Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turkey Day

Living in a 600 square foot apartment for years, nobody expected, let alone asked if I would like to host any sort of holiday gathering. There simply was not enough room...unless of course, we removed ALL the furniture.
After moving several weeks ago, I blurted to my mom (without thinking first), "We could host Thanksgiving here this year."

I blame my outburst on the excitement of moving, and the realization that we now live in a home where we don't always have to be in the same room! However, although our house is larger, we still only have the furniture from our apartment, presenting the issue of were to seat guests.

A big fan of mingling (and not a fan of sitting for hours while stuffing my face), I suggested having a sort of, "Thanksgiving buffet" where people could pile their plates and then chat. Sounds like a great idea- lots of people meandering around with full plates accross our brand-new carpet....

Anyhow, to prepare for the first-ever Turkey Day buffet, I am heading out today to purchase a 15 lb turkey. Perhaps I will buy one of those Butterballs. Did I mention I have never in my life cooked a turkey? The turkey I "cook" typically comes pre-sliced at the deli.

Armed with a copy of my mom's Betty Crocker Cookbook (circa 1960's), I am determined to whip out a turkey, stuffing balls (a family fav), and some delish mashed potaotes. The one smart idea I had was to delegate the other food items to others.

We will see how this venture turns out on Thursday. And hey, if the food is not edible, I can always serve enough alcohol prior to feasting, that nobody notices (or cares) about the quality. Right?

Recipe for "stuffing balls" from the Betty Crocker Cookbook (1960)

12 cups bread, cubes 1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup minced onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery, stalks and leaves
1 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon ground sage
no-salt-added chicken broth (optional)

Heat oven to 375, roll stuffing into balls. Place on a tray or in a baking dish. Cook for about 20 minutes!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A change will do you good?

This is my 6th year teaching, so I have officially made it past the dreaded "5-year-mark" in which (according to statistics) 50% of all teachers quit their jobs and go into another field.
I began my journey in the field of education at a middle school on the "wealthier side of the district" subbing in for a woman who was on maternity leave. It was a great experience, I was convinced this was the type of school I would want to work at. The sub job came to an end and their were no openings at that school for the upcoming year.

Wanting to stay in the district, I applied and was hired that summer to teach at a school on the "other side of 99" or basically, the ghetto. Really. It is located in the highest crime area in Snohomish County. Never, did I think I would want to work in a school like this.

However, I totally grew attached to my new building. The other teachers were laid-back and easy to work with, the office staff was great, and the administration was very supportive. I realized that I truly enjoyed working with kids who needed my help, and appreciated it (well, as much as a middle-schooler can). Each day, I felt as though I might make a difference. There were challenges, for sure, but they all made my job more interesting and I grew as a teacher and a person during my time there.

This dream job came to an abrupt end two weeks into the 2009-10 school year, when it was announced that the projected number of students fell short of what was expected. In turn, the school I had begun teaching at in the district had an increase in students. They needed another 6th grade teacher. Being the lowest in seniority, I was involuntarily transferred.

Devestated, I packed up my belongings (which took two full days-who knew one could accumulate so many items over 5 years) and prepared myself for the changes to come.

So far, I am trying to remain positive. Maybe I will learn a little something about myself as a teacher? Maybe, but right now, I am not so sure. Most of the students are incredibly nice, work hard, and are all-around great kids. However, I no longer feel like I am making any sort of difference. The majority of these kids would pass the state tests if I just sat and starred at them all day. Seriously. Also, the parents are something left to be desired. Basically, they run the school and dictate behavioral procedures.

Still, two weeks into my new assignment, I am playing catch up; getting to know the students and attempting to understand the parent-driven procedures. Usually, I am a planner and this change has really thrown a wrench in my organization. This is the first time in my teaching career in which I have actually thought about what other job I might do if I changed professions? Sad, but true.

Hopefully, next year I will be able to switch back to the school and kids I have grown to love, but for now I am am attempting to make the best of the situation and trying to stay positive.

When June comes, will I reflect on the school year and realize "YES" I did learn something? Will I be a better teacher for embarking on a new experience and trying to make the most of it?

