Sunday, December 30, 2007

HE's FAMOUS!



My boy has made the news! Way to go, honey! I'm so proud of you!

However, if any blonde, spiritual groupies start showing up at our door, I may have to kick some Unity Ass.

I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"YOU ALL EVERYBODY"

So we finally caught up on Lost, watching the final Netflixed episode of season 3 tonight. Wow. What a cool show!

I'm not a huge TV watcher. In fact, if not for the miracle of Netflix, I would have never experienced the Sopranos or Six Feet Under. And my life would suck a whole lot more than it does. So if you've never seen Lost - a surprisingly good show for network television - please do yourself a favor and SEE IT!!

In other news...

Christmas was good. Our hot water heater sprung a leak on Christmas Eve and our living room carpet is wet and brown. But it could have been worse. At least our water was still hot, we had heat, we had food, we had a roof over our heads and presents to open. And the beauty of renting is that the day after Christmas, the maintenance guys came and installed a new hot water heater. And tomorrow morning, the carpet cleaners are coming. And it's not costing us anything.

We're having our first housewarming party tomorrow night. Yes... only five months after we moved in. Looking forward to seeing friends that I have missed since leaving the school job. HIS work friends are coming too. Psychologists + middle school teachers = one interesting evening.

T-16 days until India. Got my Hepatitis A, typhoid and flu vaccines last week. Have to go back to get tetanus, meningitis and polio next week. Got me a script for a Z-pak and anti-malaria pills - AND - they threw in some Cipro for good measure. So just in case we run out of beer & wine tomorrow night, I can break out the good stuff.

'Til we meet again...

Monday, December 24, 2007

HIIIII-DEE HO HO HO!



Nothing says "Happy Birthday, Jesus" quite like a plate of poo-shaped gingerbread cookies.
Merry Christmas, Blogosphere! And a happy, healthy 2008.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

OUR LOL PATIO

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

CLICK ON IT TO VOTE! KTHXBAI.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

HMMM

Wow it's really crappy outside. Ice is falling from the sky.

Been a crazy week. We had our first India orientation meeting on Saturday and I met the rest of the group. There are three of us team members and a team leader. The leader is a guy named Bernie. He's retired and he's been to lots of different places around the world. Very easy-going and seems like a nice guy.

The rest of the team consists of: Liz, a newly-wed 30-something YMCA program coordinator from Suburbia; Rajiv, a 25 year-old metrosexual Sri-Lankan intern at the U.N.; and Misty, a home-schooled EMT from the boonies. It's an interesting group, no doubt.

We had a list of things we needed to get done before our next meeting... getting an Indian visa; purchasing medical insurance; doctor's physical and - my favorite - VACCINATIONS! Here's a list of some of the delightful diseases I hope to contract while I'm gone.

When I tell people I'm going to India for a month, everyone's reaction is similar: "Why?" Even my stupid ass doctor literally said, "Eww! Why would you wanna go there?" Is he even allowed to say something like that? Maybe he's just pissed cause Indian doctors are smarter than he'll ever be.

I dunno. My thoughts are: how can you understand the rest of the world if you don't experience it? I guess I get it from my aunt. She was a fearless world traveler and always had great stories and photos to share. Russia, Egypt, Israel - just to name a few - she went where her heart took her, each trip adding to her fantastic mosaic of a life. I always admired that about her, and now even more as I get older.

I'm counting on her to be there with me, warding off the chikungunya next month.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

HUMDRUM.

I am so bored right now. This has been the slowest day ever. I've already escaped twice to run random errands and it's not even 3:00 yet. It's crazy how some days I'm so busy that I blink and it's 5:00. And then there are days like today when I've probably visited every site on the vast internet.

I've spent a couple hours trying to find these shoes in my size -->

I bought a pair of these a couple years ago and they are still my favorite shoes on the planet. I wear them at some point every single day. And apparently they no longer make them in my size (9 or 9.5) I am deeply saddened to learn this. I will pay any price for a new pair of Rocket Dog Axles, khaki & brown.

Ate the leftover vegetable soup from Mom's. Was mighty good.

Dang. Still not even 3:00.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mmmm... it's soup weather. Normally I am not a big fan of soup. I tend to turn my nose up at anything that isn't chicken broth-based, but recently I've been expanding my horizons.

Yesterday I picked up a bowl of chicken rice soup from the local diner. Last night Mom made a huge pot of this tomatoey-vegetable creation with orzo and little turkey meatballs. It's FANTASTIC but gave me horrendous gas.

I brought some home with the intention of taking it for lunch today, but I didn't want to kill any Bikram classmates with my stinky ass. So I picked up a cup of pasta e fagioli at King's... not realizing that "fagioli" means "beans." This could be equally dangerous, ass-wise. But it's so tasty! And it's warming me to the core on this windy, snowy, freezing Tuesday.

Life's been very good - things have certainly gotten interesting. I'm looking forward to finding out more about what I'll actually be doing in India next month. Everyone has a lot of advice, the main piece being: "Get your shots!" But I just think it will be so cool to experience a culture so different from mine. I've been to Europe several times, but to me it just feels like a prettier, more expensive version of the US.

Work has been getting better. We now have 18 students on the New Horizons roster after a great article was published in the local newspaper. Hopefully it will keep growing. Yesterday I told my boss about India. He said, "so basically you're taking a sabbatical from your sabbatical?" But he was cool with it. Being a Rotarian, he probably felt like he had to let me go.

I hope I can bring my computer with me, although I wonder what sort of wifi they have? Then again, the computer I'm using right now was probably made in India. I'm pretty sure they're miles ahead of us in the technology department. Weird how such a techno-savvy country can still have malaria and cows wandering about.

Anyway, I'm done for now. But I'll leave you with this video in hopes that it might inspire you to learn a musical instrument. May the force be with you.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

KARMA.



Yesterday I found out that I will be spending a month in Goa, India. I applied to be a member of a Rotary International Group Study Exchange team, and am one of four selected to represent North Jersey. I leave January 12th.

I hope I see cows on the beach.

Friday, November 30, 2007

TWO WORDS: HOT. YOGA.

I've always wanted to be a "yoga person."

Over the years, I've attended a few classes here and there and usually found myself unable to quiet my mind. I was always looking around at other people to see if I was doing the pose wrong, or glancing at the clock - wondering how much longer until I could leave and do all the things I needed to do.

And I never understood how people made yoga their "exercise." For me, if you weren't pounding your body into the ground until you were sweaty and breathless, it wasn't exercise. No sir, none of that pansy-ass lotus shit for me, thanks.

Somehow though, I was intrigued enough to try a class of Bikram yoga and holy shit - I am in love! And I think I know why it's taken me this long to "get" yoga. I think that training for and running a marathon taught me how to focus.

Out there by myself on those 20 mile training runs, I learned the importance of focus; of the communication between mind and body. Getting through miles 18-24 of the marathon - post-wall - wanting nothing more than to lie down in the street... it was all focus. Mind and body.

This is Bikram yoga: 100+ degrees for 90 minutes. 26 poses, 2 times each [26.2].

I sweat in a way I have never sweat before. And although it's the same 26 poses every class, each class presents a new challenge. It's about getting your mind out of wherever it's been, and becoming present in the now.

And sweating.

Now I get it. Now not only can I call myself a Runner, I have also become a Yoga Person.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

THANKFUL.

I've been attending services at a Unitarian Universalist church for the past couple months. I've never been a big fan of organized religion, but I can honestly say that this place is different. So different that I don't even like calling it a "church" because that word puts all sorts of negative vibes in my head. So I'll call it what they do: a Fellowship.

Anyway, last Sunday the minister was talking about how she has started keeping a Gratitude Journal. Each day she jots down something that she is thankful for. What a great idea! Taking a moment each day to reflect on something good. So since it's Thanksgiving, I figure it's a great day to start my own Gratitude Journal. And my first entry will be right here on the ol' blog.

