremarkable?  Yeah, I had athletic prowess, yeah, I was smart, yeah, I was friends with some people that were deemed cool, or deemed weirdos, but I was hardly ever in the Commons hanging out with people.  I lived in an area of the district where no one who looked like me lived and where there were hardly any young people.

How do they remember me?

I try and help the teens I work with as an educator feel more comfortable with themselves.  I try and get them to realize that this is not the main part of their lives.  I try and get them to understand that even if they don't have a large group of peers that they can relate to, there are over 7 billion people in the world and after they leave HS they can go out and find more people who are like them.

When I think back to my teen years, I wish I had done more, I wish I had lived more.  I wish I had defied my parents' super early curfew.  I wish I had stayed friends with many people after high school was finished.  I wish I had befriended some of the people I thought were interesting, but were not deemed 'cool'.

But I am very glad those years are over and that I am more comfortable with myself.

Now, when people remember me from my 20s on up, I can understand why.

Now, I am not just sitting back.

This was another Stream of Consciousness Sunday post with the prompt, "What happens when you are reminded of your teen years?  Happy?  Jealous?  Feelings of bitterness or regret?

All I did was write down whatever came to my mind for 5 minutes and then post my link with the other participants on Fadra's site.  You can join in or read the other participants' posts.


02 June 2012

Saturday Quote: Don't shrink, super-size!

Another awesome quote I saw through JCov.  She runs the site Destiny Discoveries which is always inspiring and always gets me moving in the right direction.  Be sure to check her out!

JCov shares wonderful thoughts

01 June 2012

Kids say the darndest things

Kids say the darndest things.

My nephew, besides being super cute since birth (I still can't believe that man thought I was his grandmother), is also pretty clever - though not quite able to pick up on  his mother's and is aunts' inside jokes.

I never really understood the whole "yo mamma" craze with people.  Why is it ok to joke about people's mothers and why, for some, is it the most offensive thing you can say to a person?  Why are some people, who don't like their mothers, instantly offended when their mother is brought up?  I may never know.

Because I don't get the yo mamma jokes, years ago, I started saying yo mamma to all my siblings.  Being that we all have the same parents, I thought it was pretty funny.  Most of the time, it would actually be used in context: Who is going to make dinner tonight? Yo mamma.  Who are you talking to on the phone? Yo mamma.  That woman is really pretty!  So is yo mamma.

We started saying it so much and we got so comfortable with it that we sometimes forgot NOT to say it when our mother was around.  At first, we thought she didn't hear.  Then we started trying to play it off, "Yo mamma... gram is going to happen sooner than you think."  "Yo mamma... is such a wonderful woman, isn't she?"

Sometimes, she would give us The Look.

But, now, sometimes, she actually says it herself, too.  Which is often absolutely hilarious!!

The other day, Kid Sis #2 was driving home from a water park with her son.  The young four year old asked where they were going, as many kids tend to ask when riding in a car.  KS#2 said, "We're going to the house."  Nephew, "Who's house?" KS#2, "Yo mamma's house."

Being the clever one that he is, Nephew thought for a moment, and then proceeded to tell my sister that, "Actually, Mommy, it's my house and Daddy's house, too."

Here's another great one from a child:
Image taken from this post