I am not counting my eggs before they hatch, but I sure hope so...
Oh, and that picture is a wolverine...the mascot of my former place of employment! Kind of creepy looking, aren't they!?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Surprise...

Let me begin by saying I am rarely surprised. By anything. Teaching Middle School and hearing things like, "somebody peed all over the bathroom floor" or catching 13-year-olds making out in the hall (yuck) causes one to become immune to occurrences most would find shocking.

Even as a kid, I was difficult to surprise. I used to peek at ALL of my Christmas gifts (no matter how hard I tried not to look) and could always count on my mom to send me a "surprise" care package in college for each holiday (it always included a pair of socks). There was even one year when I wanted to plan my own surprise birthday party (sad, I know).

Basically, I am somebody who usually knows what is going on...I am constantly on my toes at all times.

This all changed however on my first day back at school this year. I have to say... I have never, ever been so surprised in my entire life.

As all teachers know, the first day of school is when you are pretty much in your "teaching zone" just attempting to get through the day. There are mixed- up schedules, new names to learn, concerns with lockers, supplies, etc. There is no time for thinking- it is "Go, go, go" all day long.

Around 2:00pm, I was most diffidently in the "zone" focusing on the many tasks at hand that first BIG day, unaware of the world which existed outside of Voyager Middle School.
Suddenly my boyfriend Adam, of nearly 4 1/2 years walks into my classroom, moves his way to the front and in front of all my students, bends down on one knee and asks me to marry him!

Finally, I was surprised. So surprised, I was in fact... speechless. With my mouth agape for several moments, I stared at Adam in awe and amazement.

Of course, I answered "yes" once I ceased shaking and my heart slowed back to a semi-normal rythym.

I love the fact that Adam was so thoughtful and thought up such a wonderfully special and romantic moment to remember and share the rest of our lives. I cannot wait for him to continue surprising me and leaving me in awe for the rest of our lives together. Truly, I am blessed to have found such a wonderful guy!

* There is a video, but at this time I am not able to download it to the blog... hopefully I will figure it out soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tonight were gonna party like it's 1999!

It is now August, meaning it is almost September. And as all teachers (and parents) know, this means "Back to School" time! As a teacher, I both dread and look forward to the start of a new school year. There is quite a bit of work to do, but it is also a fresh start: new students, new ideas, etc.

Preparing to go back this year caused me to reflect back on the summer of 1999, when I was "going to school" myself. This was the year beginning joyful experience at Washington State University (Go Cougs!). The year when I would leave the life I knew and embark on an adventure. When I think back to momentous "back to school" occasion, I am reminded just how much things have changed in the last 10 years. Here are some examples from my college years:

1) My mom and I drove over listening to a book on tape. Do cars even have tape decks any more? Also, I was elated over my brand new (gigantic) desk top computer. The thing was huge, covering most of the desk in my dorm room. Laptops are way more convenient, especially for studying. It was not like I could bring my computer to Starbucks to type a paper.

2) I was equipped with a stack of calling cards, in order to make the long distance calls home. Nobody had cell phones, and even those few who did certainly would not carry them around chatting away. Junior year, I remember thinking how odd it was to see Freshman walking to class while on their cells.

3) After Rush week (now called "Recruitment") we were given white tank tops, thrown into the back of several pick-up trucks and paraded down Greek Row while Fraternity boys doused us with water. This has since been outlawed. Now after Recruitment, the girls all have a nice brunch and listen to a speech on sisterhood. Personally, I feel my experience was more fun and diffidently more memorable!

4) There were NO designer jeans! In fact, we never wore jeans when going out. Black pants or skirts were the style. Paired with a delicious sequin or other brightly colored halter, what could look better!? Oh, and don't forget the stacked-heeled boots!

5) Speaking of clothing, at my moms house the other day, I spotted a photo of myself in college wearing overalls! Yes, styles certainly have changed a great deal in the past 10 years. Secretly though, I am waiting for overalls to reemerge and still have a pair stashed at the top of my closet! They are not the most flattering of attire, but oh so comfortable.