I'm thankful for so many things. I feel blessed to be where I am in this life; to have so many wonderful, loving people to share each day with. I am truly blessed. Today I am most thankful for:

- Waking up in a warm bed in a beautiful home.
- Sharing a serene, foggy sunrise with birds and squirrels - theirs being the only sounds to hear.
- A healthy body, strong enough to run 5 miles, and the invigoration that running brings.
- A hot mug of coffee and the morning paper.
- Sharing the kitchen with the Love of my Life - each making our own culinary contributions for dinner.
- The 2+ hour ride down to HIS parents, during which we can just enjoy being together.
- Spending the afternoon with HIS family, in a house filled with laughter and love.

Happy Thanksgiving! Best wishes to all for a wonderful day. And remember to be thankful... today and every day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A FAR CRY FROM THE JERSEY TURNPIKE



Found this on YouTube and had to share! Back in 2005, the Brit and I took a trip to see his family in England. Here we're driving down a "typical" country road in Devon. His brother Paul is doing the driving, and I am making inaudible comments from the back seat.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

TOP 10 MOST EXCITING THINGS GOING ON IN MY LIFE

10. Our New Horizons senior adult music program has been up and running for 3 weeks now. We have 8 people and need about 92 more. If you are over 55 (or know someone who is) we have a spot waiting for you.

9. HE and I are watching "Lost." We just finished season 1 a few nights ago and are going through withdrawal as we wait for our Netflix to show up.

8. The kitties have vanished. I hope they're okay.

7. My hair is falling out.

6. HE won first prize in a raffle drawing the other day. We went to an event last Saturday called "Chow on Main" where for $10, you get to sample fare from about 12 different restaurants on Main Street in our town. First prize was a magnificent gift basket with about $250 worth of gift certificates!

5. I am swimming a bunch at the Y. My skin smells like chlorine, even though I shower twice a day.

4. I went running with a running club for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. It was fun but kicked my ass a little. In a good way.

3. I found out I have a soy milk intolerance. This sucks because I love soy milk. But I guess I love not feeling horribly gassy and disgusting even more.

2. I really can't think of 2 other exciting things going on. So maybe that's exciting in and of itself?

1. Whoa! As I was typing this, a guy from the local newspaper just called and wants to do an article on the New Horizons band! Now THAT's kind of exciting!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

WORLD'S GREATEST RECIPE

I'm boredboredbored today. Waiting for it to be 12:30 so I can go make a presentation to a local 55+ group about the Old People Band. It's humid and rainy and gross outside and doesn't feel like a New Jersey October. Thanks a lot, Al Gore. Yes, I know Al Gore is not solely responsible for global warming - but I have to blame someone.

I just ate my lunch. I made my favorite sandwich. Here is the recipe...

- 1 Morningstar Farms Garden Vegetable frozen patty
- 2 Kashi Go-Lean frozen waffles (any flavor will do - today I used blueberry)
- 1 slice white American cheese
- Ketchup and pickle relish

Put waffles in toaster and push down toasting lever. While that's going on, microwave veggie burger on a paper plate for one minute. When it's done, flip it over and microwave it an additional 30 seconds. Place cheese slice (unwrapped) on top of veggie burger and microwave for 20 seconds more.

When the waffles are done (and it's best if you cook them until they're crispy) place cooked veggie burger (avec cheese) on a waffle. Squirt a little ketchup and pickle relish on top and add the second waffle as a lid. Cut it in half and enjoy.

Around 300 calories with lots of fiber, protein and tasty goodness. Unfortunately, I ate it before I thought to take a picture of it. So instead, I offer you this portrait, which bears an astonishing likeness to the real thing:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

LET THE FUN BEGIN

I don't post often enough. I usually wait for something really big or funny or exciting to happen in my life and then I figure it's worth posting about. The thing is though, NOTHING really big or funny or exciting ever happens in my life.

Except for the WalMart guy. He was all three.

So in an effort to post more - because I really do like to blog - I will no longer wait for something big or funny or exciting to happen. You will now just get the very bare-bones, mundane, everyday shit.

Here goes. Enjoy.

I was reading the paper this morning and there was an article about some local costume shop gearing up for Halloween. There was a photo of this hip-looking young salesguy with a little girl wearing a cowboy hat and the little girl's Mom. It was not a very interesting article by any means, but what captured my attention was the hip-looking young salesguy's name in the photo's caption: "Logan Gray."

What a great name!! If you go through life with a name like "Logan Gray" you're bound to be cool and successful. Probably start out in some teen magazine and then end up on a soap opera. I think we'll see more of Logan in the near future. Maybe I should stop by the costume shop and see if I can become his agent (though with a name like that, he's bound to already have several agents.)

On an equally unexciting note, one of the ladies here in the office gave me a calander for my wall. It is put out by Turkey Hill ice cream and every month has a mouth-watering recipe on the top, accompanied by a painfully drool-inducing photo. Some days I will stare at the photo for long periods of time and drift into a state of euphoric meditation.

October's recipe is for "Choco-Mocha Cookie Sandwiches." The picture is of these giant homemade chocolate chip cookies sandwiching some lucious coffee ice cream.

Ohmm Mmm.

Friday, October 05, 2007

BRAWL-MART

Holy shit I am so bored. Today is one of those afore-mentioned days where I am spending the majority of my time waiting for someone else to do something so that I can do what I need to do. Right now I am waiting for this guy in Milwaukee to call. And it sucks.

Last night I walked over to the WalMart to see if they had a book I need for the new book club I joined. They didn't. But since I can always find something I "need" at WalMart, I picked up a bottle of dish detergent.

There were only two registers open and mobs of angry customers were standing around grumbling. I headed to the self-service lanes (which were also jammed up) and was standing in line when all of a sudden, a good ol' fashioned screamin' match done broke out!

This big dope started roughing up this poor little Indian guy. It was very intense and all of the other shoppers just stood there, gawking. It reminded me of the Kitty Genovese story I read about in high school. It's amazing and pretty sad how in a crisis situation, people really don't do a damn thing to help out others who are in distress.

Some people are even insensitive enough to stand there taking pictures with their camera phone.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

WAIT -- WHAT?

I heard this song today while driving - I don't recall putting it into my iPod. It must have come off one of my hundreds of 80's CDs.

God did it ever take me back...

Summer of 1988: On my way into 8th grade. Bad hair, low self-esteem and the height of puberty. I even had the same fringey, acid-washed jean jacket that the guitarist is wearing. Those were the days.

Friday, September 28, 2007

GETTING NOWHERE - EVEN FASTER.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?

...you may be asking. Or not. In any case, I have no valid excuse for not blogging other than I

Just. Plain. Suck.

Been flip-flopping at the new job. One day I am insanely busy, things are rolling along and I LOVELOVELOVE it! Then the next day, I sit catatonic at my desk for eight hours and go home and cry because I miss my teaching job so much.

Last Friday was really bad. I contemplated bailing on the next ten months and working as a barista at Starbucks until September. Then HE and I went out for pizza and I felt better about things.

Fucking pizza.

In other news, I've been cutting down on the running mileage a bit now that the mornings are getting darker. I joined the local YMCA and am taking adult swimming lessons. Alright - stop laughing. I never learned how to swim "for real" and so I am learning. Cause I think the next feat might be a triathlon. Someday.

I guess that's about all, sadly. Not too much else to report.

Actually, there was my run-in earlier this week with the Polish mafia. But that's for another day.

Friday, September 07, 2007

LOOKING FOR CHZBRGRS.

We have a cat.

Okay, maybe not in the traditional sense - she doesn't really live with us or anything. But she's kind of adopted us. One day she was just sitting on our back porch, staring into the screen door. So we fed her a can of tuna. Not surprisingly, she came back the next day. And the next. So we bought some cat food.

"What could we call her?" I asked HIM. We sat and thought for a while, but came up with nothing.

The same day, HE was asked to write a letter of reference on behalf of one of HIS psychologist colleagues who is applying for a new job. When HE asked to whom HE should address the letter, HIS colleague replied, "Nuzhat Iqbal."

"What's a 'nuzhat'?" HE asked.
"It's her name - the woman to whom you're writing," replied HIS colleague.