6) Acting like an idiot when you were wasted could NOT end up as an embarrassing photo on Facebook (we did not even have MySpace). You simply had a bad night, and hoped that everybody else was also too intoxicated to recall your antics.
7) However, the picture of your embarrassing night could end up on the "Party Pics" order form. I learned my lesson one night after a friend and I thought it would be hilarious to flash the Party Pics camera man (not one of my prouder moments). Not so funny when I noticed that several guys had actually ordered the photo (pervs).

8) WSU was one of the first schools which had wireless Internet and class registration online! Friends of mine at other schools still had to register IN PERSON! Can you believe it! Craziness!

9) Smoking was allowed in bars, and so was showering once you got home, if you wanted to go to bed without your pillow reeking of cigarettes in the AM. This is one change I am glad occurred!

10) This is just a sampling of the changes that I have noticed. One thing however that has remained a constant...Sex and the City! We used to spend lazy Saturday mornings watching episode after episode. Girls today are still tuning into this enticing program, just as my friends and I did 10 years ago.

Also, this time in my life reminds me of all the of the wonderful friends I have made over the years. There are friends made in high school, who even if we have not seen each other for a time, when we do- we simply pick up where we left off. Then, there are friends made in college, bonded over nights of long conversations, break-ups, and of course- Papa John's Pizza.

These are all friends that I depend on today and have become a very important part of my life. In some ways, we are the same girls we were in 1999, looking forward to new beginnings and what lay ahead. Perhaps we are all a little older, maybe a little wiser, but still looking forward to the future.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventures in Bikram Yoga

For years, I have been an "anti-yogi" deeming it a "fake workout" and completely boring, however recent events led to a shift in my thinking...
Let me begin by stating that I am a runner. Sometimes, I run 6-7 days a week. In the winter this means running on the treadmill, which although slightly boring still brings the "runner's high" after. Occasionally, I will dabble in a kick-boxing class or perhaps some step aerobics when a change of piece is needed.

Not wanting to knock something before trying it, I attended several Yoga classes offered at L.A. Fitness. I was....BORED. Really bored. And, I certainly was not tired or sweating in the slightest when I left. In fact, I believe I went and ran on the treadmill after I was finished. Because of this, I have mocked Yoga workouts, stating, "Yoga is boring. It is not even a real workout."

Now, I have to eat my words. Last week, I purchased a 10 classes (for $20.00) at the Bikram Yoga Studio of India in Fremont hoping it would help the knee/leg that was injured while walking Linus the Beagle (see earlier blog). Never in my life, have I struggled so much through a class. Especially a class consisted of stretches and poses where I never moved off of a mat.

* Bikram Yoga is yoga practiced in a room heated to a boiling 105 degrees and the fans are turned off during each of the 26 poses, except for the Savasanga (where you lay down).

Sweating from the moment I began the first pose, up until the very end of the 90 minute (yup, you read that right-90 minutes) class, I kept trying to sneak water or wipe my face with my towel, only to have the teacher remind me to wait until in between poses.

When I left class, I felt as though I had taken a shower... in my shorts and sports bra! Gross. Right? I thought so, but I also felt totally amazing and cleansed! Never before had a Yoga class, or any workout class caused me to feel so wonderful!

Now, I am not saying that I could do this everyday, especially once my new member trial period expires. Bikram Yoga is not cheap (about 130 dollars per month) and I sometimes I find it difficult remembering to drink enough water during the day or drink coffee right before. Both of these things can make one feel dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed.

However, I would like to commit to attending a Bikram class once a week. So far, I have been four days and I just feel "more aligned" and my knee is not quite as sore. So, I will admit... no longer am I against yoga. I have converted.
For those of you living in the Seattle area, here is the Yoga Studio I went to...and there is also one in West Seattle:

Monday, July 13, 2009


On July 6th, I turned 28. Now, I know that for most people, 30 is the BIG birthday. You know, the one that arrives and suddenly you are supposed to be an adult. Not for me. For me, 28 was always that magical age when I was meant to have my entire life together. It was my "grown-up" adult age. Now that this day has come and gone and I have been 28 for about one week now, I have to say: I truly do not feel any different.
What did I expect to happen at age 28 you might ask? Well, to answer that questions, it all started with a rather stupid assignment handed to us in Human Growth and Development class during my Freshman year of college.
The teacher asked us to each create a timeline of what we wanted our lives to look like from this point forward. More talk followed about how this would allow both her and us to know who we were as people and who we wanted to become. I rolled my eyes as she rambled on and on.

Wasn't I in college? This assignment seemed a bit like one I might have received in Middle School. Still, I went ahead and created my timeline. At age 18, 28 seemed eons away. The farthest ahead I usually thought was to finals week or the next date dash!

As I carefully started on my timeline that evening, I concluded that 26 was the perfect age in which to be married by (to a man named Chris-most likely selecting that name because I knew nobody named Chris). Anything after 26 would obviously deem me an "old maid." By 28 I had twin girls, and then by 30, one more boy.

I won't even get into the ridiculousness that happened later in my pretend life (including retirement and living in Europe by age 50). After viewing my retirement plan, I am pretty sure that that is a fantasy!

This was nearly 10 years ago that this assignment was given, and as stupid as I felt it to be, I completely remember each and everything that I put on the timeline.

Am I disappointed that I am not on track with this life I gave myself? Well, I like to think of it as not "off-track" but just delayed slightly. In some ways though, I realize the benefits of this assignment (although I felt it to be so incredibly meaningless at the time).

One day, I do hope to retire and live someplace that I truly desire to be (such as Europe). While this may not be as early as a hoped for, it is still a possibility.

Other parts of this timeline were rather silly and things I do not have control over. Why did I insist I needed to be married by 26? What was I supossed to do to ensure this goal was met? Carry my time line around like a psycho and insist to any guy I dated that I had an expiration date by which I HAD to be married with kids by? And even if I had been married at 26, it would have been highly unlikely that I would have twins by 28 (especially considering there are NO twins in my family).

I have heard others mention their own internal time lines, saying things such as, "I want to go to graduate school by the time I am 30." Or, "By 35, I want to have kids."

Are these time lines that we set for ourselves a healthy way to set goals, or would it be better to just set the goals with no "Magical Age" in which we expect them by? By setting a "Magical Age" are we pushing ourselves to work harder, or simply setting ourselves up for disappointment?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sales...have they lost their appeal?

If there is one thing that i cannot stay away from-it is a sign reading "sale" in the the front of the store. Sales used to be a special and exciting time. I remember flipping through the "Nordstrom Anniversary Sale" catalog as soon as it arrived in the mail. My mom, sister, and I would go and stock up on the deals for back to school clothes. Specifically, I remember when I was in middle school and was SUPER thrilled to discover that Doc Martin shoes were on sale! The Nordstrom sale was, like, the only time you could buy anything at a discount!
Other major stores would do the same...a BIG sale several times each year. Other than that, sales consisted of a small rack in the back of the store, usually filled with either XXS or XXL items. In today's economy, it seems that EVERYTHING is on sale, all the time. I am not kidding. When walking into Peridot the sales woman announced to me that the entire store was 30% off! The entire store. Seriously. At Banana Republic, every sale item was an additional 30% off the lowest price. So, I bought 3 shirts for around $40.00. Total. These were not cheap items to begin with by any means either.

While this was exciting and all, I started wondering...have "sales" completely lost their appeal and charm? I now refuse to buy anything not on sale, as I know that it will most likely be discounted the following week. This is even true at the high end boutique "Sway and Cake" where I was looking at a dress. I returned the next day to find it marked down 40%!
However, I no longer feel the excitement or build-up of a big sale as I did receiving those Nordstrom catalogs in the mail. How could I, when every day is now a sale day?

I admit though, I still do enjoy a good deal. Here are some of the BEST deals I discovered while out shopping the other day: This is great one! Especially if you are looking for a dress! Many are 50% off the original price! Peridot is a small boutique in lower QA, conveniently located right next door to Diamond Nails (my Pedicure spot). This is the place where the entire store in on sale! Located right by Nordstrom and the Medical Dental Building downtown. Lots of great deals on summer items, as they are already getting in fall stuff!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When the going gets tough...don't go?