I think you can figure out where this is going...

Meet Miss NuzKat Hairball:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE NEW JOB

These are the two commercials that they came to shoot a couple weeks ago. They're gonna be aired for the next 13 weeks on cable channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, TBS, FX, MSNBC and others. The first targets Moms with kids and the second is for the old folks. Enjoy!



Thursday, August 23, 2007

LONG LOST TWIN SISTER-WIVES

One day last year, I was walking down the hall at school and a Mom who was dropping something off for her kid stopped me.

"Oh my God! I have been meaning to tell you this for so long! Do you know you have a twin?" she asked, excitedly.

"I do?" I replied, not wanting in any way to be involved in a conversation with a Mom during my free period. All I'd wanted was to make it to the bathroom unnoticed and slip back into my grotto under the stage.

"Yes! Do you watch Big Love?"

"No, I've never seen it." This was before we had HBO - probably during our Six Feet Under on NetFlix stint.

"You look exactly like one of the characters! Nicki!! The second wife! Oh my God!! My daughters and I say that every single time we see her! If your hair was blonde, you would totally BE her!!" she exclaimed, sounding a lot like a 13 year-old girl herself.

"Huh - I will have to check that out," I said as I slowly backed away and headed towards the bathroom.

I wasn't sure what disturbed me more: possibly having a celebrity döppelganger, or the fact that I was a routine topic of discussion for this woman and her children during prime-time television at their house.

Anyway, we ended up renting the first season of Big Love last month and I really love the show. And the other night, HE subscribed us to HBO On Demand and I can get my fix of Season 2 anytime I like. And we don't even need to leave the couch to do so... WOO HOO!

As for me and Nicki? I'll let you be the judge...



SIDENOTE: The photo of me was taken - BY ME - last summer when we were in Maine. It was the middle of the night, on the beach, and we were both drunk beyond repair. It wasn't until a few days later when I uploaded the photos off my camera that we even remembered being there.

Friday, August 17, 2007

TAGGED BY LISA

JOBS I'VE HELD:
- Ice Cream Scooper
- Bagel Hawker
- Deli Whore
- Knick-Knack Personalizer
- Data Entry Slug (temp job)
- Starbucks Barista
- Music Teacher
- Director of Educational Services :)

MOVIES I CAN WATCH OVER & OVER AGAIN:
- Bridget Jones' Diary
- Sixteen Candles
- The Princess Bride
- Goonies
- The Sound of Music

MY GUILTY PLEASURES:
- Ice cream
- Wine
- Daily crossword puzzle
- Long showers

PLACES I HAVE LIVED:
- Rockaway, Wayne, Rockaway (NJ)
- Rochester (NY)
- Rockaway, Haledon, Rockaway, Wharton, Rockaway, Boonton (NJ)

SHOWS I ENJOY:
- Jeopardy!
- The Office
- Rick Steves' Europe
- Seinfeld
- The Brady Bunch

VACATION SPOTS:
- ARIZONA
- Anywhere near an ocean
- Europe

FAVORITE FOODS:
- Veggie Heaven
- Mesob
- Ice cream
- Anything containing peanut butter...
- ...or marzipan

WEBSITES I VISIT DAILY:
- My blogging community
- Natalie Dee
- Runners World forums

BODY PARTS I HAVE INJURED:
- Uhh.. nothing really major [KNOCKING WOOD!!!]

AWARDS I'VE WON:
- The Betty Kanable Music Scholarship (grad school)
- 2 Geraldine Dodge grants:
-- 1 for $2,500 to spend 14 days in Europe
-- the second proclaiming me a "Dodge Fellow" and allowing me to spend a week in a think-tank in Colorado (both were very cool!)

NICKNAMES I'VE BEEN CALLED:
- Jenny Bean (as a kid, by my Mom)
- Little Pussy Willow (as a kid, by my Dad)
- Zig
- Danz

I HEREBY TAG:
- Kate, Mike (I know he loves being tagged) and TeacherWoman.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

DEAR SAM,

Wal-Mart, I'm sorry
That they are so mean
But they don't know you
Like I do

You take care of me
When my budget is lean
And carry it all
You're my "go-to"

And now you reside
Within walking distance
Of my new abode
And I'll say

It's a comfort to know
That you're there for me
So I'll visit you
Three times a day

Monday, August 13, 2007

DA CRIB

As promised, here are some pics of the new abode. It's hard to really capture how great the place is with a camera and an iPhone, but we did the best we could. If you click on each photo, you can see it in better detail.

So without further ado...

The kitchen - it's rectangular with a little breakfast nook at one end:


The dining room, complete with my grandmother's antique china closet:


The living room and HIS gloriously lush furniture & HUGE TV:


Guest bedroom - currently inhabited by our hamster, Claire:


Quite possibly my favorite room.. the office:


"The Love Den" (where the magic takes place):


My very own "Girly Bathroom" (HE has HIS own and there is also a 1/2 bathroom on the first floor):


Perhaps the greatest feature -- laundry room on bedroom level:


Our own garden paradise, complete with squirrels, gophers and feral cats:


If I haven't mentioned in a while, LIFE IS GOOD!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

REASON #267 TO KEEP RUNNING



(Thanks, Lisa!!)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

SETTLED IN

Whew! We're all moved in and set up and the new digs are FUCKING GRRRRRRREAT!!!! It's such an amazing place and I am so happy and HE is so great to live with and life is just FUCKING GRRRRRRRREAT!!!!!

This weekend I'll take some pictures of the place and post them up. Just promise you won't zoom in on the entrances and plan your burglary (did you know that's why you're not allowed to take pictures in a museum or in Lincoln Center?)

The job is also going really well. Got my own office now and a company credit card (don't worry, I won't abuse it - I'm not like that) and even got my very own Palm Treo.

Granted, it's no iPhone. And frankly, I didn't even really want it cause I was a litle afraid of learning it. But now I really dig it and use it quite often. It makes me feel important. But I won't wear it in a holster on my belt (even if I wore belts) because I'm not a frigging dork.



Now you know how I feel about people who wear cell phone holsters. They = Dorks.

What else? My running is kind of sucking right now. I think it's because last week was so exhausting with moving and then unpacking and lifting and all that. We had like 4 16-hour workdays in a row. The weather has been unbearably humid - even at 6 AM. I've done a couple 4-5 milers but they've sucked, and I skipped my weekend long run all together.

Ah well. I guess even I am allowed to ease up every now and then. I just have to remember that and to cut myself some slack. And if it comes down to the Rochester 1/2 next month and I don't feel prepared to do it, it won't be the end of the world. So that's my perspective.

And that's about all for today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

LOTS OF OLD-MAN BALLS

So what sucks about this job is that sometimes [read: often] I have to wait for someone else to do something before I can do what I need to do. Right now, for instance, I am waiting for the printer to drop off 200 brochures that our graphic designer made up so I can finish compiling 105 goodie bags for a golf outing.

No, I'm not joking.

Actually, it was an idea I got while looking through the 55+ section of the newspaper a couple weeks ago. I was scouting out the local senior citizen scene to try and see where I might begin my recruiting efforts for our New Horizons band. I came across an ad for an old-people golf outing being held in the next town over.

Being the avid [read: disturbingly fanatic] golfer that my boss is, he just happened to have 300+ golf balls lying around. So I bagged up the aforementioned goodie bags - each with 3 balls, 4 tees and a ball marker. The brochure I'm waiting for is for our New Horizons program, and one will be stapled - along with my newly minted business card - to each bag.

Essentially, over 100 old men will have my contact information. I have not yet decided how I feel about this.

Thankfully, it's my last project until I return to work on August 6th. HE and I both took next week off to move into our new abode. I am SO looking forward to... well, not the move itself. But definitely to living in a great new place with the greatest guy I've ever met.

I just hope HE doesn't mind the 100+ old men that I'll be inviting over for dinner.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

STILL HERE

Just figured I'd check in, it's been a while. Things are chugging along here at the new job. Some days I am busier than others, but for the most part I am enjoying it. Went out with my boss the other day to pick out some office furniture and am waiting for the arrival of my Palm Treo (yes HONEY, I know it's no iPhone ;)

Been running a bunch in the mornings and have registered to run the Rochester, NY 1/2 marathon in September. I did it back in 2005 and enjoyed being back in my grad school stomping ground. So I am looking forward to that and have been following Hal's Intermediate level training program.

This one has me doing speedwork once a week (so I guess that crazy bitch from the 5K got to me after all.) I do it down at this lake near my house. There's a paved path around the lake that's .74 miles/lap. I figure this is about 1200m around, so I've been doing 600's instead of 400's -- about halfway around at a very rapid pace and then slowing for the remaining half-lap.

Know what? Speedwork is HARD! Even though I am only doing like 3 miles of it per week (and have really only done it twice), it kicks my ass in a new and different way. We shall see if I can have that sub-2:00 1/2 I am dreaming of... *sigh*

In other news, we're moving into our new condo exactly one week from today! Although the act of moving sucks more than just about anything, I am very excited for new beginnings and looking forward to living with HIM in our new place.

Will certainly make an effort to post more often (yeah...right.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

3 WORDS: INTERNET. AT. WORK.

Finally! My Mac's got itself hooked up wit' da Ethernet strings and I compromise NOTHING! They use PCs here, and since I would rather put toothpicks into my eyeballs than use a PC, I was sans Internet until today. But I won! And now my life is complete.

Life's been good. Things at work are a little slow this week as it is summer and schools are off (as I well know.) I am keeping busy getting my ducks in a row so I can launch a full-scale recruiting assault in September, but until then I am kinda laying low and gathering the forces.

Today I did something very different: I went to a diner for lunch - by myself - ordered a lovely salad, and sat and read a book. It was nice. And while I'm sure that thousands of people around the world do this on a regular basis, it was a very new experience for me.

In other news, I ran what was probably the toughest 5K of my life this past Sunday. The race T-shirt even said "The Toughest 5K in New Jersey" on the back and, while that may not be 100% accurate, at least I'm not the only person who thought it was tough. It was in my own town (which is an extremely hilly lake community) and I thought I'd be prepared for it since I train here. But clearly the guy who picked the route was a twisted sadist.

Needless to say, there was no PR for me. I did, however, place 2nd in my age category (30-39 y/o female) and so I felt really good about that. Hell, I even got a little award plaque! So all was not lost.

Uhh... I had other things I wanted to write about. Every time something funny happens I think, "I should blog about this" and then I forget it. Well, hopefully I can keep more current now that I am amongst the technologically living.

Friday, July 13, 2007

TGIF

So I’ve made it through the first week of the new job and I must say, things are definitely shaping up.

I gotta admit, at first I was a little overwhelmed by the new environment, and my initial reaction was pretty pessimistic. I think that’s fairly normal when someone is taken out of their comfort zone. But I did a lot of thinking about things Monday night and realized just how lucky I am...

For eight years, I have dreamed of starting my “Old People Band.” I’ve dreamed of doing it on my own terms – possibly even getting paid to do so. I’ve longed to be creative – to not have to follow the same boring schedule day after day, year after year. And now, miraculously, I find myself in that dream situation. How I got here, I’m not quite sure (and I certainly won’t question) but all of a sudden, I am realizing the actual potential here.

And I am loving it!

It’s amazing being able to wake up at a reasonable hour. To be able to fit in a 40 minute run, shower, have breakfast and read the newspaper BEFORE going to work. To walk into a beautiful office where secretaries greet me with relaxed smiles. To sit in a huge office (even if it’s not my own personal office just yet) with my Mac and figure out exactly how I am going to spend my day. I can go to the bathroom. Or out on an errand, or to lunch...

AND I DON’T HAVE TO ASK ANYONE’S PERMISSION!

Today we had two business meetings and people [ADULT people!] listened to my opinions with respect. It was almost as if they thought I had some sort of credibility or something. This is all very new.

I like the people I work with. As I mentioned, Nick is completely ADHD, but I like him. He’s a good businessman and a nice guy. The co-owner Tom is the complete opposite. He’s quiet and shy, but absolutely brilliant. They complement each other well and have been working together for over 30 years.

I feel good about things and I am just gonna make the very best out of the situation. There’s so much potential and I feel like I really am only limited by my own creativity. It’s the dream job.

I think I’ll probably miss the kids. There’s something to be said for working with kids versus adults. I think they keep you young, in a sense. But the beauty is that if I start to miss them enough, I can always decide to do some teaching here – maybe lessons or an ensemble or something.

For now though, I think I will focus on the creation process. Get some programs up and running – get out to the schools and begin spreading the word. After all, the more people I be bringin’ in the door, the more money I be bringin’ home. That is an incentive that was definitely missing from my last job.

Monday, July 09, 2007

GENESIS 1:1

Wow. This is kinda surreal. I’m writing this at 1:44 PM – right about when I’d normally be [sullenly] gathering my things to go upstairs to the gym to conduct afternoon Band. I’d be faced with 50+ unruly pre-teens, all blowing sour notes and talking incessantly. I’d roll my eyes, count to ten and try desperately to get through the next 42 minutes without committing murder.

Honestly though? I kinda wish I were back there right now.

The morning was busy. I got here around 9 and sat and brainstormed with Nick (my boss) about what I’d work on this summer. Since I don’t yet have an office of my own, I have taken up residence at his conference table. The problem is, he is quite possibly the most ADHD human being on the planet. He talks a mile a minute and his thoughts don’t seem to flow in any logical order. Speaking with him is both exciting and exhausting.

Around 11:45 I asked him when I am supposed to go to lunch. He replied, “whenever you’re hungry” a response – to most normal people – which makes sense. But having spent the past eight years being governed by a bell, this is a foreign concept. So at 11:50 (my lunch time at school) I drove to the health food store and bought a sandwich.

When I got back here, Nick was gone and well – I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. So I wandered around and poked my head into different areas of the shop. I went up to the lesson studio and talked to the lady whose job I will be incorporating into my own. She scared me a little.

I wandered over to the vending machine. I ate a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels. Then I ate a bag of Famous Amos oatmeal cookies. If this is the way things continue, I’ll be 900 lbs. by the time the summer ends. Now I am back in Nick’s office and I have decided to blog… keep you all on top of my new and exciting life.

Maybe I need not to stress out about it yet. After all, it is only my first day. It’s just strange not having a routine yet. As a teacher, the whole job is a routine. Every day had its order, every month, every year. It ended in June and started up in September. It was both painfully mundane and mindlessly comforting.

But maybe as the days unfold, a routine will reveal itself. That’s human nature after all, right? Systemizing? It’s what we do. It just seems like it might be a little more vague here than it was at school. No one handed me a class schedule this morning that told me what I was teaching, who’d be in the classroom and when I’d be able to have 5 minutes free to take a poop.

Ah well. A change is what I wanted and a change is what I most definitely have gotten. I’ll take it as it comes and see just where it goes. And along the way, I’ll savor being able to eat and poop on MY terms.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

D-DAY

- Anxious tonight.
- Starting the new job tomorrow.
- Wondering what it will be like to drive to a new "work."
- Hoping I don't hate it after a week.
- If I do hate it after a week, maybe it's ME and not the job.
- Hmm.
- Wondering why the fan on my laptop keeps going on.
- Has it always gone on and I've just never noticed?
- And now I can't stop noticing it?
- Maybe I should shut it off before it melts.
- That would really suck.
- I'd bring it back to the Apple store.
- They'd probably hit me with the $300 restocking fee.
- Fuckers.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?



I don't know why, but I cannot get enough of this site!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I [HEART] THE INTERNET

2 really cool running aids I've come across thanks to blog friends Lisa and Jeff.

The first is PodRunner - a DJ who puts together 60 minute workout mixes at specific BPM. I used one of these on Monday and had one of the best 5-milers in months!

And today I used GMaps Pedometer to track some routes around the new abode. One of my biggest concerns was figuring out where to run and this totally solved the dilemma.