All of my life I have this issue with anything that is difficult for me...that is I find it incredibly frustrating. It derives from my strong desire NOT to have people see me fail. Instead I will throw myself into those activities in which I excel. This started in Kindergarten when we were learning handwriting. At which, I was awful. Apparently (according to my mom) I had "taught" myself to write already and was not holding my pencil the correct way. Rather than listen to Mrs. Kemp, I chose to keep on holding my pencil incorrectly and still do to this day. Although this was quite a while ago, I believe I did not want my fellow classmates to see me struggle. Even at age 5, I was a stubborn little bugger!
This trend continued on into my later schools as well. In Middle School when my "Advanced Math Class" was difficult,rather than working past it... I simply switched into the regular and focused on subjects in which I was more gifted. Again, I did not want my classmates to see me stuggle with the advanced math concepts.

In high school, I was an okay soccer player (and played JV in 9th and 10th grade). My Junior year, I quit playing soccer. I was worried I would get cut, because I did not believe that I was skilled enough for the Varsity team. So...I switched to something I was good at-Cross Country. The same scenario occurred with softball, when I switched to tennis.

Now today, as an adult I am facing a similar situation with my summer job. It is hard and I am not that great at it. For my "regular" job, I am a teacher which is something that comes naturally to me. Serving does not. Yes, I realize that serving is not exactly brain surgery, but I find it to be a challenge. I constantly find myself asking for help (usually from my fellow crew members who are about 5-7 years younger than me-which is hard in itself). Finding the right buttons on the computer is excruciatingly hard. I cannot figure out how in the world to carry 4 plates BY MYSELF at once. Every time I attempt this, I worry that I will drop every body's meals on the ground. Figuring out my tips after a shift is equally annoying. Oh, and the other day, I completely forgot to put in an order for a bacon cheeseburger. Luckily the cooks totally helped me out, but I felt SO incredibly stupid. This is diffidently a job that is a struggle for me. I do not feel that serving is a gift or talent I posess.

I could have just taught summer school again; doing something that is naturally easy for me-teaching kids. However, I feel that now that I am an adult I should know what it feels like to do something that is difficult and learn from it. Which is exactly what I plan on doing this summer. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 29, 2009


For some reason, for two years Adam and I dressed up as Bavarians (although I am not sure that is what the tittle said on the package) for Halloween. There was a one year gap in between this attire where I insisted that we dress as the Baby and Johnny from Dirty Dancing. Adam was not happy with his costume as nobody could really tell who he was. I guess he and Patrick Swayze do not have much of a resemblance to one another. Anyways, the following year, Adam asked if we could wear the costumes with the Lidershosen (sp?) again, thus affirming his love of Bavarian culture and the perfect reason to head to...LEAVENWORTH!

Which is just what we did this last weekend. For those who have not been to Leavenworth before, it is a town where people regularly wear liederhosen, eat brats, and a man plays some type of long horn at breakfast. In other words, we would have fit in PERFECTLY in our Halloween costumes! But, don't worry, we did not wear them.

A nice short drive (about 2 hours on HI-2) Leavenworth is nestles in the mountains just beyond Steven's pass, and could be a nice stopping point on the way to Lake Chelan. The weather was beautiful, people were friendly, and the wine tasting rooms were fabulous! Here are some of the top places we would recommend while visiting:

Where to stay:

Enzian Inn

(This place was great-free breakfast, a putting course, and a great swimming pool)!

800-223-8511 509-548-5269


Visconti's of Leavenworth
636 Front Street, Leavenworth, WA, 98826

Delicious food, but come on an empty stomach...this place serves 5 courses of Italian cuisine! My favorite was the Gnocchi!

Tasting: Keep mind that i am not really a wine expert and although I can swirl wine around in my glass and comment on the flavors, I really judge wineries and tasting rooms on the ambiance, people who work there, and the feeling I have while visiting. My palate can really only differentiate between "good" and "bad" so there will be no comments here on smokey flavors, hints of fruit, etc. I just know that all of these wines were "good" and the environment was an enjoyable one in which to spend the afternoon!
636 Front Street, Suite 2, Leavenworth, WA, 98826

- We liked this one because the woman working was extremely nice and helpful. Also, the wines are great! A colorful rose was especially good. For $2, you get to taste about 7 different wines!