Thanks, Internet. You're one sweet innovation!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

YOU'RE GONNA LOVE... ME-E-E-E!!

Alright, that was weird. I just launched Safari and this strange layer of gray began sliding down my screen -- as if it were melting. When the grayness reached the bottom, a message popped up (in four different languages) informing me that I needed to restart my computer. WTF?

Anyway, it's been a rainy 4th of July here but a nice one, nonetheless. HE and I had a lazy morning - complete with bagels and Dunkin' Donuts coffee - and then I went home to do some "rooting." I have been rooting through boxes and drawers all over the house, reminiscing a bit and throwing out a whole lot. Between changing jobs and changing residences, I feel like it's a good time to clean house. So I did that and felt semi-productive.

Later in the afternoon, HE and I went on a hike at a place we call Jewish Park [note: it's okay that we make fun of the Jews. I am half a Jew and HE is full-on in Jewness, so technically, we're allowed.] We call it Jewish Park because the main walking trail is paved concrete. And since Jews don't like to sweat unnecessarily (or so HE claims) they come to this park to hike because it's easy. We walked around Jewish Park until it started to rain.

We ended up back at HIS apartment with takeout Chinese and a copy of "Dreamgirls." Okay, I knew Jennifer Hudson was great and the movie won all these awards and stuff. I also knew it was a movie about music. What I did not know was that it is a "musical." As in, a-Broadway-burst-into-song-every-ten-minutes cheesefest.



Uugggghhhhh... I HATE musicals!! I mean, I went through the obligatory Broadway Geek phase in high school and all, but by my 20's, I was well over it. I didn't even like Wicked, and that was with blowing $120 on a ticket. I don't know what it is, but musicals are horrible.

Needless to say, by the time Jamie Foxx and Beyonce were married, HE and I had both had enough. We also made a pact that when and if we get into any fights in the future, we must both burst into song and sing our sides of the argument. We even shook on it. So maybe Dreamgirls wasn't a total loss.

Monday, June 25, 2007

BRINGING SEXY MAC

Firstly, I should let you all know that this is the inaugural post on MY brand new MacBook Pro 15" 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo.

Yes bitches, she's ALL MINE.

So school is over. And this is going to be the first summer -- uh, ever? -- that I will not be returning to some form of 'school' in September. And I really don't think it's sunk in yet. Or perhaps I have spent so long getting used to the idea that it has sunk in via osmosis over the past four months and I'm just really okay with it all.

In any case, I feel pretty good these days. I chaperoned the 8th grade trip to Boston again a couple weeks ago and it was a total blast. The kids were great and the other teachers on the trip were a lot of fun. I had my own sweet hotel room again, and rather enjoyed sleeping diagonally across the luxurious, king-sized bed for two nights.

I spent two weeks submerged in iMovie, finishing the end-of-the-year movie and I must say, it really came out great. We showed it to the entire school on the last day and everyone was roaring. It's safe to say I went out on a high note [pun schmun.]

Now I have two weeks until I start the new job. Two long... empty... weeks. I feel a little deflated after being on such a high, I must admit. I really wish I could learn to relax and enjoy free time a little bit more, but I don't think I'm wired that way.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I'm attending an ethics symposium at the high school. All things considered, I find it a little ironic (don'tcha think?) that they're holding an ethics symposium in this school district, but they have really good speakers lined up and it's free to faculty members. Otherwise it's $250 to attend. I'm all about the gratis education.

So there you have it -- the less-than-exciting life of a Turtle, in review. Try not to get blown away.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

HOW TO SURVIVE DRIVING IN NEW JERSEY

1. You must first learn to pronounce the city name Newark; it is New-erk
not New-ark. Never go to Newark.

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on the Turnpike is 85 mph. & on the Parkway it's 105 or 110. Anything less is considered wimpy.

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second.

However, in Monmouth county, SUV-driving, cellphone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, cats, barrels, cones, celebrities, rubber-neckers, shredded tires, cell-phoners, deer and other road kill.

9. Mapquest does not work here -- none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike EZ Pass lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally activated."

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be cursed at accordingly.... If you curse back, you'll be shot.

12. Do not try to estimate travel time -- just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments; by noon on Thursday for Friday; and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DINERS AND MUD HUTS

Alright, so I REALLY suck as a blogger. I've been very busy rescuing orphans from burning buildings and helping families in third-world nations construct mud huts.

Okay, maybe not. But it sounds a lot better than "I just don't feel like blogging."

Actually, life has been pretty fucking stellar these days! Morning Band has mercifully come to an end and I have been using the extra hour to run. There's something incredible about getting out and running first thing in the morning. No one else is up yet, and I find it really meditative to just be out there with the birds and squirrels and relative silence. It also gives me a chance to wrap my head around what I need to do each day. I really have been feeling much better these past couple weeks.

As Media Club Advisor (read: "Nerd Shepherd") I've been spending most of the schoolday working on the End-Of-The-Year movie in iMovie HD. It's a total blast! I really can't believe I am getting paid for this!

In other news, HE and I found a place to live!! We got a great 3-bedroom condo in a sweet town. We'll be renters, but it's what we decided we wanted to do. Owning a house is a huge hassle and we both agree it's better to make sure we can live together before making such a huge investment. Also, we're not sure just how long we wanna stay here in NJ.

Speaking of NJ - how cool is it that I live within 10 miles of the Raceway gas station where Phil got whacked?! I mean, it's right across the street from the Barnes & Noble that we're at on a regular basis!! Unlike many people, I actually LIKED the last episode of The Sopranos. I think it was great how David Chase kept us in suspense during every scene and ended it with them in a diner. You can't possibly get anymore New Jersey than that!

Besides, in real life things don't always end up neatly and concluded. With this ending, practically everyone was left up in the air -- especially Tony. And in my opinion, that's worse (and more realistic) than knowing your fate. He'll continue to live on the edge. Such is life.

Alrght - enough of that. I'll try to do a better job of posting. It's just that all this mud gets into the keyboard and really gums things up.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

UPS AND DOWNS

This morning I ran in a local 5K. It's a route I run frequently and therefore know every inch of. I'd been looking forward to it for weeks. When I woke up this morning, it was already pretty warm and muggy. I did my normal pre-run routine and got to the registration table in plenty of time.

I hate being early to races because then you have more time to stand around getting nervous. I found a patch of shade and just kind of stood there... getting nervous. I wasn't out to break any world records, that's for sure. But I wanted to do well. My PR for a 5K is 26:55 (although if we wanna get technical, that was a race without a chip so I suppose it could have been a few seconds less than that.)

Over the years, I've definitely improved. I used to always be in the 28:00 range. I guess what would make me really happy would be to break 26:00... even if it were just 25:59. There's something about having that 25.

So anyway, I'm standing there minding my own business when this lady who's stretching beside me says,
"Guess we're all fighting for the shade today, huh?"
"Yeah. It's pretty hot already," I answered.
"Yeah - I hope I don't go down again."
"Huh?"
"Last week I collapsed in the middle of the SoAndSo Classic, see?" She pointed to her nose. There was a scab on it and one on her cheek.
"Ouch! I bet that sucked," I replied.
"Yeah, I really pushed myself. I'm not so good in the heat. Last year I went down in a 5K right at mile 3. I could see the finish line! Not today. I'm taking it easy. Gonna jog it. Not pushing for more than a 24:00."

Great. I should have known she was one of "those people" by her 2% body fat. She proceeded to tell me all about how fast she can run and how she only needs a 4:10 to qualify for Boston because she's 51. Then, the dreaded question:

"How fast do you usually average a 5K?"
"Uhh.. like 25 or 26," I lied.
"Oh good. Maybe I'll just stick by you today then."

Fuuuuuuuck.

"You know, you're young. You could really improve your time with some speedwork," she offered.
"Yeah well, I haven't really been running that long," I lied again.
"Hey, I'm gonna so get some water - I'll be right back!"

When she walked away, I quickly rounded the corner and lost myself in the crowd. She'd totally fucked up my self-esteem and I was pissed. Pissed at myself for not running more or doing speedwork. Pissed at ice cream for being so creamy, sweet, and evil.