2)Krestel Vinters

- This is the place that creates the "Lady in Red" series, and the "Blond" series depicting women in red or white dresses on the front. All of the wine we tasted here was smooth and tasty, and the older gentleman working the counter was entertaining and knowledgeable about all of the wines. Make sure you eat BEFORE you come here! They will pour you all of their available wines (about 15 of them) for about $2 per person!

This is a HUGE tasting room, with plenty of counter space for the many people that visit (and it was crowded when we arrived). The highlights of this visit include delicious chocolates from the SChocolate ( next door, and a tasting right out of a barrel!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting fit with FIDO...and hurt.

If you look in the Jackson High School 1999 yearbook, you will see that I was voted "Most Accident Prone." This never made sense to me...I have not broken a bone since I was three. Now I get it. I am simply REALLY clumsy, and somehow manage to end up tripping, falling, banging into various things on a regular basis. It is not even like I engage in dangerous sport or activities. I run. On flat surface. On a path.

A few weeks ago, I was volunteering at "Get Fit With FIDO" at the Seattle Animal Shelter (great program if you like running and dogs). Excitedly, I selected a nice Beagle named Linus as my running buddy that morning. He was a small but sturdy little guy who was anxious to gallop along at Myrtle Edwards Park. Everything was going fine until...I some how found myself entangled in Linus's leash.

Flying forward, I braced myself, and in an attempt not to land on Linus, I came crashing down on my knees. More embarrassed than injured, I hurriedly scampered to my feet. Immediately, people surrounded me, asking if I was okay. Slightly confused, I glanced down at my knee.

Blood was gushing everywhere. A nice couple who witnessed my humiliation grabbed a hold of the leash and helped me to walk to the water fountain where the other FIDO volunteers were waiting. My sister Meaghan looked puzzled when she saw this couple with Linus, and me limping while pressing a napkin to my knee. "Did your sister get hurt again" a lady from the animal shelter asked. (I was bit by a dog earlier this year, but that is another story).

Everybody ignored my claims that I was okay, and called for back-up. I insisted that I did not need a ride back, and hobbled along for the remaining 1/2 mile.

Needless to say, I probably should not have pretended I was okay and just gone in for stitches. Now, I have a huge scar on my knee, and it is stiff when I wake up in the morning! Is this a sign I am becoming "old?" It never used to hurt when I fell...

Perhaps I should invest in some knee pads and elbow guards?

Linus, the Beagle handled this whole ordeal quite well (he seemed very concerned after I tripped over him). Sadly, he is still searching for his forever home. If you are looking for a nice Beagle, let me know! That is him, in the photo above!


One of my obsessions is getting pedicures. In fact, I go every two weeks. Nothing is more relaxing to me than reclining in a massage chair, reading US Weekly, and having my toes done! For the past 5 years, I have been going to Diamond Nails on Queen Anne, where you can have all this for only 15 dollars!

It is not quite the same as going to Gene Juarez, but for 15 dollars, you can't beat it. (Oh, and they will use the razor on your feet- after your feet have been soaking, the women will half-hide the razor and show it to you. Just nod your head "Yes" if you would like it! Highly recommended!
Diamond Nails (Queen Anne)
533 1st Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119
(206) 281-1231

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Now?!

So, after I graduated from College (GO COUGS) in 2003, I began penning a novel (a memoir of sorts) about my life, and the lives of me and my friends. As 23-year olds new to Seattle and going out all the time, I had MANY interesting anecdotes to share!

Needless to say, I became rather busy with work, and let this fall to the wayside. Now, my life is not quite as exciting, so I am not sure if anybody would enjoy reading about how I get up at 5:30, teach 6th graders, and then come home and watch TV...I am guessing, it would not be a bestseller!

Anyways, today, my good friend Chrissy was talking about starting a family blog so people could see pictures of her adorable 6 week old little girl, Livvy. She suggested that I start a blog too, so I did. I am not promising much. I have no cute baby pics. I am not crafty (I have attempted scrapbooking once, and the outcome was horrible). I do not have photos of delicious meals I have prepared. This will just be a blog of random thoughts, wonderings, etc. of my life! Hopefully, this will lead to a new novel??? Enjoy!