As I was running the race, I started letting go of my bad feelings. So what if I am not the world's fastest runner? At least I am not insane enough to push myself to the point of passing out in a race... seemingly on a regular basis! So what if I don't have 2% body fat? Who cares what the clock says anway? I passed younger, fitter people and had a really good race, despite the oppressive heat and hilly course.

When I got to the clock at the end, it said 27:50 (without chips). Although a little deflated, I still felt pretty good. I was out there doing something that not everyone can do, and I did it to the best of my ability.

And now I need to go take a shower and get to a graduation party. A friend of mine from high school just earned her law degree from Fordham and I'll get to see a bunch of people I haven't seen in 13 years. And 13 years ago, I wasn't a runner and was 30 lbs. heavier. So there's hope that my ego may bounce back today after all!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

REMEMBERING WHY I TEACH

One of my sixth-grade students, Maddie, handed me a folded up piece of paper yesterday at the beginning of class.
"Don't read it now, okay?" she asked.
"Okay," I agreed, "I'll read it when I get home today."

* * *

A Thank-you for Ms. D

Band, oh band! It's so much fun!
At period 9 or up with the sun!
We chitter and chatter, but have fun a lot,
And we play every song, whether we like it or not!
And the fact that we play it will just go to show
That, because we like you, how far we will go!
Jazz Band's a blast, I really must say,
And the fact that we have to wake early each day
Doesn't bother me at all, no it doesn't, not me!
If I needed to, I would wake up at three!
I don't know if everyone else shares my view,
They'd might like to sleep another hour or two.
Period 9 Band is awesome as well
And it's all thanks to you that the bands sound so swell
So thank you so much for helping us play,
The instruments we (hopefully) practice every day!
For where is the ship if the captain's not there?
And won't a pilot-less plane soon be in despair?
Where would soccer teams be if the coach had the flu?
Where would our band be, if we didn't have you?

* * *

Priceless.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

IN A WAY BETTER PLACE

Okay so ever since the concert ended, I have felt about 1,000 lbs. lighter. My soul feels good again. I feel relaxed, and at the same time very much alive.

I wish I got stressed like normal people. I used to, but somewhere along the way, my defense mechanisms changed. I used to get anxious and crazy and zoom around like a nut trying to perfect every little detail until the last possible moment. I'd be a ball of adrenalin.

These days, however, when I am under pressure I just shut down. I stop feeling - I go numb. I escape into my head and into weird thoughts and rituals. I guess it's better for my blood pressure, but I'm not sure I like the way I feel. It's a calm, but it's kind of like an "unnatural" calm. I wonder if it has anything to do with running? Maybe I am redirecting the adrenalin?

Anyway, so I feel pretty damn good. The concert went off without a hitch, and I had a wonderful long weekend: first at HIS graduation ceremony in Philly with HIM and HIS family, and then just the two of us headed down the shore. Friday was kind of rainy and cold. We spent most of the day in Ocean City, but drove up to Atlantic City in the evening. We had an amazing dinner at Cuba Libre in the Tropicana, and then spent about 45 minutes trying to find HIS car in the parking garage (damn you, mojitos!)

Back in Ocean City, we woke up Saturday morning to sunshine and decided to rent bicycles for a couple hours. We rode on the boardwalk and through town. We spent the day eating pizza, Boardwalk fries and Kohr Bros. custard. It was the epitome of self-indulgence and it was fucking great!

And this week has just been really good. I'm getting the kids geared up for our annual Memorial Day performance and spending hours working on the "End Of The Year Movie" (being I'm the Media Club Advisor and all.)

Looking forward to tomorrow's Friday Happy Hour - the first with the girls in a long time. I can already taste the margarita.

Mmmm...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SEPARATED AT BIRTH

Jordin Sparks or America Ferrara? You decide.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BUTTERFLIES

Tonight may very well be my last Spring concert at the middle school level. It's kind of bittersweet. After today's 90-minute dress rehearsal with 80 kids in a 200-degree auditorium, I wanted to run screaming out the front doors and never look back. But now that I'm sitting here waiting for the actual event, I feel a little melancholy.

I went out for my pre-concert run. It's a ritual I have followed for a very long time. Today I ran in a torrential thunderstorm. Two people even pulled over to ask me if I wanted a ride home, but I declined, as running in the rain is an absolutely breathtaking experience. I'm not sure why, but it seems sort of primal... just me against the elements.

Tomorrow we're all going down to Philadelphia to HIS PhD hooding ceremony. HIS whole family is going and I'm so excited and proud of HIM and cannot wait to be there with all of them. Afterwards, HE and I are going to Ocean City for a couple days just to get away and spend some much needed time together.

I feel relaxed now. About to go upstairs and do my hair and whatnot. And about three hours from now, I guess I will kind of be a different person.

Huh.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

YAY!! I GET TO TALK ABOUT ME!!

(Thanks Kate!)

A- Available or Single: Committed to HIM but always my own person.

B- Best Friend: TiVo.. hehe.

C- Cake or Pie: Cake... under a pile of ice cream.

D- Drink of Choice: Unsweetened iced tea with lemon.

E- Essential Items: Sneakers. Gum.

F- Favorite Color: Green.

G- Gummi Bears or Worms: Chocolate Twizzlers.

H- Hometown: SopranoLand.

I- Indulgence: Ice cream.

J- January or February: January - New beginnings. Also, my birthday :)

K- Kids: Should be banned.

L- Life is incomplete without: Coffee and the daily crossword.

M- Marriage Date: Um, I suppose it should be my fiance, right? Oh wait -- you mean the day?

N- Number of Siblings: 2 older brothers who made my childhood a living hell.

O- Oranges or Apples: Apples -- they're just easier.

P- Phobias/Fears: Disfiguring accidents of any sort.

Q- Favorite Quote: "The BRAVE may not live forever, but the CAUTIOUS do not live at all."

R- Reasons to smile: I am alive.

S- Season: Right now, SPRING!

T- Tag Three: Lisa, Mike & The Bard.

U- Unknown Fact About Me: I enjoy washing dishes.

V– Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: If God didn't want us to eat animals, he shouldn't have made them out of meat.

W- Worst Habits: Overanalyzing.

X– X-rays or Ultrasounds: Must I choose? They're both so much fun!

Y- Your Favorite Foods: Mesob. Oh, and maybe ice cream.

Z- Zodiac: Capricorn.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

BA-DUM BUM.

I think it's safe to say that the guy who designed this chart had a pretty crappy job.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

HORMONES = SUCK.

So I've had a crappy few days. I've been feeling lower than low and it really sucks. I seriously think it's because I went back on the pill two weeks ago. It was a last resort -- the whole "woman visits" have been absent for over a year and my doctor recommended I go back on it to get things rolling again, so to speak.

I wondered if there was a correlation between birth control pills and depression, so naturally I turned to the all-knowing source of all things: The Internet.

And sure enough, there were lots and lots of articles relating the two. Then again, you can find stuff relating to just about anything on The Internet.

*SIGH*

Anyway. Yesterday I took a mental health day. I got up and took a nice long run and then drove to this gigantic mall. I did some shopping and saw what turned out to be a terribly depressing movie. But the day did manage to get my mind off my work-related blues.

Today was better. I went with my principal and vice principal to observe a potential candidate for my job. I'd say she was in her late 20's, and we watched her teach a group of 6th grade clarinet players. About fifteen minutes into the lesson, my principal leans over and whispers,

"I don't know how the hell you do this every day. I think I would go insane."

Voila! So I felt a little justified and maybe not so crazy for getting antsy in my job. Eight years, it's been. And sitting there watching this chick teach made me realize that it's pretty much the same thing in any school I'd wind up in. And I am so ready for a change.

So I do feel better today. Probably because the week is almost over. And Saturday is Cinco de Mayo and I have a reunion to attend. So maybe my depression is 99% work-related after all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

AUTHENTICITY

Just stumbled across this article and wanted to share it.

It's a little heavy, but it sure did resonate with me.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

CIRCLE OF LIFE

This afternoon I went back to my Alma Mater to hear a senior recital. The featured artist was Christian - the "little brother" of my high school friend, Sandra. I met Chris when he was a pain-in-the-ass, eight year-old brat. When I was in college and Chris was in high school, I used to give him trumpet lessons. Who would have ever thought he'd also go on to become a trumpet-playing, Music Ed. major?

Christian is somewhere in his twenties now. On top of going to school, he works 40 hours a week to support his wife, two year-old son, and second baby that looks as if its about to be born any day now. I can't even fathom that lifestyle, but I certainly hold him in the highest respect for working as hard as he does. He's a good man.

He played an excellent recital - lots of challenging pieces. I don't know when he finds the time to practice, but his tone and endurance were great. I remember back in college - and especially grad school - when I would spend four or five hours a day in a practice room. It seems like it was a different lifetime ago.

Christian studies trumpet with the same professor I did, and I saw him today for the first time in many years. I had an unbelievable crush on "Dr. C" and, in my senior year, learned the crush was mutual. We attempted an awkward relationship for a couple months but nothing significant transpired. It wasn't the real deal -- just two lonely hearts in two very different places in life.

The music building at my old college looked exactly as it had when I was a student ten years ago. Dr. C is still there helping to make music teachers. Christian will graduate and soon find himself standing in front of hundreds of kids, sharing the music... inspiring the future teachers.

And ten years from now, he might very well find himself drinking wine and blogging about the recital he'd just heard.

Monday, April 23, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PUDGE!

Saturday we went to my brother's house for my nephew's first birthday party.

There were cute little kids milling about in the sunshine, eating cupcakes and playing with scooters, sandboxes and teeter-totters. If the maternal instincts were ever going to kick in, it would have been then.

Needless to say, they didn't. But as you can tell, there's not much I wouldn't do for this particular kid and his brother.

Friday, April 20, 2007

NEW APPROACH

There's a whole lot of turmoil going on in my school building because "The Administration" is moving everyone around to new teaching assignments. The changes wouldn't affect me even if I were staying because, let's face it, no one else would be stupid enough to want to teach the Band. But everyone else is up in arms and lots of tears are being shed. It really kind of blows.

Yesterday, I thought I might try a new approach to my last two months here. Rather than allowing it to continue sucking the life out of me, I decided to just let everything bounce off. I went up and spent time mingling with some of the disgruntled teachers and made it my job to say all the things that they were thinking but - as people concerned about their future employment - afraid to say. It was a good day. It added a bit of levity to a really negative situation.

Last night, HE and I were watching a couple travel programs that TiVo had recorded.

[Sidenote: I love TiVo so much more than I ever would have imagined... especially now that TiVo knows what I like to watch and goes out of his way to tape it for me. I love you, TiVo.]

The first one we watched was GlobeTrekker: California. God, I want to go to California. Not so much the southern part as the north. I wanna go to Big Sur and up to see the giant redwoods. I wanna hang out in Garberville and smoke some weed with the hippies. Most of all, I want NOT to be confined to a boring routine, paying out the ass to live in crappy New Jersey for the rest of my life.

I don't have the big dreams of a fancy wedding, white-picket fence or brood of children. I've never been a big fan of "stuff" -- as a matter of fact, I am probably one of the few women alive who detests shopping. I want to come up with a way to make a living while being able to travel around the world. I want to live simply and authentically. I want to live free.

Is that weird?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

WHAT DO I HAVE TO LOSE?

Kate's right (thanks, Kate) - what DO I have to lose? I guess I feel bad about being so NOT into school. I really just have to get through the next nine weeks and then I'm home free. But patience is not a virtue that I possess.

You know those people who PUSH right up to the very end? The people who see the finish line and kick up their speed, balls to the wall? That's not me - I fizzle out. I don't know why it is. I'm just having a really hard time staying motivated to be here. When I wake up in the morning and think about the classes that I have to face each day, I get this sinking thud in my stomach. It's just a bad way to be.

In other news, our governor is on his deathbed. On his way to a Don Imus assembly, the SUV he was riding in was involved in an accident. Guvna was travelling 91 MPH and he was not wearing a seatbelt. I have nothing else to say about that.

Parts of our state are still underwater from the weekend's nor'easter. Driving to work the past few days, I see confused but happy ducks swimming in parking lots. "Global warming is a hoax!" -- Um no, not really.

I don't really want to talk about the Virginia Tech thing because I don't really know what to say.

And Sanjaya is gone.

With all that crappiness in the rest of the world, I suppose I should shut the f**k up and appreciate just how easy my simple little life actually is.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

WHAT'S GOING ON...

Alright. So now that it's 99.9% official, I guess I can declare: I will not be a public school music teacher next year. My proposal for a leave of absence has been approved and, for the first time in eight years, I will have a new job.

A 12-month/year job. A job that doesn't require spending 6 daily 42-minute periods trying to corral a group of prepubescent middle schoolers. A job I don't have to be at by 6:45 AM every day - a ridiculous hour that my body has never been able to accept. A job where I can go to the bathroom when I want to, instead of waiting until the 10:17 bell rings.

I am taking a position as "Director of Education" at a retail music store. I'll be in charge of managing and increasing their lesson studio; organizing professional development workshops for public school teachers; and developing new community music programs for kids and adults of all ages. It's a position that has never before existed. But the owners of the store bought a new 16,000 sq. ft. facility last year and it is absolutely AMAZING.

And I am so ready for a change.

But at the same time, I am scared to death on so many levels.

I'm lucky that the Board of Ed. has approved my leave. That way if things don't work out, my current job will still be there in a year. But I so desperately want for things to work out. If they don't, I cannot imagine having to return to the same ol' rut and routine. I guess I am most scared of that. I want so badly for the new job to be all that I dream it will - and I just don't want to be disappointed.

So for the past few weeks I have been feeling as if I'm in limbo - counting down the days until my life changes. And I have felt numb and angry and tired and sad. I've been seeing a really cool therapist who is great to talk to. Every week as I'm driving there I think, "What will I say to him today?" And every week without fail, I develop verbal diarrhea as soon as I sit down in his office. And it feels so good to just unload.

That's where I am. And why I think I need to blog more. It feels good to vent - clears the mind a little when I have to actually write out all that I am feeling.

I feel better already.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NUMB.

I need to blog more.

Except that right now I feel like my world - as I know it - is about to collapse.

But not for another two months.

So in the meanwhile, my brain is spinning out of control with all the things I should be doing.

And at the same time, I am paralyzed into numbness and I end up doing nothing.

I really need to blog more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CREEEEEPY....

My friend PMcQ visited Savannah, GA over spring break and went on a haunted pub crawl. She got lots of photos with orbs in them, the best being this one:



I zoomed in on one of the brightest and swear to God I see an image in it:



If there's anyone out there who's actually reading this, click on the image to enlarge it and tell me what, if anything, you see. I wanna know if I am indeed crazy.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Last night I played at a Palm Sunday 'concert' as part of a pretty good-sized orchestra. It was at one of those mega-churches, with three large screens surrounding the alter. While the choir sang and the instruments played (complete with nauseating 8th-note rock beat on the drumset) the lyrics were projected on the three screens so the congregation could sing along.

The minister of the church was a young guy with blindingly white teeth, perfect hair and three perfect children. His perfect wife was one of the soloists in the choir. He got up in the beginning of the service to say a prayer and to introduce the music director.

The musical work itself was titled "Jesus: No Other King" and was an arrangement of about eight songs - all related to, as you may have guessed, Jesus. Mainly about how we as human beings just flat out suck. How we should all get down on our knees and PRAISE JESUS every single day, and know we're not worthy and Jesus is THE WAY. There was also a lot of stuff about Jesus' blood.

I don't know. Church. Dogma. It all just makes my fur bristle. It seems so paradoxical to what "spirituality" feels like to me. Okay, so Jesus is the Son of God... but aren't we ALL God's children? Is God really this big, pissed-off man in the clouds, sitting up there smiting the sinners? That doesn't make sense. It didn't make sense when I was a kid in Sunday School and then Confirmation class. And it doesn't make sense now.

I looked out into the congregation and watched the people sing along - wondering if they questioned what it was they were saying. I wondered if anyone was as confused as I was. Then I just decided to sit back and play my trumpet the best that I could, happy to be a part of a peaceful group of people. Happy that I'd be receiving a check at the end of the evening that I could put towards costs of living the life with which I have been blessed.

And I realized it doesn't matter what anyone else believes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

FUCK YEAH!

Today I ran the More 1/2 Marathon through Central Park. I had kinda been on the fence about doing it for the past few weeks. As I'd mentioned, the chicken pox debacle put a real damper on my training which, in turn, smooshed my motivation and confidence. I've been running fairly regularly, though just between 3-5 miles a few days a week. My longest 'long run' has been about 6 miles... and that was like 3 weeks ago.

Yesterday I went out and ran 4. The sun was shining and I felt great, so last night I'd decided to give it a go. We all met up around 6:15 this morning. There were 7 of us going in - 5 who planned on walking, the other girl, Allison, had trained to run. It was a cold morning but I felt really good.

We got into the city & parked no problem. I headed up to the start with Allison and decided I'd just see how long I could run before I had to walk. And wouldn't you know it? I ran all 13.1 miles! And I felt fucking great! I think I attribute it to mindset: for the first time, I wasn't concerned about my time and didn't psyche myself out. I just rode my feet and took in the amazing energy all around me.

I high-fived kids on the curb and admired the tall buildings. I smiled for cameras and sang along - out loud - with my iPod. I had the best race of my life! And here's the kicker... I ended up doing it in 2:04:18*. Huh!



The people I went with were so much fun. Four of the walking ladies were 'race virgins' and they had a really great time. One got shit on by a pigeon, and one was bitch-slapped by a hostile stranger while on line at Starbucks. It was just a really great day and it reaffirmed my love for running. It's an incredible activity - like nothing in the world - and I consider myself very lucky to be healthy and able enough to do it. And I shall run until I can no longer do so.

* UPDATED CHIP TIME AND NEW P.R. -- WOO HOO!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

TURTLE UPDATE

Lots of exciting things are transpiring in my life these days. I've been hesitant to talk about the career end for two reasons: A) I don't want to write anything that could get back to anyone in a position of authority and harm any potential prospects; and B) I am far more superstitious than I care to admit and do not want to jinx anything.

But before we discuss such petty things as my future well-being, let us touch on something vastly more important... tonight's American Idol results.

Okay, I understand the whole San-gina thing now. Apparently I was onto something with the stoner college kids, and it seems as though they have an organization. Not only that, but I hear Howard Stern has his army of listeners backing San-gina too.

Actually, there's something intriguing about watching this kid every week. It's like watching a car accident or something - hideous enough to make you squirm and yet -- you just HAVE TO watch.

So I like Jordin Sparks a lot because she's young and fresh. For a 17 year-old kid, she is absolutely amazing. LaKisha is an amazing singer too, but I don't really "like" her all that much. But my #1 vote for this season goes to Melinda Doolittle. I love her. That's all.

Alright so I've applied for a leave of absence from my job for next year. My Principal approved it, as did the Superintendent. Next, my proposal goes to the Board of Ed. and they make the final call. I hope it's approved. I really feel like I need a change after 8 years, but it would feel really good to know that I had that safety net. Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed for me - more when I know more.

I did my first 5K of the year last Sunday. Actually, it was my first "official" race since the marathon back in October. I did okay for the first one out - 26:55. Not great, but not too bad. I haven't been very rigid in my running these days.

I am planning to do the More 1/2 marathon in NYC on Sunday and had been training pretty good for it up until I got the chicken pox. I figured I wouldn't push my body as it tried to recover so I lost a lot of long runs, along with the desire. So I'll go in on Sunday and do the best I can - even if it means walking a bit. As it is, two of the three other people I'm going with are injured so we may be crawling along together. It's all good.

The thing of it is, I've proven that I can train for and complete 26.2 miles! I kind of feel like I have a different approach to running now. It's as if I used to be a little intimidated by it -- was never quite brave enough to call myself "a runner." Now I can say it and I do so with pride. These days when I run, I have a confidence - I felt it for the first time at the starting line on Sunday. It was Excitement instead of Anxiety.

So yeah, that's what's been going on. Like sand through the hourglass...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

FUTURE HEART-BREAKER

Friday, March 16, 2007

LUCK O' THE NON-IRISH

Oh hell YES today was indeed a snow day! As we speak, I am preparing a festive offering of 40-spice hummus and grapefruits for the Snow Gods. All hail the Snow Gods!

Last night I went to a tricky tray with some of my work friends. For those of you unfamiliar with what a "tricky tray" is, it's a fundraiser event where people and businesses donate baskets or certificates, and people buy tickets and put them in for the baskets they want. Then someone pulls numbers and whoever's ticket is pulled wins the prize. I guess it's like a Chinese auction? Maybe it's the newer, more PC term.

We've gone to this particular tricky tray for the past five years. It is a fundraiser for the Catholic school that PMcQ's daughter used to attend before she moved her into public school. It's a HUGE event held at a banquet hall and, for $40, you get a full 4-course, sit-down dinner and a sheet of white tickets.



There are five different colored tickets - each color representing a different value of prize. The white-ticket prizes are fairly crappy and overabundant. I think they range from like $25 and under. Next is pink which may go from $25-$50; blue is like $50-$100; red - $100-$500; and then the green-ticket items are worth $500 and up. Prices of colored tickets also vary accordingly.

In addition to my sheet of twenty crappy, white tickets, I also bought ten pink tickets, five blue and two red. The room with the prize baskets was jam-packed with big-haired Italian women all fighting to have a look at the items. Proper tricky tray etiquette requires one to crawl along, perusing the tables and dropping in your tickets. Like at IKEA, everyone is supposed to move in the same direction. Violators are prosecuted with dirty looks.

It was about 150 degrees in there and I lasted all of twelve seconds before I started moving in the opposite direction, reaching in between scowling mounds of Aqua Net to choose my baskets. I didn't even know where I tossed them, just that I wanted to be done so I could find my table and have a glass of wine.

On my way towards the door I realized I had a $10 bill left in my pocket and the green-ticket lady was right there. I figured, "What the hell?" and bought one. I scanned the big-ticket items, made a choice and headed to the bar.

They began pulling tickets and serving dinner at 7:00. As usual, we were a rowdy table and drew lots of angry glares from those around us. They called about 200 white-tickets and 150 pink. Three hours later they got through the blue and red. PMcQ somehow managed to win five times - out of the 500+ people in attendance. She has ridiculous luck. No one else at our table won and we were all getting a little cranky.

They called the ten red-ticket prizes and then got to the five greens. Someone won a flat-screen TV. Someone one a full-length leather coat. Someone won a 4-day pass to Disney. And then they called the final grand prize: an overnight luxury cruise for two around the New York harbor. And then they called MY NUMBER!

All in all, it was a fine evening. And then I got to sleep late today and lay around watching the snow pile up. And I realize that being me isn't such a bad deal after all.
PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE

Pleaseohpleaseohpleeeeease let there be enough snow that school is cancelled tomorrow.

I'll be extra-good for the rest of eternity.
I'll floss twice a day.
I'll stop using the F-word in every sentence.
I'll eat all my peas and I'll go to church.

Please.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

WTF?!

How is "San-gina" still on this show?? I can only assume that he is the Kevin Covais of season six.

Somewhere in America, a group of college kids is probably sitting around smoking weed, eating Cheetos and text-messaging votes for the worst possible candidate. To you stoners I say: STOP IT! Go steal some furniture from the dorm lobby or pull some fire alarms.

Speaking of fires...

The other night I was at HIS apartment making some dinner. Somehow I managed to set fire to a veggie buffalo wing in HIS microwave.

I've reached an all-time culinary low. I hope HE's not rethinking the whole engagement thing.